Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ireland - Your Luxury Travel Destination

Ireland was recently voted a top luxury travel destination by Luxury Travel Magazine, "For Europe first-timers or travelers seeking an English-speaking destination, Ireland offers rolling green countryside, quaint bed and breakfasts and hospitable locals that extend warmth and friendliness to visitors. From old to new: Ireland takes on a Robin Hood-esque feel amongst crumbling medieval castles for history buffs and site-seers, to world-class golf courses and resorts, offering some of the most renowned links in the world. Virtuoso advisers recommend it as an alternative in 2012 to London, which will no doubt be bulging with Olympic enthusiasts."

Ireland has much to offer the discerning traveler, from 5 Star Hotels and Castle Stays to shopping tours, once in a lifetime golf tours and spa treatments -  all of which can be added to your Chauffeur Driven Tour of Ireland, Dublin City Stay or Self-Drive Tour of Ireland. While most luxury hotels in Ireland have an in-house spa with many relaxing treatments to choose from, some luxury hotels in Ireland also offer top golf courses to suit the discerning golfer. Here are a couple of our favorite luxury hotels in Ireland:

Lough Eske Castle - Donegal

A Truly Unique Castle in Ireland, Offering a World of Modern Comforts. Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel and Spa sits within 43 acres of forest woodland, hugging the shores of Lough Eske, with the Blue Stack Mountains in the background. Lough Eske Castle is the only five star hotel in Donegal. Winner of the World's Best Luxury Country Hotel and topping My Guide Ireland's Top 10 Hotels in Ireland, this lovingly restored castle hotel in Ireland blends its historic past with a dash of contemporary luxury.

K Club - The Kildare Hotel, Spa and Country Club
The K Club, Ireland’s AA Hotel of the Year 2011 is located in the heart of the idyllic Irish countryside in the pretty village of Straffan, Co. Kildare. This long standing member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts offers the very best of pampering, leisure and golf facilities and is only 30 minutes from Dublin. Built in 1832, on the banks of the River Liffey, the original house was modelled on a French Château and still retains many of its original architectural features, art work and antiques. It opened as a luxury hotel in 1991 and was Ireland’s first AA Five Red Star Property and to this day it continues to deliver the very highest levels of service and standards in terms of its food and beverage offerings, golf, leisure, outdoor activities and spa treatments and products.

The Shelbourne Hotel - Dublin
A national treasure built in 1824, The Shelbourne Hotel has been magnificently restored while keeping its historic charm. The Shelbourne is a luxury 5 star hotel in Dublin city centre overlooking St. Stephen's Green, Europe's grandest garden square. Ideally situated close to Dublin's cultural and historic buildings, The Shelbourne offers a great location, from where you can visit the majestic St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College. Explore shops on Grafton Street or visit the Guinness Storehouse. The Shelbourne offers spacious accommodations with luxurious Egyptian cotton bedding, flat- screen TV, laptop-size safe, and marble bathroom. Enjoy a cocktail or Ireland's own Guinness at our renowned Horseshoe Bar. Celebrate life at our Oyster Bar or a prime-cut steak at The Saddle Room Restaurant.


Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt
Whisk yourself away to a Palladian estate tucked back in the woodlands of County Wicklow on Ireland’s east coast. Take an enchanting stroll amidst the gentle green hills and sparkling lakes of Powerscourt Gardens, then head into Dublin for some cosmopolitan flair. The sumptuous surroundings of our Wicklow hotel combine the luxury and tranquility of country living with city chic. The Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, County Wicklow hotel near Dublin brings together natural beauty and dignified accommodation to offer its guests an unforgettable retreat. Some of this luxurious Wicklow hotel’s amenities and services include: 200 spacious guest rooms, including 93 suites, panoramic views and terraces available in many rooms, An outstanding spa with 20 treatment rooms and one private spa suite, 36 holes of championship golf, Three exceptional dining facilities, including Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt, a signature restaurant from the world-renowned chef, More than 10,000-square-feet of meeting space

Adare Manor - County Limerick
Situated in the lush heartlands of County Limerick, Adare Monar and Golf Resort is one of Ireland's most evocative and spell binding hotels. Steeped in exotic history and surrounded by medieval ruins, its 840 acre demesne is home to beautiful parklands, superb trout fishing on the river Maigue and a renowned 18 hole championshjip golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior. Unique and individual accommodations, the best of contemporary Irish food in an incomparable setting and the highest standards of modern hospitality are hallmarks of the Manor experience.

