Experience the essence of Irish culture through the eyes of its people in Westport, County Mayo, and the surrounding region. During this charming cultural stay program, enjoy day trips to historic sites and iconic landscapes in northwest Ireland, from Sligo to Galway.

Starting at: $4,140 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Westport town center. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  Typical landscape in Ireland. Credit: Ireland Tourism  Traditional thatched cottage amid the landscape  Irish step dancers  Seascape of County Mayo  Carrowmore megalithic site, Country Sligo  Cultural traditions reflected in modern life  Connemara landscape with sheep  Connemara's Kylemore Castle, later an abbey and school  Achill Island seascape  Westport House  The village of Clifden. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  The lively streets of Galway  Lively music in a pub. Credit: Brian Morrison, Ireland Tourism

County Mayo

A One-Week Stay in Northwest Ireland

9 days from $4,140

Experience the essence of Irish culture through the eyes of its people in Westport, County Mayo, and the surrounding region. During this charming cultural stay program, enjoy day trips to historic sites and iconic landscapes in northwest Ireland, from Sligo to Galway.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Gorgeous remote areas were accessible through Smithsonian and came to life with the sharing of knowledge in an interesting manner by both the dedicated local tour guide, and the knowledgeable coach driver. I’m still Smiling!!!

- Debra, V.

Though this trip centers in Westport, it is a fabulous journey through time and space in Western Ireland, capturing the politics, poetry, history and beautiful landscape of the region.

- Mary Anne, M.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Westport Plaza Hotel

Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

The Westport Plaza Hotel is a first-class hotel located just steps away from shops and restaurants. When you are not exploring and enjoying the lush Irish countryside, pamper yourself at the Spa Sula, a full-service spa that features a unique thermal suite. The hotel also has a swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness center and salon. Restaurant Merlot offers Irish and international cuisine, while the Plaza Bar welcomes you for pre-dinner cocktails of after-dinner drinks. At the end of the day, unwind in your well-appointed and welcoming guest room, which features Wi-Fi and other amenities and conveniences to make your stay comfortable and convenient.

Number of nights: 7

Tour Extension

Ennis, Ireland 2018 Pre-Tour Extension — 5 Days, 4 Nights

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.*

Depart the U.S. for Shannon, Ireland with meal in-flight.

Day 2 – Ennis, Ireland

Arrive at Shannon Airport. Meet your Travel Director at the arrivals area and transfer to Ennis. The airport meeting location will be provided with your final documents. Transfers to Ennis will be provided for guests participating in our FlexAir program and for those arriving individually who are able to meet the scheduled group departure time. Please speak with your Destination Specialist to confirm your transfer and ensure your place.

Check into the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis. After lunch independently. enjoy a walking tour of Ennis. From sea monsters and haunted forts to banshees and phantom coaches, hear how this region is steeped in colorful legend, folklore, and mythology while exploring Ennis on foot. This lively town, founded in the 11th century, is also known for its love of traditional Irish music. Discover its unique charms as you wander along winding lanes and cross over the River Fergus that flows through the middle of town.

Day 3 – Ennis, Ireland

The Burren and Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Global Geopark, sits on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Marvel at this stunning coastline of dramatic cliffs, sea caves, and inlets, and revel in the sweeping views of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. Spend the day admiring Ireland’s stunning countryside and coastline as you are immersed in one of the world’s most unusual landscapes. The Burren’s rocky plateau features diverse flora, karstic formations, and man-made wonders. Enjoy an audio/visual presentation at the Burren Centre in Kilfenora. Then, take an exclusive guided walk through the Burren with local expert Tony Kirby, and enjoy an experience rich with geological, archaeological, and botanical insights. Film producer, critically acclaimed author and blogger on Burren life, Kirby has been leading walks in Burren since 2002 and looks forward to sharing his passion and knowledge with you.

