Saturday, August 22, 2009

First suggested itinerary for the Washington Women's Chorus Performance Tour 2010

Here is the first itinerary, some details are subject to change to improve the overall tour experience and to make sure it really matches and even exceeds your group's expectations. Enjoy!

• A series of up to four professionally organized and promoted formal performances in magnificent venues just for your choir.
• Educational and entertaining sightseeing
• Plenty of opportunities for immersion into the local culture
• Exchange with local musicians
• Entrances to many sights, including Blarney Castle
• Nice hotels in good and central locations

Likely Concert-Venues (to be selected from)
• St. Nicholas Church, University —GALWAY
• Gothic Church at Kylemore Abbey
• Muckross House, Cathedral, Danny Man Pub —KILLARNEY
• St. Augustine, University —CORK
• St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Ann's Church, St. Bartholomew, Christchurch —DUBLIN
Possible add-on: • Bunratty Castle —BUNRATTY
The above listed venues have been carefully selected by Incantato‘s Concert Managers and will be requested for your choir and travel dates. Final confirmation is based on submission of repertoire and recording as well as final approval by the local music directors.

Accommodation and Meals
Incantato‘s Hospitality Managers take pride in working only with pre-inspected hotels that fit your budget and selected restaurants frequented by locals. We encourage you to stay and eat in typical, ideally locally owned properties for a true immersion into the local cultures. Irish breakfasts are included daily and four special dinners.
Sunday, June 20
Day 1: GROUP FLIGHT TO IRELAND (or make your own way to Ireland)

Travel to Ireland
US Airways Flight 2036 DCA to BOS depart at 14:30 arrive at 15:51
Air Lingus Flight 132 BOS to SNN depart at 19:00 and arrive at 06:05 the next day, Monday, June 21
Monday, June 21
Meet your Tour Manager and driver at the airport after clearing immigrations and customs.
Take the scenic route to Galway, stopping on route for tea & scones.
Check-in to city-center hotel (guests on the land-only package, please meet the group at the hotel)
Relax, explore town, free time
Welcome dinner in the hotel or a local pub

Tuesday, June 22
Day 3: SCENIC GALWAY & Connemara
Start Connemara Loop with Spidea, Maam Valley, Kilerry fjord, Leenane
Stop at Kylemore Abbey and Gardens
Lunch Concert at the
Gothic Church
then drive though Inagh Valley, Oughterard, stop at Moycullen Marble Shop
Return to Galway for an evening at leisure

Wednesday, June 23
Another day full of breathtaking scenery awaits you today as you travel via Limerick to the
Cliffs of Moher and then continue via Adare and Ennis to Killarney. Free time to talk a walk or horse-drawn carriage ride through Muckross Garden prior to exploring one or a few of the music pubs Killarney is known for.

Thursday, June 24
View of the Killarney National Park, "
The Ring of Kerry", Brendan Ferris sheepdog herding demo
and the towns of Glenbeigh, Carhiciveen, Waterville, Scarrit Inn, Carroll's Cove, Gap of Dunloe. Return to Killarney for a concert Concert at either
Danny Mann Pub, St. Mary's Cathedral or at Muckross House.
Friday, June 25
Visit this must see tourist attraction and then take in lovely Cork with its many shops and restaraunts.

Saturday, June 26
Hit the golf course, visit the spa, explore museums or help the local economy. Today is all about you and recharging your batteries. Evening concert at
St Augustine's Church or another local venue

Sunday, June 27
Bid farewell to Cork
Stop on Dungarvan
See the Rock of Cashel (and should it re-open, tour of the
Waterford Crystal Factory)
and continue to Dublin for an orientation tour and evening at leisure

Monday, June 28
Trinity College and the famous
Book of Kells
St Patrick's Cathedral - Lunchtime recital
Dublin Castle
Tuesday, June 29

Day at leisure
Optional Distillery or Guiness Brewery Tour
Additional performance opportunity prior to a farewell dinner with lots of music and dance.

Wednesday, June 30

Return Flight via Boston to DCA

Air Lingus Flight 133 DUB to BOS depart at 11:30 arrive at 15:10
clear immigrations and customs, rec-check your bags
US Airways Flight 2047 BOS to DCA depart at 19:00 arrive at 20:34

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tour deposit postponed until after Labor Day

Dear Travelers,
Incantato Tours is pleased to advise that after last night's meeting and today's conversation with Don, we will be placing the air deposit on your behalf which allows everyone more time to get the first tour deposit ready. The amount and due date will be determined by the board and announced directly by WWC. This will also give you more time to decide which travel insurance is right for you. Tour sign-up forms are currently being prepared and will be available next week.
Have a great day, your Incantato Tours Team

About Glendalough

This "Ireland must-see" for many is currently not on the group's itinerary as we received the request to give you more time in Dublin which we honored by starting off in Shannon, but again, this is your tour and we will be happy to accomodate requests that represent the majority among the travelers and can be fit into the itinerary and scheduling. So have a look at the description and websites so that you can make an informed decision when the final votes are taken on group sightseeing for the 2010 WWC Performance Tour later in the year.

