Category Archives: Specialized Tours

Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Aran Islands

About Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Aran Islands

Inisheer (Inis Oírr) is the smallest and most easterly of the famous Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in Ireland. The entire island is about 8km squared and has a population of around 300. Like the other Aran Islands the spoken language is Irish although locals can typically speak both English and Irish.

When you arrive on the island there are usually coaches lined up, waiting to take potential customers on tours around the island which feature the major visitor attractions. There is a small fee for these tours, payable directly to the driver.  You can also usually take a tour of the island by horse and trap which is more expensive than the bus tour. You can also hire a bike to get around on the island if you prefer.

The main village is called Baile an Lurgáin and you can walk to it from the pier.  In the village you will find the local shop, pubs, B&Bs and restaurants.

Some of the main tourist attractions on the island include –

The Wreck of The MV Plassey: The MV Plassey ran into Finnish Rock on Inisheer in 1960 and the entire crew were rescued by a group of local men. The wreck was made famous when it featured in the opening credits of Father Ted.

Plassey Wreck, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands
Plassey Wreck, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands

O’Brien’s Castle: This castle ruin is located on one of the highest points of the island overlooking the beach and pier. This castle is thought to have been built in 14th century.

An Trá Beach: As you approach Inisheer by boat you can’t miss seeing the white sandy beach known simply as ‘An Trá’ which in English means ‘The Beach’! On a fine day, the water is a beautiful shade of blue.

Áras Éanna Arts Centre: Inisheer has a dedicated arts and culture centre which displays traditional Irish and modern arts. The centre has a programme of events and exhibitions from artists resident on the islands which changes frequently.

For more general information on the Aran Islands see our Aran Islands blog post here, or for information on getting to the islands click here. 

Want to book a tour that includes Inisheer?

Learn more about Inisheer by spending time there. Contact us today for a quotation including Inisheer today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686



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Knitting Vacations 2017

Our 2017 Knitting Vacations are on Sale!

Our 2017 Knitting Vacations are now on sale and some dates are looking particularly busy. It is best to book early to avoid disappointment.

Knitting tours of Ireland
One of our Knitting Groups Enjoying a drink at Knitfield Studio in Donegal

Feedback from our Knitting & Craft Tours has generally been excellent. From our first tour in 2016 for example an amazing 100% of respondents said that they were satisfied with the tour overall and the same 100% said that they would recommend us to a friend!

Here is a quick update on our 2016 and 2017 availability

North of Ireland Tour:

  • 25th Sep 2016  –  Fully Booked
  • 13th Oct 2016 – A Few Spaces Left
  • 22nd April 2017 – Spaces Available
  • 08th June 2017 – Spaces Available (Filling Up Quickly)

South of Ireland Tour:

  • 16th Oct 2016 –  Fully Booked
  • 14th May 2017- Spaces Available (Filling Up Quickly)
  • 09th Jul 2017 –  Spaces Available (Filling Up Quickly )
  • 24th Sep 2017-  Spaces Available
Non – Knitter Discount

Do you have a partner or friend that doesn’t knit? They are welcome to come along, ask our sales representatives about the non-knitter discount!

You Can Trust the Irish Tourism Group

The Irish Tourism Group is considered one of Ireland’s premier inbound tour operators and, in the last decade in particular, our regular attendance at the major travel expos throughout the world has only served to raise this profile. Testament to this is the reputation that we have developed over the years with the top accommodation, transport and other service providers within the country, a reputation we are extremely proud of.

We are also proud to be members of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA).

Book your Knitting Vacation Today

We do urge you to book early to avoid disappointment. For more information on both tours please visit our website or give us a call

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

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Airports in Ireland

Airports in Ireland - Map of Irish Airports

When planning your Ireland vacation you should consider in advance which airport in Ireland is best for you to fly into and depart from. You could always choose to fly into one airport and out of another so as to make the best of your vacation time. If you are booking a tour with us, discuss this option with your sales team and they will gladly give you the best advice.