Enjoy lunch in the cheery atmosphere of a family-run Burren pub. Continue on to visit Poulnabrone Dolmen, a vision resting on the stark limestone pavements, and Ireland’s most photographed portal tomb, dating from 2,000-2,500 B.C. Afterward, drive along to Ballyvaughan, by Galway Bay and Black Head, to marvel at the jaw-dropping sight of the majestic Cliffs of Moher, rising 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. (B,L)

Day 4 – Ennis, Ireland

Spend the entire day pursuing your own passions in Ennis and the surrounding environs. Visit nearby Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, explore Limerick City, or stay and enjoy the bustling market town of Ennis. Your Travel Director will be available on site to offer suggestions. (B)

Day 5 – Ennis to Westport

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and depart for Westport, County Mayo and the main program hotel. This evening, gather with fellow travelers for a welcome reception.

*FlexAir passengers depart for Shannon, Ireland. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: SNN. If you have purchased only the Land Program, please book flights that arrive on the first day of the Land Program. The Land Program dates appear at the top of your Reservation Confirmation. Please note if you arrive at the hotel before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

*Please note: this extension will not be offered in 2019. 

Activity Levels

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: Week-long Cultural Stay featuring one city and region—and one hotel. Full-day excursions outside the city with some longer, extensive walking tours of villages, museums, and outdoor historic sites. Excursions can be over uneven terrain (e.g. outdoor sites, cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators). Hotel centrally located for easy access to sites and restaurants during time at leisure, including final day.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Special Air Rates/Services

FlexAir is designed to provide you with the flexibility and choice you need to personalize your air travel experience. Explore a wide range of flight options in consultation with our experienced travel professionals to select the flights, routing, class of service, and dates of travel that most fit your needs. Our partner tour operator has negotiated contracts with a wide variety of carriers that allow them to hold flight reservations and then issue your ticket close to departure without additional fees. This protects you from the need to purchase published-fare tickets, which must be ticketed within 24 hours of purchase. FlexAir reservations provide the flexibility to adjust reservations without penalty and to accommodate extensions and upgrades right up until ticketing time, usually around 45 days before departure. We look forward to providing you with more choice and the best possible itinerary for your air travel plans.

Program Includes:

  • Guaranteed transfers between the airport and your overseas accommodations upon arrival and departure (in most cases). We will provide you with all of the details you need to guarantee your transfer.
  • Air schedule change and delay assistance. Book FlexAir to ensure assistance should schedule changes or delays impact your air travel plans.
  • Flight insurance worth up to $250,000, subject to policy terms, is automatically included.
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments at the time of booking (in most cases).
Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Gorgeous remote areas were accessible through Smithsonian and came to life with the sharing of knowledge in an interesting manner by both the dedicated local tour guide, and the knowledgeable coach driver. I’m still Smiling!!!

- Debra, V.

Though this trip centers in Westport, it is a fabulous journey through time and space in Western Ireland, capturing the politics, poetry, history and beautiful landscape of the region.

