Achill Island, in County Mayo, is Ireland’s largest island. The dramatic landscapes, stunning seascapes and rich history provide visitors with a wide range of scenic attractions, beauty spots and activities. Achill Island is easily accessible by a road bride from the beautiful Currane peninsula. The natural beauty and rich culture has provided inspiration for artists and writers for many years. Join Celtic Tours on the breathtaking Atlantic Drive along the coast on our West of Ireland tour.
Achill offers some of the best quality beaches in Ireland. These include the strand at Keem Bay, a beautiful, secluded valley located at the western tip of Achill Island. Keem Bay is a perfect horseshoe bay containing a popular Blue Flag beach at the head of a valley between the cliffs of Benmore to the west and Croaghaun mountain on the east.
The Atlantic Drive comprises over 40km of breathtaking coastal scenery that is ideal for touring in a car, and even better by bicycle!
The Tower at Kildavnet, the remains of a 16th century Irish tower house that was used by the legendary pirate queen Granuaile (Grace O’Malley).
The Deserted Village at Slievemore is a haunting reminder of times past. Comprising some 80 stone cottages located at the foot of the majestic Slievemore mountain, the Deserted Village offers a fascinating insight into life on Achill in former centuries.
With its Atlantic location, five Blue Flag beaches and breathtaking mountain landscape, Achill provides an unrivalled arena for outdoor activities and water-sports of all types. Water-sports available on Achill Island include surfing, windsurfing, canoeing & kayaking.
Achill, with its magnificent landscape and ever-changing light, its remote location and unique local culture, provides a fantastic setting for the creative arts. Achill’s artistic heritage is both celebrated and extended by Scoil Acla, a summer school that teaches traditional Irish music and culture.
Wilde Irish Chocolates
Tuamgraney | Clare
Chocolate is probably the one food that’s practically irresistible. Even the exotic names of the Wilde products are a temptation – Hazelnut Duet, Mocha Mocha, Truffle Temptation. Wilde is the only Irish maker of Organic Fairtrade chocolate, certified by the Organic Trust. There’s also a range of conventional and sugar free hand-decorated products. All the chocolates are handmade by the ‘Wilde Team’ in a small artisan outlet in Tuamgraney.
Skelligs and Cocoa Bean Chocolate Company
Ballinskelligs | Kerry
The Skelligs Chocolate Company and Cocoa Bean Chocolate Company have their production factory and shop on the tip of the Ring of Kerry Peninsula, right by St Finian’s Bay. Skelligs chocolates were created for the luxury market. These truffles use best chocolate from France and Switzerland, married with superb quality ingredients in the flavoured centres. Regulars on the choccie tasting menu include Vanilla Ganache, Strawberry and Champagne and Cognac and Cappucino.
Chez Emily Fine Handmade Chocolates
Ashbourne | Meath
Magical would seem to be the appropriate word for the Chez Emily Chocolate Boutique on Ashbourne’s Main Street. The shop front design with its two large windows offer a tantalising glimpse of the treasures inside, and oh what treasures! With a selection of over 30 different types, the counter is chock-a-block with the most delicious-looking individual chocolates – rum and raisin, cognac, vanilla, crème caramel are just some of the tempting names. Flake truffle supreme, amandine, (truffle coated in roasted almond flakes), cocoa delights, chocolate Florentines, candied orange segments, cherry liqueurs – even the names conjure up images of delights to come.
Marlenes Chocolate Haven
Westport | Mayo
Tucked away in a lovely little courtyard off James Street in Westport is the delightful shop that is Marlene’s Chocolate Haven. Not only a haven but also an absolute heaven for chocolate lovers. How can you choose between 30 varieties of chocolates and truffles? Especially when they have enticing names such as Love Potion or Rose Cream?
Here are just a few of Celtic Tours favorite group itineraries. So gather up your favorite group of people: your co-workers, church group, family members or affinity group and start planning your trip today!
1. Celtic Dream: Our premier tour offers you an updated itinerary in 2011. This tour has added attractions for 2011 and features most of the major historic and scenic attractions of Ireland. The Celtic Dream is acknowledged by visitors and Travel Agents as being the best value tour offered to Ireland.
