Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Literary Attractions in Ireland

Celtic Tours trips to Ireland are like stepping into a setting from Maeve Binchy novel. You will experience quaint villages with thatched cottages, soaring peaks of its highest mountains, sea-side towns such as Cobh and cosmopolitan Dublin, Rich in literary history, you will find the birthplace of W.B. Yeats in County Sligo or the setting for James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” considered in the top 100 Best Books of All Time, and don’t forget Frank McCourt’s memoirs of his impoverished childhood in Limerick “Angela’s Ashes”. Dive into Ireland’s rich literary history. Here are just a few of the can’t miss literary attractions in Ireland:

Trinity College and the Book of Kells

Trinity College has played host to several of Ireland’s literary greats from Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde to Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker. Here you will also find the famous mid-8th century illuminated Book of Kells. The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels was Dean here from 1713 to 1745 and is buried here. You will find an exhibition that tells his fascinating story.

Dublin Writer’s Museum
The Dublin Writer’s Museum is a great place to start your literary tour of Ireland and is an essential visit for anyone who wants to discover, explore and simply enjoy the immense heritage of Dublin. The museum houses splendid works from the literary celebrities of the past 300 years including manuscripts, letters, portraits and personal items.

James Joyce Center
Joyce spent 6 days at the Martello Tower in Sandycove in 1904 – astay that ended in his companion Oliver St. John Gogarty firing a gun. This strange scene is immortalized in the first chapter of Joyce;s Ulysses and the tower now contains a museum dedicated to James Joyce.

National Library of Ireland
The country’s foremost literary attraction, the National Library of Ireland provides an intellectual record of the life of Ireland. The library contains a vast collection of books, manuscripts, records, photographs and maps.

Bram Stoker Park
Just outside of Dublin, in his native Clontarf there is a park dedicated to the Gothic horror writer, Bram Stoker

Patrick Kavanagh Rural and Literary Resource Center
The Center houses exhibitions on local history and on Kavanagh. The special feature of the Patrick Kavanagh Centre is the unique performance tour of Kavanagh Country, which takes in many local sites immortalised by Innishkeen's most famous son, with anecdotes, historical facts, wild rumours and even the odd poem along the way.

Little Lea, Belfast
Little Lea was the Lewis family home from 1905 until 1930. It was here that CS Lewis first took to writing as a hobby in his childhood because of a disability in his thumbs, which meant he could not make things with his hands. He claimed that someone could do more with a castle in a story than with any cardboard castle that ever stood on a nursery table. Few have proved him wrong. The house is now a private residence.

County Sligo
With its many connections to the beloved poet WB Yeats, this county is a pilgrimage destination for Yeats fans. The poet’s writing was shaped by the landscape and people of this farming region.

Limerick City
The setting for Frank McCourt’s impoverished Catholic childhood and the setting for his memoir “Angela’s Ashes”.

With such a distinguished literary history in Dublin and throughout Ireland, it is no wonder that Dublin became a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010. Start your Irish literary pursuit on your next vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Foot-tapping, merry making good time - Top 10 2012 Festivals in Ireland

From opera to oysters – festivals in Ireland cover a multitude of activities, from literary pursuits at the Dublin Book Festival to the gems of the silver screen at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Let 2012 be the year you find your perfect festival. Join in the festivities on your self-drive vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations or bring your friends and family on a group vacation to Ireland for a foot-tapping, merry-making good time!

Titanic, Cobh, April
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden voyage. Cobh, then Queenstown, was the Titanic’s last port of call. 123 passengers boarded the magnificent vessel in a bid to journey to the new world. For the last century the world has been intrigued with the story of the largest passenger liner at the time and the vessel that many thought was unsinkable.

