IRELAND: Decorative Arts and Architecture


The Study Trip will be accompanied by Helen Scott Reed, Trust Secretary of the Board, Brock Jobe, Trust Governor, and Nicola Howard of Specialtours.

Irish arts and architecture have a fascinating history, from Celtic and Medieval periods through Georgian and American times. This study trip, focusing on decorative arts and architecture, will travel from Shannon via Cork to Dublin visiting great country houses, museums and gardens along the way. This will be a wonderful introduction to the major forthcoming exhibit Irish Art on a World Stage, 1640-1853, opening St. Patrick’s Day 2015 at the Art Institute of Chicago.


ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)

Saturday, May 17

Arrive Shannon airport, meet tour leaders and continue by private coach to Cratloe Long House. Our trip starts appropriately at this delightful vernacular 17th-century dwelling house that is the only example of an Irish Long House, still lived in today.

Our next stop is the Limerick Customs House on the Shannon River which houses the important Museum of Antiquities – Celtic, Medieval, Renaissance and Modern – assembled by the archaeologist John Hunt. Lunch in museum restaurant.

After returning to our historic Dunraven Arms Hotel in the charming town of Adare, we enjoy a lecture on Irish furniture by George Stacpoole and a visit to his shop.
In the early evening we set off by coach for a private tour and dinner at Glin Castle with Madam Olda Fitz-Gerald. Her late husband, Desmond Fitz-Gerald, 29th Knight of Glin, was a Harvard graduate, author, and founder of the Irish Georgian Society.

L, D included
Overnight: ADARE

Sunday, May 18

We are off by coach for a private lunch and tour of Birr Castle and Garden, an interesting 17th- and 18th-century demesne filled with family furniture, objects and paintings and owned by the Earl and Countess of Rosse. The 3rd Earl built the gigantic telescope there, and the 6th Earl was a renowned plantsman, participating in exotic Eastern expeditions. The present Earl, a knowledgeable plantsman and dendrologist, still takes part in seed-finding expeditions.

Dinner is independent.

B, L included

Monday, May 19

We depart (with luggage) for County Kerry, for a visit to the fabulous private collection of Irish art, furniture, books and glass at Churchill, a family house near Fenit.

Private lunch included.

Later in the afternoon, en route to our Hayfield Manor Hotel in Cork, we visit Muckross Farm overlooking the Lakes of Killarney. This mansion, built in 1843 in Elizabethan Revival style, is furnished with period antiques.B, L included

Tuesday, May 20

A coach excursion takes us to the coast at Bantry, a magnificent Palladian house and Italian garden overlooking the bay and owned by the Shelswell-White family. The interior features important tapestries, portraits and furniture.
Lunch there to include local specialities.
En route back to Cork, we stop at Riverstown House to see the amazing Lafrancini brothers’ plasterwork, and at Fota Island near Cobh to see the elegant Regency mansion, former seat of the Earls of Barrymore.

A gourmet dinner at Ballymaloe House has been arranged.

B, L, D included
Overnight: CORK

Wednesday, May 21

Our day starts at the enchanting Swiss Cottage, a rustic folly “cottage orne” designed by John Nash in 1810 and restored in the 1950s by the decorator, Sibyl Connolly.

Driving north via the Rock of Cashel, we lunch and visit the privately-owned Abbeyleix, a beautiful late-18th-century house with some interiors designed by James Wyatt and containing excellent examples of Irish furniture and paintings.

We should arrive early for our one night and dinner at the reknowned 5-star Ballyfin Hotel.

B, L, D included

Thursday, May 22

The trip toward Dublin starts at Russborough House, a magnificent 9-part Palladian mansion (700 ft. facade!) designed in the 1740s by Richard Cassels with superb stucco decoration by the Lafranchini brothers. The Beit Old Master Collection adds to the exceptional furnishings.

Next we enjoy a buffet lunch at the Powerscourt Terrace Cafe before our visit to their expansive Italian Gardens, which include fountains, terraces and grottos. There is also a 1908 Japanese Garden. However, a devastating fire in 1974 destroyed most of the interior of the house and only the outer walls remain; the interior now houses various shops and the restaurant.

We continue to Dublin and the St. Stephens Green Hotel.

The nearby St. Stephen’s Green Club will host us for evening drinks and a lecture on Irish architecture by John Redmill, a well-known architect who has worked on the restoration of many historic Irish buildings.

