Niche travel – history – agriculture – music and cooking on Newstalk with Ivan!
This week I will be picking out some rather specialised tours and events in different parts of Europe for the niche traveller. Starting off with the spread of history tours which have become increasingly popular and finishing with a stay that includes entertainment up the road in Northern Ireland and cooking around the country.
GTI specialise in tailor made tours for special interest groups
Your complete trip is designed around your group’s interests and budget, with our specialist knowledge at your disposal to ensure you make the most of your travel plans.
Telephone on 01 843 4734 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your information or and they will put together a quote and itinerary based on your groups requirements.
Educational Battlefield Tours
Accompanied by professional historians these tours visit some of the greatest battlefield and military history sites in Europe from the WW1 and WW2 Battlefields to the rise and fall of the Third Reich in Munich and the beginning of the Cold War in Berlin.
Different generations of a family often travel together to find more about an ancestor who died during the war. Others come for the military history, learn more about the battles and view dramatic sights.
WW1: Flanders of the Somme – From €697 pps
Day 1 – Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 & Menin Gate Memorial
Fly from Dublin to Brussels. Meet your Tour Manager on arrival and transfer by executive coach to Ypres. Visit the world renowned Memorial Museum Passchendaele devoted to the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele (also known as the Third Battle of Ypres). It displays relics of the Great War including an extensive collection of impressive photos & in carefully replicated trenches visitors can imagine themselves in WW1. Continue to your hotel for check-in.
This evening hear the Last Post performed at the Menin Gate Memorial. This is one of the most visited memorials on the Western front and stands in commemoration to the 54,896 missing soldiers who lost their lives during battles in the area. Every evening at 8pm the noise of traffic ceases and a stillness descends over the memorial as the emotive “Last Post” is sounded in honour of these lost soldiers. Return to your hotel for overnight.
Day 2 – The Somme Battlefields
Breakfast at your hotel. Depart for the battlefield sites of the Somme. First visit the site where Father Francis Gleeson preformed The Last General Absolution of the Munster Fusiliers at Rue du Bois & Le Touret Memorial commemorating over 13,400 soldiers who were killed in this sector. You will then visit Loughnagar Crater, blown along with 16 others on the morning of 01 July 1916 as a two-minute precursor to the start of the Battle of the Somme offensive. The crater measured 300ft across and 90ft deep while debris from the explosion rose some 4,000ft into the air. Continue to the 16th Irish Division Memorial at Guillemont marking some of the bloodiest fighting of the whole Somme campaign.
Next visit The Ulster Tower, a memorial to the men of the 36th Ulster Division. Inside the tower is a small chapel with a number of paintings and plaques from the various towns and boroughs of Northern Ireland while at the entrance to the tower is a plaque commemorating the names of the nine men of the division who won the Victoria Cross during the Somme.
Continue to Thiepval Memorial. Standing in an isolated windswept position on the Somme, Thiepval is the largest and one of the most emotive “Memorials to the Missing” from any war. Then visit Newfoundland Park Memorial. Here you will remember the opening day of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel where 733 of 801 men, of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment, were killed or wounded. Finally stop at Pozieres Memorial before returning to your hotel for overnight.
Day 3 – Flanders Battlefields
Breakfast at your hotel. Today visit the battlefield sites of Flanders including the Francis Ledwidge Memorial to the renowned Irish poet in Artillery Wood Cemetery. Continue to Langemarc German cemetery, the only German cemetery in the Salient. Visit John Condon’s Grave in Poelcappelle cemetery. Private John Condon of the Royal Irish Regiment, who at 14 is thought to be the youngest battle casualty of WW1 commemorated by the Commission.
Continue to Tyne Cott cemetery, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world, the sheer number of graves making it difficult to take in. Inside the cemetery two mourning angels kneel on top of dome-covered pavilions at either end of the memorial wall, highlighting the harrowing nature of the conflict in the surrounding area of Passchendaele. Next on the itinerary is the Island of Ireland Peace Park & the Irish Round Tower at its centre. This memorial is of particular significance as it was the first time Irish Catholic and Protestant soldiers united together to fight side by side against a common enemy.
Continue to the 16th Irish Division Memorial at Wytschaete, commemorating the 16th Division’s capture of Wytschaete on 07 June 1917, the opening day of the Battle of Messines. Your final stop today is Willie Redmond’s Grave in Locre. Willie Redmond was the brother of John Redmond, leader of the Irish parliamentary party. Return to your hotel for overnight.
Day 4 – In Flanders Museum & Departure
Breakfast at your hotel and check-out. Today visit the award winning In Flanders Field Museum. Free time to explore Ypres before returning by executive coach to Brussels for your return flight to Dublin.
