No matter where your Irish vacation takes you, ensure you talk to the people and soak up the local character. The personality of the people will remain with you long after you leave!

A proud Irishman, Niall Rochford has had the opportunity to live in some of the most incredible regions of the county. He currently calls Cong home, where he leads the award-winning team at Ashford Castle. We caught up with Niall to find out more about what makes the perfect Irish vacation.

Gaelic Sports

“The heart and soul of every Irish community and village is Gaelic sports. Most commonly played is Gaelic football and hurling. To get a genuine experience of this I would recommend every visitor to Ireland to try and attend a match. Experience county versus country or club versus club and see firsthand the pride and ambition embedded in the Irish people.”


“Ashford Castle is on the doorstep of Connemara, which truly showcases the landscape of Ireland. No matter how many times you drive the winding roads the vistas take your breath away – especially when you have the opportunity to experience them through all seasons. Without a doubt I wouldn’t let a guest leave without sharing this with them.”

Killarney and the Ring of Kerry

“Just outside Killarney is the grand estate of Muckross House, where you can relive history by visiting the traditional farms of the 1930s and 1940s. My highlight in Kerry is Waterville – if you like golf, this is the stop for you, but you might be too distracted by the scenery to play well.”


“Soak up the atmosphere as you head toward Grafton Street. Dublin is such a close-knit city, it’s the perfect walking town as you’re always in close proximity to world-class attractions and experiences. One of my favourites is Kilmainham Gaol, steeped in Ireland’s political history. Upon arrival, ask your Traveling Concierge for help getting tickets.”


“Galway City is such a young and dynamic city, yet it manages to retain its heritage and tradition. There is a strong musical influence felt throughout, which is inherently Irish. The people are time and time again said to be the warmest in the world and this is echoed on the streets, and in the shops and bars. All of this and probably the best seafood in the country. It’s all a wining combination!”


“Without doubt, the National Stud is the most underrated experience in Ireland. I personally visit time and time again as my family has a huge interest in horse rearing, and Tully offers the best example of horse rearing husbandry in the country. I suggest you visit on a guided tour that takes you to the stallion boxes foaling unit and museum.”

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