Saturday 22 October 2016

All aboard Ireland's answer to the lavish Orient Express


Belmond Gran Hibernian's observation car.
Belmond Gran Hibernian's observation car.

BOOKING has opened for the Irish answer to the Orient Express that will see wealthy tourists travel around the island in luxury.

The Belmond Grand Hibernian launched its Grand Tours of Ireland including two, four and six-night itineraries starting from €3,160 per person.

The trains are set to be on the tracks from August next year and the prices include meals, drinks, entertainment and excursions.

Belmond Ltd is a global collection of high-end hotel, rail and river cruise experiences, including the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Royal Scotsman trains.

The Grand Hibernian, which incorporates 10 carriages undergoing refurbishment (see inset) after their purchase from Irish Rail, will carry up to 40 guests on its Irish itineraries.

The first journey, Legends and Loughs, is described as a four-night tour travelling from Cork to Killarney, Galway and Westport. Excursions include a tour of Jameson's Whiskey distillery, kissing the Blarney Stone, sheepdog trials and sporting activities at Ashford Castle.


The two-night tour, titled Realm of Giants, journeys north from Dublin to Belfast and Portrush, with excursions to Titanic Belfast, the Giant's Causeway and the Old Bushmills Distillery.

The launch follows the announcement of an Emerald Isle Explorer itinerary run by UK company Steam Dreams with vintage locomotives.

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