The Silver Spirit

Erin HartIt is with great excitement that we invite you to join Erin Hart as she again leads you through Ireland this coming September on a very special Exclusive Excursion. Erin has staked claim to the Irish past as it comes alive in her series of archeological mysteries set against a backdrop of the country's boglands. Erin will share her hard-earned insight into Ireland and her people. This itinerary was especially selected by Ms Hart to highlight the places that have influenced and informed her novels. Her love of Irish music provides us with an evening of fabulous, intimate, local entertainment; the kind of music listened to by those in-the-know.

We understand that our clients and fellow travellers consider travel to be very personal-very important. Every detail must be looked at, every nuance fully realized. Exclusive Excursions are designed to that end: part of a group, but not the herd. Heavens, we don't want to be part of the herd and neither should you. The groups are small, there is ample time to explore on your own and there is always a New Departures' staff member to gently assist. Your Exclusive Excursion includes much more than just the mechanics of travel, but the hands-on, personal attention that will assure you a truly individual travel experience.

False Mermaid by Erin HartErin Hart writes a series of archaeological crime novels set in the mysterious boglands of Ireland. A lifelong interest in Irish traditional music also led her to co-found Minnesota’s Irish Music & Dance Association. This itinerary was specially selected by Ms Hart to highlight the places that have influenced and informed her novels.

Everyone who makes a deposit by 7 May 2011 receives a personally autographed paperback edition of False Mermaid and Erin’s own three-song CD.

Erin’s debut novel, Haunted Ground, introduced readers to pathologist Nora Gavin and archaeologist Cormac Maguire. In addition to winning the Friends of American Writers award and Romantic Times Best First Mystery, the book was shortlisted for Anthony and Agatha Awards, and was named by Book-Of-The-Month Club and ALA Booklist as one of the best crime novels of 2003. Lake of Sorrows, the second novel in the series, was recognized as a Minnesota Book Award finalist in 2004. False Mermaid, third in the   series, published in March 2010, is now in paperback.

 She lives in Saint Paul with her husband, Irish button accordion player Paddy O’Brien, with whom she frequently visits Ireland, carrying out essential research in bogs and cow pastures and castles and pubs.

Erin HartSo please call me today to reserve your adventure to Ireland. Don't delay! Slán go fóill,  

Kathleen Carey Sidla, Irish Specialist

Erin HartThu, Sept. 22 Depart USA
Depart the US aboard your jet bound for the Emerald Isle. Dinner will be served shortly after takeoff, relax then, or watch a movie, as you approach the dawn of an Irish morning.


Erin HartFri, Sept. 23 Arrive Dublin/Trinity College
Arrive at Dublin Airport where you are met by your Irish driver/guide and whisked to your waiting luxury motor-coach. Enroute to your Dublin hotel enjoy a drive through Dublin's fair city with a stop to visit Trinity College to view the 8th century Book of Kells.  After hotel check-in you are free to relax for a few hours.  This evening dine together at the hotel, and then you are free to explore the nightlife of Dublin City. Dinner & Overnight: Dublin


Erin HartSat, Sept. 24 Dublin/National Museum
AM visit to the National Museum whose collection includes the most important early Christian items in gold and precious stones. The balance of the day is free for you. Choose from a wide variety of pursuits;   perhaps the National Gallery or the Writers Museum.  This   evening join your fellow travelers for an Irish music session at The Cobblestone Bar. Overnight: Dublin

 The Silver Spirit

Erin HartSun, Sept. 25 Newgrange, Tullynally Castle & Corlea Trackway Centre 
Drive north to visit the Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange, ca.  3200 BC, one of the most glorious examples of megalithic art in Europe. Then travel west to visit Tullynally Castle and Gardens, a huge rambling gothic revival castle overlooking superb 18th century parkland. Continue on towards Longford and visit the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre that   interprets an Iron Age bog road which was built in 148 BC. See exhibits on its evolution and the way of life in the bog. Drive to Ballyfarnon. Dinner & Overnight: Ballyfarnon


Erin HartMon, Sept. 26 Slieve League & Glencolumbcille Park  
Motor north to windswept Donegal. On the way to Glencolumbcille see the slopes of Slieve League. Visit the sea cliffs of this famous mountain where the highest point reaches 1,972 feet, the    highest in Europe. Travel through craggy scenery to Glencolumbcille Folk Village. Continue to Port, a deserted fishing village at the base of the Slievetooey Mountains.  Drive through the lovely Glengesh Pass to Ardara. Here visit Triona Designs to see demonstrations of spinning, weaving and knitting. Return to Ballyfarnon.  After dinner enjoy a music session in your hotel. Dinner & Overnight: Ballyfarnon


