Sunday, June 10th, 2018

Welcome Reception @ The Strand Hotel, Limerick (approx 7pm)

Delegates & Partners are welcomed to the Conference.


Monday, June 11th, 2018

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park ½ Day Tour

Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. 

Built in 1425 it was restored to its former medieval splendour in 1954,  and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art, capturing the mood of those times.  At Bunratty Folk Park you’ll experience a living reconstruction of the homes and environment of the Ireland of over a century ago. 

Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living village’ and rural setting. Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time, according to their social standing, from the poorest one-room dwelling to Bunratty House, a fine example of a Georgian residence for the gentry. This manor house was built in 1804 as home of the Studdarts, the last family to occupy Bunratty Castle.

Enjoy village life in 19th century Ireland! The village houses and shops in the Folk Park have been chosen from many different areas, to form a collection of typical 19th century urban Irish buildings – including the school, doctor’s house, pawnbrokers, pub, drapery, print works, grocery, hardware shop, pottery and a post office. 

Lunch @ The Corn Barn, Bunratty Folk Park. 


Medieval Banquet at Knappogue Castle

Tucked away amid the rolling hills of Quin in Co. Clare lies Knappogue Castle, a 15th century restored medieval tower house that proudly stands as a reminder of our past and reflects the medieval glory in which our nobility of yesteryear lived. The story of Knappogue Castle begins with the Macnamara clan in 1467 (who also built Bunratty Castle). It has a long and varied history ~ from a battlefield to a dwelling.

Knappogue Castle banquet is a fun and animated experience. You are greeted at the main door of the castle by the Earl's Butler and the Ladies of the castle where you proceed to the Dalcassian Hall. Mingle with the Castle Entertainers and savour a goblet of mead (honey wine).

Enjoy music of the harp and fiddle followed by Medieval Choral Singing from the Ladies. The Earl's Butler wittily recounts the history of the Castle finishing by explaining the 'Rules of Chivalry' practiced at Knappogue Castle and the dire consequences of breaching them!

Once all are seated in the banqueting hall, the newly instated Earl receives his sword of office and presides over the proceedings. While partaking of a sumptuous four course dinner with the finest wines, the Ladies of the Castle accompanied by Irish harp and fiddle will entertain you. The Butler seeks the Lord's approval for all dishes presented to him before they can be served. However, there is a scoundrel who ignores the Butler's warnings about gallantry. He is brought before the Earl for judgement!

Visit the Shannon Heritage website for more information.


Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Full Day trip to the Cliffs of Moher

This morning, you will depart Limerick and travel to Co. Clare to visit the Cliffs of Moher. Rising slowly from Doolin they ascend to over 700 feet (213 metres) stretching south for nearly five miles (8km) to Hags head. The stunning rock formations of the Cliffs of Moher are 300 million years old and are made of layers of sedimentary rock. Layers of sandstone, siltstone, mudstone and shale which are rich in fossils are the geological content of the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs have been a tourist attraction dating back to 1835 when Cornelius O'Brien had the viewing tower built. The views from O'Brien Tower are spectacular; on a clear day you can see as far as Loop Head in one direction and the Twelve Bens in Connemara in the other. Looking out across the ocean, you can see the three Aran Islands. It is a natural wonder that rewards visitors with breathtaking views of the edge of Ireland's west coast, the ruggedly beautiful cliffs and the mighty ocean below.

Departing the Cliffs, the journey continues to Doolin and onto Lisdoonvarna for lunch. On the way you will have superb views of the Atlantic coast and the Aran Islands(Weather permitting!)

After lunch, depart Doolin and visit one of the most unusual limestone surfaces anywhere - the Burren, a lunar landscape dating back 300 million years with unique features such as underground lakes and waterfalls. The Burren landscape is composed of limestone slabs with clints and grykes in the rock. Surprisingly, fertile soil has built up in these cracks and created the perfect place for plants to take root. The micro climate at the Burren where the soil temperature rarely drops below six degrees supports an unusual array of flowers and plants with Arctic, Mediterranean and Alpine plants growing side by side. Seventy five percent of Ireland's species of flower can be found in the Burren with certain species being exclusive to this area. The Burren is home to many ancient tombs with over ninety megalithic tombs in the area including the most photographed portal tomb Poulnabrone dolmen.

Visit the Cliffs of Moher website for more information.


Free Evening to Explore Limerick

Take a stroll on the riverfront, go shopping, check out Limerick's exceptional range of restaurants, or soak up the nightlife.


Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Limerick City Walking Tour

Depart the Strand Hotel and walk to King John's Castle for your first stop. The Castle, situated on 'King's Island' in the heart of medieval Limerick City, overlooks the majestic river Shannon and was built between 1200 and 1210. It has since been repaired and extended many times and now houses an interpretative centre containing an imaginative historical exhibition, telling the story of the Castle. The courtyard and the Castle display some of the trades and traditions of the 16th Century and visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Limerick City and the surrounding countryside. Archaeological excavations have revealed pre-Norman settlements and evidence from the traumatic siege of 1642. The sights, scenes and sounds of the Castle and its environs all combine to recreate the atmosphere of the era.

