Begin your knitting tour of Ireland with a transfer to your hotel (for arrivals prior to 11am). At 1pm enjoy a visit to Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells, followed by a chance to explore nearby iconic Grafton Street.
Visit the Constant Knitter where you will meet a local craftsperson for a demonstration and informal chat about their craft topic. The remainder of the evening will be free for you to explore the city at your leisure before meeting back at the hotel for your welcome dinner. Overnight in Camden Court Hotel or similar, Dublin, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 2: This is Knit Workshop & Guinness Storehouse
This morning meet Lisa from ‘This is Knit’ for a workshop which includes an informative talk on the developments in the Irish Hand Knitting scene over the past ten years as well as a two hour ‘Moebius Knitting’ workshop following the ‘Glenties Cowl’ pattern, designed by Lisa Sisk. For this class you will be using Soft Donegal yarn from the mills of Studio Donegal in Kilcar.
After your workshop we continue with our panoramic tour of Dublin and will stop at Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse for a guided tour. Located in the heart of the iconic St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, this production site has been home to the Guinness Brewery since 1759, when Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 year lease! This evening dinner is not included so that you can sample one of Dublin’s many restaurants and bars at your leisure. Overnight in Camden Court Hotel or similar, Dublin, Bed & Breakfast included.
After a leisurely breakfast, board your touring coach and travel to Tullamore D.E.W. Heritage Centre where you will discover how Daniel E. Williams went from stable boy to distillery manager to creating the whiskey which still bears his initials today. There will be time for some lunch before continuing to Rossaveal in County Galway for your ferry to Inis Mór (Also spelled Inishmore), the largest of the three Aran Islands.
On arrival, meet with Aran Island locals for an introduction to Aran life with special attention to history of Dun Aonghasa in preparation for your visit the next day. Dinner will be served at the hotel accompanied by your hosts and after, enjoy a quick traditional Irish dancing lesson or if your tired feet are not up to the task, you can watch the instructor display some simple steps! Overnight on Inis Mor (Inishmore), Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included. Overnight Aran Islands Hotel, Inis Mor (Inishmore), Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
This morning, enjoy a Knitting Workshop where you will learn traditional methods and stitches the Aran Island way. Then it’s off for a tour of Inis Mór with your local guide. The island has more than 50 different monuments of Christian and pre Christian history and you will pay a visit to the impressive fort of Dún Aonghasa.
The fort consists of three terraced walls surrounding an inner enclosure containing a platform on the edge of a three hundred foot high cliff. Please note that the walk to the fort is up a sharp incline and suitable footwear should be worn and is not recommended for those who may have walking difficulties. The views from it are breathtakingly spectacular. Overnight Aran Islands Hotel, Inis Mor (Inishmore), Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 5: Museum of Country Life & Knitting Workshop with Ciara Ní Reachtnín
Begin your knitting tour today with the early ferry back to the mainland. From there travel through Connemara to the Museum of Country Life. Enjoy a workshop with Ciara Ní Reachtnín , where Ciara will draw from elements of Irish and Celtic mythology, this time focusing on An Bradán Feasa or The Salmon of Knowledge. Ciara will demonstrate how to create simple slip stitch cables using two complementary colour yarns. This technique is deceptively easy, as you will only ever work with one colour at a time. Ciara will then show you how your finished motif can be incorporated or developed into various items, including a headband, sunglasses case, cowl, or even a hat. Once you have mastered the slip stitch cable motif, Ciara will then show you how you might incorporate beads into the design. Ciara will also demonstrate an optional, advanced closed cable motif which the more adventurous knitter can include in their project.
After your workshop, you can avail of the opportunity of a self-guided tour of Museum of Country Life. Learn about the unique stories and traditions of rural life in Ireland that our rural ancestors lived by. Finally, travel the short distance to Sligo where you will check into your hotel. Overnight Sligo Park Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 6: The Grave of W.B. Yeats, St Columba’s Church, Donegal Yarns and Studio Donegal
Leaving Sligo we journey to Donegal on Ireland’s Northwest Coast. Stop en route at Drumcliffe Cemetery, the final resting place of renowned Irish poet, W.B Yeats. Explore the churchyard which includes Yeats’s grave, high cross and St. Columba’s Church. Continue on to Donegal Yarns, nestled between the hills of South West Donegal and the Atlantic Ocean. Donegal Yarns Wool spinning mill can trace its origin back to the centuries old tradition of tweed effect yarns domestically spun in Donegal. These yarns date back over a hundred years and gave their name to the internationally famous ‘Donegal Tweed’ woven fabric and knitwear. The Company operates a vertical production process from raw wool to a finished multi-coloured fleck yarn.
