Emerald Society ‘s Tour of Ireland, a Journey to Remember                           ~from Athlone, Sligo to Belfast and Dublin~                                               

                                          September 7 – 17, 2018

 

Friday, September. 7th - Depart Chicago (O’Hare Airport) for Dublin, Ireland

Be sure to wear warm, comfortable clothing for our overnight flight.  Dinner and a continental breakfast will be served en route.  Sit back and relax, leave your worries behind, adventure awaits – get ready for the Emerald Shores.

Saturday, September 8th - Arrive Dublin, Clonmacnoise,  Athlone 

  After clearing customs we will claim our luggage and meet driver/guide Tom O’Toole who will greet us with a warm “Cead Mile Failte” (A hundred thousand welcomes in Irish Gaelic)  We will enjoy a hearty Irish Breakfast at the nearby Coachman’s Inn Pub.  We then depart for the monastic site of Clonmacnoise (meadow of the sons of Noise), famous for its High Crosses, located beside the picturesque river Shannon.  After a guided tour of Clonmacnoise, you will have time to linger and admire these magnificent High Crosses.  We then depart to the town of Athlone right in the centre of the midlands of Ireland and is also the largest midland town.  We will arrive at the Radisson Blu hotel with time to relax and freshen up before dinner at hotel. Dinner and Overnight:  Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone 

 

 Sun, September 9th - Garda station and Shannon River Cruise

Take your time to enjoy your coffee and breakfast this  morning.  We will meet in the hotel lobby at 11:30 and take a short walk  walk to Athlone Castle dating from the 12 Century where we board and take a 90 minute cruise down the Shannon River.  There will be music to enjoy as well as a bar on board.  After our cruise we will pay a visit to the Athlone Garda station for a tour and a Presentation from the Emerald Society of Illinois to the Chief of Police.  You can enjoy a few hours to shop, view the Athlone Castle or the beautiful St. Peter & Paul Cathedral.  

We will meet up again in the hotel lobby at 5:15 pm to take taxis  to the Wineport Lodge Restaurant where we will have dinner with views of the Shannon.  We will take taxis back to town in time to turn in early or explore the local pubs in Athlone. You might want to visit Sean's Bar, Ireland’s  oldest pub, dating back to AD 900. Overnight: Radisson Blu Hotel/Dinner at local restaurant 

Monday, September 10th - Rindoon Medieval Town, Sligo and Markree Castle                

After a delicious breakfast and perhaps another stroll through town we will be on our way for more Irish adventures.   BE SURE to wear good walking shoes today for our visit  and walk to ruins of the medieval town of Rindoon, located on a peninsula jutting out into Lough Ree in Co. Rosscommon.  Rindoon once referred to as “Camelot on the Shannon” one of the most important medieval town sites in Ireland has recently found a new lease of life six hundred and fifty years after it was destroyed and forgotten. You will see the ruins of the town wall, castle, medieval hospital, church, and mill. Built in the first half of the 13th century, the town was the high water mark in the Anglo-Norman’s conquest of Ireland. In the early afternoon we will arrive at the lovely Markree Castle, Sligo’s oldest inhabited Castle and has been the home of the Cooper family since 1640.  The magnificent oak staircase is overlooked by a stained glass window tracing the Cooper family tree back to the time of King John of England. Take time to enjoy the gardens and lovely walkways before we meet to dine like Kings and Queens.

 Dinner and Overnight: Markree Castle, Sligo

Tuesday, September 11th - Carrowmore Cemetery, Donegal town and Gortahork

Relax and enjoy a Royal breakfast before a 10:30 am departure to visit the Carrowmore  Megalithic Cemetery. The megaliths of Carrowmore, located just southwest of Sligo town, are at the heart of the Coolrea peninsula and are one of the greatest megalithic complexes of ancient Ireland. Next a visit to quaint town of Donegal where you can have a bit of time on your own for shopping, sightseeing and lunch. We will drive through majestic mountain regions begging for photos before we arrive in the small  Gaeltacht speaking village of Gortahork. There is always something going on at Loch Alton from Bingo on Wednesday nights to Irish nights on Thursdays, get ready for some good music and dancing the night away.