Continue your walking tour to St. Mary's Cathedral. In 1168, Donal Mor O'Brien, King of Munster, donated his palace, parts of which are possibly incorporated into the present structure. Previously, a Viking meetinghouse had been located there.

The cathedral's architecture is a mixture of the Gothic and Romanesque styles. It contains many interesting features, such as a stone altar and Lepers' Squint, an opening in the wall that permitted lepers to hear Mass and receive Communion.

Your final stop today on your walking tour will be the Hunt Museum. The Hunt Museum was established to house the internationally important collection of approximately 2,000 works of art and antiquities formed by John and Gertrude Hunt during their lifetimes. As antique dealers and advisors to collectors they built a thriving business and also began to acquire pieces that reflected their own interests and curiosity rather than for commercial purposes. The Hunt Museum houses one of Ireland's greatest private collections of art and antiquities, dating from the Neolithic to the 20th Century, including works by Renoir, Picasso and Yeats.

Visit the King John's Castle and Hunt Museum websites for more information


Gala Dinner at the Strand Hotel, Limerick City

Delegates & Partners are invited to a Gala Dinner at the Strand Hotel.

Dress:  Smart/Casual


Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Full Day Trip to Killarney

The group will depart Limerick this morning and head for Killarney through Adare village.  The very definition of postcard perfection, Adare is a picturesque oasis where traditional thatched cottages and ancient stone walls preserve the spirit of an unspoiled Ireland.   Onwards to Killarney where you will have some free time for shopping in Killarney town centre. 

Following lunch, the groups will be split into two with half visiting Muckross House and Gardens and half visiting Killarney House and Gardens.

Muckross House and Gardens represent the focal point and nucleus of Killarney National Park. This is Ireland's oldest National Park and it includes the world famous Lakes of Killarney, as well as the mountains and woodlands that surround them.

This nineteenth century Victorian mansion stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Killarney's three lakes. Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water-colourist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two hundred years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was responsible for its design. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843.

During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit 1861. Later, the Bourn Vincent family continued this gardening tradition. They purchased the estate from Lord and Lady Ardilaun early in the twentieth century. It was at this time that the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and the Stream Garden were developed.  Visit the Muckross House website for more information


Killarney House and Gardens is a treasure of the Killarney National Park that is located on the doorstep of Killarney Town Centre.  Killarney House has a long and complicated history. the original "Killarney House" was home to the Earls of Kenmare and was built in the early 18th century.  The house succumbed to fire in 1913.  After the fire, the Kenmare family relocated to a renovated block of the nearby "Kenmare House".  After the death of the last Earl of Kenmare and its adjoining lands were sold to an American investor syndicate. Finally the property was purchased by Irish American developer John McShane. The McShanes renamed the property "Killarney House".  The McShane family used Killarney House as a summer home, and in their latter years as their primary residence. The family arranged for the property to be sold to the irish state with a proviso that they would retain usage  of the house and gardens for the rest of their lives.  Following the death of Mrs. McShane in 1998, Killarney House became a welcome addition to Killarney National Park. . In  2016, Killarney House and Gardens underwent extensive reconstructions and were reopened to the public. 


We will stop for dinner at the Woodlands Hotel Adare on our return journey to Limerick.


Dinner at the Woodlands Hotel, Adare, Limerick

A fabulous venue on the outskirts of the picturesque tourist village of Adare in Co. Limerick.


Friday, June 15th, 2018

Explore the Irish Midwest Region

Friday is not formally part of the Congress programme. However, it provides opportunity to explore the Irish Midwest region.

For those interested in golf some of the top ten golf links in Ireland are located in the counties west of Limerick. These are:

Tralee Golf Club, County Kerry

According to Golf Digest's list, Tralee is 'arguably one of the most majestic courses you will ever encounter'. Vast dunes and tricky tee-placements on the back are a tantalising challenge, the likes of which didn't stop actor Bill Murray from naming it as his favourite course.

www.traleegolfclub.com

Ballybunion Golf Club (Old), County Kerry

Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, would surely agree with Ballybunion's inclusion in the top ten. Of this coastal Kerry paradise, he says 'It's perfectly Irish: beautiful, rough, and a lot like life - you get breaks you don't deserve, both ways.' Words to live and golf by.

www.ballybuniongolfclub.com

Waterville, County Kerry

A favourite haunt of Charlie Chaplin when on his many Kerry sojourns, Waterville is a 'true' links course, according to Golf Digest. Designer Tom Fazio says of the place: 'Everything about Waterville is truly spectacular. The setting is one of the best I've seen for golf.'

www.watervillegolflinks.ie

Lahinch Golf Club (Old), County Clare

Old Tom Morris declared the terrain at Lahinch to be 'as fine a natural course' as had been his good fortune to play. In golfing echelons, it even rises above the nearby Cliffs of Moher for majesty. One happy customer matched his five-star rating with the commendation, 'Legendary. Challenging. Ireland golf at its best.'

www.lahinchgolf.com


Please register by Thursday, March 29th, 2018 - Thank you!