"Craic & Ceilis"; a new Celtic Ways vacation
“Craic & Ceilis” itinerary.
We assembled this unique 8 day vacation after requests to create tours for Celtic and Americana music bands and their fans. I would like to extend this vacation idea to any music bands of any culture worldwide, and to any individuals, fans and families who enjoy the idea of coming to Ireland for true fun.
This tour is about scenery, songs, music, stories and heritage.
Starting at “Leenaun”, Co. Galway
We love this place, a beautiful village near the head of Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only Fjord, a sea inlet shrouded by steep mountains.
Amongst beautiful scenery this village is full of lively sessiún pubs, good food, hospitable people, dancing, stories and lovely local craft shops.
Our hotel is traditional, peaceful at night, serves traditional food in a spacious restaurant with friendly staff.
Day 1: Brigit’s Garden
We rate this as one of the “must do” sites in any itinerary of Ireland. Jenny Beale has created a garden with an exceptional interpretation of the four fire festivals of Ireland, Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine and Lughnasa. This is a place that can absorb your day without realizing how time goes. Here our members make their Brigid crosses from the gardens reeds, understand more about ancient tree wisdoms and enjoy the exceptional food menu in it’s restaurant. For our “Craic and Ceilis” travellers this is truly a starting point of what were the biggest craic and ceili events of the year. On dry and sunny days there is often live music performed on their sundial, one of the biggest sundials in the world that tells the date as well as time.
As most flights arrive in the morning we spend time here between the airport and Leenaun. As many folks will want to rest and retire early on their first evening we do not arrange an evening event. Some do take a late afternoon nap, enjoy dinner and then explore the local craics and seisuns.
As this is a craic and ceilis tour evenings will be to the traditional pubs and dances but through some evenings we’ll also enjoy the traditional home based ceili too.
This tour will show there is deeper fun to share when there is no television or PC around.
Down The Road To Westport, Co. Galway
Westport is one of our five favourite towns of Ireland, Kenmare, Tipperary, Boyle and Ballymote are our others. Boyle and Ballymote are merely our locals but Westport is a wonderful town for any traveller.
During the day the shopping and cafes are excellent. There’s no stress or uncomfortable large crowds. Pricing, compared to the rest of Ireland, is very good.
Our hotel is fairly central to town and convenient to return to after an evening of craic and seisuns.
Day 2: Westport
We tour a scenic route around Killary Harbour, cut through Dough Lough Pass, stop by request at the Old Head beach follow the Clew Bay coastline and pass the base of the sacred Croagh Patrick mountain. We should arrive in Westport town allowing some time for browsing and shopping.
In the evening, the craic is good. Perhaps the most famous being Matt Molloy’s. Matt was the flautist of the Bothy Band, has been with the Chieftains for many years. When he’s not touring he’s behind the bar serving pints and encouraging the music and stories to flow
This is one town where you will not want to miss out sharing the evening Craic, especially at Molloy’s.
Onto “Tighe na Cláirseach”, Co. Sligo
Tighe na Cláirseach is a thatched cottage between Ballymote in Co. Sligo and Boyle in Co. Roscommon. It is below the Bricklieve Mountains, home of the Carrowkeel Cairns, that are very special to those who visit them. It also provides an incredible landscape view of the goddess Morrigan, mother of Bhride (Brigid). This is visible when your eyes integrate the contours of Morrigan’s Cheis Coarran mountain looking as if its about to give birth, the two nearby cairn topped paps and the skull like hill of Treanscrabbagh.
Tigh na Cláirseach is currently being restored, ready by April 2008, and includes a studio/workshop building and will include a herb and water based trinity labyrinth for ritual, ceremony and fun.
Tighe na Cláirseach means “cottage home of the harps”. Cláirseach is an ancient north west Ireland word for a harp with soundbox and key change fasteners. Not only can you enjoy the presence of singer harpist Claire Roche and the origins of the Irish symbol of the harp is a very important element with all of our tours and activities.
It is here and from here we can share with you the cottage traditions of Ireland that are truly Irish
The surrounding landscape is amongst the most beautiful in Ireland hosting many hidden sacred sites aligned on remarkable viewpoints.
It will be another year or so before we can add sleeping accommodation so we will arrange board at a local guest house or hotel.
Day 3: Hennigan’s Heritage
As we leave Westport to Co. Sligo we will visit the fascinating Foxford Mills, a 19th century workhouse,for lunch and craft browsing.
