Tours and Workshops

Travel with us in 2019 !  Ireland's Western Seaboard

We are very excited to announce our upcoming tours and workshops.  What makes our tours unique is the emphasis on authenticity, looking deeper and making connections, and attention to detail that creates a tapestry of meaningful, life-enhancing interactions.   We guarantee a truly memorable, life-changing experience!

History, Art and Culture in Connemara

September 13-22, 2019

From prehistoric settlements and standing stones to Victorian gardens and castles, the Connemara region on the western coast provides a fascinating overview of the people, history and culture in Ireland. With local guides to interpret for us, we will walk with them to explore this spectacular region, learning about everything from megalithic tombs and Bronze Age villages to monks, pirates and landlords. We’ll experience contemporary Ireland through meetings with artists, listening to traditional musicians, and hearing the stories of our local guides.

Connemara is a place of stunning landscapes, lively towns brimming with arts and music, and a human history beginning in 5000 BC. Spectacular white sand beaches border the western edge, with mountains, loughs, bogs, waterfalls and lush valleys to the east. We will see all of this land and seascape, with most of the time outdoors, and minimal time on a bus.

Join us if you are interested in seeing Ireland in-depth, authentically, and:

  • Experiencing authentic Irish culture through meeting local people, artists, listening to traditional music, and enjoying delicious Irish cuisine
  • Learning about the past, and making connections to the present, through guided walks exploring archaeological sites. We will explore dolmens and standing stones, holy wells and places of pilgrimage, and monastic sites. History from 5000 BC to 1900 AD will come alive through the stories of local guides, and seeing “in the field” the authentic sites
  • Meeting with and hearing from local artists about their art making process and inspirations
  • Exploring the history of Galway and Clifden with guided walking tours with local guides, and joining in the fun at the Clifden Arts Festival with visual arts, music and theater
  • Visiting castles and an abbey, all with fascinating histories, authentic Victorian gardens, and a few ghosts!

Join us in Connemara, Ireland, September 2019…see all the details here:         Connemara Tour 2019

Your tour leader and guide:    Your tour will be led by scholar, artist and teacher Joan Molloy Slack, who will guide the tour and interpret the range of fascinating things we will see and experience, from rock art to Irish culture and contemporary art. She has been organizing and leading tours for 17 years to Ireland, Scotland, France, and Mexico as well as within the United States, and has specialized in Irish Art and Culture with tours focused upon those areas. In addition to leading tours, she is a teacher, a ceramic and fiber artist, ( , and holds a Master’s Degree in Prehistoric Ceramics and Visual Art. Joan will bring her knowledge of art history, experience as a museum curator, and her passion for art and history to our daily excursions. As a firm believer in sustainable tourism, she also seeks out the best local guides, from historians to storytellers, so that we may hear and see through their eyes as well.  She is a dual citizen, Irish/American, and her family comes from a small town called Rathcabbin in Tipperary.  You can read about her travels and research in Ireland on her blog at


 “I began tour guiding 17 years ago through teaching college classes combined with tours in Art History to Mexico and Ireland. I also led independent travel experiences that included Ireland as well as Scotland and France, after researching prehistoric art and ceramics and attaining my Master’s Degree. My fascination with the people who were the first recorded artists, as seen in the cave paintings in France, or on ancient pottery designs or rock art carvings, continues to drive my desire to learn, explore and share my passion for what I have learned with fellow travelers. As I researched and traveled, I found that the best way to delve deeply was to seek out local guides, artists and historians who helped bring the stories of places alive. This never fails to create a rich, meaningful and life changing experience. Layers of story, place names, deeper meanings and human connection create a rich, multi-layered tour with memories that remain long after the travel is over.  I bring this element to all of my tours, and it makes all the difference in what feels authentic versus an overview, or a superficial tour. As an artist, teacher, art historian, scholar and adventurer, I am so looking forward to sharing amazing people, places and experiences with you!”

