Princeton Alumni Group Tour Ireland


6 nights accommodation

5 dinners

Modern luxury coach and all admission fees

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Day Of Arrival

Members of the group arrive at their leisure to Glenlo Abbey Hotel.  A welcome reception and dinner is scheduled to take place in the early evening. During the pre-dinner drinks the music will be provided by a talented Harpist providing gentle background music. D

Galway - City of the Tribes

City Of The Tribes  

Breakfast in hotel.This morning we will enjoy an introduction to the history of Galway from local historian and writer Peadar O’Dowd. 

Guest Lecturer: Peadar O' Dowd, Author & Historian.

Peadar is a native of Galway City and writes the heritage column for the Connacht Sentinel newspaper. He is also the author of a wide range of books on his native place including 'Old and New Galway', 'Vanishing Galway', 'Galway – Heart of the West', Down by the Claddagh', 'Galway City', 'Galway in Old Photographs and 'The History of County Galway. He has contributed to numerous articles of a historical and archaeological nature in newspapers, magazines and journals. He has lectured in Ireland and America and appeared on radio and television.  Peadar will give an entertaining overview of the history of Galway in the Irish context – 6,000BC to modern day.

In the afternoon we will enjoy an excursion to Galway City for a guided walking tour of this historical and vibrant medieval city. We will visit the City Museum, Spanish Arch and Kirwan's Lane, one of Galway's last remaining Medieval Lanes. The tour will also include a visit to the historic St Nicholas Church, Lynches Castle and Galway Cathedral.   

This evening you are at your own leisure to enjoy to further explore this lovely city and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant or to spend the evening and dine at Glenlo Abbey.  B

Estimated driving time one way: Glenlo to Galway – 10 minutes. 

Irish Language, Heritage & Traditions


Breakfast in hotel. This morning you will enjoy a presentation by Dónall Ó Braonáin from Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, National University of Ireland, Galway on “The Irish language and Europe – a short history of language change”. Dónall is CEO of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, the Irish language Institute of NUI Galway. Following graduate scholarships in both Irish and Latin and postgraduate training in Linguistics, Philology and Palaeography, he lectured in the Department of Modern Irish in UCD for several years and worked on academic publishing projects in the Royal Irish Academy (Dictionary of Irish Biography, Historical Dictionary of the Irish language). Prior to his appointment with NUI Galway in 2011, he served as Deputy Head of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Ireland’s national Irish language radio service, and worked between 1999 and 2005 as a journalist, producer and senior editor with RTÉ News & RTÉ Radio and a contributing correspondent with BBC Scotland. His research interests include the writings of Máirtín Ó Cadhain (1906-1970) and the dialectology of Galway Irish.

Irish is a Celtic language with a rich Indo-European heritage. Although the Gaelic languages (Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic & Manx) are confined to the outermost periphery of Europe their fortunes and fates are of profound interest to linguists and anthropologists. The emergence of Irish as one of the oldest European vernacular languages has seen the creation of a fascinating native intellectual tradition and manuscript culture which has attracted international scholars since the publication of Johann Casper Zeuss’s Grammatica Celtica in 1879. The diversity of the contemporary Irish language speech community is also noteworthy as international learners of Irish, neo-native speakers and Gaeltacht communities share a complex and fragile ecosystem which is changing rapidly. This seminar will give an overview of the external history of the Irish language, how the language itself has changed and developed as a modern, vibrant means of communication and will also outline the challenges which face Irish as a minority language in a multi-lingual environment.

In the afternoon our journey will take us along the coastline where we will visit Cnoc Suain (restful hill) in Spiddal, a renovated small village of thatched and slated stone cottages located on 200 acres of stunningly beautiful ancient landscape, bog, lake and sea. Some of the cottages date back to 1691. As Gaelic speakers, musicians, natural scientists and owners of this historic hill village, Dearbhaill Standun and Charlie Troy are the perfect hosts for the group. They will accompany us on a short walk through the Connemara Bogland that surrounds Cnoc Suain. Charlie will introduce us to the fascinating archaeology & natural history of the bog including turf harvesting.  In one of the old thatch cottages, Dearbhaill, a native Gaelic speaker will relay the history of the local area.  We will hear the Irish language spoken and enjoy stories about the life and customs of the inhabitants of the cottage. She will demonstrate the art of Irish bread making.  Dearbhaill, a talented musician is a founder member of the acclaimed traditional music group Dordan. She will play the fiddle and will be accompanied by a local musician on the accordion and tin whistle. Together they will perform a selection of jigs and reels as we enjoy a drink in the main cottage. This is a unique opportunity to experience Irish culture in an exclusive setting.  To learn more about Cnoc Suain. This evening we will board the Corrib Princess, a modern river cruiser for a scenic cruise of the River and Lough Corrib from the quay at our hotel, Glenlo Abbey. 

