HWS Alumni/Alumnae and Parent Trip Overview

Dunluce Castle

Hidden Ireland: The History and Culture of the West of Ireland

May 1 - 11, 2014
(9 nights and 10 days)

Tour Leaders

Professor Emeritus of Economics, Pat McGuire and his wife Sandy have a special relationship with Ireland and, of course, Hobart and William Smith. Together they spent two semesters in Ireland leading the Colleges' Irish Studies program at the National University of Ireland (NUI) at Galway. In the fall of 2012 they led the first HWS alumni/ae and parent trip to Ireland and have made many trips to Ireland over the years. They have also participated in the Colleges’ off-campus programs in London and Central Europe as well as a semester with Semester at Sea. During his tenure at the Colleges, Pat co-founded, with Professor Emeritus Joe DiGangi of the Political Science Department, the Colleges' Public Policy semester in Washington D.C. and he has been faculty director 10 times over the past 28 years since the program began in 1985. Pat and Jim Spates (Sociology Department) developed the Two Cities course, a bi-disciplinary course which has taken HWS students to both New York and Toronto for five days each as part of their regular coursework. The course has been taught every other year for the past 25 years. The McGuires believe in the transformative impact of off-campus programs for our students whether it is in the United States or a foreign country. They hope to provide you with similar enlightening experiences in Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher

Trip Overview

There are many ways Ireland has been described including: a land of saints and scholars, poets and playwrights, of happy wars and sad love songs, and, more recently, the Celtic Tiger. Join us to create your own description of this beautiful and friendly island. We will focus on the West of Ireland, where you can still see and feel Ireland's long, complex, and sometimes tragic history. We will introduce you to the Ireland that we love so much - the sea and coastline, the rolling hills, pre-Christian sites, monastic settlements, the pubs and, most of all, the people of Ireland that you will meet along the way. We will visit cities and small towns, and you will have plenty of time to be on your own in the shops and in the pubs. You will learn about the history, the archeology, the language and the culture of Ireland from friends and colleagues whom we have met during our two off-campus Irish Studies Programs at the National University of Ireland (NUI) in Galway. We will walk and talk, rain or shine, uphill and down as we attempt to show you the Ireland of legend, song and poetry. We will see and feel the Ireland of the past, the present and perhaps the future. And we will have a great time - we promise you! Please see the itinerary for details.

Dun Aengus, Aran Islands

Trip Details

Cost: $2100 per person for double occupancy and $2295 per person for single occupancy.

What is included:

  • Hotel accommodations for nine nights at quality hotels located in the center of Galway, Westport, Sligo, Donegal and Derry.
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Lunch on the day of arrival and lunch will be provided on the Aran Islands
  • Four group dinners on nights 1, 6, 7 and 9 – all other dinners are on your own
  • Transfers to and from Shannon airport with the group
  • All tours, guides and transport as indicated in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees for site visits including the fare to and from the Aran Islands

Guinness –Ireland's famous stout

What's NOT included:

  • Any meals not stated above
  • International flights - we will offer an optional group flight
  • Medical and travel insurance:
    • Every traveler needs to have medical coverage while in Ireland so check with your current medical insurance provider to see if you are covered abroad. If you are not, you can purchase a short-term travel medical policy online from companies like CMI or Med Ex Assist, to name just two.
    • We also strongly recommend that everyone purchase travel insurance to cover trip cancellation (not just trip interruption) in case you are unexpectedly unable to travel after you have paid for the trip.
    • Some companies offer a combined medical/travel policy if you need both. The best place to start the search for insurance is at http://www.insuremytrip.com/plans/index.html where you can choose medical, travel cancellation or both, and compare policies from different companies side by side.


Reserving a place on the trip:

  • We can accommodate a maximum of 26 people on this tour, so book early to ensure your place. Our prior trips have sold out within weeks!
  • In order to reserve a place on the trip, you are requested to fill out a registration form online. We will accept reservations on a first-come-first-served basis and we suggest that you reserve as soon as possible, as we expect this trip to sell out. Please note that alums and parents of HWS students and graduates, along with their guests, have priority in booking this trip. Once we reach the 26-person maximum, we will start a waiting list.
  • Within 10 days of making the online registration, we require a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person. We prefer payment by check but credit card payment can be arranged by calling Betty Merkle in the Office of Advancement at (315) 781-3771. The deposit will be applied to the overall cost of the trip. The remainder of the trip cost, minus the deposit, will be due by December 1, 2013.

    Checks should be made payable to "Hobart and William Smith Colleges" and mailed to:

    Betty Merkle
    Office of Advancement
    Hobart and William Smith Colleges
    300 Pulteney St.
    Geneva, NY 14456

    Tel: (315) 781-3771
    email: merkle@hws.edu
  • Once we have received your online reservation, we will email you Part 2 of the registration form.

View of countryside
and Galway Bay

Cancellation policy:

Once you have paid the deposit, if you cancel the trip before December 1, we may, at our discretion, refund your deposit if we are able to find a replacement for you.

If you cancel the trip after December 1, you will lose your $500 deposit and you will be responsible for any fees or deposits that we have paid to vendors on your behalf that are non-recoverable by us. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance (see above under “What’s NOT included.”)

Group Flight:

We will provide a group flight option through United Airlines from Newark to Shannon. The approximate cost will be $800-$900 per round trip ticket and United will offer rates on flights to Newark from your home airport. If you are unable to make the trip after buying a ticket, the ticket can be changed to a replacement’s name (a substitute off the wait list) or the value of it can be used by you for one year. The flight leaves Newark on May 1, 2014 at 7:25 pm and arrives at Shannon at 7:00 am on May 2, (Ireland’s time is 5 hours ahead of Eastern time). The return flight leaves on Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 9:05 am from Shannon and arrives in Newark at 11:20 am the same day.

You are not required to purchase the group flight, although if you choose to book elsewhere, we suggest that you book the same flight (or a flight that arrives earlier than the group), so that you can be included in the transportation from the airport to the hotel. If you arrive later than the group, you will be responsible for making your own way to the hotel in Galway.



Dates: May 1 - 11, 2014

Cost: $2100 per person for double occupancy and $2295 per person for single occupancy.

Register/Deposit: Complete and submit the online registration form now to reserve your spot.

Within 10 days of making the online booking, we require a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person. The remainder of the trip cost, minus the deposit, will be due by December 1, 2013.


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