Natural Wonders & the Creative Spirit in Western Ireland

Tour Intro

All ensuite accommodations.

Your itinerary is set in the unspoiled villages, rugged ancient abbeys, broad peat lowlands, and the dramatic coastline of Western Ireland. The soft pastel shades of the mountains and clouds appeal to the artist and photographer. These natural landscapes, along with the people, render this Isle a place of inspirational beauty. We will visit places you could never locate on your own — tiny villages, hidden beaches, castles, and ancient abbeys. This personalized tour will take you County Clare and County Mayo. There are so many wonderful hidden places to explore, including spectacular monastic and megalithic ruins. You can even take a day trip to the Aran Islands from Doolin.
 
While in Ireland you will be treated to true Irish flavors. Your accommodations in County Clare are located in the lovely village of Lisdoonvarna, on the edge of the Burren, and just five minutes to Doolin. Doolin is famous for their traditional Irish music in local pubs. Next move on to County Mayo, staying in the town of Westport, again famous for their pubs and voted best Tidiest Town and Best Kept in Ireland. These locally owned stays and homelike quality will add to the relaxed atmosphere of the trip.  Transportation is provided in a roomy tour van, which is large enough for both the group and equipment.

Tour Highlights

Tour Highlights ~ A Photographic and Cultural Adventure

  • The focus will be nature, people, and culture.
  • All accmmodations are ensuite.
  • 10 days with accomplished photographer and tour leader.
  • Photograph the quiet side of Ireland ~ Counties Mayo & Clare.
  • Tour limited to 12 participants.
  • Relaxed & flexible itinerary to make the most of opportunities that come your way.

Tour Itinerary

June 15: U.S.

Photo By: Frank Lavelle

Photo Location: Ireland

Your journey to Ireland begins with an overnight flight from the U.S. 

June 16-19: Shannon - County Clare

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Clare Island, Ireland

We will be met at Ireland’s Shannon International Airport and drive through County Clare on the way to Lisdoonvarna. The village has the only active spa center in Ireland, consisting of sulfur baths, massage, and saunas.

Just north of the village the land rises sharply which affords fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the Valley of Ballyvaghan. Doolin is a small seaside village on the north west coast of County Clare. You will find remains of historical churches, and castles close by.

Photograph the famous Cliffs of Moher and the Burren region. The Burren is known for its flora and fauna, where different ecological species grow side by side. Megalithic tombs, such as Poulnabrone Dolmen, and the Celtic ring fort of Caherconnell. surround it. From Doolin, given proper weather conditions, you may take a boat trip to the Aran Islands. Overnight Sheedy Country House & Hotel or similar (D; B & L three days)

June 20-23: County Mayo

Photo Location: Ireland

Each day you will visit some of these typical areas from your home base in Westport. It is not possible to see everything during each tour, as you will also take time for unscheduled stops. Your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group, and special events taking place during your time in Ireland.

We often start each trip with a visit to Ballintubber Abbey, or Baile Tobair Padraig, in Irish. It is one of the oldest Abbeys in Ireland dating back to the twelfth century, named for the natural spring nearby, where St. Patrick baptized his first Irish converts.

Both Westport and the Village of Newport, capture the flavor of true Irish towns with their tree-lined canals and colorful shops. Drive along the shores of Clew Bay, stopping at Murrisk Abbey, at the foot of Croagh Patrick. Ireland’s Holy Mountain, named after the national saint, is one of Mayo’s best-known landmarks. Later in the day we will be at the ocean on the west coast of Mayo at a remote rocky shore called Barnabawn Point.

Driving north today, our first stop will be along the ocean on the Atlantic drive in Mulranny. After lunch on Achill Island we will continue photographing along the ocean and given time, wind up at the deserted famine village at Keel. Achill Island is the largest island off the Irish coast. To get there, we will drive over the bridge at Achill Sound. Wrought by wind and water, the island is an arrangement of rock, cloud, and cliffs falling off to the sea.

Photograph along the shores of Doo Lough and the Connemara Mountains, where you will see some of the most stunning landscapes in all of Ireland. After lunch in the town of Louisburgh, spend the afternoon photographing in the Sheeffrey Wood. Overnights Plougastel House (B four days; L two days)

June 24: Ennis

Photo By: Marcia Brenowitz

Photo Location: County Mayo, ireland

We will leave Westport this morning, and travel to the town of Ennis. Given the interests of the group you may have time to stroll in the old city of Galway.  Winding streets of antique shops and art galleries will entice you as we view the city. Galway is a lively city that may even present you with dancers and musicians performing in the streets and alleyways. If it is boats you are looking for, the river nearby is lined with colorful examples to photograph. (Tonight we will stay at the Temple Gate Hotel (or similar). The hotel rests on the site of a nineteenth century convent. (B, D)

June 25: Ennis - Shannon - U.S.

