The Belmond Grand Hibernian, a luxury overnight rail experience in Ireland, is expected to launch in summer 2016 with plans for tours of the open countryside, coastal scenery, and cities of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Belmond has acquired ten carriages from Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, which the company will transform into a luxury sleeper train with accommodation for up to 40 guests travelling in 20 en-suite cabins. Belmond Grand Hibernian will feature four interconnecting suites to accommodate families, two restaurant cars and an observation bar car. Belmond Grand Hibernian’s haulage services and Dublin depot facilities will be provided by Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, Ireland’s national train operator and rail infrastructure provider.
The interior design project is being carried out by James Park Associates, who have worked on other train projects for the company, including the Belmond Northern Belle and Eastern & Oriental Express, and will draw inspiration from Dublin’s classic Georgian architecture and blend it with elements of Ireland’s ancient folklore and traditions, evoking the country’s celebrated cultural heritage with a contemporary twist.
With a name derived from Hibernia, the classical Latin name for the island of Ireland, Belmond Grand Hibernian will journey throughout the island offering two, four and six-night rail experiences that visit the major destinations of the north and south, including the train’s Dublin base, Belfast, and Cork.
John Scott, president and chief executive officer, Belmond, said, “Belmond Grand Hibernian will be Belmond’s seventh luxury rail experience, building on our expertise in operating a stable of the world’s most famous trains, including Belmond Royal Scotsman, currently the UK’s only luxury sleeper train, and the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Ireland offers today’s luxury traveller a rich and diverse cultural experience, with unrivalled scenery and warm hospitality that fit perfectly with Belmond’s offering of enriching and authentic hotel, rail and river cruise experiences.”
Travelling aboard Belmond Grand Hibernian will be akin to a land cruise, offering daily excursions, such as tours of historic estates, a round of golf on one of the finest Links courses in the world, visits to the new Titanic Belfast Center, or an immersion into the world of Ireland’s legendary writers, musicians and artists.
David Franks, chief executive, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, said, “We are proud and delighted to welcome Belmond Grand Hibernian to Ireland’s rail network. Our railways provide a unique aspect on the countryside, towns and cities of Ireland. Rail is therefore a key element of our national tourism product, and the launch of Belmond Grand Hibernian represents a strong endorsement of Ireland as a destination by Belmond.”