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Travelireland Volume 2 Issue 9 January 2014

Mad for Trad in Temple Bar Bell Of The Ball Cinderella arrives in Cork


Classic tones at the Galway winter Music festival

A feast for the eyes at the medieval banquets

Dublin Decoded

contents... Welcome to our January issue, Whether this is your first time visiting these our shores, or whether you are returning once again to trace the steps of your distant ancestors, here at Travel Ireland we hope in some small way to be able to gently guide you as you plan your stay here. Whether it is myths and medieval castles, or craic and culture in the confines of a cozy pub and to the tune of a stray tin whistle, you are going to need a friendly hand to gently point you in the right direction. So from all of us here at Travel Ireland, a hefty and heart-felt Céad míle fáilte! And enjoy your stay!

Publisher/Managing Director John Carey Director Paul Daly Features Editor Sarah Betts Design and Art Direction Tim Evans Credit Control Manager Nichola Thomas Advertising John Carey 087 9113732 Bill Daly 087 1533262 Sabrina Morris Tel. 087 2020234 Contributors: Arran Henderson, John McCurdy, Paula Moore, Patrick O’Neill, Anthony O’Keeffe, Stephen Walker. We wish to record our thanks to Paula Sneyd, Failte Ireland, The Office of Public Works and the National Monuments Service, Dept of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. And to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, and The National TrustGiants Causeway (NI), for their help and guidance in the production of this edition. And to Paddy Donovan, Ed Reeve, Carr Cotter and Naessens, for the use of their images. Ellen Media Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Ellen Media Communications Limited does not accept responsibility for any advertising content. All unsolicited manuscripts will not be accepted or returned. No material may be used in whole or in part without the publishe’rs prior consent. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of all the events information or recommendations on this site, no responsibility will be accepted by Ellen Media Communications Ltd, its editorial team, designers, authors or agents acting on their behalf for alterations, errors or omissions which may occur.

04 - WELCOME TO LEINSTER 06 - EXPLORE LEINSTER 08 - Temple Bar Trad Fest 10 - Natural History Museum 12 - THEATRE 14 - Merion Square Art Expo 15 - The Donegal Shop 16 - LEINSTER RESTAURANTS 18 - LEINSTER PUBS 20 - Winterval Festival 22 - Spa Detox Breaks 24 - Newgrange 26 - WELCOME TO MUNSTER 27 - Cinderella 28 - MUNSTER PUBS 29 - MUNSTER RESTAURANTS 30 - EXPLORE MUNSTER 32 - Medieval Banquets 34 - WELCOME TO CONNAUGHT 35 - Music for Galway Winterfest 37 - CONNAUGHT RESTAURANTS 38 - CONNAUGHT PUBS 40 - EXPLORE CONNAUGHT 41 - Kilkenny Shop 42 - WELCOME TO ULSTER 43 - EXPLORE ULSTER 44 - Donegal 46 - ULSTER PUBS 47 - ULSTER RESTAURANTS 48 - Derry 50 - Belfast

Leinster - The east coast province


Leinster is the most easterly of the four provinces of Ireland, and is the most populated with the city of Dublin at its heart. The province is made up of counties Dublin, Louth, Meath, Carlow, Kildare, Wicklow, Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath, Kilkenny and Wexford. These counties have a host of historic monuments, a picture perfect coastline and cities and villages thronged with things to do and see. County Dublin is the home to the capital

Dublin city. Dublin is the administrative, cultural, and economic capital of the country. It is one of the most exciting places to visit with a thriving arts, musical and theatrical nightlife. All roads lead to Saint Stephen’s Green in the very centre of the city. You’ll find it at the top of Grafton Street, with Trinity College down at the other end. And just around the corner you can stroll around the cultural quarter of Temple Bar between Dame Street and the river that, famously, divides the North and the South of the city. If you want to escape to the country without actually leaving the city, then you can head north to Howth Head, or south to the charming and culturally vibrant villages of Dalkey and Killiney. Half an hour on the DART train will take you from the centre of the city to what feels like the heart of the country.

Hill of Tara

County Meath formerly known as the Royal County is the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland who were based around the Hill of Tara. Meath is also one of the most archaeologically important counties on the island with its Neolithic sites at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. These ancient religious sites (built before the Pyramids) have been excavated and restored in recent years making them some of 4 -TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE-DECEMBER 2014

the busiest visitors’ attractions in the country. The sites are all only less than an hour’s drive out of Dublin and are accessible through the Bru Na Boinne Visitors Centre. The county also features the site of the Battle of the Boyne which was one of the great battles fought on Irish soil. For horse racing lovers, Meath has the wonderful Fairyhouse Racecourse, and there is also summertime horse racing on Laytown Beach. County Wicklow has several world famous sites and attractions, from the Glendalough monastic settlement with its Abbey and Round Tower, to the fabulous Powerscourt House and Gardens. The Wicklow Hills rising majestically over the county and the seaside town of Bray are just some of its many attractions. Offaly is situated in the centre of Ireland. Nestling between the Shannon River to the West and the Slieve Bloom Mountains to the East, Offaly is one of the lowest lying counties in the country. Any visitor should travel along the Royal Canal where one can experience a peace and tranquillity little known in our busy world. Kildare is the home of the National Stud, Newbridge Silverware and Maynooth College. Couple all these with Mondello Park motor racing, Naas horse racing course and Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park and there is something for everyone. Westmeath is a county which has at its heart the town of Athlone which is exactly situated in the middle of Ireland. It is home to the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival, Kilkenny Castle the oldest pub in Ireland and some of the finest golfing, fishing and health spas on offer throughout the land. Louth is known as “the wee county” as it is the smallest county in Ireland but what it lacks in land mass it makes up for in places to see. It is the home of the Cooley Mountains, the Boyne river which is famous for its salmon fishing and the beautiful Carlingford area. If it is a leisurely drive you seek Louth is the place to go. Carlow is where you will find three of Ireland’s key national walking routes – the South Leinster, the Barrow and the Wicklow Ways. Carlow is blessed with hundreds of miles of excellent and varied walking trails, and hosts a wonderful arts festival every June. Laois is where you can try your hand at a range of activities from paintballing in the Stradbally Woods to western-style riding at Fossey Mountain, bowls at the only indoor bowls

stadium in the Republic or tie a fly at the unique Irish Fly-fishing and Game shooting Museum . Kilkenny City was voted Ireland’s Top Tourism Town for 2013 by Failte Ireland which is Ireland’s main tourism body. It was voted Cleanest Town in Ireland at end of 2013 by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), and has also been voted 9th friendliest city in the world by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. The city was in addition voted Most Friendliest City in Europe. Couple all these awards with a huge countywide cultural heritage trail and it is a must see destination for any visitor.

Longford is situated in the basin of the River Shannon and the upper catchment area of the River Erne. It is ideally located in the heart of the Lakelands region within easy reach of many stunning and historic tourist attractions. The county’s accessibility to many of Irelands main towns and cities make it a prime location as a holiday base. Finally, Wexford is famous for its glorious sandy coastline and together with County Waterford is known as ‘The Sunny South East’. You can also visit the oldest lighthouse in Europe which stands on the Hook Peninsula. So now you know, whether you are a family group, a couple, or a single traveller, there is something for everyone in Leinster!


Explore Leinster

The National Stud The Chester Beatty Library The Irish National Stud has been producing winners on the racecourse since they sent out Minoru to win the Epsom Derby in 1909. But it is far more than just a centre of equine excellence. It is also home to some of Ireland’s finest natural treasures, in particular the breathtakingly beautiful Japanese Gardens, the finest of their kind in Europe. The gardens trace the passage of a soul from birth to death and beyond, at the same time providing a meeting place for the cultures of East and West. You can also savour the serene and spiritual experience provided by one of the Stud’s more recent additions, St Fiachra’s Garden, a stunningly raw representation of our country’s singular landscape. There are guided tours, a gift shop and restaurant. Tel: 045 521 617


This beautiful glacial valley in County Wicklow is renowned as the place where Cistercian monks settled in the sixth century, and the remains of the monastic priory including a round tower can still be seen today. Known locally as “the valley of the two lakes” , the locals also say it will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul. The early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century and from this developed the “Monastic City”. Tel 0404 45325/45352. 6 -TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE-DECEMBER 2014

The only museum in Ireland to win ‘European Museum of the Year’ and described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Ireland, but one of the best in Europe, the Chester Beatty Library opens a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. Egyptian papyrus texts, beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur’an, the Bible, European medieval and renaissance manuscripts are among the many highlights that you’ll find on display here. And be sure to avail of the excellent guided tours that the loquacious and extremely well-informed guides provide there, free of charge. They take place on Wednesdays at 1pm and on Sundays at 3 and 4pm. Opening hours, 10-5 Mon-Fri, Sat 11-5, Sun 1-5pm. Tel 01 407 0750

Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) Kilmainham Gaol may seem like an unusual place to spend a morning or afternoon but despite its sometimes grim past it makes for a fascinating visit. Built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol served as a prison for 128 years, and tours detail some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland’s emergence as a modern nation. The tour of the prison includes an audio-visual show. Tickets are sold on a first come first served basis and cannot be booked in advance. Tel: 01453 5984.

The Book of Kells

The Guinness Storehouse

Formerly known as the Hop Store, the Guinness Storehouse is laid out over seven floors surrounded by a glass atrium that rises up through its centre. You make your way up on a self-guided tour, where you learn all about the beer’s history, the central part that the Guinness family played in the development of the city, and of the world famous advertising campaigns that did so much to help promote it. Tours are 16.50 Euro, which includes your pint of Guinness in The Gravity Bar on the 7th floor. Which might sound a bit steep for a self-guided tour, but it’s all beautifully laid out and the whole experience is richly rewarding. Tel 01 408 4800

The Old Library and the Book of Kells Exhibition in Trinity College Dublin are the first things that all visitors gravitate to when first setting foot in Dublin. Located in the heart of the city, a walk through the cobbled stones of Trinity College will bring visitors back to the 18th century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed. And upstairs, you’ll find yourself in the magical environs of the justly famous Long Room. Inside the Book of Kells itself is a 9thcentury gospel manuscript famous throughout the world for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as “insular majuscule”. Guided tours of the campus, including the Old Library, The Books of Kells, and the magnificent Long Room upstairs are 12 Euro. Opening hours: 9:30-5:00 (4:30 Sun) Tel 01 896 1661

Explore Leinster

Jameson Visitors Centre

Bow St, Smithfield, Dublin 7 Experience the Jameson Distillery tour and let their expert guides take you back in time as they lead you through the fascinating story of Jameson. Set in a recreated distillery scene, all visitors learn how three ingredients make the number one Irish whiskey in the world. Guided tours last one hour and include a signature Jameson drink. Volunteers are selected to partake in a tutored whiskey tasting where each person receives a much coveted Irish Whiskey Taster Certificate. Open daily from 9am to 6pm. 01 807 2348

Cultural and Historical Walking Tours The streets of Dublin have been home to the Vikings, Normans, Elizabethans, Georgians and Victorians. What better way to explore its secret nooks and crannies than to take one of the many cultural and historical walking tours that the city has to offer. At Dublin Decoded, Arran Henderson provides a wide range of fascinating insights into Dublin’s history, with particular emphasis on its art and architecture. From “How To Read A Painting:symbols and meaning at the National Gallery” to Architecture of Georgian Splendour, and an historic Medieval Treasure Hunt. Alternatively you can talk to him about designing your own tour. See

The War Memorial Gardens

When you are visiting IMMA in Kilmainham, you should walk on over to Islandbridge about half a kilometer further on. The gardens there are dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in the 1st World War. The names of all the soldiers are contained in the beautifully illustrated Harry Clarke manuscripts in the granite bookrooms in the gardens. Not merely a place of remembrance, they are also of great architectural interest and beauty. They are one of only four gardens in this country designed by the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944). The others being Heywood Gardens, Lambay Island and those in Howth Castle. The sunken rose gardens, herbaceous borders and extensive tree planting on view here make it well worth that extra bit of a walk. Open all year round. 01 475 7816

The National Museum of Ireland

The Museum is recognised as Ireland’s premier cultural institution and home to the greatest collections of Irish material heritage, culture and natural history in the world. Admission to the museum is free and there are numerous exhibitions, talks and tours. Tel 01 6777444.

