Perhaps the best food I've ever eaten, and in an environment that tells you why: expert and insightful people in a cyclical farming, learning and catering environment - led by legendary Darina Allen and her daughter-in-law Rachel. I went there as a musician when the drawing room was the venue - now Rory Allen has converted the Grain Store into a world class venue for the great and good of the Irish music scene. Who could ask for anything more?
The seaweed baths in Enniscrone Co Sligo are Ireland’s earthy answer to a hammam.
It’s refreshingly simple, steam yourself in a cabinet straight out of the silent films, and then step into a hot bath infused with fresh seaweed. If you want to wake yourself up afterwards, have a cold shower or you can just jump into the sea. The oils leave the skin silky, and the ambiance is unfussy. The prices are pre-crazy and there is no time limit. You can book a massage beforehand and although the baths themselves cannot be booked, you can ring ahead.
Open all the year round, until 8pm. October- May from 12 noon Saturdays and Sundays included, the rest of the year from 10 am.
Single rooms €25 sharing € 32 Double rooms (two baths ) €40 with steam €45
A fab restaurant serving great American-style breakfast e.g. french toast pancakes, steak and eggs. Huge portions on large plates. Well worth a visit.
18 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Google map: bit.ly/fsSZt8
Fancy hanging out with Oscar Wilde? Or having some face time with James Joyce? Look no further than Dublin’s Writers Museum. In the elegant surroundings of an 18th century house, you can immerse yourself in the cream of Irish literature.
On the ground floor, two rooms of literary history cover everything from Celtic storytellers right up to the rattle and hum of contemporary writers. George Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker, Edna O’Brien, Roddy Doyle: they’re all given pride of place. It’s here that James Joyce is described as “the world’s most famous Irishman” (which is one in the eye for Bob Geldof). The museum also features some surprising artefacts. Such as the chair on which Handel composed himself during the very first performance of the Messiah. Or the typewriter that Brendan Behan chucked through the window of McDade’s public house.
Take the stairs to the first floor and brace yourself before entering the first room. The Gallery of Writers is an eye-popping space with enough plasterwork, gold leaf and crystal to have Kirsty and Phil hyperventilating. Populated with portraits and busts of Irish writers, it also offers impressive views of Parnell Square through its big windows.
Next door, a small library contains first editions of evocative titles - Gulliver’s Travels, Dracula, Waiting for Godot. And if that lot doesn’t inspire you, the bookshop downstairs has plenty more to quicken the pulse of any reader. After all that, you’ll need a coffee break, and the museum’s bright and airy café offers the ideal pit stop. There’s also a nice little garden area, although during my visit I managed to resist its charms since it was submerged beneath six tons of snow.
The visitors’ book positively sizzles with enthusiastic compliments. One of them says: "In poetry, romanticism and spirit, Ireland stands head and shoulders above the rest of us mere mortals."
I can only agree. This hugely-enjoyable museum is a fitting showcase for Dublin’s wordy-wise elite and a splendid way to spend time in their company.
Only one hour (on your favourite budget airline) from London, Liverpool, Manchester or Cardiff, Cork City is a great place to go for a pub walk with pubs and bars conveniently spaced about 50 metres apart in any direction and a hearty Irish pub welcome to be had at them all. Start off with a pint of Purgatory at the Francsican Well, a micro brewery on North Mall facing the river Lee and with a spacious beer garden for all those that like to drink their beer in the sun or smoke a cig. Wander over North Gate Bridge and along North Main Street to South Main Street & the Spailpin Fanach for some traditional Irish music at this busy old fashioned pub opposite the mock Tudor splendour of the Beamish factory in the middle of town.
Pop around the corner for a 22 Ounce steak at Soho whilst watching the rugby on their myriad screens then across the road by the English market and along Oliver Plunkett Street with around 30 traditional old Irish pubs to choose from on a 400 metre pedestrianised strip through the heart of Cork’s shopping district, you are spoilt for choice and the intrepid pub-walker will never discover what it is like to work up a thirst
Then finish up, inevitably, (if you are still able to walk) at the Crane Lane around midnight to catch the start of some late night bohemian jazz or burlesque, through until 2 and where the craic is always 90.
And with the compactness of Cork City you’re almost never more than a five quid cab fare from home, or hotel if you don’t feel up to the walk back.
Very enjoyable and enlightening hill walking tours with friendly and informative guides. Guides are experienced archaeologists with plenty of fascinating stories of ancient Celtic mythology.
Carlingford is an idyllic medieval village an hour drive from Dublin or Belfast Airports. Plenty of restaurants and great accommodation available all year round.
Carlingford, nestling between legendary Slieve Foy and spectacular Carlingford Lough, is a picturesque Irish village cherished for its medieval charm and cordon bleu cuisine.
Year after year, visitors from all over the world succumb to its lasting hynotic spell.
Book a hotel or bed and breakfast in Carlingford and experience for yourself the magic and romance of this National Heritage treasure.
King John's Castle is a great favourite with visitors, particularly artists and photographers. So don't forget to bring your sketch pad and camera.
Not usually the type of girl to travel the breadth of the country for a dress, I deemed it necessary when I came across the beautiful (and surprisingly cheap) offerings available from this Sligo store. We drove from Dublin to the shop on the outskirts of the town in a place called Rathcormac, right at the base of Benbulben. In this beautiful rural setting, located within a row of converted workman’s cottages, we unearthed a real treasure trove.