Waterford Festival and Food – April
This annual festival has become synonymous with fabulous food, fantastic family fun, magical music and much more

Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, Co Clare, September – October
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is Europe's largest singles event, with a whole month of dancing and craic starting at 12 noon til late into the night. The festival is Europe's largest singles event. There are five big weekends of dancing and craic. The dancing also starts at the town hall at 12 noon every day during the month of September and continues all over town til late. You can see Willie Daly one of Ireland’s oldest matchmakers at the matchmaker bar every weekend. If its craic and dancing you want Lisdoonaarna is not to be missed.

Wexford Festival Opera, October 24 – November 4, 2012
Recognised by the Frommers Guide as 'one of the best small festivals in the world' Wexford Festival Opera presents an annual trio of rarely performed operas in the unique atmosphere of Wexford Town.

Beamish Cork Folk Festival, October 04 -04, 2012
The Cork Folk Festival has been taking place annually since 1979 at 45 locations throughout the City of Cork. Throughout the five day festival, many of the events are free and audiences can sample everything from set to sean nós dancing, bluegrass to cajun music and singers' club to singer songwriters. The highlight of the festival takes place on Grand Parade, where up to 10,000 dancers gather to take part in Ireland’s largest open air céilí.

Galway Arts Festival, July 16 -29, 2012
Regarded as one of Europe's key cultural events, Galway Arts Festival is an international celebration of the performing and visual arts. Each year over 100,000 people attend the Galway Arts Festival, with hundreds of writers, artists, performers and musicians creating theatre, spectacle, street art, music, comedy, literature and music to produce a stunning fortnight of cultural activity and celebration. Galway Arts Festival is the defining cultural expression of Galway and is at the heart of all aspects life in the city.

Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, September 28 – 30, 2012
Each September, Galway City comes alive with seafood & oysters as it celebrates the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, the most internationally recognised food festival in Ireland and the world's longest running International Oyster Festival. Throughout the festival, a host of tantalising events to whet your appetite will take place, including; a seafood trail in some of Galway city’s finest restaurants, Taste of the Sea/Blas na Mara - showcasing Galway's seafood heroes, the National Oyster Opening Championship, The Food village at The Festival Marquee, the World Oyster Opening Championship, a Mardi Gras event through the streets of Galway and the Festival Finale with family activities, kids fancy dress, live music, cooking demonstrations, Best Hot Oyster Dish challenge, Irish Coffee making and jive & jazz.

Waterford Spraoi Festival, August 2 -5, 2012

Spraoi, pronounced spree, is the Irish word for fun, exuberance and celebration. The Spraoi International Street Arts Festival has been staged in Waterford, Ireland, since 1993. For three days each year residents of this medieval city take to the streets and enjoy an international programme of street arts and spectacle. The festival is staged on August Bank Holiday Weekend, always marked by the first Monday in August. Waterford’s narrow medieval streets, squares, quays and historic buildings provide an atmospheric backdrop to Spraoi’s celebration of contemporary performance culture. The majority of the events are free and suitable for all ages. Performers and musicians from around the world feature in the Spraoi programme each year. The festival programme features the Irish Premeiers of International work. Spraoi also produces its own work for the festival, including The Spraoi Parade.

Dublin Book Festival, November 16 – 18, 2012

Dublin Book Festival brings together the best of Irish publishing, offering a chance for the voices of both established and up and coming authors to be heard. Our poets and authors will gather to celebrate Dublin’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. The Dublin Book Festival promises a great line-up within a relaxed and fun environment with something for everyone.

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, Feb
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival continues its commitment to celebrating film as an art form by presenting over 120 films from the four corners of the globe to the Irish Audience. The festival is a citywide event that takes place in all of the Dublin City Centre Cinemas including Cineworld, The Savoy, Screen, Irish Film Institute and Light House Cinema in Smithfield. The majority of films shown at the film festival are Irish premieres, and for some of the films shown, the festival represents the only public screening that will take place in Ireland.