Dinner and Overnight: Loch Alton Hotel, Gortahork

Wed, September 12th – Wild Atlantic Way, Fanad Lighthouse, Dunfanaghy Workhouse 

Enjoy breakfast and perhaps a “wee” chat with our host Mr. Sean McElwee or a walk about before we head out for more adventures.   We will depart by 10:00 am and  enjoy breathtaking views along the Wild Atlantic Way as we head to Fanad Lighthouse.  The original building of the lighthouse started in in 1815 and has seen many refurbishments including a recent one. One may climb the 79 stairs for amazing views or for those faint at heart - remain on the ground.  We will spend time to take plenty of photos and see the view from the top before making a comfort and lunch on your own stop at the nearby Pier restaurant.  A stop by the Dunfanaghy Workhouse. The Dunfanaghy,Workhouse was a traditional Workhouse offering respite for the poor from 1845 to 1922. You will hear the tale of “wee Hannah Herrity”  born in 1835 and  a child of the famine. When her mother died in childbirth, Hannah left her home in Derrykeel, living wherever she could find shelter around Sheephaven Bay. In her late teens, wracked with pain and disease, destitute, starving, she entered the Workhouse at Dunfanaghy. It was opened on the 15th July 1995 by Mary Robinson as a heritage centre.  Some of your own ancestors might have spent time during the famine years. The rest of the evening is on your own for relaxing and having dinner on your own perhaps in the pub or one of the pubs in town.  Overnight:  Loch Alton Hotel

Thursday, September 13th - Bridge of Tears and Glenveagh Castle and Glebe House       

After a hearty breakfast, we'll take it easy and slow with plenty of time for photos as we make our way through stunning mountain passes. We will pause and pay respect at the Bridge of Tears.  It was here where thousands of families said their farewells and stopped to say a last prayer at the little Marian Shrine at the top of the pass before walking on into Letterkenny, the Lagan, Derry and the boat to 'Merikay'. The story goes that the little stream of the River Ray that races under the bridge carried a million tears to the Atlantic for those loved and lost. On to the rivers and streams surrounding the beautiful Glenveagh Castle built in the nineteenth century. There have been several owners, the first being George Adair a land speculator, who evicted several families from the land while building the castle. The second owner was Arthur Kingsley Porter, a Harvard Professor of fine arts, who lived here with his wife, Lucy, from 1929 until his mysterious disappearance from Inishbofin Island in 1933.  Porter bought the castle as a refuge where he could research Celtic Crosses and document his findings without interruption. The Kingsley Porters mainly entertained Irish literary and artistic figures including AE Russell whose paintings still hang in the library of the castle. The third and final owner of Glenveagh Castle was Henry P. McIlhenny who restored the Castle and entertained leading figures of international society.  Mr. McIIhenny donated Glenveagh Castle and Gardens to the people of Ireland.  We will make a stop in the town of Churchill just outside Letterkenny to visit Glebe House.  Glebe House was once a Rectory built in 1828 and now houses paintings by famed artist with beautiful gardens and a tea room. We will return to our new found friends at Lough Alton to have another lovely dinner together at the hotel. There may even be music tonight in the pub so wear your dancing shoes.

 Dinner and overnight:  Loch Alton Hotel

 Friday, September 14th – Bushmills Distillery and Belfast                     

We will make our way to the Bushmills Distillery via a comfort stop in Derry. In the small village of Bushmills, settled on the banks of the river you'll find the oldest working distillery in Ireland which was started in 1608.  A place where family and friends have worked for generations, in a small Northern Irish village that for over 400 years has kept to the philosophy that hand crafting small batches is the way to produce beautifully smooth tasting Irish whiskey.  After a whiskey tasting we will make a lunch stop at the famed Bushmills Inn hotel and restaurant. We will continue on to the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital and birthplace of the famed Titanic.  We will have time to freshen up before an early dinner at the local Howard Street restaurant.  After dinner be sure to pop into the Crown Pub, known as the most famous pub in Belfast.  Overnight:  Europa Hotel, dinner at local restaurant                                               

