St Patrick's Day 2024 in Dublin

Trip Dates:
March 14th to 24th, 2024


You’re Invited to Join Us
Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin
And What a Grand Party It Will Be

Starting on March 14, 2024 we will have four nights in Dublin, culminating Sunday, the 17th in the city-wide party and parade honoring St Patrick. On Monday, March 18 we will adjourn to our manor-home in the midlands for a week in the country. Our days will be spent either in domestic leisure or in the genteel pursuit of knowledge of the ancient monuments, rich culture and poignant history of Ireland

There will be a wonderful cast of musicians, friends and family, including Marley’s Ghost, the Savoy family, David Jackson, Nick Forster and many others, including some of Ireland’s most celebrated players. Every evening we will be together to enjoy dinners, sometimes banquets, but always music. Some of it will be rehearsed. But much of it will be spontaneous; With about 20 musical professionals, we’ll experience the blending of musical wisdom acquired by each individual performer during a lifetime spent in the pursuit and performance of the musical arts.

Arrival in Dublin

We’ll meet in Dublin on Thursday, March 14, 2024 at the Clontarf Castle Hotel. It sits on the north side of the River Liffey. In the old days it guarded the entrance to Dublin Bay. It’s only a mile from the night life of Temple Bar but is surrounded by Dublin’s nicest neighborhood. That’s because a hundred years ago, as Dublin was running out of space to build, the owners of the castle sold the large parkland surrounding the castle to build new and luxurious homes. Although we had known about this property for some time, it was not high on our list because the photos showed that it was a castle that had gained an addition in the modern style. This is usually a recipe for bad taste.

But when we visited, we were absolutely charmed. Whoever is responsible for the renovation has a wonderful feeling for whimsy and playfulness that makes both the old parts and the new parts of the castle a delight. And the choice of artworks that fill the spaces gave us a new respect for what can be achieved blending contemporary art and architecture with an ancient structure.

And because it is all new, the rooms are wonderfully comfortable with all the latest amenities.

Visiting Dublin

Our home in Dublin: The Clontarf Castle is furnished with contemporary art and sculpture and a delightful sense of whimsy

We’ll have a couple of days to check out Dublin before St. Patrick’s Day. Each morning we’ll have six guides and transportation. We’ve picked six things that we’d like to share with you, but we are just a ten-minute cab ride from almost anyplace you’d want to go. So if you’ve got someplace that didn’t make our list, feel free to go off on your own. They speak English and they are such a joyful and helpful people that it is a delight to interact with the locals. But, if you go off on your own, please consider joining us for lunch at one of the three places we’ve picked. They are absolutely not to be missed. Here are the six places we’ve asked the guides to visit with you.

  • The Guinness Tour: Simply the most popular attraction in Ireland
  • Kilmainham Gaol: A sacred monument for Ireland’s freedom
  • Chester Beatty Museum: in Dublin Castle; one of the world’s great collections of rare books and manuscripts
  • Shopping on Grafton St.: You really have to take home something made of Irish wool.
  • Trinity College and the Book of Kells: After you read How the Irish Saved Civilization you will want to make this visit.
  • Teeling’s Whiskey Tour: One of the last and oldest makers of Irish Whiskey, and in a beautiful old building.

Our Lunch Places in Dublin.

  • One is the futuristic sky lounge, built atop the Guinness factory. (left)
  • Another is The Bank. It’s in the main hall of an old bank and is a Victorian fantasy of mosaic tile, polished brass and dark mahogany from 1894.
  • Finally, Nancy Hands, a classic pub filled with the memorabilia accumulated while serving patrons since the mid 1750’s.
  • We’ll be at all three places every day, so even if you are running around on your own, be sure to stop in at one of them and join us for lunch

The Big Day

Every year, for one day, the whole world becomes Irish, and Dublin becomes the center of the universe. On Sunday March 17, 2024, we’ll be there to take part in the celebrations. We are reserving places in the covered VIP reviewing stands in front of the Weston Hotel on the College Green at Westmoreland Street on the parade route. We can eat, drink and watch the parade go by while still having the ability to duck inside and escape the mayhem if need be. Bring something green to wear and we’ll provide the funny hats. Bands and marchers come from all over the world. In the evening we’ll return to the castle to celebrate. This day will mark the founding of Marley’s Ghost exactly 38 years ago. We’ll have a grand musical celebration! What a party!

We plan to attend in 2023 festivities in order to educate ourselves and make the best decisions for the group. Stay posted and we’ll send out periodic updates.

Off to the Midlands

One of our goals for this trip is to find and visit places that are a little off the beaten path of the “big hits” of Ireland. So we set our sights on the midlands. This is the home of the grand British overlords. Their estates covered thousands of acres and they built their houses on a scale worthy of such riches. And here in the midlands we found an absolute wealth of wonderful places to stay and explore. For our base we chose the Killashee House. It is a grand Victorian Mansion that became a convent, then a private school, and finally a 5-star hotel. The staff are excited to welcome a group of fun-loving American musicians and music lovers.
Upstairs they have a wonderful great hall, perfect for our evening dinners and concerts, and down below a great old pub for afterglows, (left). And where the stables used to be they have built a lovely spa with indoor pools and all the latest toys and treatments you expect to find in modern spas. (below)

What’s to see in the Midlands?

In ancient times monks fled here to escape the chaos of the fall of the Roman Empire. (following pages) But in the 18th and 19th century this is where the very rich English families built their second homes. There weren't many of them, as each estate contained thousands of acres, with local peasants tilling the land almost as slaves. Several estates were destroyed in the revolution, but those remaining are magnificent.

