The Quiet Side of Ireland

Tour Intro

Photograph the lush green fields of Ireland, and beautiful window boxes on quaint Irish homes. 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.

Western Ireland affords us a unique opportunity in that there are so many wonderful hidden places to explore. Even if you have traveled to this area in the past, your guides will seek out new places to visit and photograph. There are spectacular monastic and megalithic ruins to seek out in your daily adventures. 

Tour Highlights

• 10 days with accomplished photographer and tour leader Maria Korab-Laskowska.
• Photograph the quiet side of Ireland ~ County Mayo.
• Tour limited to 7 passengers.
• Experience Western Ireland while spending the majority of our evenings in one home.
• Relaxed & flexible itinerary to make the most of the opportunities that come your way.

Tour Itinerary

August 30: U.S. -Shannon

Photo By: Maria Korab-Laskowska

Photo Location: Ireland

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

August 31: Shannon - Hillcrest House, Westport

Photo By: Maria Korab-Laskowska

Photo Location: Ireland

You will be met at Ireland’s Shannon International Airport and driven north to Westport, on the shores of Clew Bay. After lunch relax, enjoy conversation in the library or explore the nearby countryside. Depending on the time of year there may be an opportunity for the group to photograph the sunset over Clew Bay. (D)

September 1-7: Western Ireland

Photo By: Maria Korab-Laskowska

Photo Location: Ireland

Each day you will visit some of these typical areas from your home base at Hillcrest House. There is no possible way to visit all of them, so your tour leader and guide will plan each day considering the interests of the group. 

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. After working for a few hours in and around the Abbey you can photograph the ruins of Moore Hall, a Georgian mansion destroyed during the war of independence. Later in the afternoon, photograph Castle Bourke, on the shores of Lough Carra.

Hillcrest House lays half way between 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. After a stop in Westport, drive to Murrisk Abbey, at the foot of Ireland's Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick. Later in the day you will be at the ocean on the west coast of Mayo at a remote rocky shore called Barnabawn Point. Your last stop of the day will be at Tully House, a private residence at the end of a quarter mile tree-lined avenue. There is an old mill along the Bunowen River, a short walk from the house.

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.

Driving north today, your first stop will be along the ocean on the Atlantic drive in Mulranny. After lunch on Achill Island, continue photographing along the ocean, and wind up at the deserted famine village at Keel. Achill Island, wrought by wind and water, is an arrangement of rock, cloud, and cliffs falling off to the sea.

Another day, visit one of the few remaining round towers in Ireland, Turlough, standing amid a field of ancient carved gravestones. If there is a rainy day, the new Museum of Country Life, one of Ireland’s National Museums, is well worth the stop. Later in the afternoon photograph the glacial erratic boulders at Lough Cullin.

Photograph in the morning along the shores of Doo Lough, visiting two locations.  After lunch in the town of Louisburgh, spend the afternoon photographing in the Sheeffrey Hills, a place where you must be careful not to disturb the leprechauns who inhabit the forest.

Burrishoole Abbey is a great place to start one of your days. Nearby is Carrigahowley Castle, one of the many strongholds of Grace O’Malley, the adventurous sixteenth century Pirate Queen. Later in the afternoon visit Letterkeen Forest. (B, D each day)

September 8: Westport - Ennis

Photo By: Maria Korab-Laskowska

Photo Location: Ireland

Leave Hillcrest House early this morning, driving south to County Clare, where you spend the evening in Ennis. Prior to Ennis, you will spend time photographing in County Galway near the town of Gort. There lies a 16th century Norman castle with a small cottage attached. The Irish Literary Revival began near this castle - in Coole Park, an estate owned by Lady Gregory where she hosted the likes of George Bernard Shaw, W. B. Yeats and J. M. Synge. It was a haven - a place of retreat for William Butler Yeats. Ennis is a charming riverside town with colorful storefronts and narrow cobblestone streets. Tonight stay at the Temple Gate Hotel (or similar) in Ennis and enjoy dinner on your own. The hotel rests on the site of a nineteenth century convent. (B)

September 9: Shannon - U.S.
Sheep - Ireland

Photo By: Maria Korab-Laskowska

Photo Location: Ireland

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

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 5 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 attended a few workshops in the past, but only at yours did I really start to learn and understand the problems I have due to my technical inadequacies. You have that fantastic ability to explain very complicated things in such a way that
they become simple, and helps to take great pictures! And the patience you have - it helps too.
Thank you, Peter 

Peter Jaroszewicz

My family and I had a wonderful trip under the expert guidance of Maria recently. The photo ops were numerous, well planed, and exciting. The living accommodations were wonderful and the meals delicious. We have no reservations recommending Marie and would gladly answer questions about our experience. 

Tom & Elaine Icklan

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.

Accommodations

Your home away from home, Hillcrest House, was renovated for the sole purpose of accommodating photography groups. Its homelike quality adds to the relaxed atmosphere of the trip. 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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