Date: October 1-10, 2020
  Ireland Tour 2020
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  Our 2017 Trip
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  trinity college harp
Trinity College Library & Harp

The Long Room at Trinity College

carolan's harp
Exclusive Viewing of Carolan's Harp, now in storage, at the Collins Barracks, National Museum


carolan statue
Carolan Statue & Park in Nobber


Grainne Hambly on the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge


trinity college harp
Trinity College Library & Harp

The Long Room at Trinity College

carolan's harp
Exclusive Viewing of Carolan's Harp, now in storage, at the Collins Barracks, National Museum

The Harpers' Escape is produced by You Gotta Have Harp Productions, 11 Country Lane, Voorhees, NJ 08043. Phone: 856-795-7637.


From Harpers' Escape, Trad Tours & Holloway Travel in Ireland

Come With Us on the
Harp Tour of Ireland!
October 1-10, 2020

We had a great time this summer. You can read all about our third annual tour. I'm giving everybody plenty of time to put our Fourth Harp Tour on their vacation calendars! If you've always wanted to go to Ireland, come with us! You don't have to be a harp player to love where we're going and what we'll be doing on the third annual tour.
--Kathy DeAngelo & Marianne MacDonald

Just as the Harpers Escape always strived to stay small in size, our tour this year will be limited to just 30 people. It is “first come, first serve”. Reserve your seat with a deposit. It's a small tour but large in hospitality, friendship and conviviality. It is open to all. You don't have to be a musician to come! Please feel free to share the tour information with your friends and family! See the rest of this page has a simple, and tentative, itinerary for the 2020 tour. I'll be updating this page with details as I get them confirmed.


breakfastThe 2020 Tour Includes:

  • Meet at Dublin Airport by 9am
  • 3 Nights in Dublin
  • 3 Nights in Kilkenny
  • 3 Nights in Killarney
  • 1 Nights in Limerick
  • Daily Full Irish breakfast at each hotel
  • 4 Hotel Dinners
  • Paid admissions to all touring sites
  • Daily doses of harp & trad music!
  • Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
  • Driver/Guide Seamus Buckley

slieve league 2020 Itinerary in Progress!

See our 2019 tour story. It's Ireland! There's plenty of history, breathtaking scenery and there will be plenty of traditional music! Here is our proposed route and some of the highlights along the route. Sightseeing events are subject to change, depending on weather and a variety of other anticipated factors.

This is last year's itinerary

donegal castleDONEGAL
Mill Park Hotel, The Mullins

    Day 1: You arrive and Meet up with us at Dublin Airport by 9am.
  • We'll stop en route for tea & scone and a lunch.
  • We head west across the country to County Donegal. When we arrive in Donegal town, we'll stop at the 15th century Donegal Castle and the ruins of Donegal Abbey.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
  • Concert with William Jackson & music session to follow.
    Day 2: a scenic trip through Donegal to Glenveagh National Park, with a walk through the Castle Gardens. Time-permitting, we'll make a trip up to Doe Castle, the stronghold of the MacSweeney clan for 200 years, on Sheephaven Bay.
  • We're hoping to stop in the Gaeltacht stronghold of Gweedore, home of many of the best known traditional music artists in the Irish language. Music at the famous Leo's?
    Day 3: Coach tour across the Wild Atlantic Way to see the stupendous scenery and some of Europe's highest cliffs around Slieve League (Sliabh Liag)
  • Glencolmcille Folk Village is our stop and our musical foray today is participating in the Fiddle Week going on in Glencolumcille with a dance class in the afternoon. Couple dances taught for beginners with Live music!
  • Maybe: Ardara Heritage Centre which tells the story of Donegal tweed from the shearing of sheep to the manufacture of the woven cloth.

