There are still some spots available to Explore Heritage in Ireland and Northern Ireland this May 10-19. Email or call to reserve your spot and I’ll invoice you for the cost. See trip details below or click on this .pdf document link and let me know if you have any questions.
Becky Slayton, Executive Director
Spartanburg County Historical Association, 864-278-9664
Travel with the Spartanburg County Historical Association
Exploring Heritage in Ireland and Northern Ireland
The ancient kingdom of Ulster · Yeats Country · Ireland’s prettiest villages
May 10 – 19, 2013
. group-size limited to 18 travelers
. multi-night stays in each hotel / inn
. local guides to enhance our exploration of Ireland’s heritage, history, and scenic beauty
. visits to numerous “most beautiful villages in Ireland”
. special attention paid to Scots-Irish history and genealogy
. accommodations in one castle, one Georgian estate, and two historic and atmospheric center-city hotels
. visits to national and regional heritage sites: homes, castles, churches, cemeteries, museums, mills, and more
. Glenveagh National Park and the scenic beauty of County Donegal (Ireland’s far Northwest)
. exploration of Derry (Londonderry) – the United Kingdom’s “Heritage City for 2013”
. the North Antrim Coast
Day 1 Depart GSP for your overnight flight to Dublin.
Day 2 After arriving at the beautiful, newly-completed terminal of the Dublin Airport, board our chartered cruiser coach for our journey west. We’ll visit the village of Ardagh in County Longford – an example of an estate village – and hear stories about traditional farm tenantry, and the Famine Years in this region. We’ll enjoy lunch in the bustling river-town of Carrick-on-Shannon; by the mid-afternoon, we’ll happily alight at our home for the next two nights – the Markree Castle, County Sligo. Rest, relax, and recover from your jet-lag. Walk the pretty grounds, enjoy the gardens, and have dinner on your own at the castle. Overnight, Markree Castle, County Sligo.
Day 3 This morning we’ll visit the pretty town of Boyle (on the Shannon River), where we’ll visit the Palladian-styled King House, and ancient Boyle Abbey. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a drive around Lough Gill – including the “plantation estate” of Parke’s Castle and a boat tour of one of William Butler Yeats’ favorite settings. Our boat? . . . the Rose of Innisfree. Dinner and overnight at the Markree Castle.
Day 4 Our drive this morning will take us past the burial place of Yeats, beneath scenic Ben Bulben (mountain). We’ll continue north, briefly crossing the border into County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, for a visit to the Baleek Pottery, and this pretty company village. After lunch, we’ll drive into beautiful County Donegal – Ireland’s far Northwest – home of tweeds, coastal headlands and port-villages. We’ll make our way to Rathmullan for dinner and the overnight. Those who want to listen to traditional music can find it in the local pubs.
Day 5 Today, we’ll drive into the vale of Glenveagh – a lovely natural area, set in the Derryveagh Mountains. Explore the gardens and interior of the Glenveagh Castle; see the galleries of the Glebe House on Gartan Lough. We’ll make a stop at the Donegal County Museum in Letterkenny, before returning to Rathmullan. Dinner and overnight in the Rathmullan area.
Day 6 This morning we’ll visit the “Flight of the Earls” Heritage Center in Rathmullan and the pretty riverside town of Rathmelton. By the afternoon, we’ll drive to the major British plantation city of Derry, originally known as “Londonderry”. Enjoy the afternoon on your own to explore the shops, museums, defensive walls (built in 1618 to protect the “plantation”), and cafés. Dinner and overnight in Derry.
Day 7 We’ll travel east this morning to visit the geologic wonders of the North Antrim coast – the most stunning, known as the Giant’s Causeway. Visit the Bushmills whiskey distillery or the pretty fishing village of Ballintoy before returning to Derry. Overnight, Derry.
Day 8 Today will be a highlight in our exploration of Scots-Irish heritage. We’ll drive into the interior counties of Tyrone, Monaghan, and Armagh, exploring sites with an acclaimed genealogist and historian. We’ll visit the valleys of the lovely Sperrin Mountains; estate villages; and the ancestral home of Woodrow Wilson (among other sites). Overnight in Ireland’s “religious capital” – Armagh, said to have been founded by St. Patrick in 455 A.D.
Day 9 Explore the pretty “twin cathedrals” of Armagh (one Catholic, one Protestant); walk the narrow streets and the village green. In the afternoon, enjoy time on your own; or opt for a visit to a linen heritage center, and the Draper estate town of Moneymore. Dinner and our last overnight in Armagh.
Day 10 This morning we’ll travel by coach to the Dublin Airport for our departure flight. We’ll arrive back in the Spartanburg area in the evening.
Trip Price: $3875** / person (double occupancy; single supplement, $650). Price includes ground transportation in Ireland and Northern Ireland via cruiser coach or mini-bus; all entrances / admissions / guide services described in the itinerary; concierge service throughout the trip; accommodations for 8 nights in well-appointed hotels (of 3-star and 4-star ratings; see hotel list that follows); full Irish breakfasts, daily; 4 lunches and 5 dinners; some tips; donation to the SCHA. Price does not include international airfare; trip/travelers’ insurance (available; see below); some meals; alcohol; optional activities (including optional “down time” transportation, such as taxis); bus driver tip; personal expenditures.
*Explore Up Close, LLC, reserves the right to alter the itinerary if necessary, but guarantees the spirit, theme, and travel style described here.
**Price is based on a minimum number of travelers. If the trip does not acquire the minimum, all monies will be refunded. [See additional refund information below.]
Additional trip information:
Registration / payment: Register through the Spartanburg County Historical Association, accompanied by a deposit payment of $750 / person. Final payment is due by March 28.
Refunds can be granted prior to March 28, minus a $100 processing fee (to Explore Up Close, LLC), and other non-refundable monies paid as deposits to vendors (hotels, coach company, etc.).
Fitness level of participants / liability: Participants will be expected to have a fitness level and a health standard that allows them to walk moderate distances, climb stairs in buildings, and negotiate uneven terrain in urban and rural settings. By signing up for this trip, participants acknowledge that they meet this basic fitness level, and assume all the risks associated with international travel.
Air tickets and trip insurance: For assistance purchasing air tickets and / or trip insurance, contact Jane Calhoun at Gateway Tours and Cruises (864-585-7390) in Spartanburg.
Hotels: Our hotels for the excursion will be the following (or the equivalent):
The Markree Castle, County Sligo [www.markreecastle.ie]
Rathmullan House, County Donegal [www.rathmullanhouse.com]
The Tower Hotel, Derry [www.towerhotelderry.com]
Charlemont Arms Hotel, Armagh [www.charlemontarmshotel.com]
Transportation: Our transportation will be a small coach, sometimes called a “cruiser.” It will allow us to travel comfortably, and manage the roads of the countryside and small villages. Here’s an example:
Packing / packing lists: Packing lists and information about the culture, climate, weather, and “what to expect” will be circulated approximately 60 days prior to departure. For traveling comfort on this style of “exploration trip,” all participants will be encouraged to pack relatively lightly. While the concierge can provide some help with baggage, please observe that storage space on the cruiser coach is somewhat limited, and participants will generally be expected to carry their baggage through airports, and to and from hotel rooms.
For more trip information, contact Chumley Cope / Explore Up Close, LLC: (864) 431-7567; email@example.com.