Train travel is one of the best ways to experience European countries, including Ireland. Yet for many elite explorers, rail cars are more suited to carrying freight than their Fendi trolley. Those joining our Emerald Ireland journey, however, will find such tall tales delightfully debunked as they board the Belmond Grand Hibernian — the first luxury train in Ireland and one of the finest in the world. Here, a few common rail myths we’d like to unravel:
Onboard ambiance is off the track — An elegant design inspired by classic Georgian architecture, warm woods, chic décor, fine art pieces, and authentic Irish atmosphere: The Belmond Grand Hibernian is more a traveling boutique hotel than a train.
Sleeping cars are cramped — Forget the cramped bunk beds and communal wash stations. The Belmond Grand Hibernian's 20 en-suite cabins are surprisingly roomy and sumptuously modern, with large wardrobes, writing desks and chairs. Rich accents are inspired by the country’s tartan; sophisticated touches include Galway crystal jewelry stands. Double cabins connect to singles for convenient family travel, and all are serviced by a warm and wonderfully efficient staff.
There’s nothing to do onboard — Besides watching Ireland’s bucolic countryside and dramatic coast roll past your panoramic window, you can head to the convivial Observation Car for a glass of fine Irish whiskey or a refreshing pint of stout. Mingle with fellow passengers, listen to local musicians, or join in a traditional craft sessions. What’s more, the Belmond Grand Hiberian houses a curated collection of contemporary art, including works by such celebrated Irish artists as Mick O’Dea and Samuel Laurence Cunnane.
The fare is far from fair — As on every Travcoa journey, Emerald Ireland guests are treated to the finest fare in the country — even as they are railing across it. Expect authentic, regional cuisine rivaling the best tables in Dublin, served in a choice of two distinctive dining cars.
There’s no time to explore — You’ll see more than station platforms traveling aboard the Belmond Grand Hibernian. Indeed, you’ll experience some of Ireland’s most impressive attractions, including The Titanic Experience in Belfast, where you’re treated to a private tour; the otherworldly Giant’s Causeway; Bushmills Distillery for a tasting of its hand-crafted whiskeys; and Newgrange, a prehistoric monument built centuries before the Great Pyramids.