Ker & Downey’s Ireland Travel Guide to the top things to do in the Emerald Isle.
The Emerald Isle has long held a reputation for being a land of enchantment. And rightfully so—Ireland’s generous people, breathtaking landscapes, magnificent castles, and world famous culture are enough to attract travelers from all over the world to its many wonders.
Yet while there are many ways to tap into the saturated charm of Ireland, Ker & Downey has the ability to go beyond the typical tourist offerings to introduce travelers to the very best the Island of Ireland has to offer. Our Ireland travel guide includes a few of our favorite hidden gems and exclusive access “must-do’s” in the Emerald Isle, as can only be experienced with Ker & Downey.
Ker & Downey’s Ireland Travel Guide
Sail down the River Shannon | Located amid the waters of the River Shannon in County Clare is one of our favorite private yachts on the planet. As you travel through the waterways and inlands of the region, a range of creative and experiential activities highlight the best of Irish art, architecture, food, and drink. Indulge in a fresh seafood lunch on board, visit private family homes and castle grounds for a picnic, enjoy private painting sessions with local artists, and stop for a gin tasting on the shore, all while learning about the history of Ireland along the way.
Stay in an original manor house | One could spend weeks traveling to and cozying up in Ireland’s many private manor homes. These stunning accommodation options freckling the Ireland countryside are filled to the brim with warm authenticity and charming luxury for the discerning traveler. While there are many private manor homes to choose from, one of our favorites is Ballyvolane Country House. It is a humble 18th century home turned award-winning boutique hotel in County Cork. This quirky Georgian manor is the perfect place for those seeking the creature comforts of home alongside the more unique pursuits of countryside glamping, gin distillery tastings, and salmon sport fishing.
Cook with a local celebrity chef | There are a lot of reasons to love Dunbrody Country House Hotel. The onsite pub is full of local people and speakeasy vibes. Its original 1830s Georgian Manor furnishings are steeped in history. The surrounding 300 acres of parkland offer front row seats to the countryside charms of Hook Peninsula. And, most importantly, the food is to die for. That is because Dunbrody Country House Hotel is co-owned by Kevin Dundon, a celebrity TV chef. His award-winning restaurant and local cooking school offer a range of memorable activities for any culinary enthusiast. Whether you’re a budding enthusiast or an experienced gourmet, the Dunbrody Cookery School offers the perfect blend of demonstration and hands-on individual attention so you can reproduce each recipe in your own kitchen.
Experience Waterford in a new light | As Ireland’s oldest city and capital of crystal, Waterford is a destination unto itself. While many simply flock to see the intricate glasswork of Waterford Crystal, we prefer to round out the experience with a visit to the Waterford Museum of Treasures, a three-in-one museum experience in the Viking Triangle. With Ker & Downey, visitors are treated to a private guided tour led by the museum’s founder, who offers an engaging and unparalleled glimpse into the story of Waterford, beginning with its foundation in 914 by Viking sea pirates.
Become a Wild Foods master | BrookLodge Hotel & Macreddin Village is such a special destination that we almost don’t want to share it. Situated in the southern foothills of the Wicklow Mountains and blessed with a range of organic and wild food options, this idyllic hamlet has earned its reputation as the county’s Food Village. Here, guests are treated to a tantalizing meal at The Strawberry Tree, the only certified organic restaurant in Ireland, and the opportunity to participate in a Wild Foods Masterclass with the restaurant’s chefs. Learn about the seasonality of the region’s natural Wild Foods, participate in traditional gathering, cooking, and preserving techniques, and forage along the Irish Hedgrows, fields, and woods around Macreddin Village to create your very own Wild Foods dish.
Gain special access to the Irish National Stud | Between its legendary K Club golfing greens, exciting thoroughbred racetracks, and stunning Japanese Gardens, there is nothing secret about Kildare County. Still, it is an essential inclusion on any Ker & Downey journey, especially when the owner of the Irish National Stud is on hand to provide special, behind-the-scenes access to the facility’s tranquil, monastic-inspired gardens and fascinating Stud Farm. If you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a new foal, as well as several mares, stallions, weanlings, yearling, and retired national hunt Living Legends that call the Irish National Stud home.
Experience the Black Stuff like a connoisseur | Any local will tell you: no visit to Dublin is complete without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. Indeed, tourists descend in droves upon the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery in the hopes of touring the facilities and tasting the world famous stout, a national symbol of Ireland. Instead of fighting for a place at the bar or joining the hordes of group tours, Ker & Downey invites you instead to bypass the crowds and experience the Black Stuff on your own with an intimate Guinness Connoisseur tasting session in a private bar within the brewery. Here, the expert staff will serve as your personal guides on a sensory journey of Guinness’s long-held traditions and oldest recipes, savored straight from the barrel.
Embark on a private whiskey tour | Guinness is not the only liquid love of the Irish people. Thus a private Dublin whiskey tour is also a “must” on any Ker & Downey journey. With Ker & Downey, guests travel to four of Dublin’s quintessential pubs, each carefully selected for their throwback character and history. Along the way, sample a range of Irish Whiskies—including some of the less conspicuous labels with the most deep-seated heritage—and learn about the history of the pubs in which they are housed. No matter the preference, this experience is an essential for whiskey lovers and non-lovers alike.
For more information about our Ireland Travel Guide, or to book your journey, contact your Luxury Travel Consultant. To stay up to date on all of our online content, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.