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Mayor Walsh knows all about Connemara’s picturesque beauty

By BIR News Room, August 29, 2014

By Judy Enright

There was a very large billboard in Carna, Co. Galway, this spring celebrating Boston’s Irish Mayor Marty Walsh. The Connemara area will be thrilled to have him visit this autumn.There was a very large billboard in Carna, Co. Galway, this spring celebrating Boston’s Irish Mayor Marty Walsh. The Connemara area will be thrilled to have him visit this autumn.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has already taken Connemara by storm and he hasn’t even touched down on Irish soil for his first “official” visit. This spring, we came across a huge billboard applauding Walsh’s mayoral run at an intersection in Carna (Connemara, Co. Galway) where his father, John, was born.

Connemara is just one of many areas Walsh plans to visit when he lands in Ireland later this month and it’s an area he knows well from childhood visits to his grandparents’ home in Rosmuc.

Isn’t Walsh a lucky man? You could scarcely find a more varied or picturesque area of this stunning country to visit than Connemara – and he has familial roots there to boot.

Connemara really has it all – bogs, mountains, seashore, a fjord, wonderful hotels, lodges and B&Bs, great fishing, golf and many other sports, delicious food, friendly people, so-called green gold (Connemara marble), colorful towns, tourist attractions, including the first transatlantic radio station, and Connemara ponies – what more could anyone want? Read more

Give yourself a treat, and explore Ireland’s fetching islands

By Anonymous, August 1, 2014

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR

Every year, the Irish Tourist Board chooses a special theme to promote the many plusses of this stunning country. One year, the focus was on spas, spa treatments, and places that offered spa packages. Last year it was “The Gathering,” and this year, the emphasis is on “The Wild Atlantic Way,” a recommended driving route that skims along the glorious Western seaboard for 1,600 miles from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in Co. Cork. Read more

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

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