The trip takes us along the river and then out onto the expansive Lough (Lake) Corrib. You can sit up on the sun deck and take in the views of the surrounding countryside.  After dinner Roisin an Irish coffee making World champion will give us an Irish coffee demonstration and tell us the history of Irish whiskey.

The evening will continue with entertainment by Carmel Dempsey, Brenda Curtin and an Irish dancer.  Carmel Dempsey is a well-known musician and singer from Galway, she has toured all over the world and has played support to Leo Sayer and Meatloaf. Her repertoire aims to please all age groups from the Rock n Roll of the 60's to the pop standards of the 90's. Carmel is famous for her lively personality and success at encouraging audience participation. She will be joined on board by a talented fiddle player Brenda Curtin. Brenda was one of the soloists from Michael Flatley’s world-renowned Riverdance. Carmel and Brenda will be joined by an Irish Dancer and guests will be amazed by her talent. B D

Estimated driving time one way: Glenlo to Cnoc Suain Spiddal – 25 minutes.

Welcome By President Of National University Of Ireland, Galway, Dr James Browne & Lecture On Gaelic Literary Tradition 

Breakfast in hotel. 09h10  Depart Glenlo Abbey Hotel to the National University of Ireland, Galway where the group will be welcomed by the President of the University, Dr James Browne.  President Jim Browne will host coffee for the group in the President’s rooms of the Quadrangle which first opened its doors to 63 students on 30th October 1849 and the University, then known as Queen's College was born.

The Quadrangle building, built in local limestone in a Tudor Gothic architectural style, is modelled on Christ Church at the University of Oxford. The 'Quad' still stands proudly at the heart of the University today as a testament to its past.

NUI Galway has arranged a venue on site in the university for this morning’s lecture by Dr Riana O’Dwyer on “ Irish Literature in English: Landscape and Literature; W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory”. Dr. Riana O’Dwyer is a graduate of National University of Ireland Galway and of McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario, Canada. She lectured in English at National University of Ireland, Galway, from 1984 to 2012. She has also lectured internationally at universities in Japan, USA, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and spent periods as Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University and the University of Texas at Austin. She served as Chair of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL) from 2003-2009 and on the Royal Irish Academy Committee for Irish Literatures in English since 2003. Dr. O'Dwyer has published on Joyce, modern Irish drama, Irish studies, and Irish women novelists of the nineteenth century, which comprise her central areas of research interest.

After a short coffee break we will be joined by Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway and John Cox, University Librarian who will host a visit and tour of the Abbey Theatre Digitisation and Archive.

 The group will have the afternoon free to explore Galway city at their leisure or to relax at Glenlo Abbey.This evening we will dine in a very special venue, the Aula Maxima, on the campus of the National University of Ireland, Galway.B D

The Burren - Ireland's Greatest National Park 

This morning we will enjoy a scenic journey through The Burren, Ireland's greatest National Park, in North County Clare.   The Burren is a unique place like no other place in Ireland. There are no bogs and very few pastures, instead there are huge pavements of limestone. It is a botanist's Nirvana! Plants that would normally only grow in tundra or arctic regions flourish in this area certain times of the year. En route we will pass through the village of Clarinbridge, home of the oyster! We will continue the quaint village of Kinvara, a seaside village with a nice sized harbour that hosts many of the renowned Galway Hooker boats that you should see moored in the harbour. We will see Dunguaire Castle, a beautiful castle nestled on its own tiny headland and surrounded by water.

