Gardens of Ireland Small Group Tour
- 1. The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin.
- 2. The outstanding gardens of Powerscourt and Muckross House.
- 3. The historic cities of Dublin, Waterford and Antrim.
- 4. The romantic site of Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains.
|20 May 2024
Ends 29 May 2024 • 10 days
|19 May 2025
Ends 28 May 2025 • 10 days
Gardens of Ireland Tour | Small group tours Ireland
On this Gardens of Ireland tour, we will explore the lush and green trees and shrubs of the gardens of the Emerald Isle, from the dramatic Powerscourt House, the impressive kitchen Garden of Kylemore Abbey, to the secretive Anne’s Grove discrete cottage garden. We will walk through romantic Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains, stroll through peaceful parkland in the National Botanic Garden, and learn about the many species of flora and fauna, both ornamental and practical. Ireland is also an island of stunning cliffs, beautiful lush scenery, and ancient history, so this Gardens of Ireland tour also include castle visits and city tours.
Our Gardens of Ireland small group tour lasts 10 days. It ranges from the bustling capital of Dublin with its historic flora often sheltered in glasshouses in the Botanic Garden to idyllic Killarney with its rugged Kerry peninsula and charming Muckross House, as well as to the natural beauty of the Connemara. We will learn about Ireland’s rich heritage and gardening history with an opportunity to visit award-winning gardens, public gardens showing a variety of plant collections in these botanical gardens. We also explore the Wicklow Mountains, Waterford, Limerick, historic Galway and Ulster.
Gardens of Ireland Itinerary
The Gardens of Ireland Small group tour begins in Dublin, a city abounding in historic and literary heritage. We take a walking tour of the city, while learning about its long history. Originally settled by Vikings it is home to Trinity College and the famous Book of Kells, the Abbey Theatre where Irish playwrights have long premiered their works, Dublin Castle, St Patrick's Cathedral and many fine Georgian squares. Dublin is home of the National Botanic Garden, Ireland’s premier botanical and horticultural establishment. We then travel to Waterford, exploring the Wicklow Mountains and Powerscourt, one of Europe's most splendid gardens. We also take in the historically significant site of Glendalough, beautifully set in a valley between two lakes.
Next stop on our escorted tour is Killarney, the popular resort centre of County Kerry. This town is well placed to explore the dramatic landscapes of the world renowned Ring of Kerry, and Muckross Gardens, set in Ireland’s premier national park, combining an outstanding collection of plants with the wild scenery of Ireland. Afterwards, we explore Connemara and Carrickfergus, before heading to Belfast, where the Gardens of Ireland Small group tour concludes.
If you are interested to view more Emerald Isle highlights, including the Cliffs of Moher, Giant's Causeway, and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, do see the itinerary of our Historic Ireland tour. You can explore our country profiles on Britain and Ireland with all the other group departures. We also offer other garden tours across Europe. To learn more, you can read our article on Odyssey's garden tours.
For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Day 1: Dublin
Accommodation: Castle Hotel or similar.
This evening, we meet in the hotel for a welcome dinner and program orientation.
Day 2: Waterford
Accommodation: Castle Hotel or similar.
This morning, we embark on a half-day guided city tour of Dublin’s key sights, including a visit to the Book of Kells exhibition at Trinity College. In the afternoon, we head to the National Botanic Gardens for a private guided tour, along with a visit to the nearby private Tyrrelstown House Gardens. This estate has been home to the Wilkinson family for centuries, and the family are still actively engaged in the upkeep and maintenance of the property’s gardens and arboretum.
Dublin is a city that abounds in historic and literary heritage. Originally settled by Vikings it is home to Trinity College and the famous Book of Kells, the Abbey Theatre where Irish playwrights have long premiered their works, Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral and many fine Georgian squares. Dublin is home of the National Botanic Garden, Ireland’s premier botanical and horticultural establishment.
Day 3: Waterford
Accommodation: Waterford Marina Hotel or similar.
This morning, we enjoy a guided tour of the Powerscourt Estate & Gardens. We then head to Glendalough, where we have some free time to explore the town and grab some lunch. Travelling out of the Wicklow National Park, we stop in Tullow for a guided visit at the Altamont Gardens, a large old-world garden, before continuing on to Waterford.
We arrive in our hotel in time for dinner.
