TCA Travels

Our Next Adventure will take you to

Ireland, Wales, and England

September 15 – September 26, 2018 

The Craftsman’s Apron is honored to provide the information detailing your cultural, educational, and Freemasonry inspired trip to Ireland, Wales, and England!

You will find attached a proposed itinerary, travel arrangements, and detailed information regarding all aspects of the tour package.

As with everything we do here at TCA, it is our desire to produce a product that reflects our clients.

If you have any questions regarding your proposed tour, please do not hesitate to contact Brother Patrick Craddock, directly at: patrick@craftsmansapron.com

We are excited about this opportunity and hope to be given this chance to work closely with you and other interested Brothers!

I have had a few questions regarding the trip and will attempt to address each of them at the bottom of this page. I have also added a few travel suggestions to make life easier. 

See our previous travels gallery for a glimpse of what is in store for you!

Itinerary 

Dates for travel:
September 15 – September 26, 2018

 

Day 1 (Saturday, Sept. 15th)

Depart JFK Airport (New York City)

Day 2 (Sunday, Sept. 16th)

Arrive Dublin

Visit Powerscourt and the Jameson Distillery (Overnight Dublin)

Day 3 (Monday, Sept. 17th)

City tour of Dublin to include: St. Patrick Cathedral, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Grand Lodge of Ireland (Overnight Dublin) [Possible opportunity for a Lodge meeting In Dublin]

Day 4 (Tuesday, Sept. 18th)

All day excursions to Causey Farm and the historic town of Trim and Trim Castle (Overnight Dublin)

Day 5 (Wednesday, Sept. 19th)

AM Depart Dublin on Ferry to Hollyhead, visit Caernarfon Castle, drive through beautiful Snowdonia National Park, and finish day at Ruthin Castle (Overnight at Ruthin Castle)

Day 6 (Thursday, Sept. 20th)

Off for a full day in the Walled City of Chester, visit Roman Amphitheatre and Cathedral (Overnight in Chester)

Day 7 (Friday, Sept. 21st)

Drive south through Wales stopping in the historic and picturesque town of Shrewsbury before continuing south through western England to Bath (Overnight in Bath)

Day 8 (Saturday, Sept. 22nd)

Visit the famous Roman Baths and Bath Masonic Centre.  If you have visited Bath in the past, and wish to explore the city, this day can be used as your own personal adventure time! Bath is a beautiful and historic city filled with historic sites, museums, and unique shopping opportunities!  (Overnight in Bath)

Day 9 (Sunday, Sept. 23rd)

Depart Bath for Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) or Hampton Court [depending on availability], Windsor Castle and London (Overnight London)

Day 10 (Monday, Sept. 24th)

Full day tour of London to include: The Tower of London, St. Pauls and the London Eye (Overnight in London) [Possible opportunity for a Lodge meeting in London]

Day 11 (Tuesday, September 25th)

Visit UGLE in the morning and have the afternoon free to explore London and enjoy a farewell dinner in “The Hidden Lodge Room” at the Andaz Hotel (Overnight in London)

Day 12 (Wednesday, Sept. 26th)

Return flight from London Heathrow to JFK

(TCA Travels reserves the right to tweak this Itinerary to accommodate special functions)

Price:

The tour price for your itinerary is $3998.00 (when paying via cash or check  or $4,098.00 if paying via credit card). If you wish to use a credit card for the initial deposit, you will be allowed to pay the remaining payments by check and still receive the discounted tour price.  The tour price is based on a minimum of 40 paying tour participants. In the event that the minimum number of tour participants listed is not attained, please DO NOT presume that the offering is cancelled. TCA and EA Tours reserve the right to offer the tour with any number of tour participants.

Those reserving a place on the tour BEFORE April 30, 2018 will receive a FREE Ticket to experience the LONDON EYE!

Lodge Functions and Meetings:

Opportunities to sit in Lodge are being planned. Availability is limited to seating capacity and the schedule of local Lodges. ALL Masons are responsible for their own regalia and should not expect any loaner regalia to be available for their use.

Air Travel Hub:

This tour includes airfare from NewYork City's JFK Airport to the UK and back to JFK. If any tour participant requires any additional airfare in traveling to and from JFK Airport, it is their responsibility to arrange and pay for the additional travel expense. TCA and EA Tours are not responsible for scheduling or paying for flights or accommodations before departing JFK Airport or after the return to JFK Airport.

Travel Upgrades:

Flights:

Price for upgraded air travel is available upon request and the cost will be determined by the airline (American Airline) at the time of request.

