Ireland! Celtic Culture, Storytelling, and Literature

J-Term January 8 - 20, 2003

Sponsored by UMD Continuing Education

Join us for a tour of the Emerald Isle, highlighting the culture, folklore, and literature of Ireland!


Ireland in Brief

Acadmic Credit Option


Travel Tips

The Rock of Cashel

The program will take you around a great deal of the Republic of Ireland. Click here for a day-by-day itinerary. To print a registration form for this trip, click here. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader--download a free copy.)

Do you need to know a little bit about Ireland in general? Where exactly is Ireland located? What kind of money is used in Ireland? What's the weather like in Ireland in January? For a good, brief overview, click here. Would you like to read a few things before you leave?


The Cliffs of Moher

Martin Bock, PhD, Associate Professor of English at UMD, will be your instructor of you'd like to add academic credit to your travel experience. Click here for details and costs of credit.

The cost of the trip is $3095, including round trip airfare from Duluth, accommodations, many meals, ground transportation, entrance fees, serivies of a local guide, and more. For complete costs and inclusions, responsibilities, disclaimers, and other fine print, click here.

Do you need some suggestions for how and what to pack? Are you looking for maps? Ideas for preparing to travel? Currency or language information? Click here.


Your itinerary will include overnight stays in Sneem in County Kerry, Tralee, Clonmel, Dublin, Sligo, Galway, and Limerick. Along the way, you'll visit Killarney, drive around the Ring of Kerry, experience a real Irish "hooley" (house party), tour the Dingle Peninsula, kiss the Blarney Stone, visit the Rock of Cashel, drive through County Wicklow (known as the Garden of Ireland), attend a play at the Abbey Theatre, view the magnificent Book of Kells, tour Dublin, cross the Midlands of Ireland, visit the pilgrimage site at Knock, tour the glassworks factory at Moycullen, travel through the Burren, stop by the towering Cliffs of Moher, and more.

Your Guide


Batt Burns' pictureYour Irish guide will be Batt Burns, former headmaster of the National School in Sneem, County Kerry, Ireland. He is the author of numerous books for Irish elementary schools and has won the All-Ireland Teacher's talent competition. He has collected an impressive store of folklore in his native County Kerry, and is very committed to the preservation of the ancient art of storytelling in the Irish tradition. Batt has presented courses on Irish Studies at numerous American universities, and tours the USA with his one-man show, "Whisperings of Ireland." He has extensive experience in leading tours in his Irish homeland.

For an audio/videoclip of Batt performing at the Kennedy Center, click here. (The audio is great!) (You will need RealPlayer to view this--downlaod a free copy.)

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Wednesday, January 8, 2003
Depart Duluth for your overnight flight to Shannon. Meals and beverages served en route.
(Meals in flight)

Thursday, January 9
Upon arrival at Shannon Airport, meet Batt Burns, famed Irish storyteller, who will extend to you cead mile failte (a hundred thousand welcomes) before you board your bus for the journey to Sneem on the Ring of Kerry. Your first stop will be at the lovely village of Adare with its wonderful thatched houses and rich history. Journey on to Ireland's tourist mecca, Killarney, and enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of lakes, woodlands, and mountains from Aghadoe before stopping briefly in the town itself. Travel through the Kerry Mountains as Batt eases the jet lag with stories and verse. Arrive in the colorful, prize-winning village of Sneem, where Batt will introduce you to your bed and breakfast hosts, after which you can relax and rest. Evening dinner will be in a village restaurant, followed by a welcome and get-together session in a village pub. Overnight in your bed and breakfast in Sneem.
(Meals in flight, dinner)

Friday, January 10
After a hearty Irish breakfast, meet in Sneem Community Centre, where Batt will present, An Introduction to Ireland and will talk about his own background. He will share some of the history of Ireland, the physical landscape, climate, language, etc. After a coffee break, Maura, Batt's wife, an accomplished traditional musician and singer, will share some of her music and teach a Gaelic song. She will talk about her rich background in traditional music before Batt teaches a few Gaelic phrases, which might be used locally. After some free time for lunch on your own, gather for a guided tour of this interesting village. After dinner in a village restaurant, there will be a night of traditonal music, song, and dance in a village pub. The Village Set dancers will be invited in for the night to continue a centuries' old tradition, and there will be an opportunity to chat with some of the villagers. Overnight in your bed and breakfast in Sneem.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Saturday, January 11
After breakfast, gather around a blazing peat fire where Batt will present Yarns and Verse from the Kerry Mountains. He will draw on the works of poets like Patrick Kavanagh, Padraic Colum, and Sigerson Clifford, who were very much inspired by the rural landscape and its folklore. A visit to an old- pre-Christian stone fort at Staigue will follow, and Batt will fill you in on the many legends of the "Wee Folk" associated with it. After dinner in a local restaurant, all will be guests in the home of Batt and Maura Burns for an Irish "hooley" (house party). Entertainers will be invited in for the night, including genealogist and musician, Riobard O'Dwyer, who adds real life to any party! Overnight in your bed and breakfast in Sneem
(Breakfast, dinner)

