Knitting has been part of Irish life since it was introduced in the 1600s. Knitting schools were established throughout the country and knitting became an industry and a source of income for many households in the 18th century. Knitting is one of the world’s greatest stress relievers and a personal and creative way to make a gift. Aran sweaters, with their detailed patterns, are a symbol of Irishness around the world and continue to inspire contemporary fabric designs. Come and meet local craftspeople, visit Ireland’s most loved spots, learn from the best Irish knitters and get your needles clacking!
Arrive at Dublin Airport and make your way to your hotel in the city centre. Check-in and the rest of the day is free to rest and relax. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner at the hotel where you will meet your tour manager and fellow travellers. Overnight in Dublin x 2 nights
Start your introduction to Dublin with a private walking tour. Your guide will meet you at the hotel and take you on a half day journey through the history and culture of Dublin. You will discover Temple Bar, the famous Bridges, St George Arcade, visit Christ Church Cathedral and of course Trinity College with the Book of Kells!
In the afternoon, pay a visit to “This is Knit”, an independent, family-owned yarn shop where the shelves are filled with high quality, natural-fibre yarns, from top Irish and international brands.
After breakfast, travel to medieval Kilkenny for your first workshop. Learn and practice some knitting techniques with a specialist including the honeycomb, blackberry, diamond and cable stitch. See different fleeces, both raw and washed, along with other natural fibres which are used in yarns.
In the afternoon, learn how to felt a flower using Merino fleece and decorating it with silks, to create a Stunning Brooch. After almost a full day at the studio, check-in into your hotel in Kilkenny and the rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight in Kilkenny x 2 nights
In the morning, visit Kilkenny Castle, a 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands. There will also be time to visit Kilkenny Design Centre which offers a fantastic selection of Irish handcrafted gifts including Jewellery, Knitwear, Celtic Gifts, China & Crystal, Pottery & Glass, Home & Fashion Accessories and contemporary design pieces.
In the afternoon, tour a local family-owned farm, meet the rear Zwartbles Sheep and chat with the family who will tell you all about their unique yarn which you can buy direct from the farm if you wish. Afterwards, visit Cushendale Mill where products made on site are crafted using natural-fibre textiles made with mohair, Irish wool and merino lambswool. Enjoy a tour of the mill and see the spinning mule in action.
After breakfast leave Kilkenny and travel to the Rock of Cashel, a collection of medieval ecclesiastical buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale.
Next visit is to Blarney Castle which was constructed by a great Irish chieftain nearly 600 years ago. Legend has it that if you kiss the stone you will never be lost for words and have, as the Irish say, ‘the gift of the gab’. There will be a plenty of time to visit Blarney Woollen Mills, Ireland’s largest Irish Gift & Craft Store before continuing to your hotel in Killarney. Overnight in Killarney x 3 nights
After breakfast travel to Kenmare to meet knitwear designer and textile artist. Your workshop will include creating fancy / textured yarns, using a single smooth yarn as a base and a variety of techniques to build the texture and colour. The yarn is then knitted with standard knitting needles. After your class there will be some free time to explore Kenmare.
Return to Killarney via the mountain road to Moll’s Gap and Ladies View where you will be treated to unrivalled views of the Killarney Valley. With its three famous lakes and majestic mountain ranges, Killarney has been the inspiration of poets and painters over many centuries.
After breakfast travel to Dingle, visiting Kerry Woollen Mills along the way. This 17th century establishment has been crafting fine fabrics and yarn from wool for over 300 years and on your tour you will see truly skilled craftspeople at work.
In the afternoon, explore beautiful Dingle. The peninsula itself is ringed by sandy beaches and craggy cliffs and inland you will find rolling hills and mountains, including the 952m Mount Brandon which towers overhead.
After breakfast, travel to Adare in County Limerick. Situated in the south west of Ireland, Adare is one of Ireland’s prettiest and most picturesque villages and is a haven for those wishing to escape and unwind, taking in its charming surroundings. After some free time to explore the village, continue onwards to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, which rise to 214 meters (702 ft) above the churning Atlantic swells.
In the afternoon, enjoy a free time in village of Doolin, a hub for art and craft with shops and cafes displaying some of the finest locally inspired artwork, woodwork, jewellery, souvenirs and more. Overnight in Doolin area x 2 nights
After breakfast, get the early morning ferry to Inis Oirr (Inisheer), one of the famous Aran Islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. On arrival you will be collected by your Aran Island Knitting Instructor and taken to the local café for tea and scones. Afterwards, enjoy a Knitting Workshop where you will learn traditional methods and stitches the Aran Island way. In your class you will learn the Sharry Chain Link Stitch. The Sharry family, like many of the island families, has a long-standing connection with the sea and the women of the family celebrate that connection in their choice of stitches when they knit traditional Aran sweaters.
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the island before returning to the mainland.
Check out of your hotel and make your way back to Dublin via Irish Fibre Crafters and Tullamore D.E.W. Heritage Centre where you will discover how Daniel E. Williams went from stable boy to distillery manager to creating the whiskey which still bears his initials today. After sampling some of this fine whiskey, continue to Dublin for your final night in Ireland.
Private transfers to Dublin Airport for your return flight home.