Your knitting tour of Ireland continues 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 from start to finish including the spinning, warping and weaving of the wool. Arrive in Donegal Town, where the afternoon is free for your personal sightseeing or shopping. Donegal has lots of nice craft shops and Magee Tweed is well worth a visit or you may like to visit Donegal Castle which was built by the O'Donnell chieftain in the 15th century. Overnight Mill Park Hotel, Donegal , Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 7: Edel MacBride Knitting Workshop, Glencolmcille Folk Village and Slieve League
Today meet one of Ireland’s finest knitwear designers, Edel MacBride, for an intensive Aran knitting workshop. Enjoy a core workshop including yarn pack, working the best of Irish moss, cable and Edel’s favourite Aran stitches. After your class set off for some of the finest vistas in Ireland! Arrive at Slieve League, and explore one of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe, with your local expert, Paddy Clarke.
Follow the rugged coastal scenery and visit Glencolmcille Folk Village where you will enjoy a glimpse of early Irish living. The Folk Village Museum is a cluster of several small cottages, called a ‘clachan’, perched on a hillside overlooking the sandy curve of Glen Bay Beach in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) of South West Donegal. Designed, built and maintained by the local people, the Folk Village is one of Ireland's best living-history museums. Arrive back into Donegal town and the evening is free for you to enjoy traditional pubs with lively music, one of the local restaurants or simply relax and unwind in your hotel. Overnight Mill Park Hotel, Donegal , Bed & Breakfast Included.
The Causeway Coast is rated as one of the top five road trips worldwide and when you experience it you will see why! The road meanders around a narrow strip of coastline between stunning sea views and majestic high cliffs. Visit the Giant’s Causeway where around 60 million years ago, three great lava flows were laid down, cooling the basaltic plateau that makes an interesting photo opportunity today!
On your journey you will also visit the remains of Dunluce Castle which is perched dramatically close to a headland that plunges directly Sea! Your day tour today ends in Belfast City where the remainder of the evening is free to check out the local bars and restaurants. Overnight Grand Central Hotel, Belfast, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 9: Belfast Sightseeing, Titanic Belfast & Mourne Alpaca Farm
This morning enjoy a visit to Mourne Alpacas outside Belfast, a family managed herd of Alpaca and pedigree angora goats that produce high quality fleeces, so much so that their motto at the farm is “We breed for heat, not for meat!” Once you have been up close and cosy with the alpacas, and had a chance for plenty of photos and questions, we will move onto the fleece. While enjoying a cuppa after all your hands on with the alpacas and the fleece, you can get a chance to see, feel and purchase quality alpaca yarns and some blend yarns, in many natural colours of the alpaca and some stunning seasonal colour ranges created from natural dyes as well. Mourne Alpacas have all their fleeces processed professionally at a dedicated mill and raw fleeces are also available for purchase for anyone who is keen to take some for home spinning.
Upon your return to the city, experience Titanic Belfast, one of Belfast’s newest and most popular museums, built on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard where the Titanic was originally constructed. Galleries reconstruct scenes from Belfast at the time of its construction, the launch, the maiden voyage, the sinking and the aftermath. This museum is extremely interactive, with technology bringing each period to life. The remainder of the evening is your own to continue to enjoy the vibrant Belfast atmosphere. Overnight Grand Central Hotel, Belfast, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 10: Irish Linen Centre & Spinning and Tapestry Workshop
Linen was an important industry in Ireland, particularly in the North of Ireland. So much so that its capital Belfast was fondly known as 'Linenopolis'! Take a tour of the Irish Linen Centre at the Lisburn Museum. On your guided tour of the centre you will explore the history of linen production in the Province of Ulster.
Travel back over the border to Drogheda to meet Aine Dunne a tapestry weaver and artist, resident and working from the Boyne Valley. With Aine and her team, you will enjoy a Spinning & Tapestry Workshop; here you will be introduced to hand spinning sheep’s wool by using a drop spindle and try your hand at weaving a sample piece on a four-sided tapestry frame loom. During your time with Aine you will gain insight into her designs, weaving methods and work schedule. Return to Dublin where this evening your final farewell dinner will be served in a local restaurant. Overnight in Dublin, Bed & Breakfast included.