The west coast of Ireland may not be the first place you think of when you think ‘vintage’, but the San Francisco native Victoria who owns this store really knows her stuff. Enchanted Vintage has a wonderful website, but nothing beats rifling through the racks yourself. Clothes, bags, shoes, hats, jewellery, even wedding gowns: all are here, sourced from America and the UK, and Victoria can tell you the history of every item. She guides you to colours and shapes to suit your shape, and accessories to match. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her a real asset.
I was looking for a unique dress for an important ball, and here I snapped up a beautiful green and gold gown (very Irish, I know), one of a kind, for €120. No danger of bumping into someone wearing the same thing here! Pre-ball, I went to meet up with friends in a local Dublin pub, and got stopped multiple times on the way there by strangers who wanted to know where I had bought my dress. I told them it was from a shop in Sligo, but assured them all it was well worth the drive.
Enchanted Vintage Clothing
+353 (0)71 914 6680
We had a fantastic romantic break for three nights in Moy House in August 2009. The house has been beautifully restored and our room was large with lovely antique furniture and a wonderful view over the sea. We were lucky to have calm, sunny weather interspersed with some great Atlantic storms which we enjoyed from the warmth and cosiness of our room. We had dinner in the restaurant one night which was excellent and the breakfasts were also very good and hearty. Brid and the other staff made us feel very welcome and we do hope we get the chance to go back some day. Moy House is on the outskirts of a small village called Lahinch which has basic shops and a couple of good restaurants. It is a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher and other interesting spots along the west coast.
Waterloo Lodge is a Georgian Townhouse and the reason I want to let you know about it is because it has great family rooms. I always find this difficult when travelling with the kids. They have rooms with a huge double bed which three of us used and then two singles. The room had lots of space for our bags and lots of space to move around, nice and bright and we had a car space and a fantastic breakfast included and would you believe all for an excellent price. We stayed on longer in Dublin because of finding the Hotel.
23rd-25th July: awesome festival in beautiful Victorian seaside town in South Dublin - thousands of free music, art, craft, food, eco events in the streets, parks and pub gardens - for all ages - everybody dancing in the streets. Uplifting, happy, funky. The boat from Wales comes right into Dun Laoghaire too. We might bump into you there!!!
I went on a road trip round Ireland last summer, came across these boys in Donegal. They're based up in Donfanaghy, where the landscape is wild (think North Scotland, just as unspoilt and rugged). The lads sorted us out with cheap accommodation, and pointed us in the direction of great waves. It's a wee bit expensive to get to Ireland, but this is a wild, remote part of the world, and a cracking place to (learn to) surf.
There's no sign to look out for, just a snail over the doorway. The Bar With No Name isn't the secret it used to be, but it is still a great spot for wine, beer or cocktails - and food. A funky atmosphere and large, covered smoking area make it a popular spot with locals, but it is still unknown by many visitors.
Fade Street, between South Great Georges Street and Drury Street
Google map: tinyurl.com/38pajwv
Irish citizens or residents are required a visa to get into Vietnam. As there is no Vietnam Embassy and Consulate in Ireland, Vietnam Immigration Dept. suggests you to get legal Vietnam visa.
Get Vietnam Visa on Arrival (collecting at Vietnam International Airport on arrival)
- Issuing unit: Vietnam Immigration Department (A18).
- Processing time: 1 to 2 working days for normal service, 1 working day for urgent service (24 hours).
- Processing fee: 19.50 – 34.50 USD/person (stamping fee NOT included).
- Without Passport presented within process of application.
- How to get it? You go online at www.vietnamvisaonline.net, fill in the secure form, wait 1-2 days until you receive your Visa Approval Letter from us by email and take this + your passport + 2 photos to Vietnam to get your visa at airport.
Beautiful house and gardens on the exquisite Dingle peninsula in Kerry, near to gorgeous sandy beaches. The relaxed atmosphere here with beautiful wild garden with pond, the welcome for children, lovely rooms with Indian bedspreads, or you can sleep in a gypsy caravan, or wooden chalet, but best of all is the outstanding vegetarian food in the restaurant. All in all a really great place to stay - the photos on the website do not even come close to doing it justice.
Buzzing and really cool flea market, packed with stalls with gorgeous vintage and second-hand clothes, chilled atmosphere, bands playing on stage, lovely food stalls and cafe area and wholefoods from the Dublin Food Co-op. Last Sunday every month.
Funky natural food market, cafe and restaurant in Greystones, Wicklow (just south of Dublin). Amazing good value vegetarian food and friendly vibe. Run by two enormously likeable and mad identical twin brothers who are totally committed to sustainability, organic, quality produce, brilliant food, positive thinking and good craic. It's in a gorgeous old seaside town that is a DART ride from Dublin City Centre too. Check out their website to see a film of them and their place.
Totally awesome monthly alcohol and drug free nightclub in beautiful space in old building (the RDS). Extremely friendly and everyone really expresses themselves - the dancing is the thing and it is quite an ecstatic feel! Also organic food, chill out area with Buddha Bags, giant Jenga and Twister.
RDS Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
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