Saturday, September 15th – Titanic and Dublin.                                                                    

After breakfast at the Europa we will move onto a “must see” attraction that opened in the spring of 2012.  Located in the heart of Belfast and right beside the historic site of this world-famous ship’s construction, Titanic Belfast is the World’s Largest Titanic visitor experience.  Today you will hear the story of the Titanic from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900’s; through her maiden voyage of fantasy that turned to tragedy. For those who may have already experienced the Titanic, you can opt to visit the the

 SS Nomadic  which is now also on display.  There is a lovely café for some refreshment before heading to the thriving city of Dublin. You will receive your “hop on “hop off” passes that are good for 24 hours to use for enjoying Dublin on your own.  No need to rush this evening since dinner is on your own, go out and have a night on the town.

Overnight: Mont Clare Hotel, Dublin

 

Sunday, September 16th – Free day, Dinner in private dining room with music

Relax and enjoy a free day to enjoy Dublin as you wish  with hop on and off passes.   We will meet at 5 pm to enjoy a night of dinner, dancing and Irish music.   Overnight:  Mont Clare Hotel/Dinner/Entertainment

Monday, September  17th – Breakfast and depart for USA

All too soon, your vacation in Ireland has come to the end. We have made new friends, seen breathtaking scenery, experienced history and culture around every bend in the road.  Now with a “wee “ tear in our eye we bid Ireland farewell with a promise to return again.  Transfer to Dublin Airport in plenty of time to check in for your flight, clear security and claim your VAT refund.  You may do some last minute shopping at the duty free stores.  Then clear U.S. Immigration before boarding your aircraft and fly west across the Atlantic Ocean back to the United States.

Land Only Pricing:  $3075.00.00 per person double occupancy

Single Supplement:  $500.00

Air can be arranged through Martha’s Travel Corner

Deluxe and Superior First Class Hotels

Athlone, Radisson Blu Hotel (2 nights)

Sligo, Markree Castle (1 night)

Gortahork, Ostan Lough Alton Hotel (3 nights)

Belfast, Europa Hotel (1 night

Dublin, Mont Clare ( 2 nights)

The Fare Includes:

~Exclusive transport by luxury motorcoach with a driver/guide

~Meet and greet service with one group transfer upon arrival and departure at the airport

~Hotel accommodation based on twin bedded rooms with private bath for 9 nights

~Full breakfast (10) includes breakfast upon arrival at Coachman’s Inn Restaurant and Pub

~Lunch (1) Bushmills Inn

~ Dinners (7):

  Table d’hote dinners (5)

~Guided tour of Clonmacnoise

~Visit to Athlone Garda Station

~Shannon River Cruise

~Rindoon Medieval Town

~Carrowmore Cemetery

~Glebe House Gallery

~Fanad Lighthouse

~Dunfanaghy Workhouse

~Glenveagh Castle

~Bushmills Distillery

~Titanic Visitor Centre

~Hop on Hop off passes

~Dublin musicians

~Transfers & baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage per person

~Travel Insurance for Land Only portion of tour

NOT INCLUDED

The land price of the tour does not include airfare to the tour departure point; excess baggage charges; items of a personal nature; meals not included on the itinerary sightseeing attractions listed as “optional excursions” and gratuities to the Full time Motorcoach Driver.  (Allow 10 Euro per day per person)

Booking form is attached below

Please complete the required form below

with a deposit of $250 per person, at time of booking.

Trip Protection Insurance is included for “land only” portion of tour.

Make Checks Payable to:  Martha’s Travel Corner

Send to:  Martha’s Travel Corner, P.O. Box 305, Yorkville, IL 60560

Emerald Society

A Journey to Remember

September 7-17, 2018

Full Name of passenger Must Match Passport: Please send photocopy of passport with payment.

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Final Payment due due for Land Portion:  July 1, 2018

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(Martha’s Travel Corner can also accept checks from a major credit card company)

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