- Mary Anne, M.
Reading List
The Truth About the Irish: A Frank and Funny Look
By: Terry Eagleton
If you're looking for a field guide to leprechauns, The Truth About the Irish is not the book for you. But if you can handle a frank and funny look into the minds and hearts of Irish people, you've been touched by that fabled Irish luck. Covering all things Irish from Blarney to Yeats, renowned literary and cultural critic Terry Eagleton separates the myths from the reality with his priceless blend of sidesplitting humor, caustic commentary, and the honest lowdown on the beloved and bewildering country of Ireland.
Connemara Mollie: An Irish Journey On Horseback (Bradt Travel Guides (Travel Literature))
By: Hilary Bradt
An account of a journey through western Ireland made in 1984 that centres on the growing bond between the author and her Connemara pony and the many challenges they face before the tragic conclusion in the mountains of Kerry. It is a portrait of rural Ireland, built up from conversations with local people. The journey takes them through Counties Galway, Mayo, Clare and Kerry, the obstacles to their progress ranging from bogs, stone walls, and the River Shannon. "I've never tried hitchhiking with a horse before" comments the author. "It's not easy." She travelled with no set route.
The Hill Bachelors
By: William Trevor
William Trevor's Last Stories is forthcoming from Viking.His first collection since the bestselling After Rain, William Trevor's The Hill Bachelors is a heartbreaking book about men and women and their missed opportunities: four people live in a suburban house, frozen in a conspiracy of silence that prevents love's consummation; a nine-year-old dreams that a part in a movie will heal her fragmented family life; a brother and sister forge a new life amid the chaos of Ireland after the Rebellion; and in the title story, a young man chooses between his longtime love and a life of solitude on the family farm. These beautifully rendered tales reveal Trevor's compassion for the human condition and confirm once again his position as one of the premier writers of the short story.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland
By: DK Travel
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland is your in-depth guide to the very best of Ireland.From touring historic castles to exploring the countryside along the mystical Ring of Kerry to drinking Guinness in Dublin's coziest pub, experience the best of what the Emerald Isle has to offer.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland.   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city map of Dublin includes street finder index for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland truly shows you what others only tell you.Recommended: For an in-depth guidebook to Dublin, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Dublin, which offers the most complete coverage of Ireland's capital city, trip-planning itineraries, and more.Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.
Michelin Ireland Map 712 (Maps/Country (Michelin))
By: Michelin
Renowned for over 100 years for their clear, accurate and easy-to-read mapping, Michelin country maps give travelers an overall picture of their route, with practical road and travel information; and city maps containing extensive street indexes orient them quickly so they can find their way to their destination.
Real Irish Food: 150 Classic Recipes from the Old Country
By: David Bowers
People in Ireland are sometimes mortified by what Americans think of as “Irish food.” That’s because the real thing is much subtler and more delicious than any platter of overcooked corned beef and mushy cabbage could ever be. Real Irish food is brown soda bread so moist it barely needs the yolk-yellow butter; fragrant apple tarts with tender, golden crusts; rich stews redolent of meaty gravy and sweet carrots; crisp-edged potato cakes flipped hot from a skillet directly onto the plate. Forget meatloaf or mac and cheese—this stuff is the original comfort food. Real Irish Food is the first comprehensive cookbook to bring classic Irish dishes to America with an eye for American kitchens and cooks, and with tips and tricks to help reproduce Irish results with American ingredients. Transform plain white fish by baking it with grated sharp cheese, mustard, and crumbs. Discover that celery takes on new life when sliced, simmered in chicken stock, and served in a lightly thickened sauce. •Homemade Irish Sausages •Potted Shrimp and Potted Salmon •Finglas Irish Stew with Dumplings •Whiskey Chicken and Roast Goose with Applesauce •Boxty, Cally, Champ, and Colcannon •Apple Snow, Almond Buns, and Summer Pudding •Elderflower Lemonade, Black Velvet, and Ginger Beer •Cherry Cake, Custard Tart, and Brandy Butter From hearty roasts to innovative vegetable dishes, from trays of fresh-baked scones to rich, eggy cakes, and from jams bursting with tart fruit to everything you can do with a potato, there’s no food so warm and welcoming, so homey and family-oriented, so truly mouthwatering as real Irish food.200 color photographsSkyhorse Publishing, along with our Good Books and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of cookbooks, including books on juicing, grilling, baking, frying, home brewing and winemaking, slow cookers, and cast iron cooking. We’ve been successful with books on gluten-free cooking, vegetarian and vegan cooking, paleo, raw foods, and more. Our list includes French cooking, Swedish cooking, Austrian and German cooking, Cajun cooking, as well as books on jerky, canning and preserving, peanut butter, meatballs, oil and vinegar, bone broth, and more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
