Happy Saint Patricks Day from Liam Neeson!

‘’Every year on Saint Patrick’s day the world goes green but here in Ireland every day is bathed in green’’.

Watch this short video where Liam Neeson wishes the world a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. If you didn’t already want to come to Ireland, this video might change your mind! 60 seconds of sweeping views and luscious green scenery combined with short glimpses of our famous culture and history! Enjoy!

St Patricks Cathedral Going G

Share This:

AN IN-DEPTH REVIEW : SOUTH OF IRELAND KNITTING & CRAFT TOUR

By Guest Blogger Constance Hall

Last November a dream came true for me when I read about a knitting and craft tour that Irish Tourism had organized. Knitting, crafts AND Ireland, what more could anyone who loves fiber ask for? It had a long been a dream of mine to visit Ireland. Traveling alone can be a bit daunting so I kept putting off planning the trip I had long wanted to take. As I read more about the tour it seemed to be planned just for me. I knew though that I would be sure to find like minded new friends on the trip as we already had fiber in common and a love of Ireland. I signed up, this was going to be fun!

Our guide Fiona trying out some spinning!

The itinerary was amazing. It was really well planned and included three knitting classes, two spinning demonstrations, basket and lace making too. Oh, AND entry into the Knitting and Stitching show in Dublin! Each knitting class was taught by an experienced instructor. The classes included the yarns that we needed and patterns with step by step instructions. We learned traditional Irish stitches all the while having tea and biscuits (cookies) scones and jam. We were all in heaven. The locations of each workshop were different and added to the charm. From a lovely hotel in Galway to Mairead Sherry’s living room in a traditional Aran Island house complete with peat fire. We felt we were seeing more of Ireland than you might see on a regular tour. Our tour driver Kenny was very good, didn’t hit anything and never left anyone behind. Fiona Lane was our tour guide and we felt very lucky. Her knowledge of Ireland and fun attitude made the days fun and relaxing. We didn’t have to worry about anything as she took care of every detail along the way.

Traditional Basket Making Demonstration with Joe Hogan

Carol Feller of Cork was one of our instructors. Her workshop included a signed copy of her book we got to keep and she brought the actual samples that were made for the book. She included lots of tips for pattern modifications. If you were a new knitter you could just focus on the stitches (and cookies) and knit along without worrying about the more advanced techniques. There was something for everyone whether you were a new knitter or a more experienced one.

Knitting Class with Carol Feller in Killarney

Anne O’Maille of Galway also taught a workshop. She showed us yarns that are available locally and we used the yarns to knit some of the many patterns she provided. We had a great time shopping in her store in Galway where she has an enormous collection of hand knit Irish sweaters. These are still knit by women in Ireland with intricate cable patterns. She also sells the yarns we used in class. Galway was great fun. Such a walkable friendly city with sidewalk musicians playing on every block. Bakeries and cheese shops, book stores and all kinds of Irish goods to browse and buy. There are many pubs and restaurants with Irish music and great beers. You can walk along the main street and stop in for a beer and music without worrying about you safety. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

Anne O Maille’s Patterns and Samples

The high point of the trip was a visit to the smallest of the Aran Islands, Inis Oirr. We flew over in a small plane in just nine minutes from the mainland to the island. Coming in for a landing you could see the individual fields with the short stone walls surrounding each field. From the air it seemed like a very green jigsaw puzzle. Some of the puzzle pieces had a horse or sheep on them. O’Brians Castle perched up on the hill seemed to still be keeping watch over the island. Una McDonagh met us at the airport. We knew we were to have a knitting workshop with her but we didn’t know what treats she ready for us. It was a nice but chilly day and we were grateful for the hot tea and scones that she served us when we reached the craft center.

Inis Oirr, Aran Islands

They have a small gift shop at the craft center and a very informative display of traditional clothing once worn by the islanders. After our tea restored our energy we got down to knitting. The craft center is a wonderful resource for the island. The classroom space is roomy and well lit. Una was joined by Mairead Sharry and together they taught us how to knit a few of the traditional Aran Island knitting stitches. At the end of the class we were invited back to Mairead’s traditional thatched cottage. Her spinning wheel was set up next to the hearth so she could sit and spin with the peat fire warming her as she spun. It was easy to imagine how it would have been to sit and spin though a long winter with access cut off to the mainland and only your neighbors to rely on for weeks at a time. We were very lucky to be able to sit with her and imagine the past, as there are very few spinners still on the islands.

