The Reel Donegal Experience with Ciarán Tourish - Reel Irish Music Tours
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The Reel Donegal Experience with Ciarán Tourish

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2nd July 2020
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Recent Customer Testimonials

  •   Thank you so much Lisa and Louise.
    We have been on many coach tours before and were very impressed with the luxurious coach, hotels and restaurants with Reel Irish Music... read more

    Mark D
  •   Thank you so much Lisa and Louise.
    I could not fault Reel Irish Music Tours at all from any level. I cannot find words to express how much I... read more

  •   Thank you so much Lisa and Louise.
    Thank you both so much for an amazing time.  Despite being in Donegal many times before, we have never experienced such a luxurious... read more

  •   Couldn't recommend enough, we had an absolute fantastic time, very professionally run. The atmosphere, traditional music, venues,luxury bus and the Craic with great people was above and beyond on all... read more

  •   So it's a brilliantly well run tour that delivers a mixture of fun, Traditional Irish music in authentic Irish settings with real Irish musicians and audiences. Traditional music venues with... read more

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The Reel Donegal Experience with Ciarán Tourish 2Tour Lead: Ciarán Tourish, best known as the nimble fiddler from Altan, is one of East Donegal’s most celebrated musical exports, recognized by fellow musicians worldwide as an unusually gifted player. To be singled out amid the hotbed of traditional music that is Donegal is no small feat. read more



Included in our diverse itinerary you will have the opportunity to enjoy castles, ancient monuments, fortresses and Europe’s highest sea cliffs as well as boat trips.  We will also walk the rolling hills of Donegal’s Glenveagh National Park and experience the magnificent Glenveagh Castle. The majority of the sites we visit will be professionally guided and packed with information. 

The Atlantic Ocean has left a spectacular imprint on our coastline and you can experience this in all its diversity as we journey along the Wild Atlantic Way.   You will become immersed in the Irish culture when we meet the locals and get an understanding of the fishing, weaving and other craft industries, as well as visiting picturesque villages and meeting the artisans who are creating the beautiful products.

A must for Star Wars fans is our visit to Malin Head “A Galaxy Far Far Away”, where part of “The Last Jedi” was filmed. 

And of course, one of the most memorable highlights on this “bucket list” tour will be immersing yourself in the authentic Irish Pub Culture when we frequent the venues for the music Sessions each day and again in the evenings.   You can relax with the friendly locals in front of cosy turf fires and take a drop of the black stuff or a wee dram of the many amazing whiskeys on offer whilst experiencing some of the best traditional music delivered by our Lead, Ciaran Tourish, his accompanists and friends that will join us along the way.

Tours are open to musicians and non-musicians alike therefore, feel free to bring your instrument along.   This is truly a luxurious getaway where you can nurture your soul and relax in the splendour that is Co. Donegal where a warm welcome awaits you.

Please read on for the full itinerary.

Day 1 - 2nd July 2020

The tour begins today with a meet and greet reception in the Central Hotel, Donegal Town. Then we will visit several of the area’s cultural and heritage sites. Firstly a visit to Donegal Castle, built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske. The Castle has extensive 17th century additions by Sir Basil Brooke and is furnished throughout to include Persian rugs and French tapestries. Then a short stroll to the poignant Famine Graveyard, the burial site of victims of the Great Irish Famine 1845-1849. Guests will then have time to get some lunch and prepare for the afternoon’s activities.

In the afternoon we have a wonderful excursion on the Donegal Bay Waterbus where we will cruise in a state of the art 160 seater Waterbus, view the seal colony on Seal Island and see the Bluestack Mountains and Donegal Bay’s many islands. After disembarking the group will visit the nearby ruins of the Franciscan Abbey.

You then have some free time to explore the beautiful Donegal Town or have a rest before the 3- course dinner.. After dinner we pop across the road to the legendary Reel Inn (recent winner of “Pub of the Year”) for our tour’s first session with Ciaran and friends.

Day 2

After breakfast we set off on our tour around the Wild Atlantic Way. First, you get the opportunity to experience the highest sea cliffs in Europe, Sliabh Liag. Lunch is then provided at the Rusty Mackerel pub, followed by a lively session by Ciaran and other musicians. Then we set off for the Glencolmcille Folk Village where you can get a glimpse into daily life as it was during past centuries. We could not complete a trip to this corner of Donegal without visiting the beautiful Assaranca Waterfall. Tonight you will stay and dine at The Nesbitt Arms Hotel in the village of Ardara – a famous traditional Irish music hub. Our session tonight is just across the street in the lively Beehive Bar.