Avondale House and Forest Park

Avondale House was the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), one of the greatest political leaders of Irish history. Set in a magnificent forest park of over 500 acres, there are tree trails and walks ranging in duration from one to five hours. Visitors are introduced to this wonderful historical house by a specially commissioned audio visual presentation. Other facilities include a licensed café, bookshop, picnic areas, children’s play area, three orienteering courses (maps can be downloaded at www. and a large car/coach park. 0404 46111

Casino Marino

The Casino was designed by Sir William Chambers as a pleasure house for James Caulfield, 1st Earl of Charlemont, and is one of the finest 18th century neo-classical buildings in Europe. The Casino, meaning “small house”, and notwithstanding its name, contains 16 finely decorated rooms, endlessly rich in subtlety and design. It is a remarkable building, both in terms of its structure and its history. The Casino is located at Marino, just off the Malahide Road and only three miles north of the centre of Dublin. Open 10-5pm, admission 3 Euro, 1 Euro for students and children. Tel 01 833 1618 DECEMBER 2014-TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE- 7

Temple Bar Tradfest 2015


n the 28th of January Temple Bar will experience a birthday party like no other! This year marks the 10th birthday of The Temple Bar Tradfest! For ten years the festival has brought the greatest names in traditional music to Temple Bar and given Dublin City a post Christmas reason to celebrate and have the craic! The Temple Bar Tradfest started with humble beginnings in 2005 with the intention of celebrating and showcasing both Irish and international folk and traditional music artists and through popularity and outstanding talent has gone from strength to strength. And now in it’s tenth year it boasts a fine history of helping previously little known artists find acclaim at the fore front of traditional music. The lively festival began with a sale of just 500 tickets in 2005 to selling out 8,000 tickets for last year’s festival in 2014! So this year at a birthday party that will have every buachaill and cailín dancing


there will be much to celebrate! The Temple Bar Tradfest is the largest festival of traditional and folk music in Ireland. Despite this proud fact it is in no way elitist and and in recent years the festival has expanded to include nu-folk, and some exciting new rock and roll acts. The festival’s most unique selling point though, is the opportunity for audiences to hear and experience new music in some of Dublin’s most historic and evocative settings. Dublin landmarks that had previously been bereft of the lively tunes of a traditional session are brought to life by the visiting Tradfest and given a bright awakening. This year audiences have the chance to experience music in hallowed and historic venues such as Dublin Castle, The House Of Lords, City Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christchurch Cathedral and St. Werburgh’s Church. Audiences can also look forward to an eclectic programme of artists performing in the unique venues.


Temple Bar Tradfest 2015

Seth Lakeman This year’s festival welcomes musical folk legend Temple Bar Tradfest! From the 28th of January to the 1st of Feb join musicians and music lovers Donovan. The seasoned troubadour will not be alike for a festival of fun, culture and music! performing his music on this visit but instead will be conducting a fascinating and thought provoking interview with John Kelly in the historic setting For tickets and further info visit of The House Of Lords. On Friday the 30th of January fans of the artist will have the unique opportunity to hear him talk about his celebrated back catalogue and his many years of adventures in music. After a five year hiatus from music the wonderfully talented Northern Irish musician Cara Dillion will be performing both old and new music and will be accompanied by her musical collaborator and husband Sam Lakeman. Dillion will be performing at St Michan’s Church on Friday the 30th of January. Another highlight of the festival will be a performance by acclaimed Irish ensemble Danú whose members hail from such culturally rich Irish counties as Waterford, Kerry, Dublin and Donegal, who bring with them the spirit of traditional Irish in January 2000 Zaytoon restaurants have music. Danú will be performingEstablished at St. Werburgh’s two branches in 14/15 Parliament street and 14-15 Parliament Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 1 - 01 677 3595 Parliament Street,on Temple Bar, Dublin 1January. Church Friday the 30th of 44/45 Lr. Camden St., Dublin 2 - 01 400 5006 44/45 lower Camden street. 44/45 Lr. Camden St., Dublin 2 Delivery Number So01if4005700 you are looking for a floor shaking, toe tapping celebration of the colorful and They arerich casual diners offering delicious kebabs served St Werburgh’s Church traditional music scene, look no further than made the naanCara with freshly breadDillon which is cooked in a

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Animal Magic at the Natural History Museum


ffectionately known as “The Dead Zoo” to Dubliners, the Natural History Museum was founded in 1856. Mercifully untouched ever since, it’s a bewitching Victorian legacy regularly described as a “museum that belongs in a museum”. Regular devotee Arran Henderson brings you his favourites.

God of small things

Dozens of species on show, from Flying Foxes to False Vampires. The Great Himalayan Leaf-Nosed Bat may well possess the best name. But this Hairless Bat from the forests of Borneo wins the prize for eccentricity, among some fairly stiff competition.

The Birds of Barrington

The museum is heir to the definitive collection of Irish birds, assembled around the turn of the 20th century by naturalist RM Barrington. He came up with the brilliant idea of recruiting lighthouse keepers to assist the cause. Their notes, samples and contribution, and his half-lifetime of work, made a vast contribution to the understanding of the numbers and patterns of distribution and migration. This stunning collection is the legacy of that work.


Big, charismatic species like elephants and big cats make a strong initial impression and the first wows. But given time smaller creatures exert their own, compelling fascination. Shrews, voles, aardvark and a plethora of platypus will vie for your attention. This Mouse Lemur from Madagascar is surely charm itself.


Some of the display cases in the museum, with miniature landscapes and painted backdrops, are true works of art in themselves. Upstairs you’ll find a Mountain Goat against a painted Rocky Mountains diorama, and Great Apes sitting in a tropical glade. But it’s downstairs amid the Irish animals section the best ones reside. Many were made by the old Dublin firm Williams and Sons, around the 1910s Two superb cases stand back-to-back to contrast hares and grouse in their alternate late summer or winter coats. This river scene of ducks among reeds is another masterpiece.. As a boy I was mesmerized by the over/underwater, split-level effect. The baby Grebe chick, hitching a lift on mother’s back, is also a winner. Arran Henderson is a writer, art historian and lead guide of Dublin Decoded tours. 5-star TripAdvisor-rated walks, open to all March to November and private / group tours may be pre-booked year-round. Equally apt for a pre-dinner treat, a gift or corporate event. For tour menu and contact details see: 10 -TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE-DECEMBER 2014


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The Abbey

She Stoops To Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith

Until Jan10th Tel: 01 874 4045

National Concert Hall

Oliver Goldsmith’s delightful comedy of deception and seduction has been enthralling audiences for over two centuries. Marlow and Hastings, two well bred city gentlemen, arrive in the countryside in search of love. However, they become embroiled in confusion after they are tricked into believing their host, Mr. Hardcastle, is an innkeeper. Against a backdrop of mounting chaos they pursue their romantic intentions with escalating hilarity. Radiating charm and bursting with humour, this much-loved play is directed by Conall Morrison and will be the perfect Christmas treat. December 4th to January 31st Tel 01 878 722

The Gate

Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë, adapted by Anne-Marie Casey Emily Bronte’s novel of intense desire and impossible love has thrilled generations of readers since its first publication in 1847. Set in the magnificent and desolate landscape of the Yorkshire moors, it tells of the doomed relationship between the wild and beautiful Catherine Earnshaw and her adopted brother, the brooding, elusive Heathcliff, whom her father discovered as a mysterious foundling on the Liverpool docks and brought back to his home Wuthering Heights. Humiliated by his adopted family and spurned by the woman he loves, anger and resentment grow in Heathcliff. Will his all-consuming passions ultimately destroy both himself and those around him?


The National Concert Hall is home to the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, and the National Chamber Choir of Ireland. But its cultural brief extends across all musical genres from Classical and Irish Trad, to jazz, folk and world music. Highlights this January include RTE NSO New Years Day Viennese Whirls on the 01/01/2015 at 18.30. The Wizard Oz on the 02-012015 at 14:00. The Fureys In Concert on the 08-01-2015 at 20:00. Reeling In the Showband Years on the 1101-2015 at 20:00. The Essential Finbar Wright Start on the 17-01-2015 at 20:00. David Arnold on the 22-01-2015 at 20:00 Tel: 01 417 0000 Or go to

The Gaiety Peter Pan

Johnny Ward will play the lead character in this year’s Gaiety Christmas Panto – Peter Pan! A star of stage and screen, Johnny is no stranger to panto, having starred as Buttons in ‘Cinderella’ at the Gaiety Theatre in 2012. For the first time ever at the iconic Dublin theatre, soar to

Neverland with Tinkerbell, Wendy, Captain Hook, Smee, Nana and all the crew at this year’s panto – Peter Pan! As they always like to say, this is no ordinary panto, it’s the Gaiety Panto! Dec 1st to Jan11th Tel: 01 679 5622

Bord Gais Energy Theatre Elf the Musical!

Based on the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit starring Will Ferrell, ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. A modern Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner ELF this Christmas. Dec 16th to Jan 10th Tel: 01 677 7999

ACAPULCO mexican restaurant



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Acapulco, 7 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2

The Merrion Square Open Air Art Exhibition


ublin has a lot to offer art lovers and art collectors alike when they visit the culturally rich city. Both the Douglas Hyde and Hugh Lane gallery attract many visitors. But there is also another option for those who enjoy discovering more hidden artistic treasures. Just a short walk from Grafton Street, surrounded by Dublin’s historic Georgian buildings lies The Merrion Square Open Air Art Exhibition. This is an Art Exhibition with a difference. Art pieces from over 200 artists adorn the railings of Merrion Square and those with an interest in the newest art of Ireland can view completely original works of art. One of most innovative aspects of The Merrion Square Art Exhibition is that each work of art is sold by the artist who created it. Visitors to the exhibition have the unique privilege of being able to talk to the artist about any piece that interests them. This provides the opportunity for any patrons of the artist to leave the exhibition not just with an original piece of Irish art but also with the knowledge of its origin and inspiration. The Merrion Square Open Art Exhibition has been running for over twenty five years and takes place every Sunday from 10am until 5pm. There is also a smaller market on Saturdays which commences at 10am but often ends earlier than 5pm. The Exhibition is sometimes referred to as the Boulevard Gallery by local patrons. The Merrion Square Open Art Exhibition has been bringing an artistic twist to passers by for over 25 years and with friendly and talented artists present who enjoy discussing their unique work, it is a highly recommended destination for any art lovers visiting Dublin City.