WW2: D-Day Landing Beaches – From €699 pps
Travel and see the world with like-minded people on one of our Agricultural Tours creating memories that will last a lifetime!
As Ireland’s leading agricultural tour specialist, GTI Travel have created itineraries that offer the perfect balance of educational agricultural visits, enjoyable excursions, amazing sights and free time to relax at leisure.
These holidays are a great way to see the world and also discover different agricultural techniques.
The Beautiful Baltics with Agricultural Visits – From €1396 pps
Day 1 – Dublin to Vilnius
Depart Dublin for Vilnius. On arrival in Vilnius Airport meet your professional tour manager and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Overnight at your hotel in Vilnius.
Day 2 – Vilnius & Trakai Castle
Breakfast at your hotel. This morning there will be a fully guided city tour of Vilnius – the capital of Lithuania. It is a bustling city with one of the oldest and most charming Old Towns in Europe. The splendid architectural blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles makes this a wonderful city to explore. You will visit Old town, Cathedral, pass by Gediminas Avenue, the Parliament and President’s Palace, Vilnius University and Town Hall, St. Anna’s Church – a gem of Gothic architecture, Gates of Dawn and St. Peter-Paul Church. Lunch at your own expense. Later in the afternoon, tour Trakai – the former capital of Lithuania situated on an island in the middle of a lake. Explore the island and the Peninsula Castles before returning to Vilnius. Evening meal at own expense. Overnight at your hotel in Vilnius.
Day 3 – KGB Museum
Breakfast at your hotel. Today visit KGB – The Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilinus. For Lithuanians, the KGB Museum symbolises the 50-year-long Soviet occupation. During World War II it was the site of Gestapo headquarters and later of the KGB. It is the only one of its kind museums in former Soviet Union and presents historical documents about the forms of physical and spiritual genocide against Lithuanian people, the ways and extent of the resistance against the Soviet regime. Afternoon at leisure. Evening meal at your hotel included. Overnight at your hotel in Vilnius.
Day 4 – Šiauliai & Rundale Palace
Breakfast at your hotel and check-out. This morning we will leave the city to visit the amazing Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai. Hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity stand upon a small hill. Continue to Rundale Palace. Considered the most magnificent masterpiece of baroque architecture in the Baltic States, it boasts of authentic 18th century furniture, paintings and beautiful French-style park. Continue to Riga. Evening meal at own expense. Overnight at your hotel in Riga.
Day 5 – Riga
Breakfast at your hotel and check out. Today enjoy a morning tour of Riga – the capital of Latvia by an architectural historian highlighting the details of the city’s finest facades. Discover the medieval Hanseatic town, visit St. Peter’s Cathedral for the best views in the city, Riga castle and its three wonderful museums, Dome Cathedral houses one of the world’s largest pipe organs, and the old Guild houses. Riga boasts of Europe’s greatest concentration of jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) buildings. Lunch at your own expense. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at your hotel included. Overnight at your hotel in Riga.
Day 6 – Gauja National Park, Turaida & Parnu
Breakfast at your hotel and check-out. Today visit the beautiful Gauja National Park. Visit the town of Sigulda, often called the Latvian Switzerland in the National Park. It is considered one of the most picturesque towns in Latvia and is famous for its bob-sleigh track and the down-hill skiing routes. You will then visit the ruins of Crusader Castle and get to experience of the Middle Ages, a time of romantic legends, castles and heroes. Then take the coach down to the river valley and the walk to the sandstone grottoes on the ancient river bank. Later visit the Turaida Museum Reserve. Explore Turaida church, a wooden church built by local craftsmen plus the legendary tomb of Roze, the girl who sacrificed herself for love and “Folk Song Garden” dedicated to Latvian folk songs. Your next stop is Parnu. Enjoy its parks and 19th century shopping streets before continuing on to Tallinn. Check-in to your hotel. Evening meal at your hotel is included. Overnight at your hotel in Tallinn.
Day 7 – Tallinn
Breakfast at your hotel. Today, tour the picturesque old city of Tallinn – the capital of Estonia. You will visit Old Town with its quaint narrow streets and beautiful merchants’ houses exemplifying the best of Gothic architecture. The tour also includes Toompea Castle, the 13th century Dome church, the 19th century Russian orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevskij, the 15th century town Hall square, the Old Guild built to celebrate Tallinn’s membership in the Hanseatic League, and St. Olaf’s church. See the suburbs of Tallinn and Song Festival Grounds, St Brigitte’s monastery and Pirita area. Enjoy some free time for shopping and sightseeing of your choice. Evening meal at own expense. Overnight at your hotel in Tallinn.
