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Photographing the Emerald Isle: Coastline, Countryside and Villages of Ireland

Program Number: 20208RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/7/2013 - 10/18/2013;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Ireland
Price starting at: $3,787.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography
Meals: 27; 10 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Capture impressive digital photographs of Ireland’s lush vistas, quaint towns and historic architecture as you join a professional photographer for a hands-on approach to perfecting your photography skills. Get instruction on using your camera, utilizing filters and perfecting composition — then, practice your new skills as you explore Ireland from the small towns of Ennistymon and Ennis to the archaeological sites of Westport and the coastline of Sligo.


• Take lunch and visit the farm at Glanquin House — the parochial house featured in the TV show “Father Ted.”
• Explore the timeless Burren and Cliffs of Moher to remote Aran Islands, from haunting Connemara to the unspoiled coast of Sligo and rugged Donegal.
• Embark on field trips to discover spiritual Croagh Patrick, Benedictine Kylemore Abbey, monastic Devenish Island and early Christian Glencolmcille.

Activity Particulars

Walking on paths and uneven surfaces up to a mile; elevators available in most buildings.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Ennistymon, 3 nights; coach to Westport, 3 nights; coach to Sligo, 3 nights; coach to Ennis, 1 night; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Ennistymon
3 nights

Polish your digital photography techniques during classroom time with professional photographer Jan Chipps. Spend a day in the Galway Bay region and photograph the limestone expanse of the Burren and the majestic Cliffs of Moher. Enjoy lunch at the Glanquin House, the 225 acre farm famous as the setting for the sitcom “Father Ted.” Ferry to the Aran Island of Inis Oirr to meet a local artist.

Coach to Westport
3 nights

Journey to Connemara for a study in its intense and shifting landscapes before making your way to Kylemore Abbey — Ireland’s oldest Benedictine Abbey — and its beautiful Victorian Walled Garden. Take sunset shots at the sacred mountain of Croagh Patrick and the nearby Clew Bay.

Coach to Sligo
3 nights

Take advantage of Sligo’s picturesque coastline and seaside villages to further practice your landscape photography. During a field trip to Donegal, stop at Drumcliffe — the final resting place of poet W.B. Yeats — and journey further along Slieve League Peninsula to Glencolmcille. Photograph the ancient remains of the monastic settlement on Lough Erne & Devenish Island and enjoy an opportunity to explore inland waterways.

Coach to Ennis
1 night

Share in an afternoon of review and photo slideshows before taking in a final evening performance with local musicians.


In 1801, the Act of Union merged the Kingdom of Ireland with the Kingdom of Great Britain. In the mid-19th century, the Irish experienced terrible famine and crowding that led to a spirited nationalist movement. With the Government of Ireland Act in 1920, five-sixths of the island began independent governance. Northern Ireland voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom, creating an island that today fosters two shared, yet opposite identities.