International Airports in Ireland:
Dublin – 

Located about 15km north from Dublin City, Dublin Airport is Ireland’s busiest airport. If Dublin city is a must see on your itinerary then it makes perfect sense to begin your Ireland vacation here. There are connections via London from most US & Canadian cities and you can currently fly direct from Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, St. John’s, Montreal and Toronto.  The airport has great links to the UK with flights to more than 15 UK cities including Newcastle, Edinburgh and London.  There are many options to travel further afield in Europe from this airport also. Check out the Dublin Airport Website for up to date destination information.

Shannon – 

Shannon Airport is located on the west coast of Ireland 24 KM north of Limerick, 22 KM south of Ennis and 90 KM south of Galway. Shannon is a great option if you wish to explore the west and southwest of Ireland. This region is much more peaceful than Dublin should you wish to get away from city life. There are connections via London from many US and Canadian cities and you can currently fly direct from Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Boston. The airport has great links to the UK with flights to Edinburgh, London, Birmingham and Manchester and there are many options to travel further afield in Europe from this airport also. Check out the Shannon Airport Website for up to date destination information.


There are two airports in Belfast, Belfast International and Belfast City Airport, the latter has mainly UK connections. Belfast International airport is the busiest airport in Northern Ireland and the second busiest airport on the island of Ireland after Dublin. Flying here is a great option if you wish to explore Northern Ireland and Donegal in the North West. There are connections via London from many US cities and you can currently fly direct from New York, Orlando and Las Vegas. Check out the Belfast Airport Website for up to date destination information.


Cork airport is located 6.5 km south of Cork city in an area known as Farmers Cross. The airport services mostly UK and European Airports but you may be able to route a flight from the US to Cork via London or another European Connection. Check out the Cork Airport Website for up to date destination information.

Regional Airports in Ireland:

There are four main regional airports  in Ireland; Belfast City in the North, Knock in the West of Ireland, Kerry in the Southwest and Waterford in the southeast. These airports are quite small and mostly do not support on bound connections to the US or Canada. Destinations include Europe and the United Kingdom.

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation starting at any of these airports today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

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5 Places to Find Good Pubs in Ireland

1.    Temple Bar, Dublin
Pubs in Ireland,The Temple Bar Pub, Temple Bar
The Temple Bar Pub, Temple Bar

You will find some of the liveliest pubs in Ireland in the Temple Bar district located between Dame Street, Westmoreland Street and Fishamble Street. We always recommend stopping by Temple Bar on your vacation to Ireland, even if you are not into the Irish pub scene, it’s a nice place to walk around during the day or to grab a good pub lunch. At night this area comes alive with tourists and locals alike. There are some great pubs to check out including The Temple Bar, The Porterhouse, Teac Na Ceibe, The Turk’s Head, The Palace Bar, Oliver St.John Gogarty’s and The Auld Dubliner.

2.    Kilkenny City
Kilkenny City
Kilkenny City

At the heart of this medieval city along its narrow cobblestoned streets you will find some fantastic traditional music and some of the best pubs in Ireland! Kilkenny is known for its many annual festivals including the Kilkenny Arts Festival in August and the Cat Laughs Festival in June.  It’s always packed with and Stag Parties (Bachelor Parties) and Hen Parties (Bachelorette) and there is usually a great atmosphere. Be sure to call to Kyteler’s Inn, Langtons, Biddy Early’s and The Hole in the Wall which is housed in the oldest surviving townhouse in Ireland.

3.    Galway City
Traditional Irish Music Session at Tig Cóilí, Galway
Traditional Irish Music Session at Tig Cóilí, Galway

Nicknamed Ireland’s Festival Capital, there is always something going on in Galway and this makes it a great spot for those looking to find a good pub and some friendly Irish hospitality! Perhaps the most famous pub in the city is Tigh Neachtain at the corner of Cross and Quay Street, this pub’s claim to fame is that it has been in business since 1894! Other pubs include Tig Coili, The Quays and the Roisin Dubh. The Crane Bar and Monroe’s have music on most nights.