Day 8 – Free Day or Optional Visit to Helsinki
Breakfast at your hotel. Today, enjoy some free time for shopping and sightseeing of your choice. Or take an optional visit to Helsinki, capital of Finland. City tour by bus and walking tour of Helsinki includes most interesting sights: the Government Palace, main buildings of the University of Helsinki, Finlandia hall, 19th century Cathedral, market square, the oldest existing church in Helsinki. Evening meal at own expense. Overnight at your hotel in Tallinn.
Day 9 – Tallinn to Dublin
Breakfast at your hotel and check-out. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Dublin.
WHY BOOK A GROUP TOUR?
Here are some reasons from GTI Ireland
Multiple Payment Options
GTI have a dedicated online payment facility on our website. We can also take payments by cheque or post.
24-hour Emergency Line
We also have a 24-hour emergency line manned by our own GTI staff, in case you need us while you are away.
Value for money: fully inclusive packages ensure there are no shocks, changes or hidden costs
High quality coaching, guides & accommodation
GTI only use modern executive coaches meeting all safety standards to ensure comfort and safety. We use registered guides so you get the most out of your tours.
All accommodation has been inspected and pre-approved so you know before you go that everything is suitable and there are no surprises when you arrive!
At GTI we understand that the requirements of each group are different so we plan your ideal itinerary based around your group’s interests and budget.
* * * * * * * * * **
For the music Lover Keith Prowse Travel specialises in organising Choral tours for choirs to a large selection of events around Europe. “There are a lot of choir festivals around Europe and the Irish Choirs are very active. The Praga Cantat Festival in November in Prague and Vienna Advent Singing festivals are very popular with Irish choirs. The majority of our cultural tours are music and opera based with art and history tours as part of the holiday. ”
This selection of music tours to Prague and Vienna are with Keith Prowse
Tel 00 353 (1) 878 3500
Andrea Bocelli Christmas Concert in Prague
3-nights, departing Friday 29 November 2019
Start the festive season in style next year as the famous Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli returns to Prague‘s O2 arena with his Christmas Romance concert on 30 November 2019. As well as his classic repertoire, the program will include songs from his brand new album ‘Sì’ – a celebration of love, family, faith and hope.
Prague offers a breathtaking array of architectural styles with buildings that have been home to Kafka, Mozart, Einstein, Smetana and Dvoràk and provides a magical atmosphere for this concert tour. Prague offers palaces, castles and churches in abundance. Walk the city’s charming, long-forgotten lanes in the Old Town, visit Prague Castle with its stunning views over the city. The tour highlight is a concert performance by Andrea Bocelli on Saturday 30 November 2019 in the O2 Arena in Prague.
Day 1 – Friday 29 November 2019
Your tour will start with a flight to Prague. Flight times will be advised when Aer Lingus announces 2019 Winter Schedule. On arrival in Prague, meet your local guide and transfer to the 4* Clarion Old Town where you are booked for three-nights on a bed and breakfast basis.
Day 2 – Saturday 30 November 2019
Join your local guide for a half-day sightseeing tour of Prague with a visit to the majestic Prague Castle. On today’s tour, you will see the major historical areas of Prague including Wenceslas Square, the charming Old Town and the picturesque Lesser Town. The tour highlight is a visit to Prague Castle. Here you can discover the grandeur of Saint Vitus Cathedral and enjoy stunning views over the whole of Prague. Today’s tour will finish at the Christmas Markets with mulled wine and a Christmas pastry.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure before getting ready to attend the highlight of your stay in Prague – a concert performance by Andrea Bocelli in the O2 Arena.
This evening, meet your local guide and fellow travellers and enjoy a pre-concert three-course followed by an evening with Andrea Bocelli in concert.
At the end of the evening, private coach transfer back to hotel.
Day 3 – Sunday 01 December 2019
Day at leisure to explore Prague independently.
Day 4 – Monday 02 December 2019
Meet your local guide for coach transfer to airport for return flight.
Return flight from Dublin, taxes and transfers
Three-nights in the four-star Clarion Old Town with breakfast
Highlights of Prague Sightseeing tour with visit to Prague Castle
Bronze category ticket (downstairs) to see Andrea Bocelli in Prague’s O2 arena
Guide assistance for all transfers and excursions
Price per person sharing €769
Single Supplement €139
To Book, Call (01) 888 7820
Vienna Christmas Markets & Concert Break 4-days, departing 01 December 2018
In its magnificent setting on the beautiful Danube, Vienna more than lives up to its centuries old tradition of civilised culture. Beautiful buildings of many architectural styles including beautiful palaces, ancient streets, public gardens and street cafes make it one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. The city comes alive at Christmas time with Chriskindelmarkt on almost every corner.
