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Archive for the ‘Irish Lakes’ Category

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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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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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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Pretty Kinvarra on Galway Bay

County Galway is often seen as the best of both worlds:  Awesome scenery and Galway City, a glittering phantasm.`

Not far away there are peaceful valleys, the immense Galway Bay, and the spirit of WB Yeats walking just behind you.  There are also calm cruises to take on rivers.

Go around the bay and seek out the sweet towns.  One of our favorites is Kinvarra.  You’ll pass through a dozen towns around the bay before you arrive.  When you do, you’ll be enchanted with the small town backed up against some very awesome, natural beauty.

Take a walk around.  Breathe in the centuries and diverse people that have blown through.  Wander its harbor and be amazed at the pier cottages tipping precariously, and forever, over the Bay.

Kinvarra hosts a traditional music festival in May.  Come August, there is a gathering of fishing boats.

Wander and enjoy!

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