Photography & the Creative Spirit in Western Ireland

Tour Intro

Karen & Joel have designed this itinerary to incorporate additional hours of photography along the dramatic coastline of County Clare. This is an opportunity to expand your personal vision, make new friends and experience a very special place through new eyes. From the lush, green mountains to the broad peat lowlands, the ancient abbeys to the colorful villages, each place will stimulate the mind and enrich the spirit. There are spectacular monastic and megalithic ruins to seek out in your daily adventures. 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. Various locations may include the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, the fishing village of Doolin, or Kilkee on the Loophead Peninsula.

Tour Highlights

Tour Highlights ~ A Photographic and Cultural Adventure
• The focus will be photography, including people and culture.
• 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 17: U.S.

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

June 18: Shannon - Westport
Irish Musicians

Photo By: Karen Schulman

Photo Location: Ireland

We will be met at Ireland’s Shannon International Airport and driven north to Westport, on the shores of Clew Bay. The first afternoon we can relax; perhaps enjoy conversation in the library. If we are feeling a bit energetic, we can walk to town and listen to some traditional Irish music. (D)

June 19-24: County Mayo

Photo By: Karen Schulman

Photo Location: Ireland

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

The City of Westport and the Village of Newport, both capture the flavor of true Irish towns with their tree-lined canals and colorful shops. We drive along the shores of Clew Bay, stopping at Murrisk Abbey, and the Famine Memorial standing at the foot of Croagh Patrick.

Visit 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.

Another day spend the morning photographing in and around the town of Cong. Photo locations include Ashford Castle, Cong Abbey, the forest and river, as well as the town itself. After lunch you will have the opportunity to photograph an area of rolling hill, sheep, and a myriad of stonewall, on a hillside flowing down to Lough Corrib. The picturesque village of Cong was the setting for John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara’s film The Quiet Man. The King of Connacht founded the abbey ruins in the twelfth century. In 1198 the last High King of Ireland died in the abbey.

On the day we explore Achill Island, 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.

We will also travel to the shores of Doo Lough and the Connemara Mountains, where we will see some of the most stunning landscapes in all of Ireland. This morning we photograph in Sheeffrey Woods, a place where we must be careful not to disturb the leprechauns who inhabit the forest. Afterwards we visit the town of Leenane, where we will have lunch with the residents, and have time for photographing in the small pub, known as Gaynor’s (film location of The Field).

Just outside Newport is Burrishoole Abbey, a great place to start one of our days. Nearby is Carrigahowley Castle, one of the many strongholds of Grace O’Malley, the adventurous sixteenth century Pirate Queen. Later in the afternoon we visit Letterkeen Forest.

We can spend an entire day in Westport, photographing the winding streets, stone bridges over the river, or those that would like can do a bit of shopping. You will find many handcrafted items such as traditional Irish sweaters, prints, and pottery, or shops filled with books or Irish music. Be sure to take at least one piece of Ireland home with you. (B, D)

June 25-26: Westport - Loophead Peninsula - Ennis

Photo By: Karen Schulman

Photo Location: Achill Island, Ireland

Leave Hillcrest House early this morning, driving south to County Clare. Unspoiled natural beauty and a spectacular coastline of the Loophead Peninsula are amazing photographic assets of Clare. The hospitality of its people, the traditions of Irish music and dance, colorful small shops and cozy pubs, traditional cottages and houses are just a few. Over the next two days there will be photographic opportunities along the dramatic coastline, small fishing villages, and in the quaint town of Ennis. Ennis is a charming riverside town with colorful storefronts and narrow cobblestone streets. The Temple Gate Hotel (or similar) in Ennis will be our accommodations for the next two evenings, where we will enjoy dinner on our own. The hotel rests on the site of a nineteenth century convent. (B)

June 27: Ennis - Shannon - U.S.
Poulnabron Dolman

Photo By: Karen Schulman

Photo Location: Ireland

After breakfast this morning, we will say good bye to our new friends in hopes of seeing them again some day, perhaps even at Hillcrest House. We board our afternoon flights for home. (B)

Photo Leader

Karen & Joel Schulman
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Karen & Joel Schulman

Karen and Joel have been working in the photographic field for over 35 years and are both accomplished professional photographers. Karen is a skilled and sensitive photographic artist and educator and during our tour will share ideas and knowledge to help you create great travel photographs, whether you are using a DSLR or an iPhone! Joel is an expert in the digital imaging world and has done photographic printing for some of the most notable names in fine art photography. He will share his knowledge of both the technical and creative aspects of the photographic medium.

In addition, Karen and Joel will offer visual presentations and discussions highlighting the development of personal vision and awareness, and show how light, color, composition, gesture and 'the moment' contribute to the success of a photograph. There will also be opportunities to have photo reviews of your images, so everyone can learn and share from each other, or private photo reviews can be arranged. Both Karen and Joel are passionate iPhoneographers and during your tour will offer optional creative iPhoneography instruction. Our goal is to make this tour enjoyable and fun for both serious and casual photographers!

From Karen: "I encourage each person to give themselves permission to make mistakes, permission to create. The more we learn to 'see' with our mind, heart and spirit, the more of an adventure life becomes."

Many thanks to you both for helping us discover Cuba; it was such a rich and exotic experience! We will enjoy the memories and the photos for many years to come. 

Lana and Joe

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 7 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 5 - 6 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.


Abbey Window

Photo By: Sheryl Sparks

Photo Location: Ireland

It is so wonderful to be able to go to such a location for the soul purpose of photography.  The easy and spontaneous adventure that this was makes me want to go on another Focus Adventure Tour.  I was skeptical of the "iPhoneography" lesson but I participated and I can say that maybe it has truly changed my life.  My creativity was certainly heightened and encouraged on this trip.  I am so glad I went.


Pam & I agree that this vacation was the best we have ever done. We found all the people and experiences far exceeded our wildest expectations. We had a super group of fellow travelers. I thought Karen did a great job both as a photo instructor and a champion to bring our group together. Because of our superior experience we plan to join Karen in Ireland next summer.

Jacque is a fantastic person to work with. She kept us up to date on all our travel plans. We look forward to working her in the future!!

P & B Roemmich

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.


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.


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.


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.


Your home away from home, is a lovely B&B, with in walking distance of the quaint town of Westport. Its homelike quality adds to the relaxed atmosphere of the trip. Please note there are seven bedrooms with 4.5 bathrooms, we encourage you to sign up early to secure en-suite facilities. There are two bedrooms ensuite, with 2 bedrooms sharing another bath, and 3 bedrooms sharing 1.5 bathrooms.

Food & Drink

You will enjoy traditional Irish breakfasts and dinners during your stay. Lunch will be at various restaurants and pubs, or we can stop in town and have a picnic lunch wrapped for our daily excursions in the field. Transportation is provided in a roomy tour van, which is large enough for both the group and our equipment.

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