In the small village of Kilfenora you will meet with local expert Tony Kirby. Tony is the author of The Burren and the Aran Islands a Walking Guide and he is currently writing his second publication on The Holy Wells of the Burren. Tony Kirby was born in Limerick city. He has also lived in Dublin and Bologna in north of Italy. He conducted guided walking tours in Dublin in the late 1990s. In 2002, Tony moved to the Burren in County Clare where he founded a small walking tourism enterprise Heart of Burren Walks – offering a wide variety of guided Burren walks. Tony Kirby was a winner of the Burren/ Cliffs of Moher Visitor Communication Award 2014 and Heart of Burren Walks is the number one Trip Advisor activity in County Clare. A new edition of Kirby’s critically acclaimed book The Burren and the Aran Islands a Walking Guide (Collins Press, 2009) was published in August 2014. In 2012 Kirby produced the short film West Cork set at St Gobnait’s monastic site in Ballyvourney, County Cork. The film was screened at the 2012 Cork International Film Festival. Tony is currently researching a number of holy wells/sacred sites in the Burren with a view to a second publication. Tony will give an Illustrated talk on “The Story of the Burren” including talk highlights –

*why the Burren is the most extensive limestone pavement landscape in Europe – glaciation and over-exuberant prehistoric farming

*why the Burren is one of the top 50 botanical sites in the world as nominated by renowned author/botanist Bob Gibbons.

* why the Burren is one of the richest archaeological landscapes in the north west of Europe – “a vast memorial to bygone cultures” per author Tim Robinson.

*why the Burren is one of the few regions on earth where livestock are transferred to altitude in the bleak mid-winter (reverse transhumance).

*why the Burren is one of the richest surviving pilgrimage landscapes in Ireland.

*...and some wildlife and folklore......

Lunch is arranged in a family owned pub called Vaughans.  It is actually the oldest pub in County Clare.

Kilfenora, is also known as "the city of the Seven Crosses" as it boasts one of the greatest concentrations of high crosses in Ireland, including the famed "Doorty Cross". We will visit Kilfenora Cathedral, the Cathedral was constructed in 1189 on the site of a monastery founded in the 6th century by St Fachtna.  The cathedral, which was built in the transitional style, features many fine carvings and the remains of three high crosses, including the Doorty Cross. 

This evening you are at your own leisure to enjoy to further explore this lovely city and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant or to spend the evening and dine at Glenlo Abbey.B L

Estimated driving time to Kilfenora one way: 1h10 mins

Ashford Castle, The Quiet Man, Cong Village & Connemara 

 Breakfast in hotel. Morning meeting on site with a presentation by Professor Hubert McDermott, “The Role of the West of Ireland in the Development of an Irish Drama Movement”. Hubert Mc Dermott is a professor emeritus of English at NUI, Galway, and member of the university governing authority.

This afternoon we will depart for lovely village of Cong, situated on the Galway Mayo border where much of the Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, was filmed in 1952. We will drive through the grounds of Ashford Castle, one of the most exclusive luxury hotels in the World. Standing over the shores of Lough Corrib, and hidden deep in over 350 acres of wooded parkland, this 13th Century Castle is a monument to a fascinating history of a bygone age. Once the estate of the Guinness Family, the Castle opened its doors as an exclusive hotel in 1939. We will enjoy lunch in Cullanes cottage on the grounds of the castle.   The cast of the Quiet Man stayed here during the filming of the movie. We will visit the Quiet Man Cottage museum and a local guide will bring us to visit The Quiet Man Film Locations in Cong village, such as The Dying Mans House, Pat Cohans Bar, The Reverend Playfair’s House and The Courting Scene.  

Our journey back to Glenlo Abbey will take us through some of the most spectacular scenery in Connemara.  Before we return to Glenlo Abbey we will have the option to stop and visit the Connemara Marble Center in Moycullen to learn about Connemara Marble. This evening we will enjoy an exclusive farewell dinner served in the elegant surrounds of the Corrib Suite.B L D

Estimated driving time one way to Ashford Castle, Cong: 45 mins.  Ashford Castle to Galway via Clonbur and Moycullen:  1 hour 10 mins.

Day Of Departure – Slán Agus Beannacht. (Good Bye & Blessings). 

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