Spanish Civil War


Role of Irish Soldiers in Spain

This remarkable 4-day trip will mainly focus on the battles of Madrid in 1936-37 and the role of the International Brigades in defending the city from Franco’s insurgents, with particular focus on Irish participation in the conflict. In addition to key locations in the city of Madrid you will visit the site of the Jarama battle where Charlie Donnelly and others mentioned in the renowned Christy Moore song Viva La Quince Brigada were killed, and pay a visit to where General O’Duffy’s 700-strong Bandera was in trenches during the same battle.


  • Return flights from Dublin to Madrid including taxes & charges
  • Tour Manager, professional historian guide & executive coach transfers
  • 3 nights at hotel in Madrid including breakfast plus 1 lunch
  • Guided sightseeing tour of Montaña Barracks (now the Temple of Debod) where the Civil War could be said to have started, Parque del Oeste (West Park) and University City
  • Visit to the Jarama Battlefields and Charlie Donnelly Monument
  • Guided tour of El Escorial - a grandiose construction designed by Philip II to commemorate the victory of Armada
  • Visit to Valle de los Caidos - a controversial mausoleum and Benedictine monastery
  • Guided tour of the Air Force Museum. This museum boasts an impressive array of Civil War aircraft, including the Heinkel He 111, the Messerchmitt BF 109, the Polikarpov I-16 and I-32 among others
  • Free time for sightseeing and shopping at leisure


Day 1 - Frontline Madrid: The Montaña Barracks, Parque del Oeste and University City

Fly from Dublin to Madrid where you meet your Tour Guide on arrival and transfer by coach to Central Madrid. You will visit the site of the Montaña Barracks (now the Temple of Debod) where the Civil War could be said to have started in earnest, then visit the nearby Parque del Oeste and the still standing blockhouses built by Franco’s forces which marked the front line. Finally you will go on to the University City, scene of fiercest hand-to-hand fighting during the entire war which still displays visible evidence on its walls of the intensity of the struggle. After checking in to your hotel you will be free to visit downtown Madrid and other famous landmarks, including the site of Ernest Hemingway’s Florida Hotel which affords excellent views of Madrid and gives you a very real idea of how close the combatants were. Overnight at your hotel. 

Day 2 - The Jarama Battlefields and Charlie Donnelly Monument

Breakfast at your hotel. Depart for the battlefield site. Note: As there is some walking on stony ground involved, you will need to be reasonably fit and wear appropriate clothing. First visit the monument to the thirty thousand killed in the Battle of Jarama. Visit nearby trenches occupied by British and American Battalions of the International Brigades. These are in the process of being restored by the local council as a tourist attraction and are in very good condition. Walk to “Suicide Hill” where most Brigaders fell between February 12th and 14th 1937. Later drive to El Cid Restauarant in Morata de Tajuña and visit attached Civil War museum that contains an impressive amount of weapons and uniforms collected from the battlefield. You will then have lunch with wine in the El Cid Restaurant before continuing to Titulcia in the afternoon. There will be a small charge for entry to the museum, given as a donation. Titulcia is where the Irish Brigade of General O’Duffy’s pro-Franco forces assembled before moving up to the front. On our return to Madrid we will visit the memorial to Charlie Donnelly in Rivas Vaciamadrid. Overnight at your hotel. 

Day 3 - El Escorial and Valle de los Caidos

Breakfast at your hotel. Today we travel north to visit the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a grandiose construction designed by Philip II to commemorate the expected victory of the Armada in 1588. Every Spanish king and queen since has been buried here. During the Civil War, El Escorial was located in the Republican Zone, and in the early stages of the conflict fierce shoot-outs took place in the hills above the monument between militias who travelled out from Madrid by train and General Mola’s rebel columns advancing on Madrid. The Valle de Los Caidos or Cuelgamuros as it is locally known, is a controversial mausoleum and Benedictine monastery constructed by Franco to house his remains and those of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange. It is situated in the hills not far from El Escorial, and the cross above it can be seen for miles around. Some 30,000 prisoners were employed in its construction and many are presumed to have been buried there with no known graves. Today there are moves to restore Franco’s remains to his family and reassign the site to another use which will include a commemoration to those who died. Our return to Madrid will pass the site of the Battle of Brunete which took place in July 1937. Overnight at your hotel. 

Day 4 - Air Force Museum & Departure

Breakfast at your hotel and check-out. Today we visit the second largest aviation museum in Europe at Cuatro Caminos airfield in Madrid. This museum boasts an impressive array of Civil War aircraft, including the Heinkel He 111, the Messerchmitt BF 109, the Polikarpov I-16 and I-32 among others, not to mention an impressive collection of aircraft from different decades. Transfer to Madrid Airport for your return flight to Dublin.


  • ​3 nights accommodation in Madrid with breakfast

Extra Information

  1. Price based on 2 sharing including all airport taxes & charges 
  2. Single room supplement €129pp. If you are travelling alone and are willing to share a twin room with another group member of the same sex, we will do our best to accommodate this request although it cannot be guaranteed
  3. Non refundable / non transferable deposit of €250pp required at time of booking
  4. Balance due 10 weeks before departure 
  5. Price includes 1 standard piece of hand luggage. Checked-in luggage is available to purchase prior to travel - prices may vary
  6. Optional insurance available from €24pp (terms & conditions apply)
  7. City taxes may apply, payable locally at your hotel
  8. Flights, taxes, prices & itinerary subject to change
  9. Booking terms & conditions apply 

  Cost per person: €779pp
  Number of nights: 3
  Dates available: Oct 2019


17 Oct - 20 Oct 2019 from €779

Tour supplied in Partnership with:

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  Call:  00353 1 808 5206