Ireland used to be one of Europe's poorest nations, but in the last 20 years has emerged as one of the most vibrant and exciting nations on the continent. With a stunning countryside and a vibrant nightlife, Ireland has become one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. Its Jewish community has never been large and was dwindling rapidly until the country's recent transformation. Ireland is now one of the few countries in the world which can boast an increasing Jewish community. This tour will allow you to learn about the history of Ireland, its Jewish community, explore its relationship with Israel, and experience the best of what Ireland has to offer – stunning views, lively music, strong tasting beer and lots of good humor.
The day will begin with a walking tour of the historic town inside Dublin, including the unique Ha-Penny Bridge over the Liffey River. The Ha-Penny Bridge has cost 1 penny to cross for over 100 years. See the Dublin Castle and the cobblestoned picturesque Trinity College with the Book of Kells, an illustrated gospel over 1200 years old. You will see the Molly Malone statue, a 17th century beautiful fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin only to die young of a mysterious fever. Her legend has even been turned into a song, which you'll undoubtedly hear as you tour around Dublin. Was she also a prostitute by night? Find out on the tour…
Today we will take a tour of the old Jewish quarter, named "Little Jerusalem" seeing where the former President of Israel, Chaim Herzog, grew up. In the afternoon, we go for a tour of the world famous Guinness Storehouse, finishing the tour with a pint in their Gravity Bar We will then spend the evening in the Temple Bar, on possibly the most lively street on Earth, where we will be able to enjoy live Irish music, dancing, and some Irish drinks.
This morning we will start with a bus tour of the entire city of Dublin, seeing all the major sites. We will take a tour of Kilmainham Gaol jail, a huge prison which housed the leaders of the Irish rebellions against England. We will hear many fascinating stories while receiving dramatic, realistic insight into what is was like to have been confined in one of these forbidding bastions of punishment and correction. Afterwards our tour will take us on a visit to Phoenix Park, the world's largest enclosed municipal park. Phoenix Park is home to the magnificent residences of the Irish President, the Ambassador of the United States, Ashtown Castle, and the Garda Headquarters with herds of roaming deer. Then we will go to the Israeli Embassy to speak with diplomats about the increasingly strained relationship of two countries previously under the yoke of British occupation, now at odds on many issues including Palestine. The day ends with some free time on Grafton Street.
On this day, participants will have a choice of Dublin Museums - National Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of Archaeology and History or the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History in Collins Barracks. In the afternoon we will take the DART to Howth for spectacular views of the Dublin and then hike along the cliff walk, end up in the Habor and come eye to eye with the colony of seals that live there. Finally, we will head back to Dublin and spend the evening on O'Connell Street, the widest street in Europe, full of street artists ,entertainers, and other attractions
Day trip to the Wicklow Mountains
We will start the tour at Glendalough, the 'Glenn of the two lakes', located in the Wicklow Mountains National park. After the park it is time to enjoy a tour of this 6th century monastic settlement nestled in a majestic glacial valley, with time to explore the stunning lakes. The tour willcontinue onto Sally Gap, a place where truly spectacular vistas await you around every corner. It is the site of many films locations including Brave Heart. We will travel over the Wicklow mountains and experience baron peat bogs and wild Irish mountains with vibrant purple heather. To cap off this beautiful tour of the countryside we will end at spectacular Glenmacnass Waterfall. The valley below the waterfall is a glacial gem, with a wonderful sheep farm resting between sheer mountain sides. At the end of the day we will stop in Avoca, a picturesque village, where we will visit a working hand weaving mill. The mill itself dates from 1723, and is said to be the oldest extant manufacturer in Ireland. During the day we will also visit a small traditional Irish countryside Pub. In the evening we meet up with the local Jewish students.
While Jews have been documented residents of Ireland for over 1,000 years the community did not being to take form until Spanish and Portuguese expulsions. This is the story of a small community who has clung to its roots despite being a minority in the country. Despite its small number the Irish Jewish community has still managed to produce some great leaders. The President of Israel, The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Lord Mayors of Dublin and Cork are only a few of Irelands notable Jews. The tour will also enable our students to learn about the strained relationship between Ireland and Israel as they choose to identify more closely with the Palestinian cause, including promoting their diplomatic mission to create an embassy. Time will be spent learning about the similar struggle of the Irish to rid themselves of British occupation and the current tension that exists between the different religious populations that live there.