Belmond Grand Hibernian started a new chapter in history earlier as the first luxury sleeper train to travel throughout Ireland.
The inaugural journey departed Heuston Station at 14:20 taking 40 guests on a six-night grand tour of Ireland.
The train’s contemporary interiors are elegant yet relaxed, evoking the sense of travelling in an Irish country house on wheels, with genuine and warm service provided by the train’s crew.
Belmond Grand Hibernian will cover 2,217 kilometres, as it heads from Dublin to Cork where guests will visit the Jameson’s Distillery, followed by a private visit of Blarney Castle where it is traditional to ‘kiss the Blarney Stone’, kissers of the stone are said ‘to be blessed with the gift of eloquence and persuasiveness’.
Belmond Grand Hibernian then travels west to Killarney National Park for a ride on a jaunting cart and a cruise on the spectacular Lough Leane.
In the historic city of Galway, famed for its traditional pubs and lively Irish Folk music guests can enjoy a hearty local lunch before a walking tour of the old city, or visit the famed Cliffs of Moher.
Leaving the train in Westport, a drive through the dramatic coastal landscape and rolling hills of Connemara, takes guests for a day at Ashford Castle, once home to the Guinness family and the setting of many important historical events; now a luxury hotel with an award-winning golf course and Ireland’s oldest School of Falconry.
The train’s elegant, midnight blue carriages then travel to Northern Ireland and Belfast for a visit of the award-winning Titanic Experience before returning south to the Viking port of Waterford for a visit to the House of Waterford and Curraghmore House, home to the Waterford family and completing the journey in Dublin.
Head chef, Alan Woods, has created mouth-watering dishes showcasing the best of Irish produce with a contemporary twist to ensure guests experience the best of Irish cuisine.
Kildare, the Observation Car and social hub of the train has the charm of a local Irish tavern, with live entertainment each evening and a varied choice of Irish gin and whiskies.
Carriages are named after the Irish counties with interior designs and colours inspired by local scenery and details of each county’s tartan. Irish creative flair is also reflected in the staff uniforms, designed in Ireland, using materials such as Donegal tweed.
The sleeper cars, including Waterford, Leitrim and Kerry, feature 20 luxury en-suite cabins including four double cabins with spacious storage and elegant details such as the Galway crystal jewellery stands and Irish goose feather and down pillows and duvets, made in Westport.
Commenting on the launch, JP Kavanagh said: “As a proud Irishman, I am delighted to be part of the launch of this exciting new train showcasing authentic Irish hospitality, scenery, produce and culture.”
Belmond Grand Hibernian offers two, four and six-night itineraries for up to 40 guests running from today until the end of October.