Dylan Hotel - Dublin
On an exclusive Victorian street, the Dylan Hotel in Dublin 4 is nestled in the heart of Dublin city center’s most sophisticated quarter. This 5 star boutique city center hotel is located 10 minutes walk from Grafton Street, St. Stephen’s Green, the Aviva Stadium and the RDS and in the epicenter of Dublin’s happening cultural scene. The hotel is a destination for the endless array of Dublin City fashion, leisure and business. The Luxury boutique hotel is steps away from the chicest Dublin restaurants, shopping and night life and houses the award winning Dylan Restaurant, Dylan Cocktail Bar and terraces.

Hayfield Manor - Cork
Since it's opening in 1996, Hayfield Manor 5 Star Hotel in Cork City has been recognised for providing high quality product and service. This is reflected in the various awards with which Hayfield Manor has been honoured. The estate, in the heart of Cork city, was originally owned by the Musgrave family, the famous Cork merchants. The current owners, The Scally Family, purchased the estate from the Musgrave family and established Cork's first 5 star hotel. As a family owned and managed hotel, the personal yet professional service that is delivered has become synonomous with Hayfield Manor, and ensures guests enjoy their stay with us in Cork city.

Ashford Castle, County Mayo
The splendour of Ashford is everywhere. It is in our extensive woodland walks and in our vigorous country pursuits. It is in our luxurious rooms, our service, and our smiles. Perhaps most importantly it is in the memories we help to create. This ancient land, itself so rich in memories of the past, makes those of us at the hotel hope that you take home with you something of the feelings we ourselves experience in this wonderful setting.

The Europe Hotel and Resort, Killarney Co. Kerry
The Europe 5 Star Hotel in Killarney, Co. Kerry is one of the most luxurious 5 star Hotel, Conference & Event Centres in Ireland and also incorporates ESPA at The Europe, one of Ireland's largest spa hotels in Ireland. It is in the beautiful grounds of this luxury 5 star hotel in Ireland that the waters of Killarney's largest lake, Lough Lein, reflect the wilderness of Kerry's magnificent McGillycuddy Reeks Mountain range in the scenic South West of Ireland. Enjoy a range of leisure activities on the grounds of one the finest luxury hotels Ireland has to offer.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare

With an extraordinary history stretching back to the 5th Century, Dromoland Castle was originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. Approached by a meandering drive that passes acres of magnificent lawns, this luxury 5 Star Castle Hotel overlooks its own Championship Golf Course and a glistening lake which commands the panoramic beauty of the surrounds. Seamlessly blending Old-World elegance with contemporary luxuries, Dromoland's tradition of delivering impeccable, unobtrusive service is never compromised. Guests can relax under the careful attention of our staff and enjoy an exquisite selection of gourmet fine dining and delicious wines; unwind slowly in the Castle's 5 Star luxury Health Spa or indoor heated pool; or enjoy a good book beside a crackling evening fire. Situated just 8 miles from Shannon International Airport, and regarded as one of the top luxury hotels Ireland has to offer, Dromoland Castle Hotel Ireland is the ideal base from which to explore the vibrant cities of Limerick and Galway; the magical Shannon region and Ireland's rugged West Coast. Look no further than Dromoland Castle for 5 star castle accommodations Ireland.

These are just a few of the luxurious accommodations to be had in majestic Ireland. Whether you choose a chauffeur driven tour, a shopping trip, a golf vacation, a spa get-a-way, a Dublin city stay or a luxury self-drive tour of Ireland, let Celtic Tours World Vacations help you plan your fabulous luxury Ireland vacation. Give us a call at 1-800-833-4373 to start planning today!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Heart of England - Devon and Cornwall

An opportunity to join us on a Devon and Cornwall Tour, to discover miles of dramatic Atlantic Coastline with clean sandy beaches, hidden coves, pretty fishing villages, wooded river valleys and bustling market towns in Devon and Cornwall.

