Great Country Houses & Gardens of Northern Ireland

The ICAA is pleased to partner with Classical Excursions to present this exclusive tour of the great country houses and gardens of Northern Ireland. This exclusive tour will be led by Lani Summerville and Mark Donnelly, a noted expert on Irish decorative arts and antiques, and features a stay at the privately owned Ballywalter Park, an Italianate Palazzo built in 1846 and now the family home of Lord Dunleath, along with a stay at the privately-owned Belle Isle Castle, home of Lord Nicholas Hamilton. 

This tour is arranged by Classical Excursions. Please note that a registration form and deposit must be submitted to Classical Excursions and a confirmation of receipt must be received from Classical Excursions in order to be considered registered for this program. Payment of the $500 donation to the ICAA prior to registration does not guarantee placement on the trip. To inquire about registration for this program, please contact [email protected] or 413-243-4155.

Please note a fully tax-deductible donation of $500 per person is required to participate in this travel program. All travel program participants receive a complimentary Individual level membership for one year to the ICAA. 

Image: Mount Stewart, Flickr/Amanda Slater

Seaforde House

Participants will enjoy a private tour and lunch at Seaforde House and gardens hosted by the owner Lady Anthea Forde, elder sister to the present Earl of Belmore, who was raised at Castle Coole. The house, which is typically not open to the public, was redesigned in the early 19th Century and contains magnificent Greek-revival interiors. The renowned gardens contain rare plants and trees from around the world, as well as a maze. 

Mount Stewart

The tour will include a visit to Mount Stewart, Newtownards, in County Down, which was originally built in 1804 by architect George Dance and later extended. Mt. Stewart’s gardens cover 80 acres and are considered the most complete in Ireland, thriving in the area’s subtropical microclimate. Overlooking Strangford Lough is the exquisite small banqueting pavilion inspired by the Temple of the Winds in Athens. The visit includes cocktails with Lady Rose Lauritzen in her private apartments at Mount Stewart, with a private tour of her personal gardens.

Florence Court

Participants will tour Florence Court, Enniskillen, in County Fermanagh, an important Irish Georgian mansion. Florence Court features flanking arcaded wings with end pavilions constructed in the 1760s, as well as lavish Rococo plaster decoration and 18th century Irish furniture. 

Castle Coole

Participants will visit Castle Coole, Enniskillen, in County Fermanagh, which is considered the finest neoclassical country house in Ireland. The Castle features Portland stone masonry, and still retains its original Regency furniture. The tour is hosted by Lord Belmore who will show participants the original architectural drawings of James Wyatt, who designed the Castle, from his personal collection.

Ballywalter Park

The trip includes a three night stay at the privately owned Ballywalter Park, hosted by Lord Dunleath. Built in 1846 for Andrew Mullholland and designed by the prominent Belfast architect, Sir Charles Lanyon, the house is the best-preserved example of the Italianate palazzo style in Ireland.


Participants will enjoy a private visit and tea at Baronscourt, hosted by His Grace, Duke of Abercorn. The house was started in 1779 by the architect George Steuart, redesigned later on by architects John Soane and Richard and William Morrison. The interiors feature a classical rotunda encircled by a ring of Ionic columns, as well as a typical Morrisonian library redecorated by the prominent English decorator, David Hicks. 

Belle Isle Castle

The trip includes a three-night stay at Belle Isle Castle, built in the 16th Century and currently owned by the Duke of Abercorn for his son Lord Nicholas Hamilton to reside in. 

Grey Abbey

Participants will experience a private tour of and luncheon at Grey Abbey and gardens, the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Montgomery. The Georgian house was built in 1762 and has continuously been occupied by the Montgomery family. 

Killyreagh House

Participants will enjoy a lunch and tour of the privately owned Killyreagh House and gardens with the owners Lord and Lady Anthony Hamilton, brother to the Duke of Abercorn.

Finnebrogue House

Participants will tour the privately owned 18th Century Finnebrogue House, which has been meticulously restored by the owner Noel Lamb.

What’s included

  • Private visits to great houses and gardens in Northern Ireland, with several tours hosted by owners.  
  • Three-night stays at Ballywalter Park and Belle Isle Castle. 

Ballywalter Park

Ballywalter Park

Florence Court

Castle Coole portico detail (image: wikimedia / Andrew Humphreys)

Garden at Mount Stewart (Image: wikimedia / Sitomon)

Ballywalter Park (Image: Lani Summerville)

Double Occupancy
April 29 - May 6, 2018
Single Occupancy
April 29 - May 6, 2018


How do I register for an ICAA travel program?

f you would like to register, you may contact the travel operator organizing the program. Please note that a $500 donation per person to the ICAA is required in order to participate in each travel program. The contact information for ICAA tour operators is included on individual travel pages. Kindly note that the ICAA works with three different consultants for program offerings. If you are unsure which travel consultant to contact for a given program, you may email [email protected] or call 212-730-9646 x109

What does the required $500 donation fund?

Your $500 donation helps to further the ICAA’s goal of advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts by supporting its varied educational programs, including continuing education courses, college workshops, the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture, New Heights, and many more.

Am I required to pay a $500 donation for each travel program I register for?

Yes, a donation of $500 to the ICAA is required for each travel program you register for. The donation is required for each person attending a tour.

How do I make my $500 donation to the ICAA?

You can make your $500 donation to the ICAA online, or you can download, complete, and mail this form to the ICAA. You can alternatively fax a copy to 212-730-9649. You may also call 212-730-9646 x109 or email [email protected] to make a donation. Donations must be made separately from the registration fee.

Do I have to be a member of the ICAA to participate in an ICAA travel program?

No, membership is not required to attend an ICAA travel program. However, complimentary Individual membership to the ICAA is included with your $500 required donation.

I don’t see the full itinerary for the tour I am interested in. When will it be released?

For full itinerary and more information, contact [email protected], 860-926-4895. Due to the exclusive nature of our tours, some private locations or visits may be omitted from the ICAA's website.

What kinds of trips does the ICAA offer?

Over the past several years, the ICAA has travelled to destinations including Paris; Andalusia; Atlanta; Barbados; South Africa; Chicago; the Netherlands and Belgium; Scotland; the French Riviera; Morocco; the Italian Lake Region; Charlottesville; Naples; and New Delhi, among many other locations. The ICAA is always looking to diversify its travel offerings. If you have a suggestion or location you would like to see added, please email [email protected]