A Little Piece of Donegal in Dublin


his family run business is run by the mother and daughter team of Carol and Linda-Mae Meagle. Opened in 1995, they are based in the heart of the shopping district of Dublin on the top floor of the St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, Dublin 2. The Donegal Shop aims to offer a little piece of Donegal in Dublin. A vast range of traditional knitwear, handknit arans and knitwear and accessories are available, as well as handwoven Donegal tweed jackets,

caps and throws and pens. With the emphasis of what is “imagined, designed, and made in Ireland”, the shop not only stocks products from Donegal but from all over the country, such as Foxford Woollen Mills and Carraig Donn, all made in Ireland. They also provide a shipping service, so no matter how much you buy, you won’t have to carry it! You can check out their online store before you visit the shop itself at

236 Lower rathmines road, dubLin 6 teL: 01

236 Lower rathmines road, dubLin 6 teL: 01-4977057

236 Lower rathmines road, dubLin 6 teL: 01-4977057


Recommended Restaurants in Leinster


7 Castle House, S George’s St., Dublin 2. tel 01 425 4052

Thornton’s Restaurant

Above the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Stephen’s Green. tel 01 478 7008

There’s been a huge influx of Chinese in Dublin of late, and the choice of Chinese food in the city has improved no end. But this is still the best place to find dim sum. And significantly, most of the people you’ll find eating here are other Chinese diners.

Super Miss Sue

Drury St, Dublin 2. tel 01 679 9009 One of the few places to get really great fresh fish in the centre of town, and surprisingly affordable. You can treat yourself to a full meal in the restaurant proper, or a traditional fish and chips of exceptional quality in the diner next door.

A little pricey for a Mexican restaurant, but well worth it. Beautifully decked out and effortlessly fashionable, you could comfortably skip the main courses and go instead for a selection of starters, which tend to be as generous as they are enticing.

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant

7 S George’s St, Dublin 2. tel 01 677 1085

Darwin’s Restaurant

80 Aungier St, Dublin 2. 01 475 7511

This one star Michelin restaurant is, as they say, reassuringly expensive. Which is only as it should be as the man in charge is Ireland’s finest chef, Kevin Thornton. If you have any intention of cementing a relationship, or of instigating a new one, this is the place to take them.


71-2 S. George’s St., Dublin 2. tel 01 475 5001

This family run restaurant caters to all possible tastes, whether carnivorous, coeliac or vegetarian. Their own in house butcher provides them with meats, game and poultry, they have fresh fish and a wide selection of dishes made from locally sourced vegetables. And you can finish it all off with their homemade desserts.

Fade Street Social

4 Fade St, Dublin 2. tel 01 604 0066 The latest venture from Dublin’s hottest hipster chef Dylan McGrath, this manages to be both screamingly fashionable and a really good restaurant, without being overpowering. It’s not quite as casual as it would have you believe, but it is really, really good.

This lively Mexican Restaurant offers the very best traditional Mexican cuisine, with sizzling fajitas, burritos, tacos and, best of all their famous deep fried icecream!

Ciao Bella Roma

24-5 Parliament St., Dublin 2. tel 01 677 0004

Café Topolis

37 Parliament St, Dublin 2. tel 01 670 4961 The original Yamamori on George’s Street still serves up the best and simplest Japanese food in Dublin. But Yamamori Sushi, their sushi bar on the quays, runs it a close second. And if you’re looking for something a bit more funky, there’s always Yamamori Izakaya.

The Good World

18 S George’s St, Dublin 2. tel 01 677 5373

These are the best pizzas you’ll find north of Naples, and are very much of the Neapolitan variety rather than the much thinner Roman sort. And their special lunch deal, which gives you a pizza and glass of wine for around a tenner is not just the best value lunch in town, it’s the best lunch full stop.


Situated on Parliament St, Café Topolis is one of the best Italian restaurants in town with an extensive menu offering superior Italian cuisine. Best of all, it’s one of the very few places where they cook their pizzas in the traditional wood fired oven.

Recommended Restaurants in Leinster

Le Bon Crubeen

81-2 Talbot St., Dublin 1. tel 01 704 1026

Whether it’s for an Italian coffee, a sweet or savoury snack or a full meal with wine, you can call in here for continental cuisine, exemplary service and great value.


16 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. 01 676 3144

KC Peaches

28-9 Nassau St, Dublin 2 01 633 6872 There are four KC Peaches (so far) in the centre of town, but the one opposite Trinity on Nassau Street is probably the best known of them. They specialise in giving you the freshest of ingredients with which to fashion your own lunch. Their salads are especially impressive.

The Elephant & Castle This is one of the best value restaurants in Dublin with a brasserie menu to suit all tastes. It won the Best Value Restaurant Dublin in “The Dubliner” Top 100 restaurants in 2012, having previously won the Irish Restaurant Awards’ Best Casual Dining Restaurant in Dublin in 2010. Value and quality.

Whitefriar Grill

16 Aungier St, Dublin 2. 01 475 9003

19 temple Bar, Dublin 2 01 679 3121

This stylish Bistro produces the very best quality food at relatively affordable prices. Plush yet comfortable, their 28 day dry aged steak is the best you’ll find anywhere in the city. And their 3 course dinner special for just 24,50 is the proverbial steal.

Il Primo

16 Montague St., Dublin 2. 01 478 3373

Dublin’s original American style casual diner, if you haven’t had their spicy chicken wings during your stay here, you really haven’t visited Dublin’s Temple Bar at all. But go early or in the middle of the afternoon, because it gets very busy at lunch.

Mao’s Restaurant Chatham Row, Dublin 2 01 670 4899

One of the best of the oriental fusion restaurants, there are actually four of them now out in Stillorgan, Dundrum and Dun Laoghaire as well as here in town. Thai and Asian flavoured noodles and rice, they offer an extensive menu at a reasonable price. And the food is top notch.


14/15 Parliament St., Dublin 2 Tel. 01 677 3595.

They pride themselves on putting brunch back on the menu, and in producing the best brunch in Dublin. But there’s a lot more than that going on at this superior smart casual restaurant. Their latest Ribs N Rump gives you a 14oz steak and a choice of ribs plus 2 sides for just €40 on Sunday nights.

Kafka Restaurant

236 Rathmines Rd Lwr., Dublin 6. 01 497 7057

“If you want to taste risotto made as it should be, you’ll need to go to Il Primo,.” So says Paolo Tullio of the Irish Independent. And this restaurant has been producing some of the best rustic, Italian food you’ll find anywhere in Dublin for over 20 years now.

Aqua Restaurant 1 West Pier, Howth 01 832 0690

One of the best places to get a bite to eat at the seaside village of Howth, Aqua is at the very end of the pier. So you get spectacular views of the sea, as you munch contentedly on creatures that were recently living there. And they’ve a good value early bird menu to take advantage of too.

Zaytoon gives you the chance to choose a healthy eating option and indulge in the guilty pleasure of treating yourself to a scrumptious kebab. More a casual diner than a fast food place, they offer the very best of Persian cuisine. And as well as the one in Temple Bar they’ve opened a second one at the top of Camden Street.


Recommended Pubs in Leinster

The Stag’s Head 1 Dame Court, Dublin 2 01 679 3687

This is the regular hang-out for Dublin’s finest writers and painters, or the great unwashed, and the walls inside are decked out with paintings and drawings which can, for a small sum, be purchased. Improbably, it is also part of one of the most fashionable mini crossroads in the city centre. And at weekends, the place is humming.

The Grave Diggers Hidden away just off of Dame Street, there’s been a tavern here on this corner for over 200 Years. And the Stags has long been a traditional haunt for Trinity students, and for the stars of film and television that they grow up to become. Whilst downstairs you can see comedy on Mondays or Irish Trad at the weekends.

Hourican’s Bar

7 Leeson St Lwr, Dublin 2 01 678 9030


28 Parliament St, Kilkenny 056 776 2573

It reads “John Kavanagh” above the door outside, but everybody knows it as the Grave Diggers, as it’s just around the corner from Glasnevin Cemetery. Before Gunness became so efficiently corporate and the quality of a pint was far less predictable, this used to be where you’d go for the best pint in Dublin. It still is, and they haven’t changed a thing here for years. Happily.

Cleere’s pulls off that rare trick of successfully being two things at the same time. Out the front, it’s a classic, traditional Irish pub. And out back, it’s an exciting theatre that plays host to gigs and plays. And they are as serious about the acts that they allow perform there as they are about keeping the atmosphere exactly the same as it’s always been.

Johnnie Fox’s

Glencullen, Co Dublin. 01 295 5647 Set high up in the heart of the Dublin mountains, Fox’s is an institution. Superb food and a unique atmosphere, there’s Irish trad here every night, and at weekends in the afternoons as well. And there’s a shuttle bus that gets you there and back in 30 minutes for a fiver either way. But be sure to book, as it’s one of the most popular pubs in Leinster.

Situated at the Stephen’s Green end of Leeson Street, this is the perfect place to stop off for a quiet pint before heading off to some of the more glitzier venues in town proper, or on to the rest of the Leeson Street strip.


15 S William St., Dublin 2 01 677 9320


Cleere’s Bar and Theatre

1 Prospect Sq., Dublin 9 01 8307978

Recommended Pubs in Leinster

The Porterhouse

Temple Bar, 16-8 Parliament St, Dublin 2 01 679 8847

There are three now here in town, but the one on Parliament Street is the best known. part of the increasingly popular micro brewery scene, the Porterhouse produces its own choice of stouts, lagers and craft beers, as well as a choice of others from home and abroad. And they usually have live music playing on the mezzanine.

Sweeney’s Bar 32 dame St, Dublin 2 01 635 0056

One of the more recent additions to the Dublin pub scene, you can get to it either from Dame St or from the back of the Stag’s Head. And once inside, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d strayed into a Spanish or Greek taverna. The place is hopping at weekends with students and hipsters earnestly nodding their heads to the bands who play there. And out back, where Sweeneys meets the Stags is a veritable melting pot come the small hours of the morning.

Slattery’s of Rathmines

217-19 Lower Rathmines Rd, Dublin 6

There’s plenty to do in Dublin’s unofficial student quarter, but the only place to go drinking in Rathmines is really here at Slattery’s. No felt, carpet or neon in sight and only the odd television to stain this otherwise classic spit and sawdust pub. Enjoy it while you can as they seem to be going the way of the dodo.

The No Name Bar 3 Fade St, Dublin 2 01 648 0010

Officially it’s the bar above Kelly’s Hotel, opposite the Market Bar and next door to Hogan’s but locals only ever refer to it as the No Name bar. Up on the first floor they’ve taken a suite of elegant Victorian rooms and turned them into a laid back, fashionable bar, complete with a terraced smoking area. And, as you’d expect, they serve up a mean cocktail.

The Liquor Rooms 7 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2 087 339 3688

Situated under the Clarence Hotel on the quays, the Liquors Rooms offer up a heady mix of retro, vintage decor and a smart modern vibe that the too cool for school hipsters find hard to

Doheny & Nesbitt’s 5 Lower Baggot St, Dublin 2 01 676 2945

One of the oldest and more venerable pubs in Dublin, and traditionally the spot where politicians of old would juggle figures before swinging round the corner and into the Dail to present the next budget. It has now been extended both back and up, so that without sacrificing any of its illustrious history, it is now significantly roomier. resist. Once you get in, it’s actually a lot bigger than it seems, and there are all sorts of nooks and crannies for you to get up to who knows what kind of mischief.


The Winterval Festival in Waterford City


he Winterval Festival returns to Waterford for its third year and runs from November 21st to December 23rd. The international illusionist Keith Barry, very much a Waterford man, is this year’s Festival Ambassador, but he is keeping characteristically tight lipped about the grand illusion he will be performing there on the 29th.