Mairead Sharry at her Cottage on the Island

Besides knitting and spinning this tour showed us many of the more standard spots that all tourists to Ireland want to visit. We saw the Book Of Kells, and the Cliffs of Moher. The Ring Of Kerry and Blarney Castle with its amazing Druid’s Circle. The Museum of Country Life has a wonderful display of crochet clothing and old weaving shuttles and bobbins. Kylemore Abbey, besides having a stunning house has the perfect property to walk off the effects of sitting on the bus and eating too much good food. It would have been perfect except for the rain and the very small hail stones that caught us between house and gardens. In no way did that spoil our walk in- between the trees with, it seemed, the fairies just hiding out of view.

Kylemore Abbey

The accommodations were very well chosen. Clean and safe, with welcoming staff, we were all very happy with each place we stayed. My favorite was the B & B on Inis Oirr.  She opened her house and made us feel very welcome. The breakfast was perfect and set us up for our return to the mainland. Some meals were provided on the tour and they were all good but more fun was going out some evenings and looking for a local place to eat. We had the best fish and chips in Galway and a personal goal was trying the dark beers in a pub or two or three. Of course the Guinness was a must but I have to say the Murphy’s beer was a favorite.

Kenmare Lace Demonstration with Nora

This tour was a great introduction to Ireland and the fiber and craft community on the island. The fiber community has a long history in Ireland and is making a revival with the renewed interest in traditional crafts. There are many places now on my list that are calling me to return and hopefully spend more time exploring. The itinerary for a new Knitting and Craft tour is now being offered this April with all new places to visit. Oh I can’t wait!

Get in Touch-

For our latest knitting tour price and availability, please visit:

www.irishtourism.com/knitting

Or give us a call for more information:

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

Share This:

Ireland Ranks No.1 on The Good Country Index

By Orla Spencer

We always knew that Ireland is a great nation but a recent study headed by Simon Anholt is adding more weight to this statement!

He and his team have come up with the Good Country Index and at present Ireland ranks at number 1. This makes us here at The Irish Tourism Group very proud!

The Good Country Index

The Good Country Index categorises countries according to their contribution to humanity using 35 indicators with data compiled from the United Nations, the World Bank and other institutions. This data is spread across seven categories which are Science and Technology, Culture, International Peace and Security, World Order, Planet and Climate, Prosperity and Equality, Health and Wellbeing. Watch Simon’s Ted Talk below for more detail or visit http://www.goodcountry.org/

 

 

Share This:

Introducing our Newest Tour: 9 Night North of Ireland Knitting & Craft

By Orla Spencer

Including craft demonstrations, craft based sightseeing, knitting workshops and some of Ireland’s best visitor attractions!

We’ve been running our Southern Ireland Knitting & Craft tours for a number of years now and we have found that there is great interest in this tour. Feedback from our previous guests has been very positive. So for 2015, we are mixing things up a bit and are running a new Knitting & Craft tour, similar to the previous tour but visiting areas in the North, Northwest & West of Ireland. For bookings made before the 31st of December 2014, we are pleased to offer a discount of €100 per person, read to the end for more details about this!

This is Knit, Dublin
This is Knit, Dublin

This new tour begins in Dublin; the first day is pretty relaxed, giving our guests time to rest after their long journey to Ireland. In the afternoon, if participants are feeling up to it, we will take them on a panoramic tour of Dublin stopping at Dublin Castle and the Museum of Decorative Arts and History.  The latter has been a favourite stop of our past knitting tours due to the museum’s exhibition showing how different classes of people in Ireland’s past lived and what they wore. After visiting a few more attractions and enjoying an overnight stay in Dublin, the tour continues to Northern Ireland, on the way stopping at a Tapestry Weavers for a workshop as well as one of Northern Ireland’s famous Linen factories.

Dublin City
Dublin City

In Belfast tickets are included for the Creative Craft Show and time is allowed for guests to explore Belfast at their leisure. Also while in Northern Ireland we will take a journey around the spectacular Causeway Coast, visiting Dunluce Castle and of course the Giant’s Causeway itself. Then the tour continues to the City of Derry where a guided walk along the cities stone walls has been arranged. Continue to Donegal where you will first enjoy a hands on knitting class with Irish knitwear designer, Edel McBride. Then visit Studio Donegal one of Ireland’s premier hand weaving studios and stockists of a wide variety of local yarns. Other exploits in the Northern part of this tour include a visit the Belleek Pottery studio, a tour of Enniskillen Castle and a visit to the Sheelin Lace Shop and Museum.

Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle

In Mayo we will meet local knitting instructor Ciara Ní Reachtnín who will teach our group how to create the Deirdre of Sorrows Shawl pattern which is one of her own Celtic Designs. Our group will visit the museum of Country Life where traditional life in Ireland is presented through enlightening exhibits and Foxford Woollen Mills where the working of the woollen mill can be seen in great detail.

Foxford Woollen Mills
Foxford Woollen Mills

In Galway discover the wild and vast Connemara region, visiting the Sheep & Wool Centre and the famous Kylemore Abbey. On the way back we will spend time with local basket Maker Ciaran Hogan for a demonstration of traditional Irish willow basket weaving. When you return to Dublin take part in one final knitting workshop with Lisa Sisk from This is Knit before meeting in Nancy Hands pub for a wonderful farewell meal in a private area of the bar, reserved for our Knitting Tour alone.

Ciaran Hogan Basket Making

For bookings made on our new Knitting & Craft tour by the 31st of December 2014 we are pleased to offer a €100 discount per person! Places are limited to 25, so if you are interested, do get in touch with us!

For more information visit:

http://www.irishtourism.com/knitting/9-night-north-of-ireland-knitting-craft-tour/4573

USA & Canada Toll-Free 1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone 0800 096 9438

International +353 69 77686

info@irishtourism.com

 

 

 

Share This:

Happy Halloween!

By Orla Spencer

Halloween - Samhain
Halloween – Samhain

A lot of people in Ireland believe that Halloween came from the pagan festival of Samhain which was celebrated in Ireland and other Celtic countries. Samhain was the time when the veil between the land of the living and the dead was at its thinnest, allowing the spirits and the dead to come into our world. To celebrate Samhain, Celtic Druids built huge bonfires, people gathered harvest foods and sacrificed animals.

We are glad things have changed a bit!

http://www.irishtourism.com

Share This:

Ireland’s Sunny South East

By Orla Spencer

irelands-sunny-south-east

Ireland’s Sunny South East is made up of the counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, South-Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. Is the South East sunnier than other parts of Ireland you might ask? Well apparently so! According to Ireland’s National Meteorological Service, Met Eireann – the extreme southeast gets an average of more than 7 hours a day in early summer when the rest of Ireland gets between 5-6.5 hours! This fact aside, Ireland’s South East has a treasure trove of interesting places to visit and here are some of them-

Wexford-

Wexford is well known for its annual Opera Festival, which has gained reputation internationally for introducing audiences to previously neglected works. Other places of interest include the Ring of Hook, a spectacular drive around the Hook Peninsula with the oldest operating lighthouse in the world at its tip! History and heritage seekers will love the Irish National Heritage Park, here trails run through replicas of Stone-Age to Early Christian and Viking dwellings giving an interactive insight into Ireland’s varied history. The ultimate Irish Castle experience can be found in Wexford’s Johnstown Castle– a remarkable Gothic Revival Mansion and in New Ross discover The Dunbrody, a full scale replica of a ‘coffin-ship’ used to take those suffering the Irish Famine to more hopeful lands.

Wexford Opera Festival
Wexford Opera Festival

Waterford –

The City of Waterford has strong links with the Vikings. The name Waterford itself is  believed to derive from the old Norse word ‘Vedrarfjiordr’ and in what is known as the Viking Triangle you will find a number of interesting museums; Reginald’s Tower which has an exhibition that displays a superb collection of historic and archaeological artefacts, The Bishops Palace built in 1743 by renowned architect Richard Castle and the Medieval Museum which includes numerous well preserved medieval structures, including the beautiful Chorister’s Hall. Before you leave Waterford city we recommend a stop at the wonderful Waterford Crystal Museum where you can see one of Ireland’s most famous exports in the making. Further southeast, Dunmore East is a pleasant fishing village and popular seaside retreat. The heritage town of Lismore is also within easy reach and amongst the many interesting period buildings in the town you will find Lismore Castle and St. Carthages Cathedral.

