Bespoke Travel
Prehistoric hot spots in Ireland - hot water, soaps and beer !
Since 1990 there has been a dramatic increase in the identification and excavation of burnt mounds and spreads of burnt stone in Ireland. Many of these discoveries were the result of developer funded projects.

A sizeable proportion of these burnt mounds, known in Gaelic as fulachta fiada, once excavated revealed the presence of troughs most commonly circular shaped, with some contained wooden linings. The majority of these archaeological sites which have been scientifically dated, reveal that they date mainly to the middle to late Bronze Age (c.1800-1100B.C.).

The most probable use of fulachta fiadh were for cooking. The trough when filled with water could have been used to cook meat i.e. dear, through the immersion of fire heated stones into the water (sandstone, granite, limestone). In addition, the animal fat from the cooking process could have been mixed with ash from the fired stones to form a natural detergent, which may been used in the bathing process. Interestingly an excavated fulacht fiada on the ground of the EcoVillage in Cloghjordan, Co. Tipperary revealed the presence of a circular house underlying the mound of burnt stone. It has been interpreted by the excavator as a sweathouse used as a sauna. The structure, probably covered with animal hides, had two entrances to enable the safe and efficient use of the structure as a sauna. In recent years experiments on modern constructed troughs have shown them capable for brewing beer.

If you’re interested in learning more or indeed participating in creating and using a fulacht fiada, you can enquire and enrol in our lifelong learning course (ICI0513 - The Archaeological Heritage of Ireland).

Ancient submerged forest, man-made trackway and animal skulls discovered in Connemara, Co. Galway
Mother nature has with her severe weather that beat the Atlantic coast of Ireland over the last few months shown us some more glimpses of our heritage. The storms have stripped and washed away sand, stone and debris in several places which has resulted in the partial destruction of a portion of Dúnbeg promontary fort on the Dingle peninsula, Kerry,the exposure of 19th century schooner ’Sunbeam’ in Co. Kerry, the exposure and removal of human remains on Omey Island, Co. Galway and most recently the discovery of a submerged ancient forest on the south east Connemara shore.

The forest is being researched by an NUI Galway geologist, Prof. Mike Williams. In recent days, a local resident was walking the coastline to see the forest, when he reported the discovery of an ancient trackway. The trackway would appear to be prehstoric and may be in keeping with the many examples of prehistoric trackways/ toghers that have been recorded and excavated by the Irish Archaeological Wetland Unit (NUI Dublin) since the early 1990’s.

It is assumed that the forest will become covered by Mother nature over the coming months. If you are interested in visiting this area, it has been incorporated into our existing tour of ’The Bogs of Ireland’ (in an appropriate and sensitive manner)

For all those foodies - with a flare for flavoursome fare
A competition for foodies with an interest in creating a menu fit for a world renowned poet. William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923 and as part of the occassion, he dined with members of the Nobel Academy in Stockholm, Sweden. Unfortunately the archives do not contain the menu for the occasion.

The competition is your chance to produce a menu suitable for such an occasion and offers the opportunity to become Executive Chef in the kitchen of the beautiful Radisson Blu Hotel in Sligo as you prepare your menu for 100 distinguished guests. The deadline for entry to competition is Friday 18th April 2014. For full details ’read more’ below.

We're all looking onwards and upwards
Delighted to see that Chris Hadfield has agreed to become a tourism ambassador for Ireland. He’s taken Ireland to his heart in many ways and grabbed everyone’s attention with his fantastic videos, interviews, books and general unassuming charm.

Can’t wait to see lots more of him out and about in Ireland.

The Blaa is safeguarded from imitators
The County of Waterford is famous for its unique signature fresh bread roll, known locally as a blaa. A recent ruling from the European Union means from now on only the white floury roll can bear the name ’blaa’ if produced in the County.
If you want to taste a blaa and learn more about the heritage of our siganture Irish foods, why not get your group to book the Medieval Ireland tour in 2014 - it includes a Medieval Banquet.

Irish traditions at Halloween
The traditions of Halloween in Ireland stretches back to pre-Christian times. Samhain (Halloween) as it is known in Gealic is a time when the dead could return to  the land of the living and could pass into the living world. There was a tradition in Ireland, where by the people in the house would leave a plate of food in the table if a deceased family member wanted to return to the house. Their way was lit by candles placed in turnips/ sugar beet.
If you want to learn more about Irish Halloween customs and ancient ways why not join our group tours of Fairies, Fables and Folklore or Ghosts, Ghouls and Graveyards.

Great Northern Distillery to produce whiskey again
The Great Northern Distillery has been bought and after redevelopment will be producing whiskey by 2018 at the latest. The distillery forms an important part of the history of Dundalk, Co. Louth. The market for Irish whiskey is doubling every five years according to Mr. John Teeling of the Irsh Whiskey Company, that bought the distillery.
If you like hearing about what it is that makes Irish whiskey so famous and would like to see the distilleries in action, join us on the ’Bogs of Ireland’ tour and we’ll tell all the stories on site and you can taste ’a measure’ or two !

W.B. Yeats exhibition
A fascinating exhibition about the life, times and works of William Butler Yeats is on in the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. It has excellent visual displays enabled detailing viewing of objects on display such as his passport and notes. It has many objects relating to his interest in the occult and folklore.
If you want to learn more about W.B Yeats and his interest with the occult and fascnation with folklore, come and experience the very places he lived in that shaped his writing on our tour ’Fairies, Fables and Folklore of Ireland’.

Family History
An online searchable database showing the records of those interred in Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery in Co.Limerick has been completed in a collaborative project between Limerick City Archives and Mary Immaculate College of Education. The database should prove a valuable resource, that can be used in advance of travelling to Ireland, for those looking for Irish family/ ancestral history.
For such minded groups of people, why not let Culture and Heritage Tours organise a customised tour that is designed with your needs in mind, let us take you to the key repositories of the relevant information and subsequently to the parts of the country that your previous family relatives called ’home’. We can help you not only find their footstep, but walk in them. Click on our ’Tailor made tours’ section of this website for further details.

Georgian Building restoration
The restoration project of the Georgian building at 58, South William Street, Dublin is well under way and the building will soon open to the public. The restoration project is the work of the Irish Georgain Society and Dublin City Council. The building was built in the 1760’s by the Society of Artists and it was the first purpose built public exhibition gallery in Ireland or Britain.
If you want to learn more about this and other buildings and society during the Georgian period why not sign up for our specialist tour - ’The Wonderful World of Georgian Living’ and see similar period buildings that Ireland has to offer.

Announcement of our new tour
Culture and Heritage Tours is pleased to announce the development of its new tour to the suite of luxury excorted tours of Ireland.
The new tour, The Bogs of Ireland is a six day tour explaining the history, development and significance of the bogs of Ireland. The tour will include the explanation of the formation of the bogs (raised and blanket), the range of archaeological material from the bogs, the history of the splendid midland towns of Ireland, demonstrations of bog oak sculpting, the history of the production of whiskey and participants will enjoy a day of horse racing at the famous Curragh racecourse.

(Please see tours page for full details)