Archive for the ‘Irish Hsitory’ Category

Adare Manor, a Rare Calendar House Complete with Gargoyles

Mysterious Adare Manor is a rare example of a Calendar House, with 365 stained-glass windows and 52 chimneys. There are also gargoyles and carvings throughout that are quite extraordinary. (And a little spooky.)

Background?  The Quins were one of the few families of true Gaelic origin in the Irish peerage. Thady Quin, born in 1645, first settled in Adare.  In 1720, Valentine Quin built the first Adare Manor by the River Maigue.

In 1832, with Ireland ravaged by the potato famine, the family went to work, turning their home into a huge Tudor manor. Their work provided labor for all the surrounding villagers. The new house was built around the existing one, which was taken down when the present manor reached its final stage.

Set on 840 acres of formal gardens and rolling grasses, Adare Manor was voted the Number One European Resort by the Conde Nast Readers Choice Awards.

But the true story of Adare is its unique presence among all other places to stay in Ireland. Situated in the heart of lovely Adare Village in County Limerick, Adare Manor is steeped in history and surrounded by medieval ruins. It is the best combination of mystery, history and comfort.

Meander through stonewalled gardens and winding woodland paths. Discover the colorful history of Adare Manor and the centuries of stories throbbing in her walls.

There is no better place to celebrate life than in Ireland.  Adare Manor is one of those remarkable places that embraces you with cozy warmth.  Watch the moonlight skim off the river as you wind down the halls.  Voices?  Oh, yes, you may hear them–all of them friendly.

Authentic Ireland’s dedicated writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Irish Celtic KnotsYou’ve seen Irish Celtic knots on everything from fine china, to tatoos on non-Celtic bikers and Christmas ornaments, and those who practice new-age spirituality.  Jewelry.  Celtic Knots are certainly favored by jewelers.  Why does this symbol move us, and what did the original Celts want to say?

The Celts lived in a pre-Christian Ireland, and it just might be that they were in love with a symbol that had passed from the mists of time down to them.  (Wait a minute?  Pre-Christian?  Yes indeed.  The ancient Celtic crosses in Ireland were simply elongated to represent a Christian cross when the Celts were left behind.) Those ancient Celts, as with many people during the same era, were just not into recording every impulse they had.

Some historians believe, that like many old religions, the Celts were forbidden to draw realistic pictures of living creatures.  In the eastern world this gave rise to extraordinary Arabic Calligraphy.  There’s a good chance that it also produced the complex Irish knots which often represent running deer, wolves, etc.

There are four types of Celtic Knots.  We’ve all seen them, and we all love them. From how these symbols are used now in areas of Ireland that are closest to their heritage, this is what we believe:

1)  Triskele Designs:  These are triangles–we are in love with the number three and with triangles.

2)  Animals Interlaces:  Men and animals entertwined, these represent men and women’s relationships and a sympathetic relationship between hunters and their prey.

3)  Circular Knots:  Life, eternity, unity.  A symbol of life and time without end.

4)  Squares:  Called ‘Shield Knots’, these offer protection from evil spirits.  They were, and still are, given to     people who were ill or placed on warriors’ shields.

Go find the magic!

Featured writers — Meredith and Win Blevins, www.BlevinsWordworx.com

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Dracula was born in Dublin, Ireland!

This was the 19th-century Irish version of going postal!

Bram Stoker was working as a civil servant in Dublin when he wrote “Dracula” in 1897.

Yep.  Plenty of ale, an anonymous job and POOF!  Dracula was born in Ireland!

Enjoy this bit of Irish trivia.

The Crew at Authentic Ireland

featured writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Dublin, the Friendliest City in Europe

Dublin, The Friendliest City in Europe

Dublin, The Friendliest City in Europe


Dublin, a pasionate beauty, was voted the friendliest city in Europe by several of the biggest names in the travel industry.

It’s no surprise.  Her heartbeat pulses down streets and alleys.  It flows down the River Liffey and runs into the sea at Dublin Bay.  Embraced on one side by soft hills and on the other by a tempestuous sea, Dublin is a pure pleasure any time of year.

Like all interesting people, Dublin has a mysterious past.  Her ancient Celtic founders, farmers and fishermen, built megaliths older than the pyramids on the outskirts of their community.  These places await you.

Roll with the flow of Dublin’s unique energy. Leaves flutter through the Temple Bar area past vibrant theatres and dazzling pubs.  They circle the ankles of street performers, gathering in the doorways of pubs filled with music.  Wander down elegant Grafton Street.

Very quiet, on a cool evening, you may hear the lyrical voices of Dublin’s literary children: Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, and Samuel Becket.  The creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker.   Listen, now, there’s James Joyce…

Looking for a taste of ancient magic?  Dublin is a focal point of Celtic art and wisdom.  Stop and see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, and don’t forget the Beatty Library.  With a collection of rare books and intriguing art that’s more than 4,000 years old, a flight of fancy is limited only by your imagination.   There has never been a better time to visit Dublin.

Come to the city with a heartbeat as familiar as your own!   Best to you from the Authentic Ireland Crew!