Sunday, January 12
Today you will travel through one of the most beautiful parts of the Ring of Kerry, The Killarney National Park and Ladies' View, with Batt sharing the folkore of the area. Drive by Ross Castle before heading for the Dingle Peininsula, an area alive with old customs and crafts and littered with archaeological remains. This is the area where the movies, Ryan's Daughter and Far and Away were filmed. There are wonderful cliffs and off shore islands, including The Blasket Islands, which are the subject of Tomas O'Crohan's book, The Islandman. This small group of islands was home to a Gaelic-speaking community for centuries up until 1953, and produced a large body of literary works out of proportion with its size. Batt will talk about is unique literary heritage. We'll also stop in to see the Gallarus Oratorio and Kilmalkedar. Dinner and overnight in Tralee.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Monday, January 13
Depart Tralee for Blarney Castle with its famous Blarney Stone, which is supposed to bestow the gift of eloquence on anyone who kisses it. En route you will pass through a Gaelic-speaking area on the Cork/Kerry border, and Batt will talk about the traditions of the Gaeltacht as well as recite some Gaelic poetry. One of the most popular of Ireland's ancient sites is the very impressive Rock of Cashel, once the seat of the kings of Munster. After the 12th century, it became an ecclesiastical site with the building of Cormac's chapel and the 13th centruy Cathedral; it also has an impressive round tower. Dinner and overnight at a fine hotel on the banks of the River Suir in the historic town of Clonmel. A well-known author from the southeast will be invited to talk to the group after dinner.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Tuesday, January 14
Drive through Carlow and on to the Garden of Ireland, County Wicklow. Visit the lovely village of Avoca (the location for the TV soap, Ballykissangel) before driving on to lovely Glendalough, where the famous monastery of St. Kevin was located. This spot was an oasis of spirituality with its seven churches and round tower. Drive on to Ireland's capital city, Dublin, for dinner at your hotel. Attend a play at Ireland's National Theatre, The Abbey, this evening. Immediately after the play the group will go upstairs to have a drink with some of the cast of the play. Perhaps the playwright may be in town! Overnight in Dublin.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Wednesday, January 15
Start the day with a Dublin city tour including a visit to Trinity College, which was founded in 1592. Batt will talk about some of its illustrious students. Visit the magnificent library, which houses The Book of Kells, an eighth century illuminated manuscript of the Four Gospels. We'll stop by St. Patrick's Cathedral, where Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver's Travels) was once dean. We'll visit the National Museum as well. Dublin has a very interesting Writers' Museum, and sometimes there are lunchtime lectures. Enjoy the beautiful architecture of Georgian Dublin in Merrion Square before going to the extensive Phoenix Park, one of the largest public parks of any European city. As you travel around, Batt will talk about the great literary figures of Dublin: W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Sean O'Casey, and G. B. Shaw. There will be a visit to the new statute of Oscar Wilde just opposite the house in which he lived on Merrion Square, where Batt will quote from some of his works. In the afternoon and evening there will be time on your own to shop or engage in further sightseeing. Overnight in Dublin.

Thursday, January 16
Cross the Midlands of Ireland and hear Batt talk about its famous writers, including Padraic Colum and Oliver Goldsmith. You will also hear the famous Irish legend of the Children of Lir, which is set here. Arrive at the town of Sligo in the heart of Yeats' country. W. B. Yeats was Ireland's foremost poet in the English language and was very much inspred by the beautiful scenery of this county as well as its legends and folklore. Batt, who has presented one-man shows on Yeats, will take you to many sites associated with the great poet, and there will be a visit to Drumcliffe Churchyard, where Yeats is buried. Dinner and overnight in Sligo.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Friday, January 17
Leave Sligo for Ireland's most famous Catholic pilgrimage site at Knock, visited annually by thousands of pilgrms from all over the world, and the scene of an apparition of Our Lady in 1879. Travel via the scenic shores of Lough Corrib and Killary Harbour (Ireland's only fjord) to historic Kylemore Abbey, set in wild and rugged Connemara. Return to Galway via the village of Moycullen, where you will have the opportunity to visit a glasswords factory and meet Mary Munnelly, whose trraditionally designed glass has won worldwide acclaim. Overnight in Galway,with its quaint narrow streets, lively pubs, and great craft shops. Galway is a great city for theatre and is home to the Druid Theatre, whose director, Gary Hynes, has won international fame. If she is in town, we will invite her to talk to the group. The evening will be on your own.

