Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us and we'll get right back to you!

Sofia Travel Co.
3907 Cherrywood Road
Austin, TX 78722

T: 214-493-3702
E: Info@SofiaTravel.org

 

3907 Cherrywood Road
Austin, TX 78722

14983780706_f2a76d9445_o.jpg

Salem Academy Alumnae & Friends Ireland Tour

Join Salem Academy President Dr. Lorraine Sterritt on a journey to the unforgettable sites of her enchanting homeland, the Emerald Isle

DATES

June 10 - 21, 2017
London Extension | June 20 - 24, 2017

PRICE

$3,595 per person, double occupancy + Airfare
$695 Single Supplement
London Extension | $1,645 per person

HOSTS

Dr. Lorraine Sterritt, President of Salem Academy and College
Betsy Overton, History Department Chair


an authentic travel experience

From the grandiose scenery of Ireland’s rugged West Coast to the vibrant culture of Dublin to quaint countryside villages to millenia old burial sites, this tour gives you the full Irish experience. Enjoy authentic Irish cuisine and hear unforgettable oral folklore on this immersive journey to Europe’s liveliest land.


a letter from your host

 Betsy Overton

Betsy Overton

Dear Salem Academy Alumnae and Friends,

In June 2017, you are invited to depart on a grand pilgrimage “to greet Dr. Sterritt on her own turf and to put the Irish dance back into her step!”  Salem Academy is offering a fantastic trip to ring the coastline of Ireland and end in her homeland, Northern Ireland.  For almost ten years, I have taught (and lived and breathed) European History at Salem Academy and have recounted endless stories along the way.  After a student trip to Italy two years ago, the adult contingent on board asked me to put together a trip for alumnae and friends of Salem Academy.  Hence, a trip series was born.

We are excited to present this opportunity to explore the lush and, yes, green countryside of Ireland with fellow alums and friends of Salem Academy.  Dr. Sterritt will show us all her country has to offer, from linens and woolens and crystals, to panoramic views, to gardens, and to the warmth and charm of towns and villages, such as Donegal.  Indeed, we will experience Irish hospitality at its finest.  For those interested, we can even post a suggested reading list!

Ireland is known for its breathtaking scenery and we will view as much as possible from West Cork to Dingle to Galway and the Ring of Kerry.  Why, we can even kiss the Blarney Stone!!  With beautiful architecture, elegant gardens and gothic castles, the landscape is unlike any other.  We will see Down Cathedral, the traditional burial place of St. Patrick, gaze in awe at the natural formations of the Giant’s Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher, and visit W.B. Yeats grave.  Several nights in Dublin will give us an opportunity to experience one of the great small cities of Europe.  There we’ll raise a pint at the Guinness Storehouse, hear Irish fiddle music on Temple Bar, visit St. Patrick’s and Christ Cathedrals, shop on Grafton Street, visit Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, and have free time to choose an Oscar Wilde play at the Gate Theatre or go hear Evensong or do both. 

We invite you to join your Salem Academy alumnae as we delve into Ireland’s ancient history and engage with the locals for nights of folklore and festive music. Our travel partner, Sofia Travel, is a boutique travel provider with over thirty years experience. Their expert staff will handle every detail to ensure quality, and the personal touches will make this an enriching experience that lasts a lifetime.  Our trip with Sofia Travel to Italy was fabulous as will be this one to Ireland!  Please join us for this unique opportunity to connect with the Salem Academy community. Space is limited, so reserve your spot soon.

Cheers!

Betsy Overton
History Department Chair
Salem Academy


daily itinerary

June 10 & 11 - Depart USA, Arrive Dublin
We arrive in the legendary Irish capital of Dublin and begin exploring this unforgettable city. See the River Liffey, the Custom House along the quays, and the vast Georgian squares such as Mettion Square, where Oscar Wilde’s house can still be found. Then visit the Guinness Storehouse, opened in 1904, where we tour the facility and enjoy our first pint with fantastic fifth story views of Dublin. In the afternoon, check in to our centrally located hotel and enjoy our first dinner together as a group. (D)

June 12 -  Dublin
The morning begins at prestigious Trinity College where we see the beautiful 9th century Book of Kells and the Long Room of the college, built in 1745, where we see Brian Boru’s harp. We then explore the National Archaeological Museum of Ireland containing fantastic examples of Celtic and Medieval art and the finest collection of prehistoric gold artifacts in Europe. Finally, we visit the beautiful Christchurch Cathedral, first established in 1038 by the first Christian Viking king of Dublin. In the evening, we gather together for a special evening at one of Dublin’s most traditional pubs for a night of enchanting Irish tales from one of Ireland’s many great storytellers.  (B,D)

June 13 - Boyne Valley
Taking a day trip from Dublin, we visit the most historical region of Ireland, the Boyne Valley. We visit the monumental, 4,500 year old tomb of Newgrange and learn about the prehistoric inhabitants of Ireland. We then explore the Hill of Tara, the former seat of the High King of Ireland. Returning to Dublin in the evening, enjoy dinner on your own and a show at the Gate or Abbey Theater to appreciate Ireland’s important dramatic heritage. (B)

June 14 - Powerscourt, Blarney Castle
Leaving Dublin, we visit the stunning Powerscourt estate, a magnificent example of 19th century aristocratic gardens. We then visit the House of Waterford Crystal, which gives an up close insight into the centuries-old tradition of crystal making, and enjoy browsing the amazing collection of crystal objects available for purchase. In the evening, we settle into our traditional B&B in the Irish countryside outside of Cork. (B,D)

