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Culture Vacations Ireland
We provide conducted tours to suit the cultural interests of groups ranging from 12 to 24 people. The duration of each tour varies from 5 days (4 nights) and 10 days (9 nights). Regardless of duration each tour is conducted as a themed presentation on Irish culture through those whose creativity contributed to that culture. By emphasising the personalities who were part of the development of Irish culture over many centuries we animate it and bring it to life. We illustrate their work through viewing relevant precious artwork, artefacts and buildings and bring their music, poetry and literature to life in the appropriate context. The script is light in delivery, informative and most importantly entertaining, designed to leave the visitor with an appetite for more.
The Overall Experience
The Irish culture journey takes us through ‘the foundations and the building blocks’ from the earliest recorded times, through the built heritage, literature, philosophy, art and music right up to today.
The tour narratives embrace the broad ethnic and religious origins of the Irish and reflect Ireland’s historic place in ancient Europe and the British Empire and as part of modern Europe. Ireland’s contribution to and connections with Britain, the Americas and Europe are also given due recognition in exploring her cultural heritage.
An essential part of the overall package is exceptional accommodation and culinary experiences provided in selected Blue Book country and town houses. Each house has a special charm and the food product is authentic to each with many using their own ingredients with some surprising results. We work with specific Blue Book houses such as Barberstown Castle, Coopershill House, Ballymaloe House, Aherns Townhouse, Dunbrody House, The Mustard Seed, Longueville House and Gregan’s Castle. The houses chosen for a specific tour will depend upon availability.
Described below are the outlines of three sample tours. The Core Tour focused on The Greater Dublin Area, recognises the importance of that area to the overall theme. The Core Tour is offered as a standalone but is ideally taken as the starting point in combination with one of the other tour options two of which are set out below. The three sample options are
Tour 1 - The Greater Dublin Area Tour, (4 days – 4 nights)
Tour 2 – The East Coast, South-East, South-West and Mid-West Tour, (5 days -4 nights)
Tour 3 – The Midlands, North West, West and Mid-West Tour, (5days – 4 nights)
Tour 1 - The Greater Dublin Area
Theme of Tour
Here we focus on literature beginning with the earliest, The Book of Kells, Architecture, Music, Dance, Art and Film follow naturally. The story of the built heritage recognizes the progressive influences of the Vikings, Anglo Normans, Georgians, Victorians and the modernizers.
Day 1 – Upon arrival in Dublin transfer to Barberstown Castle for a short presentation on the theme of the Tour, followed by a short introductory tour of the city by coach. A visit Trinity College, the home of The Book of Kells, where personalities such as Swift, Goldsmith, Moore, Wilde, Beckett, Berkeley and Stoker were educated, follows. Return to Barberstown Castle for dinner and leisure.
Day 2 – After breakfast transfer to Dublin city and walk from College Green observing the former Irish Parliament buildings and visiting some of important sites such as Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, St.Patrick’s Cathedral and Marsh’s Library. Personalities introduced here include, amongst others, Swift, Moore, Shaw, Marsh, Handel, Boyle, Behan, Pierce, Gandon, Stephenson and the Guinness family. Enjoy leisure time before returning to Barberstown Castle for dinner and musical entertainment themed around Moore’s melodies.
Day 3 – After breakfast return to Dublin city to visit venues such as the National Gallery, National Museums, National Library, Joyce Museum, Writers Museum, Shaw Museum, Hugh Lane Gallery and O’Connell Street. Personalities introduced here include such as Grey, Cassells, Foley, Parnell, Roberts, Maclise, Lady Gregory, Synge, Martyn and the Yeats family. Leisure time in Dublin city and return to Barberstown Castle for dinner followed by entertainment on the theme of Irish artists.
Day 4 – After breakfast visit sites such as Newgrange, Battle of the Boyne battlefield, Hill of Tara, Maynooth, Castletown House. Pugin is introduced here and Pierce re-emerges. Return to Barberstown Castle for dinner followed by entertainment themed on Joyce.
Day 5 - Wrap up and transfer to next segment of the Tour (or transfer to Dublin Airport and home).
Tour 2 – The East Coast, South East, South West and Mid-West
Theme of Tour
This tour normally follows The Greater Dublin Area Tour. The focus here is a little more on the ancient built heritage of Round Towers, Cathedrals and the influences of the Vikings, Anglo Normans, Georgians and Victorians. There are significant art, music and literature elements. There is also a significant military component with links to the British Empire, the Williamite Wars, the Wild Geese, Napoleon, the Young Irelander movement and the US Civil War.
Day 5 – Depart from Barberstown Castle and travel towards Waterford visiting Glendalough, Avondale, Avoca and Enniscorthy. Personalities such as Parnell, Moore, Grey and Pugin re-emerge and new personalities such as Wolsley, Keogh, Barry, JFK and the Roberts family are introduced. Check into Dunbrody House for dinner followed by a presentation on the Roberts family.
