Thursday, September 30, 2010


A little history about Kilkenny as well as to see.

Kilkenny Castle has overlooked the River Nore for more than nine hundred years. With its rose garden and ornamental lake has extensive woodland paths are a pleasure to visit. The castle is originally a 12th century castle, two wings of the castle have been restored to their 19th Century splendour with a library, drawing room and the magnificent long gallery. The castle has a state of the art conference centre in one of its 12th Century towers. The Butler Gallery of contemporary art is located at the river wing of the castle.Tour guides tell you all about the history of the castle which you can also expore at your leisure. As this attraction is very busy there are some times delays especially during the summer months.

Rothe House an early 17th Century, Irish merchant’s town house and garden, home to Genealogical research on Kilkenny ancestry is right in the centre of Kilkenny City.It was the John Rothe Fitzpiers family home built 1594 and 1610 and his place of business. He imported fine cloths and silk from England, the house and garden is now owned by the Kilkenny Achaelogical Society where they display their vast collection of artifacts relating to Kilkenny, the library contains a full collection of news papers since 1784, books and family archives.
Saint Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower was built on the site of an earlier church, remains largely unchanged from the 13th century. The cathedral includes a fine collection of tomb stones from the 16th and 17th century and black marble monuments to lords, ladies and bishops. A 15th century manuscript the Red Book of Ossory, chronicles the lives of early saints. On view on the south side is a scale model of the city like it was in 1640, named Cityscope. You can also view carvings in timber and stone dating back to the 13th century. You can also climb a 9th century tower once used by monks for refuge.
An interesting experience is the "Footprints in Coal Experience" a 45 minute tour through Castlecomer’s past, with an interactive multimedia display you are taken on a journey through time. Starting with the formation of the coal 300 million years ago, you travel forward through more than 300 years of coal mining history to when the mines closed in 1969.

Things to do in Kilkenny

You can go on their 6km of themed woodland walks located between two rainbow trout angling lakes. The three main walking routes are colour coded and signposted for your convenience. There are also a number wooden sculptures created by Irish and International artists made from natural materials from the area. Altogether twelve scupltures were created to blend in with the surroundings but only five remain today.Near the rivers edge close to the car park are also a number of picnic tables with a playground for the childeren.

Mountain View golf course is designed by Richard Long and John O’Sullivan this course measures over 6000 yards from the champion tees and offers enjoyable golfing experience to players of all standards.The natural contours of the land have been shaped to provide great golfing conditions. Always in immaculate condition, situated on a mountain plateau the course is very rarely affected by weather conditions and is playable all year round.

Gowran Park golf course is unique as that five holes of the golf course are located within the centre of the race courses. The first three holes start inside the track, and then proceed in an anti-clockwise direction, returning inside again. The 9th and the 18th can be seen from the clubhouse. With hole 2 and hole 17 you are challenged by having to avoiding the two lakes. It is a great course with various water traps and bunkers. There are a number of other golf courses such as Callan Golf Club and Mount Juliet Golf Course.

You can also see Kilkenny on bikes, Kilkenny Cycling Tours offers you the opportunity to visit historical and cultural sites, including Kilkenny Castle, The Design Centre, Shee Alms House, The Tholsel, The Butterslip, Rothe House, The Old Courthouse, Saint Francis Abbey, The Black Abbey and Saint Canice’s Cathedral.
There are two tours available per day from Langton House Hotel or the Parade in the city centre.

Horse Riding
There is an equestian centre near the historic town of Freshford, it offers an extensive, cross country course to the large and well equipped indoor arena, everything has been carefully planned to provide the best possible enjoyment for each rider, novice or experienced, young or more mature.

Horse racing
Gowran Park in Co. Kilkenny, is one of Ireland’s most scenic racecourses, although complemented by the beautiful scenery, this racecourse is always the centre of attention. Whatever the time of year there is always a fixture to look forward to, the The famous Thyestes Chase starts in January, and the highlight of the racing is in October’s two-day racing festival, there are 16 race meetings throughout the year.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Westport County Mayo