See the best of the city on our highlights of Vienna city tour finishing at the famous Vienna Christmas Market at the Rathaus with a glass of mulled wine and a Christmas pastry and on one of the evenings relax as you enjoy an evening at the Schonbrunn Palace. Start the evening with a three-course dinner at the Café-Restaurant Residenz in the grounds of the Schonbrunn Palace and after dinner, enjoy a Mozart and Strauss concert in the Schonbrunn Palace Orangery where you will hear the beautiful works of Mozart and Strauss accompanied by vocalists and ballet dancers.
Your tour will start with a morning flight to Vienna. Flight (Aer Lingus) departs Dublin airport at 07:10 and arrives in Vienna 11:00. (flight times are subject to change at airlines discretion).
On arrival in Vienna, meet your local Vienna guide and transfer to the 4* Austria Trend Parkhotel Schonbrunn.
Welcome lunch on arrival at your hotel.
The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore independently. Your hotel is within walking distance of Schönbrunn Palace which hosts one of Vienna’s most well known markets
In a magnificent setting with a large Christmas tree, the market is located in front of the Schönbrunn castle. This market has a focus on handicrafts and original gifts such as hand-made Christmas decorations. Enjoy Christmas cake as well as hot punch and Glühwein in a historically significant ambience.
Enjoy a buffet breakfast in your hotel
Today, we visit the Hofburgkapelle for Holy Mass with the Vienna Boys’ Choir, one of the oldest and most well- known boys’ choirs.
Afterward, we head to the Albertina Museum where you will have a guided tour of the “Claude Monet” exhibition.
Afternoon at leisure
In the evening, meet your local guide and enjoy a royal evening at Schonbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the imperial family. The Schonbrunn Palace is considered one of the most beautiful Baroque palaces in Europe. Your evening starts with a delicious three-course dinner at Cafe Restaurant Residenz, located within walking distance from the palace, followed by a classical concert at the Orangerie Schonbrunn, including works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss. A delightful evening for your palate, eyes and ears alike.
6.30pm Cafe-Restaurant Residenz Dinner
Culture and fine cuisine are an excellent combination! The restaurant is located in the Ehrenhof (Court of Honor), adjacent to the palace’s main entrance.
8.30pm Mozart and Strauss Concert
In historic ambience, the Schonbrunn Palace Orchestra performs the most beautiful works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss. In the first part, you will listen to some of the most famous arias and duets from the operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’, ‘Die Zauberflote’ and ‘Don Giovanni’ to name just a few. The orchestra will also perform some of the most popular operetta arias and waltzes of the composer Johann Strauss such as ‘Die Fledermaus’, ‘The Blue Danube’ and the famous ‘Radetzkymarsch’ .The orchestra is accompanied by two opera singers, a soprano and a baritone, as well as two ballet dancers in authentic costumes. Free seating in the category C area.
Coach transfer back to your hotel at the end of the evening.
After breakfast, join your local guide for a city tour of Vienna. See the city sights including the State Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Natural History and the Hofburg, the Imperial Winter Palace. Your city tour will also take you across the Danube, where you will see modern Vienna with the Danube Tower, the United Nations buildings and the newly constructed apartment buildings. A tour highlight for many is the controversial multi-coloured Hundertwasserhaus and the KunstHaus, both designed by the famous Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Your city tour will finish at the Christmas markets with a glass of mulled wine and a Christmas pastry after which you will have free time for shopping and sightseeing.
Afterwards you have the day at leisure to explore the city sights or delight in some Christmas Market Shopping.
Some of the most popular Christmas Markets are listed below:
Wiener Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz Located on the large town square between Rathaus (city hall) and Burgtheater, the Wiener Christkindlmarkt is by far the largest and probably best known Christmas market in Vienna. Sunday-Thursday: 10:00 h – 21:30 h, Friday and Saturday: 10:00 h – 22:00 h Address: 1010, Rathausplatz near U2 Rathaus
Weihnachtsdorf in front of Belvedere castle One of the latest additions to the Christmas Market scene in Vienna, this popular Christmas Village is set against the glorious baroque backdrop of the world-famous Belvedere palace. Open market stalls offer traditional handcrafted goods, elaborate Christmas decorations and special culinary delights. Monday-Friday: 11:00 h – 21:00 h, Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 h – 21:00 h Address: 1030, Prinz Eugen-Strasse 27
Please note that opening times are subject to change
Coach transfer to airport for return flight. Flight departs Vienna at 11:35 and arrives Dublin 13:45 (flight times are subject to change at airlines discretion).
