6 Night Northwest Ireland Luxury Knitting Retreat

Our luxury knitting retreat uses one central luxury hotel as the primary location so you can truly relax and enjoy the Irish countryside! This tour features the impressive Lough Eske Castle on the scenic shores of Lough Eske.

8th October 2022
(One date only – limited availability) 

While our knitting tours are hugely popular, a lot of our previous knitters said they would like to come back to Ireland to simply relax and knit! So here it is, our Luxury Donegal Knitting Retreat. When you arrive at Dublin Airport, transfer to your hotel in Dublin city centre before taking in some of the key sites and attractions. The next day, head for Donegal on the northwest coast and meet your host and famous Donegal designer and knitter, Edel MacBride. You will spend four days with Edel in the luxury of Lough Eske Castle. We will have optional touring throughout the four days, should you wish to take in some of the local crafts! 

Included in This Tour

  • Transfers on arrival and departure by private coach (for arrivals prior to 10.30am on tour start day).
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary in a luxury coach with an experienced driver and accredited guide, entrance fees included if applicable.
  • Visits to: The GPO Museum, The Ulster American Folk Park, Slieve League Cliffs
  • Cheese & wine tasting event at Lough Eske Castle
  • Afternoon tea at Lough Eske Castle
  • The company of your knitting host, Edel MacBride, for 4 days
  • Knitting workshops as described in the itinerary including yarn and patterns
  • Accommodation in rooms with private facilities for 6 nights
  • Irish breakfast daily
  • 6 dinners
  • 3 lunches
  • Optional touring as described in the itinerary
Workshops/Knitting Activities Included in This Tour
  • Knitting workshops as described in the itinerary including yarn and patterns
  • Visit This is Knit Yarn Store
  • Spinning & dyeing demonstration with Mary from Markree Woolcraft
  • Knitting with the locals at Glencolmcille Folk Village
  • Studio Donegal Weaving Demonstration
  • Visits to Rossan Knitwear, Swallows Studio and Carrickmacross Lace
Overnights for this Tour
  • Hyatt Centric Hotel (or similar), Dublin, 1 Night
  • Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Donegal, 4 Nights
  • Hyatt Centric Hotel (or similar), Dublin, 1 Night

Important Note: Attractions, Workshops and Demonstrations May Change According to Availability and Scheduling


Day 1: Dublin Arrival, Dublin City Tour, The GPO Museum & This is Knit Yarn Store

Begin your knitting retreat with a transfer to your hotel (for arrivals prior to 10.30am). Next, visit the GPO Witness History Museum; located in one of Dublin’s most famous buildings, the museum tells the story of the 1916 Rising in Dublin through special effects, soundscapes and stories from real Irish people. Next stop is This is Knit, a family run yarn store that stocks high quality, natural fibre yarns. Return to your hotel where you will have time to relax before your evening welcome dinner at the hotel. Overnight Hyatt Centric Hotel, Dublin, Dinner Bed & Breakfast Basis

Day 2: Travel to Donegal via Swallows Studio

Today your knitting retreat begins in earnest! Board the coach and relax as you begin your journey to Donegal, stopping along the way at Swallows Studio. Here, you will see the unique creations of Liz Christy which have been inspired by her favourite artists such as Monet, Gauguin and Edward Hopper. After your visit continue to your hotel in Donegal and meet your host, one of Ireland’s finest knitwear designers, Edel MacBride. You will spend a lot more time with Edel and her team over the next few days so this evening is an informal get together and ‘get to know each other’ session with some informal knitting thrown in for good measure! Overnight Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Donegal, Dinner Bed & Breakfast Basis

Day 3: Knitting Workshop with Edel MacBride – Spinning & Dyeing Demonstration with Markree Wool Craft

Throughout your knitting retreat Edel will be helping you along with your project which you will start today. This particular knitting project has been recently designed and there will be options available based on proficiency or knitting style. Having began to knit at the young age of three, Edel's tricks of the trade are second to none! She has developed hastier ways to cable and you will gain a great insight into her high end finishing techniques and tips. In the afternoon, enjoy a cheese and wine tasting event which will be followed by a spinning & dyeing demonstration with Mary from Markree Woolcraft who will demonstrate traditional Irish spinning techniques on a Donegal Spinning Wheel and talk to you about how she dyes her yarns using hedgerow plants and lichens. All year round you can enjoy the magnificent landscape that surrounds Lough Eske Castle on the shores of Lough Eske. This evening, why not take a walk around the lake or further afield. Overnight Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Donegal, Dinner Bed & Breakfast Basis

Day 4: Optional Donegal Craft Tour: Glencolmcille Region & Slieve League Cliffs

Today if you prefer to stay at your hotel you can do that or join us for a tour of the West Donegal region. If you do decide to tour with us, bring your knitting as Edel will be touring with you! Begin your day with a visit to Studio Donegal, a hand-weaving and clothing manufacturing business committed to preserving and promoting traditional Irish hand-weaving. Here you will see the process of hand-weaving including the spinning, warping and weaving of the wool. Beautifully tailored vests, jackets and homeware products are made on site from their own fabrics. Studio Donegal’s soft Merino yarn is dyed and spun in the region and sold on site. Next stop is the stunningly beautiful Slieve League Cliffs some of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe and the inspiration for Edel’s locally spun Sliabh Liag wool. We will have a quick bite to eat before we continue with the tour. Travel onward to Glencolmcille Folk Village and spend some time knitting with the locals. Knitting was an integral part of the income of families in Glencolmcille. Spinning, weaving and dying of wool also played a huge part in the lives and culture of the locals. Glencolmcille was very much a fishing community and the Aran sweater was both a necessity and second nature to the people. Afterwards, enjoy a short visit to Rossan Knitwear and see three generations of the McNellis family hand looming knitwear. The Rossan collection is produced at Glencolmcille Woollen Mill which looks out upon the end of the Celtic trail. The Rossan collection of knitwear carries both modern and traditional designs, much of which reflect the Donegal landscape. This evening meet back at Lough Eske Castle for dinner. Overnight Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Donegal, Dinner Bed & Breakfast Basis

Day 5: Edel MacBride Workshop & Afternoon Tea at Lough Eske

This morning, continue your knitting with Edel and take the opportunity to see some of her amazing work with the group. This afternoon, enjoy a scrumptious Afternoon Tea which will be followed by a brief tour of the castle. Spend the remainder of your afternoon at leisure before re-joining the group for dinner. Overnight Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Donegal, Dinner Bed & Breakfast Basis

Day 6: Return to Dublin via Ulster American Folk Park and Carrickmacross Lace

Today we check out of Lough Eske and make our way back to Dublin, stopping along the way at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh. This outdoor museum explores the historical link between Ulster and America, focusing particularly on the lifestyle and experiences of those immigrants who sailed from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries in search of the New World. Of particular interest to you may be the weaver's cottage where you will see an authentic handloom which would have been used to weave tweed or linen by the man of the house while his wife spun the flax fibres into yarn and the children carded and combed the flax in preparation for the spinning wheel. After your visit here, it's on to Carrickmacross Lace to see the fine lace masterpieces that have been produced in the region since the early 1800's. Continue to Dublin for hotel check-in. This evening your final farewell dinner will be served at the hotel. Overnight Hyatt Centric Hotel, Dublin, Dinner Bed & Breakfast Basis

Day 7: End of Tour

After your final Irish breakfast depart the hotel for Dublin Airport arriving in time to complete check-in formalities and that last minute duty free shopping.

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