A great Heritage town to visit

Westport, has miles of coastline and many beautiful beaches, these are ideal for swimming and walking.There are sailing and yachting facilities available in Westport. Westport also has a water leisure complex. There is something to do for everyone with coastal, forest and historical tracks with good, interesting and relaxing walks. For the cyclist there are also a number cycling tracks to enjoy to fantastic view as you travel along them. The famous Westport Arts Festival is on every year in September, which is a great treat for the whole family. On Reek Sunday which is the last Sunday in July a pilgrimage takes place, people of all ages from all over come to climb the mountain many in their bare feet. It is said that St Patrick spent forty days of Lent on top of the mountain praying and fasting. Fantastic views of Clew bay can be enjoyed from up there, the mountain is aproxamately six miles from the town. About 3.5 miles off the Mayo coast lies Clare Island the largest of 365 islands with awsome views and spectacular cliffs and is worth a visit. On the Quay of Westport is Clew Bay Heritage Centre a museum with full genealogical service where you can learn about the traditions of people and places. Designated as one of Irelands heritage towns Westport is an attractive and lively town. With a row of lime trees over hanging the Carrowbeg River the mall is ideal for the shopper, where you can purchase locally produced knitwear and pottery as well as everything else that you fancy. The shop fronts still have their old-world shop fronts.

More things to do

Deep sea fishing, boat fishing as well as shore fishing is very popular in Westport and cater for fishermen of all ages. For the fishermen that prefer fly fishing Mayo offers good salmon angling both on rivers and lakes throughout the county. Some of the most famous fly fisheries are Burrishoole, Delphi, Errif and Newport. Brown trout fishing is particularly good on the Moy system, Lough Cara and Mask also provide good brown trout averaging 1.5 lbs. Lough Mask is well known for the large ferrox trout which often weigh in excess of 10 lbs.

You can visit the Mayo Archery Club, they offer archery lessons for the beginner. 3D archery can be practicted on 20 3D targets in a natural area over 5 hectares, the shots vary in distance,size and elevation.

Clay pigeon shooting is also offered, the targets comply with international standards and are made to exact specifications. It is located amongst surrounding mountain ranges with fantastic views of the ocean. It is great fun if you are in a group testing out your shooting skills against one another.

A great way to discover Mayo is on cycle where you can travel along the many quiet country roads and pathways, the scenary is just breathtaking and well worth doing. The Newport/Mulranny Great Western Greenway is an 18 km cycling and walking route, this traffice free route is the longest off road cycling experience in Ireland.

For another worth while experience there are many horse riding centres, for the experienced rider as well as riding lessons for the beginner. They have a great selection of horses and ponies. On horse back you can discover many spectacular landskapes, seascapes and green fields. The horse riding centres also offer great riding treks to suit everyone.

If you’re into water sport then you can take advantage of great surfing, sailing and windsurfing offered. There are also pleasure cruises on offer where you can relax and enjoy the scenary.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Ring of Kerry

A world of discovery.

With windswept cliffs, breathtaking scenery and spectacular lakes, rich flora and fauna. The area is also full of culinary delights, from the superb cheeses, superb seafood and shellfish, to the succulent lamb and hearty homemade breads. As you travel the Ring of Kerry the diversity and quality of the restaurants in the various towns will delight you. The Ring of Kerry offers a variety of activities, from walking and cycling routes and adventures sports, to its array of championship golf courses. The region is world famous for its superb diving and angling, with Lough Currane in Waterville being famous for its sea trout with 90% of specimen sea trout caught here! Sneem is a beautiful scenic village where you can take interesting and delightful walks.The coastal roads provide an ever-changing landscape around the Iveragh Peninsula a place full of discovery.

The famous offshore islands is a must for all visitors to Ireland. North Kerry boasts some of the most engaging, entertaining events and attractions in Ireland - from annual events such as street carnivals like the Tír na nÓg Festival and the Rose of Tralee to the beach for festivals filled with fun and games at the Ballyheigue Beach Races, fun for the whole family. You can explore the underground in Crag Cave, riding in the indoor rapids at the Aqua Dome, experiencing times past at the Kerry County Museum and discovering a unique form of travel aboard the Lartigue Monorail. Music and theatre lovers are also spoiled for choice. Siamsa Tíre in Tralee, is the proud base of Ireland’s National Folk Theatre There are varied musical and theatrical performances, staged at smaller venues like the Abbeydorney Drama Society theatre and St. John’s Theatre in Listowel, to the new, world-class Tinteán Theatre in Dingle, a beautiful fishing port. Dingle is famous for its food. There is a huge selection of restaurants serving fresh food to cater for all tastes and budgets.

What to see and do.