Ennistymon: Historic four-star hotel located along the Inagh River. Westport: Modern hotel with swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Sligo: Four-star hotel with views of the Garravogue River. Ennis: Historic four-star hotel located near airport.
Meals and Lodgings
   Falls Hotel.
  Ennistymon., Ireland 3 nights
   Castlecourt Hotel.
  Westport., Ireland 3 nights
   The Glasshouse Hotel
  Sligo., Ireland 3 nights
   Old Ground Hotel
  Ennis, Ireland 1 night
 Falls Hotel.
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Nestled in it’s wooded vale beside the tumbling waters of the River Inagh, the distinctive building known today as the Falls Hotel Spa Resort conceals within it’s walls an eighteenth century mansion, a late medieval castle, and a formidable history of four and a half centuries embracing clans and warfare, landlords and tenants, poets, dreamers and entrepreneurs.
  Contact info: Ennistymon
Ennistymon,  County Clare Ireland
phone: +353 65 707 1004
  Room amenities: Direct dial telephone, satellite tv. Tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: Two restaurants-An Teach Mor in the original Georgian manor house and Cascades Restaurant at the river's edge, Dylan Thomas Bar. Aqua & Fitness Club, which has swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, outdoor hot tub, bubble pool, childrens pool and fully equipped gymnasium. River Spa, which contains 12 treatment rooms, a thermal suite and a relaxation room overlooking the River Inagh.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  Complete the form in the preparatory materials and return to EIL Ireland.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Castlecourt Hotel.
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Modern hotel with leisure facilities.
  Contact info: Westport.
Westport,  Co Mayo Ireland
phone: +353 98 55088
  Room amenities: Direct dial telephone, television, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdrier, ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Orchard Restaurant, Courtyard Bistro and Petie Joe's bar with entertainment and dancing. The Leisure Centre offers you a truly spectacular 20 metre Swimming Pool, Sauna, Steam Room, Jacuzzi and a fully equipped and modern Gymnasium.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 The Glasshouse Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Glasshouse is Sligo’s only 4 star city centre hotel, towering dramatically over the Garravogue River it offerschic interiors, great city views and proximity to all downtown Sligo has to offer. Shaped like a ship in dock, the hotel’s glass exterior can be seen from afar, inside the quirky interiors are equally as impressive.
  Contact info: Swan Point
Sligo,   Ireland
phone: +353 71 9194300
  Room amenities: Direct dial telephone. Climate control, LCD TV, inroom safe, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities. 24 hour room service. Internet access via dial up, broadband or remote onscreen access via TV.
  Facility amenities: The Kitchen Restaurant; View Bar and Cafe Bar with broadwalk and al fresco area.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Old Ground Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Centrally located historic building
  Contact info: OConnell Street
Co. Clare,   Ireland
phone: +353 65 682 8127
  Room amenities: remote controlled television, direct dial telephone, hairdryer, trouser press and iron, tea & coffee available in room.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar and meeting room on site, residents' library, wireless internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
A light lunch is served in the hotel in Ennistymon on arrival day. Welcome meeting with Jan Chipps the course director and your group leader at 5:00pm before dinner. You will be staying at Falls Hotel. that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast in Ennis. You will be staying at Old Ground Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
No parking
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Buses.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ennistymon.
  Nearest city or town:  Ennistymon.
  Nearest airport:  Shannon.
  Transportation to site: Shannon Airport to Ennistymon by public bus (Bus Eireann). It's a 'country service'! so it only operates 3 times a day and you have to change buses in Ennis. There is an hourly service beginning from 07.55, 08.55, etc from SNN to Ennis, this takes half an hour and passengers change here for the local service to Ennistymon, Bus Eireann no. 337. This is the 3 times a day service, departing at 10.25 (arrives Ennistymon 11.00am) 14.25 (arrives 15.05) and 18.25 (arrives 19.00). The cost for a single adult fare is approx €15 and the ticket can be purchased from the driver or at the Bus Eireann desk at Shannon. A taxi is approximatley EURO 40.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Ennis
  Nearest city or town:  Ennis.
  Nearest airport:  Shannon.
  Transportation from site: Buses run every hour from Ennis to Shannon Airport and take 30 minutes.
Equipment Requirements: Digital Camera (preferably SLR) Camera Leads to connect to computer (USB comes in this category) Memory card/ flash card/ etc Optional: Laptop Tripod Filters: U.V. Filter, Polarising filter, Graduated Neutral density filters in differing densities if possible, portable storage, ie; memory stick.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Monday, October 7)
 In Transit: Overnigth flight from North America.

