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If you’re passing by, stop in and you’ll see: Great dining abounds on Ireland’s West Coast

By Anonymous, July 2, 2014

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR

Ireland has changed a lot in the past 30 years. Much of that change is probably thanks to – or the fault of – the internet, depending on your perspective. But, changes can also be credited to the country’s many visitors who demand the best, to the Irish who travel widely and bring home creative ideas from everywhere, and to the influx of foreigners living in Ireland.
Frequent travelers will note the many changes, subtle and otherwise.

GREAT FOOD Read more

Stop in and you’ll see: Great dining abounds on Ireland’s West Coast

By BIR News Room, July 2, 2014

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR

Ireland has changed a lot in the past 30 years. Much of that change is probably thanks to – or the fault of – the internet, depending on your perspective. But, changes can also be credited to the country’s many visitors who demand the best, to the Irish who travel widely and bring home creative ideas from everywhere, and to the influx of foreigners living in Ireland.
Frequent travelers will note the many changes, subtle and otherwise. Read more

Thinking unique, extraordinary? Consult Hidden Ireland

By BIR News Room, May 30, 2014

BY JUDY ENRIGHT
SPECIAL TO THE BIR

Temple House in Ballymote, Co. Sligo, has been in the same family since 1665 and welcomes visitors to experience life in an elegant Irish estate.Temple House in Ballymote, Co. Sligo, has been in the same family since 1665 and welcomes visitors to experience life in an elegant Irish estate.
Shouldn’t your vacation in Ireland be a complete escape from everyday life? You’ve saved all year for this outing, so do something totally different and create some amazing memories.
A great place to start is with a unique and extraordinary place to stay, dine, and meet other international travelers. You could hardly do better than to select one of the 36 historic country estates included in an accommodation group called Hidden Ireland (hiddenireland.com). These are all private and historic family homes where the owners welcome and interact with guests and sometimes even head for the kitchen to don aprons and cook breakfast or dinner.

I have stayed at a number of Hidden Ireland properties over the years and can recommend all of them without reservation. I’ve enjoyed The Quay House in Co. Galway, Bruckless House in Co. Donegal, Clonalis in Co. Roscommon, and Ashley Park House in Co. Tipperary. Each one is unique, reflects the style, heritage, and flair of the family, and is absolutely delightful. Read more

A ‘Sea Grey’ Connemara Special: The Renvyle House Hotel

By BIR News Room, May 1, 2014

Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara.Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara.

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR
Elegant but comfortable, formal but relaxed, a place for the famous but also for the average Joe (and Joanne) – lovely Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara is all these things and more.
Even if the accommodations were dreadful – which they most certainly are not – the location alone is well worth the price of admission. Perched at the ocean’s edge, this grand dame of the Renvyle Peninsula has a storied history and is a perfect choice for singles (no single supplement), couples, or families. Read more

Getting to, and around, Ireland? Let us count the ways

By Ed Forry, April 1, 2014

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR
There are so many fun and interesting ways to travel to and around the Emerald Isle. Depending on your interests, you can book a regular coach tour and visit many fascinating sites across the land, participate in assorted golfing, bicycling, surfing, and other sports or adventure trips, sail down the Shannon or along the coast, or do a photographic or literary visit. There are many other special interest options available, too. Read more

There’s only one focus in Ireland this month

By Ed Forry, February 27, 2014

BY JUDY ENRIGHT
SPECIAL TO THE BIR
The headlines and focus for the month of March belong to Ireland’s patron saint and the many festivities that will be held in his honor here and in Ireland. Head for Dublin and you can enjoy the annual St. Patrick’s Festival from March 14 to 17 with numerous events including an Irish craft beer and food market, walking tour, funfairs, music and street performances, and a parade at noon on the 17th with marching bands from all over the world. Read more

Irish offer cyclists, equestrians, and walkers options aplenty across the emerald landscape

