Aogan and Frances Farrell are the owner/operators of the Maudabawn Cultural Centre which provides ongoing adult education through computer classes and informative coach tours. The day-long tours focus on themes of unique geographical, economic, and historical importance. The tour called the Linen Trail, for instance, introduces 50 or so adults who fill the comfortable coach, to the prime flax region of South Ulster, including its market towns, mills, bleach greens, and merchant houses. This is the heart of Cavan /Monaghan's hills, lakes, and pastoral countryside. The height of the flax era, 1790's-1820's, left a unique tapestry on the landscape. Aoghan, a school teacher of some twenty-four years and published scholar, weaves the story over the speaker system with poignancy and humor that leaves the listener wanting deeper insight into the lives of families...families who were totally dependent on the flax trade. In many areas of Ireland, the English had embargoed the export of wool. Flax became a money crop, but at mid-century with the arrival of cheap cotton from America, the flax market collapsed. Hardship ensued as mills closed, whole villages abandoned and families displaced. Troubles came in many guises.
The titles of other tours give hints of similar depth and richness: By Lough Sheelin's Shores, Footsteps of St. Mogue, Ring of Guillion, Highlands of Breifne. Requests for individual and custom group tours focused on preferred topics or specific areas are welcomed. Tours and lecture content can be tailored to almost any orientation.
A late model luxury touring coach is the transport of choice and the cheerfully unflappable driver, Tom Fox, of Foxhound Travel, has been behind the wheel on the tours for the past 8 years.
How to Get There:
By car: From Dublin, take N3 to Cavan Town. From Cavan Town, take R188 to Cootehill. From Cootehill, take 190 East, bear right onto R191, go 3 miles to left turn at Maudabawn Cultural Centre sign.
By Bus: See www.buseireann.ie for connections to Cavan Town and Cootehill.
Times of departure: Coach departs the centre at 9:30 am, returning by 4 pm or as arranged for custom tour.
Fees: 5-day tour with late morning tea, 80 Euro, lunch not included. Stop for lunch around 1:30 at upscale buffet/carvery restaurant (10-15 Euro). One day tour, 50 Euro, lunch included.
Address: Maudabawn Cultural Centre, Cootehill, Co. Cavan
T: 049 555 9504; www.maudabawn.com
Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007