Enjoy The Holiday Season at The K Club and Straffan House in Ireland

The K Club is the first AA Five Red Star property in Ireland. Located in Kildare, this luxurious country retreat sits on 550 acres of pristine parkland on a private piece of land on the scenic River Liffey.

Found on the property grounds is the incredible Straffan House, 34,000-sq-ft country home. For the upcoming Christmas holiday season, a stay at the Straffan House will be a truly VIP experience.

Some of the luxury amenities, enjoy a personal car and driver for shopping in Dublin or nearby Kildare Village designer shopping outlets; a lavish private gourmet Christmas dinner served by their own dedicated staff; a beautifully adorned Christmas tree and decorations throughout the residence, in addition to a personal visit from Santa Claus who arrives Christmas Morning to deliver gifts for everyone.

Straffan House features ten ensuite rooms plus a dining room that can seat 16 people. The house’s rich plush decor is stunning place relax near a crackling fireplace for warmth.

Straffan House also offers a state-of-the-art movie theater, private wine cellar, plus an indoor pool with swim-up bar.

Celebrate this amazing Christmas experience in style with different packages to choose from. Feast on a full Irish breakfast each morning in addition to a delicious Christmas Eve dinner in the River Room. Get in the festive mood with Carol Singing with Mulled wine and try a piece of Mince Pie on Christmas Eve. Each guestroom also includes a Christmas tree!

On Christmas Day, Santa Claus arrives in a horse-drawn carriage bringing holiday gifts for all. Kids can then enjoy a holiday treasure hunt and duck races on the beautiful River Liffey.

K Club Resort - Ireland
K Club Resort

The K Club is a perfectly restored 19th -century Georgian mansion with 69 luxury rooms. Guests who enjoy golf can play on one or both Arnold Palmer-designed championship courses: The Palmer Course has
hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup and is considered one of the best courses in Europe. The Palmer Smurfit Course hosted the European Open between 1995 and 2007.

Hotel reservations at the Straffan House do require a five night minimum stay, beginning December 23 at a rate of $20,000 USD per night.

If you are interested in staying at the either the The K Club or Straffan House, please contact The Life of Luxury. We can help book your entire travel reservation. Learn about other luxury travel deals like this by reading our luxury blog.

Enjoy the Private Estate Straffan House in Kildare, Ireland

Situated amongst 550 acres in Kildare, Ireland – the K Club Hotel, Spa and Country Club is a luxurious Irish country retreat that offers guest 69 rooms.

Straffan House was built on the countryside grounds of the K Club property. 34,000-sq-ft in size, Straffan House was first inspired by the original structure of the same name built back in 1832 in the style of a French Chateau that now houses the nearby K Club Hotel.

This elegant private residence is now available for exclusive use for all to experience its beauty. Guests will enjoy traditional outdoor pursuits of fishing on the River Liffey, falconry, skeet shooting and horse riding.

For golf lovers, you’re in luck. You can play unlimited golf on either the Arnold Palmer designed championship courses: The Palmer Course which was the location of the 2006 Ryder Cup, or the Smurfit Course, which for the last three years has hosted to the European Open.

If you are looking for a little pampering, guests can also enjoy the luxurious 20,000 square foot K Spa which is widely recognized as one of the finest spas across all of Europe. It’s no doubt considered the finest in Ireland.

Straffan House spa - Kildare, Ireland
Straffan House spa

The private estate Straffan House features a total of 10 bedrooms which are all ensuite. Also find an indoor swimming pool with ‘swim up bar’, spa, games room, cinema, gym, in addition to a glass-enclosed, thermostatically-controlled wine cellar. Plus for foodies, enjoy a dedicated service team, concierge and private chef.

Three stories tall, Straffan House offers luxurious amenities and high ceilings, fine stucco work and gorgeous chandeliers. You will also find original works of art by noted Irish artists Sir William Orpen and Jack B.

Rates at Straffan House are currently US$26,000 per night in the summer months and US$16,000 per night in the winter which runs from September 15th to March 15th inclusive.

If interested in learning more or booking a reservation at the Straffan House or K Club Hotel, Spa and Country Club in Kildare, Ireland (near Dublin), please contact a travel concierge specialist at The Life of Luxury.

Enjoy a Spectacular Riverdance Weekend in Ireland

2013 Riverdance - The Gathering
Courtesy: Riverdance

Riverdance is as popular as ever and its continued popularity just proves it remains a worldwide phenomenon with millions of fans.

