I was bitten by the travel bug young. All through my teen years I dreamt of far flung places and of all the things I would see and do. My walls were covered in pictures of distant lands and my “bucket list” (started long before such things were fashionable) included everything from climbing a Pyramid in Egypt to standing atop the Eiffel Tower and many, many things and places in between.

Although I didn’t start out working in the tourism industry, it really didn’t come as a surprise to anyone when I ended up “falling” into the industry after my first stint of living overseas.

My tourism career has spanned more than 25 years now and I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve most of my travel dreams. I’ve journeyed to many of those distant lands that once captivated my imagination and had some incredible experiences along the way.

I’ve spent my professional life working with tourism businesses around the world in an exciting and dynamic industry.

So why Ireland? And why castles? Well, back in 2009 I found myself unexpectedly staying at the spectacular Markree Castle in a room that had once been a favourite of the poet W.B. Yeats when he visited the family who owned it.

I was hooked. It was like time travel.

With the conversion of many castles and stately country homes into hotels and inns, those of us not born into the aristocracy can now enjoy a taste of what life must have been like in these beautiful homes.