Ireland’s first luxury touring train, The Belmond Grand Hibernian rolls out from Heuston Station at 2.30pm today on its debut ‘Grand Tour of Ireland’.
Over six nights, the train will stop at Cork, Killarney, Galway and Westport, with further stops in Dublin, Belfast, Portrush and back to Dublin for a grand total of €7,722 per person.
Throughout the inaugural six-night itinerary, covering 2217 kilometres, guests will first travel from Dublin to Cork where they will visit the Jameson’s Distillery, followed by a private visit of Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone before the grounds are open to the public. Belmond Grand Hibernian then heads west to Killarney and its National Park for a boat tour of the spectacular Lough Leane.
As the train heads north, a walking tour of the creative city of Galway is followed by a full day visit to Ashford Castle for a lunch and walk around the property’s stunning grounds. The elegant, midnight blue carriages then travel to Northern Ireland and Belfast for a visit of the award-winning Titanic Experience. The train then returns south to the Viking port of Waterford for a visit to the House of Waterford and Curraghmore House, home to the Waterford family. The journey then ends in Dublin.
In addition to this extravagant six night option, the train’s regular schedule will see it depart from Dublin on two and four night trips, costing from €3,160pp for two nights, to €5,420pp for four.
Work on the Grand Hibernian first began two years ago, since then the 40 skilled workers at specialist outfitters Mivan Marine Ltd. in Belfast have set about transforming the 10 carriages formerly owned by Irish Rail into luxury accommodation.
Now fully furnished in an elegant Georgian style, the train will cater for up to 40 tourists, with 10 carriages, each named after Irish counties: Kildare, Wexford, Sligo, Kerry, Down, Waterford, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Donegal and Carlow.
The full 252 metres will also include 20 en-suite cabins, as well as four interconnecting suites for families, an observation bar car, and two restaurant cars, where Head Chef Alan Woods, formerly of Michelin starred Thornton’s in Dublin, will be serving dishes showcasing the best of Irish produce with a contemporary twist.
On the menu are dishes such as seafood chowder, Roast Killarney Venison, Donegal Turf Smoked Salmon and Crab Cannon, Skeaghanore Duck Leg Confit and Warm Kildare Wild Elderberry and Plum Compote. All food is regionally sourced from local producers. guests can expect to enjoy home-baked soda bread and scones; served with salty butter and homemade jams and fresh cream.
With hundred of bookings already taken, the train will accommodate passengers mostly from the UK, US and Europe who wish to explore in style the luscious countryside, dramatic coasts and fascinating cities of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the launch, JP Kavanagh says, ‘As a proud Irishman, I am delighted to be part of the launch of this exciting new train showcasing authentic Irish hospitality, scenery, produce and culture’.
Entirely privately run, The Grand Hibernian is operated by Belmond Ltd, the same company behind 45 hotels, rail and river cruise experiences, including six other luxury rail experiences such as Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond Royal Scotsman.
In 2017, the season will run from 25 April to 14 October. For more information or to make a reservation for 2016 or 2017 contact: 0845 077 2222; firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.belmond.com/grand-hibernian-train/.