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Tour Director
Practical Information

  • Explore some of Northern Ireland’s most magnificent stately homes, from the eccentric Castle Ward with its opposing classical and Gothic façades, to Grey Abbey House, considered one of the finest Georgian country houses in Ireland

  • Enjoy privileged visits to private homes not often open to the public, including Baronscourt

  • Discover world-class gardens, including the 20th century designs at Mount Stewart, and the historical walled garden at Seaforde

“[Cosmo Brockway] led our small group amiably and very ably displaying a passion, intelligence and eloquence for [his] subject”
“Wide range of historic houses visited and some lovely gardens – most still privately owned”

- ACE customer on a 2021 tour of country houses with Cosmo Samuel Brockway

If you would like to receive further details of this tour when they are available, you can do so by filling in our register interest form here.


This brand new tour explores a handpicked selection of the great estates, houses and gardens to be found in Northern Ireland, each boasting its own fascinating history. With a special focus on private houses and gardens, we will get a personal feel for, and in-depth understanding of, the stories behind these beautiful properties, their surroundings and contents.


From a base in Belfast, our tour begins with an excursion to two important properties in County Down. Grey Abbey House, overlooking Strangford Lough, has been in the ownership of the Montgomery family for over 400 years. It features exquisite 18th century plasterwork and delightful Gothic windows in the elegant drawing room.


Mount Stewart is a neoclassical house perhaps most celebrated for its outstanding gardens. Created by Edith, Lady Londonderry, in the early 20th century, building upon a historical 18th and 19th century landscape, the designs provide a rare example of the late compartmentalised Arts & Crafts style.


Our itinerary includes several other important gardens, notably those at Seaforde, which has been home to the Forde family for almost 400 years and boasts Ireland’s oldest living maze as well as an arboretum containing champion trees and rare species of plant. Here, we hope to enjoy a tour of the historical walled garden as well as privileged access to the private family garden.


Meanwhile, a surprising architectural contrast can be seen at Castle Ward: rebuilt in the 1760s, one wing showcases the classical Palladian style favoured by its owner, the 1st Viscount Bangor, and another the contrasting Georgian Gothic, which was preferred by his wife, Lady Anne Bligh.  


Moving westwards into County Tyrone, the Baronscourt Estate is home to the Duke of Abercorn and surrounded by a spectacular landscape, while in County Fermanagh, Killyreagh House dates from 1830; Castle Coole is one of Ireland’s most notable neoclassical country houses; and Crom Castle enjoys a position on the shores of Lough Erne.


At many of the privately owned houses, we hope to enjoy privileged opportunities to meet the owners for guided tours, or over coffee or lunch. We will stay throughout at hotels of four-star standard, to be confirmed in summer 2022.


Our Tour Director is writer and experienced tour leader, Cosmo Samuel Brockway. An author and journalist, Cosmo has written for many leading publications on culture and design, including Architectural Digest and The Telegraph, and he is well acquainted with many of the finest private estates in England, Scotland and Ireland. Cosmo has led tours across the globe, and having crafted this new itinerary in collaboration with ACE, looks forward to introducing an ACE group to the beautiful houses and gardens of Northern Ireland in 2023.

Tour Code
Places are limited.
Please contact the office
for more details.

Included: Full details, including the tour cost and an updated itinerary, will be released in summer 2022. Please contact the ACE office or fill in the register interest form to receive further details when available.

Not Included:

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