2012 is here! Let this be the year you find your perfect festival. See that amazing performance, run up that mountain, learn something new or round up your pals for a city break with a difference - go on - catch some festival fever! Check out the Festival & Event Calendar provided by Discover Ireland: http://bit.ly/wuKi2p then start planning your festival self-drive vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations today!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Find Your Emerald Bliss

Emerald Bliss....spa get-a-way!

Find your Emerald Bliss on this 6 night spa get-a-way to Ireland.

The Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone is the perfect base for 2 nights as you roam the heartland of Ireland. Stay in the luxurious Hodson Retreat Rooms, enjoy a romantic dinner for 2 and rejuvenate with your choice of spa treatment.

Then experience the heart of Ireland in a Bed and Breakfast of your choice for two nights, then put the finishing touch on your blissful Irish vacation with 2 nights at the Clontarf Castle just outside of Dublin.

Your Emerald Bliss Self-Drive Vacation Includes:

• 2-nights at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone in the luxury Hodson Retreat Rooms
• 2-nights Open B&B/Guesthome vouchers, allowing you to go-as-you-please (can pre-book at no charge if advised at time of reservation
• 2-nights at Clontarf Castle Hotel
• Breakfast daily (except morning of arrival)
• One Dinner at the Hodson Bay Hotel
• Automatic Car Rental (Economy) - including CDW - Upgrade to larger cars available
• Choice of Spa Treatment at the Spa at Hodson Bay (Choose from the following: Marine Discovery Facial, Aromatherapy Back Massage, Light Therapy-Colours of the Rainbow, Full Body Exfoliation, Soothing Leg and Foot Treatment or the Thai Foot Massage)
• Hotel and car taxes included
• Portfolio of travel documents

Find your Emerald Bliss on this fantastic spa get-a-way to Ireland.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Serenity by the Lakeside

A perfect 6-Night get-a-way, featuring 3 nights at the beautiful Lakeside Hotel in Killaloe, Co. Clare. Killaloe is made up of charming narrow streets, flanked by old shops along the steep hill looking down over the 13th century cathedral. The town was home to Brian Boru, the High King who united Ireland against the Vikings.This picture perfect town with its Victorian streets and old canal banks was once capital of all Ireland. The Lakeside Hotel makes a perfect base for exploring all that this area has to offer. This perfect get-a-way also includes 3 Nights B&B accommodations, car rental, breakfast daily, 1 dinner, complimentary tour of the Ring of Kerry and more!
Land from $569 PP Sharing before coupon.
Use Coupon Code LOVESERENITY to save $50 PP
* Book Now

*Coupon Code cannot be combined with any other discount for same item. Coupon Code expires 4/30/12

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What to see in Westport

Miles of coastline, old-world shop fronts, tree lined boulevard and plenty of activities (from watersports to equine) make Westport a superb base for discovering the majestic west of Ireland. Whether sailing, horse-back or shopping is your sport - ramble through the old world town of Westport.
Explore the west of Ireland. Nearby attractions include:

Croagh Patrick Information Centre
The Croagh Patrick Information Centre is situated in Murrisk on the Pilgrim's Path at the base of Croagh Patrick and opposite the National Famine Monument. The Centre stems from the interest shown by the thousands of pilgrims and climbers in the archaeological discoveries on the summit.

Foxford Woollen Mills
Foxford Step back in time to see how life was in Foxford in the 1890's. See how the town of Foxford grew and prospered around the Mill. The tour also includes a visit to the working woollen mill where skilled craftspeople can be seen producing the world famous rugs, blankets and tweeds.

National Museum of Ireland Country Life
Visitors to the Museum are invited to experience the story of Irish country life between 1850 and 1950 through the innovative combination of artefacts and displays, archival video footage and interactive screens

Ceide FieldsThe Céide Fields in North Mayo will certainly give you a unique experience. For this is not just another archaeological monument or visitor centre. Here you can indulge yourself in a vast prehistoric landscape, a natural wild ecology of blanket bog, dramatic cliffs and coastline, and a much acclaimed building, which has received Ireland's most prestigious architectural award.

