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Jenny O'Neill

Corona del Mar, California Travel Agent

An Insider’s View of Ireland

Ireland is my homeland and I know it intimately from the vantage point of both a local and a travel expert. Whether you’re into art, history, cuisine or craft beverages, or simply want to savor the natural beauty and warm Irish hospitality, I can help chart a course to help you discover your personal Ireland. Along the way, you’ll be charmed by its unique history and beautiful scenery and connect with some of the genuinely warm and hospitable people who call Ireland home.  

A great way to connect with the wit, wisdom, and soul of Ireland is to get off the beaten path and go pub-hopping. Pubs are an integral part of Irish society and I love to incorporate classic pubs into a trip. Many people also enjoy following the “Whisky Trail.” Irish whiskey was among the earliest distilled drinks in Europe. The classic trail starts in Dublin and visits select distilleries around the country where I can arrange privileged access that offers insights into Irish culture as well as the heritage of this time-honored craft.  

A great way to experience Irish culture is to stay at one of the many castle hotels, manor houses, and historic boutique properties. Ashford Castle is iconic with formal gardens, forests you can explore on foot and horseback ride, and falconry and archery experiences. Rooms are individually decorated and feel palatial and the service people cannot do enough for you. Everything you dream of in Ireland is there. And the small town of Cong, where the classic Irish movie The Quiet Man was set, is just a short walk from the castle.  

Other amazing castles include Adare Manor and Dromoland Castle while the K Club, a country estate in Kildare invites guests to golf on a Ryder Cup course, and go fishing, kayaking and more. The Merrion, a historic hotel in Dublin is a living art museum, with its own audio guide to highlights of its 19th and 20th-century art collection. 

I love finding ways to integrate my clients’ interests into their itineraries. For example, one of my clients was into Game of Thrones, so I arranged for her to visit some of the filming sites including Dark Hedges, and to “meet” the wolves from the set. I also arranged a lunch invitation into a local home where the family taught her how to make Irish brown bread And for golfers, one of my favorite courses is Lahinch Golf Club, near the Cliffs of Mohr. It is similar to St. Andrews in Scotland but less known. 

I recently discovered Ireland in a totally novel way; I took a two-night trip on the posh Belmond Grand Hibernian train. Owned and operated by the company that runs the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient Express, it is like an elegant land cruise through Ireland. 

Designing a trip that is tailored to my clients’ interests is always my goal. My reward, especially when it comes to my homeland, is having people return with a strong connection to the places they visit and a strong affection for the people and culture they encounter. 

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