Day 1: Depart gateway city for Shannon, Ireland
Depart your gateway city for Shannon, Ireland.
Day 2: Arrive in Shannon/ Transfer to Westport
Upon arrival in Shannon, transfer to Westport and check in to the Westport Plaza Hotel.
Discovery: Westport. Get to know your new home base on a walking tour of the bustling town center along the Carrowbeg River. This evening, meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception featuring a performance by local dancers and musicians, and then gather for a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
Day 3: Westport
Enrichment: Irish Folklife. Delve into the traditions of rural life with a visit to the County Mayo branch of the National Museum of Ireland. Enjoy an engaging talk, then explore the exhibits that reveal the heritage of Irish trades, crafts, domestic life and more. Savor a delicious lunch in town.
Discovery: Westport House. Set within a parkland estate, this stately, 18th-century manor house was built by the descendants of Grace O’Malley, the 16th-century Pirate Queen of Connaught, who followed in the footsteps of her father, a seafaring Gaelic chieftain. On a guided tour, step back in time as you wander through beautifully decorated period rooms.
Day 4: Foxford/ County Sligo
Discovery: Sligo and William Butler Yeats. Head to County Sligo, known as “Yeats’, Country,” to discover the majestic countryside that so enthralled the legendary poet and Nobel Price winner. Begin at one of Ireland’s famous woollen mills, Foxford, established in 1892 by a Sister of Charity. See firsthand how craftspeople produce fine blankets, tweeds and other items using traditional techniques. Then visit Lissadell House, a grand Greek Revival manor built in the 1830s and the former residence of Constance Markievicz, an Irish nationalist and the first woman elected to the British House of Commons. Markievicz and her family entertained William Butler Yeats at Lissadell. Later, at Drumcliff Cemetery, pay a short visit to Yeats’ final resting place.
Enjoy a relaxing lunch break in Sligo Town.
Enrichment: W.B. Yeats. The childhood summers Yeats spent in County Sligo resonated deeply with him. During a presentation by a Yeats Society Fellow, learn about the poetry and life of Yeats.
Discovery: Megalithic Ireland. Visit the otherworldly Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Ireland’s largest Stone Age burial site. Contemplate what life must have been like for Ireland’s ancient inhabitants as you gaze at monuments they constructed over 5,000 years ago.
Day 5: Achill Island
Enrichment: A Vision of Ireland. A local artist and art history lecturer shares how Irish culture and history are portrayed in the works of the country’s major artists.
Discovery: Ireland’s Rugged Beauty. Explore remote Achill Island, the largest island off Ireland’s coast, noted for its magnificent, wild beauty and pristine beaches. Visit the Deserted Village of Slievermore, a haunting reminder of Ireland’s pastoral history, with more than 80 abandoned stone cottages.
Try local specialties at lunch in the village of Keel on Achill Island.
In Mulranny, learn how to make Irish coffee and then sip your delicious drink while enjoying stunning views over Clew Bay.
Day 6: Connemara
Discovery: Connemara. Marvel at the starkly beautiful landscape shaped by ancient glaciers that Oscar Wilde described as “savage.” See Croagh Patrick Mountain, where St. Patrick is said to have gasted for 40 days in the fifth century. Visit the family-owned Glen Keen farm for a sheepdog demonstration and chat about sheep farming with a member of the family. Continue to Kylemore Abbey, a romantic, 19th-century castle overlooking a beautiful lake, where you will tour the home and gardens. Originally built by a wealthy Londoner for his beloved wife, the castle was later purchased by Benedictine nuns in 1920. Conclude your day with a trip to the delightful town of Clifden and return via scenic Inagh Valley.
Day 7: Cong/ Galway
Discovery: Cong. Journey to the picturesque village featured in “The Quiet Man,” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Meander in the splendid grounds of Cong’s Augustinian abbey, founded in the early 12th century by Turlough O’Connor, High King of Ireland.
Discovery: Galway. This spirited city radiates energy with live music, street performers and students from the National University of Ireland/Galway. On a guided walking tour, explore its network of medieval cobbled streets. Discover more of Galway on your own during free time after the tour.
Day 8: Westport
Free Time. Spend your final day at leisure. Hike Croagh Patrick, take a cruise to Clare Island, go fishing or rent bikes for a leisurely ride along the Great Western Greenway.
This evening, raise a glass and wish your fellow travelers “Slainte” as you share in a celebratory Farewell Dinner.
Day 9: Transfer to Shannon and depart for gateway city
In Transit. After breakfast, transfer to the Shannon airport for the return flights to your gateway city.
Note: Itinerary may change due to local conditions. Walking is required on many excursions, and surfaces may be uneven or unpaved.
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