Details of the very special illusion have been written down and will be kept under Christmas wrappings whilst they are stored in a tamper-proof exhibition case at the Waterford Museum of Treasures at Bishop’s Palace. Members of the public can guess the illusion in advance, with a chance to win a family prize star package to then attend the festival in style. This is the third year of the seasonal celebrations in Waterford, which have grown year on year to become one of, if not the largest Christmas Festival in Ireland. A festive market featuring 60 log cabins plus a trail of 32 different events, including many free-toenter, are all available throughout the City for a period of 5 weeks. The list of 32 Christmas-inspired events


set to take place during Winterval are featured across a specially devised trail which takes in much of the historical city centre. You can wander in and out of a huge variety of free events including a spectacular 3D lightshow at Palace Square, the spectacle of a Viking Yuletide, or a trip to the Winterval Toy Museum. A first for this year’s Festival includes a free daily movie screening of Disney’s epic ‘Frozen’, where fans of all ages are invited to sing along to the score of the world conquering hit. Other free events include a giant Singing Christmas Tree filled with choirs and live music, and a trip to one of the Storytelling sessions at Reginald’s Tower. Whilst some of the ticketed events include; trips on Santa’s Horse Drawn Sleigh or the magical Winterval Express, the South Pole Enchanted Garden, a snow fantasy in the Snowglobe, and of course the chance to meet the main man himself with a magical visit to Santa’s Grotto at the city’s medieval undercrofts. Christmas Shoppers will also get the chance to indulge in some good old-fashioned retail therapy at the Winterval Market, which will be mirroring the medieval tradition of the city of Waterford where end-of-year markets sprung up as social gatherings so that people could enjoy a little excess before the onset of the bitter weather to come. The Market features some 60 beautifully decorated traditional log cabins specially built for the festival, which will host an offering of the very best quality and range of goods in food and craft. For those of you looking to shed one or two of the many calories that are sure to be added, the best Ice Rink this side of the

North Pole is back and it’s bigger and better than ever. Waterford on Ice returns for yet another year of great family fun and thanks to Waterford Crystal you’ll be able to skate around a spectacular display in the centre of the ice rink at the city’s Quayside. Alternatively, you could quote enjoy unquote a ride on our vintage Ferris wheel! This spectacular contraption will allow you to gaze down and take in all the historic landmarks and the wonderful Winterval events as they go on about the place beneath you. Finally, Waterford has a vibrant and expansive Polish community that are going to bring Poland’s culture, traditions and food to life in a Polish Christmas Pop up Village at Michael Street. The Craft Market there will offer a wide range of unique pieces of fashion and homeware, using techniques like crocheting, knitting, silk painting and decoupage, to produce soutache jewellery, beeswax candles, portraits, and illustrations.

Go to

Rudolf Heltzel Discover one of Ireland’s Hidden Gems

Mon - Sat 9.30am - 1.00pm & 2.00pm - 5.30pm 10 Patrick Street, Kilkenny | tel 056 772 1497 |

French Courses Winter Term 2 Feb – 28 Mar 2015 Toddlers, Children, Teenagers and Adults

Language. Culture. Our Business. The French Language & Cultural Centre in Dublin, 1 Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Spa Detox Breaks


he Christmas season can often be one of indulgent excess, with the enjoyment of rich foods, assortments of confections and alcohol, leaving many feeling that they have over indulged. Luckily Ireland is renowned for tranquil and replenishing spas! A trip to a spa can be a wonderful way to rejuvenate and replenish your body and mind. The beginning of the new year can be a great time to allow yourself time to treat your body and relax your mind! The Monart Destination Spa set within 100 acres of beautifully tranquil woodlands, just outside of Wexford, is the perfect destination for a relaxing detox. The Monart Destination Spa is one of the most highly praised spas in the world. With its stunning natural surroundings and expertly crafted Master Detox Programme which launches in January 2015, The Monart Destination Spa is the perfect and most peaceful place to realign your soul and refresh your body. The Master Detox Programme is the only programme in Ireland that provides a five-day calorie controlled cleansing menu as 22 -TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE-DECEMBER 2014

well as a personally tailored detox programme for each guest. The five star Master Detox Programme at Monart also includes a daily thermal Spa Experience, a daily detox specific treatment such as Reiki or Reflexology and a Lazy Days Voya Detox Bath. The programme also offers a series of unique classes to aid in the guests detox, including the Sauna Ritual, Core Stability and Stretch and Relax. Another perfect destination for a post Christmas Detox is Cloisters Spa at Muckross Park Hotel. Nestled in the quietly peaceful

surroundings of County Kerry, Cloisters Spa is located within Killarney National Park. The organic surroundings of the spa allow guests to relax surrounded by the calming aura of nature. For those wishing to peacefully detox at Cloisters Spa they can partake of unique treatment packages such as the ‘Escape to the Lakes’ package which includes the Germaine de Capuccini Diamond Sapphire Ruby exfoliating stone treatment, and a Cocoon in a luxury Diamond and Ruby Full Body Massage. You could also take a peaceful

detoxing break within the historical setting of Spa Solis at Lough Eske Castle in County Donegal. Here you can bask in the glow of purest nature, as the spa is perfectly located at the peaceful waters edge of Lough Eske, close to the Blue Stack Mountains which are famous for their beauty. Treatments that you can partake of at Spa Solis during a New Year Detox include, ‘The Enrichment Package’ ; a salt and coffee body exfoliation treatment that aims to stimulate the circulation and revive tired skin. Also available and perfect for those wishing to detox their body is ‘The Spa Solis Total Wellbeing Package‘ This intensive, rejuvenating package lasts six hours and involves a session in the spa’s steam and sauna rooms,a full body scrub and a tranquil aromatherapy bath. So if you find yourself feeling the need to unwind and experience full body rejuvenation after the indulgences of the Christmas period, consider booking a visit to one of Ireland’s many tranquil and peaceful spas and enter the new year feeling like a new person!

NEW SEASON ON SALE NOW THEATRE /// DANCE /// ART /// MUSIC /// CINEMA Main Street, Bray, Co Wicklow // 01 2724030



very year, a handful of lucky people gather at Newgrange, about 40 minutes north of Dublin, for the Winter Solstice on December 21st. There they hope to see the sunlight seep into the chamber to illuminate the carefully positioned interior, just as they did 5,000 years ago when they were originally built.

The official name for the Neolistic complex just off of the River Boyne is Brú na Bóinne. And it comprises not just of the large mound at Newgrange, but of similarly large mounds at Knowth and Dowth, as well as scores of other smaller ones. But most people refer to it simply as Newgrange. Experts continue to differ as to precisely what it was the constructions there were built for. They are made up of large, circular mounds, with stone passageways and chambers within. And are surrounded by a series of large, carefully decorated stones without. But whether the intricately carved patterns are merely decorative or symbolic is unclear. However, all the time and effort that was put into their creation would strongly suggest that the site must surely have been built for religious reasons. What they do know though is that the buildings, if that’s what we can call them, date back to 3,200 BC. So they are more than 500 years older than Stonehenge, and nearly a thousand years older than the Pyramids in Egypt. The great archaeologist Colin Renfrew has said of Newgrange that it is “unhesitatingly regarded by the prehistorian as the great national monument of Ireland” and as one the most important megalithic sites in the whole of Europe. However, it is not possible to visit Newgrange other than by booking a tour at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. Which you can either drive out to by car, or get a bus from Dublin to. So be sure to organize your visit through the Visitor Centre. And if you’d like to be one of the lucky few who get to visit Newgrange for the Winter Solstice, you’ll need to apply to the centre to have your name added to the list. Every year, local schoolchildren draw 50 lucky names, each


of whom can bring a friend. But be warned, last year nearly 30,000 people applied. And if that’s not bad enough, you’ll also be relying on our weather to produce a bright and sunny morning. There’s not very much to see there if it’s cloudy. Perhaps that’s why they are still standing. They’ve not had to cope with the wear and tear of daily sunshine. 041 982 3071 Or go to

GROGANS Where time stands still Host to a continuous changing art exhibition

15 South William Street Telephone 677 9320

GROGANS Where time stands still Host to a continuous changing art exhibition

15 South William Street Telephone 677 9320

Dublin GROGANS Decoded Where time stands still

Unique, city walking tours of Art, Architecture and History in Ireland’s capital, with writer, art historian and acclaimed guide Arran Henderson.

Host to a continuous changing art exhibition

15 South William Street Telephone 677 9320

To see our 5-star reviews, go to the Dublin Decoded page on TripAdvisor For full menu of tour descriptions and booking details, see DECEMBER 2014-TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE- 25

Welcome to Munster


unster is the most southerly of the four provinces of Ireland and stretches from Tipperary in the South Midlands to Waterford in the South East, and from Clare, Limerick and Kerry down to Cork in the South.The entire area is famed for Irish traditional music, song and dance. There are many ancient castles and monasteries in the province, and coupled with the vast green countryside and its three cities (Limerick, Cork and Waterford) Munster is a must see destination for tourists.

Bunratty Castle Bunratty Castle in County Clare is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Travelling down the coast, Limerick is the next port of call which this year has been designated as Ireland’s first City of Culture. From theatres to outdoor music events, museums to festivals, Limerick has an eclectic mix of sights

Limerick and sounds to suit all tastes. County Limerick also incorporates the Foynes Estuary with its world famous Foynes Flying Boat Museum. The museum tells the story of the Pan Am Clipper aircraft which brought commercial flights from America to our shores, landing in the estuary itself. It includes the only full-scale model of a Boeing B-314 Flying Boat anywhere in the world. The Rose of Tralee is the most famous Festival in Kerry and this internationally acclaimed festival comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a truly Irish experience. The festival celebrates its 55th year this year and commences with the International Rose Ball on the 15th of August before culminating with the selection of the 2014 Rose of Tralee in the magnificent dome four days later. There is a packed programme of events during the week 26 -TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE-DECEMBER 2014

for all to enjoy. One of Munster’s most famous landmarks the Rock of Cashel, in County Tipperary is the historical seat of the Kings of Munster. The outcrop on which the Castle and grounds stand is one of the most photogenic spots in all of Munster. The spectacular group of medieval buildings Fota Wildlife Park are set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale and include the 12th century round tower, the High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, the 13th century Gothic cathedral, the 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. Contact : Telephone No: 062 61437. E-mail: County Cork is well worth the drive as it has sandy beaches, the wonderful Blarney Castle, Foto Wildlife Park and golf course, wonderful coastlines and a city nightlife to rival any of that in Europe. Travel from east to west or north to south in this sprawling county and there is a view, an historical point of interest or an adventure to explore. Finally at the extreme South East of the island of Ireland is Waterford. Waterford is the capital of the ‘Sunny South East of Ireland’ and Ireland’s oldest city. The city and county is famous throughout the world as the home of Waterford Crystal. A visit to the House of Crystal visitor centre includes an opportunity

to choose from the world’s largest selection of Waterford Crystal. The factory tour offers first hand access to all areas of traditional crystal production. County Waterford offers a dazzling 147 kilometres coastline, with 49 beaches, beautiful river valleys, lakes and two dramatic ranges of very accessible mountains.

