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(Flexible Start Date)
8 days, 7 nights (including one en-route)
AUGUST 31 to SEPTEMBER 7, 2008
9 days, 8 nights (including one en-route)
AUGUST 30 to SEPTEMBER 7, 2008
10 Days, 9 Nights (including one en-route)
AUGUST 29 to SEPTEMBER 7, 2008
6 to 8 nights in County Kildare, near The Curragh
3 days racing at Clonmel, Kilbeggan, and Leopardstown
Training & Farm visits in Counties Kildare, Tipperary, and Kilkenny
A 4th day of racing at The Curragh if departing the U.S. on August 29 or 30 and/or arriving in Ireland August 30 or 31
Fri Aug 29
Earliest departure date from the U.S..
Sat Aug 30
Earliest arrival in Dublin. You will be met at the airport and delivered to Killashee House, our hotel in County Kildare, about forty miles west of the city, and not far from The Curragh, headquarters of horse racing and training in Ireland. We will also offer transport to Killashee House from locations in Central Dublin for those that have arrived in Ireland earlier. These transfers will take approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
The remainder of the day is free for adjustment and your own activities. Depending on everybody's arrival times, we may organize a bit of optional local sightseeing in the afternoon, the additional cost of which will depend on the number of people we have. Keeping active on the arrival day always helps with your time-zone adjustment.
KILLASHEE HOUSE: Situated amid 80 acres of gardens outside the town of Naas in County Kildare, the main building of Killashee House dates back to 1861. It has grand public rooms, several choices for fine and casual dining (including a pub quite popular with area residents), and a spa/fitness center with an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Visit www.killasheehouse.com for more information on the property. A full Irish breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
Sun Aug 31
Today's arrivals will be met at the airport and brought out to Killashee House. Those already here can have a relaxing Sunday morning and start their handicapping with the Racing Post. If you arrive in time today, you'll be able to join us for the races in the afternoon. We'll be leaving the hotel at about 1PM.
This afternoon we'll have a day of racing at The Curragh, far and away Ireland's most important racecourse. Two-thirds of the country's Group races are contested here, including ten of the twelve Group 1s and all five Classics. The word "curragh" means "course" in Gaelic, and horses have been running here since the 1100s. The first recorded races date back more than 300 years.
The featured race today is the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, one of the most important races of the year for the division. There's also a Group 3 for the 2-year-old boys and a Group 3 sprint for older horses. A Listed race and a valuable handicap help round out a typically strong Curragh card.
At present there is renovation projected to be in progress at the racecourse, and it is uncertain what the state of the facilities will be on this date. If there is seating with acceptable viewing we will have it; if there is an operating restaurant we will provide that option for you, and it must be booked in advance.
For those who are game after the racing, we'll continue on to an optional "no-host" dinner at an area pub popular with horse people.
Mon Sep 1
For trip members who have already arrived this will be a OPEN DAY for you to use as you please. Possibilities include a day-trip into Dublin city, golf at an area golf course, or maybe a trip down to Waterford for some crystal shopping. The local towns of Naas, Kilcullen, Newbridge, and Kildare are typically Irish and a short cab ride away. For the adventurous, there is a car-rental agency nearby that will pick you up at the hotel. You may just want to hang around the hotel and use the fitness center and pool.
Those arriving today will be met at the airport and transferred to Killashee House.
By this evening, everybody will be here. At 6PM we'll all meet up for cocktails at the hotel to get acquainted. Afterwards it might not be a bad idea to take it easy, have a simple dinner at the hotel, and turn in early. We have a lot planned for the rest of the week.
(The timing of this cocktail hour and some of the arrival day sightseeing may be adjusted once we know the arrival times of all the group members. It may be logical to have them occur at another time if everybody is already here earlier.)
Tue Sep 2
We start the trip proper by heading south to County Kilkenny today. Our main stop in the morning will be Ballylinch Stud. This farm is best known historically for being the home at stud of The Tetrarch, aka "The Spotted Wonder", who was named by the Racing Post as the best 2-year-old to run in Britain during the 20th Century. The influence of this undefeated racer and champion sire from the early 1900s remains very much alive in pedigrees today. On a more contemporary note, Ballylinch bred and sold as a yearling 2006 Breeders Cup Turf winner Red Rocks.
Ballylinch maintains a sizable band of broodmares both home-owned and for clients, and stands a number of stallions as well, including the American-campaigned Traditionally.
We also hope to add a visit to the yard of a prominent trainer today, but that will be subject to later confirmation.
