In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, if an Irishman went to London he was seen as an Irishman, but if he travelled overseas he was greeted as a gentleman. In consequence, many Irishmen travelled to the Near East.
By participating in the ASTENE trip to Ireland, members will be able to find out more about some of these Irish travellers. Here is the provisional programme.
Day 1: Sunday, 20 May – Participants make their own way to Dublin, but may book tickets through the agent. Some may wish to go early or stay on (in Belfast or other parts of Ireland) after the visit. The group will be staying at the four-star Louis Fitzgerald Hotel in Dublin, which can be reached direct on the ‘fly-bus’ from the airport. Introductory evening talk on Irish travellers in ASTENE lands.
Day 2: Monday, 21 May – After breakfast you will be free to explore Dublin. The plan is to visit Trinity College Library. Others may be interested in the Chester Beatty Library and collections in Dublin Castle. Dinner at the hotel, followed by a talk on Lady Kavanagh and her son.
Day 3: Tuesday, 22 May – Coach to Borris House, County Carlow, home of the Kavanagh family. Some of Lady Kavanagh’s collection may be seen. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 4: Wednesday, 23 May – Travel north to visit Mount Stewart House (National Trust), home of Lord Castlereagh and others, with its outstanding garden, en route to Belfast. The group will be staying at the four-star Wellington Hotel in Belfast. Talk on Dr Richardson’s account of the Belmores’ Near Eastern travels.
Day 5: Thursday, 24 May – Visit by coach to Castle Coole, Enniskillen (National Trust), a stunning 18th-century mansion whence the Earl of Belmore and his family set out for the Near East in 1817. Possible visit to nearby Florence House (also National Trust), home of the 2nd Earl’s wife. Return to Belfast.
Day 6: Friday, 25 May – Free day in Belfast with suggested visits to the Museum, which holds the Armada Hoard among other treasures, and the famed gardens.
Day 7: Saturday, 26 May – Free day in Belfast. Visit the renowned Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Final evening talk, with many references to ASTENE–Irish travellers.
Day 8: Sunday, 27 May – The group will disperse with transfers to airports.
The trip is being organised for ASTENE by Brightwater Holidays of Scotland. The cost is in the region of £620 per person on a double occupancy basis, excluding flights (single room supplement £180), but this will not include all meals and entrance charges. Flights from the UK can be arranged through the same agent, as can travel insurance. However, participants are free to make their own flight and insurance arrangements. Ten ASTENE members have so far expressed a firm interest, and we hope that two members in Ireland, the Rev’d John Bartlett and Emmet Jackson, will also be participating.
If you are interested and have not yet signed up, please contact Deborah Manley at email@example.com, or telephone Brightwater on 01334 657155.