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Alumni & Friends Tour

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OVERVIEW

• This tour proposal is just that — a platform that we can use to develop our conversation.
• The aim is to give our Eagle Nation alumni and friends the optimum customized experience and, thus, further strengthen their bonds to Georgia Southern.
• The proposed window has departure on Sat., Jun. 5, 2021, and return on Sun., Jun. 13, 2021.
• Currently, SEDA/World Trade Center Savannah is available within that window, and Tom Enright (Chief Executive, Wexford County Council) is aware of our desire to produce an alumni tour.
• According to Tiernan Byrne, Director, ClubChoice Ireland, the cost (exclusive of transatlantic air travel) is $2,500 per person sharing. (The cost for individual travelers would likely be more.)
• The quoted cost is based on approximately 24 travelers.
• Hotels include overnight and breakfast (“full Irish” buffet).
• The package provides dinner every night. The default is the hotel restaurant. However, the intention is to highlight, in addition, some award-winning local restaurants so as to give a rounded culinary experience.

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Some Information about Flying

To provide maximum flexibility, we invite travelers to make their own flight arrangements. As you think about flying to Dublin, Ireland, the following information may be useful to you.

• Transatlantic flights originating in the US arrive in Dublin Airport (DUB) within a certain window each morning.
• Most travelers will fly overnight on Saturday, June 5, 2021, and arrive in Dublin Airport during the morning of Sunday, June 6, 2021.

• Once you process through Irish immigration (passport control) and retrieve your luggage on the Sunday morning, a Georgia Southern University representative will welcome you in the Arrivals Hall at Dublin Airport. Multiple refreshment options are available in the Arrivals Hall.
• When all members of our Georgia Southern Alumni-and-Friends party have assembled (coming off their various flights), we will begin the coach journey to our hotel, located in Wexford Town.

• In general, there are non-stop flights to Dublin from a number of US airports, including (but not limited to): Atlanta; Charlotte; Washington-Dulles; New York-JFK; Newark; Philadelphia; Boston, and Chicago. (Currently, some of those options have been suspended due to Covid-19.)
• Here is an example of a popular service: On Saturday, June 5, 2021, Delta 176 is a direct flight from Atlanta (departing at 9:15 pm, local time) to Dublin (arriving at 10:00 am the next morning, local time). The advertised flight duration is 7 hours, 45 minutes, although this flight typically arrives ahead of schedule.
• Travelers from Savannah may be interested to know that Aer Lingus, the Irish national airline, partners with Jet Blue. On an Aer Lingus-issued ticket, you can fly from Savannah to New York-JFK (Terminal 5) with Jet Blue and then, without a change of terminal, board a direct-to-Dublin Aer Lingus flight. Some folks appreciate the convenience of not having to transfer from one terminal to another.

• If you wish to arrive in Ireland before — and/or depart from Ireland after — the days covered by our trip, we will make every effort to coordinate with your travel schedule.

• Georgia Southern University enjoys a strong relationship with Statesboro-based Burns Travel. If you would like assistance with planning and booking flights in connection with this Alumni-and-Friends tour to Ireland, Patty Burns, Director of Burns Travel, and her team are fully aware of our itinerary and would be pleased to help you. You can contact Patty directly by email: pattyburns1012@hotmail.com. Or you can contact Burns Travel by phone: (912) 489-4040.

• When returning to the United States, travelers go through US immigration and customs at Dublin Airport (a system known as US Pre-Clearance). This service means that you avoid any further processing or lines upon landing in the US. You can tag your luggage through to your final destination in the US, so your only task Stateside is to picking up that luggage at the final destination.

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Saturday, June 5, 2021
Departure Day

• Travel from the United States to Dublin Airport.
• As almost all arriving flights from the US get into Dublin during a morning block (usually between 6:00 am and 10:00 am Irish time), we can accommodate travelers coming off different flights.
• The days fall into shoulder season. Currently, Delta is quoting non-stop Atlanta-Dublin return on these dates at $1,479 coach, with seat-selection by passenger. (Arrival into Dublin from Atlanta on 6/6 is at 10:00 am local time.)
• Potentially, we could recommend a flight and/or travel agency; however, our alumni live is multiple US cities/communities.

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Sunday, June 6, 2021
Day 1
Dublin Airport to Wexford Town
(Overnight Hotel: Clayton Whites, Wexford Town)

• Arrive at Dublin Airport (Terminal 2) after overnight flight.
• Transfer by coach to Wexford Town, home of Georgia Southern Ireland.
• During the coach transfer, stop at Marlfield House, a multi-award-winning, four-star resort hotel, for a gourmet “Welcome to County Wexford” lunch.