There are boat trips to meet Fungi – Ireland’s friendliest Dolphin who resides in Dingle Bay. Dingle Peninsula can be explored, one of the richest areas in archaeological remains on the west coast of Europe.The Dingle Peninsula has the largest collections in the world of beehive huts, stones with the unique ogham writing and ring forts. The remains include the Oratory at Gallarus and the cross stone of Riasc. Back pakkers will enjoy climbing Mount Brandon, or if it’s raining outside, Ireland’s highest indoor climbing wall can be climbed at Play at Height. The Blasket Islands are a great place to visit where you can learn about the unique community that lived on the great Blasket Island at the Blasket Centre. You will have a great day out when you visit the Oceanworld Aquarium good fun for all the family. For the out door person there are eco boat trips or angling tours off the Dingle coast, or you can enjoy a kayak trip around Dingle Harbour. You can explore the Conor Pass, the highest pass in Ireland which one can drive through. It has spectacular views of Dingle Harbour to the south and Mount Brandon to the north. The Slea Head Drive twists and turns through some of the most ruggedly beautiful landscape in Ireland, with fantastic views of the Three Sisters and the Blasket Islands. There is plenty of shopping for exquisite Celti jewellery and unique crafts as well as listening to a traditional music.

Connemara West of Ireland

Connemara to see and do.

Connemara is undoubtedly one of the most scenic regions in the world in which to hike and walk. It's craggy mountain peaks, expansive sandy beaches and laced network of lakes exemplify the peaceful solitude and rugged beauty of The West of Ireland. Connemara is the name given to the western portion of County Galway, which lies between Lough Corrib and the Atlantic. The name Connemara name was originally Conmaicnemara, or "the tribe of Cormac by the sea", given by the ancient Gaelic tribes. It was shortened in the 18th century, to Connemara.

The Connemara Loop is the perfect year round holiday destination

The Connemara Loop is situated in breathtaking North West Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. Follow the Loop and be taken on a journey through an ever changing landscape of majestic mountains, spectacular beaches, the wild Atlantic, mist covered lakes, pre-historic bogs and shady glens. A landscape peppered with quaint but lively villages where all the convenience of the modern day is available alongside an opportunity to step back in time to a more relaxed and friendly era. Dominated by the majestic Twelve Bens mountain range, dotted with lakes, and fringed by the deeply indented Atlantic coastline. It is broken into innumerable creeks, bays and little harbours, it is one of Ireland’s most popular and memorable touring areas.

Hiking in Connemara

Located North East of Roundstone village, The Twelve Bens are a group of small mountains that are the dominant feature of the Connemara country side. They are easily accessible from the villages Letterfrack or Recess. They are about 730 metres at the highest peak, and provide excellent walking and climbing opportunities for the outdoor enthuasiast. The Connemara National Park covers 2957 hectares in the scenic countryside in the foothills of the Twelve Bens. At the information centre there are Exebitions and audio visual shows on fauna and flora as well as the history of Connamara.

Angling in Connemara

The Ballynahinch Catchment drains an area is a diverse system of interconnected loughs and rivers, drained by the Ballynahinch River and offering the very best of fly fishing in Ireland. The season officially opens on 1st February and extends to the 30th September. The effective season, however, begins with a small run of large spring salmon, averaging 10lbs, in early to mid March extending into May. Ballynahinch is, however, traditionally a summer fishery. The Ballynahinch grilse(salmon that have been at sea for one winter) are traditionally very large, by Irish standards, averaging 6-7lbs with grilse up to 9lbs being caught late in the season.

Accomodation in Connemara.

There are many forms of accomodation in Connemara such as Heritage houses that are private country houses of historic interest and offer High Class accomodation. Self –catering accomodation where you do all the cooking yourself, and can cater for a small group of people and enjoy Connemara on a budget. Guest houses are another option varying from five bed room family houses, Georgian and Victorian. Some guesthouses provide meals to non residents and evening meals are provided. Hostels provide budget accomodation with self catering facilities, many hostels supply meals on request.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Giants Causeway North Antrim Coast Ireland

Giants Causeway to see and do.

