Day 1: Dublin Sightseeing
Your tour begins in Dublin Airport with a transfer to your designated hotel (for arrivals prior to 11am). At 2pm, meet at the hotel reception and begin your tour with a panoramic tour of Dublin City. Visit the National Museum of Decorative Arts & History where you catch a glimpse of how the Irish people in the past lived. Recreated rooms show typical furniture styles from the 17th century through to the style of the 19th century.
Of particular interest to you might be the textile exhibition ‘The Way We Wore’ which displays typical Irish clothing and jewellery worn from the 1760s onwards. After your visit, the remainder of the day will be free for you to explore Dublin city at your leisure before meeting back at the hotel for your welcome dinner. Overnight at the Camden Court Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 2: Winnie’s Craft Café, Constant Knitter & Travel to Galway
Day 2 starts in Dublin with a trip to the Constant Knitter where you will meet a local craftsperson for a demonstration and informal chat about their craft topic which will either be knitwear design or Irish Lace crochet depending on designer availability. After your visit there, travel the short distance to Winnie's Craft Cafe, an oasis of calm and colour for those interested in knitting, crochet and beading. Here we meet resident knitting teacher Pauline Gallagher and she will give you a short knitting with wire workshop. All materials will be provided and by the end of the class you will have knit yourself a nice wire leaf pendant which you can take home with you as a souvenir of your time here in Ireland! The craft shop will be open which stocks a wide range of yarns, books, patterns and accessories. After lunch (included) board your touring coach and travel to the Ballinahown Craft Village outside Athlone for some refreshments before continuing to Galway city and check into your hotel . Overnight is at the Salthill Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 3: Craft in Connemara
Set off for a tour of Connemara this morning. Situated on the most Westerly part of Ireland, Connemara is one of the most beautiful unspoilt landscapes around. Your first stop will the Spiddal Craft & Design Centre in Connemare where you will enjoy a demonstration of traditional Irish willow basket weaving techniques and an introduction to modern basket designs with traditional basket maker, Ciaran Hogan. You might also enjoy visiting other crafts people at the centre including traditional handweaver, Máíre Ní Thaidhg. Stop at the famous Kylemore Abbey which is one of the most visited attractions in Ireland. Thousands visit Kylemore to see the outstanding Abbey and to experience the natural beauty of the Kylemore’s Woodland and Lakeshore walks as well as its Victorian walled garden. Finally visit the Sheep & Wool Centre where you will learn about the history of sheep farming in Ireland. Learn more about the Irish woollen industry and the process of how sheep’s fleece is made into cloth. Return to Galway where the evening is your own to explore the city. You might decide to head into town and catch a traditional Irish Music session in any one of Galway’s pubs or simply relax in your hotel. Overnight at the Salt Hill Hotel, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 4: Museum of Country Life & Anne O’Maille Workshop
This morning travel to Castlebar where you will visit the popular National Museum of Country Life, an essential stop on any craft tour of Ireland. This museum houses collections of domestic goods, once used as part of daily life from 1850 to 1950. Exhibits and an informative movie explain how Irish people made a living from the soil before the machine age. After plenty of time to enjoy this extensive museum and grounds, travel back to Galway city and enjoy an intensive Knitting Workshop with one of Ireland’s best known Aran knitters and designers, Mrs. Anne O’Maille of Ó'Máilles of Galway. Established in 1938, this shop became famous in the 1950s for outfitting the cast of the film The Quiet Man and the shop has done a fabulous business ever since in Irish tweeds, knitwear, and Aran knits. Overnight at the Salthill Hotel, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 5: Inis Oírr (Inisheer), Aran Islands
Depart your hotel to get the early morning flight or ferry (dependent on weather) to Inis Oírr (Inisheer), one of the famous Aran Islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. On arrival you will be collected by your Aran Island Knitting Instructor Ann McDonagh where you will be taken to the Aras Eanna arts & craft centre where you will enjoy welcome tea or coffee and scones. Enjoy a Knitting Workshop where you will learn traditional methods and stitches, in the Aran Island way. In your class you will learn the Sharry Chain Link Stitch, the Sharry family, like many of the island families, has a long standing connection with the sea. The women of the family celebrate that connection in their choice of stitches when they knit Aran sweaters. After some time to enjoy the Art Exhibition enjoy a guided tour of the Island. This afternoon check into your B&B accommodation with time to relax and get to know your hosts. Your hosts can cater for most dietary needs, so please be sure to let us know of any special requirements in advance. You will be collected this evening and taken to a local restaurant for a delicious evening meal. Overnight Inis Oírr, Lunch, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 6: Another day and night on Inis Oírr (Inisheer)!
Enjoy a Needle Felting Class This is an exciting way of creating an original piece of art that can either become a wall hanging or the front of a cushion cover. Participants will learn how to trace a design on the fabric and then needle felt the design. Beads and other embellishments can be added to enhance the pictures. As well as flat Needle Felting participants will learn the basics of 3D felting and complete a unique Christmas Tree Decoration to take home as a souvenir of their visit to the Aran Islands. After lunch enjoy a St Bridget's Cross Making Workshop & learn about ''Brideog'', a doll traditionally fashioned out of straw and dressed in white usually First Holy Communion dress and veil. This evening return to your B&B accommodation and after having some time to relax, you will be collected and taken for another delicious meal. Overnight Inis Oírr, Lunch, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 7: Aran Islands to Killarney
Check out of your accommodation after breakfast and take the early morning ferry directly to Doolin in County Clare. Take a scenic drive around Clare to the Cliffs of Moher to admire the astonishing views. Travel onward to Kerry visiting Kerry Woollen Mills along the way. This 17th establishment has been crafting fine fabrics and yarn from wool for over 300 years and on your tour you will see truly skilled craftspeople at work. Afterwards, check into your hotel in Killarney where the remainder of the day until dinner will be free for personal sightseeing. Overnight in Randles Hotel, Killarney, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 8: Ring of Kerry & Carol Feller Knitting Class
After breakfast take the Ring of Kerry Tour. The road winds between the Macgillycuddy's Reeks, Ireland's highest mountains, and the varied Atlantic coast. You will be amazed at the breathtaking views and you will stop for photos at the most dramatic scenes. On the return pass through the colourful village of Sneem and pause at Moll's Gap to view the Three Lakes of Killarney. After time for lunch, return to Killarney and enjoy a Knitting Workshop with Carol Feller, popular Irish knitter and author of the book Contemporary Irish Knits. Overnight in Killarney, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 9: Blarney Castle & Return to Dublin
Check out of your accommodation and travel Cork to visit Blarney Castle & Woollen Mills Store. Cormac MacCarthy, a great Irish chieftain constructed Blarney Castle nearly 600 years ago and since then this remarkable fortress and its ‘stone of eloquence’ has been attracting thousands of curious visitors every year. Legend has it that if you kiss the stone you will never be lost for words and have as the Irish say, ‘the gift of the gab’. Built in 1823, Blarney Woollen Mills was originally known as Mahoney’s Mills and provided valuable employment to the people of Blarney and nearby areas. In 1973 the business at the Old Mill had started to decline and it finally closed its doors. It was then bought by a local man Christy Kelleher, who started a souvenir business at the Mill. Today Blarney Woollen Mills is Ireland’s largest Irish Gift & Craft Store. Travel onward to Dublin stopping along the way for lunch (included). On arrival in Dublin the remainder of the afternoon is free for your own personal sightseeing. This evening your final farewell dinner will be served in Dublin’s Nancy Hands Pub. Overnight at the Camden Court, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 10: Tour Ends
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.