Bishop Palace Museum, Waterford
Bishop Palace Museum, Waterford

Kilkenny-

If you are interested in sport at all try to take in a Hurling match! Kilkenny is most famous for its fantastic hurlers, having won the All-Ireland Hurling Championship 35 times! Kilkenny City itself is one of Ireland’s busiest, a popular destination for hen and stag parties and a popular family holiday destination. Sites of Interest include Kilkenny Castle ancestral home to the Butler family, Saint Canice’s Cathedral where a climb to the top of its adjacent round tower offers fantastic views of the city. Further north check out Castlecomer Discovery Park which as an interesting coal-mining museum and craft yard. In Thomastown you will find the extensive ruins of  Jerpoint Abbey and Jerpoint Park, Ireland’s best example of an abandoned 12th Century Medieval Town.

St. Canices Cathedral, Kilkenny
St. Canices Cathedral, Kilkenny

South Tipperary –

Tipperary is rich in historic sites of interest; The Rock of Cashel which rises dramatically above Cashel town was once an important symbol of kingship and religious power. In the early 5th century it was the seat of the Kings of Munster and was famously presided over by Brian Boru. Later the fortress was given to the church and now there are many religious monuments to visit including the hall of the vicar’s choral and the ruin of an ornate gothic cathedral. Close by in the heritage town of Cahir, Cahir Castle can be visited. The castle retains so much of its original character that it has been the set for many films including Excalibur. The renovated interior of the castle includes a large great hall decorated with authentic furniture.

Cahir Castle, Tipperary
Cahir Castle, Tipperary

Carlow –

Carlow town is picturesquely situated where the River Barrow and the Burrin River meet. At one point in time it was believed that there were four lakes here, hence the Irish word Ceathar Loch, or Four Lakes. A small county, Carlow has few attractions relative to other counties in Ireland; however the few available are well worth a visit. Borris House in South Carlow is the ancestral home of the MacMurrough Kavanaghs, who were once kings of Leinster. Borris House’s past can be traced back to the Royal families of ancient Ireland and a tour of the house covers all aspects of this fascinating history.

Altamont Gardens, Carlow
Altamont Gardens, Carlow

One of Ireland’s newest museums, Carlow County Museum gives a fascinating insight into the social and industrial history of Carlow. Exhibits include a wonderful 19th century hand carved pulpit from Carlow Cathedral.  If gardens is your thing, be sure to stop by the Altamont Gardens, on a 100 acre estate, these gardens are often considered as Ireland’s most romantic!

Share This:

Tracing the Potato Famine in Ireland

 

Potato famine in Ireland Map, Places to Visit
Potato famine in Ireland Map, Places to Visit

About the Potato Famine in Ireland

Between 1845 and 1852 our population was reduced by about 20% due to the impacts of the Potato Famine in Ireland, also known as The Great Famine or in our native language ‘An Gorta Mór’. It is estimated that about one million people died from starvation during this period and another million emigrated to America and other countries. It is no surprise therefore that the potato famine has left its mark on the country and remnants of this poignant period in Irish history remain evident to this day.

famine-memorial-by-william-nolan

In this post we will provide you with the names and information of some of the best places that can be visited today to learn more about the potato famine in Ireland

Strokestown Park Famine Museum
Strokestown Park is an 18th century Palladian mansion, and home of the Packenham Mahon family from 1653 until 1979. The Famine Museum is located in the stable yard and was established when an archive of papers relating to the management of the estate during the 1840s was discovered. This collection is now regarded as the best archive on the Potato Famine in Ireland and all documents are on display in the museum. The mansion house may also be visited and this gives a sense of what life was like for the richer, more fortunate people of this time.

The Workhouse Dunfanaghy & the Irish Workhouse Centre Portumna
Workhouses had an important part to play during the famine times in Ireland. These were the places that the completely destitute went as a last resort, when the only alternative was to die of starvation. Families typically ended up here if they were evicted from their homes due to non-payment of rent. Once families entered a workhouse they were split up, oftentimes never seeing their loved ones again. There are two great museums in Ireland that tell the story of the workhouse in authentic buildings that once served as workhouses for their communities; The Dunfanaghy Workhouse in County Donegal and the Irish Workhouse Centre County Galway.

