Become enchanted with Irish textiles on this 12-day journey that winds through some of Ireland’s most beautiful landscapes. Skilled artisans, including weavers and quilt makers, share their knowledge as the tour makes stops at wool mills and well-stocked quilt and yarn stores. Stops at two sheep farms provide a look at the first step in wool manufacturing – the raw material itself. Shopping trips to the craft hubs of the Spiddal Craft Village in Galway and the Made in Kilkenney Craft Trail bring the business of craft full circle, and provide ample opportunity to bring treasured pieces of Ireland home.
As the tour unfolds, enjoy an array of cultural must-sees, including Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Blarney Castle in Cork, and the Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney. Breathtaking views of the country are to be had as you travel, including at sites within The Ring of Kerry Highlights.
This upbeat mix of craft and culture builds a deep appreciation for Irish textiles and their integral role in their homeland's heritage and economy.
The tour starts at 6.00pm on Wednesday September 21, at Ashling Hotel in Dublin, and finishes after breakfast on Sunday October 2, at Ashling Hotel in Dublin.
Day 1 Wed Sep 21 Arrive Dublin
The tour commences at the hotel in Dublin at 6pm. Meet your tour leader and fellow travelers in the lobby of the hotel for dinner. (D)
Day 2 Thu Sep 22 Dublin
Enjoy a panoramic tour of Dublin beginning with Saint Patrick's Cathedral. This structure was built in honor of Ireland's patron saint and is adjacent to the well where it is believed he baptized converts on his visit here. Next up is Trinity College and the Book of Kells exhibit there. Trinity was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I on grounds confiscated from an Augustinian priory and is the oldest university in Ireland. From there, go to the National Museum of Ireland, which charts the country’s economic, social, political and military progress through the ages. Continue to the Guinness Storehouse. Opened in 1904, the Storehouse was an operational plant for fermenting and storing Guinness. (B)
Day 3 Fri Sep 23 Dublin-Kilkenny
Depart Dublin and travel to Kilkenny. En-route journey through the Wicklow Mountains. County Wicklow is known as “the Garden of Ireland” and it is home to many famous homes and gardens, including Powerscourt, Mount Usher, and Russborough. Stop at Apple Tree Crafts quilt shop for a workshop (if time permits). Later, we enjoy a handweavers demonstration at Avoca Handweavers. Established in 1723, Avoca Handweavers is a family-owned craft design company that had its beginnings at the Old Mill at Avoca. There, the weavers produced the beautifully woven fabrics which became Avoca's hallmark. Continue to Kilkenny. (B, D)
Day 4 Sat Sep 24 Kilkenny
Visit Zwartbles Ireland Sheep Farm to meet Suzanne and her family who breed and rear Zwartbles Sheep. Tour the farm, meet the sheep and chat with the family who will tell you about their unique yarn which you can buy direct from the farm. Then visit Kilkenny Castle. One of the most instantly recognized buildings in Ireland, Kilkenny Castle has been an important site since it was built by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century. Finally, enjoy a tour of Cushendale Woolen Mills. (B, D)
Day 5 Sun Sep 25 Kilkenny-Cork
Travel to Cork. En-route visit to Blarney Castle. An ancient stronghold of the McCarthy family, Lords of Muskerry, it is one of Ireland's oldest and most historic castles, and one of the strongest fortresses in Munster. Built in 1446, Blarney Castle is famous for its Blarney stone, or the Stone of Eloquence, which is traditionally believed to have the power to bestow the gift of eloquence on those who kiss it. Enjoy shopping at Blarney Woollen Mills before visiting Hedgehog Fibres. (B, D)
Day 6 Mon Sep 26 Cork-Killarney
After breakfast, travel to Killarney. En-route, take in the Ring of Kerry Highlights. Start off in the beautiful town of Kenmare, continue to Killarney, and end at the stunning Molls Gap and the equally breathtaking Ladies View. Next, see the beauty of Killarney National Park and visit the nineteenth century Victorian mansion Muckross House and Gardens. Then visit Ross Castle, a typical example of a stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages. (B)
Day 7 Tue Sep 27 Killarney-Galway
Visit the Giddygoat Patchwork. Following the visit, travel to Galway, with an en-route visit to the Cliffs of Moher. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Burren region, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most spectacular sights. Arrive in Galway for overnight. (B, D)
Day 8 Wed Sep 28 Galway
After breakfast, visit one of Ireland’s best loved fabric, yarn and haberdashery shops, Quilt Yarn Stitch, where you will find an extensive range of quilting and dressmaking fabrics as well gorgeous yarns for knitting and crochet projects. Then travel to Louisburgh for a farm tour at Glen Keen Farm. Glen Keen Farm is unique in Ireland, due to its size, location and natural beauty. Over 1,400 acres in size, this family-owned sheep farm has a commonage footprint that extends its range to more than 5,500 acres, larger than some national parks. (B)
Day 9 Thu Sep 29 Aran Island
Travel to Rossaveal and take the ferry to the Aran Island of Inis Mór. Here the locals speak Irish and English in a setting of historic churches and the hill fort Dún Aonghasa. Visit craft shops on the island before taking the ferry back to Rossaveal then return to Galway. (B, L)
Day 10 Fri Sep 30 Galway
Visit Spiddal Craft Village, where ten in-house artisans design, create and sell their unique wares. Then visit Kylemore Abbey, stunningly located in the Kylemore Pass in Connemara. Mitchell Henry built the house in 1868, after having spent his honeymoon in the area. The architecture is best described as neo-Gothic and the house still displays the characteristics of that period. (B)
Day 11 Sat Oct 1 Galway-Dublin
After breakfast, travel from Galway to Dublin and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Enjoy a farewell dinner. (B, D)
Day 12 Sun Oct 2 Depart Dublin
Our tour concludes today after breakfast at the hotel. (B)
Kris Vierra has been sewing or quilting for over 20 years. She loves sharing her passion for quilting and all things related to fabric, believing that quilting should be fun and not stressful. Kris teaches at national shows and guilds across the country, and has won numerous national awards for her machine quilting skills over the years. Most recently, Kris won the Best Long Arm Quilting award at the 2018 AQS QuiltWeek Paducah and the 2016 AQS QuiltWeek events in Phoenix and Des Moines. She also took home the PFAFF Master Award for Machine Artistry at the 2015 International Quilt Festival Houston. Two of her quilts, Tiger, Tiger and Star of India, are part of the permanent collection at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. She recently published her first book, Easy Machine English Paper Piecing.
What is included in the tour price?
What is not included in the tour price?
Ashling Hotel, Dublin (2 nights)
Hotel Kilkenny, Kilkenny (2 nights)
Maldron South Mall Hotel, Cork (1 night)
Killarney Towers Hotel, Killarney (1 night)
The Hardiman Hotel, Galway (4 nights)
Ashling Hotel, Dublin (1 night)
For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
877 235 3767
If these dates don’t work for you, register to hear about the next tour.
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