4.    Dingle, Co. Kerry
Traditional Music Session at Dick Mack's Pub, Dingle
Traditional Music Session at Dick Mack’s Pub, Dingle

What I love the most about the pubs in Dingle is how they have managed to retain a traditional character that other pubs in Ireland have lost to a large extent. In days gone by the local pub served as a general store, water hole, meeting place and anything else that was required!  You can still see this in Dingle – take Foxy John’s for example, this is a hardware store/pub, Dick Mack’s has a small leather shop and in Curran’s Bar you can purchase a cap and a shirt if you like! For some fantastic traditional music try An Droichead Beag, John Benny’s or MacCarthy’s Pub. Another famous pub near Dingle is the South Pole Inn in Annascaul, this was the homestead of our very own artic explorer and famous Kerryman, Tom Crean.

5.    Doolin, Co. Clare
Image Credit Hotel Doolin
Fitzpatrick’s Pub at Hotel Doolin – (Image Credit Hotel Doolin)

If you are looking for great traditional Irish music then a couple of days in Doolin should definitely be on the agenda! The town has been renowned for traditional music for years with four pubs at the epicentre – McDermott’s, McGann’s, Gus O’Connor’s and Fitzpatrick’s pub at Hotel Doolin. There are two fantastic music festivals in the town every year, the Russell Memorial weekend in February and the Doolin Folk Fest in June. While you are there make sure to try the towns own brew, Dooliner Beer!

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –

Check out our Pub & Folk Self Drive Tour or our Irish Pub & Folklore Escorted Tour for inspiration!

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

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Knitting Tours of Ireland – News!

Knitting Tours of Ireland - Aran Islands Traditional Dress Display
Aran Islands Traditional Dress Display with our thanks to Carol Gerling who was a passenger on one of our 2015 knitting tours
All Knitting Tours of Ireland are Now Guaranteed Departures –

Feedback from all of our previous Knitting Tours of Ireland has been so good that we have decided that from now on, all of our departures will be guaranteed. That means if we have 5  people or 25 people, our scheduled knitting tours will always run as planned!

We’ve got two tours that explore Knitting  and Craft in Ireland, our south of Ireland tour which takes in the South and West of the country and our North of Ireland knitting tour which is concentrated in the North and West of Ireland. Both tours include workshops, craft based sightseeing and general sightseeing.  Please review the individual tour links below for more information!

We’ve been running these tours for several years and have had many happy customers. Read a review of our North tour here and a review of our Southern tour here.

Price PPS
Single Sup.
North Ireland 17th Apr 2016 Spaces Available €1899 €349 More Info
North Ireland 25th Sep 2016 Fully Booked
North Ireland 13th Oct 2016
(New Tour Date)
Spaces Available €1899 €349 More Info
South Ireland 1st May 2016
(New Tour Date)
Spaces Available €1899 €325 More Info
South Ireland 15th May 2016 Fully Booked
South Ireland 16th Oct 2016 Spaces Available €1799 €325 More Info

Do you have a partner or friend that doesn’t knit? They are welcome to come along, ask our sales representatives about the non-knitter discount!

Do get in touch with us for more information –
USA & Canada 1877 298 7205
UK FreeFone 0800 096 9438
International+353 69 77686

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The Road at the Edge of the World: Porsche on the Wild Atlantic Way

In May this year, more than 30 Porsche enthusiasts began the trip of a lifetime! Driving the entire 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way.  Beginning at Malin Head in County Donegal, the drivers made their way South, taking in all the stunning scenery the Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way has to offer.

Check out the video here, it may give you some inspiration for your own Wild Atlantic Way Tour!

Would you like to explore the Wild Atlantic Way yourself? Then get in touch with us today and we can handle all the arrangements!

USA & Canada 1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686


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Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way tops Lonely Planet’s Offbeat Coastal Road Trips list

By Orla Spencer

The Wild Atlantic Way has come out number 1 in a new list of the Top 5 “offbeat coastal road trips” by Lonely Planet, the world’s most successful travel publisher. And who would argue with them?

The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s longest coastal driving route, stretching from the very top of Ireland’s West coast at Malin Head in Donegal to the very bottom at Kinsale in County Cork! In between, the coastal path along Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry are striking.

