Dunguaire Castle in County Galway (Shutterstock)
List Words : Wanderlust Team | 11 March 2019

Ireland’s best tours: Castles, wild coastlines and the greatest pubs in the world

Stunning landscapes, irascible locals and historic landmarks – Ireland packs it all into a small, easy-to-navigate package. Discover why everyone wishes they were a little bit Irish...

1. The best of Ireland, north and south

Scenic view of Gap of Dunloe, County Kerry (Shutterstock)

Scenic view of Gap of Dunloe, County Kerry (Shutterstock)

Keep an eye out for elves and fairies as you mosey through the green fields of Ireland – both Northern Ireland and the Republic – on this 8-day adventure with Intrepid.

You’ll experience all the epic landscapes and legendary hospitality that make Ireland such a memorable destination. You’ll wander through medieval castles and ancient sites filled with folklore and whimsy, breathe in the fresh air along the country’s rugged coastline and enjoy a pint of Guinness and some live music in a Dublin pub. 

From the famous Ring of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher to the Giant's Causeway and the cobbled streets of Ireland's capital, this is a journey you’ll never forget.

Trip: Northern & Southern Ireland

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Apr-Oct

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,665 (exc. flights)

2. Sleep like royalty in Irish castles

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara (Shutterstock)

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara (Shutterstock)

Experience old world luxury on this grand castles and manors road trip through Ireland with Evaneos. It’s a trip that will take you around southern Ireland and along the Wild Atlantic Way. 

You’ll spend 8 days exploring breathtaking Irish scenery, while immersing yourself in Ireland’s unique culture and history. And every night, luxurious accommodation in a high-end authentic castle or grand manor awaits. A right royal treat, to be sure.

Trip: Ireland: Castle-Stays On The Emerald Isle

Who: Evaneos

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 9 days

How much: From £4,280 (exc. flights)

3. Discover the mystical north

Man atop Giant’s Causeway (Shutterstock)

Man atop Giant’s Causeway (Shutterstock)

Enjoy a quick super-scenic trip through some of Northern Ireland’s most jaw-dropping landscapes on this 5-day journey with G Adventures. 

Travelling from Dublin to Belfast, you’ll clamber over the otherworldly Giant’s Causeway, wander through the ethereal Dark Hedges forest and sample the wares in some of Northern Ireland’s finest distilleries and local pubs. You’ll also drop by some of the locations where Game of Thrones was filmed. If you’ve ever wanted to frolic in a Dothraki grassland, this is the trip for you.

Trip: Discover Northern Ireland

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 5 days

How much: From £699 (exc. flights)

4. Explore Ireland’s authentic pubs

Inside an authentic Irish pub in Dublin (Shutterstock)

Inside an authentic Irish pub in Dublin (Shutterstock)

Immerse yourself in a truly authentic Irish experience, exploring atmospheric towns and villages filled with vibrant music and good cheer on this seven-day self-drive tour of Ireland with Evaneos.

Your tour starts in Ireland’s capital of Dublin, where the pub and music scene is vast and vibrant. Next, you'll venture to neighbouring counties to explore some of the most renowned pubs in Ireland. Great music, hearty food, friendly locals – and Guinness perfectly pure and enjoyed as it was meant to be. 

Trip: Ireland: Authentic Pub Life!

Who: Evaneos

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 8 days

How much: From £730 (exc. flights)

5. Take a road trip through the wild north west

Derryclare Lake in Connemara (Shutterstock)

Derryclare Lake in Connemara (Shutterstock)

Discover Ireland’s wild north west on this 8-day self drive tour through Donegal, Sligo and Mayo counties with Evaneos.

Shaped by the power of the Atlantic Sea, this part of Ireland is home to some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe as well as tombs and historical sites older than the ancient pyramids of Egypt. From the Slieve League Cliffs and Achill Island, you’ll travel through Galway, passing through the unforgettable Connemara region, before ending your stay Dublin.

Travelling at your own pace, you are sure to find respite and relaxation at locations you won’t find in guidebooks, and experience more of the real Ireland.

Trip: Ireland: Road Trip Of The North-Western Coast

Who: Evaneos

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 8 days

How much: From £660 (exc. flights)

6. Explore the true heart of the Emerald Isle

Great Skellig (Shutterstock)

Great Skellig (Shutterstock)

Spend 11 days exploring Ireland's heritage, tradition and culture with guides who deeply love the country on this in-depth trip with Peter Sommers Travel.

Designed to present a rich and insightful panorama of Ireland, the trip takes in some of the famous “must-see” sights, including the Megalithic tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, the stupendous “Celtic” cliff-side fort at Dun Aonghasa in the Aran Islands, the great monastic centre of Clonmacnoise, the pristine Norman castle at Trim and, of course, the dazzling heart of Dublin with its excellent museums. 

You’ll also get the chance to venture off-the-beaten-track to stone-carved crosses, windswept tower houses and a never-ending array of extraordinary scenery, ranging from the heart-achingly lovely to the stark, lonely and wild. Add in carefully-selected hotels (including renovated castles, manors and town houses), the best in Irish gastronomy and the extraordinary friendliness of the locals for a truly first class experience.

Trip: Exploring Ireland: The Heart of The Emerald Isle

Who: Peter Sommer Travels

When: June

How long: 11 days

How much: £4,535 (exc. flights)

7. Golf the greens of the Emerald Isle

Golf course at Dromoland Castle (Shutterstock)

Golf course at Dromoland Castle (Shutterstock)

With over 300 golf courses across the island of Ireland, you’re never far from a green on the Emerald Isle. And with the help of Evaneos’ Ireland-based golfing experts, your tailor-made Irish golfing holiday is guaranteed to be a hit.

As well as choosing the right courses, local experts will recommend nearby sights and attractions that you shouldn’t miss. And after building up an appetite playing golf during the day, they’ll also point you in the right direction for the best local food and produce.

Trip: Ireland: Golf The Green Island

Who: Evaneos

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 8 days

How much: From £360 (exc. flights)