• After lunch (as part of the coach transfer), visit the medieval Ferns Castle for a rooftop view of County Wexford’s spectacular countryside: the celebrated “forty shades of green.”
• The village of Ferns was once the capital of Leinster, Ireland’s eastern province. Thus, it is a key element within the region known as Ireland’s Ancient East.

• Arrive in Wexford Town for check-in at Clayton Whites Hotel, a four-star property in the center of the historic town, just steps away from Georgia Southern Ireland.
• Enjoy an evening meal at Clayton Whites Hotel, prior to a restful first night in Ireland.

Welcome to County Wexford, cornerstone of the “Sunny Southeast” of the Emerald Isle!

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Monday, June 7, 2021
Day 2
New Ross (Dunbrody Experience) • Waterford • Hook Lighthouse
(Overnight Hotel: Clayton Whites, Wexford Town)

• Travel by coach to the historic river port of New Ross, County Wexford, to visit the Dunbrody Famine Ship & Emigrant Experience, a high-quality visitor experience.
• Since late 2019, it includes an award-winning Savannah Landing feature, produced by Georgia Southern Irish Studies students.
• The venue’s centerpiece is a full-scale reproduction of the sailing vessel Dunbrody, whose original brought Irish emigrants non-stop from New Ross to Savannah during the 1840s and 1850s.
• After a tour, enjoy lunch at the venue’s restaurant, hosted by its director, Mr. Seán Connick.

• After lunch, travel by coach the short distance to Waterford City for a tour of crystal-production at the world-famous House of Waterford Crystal.
• Also included: a brief introduction to Waterford’s Viking Triangle and Museum of Treasures, beside the House of Waterford Crystal.

• Conclude the day’s touring with the unforgettable Hook Lighthouse, where the estuary called Waterford Harbor enters the ocean.
• The last sight that many Irish emigrants saw before heading out to Savannah, the medieval Hook tower is earth’s oldest operating lighthouse.

• Upon returning to Clayton Whites Hotel in Wexford Town, partake in an evening meal that highlights Wexford produce.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Day 3
Wexford Town
(Overnight Hotel, June 8-9: Clayton Whites, Wexford Town)

• During the morning, travel back to Prehistoric, Early Christian, and Viking Ireland by means of a guided tour of the Irish National Heritage Park on the edge of Wexford Town.

• After lunch at the Heritage Park, return to Wexford Town for an in-depth experience of the Georgia Southern Ireland facility, a state-of-the-art learning center housed in a heritage building, constructed in 1812.
• Join Georgia Southern President, Kyle Marrero, PhD, and students in residence and taking courses at the facility for a student-hosted program that celebrates our Eagle Nation alumni.
• Be impressed by highlights of the exciting work that our Georgia Southern students are accomplishing at Georgia Southern Ireland to prepare them for satisfying, successful, and relevant careers.

• After dinner, enjoy a tour of the Irish National Opera House, one of Wexford Town’s proudest boasts.
• Hosted by the Chief Executive of Wexford County Council and other dignitaries, the tour precedes high-quality musical entertainment in an Opera House performance space, specially organized by the Council to welcome and honor Georgia Southern alumni.

• Return to Clayton Whites Hotel for a nightcap before the final overnight in Wexford Town.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Day 4
Wexford Town • Inistioge Village • Jerpoint Abbey • Kilkenny City
(Overnight Hotel, June 9-10: Ormonde, Kilkenny City)

• The morning is open! Use it to get suitcases ready for a change of hotel to the Ormonde, a four-star property in Kilkenny City, Ireland’s de facto capital during the Middle Ages.
• Alternatively, do some shopping in Wexford Town or join a Georgia Southern faculty member and some students for a gentle tour of some Wexford Town highlights, not least the 13th-century Norman town walls and the 19th-century Twin Churches. Also on the tour: the memorial to native son Commodore John Barry, founder of the United States Navy.

• Leave Wexford Town for Kilkenny City, 55 miles to the north.
• Distinguished by the “Medieval Mile” between its magnificent medieval cathedral and its equally magnificent medieval castle, Kilkenny offers an exceptional visitor experience.
• Visit the picture-perfect village of Inistioge, close to Kilkenny City. Known as “the jewel of Ireland’s southeast,” Inistioge is a popular venue for movie-making.
• Included in the experience is Woodstock House, whose Victorian gardens and arboretum have been fully restored and are considered among Ireland’s finest.


