Please join us on a delightful springtime discovery of the revitalized cities, historic estates, and glorious gardens of the Emerald Isle, both north and south. Examine the past, present, and future of her storied landmarks on this Signature Tour, designed to take a more in-depth look at historic preservation through architecture, cultural history, and people connected and dedicated to these places that they call home. Open the gates of breathtaking gardens whose colorful plants are nourished year round by the warming currents of the Atlantic Gulf Stream.
Begin in Belfast, risen from the ashes of religious conflict. Stay in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, full of historic architecture and warehouses repurposed as lively restaurants. In the countryside, enjoy special meals and tours with the owners of Ballywalter Park and Grey Abbey; and discover Mount Stewart, a National Trust property restored to its glory days, when Winston Churchill was a frequent guest. In Dublin, tour the once-dilapidated docklands, now nicknamed “Silicon Docks” for all the high-tech companies in the area. Spend a day in the countryside of nearby County Wicklow to stroll in splendid Powerscourt Gardens and visit Killruddery House, where we hope to discuss the challenges of historic preservation with its owners, Lord and Lady Meath.
Monday, April 30 Depart on an overnight flight to Belfast.
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND
Tuesday, May 1
Arrive this morning in Belfast and transfer to the Merchant Hotel, located in the historic Cathedral Quarter. Attend an afternoon lecture touching on Belfast’s recent history and the rejuvenation of the city’s central business district. Gather in the evening for a welcome dinner. D
BELFAST / BALLYWALTER PARK, NORTHERN IRELAND
Wednesday, May 2
Located east of Belfast and surrounded by extensive parkland, Ballywalter Park is a lovely 19th century estate that we visit at the kind invitation of Lord and Lady Dunleath. Lord Dunleath will show us his family collections of painting and sculpture before hosting us for lunch. Return to Belfast and spend the afternoon exploring the city, with its rich Victorian and Edwardian architecture. See the famous peace wall and the vivid murals which played a prominent role during the “Troubles.” There will be free time to explore the impressive Titanic Museum and rejuvenated waterfront area. This evening you may wish to dine at one of Belfast’s fine restaurants. B,L
BELFAST / MOUNT STEWART, NORTHERN IRELAND
Thursday, May 3
Visit the 19th-century National Trust property of Mount Stewart, former home of the Marquesses of Londonderry. Surrounded by elaborately landscaped gardens created in the 1920s, the palatial mansion recently underwent an extensive renovation. Continue to Grey Abbey, an exquisite Georgian estate that has been in the Montgomery family since 1607, where we will be received by the owners for a visit and lunch. The balance of the afternoon and evening are at leisure. B,L
BELFAST / DUBLIN, IRELAND
Friday, May 4
Depart for Dublin this morning. Stop en route to visit Townley Hall, regarded as a masterpiece in the classical style of Francis Johnston, the foremost Irish architect of his day. Arrive in Dublin, where an introductory tour includes the Silicon Docks and Guinness Storehouse. Continue to the Fitzwilliam Hotel for check-in and dinner. B,L,D
Saturday, May 5
A morning lecture at the hotel is followed by an architectural walking tour around St. Stephen’s Green. Following lunch in downtown Dublin, the remainder of the day is at leisure. You may wish to visit the Old Library at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, the Chester Beatty Library, the Irish Immigration Museum, or the National Gallery. B,L
DUBLIN / COUNTY WICKLOW, IRELAND
Sunday, May 6
Drive to County Wicklow for a morning visit to Kilruddery House & Gardens. The house underwent a reconstruction in the Tudor Revival style in the 1820s and further work in the 1950s. We hope to meet the current Lord and Lady Meath to hear about the challenges of maintaining the property. After lunch at the estate’s Orangery, visit Powerscourt Gardens, a sublime blend of formal gardens, ornamental lakes, and sweeping terraces with views of the wild Wicklow countryside and Sugarloaf Mountain. Gather for a festive farewell dinner this evening. B,L,D
Monday, May 7
Depart this morning for the Dublin airport and flights home. B