Cinderella Pantomime

At The Everyman


enowned local performing arts company CADA have brought fantastic Pantomime fun for all the family to Cork’s Everyman Theatre with their production of Cinderella. The show commenced on the the 6th of December and will run until the 11th of January. CADA have brought the beloved pantomime classic Cinderella to the stage for the Christmas season but it has been given a wonderfully cheeky Irish twist by writer Martin Higgins! This production finds Cinderella having to cope with a serious change in circumstances due to her father Baron Overdrawn’s money

troubles. She must contend with two terrible step sisters Verucca and Vinagrette who are the cause of Baron Overdrawn’s lack of funds due to their frivolous and selfish overspending. But comfort comes in the form of the handsome Prince Charming who would just love to know Cinderella’s shoe size and discover if the slipper fits! Prince Charming is performed by Keith Hanley the singing sensation who was the grand winner of 2013’s The Voice competition. The eponymous Cinderella of the title is played with much beauty and grace by Clodagh Downey who previously appeared in The CADA

production of Red Hiding Hood, which was also performed at The Everyman. On Friday the 2nd of January the performance will feature a full sign-language interpretation,for all of those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Director Catherine Mahon-Buckley with the aid of Musical Director Eamon Nash has brought a fun, colourful Christmas treat to Cork’s Everyman Theatre that can be enjoyed by all the family and shouldn’t be missed!


Recommended Pubs in Munster

The Bierhaus Pope’s Quay, Cork 021 455 1648

There are over 220 different beers to choose from here, including 6 rotating guest draught taps and a cask. So whether you are looking for a bottle or draught, an international or an Irish beer, there’s a reasonably good chance you’ll find it here. And they spend as much time on getting the atmosphere right as they do on choosing their beers.

An Brog

72-73 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork 021 4270074

kingdom there, or base themselves there for its duration.

Jack Meades (under the bridge) Dunmore Rd, Waterford 051 850 950

Set on 5 acres of impeccably kept lawns, this sprawling complex boasts a number of bars. The old world bar it has dates back to 1705, whilst its lime kiln and ice house were built around 1860. But there is also a modern bar, and an extensive beer garden looking down over the gardens and streams. And good quality food is served here throughout the day.

Dick Mack’s

Greene St, Dingle, Co Kerry 066 915 1960

An Brog has been attending to fans of alternative and indie music for over 20 years now, and they’ve a constantly evolving roster of Djs and live bands catering to all and every musical taste. And best of all, they are open til 2 in the morning, seven days a week.

Buckley’s Bar

The Arbutus Hotel, College St, Killarney, Co Kerry. 064 6631037

Named after the leather craftsman, this small and gloriously “busy” pub still sells hand made leather ware inside at the shop to one side. Its walls are drowned in archaic photographs, and outside there’s a star studded pavement where the likes of Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery and Julia Roberts have left their mark. For many, many people, this is what they imagine when they conjure up the image of an Irish pub.

Dolan’s Pub and Restaurant 3-4 Dock Rd, Limerick 061 314 483 (ext 1)

The oak panelled walls and turf fire are the perfect accompaniment to the many musicians who drop in here for the impromptu sessions that seem to be forever going on here. Both bar and hotel have been welcoming visitors since it opened in 1926. And many people either begin their trip around the


Dolan’s is made up of three venues, two outdoor areas, a traditional Irish pub and a restaurant. So there’s music here every day of the week, and they’ll serve you your breakfast, lunch and dinner as you require. Some of the many guests who’ve enjoyed their hospitality include Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand, Sharon Shannon and Imelda May.

Recommended Restaurants in Munster x

The Old Convent Clogheen, Co Tipperary 052 746 5565

The Lime Tree

Shelbourne St, Kenmare, Co Kerry 064 664 1225

Out of the Blue Dingle Harbour (066) 915 0811.

Hidden away in the village of Clogheen, with the possible exception of the Cashel Palace, this is the finest restaurant in the whole of county Tipperary. Only one sitting at 8pm, and a set tasting menu at 65 Euro, this is quite simply one of the finest dining experiences in Ireland.

Ballymaloe House Shanagarry, Co Cork 021 4652 531

Myrtle Allen bought Ballymaloe in 1948 and she and her extended families have been entertaining and educating the rest of the country ever since. Not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but whether dining in the restaurant or staying on the grounds, this is about as luxurious as it gets.

Fishy Fishy Café

Crowley’s Quay, Kinsale, Co Cork. 01 470 0415

With the possible exception of Kinsale, Kenmare is Ireland’s unofficial culinary capital. And this is one of the town’s very best restaurants, specializing in wonderfully fresh fish and succulent lamb.

Dromoland Castle

Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare 061 368 144 Quite simply one of the most imposing and impressive castles on these islands, it boasts rooms and a restaurant to match its imperious surroundings.

They serve only only the freshest, most succulent fish and shellfish here, which they have delivered every day, literally, from the sea outside their front door. And if there’s no fish on a particular day, then they won’t open the restaurant. A certain Mr. Paul Hewson, aka Bono is a fan. So book early to avoid disappointment.

An Canteen Dykgate st Dingle Tel 0866603778.

Ristorante Rossini 33-4 Princess St, Cork city. 021 427 5818 Kinsale is unquestionably the food capital of Ireland, and this by common consent is one of its finest restaurants. Impeccably fresh fish at reasonable prices.

Isaacs Restaurant McCurtain St, Cork city. 021 450 3805

Hidden away in a budget style hotel, Isaacs has always had a reputation with locals for being a considerably better quality restaurant than you might have expected. And as you’d expect, its very reasonably priced too.

Small quaint front room restaurant with locally sourced high quality ingredients making this little gem a must visit when in Dingle.

The Mustard Seed Ballingarry, Co Limerick 069 68508

About 40 minutes outside of Limerick City, off the Adare road, this is one of those roomy country houses that’s been transformed into a top class hotel and restaurant. One of the finest restaurants in Munster.

La Cucina Antonio Toscano opened this Italian restaurant in the heart of Cork City in 1994, and has always gone out of his way to staff it with his fellow country men and women, from both the North and the South of Italy. And it’s this, together with their extensive menu that makes eating here as close to actually dining in Italy as you could hope to find.

5 University Court, Castletroy, County Limerick. Tel 061 333980 Simply one of the best places for a pizza in the country.


Explore Munster

Cliffs of Moher

Stretching for eight kilometres along the coastline and standing at 214 metres at their highest point, the Cliffs of Moher give the visitor a panoramic view out onto the Atlantic Ocean. It is said that on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands and Galway bay, over the twelve pins and the Blasket Islands off the coast of Kerry. When there you really should ascend O’Briens Tower which has been used as a viewing point for centuries past.

Blarney Castle

The Hunt Museum

The Hunt Museum has artefacts from Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Olmec civilisation. There is also an important collection of Irish archaeological material ranging from Neolithic flints, Bronze Age material, and Christian art. One of the strengths of the collection is the medieval material, which include statues in stone and wood, painted panels, jewellery, enamels, ivories, ceramics, crystal and crucifixes. Plus work from Picasso, Renoir, Roderic O’Conor, Jack B. Yeats, Robert Fagan and Henry Moore. 061 312 833

Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry ( Irish: Mórchuaird Chiarraí) is not a ring in the conventional sense but a 179-km-long circular tourist route in County Kerry. Clockwise from Killarney it follows the N71 to Kenmare, then the N70 around the Iveragh Peninsula to Killorglin, passing through Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen, and Glenbeigh, before returning to Killarney via the N72. The scenery along this route is spectacular to behold and the route takes you through the Gap of Dunloe, the Bog Village, past Rossbeigh Beach, Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, The Blue Pool, Ross Castle, the Ogham Stones, and many more visitor attractions.

Bunratty Castle The Burren

Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting visitors from all over the world ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. And notwithstanding how impressive an example it is of a medieval castle, this is probably because of the famous stone you will there at the top of the tower. People from all over the world have climbed up there to kiss it in the hope of acquiring the gift of the gab. Which needless to say they duly receive. 021 438 5252 30 -TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE-DECEMBER 2014

The Burren, from the Gaelic word Boireann is an area of limestone rock covering imposing majestic mountains, and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. With its innate sense of spiritual peace, extraordinary array of flora and wildlife, and megalithic tombs and monuments older than Egypt’s pyramids, the Burren creates a tapestry of colour and a seductively magical aura which few people leave without wanting to experience again. To Begin to discover the secrets of the Burren, a walk through the Burren Centre Exhibition is essential.

Bunratty Castle in County Clare is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Browse the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country which brings to life a vital part of our Medieval past. You can explore at your own leisure or join in a guided tour with the experienced guides. At night time the castle is the impressive setting for the medieval castle banquets which are held all year round.





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Medieval Banquets In Ireland


any people consider Christmas day dinner to be the grandest feast of the year. But once the turkey is finished and all the crackers have been pulled, what if you could truly experience a meal fit for kings? With the help of authentic menus, traditional music and timeless settings of great grandeur you can! In the historically rich counties of Kildare and Clare there are two unique Medieval Banquet experiences that will take you back to the time of Lords and Ladies and give you an evening rich in the splendid grandeur


of Ireland’s medieval royalty while also sharing the history of each historic setting. The first enchanting venue that allows you step back in time to an Ireland of great feasts and fine music is Bunratty Castle nestled within the beautiful surrounds of County Clare. The historic Bunratty Castle offers it’s visitors the incredible opportunity to experience the Castle as it once was bustling with Lords, Ladies and musicians playing traditional music of the era.

Medieval Banquets In Ireland

Upon arrival at the Bunratty Medieval Castle Banquet guests are ushered over the drawbridge by a kilted piper who plays for them a tune of welcome. Hostesses in their finest medieval gowns then escort guests to The Great Hall. Guest are then made comfortable inside the resplendent Great Hall which is immaculately decorated with the decor and furniture of the time. Then with

a goblet of Mead in hand guests can converse with The Ladies of the Castle and listen while the medieval Madrigal recounts the fascinating history of Bunratty Castle. It is then time to attend the crowning of The Earl and Lady of the Castle. The denouement of this regal ceremony signals the beginning of the fine Medieval feast. The sumptuous four course

meal is served by candle light in the banquet style of the era, by having guests dine together at long oak tables. As guests enjoy dinner, the Ladies of The Castle sing traditional tunes accompanied by Fiddle and Irish Harp. The historically immersive evening lasts for two and a half hours and the price of attending includes both your meal and entertainment. The Bunratty Medieval Banquet is open nightly at 5.30pm and 8.45pm but pre booking your visit is essential! The second venue where you can enjoy a fine medieval feast is the beautiful Barberstown Castle which is only twenty five minutes drive from Dublin City centre. The Castle has a fascinating and elusive history that guests at the splendid banquet are given unique access to! Guests are guided through their evening by the ghost of Nicholas Barby, who originally built the castle in 1288. Let Barby show you how Ireland’s finest lived and celebrated in his time. Enjoy traditional music and hear the history of one of Ireland’s most enchanting castles! Barberstown Town Castle Medieval Banquets are only available for private parties, so if you wish to attend a banquet there, a private booking must be made. So if you crave a finer feast then your Christmas dinner was able to offer you, consider visiting one of Ireland’s historical and magical medieval banquets!