Knock Museum
Knock Museum tells the story of the Knock Apparition of 1879 and places it in the context of life in Ireland at that time. 

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

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Westport Rambler

6-night Westport Rambler - Self-Drive Vacation Package

Ramble through the old world town of Westport, on the shores of Clew Bay in Co Mayo on our Westport Rambler. This exciting new self-drive vacation package to Ireland includes three nights accommodations in the old-world town of Westport and three nights accommodations in Ireland's cosmopolitan capital city of Dublin.

Miles of coastline, old-world shop fronts, tree lined boulevard and plenty of activities (from watersports to equine) make Westport a superb base for discovering the majestic west of Ireland. Whether sailing, horse-back or shopping is your sport - ramble through the old world town of Westport.

Dublin, Ireland's capital city, is a historical and contemporary cultural center. Dublin city is home to many theaters and galleries and is known for its literary contributions from WB Yeats to Bernard Shaw to Oscar Wilde. It is a modern center of education, arts, entertainment and history.
Take advantage of Super Sale pricing and enjoy:
  • 3-nights accommodations in beautiful Westport
  • 3-nights accommodations in cosmopolitan Dublin
  • Breakfast daily (except morning of arrival)
  • Automatic Car Rental (Economy) - including CDW - Upgrade to larger cars available (Note: Three people traveling together must avail of upgrade to larger car to accommodate)
  • FREE 5-minute Phone Card
  • Hotel and car taxes included
  • Portfolio of travel documents
    Take advantage of our Super Sale Pricing on this new self drive package - Land from $599 PP Sharing. Give us a call at 1-800-833-4373 or visit our website to book this amazing self-drive vacation to Ireland.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Commemorate, Remember and Embark on the history of the Titanic

2012 is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden (and only) voyage. Everyone has heard of the fateful Titanic, but many do not know that Ireland played a huge part in the history of the Titanic. In fact, the Titanic was built in Belfast and Cobh, then Queenstown, was the Titanic’s last port of call. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, Cobh in County Cork, Ireland will play host to a memorable series of events designed to remember and pay tribute to the Titanic and all who have been involved with her. Whether you are a history buff, had relatives on the Titanic or are just looking for a good excuse to trek over to the Emerald Isle, Cobh is the place to be in 2012. Plan your Ireland Vacation with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

For the last century, the world has been intrigued by the story of the largest passenger liner at the time that many thought was unsinkable. Built in Belfast between 1909 and 1912, the Titanic was the 2nd of 3 huge ocean lines operated by the White Star Line and was the largest ship in the world. The interior of the Titanic held the highest standard of opulence. Extending over 6 floors, the Grand Staircase with its domed ceiling and carved balustrades is probably the most recognizable interior feature of the ship. The Titanic passenger list ranged from the richest people in the world to the poorest; it is perhaps the range of people on board with a wide range of reasons for travel that makes the ship’s story so fascinating. The Titanic’s final port of call was Queenstown, modern day Cobh, Ireland. On the night of April 14th, she struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and was so badly damaged that she survived for less than 3 hours before she sank. Over 1500 people, two-thirds of the Titanic’s passengers and crew, drowned because there were not enough lifeboats to rescue everyone on board.

The picturesque seaport town of Cobh boasts one of the largest natural harbors in the world, and has a long and interesting maritime history because of it. Being a major transatlantic port, Cobh was the departure point for many Irish emigrants to North America, and was the finalport of call for the RMS Titanic.

Visitors to Cobh
will find the Cobh Heritage Center a great place to start in learning about the unique history of Ireland through the 18th and 19th century including mass emigration, the Great Famine and on how criminals were transported to Australia for petty crimes. The Cobh Heritage Center also hosts an interesting and informative exhibit on the Titanic.

The Titanic Experience, due to open on February 1, 2012 in Cobh, is a new permanent visitor attraction situated in the original offices of The White Star Line. The location marks the departure point for the last 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic. The Titanic Experience brings the characters of the Titanic to life through innovative audio visual technology such as cinematic shows, scene sets, holographic imagery and touch screen technology.