Your Heart of England - Devon and Cornwall Tour Highlights:

• Transportation by top of the range 16 seat Mercedes mini coaches
• Four Nights Accommodation in your choice of B&B or Hotel
• Breakfast on Days 02 through 05
• Services of professional driver/guide
• Touring per your itinerary
• Five Days of Touring as per itinerary
• Local taxes
• Tips to your driver are not included, as they are considered personal

Tour the Heart of England with Celtic Tours World Vacations

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Discover King Arthur's Excalibur

Travel into the heart of Arthurian legend country in Cornwall. Discover the mythical tale of King Arthur's sword Excalibur in Dozmary pool, the legendary resting place. Few legends have won the literary heart of the world as the tale of King Arthur. You will find him in a plethora of ancient and contemporary text from Disney's animated film adaptation "The Sword in the Stone" to Robert de Boron's "Merlin".

King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians. The legendary Arthur developed as a figure of international interest largely through the popularity of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fanciful and imaginative 12th-century "History of the Kings of Britain". Some Welsh and Breton tales and poems relating the story of Arthur date from earlier than this work; in these works, Arthur appears either as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies, such as Morgan Le Faye, or as a magical figure of folklore.

Stories of King Arthur usually make reference to the mythical wizard Merlin, who was invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Guinevere, his legendary wife and Excalibur, his sword. Excalibur is the legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain. Sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone (the proof of Arthur's lineage) are said to be the same weapon, but in most versions they are considered separate. The name Excalibur apparently derives from the Welsh Caledfwlch which combines the elements caled ("battle, hard"), and bwlch ("breach, gap, notch").

In Arthurian romance, a number of explanations are given for Arthur's possession of Excalibur. One tale is that he was given the sword by the Lady of the Lake who occupied Dozmary Pool, a small lake in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.

Travel into the heart of Arthurian legend country on your next tour of England with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Islay and the Whisky Coast - Escorted Tour of Scotland

A tour taking in two of the most famous whisky regions in the world. First you visit the beautiful island of Islay, renowned for its peaty, smoky malt whiskies. Following 2 nights in the historic city of Edinburgh, your tour continues north to Speyside, home to more than half of Scotland's malt whicky distilleries.

Your Islay and Whisky Coast Tour Highlights:

• Transportation by top of the range 16 seat Mercedes mini coaches
• Seven nights accommodations at your choice of B&B or Hotel
• Breakfast daily, except on day of arrival
• Services of professional driver/guide
• Touring per your itinerary
• All ferry and bridge crossings
• Discount card to restaurants, attractions and shopping
• Tips to your driver are not included, as they are considered personal

Tour Islay and the Whisky Coast with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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Named from the Old Norse name for stave or pillar island, Staffa is a must see for anyone traveling in Scotland. The uninhabited .13 square mile island lies about 6 miles off the coast of the Isle of Mull and is remarkable for its hexagonal basalt columns.

In pre-historic times Staffa was covered by the ice sheets which spread from Scotland out into the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Outer Hebrides. The basalt columns were formed entirely by volcanic activity. The slow cooling of the basalt from the volcano resulted in the extraordinary shape of the columns.Similar formations can also be found at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Over the years, Staffa has attracted the attention of many writers and influencers including Sir Walter Scott, Jules Verne, John Keats, Robert Louis Stevenson and William Wordsworth. In fact, Sir Joseph Banks, an 18th century scientist, admitted that he was, "forced to acknowledge that this piece of architecture, formed by nature, far surpasses that of the Louvre, that of St. Peter at Rome, all that remains of Palmyra and Paestum, and all that the genius, the taste and the luxury of the Greeks were capable of inventing."

A visit to Staffa is a must on your next tour of Scotland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scottish Islands - Small Group Escorted Tour of Scotland

The tour of dreams - with 9 days to enjoy 5 fantastic west coast islands and the prehistoric beauty and history of the northern Orkney islands. Enjoy the rolling splendor of the island of Mull, the peace and spirituality of Columba's Iona, followed by the dramatic beauty of our most famous island, the Isle of Skye.