As a wonderful celebration of Irish music, song and dance, Riverdance draws on Irish traditions and combines the richness of the music with the magic and sensuality of the dance.

Now is your chance to visit Ireland between July 20-21, 2013 and immerse yourself in an incredible Riverdance experience. Enjoy this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of one of Ireland’s most cherished traditions!

Ticket packages include premium tickets to see Riverdance: On Screen, a live gathering of Riverdance bands past and present, but for those with a basic competency in Irish dancing, a one-off opportunity to participate in an attempt to break the current record for the longest Riverdance line!

Each Riverdance – The Gathering vacation package above includes a seat to the following highlight events and are included in your price:
1. Seated tickets for Riverdance: On Screen at Merrion Square – July 20th
2. Reserved priority viewing area for Riverdance – The Record Breaking Attempt – July 21st. Retail Value: $25 per person.
3. Riverdance at the Gaiety special Gathering performances July 20 or 21st (matinee and evening performances). Retail Value: $70 per person. Brendan Vacations has several wonderful travel packages available:


“Dance & Drive” Vacation Package

Delight in the ultimate Irish experience! Start in Dublin, Ireland’s bustling capital city and enjoy sightseeing and Riverdance festivities before setting off to the quaint countryside and ending in Shannon!
6-night Self-Drive Vacation from $902* per person.

Your travel value includes:
– Private airport arrival transfer
– Your choice of Dublin City Bike or Walking Tour
– Riverdance Experience in Dublin (Complete details online here)
– 2-nights at a 4-star Downtown Hotel in Dublin (several options)
– 5-day Economy Hertz Rental Car with select inclusions
– 1-night stay in Kilkenny or Waterford at a Bed and Breakfast “Gem” of your choice with breakfast
– 2-nights in Killarney at the 4-star Arbutus or The Malton hotel
– 1-night in Shannon at the Bed and Breakfast “Gem” of your choice with breakfast
– All accommodation taxes


Private Chauffeur Experience: Ireland & Riverdance

Dreaming of Ireland? There is no better way to experience the Emerald Isle’s wondrous traditions than with a premium, private chauffeured vacation. Begin in Dublin, enjoy Riverdance and set off on a journey that will reveal Ireland’s most breathtaking sights and experiences. Best of all, it’s at your pace, with your driver and private car.
7-nights from $4,733** per person, traveling July 19-26, 2013.

Your travel value includes:
– Luxury private car and chauffeur throughout
– Private airport arrival greeting/departure transfers by your chauffeur
– Riverdance Experience in Dublin (Complete details online here)
– 3-nights at the 5-star Merrrion Hotel with daily breakfast in Dublin
– 1-night at the 5-star Waterford Castle with breakfast in Glendalough
– 2-nights at the 5-star Aghadoe Heights Hotel with breakfast in Lakeside
– Private excursions to Bru na Boinne with Newgrange or Knowth to visit the Neolithic tombs; Powerscourt House and Gardens; Blarney Castle; Ring of Kerry; the Foynes Flying Boat Museum and a tasting of traditional “Irish Coffee”
– 1-night at the majestic 5-star Dromoland Castle with breakfast
– All accommodation taxes


If you are interested in creating your own Irish travel experience, the contact us to add the 2013 Riverdance – The Gathering experience for only $69 per person to any Customized Vacation or either our Dublin & Killarney, or Dublin & Belfast Independent Vacation itineraries – a great value!

To learn more about the available Riverdance – The Gathering vacation package or to book your reservation, please contact us using the below form:

“The Gathering” is Ireland’s Yearlong Celebration of Culture and Tradition

Cliffs of Moher - Ireland
Cliffs of Moher

“The Gathering” is Ireland’s yearlong celebration of the incredible Emerald Isle. It showcases the unique culture and long standing tradition of Ireland.

To experience the best of Irish arts, culture and fun, consider enjoying the country’s major festivals and clan gatherings. The “The Gathering” started with unforgettable New Year’s Eve bash in Dublin.

There are over 70 million people around the world that claim Irish ancestry, so now you can join the celebration with Trafalgar, the Insider of guided vacations, as they offer 9 trips heading to the culture-rich Emerald Isle.

