Ireland Photo Tour
DATES: July 12-22, 2015
TOUR SIZE: minimum 5, maximum 7
REGISTRATION: This tour is run through Strabo Tours. Visit the Strabo website for complete tour information and registration.
Our itinerary is set in the unspoiled villages, rugged ancient abbeys, broad peat lowlands, and the dramatic coastline of Western Ireland. The soft pastel shades of the mountains and clouds appeal to the artist and photographer. These natural landscapes, along with the people, render this Isle a place of inspirational beauty. We will visit places you could never locate on your own — tiny villages, hidden beaches, castles, and ancient abbeys.
An important element of your photographic experience will be critique(s) of your work and evening lectures.
July 12: U.S. – Shannon
Our journey to Ireland begins with an overnight flight from the U.S. to Shannon, Ireland.
July 13: Shannon – Hillcrest House, Westport
We will be met at Ireland’s Shannon International Airport and driven north to Westport, on the shores of Clew Bay. The first afternoon we can relax; perhaps enjoy conversation in the library. If we are feeling a bit energetic, we can capture the sunset by exploring the nearby countryside or climb the hill above Hillcrest House.
July 14-20: Western Ireland
Each day we will visit some of these typical areas from our home base at Hillcrest House. It is not possible to see everything during each tour, as we also like to take time for unscheduled stops. Our guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group, and special events taking place during your time in Ireland.
We often start each trip with a visit to Ballintubber Abbey, or 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.
Hillcrest House lays half way between the City of 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 we drive along the shores of Clew Bay, stopping at Murrisk Abbey, at the foot of Croagh Patrick. Ireland’s Holy Mountain, named after the national saint, is one of Mayo’s best-known landmarks.
Another day we will spend the morning photographing in and around the town of Cong. Photo locations include Cong Abbey, the forest, and river, as well as the town itself. 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. After lunch we will have the opportunity to photograph an area of rolling hill, sheep, and a myriad of stonewall, on a hillside flowing down to Lough Corrib.
Driving north, our first stop will be along the ocean on the Atlantic drive in Mulranny. After lunch on Achill Island we will continue photographing along the ocean and given time, wind up at the deserted famine village at Keel. Achill Island is the largest island off the Irish coast. To get there, we will drive over the bridge at Achill Sound. Wrought by wind and water, the island is an arrangement of rock, cloud, and cliffs falling off to the sea.
We visit one of the few remaining round towers in Ireland, Turlough, standing amid a field of ancient carved gravestones. Nearby is the new Museum of Country Life, one of Ireland’s National Museums, well worth the stop.
We photograph along the shores of Doo Lough and the Connemara Mountains, where we will see some of the most stunning landscapes in all of Ireland. After lunch in the town of Louisburgh, we will spend the afternoon photographing in the Sheeffrey Wood, a place where we must be careful not to disturb the leprechauns who inhabit the forest.
Burrishoole Abbey is a great place to start one of our days. Nearby is Carrigahowley Castle, one of the many strongholds of Grace O’Malley, the adventurous sixteenth century Pirate Queen. Later in the afternoon we visit Letterkeen Forest.
July 21: Westport – Burren - Ennis
We will leave Hillcrest House early this morning, and drive to the Burren, a remote region near the town of Ennis. Our last full day of exploring and photographing will be spent in this beautiful area for the wild landscapes, culminating in with mighty cliffs. Tonight we will stay at the Temple Gate Hotel (or similar) in Ennis and enjoy dinner on our own. The hotel rests on the site of a nineteenth century convent.
July 22: Ennis – Shannon – U.S.
After breakfast this morning, we will say good bye to our new friends in hopes of seeing them again some day, perhaps even at Hillcrest House. We board our afternoon flights for home.