Day 2:
(Tuesday, October 8)
 Arrive To: Shannon Airport and transfer to the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon.
 Lunch: A light lunch is served in the hotel.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon followed by a welcome meeting at 5:00pm with Jan Chipps, course director, before dinner.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Falls Hotel.
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.
(Wednesday, October 9)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Interactive audio-visual learning session: Introduction to the programme. Basic techniques of landscape photography, use of filters, knowing your camera. Followed by a day long field trip to the Burren, a desolate, starkly beautiful area of limestone rocks and hills south of Galway Bay. The Burren is a place of unique interest to botanists, archaeologists and ecologists alike. To the botanist, the Burren is home to rare alpine plants, delicate wonders that grow in the thin soil and crevices-gentians, mountain avens and maidenhair ferns amongst others. It is an area of scenic attractions where the clear light, reflected from the stone-grey hills, seems to radiate an air of timelessness, which is made more realistic by the presence of the many prehistoric remains that dot the fields and the valleys beneath. Techniques session continues in the field.
 Lunch: Farm visit and lunch at Glanquin House (Father Ted's Parochial House) This 225 acre eco farm keeps sheep, cows, horses as well as organic vegetable production. The house itself is an 1850 listed Georgian building and was the location for the Irish cult sitcom Father Ted.
 Afternoon: Field trip to photograph the Cliffs of Moher. Rising like a cathedral in to the sky some 700 feet over the wild Atlantic ocean, the Cliffs of Moher are a symbol of Ireland and are world-renowned for their beauty. The views from the Cliffs stretch as far as Galway Bay and the Aran Islands.
 Dinner: In a local restaurant.
 Evening: An evening of storytelling.
Accommodations: Falls Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Inis Orr, the Aran Islands.
(Thursday, October 10)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Depart by ferry for Inis Oirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands. The nearest island to the mainland it is home to an Irish speaking community of just 250 people. A traditional way of life is practiced here and Irish culture flourishes. Explore and photograph the island in the company of local artist.
 Lunch: On the island.
 Afternoon: Field trip continues. Return by ferry to the mainland.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: After dinner learning session with Jan Chipps.
Accommodations: Falls Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galway city. Traditional Irish music session.
(Friday, October 11)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for Westport in Co. Mayo.
 Lunch: Excluded so that you can sample Galway's many cafes, pubs and restaurants.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore and photograph the city. Arrive and check in to the hotel.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Traditional Irish music session in the local pub.
Accommodations: Castlecourt Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Connemara. Kylemore Abbey.
(Saturday, October 12)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for day long field trip through the wild haunting scenery of Connemara. This is an intense and shifting landscape, spectacularly enhanced by the dramatic skies and changing light. With its brooding mountains, elegant castles, dark bogland, serene lakes, windswept shores and delicate flora, Connemara wil provide endless photographic opportunities
 Lunch: At Kylemore Abbey, the oldest Irish Benedictine Abbey.
 Afternoon: Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden offers scenic photographic opportunities as well as woodland walks, garden tours, fascinating history and beautiful architecture. Nestled at the base of Druchruach Mountain (1,736ft) on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul, the heart of the Connemara Mountains, it is regarded as one of Ireland’s most romantic buildings. Originally built in 1867 as a romantic gift, Kylemore Abbey and the surrounding mountains and lakes are steeped in history including engineering initiatives, model farms, tragedy, royal visits, gambling debts and a hideaway during Ireland’s troubled history . In 1920, Kylemore became an Abbey and is the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. The Community of nuns, who have resided here for 189 years, have a long history stretching back almost three hundred and forty years. One mile west of the main Abbey building are the 6-acre Victorian Walled Gardens, built by Mitchell Henry at the same time as the construction of Kylemore Castle between 1867 and 1871. This garden was one of the last walled gardens to be built during the Victorian period in Ireland and is the only garden in Ireland that is located in the middle of a bog.