Day 4: Killarney
Accommodation: Killarney Dromhall Hotel or similar.
Today, we explore the House of Waterford Crystal visitor attraction during a half-day tour of Waterford, which showcases the works of the famed local crystal manufacturer. After exploring Waterford, we then head to Killarney, making a stop in Tullow to visit Annes Grove House and Gardens.
Day 5: Killarney
Accommodation: Kallarney Dromhall Hotel
Today, we make an anticlockwise trip around the Ring of Kerry, stopping at various attractions and notable vantage points en route. Highlights of the day include a visit to Kenmare, known for its legacy of lace-making and intricate lace work. After exploring this magical location, we enjoy dinner together in a local restaurant.
Day 6: Killarney
Accommodation: Killarney Dromhall Hotel or similar.
This morning, we enjoy a tour Muckross House & Gardens, before travelling down to Bantry, in the far south-west of the country. Bantry House and its gardens are one of the must-see sites of Southern Ireland. This historic country house occupies an enviable position overlooking the Bay of Bantry, and has some of the most impressive and grandiose gardens in the area. On the return journey to Killarney, we stop for photos and sightseeing along the spectacularly scenic Wild Atlantic Way.
Day 7: Galway
Accommodation: Maldron Hotel Sandy Road or similar.
As we make our way from Killarney to Galway, we stop at King John’s Castle in Limerick , and also at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. After these visits, we head up to Galway for some free time before dinner.
Day 8: Galway
Accommodation: Maldron Hotel Sandy Road or similar.
Today, we make a full day excursion into the Connemara National Park region from Galway, following an anti-clockwise route. We enjoy visits to four different garden sites from the Trail, including Kylemore Abbey and the Victoria Walled Garden.
Day 9: Belfast
On our journey from Galway to Belfast, we stop to visit the extraordinary gardens at Antrim Castle. These 400 year old gardens are unmatched in Northern Ireland. A £6m restoration project, which received generous support from Heritage Lottery Fund, has now preserved this historic site for generations to come.
Following a visit to Antrim, we transfer to Belfast for the farewell dinner.
Day 10: Belfast
After breakfast in the hotel, we say our farewells and the program draws to a close.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 9 nights hotel accommodation in en-suite share twin rooms.
- Typical local breakfast daily and some evening meals.
- Touring by comfortable and modern coach.
- Transport and field trips as indicated.
- Services of a tour leader throughout the tour.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Gratuities and necessary tips.
- Detailed Tour Information Booklet.
What’s not included in our Tour
- International airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Ireland has rarely been out of the news during the past thirty years. Whether as a war-zone in which Catholic nationalists and Protestant Unionists struggled for supremacy, a case study in conflict resolution or an economy that for a time promised to make the Irish among the wealthiest people on the planet, the two Irelands have truly captured the world's imagination. Yet single-volume histories of Ireland are rare. Here, Thomas Bartlett, one of the country's leading historians, sets out a fascinating new history that ranges from prehistory to the present. Integrating politics, society and culture, he offers an authoritative historical road map that shows exactly how – and why – Ireland, north and south, arrived at where it is today. This is an indispensable guide to both the legacies of the past for Ireland's present and to the problems confronting north and south in the contemporary world.
Modern Ireland 1600-1972
Masterfully blending narrative and interpretation, and R.F. Foster's Modern Ireland: 1600-1972 looks at how key events in Irish history contributed to the creation of the 'Irish Nation'.
'The most brilliant and courageous Irish historian of his generation'
Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books
'Remarkable ... Foster gives a wise and balanced account of both forces of unity and forces of diversity ... a master work of scholarship'
Bernard Crick, New Statesman
'A tour de force ... Anyone who really wants to make sense of Ireland and the Irish must read Roy Foster's magnificent and accessible Modern Ireland'
'A magnificent book. It supersedes all other accounts of modern Irish history'
Conor Cruise O'Brien, Sunday Times
'Dazzling ... a masterly survey not so much of the events of Irish history over the past four centuries as of the way in which those events acted upon the peoples living in Ireland to produce in our own time an "Irish Nation" ... a gigantic and distinguished undertaking'
Robert Kee, Observer
'A work of gigantic importance. It is everything that a history book should be. It is beautifully and clearly written; it seeps wisdom through its every pore; it is full of the most elegant and scholarly insights; it is magnificently authoritative and confident ... Modern Ireland is quite simply the single most important book on Irish history written in this generation ... A masterpiece'
Kevin Myers, Irish Times
R. F. Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. His books include Modern Ireland: 1600-1972, Luck and the Irish and W. B. Yeats: A Life.