Your Scottish Islands Tour Highlights:

• Transportation by top of the range 16 seat Mercedes mini coaches
• Eight nights accommodations at your choice of B&B or Hotel
• Breakfast daily, except on day of arrival
• Services of professional driver/guide
• Touring per your itinerary
• All ferry crossings, except for optional trip to Staffa
• Local taxes
• Discount card to restaurants, attractions and shopping
• Tips to your driver are not included, as they are considered personal

Visit the Scottish Islands with Celtic Tours World Vacations

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Stirling Castle, Scotland

Stirling Castle was the center of art, culture and celebrity in the 16th century. Knights, nobles and foreign ambassadors once flocked to the Royal Court at Stirling Castle to revel in the castle's grandeur. A place of power, beauty and history, discover the favored residence of Scotland's Kings and Queens! Today, Stirling Castle is a great symbol of Scottish independence and a source of national pride.

Step into a world of plots, passion, intrigue and high fashion. The Castle's long, turbulent history is associated with great figures from Scotland’s past such as William Wallace & Mary Queen of Scots.

There's more than ever to see and do at Stirling Castle. With splendour, colour and glorious craftsmanship, enter the world of Scotland's Renaissance Kings & Queens. From the Royal Palace to the Great Kitchens, visitors will get a chance to experience the grandeur of life in the 16th century.

While visiting Scotland's Stirling Castle it is a must to check out the Queen Anne Garden. These attractive terraced gardens occupy a peaceful and colourful spot on the sunny south side of the castle. A royal garden was probably formed here in the 1400s.

As the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots, it is not surprising that she was crowned at Stirling Castle. The ceremony took place in September 1543 in the old Chapel Royal, which is no longer standing. The queen was only nine months old and cried throughout the ceremony. It is also said that Stirling Castle is where she fell in love with her cousin and future husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley.

Some say a lion was kept at Stirling Castle. James V’s Palace is built around an open rectangular courtyard known as the Lion’s Den. James did own at least one lion (heraldic symbol of the king of Scots) and it has been suggested that the Lion’s Den was where it was housed.

Stirling Castle has something for everyone, visit the castle on your next tour of Scotland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Castle Coole

Castle Coole in County Fermanagh is a superb late 18th century neo-classical house designed by James Wyatt and was the home of the Earls of Belmore. Very fine interior furnishings and plasterwork, a visit to Castle Coole can now include the ornate state bedroom, the servant's tunnel, the laundry house, the dairy, five of the original stables in the Grand Yard and the Belmore Private Coach in the original coach house. Landscaped parkland with many walks and nature trails make Castle Coole a great visit on your next tour of Northern Ireland.

Visit Castle Coole on your next self-drive tour of Northern Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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Irish Rambler

A fabulous new itinerary featuring Dublin, Galway and Killarney! Visit new sights like the Whitefriar Church and enjoy the scenic rugged beauty of Connemara and enjoy Dinner and Irish entertainment in Dublin.

Your Irish Rambler Tour Includes

  • First Class and Superior First Class hotels throughout
  • Full Irish breakfast daily, except day of arrival
  • Four (4) hotel dinners
  • Dinner and Irish cabaret show & entertainment in Dublin
  • Full sightseeing by Deluxe Touring Motorcoach
  • Professional Irish driver/guide to escort you through out
  • Visits to Whitefriar Church, St. Brendan's Cathedral, Celtic Crystal Factory (or Galway Crystal), Connemara Marble factory Cliffs of Moher, Adare.
  • Panoramic city tour of Dublin
  • Scenic tour of the Ring of Kerry
  • Porterage of one (1) suitcase per person
  • Tips and taxes in Ireland. Gratuities to the driver/guide not included
  • Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents

Tour Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations on our Irish Rambler Escorted Motorcoach Tour of Ireland

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kerry County Museum

Kerry County Museum is the ideal starting point for tours of Kerry. It brings to life the story of Kerry from the earliest times to the present day. Priceless treasures are on display in the museum, illustration the rich heritage of the county. Each artifact has its own story to tell, whether it is a beautiful sunflower pin worn by the fashion-conscious in the Bronze Age, or duelling pistols used by the Liberator, Daniel O'Connell, in the early 19th century. Travel back 600 years in the Geraldine Experience and you will see, hear and smell medieval Tralee.