Accommodations: Castlecourt Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay.
(Sunday, October 13)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Midway review with Jan Chipps. Followed by free time.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Depart for Croagh Patrick, Achill Island and Clew Bay. Croagh Patrick overlooking Clew Bay has been a sacred mountain for almost 5,000 years. In pre Christian Ireland the festival of the God Lugh was held on its slopes. According to Christian tradition, St. Patrick went up the sacred mountain at festival time in 441 AD and fasted at the summit for 40 days. The site quickly became an important place of Christian pilgrimage. Nearly 1 million visitors climb to its top each year. Achill Island is the largest island in the country and is reached by bridge. The colourful landscapes of Achill have inspired both writers and artists alike. There will be an opportunity to photograph The Deserted Village at Slievemore , some 80 - 100 stone cottages located along a mile long stretch of road, a haunting reminder of life on Achill Island in times gone by.
 Dinner: In a local restaurant.
 Evening: Opportunity to take sunset shots of Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay.
Accommodations: Castlecourt Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Northwest coast and Atlantic Ocean to Sligo .
(Monday, October 14)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Travel via the unspoilt Northwest Coast of Sligo – an opportunity to photograph the Atlantic Ocean and scenic beaches and dunes.
 Lunch: In Enniscrone -a small seaside village and is situated along the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of Ireland's most beautiful and inspiring seaside towns.
 Afternoon: Check in to the hotel. Before dinner session with Jan Chipps.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: The Glasshouse Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Ben Bulben, Donegal and Glencolmcille.
(Tuesday, October 15)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for full day field trip to Donegal - undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most untouched and ruggedly beautiful counties, County Donegal’s striking landscape has remained relatively unaffected by the passage of time Stop en route at Drumcliffe, the final resting place of the famed Irish poet W. B. Yeats’, under the majestic mountain of Ben Bulben
 Lunch: In the picturesque fishing village of Killybegs.
 Afternoon: Journey further along the Slieve League Peninsula to Glencolmcille a place of tremendous natural beauty; mountains, lakes, sea cliffs and beaches; a place of quiet roads, stone walls and fuschia-bordered lanes. It is an ancient corner of Ireland witnessed by the sites of dwellings and the tombs of the Megalithic period and by the cross inscribed stones of early Christianity.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: The Glasshouse Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Lough Erne and Devenish Island.
(Wednesday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Session with Jan Chipps. Followed by a day field trip to to Lough Erne & Devenish Island The island was an ancient monastic settlement and 12th century historic remains in the form of a round tower, graveyard, church and Celtic Cross can still be seen there.
 Lunch: Taken en route.
 Afternoon: Field trip continues with lots of opportunities to photograph this most beautiful of Ireland’s inland waterways
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: The Glasshouse Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Farewell with local musicians.
(Thursday, October 17)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Ennis in Co. Clare.
 Lunch: En route.
 Afternoon: Review and slideshow of photographs.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner with local musicians.
 Evening: Musicians entertain.
Accommodations: Old Ground Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12:
(Friday, October 18)
 Breakfast: Full Irish breakfast in the hotel. Some departures may leave before breakfast.
 In Transit: Return flights to North America.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Westport. Westport.
Westport House and Country Estate,the Clew Bay Heritage Centre, Drummindoo Stud Equitation Centre. Clay pigeon shooting, sea angling, hill walking, sailing, golf. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Guide to the Landscape of Ireland