1916: One Hundred Years of Irish Independence: From the Easter Rising to the Present
By: Tim Pat Coogan
There’s before 1916 and then there’s after. Between them lies the Easter Rising, when Irish republicans took up arms against British rule and changed the course of their country’s history forever. For though the resistance failed, it failed gloriously; the rebels were no longer a group of cranks and troublemakers in the public eye, but martyrs and national heroes, their example set the way for others and their mission lived on through the century to come. But what sort of country did the Rising create? And how does post-1916 Ireland compare with the aspirations of the rebellion’s leaders, the hopes of Thomas MacDonagh and John MacBride, of James Connolly and Patrick Pearse?One hundred years later, Tim Pat Coogan offers a personal perspective on the Irish experience that followed the Rising. He charts a flawed history that is marked as much by complacency, corruption, and institutional abuse as it is by the building of a nation and the sacrifices of the Republic’s founding fathers.
A Brief History of Ireland (Brief History (Running Press))
By: Richard Killeen
The story of Ireland has been wrapped in mythology and legend. Since its very origins, the island has become the home for a successive series of invaders—the Celts, Christians, Vikings, and Normans. And despite deprivation, desperation, and suppression, Ireland has developed an unwavering sense of purpose and place.
A Traveller's History of Ireland (Traveller's Histories)
By: Peter Neville
"This book will be appreciated by visitors who want more historical background than ordinary series guidebooks supply...Highly recommended..." - "Library Journal". "For independent, inquisitive travellers traversing the green roads of Ireland, there is no better guide than "A Traveller's History of Ireland." - "Small Press". Constantly in the news, there are few countries where the background history is so vital to an understanding of its people and culture. "A Traveller's History of Ireland" not only offers the reader a chronological outline of the nation's development right up to the present day but also provides an invaluable introduction to this land of poets, saints, eloquent politicians, illustrious soldiers and inspiring rebels. Political, social and industrial history and economics are also well covered. The book includes a comprehensive description of modern Ireland, both North and South, and of its two separate Catholic Nationalist and Protestant Unionist traditions. There is a Historical Gazetteer cross-referenced to the main text and particular attention is paid to the classic historical sites, which feature on any visitor's itinerary.
How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (The Hinges of History)
By: Thomas Cahill
The perfect St. Patrick's Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland's role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe.Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated. In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.
In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English
By: Carmel McCaffrey, Leo Eaton
This engaging book traces the history, archaeology, and legends of ancient Ireland from 9000 B.C., when nomadic hunter-gatherers appeared in Ireland at the end of the last Ice Age to 1167 A.D., when a Norman invasion brought the country under control of the English crown for the first time. So much of what people today accept as ancient Irish history―Celtic invaders from Euproe turning Ireland into a Celtic nation; St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland and converting its people to Christianity―is myth and legend with little basis in reality. The truth is more interesting. The Irish, as the authors show, are not even Celtic in an archaeological sense. And there were plenty of bishops in Ireland before a British missionary called Patrick arrived. But In Search of Ancient Ireland is not simply the story of events from long ago. Across Ireland today are festivals, places, and folk customs that provide a tangible link to events thousands of years past. The authors visit and describe many of these places and festivals, talking to a wide variety of historians, scholars, poets, and storytellers in the very settings where history happened. Thus the book is also a journey on the ground to uncover ten thousand years of Irish identity. In Search of Ancient Ireland is the official companion to the three-part PBS documentary series. With 14 black-and-white photos, 6 b&w illustrations, and 1 map.
Ireland Unhinged: Encounters With a Wildly Changing Country
By: David Monagan
Ireland Unhinged: Encounters with a Wildly Changing Country looks back at the changes that the economic boon wreaked on the Irish countryside, and what the future holds for the country. Connecticut-born David Monagan explores his adopted country through the eyes of a passionate transplant. “What is Ireland? Has it lost its soul?” Monagan keeps asking as he roams from Cork to Dublin, Donegal, and Belfast. His answers are loving, searing, and often laugh-out-loud funny.
Ireland: In Word and Image
By: Brand: Welcome Books