Visit County Kerry and the Kerry County Museum on your next self-drive vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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Celtic Delight - Escorted Motorcoach Tour

This is an excellent tour for those with limited time in Ireland. Featured in many publications, this tour takes in some of the most scenic areas in Southern Ireland including Kilkenny Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Cobh Heritage, Blarney, Killarney, Foynes Flying Boat Museum and Limerick for a farewell Medieval Castle Banquet.

Your Celtic Delight Tour includes:

  • First Class and Superior First Class hotels throughout.
  • Full Irish breakfast daily, except day of arrival.
  • Dinner each evening, including a traditional medieval castle banquet and traditional Irish entertainment and dinner in Dublin.
  • Full sightseeing by Deluxe Touring Motorcoach.
  • Professional Irish driver/guide to escort you through out.
  • Visits to: Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Kilkenny Castle, Cobh Heritage Center, Blarney, Dingle Peninsula, Foynes Flying Boat Museum
  • Porterage of one (1) suitcase per person.
  • Tips and taxes in Ireland. Gratuities to the driver/guide not included.
  • Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents.

Tour Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations on our Celtic Delight Escorted Motorcoach Tour of Ireland

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Great New Tour - Celtic Discovery

This fabulous Celtic Tours vacation includes:

  • First Class and Superior First Class hotels throughout
  • Full Irish breakfast daily, except day of arrival
  • Dinners on the first nights in Killarney, Killaloe and Sligo
  • Full sightseeing by Deluxe Touring Motorcoach
  • Professional Irish driver/guide to escort you throughout
  • Visit to Whitefriar Church, Cliffs of Moher, Galway Crystal Factory, Slieve League and Donegal tweeds and knitwear outlets
  • Panoramic tour of Dublin city
  • Scenic tour of the Dingle Peninsula
  • Cruise on the River Shannon*
  • Porterage of one (1) suitcase per person
  • Tips and taxes in Ireland. Gratuities to the driver/guide not included
  • Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents

*Note: The 90-minute cruise on the River Shannon is seasonal, and generally operates from April-September. However, weather permitting, it can operate in October and November. When not operating, it will be replaced by a traditional Irish night with live entertainment on day 05 at the Lakeside Hotel - with a free day on day 06.

Tour Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations on our new Celtic Discovery Tour

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Fierce Vikings, fleeing monks and fighting lords

Fierce Vikings, fleeing monks and fighting lords - it's no wonder that the makers of the movie 'Braveheart' chose Trim as the shooting location for their epic thriller. One look at Trim Castle and story book images of valiant warriors and timid monks spring to life.

Trim - a Heritage Town in the heart of the country - but less than one house from Dublin. Dominated bu the majestic 12th century Castle and the mystical River Boyne, Trim provides visitors the ultimate in relaxation or the thrill of action. Trim is now a prosperous and busy market town.

During the early 1700's Jonathan Swift, author of Gullivers Travels, was presented with the Vicarage of Laracor in Trim and spent some of his happiest times in the area as judged by the 'Journal To Stella' which was published after his death. The Duke of Wellington, Sir Arthur Wellesley was educated in Trim and residents erected the Wellington Column to commemorate on of their past pupils.

Visitors are offered heritage tours, cycling, fishing, swimming, golf, tennis, canoeing, musicals, drama festivals, agricultural shows - all you could wish for in a picturesque setting. 

Visit Trim Heritage Town on your next self-drive vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Visit Athlone, Ireland

Smack-dab in the middle of Ireland, Athlone is a vibrant town on the banks of River Shannon. Located about an hour and a half from Dublin and Galway, Athlone is a great location to explore the midlands of Ireland.

Take your pick from a wealth of attractions, historical sites, family and visitor amenities that are located in the town and neighboring areas. There is a unique mix of heritage, culture and an urban buzz just waiting for you to experience. Re-enact the Siege of Athlone at Athlone Castle Visitor Centre, follow the Viking trail to Clonamacnoise on one of our boat-trips or simply stroll along the banks of the River Shannon on a warm summer's day or sip a cocktail on the deck overlooking the Shannon after hitting the shops! There’s a whole new world just waiting to be explored here in Athlone, the heart of the Lakelands Region of Ireland.

