Ireland is a country of lush landscapes, impressive country houses and one of the handsomest cities in Europe. It is also two separate countries, the Republic of Ireland to the South, and Northern Ireland, which is still a part of the United Kingdom.

This will indeed be a trip of opening doors. Being met by our hosts, from whom we will hear directly about what we see, will add greatly to its interest. Our many private visits are spread throughout the trip from great houses like Birr Castle, home to the Earl and Countess of Rosse to Barons Court where the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn have invited us for dinner. From the charming small town of Adare, where we are invited for dinner and music at the home of an antiquarian to the Merriot Hotel in Dublin, Ireland will offer many unexpected pleasures.

Then in Dublin, that still unspoiled city, the Chief Curator of British Paintings at the National Gallery of Ireland will show us the best of the currant hanging.  He will also take us through unknown Dublin, showing us aspects of the city that hardly anyone has ever seen. There will also be a visit to the National Museum of Archeology with its famous Celtic gold collection and to the National Museum of Decorative Art where we will enjoy the extraordinary quality of Irish silver and furniture.

I hope you will join me in walking through these many open doors.

Olivier Bernier
Center for Khmer Studies

P.S. You may also wish to mark your calendar for the programs that come before our Ireland tour – “A Connoisseur’s France with Olivier Bernier,” April 4-14.

Our second trip, “Sicily Revealed: Wildflowers and Masterpieces,” April 16-28.



Ancestral Houses of the Irish Aristocracy
June 2nd – 12th

Day-by-Day Itinerary


June 2, Saturday

Depart for Ireland


June 3, Sunday

Shannon/County Clare

Morning arrival at Shannon Airport.  Continue to the newly refurbished Adare Manor, where we will stay for two nights.  Depart in the late afternoon for the home of George and Michelins Stacpoole, antiquarians and collectors.


June 4, Monday

County Offaly

The morning visits begin with a curatorial tour of the Hunt Museum, located in the  beautifully refurbished 18th-century Customs House, with its fine collection of medieval artifacts.  We are then invited by Lord and Lady Ross for a privileged tour of their home Birr Castle, followed by lunch in the red dining room, where the last seven generations look down from their formal portraits on the walls.   Dinner will be at the hotel.


June 5, Tuesday

Belle Isle, Northern Ireland

Depart this morning for Belle Isle with stops along the way (tbd)

Lunch en route and dinner at the castle at Belle Isle.


June 6, Wednesday

Northern Ireland

The morning begins with a tour of Florence Court, a large 18th-century house and estate, now owned by the National Trust.  Continue to Killyreagh where we have been invited for lunch and a tour of the gardens with the owners, Lord and Lady Hamilton.  The day concludes at Castle Coole, a late 18th-century neoclassical mansion designed by James Wyatt and one of the most perfect specimens of Irish Georgian architecture.  We will tour the house, still with most of its original furniture, and enjoy our dinner, hosted by a family member.


June 7, Thursday

County Donegal

The focus of the morning is Oakfield Park, County Donegal.  A magical landscape of parklands, woodlands, lakes and formal gardens set around a restored 18th-century deanery,  this amazing garden requires eight full time gardeners with four additional gardeners on a seasonal basis.  Following a private tour, we will have lunch.   Later in the afternoon, continue to Baronscourt, a Georgian mansion and estate and the seat of the Duke of Abercorn.  Following a tour of the garden we will join the Duke and Duchess for cocktails and dinner in the Rotunda.


June 8, Friday

Belle Isle/Dublin


We leave Northern Ireland for the Republic, with a stop at Mount Stewart where we will see the house and its famous gardens.  Continue to Grey Abbey, the home of Mr. And Mrs. Montgomery.  Arrive in Dublin and the Merriot hotel, the finest in the city. Evening at leisure.


June 9, Saturday


This morning Adrian LeHarivel, Chief Curator of British Paintings, will lead us on a tour of both the European and Irish collections of the National Gallery of Ireland, which had a major refurbishment in 2017. We will enjoy a coffee break in the newly created courtyard and a light lunch in the Board Room, the principal room of an 18th Century house that was incorporated in the Millenium Wing. The afternoon includes visits to homes of the former Aristocracy, with a secret garden at St. Patrick’ s Cathedral, where there are relics of the literary Dean, Jonathan Swift. The evening is at leisure with the opportunity to enjoy a performance at the famous Abbey Theatre.


June 10, Sunday


After seeing the opulent former home of the Guinness Family, Farmleigh, in Phoenix Park, a combined historic museum and residence for visiting dignitaries like Queen Elizabeth II, there will be lunch by the lake. Then a visit to the National Museum at Collins Barracks will show us the best of Irish decorative art, furniture and silver.

This evening Adrian LeHarivel has invited us for a buffet supper party at his home, an 1840s late Georgian house.


Monday June 11

Dublin/ County Wicklow

We drive through the lovely countryside to see Russborough House, with outstanding plasterwork, furniture and artworks. Built by the Earl of Milton it the 18 th century it was later home to Sir Alfred and Lady Beit both of whom were major donors to the National Gallery of Ireland.

Return to Dublin for the afternoon at leisure.  Our farewell dinner at the hotel begins with cocktails and a performance by Venetia Bowe, a rising young actress.


Tuesday June 12

Transfers to the Dublin airport for return flights to the USA.


Trip Price: To Be Finalized

Please note: concert schedules and itinerary subject to change.

For priority reservations, please write a check in the amount of $2,500 (per person and non-refundable), payable to Indagare Travel.

Kindly mail this check to:

Indagare Travel
950 Third Avenue
16th Floor, New York, NY 10022
Attention: Cameron MacMillan

Trip Inclusions:

o   Lectures and on-site commentary by Olivier Bernier

o   Hotel accommodations as per the itinerary

o   Meals: Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (with wine) as noted

o   Concert tickets, Loire barge cruise, all entrances

o   Private receptions and hospitality

o   Airport/hotel group flight transfers

o   Local taxes and gratuities

Not Included:

o   International and Domestic Flights

o   Meals not specified

o   Alcoholic beverages other than those included in the meals

o   Personal items and expenses

o   Airport transfers other than those included in the itinerary

o   Trip insurance (highly recommended – please let us know if you   would like to see quotes)