Below are several amazing trip options to fully enjoy “The Gathering” celebration in Ireland:

Best of Ireland
An 11-day journey to the most interesting and picturesque parts of the country, Trafalgar’s Best of Ireland trip is a comfortably-paced vacation starting and ending in Dublin. The trip makes overnight stops in Sligo, Limerick, Killarney and Cork, as well as day stops in Blarney, Kilkenny, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher to name a few. Following a Welcome Reception with a traditional Irish meal and drinks in a pub, guests spent the next day seeing the sights in Dublin and visiting the Guinness Storehouse for an included tour of the famous brewery before exploring the city on their own. On the journey to Cork, guests stop at the Irish National Stud farm, dedicated to rearing world-class thoroughbreds. It’s all sightseeing and marveling in the beauty of the Emerald Isle for the next few days, spending two nights in Killarney and two in Sligo before heading back to Dublin for a Farewell Dinner with wine at a local restaurant with fellow travelers.

Scenic Ireland
The 9-day Scenic Ireland was introduced in 2012 as a new At Leisure itinerary, quickly becoming a popular choice for travellers. With a focus on taking clients to the most picturesque parts of the country, Scenic Ireland offers up the perfect opportunity to explore the Irish countryside at a relaxed pace. The trip starts with a few days in lively Dublin, where guests will receive a morning tour with a local guide then enjoy a day of free time to explore the city by themselves with a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing ticket. Next, a visit to Blarney Castle means guests can get the Irish gift of gab as they tilt themselves upside down to kiss the infamous Blarney Stone. At the breathtaking Dingle Peninsula, Europe’s most westerly point, Trafalgar passengers are treated to a special Be My Guest dinner on a beautiful family-owned farm, where they will dine with locals and savour traditional Irish fare. Traveling on to Killaloe on Lough Derg, clients will finish their journey with a Guinness stew and soda bread cooking demonstration, which they’ll get to enjoy afterwards.

Irish Experience
On the 12-day Irish Experience trip, Trafalgar guests get to see all of the Emerald Isle as they visit Northern Ireland and spend nights in Londonderry and Belfast. Beginning and ending in Dublin, the trip also
stops at Ballina, Galway, Killarney and Waterford along the way. This itinerary is chock-full of incredible insider experiences, from a visit to the new Titanic Belfast Visitor Centre to learn about the history of the world’s most famous ship to zipping around Belfast in a Black Cab with a Local Expert ‘Cabbie’. In Waterford, clients will get an opportunity to visit the iconic House of Waterford Crystal to watch master craftsmen at work. In Dublin, a day spent sightseeing with a Local Guide is followed by an evening cruise along the city’s 200-year-old Grand Canal. Guests will also get to appreciate the country’s natural beauty with a visit to the Giant’s Causeway, an area of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns on the northern shore that has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and which Trafalgar is involved in the preservation of through their parent company’s Treadright Foundation.

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    Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey – Full-bodied Flavor from Ireland

    Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
    Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

    Established in 1757, Kilbeggan is the world’s oldest operating distillery. The scenic village of Kilbeggan is located in the middle of Ireland.

    Kilbeggan is also the home and birthplace of Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey.

    Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey is carefully handcrafted using only the finest hand-selected grain and barley plus distilled from the purest clear water.

    The great tasting whiskey is double-distilled to store more flavor and uses a blend from a 180-year-old pot still to produce a smooth and flavorful whiskey.

    You can enjoy this fine Irish whiskey either neat, on the rocks. The whiskey also pairs well with popular mixers including cola, soda or ginger ale.

    The historic distillery and Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey brand has proudly survived and thrived for well over 250 years. A change occurred in 2012, when Beam acquired Kilbeggan. This move allowed the small Irish distillery a new distribution across the U.S.

    Kilbeggan Irish whiskey achieved an elite status by being named the fastest-growing spirits category in 2011.

    The award resulted in a large increase in the whiskey brand’s popularity.

    Featuring a full-bodied flavor, Kilbeggan gained world-wide recognition by also winning the Best Blended Irish Whiskey at both this year’s World Whiskies Awards plus at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

    So no matter whether you are a knowledgeable connoisseur or novice whiskey drinker, Kilbeggan offers a smooth and sweet taste complete with a malty finish.

    Country Chic An Eco Friendly Holiday In The Garden Of Ireland

    Old Milking Parlour hotel - Ballymurrin Ireland
    Courtesy of: Old Milking Parlour Hotel

    The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt in County Wicklow, Ireland has partnered with The Old Milking Parlour at Ballymurrin, just 20 minutes from the hotel, that has been converted to a gorgeous, eco-friendly 2-bedroom retreat.

    Guests are now welcome to book a stay in this private and historic getaway in the “garden of Ireland.”

    The Old Milking Parlour at Ballymurrin, is a lovingly restored 17th century Quaker meeting house and member of Sustainable Tourism Ireland.