kilronan signDRUMSHANBO:
Lough Allen Hotel

    Day 4: We'll stop at yet another castle, Parke's Castle, in Kilmore enroute to Drumshanbo.
  • Visit to Carolan’s Grave in Kilronan Cemetery, outside of Ballyfarnon.
  • We'll have a lovely dinner at the hotel followed by evening concert and session with special guest fiddler Conor Ward.
    Day 5: You can explore Leitrim and Roscommon on your own. Our stay coincides with the O'Carolan Harp Festival in Keadue. A bunch of us go over to the harp competitions in the morning. Harp workshops at the hotel in the afternoon with Grainne Hambly & William Jackson are included in your tour. Views of Lough Allen. Evening concert at the hotel with Grainne & Billy. Session to follow.

meath ensembleBELFAST:
Europa Hotel, City Centre

    Day 6: We leave In the morning and head to Nobber (Carolan's birthplace) for an exclusive afternoon concert at the George Eogan Cultural & Heritage Centre with Dearbhail Finnegan & Grainne Hambly and the Meath Harp Ensemble, like last year. This was an awesome event for us in 2017 & 2018! We stop at the Carolan statue on the way into town for the group photo!
  • A soup & sandwich lunch at Nana's and then time to walk through the historic St. John's Cemetery, which is adjacent to the Cultural Centre, formerly the church.
  • Dinner at the hotel & session to follow.

belfast concert finale

  • giants causewayMONDAY AUG. 5
    Day 7: 1792 Belfast Harp Festival historical walking tour. We start out at Queens University for an exclusive showing in the Special Reading Room of the original Bunting manuscripts and other related artifacts, along with a lecture on Bunting.
  • A lovely walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens, which are conveniently located right next to the McClay Library where the Bunting exhibition will be.
  • A coach tour of the Murals of Belfast and an educational eye-opening tour about The Troubles.
  • Late afternoon visit to the Linen Hall Library, containing some fascinating collections, including the largest Robert Burns archive outside of Scotland, plus a McFall Harp.
  • Exclusive afternoon concert with Patrick Davey (uilleann pipes, flute, whistles), and Grainne Hambly and other musical guests. Concert will be in the Linen Hall.
    Day 8: Tour the Antrim Coastline with stops at the Giants Causeway ( World Heritage site pictured above) in Bushmill or the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, time & weather-permitting. We're going to try to get in a visit to St. Aidan's Church in Limavady with the grave of noted 18th century harper Denys Hempson (who was the oldest harper at the 1792 Belfast Harpers Assembly). His harp lives on in a glass case in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

jeannie johnstonDUBLIN:
Trinity City Hotel

    Our hotel is conveniently located near Trinity College and the quay on the River Liffey, just a 5-minute walk to the Samuel Beckett Bridge, which we fondly call the "harp bridge."
    Day 9: Trinity College to see the holy grail of harps, The Trinity College Harp (sometimes called the Brian Boru harp) in one of the world's most beautiful libraries, The Long Room, and the "must see" Book of Kells.
  • Exclusive "behind the scenes" showing at the National Museum at the Collins Barracks of the historic harps of Ireland in the storage area of the museum. This was a real highlight of our 2018 visit. This year we'll get a chance to see these harps! See my 2018 account of the visit to the Barracks.
  • Dinner at the hotel Daily dose of music to be determined.
    Day 10: EPIC, the Irish Emigration Musuem, and the Jeanie Johnston, (pictured here with the harp bridge) an incredible Famine museum to end our stay in Ireland. The rest of the day is "on your own" to explore the city. Goodbye session at the hotel.
  • FRIDAY AUG 9: early morning trip to the airport for departures

music music music

We encourage the players coming on this tour to bring their fiddles, flutes, tinwhistles, concertina and other trad instruments easily gotten on a plane. Don't worry harpers! We'll be arranging to have harps waiting for us in Ireland! We'll have to share but you will be able to get in some playing while you're there.

Gráinne Hambly and Kathy DeAngelo & Dennis Gormley will be our resident, lead musicians.