“Beyond the green land, the pubs and the auburn hair, is a rich culture dating back nine thousand years, including invasions by just about every nation in Northern Europe. The Irish have survived as a people, perhaps because of the genetics of hope, the richness of tale-telling and laughter, and the scent of peat in the air.”—Jay Ben Adlersberg    The Emerald Isle is known for its gorgeous countryside, and rightfully so. From the rugged cliffs of the Atlantic coast to the lush meadows and lakes of the interior, Ireland is rich in imagery both awe-inspiring and serene. The vibrant streets of such cities as Dublin and Belfast, where modern architecture rubs shoulders with Georgian townhouses and Norman stonework, testify to the island's 21st century resurgence as the cosmopolitan 'Celtic Tiger.' From the remains of a Bronze Age ring fort to the soaring modern Spire of Dublin to the stallions of the National Stud, Ireland is a land of surprising variety.   The rich color images collected here weave together the portrait of a land where Paleolithic monuments, medieval castles, quiet fishing villages, and bustling cities all exist alongside each other.  From the eerie, astonishing hexagonal stones of the ‘Giant’s Causeway’ in County Antrim to the cozy atmosphere of the town pub; from breathtaking wild landscapes to the exquisite gardens of stately homes; each page offers a new glimpse of Ireland’s multifarious beauty.  The prehistoric tombs of Newgrange, the Gothic peaks of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the sublime scenery of Connemara National Park, and countless country villages, all are here.  With a keen visual sensibility, Jay Ben Adlersberg captures the tiniest details and the most magnificent vistas that are at the island’s heart and that make Ireland one of the world’s loveliest places to travel—or to call home.   Here, too, is a journey through Ireland’s history.  The soaring modern Spire of Dublin monument, the elegant campus of Trinity College, the ancient seat of Ireland’s kings at Tara—each evokes a different moment in Ireland’s many-layered past.  Written in the land itself, Ireland’s history appears here in the slope of a thatched roof, in the grass-grown remains of a Bronze Age ring fort, in a field tilled for centuries. Finally, here is the soul of a land where, out of the hardships of the past, have come arts and culture alive with creativity and resilience, from traditional flute and fiddle music to a diverse literary tradition from which thirty poems and literary excerpts have been chosen to accompany Adlersberg’s images, including the romantic prose of James Joyce; the humorous boyhood memories of Frank McCourt; the celebration of natural beauty in the poetry of W.B. Yeats; and the folk tales of Douglas Hyde; as well as numerous others whose writings capture the unique spirit that is Ireland.    Samantha Bowser supplies the rich and nuanced captions for the more than two hundred photographs.
Magnum Ireland
By: John Banville
The changing faces of Ireland—social, political, and cultural—documented by some of the greatest photographers of the modern era.Since the invention of photography, Ireland has been a magnet for photographers, but this book is unique in bringing together the work done by the unrivaled talents of the members of Magnum. From Ireland's first attempts to forge a modern identity in the 1950s to the confident country of the twenty-first century, here is a stunning survey of a beautiful and complex place and people, through times of peace as well as trouble.The photographs reflect the extraordinary insights of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Josef Koudelka, Inge Morath, Erich Lessing, Eve Arnold, Martine Franck, Martin Parr, Bruce Gilden, Donovan Wylie, Stuart Franklin, and others. They bring a truly international perspective to the book, reflecting the sensibilities of America, France, Germany, Iran, Japan, Morocco—and, of course, Ireland itself.Organized decade by decade, the images show the lingering influence of rural life in the 1950s; the hidden story of ordinary Irish men and women—as well as the sectarian conflict—during the uneasy 1960s and 1970s; renewed confidence and the growth of prosperity and peace as the century passed through its last two decades; and the robust "Celtic tiger" of today. Each decade has commentary and context supplied by one of the most notable Irish writers of our time. With texts by: John Banville, Anthony Cronin, Anne Enright, Eamonn McCann, Nuala O'Faolain, Fintan O'Toole, and Colm Toibin. Over 250 photographs in color and duotone.A touring exhibition of the photographs in Magnum Ireland will begin in Ireland in Spring 2006 before continuing in the United States.
Modern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction
By: Senia Paseta
This is a book about the Irish Question, or more specifically about Irish Questions. The term has become something of a catch-all, a convenient way to encompass numerous issues and developments which pertain to the political, social, and economic history of modern Ireland. It is a question which refuses to go away, but it is also a question whose inconstant meaning is rarely anatomized and still less often denied. One of the main aims of this book is to explore the complicated and shifting nature of the Irish Question, and to assess what it has meant to various political minds and agendas. The book is arranged both thematically and chronologically; each of the eight chapters takes as its focus a particular period, and each period is discussed within the context of one or more questions which informed and shaped that particular period.About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam
Ireland, a Bicycle, and a Tin Whistle
By: David A. Wilson