Cobh is surely rich in Titanic and maritime history, and 2012 is an exquisite time to visit Ireland to commemorate the history and stories of the people aboard the Titanic. Events are scheduled throughout the year of 2012, with the week of April 9 – 15 set aside for flagship commemoration events.

There is truly something for everyone this year in Cobh. Travel to Ireland just to experience the history of the Titanic, or include a stop to Cobh on your next tour of Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations to embark on the history of the Titanic. Cobh is included on many of our Escorted Tours to Ireland and can also make a great stop on your next self-drive tour of Ireland. Check out our website for all of our Ireland vacations!

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From Notre Dame v Navy to the Galway Summer Races – Top 10 Events You Can’t Miss in Ireland, 2012

From Notre Dame v Navy to the Galway Summer Races
Top 10 Events You Can’t Miss in Ireland, 2012

2012 is a big year for events in Ireland! With Notre Dame and Navy set to face off in September in Dublin, the yearly St. Patrick’s Week and the Tall Ships Race returning to Ireland; 2012 is action-packed with events offering something for everyone.

1. Notre Dame vs Navy
Dublin, September 1, 2012

In 1996, Notre Dame and Navy faced off in Dublin, and thousands of Notre Dame and Navy fans traveled to be a part of it. The Notre Dame-Navy series has been played annually since 1927, making it one of the longest uninterrupted intersectional series in college football and creating a long tradition of rivalry between the two teams. Celtic Tours fans who travel to Ireland to attend the Notre Dame-Navy game will also be guided to the beauty and fascination of Ireland. The game is scheduled for Sept. 1, 2012.

2. St. Patrick’s Week 
Throughout Ireland, March
The whole world is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! And Dublin is the stage for the biggest and best St. Patrick’s celebrations in the world, the St. Patrick’s Festival. Thousands of Irish people and visitors alike will paint the town green for six fantastic, fun-filled days.

3. Galway Summer Races
Galway, July
Adrenalin-pumping action, heart-stopping finishes and breath-taking fashion; you are at the Galway Races. Situated on the outskirts of Galway city, in the West of Ireland, the Galway Racecourse is the place to be.

4. Tall Ship Race
Dublin, August

Leave the present day behind and experience the thrill of the open water as you take part in the Tall Ships Festival this summer in Dublin, Ireland. There’s beauty in a mass of sails and rigging, the sight of 100 ships sailing into the Irish port will stir your maritime soul. One of the most thrilling and colorful events in the world, Dublin is expecting to host 50 majestic Tall ships, 1500 sailing trainees and an anticipated 500,000 maritime, music and festival fans on the quays of Ireland’s Fair City.

5. 50th International Eucharistic Congress
Dublin, June

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress is a week long programme of events, linking faith and culture, with a particular focus on the gathering of people of every nation, language and way of life around the table of the Lord.
6. Puck Fair
Killorglin, August 10 -12

Killorglin, in the geographical heart of Kerry, is the venue for one of Ireland's most unusual street festivals - Puck Fair. The fair is one of Ireland's oldest and longest celebrated and is held without fail on 10th, 11th and 12th August every year with 12 hours of free family street entertainment.

7. Cahirmee Horse Fair
Cahirmee, July 12

Cahirmee Horse Fair is one of the oldest fairs in Ireland, and is reputed to date back to the time of Brian Boru. The Duke of Wellington bought his horse, Copenhagen, which he rode at the Battle of Waterloo, at the fair. Napoleon also bought a horse at Cahirmee. The Fair came to Buttevant from Cahirmee Fair Field in 1921 and has been held in Buttevant since. Visitors to the fair can see the buying and selling of horses on the streets, while a horse show will also be held with a number of prizes available, including the best horse of the fair.