 

Registration Deadlines and Tour’s Web Page information:

Web Based Registrations:

Registration for this tour is made through this web page:

https://eatours.com

The Tour Code is: 219125

Registration Deadlines:

Registration opens: 28 March 2018

Registration will close: 5 July 2018

Final Payment due no later than: 5 July 2018

Details and Fine Print:

The tour price includes the following:

  • We currently have estimated 40 round-trip airline seats, based on deadlines and rules imposed by the airlines, from JFK Airport, transfers and transportation as required to your hotel and point-to-point transportation between cities/specified sites throughout the trip. In order to meet airline group requirements, a minimum of 35 participants traveling together on the same flight (s) is required.
  • Hotel accommodations for each night in a tourist, superior tourist or first class rated hotel based on 2 persons to a room. All breakfasts, 1 lunch,  4 evening meals and 1 celebration dinner at the Andaz Hotel are included.
  • Meals and beverages beyond those listed above are the responsibility of the individual traveller and each client should budget accordingly.
  • Sightseeing as indicated on the itinerary including visits and entrance fees to Powerscourt, Book of Kells, Jameson Distellery, Causey Farm, Newgrange, Caernarfon Castle, Chester Cathedral, Roman Baths, Old Royal Theatre Masonic Museum, Highclere or Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, Tower of London, St Pauls Cathedral, and city tours in Dublin, Chester and London.
  • A Tour Director will be provided.
  • Tour participants may request a guaranteed a single accommodation. However, this request must be in writing and is subject to supplemental fees and availability.
  • Mailing of promotional materials from our office.
  • EA Tours travel aids (i.e. security pouches, luggage tags, trip information packet, etc.)
  • INCLUDED are the estimated applicable governmental international airline ticket taxes and associated fees. Taxes and fees are charged by governmental agencies, are subject to change and is beyond the control of TCA and EA Tours.

The tour price is based on entrance fees, tariffs, (if applicable). If applicable, international currency exchange rates and governmental regulations are in effect at the time of pricing and may be subject to change. If exchange rates, entrance fees or other included items are higher when it is time to finalize the tour, any increases to operate the tour will either be reflected on the final invoice or will be billed on a separate invoice with an explanation. The tour conditions for TCA and EA Tours are listed on the official online tour application and serves as a contract between all tour participants and TCA and EA Tours. Please request and read the tour conditions carefully so that you understand all of the details.

The tour price is based on twin occupancy. A guaranteed single room may be available for a supplemental charge of $698.00.

Please note, unless stated otherwise in this Tour Offering Confirmation and if applicable, it is the responsibility of each tour participant to have a valid individual government approved form of identification or if traveling internationally, a valid passport and/or visa(s). Please note: Unless stated otherwise in this Tour Offering Confirmation, TCA and EA Tours DOES NOT arrange or secure visas for ANY tour participant. The arranging for and securing of ANY visa is the responsibility of the individual tour participant. Any costs associated with attaining ANY domestic or international travel identification documents are not included in the tour fees or price. Most countries require passports to be valid for at least three months after the tour ends.

Some countries even require validity for six months after the scheduled return.

In the event that EA Tours opts to cancel the tour offering, a 100 % refund will be issued to all persons who signed up for the trip.

All participants must understand that specific cut-off dates for itinerary design and modification, release of unused airline seats, supplier payments, as well as tour participant registration and other related items apply. Therefore, this tour offering is valid until July 5, 2018. Participant applications received after that date may be subject to an increase or denied because of availability.

FAQ & Travel Tips!

Spending Money:  Difficult to place a daily amount on that because everyone’s spending habits are different.  A good rule of thumb is $100.00/day.  That would allow for souvenirs, a pint (or two), and food.  However, the amount of daily spending money needed is completely up to the individual.

Travel Visa:  You do NOT need a travel visa, but everyone MUST have a current and valid PASSPORT that does not expire before January 1, 2019.

ATMs:  Check with your bank about making international withdraws from ATMs in Britain.  I have found this to be the easiest way to restock the pocket cash reserves while traveling through the UK.  Many Banks will wave ATMs fee, but I STRONGLY suggest you discuss with your local banker.

Food included as part of tour:  Please visit EA Tours web page they have set up just for our tour.  It will give you the complete itinerary.  Dinners that are included with the tour are listed on the day’s itinerary.

Breakfast:  Breakfast is provided each morning at the hotel.  Make sure you give yourself enough time to have some breakfast before our coach leaves for the day’s adventures!

Pounds/Euros in your pocket:  It is always a good idea to have some currency of your destination in your pocket before you start a journey.  Consider exchanging enough Dollars for Pounds to get you through the first few days of the trip.  You can always hit the ATMs once we get acclimated and our travel routine started in the UK, but the first few days will be busy and it will make life easier if you have some Pounds/Euros in your pocket when you arrive.

Sleeping on the plane:  When we arrive in Dublin on the morning of Sunday, September 16th, we will hit the ground running!  Everyone should attempt to grab some sleep on the plane – if possible.  This will help reset your internal clock while adjusting from jet lag and will give you a bit of extra energy to make it through our first day on the ground in Ireland.

The Ferry Crossing to Wales:  This time of year the weather should be fine, but, if you are inclined to motion sickness it may be wise to have some Dramamine handy.  The ferry is not a small boat.  You will be able to walk around, stretch your legs, take in the fresh sea air, and, if hungry, grab a bite to eat onboard.

