By Sierra Lauder, Director of Events and Downtown Promotions, Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce
Our downtown office has been hopping lately. Amongst the downtown construction, launching our #constructdowntown sweepstakes, and planning the annual Awards Banquet, the Chamber is still busy preparing for our trip to Ireland in April 2018. If you’re on the fence about going, there are still some seats open and we would love for you to join us. This is your chance to spend 11 days in Ireland, immersing yourself in the history, culture, cuisine and diverse landscape.
The tour includes nine nights in handpicked hotels, daily breakfast, a private deluxe motor coach and guided sightseeing by local experts. Travelers will be treated to lush landscapes, historical sites with awe-inspiring architecture, and local pubs filled with fresh pints and friendly locals where it is not uncommon for local musicians to share songs and stories.
Eleven days can’t cover everything that there is to experience in Ireland, and everyone has different interests, which is why we opted for a tour company that can flex to build some options in to suit your travel preferences. You can choose to extend your tour a few days, or for added fees you can customize your experience both on the tour and after. So if a banquet dinner in a 17th-century castle overlooking Galway Bay sounds like your glass of whiskey, you can make that happen. Or, if you want to leave the tour in Dublin and go your own way, Go Ahead can help you plan for that.
Here are just a few reasons to consider joining us in Ireland next Spring:
1. History and Architecture. Ireland’s landscape has been riddled with intense power struggles, severe climate changes, famines, viking raids and turmoil. Yet through all this, Ireland has prevailed. We will have the opportunity to see much of Ireland’s history up close and personal on our trip, including the inside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the remains of a 6th century church, various historical castles, a Victorian mansion, the iconic Rock of Cashel that dates back to the 12th century, and the Cobh Heritage Centre. The Heritage Centre is situated within Cobh’s beautifully restored Victorian railway station, a building with its own historic story. Because so many people from Ireland’s past travelled through Cobh, which is still one of the world’s finest natural harbours, you can learn about the stories of these emigrants, as well as other maritime, naval and military history of the area.
2. Music and Dance. Irish traditional music has remained vibrant through the 20th and into the 21st century. Irish traditional music includes many kinds of songs, including drinking songs, ballads and laments – sung unaccompanied or with a variety of instruments. Traditional dance music includes reels, hornpipes and jigs, and even the polka. Since the 20th century, Irish pubs have become little outposts of Irish culture, and we will have plenty of opportunities to see the inside of these pubs. Towards the end of our tour in County Kerry, each tourist gets an entire free day to explore on his or her own (or with new friends) and soak in the Irish culture. You even have the option to visit a traditional Irish music and dance show while we’re there.
3. Food and Drink. At one time, Ireland was the world leader for producing and distributing whiskey – allotting for 90% of the world’s whiskey at the start of the 20th century. Our tour includes an Irish Whiskey tasting at the historic Kilbeggan Distillery – the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland, dating back to 1757. And let’s not forget that the world-famous Guinness originated in Ireland and is proudly served at nearly every pub and restaurant. Food and cuisine in Ireland has experienced a recent renaissance based on traditional ingredients that incorporate international influences. This cuisine is centered around fresh vegetables, fish, traditional soda breads and the wide range of hand-made cheeses that are produced across the country. (Try a “Dublin Lawyer” – lobster cooked in whiskey and cream.) Come hungry and find a new favorite meal or recipe idea to bring home.
4. Environment. The island’s rich vegetation, a product of its mild climate and frequent rainfall, earns it the nickname the Emerald Isle. Some may say it is similar in climate and landscape to Tillamook with its farmland, forests and coastal habitats. Our particular tour makes a point to travel around the Ring of Kerry, a 112-mile coastal route that covers Ireland’s most spectacular scenery. For a more hands-on experience, take a walk along the coastline of the Cliffs of Moher.
5. Community Building. Even if Ireland isn’t your dream vacation, traveling “Chamber style” is worth it if only for the intense community building that ensues. Taking the conversation about how to enhance the livability of Tillamook to a new country opens up new avenues of thought, appreciation and problem solving. It gives us a chance to see how other cultures operate and thrive, and we are then able to bring this newfound energy and excitement home with us to implement in exciting ways. Being an active part of this conversation is hugely rewarding.
Intrigued? For more information about Ireland, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our office at 503-842-7525.