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Archive for the ‘Ireland Activities’ Category

The Busy, Bustling Streets of Lively Galway City, Ireland

Authentic Ireland’s dedicated writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

In a nationwide survey, the people of Galway were found to be Ireland’s happiest residents. When you visit Galway City, it’s easy to understand why.  (Click the link http://www.authenticireland.com/galway?utm_source=authentic&utm_medium=email for a look around.)

Galway is a lively university enclave of narrow streets, quaint shop fronts, bustling pubs and stunning scenery. Galway has always attracted a bohemian mix of musicians, artists and intellectuals.  That sense of freedom and creativity is palpable as you walk the streets.

Galway has been an important commercial center since the 11th century when it traded heavily with Spain and Portugal.   In 1477, Christopher Columbus was one of Galway’s renowned visitors.  (It’s amazing he didn’t stay!)  At that time Galway was known as “The City of the Tribes” because it was ruled by 14 wealthy merchant families.

Today it is a vibrant, popular hub buzzing with festivals, parades, street musicians, and racing boats.  The annual Arts Festival attracts thousands, especially for its outrageous, glorious street parade.

Start the new year off with a dream.  Plan a perfect, custom time in Galway City!

Best, The Crew at Authentic Ireland Travel

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Leave a Guinness out for Santa this Christmas.  It’s Tradition!

From your Dedicated Authentic Ireland Writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

True:  In Ireland, it is tradition to leave mince pies and a bottle of Guinness out as a snack for Santa.  After all, Santa has a long journey, not much time, and so fortification seems like an excellent idea.

And, children often put out Christmas sacks instead of stockings, in the less Americanized parts of Ireland.

Christmas in Ireland lasts from Christmas Eve to the feast of the Epiphany on January 6, which is referred to as Little Christmas. Ireland’s Christmas is more religious than a time of fun.  Lighted candles are placed in windows on Christmas Eve, as a guide that Joseph and Mary might be looking for shelter. The candles are usually red in color, and decorated with sprigs of holly.

Irish women bake a seed cake for each person in the house. They also make three puddings, one for each day of the Epiphany such as Christmas, New Year’s Day and the Twelfth Night.

After the Christmas evening meal, bread and milk are left out and the door unlatched as a symbol of hospitality.

St Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, is almost as important, with football matches and meetings going on. For children, the Wren Boys Procession is their big event. Boys go from door to door with a fake wren on a stick, singing, with violins, accordions, harmonicas and horns to accompany them. The reason for the ceremony is to ask for money ‘for the starving wren’, that is, for their own pockets.

This year, join the tradition, and leave a bit of Guinness out for Santa.  We are quite sure he’ll appreciate it.

Best!  Your Crew at Authentic Ireland Travel

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Kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland for Luck and the Gift of Gab

There are two versions of how Ireland’s Blarney Stone came to have its power, and two versions of its true location.

Now, here we are, at the present:  Sir Charles Colthurst, current owner of the County Cork Blarney Castle, says the oft-smooched rock is in the exact place it has always been, and that it is the real-deal.  To the archaeologists who say it is in a different part of County Cork, he says, “That’s plain Blarney!”  We believe him.

There are also two legends about the Blarney Stone’s gift of power.  The first pertains to Cormac McCarthy, the castle’s owner during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.  He never gave her what she requested, and all her requests from him were met with long-winded distractions and terrific (elusive) oratory.  One day, in a fine dither over him, the Queen said, “This is all Blarney! (referring to the castle.)  He never says what he means!”

The second version is more spooky.  Some believe that a magic stone was built into the castle in the 1400s, but no one knew its exact spot.  Then, the castle owner found a witch drowning in the river and saved her.  She told him where the magic stone was, and that anyone who kissed it would be given great powers of persuasion.

In fact, both stories could be true. McCarthy did persuade the queen, although it was in utter frustration, to expect nothing from him and nothing was what she got!

Your Dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Dun Bleisce Towns Gets Back Her Illustrious Name

Years of efforts by Doon, Limerick, Ireland residents to bring back the name of their town, taken away from them in 2003, have paid off. The people have spoken and are triumphant!

Their town has been called Dun Bleisce since at least 774 AD, which is as far back as anyone can remember.  The problem?  The town’s name translates to “Fort of the Harlot.”  This was not cool with the Irish Placenames Commission.  This grand body decided that nice, little towns should not be named after harlots, and they renamed the town An Dun.  That seemed safe since it really has no meaning. Or at least not much.

On came the heated debate.  Residents and irate Irish around County Limerick said that the original name actually translated to, “The stronghold of immoral women.”  Others claimed it meant, “Stronghold of Strong Women,”  because only strong women would have a fort.  Still others claimed the original meaning of the word “harlot” is “powerful women.”  (This is the kind of jam you get into when you mess with history.)

800+ locals signed a petition that was presented to the Great and Illustrious Commission.  They decided it wasn’t worth the trouble, and an order was handed down from on high to rename the town Dun Bleisce.

When in the west of Ireland, stop by.  It truly is a nice town with a juicy name that has withstood history!

Your Dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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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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Ireland is Made for Romance and Intimate Moments

Ireland is a country of romance and mist fueled by fantasy, ancient castles, Guinness, music, pony treks and a warm cuddle by the fire.

Being Irish ourselves, we at Authentic Ireland are hopeless romantics. Choose one of our Ireland honeymoon packages or romantic getaways that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives.

All our romance and honeymoon vacations include accommodation, transportation of your choice, and a selection of unique Irish experiences and meals. A kiss in Ireland is like no other.  Believe it!

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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