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Irish Whiskey Tasting In Galway City

Irish Whiskey Tasting In Galway City

Ireland has a very sophisticated whiskey tasting trail throughout the country. My focus this weekend was on the West of Ireland and the loveliest little city in Ireland – Galway.

Head to Shop street (yes you guessed it – lots of shops!) but a few great traditional pubs too, with some outdoor seating for the brave and fantastic welcoming interiors. A wall of Whiskeys meet you , the choice is staggering. Only the truly knowledgeable can go it alone without the guide of a detailed menu and description of what is on offer.

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How to Have a Perfect Weekend in Cork, Ireland

How to Have a Perfect Weekend in Cork, Ireland

A ‘once in a lifetime trip to Ireland’ is impossible – You can’t visit just once. The landscape, the people and atmosphere make it difficult for anyone who has experienced it to stay away for too long. Every time you make the trip you’ll find a new hidden gem; a little rocky cove, a scenic walk, a lively pub all there, as if waiting for you to discover them. As a regular visitor I have found one recipe for a perfect weekend in my favourite county of them all – Cork.

Saturday:

 Flying into Cork airport is always a pleasure.

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Centuries of Belief: Evidence in the Irish Landscape

Centuries of Belief: Evidence in the Irish Landscape

Ireland has a predominantly Catholic population. The religion is understood to have been brought to Ireland in the early fifth century by the country’s patron saint, St. Patrick. Prior to the introduction of Christianity, the Irish people had a very different belief system of which little is now known. Although Irish people accepted Christianity, they were slow to give up their old beliefs entirely. We can see vestiges of these old beliefs across the Irish landscape in the form of holy wells. These wells were considered sacred places to the pre-Christian Irish and so were amalgamated into the new belief system. There are an estimated 3000 holy wells in Ireland, many of which have had a shrine to the Virgin Mary added to Christianise the site. 

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The Irish Gift of the Gab

The Irish Gift of the Gab

The Irish are well known around the world for their way with words, sometimes referred to as the Gift of the Gab. In reality, this is much more than being quick witted and having a talent for spinning entertaining yarns over a pint (although it's true we are indeed quick witted and enjoy spinning yarns over pints); the Irish Gift of the Gab has stemmed from a population that has endured much hardship, including famine and recession and, being from a small Island, is prone to emigration. Despite living all over the world, either by choice or necessity, Irish people have retained a tangible identity which is kept alive through stories and songs. This identity is most evident on Saint Patrick's Day when, the 100 million or so, Irish diaspora celebrate their Irish ancestry.

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Ireland Cycle Routes - Off the beaten track Wild Atlantic Way experience

Ireland Cycle Routes - Off the beaten track  Wild Atlantic Way experience

We went on a long cycle through the coastal back roads of west cork at the start of February. We decided to head off as we were finally experiencing one of those beautiful clear crisp sunny days that unfortunately occurs only rarely in this beautiful part of the wild south of Ireland. Our trip began in the beautiful Nature reserve of Lough Hyne where we departed to the market town of Skibbereen for a coffee and scone a Field's coffee shop. We then headed towards the quite and sleepy village of Castletownshed that is situated on a steep hill before you can see the Atlantic ocean. Fitness is certainly needed for the cycle back out of this village. We carried on towards Toe head where we traversed the headland and watched out for sea life as we watched the waves break off the coastal cliffs and rocks. In the distance we could see the Stags and off to the west the Fastnet Rock and lighthouse was clear to see well beyond Cape Clear island. 

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