Where To Stay
Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co Westmeath
Hodson Bay Hotel & Spa is an award winning 4 star hotel in Athlone overlooking Lough Ree on the River Shannon.

Villages and Towns
Explore the stunning countryside around Athlone and beyond. Visit neighboring towns and villages each with their own unique appeal.

Glasson Village
Glasson is a picturesque village situated north east of Athlone town in Co. Westmeath. The village is commonly referred to as the ‘Village of the Roses’. It was famous in the 1800s for its rose bloom and the local landlord, Robert Temple is said to have walked the village giving prizes for the best presented houses. Oliver Goldsmith, one of the most important writers of the 18th century was from the area and his works are celebrated at the annual Oliver International Literary Festival. Today Glasson is renowned for its fine restaurants, notably The Glasson Village Restaurant and pubs Grogans and Farrells for their great food and hospitality.

Ballinahown Irish Designer Craft VillageBallinahown is a Tidy Towns award-winning village located on the Offaly and Westmeath border, south east of Athlone. A visit to this picturesque village will take you into the depth's of Irish history and heart of the Irish creative soul, where the old world charm marries the cutting edge modern design to give you a village like no other.

Ballinahown is the perfect place to introduce you to the secret gems of Irish craft and design. Prepare for a visual feast as artists, craftsmen, sculptors and many other creatives exhibit their works in 'core crafted design' and 'Celtic roots studio'. Unwind and relax in the new craft cafe, serving locally baked produce and artisan foods or have a quiet pint of Guinness in the local pub.

Moate, the third largest town in County Westmeath, is situated near Athlone, along the R446 (formerly N6) route between Dublin and Galway. The name An Móta is derived from the term motte-and-bailey, the Normans built an example of this type of fortification and the earthwork is still visible behind the buildings on the main street.  The town later became an important marketplace and Quakers settled in the village and started industries in the area towards the end of the 17th century.

What To Do
Portlick Castle, Glasson, Athlone, Co Westmeath
Portlick Castle is an 12th century Dillon Castle located on the shores of Lough
Ree with 30 acres of walled gardens, wooded areas and pasture land. The castle
and period extensions have all been extensively renovated to a very high standard.

Athlone Castle, Athlone, Co Westmeath
This Norman Castle dating from the 13th century the castle dominates the town and was central to the siege of Athlone in 1961. The castle celebrated its 800th Anniversary in 2010. The facilities are once again being re-developed to bring the standards of interpretation and display in line with the visitor expectations of the twenty-first century.   The Keep of the Castle will be used to tell the dramatic story of the famous Siege of Athlone while the other buildings will house a modern interpretative centre focusing on Athlone, the Castle and the periods both before and after the Siege.  There will also be a new presentation on the life and times of John Count McCormack Athlone’s most famous export.

Moydrum Castle, Athlone, Co Westmeath
The lands of Moydrum were granted to the Handcock family, originally from Devon,
UK, during the Cromwellian plantations of Ireland in the 17th century. From then
on the family remained one of the most prominent landowning dynasties and landlords
in the area.

Fore Abbey, Fore, Co Westmeath
The village of Fore is in a valley between two hills. Here you will see the ancient ruins of a Christian monastery. Fore is “the town of the springs” and was named after St. Fechin’s spring, which is beside the old church. It was St. Fechin who founded the ancient Fore Abbey around 630 A.D. By 665 A.D. (the time of the yellow plague) there were 300 monks living in the community.

Clanmacnoise Monastic Site, Clan Macnoise, Co Offaly
An early Christian site founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century on the banks of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, eight churches (10th-13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of early Christian grave slabs. The original high crosses and grave slabs are on display in the Visitor Centre. There is an audio-visual show as well as a number of exhibitions. Access for people with disabilities to Visitor Centre.

Boyle Abbey, Boyle, Co Roscommon
The Abbey at Boyle was the first successful foundation in Connacht of the Cistercian order which had opened its first Irish house at Mellifont, Co. Louth, in 1142.

