The knitting tour of Ireland will help you to experience Irish craft with an emphasis on knitting through demonstrations and hands on workshops.
Knitting in Ireland is a tradition going back generations. A necessity at one time when pre-made clothes were difficult to come by and families made their own out of the materials readily available to them, sheep’s wool! Knitting and other traditional Irish crafts can easily be seen in the homes of most Irish families and on an industrial level through our many woollen factories and mills.
This knitting tour of Ireland will help you to experience Irish craft with an emphasis on knitting through demonstrations and hands on workshops. If you travel with us in October, your tour will include tickets to the acclaimed Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin’s Royal Dublin Society (RDS) concert venue. Here discover many Irish craft providers offering specialist craft supplies that can’t be found elsewhere, displays from leading artists and workshops designed to introduce you to new and exciting craft projects.
In April your time in Dublin will include a two hour ‘Mobius Knitting’ workshop following the ‘Glenties Cowl’ pattern and an introduction to contemporary Irish knitting. In Galway your tour includes a knitting class with Anne Ó'Máille, visits to a number of knitting factories, a traditional Irish basket making demonstration an unforgettable overnight in Inis Oírr (Inisheer) on the Aran Islands where you will enjoy a knitting class, St. Brigid’s Cross Making workshop and unforgettable tour of this karst island. In Kerry you will meet Carol Feller, popular Irish knitting instructor and author. Non-Knitting attractions include the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, Trinity College and the famous book of Kells and Blarney Castle.
Discounts are available for those that do not wish to partake in the knitting classes but would like to tour Ireland.
Your tour begins in Dublin Airport with a transfer to your hotel. At 2pm, meet at 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 Irish people in the past lived. Recreated rooms show characteristic furniture styles from the 17th century through to the refined splendour of Georgian Ireland to the high style of the 19th century. Of Particular interest to you may be the textile exhibition ‘The Way We Wore’ which exhibits the typical Irish clothing and jewelry worn from the 1760s to the 1960’s. Visit Trinity College which houses the famous Book of Kells. Transcribed by 9th century monks, the intricacy of the designs in this famous book demonstrate the remarkable heritage and importance of craft in Ireland from its creation around the year 800 AD. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day will be free for you to explore the city at your leisure before meeting back at the hotel for your welcome dinner.
Overnight in Dublin, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
April Departure: This morning enjoy a half day knitting workshop with the proprietors of ‘This is Knit’ a well-known knitting shop in Dublin city. The class includes an informative talk on the developments in the Irish Hand Knitting scene over the past ten years as well as a two hour ‘Mobius Knitting’ workshop following the ‘Glenties Cowl’ pattern, designed by Lisa Sisk, using Soft Donegal yarn from the mills of Studio Donegal in Kilcar. Participants will learn how to do a Mobius Cast On with 5.5mm 100cm circular needles (in US sizes this is Size 9 and 40 inches long) and also how to work a Picot Cast Off. This afternoon travel to Galway where the remainder of the evening is your own. Overnight in Galway, Bed & Breakfast Included.
October Departure: Today we will take you to Ireland’s biggest Knitting and Stitching Event, The Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin’s RDS Concert Hall. An important date in Ireland’s craft calendar, the event will have hundreds of learning based practical workshops for improving your knitting and stitching skills, multiple galleries of textile artists’ work as well as hundreds of company exhibitors with new exciting products to help you with your knitting and stitching projects. This evening after an enjoyable day at the show we will take you onward to Galway where the remainder of the day will be at your leisure. Overnight in Galway, Bed & Breakfast Included.
This morning travel to Castlebar where you will visit the National Museum of Country Life, an essential stop on any craft tour of Ireland. This fascinating 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. Next, the award winning Foxford Woolen Mills where your guided tour of the working mill will show master craftspeople at work on the pieces that Foxford delivers to customers all over the world. Travel back to Galway 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 entire cast of the film The Quiet Man and has done a fabulous business ever since in Irish tweeds, knitwear, and Aran knits. Overnight in Galway, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Set off for a tour of Connemara this morning, stopping first at Spiddal Craft & Design Centre where you can visit Maire Ni Thaidh’s Handweaving studio or any one of the many other craft shops in the centre. Travel onward through the Connemara countryside to Kylemore Abbey which is the most visited attraction in the west of Ireland. Thousands visit Kylemore to see the outstanding Abbey and to experience the natural beauty of the Kylemore’s Woodland and Lakeshore walks and Victorian walled garden. Our next stop will be Joe Hogan’s Basket Studio for a demonstration of traditional Irish willow basket weaving techniques and an introduction to modern basket designs and production. This stop includes tea or coffee with a traditional scone. Return to Galway where the evening is your own. You might decide to head into town and catch a traditional Irish Music session in any one of Galway’s traditional pubs or simply relax in your hotel. Overnight in Galway, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Depart your hotel in time 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 and 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 the Aran Island way. After some time to enjoy the Art Exhibition at the centre enjoy a guided tour of the Island. This evening check into your B&B accommodation and after some time to relax and get to know your hosts, you will be collected and taken to a local restaurant for a sumptuous meal. Your host can cater for all dietary needs, so please be sure to let us know of any special requirements in advance of travel. After dinner enjoy a traditional Irish music session in one of the local pubs. Overnight Inis Oírr, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Today you will learn the traditional craft of Saint Brigid Cross Making. Saint Brigid is the patroness of Ireland and is also known as ‘Mary of The Gael’. Traditionally Saint Brigid Crosses were made on her feast day February 1st from rushes (reeds) and affixed in the house to ward off evil and danger from fire. After another delicious lunch we take the afternoon ferry or flight (dependent on weather) back to the mainland for another final night in Galway. The remainder of the afternoon or evening is free to explore Galway at your leisure. Overnight in Galway, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Check out of your hotel after breakfast and commence your journey to County Kerry. Along the way stop at the Cliffs of Moher to admire the astonishing views and visit Kerry Woolen Mills, this 17th establishment has been crafting fine fabrics and yarn from wool for over 300 years. After you check into your hotel there will be an optional tour to Muckross House & Gardens and a stop at Muckross Weavers. For over 20 years, Muckross Weaving Workshop has produced a quality collection of woven items. Here you will be able to catch a glimpse of this age old Irish craft in process. Overnight in in Killarney, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
After breakfast enjoys a Knitting Workshop with Carol Feller, popular Irish knitter and author of the new book Contemporary Irish Knits which is included in the workshop. After lunch (included) take the Ring of Kerry. 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. Before you return to Killarney, visit Kenmare Lace where master lace makers demonstrate the traditional craft of Lacemaking. The demonstration consists of a talk on the history of Kenmare Lace and demonstrations in the making of Kenmare, Limerick, Carrickmacross, Bobbin and Irish Crochet lace. At the centre you can also see a display of antique Irish lace from the Poor Clare Convent, Kenmare. Overnight in Killarney, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Today we travel the slightly extended route to Dublin via Blarney Castle & Blarney Woolen 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 Mahony'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 where the remainder of the afternoon is free for your own personal sightseeing. This evening meet back at the hotel in time to experience an enchanting evening of Irish Folklore, Fairies and Storytelling while enjoying a candlelit traditional Irish dinner above Dublin’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head. Overnight in Dublin, Bed & Breakfast Included.
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.