Welcome To Connaught

Ancient stone walls in the Aran Islands


he province of Connaught lies in the West of Ireland with its coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The counties of Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Galway and Roscommon make up this geographically diverse region with the Atlantic Ocean to its westerly boundary, and the midlands of Roscommon to the East. It is the least populated with a population of just over 400,000. Historically, Connaught has retained its rich Gaelic heritage and today still has communities where the Irish language only is spoken amongst them. But English is the primary second language. These regions are collectively called the Gaeltacht. The remote and beautiful Aran


Islands off the mainland of County Galway are also part of the Gaeltacht. The primary business centre of Connaught, and the most densely populated area is the thriving city of Galway to the south of the province. Although Sligo City, Carrick on Shannon, and Boyle are all fine business and shopping centres in their own right. Connaught has some of the most scenic and unspoilt countryside to be found in Ireland, including the spectacular mountainous landscape of Connemara, the lock gates and river banks of the Shannon Waterway, the famed Galway Bay and the historic glens of County Leitrim. Couple these with the beautiful Ashford Castle in Mayo near to Cong where the film ‘The Quiet The Claddagh by night Man ‘ was filmed, and the natural serenity of Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon, and a tour of this region is a must for all. For those interested in a religious experience Mayo is famed for Knock Shrine where on the 21st August, 1879, at about 8 o’clock, Our Lady, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist

are reputed to have appeared. The apparition was seen by fifteen people whose ages ranged from six years to seventy-five and included men, women and children. The shrine has become so popular in modern times that the Ireland West International Airport was built especially in 1985 to cater for the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and visitors to Connaught. The county also features the pilgrimage site known as Croagh Patrick, which overlooks Clew Bay in County Mayo. This is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. The tradition of pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption. Croagh Patrick is renowned today for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honour of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. It was on the summit of the mountain that Saint Patrick is said to have fasted for forty days in 441 AD, and the custom of trekking up the mountain has been faithfully handed down from generation to generation. Croagh Patrick is 5 miles from the picturesque town of Westport, and its conical shape soars majestically above the surrounding countryside with magnificent views of Clew Bay beneath. So, whether it’s water activities on the Atlantic coastline, cruising on the Shannon Waterway, religious pilgrimages, chilling out amongst an unspoilt landscape or driving along roads where motoring is still a pleasure, Connaught has it all.

Music For Galway Winterfest


s the Christmas season fades from the culturally rich county of Galway, a greatly anticipated classical music festival returns to Galway City. The Music For Galway Winterfest returns to The Town Hall Theatre from the 16th to the 18th of January. The festival celebrates the greatest names in classical music while also showcasing some of the most exciting new talent in the contemporary classical music world. Each year the festival has a unique and intriguing theme. Last year’s festival explored the theme of ‘The Birth Of Modern Music’, the programme was greatly received and resulted in a wonderful celebration of modern classical music! This year acclaimed Irish Pianist Finghin Collins returns as artistic director of the festival and he has devised an eclectic and inspiring new theme through which to experience and celebrate Classical music’s greatest masters! For 2015 The Music For Galway Winterfest theme is ‘Soundtracks For Superpowers’. The festival will be built around two of the most influential and powerful composers of their respective centuries; Joseph Haydn and Dmitri Shostakovich. The theme ; ‘Soundtracks For Superpowers’ is represented in the infamous patrons of both composers who in themselves were reigning superpowers of their age. Haydn was patronised by the wealthy and powerful Esterhazy Family and Joseph Stalin famously commissioned some of Shostakovich’s most revered works. Both artists made a celebrated impact on the music of the string quartet, so artistic director Finghin Collins has brought together some of the most exciting names in string quartet’s, currently performing. Anglo Irish musical group The Carducci Quartet will be performing two of Shostakovich’s timeless works. Also performing will be the greatly respected ConTempo Quartet, who are Galway’s Ensemble In Residence. Other highlights of the lively programme include home grown Irish soprano Helen Kearns who be will performing the 7 Romances for Soprano and Piano Trio, and will be accompanied by Finghin Collins on piano and violin and cellist of the Carducci quartet Matthew and Emma Denton. Once the Christmas carols of the festive season have faded, take a trip to Galway City and experience the fantastically lively and inventive Music For Galway Winterfest and discover some of the hidden treasures of classical music!

Artistic Director Finghin Collins


For tickets and further info visit: Helen Kearns


Fisherman Out of Ireland, Ballymoon, Kilcar, County Donegal, Ireland Tel.: +353 74 973 8233, Fax: +353 74 973 8236 E-mail:, Web:

Recommended Restaurants in Connaught

Kai Café

Sea Rd. Galway city. 091 526 003

Roasted pig cheeks with black pudding, and apple and vanilla sauce is just one of this award winning restaurant’s specialities. One of the finest restaurants in the West.

The Cottage Restaurant Jamestown, Co. Leitrim. 071 962 5933

Head chef Sham Hanifa’s sauces are so well regarded, you can buy jars of them to take away with you after your meal. Originally from Malaysia, he’s been here in Leitrim for over 14 years and applies his culinary skills to the local Irish produce that are native to the West.

Ashford Castle

Cong, Co. Mayo. 094 954 6003 Dating all the way back to 1228, this is one of the most imposing castles on the island. And where better to dine than in the George V dining room, built specially by the Guinness family when they hosted the Prince of Wales in 1906.

Upstairs @ West Restaurant The Twelve, Barna, Galway city. 091 597000 David and Jessica Murphy’s restaurant in the heart of Galway has justly won a mountain of awards over the last couple of years, including Restaurant of the Year in 2012. Of the many, many who sing its praises, John McKenna wrote, “It’s vital food, packed with good energy, and it lifts you up to eat it because it’s so simple and elemental.”

Situated in the luxury 4 star hotel The Twelve in Barna, minutes away from the city centre, this is one of Galway’s best kept secrets and is well worth a visit.

Waterfront House Restaurant Enniscrone, County Sligo. 096 37120

Eala Bhán

Rockwood Parade, Sligo town. 071 914 5823

If it’s fresh seafood or a prime steak you’re looking for, this is the place for you. Situated in the heart of Sligo this restaurant is warmly recommended by one and all, including Lucinda O’Sullivan and Georgina Campbell.

The Yew Tree Restaurant

Lecarrow, Co. Roscommon. 090 666 1255 Half way between Athlone and Roscommon, and a quarter of an hour’s drive from either, Aidan Murray has been head chef here for over 20 years. Superior bistro food.

An Port Mór Restaurant

1 Brewery Place, Bridge St, Westport, Co. Mayo. 098 26730

The Waterfront House Restaurant boasts one of the most outstanding sea views in Ireland. You can wine, dine and relax as you peer out over the 5km beach overlooking Killala Bay. Since it opened in 2011 the Seaview Restaurant and Wine Bar have become popular with locals and visitors alike. Fresh Seafood is a specialty. DECEMBER 2014-TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE- 37

Recommended Pubs in Connaught

Tigh Neachtain (Naughtons) 17 Cross st, Galway 091 568 820

Just across the road from Galway’s justly celebrated Druid Theatre, the Neachtain family have been running this pub here since 1894. And the artsy crowd that congregate here are as likely to be treated to a live jazz trio as they are to the best in Irish trad.

The Quays

11 Quay St, Galway 091 568 347

Shadow and Dinosaur Jr. The only difference is, they’ve got a beer garden on the roof now!

Furey’s Pub Bridge St, Sligo 087 958 3080

Furey’s is located in the centre of Sligo, and is your no nonsense, strictly Irish trad music only, Irish pub. And they are as keen on real beer as they are on serious music, offering up an impressive choice craft beers.

Bosh Bar and Restaurant Don’t be put off by the reams of tourists that flock here all year round, there’s a reason that this pub enjoys such a lofty reputation. It looks and feels exactly like an Irish pub should. And be sure to check out the back of the pub which has been decked out with stained glass and wooden pews borrowed from a Medieval French church!

Linenhall St., Castlebar, Co Mayo 094 925 0534

Whether you are looking for a bit of good quality food, hoping to catch some live music, or just want to watch the match, this is the place you’re looking for when you find yourself in Castlebar.

Roísín Dubh

Matt Malloy’s

Lower Dominick St., Galway 091 586 540

Bridge St., Westport 098 26655

It might have changed hands a few years ago, but the Roísín Dubh is still the premier music venue in the West. In the past they played host to Ray Davies, The New York Dolls and Townes Van Zandt and, more recently the XX, DJ

This is exactly the kind of pub you’d expect the flute player with the Chieftains to have opened. And when he’s not on tour with them, you can expect to see Matt Malloy here in person, joining in on the sessions that take place within.


Explore Connaught

Kylemore Abbey

Few places on earth have the tranquillity and beauty of Kylemore Abbey and its majestic walled garden. The castle was bought by the Benedictine nuns in 1920. The Victorian walled garden was re-opened in 1999 and won the prestigious Europa Nostra Award in 2002.The garden comprises of roughly 6 acres and is divided in two by a natural mountain stream. The eastern half comprises of the flower or pleasure garden, glass houses and gardeners’ houses. While the kitchen garden makes up the other half of the garden and is predominantly given over to the growing of food. This is a gem and should definitely be at the top of any visitors list.

Glencar Waterfall

Glencar Waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, 11 kilometres west of Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. It is particularly impressive after rain and can be viewed from a lovely wooded walk. As you reach Glencar which straddles the border between counties Sligo and Leitrim with its dramatic steep cliffs, you will notice a series of waterfalls cascading from the heights. Glencar waterfall is perhaps the most dramatic, descending from a 50ft rocky headland into a deep pool below in a haze of white spray. A paved path to the viewing area provides a wonderful vantage point from which to view the waterfall which is particularly spectacular during wet conditions.

Inishbofin Island

Inishbofin (island of the white cow) is situated seven miles off the Galway coastline and is an extremely popular tourist attraction.The island is 5.7km by 4km, and has three official looped walks of varying difficulties, each offering spectacular views of the island’s wild Atlantic scenery. The island also has several safe, award winning sandy beaches, and its clear waters make swimming, snorkelling and diving a joy. Two of the beaches on Inishbofin have been awarded the ‘Green Coast Award’, prized for their exceptional water quality and their natural, unspoilt environment.

Croagh Patrick



Mullaghmore is one of the surfing capitals of the Irish Atlantic coastline, and is recognised as one of the top surfing destinations in the world. Indeed, on 8 March 2012, surfers and windsurfers from all over the world rode waves up to 15 metres (49 ft) high off Mullaghmore Head. The area is also safe for bathing, and has all the modern facilities that you could wish for to make your stay enjoyable. And it is overlooked by the majestic Ben Bulbin mountain.


Connemara is one of God’s gifts to this world with unspoilt natural beauty, rolling hills, leafy glens and crystal clear mountain streams all overlooked by towering majestic mountains. Travel from the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range in the North through lake-rich Roundstone Bog, to the golden beaches reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean. This wondrous landscape is bounded on the West, South and North by the Atlantic Ocean. Connemara’s land boundary with the rest of County Galway is marked by the Invermore River which flows into the north of Kilkieran Bay.

Croagh Patrick is 5 miles from the picturesque town of Westport, and its conical shape soars majestically above the surrounding countryside. You get spectacular views of Clew Bay and the surrounding Mayo countryside from all stages as you climb. Widely considered the holiest mountain in Ireland, pilgrimages date all the way back to the time of the pagans, when people are thought to have gathered here to celebrate the beginning of harvest season. It was on the summit of this mountain that Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD, and the custom has been faithfully handed down from generation to generation. On the last day in July 25,000 pilgrims climb it, and over a million people visit Croagh Patrick every year. 098 64114

Kilkenny Shop


he Kilkenny Shop is home to Ireland’s largest collection of Irish designed products, from fashion and jewellery to homeware, handmade crafts and crystal. For over 50 years, the Kilkenny Shop has been supporting home-grown Irish design talent and has given many budding Irish designers an invaluable kick start to their career, including household names like Orla Kiely and Aideen Bodkin. Wherever you’re visiting in Ireland, there is sure to be a Kilkenny Shop close at hand! There are currently 11 Kilkenny Shops nationwide, including locations in Nassau St, Swords and Stillorgan in Dublin, Trim Co Meath, Newbridge Co Kildare, Cashel, Co Tipperary, Cork City, Douglas and Shanagarry in Cork, Killarney Co Kerry and Galway City, as well as two sister Christy’s stores in Killarney and Cobh, Co Cork. You can also conveniently shop online at with delivery available nationwide and around the world.

