Travel Classics Writers Conference June 2011 in Dublin, Ireland
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Travel Classics International 2011

Pre- and Post Conference Tours

Space is limited for these complimentary, 7-day tours, which include transportation and luxury accommodations. Email Ruth Moran at Tourism Ireland to reserve your space now!

Pre-Conference Familiarization Tour
June 17-22, 2011

Post-Conference Tour
June 26-July 2

Friday 17th

      Arrive into Dublin airport, meet guide. Depart for Northern Ireland.

      Stop off at Montalto Estate for guided tour & brunch
      Tel: +44 (0)28 9756 6100

      Depart for Belfast.

      Meet with representative from Titanic Foundation Ltd for an introduction/preview and hard hat tour of the Titanic Belfast Building. The 90m project aims to 'bring' Titanic home to Belfast in the centenary year of its departure from Belfast and its fateful voyage. The iconic building (shaped like ship's bows) will comprise of 9 galleries over 4 floors and will travel through time from Edwardian 'Boomtown Belfast', tell the stories of those who built her, those on board, the fateful voyage to present day where there will be video footage of where she lies at rest.

      Orientation of Belfast covering Titanic, Queen's & Cathedral Quarter.

      Evening activities TBA

      Overnight at The Merchant Hotel
      Situated in the heart of Belfast city centre's historic Cathedral Quarter, the grandeur of the original Grade A listed building is complemented by an elegant Art Deco inspired wing with a multitude of exciting amenities.
      Tel: +44 (0)2890234888

    Saturday 18th June

      Visit newly opened exhibition TITANICa
      Experience the full Titanic story as it is brought to life in the unique setting of the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.

        TITANICa, The Exhibition; explore Titanic & her world in the Transport Museum & discover why Titanic & her sister ships were built in Belfast. Discover how local enterprise & skills were combined to produce vessels of exceptional quality & design. Find out about life on board through fascinating objects and personal stories that explore the tragic loss of Titanic in 1912.

        TITANICa; uncover life in Belfast from 100 years ago, the Titanic Trail will link the world-class Titanic exhibition in the Transport Museum to the outdoor Folk Museum recreating the people's daily routines, activities and stories in the age of Titanic. Stroll through Ballycultra Town and experience the adventure that takes you to the Shipyard workers home, to the carpenter's workshop to Kelly's Coal Yard. Visit the post office to buy souvenir telegrams or pop into the printers for a Titanic ticket and newspaper of the time. Watch Titanic movies in the Silent Cinema or dress up in period costume as you get your picture taken in the surroundings of Titanic.

      Depart Belfast for drive along famous Causeway Coastal Route
      The route is awash with astonishing natural landscapes, from patchwork hills, mountain streams and waterfalls to a lovely coastal road with majestic cliffs and golden sands.

      Dalriada at Glenarm Castle
      This is the 14th year of the traditional Highland Games, it links the historic, sporting, music & food culture common between Scotland & Ireland.

      Visit Giant's Causeway
      Recognized as one of the natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It consists of thousands of hexagonally-shaped basalt columns, some up to 160 meters high, formed 60 million years ago from volcanic lava.

      Check in to Bushmills Inn
      Like a fine malt, the Bushmills Inn Hotel has matured across the years. The original coach house and stables are thought to date back to 1608, the same year that the Bushmills distillery was granted the first ever licence to distil whiskey. Over time the Inn took on many guises, from boarding house to bicycle factory. Careful redevelopment however has reawakened the Inn. Tel: +44 (0)2820733000

      Dinner at Bushmills Inn
      Accompanied by whiskey tasting with Master Distiller from Old Bushmills Distillery; Bushmills has been distilling whiskey since 1608, it is Ireland's Oldest Whiskey Distillery & regarded by many as the best whiskey in Ireland.

    Sunday 19th June

      Visit Glenveagh Castle and Gardens
      Glenveagh National Park lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the north-west of Co. Donegal. It is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains and pristine lakes. The park covers 16,000 hectares and within this park you will see the majestic Glenveagh Castle and Gardens. The construction of Glenveagh Castle in 1867 was by John George Adair, a man who was born in County Laois, but who made his fortune in the United States. He had a castle designed to resemble Balmoral, Queen Victoria's Scottish highland residence, with a four-story keep and turrets made of thick granite, and placed it in an estate of over 40,000 acres.
      Telephone: 074 91 37090

      Visit Slieve League
      The stunning Slieve League (Grey Mountain) cliffs are situated on the West coast of Donegal, and are said to be the highest and among the finest marine cliffs in Europe with a nearly sheer drop of roughly 2,000 feet that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the highest point of the cliffs. The ruins of a church with some early Christian hermitages lie near the pass. Returning from the summit by foot, you will see the ruin of a watchtower at the end of Carrigan Head. This watchtower was constructed to defend the north-west coast during the early 19th century when there was the threat of a Napoleonic attack.
      Tel: 0 74 9739077

