Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Ireland

Ireland Flag



"The Emerald Isle" and "The Land of Saints and Scholars"



Dingle Bay (County Kerry), Western Ireland. Photo Credit: EMersinger/Pixabay 



Why visit Ireland?
For the international traveler seeking the experiences of beer, bicycling, birdwatching, castles, charming towns, coastal cliffs, coves, culture, famous film scenes, festivals, fishing, folklore takes, gastronomy, golf, greyhound racing, green panoramic vistas, historical sites, history, horseback riding, horse races, kayaking, lush green landscape, monuments, mountains, museums, music, nightlife, pristine beaches, pubs, rock climbing, rolling hills, ruins, scuba diving, shopping, stunning scenery, surfing, theatre, traditional dance, walking, water sports, and windsurfing. 



Galley Head Lighthouse, Cork, Ireland. Photo Credit: Roland Mey/Pixabay 



popular destination for:
  • Amateur & Professional Photographers
  • Genealogy Ancestry Discovery
  • Meetings & Reunions
  • Cruises: Debarkation/Embarkation
  • Destination Wedding
  • Movie Buff Fans: Game of Thrones and Star Wars
  • Groups: Family, Friends and Multigenerational
  • Milestones: Anniversary, BabyMoon, Bachelor Party, Bachelorette Party, Birthday, Honeymoon and Retirement


Ring of Kerry, County Kerry (southwestern) IrelandPhoto Credit: Howard Walsh/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: China ware, copper ware, Claddagh, crystal, Gaelic jewelry, handmade sweaters, lace, linens, liquor, peat carvings, poetry books, pottery, walking sticks, whiskey, whistles, and wool goods.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Bacon and Cabbage. Barmbrack (raisin bread). Blaa (bun). Bog Butter. Champ (mashed potatoes). Colcannon (mashed potatoes/kale). Coddle (hearty meal). Crubeens (pigs feet dish). Goody (dessert). Gubbeen Cheese. Irish Stew. Mackerel (fish). Oatcake (biscuit cookie). Skirts and Kidneys (pork stew). Soda Farl (bread). Veda Bread (malted).
  • Local Drink to Try: Baileys Irish Cream (liquor). Cavan Cola (soft drink). Cidona (apple soft drink). Club (soft drink). Guinness (beer). Irish Coffee (cocktail). Irish Mist (whiskey). Irish Whiskey. Magners (cider). Poitín (spirit). Red Lemonade (soft drink). Smithwick (red ale). Tanora (tangerine soft drink).


Cliffs of Moher, County Clare (Burren Region), Ireland. Photo Credit: weareaway/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • In 1912, the Titanic ship was built (Belfast).
  • During World War I (1914-1918) Benedictine Nuns fled Belgium to Galway (Kylemore Abbey monastery).
  • Historically, newlyweds were given fermented honey to toast each other until the next full moon deriving the term "honeymoon".
  • Second largest island of the British Isles
  • The third largest island in Europe.
  • On Reek Sunday the fourth tallest and sacred mountain, Croagh Patrick (County Mayo) is climbed by many.
  • In the churchyard of St Columba’s Church (Village of Drumcliff) a tombstone reads, "Cast a Cold Eye On Life, on Death, Horseman pass by" marking the final rest of  William Butler Yeats, Poet (1865-1939). 
  • Home to three native finest horse breeds.
  • Once upon a time, Ireland's Alcatraz (Cork, Spike Island) was the world's largest prison.
  • Historically built around 1425 the Bunratty Castle (Clare) was a Viking trading camp.
  • Home to the oldest vernacular poetry in Europe.
  • Cliffs of Moher appeared in films Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Leap Year (2010), and The Princess Bride (1987). 
  • Home (Trinity College Dublin) to the Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript of four Gospel Book in Latin of the New Testament.
  • Keem Bay (Achill Island) is said to inspire writers Graham Greene and Heinrich Böll.
  • Croaghaun Mountain is one of the world's highest sea cliffs.
  • Former castles converted to hotels include: Ashford Castle, Castle Leslie, and Dromoland Castle.
  • The Longest river is River Shannon.
  • Home to 26 native land mammal species.
  • There are no snakes.
  • Wins more medals in boxing compared to any other Olympic sport.
  • Over 240,000 golfers visitors annually.
  • Largest consumers of potatoes amongst European countries.
  • Produces 90% of the world's supply of whiskey in the world.
  • Irish beef has a worldwide reputation for excellence since cattle are grass fed.
  • Amongst the best smoked salmon in the world.
  • Award-winning artisan producers of black pudding (blood sausage).