Shopping at Kilkenny

From stylish season fashion to handmade jewellery, dazzling crystal and hand-thrown pottery to contemporary interior design, you

can be sure to find some wonderful Irish and internationally designed products to suit your needs at the Kilkenny Shop! The Kilkenny Shop is Ireland’s largest stockist of Orla Kiely, one of the country’s finest designers, stocking an extensive collection of her home and accessory designs across all stores. Kilkenny also boasts a stunning range of both Waterford Crystal and Newbridge Silverware, including the fabulous Lismore Collection and must-have new Mixology, Fleurology and Illuminology creations, all by Waterford Crystal. With the vast range of product on offer, you can be sure to find the perfect memento, big or small, to mark your trip or getaway!

From overseas

If you’re visiting Ireland from overseas, you can be guaranteed to find the best shopping experience in Ireland at the Kilkenny Shop! Kilkenny offers customers the phenomenal shipping rate of just €29.95 to deliver anywhere in the world no matter how large your purchase may be and international customers can also avail of Kilkenny’s tax free shopping which can be processed in store.


Feast your senses on the culinary delights on

offer from the Kilkenny Café, located upstairs in the Nassau St store and also in the Shanagarry Design Centre, Cork. The Kilkenny Café serves up delicious homemade Artisan Irish food at fantastic value, all prepared and cooked fresh on site every day by Kilkenny’s team of talented chefs. Serving an array of deliciousness from freshly baked scones and tasty salads to comforting hotpots and tantalising desserts, the Kilkenny Café showcases the best of Irish food. And as an added bonus, most of the dishes served are coeliac friendly! If you’re in Dublin, why not check out the Kilkenny Café Nassau Street’s unmissable weekly Supper Club and Jazz Sunday Brunch events! Every Thursday from 5 – 7pm, the Supper Club serves up a delicious meal deal offering a main course for €12.95 and wine specials, topped off with live music throughout the evening. And what better start to your Sunday than a fantastic Jazz Sunday Brunch, where you can enjoy a delicious breakfast with Prosecco and tea/coffee for just €9.95 while relaxing to the tune of live jazz! Whether you’re planning to treat yourself with a sensational shopping trip or looking for a delicious culinary experience, complete your getaway with an unforgettable visit to the Kilkenny Shop, with store locations nationwide! Visit for more info or to shop online wherever you may be. DECEMBER 2014-TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE- 41

Welcome to Ulster

Marble Arch Caves


he Ancient Irish province of Ulster, made up of 9 counties, was partitioned in 1921 and six of the counties in it now make up Northern Ireland. These are Fermanagh, Antrim, Down, Derry/Londonderry, Armagh, and Tyrone. The other three counties are Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland. County Fermanagh has over 300 square miles of water, 365 islands, breathtaking scenery, the mystical Marble Arch Caves Geo Park, world class fishing and more historic monuments than you could shake a stick at. In short, Fermanagh is a Lakeland Paradise.

is the most notable. The famous mountains or ‘Hills of Donegal’ consist of two major ranges, the Derryveagh Mountains in the north and the Bluestack Mountains in the south, with Mount Errigal at 751 metres the highest peak. The Slieve League cliffs are the second highest sea cliffs in Europe, while Donegal’s Malin Head is the most northerly point on the island of Ireland. Giants Causeway

Malin Head

County Donegal is in the northwest of the Republic of Ireland. The name “Donegal” comes from the Irish, meaning “the fort of the foreigners”. The county consists chiefly of low mountains, with a deeply indented coastline forming natural loughs, of which Lough Swilly 42 -TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE-DECEMBER 2014

County Antrim with its beautiful coast road and famous glens is the most north easterly county on the island. On a worldwide scale Antrim’s most famous attraction is the Giants Causeway. However the renowned ‘Glens of Antrim’, the Bushmills Distillery and Carrickfergus Castle are well worth visiting as well. Belfast City too has many things to see including the grandeur of the City Hall, the new

Titanic Quarter and the Odyssey Arena to name but a few. This vibrant city has a culture all of its own and its restaurants, theatres and nightlife are amazingly good value.

Belfast City Hall

Explore Ulster

Titanic Belfast

Since it opened in March 2012 Titanic Belfast has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, and over a million visitors went through its doors in its first year. Housed in an iconic, six story building, it’s located in the heart of Belfast, right next to the very site where the famous ship was first built. Once you enter the building proper, you’re introduced to the building’s giant atrium surrounded by the four “ships”, hull shaped wings which act as the beginning of the Titanic experience. Your journey will then take you through the building’s nine galleries, telling the story of the Titanic from its conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through its construction and launch, to its famous maiden voyage and tragic end. The story is brought up to the present with the discovery of the wreck, and into the future with live links to contemporary undersea exploration. And the galleries employ a variety of interactive media including CGI, film, audio, artefacts and full-scale replicas. Not only that, there’s an actual ride through the Titanic giving you a view of how the ship was physically put together. Tel 028 9076 6386

The Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway stretches for around five kilometres along the Antrim coast north of the town of Bushmills. Legend has it that it was built by Finn MacCool so that he could get across to Scotland to the East to take on a giant who lived over there. Voted by BBC Radio listeners as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the UK, visitors flock here from all over the world to marvel at one of Europe’s most magnificent coastlines and its unique rock formations, which have stood as a natural rampart against the unbridled ferocity of Atlantic storms for millions of years. The rugged symmetry of the columns never fails to intrigue and inspire people. And to stroll along the Giants Causeway is to voyage back in time. In 1986 they opened the Giants Causeway Visitors centre, after the World Heritage Conventions added it to its coveted list of sites, which are of exceptional interest and universal value. And the National Trust which oversees the Causeway provides the half million tourists who go there every year with any and all the information that they might need.

The Old Bushmills Distillery In 1608, King James I of England granted Sir Thomas Phillipps a license to distil whiskey, and Bushmills became the first ever distillery in the world to begin officially producing it. “Whiskey” with an “e” is Irish by the way, and without is Scotch. And the word itself originated from the Irish word for water, “uisce”. Bushmills is the only distillery in Ireland to make triple-distilled malt whiskey. This is at the heart of all Bushmills whiskeys, whether Bushmills or Black Bush, and it is this that gives them their unique combination of smoothness and richness. In 2008, Bushmills celebrated the 400th anniversary of their original licence to distil whiskey. They marked the occasion with the release of a limited edition Irish whiskey of exceptional smoothness, Bushmills 1608. Today Bushmills Irish Whiskey is owned by Diageo, and over 120,00 visitors come to the Old Distillery every year to discover more about how it is all done, and to see for themselves where the magic happens. Tel 028 2073 3218

Ulster American Folk Park

Situated at the base of the Sperrin mountain range just 5 miles outside of Omagh on the road to Strabane, the museum is your chance to mix family fun with a fascinating exploration of our shared histories. Immerse yourself in the world famous story of Irish emigration at the museum that brings it to life. Follow the emigrant trail as you journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster, on board a full scale emigrant sailing ship leading to the log cabins of the American Frontier. Meet an array of costumed characters on your way with traditional crafts to show, tales to tell and food to share. And you can also avail of the facilities at the residential centre and museum restaurant. They offer an array of ensuite rooms, and dorms that sleep up to 7 in bunk beds, with linen, laundry and drier rooms, plus kitchens, bathrooms, and TV, DVD and games rooms. Museum: +44 (0) 28 8224 3292 Residential centre: +44 (0)28 8224 0918


Donegal H

op into the car and follow scenic Inishowen peninsula. Those with an interest Hire a pedalo at Portsalon military history will want to see Fort Dunree Golden sandy beaches and rolling farmland the Wild Atlantic Way in Military Museum near Buncrana. Further along,you threaded by narrow roads set the scene in the touring route to Donegal’s will find Doagh Famine Village, an outdoor secluded Fanad peninsula squeezed in between hidden gems of amazing holiday museum,which provides a thought-provoking look Lough Swilly and Mulroy Bay and leading to the area from the tragedy of the Famine in the remote Fanad Head. Families can enjoy a day of experiences, colourful people and at 1840s up to the present day. watersports at picture-postcard resorts such as outstanding natural beauty. Rathmullan or Portsalon. Take your pick from Nestling as it does on the most spinning for mackerel off a pier, learning to fly-fish for rainbow trout, hire a pedalo or paddle a kayak. north westerly point of the island Drink in the best views in Europe If you are feeling energetic, why not saddle up and of Ireland this county is rich in gallop along the shores beaches,glens and mountains of Lough Swilly on the pristine Rathmullan Strand. As you drive around this thrilling peninsula be not to mention a people whose prepared for delays on single track roads; your friendliness and Cead mile Failte path may be blocked by a herd of heifers and you (one hundred thousand welcomes) will be reduced to cow-speed; don’t forget you are in north Donegal where the motto festina lente is legendary. Here are some of the ‘hurry slowly’ applies and where life moves at an outstanding attractions that make easy pace. this county unique.

Sliabh Liag

An Grianán

Malin Head

Dip into history or look up at the night sky from Ireland’s most northernly point

A narrow road twists steeply up from Teelin to the dramatic Slieve Liag cliffs and mountains. From the viewing point, you look across one of the finest panoramas in Europe that will set your heart racing. The nearby cultural centre, Tí Linn, is run by Paddy Clarke, a rich source of information on the area and its archaeological heritage.

Fanad Head Aileach

Awaken your mystical spirit

Catch a cloudless evening and you may be enchanted by a night sky display of the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. The celestial light show, with its ghostly wispy rays of dancing colours has been seen hanging like a fluorescent curtain over Malin Head – what better reason to go than to witness this astonishing sight. As you make your way around the 100-mile circuit of the 44 -TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE-DECEMBER 2014

Perched 800 ft. above sea level, on a spectacular hilltop in Inishowen, the Grianán of Aileach fort is a former home of the Irish High Kings. Sweeping views take in patchwork fields and lakes as well as the wider hilly countryside. At the nearby Old Church Visitor Centre you can enjoy the latest multimedia technological exhibits surrounding the mythical Tuatha De Danann Race of Gods and Warriors.


Jewel of the Wild Atlantic Way

Glenveagh National Park Look out for golden eagles

The largest tract of land in the wildest part of Donegal, Glenveagh National Park incorporates moorland, mountain, lakes and woods within its 40,000 acres of wilderness. You may be lucky enough to catch sight of soaring golden eagles which have been reintroduced into the area or chance upon a shy red deer.

In the south of the county, Bundoran has become the unrivalled gung-ho centre of surf culture hosting world class competitions. Regarded as the top spot by the black-clad brigade, it is a place where wave-riding runs deep in the veins of some locals’ blood. Set against a backdrop of dramatic scenery and beaches, the reefs around Bundoran are world renowned, producing the optimal wave size. Donegal Adventure Centre in Bundoran -– the largest of its kind in Ireland – provides expert tuition from qualified instructors in the tricky art of staying up on your board. If you are new to surfing, a good place for beginners is Rossnowlagh, a few miles north.