As he travels through the North, Wilson gets beneath the political surface to portray both the tragedy and comedy of everyday life in the Protestant and Catholic communities. Aware of the polarized image that each side has of the other, he emphasizes the importance of finding common ground and of asserting the middle against the extremes. Just as traditional Irish music is characterized by ornamentations and elaborations on a melodic theme, Ireland, a Bicycle, and a Tin Whistle is full of variations and wanderings on the theme of the trip itself. And just as traditional Irish musicians will follow a sad slow air with a lively foot-tapping reel, Wilson's mood ranges from the nostalgic and reflective to the irreverent and mischievous. If there is a lament in one ear, there is a song in the other.
McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland
By: Pete McCarthy
Despite the many exotic places Pete McCarthy has visited, he finds that nowhere else can match the particular magic of Ireland, his mother’s homeland. In McCarthy's Bar, his journey begins in Cork and continues along the west coast to Donegal in the north. Traveling through spectacular landscapes, but at all times obeying the rule, “never pass a bar that has your name on it,” he encounters McCarthy’s bars up and down the land, meeting fascinating people before pleading to be let out at four o’clock in the morning. Written by someone who is at once an insider and an outside, McCarthy's Bar is a wonderfully funny and affectionate portrait of a rapidly changing country.
The Great Shame: And The Triumph Of The Irish In The English -Speaking World
By: Thomas Keneally
"Thomas Keneally recounts history with the uncanny skill of a great novelist whose only interest is to lay bare the human heart in all its hope and pain. As he was able to do in Schindler's List, he shows us in The Great Shame a people despised and rejected to the point of death, who in the face of all their sorrows manage to keep their souls. This story of oppression, famine, and emigration--a principal chapter in the story of man's inhumanity to man--becomes in Keneally's hands an act of resurrection; Irishmen and Irishwomen of a century and a half ago live once more within the pages of this book."--Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved CivilizationIn the nineteenth century, Ireland lost half of its population to famine, emigration to the United States and Canada, and the forced transportation of convicts to Australia. The forebears of Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List, were victims of that tragedy, and in The Great Shame Keneally has written an astonishing, monumental work that tells the full story of the Irish diaspora with the narrative grip and flair of a great novel. Based on unique research among little-known sources, this masterly book surveys eighty years of Irish history through the eyes of political prisoners--including Keneally's ancestors--who left Ireland in chains and eventually found glory, in one form or another, in Australia and America.We meet William Smith O'Brien, leader of an uprising at the height of the Irish Famine, who rose from solitary confinement in Australia to become the Mandela of his age; Thomas Francis Meagher, whose escape from Australian captivity led to a glittering American career as an orator, a Union general, and governor of Montana; John Mitchel, who became a Confederate newspaper reporter, gave two of his sons to the Southern cause, was imprisoned with Jefferson Davis--and returned to Ireland to become mayor of Tipperary; and John Boyle O'Reilly, who fled a life sentence in Australia to become one of nineteenth-century America's leading literary lights.Through the lives of many such men and women--famous and obscure, some heroes and some fools (most a little of both), all of them stubborn, acutely sensitive, and devastatingly charming--we become immersed in the Irish experience and its astonishing history. From Ireland to Canada and the United States to the bush towns of Australia, we are plunged into stories of tragedy, survival, and triumph. All are vividly portrayed in Keneally's spellbinding prose, as he reveals the enormous influence the exiled Irish have had on the English-speaking world."A terrible and personal saga, history delivered with a scholar's density of detail but with the individualizing power of a multi-talented novelist."--William Kennedy
Complete Short Stories (Penguin Classics)
By: Graham Greene
The complete stories of a 20th century master of fictionAffairs, obsessions, ardors, fantasy, myth, legends, dreams, fear, pity, and violence—this magnificent collection of stories illuminates all corners of the human experience. Including four previously uncollected stories, this new complete edition reveals Graham Greene in a range of contrasting moods, sometimes cynical and witty, sometimes searching and philosophical. Each of these forty-nine stories confirms V. S. Pritchett’s declaration that Greene is “a master of storytelling.” This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by Pico Iyer.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
For the Love of Ireland: A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers
By: Susan Cahill
Welcome to the Ireland of its WritersWalk the streets of Dublin with Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Roddy Doyle. Contemplate the wild glens of Wicklow with John Millington Synge and Seamus Heaney. Wander the thrilling Cliffs of Moher with Wallace Stevens. Visit antic Limerick with Frank McCourt; mysterious Coole Park with Lady Gregory; breathtaking Sligo with William Butler Yeats; wild Donegal with Brien Friel; and hidden Clare with Edna O'Brien.No place has inspired more great literature than Ireland, which in each new generation gives birth to an astonishing number of poets, storytellers, and dramatists. For the literary pilgrim to arrive, book in hand, at the pub where Joyce set a scene or the mountain where Yeats imagined a myth is to uncover fresh meaning in the works of writers in love with their native landscape.In For the Love of Ireland, Susan Cahill offers the jewels of Irish literature. Each selection is followed by traveler's advice on how to find and fully experience the place that's about. Whether you take this book with you to Ireland or savor it in your armchair, you will be enriched, ennobled, and entertained by writers of remarkable range and at the top of their form.
