Join me on a nine-day trip in lightly populated Western Ireland. As our base for most of the trip, we’ll be using an elegant hotel on the waterfront near the picturesque town of Westport. We’ll be exploring ancient abbeys, remote coastlines, and much more! The trip starts and ends in Shannon. I’m partnering with Strabo Tours on this adventure. The photography tour adventure company has years of experience in Ireland.
Tour Highlights ~ A Photographic and Cultural Adventure
• 9 days with Betty Sederquist, who will help guide you to some amazing photographic opportunities.
• Photograph the quiet side of Ireland ~ County Mayo.
• Tour limited to 12 passengers.
• Accommodations include hotel and spa, within walking distance (about a mile) to center of Westport, which often features lively traditional Irish music sessions.
• Experience Western Ireland while spending the majority of your evenings in one accommodation.
• Everyone now has ensuite accommodations. Discount available for non-waterfront rooms.
• Relaxed & flexible itinerary to make the most of the opportunities that come your way.
May 28 Home to Shannon
Your journey to Ireland begins with an overnight flight from the U.S. to Shannon Airport, Ireland. Use this day to rest from the long flight(s).
May 29 Shannon – Westport
You will be met at Ireland’s Shannon International Airport and driven north to Westport, on the shores of Clew Bay. Depending on the time of year there may be an opportunity for the group to photograph the sunset over Clew Bay. (D)
May 30-June 5 Western Ireland
Each day you will visit some of these typical areas from your home base. There is no possible way to visit all of them, so your tour leader and guide will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather. The evenings can be spent over photographic discussions in
the hotel, or walk/take a taxi to town and enjoy the sights and sounds of the many Irish pubs in Westport. They abound with traditional Irish music.
Visit Ballintubber Abbey (Baile Tobair Padraig, in Irish). It is one of the oldest abbeys in Ireland dating back to the twelfth century, named for the natural spring nearby, where St. Patrick baptized his first Irish converts. After working for a few hours in and around the Abbey we will travel a short distance to photograph the burned-out and now ivy-covered ruins of Moore Hall, a Georgian mansion destroyed during the war of independence. Later in the afternoon, photograph Castle Bourke, on the shores of Lough Carra. Sometimes boats are pulled up on the lake shore.
Westport and the Village of Newport.
Both capture the flavor of true Irish towns with their tree-lined canals and colorful shops. After a stop in Westport, drive to nearby Murrisk Abbey, at the foot of Ireland’s Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick. Later in the day you will be at the ocean on the west coast of Mayo at a remote rocky shore called Barnabawn Point. Here you’ll find abandoned stone cottages and an abundance of sheep. Your last stop of the day will be at Tully House, a private residence at the end of a quarter mile tree-lined avenue. There is an old mill along the Bunowen River, a short
walk from the house.
Another day, spend the morning photographing in and around the town of Cong. Photo locations may include Ashford Castle, Cong Abbey (don’t overlook the splendid contemporary stained glass in the nearby church), the ancient forest and river, as well as the quaint town itself. After lunch you will have the opportunity to photograph an area of rolling hills, sheep, and a myriad of stone walls on a hillside flowing down to the mighty Lough Corrib. The picturesque village of Cong was the setting for John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara’s film, The Quiet Man. The King of Connacht founded the abbey ruins in the twelfth century. In 1198 the last High King of Ireland died in the abbey.
The Wild Atlantic Way
Driving north on another day, your first stop will be along the ocean on the Atlantic drive in Mulranny. After lunch on Achill Island, continue
photographing along the ocean, and wind up at the deserted famine village at Keel. Achill Island, wrought by wind and water, is a dramatic
arrangement of rock, cloud, and cliffs falling off to ferocious ocean surf below.
Moors and Magical Forests
Another day, photograph in the morning along the shores of Doo Lough, visiting two locations. After lunch in the town of Louisburgh, spend the afternoon photographing in the Sheeffrey Hills, a place where you must be careful not to disturb the leprechauns who inhabit the forest.
Abbeys and Castles
Burrishoole Abbey, surrounded by an estuary and massive cemetery, is a great place to start one of your days. Nearby is the stark tower of Carrigahowley Castle, one of the many strongholds of Grace O’Malley, the adventurous sixteenth-century Pirate Queen. Later in the afternoon visit Letterkeen Forest. (B each day, three D)
June 6 Westport – Shannon
Leave Westport early this morning, driving south to County Clare, where you spend the evening not far from Shannon Airport. Photograph in County Galway near the town of Gort. There lies a 16th century Norman castle with a small cottage attached. The Irish Literary Revival began near this castle – in Coole Park, an estate owned by Lady Gregory where she hosted the likes of George Bernard Shaw, W. B. Yeats and J. M. Synge. It was a haven – a place of retreat for William Butler Yeats. Finish the tour with the mighty Quinn Abbey, followed by dinner on your own at a local restaurant or the hotel.
Overnight Shannon Hotel (B)
June 7 Shannon – Home
After breakfast this morning, there will be a group transfer for early afternoon flights home. Should your flight depart at a different time, the hotel can call you a taxi, as the airport is just 5-10 minutes away. (B)
Land cost: $3095* per person, based upon minimum of 9 paying passengers, maximum of 12. All our program prices are based on double occupancy. There is a small group surcharge of $500 if 5 or 8 paying passengers.
Please Note: Waterfront rooms have been included, if you prefer a discount of $230 per room without water view, please contact Strabo Tours. Single room supplement: $495, Single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed.
*Note: The trip cost is based upon the current exchange rate between the Euro and U.S. Dollar. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the trip price.
The land cost includes:
• Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
• Accommodations based on two people sharing a room.
• Services of driver guide during the tour.
• Meals as listed in the itinerary. You will be responsible for all lunches (usually in a pub, and costs vary from seven to 12 Euros.). Breakfasts come with the hotels. You will also be responsible for some of the dinners.
• Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include: International air fare; air fare tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; meals not listed in the itinerary; activities listed as optional, or those taken on your own; passport expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature or those not listed in what is included; tips to guides and service staff.
Please contact Strabo Tours if you would like assistance with your International Airfare.
Deposits, Cancellations & Refunds
A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation
bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are
made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due. If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax
At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:
• 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’s costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
• 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’s costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to
100% of tour costs.
• 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.
Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.
Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas. We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section above: “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds”). Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons. There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.
Think comfort. We have a fairly easygoing schedule, often not leaving the hotel until 9:30 a.m., returning by 5 p.m. It does rain a lot in Ireland, so bring raingear and warm clothing. The itinerary varies. If the weather is bad, it’s a day for museums, woolen mills and great pub food. Otherwise expect to explore the nooks and crannies of ancient abbeys or peer from cliffs at the wild Atlantic coastline. Ireland is a clean place with friendly people who are willing to help out. Food is similar to what you would find in the United States—perhaps better (don’t expect to lose weight on this trip!). We can accommodate allergies and food preferences. Hotel accommodations are excellent. If you have mobility issues, don’t fear. Seldom will you have to climb any stairs, except occasionally in historic buildings. We will be traveling in a 12-passenger van with driver and local Irish guide, and you’ll need to climb up and down a couple of steps for entry/exit in the vehicle. Because the van is larger than a tiny automobile, that somewhat limits the spontaneity of stopping for random photo ops, as safety is the number one priority. We cannot accommodate wheelchairs, unfortunately.
If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).