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 10:30am). Visit 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 This Is Knit which is one of Dublin’s best yarn stores in the beautiful surroundings of the Powerscourt Centre. 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.
Today your knitting retreat begins in earnest! Today we leave Dublin, stopping along the way at Swallow’s Studio, where Liz Christy creates beautiful handwoven products on a traditional loom and inspired by her favourite artists, Monet, Gauguin and Edward Hopper. Continue onto Donegal 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 Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 3: Knitting Workshop with Edel MacBride – Spinning & Dyeing Demonstration with Markree Wool Craft
Throughout your knitting retreat Edel will be helping you along with your project which you will start today. Both projects have been designed by Edel especially for this knitting retreat and you will choose your preferred project based on your knitting proficiency, the options will include the Swan Lake Cowl or Peggy’s Taepot (We haven’t spelled that wrong, it is done the Irish way!). The Swan Lake Cowl Pattern is medium to difficult but with options to work an equally lovely beginner version and involves travelling cables and optional colour work.
The Taepot is a wonderful Aran based tea cosy with quite a story behind the inspiration, it involves cables and simple lace work. Both projects are worked in Edel’s custom designed Sliabh Liag Yarn and Momer her new merino- mohair blend. Yarn and patterns are included to complete your chosen project, you will need to bring your own needles and we will advise the size requirements in advance. This afternoon partake in a Cheese and Wine event 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 your hotel 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 Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 4: Optional Donegal Craft Tour: Glencolmcille Region & Slieve League Cliffs
Today if you prefer to stay at Lough Eske Castle Hotel 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. 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. 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 Lough Eske Castle Hotel for dinner. Overnight at Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 5: Edel Workshop, Afternoon Tea at Lough Eske Castle and Castle Tour
Today enjoy a relaxing workshop with Edel and a chance to look at some of her amazing work! Enjoy a delightful Afternoon Tea in Lough Eske Castle Hotel followed by a tour of the castle itself. Spend the afternoon relaxing and absorbing your tranquil surroundings before dinner.Overnight at Lough Eske Castle, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 6: Return to Dublin via Carrickmacross Lace & Ulster American Folk Park
Board the coach and relax as you begin your journey back to Ireland’s capital city, stopping along the way at 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. Continue your journey and visit 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. 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.