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales (Modern Library Classics)
By: Yeats, W. B.
Gathered by the renowned Irish poet, playwright, and essayist William Butler Yeats, the sixty-five tales and poems in this delightful collection uniquely capture the rich heritage of the Celtic imagination. Filled with legends of village ghosts, fairies, demons, witches, priests, and saints, these stories evoke both tender pathos and lighthearted mirth and embody what Yeats describes as “the very voice of the people, the very pulse of life.” “The impact of these tales doesn’t stop with Yeats, or Joyce, or Oscar Wilde,” writes Paul Muldoon in his Foreword, “for generations of readers in Ireland and throughout the world have found them flourishing like those persistent fairy thorns.”
The Playboy of the Western World and Two Other Irish Plays
By: J. M. Synge, William Butler Yeats, Sean O'Casey
 The plays that helped make modern IrelandRiots greeted the first performance of The Playboy of the Western World at Dublin's Abbey Theatre on 26 January 1907. Eggs, potatoes and even a slice of fruit cake were hurled at the actors during subsequent performances, and it seems unlikely that much of the actual play could have been heard in the uproar. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World, with the two other plays in this volume, Yeats's The Countess Cathleen (1892) and O'Casey's Cock-a-doodle Dandy (1949), mark vital stages in the rich explosion of Irish drama that first made itself heard at the turn of the century and gathered momentum during the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Civil War.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The Sea
By: John Banville
In this luminous new novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory, John Banville introduces us to Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child to cope with the recent loss of his wife. It is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, gorgeously written novel — among the finest we have had from this masterful writer.
Wild Decembers
By: Edna O'Brien
'A gripping love story which will keep the reader guessing to the end and delight Edna O'Brien's many fans' Literary Review When a young man arrives from Australia to claim his inheritance, he changes a small Irish town for ever. Joseph Brennan sees Michael Bugler, the returned exile, as a threat. And for Breege, Joseph's younger sister, Bugler is an irresistible stranger to whose charms she must not succumb for fear of betraying her brother. A love-hate story on many levels, Wild Decembers explores the depth and darkness at the root of all ownership. With a rich and comic cast of characters, this primal story is a complex and daring work, fixed in a time and place, yet imbued with the permanence of myth. 'The power of the writing and the dazzle of the images make the book a resounding success' Dublin Evening News 'Intense and poetic' Independent 'She is one of our bravest and best novelists' Irish Times 'She's an exceptionally good writer. Those elegant, tumbling words, and the conviction that the writer is making a really important point' Sunday Tribune
Birds of Ireland: An Introduction to Familiar Species (A Pocket Naturalist Guide) [Pamphlet]
By: Raymond Leung (Illustrator) James Kavanagh (Author)
The Birds of Ireland: A Field Guide
By: Jim Wilson
An important tool of a birdwatcher is a good identification guide. Many cover the birds of Europe but few deal exclusively with Ireland. This first photographic identification guide to the birds of Ireland has over 1400 photos of more than 240 species, in an easy, quick reference format. With eight to fifteen images per species, the key identification features of each bird are shown, with concise descriptions and pointers to indicate important features. This field guide is endorsed by BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland's leading bird conservation organization. Photographs by Mark Carmody.
The Quiet Man (60th Anniversary Special Edition)
By: Olive Films
An American boxer returns to Ireland to live in peace, but his bride's burly brother picks a fight. Oscar for director John Ford.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • For tours that include  round-trip international airfare:  Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees are included

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, the internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare to/from your departure city is not included. Optional airfare may be available at an additional cost.

Registration 

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed. 

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.

In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation or $1,000 for a cruise reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note About Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us. 

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers

A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. Airport transfers (when applicable) are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.