A small island with a rugged coastline, fairytale castles, and towns steeped in tradition and history, Ireland is one of the most magical destinations for a luxury break. From Dublin to Cork to Galway and other surrounding cities, the title of ‘Foodie Capital’ is an ongoing battle in this charming and verdant nation. No matter where you go from north to south, you’ll be spoilt for choice with fine dining venues and a thriving culinary scene. For travelers who want to experience gastronomy off the beaten path, and fresh seafood and wine like they’ve never tasted before, a holiday to Ireland is a must.
Known for its many distilleries, Ireland boasts the most unique whiskey varieties with a velvety texture and sweet taste. For connoisseurs who are interested in their spirits as well as their food and wine, Ireland has it all. We combine the best distillery experiences and tour packages with breathtaking scenery and unbelievable accommodation to make your stay in Ireland absolutely unforgettable.
It’s impossible to go wrong when choosing where to go in Ireland. Despite its incredible countryside and coastline, and amazing cities, few areas ever get overcrowded with tourism. Tradition, history and culture are still very much a part of everyday life here, and even the most bustling towns retain their old charms.
Dublin, the country’s capital is a popular hub for many first-timers to Ireland. With everything from high end shopping to Michelin starred restaurants, it’s one of the top places to include in an Irish city tour. In Dublin we can arrange private tours of exclusive distilleries – and of course it’s also home to the Guinness Storehouse, where you can pull a pint of the ‘black stuff’ from its panoramic bar.
The city of Cork is affectionately known as “the real Irish capital”, making it a fine alternative to the official capital. It’s also considered to be a hotspot for gourmet restaurants, luxury foodie experiences and great nightlife.
If you’re looking for a quaint coastal town with excellent seafood and a lively pub culture, we recommend spending some time in Galway. Traditional Irish music can be heard blaring out onto the streets, and oyster and whiskey pairings can be enjoyed nearby. Or make time for the medieval city of Kilkenny, where visitors can enjoy boutique shopping with local crafts and a cool arts scene. Whilst you’re there, don’t miss the famous Kilkenny Food Trail and the nearby castles.
Ireland is a top destination at any time of year, as every season has its own unique draws. Its temperate maritime climate is mild, moist and often changeable, with plenty of rain showers to keep its land lush and green. No matter when you decide to travel, packing an umbrella is highly recommended, but never let a little rain stop you from exploring its stunning castles, countryside and coastline, as the views are breathtaking once the sky clears.
Despite the threat of Irish rain, extremes in temperature are rare. January and February are the coldest months, with an average temperature of 4-7°C (39-45°F). Many people like to visit in the summer when warm days are promised, and temperatures range from 16-20°C (61-68°F). This is also the peak season, so expect main attractions to be busy around this time.
Whiskey distilleries are open all year round, so visitors can enjoy tours from summer to winter.
Irish whiskey is today one of the fastest growing brown spirits in the world. Aficionados may already know this period as the “Irish whiskey renaissance”, and fans come from all across the globe to enjoy tours and experiences.
While there are no official whiskey making regions, as seen with wine production or the whisky distilleries in Scotland, there are some unique elements that make Irish whiskey one-of-a-kind. Irish whiskey is known for its smooth texture and fruitiness on the palate. Compared to the Scottish variety, the absence of peat in the barley drying process means it doesn’t have a smoky taste. In contrast to American bourbon, it’s generally less sweet and fuller bodied due to its triple distillation in pot stills.
Some loosely defined regions are Munster and Ulster (in Northern Ireland), and production includes single malt Irish whiskey, single pot still whiskey, grain whiskey, and blended whiskey. The art of triple distillation can be seen at Bushmills in Northern Ireland by the Causeway Coast and Midleton in County Cork.
As well as the country’s booming whiskey industry, Irish gin is growing in popularity. There are also a handful of vineyards, located mostly in County Cork. Despite not having the climate of Italy and France, fertile soils ensure the highest quality grapes.
Our whiskey tours will take you to the most intriguing towns and cities in Ireland, and can be customized to the preferences of your travel group. If you’re looking for stylish and elegant hotels, or boutique accommodation with amenities nearby, we can help you build your perfect holiday package.
Cities like Dublin have a number of 5 star hotel options, and a central location will position you in the heart of the action. The capital’s best luxury hotels feature world-class dining and are conveniently close to the most famous restaurants and shopping quarters. We can also help you find luxury accommodation in Galway, Cork, Kilkenny and other popular tour locations.
When it comes to food and drink, it’s hard to be disappointed in Ireland. You don’t need a huge budget to eat well, but for those who want to indulge, there are over 15 Michelin starred restaurants dotted across the country, as well as countless ‘Bib Gourmand’ restaurants to try. In Dublin alone there are five Michelin restaurants, while Galway and Kilkenny each have two, and Cork has three.
For an unforgettable gastronomic experience with fresh Irish seafood and amazing views of the countryside, be sure to book an experience on the Belmond Grand Hibernian train.
Wine Paths is passionate about creating bespoke travel experiences by combining whiskey tours and fine dining with high end accommodation in Ireland. Find out more about discovering the whiskey trail with our local guide Paula.