2017 IRISH SPRING TOUR: Food, Drink & FUN


This is the trip we would want to take! A ‘country cottage week’ to remember at a secluded private Lodge near the coast in West Cork, with three days of cool Dublin City stuff tossed in for good measure. Plus a day and night to explore the pastoral countryside and historic city of Kilkenny.

Limited to 16 persons
Depart Toronto Monday June 5, return Friday June 16, 2017

• Wild Atlantic Sea Coast • Dublin Sights & History • Luxury City & Lakeside Accommodation • Georgian Architecture • Traditional Music • Ireland’s Oldest Distillery • Historic Kilkenny • Romantic Gardens • Scenic Hikes • Pub Lunches • Stone Circle • Ferry to Picturesque Islands • Wine Tastings • Cliff Walks • Daily Pints at Traditional Pubs • A Castle or Two • Special Supper with Organic Food Producers • Three-Course Gourmet Dinners with Lots of  Wine • Full Irish Breakfasts • Arts & Crafts Galleries • Fun Picnics • Fireside Evenings around a Peat Fire • Irish Dancing • Irish Whisky tastings • Atlantic Sea Kayaking option • Michelin Star Restaurant option • Great Craic!

“Ireland – where the wit flows as freely as the drink.”

Kato and I are delighted to offer our Irish Tour again (our 6th year!) – all previous ones have sold out. Once again we’ve secured our jewel Country Lodge, and cool Dublin and Kilkenny Hotels and are ready to welcome anyone interested in the ‘perfect Irish holiday/experience’. One that brings together the old & the new, the fancy & the rustic. You’ll enjoy wonderful meals, stunning scenery and walks, exciting discoveries, and what is known locally as ‘good craic’ – lively social interaction and spontaneous revelry – usually involving drink, music and carry on. It doesn’t get better than spring in Ireland!


Ireland2016_1First stop is Kilkenny – the town and its delightful, rolling countryside. The Lonely Planet sums it up nicely: “Tiny roads navigate the valleys alongside swirling rivers, moss covered stone walls and relics of Irish religious history. You’ll soon run out of adjectives to describe green.” We’ll have lunch in Kilkenny town, followed by time to rest or explore. After a superb dinner and our first Guinness,  the energetic will want to join me for an evening of pubs, music and stories.

Next morning you’ll have the opportunity to explore the magnificent Kilkenny Castle, the Design Centre, shop or sleep in. From Kilkenny we will head south over the Knockmealdown Mountains which offer stunning views of County Tipperary. Lots of heather and hills in full bloom with pink rhododendrons – breathtaking!  We’ll stop for a delicious dinner on the seaside bay – fresh fresh fish! – before we check in at Liss Ard Estate, our ‘home’ for the week in West County Cork.


The property overlooks a gorgeous lake, and consists of 200 acres of woodlands, meadows, lakes and waterfalls. Offering many short or long walks along beautiful forest paths. Check out the Sky Garden created by famed artist, James Turrell. Fly fishing and boating on the lake, and horseback-riding are also options. Skibbereen, our local town, is a twenty minute walk, or 5 minute taxi ride. Trips into town might involve a seeing the Art Gallery, the delightful Saturday market, Famine and Heritage Museum (explore your genealogy!), or some cafés. 

seasidetownWest Cork is a hub for all the foods that Ireland does best – fish, beef & lamb, vegetables and cheeses. Mostly organic. To give you an idea of the passion for good food – the local supermarket carries one of Ireland’s largest stocks of organic food. Trust you’ll be well fed – at our Lodge, and out-and-about at interesting restaurants. Ireland is a large importer of French and Spanish wines so those will be our vinos for the week, and you’ll enjoy a few mini seminars around these wines. We hope you will also partake in a ‘daily pint’ of Guinness, and some after-dinner whiskey.

Ireland2016_4While we encourage chilling out at our wonderful setting, you will probably want to come on our not-to-be-missed outings such as to the quaint fishing village of Baltimore, where you’ll enjoy lunch on the terrace of an award-winning garden. (Gardens always look better through a glass of wine!). At Sherkin Island, a hike around the island will take in the ruins of a small monastery, sandy beaches and perhaps the Jolly Roger Pub. Back on shore, we will climb to the ramparts of the restored Norman Castle. After, we’ll join the locals – for a chat, or music session – at one of the four pubs overlooking the harbor. And that’s just the afternoon!