Duckett's Grove House, Duckett Grove (County Carlow), Ireland. Photo Credit: Howard Walsh/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Funderland, Warpcon (February) Audi Dublin International Film Festival, Dublin Tech Summit, Itzacon Eire, Willie Loughman Forest Rally, (March) Galway International Rally, Games Fleadh, Limerick Forest Rally, Mayo Rally, Seachtain na Gaeilge, St Patrick’s Day Parades, St Patrick’s Dublin Festival, West Cork Rally, World Book Day, (April) All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, Castlepalooza, Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Great Ireland Run, Pan Celtic Festival, World Irish Dancing Championships, (May) Bloom Festival, Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Daily Mirror May Day Races, Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, Galway African Film Festival, International Literature Festival Dublin, Nettlemas, Oxegen, Wicklow Arts Festival, (June) Bloomsday Festival, Cork Midsummer Arts Festival, Cork X Southwest Music & Arts Festival, Donegal International Rally, Earagail Arts Festival, Irish Derby, Taste of Dublin, Women's Mini Marathon Dublin, (July) Battle of the Boyne Commemoration, City Spectacular, Galway International Arts Festival, GAZE International LGBT Film Festival Dublin, Mary From Dungloe International Festival, Reek Sunday, (August) All Ireland Fleadh - Marching Band Competition, Black Pride Ireland, Dublin Feminist Film Festival, Dublin Horse Show, Flat Lake Festival, Fleadh Cheoil, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Lughnasa Fair, National Heritage Week, Puck Fair, Rose of Tralee International Festival, Spraoi, (September) All-Ireland Hurling & Gaelic Football Finals, Arthur's Day, Dublin Theatre Festival, Electric Picnic, Galway Oyster & Seafood Festival, Irish Antique & Fine Art Fair, Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, National Ploughing Championships, (October) Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, Dragon of Shandon, Dublin Marathon, Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Kinsale Gourmet Festival, Mr Gay Ireland, SSE Airtricity Dublin City Marathon, Wexford Festival Opera, (November) Cork Film Festival, Science Week Ireland, (December) Dublin Docklands Christmas Festival, Killarney Christmas Market, (December) All-Ireland Hurling Final, and Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, Easter Monday, May Day, June Holiday, August Holiday, October Holiday, Christmas Day, and St Stephen's Day.

Killarney, Ireland.  Photo Credit: Christian_Birkholz/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Weather tends to be cool, damp, misty, and rainy.
  • Not all accommodations are deluxe.
  • Pack a quality raincoat and/or umbrella.
  • Use comfort and quality walking shoes.
  • Cycling is best in Clare, Kerry, and Sligo.
  • Remember its Irish Whiskey vs Scottish Whiskey.
  • Potato chips are locally called crisps.
  • Ferry Service connects to France and the United Kingdom.
  • Be patient, when ordering Guinness or Murphy beer as they are required to settle before being served.
  • American Express is not widely accepted. Mastercard and VISA are widely accepted.
  • Northern Ireland currency is Pound Sterling (GBP) while the rest of the island is in Euro's (EUR).
  • All debit and credit cards must have a chip and pin to use for purchases.
  • Travelers Checks is not accepted.
  • Roads are often narrow, uneven, and winding.
  • Be mindful some of our words may have a different meaning there. For example: ATM here but a hole in the wall there. French fries here but chips there. Potato chips here but crisps there.
  • Car rental companies may not permit driving in the northern region as it's a part of the United Kingdom.
  • Most visited attractions include: Abbey Theatre, Achill Island, Aran Islands, Bantry House, Blarney Castle, Book of Kells, Bunratty Castle, Castletown House, Castle Ward, Cliffs of Moher, Clonmacnoise, Connemara, Dingle Peninsula, Glendalough, Glenveagh Castle, Guinness Storehouse, Holy Cross Abbey, Lakes of Killarney, Rock of Cashel,
  • Surfers migrate towards Ballybunion, Bundoran, Donegal Bay, Inishowen, Lahinch, or Portrush. 
  • Scuba Diving is best along the western seaboard. Best ship wreck dives explorations is Malin Head and off the County Cork coast.
  • Broken away from Great Britain after rising sea levels caused by ice melting.
  • Top rated windsurfing is in Brandon Bay, Clew Bay, Lough Erne, and Lough Neagh.
  • Between August - September, water temperatures averages around 60°F.
  • Kingfisher Trail (300 miles) boasts a scenic cycle route to enjoy lakes and mountains.
  • Importing meat and milk products is prohibited.
  • Keep all your shopping receipts. You may apply for a "VAT Refund Form" (portion) to claim a Sales Tax (VAT) Refund with the Republic of Ireland.
  • Rental cars are known theft targets easily identified with rear window sticker decals.
  • Banks will not accept $100US bills.
  • Cars drive on the left side of the road.
  • Has more circular “roundabouts” than stop lights.
  • Majority of rental cars are manual transmissions vs automatic.
  • Turning on a red stoplight is illegal.


Giant's Causeway (Interlocking Basalt Columns), Northern Ireland. Photo Credit: Paul Hampshire/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.


Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden, Connemara (County Galway), Ireland. Photo Credit: Hans Hansen/Pixabay 


  • Best Time to Visit: May - June & October
  • Coldest Months: January - February
  • Hottest Months: May - September
  • Peak Season: June - September
  • Shoulder Season: April - June & October


Connemara, Western Ireland. Photo Credit: Greg Montani/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Brú na Bóinne: Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne and Skellig Michael.


Dunluce Castle, (County Antrim) Northern Ireland. Photo Credit: NakNakNak/Pixabay 



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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine





Greyhound Race, Kilcohan Park Greyhound Stadium, Waterford, Ireland. Photo Credit: MICHOFF/Pixabay 

                                         All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

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