Day 3

After a hearty breakfast at The Nesbitt Arms Hotel, our first stop will be a visit to Triona Design. There you can experience the history and witness the skill and craft that has gone into Donegal Tweed for generations. We then will visit the enchanting Kilclooney Dolmen which dates from circa. 3500 BC. This is a fine example of a dolmen (portal tomb or megalithic burial chamber) and is thought to be one of the best, if not the best, in Ireland. We follow along the Wild Atlantic Way on a scenic drive through the small towns and villages of Rosbeg, Narin, Portnoo to Meenaleck and Leo’s Tavern, home of music artists Clannad, Enya and Moya Brennan. Many of the world’s most famous musicians have played here in this quirky family run pub. Lunch is included here, as is another music session. It’s then back on the bus to journey along a spectacular scenic drive to Bloody Foreland, Falcaragh and on to Dunfanaghy where we will be staying and dining in The Shandon Hotel and Spa and visiting Patsy Dan’s Bar for our evening session.

Day 4

Today’s morning trip is to the fabled Poisoned Glen which lies at the foot of Mount Errigal, Donegal’s highest mountain, considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in Ireland. Here we take a step back in time and visit the homestead of the world renowned weaver Manus Ferry and enjoy stories and demonstrations of times gone. Then we enjoy the second cruise of the tour when we take a trip out on Dunlewey Lough where you will pass the Guinness estate (keep an eye out for the green lady who is said to haunt the house).

One of the highlights of the tour comes next. In Glenveagh National Park, our group will have a guided tour of the historic castle, followed by a unique opportunity to play with Ciaran in the castle itself. There will also be plenty of time to stroll through the famous gardens and lunch in the castle tea rooms.

After Glenveagh, we make our way to Fanad Lighthouse, first lit on St. Patrick’s Day 17th March 1817 then on to the bustling town of Letterkenny via Ballymastocker Beach, voted the second most beautiful in the World by readers of the Observer Magazine. Tonight we will stay and dine in McGettigan’s Hotel in the heart of the town. Our music session will be across the street in the Cottage Bar, named by Lonely Planet as “Letterkenny’s most atmospheric pub”.

Day 5

Today we head north to explore the Inishowen Peninsula in all its unspoilt beauty. Our first stop is the ringed stone fort of Grianán of Aileach. Built in 1700BC, this incredible structure looks down from its hilltop vantage point on five Irish counties, as well as the beautiful Lough Swilly.

En route to the picturesque seaside town of Buncrana we pass through the village of Fahan where we will stop to visit the beautifully decorated 7th Century St Mura’s Cross. Then we’ll travel on to Fort Dunree and the military museum. Afterwards perhaps you will get a chance to walk the grounds and see for yourself one of the best collections of coast artillery guns in the world. Then on to Mamore Gap for a hair-raising descent into the small village of Urris. This leg of the journey may not be for the faint-hearted, but is worth it to experience the breathtaking natural beauty of the surroundings.

On we go to the village of Ballyliffin where we will lunch in Nancy’s Barn, recent winner of the World chowder competition. Next up is a visit to The Doagh Famine Village where you will experience a thought provoking tour through a working village as it would have appeared during the 1800s. Our afternoon session will be held at Ireland’s most northerly bar, Farrens Bar in Malin Head. Your accommodation and dining this evening is at the beautiful Inishowen Gateway Hotel where again, you will enjoy a 3 course dinner before our evening’s entertainment in the nearby Drift Inn. This bar, a once functioning railway station, is the perfect location for our evening session. Another truly atmospheric and authentic experience.

Day 6

We could not leave out the opportunity, being so close to the Northern Irish border, to include a visit to Derry, the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and universally regarded as one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe.

You’ll take a guided tour on these famous walls, followed by a walk across the stunning Peace Bridge. You will then have some free time to explore, do some shopping, and find a lunch spot, in a city famed for the standard of its restaurants.

Then it’s back to Buncrana where we take you on a richly historical walk encompassing the actual spot that inspired John Newton to write the song ‘Amazing Grace’, the site where Theobald Wolfe Tone was captured during the 1798 Rebellion, and also the spot where a local priest was beheaded.

Tonight we again dine and stay at the Inishowen Gateway before our final session in the legendary Rodden’s Bar.