Dunfanaghy Workhouse by Willie Angus
Dunfanaghy Workhouse by Willie Angus

The first inmates of the Dunfanaghy workhouse were admitted in 1845 and parts of the building were restored and converted to exhibition space in the 1990’s to tell the story of the famine in the area. This story is told through the Wee Hannah Exhibition, which details the life of local girl Hannah Herrity as she struggled through the famine years and lived for a while in Dunfanaghy Workhouse.

Portumna Children in Workhouse
Portumna Children in Workhouse

The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna is one of the most complete workhouses left in Ireland. The best way to see this exhibition is by guided tour where guides take you through every aspect of workhouse life from entry to the waiting hall to the girls and boys dormitories and laundry rooms. Discover what life was like for the inmates in what many refer to as the most feared and hated institutions ever established in Ireland.

Coffin Ships; Jeanie Johnston & Dunbrody
The ships that carried the emigrants escaping to North America and other countries were often referred to as Coffin ships due to the high mortality rate amongst lower class travellers. These ships were often overcrowded and disease ridden with shortages of food and water a common occurrence. Two of this type of ship can be seen in Ireland today, the Dunbrody in New Ross & the Jeannie Johnston in Dublin.

Jeanie Johnston at sunset Daniel Dudek Corrigan
Jeanie Johnston at sunset Daniel Dudek Corrigan

Situated close to the Famine Memorial (pictured with the introduction) in Dublin’s Custom House Quay, the Jeanie Johnston made 16 emigrant journeys to America between 1847 and 1855, it carried more than 2,500 people with no loss of life which is unusual for a ship of this kind. Your tour guide will show you the ships main features and tell you stories about some stories of the passengers that travelled upon it giving a sense of what the arduous journey to America from Ireland would have been like at that time.

The Dunbrody
The Dunbrody

The Dunbrody is a similar type of ship moored at New Ross in county Wexford. Here you discover what life was like on board through guided tour with costumed performers and detailed exhibition models. Listen to accounts from a steerage and 1st class passenger as they explain the harsh realities of life aboard the ship. As well as the ship tour, at Dunbrody you can visit the Irish America Hall of Fame which details the contributions of Irish men and women to the history of the United States.

Skibbereen Heritage Centre

Skibbereen was very badly affected by the great famine, losing about a third of its population to starvation, disease and emigration to America. The heritage centre in Skibbereen has a great exhibition commemorating the Great Famine in Skibbereen. The Exhibition depicts the potato Famine through primary source accounts given at the time showing government policies and how they impacted the community. Reports from the relief committee and their efforts to lessen the suffering of local people are presented alongside reports of how the global community responded to the crisis.

Cobh Heritage Centre
Cobh Heritage Centre

Cobh Heritage Centre
The port of Cobh was the most important port of Emigration from Ireland during the mass exodus between 1848 and 1950. Cobh Heritage centre details this exodus through informative exhibitions and several short films. The main attraction is a replica of cross sections of an emigrant’s ship showing what life was like for the various classes on board; the passengers cramped in steerage quarters, the comfortable first class cabins and even prisoner’s quarters where those who were being transported to Australia for their crimes were held. This exhibition tells you about the Irish famine and its causes and helps you to understand why so many people felt they had to leave their friends and family in Ireland for ever.

Bunratty Folk Park

On the grounds of Bunratty Castle you will find Bunratty Folk Park, a reconstructed village which includes shops, streets and houses that reflect the social status of their occupants, from the poorest one roomed dwelling not unlike those lived in by tenants during the famine period to a fine example of a Georgian Residence built for the Studdart Family in 1804. What’s great about Bunratty Folk Park is that reconstructed cottages from different areas of Ireland can be explored and their subtle differences encountered.

Bunratty Cottage Interior
Bunratty Cottage Interior

The National Museum of Country Life
The National Museum of Country Life is located near Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The Museum houses the National Folk-life Collection and portrays the lives of ordinary people in the hundred years between the Great Famine and the end of the 1950s. Here you will see the clothes that people typically wore during these times, their culture and traditions. See how people worked the land and sea and discover the trades essential for the survival of the community including the blacksmith, carpenter, thatcher, and cobbler.

National Museum of Country Life, Mayo
National Museum of Country Life, Mayo

 

Get in Touch-
The best way to learn about the potato famine in Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205
UK FreeFone0800 096 9438
International+353 69 77686
www.irishtourism.com

Share This:

Puck Fair

By Orla Spencer

Another mad Irish Fest!
It can be said that Ireland loves a festival with a bit of character (to put it mildly!), that’s probably why the Puck Fair Festival in Killorglin County Kerry has been going strong for more than 400 years!