Glendalough is the most spectacular and perhaps the best known Glen and attraction in Co. Wicklow. The valley of the two lakes lies a kilometere west of Laragh. In the 6th century St. Kevin founded a monastery and from this grew a monastic city, which became famous as a centre of learning throughout Europe. The spectacular Round Tower in the Monastic City stands an impressive 34m high and 16m in circumferences. There is also a visitor centre in Glendalough to help those discover more about this impressive and historic place. The area surrounding Glendalough is a paradise for walkers as along this part of the Wicklow Way there is plenty of accommodation and 'craic' nearby and the scenery is very impressive.
Here are some impressions, and several weblinks:

Thanks for a first great meeting - Some additional info on Ireland and tourism related websites

Dear singers and friends of WWC,
we surely enjoyed seeing you all on Wednesday evening and presenting the choir's upcoming performance tour to those that could attend in person and to everyone via this blog. Over the next few weeks, we will finalize the itinerary, start confirming hotels and venues in accordance with your director and the board members. Sightseeing is one of the most flexible elements within the tour and final decisions on what you will see where as a group will not be made for a few months. So please keep posting your findings and suggestions on the blog where we will eventually take polls as to what will be included for all.
Mrs. Ellen Goldman did a lot of research already and is quite fond of Rick Steve's findings which can also be found online on his Ireland website. In addition, we encourage you to visit the official Tourism Website of Ireland which offers amazing resources and lots of wonderful features. Two of our team members belong to and graduated from the Shamrock Club, the Irish Tourism Boards continuing ed program and they will share some of their personal favorites with you on this blog too. Last not least, there is the grandmaster of travel guides, Frommers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Precious Lord" by SBCC in Galway

Incantato Venues: Galway Churches

Destination Ireland

WWC Tour Map with Belfast Extension

WWC Ireland Tour & Belfast Extension auf einer größeren Karte anzeigen

Group Flight Itinerary with Air Lingus (confirmed for 45 pax)

This is the confirmed air schedule for the group flight into Shannon and back from Dublin.
You are free to make your own travel arrangements (using mails, starting earlier, leaving later, head somewhere else) to join WWC for the Performance Tour by signing up for the land-only package. And we are happy to get a second group flight with return from Belfast should you wish to extend your stay in Ireland on the optional Incantato extension. Unlike other tour companies, Incantato only works with confirmed air schedules and has a 100% transparency policy for airfare.
Travel to Ireland

Sunday, June 20
US Airways Flight US 2036 DCA (Washington National) to BOS (Boston Logan) depart at 2:30 pm arrive at 3:51 pm
Air Lingus Flight EI 132 BOS (Boston Logan) to SNN (Shannon, Ireland) depart at 7:10 pm and arrive at 06:10 am the next day Monday, June 21.

Return to the US

Wednesday, June 30
Air Lingus Flight EI 133 DUB (Dublin) to BOS (Boston Logan) depart at 10:15 am, arrive at 1:55 pm.
Clear immigrations and customs, re-check your bags. Continue on US Airways Flight US 2047 BOS (Boston Logan) to DCA (Washington National) depart at 7:00 pm arrive at 8:34 pm.

Good Food Ireland

It is always fun to dine with fellow singers and your traveling companions, but it is also exciting to explore a more intimate or exotic restaurant in a smaller group as just as a twosome. There will be plenty of occasions to venture out on your own as you travel across Ireland with Incantato. The real foodies among you, may already want to explore the many culinary options ahead of you by visiting this wonderfuln website dedicated and thus named Good Food Ireland

Ireland's Hidden Gems

At Incantato Tours, we encourage our groups to step off the beaten tourist path and are thrilled by Tourism Ireland's newest webisodes featuring locals talking about their special places in a highly entertaining presentation. Have a look at the following links and enjoy the shows. You will without any doubt find your own special Irish spot during your upcoming Performance Tour to the Emerald Isle and your Incantato tour managers look forward to sharing their stories once they meet you in their homeland.

Freebies in Ireland


Dublin iWalks: Download your own free audio walking guide to Dublin. Simply download the podcast to your MP3 player or iPod from the visitdublin website and walk the city at your own pace to your own private soundtrack! With 12 guides in total and easy printable maps for each walk you can learn about Guinness, Temple Bar or James Joyce’s Dublin.

Parks and Gardens: Dublin is a green city – get out and about and visit the city’s many parks and gardens. Visit Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest park; St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin’s city centre ; Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square, gardens in Dublin’s Georgian quarters, even the National Botanical Gardens are open to the public free of charge!

Museums & Galleries: All Ireland’s National Museums are free of charge! Visit the Natural History, the Archaeology and History and the Decorative Arts and History Museums in Dublin and learn all about the country’s colourful past. Many Art Galleries are free too – try the National Gallery or Ireland’s Museum of Modern Art.

Markets: Ideal for getting to know the local people and discovering local products. In the Temple Bar quarter, Saturdays are reserved for markets : the Designer Market, Food Market, Book Market and more... Another must-see is the Moore Street Market, with its colourful displays and loud vendors and multi-cultural clientele.


St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast: Explore the treasures of this Irish-roman-style cathedral. Mounted on top of the cathedral is the new, modern spire, ‘Spire of Hope’, rising 100 metres above the city.