Saturday, January 18
After breakfast there will be a little time for shopping in Galway, and you might like to stop at Kenny's, Ireland's famous bookshop. Travel to The Burren, a 100-square-mile stretch of lunar-like landscape littered with archaeological remains. It is a botanist's paradise with Arctic and Lusitanian flora in abundance. Batt will teach about the rich folklore of the area before you are fascinated by the towering Cliffs of Moher, which rise 60 feet up out of the Atlantic Ocean. Continue driving via Ennis to Limerick for dinner and overnight.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Sunday, January 19
After breafkast, take a Limerick city tour including visits to King John's Castle, the Hunt Museum, and St.Mary's Cathedral. Visit many of the places mentioned in the book Angela's Ashes by Limerickman Frank McCourt. Visit a restored Georgian home, and see the Angela's Ashes exhibition. Continue to the Limerick countryside to visit the famous Lough Gur Stone Circle. Limerick often hosts book launchings, and should one of these be taking place, provision will be made to attend. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner together. Overnight in Limerick.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Monday, January 20
Transfer to Shannon airport for homebound flights.

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Academic Credit Option

Participants may add one or two undergraduate or graduate semester credits to this travel experience. The course is English 5591 section 221, Independent Study. Tuition costs are extra: an additional $77.00 per credit. (This class will be part of a student's Spring 2003 semester schedule; if you are enrolled in only this course for Spring 2003, there will be no additional fees; if you are enrolled in additional Spring 2003 courses, fees will depend on your total credit load and collegiate affiliation.) Students electing to add the academic credit option for this trip will be billed for tuition by Student Accounts Receivable according to its regular billing schedule. Students seeking credit will be expected to do coursework before departing and after returning, in consultation with the Instructor. For more information, click here.

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Costs, Inclusions, and Fine Print


$3095 per person, including round trip airfare from Duluth, double occupancy accommodations in superior tourist class hotels and bed and breakfasts (all with private facilities), hearty Irish breakfast daily, nine dinners, transfers and transportation by deluxe motorcoach, extensive sightseeing and entrance fees, the services of a local guide from arrival to departure, gratuities, airport/foreign departure taxes, and supplemental emergency medical insurance.

You may elect single occupancy for an additional $295, on a space-available basis. If you are departing from somewhere other than Duluth, or if you wish to extend your stay, there may be an additional fee and/or additional airfare. Call 218/726-6361 or email for information.

To print a registration form, click here. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader--download a free copy.)

Participant Responsibilties:

Participants are responsible for meals not included in the program, any sightseeing or other activities not included in the program, and personal items. Travelers must have a passport valid six months beyond the date of reentry to the United States; non-US citizens may require a visa.

Participants must be in good health and capable of undergoing the rigors of travel. Travel insurance will be available for purchase for an additional fee. Participants will be asked to be responsible for their own health and well-being while on the trip.

The Fine Print:

A non-fundable deposit of $500 is due by October 1, 2002; the balance is due by November 1, 2002. There is no refund for partial or unused land arrangements. All cancellations must be in writing. Airline tickets will be issued well in advance and may be non-refundable. Partial refunds for cancellation (minus initial non-refundable deposit, penalties, and any unrecoverable payments or deposits) may be possible until December 27, 2002.

The University of Minnesota acts only as agent, and neither the University of Minnesota, nor any empmloyee, appointee, or other person, party, or orgaanization or gaency collaborating with them is or shall be responsible or liable for any inju7ry or loss, accident, damage, delay or deviation or curtailment, howsoever caused or arising, or the consequences thereof, which may ocur during any part of the travel or program, or during sucsh free time as the mebmers may elect to spend independetnly on tour.

The director reserves the right to cancel any program which is not economically feasible. Tuition and fees are subject to change withopuit notice. The University ofMinnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

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Reading Suggestions

Some suggestions for culture and folklore:

The Islandman, by Tomas O'Crohan. Oxford at the Clarendon Press, London, 1951.
Folktales of the Irish Countryside, by Kevin Danaher. David White, Inc., New York, 1970.
A Writer's Ireland, by William Trevor. The Viking Press, New York, 1984.
Irish Sagas and Folktales, by Eileen O'Faolain. Oxford University Press, London, 1954.
Folktales of Ireland, by Sean O'Sullivan (Sean O'Sullieabhain). the University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1966.
Irish Folk Ways, by E. Estyn Evans. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1957.
Old Celtic Romances, by P. W. Joyce, 1961.
In Search of Ireland, by H. V. Morton, 1931.
A Handbook of Irish Folklore, by Sean O'Sullieabhain (Sean O'Sullivan), 1942.

Some of these can be hard to find. If your local bookstore or public library does not have them, both and have search and notification services. For additional ideas, you might try searching "Irish Culture" or "Irish History" or "Irish Folklore" with, Barnes and Noble, or Powell's Books -- all lead you to a different list of references. There are also a lot of travel guides available in every bookstore.

Some suggestions for travel guides:

Lonely Planet Ireland
Eyewitness Travel Guide to Ireland
The Rough Guide to Ireland
A Literary Guide to Dublin

Of course, you you may want to read something by one of the authors you'll be hearing about throughout the trip: Sigerson Clifford, Padraic Colum, James Joyce, Patrick Kavanagh, Frank McCourt, Sean O'Casey, Tomas O'Crohan, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and William Butler Yeats.

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Last modified: 9-10-02