Steam Dreams Rail Co has announced that its 10th ‘Explorer’ tour will be a nine-day Emerald Isle Explorer holiday starting in Dublin on Wednesday, 3rd May 2023. With high class hotels, stunning scenery and world-class attractions, this rail journey around Ireland has been meticulously designed as the perfect way to escape to another world, without venturing far from home or stepping foot in an airport, journeying to the Dublin start point via ferry.

This dream rail adventure is just the ticket, combining steam travel in charming vintage carriages with beautiful countryside, fascinating cities, fabulous hotels, great food and wine – and above all – the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed and stress-free holiday. Hauled by historic steam locomotives, there’s a range of ticket and accommodation options from seating in Premium Standard to luxurious Pullman Style Dining.  All passengers will also have the chance to visit the wood-panelled onboard bar car – the only railway bar in the world to serve draught Guinness.

The nine-day holiday includes one night in Dublin, two nights in Galway, three nights in Killarney and two nights in Kilkenny. Highlights include a stop at the charming city of Athlone, which lies on the banks of the River Shannon (Ireland’s largest waterway), a tour of the Ring of Kerry passing stunning lakes, rivers and waterfalls, and free time to explore the city of Kilkenny, a city that exemplifies Ireland with its medieval castle and cathedral alongside established breweries and distilleries.

This tour is planned to be steam-hauled throughout. The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) have a number of steam locomotives and the mainstay for the tour will be old favourite V Class No. 85 Merlin, sporting sky blue livery and built in 1932 for express passenger trains. Merlin will be joined by No. 171, Slieve Gullion, an express passenger locomotive built in 1913 which will be making its debut on the tour.

Prices start from £1995 for Premium Standard, £2995 Premier Dining and £3995 Pullman Dining Style.

Price includes eight-nights’ hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, luggage porterage service between the train and hotel, coach transfers between the train and hotel when appropriate, complimentary tea and coffee on board the train, and a team of helpful staff both on board the train and at all hotels to ensure all guests have a memorable and enjoyable holiday.

Pullman Style Dining passengers will stay at some of the best accommodation available in Ireland, including the fabulous Glenlo Abbey Hotel near Galway and the Mount Juliet Estate outside Kilkenny. Passengers will be welcomed on board with a glass of Champagne and will receive a light meal on board the train on days two, four, seven and nine, served with a half-bottle of wine per person. They will also receive dinner in their hotel on days two, four and seven.

Premier Dining passengers will be welcomed on board with a glass of Bucks Fizz and will receive a light meal on the train on days two, four, seven and nine. They will also receive dinner in their hotel on days two, four, and seven. 

Please note single supplements apply for single passengers for the hotel accommodation.

Steam Dreams are offering travellers the opportunity to journey to Dublin from England via ferry and enjoy an extra night’s stay in Dublin at the end of the holiday (supplement applies).

A choice of optional excursions by road coach or steam are available to book for an additional supplement. Final details about optional excursions will be confirmed in early 2023.

View the full itinerary here in an online brochure. To make a booking or purchase a Steam Dreams Rail Co. gift voucher please call 01483 209888 – 9.30am – 5pm on weekdays or purchase online at  

Photo: Monasterevin – credit Dave Collier