Special Emigrant Trail Tour
A Very Special Gathering 2013 Experience
Wild West Irish Tours and County Sligo Heritage & Genealogy Centre are offering an exclusive guided tour package as part of â€śThe Gathering 2013.â€ťÂ The Emigration Trail Tour will retrace the steps of the people who left behind their homes and family to seek out a better life in America, Canada and Australia. We will walk the quiet roads and boreens leading to the homes, ruins, workhouses, towns, churches, fields, and docks, while our local guides give you an insight to the mass emigration that played out in the hundreds of thousands all over the island of Ireland.
ClickÂ here to book your special Emigration Trail Tour!
You arrive in Dublin Airport and we will greet you at the arrival gate. You will board your comfortable mini-van and we will cross the scenic midlands of Ireland. We will make a stop in Carrick on Shannon for lunch and continue west to County Roscommon, where we will visit Curlew Pass Castle and visit Boyle Abbey in the town of Boyle. We will arrive late afternoon/evening to your comfortable hotel or cottage in the poetic beauty of Yeatâ€™s country, County Sligo. After dinner and some rest, we will take in some traditional Irish music locally, and perhaps enjoy a pint of Guinness or a cup of tea.
After a hearty Irish breakfast, we start the day with a visit to the Sligo Heritage and Genealogical Centre in Sligotown and view a wonderful presentation called â€śTracing Your Roots.â€ť An audio-visual presentation will introduce the group to County Sligo and the Northwest of Ireland and set the scene for the background to the famine and subsequent mass emigration in the 1800s. The staff at the Heritage Centre will also provide guidance on family research in the area. After the presentation, you and our small group will drive west for a scenic drive over the highest part of the Ox Mountains known as Ladies Brae. We will take in the stunning panoramic views over the Sligo countryside and coastline including Sligo bay, Benbulben and Sliabh League in south Donegal. Then itâ€™s on to Hungry Rock, which is situated in the Ox Mountains on the side of the road connecting Coolaney and Ballasodare. It is said to have got its name from the number of people who died on the road during the famine of the 1840s. According to legend whoever throws a stone onto this rock will not know hunger on his journey. In famine times it was used as a bread table for sharing food to starving people.
We then head down the coast road to experience the beauty of the mountains to our left and the wild Atlantic Ocean to our right. We will stop for lunch at an old thatched a pub/restaurant right at the oceanâ€™s edge. From here we take a walk down a small lane which leads to an abandoned village, a legacy of the ravages of emigration. A visit to a local Emigration museum followed by a tour of a Famine era â€śWorkhouseâ€ť completes a day that will be emotional, profound and fascinating.
We start the day by visiting the port town of Sligo and walk along Irelandâ€™s shortest and most intriguing rivers, the Garavogue. This is the very river thousands of Irish people sailed upon westbound to North America. We will take a tour of the town and visit with a gentleman whose family kept all the passenger lists and records of people leaving the port. You will also visit the sacred Sligo Famine Graveyard and Memorial, where thousands of men, women and children were buried in mass graves duringÂ An Gorta Mor. We will introduce you to the local people who have kept the memory and stories alive of this era. What was it like to board a boat and sail out the river into a vast ocean knowing you may never return? We hope to provide you a sense of this experience as we take a boat trip out the Garavogue River, past Coney Island and Rosses Point, and into Sligo Bay, leading to Innismurray Island. Innismurray has the remains of a 6th century monastery and the remnants of a village long since deserted. In the evening, you will be invited to an â€śAmerican Wake.â€ť This was a gathering for friends and relations of people who were leaving Ireland. It was a sad occasion but there was music, dance, food and drink in honor of those leaving Ireland forever. We will provide a special evening of Irish dance and music in keeping with the traditions of â€śan American Wake.â€ť
We turn northward to visit the enchanted northern coast of Sligo and meet local storytellers, historians and writers. We will take a drive around the valleys of BenBulben and walk Nature trails which lead to waterfalls and magical hidden places of years gone by. We will explore the beaches of the Maugerhow Peninsula, where we find an ancient place with thousands of fossils from millions of years ago. No visit to Sligo and the Northwest of Ireland would be complete without visiting Yeatâ€™s Country, and taking in the spectacular Glencar Lake and Waterfall. Our day will include a trip out to Streedagh Beach, where the Spanish Armada shipwrecked in 1588. We will visit a thatched pub that has been around since 1610 and you will get a chance to meet some more of the locals and have a pint and perhaps a bit of Irish music.
We depart our hotel after our final breakfast, and make our way toward the Stokestown Famine Museum in County Roscommon. Our visit here will be a fitting conclusion to a week of deep and enriching experiences. We will arrive in Dublin in the late afternoon or early evening, and you will be free to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of dear old Dublin.
We will bring you to Dublin Airport and ensure you are set for your flight home.
Dates for this special tour are:
- May 19 – 24
- *June 5 – 13
- July 14 – 19
- August 11 – 15
- September 8 – 13
* Combined with our regular 9-day Wild West Irish Tour; accommodation at B&B
- 6 days/5 nights (except for June 5-13)Â exclusive heritage tour
- accommodation at a beautiful 5-star hotel
- daily breakfast and dinner are included
- meet with local storytellers and historians
- all ground transportation