    The hotel’s owners restored the outhouses into the Old Milking Parlour and turned it into wonderful self catering accommodation which, bar the cows, has kept its old world feel with a stylish fusion of old and new architecture.

    Guests are offered preferable rates when booking a holiday which includes a stay in both properties, ensuring guests will see two wonderful sides to The Garden of Ireland or Co. Wicklow.

    The Milking Parlour is located 30 minutes from the hotel, and has white washed stone walls throughout, contains two double bedrooms, a wonderful open plan sitting room with stove and glazed doors from all living areas open onto a lavender edged, private garden with BBQ area.

    This property is a model of eco-friendly self catering, where all materials were chosen for their sustainability, creating a high standard of accommodation which incorporates a unique learning tool of environment-conscious design, meeting the needs of the discerning traveler.

    Under-floor geothermal heating combined with a roaring designer stove, ensure warmth permeates the Old Milking Parlour in winter and in summer the solar panels generate energy, providing the vast majority of hot water and heating.

    The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt, received the Silver Award by introducing an Environmental Action Plan focusing on energy, waste & water management and developing it across all aspects of the business.

    This award is recognized as one of the most successful programs in Europe and is voluntary to all hotels to enter, demonstrating leadership in environmental management within the hospitality sector.

    St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Dublin, Ireland

    St Patricks Cathedral - Dublin
    St. Patrick’s Cathedral

    Dublin, Ireland is one of the most visited cities in all of Europe and has many popular attractions for tourists to enjoy.

    Perhaps one of the most famous of Dublin’s attractions is St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s the largest church in Ireland. Be sure to put St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the top of your list of things to do in Dublin.

    Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is also known as The National Cathedral and Collegiate Church of Saint Patrick, Dublin.

    The first church was built in 1191 to honor Ireland’s Patron Saint. Today, it’s a historical site that tourists flock to year after year. Visitors go into the chapel to pray for free, although there is a charge for sightseeing.

    The Cathedral is open year round, except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas, which is called St. Stephen’s Day.

    For people who like to occupy themselves there are self guided tours and everyone is welcome to the services. The cathedral’s website lists all the available church services with times and days.

    St.Patrick’s Cathedral includes a bookshop on site. There you can purchase books and CDs. It’s good to know that all proceeds go towards the maintenance of the cathedral.

    You can find guide books that will offer an overview of the tours. They will point out what there is to see and the relevance of each attraction. St Patrick’s Cathedral is a spectacular site and along with the Baptistery offers a great day out.

    The St. Patrick’s Cathedral is steeped in the rich history of Dublin. The Cathedral is truly a site to behold. Visitors can pray or just walk the grounds and take in the sights. A truly remarkable place to visit, St. Patrick’s Cathedral should be on every itinerary.

    If you are lucky enough to visit Ireland and specifically Dublin, you are sure to experience the warm welcoming of Dublin hospitality and take home memories that will last a lifetime.

    For more information, go to St.Patrick’s Cathedral

    The Best of Ireland Golf

    Ireland Golf Course

    There are many different golf destinations that you have to choose from including Ireland which is one of the greatest golf destinations in the world. Ireland is filled with over three hundred golf courses.

    There are many golf course scattered across Ireland including the Ballybunion Golf Club in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, Ireland which was founded in 1893. The designer of the course was Tom Watson. The championship length of the course is six thousand six hundred and thirty eight yards.

    The course has seventy one pars in all. This particular golf course is extremely popular with golf enthusiasts all round for world and is even rated as one of the ten best golf courses in the world.

    Located in Drogheda, Ireland is the Baltary Golf Club which is one of the most popular golf courses in all of the Ireland. The course is extremely popular among the locals. This course was founded in 1892 but the layout was changed in 1938. This golf course was designed by Tom Simpson. The Baltary Golf Club course is a seventy three par course that consists of seven thousand and thirty one yards. The golf course can be found five miles north of Dublin and just five miles northeast of Drogheda.

    Founded in 1901 the Castlerock Golf Club is one of the most popular golf courses in Ireland. The course can be found in Castlerock, Co. Derry, Ireland. This course was designed by Ben Sayer and Harry Colt. Castlerock Golf Club is a seventy three par course that consists of six thousand seven hundred and forty seven yards in all. The golf course is located a few minutes from Portstewart. It is an extremely popular golf course.

    Founded in 1993 is the European Golf Club which is one of the newest courses in all of Ireland. Pat Ruddy designed the course which is located in Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. The European Golf Club course is a seventy one par course and spans an area of seven thousand one hundred and forty nine total yards. This golf course has become extremely popular in a short period of time. It is one of the finest links golf courses in all of Ireland.