SkerineA visit to Bantry House and Gardens will include seven magnificent terraces overlooking the Bay. Shades of Tuscany! While Garnish Island is one huge romantic, Italianesque garden – a beauty for sure. This ‘fresh air’ day will include hiking on Sheep’s Head peninsula which has been described as “Short, sweet and scenic – the best in Ireland.”fishchips Aprés hiking we’ll have a pint at Billy’s favourite, the Tin Bar, followed by supper at a tiny gastro pub, right on the water’s edge. Fish & chips with a bottle of Gascogne Blanc – food, wine and situation pairing at its best!

BantryOne of our many coastal outings will be to Mizen Head Signal Station (of Marconi fame) – the most south-westerly point in Ireland. On the bridge crossing to the Station you’ll see stunning cliffs soaring above blue water and crashing waves. Exhilarating for sure. Earlier in the day there will be an opportunity to explore the small galleries, boutiques and taverns, in the pretty fishing town of Schull. At night we will sniff out some traditional Irish music.

The days are long with the summer solstice, and the countryside is briming with life. Local Gubbeen Farmhouse cliffsFoods – cheese & charcuterie – are among the best in Ireland, along with original Irish Farmhouse Cheeses under the Durrus label, made by Jeffa Gill. We will enjoy an exclusive tasting of these (and other products) at our Lodge. Strawberries are in season too, and they are magnificent!

West of Liss Ard we will visit the three picturesque fishing villages of Unionhall, Glandore and Castletownsend. Enroute we might well stop at a 2000-year-old Stone Circle to experience renewed energy and wisdom. Lunch will be in the garden of Drishane House, (built in 1780 by Thomas Somerville, great grandfather of Edith, of Somerville-Ross TV fame) hosted by the charming 9th generation Somervilles – Tom and Jane. A short stroll down the village will take us to Mary Ann’s, for our daily pint – more energy and wisdom.


The economic boom of the past few decades transformed Dublin into one of the most exciting small cities in the world. The traditions of art, literature, music, and hospitality are now joined by stunning new architecture and fantastic food. Former dingy backstreets have been retrofitted with cafés, galleries and retail. Recession aside, the city has never looked better.

Ireland2016_6Dublin is a strollers’ paradise and we will be staying at a boutique family-owned hotel in the heart of the action. Grogan’s, McDaids, Neary’s, Mulligan’s and more of the city’s classic old pubs are just blocks away, as are the most interesting shops, restaurants, museums and galleries. Fancy a Literary Pub Crawl? Foodies will not want to miss the extraordinary food at Dublin’s Michelin Star restaurant, Chapter One. Former tour participants have raved “well worth the splurge!” Closer to the time of your trip, we will provide you with our custom designed ‘Insider’s Dublin map of all the best places’ so you can identify what you might like to explore. And of course, we’ll have a wonderful farewell dinner together, share memories and, adjourn to the Long Hall for a final Guinness or two.

“Ireland is the perfect sanctuary to contemplate the eternal mysteries.”

Why Take a Tour Holiday with Billy and Kato?
“Our aim is to have you experience a mix or best and interesting. We put a lot of effort into finding and creating special, out-of-the-ordinary experiences – ones that capture the uniquely Irish way. And we believe that our planning, personal insight, and passion will give you a taste of  the ‘real’ Ireland. Certainly some ‘sights’ but also heartfelt times in Irish places, with Irish people. Everything is done to make your trip as memorable and as much fun as possible – the rest is up to you. It is important that you be in fairly good shape – you wouldn’t want to miss the wonderful hikes and walks around the Irish countryside.”

2017 IRISH SPRING TOUR: Food, Drink & FUN

Depart Toronto Monday June 5, return Thursday June 16 from Dublin

COST $3,695
per person double occupancy, including all taxes (TICO #2392471)

Single supplement (own room) $1,050
For singles wishing to share a room, “intimate twins” are offered at Liss Ard (individual mattresses slightly separated, but on the same bed frame)
2 upgraded rooms are available – add $500 per person

GETTING THERE: Air Canada Rouge #1908, Depart Toronto June 5@ 11:10pm, Arrive Dublin June 6 @ 10:40am
GETTING BACK: Air Canada Rouge #1909, Depart Dublin 12:25pm, Arrive Toronto 2:45pm June 16

Tour and host services of Kato Wake and Billy Munnelly
10 nights luxury accommodation
10 delicious breakfasts
8 three-course dinners with lots of wine
7 lunches with wine/beer
All private coach transportation
Mini wine tasting seminars
Ferry to Sherkin Island
Entrance to Bantry Gardens
Entrance to the Edith Somerville museum and house
Airport pick up and return in Ireland, connected to the ‘official’ flights
Concierge services in Dublin
…and carefully curated surprises!