3. Experience Italy: Experience a transforming journey to Italy featuring a visit to Turin to view the Shroud. For over 39 years, Celtic Tours World Vacations has provided spiritual journeys to connect travelers with their faith. There is no greater experience than visiting the sites where history, culture and religion connect people through a hands-on experience with their faith. This is a great tour for church groups or any group
4. Experience Spain: Our new Spain Experience tour is designed for small groups of 10 or more. Great for Family and Friends. Join Celtic Tours on this amazing vacation including 3 nights in Madrid and 3 nights in Barcelona.
5. Experience France: Our new France Experience tour is designed for small groups of 10 or more. Discover Nice and Paris with your family and friends!
6. Experience Portugal: Our new Portugal Experience tour is designed for small groups of 10 or more. Great for Family and Friends.
7. In a Tuscan Villa: Our Tuscan Villa Stay features an authentic Italian Villa stay for four nights. This is an excellent program for both individual and group travel and has become a popular base for touring the Tuscan region while enjoying the warmth and charm of Villa Casagrande!
8. Celtic Delight: Featured in many publications, this tour takes in some of the most scenic areas in Southern Ireland including Kilkenny Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Cobh Heritage, Blarney, Killarney, Foynes Flying Boat Museum and Limerick for a farewell Medieval Castle Banquet.
9. Heart of England: This new and unique program brings you some of the most famous landmarks in England, great for those with limited time! Great for small groups of 4 or more!
10. Corners of Cornwall: Gourmets will love the fine food, history buffs will relish the architecture, literature lovers will delight in scenes straight from the printed page and breathtaking views will impress absolutely everyone. This is the tour that has it all, but even its busy schedule allows ample scope to embrace the back roads and add a few adventures of your own.
At Celtic Tours, we do groups your way! If you do not see something here, just check out our website to see what other group tours we offer. Or call our group reservations and we can customize your group itinerary for you!
There are many spas in Ireland to choose from, destination spas, specialized retreats and hotel spas. At Irish spas not only are you pampered but you get stunning scenery wherever you look. Bliss… Here is a list of some of the spas in Ireland to get you started in planning your Irish Spa Vacation.
Monart is located in Wexford in over one hundred acres of private woodland and their total focus is on helping guests to rest, rejuvenate and transform, through a combination of its magical private location, luxurious facilities, excellent dining and worldclass spa facilities and treatment.
A spa break at Temple is a fully inclusive experience. As our guest, you will enjoy gourmet spa cuisine, unlimited use of the vitality suite and a complimentary programme of daily mind and body activities. Available Treatments Include: Indian Head Massage, ISHI ChocoTherapy and VinoTherapy.
Delphi Mountain Resort
A truly unique place where you can completely escape, unwind, contemplate and relax. Delphi Mountain Resort is set within 400 acres of prime Connemara forest, just a stones throw from the picturesque Cross beach, one of the world’s finest surf beaches and against the majestic Mweelrea mountain range.
Combining the luxury of Dromoland Castle and located within the castle walls, enjoy the experience of the latest natural beauty and holistic therapies. Products include The Anne Semonin treatment range and the Irish product range Voya. As a haven for pure relaxation the design reflects an air of tranquility and serenity with light wood furniture, shades of beige, stone floors, steel plated accessories and a feature water wall.
Oriental philosophy regards beauty as a holistic concept embracing both the inner and outer self. The ritual applications of Asia’s Botanical heritage provides the means to nurture, relax, empty the mind and soothe the soul.
A deluxe country manor house set, in landscaped grounds with panoramic views overlooking the River Barrow. Dine in the Gallery Restaurant or relax in the Library Bar. All rooms elegantly furnished. Luxurious health club and spa with twenty metre pool, fully equipped gym, kiddies pool and hydrotherapy grotto.
Ultimate pampering. Northern Ireland’s premier luxury day spa. Awarded a 5 star rating by the UK and Ireland association ‘Good Salon Guide’. Full range of indulgent treatments for both men and women. Seaweed baths, chocolate facials, body massage, aromatherapy, rasul steam room, chillout room and luxury products.