By Ed Forry, January 31, 2014

BY JUDY ENRIGHT
SPECIAL TO THE BIR
Going green doesn’t necessarily mean going to the Emerald Isle but it could.
There is much focus in Ireland today on visitors enjoying their stay without adding to the carbon footprint. Where bus tours and car travel were once the only way to see the countryside, many tourists today choose walking, cycling, and equestrian vacations.
There are, of course, many who still prefer having a car because, after all, it’s difficult to fit all those wonderful Irish craft shop purchases into a bicycle saddlebag or your backpack if you’re walking. And, there are some travelers who need to get where they’re going faster than they could on foot or by bike or they, like me, might be toting cameras with multiple lenses that are better accommodated in a car. Read more

The Ireland I know: A list of my favorite things

By BIR News Room, January 2, 2014

Fishing boats docked in colorful Killybegs Harbor in Co. Donegal.Fishing boats docked in colorful Killybegs Harbor in Co. Donegal.BY JUDY ENRIGHT
SPECIAL TO THE BIR
A new year has dawned, bringing with it the potential for many new adventures for us all – hopefully they’ll be pleasant, fun, and memorable adventures. We like to start the year by mentioning some of our favorites with the thought that readers might find them enjoyable, too, when visiting Ireland. FAVORITES
• Ireland has amazing ancient churches, friaries, and ruins where you can spend hours reading inscriptions on tombstones and admiring detailed carving, architecture, and Celtic crosses.
In Co. Offaly, the Clonmacnoise monastic settlement, founded by St. Ciaran in 548, is awe-inspiring and well worth visiting. There, on the eastern bank of the Shannon, you can see the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th-13th century), two round towers, three high crosses, and the largest collection of Early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe.
In 2016, another historic site, Ballintubber Abbey in Co. Mayo, will celebrate the 800th anniversary of its founding by King Cathal O’Conor. Ballintubber is the only church in Ireland founded by an Irish king that is still in daily use. Mass has been said there every day since 1216.
Ross Errilly Friary in Co. Galway, founded in 1351, is said to be the most extensive and best preserved of all the Franciscan friaries in Ireland and, even though it’s a ruin, it is still beautiful and worth a look.
In Co. Clare, the Kilfenora Cathedral sited next to The Burren Centre is another interesting ruin. The cathedral, with five high crosses, was built around 1190 on the site of an earlier monastery, and is dedicated to St. Fachtnan. Read more

Strong push to give Old Irish Goats rare breed status

By BIR News Room, December 2, 2013

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR

It would probably be fair to call me a stalker – in the nicest sense of the word, of course.
This feral goat is currently in captivity being treated for injuries. Doesn't he look like he's smiling?This feral goat is currently in captivity being treated for injuries. Doesn't he look like he's smiling?

For at least a decade, I have stalked Old Irish Goats all around Mulranny, Co. Mayo. I desperately wanted to photograph them with their shaggy, unruly coats and huge, almost other-worldly horns.

Friends had advised me to drive the curvy Belmullet road. “The goats are always there on the hillside,” they said. Yet, no goats, no matter how many times I drove the route.

“They are always in the town (Mulranny),” friends said. I had never seen them there until one evening when we went to dinner at the Park Hotel and the most magnificent, regal Billy Goat, sporting a long, grey beard, was there, busily snacking on the hotel’s specimen plantings. Of course, I didn’t have my camera! Read more

As ‘old faithfuls’ go, Dromoland ranks high

By Ed Forry, October 31, 2013

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR
We all know change is inevitable but in few places is change more evident than in Ireland. Attractions, accommodation, and eateries you visit and enjoy one year, could very well be gone by the next. But there are some “old faithfuls” that have been around for many years, have stood the test of time, and seem as though they will be around forever.
Dromoland
One such “old faithful” is the 5-Star Dromoland Castle Hotel, which this year celebrated 50 years of service to the public. Dromoland is in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare, close to Shannon Airport and a fun place to stay, with lots of activities on site, including a spa, leisure center, golf, falconry, fishing, estate walks and trails on the hotel’s 450 acres, and much more. Read more

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