11th International Conference on Applied Phycology, June 22-27, 2008

The following full-day excursions (with packed lunch) by bus are planned for Wednesday June 25:

Tour One: Connemara Tour
Location: Coastal & Inland Connemara
Highlights: Tour takes in:
 Carraroe- beach visit.
 Entrance to Kylemore Abbey & Lunch Break
 Photo stop of Killary Harbour
 Stop at Cong Village (Pint Stop)
Details: Departs University at 09:30 am, returns approximately at 18:00 hrs.

The tour will follow the coast road out of Galway along the shores of Galway Bay going to the first stop at Carraroe Coral Beach. This Beach is entirely made out of fragments of Coralline red alga and shell, a rare phenomenon only to be seen at a few places in Europe. Here some time will be taken to sample some local seaweeds or to find some wild orchids in the grasslands and enjoy the breathtaking views. From Carraroe the road continues through the beautiful landscapes of Connemara with the Twelve Pins Mountain range in the background. There is a lunch break at Kylemore Abbey - an 18th century castle now owned by the Benedictine nuns who run an excellent pottery, giftshop and restaurant here. Letterfrack is one of Ireland’s major national parks.
From Kylemore Abbey the tour heads out to Killary Fjord, famous for its aquaculture and the only Fjord in Ireland. Here we break for a photo opportunity. After this visit to Killary harbour we continue to Cong.  Cong is situated on the isthmus between Lough Mask and Lough Corrib, in the centre of a popular lakeland angling district. Adjoining Cong is the beautiful Ashford Castle. The popular film, The Quiet Man, directed by John Ford, was made in Cong in 1951. The Augustinian Abbey at Cong was founded in the early 12th century by Turlough O'Connor (High King of Ireland), and was built on the site of a 6th century church associated with Saint Feichin. It features some very fine examples of stone carvings, as well as a cloister. The Cross of Cong, the famous gold cross which is believed to have once contained a relic of the True Cross of Christ, is now in the National Museum in Dublin. From Cong it is a short distance back into Galway City and concludes our tour.

Tour Two: Burren Tour
Location: Galway Bay into north Co. Clare
Highlights: Tour takes in:
 Dunquaire Castle Kinvarra.
 Visit to Poulnabrone Dolmen
 Visit to Cliffs of Moher
 Lunch Stop at O’Connors Pub, Doolin.
 Clare Coast Road Panoramic Drive
Details: The tour includes the facilities charge to the Cliffs of Moher and entrance to the Atlantic Edge exhibition. The Cliff Visit may occur before or after lunch depending on the time spent at Finavarra.

The Burren is unexpectedly beautiful, rich in the beliefs of old ways and a megalithic people who were renowned as some of the finest handlers of stone in the world. The guided tour includes the Cliffs of Moher, one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. In many ways this fascinating tour takes us through parts of "the hidden Ireland," the mysterious Ireland of the poet Yeats and the moon-like land of the Burren. It is also home to many rare species of plants. The tour leaves Galway through the village of Oranmore, where the view of Galway Bay unfolds and then heads slightly inland for a while, passing through the oyster famous village of Clarinbridge before heading seawards again at Kilcolgan.  From here, the tour takes the dramatic southern coastline of Galway Bay, through the pretty fishing village of Kinvara and the Medieval Banqueting castle of Dunguaire. Here we make our first stop. With the broad expanse of the great Atlantic on the right hand side and the white-faced limestone rock of the Burren on the left, this is a truly striking panorama, a botanist’s paradise. This is a treasure trove for geologists and lovers of the great outdoors. A short detour provides a view of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey of Corcomroe before heading towards Galway Bay again via Bell Harbour. Beyond the village of Ballyvaughan, the winding coast road turns seaward again passing Black Head lighthouse. Here we schedule a short stop for photo opportunity and exploring. Out beyond in the blue Atlantic are the three Aran Islands of Inishmor, Inish Mean and Inisheer and the outline of the Connemara coast. Our tour now takes us through the village of Doolin, a source of all that is best in Irish traditional music and song. Now we are at the awesome cliffs of Moher, rising a sheer 210 meters from the ocean below. After a sightseeing trip at the cliffs of Moher, the road winds down to Lisdoonvarna for a welcome lunch-break and an opportunity to visit a local pub.
Lisdoonvarna is the home of Ireland's annual match-making festival in September and was once a famous spa where its sulphurous waters were said to have curative and other benificial properties! Our journey back to Galway will bring us to the famous Megalithic thomb Poulnabrone, a stone age burial site. After a short visit we continue the way back into Galway.