Ireland: The Autobiography: One Hundred Years of Irish Life, Told by Its People
Over the past hundred years, Ireland has undergone profound political, social and cultural changes. But one thing that has not changed is the Irish genius for observation and storytelling, invective and self-scrutiny. Ireland: The Autobiography draws upon this genius to create a portrait of a century of Irish life through the words of the people who lived it.
Broadcaster and historian John Bowman has mined archives, diaries and memoirs to create a remarkably varied and delightfully readable mosaic of voices and perspectives. Ireland: The Autobiography is a brilliantly selected, wide-ranging and engrossing take on the last century of Irish life. It gives us a portrait of Ireland unlike anything we've read before.
'Absorbing and illuminating ... John Bowman has selected a range of accounts of Irish life that do justice to what happened, what it felt like, and the personal and societal experiences alongside the "official" version.' Diarmaid Ferriter, Irish Times
'Very enjoyable' Philip Boucher-Hayes
Rooted in the Soil: Cottage Gardens and Allotments in Ireland Since 1750
Jonathan Bell, Mervyn Watson
This book deals with the cultivation of vegetables and fruit in cottage gardens and urban allotments across Ireland since the mid-18th century. The debates engendered by these small patches of land connect directly to some of the biggest issues in Irish history. Throughout the period, gardens and allotments have attracted the attention of people often pejoratively described as 'do-gooders' - those who wished to encourage Irish people to improve themselves economically, but also politically, morally, and even spiritually. Activists included improvers, co-operators, socialists, Protestants and Catholics, nationalists, unionists, and, more recently, environmentalists. The book explores the different strategies adopted by these people and the kinds of plots and gardens that resulted from them.
Britain's Ferns: A Field Guide to the Clubmosses, Quillworts, Horsetails and Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland
This is a comprehensive, lavishly illustrated and user-friendly photographic identification guide to the fifty-seven ferns and seventeen other pteridophytes that occur in Britain. It is the perfect companion for botanists, naturalists, professional ecologists and anyone else with an interest in this fascinating group of non-flowering vascular plants. Designed to appeal to beginners and experts alike, this authoritative book includes novel identification keys and comparison tables that have been carefully devised to present only essential, easily understood technical terms and descriptions, avoiding jargon as much as possible. Cross-referenced throughout to facilitate the comparison of similar species, this definitive field guide is the go-to source for identifying these species with confidence.
- Features hundreds of stunning colour photographs
- Comprehensive coverage of Britain's 57 species of ferns, 6 clubmosses, 3 quillworts and 8 horsetails
- Includes novel, easy-to-use, jargon-free identification keys and comparison tables
- Beautifully designed, user-friendly and accessible
Catalogues of Plants in the Dublin Society's Botanic Garden, at Glasnevin
This plant catalogue is in two parts. The first, published in 1801, provides a list, organised according to the Linnaean system, of the hothouse and greenhouse plants in the newly established Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin, near Dublin, and the second, from 1802, is a guide to all the plants in the gardens, including the arboretum and 'Hortus tinctoria', where dye plants (important for the Irish linen industry) were displayed, arranged according to the layout of the different beds, and giving their Linnaean and common names. Both parts are believed to have been written by Walter Wade (1740-1825), a physician and enthusiastic botanist who had lobbied for the establishment of a botanical garden on the site of the former property of Thomas Tickell, poet and government administrator in Ireland. The gardens were inaugurated in 1795, and these catalogues form the earliest evidence of their considerable holdings of native and exotic plants.
Articles about Ireland
History of Ireland: The Definitive Guide for Senior Travellers
History of Ireland Ireland (Irish: Éire) is an island carved into two after centuries of subjugation, foreign domination, and various conflicts that lasted until the 20th century. In this post, we will look at the riveting…
Ireland's Gems: Definitive Guide for Travellers
Ireland’s Gems More than 11 million people travelled to Ireland according to the latest tourism statistics, lured by its lush scenery, historic landmarks, and centuries-old culture. (This number includes visitors to both Northern Ireland, part…