Into the West. May 23 - June 1, 2018
This tour will hug the stunningly beautiful Atlantic shoreline as we travel from the enchanting Dingle Peninsula in Kerry up the west coast of Ireland through Limerick, Clare, Galway, and Mayo.
We will journey through some of the most ecologically varied and fascinating landscapes in the world and visit a profusion of Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age monuments as well as medieval castles and tower houses. The tour will draw threads from folklore, history, language, music, and nature that bring the Irish landscape alive in exhilarating fashion and will enable participants to reflect on how the Celts ended up in these spectacular regions, either through settlement, pilgrimage, or escape.
We'll hear stories of epic figures from early Irish mythology that give their names to town lands, lakes, villages and mountains all over the western counties. The music and dance throughout this journey will be extraordinary as we explore some of Ireland's greatest repositories of traditional culture including the Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking) areas of Sliabh Mis, Connemara, and the Aran Islands.
We'll take leisurely day trips to a variety of cultural and historical sites in Munster and Connaught including visits to the town of Westport, the cities of Galway, Ennis, and Limerick. After some time enjoying the12th century St Mary's Cathedral we'll visit the renowned Academy of World Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, home to over a score of music and dance programs at B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. levels, and we'll have the opportunity to talk with staff members about these programs.
Throughout the tour, we will enjoy wonderfully presented haute cuisine at memorable dinners in the elegant dining rooms of some of the most beautiful hotels in the country - the Skelligs Hotel in Dingle, the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis, the Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara, and the Mulranny Park Hotel on Achill Sound. There will be private concerts every evening with Mick who will be joined by virtuoso concertina player Brenda Castles and some of the very finest musicians, singers, and dancers in the country.