Donegal Garden Golfing Trail Outdoor tonic

Donegal’s exposed coastline is home to many unusual plant species at over twenty gardens public and private - dotted along the coast.

Surfing in Bundoran Ride the Waves

As a golf tourism destination, Donegal with premium seaside courses takes some beating. Many championship 18-hole courses are set in areas of natural beauty and Bundoran Golf Club, founded in 1894, co-hosts the West Coast Challenge each year. During the 1950s it was the home of the ‘Master Golfer’ Christy O’Connor Senior. At Murvagh, on the shores of Donegal Bay, Donegal Golf Club was named by Golf World as one of

Ireland’s top 10 club.. With one of the longest courses in Europe, it suits the big hitters. In the north of the county, Ballyliffin Golf Club has two fine championship links and comprises 365 acres of dune land. In 2006 Sir Nick Faldo re-designed the Old Links course.

Glencolumbcille Folk Village Museum

There are few better places better to delve into the past than at Glencolumbcille Folk Village. This clachan, or village, comprises eight thatched, whitewashed cottages showcasing three specific years of Irish culture: 1720, 1820 and 1920. New exhibitions house a fisherman’s cottage and a traditional pub-grocery and shoemaker’s shop. Potter around this reflective place and you will find a sweat house (an early Irish sauna) replica lime kilns and mass rocks.


For a truly memorable holiday experience attend any of Donegal’s many festivals which include cultural, activity and special interests. Renowned for their hospitality, natural curiosity and friendship the people of Donegal would love you to spend sometime in the county they love so well. DECEMBER 2014-TRAVEL IRELAND MAGAZINE- 45

Ulster Recommended Pubs

The Crown Liquor Saloon 46 Great Victoria St, Belfast 028 9024 3187

Located in Belfast’s Cathedral district, very unusually this pub is owned by the Belfast Unemployment Resource Centre, which was opened by local poet, socialist and Freeman of the City, John Hewitt. Hence the name. They’ve an extensive range of craft beers, both on tap and in bottles. And if that’s not enough, they even have a genuine gin palace! Which includes locally made Shortcross Gin.

White’s Tavern

2-4 Winecellar Entry, Belfast 028 9024 3080 Dating all the way back to 1630, this is the oldest tavern in Belfast, and one of the oldest anywhere on these islands. You can warm yourself by the fire downstairs where you’ll find the original pub, whilst upstairs they’ve opened a second bar where more livelier fare goes down.

Kelly’s Cellars 30-32 Bank St, Belfast 028 9024 6058

Now owned by the National trust, this is one of the most justly famous pubs to be found anywhere in Britain or Ireland, with its mixture of oak panelling, leather chairs and its exquisite, ornate Victorian tiling. And, just as you’d expect, they’ve a wonderful selection of real ales and home made food.

The John Hewitt 51 Donegall St., Belfast 028 9023 3768

This is the oldest pub proper in Belfast, dating back to 1720. Stone floors, white washed walls, and traditional Irish music rings through its low ceilinged rooms. It’s like finding a country pub in the middle of the city.

The Duke Of York 7-11 Commercial Ct, Belfast 028 9024 1062

One of the liveliest pubs in town, its walls are busy with paraphernalia and

whatnots, and the place is hopping with (mostly) young people who fill the place up all weekend and most of the week. And if you are looking to treat yourself to a sneaky, antique whiskey, look no further.

Peadar O’Donnell’s 59-63 Waterloo St., Derry 028 7126 7295

There are three bars to choose from here at this famous Derry pub, and music to suit any and all tastes. You can move from an impromptu session that might have materialised magically in the corner of the traditional bar downstairs, to a gig proper upstairs in the Gweedore. Before coming back downstairs to what they swear is the best pint in Derry.


Recommended Restaurants in Ulster


1 Oxford St, Belfast. 0044 28 9031 4121 Having won the Best Newcomer Award in 2013, Ox took Best Restaurant, Best Chef and Best Wine Experience in Antrim for 2014. Chic, smart and very good.

spectacularly situated hotel resorts you will find anywhere in Europe.

The Ginger Bistro

7-11 Linenhall St, Belfast. 0044 28 9031 1150 Located in Belfast’s historic Linenhall Street just behind City Hall, this is one of the best dining

7-8 Hope St, Belfast. 0044 28 9024 4421

55 Degrees North

1 Causeway St, Portrush, Co Antrim. 0044 28 7082 2811

experiences you will find here in the city centre in Belfast. Its chic boutique surroundings make it very much the place to see and be seen.

This family run business has been open since 2005. And this stylish restaurant has been receiving plaudits ever since, both for the quality of its food, and the spectacular views of the Atlantic that it offers.

Vanilla Restaurant

The ginger in question is owner chef Simon McCance, and since relocating here closer to the centre his reputation for producing quality food at surprisingly reasonable prices has got even stronger.

Deane’s Restaurant

36-40 Howard St, Belfast. 0044 28 9033 1134

67 Main St, Newcastle. 0044 28 4372 2268


253 Lisburn Rd, Belfast. 0044 28 9038 1655 They serve deliberately simple, Frenchinfluenced food here using only the best seasonal ingredients, and all served at a reasonable price in an elegant location. And you can have a drink in the cocktail bar in the basement while you are waiting for your table.

Telfords Restaurant

Local man Darren Ireland opened this smart new establishment here in 2009, and it’s one of the best quality bistros on the East coast.

5 Donegall Quay, Belfast. 0044 28 9043 4000 Overlooking the river Lagan and situated in a maritime building that dates back to 1843, Telfords operates on three levels and is in walking distance from the Waterfront Hall, the Odyssey complex and the Ulster Hall.

Lough Erne Resort

Belleek Rd, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. 0044 28 6632 3230

Sun Kee Restaurant

42-7 Donegall Pass, Belfast. 0044 28 9031 2016 One of the best Chinese restaurants in Belfast, the Lo family have been producing impressively adventurous and authentic Chinese cuisine here for years. Michael Deane trained at London’s prestigious Claridges and since returning to Belfast he has opened up a number of top quality restaurants across the city. And losing the Michelin star he had in 2011 has he says liberated him, allowing him to concentrate on the food without having to worry about critics.

Lusty Beg

Boa Island, Kesh, Co Fermanagh. 0044 28 6863 3300

This 5 star hotel just outside the town of Enniskillen is quite simply one of the most

This island spa is set on a 75 acres in the heart of the lakes of Fermanagh, and where better to unwind than in its award winning restaurant.

Sakura, 82 Botanic Av, Belfast

0044 28 9043 9590 In the city’s busy Botanic Avenue, this is one of the city’s few authentic sushi bars, but they also serve a variety of fusion dishes if sushi is not your thing. A superior Japanese restaurant.

Speranza Restaurant, 16-9 Shaftesbury Av, Belfast 044 28 9023 0213 Hand made oven baked pizzas are one of the specialities here, but there is a wide choice of all types of Italian food on offer here in one of Belfast’s finest Italian restaurants.




kay, well let’s first address the proverbial elephant in the room. Is it Derry, or Londonderry? Broadly speaking, nationalists call it Derry, and Unionists Londonderry. But on the one hand, it’s peopled predominantly by nationalists, who all call it Derry. But on the other, it’s officially part of the United Kingdom, hence, at least for the moment, very much part of the Union. But then again, this is a southern publication that you’re reading, and I’m a proudly lapsed Catholic, so naturally I and we think of it as Derry and take great pride in looking consciously confused when anyone aligns it with a capital city in a foreign country. And while we’re on the subject, just in case you’re confused, here in the South, we talk about the North. Whereas for Unionists in the six counties, they insist, quite rightly, on referring to us as being in the Republic, and to themselves as inhabiting Northern Ireland. Both of which are the legal designations of the two areas. But to quote Mr T, enough of this jibber jabber. Whatever you want to call it, Derry is a charming, compact city whose centre you can comfortable amble


around on foot. And like everywhere else in the North (ie in Northern Ireland) it’s become significantly more relaxed since the Peace process began some two decades ago, and has enjoyed something of a cultural renaissance. The city is built on and around the river Foyle, but its most distinctive feature, indeed its defining characteristic are its city walls, which continue to this day to encircle it. Dating back to the early 17th century, they are over one and half kilometers long, and can be entered through any one of the seven gates that continue to stand guard over the city. Indeed, they are the only Medieval walls in any European city that have never been breached, and remain entirely intact. And that sense of defiance and pride is what defines the people who live here. Like many other of the larger cities on the island of Ireland, Derry has their Christmas Market for you to wander around as well. Which is just one more reason to make the effort to head up to one of the less well known corners of the island. But you won’t be disappointed by what you find here and by the welcome that they’ll give you, regardless of what you call it.


Cave Hill

Belfast City Hall

where old...

Belfast is a thriving,lively place where the magnificent architecture of the past blends wonderfully with the new city which has emerged in recent years. Fine examples of this are Belfast City Hall and the Titanic Quarter. Belfast City Hall is situated in the heart of Belfast City Centre and its magnificent baroque revival style frontage and gardens blend beautifully into the cityscape. It first opened its doors on 1 August 1906 having taken eight years to build at an overall cost of £360,000.It underwent a major £11m refurbishment which was completed in 2009 and free tours of this impressive building are available throughout the summer. In contrast the ultra modern Titanic Quarter is a masterpiece of today’s engineering and architectural advancements. It is one of the world’s largest urban /waterfront regeneration schemes. Extending over 185 acres on the site where RMS Titanic was designed and built, the Titanic Quarter is redefining what it means to work, live, play and stay in central Belfast., The Titanic Belfast Visitors Centre is the

world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction . Here you can learn how the Titanic was conceived , built and launched in this great city. Over nine floors in this iconic building you will have the interactive media experience of your life. Belfast Castle Estate is adjacent to one of the highest spots in Belfast, Cave Hill, offering great views over Belfast Lough and the city. The landmark, named for the five caves located on the side of the cliffs, contains a wealth of natural, archaeological and historical features, including Belfast Castle .Its most famous feature, known locally as Napoleon’s Nose, is believed to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels. Cave Hill Visitor Centre is located in the basement of Belfast Castle. This fascinating and intriguing museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 10pm and Sunday & Monday 9am to 5.30pm and admission is free. Tel : 028 9077 6925. Shopping in Belfast is special too. Why? Because it has an eclectic mix of high street stores, family owned businesses, designer boutiques, markets and

the incredible Victoria Square Shopping Centre all within a few minutes of each other. Shops in Belfast City Centre are generally open Monday - Wednesday 9am - 6pm, Thursday 9am - 9pm, Friday and Saturday 9am - 6pm and Sunday 1pm 6pm. Some shop opening hours may vary, including during holiday periods. Belfast also has a wonderful nightlife with numerous traditional theatres and the recently built Waterfront Hall and the Odyssey Arena hosting internationally acclaimed artists on a regular basis. Of course a night out in Belfast would not be the same without a visit to one of its many traditional pubs where a great night’s fun is to be had by all. Finally although we realise one page in here will never do justice to any city, we urge you to make the trip .See for yourself this beautiful ever changing city which has so much to offer. Oh and while you are there check out the culinary feasts in the city from fine dining, brasseries and bistros to gastro pubs, cafes, coffee shops and some of the best fish & chips around.

...meets new


Titanic Exhibition

Odyssey Arena

Travel Ireland Magazine Volume 2 Issue 9  
Travel Ireland Magazine Volume 2 Issue 9