Soak Seaweed baths is situated in the beautiful County Down seaside town of Newcastle on the extremely pretty South Promenade. SOAK offers hot saltwater seaweed baths, individual steam cabinets as well as jet spa showering.
Want to take a cooking class on your next vacation to Ireland? There are many to choose from with classes ranging from traditional Irish cuisine to fusion cuisine.
Rory O’Connell Cookery School
Snugboro, Ballybraher, Ballycotton, Co Cork
Things are cooking nicely in Ballycotton… Rory O’Connell, ex-Head Chef of Ballymaloe House and one of the principal teachers at Ballymaloe Cookery School, has struck a serious culinary note with his new Bespoke Cookery Classes. Classes at Snugboro are designed for groups from two to twelve people, which gives a really intimate feel. A sample menu: Spicy Moroccan Lentil Soup, Risotto of Autumn Greens, Roast Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Herb mayonnaise, creamy Colcannon and a superb Chocolate Meringue Roulade with Blackberries and Sweet Geranium.
Dublin Cookery School
2 Brookfield Terrace, Blackrock, Co Dublin.
It is hard not to be affected by Lynda Booth’s enthusiasm. Her passion for food and teaching is apparent immediately and what better place to combine these two loves than in a cookery school? Housed in a dazzling purpose-built premises, the bright, spacious kitchens of the Dublin Cookery Schools are the perfect setting for novice cooks and seasoned chefs alike. With 12 fully-equipped workstations, complete with hobs and ovens, students learn tricks of the trade in a supportive and challenging environment. As they say themselves, ‘serious food in a relaxed atmosphere’. The course list is extensive, including fish and bread courses, barbecue, entertaining, Californian cuisine, teen friendly courses and many more. This, combined with Lynda’s exuberant style and the fabulous space makes for a seriously fun learning experience.
Donnybrook Fair Restaurant, Food Hall & Cookery School
89 Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.
This urban restaurant, cookery school, deli and foodstore has everything a food lover will need from all over the country and even further a field. The extensive food-hall is stocked to the rafters with a mixture of fine artisan and gourmet speciality items and store-cupboard essentials. A dedicated butchery, fish counter and wonderful freshly baked breads, pastries, cakes and take-out hot and cold lunches, and not to mention the wonderful contemporary restaurant upstairs with menus that combine the finest seasonal Irish ingredients with flavours from around the world.
Tannery Cookery School (The)
10 Quay Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Over a decade after Paul and his wife Máire opened their uber-stylish Tannery Restaurant, taking a high end food experience to a small Waterford town, they have now successfully opened, the Tannery Cookery School in pretty Dungarvan. Featuring a state of the art demonstration kitchen and with cookery courses for everybody, whether you are looking for a course to improve your home cooking skills, a short cookery course with friends or a tailored course to suit a corporate event The Tannery Cookery School is for you!
Ballyknocken House and Cookery School
Glenealy, Ashford, Co Wicklow
Set in private tranquil gardens in the heart of the glorious Wicklow countryside you will feel the stresses and strains of your other life melt away as soon as you arrive at Catherine Fulvio’s romantic Victorian country house. Catherine’s real passion is for local produce and this is reflected in the stunning breakfasts and dinners served and in the state of the art Cookery School, which is perfectly located in a renovated Milking Parlour. With seven beautifully decorated period bedrooms with Victorian baths and brass beds and a warm welcome awaiting you what better place to re-discover the joys of cooking than at Ballyknocken House and Cookery School.
Orchard Acre Farm
36 Moynaghan North Road, Lisnarick, Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, BT94 1LQ.
Right at the very heart of Orchard Acre Farm’s success and certainly central to its charm is Teresa O’Hare. It is she, together with husband Hugh who is the driving energy of an operation so diverse in its offering that is hard to confine its labeling to any one category. It is a cookery and training centre, a gardening and vegetable hive, a wedding, conference or party venue, a voluntary work opportunity and most of all a sanctuary. Orchard Acre is a world of possibilities with one warm and very dynamic woman at its heart.
Information provided by: Good Food Ireland