November 1, 2018

Ashley Isaacs Ganz on The Best of Ireland

We asked Artisans of Leisure founder and CEO Ashley Isaacs Ganz to share some favorite experiences in Ireland based on her most recent visit to this beautiful country. Read more about her tour and the best of Ireland.

Q.) Tell us about your trip. Where did you go?

Luxury Ireland toursI traveled all over the country, and I also spent some time in Northern Ireland.  I had never been to Belfast before…

Luxury Ireland tours…and I enjoyed exploring the city’s highlights, including renowned pubs…

Luxury Ireland tours…antiques markets…

Luxury Ireland tours…and taking an excursion to Giant’s Causeway, famous for its basalt columns.

Luxury Ireland toursIt was fascinating to tour Belfast with a local insider guide who shared his unique insight into the city’s complex past.

Luxury Ireland toursMy kids enjoyed contributing to the Peace Wall.

Ireland toursWe also visited the Titanic Museum, which is located in the shipyard where the Titanic was built.

Ireland toursQ.) Where did you go next?

From Belfast, we continued to Dublin.

Private Ireland toursWe had a great private tour of the historic district and a behind-the-scenes tour of buildings that are part of Trinity College.

Private Ireland toursDublin has many incredible libraries, including the Old Library at Trinity College, where the Book of Kells is located. The Long Room is most impressive.

Private Ireland toursDublin has great restaurants and shops, and interesting architecture and design.

Private Ireland toursPrivate Ireland toursI always enjoy shopping for Irish blankets and other woolen items.

Private Ireland toursThere are beautiful antiques shops throughout the city.

Private Ireland toursDublin is known for its Georgian architecture and colorful doors.

Luxury Ireland toursOur preferred luxury hotel in Dublin, The Merrion, is famous for its unique art collection. Some of the corridors are lined with framed collections of beautiful stamps.

Luxury Ireland toursA proper pint at the Guinness Storehouse is always a must when in Dublin.

Luxury Ireland toursWe spent a day in the countryside at Powerscourt Estate to see its famous gardens…

Luxury Ireland tours…and traditional Irish crafts shops.

Luxury Ireland toursThe scenery everywhere in Ireland is spectacular, rain or shine. Such shades of green!

Luxury Ireland toursWe continued to Ballyfin, my favorite hotel in Ireland–in fact, it’s one of my favorite hotels anywhere in the world.

Luxury Ireland toursThe interiors are stunning.

Luxury Ireland toursThe grounds are extensive.

Luxury Ireland toursThere are gardens…

Luxury Ireland tours…animals, ruins, grottoes…

Luxury Ireland tours…bike trails and walking paths.

Luxury Ireland toursIt’s the ultimate country estate.

Luxury Ireland toursBallyfin is filled with elegant rooms that are ideal for a drink or pre-dinner hors-d’oeuvres.

Luxury Ireland toursRainbows are frequently seen in Ireland, hence all of the leprechaun lore!

Luxury Ireland toursQ.) What were other highlights of your trip?

A major highlight was visiting Birr Castle, which can easily be visited as a day tour from Ballyfin. Birr Castle is a must for anyone interested in gardens, art and interiors, science, Jewish history, castles and Irish history in general.

Luxury Ireland toursI had an exclusive private tour led by the Earl and Countess of Rosse.

Luxury Ireland toursIt was an extraordinary experience to spend time with them and learn about the castle’s history, their art collections and their gardens.

Luxury Ireland toursQ.) Where else did you visit?

We continued to Waterford…

Luxury Ireland toursLuxury Ireland tours…for a private tour of the Waterford Crystal Factory.

Luxury Ireland toursWe stayed at Ballymaloe, one of Ireland’s most famous culinary destinations.

Luxury Ireland toursBallymaloe is best known for its renowned restaurant and cooking school.

Luxury Ireland toursWe had delicious meals featuring local ingredients.

Luxury Ireland toursThe region near Ballymaloe is home to craft studios run by some of Ireland’s most acclaimed artisans…

Luxury Ireland tours…including potter Stephen Pearce.

Luxury Ireland toursThere are beautiful beaches and harbors all along the southern coast.

Luxury Ireland toursWe also visited the Jameson Distillery…

Luxury Ireland tours…for an Irish whiskey tasting…

Luxury Ireland tours…a delicious meal of fish and chips…

Luxury Ireland tours…and, of course, an Irish coffee made with Jameson whiskey.

Luxury Ireland toursWe also spent some time in Cork to visit its historic English Market.

Luxury Ireland toursNext, we stayed in Kenmare, one of Ireland’s most charming towns. There is an ancient stone circle just outside of the town center.

Luxury Ireland toursPicture-perfect homes in Kenmare.

Luxury Ireland toursThe region is filled with heritage homes and farms, including Muckross House and farm.

Luxury Ireland toursLots of delicious baked goods everywhere!

Luxury Ireland toursOur guide took us to beautiful spots in Killarney National Park for scenic walks…

Luxury Ireland tours

…and light hikes.

Luxury Ireland toursIreland has great hotels that offer wonderful views and excellent restaurants.Luxury Ireland toursWe were happy to have an expert private driver while navigating along the most scenic roads!Luxury Ireland toursWe toured the highlights of the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, and stopped in local towns along the way.

Luxury Ireland toursThe area is dotted with ruins.

Luxury Ireland toursThe scenery was spectacular and kept changing with the weather. In Ireland, it can be pouring rain with dense fog one minute, then clear blue skies the next!

Luxury Ireland toursA highlight of Ireland is experiencing warm Irish hospitality.

Luxury Ireland toursWe enjoyed stays at historic castle hotels…

Family tours Ireland…and activities such as a private archery lesson.

Family tours IrelandThe Burren is an area of dramatic natural beauty…

Family tours Ireland…with a lunar-like landscape as far as the eye can see.

Ireland toursThe Burren is also famous for its many prehistoric ruins and the wildflowers that grow–incredibly–among the stones.

Ireland toursWe stopped at The Burren Perfumery, which specializes in perfumes made from local flowers.

Luxury Ireland toursWe also explored local beaches.

Q.) Did you have a favorite castle hotel?

Ireland toursWe had a great stay at Ashford Castle, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed luxury hotels.

Ireland toursThe hotel underwent an extensive and spectacular renovation years ago…

Ireland tours…and the rooms are beautiful and very luxurious.

Ireland toursAshford Castle is a great base for touring beautiful Connemara National Park.

Ireland toursWe visited a local sheepdog farm–the kids loved meeting the puppies…

Family tour Ireland…and seeing the sheepdogs herding the sheep.

Family tour IrelandWe also visited Kylemore Abbey…

Family tour Ireland…to see its Victorian walled garden.

Ireland garden toursWe also had a private falconry lesson.

Ireland family toursIt was a very hands-on experience!

Ireland family toursLots of fun for everyone.

Ireland family tours

Artisans of Leisure arranges private Ireland tours that include all of these regions and experiences and much more.

View our sample Ireland tours or contact one of our travel experts to start planning a customized Ireland tour based on your interests.

Destinations:  Europe, Ireland

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