Writer:  Meredith Blevins for Authentic Ireland Travel

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Medieval Ireland the people

Medieval Ireland

Medieval Ireland conjures up brocades, ladies at court, feasts, jousting knights, early scientists, lush gardens and a world where magic was still very much alive.

Ireland’s medieval reality is actually more interesting. Beliefs were flexible, and new religion sometimes flexed its muscles.  Kings were created and tossed over.  Heroes were bold and heroines were born.

The history of Ireland has been turbulent. (Does that sound like an understatement?  It is.) Raiders came from all directions, each leaving their mark, upon Ireland.  But  castles stood. In manor houses and sod homes people played music and told stories. The early Irish lived in close-knit groups and poets were revered. This unity and love of beauty is what you’ll feel in Ireland, particularly in the west and the heartland.  And, it is this unity that preserved the Irish over and again.

It is this feeling of community that will make you feel welcome when you come home to Ireland.  With so many people coming and going during the centuries, everyone here is related, and some of them are most surely related to you.

At Authentic Ireland, we can provide you with a medieval-themed adventure filled with feasts, traditional music, a viking tour of Dublin and an evening of ancient Celtic storytelling.

When you’re in Ireland, relax. The adventure is the land and her people. It is her vibrant present and mystic past that welcome you.

Writer: Meredith Blevins for Authentic Ireland

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Stay in an Irish Castle

Stay in an Irish Castle!!

Discover the Heart of Irelandfor 50% off, while the packages lastThere are few spots where you can travel in Europe that are as timeless as Ireland’s wild countryside. Craggy coastlines and rolling meadows, dotted with sheep and an occasional crumbling castle, belong to the misty past. They shoot us back in time and we are there.

Dublin, Ireland’s capital, is an electrifying combination of history and a cutting edge art and music scene. Sample fine food, wine, beer, traditional music.  Step 1500 years into the past and discover the Book of Kells.

  Authentic Ireland Travel’s seven-day, six-night Dublin and Castles of Ireland custom tour provides a taste of all that Ireland has to offer.  You’ll follow a flexible itinerary that includes transportation. lodging, a rental car, unique guided walking tours, and some incredible meals.

Below is the itinerary.  Let your imagination take you for a ride!

Days 1–3: You’ll arrive at Dublin Airport and hail a cab to Pembroke Townhouse. This is an 18th-century Georgian Manor House. Luxurious and cozy, it’s your perfect Dublin base for three days.  Dublin is a walking city.  Get out and explore! You’ll arrive with a three-day pass for a hop-on, hop-off bus which goes by the city’s landmarks. One day in Dublin, you’ll take a guided walking tour that meanders through some of the overlooked pockets of this vibrant city. In the evening, enjoy music and brew in a legendary pub or kick back in front of the Pembroke’s fireplace with a drink and a book.

Days 4–5: On the 4th day, your rental car is waiting. Now, journey into ConnemaraThe heritage home of many Americans, this is a wild country, and beautiful, on Ireland’s western coast. You’ll stay two nights in Abbeyglen Castle, a sprawling stone fortress with ivy wandering up the towers. This storybook lodging features sumptuous guest rooms and amazing views of mountains, seas, and the dreams of queens and kings.  Connemara National Park, a wild protected area, offers a wonderland of lakes and glens to explore.  While staying here, you’ll enjoy a luxury catamaran tour on Ireland’s only fjord. Dine in peace aboard ship and savor your three-course lunch.

Days 6–7: A four-hour drive through Ireland’s rolling countryside takes you to Bellinter House, a country manor built in 1750 for a wealthy landowner. Enjoy the gorgeous grounds, play billiards, take advantage of the natural spa treatments. You can use this as a base to explore Newgrange. Newgrange, older than the pyramids, is an ancient site built into a large mound. The structure was used to calculate the movement of the heavens and it measures the winter and summer solstice. 

Feel the magic!  (And right now magic is 50% off while these packages last!)

Writer:  Meredith Blevins


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st. brigid of Ireland's loving heart
St. Brigid is a symbol of Ireland’s Loving Heart


Couples in Ireland could legally marry on St. Brigid’s Day, February 1st, in County Meath. As recently as the 1920s, they just had to walk toward each other.  If the marriage didn’t work out, they could divorce by walking away from each other at the same spot on St. Bridid’s Day the following year.

St. Brigid lived in 6th century IrelandHer lavish generosity, with food and help as well as love, sometimes put her at odds with her family.  Later, her monastic community sometimes had to do without as she emptied their cupbaords for guests and strangers.

Miracles that run through tales of Brigid are usually about providing bounty. Most of her recorded miracles are feats where she  creates an abundance of food for daily living and for festivals. Examples? The bacon she slips to a dog miraculously reappears in the pot. A stone turns to salt. Water becomes milk, or beer, or an aphrodisiac. Brigid’s miracles also brought dignity to the daily tasks that women devoted so much of their lives to.

The fire in paintings of Brigid symbolize her ability to transcend her position. She is a strong influential woman of transcendent power who sees inside the heart.

And so, one day each year, she gives us a path to eternal love.  And, in an act of compassion, she creates a path out of the woods if love goes wrong.

A few days late, but we celebrate the magic that is St. Brigid!

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