From there we will visit Tom Hennigan, a remarkable storyteller who has restored his family cottage to how it was in his grandparent’s time and converted his farm buildings into a wonderful display of the entire history and heritage of Ireland. Each display is accompanied by Tom’s own infectious stories. We complete the visit to Tom’s with a wee ceili.
After checking into our hotel and freshening up we spend the evening with dinner and session at the remarkable Kiloran's pub in Tobercurry, Co. Sligo
Day 4: Carrowkeel Cairns & Coleman’s Irish Music Centre
We spend the morning taking the road climb high into the Bricklieve Mountains, Co. Sligo, and its Tibet-like landscape, to visit and spend time around and within its 5000 – 6000 years old passage cairns. On a clear day the views are surprising and breathtaking. Up to half of Ireland can be seen from here.
We then enjoy lunch at Tighe na Cláirseach thatched cottage including performance from singer harpist Claire Roche.
During the afternoon we travel to the Coleman Traditional Irish Music Centre. This is a celebration of Irish Music, Culture and Heritage as expressed in the South Sligo Style of music played by fiddler Michael Coleman and other musicians of his time. This centre is based in the village of Gurteen, Co.Sligo, Ireland and ensures that the tradition of Irish music remains a living one.
For the evening we return to Tigh na Cláirseach cottage for a turf fireside ceili
To “Glencolumcille”, Co. Donegal
This beautiful south west Donegal peninsula is rich in both music and spiritual traditions. It was from here that a short bow fiddle style found its way to South Sligo, over to the North Carolina and through Kansas and Kentucky to be the beginnings of bluegrass music.
Before we enter this world we stop to lodge outside of the small town of Bruckless.
Day 5: Slieve League
After our journey from Co. Sligo, we should arrive and check into our hotel quite early. This will leave us time to visit one of my favourite scenic sites of Ireland.
Most people have heard of Cliffs of Moher, but I personally find the cliffs of Slieve League are more dramatic, more daring, more exhilarating and more colourful than Cliffs Of Moher. The views are also more stunning.
During the evening we will seek out a session in Killybegs, where music is closely linked to its fishing traditions.
Day 6: Glencolumcille
A South west of Co. Donegal is one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland. We commence the morning by hiking and contemplating as much of the 15 station Glencolumcille Turas as you feel comfortable with. There are cairns, beautifully carved crosses, alters, a beautiful hidden ancient hillside well, and a Bealtaine meeting stone.
Day 7: Leo’s Tavern
Leo’s Tavern is one of Donegal’s most famous pubs. Leo himself is an extremely popular musician, father of the highly renowned Clannad, and of course the success story of Enya. Clannad began their career on the stage of this tavern. We will visit Leo’s for at least lunch, return for the evening session, if you wish? There is a choice of beautiful local sites and beaches in this region too.
After a few days in Co. Donegal, I’m sure you will discover this county to be one of the best Craic & Ceili regions of Ireland, and its so beautiful here too..
Farewell In Co. Fermanagh
A day where I share a passion of mine with our travellers. We cross into Northern Ireland and travel close to the shores of Lough Erne until we reach below one of the seven fairy mountains of Ireland, Knockninny. It is here we visit we visit the theatre and workshop of the Augha Killy Maude Men Of Straw,
Day 8: Augha Kelly Maude Folk Theatre
Augha Killy Maude Men Of Straw are a folk drama troupe who explore mainly Mummer’s Plays and fertility plays from around the Celtic lands and from around the world. These are plays ascended from the ceremonies of ancient sacred sites. We can share a lot of fun through this day by learning and performing our own folk drama ceremonies, ancient and traditional circle dances, and even learn the skills of weaving straw into love knots, folk drama costumes and prayer alters. On a warm sunny day much of this can be shared outdoors, and even upon Knockninny mountain.
Our visit here usually ends with a lively ceili
Current costs for the entire vacation:
8 days of transport, driver, guide,
8 nights accommodation & breakfast,
8 evening meals
costs of activities, Brigit’s Garden, Hennigan’s Heritage, Tighe na Cláirseach, Coleman Center, Augh Killy Maude Theatre
gratuities for accommodation and dining
€1400 per person sharing
single supplement €100
pricing subject to accommodation costs, could go up or down
click here for converting to your currency
click here for extra airport transport, airfares and insurance costs
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