8. Galway Christmas Market
Galway, Dec 14 – 24

Galway's famous bustling market has been trading in Church Lane by St Nicholas's Church in the City centre for centuries, and it really comes to life during the Christmas event when it will be open from the 14th to 24th December. There will be hundreds of stalls selling a great variety of food and crafts. There will be food such as madras curry, sushi, crepes and mount-watering hand-made chocolates, among many other delights. Or, you can buy great quality ingredients for your Yuletide festivities.

9. Volvo Ocean Yacht Race
Galway, July 3-8

One of the most exciting, high-adrenalin yacht races in the world will wind its way into Galway City on 3rd of July 2012 after eight months at sea.

10. Rugby Six Nations Championship – Ireland v Wales
Dublin, Feb and March

Following Ireland’s defeat to a strong Welsh side, putting an end to their world cup dreams, Ireland will be looking to make amends at what promises to be a great match as both teams kick off their RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Looking for something a little different? Check out this Festival and Event Calendar provided by Discover Ireland

Plan your next event vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations. Events are also great ways to get a group trip together, visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-833-4373 to start planning your vacation to Ireland today!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top 10 Blog Posts in 2011 – Ireland Edition

In 2011, we posted over 200 blog posts --- more than half of them were on travel to Ireland. It was hard to choose our top 10, but we narrowed it down. Which one is your favorite - leave a comment and tell us how we are doing, what your favorite 2011 blog post was or what destination you would like to see more information on.

1. The Ancient Art of Falconry
The ancient art of Falconry is reputed to be the oldest sport in the world. Evidence suggests that the art of falconry may have begun in Mesopotamia, China or Mongolia around 2000BC, as a means of catching food for yourself and your family.
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2. Free in Ireland
Everybody loves FREE! And Ireland has plenty of it. Whether you are visiting for the first time or the hundredth, here is a short list of some of the free attractions and activities in Ireland.
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3. Cookery Schools in Ireland
Want to take a cooking class on your next vacation to Ireland? There are many to choose from with classes ranging from traditional Irish cuisine to fusion cuisine.
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4. Plan an Irish Spa Vacation
There are many spas in Ireland to choose from, destination spas, specialized retreats and hotel spas. At Irish spas not only are you pampered but you get stunning scenery wherever you look. Bliss... Here is a list of some of the spas in Ireland to get you started in planning your Irish Spa Vacation.
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5. Castle Hotels in Ireland
Castle hotels in Ireland offer visitors the chance to take a magical step into Ireland’s past, with all the amenities you expect from a luxury hotel with modern conveniences. With many castle hotels in Ireland to choose from, here is a short list of our favorites.
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6. Explore Ancient Ireland: Newgrange
Imagine going back 5000 years to 3200 BC and being one of the 300 people to spend 20 years building the Newgrange passage tomb. Predating Stonehenge by over 1000 years, Newgrange is one monument within the Neolithic Bru na Boinne complex.
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7. Discover Medieval Ireland’s Historic Legends
Step into Ireland’s lively and colorful Medieval past with a medieval themed vacation filled with castle banquet feasts, traditional music and art, spectacular cathedrals, medieval ruins, fully-restored 12th century houses and old world villages – you can even stay in a Medieval Castle and learn about the ancient art of falconry.
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8. Visit Athlone, Ireland
Smack-dab in the middle of Ireland, Athlone is a vibrant town on the banks of River Shannon. Located about an hour and a half from Dublin and Galway, Athlone is a great location to explore the midlands of Ireland.
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9. Ireland – Your Luxury Travel Destination
Ireland was recently voted a top luxury travel destination by Luxury Travel Magazine, "For Europe first-timers or travelers seeking an English-speaking destination, Ireland offers rolling green countryside, quaint bed and breakfasts and hospitable locals that extend warmth and friendliness to visitors. From old to new: Ireland takes on a Robin Hood-esque feel amongst crumbling medieval castles for history buffs and site-seers, to world-class golf courses and resorts, offering some of the most renowned links in the world. Virtuoso advisers recommend it as an alternative in 2012 to London, which will no doubt be bulging with Olympic enthusiasts."
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10. Immense – Complex – Iconic : Rock of Cashel
Eclipsed in legend, the Rock of Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil's Bit, a mountain 19 miles north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock's landing in Cashel. The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for hundreds of years prior to the Norman invasion.
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Turn your world green in the Emerald Isle. Ireland is a truly magical place, with varied landscapes, warm and welcoming people and 40 shades of green. Visit Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