Erin HartTue, Sept. 27 Ceide Fields, Museum of Country Life, Westport & Galway
Drive through County Sligo and into County Mayo to visit Ceide Fields, one of the most exciting recent prehistoric discoveries.  Buried and preserved beneath 6ft of blanket bog are the remains of a New Stone Age community, which lived here before 3000 BC. Then travel south to visit the Museum of Country Life; exhibitions portray the lives of ordinary, rural people from 1850 to 1950. The museum is also home to the National Folklife Collection which represents traditional life in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Next, a stop at Westport to relax and explore on your own; then onto Galway. Dinner & Overnight: Galway 

 The Silver Spirit

Erin HartWed, Sept. 28 Galway & Connemara
This morning embark on a    panoramic tour to see the principal sights of the city. Then tour the Connemara to admire the sweeping views of boglands and mountains.  As you drive along you will see tracts of bogland where people hand-cut peat for home heating.  Stop in the quaint fishing village of Roundstone to visit the Roundstone Music, Craft and Fashion Shop which lies within the walls of an old Franciscan monastery.  Malachy Bodhrán works at his craft of making Ireland's oldest product, the bodhrán. Return to Galway for some leisure time. This evening head over to the Crane Bar for some traditional Irish music. Overnight: Galway 


Erin HartThu, Sept. 29 Clonfert Cathedral, Clonmacnoise & Athlone
Travel towards the center of Ireland to visit Clonfert Cathedral, the oldest continually operating church in Ireland. Continue on to visit Clontuskert Abbey. After your visit, drive on to visit Clonmacnoise, a monastic settlement founded in 545 AD by St Kieran.  There is also an Anglo-Norman Castle near the monastery, a nun's church on the grounds and St Kieran’s well. Continue on to view the Lough Boora Parklands. Travel on to Athlone. Dinner & Overnight: Athlone


Erin HartFri, Sept. 30 Locke’s Distillery & Leap Castle
This morning travel east towards Kilbeggan for a tour of Locke’s Distillery.  Established in 1757 and today it is no longer used but preserved to show visitors how whiskey was distilled here.  At the end of the tour, sample some      whiskey.  Continue your drive towards Birr to visit Leap Castle (tours offered upon request).  Leap Castle was built in 800 AD and regarded to be the most haunted castle in Ireland.  Return to Athlone where the balance of the afternoon and evening is yours. Overnight: Athlone

 The Silver Spirit

Erin HartSat, Oct. 1 Rock of Cashel, Burren Centre & Ennistymon
Leaving Athlone journey south to County Tipperary and stop at the Rock of Cashel for a guided tour of these majestic church ruins which are clustered high on a limestone outcrop overlooking the surrounding countryside.  Of particular note is the highly decorated 12th century Cormac's Chapel.  Stop in Kilfenora to visit the Burren Interpretative Centre which explains how this unique limestone region was formed. After your visit drive a short distance to Milltown Malbay for some free time to relax or browse on your own; continue to Ennistymon.  In the   evening join your fellow travelers for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Then head to Miltown Malby for a music session in a local pub. Dinner & Overnight: Ennistymon  

Erin HartSun, Oct. 2 Depart Shannon  
After breakfast, we bid farewell as we board our coach for transfer to Shannon Airport.  So, “May the road rise up to meet you...blah, blah, blah”. By now you should know this Irish blessing of farewell.  Clear U.S. Immigration before boarding your aircraft and flying across the Atlantic Ocean back to the United States.

Bodies, Bogs & Blarney includes:

· Hosted by Erin Hart
· Fly Delta Air Lines from the Twin Cities (other cities available)
· SkyMiles Accrual 
· Selected Irish Music Sessions  
· 4 Dinners
· Daily breakfast buffet
· All hotel taxes and fees
· Private Deluxe Motorcoach
· Personalized luggage tags
· Pre-trip social gathering
· All Listed Entrance fees
· Escorted by New Departures’ Irish Specialist: Kathleen Carey Sidla

$750.00 deposit per person due at sign-up; space is not held without a deposit. After 4 June 2011 space is on a request only basis. Final payment due 24 June 2011.

» Double Occupancy, per person, air and land: $3995.00
» Single Supplement: $ 995.00 (Limited single accommodations are available.)

Cost includes only listed features; international air taxes and fees, gratuities and items of a personal nature are additional. Any unused portions of this itinerary are not refundable. If a participant chooses to leave a day s events at any point, all additional transportation is at their own devising and expense.

Post-tour air extensions available, including returns from other European airports, for a deviation fee of $100.00, plus any additional airfare costs.

Minimum number of group participants is required to operate this tour. If number is not met we reserve the right to increase the cost or cancel the tour, in which case all money will be refunded.

Cancellation fees:
Due to the special nature of this tour all payments are non-refundable.
Trip insurance is highly recommended (A brochure will be sent at deposit).

Phone 612.305.0025 or 1-800-853-1880

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