      Overnight Lough Eske Castle Hotel
      Experience the luxury of stunning Lough Eske Castle Hotel, located just outside Donegal Town. This is an historic building in a storybook location delivering superior hospitality and comfort. It is the only Irish hotel to claim a World Luxury Hotel Award and has won the Luxury Country Hotel title two years in a row. Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel & Spa sits within 43 acres of forest woodland, hugging the shores of Lough Eske.
      Tel: (074 97 25100

    Monday 20th June

      Cruise on Donegal Bay
      Donegal Bay is an inlet in the northwest of Ireland. Three counties - Donegal to the north and west, Leitrim and Sligo to the south have shorelines on the bay, which is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The cruise explores the history, environment and wildlife of this unique estuary. On this cruise you will experience the force of the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by waters that hold shark, conger, seals, and dolphins. You learn about some important attractions on your journey in Ireland's largest bay. Donegal Bay's beaches have some of Europe's finest surfing, caused by a combination by a direct west-facing location and the funnel-shape of Donegal Bay. Rossnowlagh and Bundoran are recognised by the European surfing community as among Ireland's finest surf beaches.

      Visit to Yeats Grave at Drumcliffe
      One of Ireland's famous literary sons, Yeats' died in France in 1939, and his wish to be buried in Drumcliffe 'Under Bare Ben Bulben's head' was realised in 1948.

      Visit Carrowmore
      This is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is also among the country's oldest, with monuments ranging from five and a half thousand to six and a half thousand years old. Archaeologists have recorded over 60 tombs of which 30 are visible. A restored cottage houses an exhibition relating to the site. Access to the tombs may be difficult for people with disabilities. Visitors are advised to wear shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain.

      Check in at Ashford Castle
      Experience an estate steeped in history. It has been voted not only one of the best hotels in Ireland by the most discerning guidebooks, but also one of the top 50 resort properties in Europe.
      Tel: 094 9546003

      Falconry at Ashford Castle
      No stay in Ashford castle is complete without having a go at falconry. Experience the feeling of flying a hawk around the spectacular woodland grounds of the castle in a Hawk Walk by the oldest established Falconry school in Ireland.

    Tuesday 21st June

      Cruise from Athlone to Clonmacnois (details TBA)

      Lunch and visit to the Celtic Roots Studio, Ballinahown
      Ireland's first 'Économusé e' (a craft or artisan based business that opens its doors to the public to provide a learning and interpretive experience for visitors). They are an important cultural tourism attraction and contribute to the sustainability of rural areas through the creation of direct employment and by providing an attraction that disperses tourists to rural regions. Celtic Roots Studio is world renowned for its bogwood creation, made from bog oak, yew and pine which are almost five thousand years old.

      Founded in 548 by St. Ciaran, Clonmacnois is a monastic site overlooking the River Shannon in County Offaly. The extensive ruins include a cathedral, castle, round tower, numerous churches, two important high crosses, and a large collection of early Christian grave slabs (the last two on display in the excellent site museum). The settlement was a major center of religion, learning, trade, craftsmanship and politics, thanks in large part to its position at the major crossroads of the River Shannon. Religion was the central focus at Clonmacnoise, but it always had a large lay population and thus looked more like a town than a monastery. Like nearly all monastic settlements in Ireland, Clonmacnoise was plundered on several occasions by invaders, including the Vikings and Anglo-Normans. Clonmacnoise was designated a national monument in 1877 and is now overseen by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

      Overnight and dinner Ballyfin
      The house has long been admired as the most lavish Regency mansion in Ireland, and after eight years of restoration, Ballyfin re-opened in May 2011 as a small country house hotel like no other. It offers the very best of Irish hospitality in the most beautiful surroundings.

    Wednesday 22nd June

      Depart hotel

      Activities in Ballyfin Demesne -- walking, cycling or fishing


      Overnight and dinner Ritz Carlton, Powerscourt
      A 5-star hotel tucked away in the woodlands of County Wicklow with opulently furnished rooms; all have marble baths, separate Rainforest showers and featherbeds. Many rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, panoramic views and terraces. All have a seating area and free Wi-Fi. The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt was the only hotel to win two awards at the Cond{ Nast Johansens 2011 Annual Awards for Excellence. The hotel received the Best Venue and Hotel that accommodate groups of over 100 and the Most Excellent MICE Award for 2011.
      Tel: 353 1 274 8888
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