Tour Three: Aran Island Tour
Location: Inishmore, Co. Galway
Highlights: Tour takes in:
 Private Return Shuttle to Rossaveal
 Return Ferry & Mini-Bus Tour of Inishmore
 Lunch at Ostan Arainn
 Entrance to Dun Aonghasa

The Aran islands are located off the west coast of Ireland at the mouth of Galway Bay, approximately 22 miles west of Galway city the Aran Islands are renowned worldwide as the jewels in the crown of Galway bay. The Irish (Gaelic) speaking Aran Islands are famous for their unique way of life, where age old traditions co-exist comfortably with modern living.
Inis Mór the largest of the three islands is an ancient land, set in an endless sea where great labyrinths of limestone sweep upwards to the breathtaking cliffs with their panoramic views of Connemara and County Clare. The tour will bring you to the ferry boat in Rossaveal. From here it is a 45 min boat ride to Inis Mór, for which you should take a warm jacket and rain gear. On the island small minibuses will take you around to Visit Dún Aengus one of the most dramatic stone forts in western Europe or Dún Dúchathair (The black Fort) a promontary fort of great antiquity. See the striking limestone landscape of Inis Mór. A myriad of stone walls, small fields and a maze of bóithríns (small roads) will lead you to all corners of this majestic Island. Inis Mór can also be discovered by hiring bicycyles on the island, or in the more traditional way of Horse and Cart (can be rented at your expense when arriving at the harbour). There are also escorted island walking tours.

Tour Four: Galway City Day Tour
Location: City Centre, Co. Galway
Highlights: A walking/talking guided tour of the medieval city of Galway with an optional morning & afternoon walking tour with a guided tour of the Galway City Museum.
 Tour takes in:
 Guided Walk of Medieval Galway
 Guided Tour of Galway City Museum
 Lunch at Museum (2-course, Tea/Coffee)
 Afternoon Guided Walk of Galway’s River Area.
Details: This tour is the ‘soft’ option and participants are free to join in at any section of the tour; the morning medieval Galway walk, the Museum Lunch and Guided Tour and the Afternoon River Walk.

Tour Five: Diving Tour (Max 20 participants)
Location: Scubadive West Connemara, Co. Galway
Note: Lunch not included (can be purchased at Dive centre at own cost. Shore and boat dives available, need SCUBA qualification to participate.

Welcome to Ireland's most perfectly located dive centre. Idyllically situated on the sheltered Killary Fjord (the only Fjord in Ireland and the UK) which is 10 miles long with high mountains on either side and 40 m depth in the middle. Scubadive West is Ireland's all weather dive centre, with sheltered diving all year round.
A shuttle bus will take you directly to the dive centre (approx 1.5 h drive). Here you have the opportunity to make a boat dive or for the less experienced a shore dive to observe indigenous Irish flora and fauna underwater. Equipment rental is included. After your dive you have time to have your lunch and chill out on the beach or walk around in this stunning landscape. The bus will pick you up at 15:00 hrs and you will arrive in Galway at approx. 17:00 hrs

Charges are included in the conference fee (except otherwise stated). Please indicate your choice in the order of priority on the website. The conference organisers may change or cancel excursions if minimum numbers are not reached.

Accompanying person program

Monday: Sightseeing of Galway by bus (9:00 hrs – 12:00 hrs)
Tuesday: River Corrib boat cruise (10:00 hrs -12:30 hrs)
Thursday: Visit the National Aquarium Galway (11:00 hrs -14:30 hrs)
Friday: Galway Cristal factory (10:00 hrs -12:00 hrs) or Irish dancing lessons