We'll make our way into the town of Kilkenny itself for lunch and a bit of sightseeing. This is considered by some to be one of the prettiest towns in Ireland, and it has more than its share of history as well. We'll do some exploring after lunch.
We get back to Killashee House in the late afternoon. We'll make a group booking at an area restaurant tonight and, following a break at the hotel, those who wish to can join up for dinner on a no-host basis.
Wed Sep 3
This morning we return to The Curragh and the yard of one of Ireland's leading trainers. We'll accompany a "lot" over to the gallops and see some work. Following this, we'll rendezvous with the superintendent of the training grounds, who will spend some time with us explaining how he keeps 80 trainers, 1,500 horses, and 6,000 acres of turf interacting properly.
For lunch we'll head over to the Irish National Stud, and follow with a tour of the Stud. The visit at the National Stud is geared more toward the general traveler than the horseman, but the guides do respond well to knowledgeable questioning. There is an excellent gift shop as well as a small museum and, nearby, a Japanese Garden.
The breeding of Thoroughbreds is one of Ireland's major economic generators and one of its most famous international "brands". The five major racing countries (Britain, France, Ireland, Italy, and Germany), together generate more than 90% of Europe's breeding activity. And Ireland, with less than 2% of the major five's population and less than 5% of the land area, is home to over 40% of the Thoroughbred mares and produces more than 40% of the registered foals.
Later in the afternoon we'll visit one of Kildare's prominent private farms.
This evening, following a break back at the hotel, we've made a group booking for dinner at the rustically elegant Rathsallagh House, about a half-hour's drive away. We can have a sit-and-drink and enjoy our surroundings both before and after the fine Rathsallagh dining. Like last night's dinner, this one is optional and on a "no-host" basis, but we'll think you'll be happy if you join us for the outing
Thur Sep 4
County Tipperary, about two hours west, is our destination today. First stop will be Coolmore Stud and its arguably world's-best lineup of stallions including Sadler's Wells, Montjeu, Galileo, Danehill Dancer, Peintre Celebre, High Chaparral, and many others. We'll have a good look around and see all the top guns in residence.
Following Coolmore, we'll have a pub lunch and then head on to nearby Clonmel Racecourse, where the racing will get underway at about 4:30PM. Clonmel is one of Ireland's smaller country courses, and while the racing on this weekday may not be absolutely first-rate, the atmosphere, surroundings, and a mixed card of flat and jump races will charm you.
We'll be back at the hotel by mid-evening.
Fri Sep 5
This is a potential OPEN DAY for those that arrived at the last minute earlier in the week. It will be a relaxing morning for all, and after lunchtime we'll move out to the northwest. We'll do a bit of sightseeing on the way, and arrive at Kilbeggan Racecourse in West Meath for another card of late afternoon racing. The emphasis is on jumpers at Kilbeggan, and it's another typically Irish country course.
After the races we'll have dinner in the area before heading back to Killashee House.
Sat Sep 6
For our major racing day of the week we'll be going to Leopardstown in the southern suburbs of Dublin, the only other course in Ireland that consistently conducts sport at a similar quality level to The Curragh.
The headline event today is the Irish Champion Stakes, which over the past decade has taken its place among the very top all-age tests of the year in Europe. With its ten-furlong distance, million-Euro purse, and strategic place on the calendar a month prior to the Arc de Triomphe, it regularly draws a very high-class field. Among the recent winners have been Daylami, Fantastic Light, Giant's Causeway, High Chaparral, Azamour, and Dylan Thomas.
The rest of the card has heft, and includes the Group 1 Matron for fillies and mares at a flat mile, and the Group 3 Kilternan Stakes for older horses at a mile and a quarter. There are generally a couple of strong maiden races and rich handicaps carded as well.
We'll have lunch at the racecourse and we can keep our tables all day. We'll also have a block of reserved seats with excellent race viewing.
We don't as yet have anything specific planned for this evening, but it's our last night together so there is sure to be some fellowship occurring in the hotel's public rooms. Many of us may wish to stick together for a final dinner at the hotel as well. We should have some stories to tell and some experiences to relive.
Sun Sep 7
The organized itinerary ends this morning, following breakfast and checkout from the hotel. We will provide transportation to Dublin Airport and your flight home, and can also get you into Dublin city should you wish to extend there.
This trip will close on June 30, 2008. Payment in full and all necessary completed paperwork must be received by us no later than this date to insure that you will be able to join the trip.
COME EARLY, STAY LATE:
The itinerary is designed to be full and busy. We're offering a choice of start dates to provide flexibility, but for those preferring a more leisurely experience, we invite you to consider coming earlier, staying later, or combining our arrangements with other European travel.
