Renmore History Society

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Events and Tours

RHS Spain 2016


The destination for this year’s society trip is Madrid, Spain. We are also including a bus tour and spending one night in Salamanca.

One of the greatest museums in the world, the Prado displays superb works by Spanish masters such as Velázquez, El Greco and Goya (pictured)


Destination info
Madrid has been the capital of Spain since 1562 and is located at the geographic centre of the Iberian Peninsula. Because of its central location and high altitude, the climate of Madrid is characterized by warm dry summers and cool winters. Madrid is a city of great monuments. Among its highlights is the medieval centre dating back to the Habsburg Empire and the Prado Museum. The city is not just a cultural destination it is also a lively metropolis with many pubs, cafes, discotheques and nightclubs which open late into the night.
Madrid is also home to the National Naval Museum which presently forms part of the Spanish Armada's Naval Headquarters in Madrid and is one of the most important naval museums in the world. The museum exhibits collections of a variety of historic items that reflect the rich history of the Spanish Navy and the leading role it played in the history of navigation.
Possibly the most prized of these exhibits is the Mappa Mundi, which dates back to 1500 and was drawn by the Spanish cartographer Juan de la Cosa. A mariner and explorer who made seven voyages to America, de la Cosa travelled in the company of Columbus himself on two of the voyages. On the Mappa Mundi Juan de la Cosa made note of the discoveries of Columbus’ first three voyages, even including on it an outline of Cuba. This is the first known representation of the American continent. De la Cosa drew the map on a section of ox-hide and illustrated it exquisitely in watercolours and ink.

Toledo Cathedral


Toledo is one of the most important centres of European medieval history. It was first written about by the Roman author Titus Livius, who describes it as a "small fortificated town". In fact fortification has always been an important parameter in its history and it’s still evident to today.
Toledo was capital of Spain from the Gothic epoch until 1560, fact that explains its really impressive medieval architecture. Strolling through the streets gives one the sense of stepping back in time to the Middle Ages.
Toledo steel was famed in ancient times as it was unusually hard and was much sought after for sword-making as early as c. 500 BC. Swords of Toledo were used by Hannibal in the Punic Wars and became a standard source of weaponry for Roman legions. Toledo steel was famed for its very high quality alloy, whereas Damascus steel, a competitor from the Middle Ages onward, was famed for a specific metal-working technique.

Successively a Roman municipium, the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom, a fortress of the Emirate of Cordoba, an outpost of the Christian kingdoms fighting the Moors and, in the 16th century, the temporary seat of supreme power under Charles V, Toledo is the repository of more than 2,000 years of history. Its masterpieces are the product of heterogeneous civilizations in an environment where the existence of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – was a major factor. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage and historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures.


The walls of Ávila

The Town of Stones and Saints which claims that it is one of the towns with the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches (and bars and restaurants) per capita in Spain. The town is also known as Ávila de los Caballeros, Ávila del Rey and Ávila de los Leales (Ávila of the Knights, the King and the Loyalists), each of these epithets is present in the town standard.
Ávila is Spain's highest provincial city, being approximately 1,130 metres / 3,706 feet above sea level. The city sits against the backdrop of the Sierra de Avila, on a ridge that overlooks the Río Adaja (River Adaja) and a craggy plain.
Iberian tribes established the city before it was integrated into the Celtic culture and eventually Romanised and Christianised. Avila is the celebrated birthplace of Santa Teresa de Jesús (St. Theresa of Jesus) 1515 to 1582. Santa Teresa was born Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, a noblewoman who became a nun at the Convento de la Concepción (Convent of the Conception) at the age of eighteen. Santa Teresa was revered for her writings, first published in 1588, and mystical visions. Ávila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Segovia Castle inspired the wicked queen's castle in Disney's Snow White.
Segovia is yet another UNESCO World Heritage site. The Roman aqueduct of Segovia, probably built c. A.D. 50, is remarkably well preserved. This impressive construction, with its two tiers of arches, forms part of the setting of the magnificent historic city of Segovia. Other important monuments include the Alcázar or castle which construction was began around the 11th century. Also of world heritage value is the 16th-century Gothic cathedral andit was the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain. It is considered to be a masterpiece of Basque-Castilian Gothic architecture and is known as "The Lady of Cathedrals”.