Air (we don’t include this because many like to use their points)
Travel insurance
Drinks/meals/after dinner drinks not mentioned
Personal items
Some gratuities
Optional activities: Michelin Star ‘Chapter One’ in Dublin and Atlantic sea-kayaking – seaweed forging




Email us at with IRELAND 2017 in the subject headline.

Please go to THIS LINK and fill out the form:
Wait to hear confirmation then send a deposit of $500 per person to secure your spot to Kelly Richards, Ellison Travel and Tours,  PO Box 303, 18 Victoria Street S. Goderich, ON N7A 4C6
Make your cheque out to Ellison Travel and Tours: include your full names, address, contact number and email.
•  Your deposit will be deducted from your invoice but will not be refunded should you cancel.
• Billy’s Best Bottles reserves the right to make changes in the itinerary.

We prefer that you book your flight if possible with Kelly Richards, employee extraordinaire of our travel partner, Ellison Travel & Tours (email: or phone 519-524-8692 or toll-free 1-877-847-1272)

Up to 90 days before departure, full refund less deposit.
59 to 89 days prior to departure – 50% refund less the deposit. However, should we can find someone to fill your spot, we’ll issue a full refund less your deposit.
60 days prior to departure – no refund. However, should we can find someone to fill your spot, we’ll issue a full refund less your deposit.
TICO #2392471

Every tour we’ve run has ‘sold out’ and many guests are repeat offenders.


“A simple “thank you” seems most inadequate after the wonderful 10 days we spent with you and the other travelers. Loved the lodge (our home base), the villages, gardens sites and pubs, the fun activities and the delightful company every step of the way. You showed us an Ireland that most visitors would miss, while setting a pace perfect for enjoyment and reflection. Excellent food, ample drink, lively conversation, gorgeous locations, consummate hosts. It couldn’t get any better.”
Bill and Gerry Smyth

“Thank you, both Billy and Kato, for our wonderful experience in Ireland.  It wasn’t a tour, but a trip “home” to meet the locals of West Cork. My wife Diane and I have travelled on a number of tours with highly respected tour companies, but those trips do not compare to the experience of our trip with you to Ireland. It will always be fondly remembered as one of my favourites.”
A. Madden, Brampton

“Thanks, Billy and Kato, for a truly wonderful trip. I’ve often dreamed of a vacation that would incorporate fabulous food, wine, culture, scenery and fantastic company – our Ireland excursion was all that and more. Outstanding!”
E. Helps, Ariss

“Our trip was fabulous. Scenery, accommodations, company, food, drink and transport all first class. Kato and Billy sure know how to be unobtrusive and charming hosts, catering to the group’s needs and desires.”
D. Suarez, St Catharines

“We enjoyed roads less travelled, getting to know both the land and the people, and avoiding heavily touristed circuits. West Cork is a calm slice of heaven. Our travel companions were delightful, funny, and musically gifted. Billy and Kato are warm, genuine, multi-talented hosts who are always ready for fun and conversation. At the end of the trip it felt like we had been friends for years. If you are wondering if one of their trips is right for you…. YES, it will be!!!!  Do it.”
B. Murdoch, Waterloo

“We loved Ireland and once again you spoiled us thoroughly! Everything was so beautifully organized with superb attention to detail starting well before our trip. The accommodation was delightful, the wine and food delicious, the itinerary creative and beautifully paced with interests for all, and the other guests a pleasure to be with. Thank you for introducing us with such care and fun to the magic of Ireland!”
H. & H. Simmons, Ottawa

“Our second trip with Billy and Kato and once again a fabulous vacation. Their in-depth knowledge of the area and close personal connections with the local population gave us an experience not accessible to the average tourist. Every day brought new and fun adventures with a small, eclectic group of travelers who were a delight to be with. Would we travel with Billy and Kato again? Yes, in a heartbeat. Highly recommended.”
The Seybold’s, Picton