The Magical North and East of Ireland, a one week guided tour. May 29th-June 5th, 2019. Booking payment for DOUBLE room occupancy.
This one-week guided tour of The Magical North and East of Ireland is planned for May 29th-June 5th, 2019.
Baba Studio "In Search of Fae Folk" photoshoot in and around Killarney.
Baba Studio has been hosting tours of "Magic Prague" since 2016, combining a unique blend of history, magic and legend with excellent accommodation and the company of like-minded people from around the world.
This formula proved so successful that we decided to also offer magical adventures in our new home in Ireland. In October 2018, we welcomed a lovely group on our first "Magic Ireland" tour and received some wonderful feedback from participants:
In May / June 2019, we are offering a week-long tour of the Ancient East and Northern Ireland. Please note that this tour will be limited to about 25 people. Please book as early as you can.
Our unique tour of the ancient East of Ireland, with megalithic monuments older than the pyramids, the wonders of The Giant's Causeway and... Game of Thrones!
We begin on 29th May, when we will meet in a wonderful 4-star hotel in Cork. This one week tour focuses on the legends, magic, myth of the North and East of Ireland, and includes The Rock of Cashel, The Hill of Tara, Huntington Castle, The Hill of Uisneach, Newgrange, The Giant's Causeway, and Trinity College (Book of Kells and the Library).
We will also visit some historical sites that will be of particular interest to Game of Thrones fans including Old Castle Ward (Winterfell), The Dark Hedges (Kingsroad), Dunluce Castle (House of Greyjoy) and Mussenden Temple (Dragonstone). In addition, you will have free time to explore the historic and vibrant cities of Kilkenny, Belfast and Dublin.
We do have an earlier one week tour of the magical South and West of Ireland that immediately precedes this tour. You can of course choose to come on either tour - or both!
The tour will be led by Karen Mahony and Cathy Murphy. Karen is originally from Belfast, Cathy is from Killarney.
Karen is an Irish designer who founded Baba Studio and The Magic Realist Press in Prague with her Russian husband, Alex Ukolov. Their design focuses on decorative symbolism, romanticism and a gently surrealist take on magic and myth. They are known in particular for their well-researched and beautifully illustrated tarot decks, and for their innovative, decorative fabric prints.
Karen studied both Fairytale and Irish Literature as part of her first degree and has had a great interest in both ever since.
Cathy has been a member of the Baba Studio team since the move to Ireland in 2016. A native of Killarney, she has a great interest in Irish history and mythology. A focus of her undergraduate thesis was folklore and mythology, with particular emphasis on the Killarney area.
We will also feature local and expert tour guides during the week and all of their fees are included in the price.
When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.
―James Joyce, writer
We are packing a lot into this tour - here are the highlights* (draft, this could change a little).
- "Meet and Greet" buffet in a 4 star hotel in Cork City (PI).
- Also known as Cashel of the Kings, the iconic Rock of Cashel in Tipperary was the ancient seat of the High Kings of Munster. The collection of medieval architecture (including a round tower) and Celtic art is considered to be one of the most remarkable in Europe. Legend states that the Rock itself came from the gap in the mountain called the Devil’s Bit - in trying to escape from St. Patrick, the devil bit a chunk out of the mountain and fled through the gap.
The Rock of Cashel.
Tour of Huntingdon Castle and Gardens, including The Temple of the Goddess in the basement of the castle and a sacred Brigid's Well. The castle is an extraordinary and eccentric place and has been called "the oddest place in Europe"! It is reported to be haunted by the ghosts of druids in the fields and even in the castle.
- Stay in historic Kilkenny, one of the oldest and most interesting towns in Ireland, known for art and design. You will have free time here and we will provide suggestions for independent sight-seeing. You might choose to walk the Medieval Mile, visit Kilkenny Castle, or simply soak up the atmosphere of this bustling city.
A colourful street in Kilkenny.
- With monuments and relics indicating human activity spanning 5,000 years, the Hill of Uisneach is considered to be the mythological and sacred centre of Ireland. Said to be the burial site of the Earth Goddess Ériu & the Sun God Lugh, it was regarded as sacred ground.
- Visit the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland, The Hill of Tara, which was believed to be the dwelling place of the ancient gods and a portal to the otherworld. See the famous Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) which served as the coronation stone and was said to roar in joy when the rightful king put his feet on it.
Lia Fáil Stone, Tara.
- Visit the picturesque village of Slane, located in the heart of the Boyne Valley and associated with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Traditionally, the Hill of Slane is regarded as the location where he lit the first Pascal Fire in 433 AD in defiance of pagan King Laoighre, the King of Tara.
- Older than the Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge, the mysterious megolithic monuments of Newgrange were built around 3200BC. Legend has it that Newgrange was built by the Tuatha Dé Danann as a burial place for their chief, Dagda Mór, and his three sons. The most visited archaeological monument in Ireland, it features wonderful examples of Megalithic Art.
- Winterfell! A reconstruction of the castle from Game of Thrones, the series was filmed partly in many locations in Northern Ireland. We will enjoy a guided tour of "Winterfell Castle" with photo opportunities with props from the show.
