Day 1: Dublin Arrival, Dublin City Tour, The GPO Museum & The Constant Knitter
Begin your knitting retreat with a transfer to your hotel (for arrivals prior to 11am). At 1pm stop at the GPO Witness History Museum; located in one of Dublin’s most famous buildings the museum tells the story of the 1916 Rising in Dublin through special effects, soundscapes and stories from real Irish people. Next stop is the Constant Knitter Yarn Shop which is one of Dublin’s best yarn stores and houses a nice selection of both Irish and European yarns and accessories.
Return to your hotel where you will have time to relax or take a walk around Dublin City before your evening welcome dinner at the hotel. Overnight at the Hyatt Centric Hotel, Dublin, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 2: Travel to Donegal via Carrickmacross Lace & Ulster American Folk Park
Today your knitting retreat begins in earnest! Board the coach and relax as you begin your journey to Donegal, stopping along the way at Carrickmacross Lace to see the fine lace masterpieces that have been produced in the region since the early 1800’s. Enjoy a demonstration where staff that are passionate about the beauty of this meticulously created craft will show you the intricate needlework involved with creating the finished pieces. After your visit, return to your coach and travel to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh. The Park explores the historical link between Ulster and America, focusing particularly on the lifestyle and experiences of those immigrants who sailed from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Of particular interest to you may be the weaver’s cottage where you will see an authentic handloom which would have been used to weave tweed or linen by the man of the house while his wife spun the flax fibres into yarn and the children carded and combed the flax in preparation for the spinning wheel. Staff here will give you a demonstration on the spinning wheel and tell you all about traditional yarn dyeing methods. After your visit continue to Harvey’s Point Hotel and meet your host, one of Ireland’s finest knitwear designers, Edel MacBride. You will spend a lot more time with Edel and her team over the few days spent in Donegal, so this evening is an informal get together and ‘get to know each other’ session with some informal knitting thrown in for good measure! Overnight at Harvey’s Point, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 3: Day 3: Knitting Workshop with Edel MacBride – Spinning & Dyeing Demonstration with Markree Wool Craft
Throughout your knitting retreat, Edel will be helping you all with your project which you will start today. The knitting project has been designed by Edel recently and will have options based on your proficiency or knitting style. For example, if it is her latest cowl design there will be a scarf and hat option with the same stitches and the option to use multiple colours. Edel's passion is Aran and new ways to work stitches while keeping things simple! Her tricks of the trade are second to none having first starting knitting at age three while watching her mum knit Aran Sweaters. Edel has developed speedier ways to cable and you will gain much from her high end finishing techniques and tips. The design will be worked in a Donegal yarn with the choice of using Edel's custom made Sliabh Liag yarn, spun in Donegal and inspired by the Slabh Liag (Slieve League) cliffs which you will soon visit. Bring your favourite knitting tools. Edel works the projects on 4.5 and 5mm straight needles but you are welcome to use circulars too.
This afternoon partake in some Cookery Demonstration at the hotel followed by a Spinning & Dyeing Demonstration with Mary from Markree Woolcraft who will demonstrate traditional Irish spinning techniques on a Donegal Spinning Wheel and talk to you about how she dyes her yarns using hedgerow plants and lichens. All year round you can enjoy the magnificent landscape that surrounds Harvey’s Point on the Shores of Lough Eske overlooked by the beautiful Blue Stack Mountains. This evening, why not take a walk around the lake or further afield. Overnight at Harvey’s Point, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 4: Optional Donegal Craft Tour: Glencolmcille Region & Slieve League Cliffs
Today if you prefer to stay at Harvey’s Point you can do that or join us for a tour of Western Donegal. If you do decide to tour with us, bring your knitting as Edel will be touring with you! Begin your day 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 including the spinning, warping and weaving of the wool. Beautifully tailored vests, jackets and homeware products are made on site from their own fabrics. Studio Donegal’s soft Merino yarn is dyed and spun in the region and sold on site. Next stop is the stunningly beautiful Slieve League Cliffs some of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe and the inspiration for Edel’s locally spun Sliabh Liag wool; we will have a quick bite to eat before we continue with the tour. Travel onward to Glencolmcille Folk Village and spend some time Knitting with The Locals. Knitting was an integral part of the income of families in Glencolmcille. Spinning, weaving and dying of wool also played a huge part in the lives and culture of the locals. Glencolmcille was very much a fishing community and the Aran sweater was both a necessity and second nature to the people. Rita Cunningham grew up in Glencolmcille, her father Francie fished out of the now deserted fishing village of Port.
Rita as a child remembers the woman gathered around a quilting frame in an old thatched cottage in Port, stitching a special naturally dyed red flannel onto a quilt. One of the women in this village passed on a Fair Isle pattern to Rita that would pass down the generations through her own family. Immerse yourself in this unique pattern and stories from the ancient coastal Geltacht parish of Glencolmcille with Rita and other local knitters. Afterwards, enjoy a short visit to Rossan Knitwear and see three generations of the McNellis family hand looming knitwear. The Rossan collection is produced at Glencolmcille Woollen Mill which looks out upon the end of the Celtic trail. The Rossan collection of knitwear carries both modern and traditional designs, much of which reflect the Donegal landscape. This evening meet back at Harvey’s Point for your Dinner and Cabaret Show featuring some famous Irish performers. Overnight at Harvey’s Point, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 5: Afternoon Tea in Lough Eske Castle Hotel & castle history tour
Today if you prefer to stay at Harvey’s Point you can do that or join us for a tour Edel's studio and meet her team. If you do decide to tour with us, bring your knitting as Edel will be touring with you and there will be plenty of opportunities to knit along the way. Our first stop after Edel MacBride studio will be Afternoon Tea in the splendour of Lough Eske Castle Hotel followed by a history tour of Lough Eske castle. The castle has history rooted in County Donegal and Ireland.
The castle as it stands today was constructed in 1861 and it is a place that is full of charm and warm Donegal hospitality. It offers this level of service today as it did 150 years ago. After this, you will make your way back to the hotel, where you will be able to relax and unwind. Overnight at Harvey’s Point, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Today we check out of Harvey’s Point and make our way back to Dublin, stopping along the way at Swallow’s Studio where Liz Christy creates beautiful handwoven products on a traditional loom and is inspired by her favourite artists, Monet, Gauguin and Edward Hopper. Continue to Dublin where there will be time for personal sightseeing or shopping before dinner. This evening your final farewell dinner will be served at the hotel. Overnight at the Hyatt Centric Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 7: End of Tour
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.
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