Friday, February 26, 2016

Trip Report Ireland FEB 13-21 2016

Waterstone Marketing organized and hosted this trip to Ireland for 10 luxury travel advisors. Here are my observations.
Flew United non stop Newark-Shannon. Paid extra for Economy Plus seating both ways. Yes you do get a few extra inches of leg room but that's it. You do not get priority boarding- in fact I was in Group 5- last to board.

Killarney National Park
Spent 2 nights in Killarney at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa-   A Virtuoso property. It's located approx 5 minutes outside of the the town of Killarney and sits high above the town with breathtakingly beautiful views of the Lake below and the snow capped mountains of Killarney National Park. The hotel is approximately 2 hours from the Shannon Airport. Lakeview rooms would be the rooms of choice. There is an excellent restaurant, bar, lounge and indoor pool with an extensive spa offering all the usual services. The property is very well located for day trips to Dingle and the Ring of Kerry. Afternoon tea & complimentary whiskey tasting sessions are offered daily.

The following 2 nights were spent at the K Club in Kildare which is approximately 2 hours north of Killarney. This is also a Virtuoso property and is very well suited for golfers.

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The Arnold Palmer designed course hosted the Ryder Cup in 2006 and will be the site of this year's Irish Open.This is  truly a luxury 5 star hotel. Besides golf there is a full service spa and
other offerengs  including fly fishing, Falconry (which was what I did), horseback riding, clay shooting, hiking, biking, wine tasting in their extensive wine cellar. A very interesting Art & History tour is offered daily showcasing the extensive art collection in the hotel. The rooms - especially those in the new wing are large & luxurious and overlook the beautiful grounds. There are multiple food outlets on the property. The hotel is approximately 45 minutes from Dublin.

From Kildare we headed further north to Belfast - Northern Ireland. U.K. pounds here not Euros. We had 1 overnight at the Fitzwilliam Belfast - I would classify it  as a 4 star boutique hotel.

Giants Causeway
Contemporary atmosphere, well located. The centerpiece of the city is the Titanic Museum located at the original site of the Harland & Wolfe Shipyard. Over 1 million visitors each year have come to the museum since its opening. Belfast is a good jumping off point to see the Wild Atlantic  Way & the Giant's Causeway. For any Game of Throne fans- this is where they do lots of filming. The HBO studio is located next door to the Titanic Museum for their indooor shooting scenes.

Final 2 nights we spent at the FitzWilliam Dubin. This is a 5 star property, very well located across from St Stephen's Green. Lots of restaurants & shops all within easy reach.
Contemporary style might not be for the more traditional type client. Excellent
, friendly service. Well designed rooms, comfortable beds. 2 restaurants- one casual for breakfast, lunch & dinner the other a 1 star Michelin. We ate at both and they  were excellent. The city is very cosmopolitan, lots of energy fueled by a very large international student population attending Trinity College as well as other very well regarded colleges & universities. The city is also a major food mecca- who would have thought? It's a great city to visit and worth at least a 2 night stay.

Tom Mullen
Travel Exchange -  Member of Virtuoso
2 Sconset Square
Westport,CT 06880
tomm@travelexchange.net
203-221-3500