    Designed by J. Carr, R. Kirby, E. Hackett and P. Merrigan, the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club was founded in 1997 and is one of the newest courses in Ireland. The golf course is located in Old Head, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland. The Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club course which spans an area consisting of seven thousand one hundred and twenty one yards is a seventy two par course. Many people say that his golf course is considered by most people to be one of the most amazing golf creations of all time.

    The Royal Dublin Golf Club is a seventy two par course and was founded in 1889. The Royal Dublin Golf Club consists of an area that spans an area of seven thousand three hundred and ten yards. The course was designed by H.S. Colt. This is an extremely old golf course and ranks as the second oldest course in Ireland. The Royal Dublin Golf Club is among the best Irish link course. The golf course is located in Dollymount Ireland. It can be found approximately five miles northeast of Dublin City.
    Courtesy of: Richard E Baly – GolfCocktail.com

    The Merrion, Dublin – Celebrate the Holidays in Ireland

    The Merrion, Dublin Hotel
    The Merrion, Dublin Hotel

    The Merrion, Dublin in Ireland is welcoming travelers to Dublin with a selection of special holiday offers, including a family-themed getaway and a post-Christmas racing-festival package.

    The Merrion showcases 123 guestrooms and 19 suites, and consists of four restored Georgian townhouses, that are combined with a contemporary Garden Wing.

    This year’s packages include:

    Winter Escape: For a quick escape, The Merrion welcomes guests with a special overnight rate of €240 (approx US$350) for a Standard Queen room. Based on double occupancy, the rate includes full Irish breakfast. Valid November 1st, 2011, to February 29th, 2012.

    Winter Family Getaway: To welcome families, The Merrion offers two interconnecting double and twin rooms at a rate of €495/night (approx. US$715). Based on two adults and two children sharing, the offer includes full Irish breakfast. Kids under 12 dine free (from the children’s menu in The Cellar Restaurant) excluding December 24th, 25th and 31st. Valid November 1st, 2011, to January 31st, 2012.

    The Merrion Dublin Hotel - Ireland
    The Merrion, Dublin Hotel

    December 24th-26th, 2-night stay, €425 (approx US$615) per person sharing. December 24th-27th, 3-night stay, €645 (approx US$930) per person sharing.

    Guests at The Merrioncan can also enjoy the hotel’s other luxury amenities, including – a hot glass of mulled wine next to the crackling log fires in the Drawing Rooms, a relaxing spa treatment at the hotel’s Tethra spa, or some pre- or post-Christmas shopping at Grafton Street, a short stroll from the hotel.

    New Year’s Getaway Celebration: Ring in the new year with a celebratory ‘New Year’s Jazz Dinner’ for two in The Cellar Restaurant, two nights’ accommodation in a luxurious room in the Garden Wing, full Irish breakfast each morning, a bottle of Champagne and seasonal treats in-room on arrival. Valid December 30th, 2011, to January 1st, 2012, at €397.50 per person (approx US$575), sharing a double or twin room.

    For more information on The Merrion and to make reservations, visit www.merrionhotel.com.

    St Patrick’s Day, True Irish Legend – Blarney Stone

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to every one.  In celebration of this festive Irish day, let’s take a look at Ireland and the famous Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone.

    Blarney Castle was originally a timber hunting lodge built in the 10th century, which was replaced by a stone castle in 1210.  The present day castle was completed by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster in 1446.

    Following the epic Battle of the Boyne in 1690, all Irish chiefs were stripped of their powers and the McCarthys were again forced to leave Blarney Castle.  The Castle was then sold to Sir James Jefferyes, Governor of Cork in 1703.  The Castle is currently owned and managed by the Trustees of the Blarney Castle Estate.

    The famous Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower, in the ancient Irish village of Blarney.  The walls of the castle are 18 feet thick.  The stone is believed to be half of the Stone of Scone which originally belonged to Scotland.

    Scottish Kings were crowned over the stone, because it was believed to have special powers.   One of the stories says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning.  Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to talk sweetly.  He was able to talk anyone into doing things.

    The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in return for his support in a battle.  Queen Elizabeth I wanted the Irish chiefs to agree to hold their own lands under title from her.

    Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, handled her every Royal wish with clever promises keeping loyalty to the Queen without “giving in”.  Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her “a lot of Blarney.”

    This is how the story began that if you kiss the blarney stone you will also be able to make clever promises.