Russborough (1750): The home to one of the greatest private collection of paintings in the world. After being burglarized four times the owner sent the 12 most valuable works to the national gallery. Hundreds remain to view.

Emo Court: Designed in 1790 for the First Earl of Portarlington. His grandson, the Third Earl, finished it in the 1860’s. After only fifty years it was abandoned as the British owners returned to England during the struggle for Irish independence. After the Irish achieved freedom from Britain, the 200 square miles of the estate surrounding the house was distributed to local peasants and the house was taken by the Jesuits as a school to train new priests. The neoclassical home had been decorated with Greek statues. The Jesuits removed all the nudes and threw them into the lake in the garden. In 1969 the house was bought by an English stockbroker and donated to the Irish state. The statues have now been recovered from the lake and restored. In both Russborough and Emo Court we will take lunch in the mansion

City Monks/Country Monks

Long ago, as some monks opted for the comparatively urban life of Clonmacnoise, others sought spirituality in a life close to nature. Deep in the Wiclow Mountains, the glaciers of the last ice age carved two deep valleys that meet in a glen of spectacular natural beauty. This is Ireland’s version of Yosemite. It was here, in Glendalough that monks seeking solitude retreated to copy their holy texts and live off the land. Their early buildings were of wood and have long since disappeared, but around the year 900 they put a stone roof on their little church. And today it stands, original and unreconstructed. And, like Sean’s Pub in Athlone, their little church has served its community for over eleven centuries. We’ll take lunch In a delightful Irish garden restaurant in the the little village just outside the monastery.


Our Schedule

During our stay in Killashee we will, as is our custom, divide the big group into smaller groups for the daytime activities. Each morning we will have several coaches, each with their own driver and guide. By rotating through the days, each group will have the opportunity to take part in each activity. And each group will have a “free” day in order to hang around the castle, use the spa, or visit some of the other very wonderful places in the midlands. Maybe you want to kiss the Blarney Stone, visit the castle at the Rock of Cashel or visit Waterford and pick up some crystal. These places, and several others are within a comfortable distance from Killashee. If you have a special desire, let us know and we’ll help make it happen.

The Shows

Our trip will be made up of several parts; Five-star accommodations, sumptuous banquets, the wonderful Irish people, and Ireland’s fabulous culture and history. But, perhaps the most important reason we are here is the music. Every night we will offer a concert featuring members of the great cast of musicians who are traveling with us or some of the marvelous local musicians that we’ve met. Through the years, many of our group’s musicians have developed long-lasting musical friendships with Irish players. As we refine this adventure we will reach out to invite them to join the fun and to share some of their musical joy with us.

What's Included

You will have one night on your own in Dublin. Aside from that we’ll cover all meals, wines with dinner, all tours and transport and gratuities. You will be responsible only for your airfare, your bar tabs, souvenirs and spa treatments.

Departure from Dublin

We will conclude the scheduled part of our adventure on Sunday, March 24. Because we will be only an hour from the Dublin airport, you should be able to schedule flights at any time that day, although an afternoon flight will allow you to sleep in a little. In April of next year, when the airline reservations open up for March of 2024, we will reach out to you to remind you. This is the best time to use air miles for tickets and upgrades.

How to Dress

We will be in lovely castles and manor homes each evening, so casual elegance or cocktail attire is best. Men can choose to put on a tie or not, as they see fit. During the day, dress for comfort. We will arrive during the first days of spring. We’ll probably experience both warm and cool temperatures. Be prepared for rain. Ireland did not become one of the greenest places on earth without intermittent rain throughout the year. We’ve made sure to have an indoor “plan B” for any outside adventures. But, as the Irish are fond of reminding guests, “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

Costs and Deposits

It might be that some folks with busy schedules only have time to attend the weekend parties in Dublin for St Patrick’s day. After all, it is a bucket-list opportunity. So we will divide the trip into two pieces that are priced separately. Four nights with all the trimmings at the castle in Dublin (Thursday till Monday) will be $3850/person, double occupancy. A single supplement is priced at $650. The events in the midlands (Monday through Sunday) with banquets, concerts and tours while at Killashee House is priced at $5,950 with a $750 supplement for a single room. To save a place for either part or both parts, you can send a $1,000/person deposit. This is fully refundable for any reason until next April, when we will divide the balance in three payments, due in April, October & January, 2024.

Cancelations, Rescheduling and Refunds

For many years our policy has read: “Your deposits are fully transferable to someone who takes your place, and if you cancel for any reason we will refund all of your money if the trip is full and we can fill your spot.” But, as a practical matter, when people have canceled, we have given either full refunds or credit for every dollar we have received, no matter what the circumstances, During the last two years, this has been quite difficult. With this trip, we will try a new approach and see how it works for you, our guests, as well as for us at Castles and Concerts. We’d love it if you get private travel insurance which can cover the cost of the trip plus airfare, lost luggage and many other things. This gets us off the hook if you cancel because the insurance will refund your payments to us. But with this trip, we will offer a kind of limited insurance that covers what you’ve deposited with Castles and Concerts. First, we’ll leave the old policy in place (see above in italics) but now, with this addition. “After you make both your deposit and, months later, a first payment, if you cancel, for any reason and at any time, we will credit you with the full amount you’ve paid for any future trip with us, or we will immediately refund all of your payments except the original $1,000 deposit.” Thanks for your understanding. Please feel free to offer us comments or suggestions on this matter. We intend to keep these trips going and, after a couple rough years, we’re back and ready to live life to the fullest. Join Us!