Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Ireland is the Perfect Place for a Family Reunion

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” – William Butler Yeats

Do you dream of getting your entire family together?  Many of us live far from each other, the kids are growing or gone, and the grandchildren and cousins don’t see each other often enough.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful legacy to arrange a family reunion in Ireland?

Ireland is all about families, friends and the ties that bind.  Because of this, there is no better place to strengthen your ties, relax together, laugh and reminisce.  You may even arrange to broaden your family circle, and see the Irish family you’ve never met.

Children are treasured in Ireland.  They are welcome most places, and there is a lot for them to do and enjoy.  They’ll even find shopping a small miracle as they wander through the maze of a medieval town, especially when they hear stories of witches and faeries who wandered the same streets.

And there’s so much more: festivals, circuses from Eastern Europe, wildlife parks, tidepooling, the Aquadome,  a Viking tour of Dublin, visiting an Irish farm, horseback riding, ecology for kids, cooking on a farm, visitor centers for kids at Neolithic sites, folk parks, houseboats on the Shannon River, exploring caves… That’s plenty to keep the whole crew wide-eyed and happy.  Rent an Irish house together and explore.

Make the time to enjoy and appreciate each other!

Your Dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Golf by the Atlantic in Lahinch, County Clare

Ireland is one of the world’s premier golf destinations.

With over 400 golf courses, you can travel anywhere in Ireland and rest assured that you are close to a golf course with a terrific reputation. Pretty wonderful!

Of the world’s twelve top-ranked courses, three are found in Ireland: Ballybunion, Royal Portrush, and Royal County Down. Considering that we’re a fairly small island, this is truly an amazing place for golfers.

You will find that Ireland’s hospitality and good cheer spill over into her clubhouses. Any level of golfer is welcome, and the courses are exceptionally well-kept. You can follow one of our suggested itineraries or create one of your own. Regardless, Authentic Ireland can help you create an itinerary that works—-and plays—-for you!

Your dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Edinburgh Castle Overlooking the Streets of Edinburgh, Scotland

Hollywood loves magnificent settings, allure, and places that spark our imagination.

It’s no surprise that the movie business has had a love affair with Scotland for years. While there, explore the footprints of classic movies and their stars.

Callander is a colorful town and the gateway to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.  Explore Doune Castle, used in the movie Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  Doune also co-stars in The Game of Thrones.

Glencoe, a charming village, has starred in many movies including Harry Potter & Rob Roy. Visit Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland’s most beautiful castles, and featured in many Hollywood movies, including The Highlander, The World is Not Enough, Rob Roy, Loch Ness, Monty Python & The Holy Grail, Entrapment, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age & Made of Honor.  (Thirsty?  Nearby Blair Athol Single Malt Distillery is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland.)

End your Scotland movie vacation in Edinburgh, and visit Rosslyn Chapel.  With its unique sense of mystery and wonder, it was showcased in the Da Vinci code.  Pull out the popcorn and enjoy.

Your dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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1. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is an historic Irish institution with more than 800 years of faithful service.

2. Visitors to Ireland love to kiss the Blarney Stone. Located at Blarney Castle, it was originally a timber lodge built in the 10th Century and replaced by the stone castle in 1210. Get a picture!

3. The Cliffs of Moher are, quite simply, breath-taking. Overlooking the wild and windy Atlantic in County Clare, they rise straight up over 700 feet.

4. The Four Courts governing the whole of Ireland are the Irish Supreme Court, the High Court, the Circuit Court and the District courts  They’re grouped together in historic buildings. (Learn more about the Four Courts on our Historical Walking Tour of Dublin!)

5. The Oscar Wilde Statue, Merrion Square, Dublin. Wilde is lying back on a rock, as if he hasn’t a care in the world. Take our Literary Pub Crawl to learn more about Wilde, Beckett and other famous Irish writers as you visit local Dublin pubs.

6. When in Ireland, visit at least one castle–there are hundreds. Consider Belfast Castle, more than 400 feet above sea level with panoramic views of Belfast and Northern Ireland.

7. Grafton Street, Dublin, is a historic area with great shopping, pubs, restaurants and a cutting edge art scene.

Visit Ireland and make you own list! (Ours changes from week to week.)

Your dedicated writers, Meredith and Win Blevins

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The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, Magic Steps to the Ocean

Northern IrelandThink about discovering her sights and sounds. It’s truly a hidden gem, and the place many Americans have their roots.

Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland. It is a banquet of lovely gardens and neighborhoods, sublime Victorian homes and buildings.  There are extraordinary museums, great shopping and plenty of pubs filled with trad music and banter.

After all the hum and surprises that the big city has to offer, you might want to wind down and head to the countryside. Northern Ireland has one of the strangest and most exciting coastlines in the world. Explore the volcanic Giant’s Causeway. It’s made of 37,000 basalt columns running straight into the sea.  And, under the water, it leads to Scotland.  Many ancient tales surround the Giant’s Causeway.  How many are true?  There’s simply no way to know for sure, but let your imagination fly.

You’ll also want to explore the nine Glens of Antrim and experience the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea. And, a ramble through wild and gorgeous Donegal is a must, as is the serene Lake Country of Fermanagh.

Ireland is emerging unified, its troubles healed, its beauty and mystery made whole.

Your dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Rob Roy’s View of Lockomon

The highlands and lowlands meet in the town of Stirling, Scotland.

This area, blessed with castles and tales of people larger than life, is associated with Camelot’s King Arthur.  It’s also the setting for Rob Roy’s heroic nationalism and deeds. Robert the Bruce, the man known as Braveheart, left his spirt in Scotland’s city of Stirling.  Wander the winding streets.  It’s a sensory delight.

Next stop is Fort William.  Revel in the raw, magnificent scenery and the mysterious islands of Mull and Iona.  Enjoy Oban, one of Scotland’s oldest sources of single malt Scotch whisky distilleries, and just a stone’s throw from the wild sea.

Take your time.  Enjoy the whisky distilleries, 100s of years old, and the tasting rooms. Meander along the back roads. This area speaks to the soul of a time when secret ceremonies, Highland bravery, and the heathered peat taste of Scotch whisky all meet.

Step back in time and feel your heart take wing.

Dedicated AIT writers:   Meredith and Win Blevins

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Get Lost in Wild Connemara, Ireland

Connemara, or Land of the Sea, is a wild region of bogland, pristine lakes and mountains.

Connemara is Ireland’s big sky country and is in the west of County Galway. Unlike the more famous Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula, Connemara is sparsely populated and the landscape is open–both foreboding and forgiving.

Wonderfully, because the area is so remote, the Irish language and traditions have survived here. Irish is the first language of many Connemara people, particularly those along the south coast.  Connemara is a beautiful place to drive. More than any Irish area, Connemara is about open air, and you’ll find activities ranging from hiking to fishing, horseback riding and scuba diving.

Connemara is the ultimate antidote to life in the fast lane. Two days is fine. A week is fabulous. Any longer and you may not want to get back on that freeway.

Authentic Ireland’s dedicated writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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