Day 1: Dublin to Wicklow
Having arrived at Dublin airport, depart for lunch at Farmleigh in Phoenix Park, Dublin City, home to the President of Ireland. Once home to the Guinness family, the mansion is a fine example of Edwardian design and sits on a 78-acre estate, which include a wonderful collection of Victorian and Edwardian ornamental gardens. www.farmleigh.ie
Depart Farmleigh for beautiful County Wicklow (the garden county), and Powerscourt House and Gardens. The gardens date from the 18th century and are generally considered to be some of the world’s greatest. Gracing the Wicklow mountains, 20km from Dublin city centre, Powerscourt is a garden-lovers’ dream. www.powerscourt.ie/gardens
Following an afternoon in the shadow of the beautiful Powerscourt House, head for Kilruddery House and Gardens in the coastal town of Bray, County Wicklow. An evening of wonderful music in the unique setting of the Orangery is in store while overlooking the gardens of this 17th-century stately home. www.killruddery.com
A short trip down the Wicklow coast brings you to Rathnew for an overnight stay at Hunters Hotel.
Newrath Bridge, Rathnew
T: +353 (0) 404 40106
This old coaching inn is set on two acres of gardens on the banks of the Dartry River.
Day 2: Wicklow - Wexford - Waterford
Wake up to the beautiful Bray air and set off for Avondale House, County Wicklow. Avondale House was the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), one of the greatest political leaders in Irish history. The beautiful Georgian House is set in a magnificent forest park of over 500 acres. http://www.heritageisland.com/attractions/avondale-house-forest-park/
Haven taken in the beauty of Avondale it’s time to head south again, this time crossing the County border into Wexford (also the ancestral homeland of J.F.K.), New Ross. Visit the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a replica of the 1840’s ship that carried emigrants from Ireland to Canada and the U.S. www.dunbrody.com
Have lunch in New Ross town on the banks of the River Barrow and then head for Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford. Founded in 914 AD by the Vikings, many of Waterford’s protective walls are still standing and can be viewed during a guided walking tour of the Viking triangle. Inside the triangle also sits the new ´House of Waterford Crystal´ where the city´s most famous export, Waterford Crystal, continues to be made.
A short trip back to Wexford will bring you to your overnight accommodation at Dunbrody House, located on the dramatic hook peninsula on Ireland´s South East Coast.
T: +353 (0) 51 389 600
Home to a world-renowned cooking school, you´ll be treated to a feast of earthy local foods in the award-winning Harvest Room Restaurant.
Day 3: Tipperary - Laois - Kildare
Depart Wexford and head for County Tipperary and the historic town of Cashel in the Golden Vale. High above the little town stands the Rock of Cashel, upon which sits a spectacular group of Medieval buildings dating from the 12th-century round tower to the 15th-century Castle (and former home to the high Kings of Munster). http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/South-East/RockofCashel/
Having come down from the rock you’ll be treated to lunch at the Cashel Palace Hotel followed by a traditional Irish music lesson. www.cashelpalace.ie
After some fine tuning it’s back on the road again, heading north-west to County Laois for a visit to Emo Court, a magnificent Neo-classical house with formal gardens, parklands and woodland gardens. www.heritageireland.ie/en/midlandseastcoast/emocourt
A quick hop into County Kildare is next up, for a night of music and entertainment in the 18th-century Castletown House Palladian mansion, Ireland´s largest and earliest Palladian-style house. www.castletownhouse.ie
Nearby, Barberstown Castle in Straffen, County Kildare, will host you for dinner on your final night in one of its three fine dining rooms. The 13th-century castle is steeped in history and has had some famous guests, from Art Garfunkel to Kenny Dalglish. Eric Clapton liked the place so much he bought it in 1987.
T: +353 (0)1 628 8157
Your luxuriant overnight room will be steeped in history old and new.