Photo By: Karen Schulman

Photo Location: Ashford Castle Ireland

After breakfast this morning, your local guide will transfer you to airport for flights home (time to be announced).

Photo Leader

Randy Ziegler
read more
Randy Ziegler

I love using natural light as my artistic light source given how it can accentuate and express the color medium.  I strive in my workshops to help photographers appreciate and become more sensitive to the natural, organic quality of light and color in the world around them.  I also work with them to elevate their awareness of seeing how natural light and color can further enhance and reveal the essence of their subjects.

A major theme of my photography tours is to teach photographers to see better.  The hallmark of a good photographer is to be able to see something most people never notice and bring the necessary artistic elements together to create a memorable photograph that will stand the test of time.  In the end, to take great images, you have to see greatly.  I want to energize their seeing so that they will leave my tours with a renewed confidence in their ability to capture the enchanted moments of life that may never happen or appear again.

Randy Ziegler is an internationally published and respected natural light photographer with over 35 years experience behind the lens. He travels throughout the United States and Europe creating images for editorial, corporate, and advertising clients. Randy is the recipient of several awards and recognitions including the International Print Media Communicator Award of Excellence for three consecutive years. He has also received the prestigious Platinum MarCom Creative Award twice. Randy and his work have been featured in the acclaimed Nikon World magazine and on the Nikon Learn & Explore website.

Randy has authored three photography books: A Love Affair With Trees, Nature's Enchanted Moments, and The Beauty of Natural Light.  He teaches photography workshops in the United States and foreign countries, lectures, and is available for private individualized photography instruction.

"I like to think of myself as a visual storyteller using my camera to capture life in response to the enchanted moments when the play of light, the drama of color, and the gestures of life unfold before me.  With my camera, I am expressing my response to what is naturally there in the world.  It is my desire to share with the viewer the intimacy of my photographic experience." 

One year ago I was exploring photography trips and came across Strabo Tours. For numerous reasons, I chose to participate in “The Contrast and Colors of Morocco” - March 5 -17 2016.  Randy Ziegler led this tour. In preparation for this trip I contacted Randy and asked numerous questions about what to bring on the trip with an emphasis on equipment.  Randy responded enthusiastically and provided subtle suggestions for additions to my existing equipment and was sensitive to my budget. Due to Randy’s positive energy and wise council during the preparation for this trip, I arrived in Morocco with the proper equipment for my ability. 

I was overwhelmed by Morocco … its sights, smells, light and culture.  Everything met or exceeded my expectations regarding accommodations, knowledgeable local guide, convenience of travel and meals.  But I didn’t go on this tour just for a great travel experience with a camera in hand, I went to learn, to improve my photographic skills to take the best shots I could. Randy took the time to review all the settings on my camera and make suggestions to get better pictures.  In addition to looking for light, colour, and gesture, as is Randy’s mantra, I found I was looking at potential shots differently.Yes the trip to Morocco coupled with Randy’s tutelage enabled me to broaden my perspective on what I see through the lens.

My learning curve did not end when I stepped of the plane in Toronto. I found I was more eager to experiment with my camera and with postproduction software.  I played with every setting on my camera. A year has come and gone since I first decided to participate in the Strabo tour and that tour is still having an impact on what see through my lens.  I want to thank Jacque for making the trip possible and Randy for sharing photographic nuggets during the trip and being a positive resource afterwards.

Thank You


 

D. Windsor

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 9 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 5-8 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

I observed your passion – to see a glimpse through your eyes – walking (sometime running) to see the shot that is sometimes a fleeting moment. To watch you get excited - and willing to share your expertise. That is so rare – especially someone at your level – to work with people such as myself who have no clue.  I hope your plans for future workshops will include the same format for the participants – to observe and actively participate ‘in the process’.  You, my friend, are a Master Teacher.

Janice

I can't thank you enough for the time you spent with me.  What a special day.  I think I had brain overload but in such a good way.  Your enthusiasm to pass along your wonderful gift is incredible.

Connie

Jack and I would like to thank you very much for the wonderful workshop. The experience was invaluable. We particularly love traveling and learning with a group that enjoys photography as much as we do. Above all, we appreciate your instruction. You are always so willing to share your expertise, wisdom and insights. Bravo!

Phyllis

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Food & Drink

You will enjoy traditional Irish breakfasts at each. Lunch & dinners will be at various restaurants and pubs, or you can stop in town and have a picnic lunch wrapped for your daily excursions in the field. 

loading icon