Puck Fair queen kissing king goat
Puck Fair, Killorglin, Kerry

Every year a goat catcher makes their way up one of the Kerry Mountains to retrieve a wild goat. When the goat is brought back to the town a local young girl usually chosen from one of the national schools is named ‘Queen of Puck’ and crowns the goat ‘King Puck’. King Puck then spends three days on a high stand overlooking Killorglin town, to oversee the celebrations below and when the festival is ended he is safely returned from where he came. Festivities include live music, a live parade, workshops and street performers.

What’s the history behind Puck Fair? It’s going on so long that nobody really knows why but the most widely told story is one involving Oliver Cromwell who came to Ireland with armed forces in 1649 with the intention of carrying on ‘’the great work against the barbarous and blood-thirsty Irish’’. The story of Puck tells us that while Cromwell and his men were pillaging the countryside they rounded a heard of wild goats from the mountain. One of the goats then broke free and made his way to Killorglin town and alerted the townsfolk to Cromwell’s arrival giving them time to prepare themselves for defence. It is said that in gratitude for the service rendered by that goat that the people decided to put on a special festival in his honour and this festival has been held ever since.

Get in Touch-
The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation today –
USA & Canada1877 298 7205
UK FreeFone0800 096 9438
International+353 69 77686
www.irishtourism.com

Share This:

Top Outdoorsy activities to do in Ireland with Kids

By Orla Spencer

Wondering what kind of outdoor experience there is in Ireland for kids and families to enjoy? Then look no further!
With plenty of green fields, national parks, wildlife reserves and farms, there is no shortage of outdoorsy places to visit with the kids in Ireland! Some outdoorsy suggestions;

1-Visit one of our Fantastic Zoo’s or Wildlife Reserves

We’ve got a few Zoo’s and Wildlife Park to choose from;

Dublin Zoo, Dublin: in the Phoenix Park in South Dublin is the biggest wildlife reserve in Ireland. Spanning over 28 hectares of Phoenix Park, it is divided into areas named World of Cats, World of Primates, The Kaziranga Forest Trail, Fringes of the Arctic, African Plains, Birds, Reptiles, Plants, City Farm and Endangered Species.

Tayto Park, Meath: If you know the Irish, then you know that we have a bit of an obsession with Tayto Crisps! A number of years ago Tayto developed their own family fun Park and Nature reserve. I have been here a few times with my family and I have to say, it’s a great day out. They’ve got lots of animals and birds to see including Owls, Cranes, Geese, Goats, Cattle, Sheep, Pigs, Mountain Lions, Leopards and Tigers. They also have several playgrounds, one of Ireland’s longest zip wires, a sky-walk and climbing wall. Please note, some things require additional cover charge.

Fota Wildlife Park, Cork: The Fota Island estate was the home of the Smith-Barry family for about 800 years until it was sold to the University of Cork in 1975. The wild-life park opened to the general public in the summer of 1983 and now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Animals include Tigers, White-faced Saki, Gibbon, Giraffe, Lemurs, Ostrich, Meerkat, Zebra and Kangaroo. The Park also has a great playground.

Fota Wildlife Park, Cork
Fota Wildlife Park, Cork

2- Go Farming!

Ireland is known for its ample green fields and prosperous farming community. Many farms are now open to the public and they are a great day out for families. Some of our favourites include;

Kissane’s Sheep Farm, Kerry: Kissane’s is a working sheep farm with more than 1000 working mountain sheep and hundreds of lambs. The family have two border Collies who expertly move the sheep where the farmer requires them. Sheepdog demonstrations as well as sheep shearing demonstrations are done regularly for guests.

Cows!
Cows!

Rathbaun Farm, Galway: A visit to Rathbaun typically consists of watching the family’s trusty sheepdog ted rounding up the sheep, followed by a sheep shearing demonstration and time feeding the cute baby lambs! Who can resist some time with a cute baby lamb?!

Stonehall Farm, Limerick: Stonehall is located in Curraghchase Forest Park (which has lovely forest walks by the way) in county Limerick. You will find an array of exotic and domestic animals on the farm including Ostriches, Emus, Llamas, Alpacas a variety of Birds of Prey and the domestic animal breeds including, Sheep, Ponies Ducks and Geese. They also have some great kids play facilities and a nice picnic area.