Author: Frank Mitchell

A Traveller's History of Ireland

Author: Peter Neville

Description: From the Celts to the Norman invasions and modern-day Ireland, this short history is highly recommended for those who would like a brief overview of the Emerald Isle through the centuries

EXploring Rural Ireland

Author: A.Sanger

Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland

Author: Guidebooks

Description: This superb on-the-ground guide features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry

For the Love of Ireland: A Literary Companion

Author: Susan Cahill (ed.)

Description: A rich anthology of writing about Ireland by such Irish luminaries as James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Seamus Heaney, William, Trevor, Frank McCourt, Edna O'Brien, and Samuel Beckett. The well-chosen excerpts, organized by province, evoke in wonderful literary detail the geography of Ireland. Highly recommended for any traveler, the anthology is also a fine introduction to Irish literature.

Ireland : The Emerald Isle and Its People

Author: Mark Morris and Anthony Cassidy

Ireland and the Irish

Author: John Ardagh

Description: impressionistic portrait of the two Irelands, based on interviews with leaders and ordinary people from every walk of life, includes their insights and the author's own observations and analysis. Anatomy of the country, this book is a most useful guide for the visitor wanting a complete picture of modern Irish life and the prevailing social and economic trends.

Ireland's High Places: From Mountians to the Sea

Author: Rob Beighton

Description: Mountains have inspired men since time immemorial. Following his move to Ireland, Rob Beighton turned his lens to the magnificent scenery of Ireland s mountain landscape a unique mixture of rock, peat, soil and vegetation, with ever-changing weather and light. Often stunningly beautiful, this book takes you on a journey into these mountains, from majestic Mount Errigal in Donegal to Hungry Hill on the Beara Peninsula. Conveying the splendour and aura of these ancient hills, Rob s images of spectacular natural beauty vary from wide panoramic views of mountainscapes to small details of stone, water, flora and fauna. While some of the mountains are in National Parks, most are privately owned, some are well known to tourists, and others are remote and rarely visited. With a sharp eye and artistic use of light Rob reveals an often new and fresh beauty in our mountains. The result is a breathtaking book of mesmerizing images that will delight the thousands who visit Ireland s mountains.

Ireland, A Concise History

Author: Conor Cruise O'Brien

Description: With its lively even-handed tone and hundreds of well-integrated photographs and illustrations, this book conveys the essence of Irish history and the Irish experience.

Ireland, a Bicycle and a Tin Whistle

Author: D.Wilson

Ireland-Glorious Landscapes:: Over 200 Beautiful Views

Author: Carsten Krieger

Description: An atmospheric collection of over 200 wonderful photographs showing the beauty and diversity of Ireland’s landscape. 'stunning high-quality images of countryside, skies and seas' -- Evening Echo 'a perfect buy for visitors to Ireland and for those who are interested in our natural history' -- Evening Echo 'Glorious Landscapes promises to be another hit' (for Carsten Krieger) -- Evening Echo 'a photographic love letter to the beauties of the Irish landscape' --Books Ireland

Spectacular Ireland

Author: Peter Harbison

Description: Through words and stunning images, the Emerald Isle is brought to life in Spectacular Ireland, a magnificent collection of 140 color photographs by some of Ireland’s best landscape photographers and elegant text by Peter Harbison, one of Ireland’s most distinguished voices and renowned archaeologists. This handsome volume celebrates Ireland, a small island country of extraordinary beauty, fascinating history, and evocative myths, where old and new thrive together. From ancient standing stones and breathtaking pastoral scenes to energetic cities of architectural sophistication, we take a photographic tour reflecting the soul of this spectacular island. A brief history of Ireland puts the images into historical context: from ancient Celtic dolmens to abbeys and castles, from lush pastures, fields of heather, and seaside cliffs to formal gardens, and from ancient villages to the rush of contemporary Dublin. But Ireland is much more than beautiful landscape. Much of the magic of the country lies in the people themselves; these are a people who cherish their land. It is a rich heritage—of history, magic, and mystery—that makes Ireland a favorite destination for tourists and armchair travelers alike

The Companion Guide to Ireland

Author: Brendan Lehane

Description: A comprehensive guide to Ireland for the traveler with a focus on history and culture. Anecdotal, literate and often entertaining.

The Irish World: The History and Cultural Achievements of the Irish People

Author: Brian de Breffny

The Reader's Companion to Ireland

Author: Alan Ryan (ed.)

Description: Divided geographically, this collection of satisfyingly long stories and excerpts gathers classic and modern travel writing on the Emerald Isle -- a wonderful introduction to Ireland.

The West of Ireland: A Photographer's View

Author: Carsten Krieger

Description: 'There's a haunting quality to his work that makes even familiar images feel eerily new' Irish Independent 'The images are captivating and showcase dedicated work from a very talented photographer' Outdoor Photography

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