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Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

The Ring of Kerry, Ireland, a Kingdom inside a Kingdom

Almost every country has a section of the population that they like to tell jokes about. In Ireland, it’s the people from Kerry. Not because people from Kerry are stupid. In fact they have a reputation for being the opposite.

The main reason we tell jokes about them is that we are jealous. They have the cheek to call their county ‘The Kingdom’, yet there are few people in Ireland who would dispute the aptness of the name. (The origins of that name have been lost, but that doesn’t matter – Kerry does feel like a Kingdom.)

There are soaring mountain ranges, desolately beautiful valleys, crystal lakes and a spectacularly rugged coastline that is alternatively lashed and lapped by the Atlantic Ocean. Kerry has it all.

The town of Killarney, with a population of 14,000, is the most popular base for exploring Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula; the Dingle and Beara Peninsulas are best explored from the towns of Dingle and Kenmare respectively.

Killarney has been welcoming tourists since the 18th century, and the locals have become mighty good at it. It is true there are far too many souvenir shops for some peoples’ taste.  But fear not, Killarney is a very pretty and friendly town. And the Kerry people, regardless of the jokes we make of them, are some of the most welcoming in Ireland.

Authentic Ireland’s dedicated writers: Meredith and Win Blevins

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Ireland's Oldest Ale

Smithwick’s is Ireland’s Oldest Ale. Enjoy!

Guinness, right, the first ale you want to drink when you hit the green shores of Ireland?

Well, of course we all love Guinness,  but the Ale that’s been brewing the longest in Ireland, since 1710, is Smithwick’s.  (Don’t pronounce the “w”.)

Doesn’t sound all that long in Irish time, but John Smithwick set up his brewery in Kilkenny, and he chose to set it up on the site of a Franciscan Friary.  And, the monks had been brewing ale there since the 14th century.  So, although Smithwick first brewed his delicious ale in 1710, it win’s the award for the oldest operating brewery in Ireland.

The ale is red.  It is beautiful.  It used to be hard to come by, but no longer.

So, next time you ask for a Guinness when you head to your favorite pub for brew and music, give yourself a treat and order up a Smithwick’s.  It’s delicious and then some!

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Take a walking tour of Ireland

Try Irish Adventure on a walking tour! 

Looking for an intimate, authentic experience with the country and her people?  If so, you may want to spend a few days walking in Ireland.

What? Walking Festivals?  Absolutely.

You don’t have to be a marathon athlete to join, just open yourself to pure Irish adventure, glorious countryside and backroad surprises.  Most importantly, be prepared to have a rollicking, good time with the people you’ll be walking with!

Walking festivals are held from March through April.  Following is a small sampling:

March:   Achill, County Mayo;  Andara, County Donegal

April:     Glen of Aherlow, County Tipperary;  North Leitrim, County Leitrim.   South Sligo, County Sligo.   West Cork, County Cork

May:       Ballyhoura Int’l, County Limerick;  North West Mayo, County Mayo;  Slieve Bloom, County Offaly;  Wicklow Mountains, County Wicklow

June:      Mourne Int’l, County Down.   Sliabh an Iarainn, County Leitrim

Aug:       Sperrins, County Tyrone

Sept:      Curlew Walkers, County Roscommon;  Hills of Donegal, County Donegal;  Wee Binnians, County Down

Oct:        Donegal Int’l, County Donegal;  Fingal, County Dublin

Walking in Ireland is a pleasure, an honor, and a promise to respect the land.  It is an experience to be treasured once and forever.

Authentic Ireland is happy to plan your walking holiday, whether you choose to join a festival, use one of our guides, or go on your own.  We will arrange the sort of Irish accommodation you want that follows your path, and wraps you in comfort and good cheer every evening!   Best to you from the crew at Authentic Ireland!

Best!  The Crew at AIT.

Find Authentic Ireland’s featured writers at: http://www.blevinswordworx.com

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Great recipes, restaurants, and cuisine in Ireland

Ireland has become a haven for foodies.

Kinsale  is a sweet seaport town, rippling with Irish tales and history, in County Cork.  In the 1980′s a seriously wonderful influx occured.  Talented and creative chefs from around Europe made thier way to romantic Kinsale.  The result?  An extraordinary number of culinary masterpiece restaurants opened their doors.

If you’re in Kinsale, check out hese restuarants for starters:  The Spinnaker, The Man Friday, Gino’s, The Vintage, The Bistro Bacchus, abd the Blue Haven.  These are terrific places using only fresh food, and they have exceptional wine lists.  They are also the folks that led to the establishment of the Kinsale Good Food Circle and the Kinsale Food Festival.  Visit for an experience that is out of this world!  

There’s a new breed of confident and daring Irish chefs and restauranteurs.   Over the last 15 years they’ve raised the bar of excellence that’s being copied by others, but there is no place quite like the Irish Foodie Haven — Kinsale.

Enjoy delicious travels!  The crew at www.authenticireland.com

Find Authentic Ireland’s featured writers at http://www.blevinswordworx.com

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Kinsale, Ireland Houses by the Bay

Kinsale, Ireland Houses by the Bay

When you think of Kinsale, imagine enchantment.  Narrow winding streets, cozy homes, amazing shop fronts, and windows filled with flowers tumbling toward the streets.  There is also the steady rhythm of the harbor.

This enchantment is perfectly offset by the infamously raucous good humor and zest for life of the Kinsale locals. And the new locals now include an amazing number of top-rated chefs from all over Europe.

Is anyone making plans to go to this foodie heaven, or have you been?  Give us the inside scoop!

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The Irish Sun Kisses the Giant's CausewayThe Irish Sun Kisses the Giant’s Causeway

       Sightseeing in Ireland

Sightseeing in Ireland

Wherever you travel in Ireland the pace will be gentle. There will always be one more friend to make, traditional musicians to hear, one more ancient ruin to explore, and another mind-boggling castle reaching to you across time.  Relax and enjoy.

Ireland is a banquet for the senses.  She has rugged peaks and mountains to discover.  There are 3,500 miles of coastline.  The lush pastures are an indescribable color of green.  And, through it all, run hundreds of rivers and lakes.   The most mysterious prehistoric ruins in Europe, older than the pyramids, are in Ireland.  The land carries the myths of a long line of Ireland’s people, from the Celts to St. Patrick, to the Norse and the Anglo-Norman castles and lovely villages.

Slow down.  Breathe deeply.  Whatever you decide to do, let Ireland present you with a vivid experience that is absolutely Irish, and absolutely unique.

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The Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland continue the Burren plateau.  And still… There is something very different about them.

Atlantis, Gateway to Ireland

A Celtic Atlantis training... Dolphins?

In Celtic mythology, going into the west has been associated for ages with the mythology of going into the Otherworld.  (All right, one person’s mythology is another person’s religion.  We understand.)  Anyway, when these islands shroud themselves in mist they becoming eerily invisible.

The west coast is also associated with the lost civilization of Atlantis.  Go to the Aran Islands… Listen.  Can you hear the voices from the past echoing across the land?  We do.

And, note this:  Until the 16th century, the mythical island of Hy Brasil, the Island of the Blessed, was still marked on maps.  Some people still see an island off the seaward cliffs of Inishmore when the light is absolutely pristine and perfect.

No matter how often we visit, we still want more.  If you’ve been to the Aran Islands, and if you have felt the magic (or seen it), please do let us know!  We would love to hear your story.

Happy, Happy, from The Crew at Authentic Ireland

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