- Experience the vibrant and historic city of Belfast, including options for an evening in Robinson's Bar and The Crown Bar (incredible Victorian interiors) and option for independent visit to The Titanic Experience.
- The Dark Hedges in Antrim (featured in an iconic scene in Game of Thrones as The Kingsroad).
- Shrouded in legend, The Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. It features over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. According to legend, these unique rock formations were formed when Fionn mac Cumhaill pulled up chunks of the Antrim coast and threw them into the sea to create a path he could use to reach a Scottish giant who was threatening Ireland.
The Giant's Causeway.
- The little town of Bushmills is famous for its whiskey and we will enjoy lunch at the distillery.
- Visit to the iconic ruin of Dunluce Castle, the film location of Seat of House Greyjoy, the great castle of Pyke, in Game of Thrones. With breath-taking views, this medieval castle is believed to have been built where an early Irish fort once stood.
- Mussenden Temple is the film location of Dragonstone in Game of Thrones. Perched right on the cliff edge, its mysterious and flamboyant design is based on the Temple of Vesta in Italy. Explore the 18th-century Downhill Demesne, with its ruined mansion house and beautiful gardens.
- Dating back to about 3000BC, Proleek Dolmen is also known as the Giant's Load, as it was said to have been carried here by Fionn Mac Cumhaill and a Scottish giant. They then battled till the Scottish invader was slain and he is reputedly buried in the ancient wedge grave nearby. Local legend states that anyone who can toss three consecutive pebbles up to the top of the capstone, without any rolling off, will get a wish!
- A must-see for all visitors to Dublin, The Book of Kells is the world's most famous medieval manuscript and is considered Ireland's greatest cultural treasure. A richly decorated copy of the four Gospels, it dates back to the 9th century and is on display in the magnificent Old Library building in Trinity College. You will also see the The Long Room which is the main chamber of the Old Library. Filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books, it is one of the most impressive libraries in the world.
Trinity College Library, Dublin
- Farewell dinner in the Brazen Head (oldest pub in Ireland) with traditional Irish music.
of a pulse we may live for a year or a thousand years.
― James Stephens,
The tour will include:
- Good quality hotel room (en suite and mostly 4 star - some with spas) and hearty breakfast every day. We've chosen the hotels for their individuality, quality and location.
- A welcome buffet, a welcome dinner, and a farewell dinner are included, as well as breakfast every morning.
- In-depth tours led by Cathy and Karen, and by qualified, knowledgeable local tour guides. No crack-of-dawn starts! We will begin at 9.00 or later each morning to allow you to enjoy an excellent breakfast.
- Lots of fun stuff as well as more serious legends, history and mythology. We want this to be a truly magical seven days that will include café and bar visits and some time for general shopping and sight-seeing.
- The use of two of Baba Studio's unique printed Celtic cloaks for staging your atmospheric photos!
- An exclusive gift designed and made by Baba Studio.
- Exclusive 25% discount off a range of Baba Studio designs in our "travelling trunk" pop-up shop.
More details and FAQs
Is this a tarot tour?
No, it's a broader tour about the legends, mythology, fairy and folktales of Ireland in a wide sense. We will touch on cartomancy at some points, but tarot will not be a major part of this tour.
Will I get reward points on this purchase?
Yes! Once the tour is over it will be our pleasure to give you our normal points on the entire purchase. Just as a thank-you treat from us.
The points will be worth about $150 and can be used to purchase anything you'd like on Baba Store.
Can I just do part of the tour and arrange my own accommodation/meals etc?
We've organised the tour to be a group event and this has allowed us to negotiate fantastic deals and discounts for hotels and excursions. If you would rather organise your own meals and accommodation that's fine, but please understand that you will still need to pay the full tour fee so that this remains good value for all participants.
Which hotels will I be staying at?
The hotels we will stay at are almost all 4-star (some have spas), and have been carefully-selected for your comfort and proximity to local sights. All rooms will have a private ensuite bathroom and a simple hair-dryer and toiletries (shampoo, shower gel) are provided in most hotels.
Most hotels in Ireland are very used to guests who are vegetarian, vegan, gluten intolerant or have other dietary needs. But please do let us know in advance if you have special requirements.
What about cancellations, are they possible?
Until the end of January 2019, we are happy to cancel and refund in full. After that period, we will not be able to refund. This is because we negotiate group booking discounts for the tour and often have to pay in advance. Please do take out your own travel insurance against having to cancel for any reasons beyond your control. Thanks for your understanding.
What happens if the tour does not go ahead?
We require a minimum of 20 participants for the tour to go ahead. Cancellation looks unlikely however as there seems to be a great deal of interest in this tour.
If we did have to cancel for any unforeseen reason, we will refund in full except for any PayPal or credit card fees that we can't recover. To make up for any fees that are non-recoverable, we will give credit on our shop.
Will tours be in English?
The whole week's events will be in English. Although some Irish people do speak Irish as a first language this is now rare, so everyone you meet should speak English.
Will I be expected to tip?
The bus drivers would appreciate a tip, as would the specialist tour guides. However, the organisers (who will usually be your guides) do not expect a tip.
What currency is used in Ireland?
