Next Branch Meeting
Details of the spring/summer meeting 2020 will be posted here as soon as they become available.
Visit of Dublin Branches to Belfast City Hall and Belaghy, May 2018 - Report
From Belfast, we travelled to the Seamus Heaney “Home Place” in Belaghy, Co. Derry. After a short introduction by our guides, the rest of the tour is self-guiding. As you listen to the recorded descriptions, you joyfully realise that you are listening to the voice of the man himself, Seamus Heaney. Objects belonging to Seamus are displayed – his pen and his battered brief case among them.
You can also watch his interview with Gay Byrne where he explains how the whole world knew of his Nobel Prize before himself and Marie. Many in the group felt that much of his poetry can be explained when you visit his “Home Place.”
Marathon Travel arranged the tour and Mary Glasheen guided. The Carrickdale Hotel fed and sustained us.
Photos courtesy of Josephine Nagle
Visit of Dublin Branches to Lisbon, May 2018 - Report
Wednesday brought us to Fatima. The peace and beauty of the grounds delighted us all. Within the “old” basilica we saw the final resting place of the “children”. The simplicity of the “new” Basilica, interrupted only by the mural on the back wall is refreshing.
On our way back to Lisbon we detoured to see the Unesco Heritage, walled town, of Obidos. It’s winding, cobbled streets and spectacular views were delightful.
Thursday was an easier day with a visit to the National Palace of Sintra. The 1,000 year old palace was the residence of the monarchs in the middle ages. The Swan room and the Magpie room are unique. The palace also houses the largest collection of glazed tiles in the world.
Cascais, once a traditional fishing village, became a fashionable seaside resort in the 19th century. The sea and sandy beaches are still popular with tourists, and retired teachers! A stroll through the town and a small glass of Port was the perfect way to wind down after a hectic few days.
Marathon Travel provided the logistics and Kevin O’Neill, guide, made it a memorable trip. Our local guide, Bertha, was a mine of information and kept us going with her good humour and kindness.
Visit to Berlin, May 2017 - Report
Berlin is a city of many attractions, from museums and art galleries to architecture. What really sets it apart is the co-existence of the old and the modern. It is home to glamour and art, but also major capital buildings. The buildings throughout Berlin are large but don’t overawe you. The city has been wonderfully restored despite the damage during WW2.
When I heard of a trip to Berlin, being organised by the RTAI, I jumped at the chance to join them. The trip was put together by Marjorie Murphy, guided by Siobhan McDonald and provided by Marathon Tours. There was great camaraderie among the group as we took off and returned on good time, with Ryanair, whose staff were courteous and helpful.
As we had five days we got straight down to business. Sights visited include the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and Government Quarter, Glienicke Spy Bridge, the Tiergarten with Victory Angel, Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie Museum. We also visited the remains of the Berlin Wall, dismantled since 1989 – how time flies! During the tour we also drove past the spot where Hitler shot himself in 1945. The bunker has been long demolished and turned into a car park.
The highlight for me was the spectacular Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam whose symbolic French name means, ‘carefree”. It was built by Fredrick the Great, as a summer palace in the 18thCentury. The Palace itself is a treasure trove of art, furniture and decoration. The gardens resemble a miniature Versailles.
Overall, our group enjoyed excellent food, good company and chatting together at night over a few drinks. Thanks once again to all involved!
Peigí Ó Ruairc