Day 7

Breakfast in the Gateway Hotel

Start Date

2nd July 2020

Price Includes

  • Luxury Coach
  • Tea & Coffee welcome reception on Day 1
  • Daily and evening music events
  • Accommodation on all 6 nights of the tour
  • Breakfast each morning & 3 course meal each evening. And lunch on 3 days while on the move
  • Entrance to all sites, events and attractions
  • Fully escorted tour
  • Local guides
  • Renowned Musicians – travelling on the coach along with accompanists

Price Excludes

  • Flights
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Insurance – Guests need to take out their own travel insurance
  • Room Service Fees
  • Responsibility for guest’s instruments
  • Airport Pick Up & Drop Off

Education & Learning

You will be accompanied by a fully qualified music teacher who will be on hand throughout the tour. There will be many opportunities to play alongside one of Ireland’s prominent traditional Irish musicians, his hand-picked accompanist and extremely accomplished musical friends along the way.

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Inishowen Gateway

McGettigan’s Hotel

Central Hotel

Shandon Hotel & Spa

We have secured Failte Ireland approved hotels for the entirety of your stay in Co. Donegal including The Central Hotel, The Nesbitt Arms Hotel, The Shandon Hotel, McGettigan’s Hotel and The Inishowen Gateway Hotel. We reserve the right to substitute hotels for accommodations in similar categories should the need arise. All accommodation is included in the price.


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The Rusty Mackerel

Nancy's Barn

Leo's Tavern

Olde Castle Bar

All Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and all 3 Course Dinners every evening are included in the price.

Some of our Tour Stops

Doagh Famine Village

Glenveagh Castle

Walls of Derry



Per Person Sharing

€1499 per person

Single Person Supplement €200

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20% Deposit Secures All Bookings

Please feel free to contact us using the enquiry form or via this link if you have any queries.

Terms & Conditions

Booking Procedure

• The price is as quoted on the Tour Schedule page.
• The price covers lodging, the luxury coach, all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, music, signtseeing tours and heritage centres. Guests pay for their own flights, drinks and tips. (see our “what is covered and not covered” section for full list).
• A contract is entered once Reel Irish Music Tours receives your deposit and we accept and confirm the booking.
• Payment of any monies constitutes acceptance and understanding of Reel Irish Music Tours’ Terms & Conditions as listed on our website and our pre-travel documentation.

Unused / Altered Tour Arrangements, Visits, Entertainment and other Features

The price covers lodging, coach travel, all breakfasts, 3 lunches and all dinners, music, sightseeing tours and heritage centres. Guests pay for their own flights, drinks and tips. (see our “what is covered and not covered” section for full list).

Deposit & Final Payment

• Bookings are provisional until a 20% deposit is received, and confirmations issued, and until that time accommodation and services cannot be guaranteed.
• The balance is due 90 days prior to arrival.
• If the final balance is not received on time, Reel Irish Music Tours reserves the right to treat the booking as cancelled by you and deposit payments become forfeit.
• If you book your travel, 90 days prior to departure, the full amount of your trip must be paid in order to confirm the booking.
• All tour information is correct at time of tours going live, however prices and itineraries are subject to change, please confirm all details and final cost at time of booking.

Means of Payment

Payment can be made by major credit cards, Paypal, or bank transfer. If you do choose to pay by bank transfer, we will need a credit card number in order to confirm the booking until the transfer is received. Please send the remittance in the currency you are invoiced.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be notified in writing by email to Reel Irish Music Tour. The following Cancellation Charges apply to all bookings –
• Deposits will be refunded up to 90 day prior to tour, less €500 administration fee, only if the tour is re-sold. We will endeavour to re-sell but as this cannot be guaranteed, the deposit may be forfeit.
• Less than 90 days prior to date of arrival no refund will be applicable.

Revision Fee

Any revision made after the original booking has been processed and deposit received will incur a €50 handling fee per booking, per change.

If you request any changes within 14 days or prior to the start of your tour, Reel Irish Music Tours will try, but cannot promise, to meet any request. Any amendment will be subject to approval and additional costs will apply if incurred.

Lost Belongings

Reel Irish Music Tours cannot be held responsible for any claim, losses, damages or delay of baggage, other belongings, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment, upset or disappointment, distress or frustrations, whether physical or mental, resulting from the act or omission of any party providing services. This includes any belongings left at hotels or attractions visited.

If requested, and when possible, Reel Irish Music Tours could facilitate retrieval of said items under the clients’ own expense. Additional charges, therefore, may apply.

Spa Treatments & Concierge Services

Reel Irish Music Tours aim for their clients to have a pleasant and enjoyable holiday. Spa Treatments and Concierge Services are additional services and we reserve the right to refuse to accept and/or not to proceed, to make these reservations and additional costs may apply.

Travel Insurance

All travelers must be in possession of valid travel insurance. Passengers must bear all such losses or expenses for weather, acts of God, strikes, government actions, war, terrorism or other circumstances beyond our control. To guard against unforeseen circumstances, we require that all guests purchase travel insurance and ensure that they are covered for medical emergencies while abroad.

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