Opulent castles brimming with history and exclusive tours that get you amazing ‘behind the rope’ access – they’re all part of Heritage Ireland’s unique luxury experiences.

Luxury travel in Ireland is all about sumptuous surroundings, exclusive experiences and select moments of hospitality and connection.

The luxuriousness of the country’s collection of five-star accommodations is already well renowned, and of course the island boasts some of the wildest, most inspirational landscapes on the planet – perfect places to escape and recharge.

Now Heritage Ireland, the body responsible for Ireland’s most important buildings and heritage sites, is offering exclusive experiences at four special locations under its care.

With a Heritage Ireland Unique Experiences tour you can journey into Ireland’s epic past with private viewings, behind closed doors tours and exclusive encounters with amazing collections of art, books, objet d’art and the stunning buildings themselves.

Start at Dublin Castle, once the centre of British rule in Ireland; now the setting for some of the Irish nation’s most important state ceremonies. Highlights and hidden gems await on this special visit in the company of an expert curator.

Beginning in the palatial State Apartments, you will go behind the ropes for a private view of key artworks and architectural features, and gain exclusive access to the Chapel Royal with its velvet furnishings, jewel-like stained glass windows and array of sculptural ornament.

At Castletown House, County Kildare – Ireland’s first and finest Palladian style mansion – enjoy a private viewing of an Irish portrait collection of miniatures. On loan from the Irish Georgian Society, the collection comprises personal items, often given as a gift in an age before photography.

Your personal expert guide will lead you on a journey of discovery through Irish history from the turbulent seventeenth century, through the opulence of enlightenment Ireland in the eighteenth century and to the eventual decline of the Big House. Insights into the house’s history, its owners the Connolly family, and architectural and decorative art gems will abound.

Kilkenny Castle offers a truly historical and magical world. It stands at a strategic height above the River Nore, in 21 hectares of rolling parkland and formal gardens in the very centre of Kilkenny city. Step back in time here and relish the wonder and history of this prestigious stately home.

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Some very special pieces from the castle’s Ormonde Collection will be available for your viewing in the Duchess Closest of the west wing. Guests will have the opportunity to handle some pieces, which may include weaponry, family photographs, special family pieces and even some children’s toys from the nineteenth-century nursery.

And at Farmleigh House and Estate in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, built by the famous Guinness brewing family, you can have a private library experience.

The official Irish State guesthouse has hosted visiting dignitaries including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Emperor of Japan and Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

This historic house holds important collections, furnishings, an art gallery and a working farm. It remains a unique representation of its heyday in the Edwardian period.

Inhale the smell of aged leather and old books while the expert librarian guides you through the world-class collection of rare manuscripts and publications.

Credit www.ireland.com