Anyone who has ever spent a significant amount of time in Ireland will inform you that the Irish claim to live in the most beautiful countries in the world is not the result of their famous ‘gift for the gab’. It is an island that shines with natural beauty. From what Oscar Wilde called the ‘Savage Beauty’ of Connemara to the unforgettable scenery of counties Kerry and Cork and the stark majesty of Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast there is always scenery that is breathtaking.
Another attraction of any trip to Ireland is the country’s deep roots in the past. It is a land covered in attractions that will fascinate the visitor with spectacles of times gone by. From the haunting ruins of Ireland’s monastic past at Glendalou, to imposing castle ruins, the visitor with an interest in history will never be at a loss for attractions to explore.
Those based in Dublin can enjoy some of the best castle day tours available on the Emerald Isle. The challenge is to choose which tour to enjoy, the choice is as rich and varied as the country itself. You can book tours with top providers such as CS Tours Ireland.
However, these castle day tours are definitely worth considering.
1. The Full-Day Blarney Castle Tour
Possibly the most famous castle in Ireland for those who wish to enjoy the benefits of a silver tongue, Blarney Castle and its resident Blarney Stone are unmissable. A 13-hour tour of the castle and its gardens (with its ‘Witches Cave) is highly recommended. Most tour operators will also include a guided tour of the visually magnificent County Cork, which also will most likely include a stop at the English Market in Cork where some artisan-produced culinary delights await.
2. The Coastal, Castles and Distillery Tour (with tasting)
Combining the delights of a drop of ‘Uisge beatha’ or ‘Water of Life’ – whiskey and a guided tour of the medieval ‘Malahide Castle and Gardens’ and Ardgillan Castle this 9-hour bus tour that takes in the wonders of the Howth Peninsula. Whiskey tasting is courtesy of the well-known Pearse Lyons distillery. A day tour that includes a guided exploration of St James graveyard is highly recommended for those with an interest in local history.
3. Something Different – A Rail Tour of the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle
Explore a guided tour encompassing the majestic grandeur of Ireland’s mid-western coast, traveling through Limerick and following the course of the iconic River Shannon. During the full-day tour provided by Collins Day Tours, visitors will enjoy the imposing presence of Bunratty Castle (and its popular Folk Park), as well as guided tour exploring the castle’s rich history. The castle was built in 1425 and has recently been completely restored. Visitors can also take in the views from the majestic Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and world-renowned Galway Bay. Visitors are often afforded the opportunity to indulge in some of the incredibly fresh seafood available in Galway Bay, courtesy of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
4. The 2.5-Hour Guided Bike Tour of Dublin
Dublin is a city full of majestic architecture, incredible cuisine, friendly bars, and an iconic castle of its own – the aptly named Dublin Castle. This tour allows visitors to take a leisurely cycling exploration of this world-renowned city – and enjoy some of its most well-known attractions. In the brief (and physically undemanding) cycle tour visitors will be given the opportunity to explore the delights of one of the most iconic drinks in the world – Guinness. Cyclists will also enjoy the stunning architecture and rich history of Dublin Castle, discussions of famous Dublin personalities, and will be exposed to the stunning Georgian architecture of Dublin’s leafy neighborhoods. Visitors will also be provided with the opportunity to explore St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
5. The Fast-Track ‘Book of Kells’ and Dublin Castle Tour
For bibliophiles and lovers of history – and the majesty of Ireland’s castles this ‘whistle-stop’ tour of the Old Library’ at Trinity College Dublin, complete with the opportunity to view the incredible ‘Book of Kells’. This incredible illuminated manuscript was called the ‘most precious object in the western world’ in the 1007 Chronicles of Ulster is both exciting and educational. An explanation of the rich and varied symbolism that can be found throughout the manuscript is supplied by an expert local guide. From the wonder of the Old Library it is time to immerse oneself in the magnificent architecture and rich history of Dublin Castle – and take the opportunity to marvel at its impressive gardens and grounds.
For those who want to enjoy the perfect balance of history, entertainment and natural splendor Ireland is possibly one of the most intriguing and impressive holiday destinations in the world. Any Irish experience is enriched by the friendliness of the locals and the myriad of opportunities to simply relax and take in the wonders of the Emerald Isle.
Lynn Martelli is an editor at Readability. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has worked as an editor for over 10 years. Lynn has edited a wide variety of books, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and more. In her free time, Lynn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.