• Returning to Kilkenny City, stop at Jerpoint Abbey, among the best examples in Europe of a medieval Cistercian monastery. Many of the original structures are in excellent condition, and the complex is famous for its detailed stone sculptures.

• At Ormonde Hotel in Kilkenny City, enjoy the evening meal.

• As midsummer evenings in Ireland are long, with the sun setting during the 10:00 pm hour, you may wish to take an after-dinner stroll. The Ormonde Hotel is steps away from Kilkenny Castle and the city’s historic core.

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Thursday, June 10, 2021
Day 5
Kilkenny City
(Overnight Hotel, June 10-11: Ormonde, Kilkenny City)

• After breakfast at the Ormonde Hotel, enjoy a tour of Kilkenny Castle, which sits in 50 acres of parkland right in the city center.
• Blending medieval sections and 19th-century Gothic Revival sections, the complex ranks among Ireland’s most impressive castles. What a delightful way to experience 800 years of Irish history!
• In the Castle Yard, you can visit the National Craft and Design Gallery, one of the contributors to Kilkenny’s status as “crafts capital of Ireland.”
• Gift- and souvenir-shoppers may wish to browse another feature of the Castle Yard: the retailer called Kilkenny Design Center.

• After lunch, experience Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile, including St. Canice’s Cathedral. A site of Christian worship for over eight centuries, the cathedral grounds include an imposing round tower (possibly completed around 700 AD), an architectural feature distinctive to Ireland.

• On the Medieval Mile, visit St. Francis Abbey Brewery, Ireland’s oldest operational brewery. The award-winning tour tells the story of Smithwick’s Ale, the brewery’s most famous product.
• By means of archival research, students from Georgia Southern have demonstrated that, in the mid-19th century, the Smithwick family purchased barrel staves from Savannah.

• After the day’s Kilkenny-centered activities, enjoy an evening meal back at the Ormonde Hotel

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Friday, June 11, 2021
Day 6
“Garden of Ireland”: Glendalough & Powerscourt

(Overnight Hotel, June 11-12: Druids Glen Resort, County Wicklow)

• After breakfast at Kilkenny’s Ormonde Hotel, depart for our third and final hotel of the trip: the five-star Druids Glen Resort Hotel in Newtown Mount Kennedy, County Wicklow, around 80 miles from Kilkenny City (and 36 miles from Dublin Airport).
• Known as the “Garden of Ireland,” County Wicklow features the Wicklow Mountains, a picturesque mountain range, shaped during the last Ice Age.
• The day includes a tour of Glendalough (“glen of the two lakes”) in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park.
• In addition to its spectacular scenery, Glendalough features the remains of seven medieval churches associated with a monastery founded by St. Kevin.

• After lunch, visit Powerscourt House and Gardens, County Wicklow, a site with exception views of the stunning Sugarloaf Mountain. A huge estate, Powerscourt reflects a bygone era of stately homes.
• National Geographic awarded the estate’s gardens the #3 spot in its World’s Best Gardens rankings.
• For those wishing to purchase gifts, the Avoca Shop inside Powerscourt House may prove useful.
• The visit includes a tour of — and a tasting at — Powerscourt Distillery, founded in 2019 as part of the revival of whiskey distilling in Ireland.

• The evening meal occurs at the Druids Glen Resort Hotel.

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Saturday, June 12, 2021
Day 7
Dublin, Ireland’s Capital City

(Overnight Hotel, June 12-13: Druids Glen Resort, County Wicklow)

• After breakfast, travel to central Dublin for a reception in honor of Georgia Southern alumni at Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament. The host, an Irish government minister (i.e. senior congressman with a cabinet-level appointment), organizes a tour of the parliament building.

• During the afternoon, group members can enjoy free time to experience such Dublin highlights as the Book of Kells and shopping on Grafton Street. Alternatively, they can participate in a walking tour of the city center, taking in Dublin Castle, Trinity College (University of Dublin), the Treasury exhibit at the National Museum of Ireland, and more.

When returning to the Druids Glen Resort Hotel, enjoy a final dinner in Ireland — plus a traditional Irish music-and-dance show — at Johnnie Fox’s Pub, founded in 1798 in the Dublin Mountains, just south of the city.

• Overnight at Druids Glen Resort Hotel, prior to early start the next morning.

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Saturday, June 12, 2021
Day 6
Return Flight to the United States

• Leave Druids Glen Resort Hotel for Dublin Airport, Terminal 2 (a 45-minute transfer).
• Please note: travelers to the United States process through US immigration and customs control at Dublin Airport. When the plane arrives Stateside, it is treated as a domestic flight.

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Last updated: 1/27/2021