Friday, August 31, 2012

7 Heritage Sites in Shannon

The spirit of Old Ireland lives on in Shannon. On the wide estuary of the River Shannon, on the open moors or in the deep woodland, bog cotton danced in the breeze admidst a blaze of color from heather, gorse and hawthorn. This is a view of Ireland in ancient times.

Learn about the heritage of Ireland in the Shannon area by visiting these Ireland heritage sites:

Adare Castle
Adare is regarded as a fine example of the medieval fortified castle in Ireland and is one of a number of outstanding castles situated in County Limerick. It is sited on the north bank of the River Maigue in a strategic position on a substantial earlier ringwork where it was able to control traffic on the river. It was an important stronghold of the Earls of Desmond. A strong, square keep forms the defensive core of the castle that stands within a walled ward surrounded by a moat. Beside the river is the great hall, with early 13th century windows looking out on to the river, and nearby is a kitchen and a bakery.

Ardfert Cathedral
A monastery was founded here by St. Brendan 'The Navigator' in the 6th century. There are three medieval churches, an ogham stone and a number of early Christian and medieval grave slabs on the site today. The earliest building is the cathedral which dates from the 12th to 17th centuries. It has a fine Romanesque west doorway, a magnificent 13th century east window and a spectacular row of nine lancets in the south wall. Two effigies of ecclesiastical figures of late 13th to early 14th century date are mounted on either side of the east window. The battlements were added in the 15th century. The pre-12th century block of masonry is clearly visible in the north wall. One of the two smaller churches is a fine example of late Romanesque and the other is a plain 15th century structure with an interesting carving of a wyvern on one of the windows. Access for people with disabilities to exhibition area and viewing point.

Desmond Hall
West Limerick preserves many of Ireland's surviving spacious medieval halls. The Desmond Banqueting Hall is an imposing two-storey structure and was used by the Earls of Desmond for banqueting and entertainment. The Hall, vaulted lower chamber and adjoining tower were all constructed during the 15th century (the hall and chamber were built on the remains of a 13th century structure of similar size). Its restored medieval features include and oak musicians' gallery and a limestone hooded fireplace.

Dromore Wood
An area of approximately 400 hectares (1000 acres), Dromore was established as a nature reserve because of the diversity and richness of its flora and fauna. This richness comes from the fact that it has many different habitat types. These include a river, lakes, turloughs, callows (flodded meadows), limestone pavement, fen peat, reed beds and species-rich woodland.

The reserve has historical and archaeological aspects. The 17th century O'Brien Castle is still standing by the lake edge. This is also the sites of Cahermacrea Castle, Kilakee Church, two ring forts and a lime kiln.

Ennis Friary
This 13th century Franciscan friary, founded by the O'Briens, of Thomond who once ruled much of north Munster, has numerous 15th/16th century sculptures carved in the local hard limestone:

A carved image of St. Francis displaying the stigmata is evident in the nave. He carries a cross staff and wears the Franciscan habit. Under the south arch of the tower, an elaborate tracery canopy of the late 15th century was perhaps part of an ornate tomb.  The corbels supporting this are carved on one side with a bishop and, on the other, the Virgin & Child. An arch between the nave and transept bears, in a niche, an image of "Ecce Home" or "Christ's Pity". His hands are bound and tokens of the crucifixion are arranged about. The magnificent east window, with its five tall, narrow lancets, lights the chancel.  The chancel once contained several royal and aristocratic tombs, among those remaining at the friary are the canopy of the Inchiquin/O' Brien tomb and also the Creagh tomb which incorporates five sculptured passion panels from the much older MacMahon Tomb. Set into the back of this tomb is thirteen carved figures representing Christ and the Apostles, all dating from the mid 15th century.

Listowel Castle
The construction date of the earliest castle at Listowel dates to the 13th century but the present castle was probably built in the 15th century by the FitzMaurices. The castle stands on an elevation on a steep bank, overlooking the river Feale, above the location of a strategic ford. A substantial part of the front of the castle survives consisting of two large, square towers of four storeys, standing almost to the original height of 15.3 metres, connected by a wall of the same height and linked together by an arch on one side. A major programme of conservation works has been undertaken at the castle including the provision of an external staircase to allow public access to the upper levels.

Scattery Island
Located approximately one mile off Kilrush, Scattery Island is home to a monastic settlement founded in the early 6th century by St. Senan who was born locally.

There are the ruins of six churches and one of the highest Round Towers in Ireland, 120 feet high, with it's unusual feature of it's door at ground level.  Scattery has had many invasions down through the centuries; the Vikings invaded during the early 9th century but Brian Boru later recaptured the island.  It is believed that Scattery is a derivation of the Norse word for treasure, which is Scatty.

The main church on the island is Teampall Naomh Mhuire (Cathedral of Saint Mary), situated next to the round tower.  Scattery for a time in the 12th century administered to a diocese.  There is an effigy of a bishop's head on the outside of the east window of the Cathedral believed to be that of St. Senan.  The holy well, called Tobar Sinean, beside the round tower was of great reverence and respect by the islanders.  It was also associated with a pattern held on St. Senan's Feast Day on 8th March.  St. Senan is believed to have died in the year 544 and is reputed to be buried in St. Senan's Bed beside Temple Senan a small 12th Century Romanesque church.

An exhibition of the history of the island is housed in the visitor reception building, which is situated near the pier.

Visit Shannon on your next self-drive vacation to Ireland.

Fundraising Through Group Travel

People love to travel and on average take a vacation twice a year. We have found that a travel fundraising program provides a Win-Win proposition for everyone involved.