The cloister of the Irish College in Salamanca

Ireland has links with Salamanca as it was the site of one of the famous Irish colleges on the continent. Fleeing religious persecution at home Irish seminarians were forced to travel to the continent for their religious training. Salalmanca was opened in 1592 and was in existence for over 360 years until it closed in 1952. The large cloistered building that housed the Irish College, Colegio Mayor Alonso de Fonseca, is now part of the city’s university, largely comprising accommodation for the huge numbers of visiting students and scholars. Salamanca’s pedestrianised old town is a Unesco World Heritage Site and it was European City of Culture in 2002, alongside Bruges.
The northern end of the old city centre is arguably where Salamanca’s most impressive attraction can be found – the magnificent Plaza Mayor. The vast square acts as a kind of luxurious open air ballroom for the city. The last tango in Budapest might continue in Salamanca!

Valle de los Caídos ("Valley of the Fallen") This controversial monument was conceived by Spanish general Francisco Franco to honour and bury those who fell during the Spanish Civil War. Franco wanted the monument to be a "national act of atonement" and reconciliation. It’s controversial for a number of reasons, not least because 10% of the construction workforce consisted of convicts, some of whom were Spanish Republican political prisoners.

Brief Itinerary
Flight from Dublin on Wednesday 7 Sep at 16:25 arriving in Madrid at 20:05. Return flight departing Madrid on Sunday 11 Sep at 21:30 arriving into Dublin at 23:10.

Three nights in Madrid followed by a Bus Tour spending Saturday night in Salamanca.

Saturday 10/Sep/2016 Depart Madrid 08:00 arrive - Salamanca 16:00
Route = Madrid > Toledo > Talavera Battlefield Monument > Salamanca Battlefield > Salamanca
Sunday 11/Sep/2016 Depart Salamanca 09:30 - Arrive Madrid Airport 18:40
Route = Salamanca > Avila > Segovia > Madrid-Barajas Airport (19:00)

All accommodation is in reasonably priced hotels. The price includes all transfers and the bus tour. Please note breakfast and meals are not included. The tour starts and ends at Dublin Airport.
Note: All of the above destinations times etc. are subject to change.
Booking Details

Deposit €150
Balance €299 due end of July or early August
Total for 4 nights inc. flights, transfers, bus tour and accommodation is €449. (Approx.)

Deposits are used to pay for the flights and are non-refundable once the flights have been booked.

The price for the trip is per person sharing as usual. You can bring a friend to share a room with or you can agree to share with another traveller. Single rooms are available and a single supplement which has yet to be determined is usually about €150. The supplement is necessary because most hotels sell accommodation by the room and single persons pay the same price for the room as two people. Furthermore many hotels, especially city centre hotels do not have the quantity of rooms available for single accommodation for a big group like ours. So singles can be accommodated but may it be in another hotel close by.

Places are limited and we agreed that deposits are due at our next talk on Thursday 21st April. However, some people have already sent deposits to Dick O’Hanlon so by the time of our next talk, we might be booked out. If you want to book a place your best bet is to contact and ask him to reserve a place for you and send on a deposit as soon as you can. Send cheques to Dick O’Hanlon, Cois na Coille, Merlin Park Lane, Galway. 087-9600914 Please make cheques out in the name of Renmore History Society

Looking forward to having you on the trip.
Eugene Jordan
Travel and Tours Officer.


The 6th Annual Trip – Some highlights by John Flannery

IL Duce ----- Our Tour Leader .....Eugene

Day 1. All we had to do was arrive at Dublin Airport on time for a 6 pm flight???? but it wasn’t going to be that sort of a trip for poor Megs Shields ...... “the old petrol in the diesel tank stunt”(we have all done it) was bad timing, but being the true hero she is , and determined as well, she made it just in time . So the team of 26 arrived in safety at departure lounge. Most of the crew had travelled before with the Society and knew what to expect , but we welcomed a few Newbies, ( Pat Holland and Annette Curran, for them it was the maiden voyage) . It was 11.30 pm when we arrived at Hotel in Budapest , but tired as we were the reconnaissance party did find a Pub( after some a few false starts) and it turned out a very late night indeed.

Budapest from Buda Castle


Our tour to the continent began on 11th of September and ended on 15th September 2013.

View Photos

Our trip in 2014 was a bus tour around the Mosel and Rhine River Valleys.

