Vaccinated Americans can now go to Ireland!

July 22nd, 2021

As of this week (starting July 19), fully vaccinated U.S. travelers can travel to Ireland without quarantining for the first time in over 15 months. (Before this Americans could travel to Ireland but had to quarantine for 14 days.) Visitors will have to show proof of vaccination. If unvaccinated, tourists will need to show a negative Covid test and must self-quarantine before taking a second test. Unvaccinated children between 7 and 18 will have to show proof of a negative test before entering

Set on 450 acres, Dromoland Castle in County Clare is the most inviting spot to spend a summer or fall holiday. The Castle dates back to the 16th century and offers myriad activities for getting out into the Irish countryside. With the country reopening to Americans and Dromoland Castle offering its four-for-three stay offer, this is the best time to pop over to the Emerald Isle.

For the family:

What kids (of any age) wouldn’t want to explore a castle? Aside from the parapets and suits of armor and grand corridors, kids can go on pony and trap rides, race go karts, try archery and falconry, and play some tennis. Miniature robes and slippers, board games, and bubble bath supplies are perfect for the end of the day.

*Jumpstart the trip before going with a zoom call with resident genealogist Lorna Moloney where she shares her research into any Irish family histories.

For the history buff

Dating back to the 16th century, Dromoland Castle is rife with stories and historical intrigue. Castle historian Jane O’Brien draws on historical sources to reveal what life was like for those who once lived at the castle. She also shares interesting anecdotes, such as the Temple of Mercury on the castle grounds’ provenance (it is a shrine to a racehorse on which a previous owner of the Castle bet the entire castle – since the horse won and he got to keep his property, when the horse died, he built the extravagant shrine).

For the sportsman:

Activities abound on the grounds, enough to fill several days with all different pursuits, including…

  • Falconry – said to have been around for over 4,000 years, falconry remains an enduring popular activity at castles and country homes. Dromoland Castle’s falconry program takes guests out onto the beautiful castle grounds with falcons, hawks, and owls, giving them a chance to hold these birds of prey and experience their relationship with their falconers.
  • Golf – The castle is a great home base for getting out on the fairways at famous courses like Lahinch and Ballybunion, not to mention its own 18-hole parkland course. The driving range’s floodlights make it an excellent spot to fit in a little evening practice, ideally followed by a freshly poured Guinness at the golf club.
  • Fishing – the castle’s own lake is generously stocked with trout, perch, and other fish and guests can set off in a rowboat or cast from the shore. The kitchen is happy to cook up whatever is caught!
  • Clay shooting – this can be arranged for any skill level, from beginners to experts. Each session includes 30 clays and lasts between 40 minutes and an hour, depending on the size of the group.
  • Archery – channel the past practicing archery on the grounds of the castle. Expert guides instruct guests how to hit their target.
  • Cycling – complimentary bikes are available to explore the myriad paths that criss cross the 450-acre estate.

For the foodie:

In addition to sipping craft cocktails, touring the wine cellar, sampling the tasting menu at the Earl of Thomond fine dining restaurant, nibbling scones and clotted cream at afternoon tea, or trying local dishes at Shannigan’s gastropub, there’s a new truly local offering: foraging. While foraging seems a relatively new trend, it has long been part of the fall tradition in County Clare. Oonagh O’Dwyer, leader Dromoland Castle’s foraging program, brings guests to forage things like sloes (used to make sloe gin), crab apples for jams and chutneys, blackberries for pies, jam, and syrup, Alexander seeds (that taste of black pepper), nettle seeds (a super food), hazelnuts, Carrageen seaweed (an anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial – often used as chest medicine in the winter), dandelion roots for coffee, and pignuts (which taste like walnuts).

For the gardener

André le Nôtre, known for designing the gardens a Versailles, also designed the gardens at Dromoland Castle. Head Gardener Dorothea Madden leads garden tours of the castle, and upon request, private gardens nearby. Reminiscent of The Secret Garden, the walled garden was at one point infested with briars. Dorothea led the charge in hand digging every inch of it and restoring it to its former glory, including planting the Castle’s very Dromoland Rose. This summer, the property is offering dining in the garden.

How to get there

There are direct flights to Dublin from several US cities including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. From Dublin, two-and-a-half-hour drive (or 50 minutes via a private helicopter transfer).

Current rules

Vaccinated visitors are allowed into the country without quarantining as of July 19. If visitors don’t have valid proof of vaccine, they will need to present evidence of a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to arrival into the country, self-quarantine until they get a negative post-arrival test – this will be provided through the HSE (Ireland’s Health Services). More information here.

Summer rates start at $717 per night.


About Dromoland Castle

Set on 450 acres of parkland with 97 rooms and suites, Dromoland Castle dates back to the 16th century when it was home of the O’Brien family, whose lineage dates back 1,000 years to Brian Boru, one of the last High Kings of Ireland. Converted to a hotel in the 1960s and fresh off a $20 million renovation and restoration, Dromoland Castle exhibits the best of its regal Irish heritage.

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