B, L included
Overnight: DUBLIN

Friday, May 23

The morning starts with a visit to Trinity College, founded in 1592, to see the iconic Book of Kells.
We continue to the National Gallery near Merion Square with European and Irish arts.

Leaving by coach for Newbridge House outside Dublin, we’ll lunch in their Tea rooms before our visit. The house was built between 1747 and 1752 to the design of architect James Gibbs, for Dr. Charles Cobbe, later Archbishop of Dublin, and is still owned by the same family. It includes an original Cabinet of Curiosities.

We continue by coach for our last visit today, the small but impressive Marino Casino, a magnificent Neoclassical summer house built by William Chambers in the 1760s for the Earl of Charlemont. The compact building has 16 rooms on 3 floors with a central staircase.

B, L included
Overnight: DUBLIN

Saturday, May 24

After a free morning and befitting our last day, we leave after an independent lunch for Castletown, one of the most important houses saved by the Hon. Desmond Guinness for the society he helped found, the Irish Georgian Society. The spectacular sweep and grandeur of the staircase hall will astound, as well as the Lafranchini Rococo plasterwork, Lady Louisa Conolly’s rare Print Room and the Pompeian Long Gallery. Castletown has recently undergone a major restoration project and now houses superb examples of Irish furniture.

As a fitting finale to our tour, The Hon. Desmond Guinness will discuss his work for the Irish Georgian Society and will host our dinner with his wife Penny.

B, D included
Overnight: DUBLIN

Sunday, May 25

Depart after breakfast for Dublin Airport.

B included

Terms and Conditions

Land Arrangement Cost:
$5,300 per person based on twin occupancy. Final invoice may reflect currency rate change.

TransAtlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation from The Trust.

An $950.00 per person deposit is required by October 1, 2013.
Reservations and deposits are taken on an “as received” basis. You will receive a written confirmation in the mail from The Decorative Arts Trust. Do not make any irrevocable airline reservations until you receive your written confirmation. If not registering online, please make your check payable to: The Decorative Arts Trustand mail to 106 Bainbridge St., Phila., PA 19147.
Deposit is non-refundable after October 1, 2013. Cancellation insurance is strongly advised.

A donation to the Decorative Arts Trust of $500 per person is required for this trip.
This donation is fully tax deductible. Please use separate check.

Membership Class:
For participation in Study Trips Abroad, a Benefactor membership class is necessary.
Membership is fully tax deductible. If an increase in your membership level is needed, the Trust will invoice you for a Benefactor level upgrade.

Single Supplement:
$850.00 additional for a single supplement. These are limited.

Final Payment:
Will be due by January 15, 2014.

Travel Documents:
A valid United States passport is required for this itinerary.

All schedules mentioned in this itinerary are contracted for at this time but are subject to change if necessary. A Study Trip reading list will be sent to you.

Trip Participants:
The trip is limited to a maximum of 25 members and requires a minimum of 15 people. The trip will cancel if under-subscribed. We will organize and maintain a waiting list on the basis of the time registrations are received. This is a strenuous trip. We regret that we cannot be responsible for those needing assistance on this trip. By registering for the trip, you are certifying that you do not have any mental, physical or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for yourself or other passengers. The right is reserved to decline to accept or decline to retain anyone as a member of this study trip should the person’s health, actions or general deportment impede the operation of the study trip or the rights, welfare or enjoyment of others.

Included in Trip Cost:

  • Hotel accommodations in 4–5 star hotels,
  • 8 buffet breakfasts, 7 lunches, 4 dinners
  • private motor coach transportation, local guides, museums, parks, and historic houses,
  • Porterage for one suitcase only. This is particularly important.

Not Included in the Trip Cost:

  • Air travel, bar drinks, any other personal extras, and tips only for the accompanying professional guide (suggested $4 per person per day) and motor coach driver ($3 per day), which will be collected at the end of the trip.

Cancellation and Refund:
If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to The Decorative Arts Trust. However, deposits are non-refundable after October 1, 2013.

  • Cancellations received 42 days before the start of the tour will receive a 50% refund.
  • Cancellations received between 42 and 22 days before the start of the tour will receive a 25% refund.
  • Cancellations received between 21 and 14 days before the start of the tour will receive a 15% refund.
  • For cancellations occurring within two weeks of the tour starting, there are no refunds.

Cancellation and accident insurance are strongly advised. Check to see that baggage and personal property are covered on your householders insurance. 



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