Dublin to Ashford Castle, Cong (by Helicopter)
One of Europe's liveliest cities, Dublin is famous for it's centuries-old pubs, friendly locals, and historic bridges. But it's also got great live music and a burgeoning restaurant scene with a young and energetic vibe thanks to its massive tech scene. You won't regret booking your stay at The Merrion, a beautiful five-star hotel housed within four Georgian townhouses directly across from the National Art Gallery and National History Museum. Once you've worked up an appetite, take a stroll across Ha'penny Bridge and grab a bite at The Woollen Mills Eating House before crossing back over the River Liffey for a pint at the Clarence Hotel (owned by Bono and The Edge). Then, The Guinness Storehouse is touristy but well worth a visit, especially the 360 degree view of the city from the Gravity Bar. For a more modern experience, check out the Marker Hotel, located in the heart of the newly-revived dockside area and steps away from the Bord Gaís Energy Theater.
It's no surprise that the activities at Ashford Castle, a stunning 13th century castle near the small country town of Cong, are fit for a prince. Once the country estate of the Guinness family, Ashford recently underwent a lavish renovation. The plush vintage theater and new billiards room alone are worth a visit, not to mention the exquisite dining room and suites. Ashford Castle is a pleasant two-and-a-half hour drive through the Irish countryside, but you're best taking a short and outrageously scenic 40-minute flight from Dublin. Once there, golf, fish, shoot skeet, practice archery, and explore the surrounding area on horseback or bike. To learn the area's history, a boat tour on Lough Carrib is a must-do, if you can fit it in between hawking with the Ashford Castle School of Falconry. Outfitted with a thick leather glove, the graceful hawks takeoff and land on your outstretched hand.
Dublin to Ashford Castle
Distance: 150 Miles
Travel Note: Charter a helicopter to take you from Dublin Airport directly to Ashford Castle—the hotel has a helicopter landing pad on it's property. If you're driving, there are a few different ways to get to the airport from The Merrion but the quickest is to take the N1.
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