Here the sheer power of the ocean has carved a coastline that is jagged, wild, raw and truly beautiful! Along the Wild Atlantic Way you will discover ocean cliffs that are amongst the highest in Europe, beautiful strands and an array of wildlife that thrives from the cool waters of our coastal shores.

Wild Atlantic Way Picture Gallery –


Killary Fjord, Connemara, County Galway
Killary Fjord, Connemara, County Galway
Killary Fjord, Connemara, County Galway
« 2 of 15 »


It would be difficult for anyone to do the entire Wild Atlantic Way driving route in one go, so the Irish Tourism Group have designed a series of tours that break the journey up into manageable segments. View our tours here

Would you like to explore the Wild Atlantic Way yourself?  Then get in touch with us today and we can handle all the arrangements!

USA & Canada 1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686 



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By Guest Blogger Constance Hall

As Mike, our tour bus driver, maneuvered the bus up the narrow road to Aine Dunne’s home and studio we didn’t realize what a treat we had in store. She welcomed us warmly and as we stepped into her cosy Irish kitchen we truly felt like friends who were being treated to a wonderful day of learning to spin with spindles and tapestry weaving from Aine, as well as hearing her play her flute while we sat by her peat fire and had tea and scones. Although this was day two, it seemed like the real start to our fiber tour of Northern Ireland!

At Aine Dunne’s Workshop

Most of our group had flown into Dublin on Monday in the middle of April. The tour didn’t start until Wednesday, but I wanted the extra day to wander around Dublin and to get accustomed to the time difference from the east coast of the US. The hotel that Irish Tourism had picked out for the beginning of the trip just happened to be within walking distance of the Guinness factory, where a free day could be well spent. The top of the factory has a pub and a 360 degree view of Dublin, making it a perfect place to sit and study the overview of an amazing city without making too many demands of a jet-lagged brain.

Guinness Storehouse & Dublin's Ha'Penny Bridge - Ireland Knitting Tours
Guinness Storehouse & Dublin’s Ha’Penny Bridge

Wednesday was the official start of the tour and we began with a trip to the National Museum of Ireland which was featuring a textile exhibition (“The Way We Wore”) featuring typical Irish clothing from the 1700’s.  Then we were off to Dublin Castle with a tour by a guide that was just for our group. Our last stop this day was a visit to the Constant Knitter, a yarn shop in Dublin with yarns we were used to seeing at home as well as Irish yarns which we can’t get in the states. A special surprise for us was getting to meet Kieran Foley, a local knitter and knitwear designer who gave us a private trunk show of his amazing designs. We left inspired by our first day and ready for the welcome dinner at the hotel. This was a typical day on our trip: some fiber, some sightseeing, good food and great company.

Irish Tourism plans the Northern Ireland tour as well as a Southern Ireland tour with a love of fiber firmly in mind. This tour encompassed the northern half of the island of Ireland starting in Dublin, going north to Belfast then over the top to Donegal, down to Sligo, on further down to Galway and then straight across the center of the island completing the big loop to Dublin. We were able to visit many of the wonderful, “Can’t miss that” stops that any traveler in Ireland would want to see but added to those are fiber workshops, museum tours and fiber and craft shopping opportunities that regular visitors to Ireland would never get to arrange or take advantage of in nine days.

Sliabh League Cliffs, Donegal - Knitting & Craft Tour
Sliabh League Cliffs, Donegal

One of the many highlights was a visit on day 2 to the Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen Factory in business since the mid 1800’s. We had a private, behind the scenes tour of linen weaving and finished in the factory still in production. This was followed by a visit to the Irish Linen Center and Lisburn Museum which gave us a good idea of just how important Irish Linen has been to the history of Ireland. Later in the trip was Studio Donegal. Here, they weave by hand the same way they have been doing for over one hundred years. Many of the items woven there are from Donegal Yarns, spun nearby and for sale in many locations. Our private tour included seeing the spinning machines as well as the big looms they warp and weave on, not mechanized. The blanket I bought there will be the most cherished item I bought in Ireland. Foxford Woolen Mills near Galway,  also on the trip, is one of the last working mills but the designs are definitely more modern. There were quite a contrast between the three and a good overview of fiber from the past to the present day.

