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Traveling People

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

By Ed Forry, January 31, 2014

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
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.
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

An Irish anthem: Heigh ho! Come to the fair!

By Ed Forry, October 9, 2013

The Irish work very hard to make sure that their homeland is all things to all visitors. Festivals, sports, genealogy, art, music, theatre, and cultural events, available for all ages, can be found everywhere. There’s scarcely an activity you might enjoy that is not offered somewhere in Ireland.
COUNTRY FAIRS -As the weather cools and leaves change, the thoughts of many Irish turn to the country fairs that dot the island at this time of year. Read more

Presenting ‘just the place to spend the night’

By Ed Forry, August 29, 2013

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR

Traveling PeopleTraveling People
What’s a holiday in Ireland without splurging now and again? Isn’t that how some of your best memories are made?
If you seek comfort, elegance, world-class service and hospitality, beautiful surroundings, and delicious meals, you simply can not do better than to check in at the four-star Gregan’s Castle Hotel, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, in the heart of the magnificent Burren.
Occasionally, a traveler will say accommodation is not all that important. “It’s just a place to spend the night,” they say. Well, that’s true enough for many places.

But Gregan’s is hardly “just a place to spend the night!” It’s a place to relax, savor every elegant touch, enjoy a drink or superb lunch in the comfortable Corkscrew Bar, make a reservation for afternoon tea (daily from 2:30 to 4:30), enjoy a sumptuous dinner in a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of beautifully-maintained gardens, two resident donkeys, and the rocky reaches of the Burren. Read more

Struggling Irish sheep farmers find tourists can help the cause

By Ed Forry, June 27, 2013

When life hands them lemons, some creative Irish folks make lemonade.
We probably all remember the Celtic Tiger years in Ireland when the economy was booming and jobs were plentiful. That economy departed, leaving behind many Irish who are now struggling to make a living.
Take sheep farmers, for instance, who have suffered through unusually severe recent winters, a lack of fodder for their animals, and the skyrocketing cost of supplemental feed, all coupled with the wildly fluctuating prices they can get for their livestock and wool. Read more

Where to go in Ireland? There’s much to choose from

By Ed Forry, June 3, 2013

by Judy Enright
Special to the BIR
Want to know where to go when you visit Ireland? Well, check out recommendations from some of the Irish who voted for the best place to vacation in Ireland. The Irish Times newspaper recently announced 25 locations shortlisted by their panel of judges from 1,400 nominations submitted since March. The judges, most of whom are in some aspect of tourism, will choose an overall winner.
The top 25 included four islands (Achill, Inis Meain, Inishbofin and Valentia), the River Shannon, two picturesque West Cork spots (the Beara peninsula and Gougane Barra Lake), a few beaches (Caherdaniel and Derrynane in Kerry, Dunmore East in Co. Waterford, Gweedore in Donegal, Rosslare Strand in Co. Wexford, and Strandhill in Sligo) and, of course, Dingle and Dublin City, perennial favorites for tourists.
Also listed were Cork and Londonderry. The gourmet capital of Ireland – Kinsale – made the list too as did: Killarney; Loop Head peninsula, Co. Clare; Louisburgh in Mayo; Boyle in Roscommon and Ballyvaughan in Co. Clare, at the edge of the spectacular Burren. Read more

Walker? Jogger? Cyclist? I have the island for you

By BIR News Room, April 8, 2013

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR

There was a time not so long ago in Ireland when bicycles and feet were the primary modes of transportation, especially out in the rural areas. Of course, there were motorized vehicles then, too, but certainly not the numbers that there are today. And, bicycles were mostly useful, old-fashioned, and clunky – not sleek racing machines. Read more

‘The Gathering’ and ‘The People’s Parade’ give an added boost to St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin

By BIR News Room, March 6, 2013

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR

The St. Patrick Centre: Inside the St. Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.  One of the many interesting interactive displays at the St. Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. The Centre is about 2 1/2 hours from Dublin.

Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration is always extraordinary and lasts for much longer than just a day. But as spectacular as the annual festival always is, this year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet thanks to the tourist industry’s massive global promotion, “The Gathering Ireland 2013.”

The Dublin festival runs from March 14 to 18 and one of the many interesting new attractions this year is The People’s Parade, which will precede the annual parade. As many as 8,000 visitors have been invited to fill out applications and march on the 17th along a 2.5 km (a little over a mile) route through Dublin’s streets. If you’d like to be included in The People’s Parade, an application form is available on the website ( Read more