Our small and exclusive tour of Ireland was absolutely fantastic, even if we say so ourselves! We were blessed with incredible weather throughout the entire week, with hardly a cloud in the sky.
On Friday, we crossed from Fishguard to Rosslare, and then made our way to the delightful Mount Juliet Resort for our first dinner of the tour. The journey was smooth, and we were grateful that the gods of the Irish Sea were on our side!
Saturday marked the true beginning of our tour as we embarked on a morning drive to the famous Rock of Cashel. From there, we headed south to the picturesque Dungarvan coastline for a delightful lunch at a waterfront restaurant. Afterwards, we continued westward to the stunning Castlemartyr Resort, just outside Cork. After parking our cars and dropping off our bags, we hopped on a shuttle bus for a private tour of the world-famous Jameson’s Distillery. It was truly fascinating to discover the slight variations in distilleries and their processes, a fact that even our Scottish guests, known for their love of whisky, found intriguing. In a surprising twist, a blind taste test featuring a Scottish malt, American bourbon, and Jameson’s resulted in most people favouring Jameson’s…
Afterwards, we returned to the Castlemartyr Resort for a free evening, one of two nights we would spend there. However, we all ended up gathering at the Resort’s Golf Course Clubhouse, symbolising the camaraderie that would characterize our entire tour. Classic GT always strives to create a convivial and fun environment for all our guests, but this trip required no extra effort as the group effortlessly bonded, resulting in eight days filled with side-splitting laughter!
The following day, everyone enjoyed a free day, primarily spent exploring the local area’s stunning coastline and the remarkable art collection displayed throughout the hotel premises. The hotel grounds were adorned with marvellous and eccentric sculptures, adding a unique dimension to our stay.
Monday marked the first day of real driving as we departed Castlemartyr and embarked on a westward journey along the Irish coastline, venturing through County Cork and into County Kerry. We traversed the world-famous Healy Pass and Ring of Kerry, witnessing the breathtaking beauty of Ireland’s sculpted coastline, shaped by the majestic North Atlantic Ocean. We paused for a splendid lunch at the Boathouse Bistro near Kenmare, although some couldn’t help but wonder about the generous portions!
In the late afternoon, we arrived at the hilltop Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa, overlooking Lough Leane and Ross Castle for a wonderful evening and dinner overlooking the lake.
On Tuesday, our road trip continued along the awe-inspiring Wild Atlantic Way as we drove through the breath-taking Conor Pass. Standing at its peak, one could marvel at the Atlantic in either direction. Afterwards, we made our way to Tralee for lunch before heading to the charming town of Adare, where we would enjoy a two-night stay at the family-owned Fitzgerald’s Woodlands Hotel and Spa.
During our tour, we encountered a serious concern regarding fuel in Ireland. Although the deadline has yet to arrive, E5 fuel is no longer available. Only diesel and 95 Octane E10 are sold, with 99 Octane E10 available in densely populated areas. Surprisingly, there has been little publicity, warnings, or knowledge among the locals. Those travelling with classic or vintage cars would have faced significant trouble. We struggled to find octane booster and ethanol protector, as they were scarcely available. Therefore, we urge all visitors to Ireland with vehicles unable to run on E10 fuel to bring the necessary additives with them.
Participants had another leisure day on Wednesday in Adare, with many taking the opportunity to explore the area, including visits to Limerick, the Foynes Flying Boat Museum and the Cliffs of Moher. On Thursday morning, our exploration of the Wild Atlantic Way continued as we headed north and west, passing through Galway and the scenic coastal area around Lough Corrib, where we spent the night at Knockranny House Hotel, a grand Edwardian-style hotel, although built around twenty years ago.
Friday greeted us with a drive to Wineport Lodge, a mere two hours away from Westport, where we enjoyed a relaxed day of driving. This stunning lodge sits on the shores of the expansive Lough Ree, and after a leisurely afternoon, we gathered in the exquisite Glasshouse for our final dinner together. Tour Managers Mark and Tim had prepared awards to commemorate the tour’s highlights, resulting in fits of laughter among everyone present. It was a fitting end to a wonderfully relaxed tour with a truly great group of people.
On Saturday, we embarked on a journey back to the ferry in Rosslare, reminiscing about the fantastic memories we had created along the way, accompanied by smiles and great satisfaction.