Comments from past tour participants:

“My travel experience with Joan leading the group was above and beyond my expectation. Joan’s research into so many areas of interest about the sites and folklore made the trip stimulating and insightful without being overloaded. She is a seasoned guide with great “in country” connections and a sincere love of the land she travels. I highly recommend Joan Slack as a tour guide. You will have a wonderful, memorable time. I did.”      J.H.

 “Joan organizes her trips like she creates her art: beautiful, practical, and full of meaning. I’d never been on a group trip before.  Joan’s voyage to Orkney in Scotland was a joy, every day. It’s one of the very best adventures of my life.”   C. P.

“If you want dependability combined with unique experiences, attention to details and wonderful connections, this is a great tour to take. Each day has been planned for a balance of activities, a good pace and plenty of enjoyment. Joan’s background and knowledge really makes for a deeper understanding of everything we see.” K.M.W.

“If you have never been on a small group tour, go with Joan. If you have been with someone else, go again with Joan. Her planning, arrangements, and site selections are perfect! You will meet warm, friendly and local people from all walks of life with talents to share. I still have a Bridget’s Cross, made by Joe from our trip, hanging by my door. Happy travels!” A.H.

Watch and follow the website and/or our Facebook page for our summer workshops on Madeline Island, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior! they will be posted soon…

Check out Joan’s “Felting the Landscape” workshop at John Campbell Folk School in North Carolina in November, 2019

To get a taste of what we offer see the following information from past tours!

“Cave Art, Castles and Cuisine” Exploring the Ancient Past and Lively Present in Southwestern France”  September 18-26, 2016

Spectacular prehistoric art, fascinating history, and great food and wine form the perfect combination for a memorable trip! Join us on a tour of the Dordogne and the Lot regions, where we will explore the cave paintings of people living 40,000 years ago, and see their art in its original setting. We will probe deeply into the meaning of the images, and learn about the geology and archaeology of the caves. Our days will be filled with visits to these stunning prehistoric sites, along with tours of picturesque castles that will bring medieval history alive. Every day we will enjoy culinary delights as we sample the unique and delicious foods and wines of the Perigord region. The prehistoric art is stunning, and you can also expect unique activities such as a river trip in a traditional gabarre boat as you gaze up at fortified castles, wandering markets meeting local people, watching a farmer and his dog find truffles, and experiencing the workings of a family run vineyard.
See the full brochure here cave-art-castles-and-cuisine-may-2017

“Fiber Arts in Ireland: A Wooly Trail Along the Wild Atlantic Coast

The Irish landscape beckons to be interpreted in art: from the lush green fields to the rugged coastlines, the inspiration is endless. Join us for this fiber art tour along the western coast known as the Wild Atlantic Way, as we explore the landscape, craft traditions in wool, and our creativity. We will be creating tapestry weavings and learning to make “pictorial” felt landscapes, and will learn about sheep and wool processes, and watch demonstrations of spinning, sheepherding, dyeing and knitting. We will watch tweed
weavers work magic at their looms, and Irish artists create with hand-dyed fleece. Interspersed will be visits to craft villages, galleries and ancient prehistoric and Celtic sites, and days of immersion creat
ing our own art with the luscious Irish yarns and fleeces.

The tour and workshop will include the exploration of out-of-the-way glens and coves, walks along stunning
seascapes, and majestic mountain vistas, where we’ll gather photographs and sketches which will inspire our hands-on workshop days in felt-making and tapestry weaving.  Fiber art tour to Ireland 2016

 For the Fiber Art Tours, we offer a spouse or companion rate for those wishing to join the tour but not the art workshops. Please see the brochure for rates.

 Felting the Southwestern Landscape, Santa Fe, NM   April 17-26,2016  

A  workIMG_0212-001shop and tour in Santa Fe, New Mexico! The landscape of southwestern New Mexico is rich in color, form and ever changing light, and beautifully lends itself to interpretation is art. In this workshop we will explore ancient petroglyphs and pueblos where the past and present merge, learn about the history and culture of Santa Fe and surrounding areas, and experience the rich and vibrant art scene with visits to artists and museums. All of this experience will be brought back to our hands-on felt-making workshop focused on “Felting the Southwestern Landscape”.


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