- Return flight from Dublin
- Airline taxes
- Three nights bed and breakfast in the 4* Austria Trend Parkhotel Schonbrunn
- Welcome lunch
- Half-day ‘Highlights of Vienna’ sightseeing tour finishing at the Christmas Markets at the Rathaus with mulled wine and a Christmas pastry
- Vienna Boys Choir at Sunday mass
- Guided tour of the ‘Claude Monet’ exhibition at the Albertina Museum
- An evening of dinner and music at the Schonbrunn palace. Start your evening with a three- course dinner at the Café-Restaurant Residenz in the grounds of the Schonbrunn Palace. After dinner, enjoy a Mozart and Strauss concert in the Schonbrunn Palace Orangery where you will hear the beautiful works of Mozart and Strauss accompanied by vocalists and ballet dancers.
- Free time for independent sightseeing
- Private coach and guide assistance for all transfers and excursions
Price per person sharing €849pps
* * * * * * * * * *
I’ve a more reasonable offer closer to home up in the north where Hastings Hotels offer a range of musical evenings in various venues
ENJOY A MUSICAL BREAK AT THE EVERGLADES HOTEL
Includes overnight accommodation, tickets to Les Musicals and breakfast
Treat yourself to delightful break at the Everglades Hotel in Derry and take advantage of an online exclusive offer for a Les Musicals Break for only £160 for two people. This includes luxurious overnight accommodation, a pair of tickets to Les Musicals on Thursday 11th October and breakfast the following morning.
Les Musicals presents the biggest hit songs from the West End and Broadway with two of musical theatres leading men and X Factor stars Rhydian Roberts and G4 front man Jonathan Ansell joining forces for the first time to create a dramatic and spine-tingling concert.
The Everglades Hotel boasts a fantastic selection of dining options including The Grill Bistro which offers a wonderful mix of traditional dishes with a twist made from the very best of fresh local produce and The Library Bar which boasts a mouth-watering snack, Afternoon tea and cocktail menu. Guests can also avail of complimentary car-parking and Wi-Fi.
To book this fabulous Les Musicals Break go to www.hastingshotels.com/everglades-hotel
* * * * * * * * * * *
Cooking Holidays close to home
Cooking up a storm at Dunbrody House, Co Wexford
Description: A great range of one day cookery courses to choose from this Autumn at Dunbrody House. Combined with one night’s accommodation and breakfast it’s a perfect retreat for those looking for some gourmet guidance. Choose your preferred course from the Autumn Schedule and then book your stay with Dunbrody. Blue Book Vouchers very welcome with complimentary room upgrade (subject to availability on day of arrival)
Valid From: 01.11.2017 To: 01.05.2019
From: €245 per person
Upcoming one day courses:
September Thursday 27th The Art of Slow Cooking
September Friday 28th Seafood & Shellfish
September Saturday 29th Soups, Broth & Crusty Breads
For more information please see www.irelandsbluebook.com or contact Dunbrody House directly on 051 389600
Desserts Cookery Demo with Ian Orr at Ardtara House, Co Derry (Includes dinner, bed & Breakfast)
Thursday 27th September at 7pm
Description: The Desserts Cookery Demonstration with Chef Patron Ian Orr at Ardtara Country House is on Thursday 27th September at 7pm. Pick up lots of hints and tips from one of Ireland’s leading chefs, and learn how to recreate popular desserts at home. The Demonstration is followed by a fabulous 3 Course Meal and afterwards stay the night in one of Ardtara’s beautiful rooms. A choice of freshly cooked Breakfasts the following morning is included in the package.
Valid From: 27.09.2018 To: 28.09.2018
From: £105 per person
For more information please see www.irelandsbluebook.com or contact Ardtara House directly on +44 (0) 2879644490
Bake Your Own Bread at Ballymaloe House, Co. Cork
Description: Are you an early riser? Why not enjoy a night in Ballymaloe House and bake your own bread with our chef at 7am during your stay? Step into the kitchen, roll up your sleeves and learn the secrets of Ballymaloe bread baking. Take your own homemade loaf of Ballymaloe Brown soda bread to enjoy at home. This package includes one night’s bed and breakfast included along with dinner in the evening. * Bread baking is not available on Saturday and Sunday mornings
Valid From: 01.04.2018 To: 20.12.2018
From: €205.00 per person
For more see www.irelandsbluebook.com or contact
Ballymaloe House directly on 021 465 2531