We can provide transportation for you from Dublin airport or the city to Killashee House and back on whichever days you choose to arrive and leave. Additional nights at Killashee House can be booked, either before or after our scheduled stay. There is racing many days within a reasonable drive of the hotel, and golf at some of the more famous courses in Ireland. And the rest of the country, besides the parts of it we'll be seeing this week, is renowned for its beauty and character.
Killashee House has promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. You should let us know as soon as possible if you wish to do this. Dublin itself is not a city we would claim to know well, but we'll do our best with hotel recommendations for you there, as well.
Please let us know as soon as possible if you wish to extend your trip.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The itinerary includes:
- Six(6) to Eight(8) nights lodging as indicated at Killashee House Hotel, in County Kildare.
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Three escorted days' racing at Leopardstown, Clonmel, and Kilbeggan, including transportation to and from the racecourse, course admission, and race card. A fourth day of racing at The Curragh for those arriving August 30 or early enough on August 31. Lunch and reserved seating on September 6 at Leopardstown. Reserved seating at The Curragh on August 31, assuming it exists on the day.
- Full-day excursion to County Kilkenny, including visit to Ballylinch Stud and sightseeing in Kilkenny town.
- Morning training excursion to The Curragh.
- Visit to the Irish National Stud and visit to a private farm in County Kildare.
- Half-day/evening excursion to Counties Offaly and West Meath.
- Lunch on Four(4) days: in Kilkenny on September 2, at Irish National Stud on September 3, in County Tipperary on September 4, and at Leopardstown Racecourse on September 6.
- Dinner on One(1) night: in County West Meath on September 5
- Transfer from Dublin airport to Killashee House Hotel.
- Transfer from the Killashee House Hotel to Dublin Airport.
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Welcome cocktails at the Killashee House Hotel.
- Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable American escort.
The itinerary does not include:
- Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
- Dinner on any night, or lunch except on days indicated.
The Cost of the Trip does not include:
- Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room, including but not limited to room service, mini-bar, television or video, restaurant or bar service, laundry or dry-cleaning, business services, golf or other activities, and activities arranged through hotel concierge. (All group members will be required to provide a credit card imprint upon check-in at each hotel to guarantee payment for any individual charges.)
- Excess baggage charges. Please check intra-European baggage limitations.
- Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
- Travel insurance.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Charges incurred for anything other than what is specified in the "Itinerary Includes" summary above.
- Personal gratuities. As part of our arrangements we will tip our drivers and the hotel staff on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip anyone who provides them with personal assistance, including special assistance by hotel staff. Please note your principal tour escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
If Arriving September 1 (six hotel nights)
$3,575 per person, based on double occupancy (twelve or more travelers)
$3,645 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or eleven travelers)
$3,775 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$615 single supplement, regardless of group size.
If Arriving August 31 (seven hotel nights, and including racing at The Curragh)
$3,955 per person, based on double occupancy (twelve or more travelers)
$4,035 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or eleven travelers)
$4,165 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$685 single supplement, regardless of group size.
If Arriving August 30 (eight hotel nights, and including racing at The Curragh)
$4,175 per person, based on double occupancy (twelve or more travelers)
$4,245 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or eleven travelers)
$4,375 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$750 single supplement, regardless of group size.
*Please note we have not received final pricing for some minor elements of the itinerary, and therefore the final price of the trip is subject to minor adjustment until we do.
The estimated cost for the optional "no-host" dinner at Rathsallagh House on September 3 is $145 per person, which includes a reasonable amount of alcohol and tip.
Single travelers will be accommodated in the same class of double room as the double-occupancy members of the group.
We will attempt to match single travelers wishing to double up and thereby avoid the Single Supplement, however it will always be the single traveler's decision whether or not to accept a roommate. Because of the limited number of rooms that we have been able to reserve at this very busy time for the hotel, we regret we must reserve the right to limit the number of single travelers on the trip.
All trip prices are subject to change up to thirty(30) days prior to trip departure to reflect fluctuations in currency exchange rates between the United States and the European Union. Dollar prices quoted here are based on the following exchange rate:
1 US $ = .694 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.44 US $
- Additional Nights at Killashee House Hotel, if available: $185 per night, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement $70 per night.
- Lunch at Curragh Racecourse on August 31, if available: $90 per person, not including alcohol.
*This trip is designed for eight(8) to sixteen(16) people. Although we will make every effort to operate the trip, we reserve the right to cancel the trip if it has less than eight subscribers. Should we need to do this, all payments made toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*You must have a valid passport to enter Ireland.
View the itineraries for our other 2008 trips:
For June, click here For August, click here
For October-November, click here
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