The Quarters: Belfast loves its quarters, each with its own theme or style. Queen’s Quarter, the student and residential area, with its famous university and the Ulster Museum (free entry, in construction until June 2009) ; the Cathedral Quarter and the Titanic Quarter, the ancient naval site where the celebrated liner was built.

St. George’s Market: One of Belfast’s oldest attractions, there has been a Friday market on the St. George’s site since 1604. Home to some of the finest fresh produce, this charming Victorian building attracts visitors from near and far to sample the delights of Friday and Saturday markets. Sample the produce, relax with a coffee and a newspaper against a backdrop of live jazz or flamenco music. This market is a real Saturday treat and a great outing for all the family.

Botanical Gardens and Greenhouse (Palm House): Constructed in 1830, the splendid greenhouse contains an assortment of plants from tropical regions and climates – explore for free!

Belfast Castle: situated on Cave Hill, the hill that dominates Belfast, Belfast Castle and its gardens dominate the city, offering a panoramic view of Belfast and the Lough. No admission fees.

Northern Ireland

Londonderry City Walls: A walk around the 400 year old city walls in Londonderry reveals a splendid city crammed full of history, heritage, interest and a vibrant cultural scene. This is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. The Walls, which are approximately 1.5km in circumference, form a walkway around the inner city and provide a unique promenade to view the layout of the original town which still preserves its Renaissance Style street plan to this day.

The Causeway Coastal Route and the Giant’s Causeway (Co. Antrim): Discover a spectacular coastal passage that leads you to the Giant’s Causeway. This remarkable natural site is the top UNESCO World Heritage site in Ireland. Entry is free (although there is a fee for nearby parking).

Downpatrick Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Tomb: This 19th century gothic cathedral was constructed on a sacred site. Its cemetery contains the tomb of St. Patrick.

The Mourne Mountains: The melody and words 'Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea' of the popular song written by Percy French in 1896, have made the Mournes the best-known mountains in Ireland. An area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Mourne Mountains are the most picturesque in Ireland and were the inspiration for CS Lewis's Narnia tales. The perfect holiday location for the outdoor enthusiast.

The West and North West

Connemara National Park, Co. Galway: the park covers 2,957 hectares of magnificent landscape. The Interpretation Centre presents expositions on the fauna and flora, and a film. Visitors can make use of the hiking trails and picnic areas.

Hunt Museum, Co. Limerick: Entry is free every Sunday between 14:00 to 17:00. One of the most beautiful private collections of art and antiques in the world, ranging from Neolithic to modern times, and includes a range of works by Renoir, Picasso and Yeats.

Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo: The tradition of pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption. Croagh Patrick is renowned for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honour of Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. It was on the summit of the mountain that Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD and the custom has been faithfully handed down from generation to generation.

The Cliffs of Slieve League (Sliabh Liag), Teelin, Co. Donegal: The cliffs of Slieve League are situated on the west coast of Donegal. The highest cliffs in Europe, they also boast one of the best marine reserves.

Holy Cross Abbey, Co. Tipperary: It is difficult not to be impressed by the incredible location of the Holy Cross Abbey in Co. Tipperary. Its 12th century monastery is one of the most frequented pilgrimages in Ireland.

The South West

Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry: one of the most popular parks in Ireland, its history-rich scenery will leave you speechless. Walk amongst its 10.236 hectares to see its Torc Waterfall.

The Fitzgerald Park and Museum of Cork: This Park, where the Museum of Cork is also situated, extends for more than 7km2. You will find an excellent collection of plants and shrubs, and also a children’s playground.

Crawford Art Gallery in Cork: the city’s art museum, situated in the centre of Cork City in a spectacular building hosts a collection consists of over 2,000 Irish and European paintings and sculptures dating from the 18th century onwards.

Muckross Friary & Gardens, Co. Kerry: This Franciscan Friary was founded in the 15th century and is in a remarkable state of preservation. The cloister and its associated buildings are complete and an old yew tree stands in the centre.

The East and South East

Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glendalough, Co. Wicklow: This 20,000-hectare park is a haven for walkers. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow: Glendalough (or Gleann Da Loch, meaning ‘The Glen of the Two Lakes’) is situated in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The ancient monastery on the site was founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. Set in a glaciated valley with two lakes, the monastic remains include a superb round tower, stone churches and decorated crosses.

Kilmacurragh Arboretum in Co. Wicklow: Around the ruins of a fine Queen Anne style house lie 52 acres of wild Robinsonian gardens began in 1715 and further expanded with the advice of the Directors of the Botanic Gardens in Dublin during the 19th century. Rare trees and shrubs abound for you to explore. Admission is free.

Kilkenny Castle Gardens: This 12th century castle was built during the Victorian era. Although there is an entry fee to the castle itself, you can roam the gardens in their 50-acre park for free.

Tramore, Co. Waterford: Tramore, 8 miles (13 km) south of Waterford city, is one of Ireland's most popular seaside resorts. Situated on a hillside overlooking Tramore Bay, it has a fine promenade and a sandy bathing beach 3 miles (5 km) long.