Locke's Distillery, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath
Locke's Distillery in Kilbeggan is believed to be the oldest licensed pot still distillery in the world – in 2007, we celebrated our 250th anniversary! To mark this occasion, we have started to distill Irish Whiskey again in Kilbeggan. Today, our visitors can see and smell the whiskey being distilled in the copper pot still, just like it was in the old days – a real treat for the senses!

Belvedere House, Mullingar, Co Westmeath
A magnificent early 18th century stately home of Robert Rochfort, Earl of Belvedere, stands on 160 acres of parkland on the shores of Lough Ennell. Open seven day a week.

Derryglad Folk Museum, Co Roscommon
No trip to the midlands is complete without a visit to the Derryglad Folk Museum, which is hidden in South Roscommon. This heartland of Ireland is a land of lakes and rivers and of unspoiled and unexplored countryside. The collection deals with Farm & Folk life in Ireland from the 18th century to the recent past.

King House, Co Roscommon
King House is a magnificently restored Georgian Mansion built around 1730 by Sir
Henry King whose family were one of the most powerful and wealthy in Ireland.
The grand scale of the reception gallery, its original stone floor, tripartite
windows and high vaulted ceiling portray the impression that the house was built
as a symbol of the status and power of the King family. After its first life as
a home, King House became a military barracks to the famous Connaught Rangers
from 1788 until 1922. In more recent years King House has also been a barracks
for the Irish Army. Even today there still remains an Army presence as the Reserve
Defence Force are based in the West Wing of the House.

Glendeer Pet Farm, Athlone, Co Westmeath
Glendeer Pet Farm is a very interactive experience as people can feed, pet & even hold some of the animals, which include deer, pot belly pigs, llamas, alpacas, emus, ostriches, goats, donkeys, sheep, jersey cow, a variety of domestic & exotic birds & much more. There are some new arrivals to the farm also including the two cheeky monkeys, wallabies & tortoises. Stretch your legs along the unspoilt nature walk where old horse drawn farm machinery can be viewed. The children can play on the slide, swings, seesaws and very popular glider swing, while adults enjoy fresh coffee/tea and home-made treats.

Explore the midlands of Ireland from Athlone in County Westmeath on your next self-drive vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations

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Visit the Rugged and Wild West of Ireland

Capture the Wild and Rugged West Coast

This fantastic self-drive package brings you amazing 4* hotels - in the most scenic parts of Ireland. Making it easy to explore the wild and rugged west coast of Ireland ~ renouned for it's majestic beauty and rugged landscapes. Visit white sandy beaches and take a long rambling walk over the rugged terrain and enjoy some of the best seafood Ireland has to offer...the spectacular West of Ireland is hard to beat!

End your stay at the award winning D-Hotel in Drogheda, Co. Louth on Ireland's east coast, with exceptional attractions and the historically rich Boyne Valley.

Your Self-drive / Independent Package includes:

* 6 Nights accommodations in top 4* hotels; 3 nights at Harvey's Point on the shores of beautiful Lough Eske, 2 nights at Castlecourt Hotel in Westport and 1 night at the award winning D-Hotel in Drogheda before departing Ireland.
* Breakfast daily (except morning of arrival)
* One dinner at Harvey's Point Hotel
* 6 day car rental - Automatic & includes Collission Damage (CDW) Insurance and Location Service Charge (LSC)
* Taxes and service fees in Ireland.
* FREE 5-minute phone card.

Land from only $699 per person

Excludes Easter, Bank Holidays and Sporting Events.

Please note, further discounts do not apply to special package pricing.
Note: Hotels are on a request basis. If not available at time of request, alternate properties will be offered.

Tour the Rugged and Wild West of Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations new self drive tour!

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Powerscourt Gardens

One of the world's greatest gardens, Powerscourt is situated 12 miles south of Dublin in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. The garden was begun by Richard Wingfield in the 1740s and stretches out over 40 acres. It is a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces and ornamental lakes together with secret hollows, rambling walks, walled gardens and over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs. When visiting the 18th century Palladian house, Powerscourt, take a moment to breathe in the awesome beauty of its gardens.

Visit Powerscourt and its amazing gardens on your next self-drive tour of Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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