This geological phenomenon renowned for its columns of layered basalt is a world heritage site and a fabulous day visit from Belfast (1 and a half hours drive). Owned by the conservation charity. Open daily all year from 9.30am apart from the Christmas holiday period, it sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the North Antrim Coast. Northern Ireland's iconic World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is home to a wealth of local history and legend. Explore the basalt stone columns left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago and search for distinctive stone formations fancifully named the Camel, Harp and Organ. With beautiful coastal path that extends for 11 miles to Carrick-a-Rede. This place has Geology, flora and fauna of international importance. Runkerry Head provides a spectacular two-mile walk.
Finn MacCool's Causeway is steeped in legend and folklore. Open for walking all year round, with stunning coast and cliff paths for exploration. With guided tours for groups. There are great holiday cottages for rent throughout Antrim from near the Giant's Causeway and Irish Whiskey country on the Northern Coast right down to the shores of Lough Neagh in the South. Many of their holiday homes are ideal for families and several will even allow you to bring pets along. Antrim has some of the finest coastal scenery in the world. There are several resort towns, including Portrush, Portballintrae and Ballycastle on the East Cushendun, Cushendall and Waterfoot on Red Bay, Carnlough and Glenarm Larne on the Sea of Moyle and Whitehead on Belfast Lough. Inland there are the lovely Glens of Antrim and the fertile valleys of the Bann and Lagan, with the intervening shores of Lough Neagh. Belfast is a handsome city with a blend of Victorian architecture and Irish hospitality. Once an area damaged by The Troubles, this is now a vibrant city full of new life, there's so much to see here; Odyssey complex, Belfast City Hall and the Grand Opera House are just to name a few. Safe sandy shores, open farms, rides and amusements, and the Dunluce Centre with viewing tower and 3 adventure areas - even an indoor Waterworld at Portrush.

Whatever your resort requirements, the Causeway Coast has it. Family places like Ballycastle and bustling Portrush teeming with nightlife, or Portballintrae for a quieter, adult break. It's not all surf, sand and castles, the Causeway Coast has some of the world's best golf - 30 top courses with links at Royal Portrush being the granddaddy of them all. After 18 holes, head inland to Ireland's oldest working distillery, Bushmills to experience the art of whiskey in the making. This is truely an amazing place to visit with plenty of Hotels and B&B's to stay over in.

Hotels and B&B’s

Bayview hotel

Is 2,7 km from Giants Causway Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this hotel is situated in the heart of the picturesque harbour-village of Portballintrae, one mile (1.6 km) from Bushmills. Opened in 2001, the hotel with private car park is close to the Old Bushmills Distillery. Ideal for escaping the stresses of everydaylife, the hotel's surroundings offer many opportunities for natural and cultural excursions and activities.The hotel has good conference facilities, and Porthole Restaurant and Bar offers a pleasant space in which to enjoy a meal and drinks. An ideal destination for conferencing, golfing, business or leisure, the hotel has 25 rooms disabled rooms are available.

Causeway lodge

Is 6 km Just 5 minutes away from Giant’s Causeway, this purpose built lodge provides the ideal base from which to explore the natural beauty of North Antrim’s coastline, Causeway Lodge has been approved by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. With just 4 comfortable en suite rooms you can be assured of personal service and a cosy, relaxing atmosphere. Occupying a peaceful rural setting just a short distance away from the Causeway Coastal Route and Whitepark Bay, Causeway Lodge enjoys wonderful views towards the picturesque Causeway Headland.

White Gable B&B

White Gable B&B is set in peaceful countryside just 3 miles from the Giant’s Causeway. Just a 10-minute drive from Bushmills Distillery, it offers rooms with sea views free Wi-Fi and free parking. Rooms at the White Gable all feature hairdryers and tea/coffee making facilities. Traditional cooked breakfasts are served daily.The popular seaside resort of Portrush is a 20-minute drive away. There are fantastic walking routes nearby along the stunning North Antrim coastline.

Albany lodge

Is 9,1 km away from Giants Causeway. Albany Lodge is an award-winning Guesthouse, offers luxury accommodation in the heart of Portrush with outstanding views. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, White Rocks beach and the Skerries Situated in the centre of Portrush close to the bustling Harbour. With restaurants and nightlife only a few minutes walk to the two blue flag beaches and a short distance from the world renowned Royal Portrush Golf Course. Albany Lodge provides luxury accommodation for a relaxing golfing break, that romantic weekend, or for the business traveller. The perfect location to explore the beautiful North Antrim coastline. The hotel has 10 non smoking rooms.

Ramada Hotel Portrush

Is 9,2 km from giants causeway, ans is situated in the centre of Portrush close to the bustling harbour Welcome to the Ramada Portrush, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, on the landmark site of the former Northern Counties Hotel. Staff are on hand 24 hours a day, offering a warm welcome and professional, friendly service with a real commitment to ensure that you enjoy your stay. The Counties Cafe Bar & Restaurant is a totally new concept for Portrush. The town centre location is the perfect venue to meet with friends for a drink or coffee in contemporary surroundings. The hotel has 69 rooms.