Ireland is part of the Eurozone so the Euro is the currency used here.
What will the weather be like?
Irish weather is notoriously unpredictable but there is a better chance of warm, sunny weather in May and June. However, you should still pack for all conditions and bring something waterproof to put on in case of rain.
We also recommend good walking shoes or boots. Bring a good, secure bag for anything you want to carry.
* May be subject to change although if so, we will substitute an event that is, in our opinion, of equal interest.
Please read this carefully as it explains what we agree to provide and what you as a tour member agree to in return. This is important information. By booking and paying the non-refundable deposit or payment you acknowledge you have read, understood and agreed to be legally bound by these conditions.
Included in the price of this tour:
- Daily tours and events in English language with Irish guides Karen Mahony and/or Cathy Murphy.
- At some sites, we will also have specialist tour guides, and their fees are included.
- All admission fees for planned events & places.
- Seven night's double occupancy hotel accommodation including buffet breakfast (single occupancy available at extra cost at this listing).
- Welcome buffet lunch and dinner, farewell dinner and one other good-quality restaurant or pub meal on one day.
- Transportation by our own private, comfortable coach.
- An optional group tarot reading session with Karen Mahony. As there will not be time to read for everyone, this will be in the form of an informal demonstration.
- Membership of our special Facebook group leading up to the event.
- A gift made for you by Baba Studio.
- Special tour discounts for other Baba Studio items purchased during the tour. Please note, that these discounts will only apply during the tour and your tour reward points (which we add to your account after the tour) can't be used for them - we just can't afford to give double discount in that way as the tour discounts are excellent.
Not included in the price
- Travel to and from your home and our meeting point in Ireland. You will need to arrange your own flights or other transport.
- Travel insurance. Please take out your own travel insurance for the trip.
- Transfer to and from the airport.
- Any extras at the hotel – for example if you choose to take drinks there or make phone calls or have laundry done via the hotel. Please pay any such charges the evening before departure. The hotel makes extremely reasonable charges for these extras.
- Meals on most days. Please note that three meals are included in the tour price.
- Any extras you order during meals (any drinks that aren’t included etc).
- Most coffee, tea snacks and so on if we stop for refreshments during our tours. We will do our best to choose value-for-money cafés for such stops, but you will be responsible for your own bill.
- Admission for any optional events.
The health services in Ireland are generally good, but you may be charged for any medical treatment required while you are here. However, normally such charges are considerably lower than they would be in, for example, the USA.
Please do take out travel insurance and/or if you are a European Union citizen, please check what documents you may need to bring to get free or reduced cost medical care should you need it.
Please let us know in advance if you have any physical or psychological medical conditions that could cause problems when you are here. In particular, please inform us of any dietery allergies, and/or allergies to environmental items such as feathers or anything else that might effect your health and comfort when you’re in Ireland. All such information will be treated in confidence and will not be disclosed to anyone else without your permission.
Co-operation and social interaction and behaviour
We expect everyone to have a great time and to make new friends. However, in the rare instance of someone behaving in a way that impacts on the comfort or safety of others on the tour, we reserve the right to remove them from the tour, without complaint or claim against us. This will normally only be done after discussion to see if there is any other way to resolve the issue.
After January 2019, payments for this tour are non-refundable except if the tour is cancelled by us.
To make this tour excellent value for money, we’ve negotiated several group discounts for hotels, tours and meals.
This means that we won’t be able to refund any payments made, unless you cancel before the end of January 2019. Please do consider taking out insurance to cover your expenses if you have to cancel
Tour forms & obligations
Tour members will be required to sign & return necessary forms along with their deposit. These will include a release of liability form, an emergency information form and a tour terms and conditions agreement.
Because of the need to keep costs down, and also because not all venues would be covered, we have no protection coverage. Please arrange your own international travel insurance before you travel.
We will make every effort to keep to the itineraries described. However, we are not liable for any delay in, change to or cancellation of any part of this tour due to means beyond reasonable control including but not limited to war or threat of war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire, earthquake and strikes. Furthermore, in order to operate the tour we require a minimum number of 20 full paying participants. If the minimum number is not met, we reserve the right to cancel the tour; in which case we will refund money paid by you for the tour.
In order to keep the pricing as competitive as possible, we get discounts and special rates for the group. Because of this, if you decide not to come on some events/meals, we will not be able to refund any cost for those, as costs for the whole group will already have been paid in advance.
Complaints and feedback
If you have any complaints or feedback about the tour, please let one of the organisers know as soon as possible. We want you to be happy with the tour and welcome all feedback and suggestions.
In order to be able to run this tour and cater for your needs, we will need to collect certain information from you, some of which may be personal. The information may be disclosed to our partners and service providers if necessary. This will not be used by them for any other purposes.
Publicity and Promotion
You agree that we can use images of you taken during the tour or feedback that you share with us. We will try to okay these with you in advance of any publication but can't guarantee to do so. You also agree that we will not offer compensation to you or be in any way liable for material used for publicity & promotion purposes.
Signing our waiver form
We will be asking you to sign a waiver form before you come on the tour. On request, we can send you a copy of this to review - it's a fairly standard tour waiver form.