June 15 - Ring of Kerry
Attracting visitors from around the world, the Blarney Castle is an impressive 15th century edifice. Our visit allows us the opportunity to kiss the Blarney stone, which is said to provide the gift of eloquence. We then enjoy the Blarney Woolen Mills, which houses a large selection of famous Irish woolen wear. We then drive through the world famous Ring of Kerry with its beautiful landscapes and traditional ways of life before continuing to our hotel in the Killarney area. (B,D)

June 16 - Dingle Peninsula
Today we explore the Dingle Peninsula. Here we see some of the finest coastal scenery to be seen in Ireland and can hear Gaelic still spoken by the locals. In Dingle town, we can see the fisherman at work and the traditional shops. In the afternoon, visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, where we can experience the recreated day-to-day life of the 19th century Irish. Chat with the various street characters and be transported back in time. In the evening, we enjoy a festive Irish folk night complete with traditional dishes and drinks, foot-tapping music, and unforgettable Irish tales. (B,D)

June 17 - Cliffs of Moher, Galway
Our morning begins at the haunting Burren region, famous for its moon-like terrain, miniature flora, and archaeological importance. We then continue to one of the world’s most stunning sights, the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, which stand 230 dramatic meters above the Atlantic Ocean. Continuing along the coast, we visit the picturesque town of Galway, where we tour the city center on foot before dinner and overnight. (B,D)

June 18 - Connemara
Driving along the rugged western coast of Ireland, famed for its wild terrain and traditional lifestyles, we visit the megalithic cemetery of Carrowmore, dating back over 5,000 years. We then stop in lovely Sligo before a visit to the nearby cemetery of Drumcliff where W.B. Yeats is buried. We then continue on to Donegal Town, a hub for music, poetry and cultural gatherings, for a cozy dinner and overnight. (B,D)

June 19 - Old Bushmills Distillery, Giant’s Causeway
Today we leave the Republic of Ireland and enter Northern Ireland where we visit the traditional Old Bushmills Distillery, dating back to 1608. Here we tour the distillery and are invited to partake a wee Bush, a sample of the famous whiskey. We then continue to one of the world’s most unique geological formations, the Giant’s Causeway with its 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. We then enter into the capital and largest city in Northern Irelands, Belfast, for dinner and overnight. (B,D)

June 20 - Belfast, Downpatrick
Our morning takes us to the Titanic Belfast, an amazing and extensive exhibit right next to the site of the original ship’s construction. We then travel down the Ards Peninsula for a stop at the Mount Stewart House and a ferry crossing at Portaferry. We then conclude our journey at one of the most important sites in Ireland, Downpatrick and Down Cathedral, where St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is thought to have been buried. Those continuing on the London extension are transferred to the Dublin airport for an evening flight to London, while those returning home are transferred to a nearby hotel. (B)

June 21 - Depart Ireland
Depart for the US or continue on the four night extension to London.


OPTIONAL POST TOUR EXTENSION

LONDON

4 Nights and 3 Days in Legendary London | June 20 - 24, 2017

  Tower Bridge over the River Thames

Tower Bridge over the River Thames

$1,645 per person, double occupancy
*based on a minimum of 10 participants

Included in Price

  • Dublin-London flight
  • Hotel accommodations in the heart of London
  • Full English breakfast daily
  • Dinner on first night and closing dinner on final night
  • Activities, transportation and guiding, per the tour itinerary
  • Airport-hotel transfers

Not Included in Price

  • Lunches and dinners not listed in the itinerary
  • Guide and driver tips

Reservation and Deposit

A $300 deposit per traveler is due at registration or by November 18, 2016. 


extension itinerary

June 20 - Arrive London
After touring Downpatrick, continue to the Dublin airport for an evening transfer to London. Upon arrival, enjoy dinner and check in to your hotel located in the heart of London, near Waterloo Station. (B,L,D)
 

June 21 - London, Churchill War Rooms, National Gallery
Our first touring day in London begins with a panoramic tour of London that orients us to this amazing city as we see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. We then visit England’s most famous church, Westminster Abbey, before an intimate look at the British effort in WWII at the Churchill War Rooms. After lunch on our own at St. Martin in the Fields Café, we take a guided tour of the National Gallery with its unforgettable art collection spanning from the middle ages to the 20th century. In the evening, enjoy an optional play in the West End or an evensong service at a local church. (B)
 

June 22 - Windsor Castle, Tower of London
Departing London, we take a short daytrip to Windsor Castle, residence of the British royal family. After touring the grandiose estate and taking a stroll down the Long Walk and through modern Windsor, we return to London for a visit to the Tower of London. This iconic building, which once served as a prison for Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn, and Guy Fawkes, now houses the priceless Crown Jewels. (B)

June 23 - Free Day, British Museum
Enjoy the day at leisure in this amazingly cosmopolitan city or take an optional guided tour of the matchless British Museum with its large collection of artifacts from around the world. In the evening, we gather together for a final, celebratory dinner as we conclude our time in London. (B,D)
 

June 24 - Depart for USA
Return home with unforgettable memories. (B)


RESERVE YOUR SPOT ON THIS TOUR

Space is limited for this unique opportunity to reconnect with your Salem Academy alumnae.


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Salem Academy
Marianne DeCristo
Office of Development and Alumnae Relations
marianne.decristo@salem.edu
(336) 721-2664

Sofia Travel Co.
Blake Sparks
Tour Administrator
blake@sofiatravel.org
(512) 609-0789