Guest Musicians we've lined up so far: Gráinne Hambly & William Jackson (of course!), Dearbhail Finnegan, Patrick Davey, Conor Ward, and a few surprises along the way.

For the harpers: an optional activity harp workshop with Gráinne Hambly. We'll arrange for the harps. Don't worry about what playing level you're at. There will be 2 groups.


Tour Pricing 2020:

same as 2018
(does not include airfare*)

Rooms are double-occupancy.
Single rooms available for an additional $500. If you're a single person traveling alone, come! We can link you up with a roommate.
All seats are first come/first serve.
Deposit of $500 holds your reservation.
Click here to download the reservation form.

The first invitations went out to those on our mailing list in late October. We'd love to have you join us but please don't procrastinate to reserve your seat. If you'd like to chat with Kathy about the trip and travel issues you may have, please call her at 856-795-7637 or email her.

*Passengers will make their own travel arrangements and will be given a time/location to meet the coach in Dublin Airport on Thursday October 1.. We advise travelers to purchase their own travel insurance. We cannot refund last-minute cancellations.
**Price based on exchange rate on 10/20/19 and on 30 passengers traveling. Rate may change depending on exchange rate changes or fewer passengers.

Cancellations & Refunds: You may cancel your reservation and get a full refund of your deposit up to June 2019. You may also transfer your reservation to another person at any time. We might be able to help you find someone to take your reservation. We advise purchasing travel insurance.


Tour organizers

I want you to be completely confident in how this tour will be organized and managed! Here are the folks who are involved in making the Harp Tour of Ireland the trip experience of a lifetime!

Kathy DeAngelo, Tour director

Kathy DeAngelo organized the annual Harpers' Escape Weekend for 24 years. If you've been to the Escape, you know her well! The hallmark of the Escape was its cozy size, which we're carrying into this tour. She and her husband Dennis Gormley have been performing traditional music for more than 40 years. Kathy's organizational skills are legendary. You may know her as the director of the Somerset Folk Harp Festival, the largest folk harp conference in the United States. She, Dennis and Grainne Hambly are your on-site musical hosts for the tour.
Contact Kathy: email or phone 856-795-7637

Marianne MacDonald & Trad Tours

Marianne MacDonald and Trad Tours have been leading tours of Ireland and Cape Breton for more than 20 years. She has been actively engaged in the Irish music and dance community in the Philadelphia area and has her popular Come West Along the Road radio show on Sunday mornings. With her extensive connections to traditional Irish musicians in both the US and Ireland, besides her deep family ties in County Kerry, her tours showcase the music, history and culture of Ireland.

Contact Marianne: email or phone 856-236-2717.

Seamus & Cait Buckley & Holloway Travel

seamusSeamus & Cait Buckley and Holloway Travel, based in Mallow, County Cork, have been coordinating with Trad Tours for eight years. Seamus specializes in individually tailoring tours to meet his client interests and like Marianne, has a deep appreciation for traditional music and dance. On our trip, Seamus will drive our coach and be our guide. We leave the driving and the jokes to him! He's also a pretty fine singer himself. His daughter Cait drives the follow-on van with our luggage and she's a tremendous harp player herself.

grainne hamblyGrainne Hambly

Gráinne Hambly is one of Ireland's leading traditional harp performers and teachers. She has been on staff at the Harpers' Escape for 15 years and now we get to hear her on her own turf in Ireland! Gráinne is our musical coordinator for the tour and besides arranging our daily dose of harp and traditional music she'll be teaching a workshop one of the days for the harpers on the tour (while everybody else goes on a daytrip). You can expect to see and hear her husband, noted Scottish harper, William Jackson in one of our concerts.


The 2017 Harp Tour group gathered around the Carolan statue in Nobber, County Meath then headed to St. John's Church (cemetery shown below), now the George Eogan Cultural Center, for our special harp concert. We'll be back in Nobber on our 2020 Tour.

updated 10/21/19  
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