The Emerald Isle – County Offaly

On our final full day, we were off to County Offaly – a hidden gem located in the heart of Ireland. This enchanting region boasts a stunning landscape dotted with charming towns, rolling hills, and tranquil lakes that reflect the surrounding countryside like a mirror.

One of the highlights of our visit was a guided tour of the Birr Castle grounds and museum. Still a working home today, the castle was built in the 17th century on a sprawling estate that features an awe-inspiring garden, and is home to some of the tallest trees in Ireland. The castle itself is open for tours a few weeks in summer.

Even though most things were not in bloom, you can get a feel for how beautiful the grounds are.

I was fascinated to learn about The Leviathan or The Great Telescope on the grounds. Built in the early 1840s by the Third Earl of Rosse designed and built what was at the time the largest telescope in the world. With this, the Earl discovered the spiral nature of some of the galaxies. People travelled from all across Europe to marvel at this engineering feat and its discoveries. It remains Ireland’s greatest scientific wonder.

The group enjoyed a pub lunch in the village. To my pleasant surprise we were serenaded multiple times by patrons. They were ever so pleased to showcase songs about their country, and later their village. Remember when I wrote in an earlier post about how important pub culture is to the Irish? That sentiment was magnified during this experience. It was the middle of a work day, and the pub was overflowing with villagers on their break eating together, and discussing the events of their day and lives.

After lunch, a few of us wondered into an antique shop on the High Street where were learned that Leap Castle near Birr is the most haunted castle in the world. #addstofutureitinerary

Next we made out way back to Dublin. Our farewell event was The Merry Ploughboy Show and Dinner. Established in 1789, this is a variety-style show that celebrates live Irish music and dancing, with a classic Irish flare.

The dancers were my favorite!

This ended a wonderful trip, and I’m already considering going back with my family. But when the weather is warmer! Many thanks to Sceptre Vacations for the hands-on training. Truly fantastic!

If a small group or self-guided tour of Ireland is on your bucket list, please reach out to me. I’d be so happy to assist you!

The Emerald Isle – Dublin / The Emerald Isle – Kilkenny / The Emerald Isle – Kenmare and Killarney

The Emerald Isle – Killarney, Adare, and Limerick / The Emerald Isle – County Offlay

As a full-service travel agent, I would love to be of assistance to you. I am passionate about what I do and pour that energy into crafting perfectly planned itineraries for you. Email to learn more.

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