Geese
Geese

3- Check out some of our Cool Caves!
Ireland’s Karst Lanscape has provided us with a vast system of Caves throughout the country and many of them are open to the Public. Some of our favourites for families include;

Crag Caves, Kerry: This 350m wonder offers an amazing insight into how caves are formed. Here you will find fantastic examples of pillars, stalagmites, stalactites, curtains, flowstones and straws that have been changing over the last 15,000 years. Crag Caves also have a great indoor and outdoor play area for kids and recently began to offer Falconry demonstrations where Eagles, Hawks, Falcons and Owls can be seen up close and personal!

Crag Caves
Crag Caves, Kerry

Mitchelstown Caves, Tipperary: On a guided tour of Michelstown Caves you witness caverns as high as 31 meters high, stalactites, stalagmites and one of Europe’s finest columns; the Tower of Babel.

Mitchelstown Caves, Tipperary
Mitchelstown Caves, Tipperary

Doolin Caves, Clare: We like Doolin Caves for families because it’s got a great Cave system featuring the longest stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere but also because they have a great nature trail that kids love! The trail features goats, cattle, sheep and chickens and is included in the cave entry price.

Aillwee Caves & Birds of Prey Centre, Clare: A tour through the caves in Aillwee caves entails a 30 minute stroll through their beautiful caverns, with internal bridges across the caves chasms witnessing unusual formations and by a really cool underground waterfall! On site, one can also find a Birds of prey centre with Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and Owls from all over the world.

4- Visit some of our Free Entry National Parks
There are 6 National Parks in Ireland, they are all free entry, offer great walks or bike riding opportunities and are especially great for sunny days! Some of our top park pics include;

Killarney National Park, Kerry: This Park contains many features of national and international importance such as the native oakwoods and yew woods, and a herd of native red deer! The Park is great for walks and cycling and bikes can be rented from a few places in Killarney town. Do check out Muckross House if you get the opportunity.

Killarney National Park Deer
Killarney National Park Deer

The Burren National Park, Clare: Situated in the south-eastern corner of the Burren, this park includes great examples of Limestone Pavements that are almost moonlike in appearance. The Burren region is internationally famous for its unusual landscape and unique flora, found here are certain species of flowering plants which although rare elsewhere are abundant in the Burren.  Even more remarkably they all survive in a landscape that appears to be composed entirely of rock!

Connemara National Park, Galway: This Park covers around 2,957 hectares of rocky mountains, bogland, heaths, grass and woodland. The park contains many wildlife, flora and fauna. Kids love the heard of Connemara Pony that can be seen here. Although typically a domestic animal, this pony is very much part of the Connemara countryside.

Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park

Wicklow Mountains National Park, Wicklow: The beautiful open vistas are broken up only by forestry plantations and the picturesque winding roads. Fast-flowing rivers descend into the deep lakes of the wooded valleys and continue their course into the surrounding lowlands. The most visited area is the attractive Glendalough Valley where the ancient monastic settlement of St. Kevin is located.

Get in Touch-
The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
USA & Canada1877 298 7205
UK FreeFone0800 096 9438
International+353 69 77686
www.irishtourism.com

Share This:

The Irish Red Head Convention

By Orla Spencer

Possibly the weirdest (but most craic) festival in Ireland!
The Irish Red Head convention takes place every year toward the end of August in Crosshaven County Cork. The festival is growing in numbers every year and this year the numbers surpassed 3000!

Irish Redhead Convention King & Queen
Irish Redhead Convention King & Queen

The festival is a true celebration of the red haired with the highlight of the weekend being the crowning of the new Ginger King & Queen! Other whacky activities at the convention include prizes for the best red eyebrows and the most freckles per square inch! The most recent festival goers enjoyed Ginger Speed Dating, Red-Head Pitch & Putt & the annual Carrot tossing pitch and Putt! One of the best things about the Irish Red Head convention is that by attending you are showing support and raising much needed funds for the Irish Cancer Society.

Irish Redhead Convention Celebrations
Irish Redhead Convention Celebrations

If you’ve got some red locks to show off, why not make it your business to attend the next Irish Red Head Convention!

USA & Canada1877 298 7205
UK FreeFone0800 096 9438
International+353 69 77686
www.irishtourism.com

Share This: