Our Irish Blessing

Loop Head

Ireland’s rugged West Coast

Nine Months in Ireland

It’s time to say goodbye to Ireland. Slán go hÉirinn. After nine months living in the Emerald Isle we have truly been blessed with the most amazing collection of memories to take away with us. Ireland or Éire in Irish, is beautiful. Stunningly so, in a way that takes your breath away. Scenes that look as though they fell from the pages of a fairy tale are common place. Rolling green hills, rocky cliffs, castles and country lanes – yes, all the clichés are true. Continue reading

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Game of Thrones, Northern Ireland

Game of Thrones

As an MAJOR fan of the TV series and even bigger fan of the Books, exploring the filming locations of a Game of Thrones has been on my Ireland bucket list from before we arrived in Ireland!

The scenery of Northern Ireland makes for an Ideal “Westeros”, and exploring the locations is great fun for Thrones fans, as well as the non-fans who want to take in some amazing sights. Even the kids enjoyed hearing about the stories that had taken place in these fantasy driven locations. (The censored version, of course)

There are a number of tours available that take groups to a lot of the great spots, and one of the benefits of a tour is the knowledge that the guide shares about the how and where the filming happened.

But, a self-guided experience can be just as much fun, and maybe even more so for those who are just as awestruck by Northern Ireland’s Landscape as they are by Game of Thrones.

So for those sticking with us, here is our Game of Thrones tour of Northern Ireland.

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5000 Years of History at Brú na Bóinne, Ireland.

Bru Na Boinne

One of the things that we love most about Ireland is history on a scale that we have never experienced before. Aboriginal Australians have lived in Australia about 40,000 years, but as they were nomadic tribes that moved about and made temporary structures, very little evidence remains of this part of Australian history. In Ireland however, humans have been leaving evidence of their existence on this tiny island for at least 5000 years. Recently, we had the most wonderful history lesson on a visit to Brú na Bóinne, a Neolithic collection of stone passage tombs in the Boyne Valley, in County Meath.

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Irish Hurling, the World’s Oldest Field Sport.

Oscar (back left) loves playing Hurling for our local team here in Ireland.

Oscar (back left) loves playing Hurling for our local team here in Ireland.

Our son Oscar has been playing an Irish field sport called Hurling for a local Wexford under 8’s team. Until moving to Ireland we had never seen a game or even heard of it. In the past few months, we have all learnt the rules of this unusual game, and enjoy it very much. Last week we were very excited to go and see a live game in Dublin, a quarter final match between Dublin and Galway played at Croke Park. It was a lot of fun, and a great experience to see just how fast and furious the game is played at the top level.  Continue reading

The Best Way to See the Ring of Kerry

Ring Of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is internationally renowned as one of Ireland’s best road-trips. It is technically a circular route around County Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula, but to truly experience the best of The Ring, expect to get lost somewhere in the middle, zig-zagging back and forth over mountain passes and though the gaps in between. Best sections of The Ring can be found west of Glenbeigh, from Waterville through to Sneem and from Sneem and Kenmare right through to Killarney (on R568 and N71). Continue reading

St Patrick’s Day in Killarney

 

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“You haven’t lived in Ireland until you’ve celebrated your first Paddy’s Day there.” Our Global Adventure LIVES in Ireland! We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day 2015 in Killarney, County Kerry, a picturesque town on Ireland’s West Coast. The sun was shining, the breeze was fair, and the Guinness was flowing like The Shannon. The Irish sure know how to paint the town green, and for us, Killarney was the perfect family friendly location for the big day. Unlike Dublin, Killarney wasn’t too crowded, too boozy, or too expensive. We enjoyed the parade, the sights, the sounds and the craic with lots of other families. Take a peek at some of the fun…

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County Clare and The Cliffs of Moher

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Diving the Wild Atlantic Way along the coast of County Clare in Ireland is one of the bucket list trips that we have been anticipating for a long time. This famous stretch of the Atlantic coastline is iconic. Rolling green hills that end dramatically at the water’s edge in a sheer, breathtaking drop are the picture postcard Ireland that many visitors come to see. Continue reading

Ireland – Paid Entry Vs Free Tourist Attractions

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Where to go if you are visiting Ireland on a budget.

We have been living in and touring Ireland for almost four months, and during that time we have visited lots of the ‘must see’ tour book recommended tourist attractions around the country. Some of them have had some pretty hefty entrance fees, but on the other hand, we have also had plenty of awesome free experiences. So, if you are visiting Ireland and you would like to stretch your cash further, here’s our advice on the places worth paying for, and also what the free (or cheaper) options are. Continue reading

Why You Should Travel In The Off-Season

Rugged up against the cold, but loving exploring Ireland in Winter.

Rugged up against the cold, but loving exploring Ireland in Winter.

At the moment we are travelling in our second winter in 7 months. We have done back-to-back winters from Australia to Ireland. Yes, we could do with a sunny beach and a tan about now, but there’s lots of reasons why we wouldn’t have it any other way. Traveling in the off-season suits us as family travelers, and here are some of the advantages to putting away the bathing suit, and hitting the road in winter instead. Continue reading

Blarney Castle – Kissing Royal Butt in Ireland

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle, was built in 1446, it is actually the third castle to have been erected on this site. The first fort built in the tenth century was a wooden structure. Then in 1210 this was replaced the first stone structure. Later the building was demolished for use as the foundations of the imposing, dramatic castle guests see today.

You will find Blarney Castle in Co. Cork, about 15km out of Cork city. Considering it is one of the two most visited castles in Ireland (the other is Bunratty Castle) in summer you could probably just follow the steady stream of tour buses. But, if like us, you are visiting in winter, then a good map, or GPS is advised.

Touring Ireland in the off-season definitely has it’s perks, especially when visiting a tourist attraction as popular as this one. We had read numerous reviews of long waits and large crowds, but on the cold January day that we visited, we almost had the entire park and castle to ourselves. Yes, the air was bitter and damp, but completely worth it. Blarney Castle absolutely blew our mind in every way possible. To start with it is high and impressive. It rises up from the top of the rock in a way that says it means business, do not mess with the inhabitants! Even better, is the fact that guests are able to wander about in side the castle, (and underneath in the dungeons) freely exploring, imagining and touching the history within it’s 600 year old walls. Oh if those walls could speak – What stories they would have to tell! Restoration has been done to make the castle safe, but it has mostly been left in it’s original state, which allows for visitor imaginations to run wild. Given that there were so few other visitors, within minutes our seven year old son had begun imaginative role play, shooting arrows from the walls and hiding in the dark corners waiting to pounce on an enemy invader.

Get Up Close and Personal with Royalty

Of course everyone knows of the legend of the ‘Blarney Stone’, that those who kiss the stone will be blessed with the ‘gift of the gab’ to talk their way out of any situation. Did you also know that the Blarney Stone itself is also said to be half of the Scottish ‘Stone of Scone’, otherwise known as the ‘Stone of Destiny’? For centuries the Stone of Scone was associated with the crowning of Scottish kings and then, in 1296, it was taken to England and later placed under the Coronation Chair. So to smack your lips against the cold hard Blarney Stone at the top of the tower, you might as well be kissing the butt of royalty! Did we kiss it? Hmmm, well one of us was brave enough to do so… we’ll let the pictures tell the story. Continue reading