Day 6 – Transfer to Waterford city and visit some of the sites such as Reginald’s Tower, the Medieval Museum, Bishops Palace, the Cathedrals, Assembly Rooms and Black Friars Church. New personalities such as Meagher, Bonaparte, Lincoln, Wyse, Wadding, Wallace and the Jacob family are introduced. Leisure time in Waterford that may include Waterford Crystal and Kites Design. Return to the Dunbrody House for dinner and entertainment around the music of Wallace.
Day 7 – Depart for Limerick via Lismore. Visit Lismore Castle, Cathedral and Monastic Settlement. Fred Astair is introduced and Boyle, Pugin and JFK re-emerge. On to Ballingarry and check into the Mustard Seed with dinner followed by entertainment themed on the music of O’Riada.
Day 8 – Depart for Limerick, visit sites such as King Johns Castle, Hunt Museum, Frank McCourt Museum, Limerick Civic Trust, Siege of Limerick. New personalities are introduced such as McCourt, Sarsfield, the Hunt family and the ubiquitous Pugin also appears. Leisure in Adare, dinner in the Mustard Seed with entertainment themed on McCourt.
Day 9 - Check out and transfer to Shannon Airport and home.
Tour 3– The Midlands North-West, West and Mid-West
Theme of Tour
This tour ideally follows The Greater Dublin Area Tour. The focus here is on literature, the ancient built heritage, the influence of the Vikings, Anglo Normans, Georgians and Victorians. There are art and music elements and also a military component with links to the British Empire, the Williamite Wars, the Wild Geese and the 1916 Rising.
Day 5 – Depart from Barberstown for Clonmacnoise and from there, onto Sligo passing Edgeworthstown, Ballymahon and Leitrim en-route. New personalities emerge such as Edgeworth, McGahern, O’Carolan, Heaney, MacDiarmada, Pierce and Bindon, while others will re-emerge such as Goldsmith, Beckett, Wilde, Sarsfield and the Yeats family. Check in to Coopershill House for dinner followed by entertainment around the music of O’ Carolan.
Day 6 – Visit Sligo, the Yeats Museum, Drumcliffe, Innisfree and Lissadell House. Trollope is introduced here. Dinner at Coopershill followed by an evening of Yeats.
Day 7 – Check out and depart for Limerick, visiting Coole Park and Ennis en-route. French, Hyde, Barnacle, Gort, Blood, Holland, Churchill, MacMahon and the Hunt family are introduced while others such as Lady Gregory, Martyn, Lane, Synge, Shaw and O’Casey re-emerge. Check into The Mustard Seed for dinner and entertainment featuring the music and art of Percy French.
Day 8 – To Limerick to King Johns Castle, Hunt Museum, Frank McCourt Museum, Limerick Civic Trust, Siege of Limerick sites. McCourt, Harris and Whelan are introduced while Sarsfield re-emerges. Evening dining and entertainment at the Medieval Banquet in Bunratty Castle.Day 9 - Check out, transfer to Shannon Airport and depart.
Tel: (011) 353 87 2585372
Enjoy Championship Golf just 1 km from the Castle at the K Club, host of the 2006 Ryder Cup www.kclub.ie
Kildare Village brings chic outlet shopping to Kildare. The village is conveniently located just outside Kildare town, a 25 minute drive from the castle. It is home to prestigious brands offering previous seasons’ collections at up to 60% off, all year round. www.kildarevillage.com
Punchestown Racecourse in Naas, the home of Irish National Hunt Racing for more than 150 years, regularly hosts race meeting. Punchestown is just 20 minutes from the Castle. www.punchestown.com
Budget Car rentals offers low cost car rentals available for collection from Dublin airport. www.budget.ie.
Barberstown Castle is just 25 minutes drive from Tattersalls Bloodstock Auction House. www.tattersalls.com
Goff’s bloodstock auction house is located just 10 minutes from the Castle. www.goffs.com
Less that an 20 minutes from Barberstown Castle, the Curragh hosts the best flat racing in the country. www.Curragh.ie
Naas Race course is located just 20 minutes from Barberstown Castle. Naas racecourse is an ideal destination for racing throughout the year. www.naasracecourse.com
The Irish National Stud including the historical Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra’s Gardens located in Tully, Co Kildare. www.irish-national-stud.ie
DH Entertainment – Professional Wedding & Corporate Entertainment
The Orchard is a specialist provider for companies and organisations who require a dedicated teambuilding and activity based programmes. http://www.theorchardcentre.ie/
www.churchharpmusic.com contact Breda Ward, our resident harpist, should you require a harpist for a Wedding or Corporate event.
For a comprehensive overview of all that there is to do in County Kildare visit www.visitkildare.ie
www.abbeyfieldfarm.com Try your hand at Clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, hunting and archerylocated just 2 km from Barberstown Castle.
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Barberstown Castle Hotel in Straffan, Co. Kildare
Barberstown Castle, built in the 13th Century, is the only 4 Star Irish Castle “with 5 Star Quality” which boasts close proximity to Dublin City Centre and Dublin Airport (both 30 minutes away).
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