Frequently Asked Questions
Why the name Eire Retour?
The experience we offer intentionally blends elements of a retreat and a tour—a definite departure from most tours. We borrowed from both words to create Retour, which means “return” in French, fitting beautifully into the experience we’ve created for those wanting to reclaim neglected parts of themselves. Our goal is to create a rich experience in an intimate group setting, allowing you the opportunity to truly immerse yourself into Irish culture, see amazing places, and have great fun making memories that contribute to the feeling of a life well lived.
The modern Irish Eire evolved from the Old Irish word Eriu, which was the name of a Gaelic goddess. Eriu is believed to have been the matron goddess of Ireland, a goddess of sovereignty, a goddess of the land. Etymology points to roots meaning “abundant land”. In this sense the Eire Retour offers a “return to abundance”.
How many people will be on the Retour?
To create the intimate travel experience we value, space is limited to 15 participants.
Where can I find an itinerary?
While we have a carefully planned schedule and every detail tended to, there is a bit of magic that happens when a group comes together. We like to leave room to follow the thread of conversation and connection. Also, the unpredictability of the weather in the West of Ireland requires that we take advantage of sun breaks or avoid being caught in a downpour.
For these reasons, we intentionally do not publish an Eire Retour itinerary.
Each night, we announce with great fanfare the next day’s plans. We visit stunning and sacred destinations including Achill Island, Cong, Croagh Patrick, Downpatrick Head and Moyne Abbey.
For more info visit the TOUR page.
What can I expect each day?
A typical Eire Retour Day begins with a self-prepared breakfast in your cozy cottage. We provide everything you need—brown bread, jam, butter, rashers, fresh eggs, porridge, fruit, tea and coffee—to set your day off to a fine beginning. Before we embark on the day’s adventure, we gather for Tea and Turf talks, often featuring a Guest of the Day.
Depending on activities planned, we may lunch together in the main cottage or grab prepared picnic baskets as we head out the door.
From here, each day takes on a different flavor: some evenings may find you kicking up your heels at a local pub music session, feasting together on locally-catered or foraged foods, or retreating to your cottage fire for quiet reflection and perhaps a sip of Irish whiskey.
Regardless of the day, we have carefully blended group adventure with time for relaxation and solitude.
How do I know if the Eire Retour is a good fit for me?
The Eire Retour is designed for those seeking a deeper travel experience. If you are drawn to immersing yourself in local culture, nesting in a home base, blending daily excursions in the gorgeous County Mayo landscape with guided reflection and intimate conversation and sharing your experiences with a small group of like-minded people, the Eire Retour is for you.
If you’re looking to experience the whole of Ireland in ten days, this trip is not for you.
What will the Irish weather be like?
The weather varies from blue skies, billowy clouds and soft breezes with temperatures in the mid sixties to sudden blustery showers and sweater weather…followed by a rainbow. One thing is certain: it will rain. And chances are very good that we will be caught in the rain at some point. Layers and rain gear are essential.
What are the hikes like? How much walking will there be?
The hiking varies in intensity from ambling through parks and villages to hikes across uneven terrain—fields, stone walkways, beach sands or gentle hills. Walks vary in length from one to three miles. If you are healthy and able to walk two to three miles comfortably, you should be able for the walking required. Many of the walks can be modified to suit your own comfort. You always have the option to sit out a hike or only go as far as you feel comfortable.
What about money?
Irish currency is the Euro. We recommend bringing about $45 per day as a minimum for a meal and drinks. More is needed if you wish to buy local crafts or if your appetites extend to the gourmet.
Is cash or credit card better for travel?
Many of the places we visit are off the beaten path and only accept cash. There will be times you have the option to use a credit card. However, we have found cash is an easier and more cost effective way to travel.
For cash, making one relatively large transaction at the Shannon Airport ATM upon arrival minimizes bank transaction fees and simplifies most purchases. You can also replenish your cash from local ATM’s as needed. Know your cash withdrawal daily limit. If it’s too low, arrange to up the limit.
If planning to use credit cards, we recommend notifying your bank and credit card company ahead of time. Share your plans to travel, where you’ll be and the dates of your trip. Ask about the fees you will be assessed when making a credit card transaction or an ATM cash withdrawal.
What if I want to stay longer?
Of course! You have the opportunity to rent a car in Shannon on the last day of the Eire Retour and travel to other wonderful sites in Ireland. Hertz, Avis/Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Dooley and Thrifty are all located in the Shannon Airport. We are happy to share our knowledge of places, lodging and restaurants in the West of Ireland.
What if lose my bag or need to cancel my trip?
We advise you to cover yourself for baggage, accident and trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended to protect you in case of last minute illness or injury, which might cause you to lose your deposits.
Do I need a passport?
Each participant needs a valid passport. Please double check the expiration date on your existing passport. For more information about the passport application or renewal process visit http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html
What should I pack?
Best Dressed is not among the awards we present at the end of the trip. You will be happier if you carry as little luggage as possible. Combination washing machines/dryers are available in the cottages.
Plan around the principle of layering (lightweight cottons, fleece, shirt, sweater or down vest, rainproof windbreaker) so you can adjust for comfort. On the walks you should be prepared for chilly and wet conditions. Here are some basics to consider:
Walking or running shoes
Lightweight hiking boots (optional)
Warm long sleeved sweater
Toiletries and toilet bag
Prescription drugs and personal first aid (include motion sickness medication if sensitive)
Camera gear, journals, etc.
For more information, please contact us directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 503.333.3910.
I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.