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THE COUNCIL wish it to be distinctly understood that they do not hold themselves responsible for the statements and opinions contained in the Papers read at the Meetings of the Society, and here printed, except so far as No. 26 of the General Rules of the Society extends.
The first excursion by sea around the Irish coast undertaken by the . Society was in the Summer of 1895, in connexion with the meeting for the Province of Connaught, held in Galway, which terminated with a visit to Ballintubber Castle, in County Roscommon, a former residence of successive generations of the Kings of Connaught, whose descendant, O'Conor Don, received and entertained the Society within the roofless walls of the ancient fortress.
The sea excursion of 1895 left Belfast on 2nd July that year, and ended at Galway, so as to enable the members to take part in the meeting and excursions held there on 8th July and four following days.
This sea trip was so successful that, at the request of those who participated in it, as well as some of those who were debarred from going, a second excursion was organized in 1897, which took in the whole coastline from Belfast northwards, and on to Kingstown.
In connexion with each of these cruises Guide Books had been prepared descriptive of the places visited, which were greatly appreciated loy the members of the party. These Guides were afterwards reproduced as "Antiquarian Handbooks," and formed Nos. 2 and 3 of the Society's Antiquarian Handbook Series. Of these, No. 2 embraced a description of the coast-line from Belfast to Galway; and No. 3, from Galway to Kingstown. They were placed on sale by the Society's publishers, were quickly sold off, and are now out of print.
In the year 1899 another cruise, but on a larger scale, was undertaken. The route was around the Western and Northern Coasts of Scotland, taking in the Western Islands and the Outer Hebrides, which abound in so many antiquities of the greatest interest to students of Irish Archæology, owing to the intimate connexion between the Scottish Isles and the North of Ireland.
In this expedition the Society was joined by the Cambrian Archæological Association; and a larger steamship than that obtained for the former trips, and with better accommodation, was chartered. This cruise extended over the eight days from the 20th to the 28th June, 1899, and was a most interesting and successful one in every respect.