Spitzhäuschen -Pointed House
Spitzhäuschen -Pointed House

In September the people of the wine producing regions celebrate the harvest with lots of wine tasting, good food and music. Throw in buildings direct from the pages of a Grimm brother’s fairy tale and the experience is magical. Bernkastl-Kues is one such place with its half-timbered buildings which includes the amazing Spitzhäuschen (“Pointed House”). Nicholas of Cusa, one of the great figures in the history of Western ideas and thought was born and lived here. Cohem is a village to the north of Bernkastel-Keus is a favourite place for visitors. Legend, folklore and a rich web of history is woven into every street. Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Mosel river valley, between the Eifel and Hundsrück. It is surrounded by high elevations, steep vineyards and typical wine villages, offering tastings, festivals and genuine hospitality. Cochem Castle, (Schloss Reichsburg) dramatically rises above the town.

Bridge at RemagenYou might have seen the film the Bridge at Remagen which is about the Battle to capture the Luddendorf Bridge intact. The capture of this bridge was an important event of World War II because this was the only significant bridge still standing over the Rhine from the West into the heartland of Nazi Germany. Since it was a railroad bridge, this bridge was also strong enough that the U.S. Army could cross it immediately with heavy tanks and artillery pieces and trucks full of military supplies. Once the bridge was captured, the troops of the Wehrmacht began strenuous efforts to destroy or damage it, or to slow the U.S. Army's use of it. Among other things the Wehrmacht used heavy artillery and V-2 rockets against the bridge and it also sent frogmen at night to sabotage it. However, these were discovered and shot by soldiers of the U.S. Army Military Police Corps attached to the 9th Armored Division.

Koblenz is one of the most beautiful and oldest towns in Germany with over 2000 years of history. The name translates as ‘confluence’ because it stands at the meeting point of two major rivers the Mosel and the Rhine. It is the northernmost point of the Rhine Gorge which was declared a World Heritage Site in 2002.

Leave Koblenz and travel south to the city of Mainz through the Rhine Gorge. The city was home to Johannes Guttenberg who introduced the Printing Press to Europe which is widely regarded as the most important event in the medieval period.

Cochem Castle

The not so small print…
The flight leaves Dublin airport 20:20 on the 10th September arriving at Frankfurt-Hahn airport at 23:15. The return flight departs Frankfurt-Hahn at 21:50 on Sunday 14th September arriving into Dublin at 22:45.

The cost of the trip is likely to be in the region of €450.00 per person sharing. We regret due to the numbers travelling and the difficulty securing large numbers of hotel rooms in the same hotel at the same time we are unable to offer single rooms.

Note: the itinerary including destinations mentioned are subject to change until such time as hotel and flight arrangements have been confirmed.

A non-refundable deposit of €150 is required to secure a place. (it’s non-refundable once your flight has been booked due to Airline policy) The balance is due eight weeks prior to departure.

Our early morning flight to Berlin landed a Schönefeld airport and the first thing we did was drive to another airport! At Templehof Airport Brian MacGabhann gave a talk on the history of the Airport, the first talk of our tour. The Templehof building is a massive structure built by the Nazi’s .It was designated as an airport by the Ministry of Transport on 8 October 1923. The old terminal was originally constructed in 1927. In anticipation of increasing air traffic, the Nazi government began a massive reconstruction in the mid-1930s. While it was occasionally cited as the world's oldest still operating commercial airport, the title was disputed by several other airports, and has in any case been moot since its closure.


Tempelhof was one of Europe's three iconic pre-World War II airports, the others being London's now defunct Croydon Airport and the old Paris – Le Bourget Airport. One of the airport's most distinctive features is its large, canopy-style roof, which was able to accommodate most contemporary airliners during its heyday in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, thereby protecting passengers from the elements. Tempelhof Airport's main building was once among the top 20 largest buildings on earth; Tempelhof Airport closed all operations on 30 October 2008, despite the efforts of some protesters to prevent the closure. A non-binding referendum was held on 27 April 2008 against the impending closure.

On 20 June 1948, Soviet authorities, claiming technical difficulties, halted all traffic by land and by water into or out of the western-controlled sectors of Berlin. The only remaining access routes into the city were three 20 mi (32 km)-wide air corridors across the Soviet Zone of Occupation. Faced with the choice of abandoning the city or attempting to supply its inhabitants with the necessities of life by air, the Western Powers chose the latter course, and for the next eleven months sustained the city's 2½ million residents in one of the greatest feats in aviation history.