Appropriate attire for Lodge functions:  A dark business suit is a minimum attire requirement.  Black suits or tuxedos are also appropriate but not required.

Appropriate attire for the Celebratory dinner in the Andaz Lodge Room: The men should be bringing a suit and tie for Lodge functions and that will be appropriate for this dinner.  Ladies, "smart dress" is recommended, and that can be defines as a business casual outfit (pants suit or dress).  Formal dress and evening gowns are discouraged.  Feel free to dress the way you would at home when going out to an upscale restaurant.

 Do I need to bring white gloves?:  It would be a good idea to have them, but you may not need them.  You will not be turned away if you do not have any white gloves.

 Do I need my own regalia?:  YES!  If you are planning to attend Lodge you will need to bring your own regalia.

Gifts at Tiled Lodge Functions: Although there is never a rule that says gifts are required, they are often exchanged between visiting Brothers and their Lodge hosts. Nothing elaborate or expensive, typical gifts may include: lapel pins, Grand line ties, and/or other small mementos from your Lodge/Grand Lodge.

While the men are off playing Mason:  Ladies, you will be on your own while the men are off at Lodge. (Big surprise there, right?)  However, Dublin is a bustling modern town set in a very historic city.  May I suggest this would be a good opportunity to get to know the other ladies over dinner?  

Transportation while exploring on your own:  There are a number of ways to get around in Dublin and London.  Taxis are always available and are typically cleaner than what is found in the US.  If you are teckies, I found it easy to travel by UBER in both Edinburgh and London.  The Underground (aka the TUBE) in London is also a good choice if you choose to move around any distance in that city.  It is easy to purchase a pre-paid Oyster Card at any TUBE station, and any money left on your card at the end of your stay is easily refunded from machines in each TUBE station.

Comfortable walking shoes:  You should expect to do a bit of walking, so think about the shoes you will be wearing.  Plan to bring a comfortable pair of shoes that will stand the possibility of damp weather.

Personal Responsibility and Tour expectations: It is always fun to explore new places and to meet new people, but no one wants to be “that” person that caused the other 30+ people on the tour to be late or rushed.  Please be aware of all group functions and coach departure times.  Our Tour Guide will make sure to announce when and where to meet for each scheduled gathering and departure.

Up to date Itinerary, Flight, and Hotel Info:  To get updated itinerary information please visit the web page EA Tours set up for our tour at:

https://eatours.com/

And enter our tour code: 219125

A chance for a small itinerary change:  

When will airline tickets be delivered:  I have spoken with the good people at EA Tours and they have informed me, that with group tickets, the airlines usually release them near to 30 days before the scheduled flight.  So, everyone should be on the lookout over the next week to ten days for your tickets to be delivered.

Proper Dress for Houses of Worship:  We will be visiting a number of beautiful Abbeys and Cathedrals.  These Houses of Worship are open to the public and we will share them with many other travellers.  They do not expect you to wear your “Sunday best”.  I am sure the clothes you have planned to wear as we travel around the UK will be acceptable.

Are converters needed:  YES!  If you plan to take any electronic devise (phone, iPad, tablet, hairdryer, etc.) from here to Britain you WILL need an electrical converter!  Make sure the converter you purchase is made for the UK.  There are many offered on Amazon.com or in most placed where luggage is sold.

Will there be hairdryers in the hotels:  I cannot guarantee that each place we stay will have a hairdryer in the room.  I’m sure some may, but am also as confident that some may not.  So, it is a good idea to pack a small hairdryer in your luggage if you require one each day.

Will we be required to pay for luggage:  No. Each person is allowed a standard suitcase (I believe up to 50 lbs.) and two carry on bags (One personal bag – purse, book bag – and another small travel bag.  MAY I SUGGEST, that the fewer bags you bring, the easier your trip will be for moving luggage.  I will be travelling with my suitcase (checked) and a shoulder bag (carry on).

Will dinner be provided at Lodge in Dublin: My contact with the Lodge has informed me that there will be a “basic meal” provided.  I would interpret this as “standard Masonic food”.  So, Brothers, we will not go hungry, but I would not expect it to be a 5 Star meal.  If anyone is concerned about going hungry, there may be time to grab a bite to eat between visiting the Grand Lodge Building and the time we need to leave for Lodge.

Is there a more fine tuned itinerary: The working itinerary can be found on the EA Tour’s web page for out trip.  There is not a “to the minute” itinerary as we will be travelling by coach, traffic can sometimes be an issue, and, when possible, we like take advantage of not being rushed.

Is Patrick Craddock a Freemason:  Yes.  I was Raised on 11 November 1988, in O.D. Smith Lodge No. 33, Oxford, MS.  I am a Past Master of Conlegium Ritus Austeri, Nashville, TN.  I have articles (either about me or written by me) in Northern Light Magazine, The Scottish Rite Journal, The California Freemason, and The Masonic Society Journal.  Although I reside in TN, I hold membership in Lodges in the Grand Lodges of California, Kansas, and Washington D.C.