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Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

Over the course of 2011 we posted over 200 blog posts on top travel destinations with Celtic Tours World Vacations. Here are our favorite 10 from Europe and the South Pacific:

1. Top 10 Places to Visit in Sicily
The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese and Jews made this unique island their own, leaving behind an eclectic history that you can still touch today. Sicily has its own rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, architecture and language. But you really have to experience Sicily to understand it…
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2. Sounds of Silence: Dine Under the Stars
Can you imagine the feeling of being in the middle of the desert with the huge Ayers Rock as a background, listening to the sounds of a didgeridoo as you dine on a delicious meal. As darkness overcomes the desert plain, you will marvel at the canopy of stars that are so bright here in the desert, they almost light the landscape, this is a dining experience you will never forget. You will be greeted with champagne and canapés and can relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery and the magnificent way in which Uluru changes color in the setting sun.
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3. 10 Things to do in Lisbon with kids
The family-oriented Portuguese welcome children everywhere and there are plenty of opportunities in and around Lisbon, Portugal to keeps kids entertained. Here are 10 of our favorite family friendly activities.
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4. The Oldest Monastery Brewery in the World!
Most people visit the Weltenburg Abbey for the beer, but the abbey church is not to be missed! The Weltenburg Abbey is the oldest monastery in Bavaria. And the oldest monastery brewery in the world.
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5. Padua: Founded by a mysthical Trojan, Immortalized by Shakespeare & Home to the “Saint of Miracles”
Founded by a mythical Trojan, Immortalized by Shakespeare and home to the “Saint of Miracles,” Padua is set amongst the shadows of Venice, in the historic Euganaean Hills. Boasting a picturesque network of arcaded streets, numerous bridges and large communal piazzas Padua is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe.
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6. Fountains of Siena
Step into the middle ages with a visit to Siena. The Tuscan hill town's magnificent cathedral, built in the 1200s, is a marvel of marble floors and astonishing artworks. In just about every part of Siena, there are fountains to sit by and admire.
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7. Top 10 Things to Do in Viti Levu, Fiji
The heart of Fiji’s 333 islands, Viti Levu is the largest island in the Republic of Fiji, the site of the nation’s capital, Suva and not surprisingly home to roughly 75% of the population. Here you will find Fiji’s only two cities, verdant mountainsides, volcanic peaks, lush river valleys and a plethora of reefs. With so much to offer, Viti Levu is often used as a base camp by tourists. We recommend going inland to explore all that Viti Levu has to offer.
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8. Dive in! The Great Barrier Reef
One of the 7 natural wonders of the world, larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on Earth visible from outer space, the Great Barrier Reef attracts travelers from all over the world to explore her depths.
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9. Casa Battlo
Casa Batllo, in Barcelona, Spain, is a completely unreal masterpiece of architecture and imagination. Originally built in 1877, the building was completely restored by Antoni Gaudi in the early 1900s for Josep Batllo, a wealthy aristocrat. Everything about Casa Batllo is completely remarkable from the skull and bones façade to the amazing detail in planning the natural interior lighting.
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10. The Grove of Monsters
Nestled in the small hill town of Bomarzo, an hours drive from Rome lies the mythical Grove of Monsters. One of Italy’s best kept secrets, The Grove of Monsters is a great stop when day tripping from Rome.
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Tell us what your favorite blog post of 2011 was!

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