The hotels chosen for us were always good, the staff were helpful and very patient with a group of excited but tired tourists. The rooms were modern and perfectly clean with most having electric tea kettles for making morning tea… heaven! Our hotel in Belfast was very near the heart of the city giving us a perfect location to walk out and explore. I was a bit wary of Belfast and didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a warm welcome and an easy to explore city with really good restaurants and shopping.

Dunluce Castle, Causeway Coast- Ireland Knitting & Craft Tours
Dunluce Castle, Causeway Coast

We felt very lucky in having Mike Darcy as our tour bus driver/tour guide. He was always considerate and helpful. As we left Belfast to head to Donegal, he asked if we wanted the longer way with ocean views or the shorter route with less ocean. We all voted for ocean and we were so glad we did! We got to view a stunning coastline as we made our way to the Giant’s Causeway and then to Dunluce Castle, built in the 1500’s. The weather during the 9 days we were in Ireland was perfect. The blue skies and warm breezes could not have been more pleasant than if Irish Tourism had ordered it up just for us.

Another high point was Edel MacBride’s studio, Knitfield. We were met by her horses craning their necks over the fence to see who had arrived. Her studio was a fiber lovers dream; full of fiber, patterns and yarn she had specially spun and buttons to pick from. We could feel the passion for the work they are doing there; making it a joy to visit. We were there for a workshop taught by Edel including cable and Irish Moss stitch, yarn and patterns were included. She shared her story and her family with us, along with tea and scones in the storybook kitchen at her studio. Shopping was enjoyed by all.

Knitting Class at Edel MacBride's Studio - Knitting Tours of Ireland
Knitting Class at Edel MacBride’s Studio

We made our way to Letterkenny is Sliabh League Cliffs.  There was a stunning line of cliffs and a great place to walk off some of good Irish food I had been indulging in. The meals everywhere were amazingly good: fish and chips, mussels that were farmed in the clear fiords which we could see from the bus, scones and biscuits (cookies) plus the wonderful dark beer on tap everywhere. A good walk up the hill was just what I needed.

One of the last two workshops we enjoyed was a knitting workshop held in a perfect location, the National Museum of Country Life near Galway. Ciara Ni Reachtnin gave us a lesson on how to make her shawl pattern: Deirdre of Sorrows. This is a pattern based on Celtic Mythology as interpreted by Ciara. She supplied the yarn; a special hand dyed yarn made just for her pattern and our class and a cute bag too. She was patient with our attempts at her cable medallion. We had plenty of time to work though any problems or questions we had.

This is Knit Pattern & Lisa from This is Knit teaching the class - Ireland Knitting Tours
This is Knit Pattern & Lisa from This is Knit teaching the class

On our last day we returned to Dublin and had a knitting workshop at This Is Knit, a very charming yarn shop in Dublin owned by Lisa Sisk. She met us at the shop, where we picked out our favorite color of yarn for our project, the Glenties Cowl pattern, designed by Lisa and knit as a Mobius. She was a great teacher and we all got the idea pretty well. She brought in a local spinner to show the yarns he is designing and spinning; and we learned more about the Irish spinning scene. This was a perfect workshop to end our fiber tour.

We had a final wonderful dinner at Nancy Hands Restaurant.  Most of us were strangers when the tour started but after 9 days of fiber, fun and the exhilarating Irish atmosphere we were leaving as friends. The next morning Mike took us to the airport for our flights home. After this great trip the first thing I would say to everyone who asked was “I can’t wait to go back!” Irish Tourism took such good care of us and had so thoughtfully planned the trip to fulfill our fiber desires that I wouldn’t hesitate to go again. As a woman traveling alone I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Next year Irish Tourism is offering two spring trips and two fall trips. I am planning on the next Southern route fiber tour. I need my Ireland fix!

Get in Touch-

Note, Some tour details may have changed since the time of Constance’s visit. For our latest knitting tour itinerary, price and availability, please visit:

Or give us a call for more information:

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686




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