Transfer to your hotel (for arrivals prior to 10:30am on start day of tour) and meet with your group. Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum has been voted Europe’s leading tourist attraction for 2019 and 2020 and is your first visit of your tour.
Wander through twenty themed galleries and delve into the history of emigration in Ireland and the impact the Irish have had around the world to date. If time allows, we will also visit This is Knit, an independent, family–owned yarn store at the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre where you will find a large selection of quality, natural fibre yarns from Irish and International producers. Overnight in Dublin, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 2: Kilkenny and Workshop with Helena Kelly Maye
Your tour takes you south to Kilkenny today. Kilkenny is also known as the Marble City and is well renowned as Ireland’s Medieval Capital. The city has a rich medieval heritage which is obvious from the narrow streets to its historical buildings and landmarks. This wonderful city is easy to explore on foot and is also full of contemporary shops, design galleries, cafes, restaurants and pubs.
At the hotel you will be met by Helena Kelly Maye who will introduce her workshop activities. Her knitting techniques include the honeycomb, blackberry, diamond and cable stitching. She will explore some of the very traditional aran stitches and look at how these stitches have evolved into new and modern stitches.Your workshop will continue after lunch (included) where Helena will instruct on designing and sizing your own Aran pattern. There will be some free time late afternoon to wander around the city or refresh and relax before dinner. Overnight Kilkenny, Lunch, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 3: Kilkenny crafts, Cushendale Mill and Zwartbles Ireland Sheep Farm
Today, we visit Kilkenny Castle, a 12th centure castle set in extensive parklands in the heart of Kilkenny. The Kilkenny Design Centre located nearby offers a fantastic opportunity to view some Irish handcrafted gifts including knitwear, jewellery, Celtic gifts and contemporary design pieces. We leave the city to visit Zwartbles Ireland Sheep Farm where you will meet Suzanna Crampton and her family who breed Zwartbles Sheep. We take a tour of the farm, and meet the sheep and Suzanna will inform us about their unique yarn which can be purchased directly from the farm.
After lunch (included), your final visit of the day will be to Cushendale Mill where you might see some wool from the sheep at Suzanna’s farm! See where products made on site are crafted using natural-fibre textiles made with mohair, Irish wool and merino lambs wool. A tour of the mill is also included in your visit. Finally, return to your hotel where the evening is free for you to explore Kilkenny’s restaurants and pubs. Overnight Kilkenny, Lunch and Bed & Breakfast.
Day 4: Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle & Woollen Mills and Killarney
Check out of our Kilkenny hotel and travel south towards Killarney with a few stops along the way. The Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary is one of Ireland’s most significant and visited heritage sites. This is a collection of medieval ecclesiastical buildings set on an outcrop of limestone overlooking the Golden Vale.
Your onward journey takes you to Blarney Castle where you will have the opportunity to view its stone of eloquence which attracts thousands of visitors each year. Legend has it that if you kiss the stone you will be granted the gift of eloquence! Also, located here is Blarney Woollen Mills, where you will have the opportunity to browse through an amazing array of quality Irish gifts and crafts. Finally, board your tour bus where a warm Irish welcome awaits you at your Killarney hotel. Overnight Killarney, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 5: Knitting Workshop with Liz Spillane at Inwood and Kerry Sightseeing
After breakfast, we travel to Bonane, just south of Kenmare, to meet knitwear designer, textile artist and teacher, Liz Spillane. Liz has enjoyed over 30 years teaching knitting classes and has worked as a tutor at the Limerick School of Art & Design. In her workshop, Liz will instruct on creating textured yarns, using a single smooth yarn as a base and a variety of techniques to build texture and colour. Use standard knitting needles to then knit the yarn.
After Liz’s class, your coach will take you to the picturesque town of Kenmare in time for lunch (included) and there will also be time to explore the town at your leisure. We continue our journey back to Killarney via Molls Gap, taking time to stop at Ladies View, where you can see views of the 3 Lakes of Killarney as well as the majestic mountain ranges which are all part of Killarney National Park - internationally renowned for both for it’s scenic natural beauty and scientific interest. Overnight in Killarney, Lunch, and Bed & Breakfast included.
Today, we travel to Dingle and visit Kerry Woollen Mills en route. This 17th century establishment is one of the last surviving woollen mills in Ireland. Set in a rural location, this mill has been crafting fine fabrics and yarn from wool for over 300 years and this tour will show you how todays mill incorporates up-to-date weaving technology while marrying tradition with contemporary styling for its customers.
Continue on to Dingle where you will have some time to wander around this costal town and enjoy lunch at your leisure. In the afternoon, we explore The Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head where you will enjoy views of sandy beaches, craggy cliffs, rolling hills and mountains. Return to Killarney where the evening is free for you to rest or spend the evening in Killarney town centre. Overnight Killarney, Bed & Breakfast included.
Bid farewell to Killarney and travel to County Clare via Adare in County Limerick. Adare village, founded in the 13th century is known as one of Ireland’s prettiest villages with it’s quaint shops and thatched cottages.
After some free time exploring the village we journey to the dramatic, vertical Cliffs of Moher, looking out over the Atlantic Sea at the South Eastern edge of The Burren. We take some time in the village of Doolin renowned as the capital of traditional music in Ireland. Check in to your hotel in time for dinner. Overnight Burren area, Dinner,and Bed & Breakfast included.
This morning, we set out early to travel to Inis Oirr (inisheer), the smallest of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. Una McDonagh, your Aran Island knitting instructor will meet you and welcome you with tea/coffee and scones. Una’s workshop will teach you all about the Aran Island way where you will learn traditional methods and stitches such as the Sharry Chain Link Stitch.
The Sharry family, one of the island families, has a long-standing connection with the sea and this connection is celebrated in their choice of stitches they use when knitting traditional Aran sweaters. Following your instruction, enjoy a guided tour of this westerly island. Return via ferry back to the mainland to your hotel. Overnight Burren Area, Lunch, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 9: Irish Fibre Crafters, Tullamore D.E.W Heritage Centre and Dublin
We leave County Clare and journey back to Dublin today. We stop at Irish Fibre Crafters where you will find a selection of creations made by local crafters. At Tullamore D.E.W Heritage centre, you will discover all about the unique techniques used in making Tullamore Whiskey in an old Bonded Warehouse in Tullamore, County Offaly.
Finally, we continue your tour to Dublin where the afternoon is free for you to sightsee or shop! This evening, we re-group at the hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Dublin, Dinner and Bed & Breakfast included.