At Celtic Tours, we realize that you have limited staff resources and budgets – you depend on fundraisers to defray your expenses so you can continue to deliver the vital services you provide. Celtic Tours can help you achieve your fundraising goals through Group Travel.

We will work with you to select or tailor design a tour that will fit the demographics of your organization- the destinations and details have endless possibilities. Our feature destinations include, but are not limited to: Ireland, Britain, Italy, Germany and the South Pacific. We send tours to every corner of the globe!

We will help promote your group trip by providing you with marketing materials such as flyers, posters and a dedicated website landing page. Where possible, we will have one of our Regional Sales Managers host an evening presentation to promote the fundraising trip.

The concept couldn’t be simpler or the potential revenue more staggering!  Visit our website to get some travel ideas. And give us a call 1-800-833-4373 to start planning your fundraising travel experience today – don’t forget to ask how you can travel for free!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ireland Video from Celtic Tours with Switchback

Let the spirit of Ireland get under your skin and into your heart. We want you to sing your heart out at our festivals, start off your mornings with a full Irish breakfast and feel like family in our cozy B&B's. Because here, you're always welcome! So go on, Jump Into Ireland with Celtic Tours Music kindly provided by Switchback

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey is the no.1 visitor attraction in the West of Ireland and a ‘must see’ visit for any tour of Ireland. Set in the dramatic Connemara landscape of mountains and lakes, Kylemore is an iconic attraction, famous around the world. From it’s beginnings as a romantic gift in the 1860s to becoming home to the Benedictine Nuns in 1920, Kylemore is steeped in history and tales of tragedy, romance, royal visits, spirituality and education. The Benedictine community welcome visitors to experience the Victorian atmosphere of the restored rooms of the abbey and gothic church explore the magical Victorian Walled Garden, nature trails and woodland walks and much more.

Visit Kylemore Abbey on your next self-drive vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jump Into Ireland with Celtic Tours and Triskele

Let the spirit of Ireland get under your skin and into your heart.

We want you to sing your heart out at our festivals, start off your mornings with a full Irish breakfast and feel like family in our cozy B&B's. Because here, you're always welcome! So go on, Jump Into Ireland with Celtic Tours

Music kindly provided by Triskele

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Franz Josef Glacier

The magnificent Franz Josef Glacier is widely regarded as the gem of New Zealand's West Coast Glaciers.

In the last ice age the glacier extended in a huge ice-sheet to beyond the present coastline. Although today's glacier has retreated considerably, echoes of its frozen past are still apparent in the present landscape. The terminal face of the glacier is less than 300 metres above sea level and is just one of three to be this close to the coastline. Take an imaginary journey back in time and witness the awesome power of moving ice, the shaping of the valley, the formations of moraine, and the impressive wall of ice at the terminus of the glacier.

Location Franz Josef Glacier is located in Westland National Park on the West Coast, 5 kilometres from Franz Josef township.

Hike, climb or just stand in awe of the amazing natural beauty of Franz Josef Glacier on your next New Zealand Vacation with Celtic Tours World Vacations  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Zealand Deal

100% Adventure.
Celtic Tours World Vacations
Save up to $1500 pp on Escorted New Zealand packages.

17 Day New Zealand Wonderland: Premier Escorted Vacation
Discover New Zealand on this comprehensive and popular 17 Day tour. Travel to the subtropical Bay of Islands, visit the geothermal Rotorua. See natural wonders of Franz Josef Glacier, Milford Sound and World Heritage-listed Mt Cook National Park.

B&B Package (includes 3 feature meals): Land from $5475* pps after discount

All Meals Itinerary: Land from $5995* pps after discount

Available for the following Tour Departure Dates: 2012: 10/27, 11/24, 11/28, 12/8 2013: 1/12, 1/23, 2/9, 3/16
14 Day New Zealand Highlighter: Premier Escorted Vacation
Beginning in the North Island, this 14 Day tour winds its way south, taking in New Zealand’s premier attractions along the way. See the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, cruise Cook Strait and Milford Sound and absorb the majesty of Franz Josef Glacier.

B&B Package (includes 2 feature meals): Land from $4395* pps after discount

 All Meals Itinerary: Land from $4795* pps after discount

Available for the following Tour Departure Dates: 2012: 10/16, 10/30, 11/27 2013: 1/15, 1/26, 2/12, 3/19

Check out this deal on New Zealand travel
Call your travel agent to book! Or give us a call at 1-800-833-4373

*These specials are for new bookings only. Conditions apply. Discount shown is based on twin share for travel on applicable dates shown above and only for tours mentioned. Bookings must be made by September 14, 2012 only. All offers are subject to availability at time of booking. Offers may be withdrawn at any time. SuperDeals cannot be combined with any other offer. Price shown reflects discount.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Old Mellifont Abbey

Whether you are traveling to Ireland on a religious pilgrimage or simply to see the beautiful countryside dappled with ancient ruins, Old Mellifont Abbey is a must see.

Old Mellifont Abbey in County Louth, Ireland was the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland. It was founded in 1142 by St. Malachy of Armagh. The most beautiful structure at Mellifont is the lavabo, an octagonal washing house. Built in the early 13th century, it used lead pipes to bring water from the river.

 The Visitor Center houses an interesting exhibition on the work of masons in the Middle Ages with fine examples of their craft on display.

Old Mellifont Abbey is a beautiful ruin and a must see for any traveler to Ireland.

Old Mellifont Abbey is included on a number of Celtic Tours World Vacations escorted tours of Ireland. Check out our website:

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