Begin your taste-bud adventure with a drink inside The Church. It’s not quite what you think - it used to be St. Mary’s Church but closed in 1864, then re-opened as a bar following restoration. It’s the perfect pitstop as you get your bearings around the capital city.
A morning of rest and repose before embarking on an afternoon walking tour with your local, expert guide. Pass the statue-lined O’Connell Street, the Georgian Squares and the President’s Palace in Phoenix Park. Enjoy a visit to the famous St. Patrick’s cathedral before returning to your hotel. Along the way, stop for some samples of delicious Irish delicacies.
Drive south of Dublin and head to the renowned Ballyknocken House, Farm and Cookery School. Learn the basics of Irish cooking with a private class. The hands-on experience will show you how to make perfect Irish soda scones and receive a demonstration of how to make traditional Irish stew using local lamb from the surroundings mountains. A rustic farmer’s lunch is then taken in the kay barn, followed by a tasting of whisky and the once-illegal poitin. Walk off your lunch as you explore the Wicklow Mountains before driving back to Dublin, stopping en route at Powerscourt House where one of the finest landscape gardens in Ireland can be admired.
Journey west into the region known as West Cork, which extends over to the bays of the Atlantic Coast. Your route will lead you along the Beara Peninsula to Castletownbere, the leading port in Ireland for white fish landing.
In the afternoon, drive over the Caha Mountains to the colourful town of Kenmare. Enjoy the charming gift shops and then return to Cork via the Old Kenmare Road, a section of the fabled Ring of Kerry which cuts through the beautiful Killarney National Park.
Today you will be at the most celebrated cookery school in Ireland – Ballymaloe, run by the chef Darina Allen. First, the chefs will demonstrate the techniques used in preparing fish with Irish ingredients, and then it’s time for you to put them into practice.
After your class, enjoy the fruits of your labour in a well-deserved late lunch, after which you will enjoy a tour of the extensive gardens of the school where all the vegetables and herbs are grown. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon.
Say goodbye to your hotel as you journey north to Connemara. Enjoy a private tour at the towering Cliffs of Moher – at over 600 feet tall, these sandstone cliffs are Ireland’s highest. Next, venture on a dramatic drive through The Burren, the largest karst landscape in Europe, with lunar-like vistas of unusual rock formations. The coastal road then takes you around Galway Bay, famed for its oysters. Time permitting, you may wish to stop there for a taste. It’s a picturesque city with an avant-garde culture. Continue to Connemara, the Irish Lake District, the location of your next hotel.
Head west into unspoiled regions and visit The Burren Smokehouse for an exclusive tour. See how salmon is filleted and prepared for the delicate smoking that imparts its distinctive flavour. Samples are, of course, included.
In the afternoon, we recommend heading down to Killary harbour, now home to Ireland’s mussel farming industry. Alternatively, we can arrange a half-day hike for you in the picturesque Connemara National Park.
Meet your guide for a tour of Galway, one of the more bohemian destinations in Ireland. Visit the Galway City Museum and walk the Salthill Promenade – tradition dictates that you should ‘kick the wall’ at the end of the promenade for good luck, but if you are not of a superstitious bent, eschew tradition and join the queue for some great fish and chips. Afterwards, head back to Dublin and enjoy a blissful night at the K Club Hotel & Resort, Ireland’s first ever AA 5 Red Star Hotel, known for the acclaimed K Spa and famous Ryder Cup course.
Enjoy breakfast in your hotel and make use of the facilities. When you are ready, say a fond farewell to Dublin and head home.