Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. These are just some of the highlights

Some 2020 highlights include: A Connemara mountain landscape will be illuminated as an epic spectacle by Finnish light artist Kari Kola. Druid Theatre takes Ireland’s greatest 20th century one-act plays to towns and villages across Galway county. American artist David Best, of Burning Man fame, will create a major new work with young people from Derry and Galway. Giant Mirror Pavilion by Irish artist John Gerrard, set first in the Claddagh basin and later in 4,000 year-old Connemara bog. Dramatic new interpretation of literary epic Gilgamesh by Galway master storytellers Macnas, written by Marina Carr and designed by Julian Crouch. Margaret Atwood as part of t International Women’s Day celebrations. […]

Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture

Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, the largest and most complex cultural event held on the island of Ireland, will start on February 1st with a week of “fiery celebrations” in Co Galway towns and villages. Events throughout the year will involve more than 1,900 events across 154 projects, 170 partnerships and collaborations with local, national, European and international artists and cultural organisations from more than 30 different countries. The opening week will include a large public spectacle in Galway city on February 8th, produced by Water Works, a company which has created events for the Olympics, including London’s. The opening will involve a community cast and creative director Helen […]

From Malin Head to Moville – Edgy eats and Ireland’s most northerly pub on the Inishowen Peninsula

A whistlestop tour of Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula on the Wild Atlantic Way Sitting at the table beside us in Farran’s bar, the most northerly pub in Ireland, was a group of tourists from Atlanta, Georgia. Like us, they had come for comfort food after exploring the breathtaking scenery on a blustery day in Malin Head. One tells the server: “I ordered a chicken and ‘tomayto’ sandwich.” “Tom-Ato, you mean,” quips the friendly barman as he lays the dish in front of the American. “You won’t find any tomaytos ‘round here…” It’s this inimitable Irish charm that makes our brilliant little island one of a kind… After a little chuckle to […]

Tucked away in one of the most remote parts of Ireland

What does Achill Island have in common with Tahiti, Iceland, California and the Seychelles? What does Achill Island have in common with Tahiti, Iceland, California and the Seychelles?The answer lies on the western end of the island and glorious Keem Bay which was last week selected by renowned travel writer Pól Ó Conghaile in his list of ten breathtaking beaches around the world.Keem Bay was the only Irish beach to make the shortlist, joining exotic locations like Matira Point in Tahiti and Anse Source D’Argent in the Seychelles.Pól Ó Conghaile compiled the list for last Thursday’s Irish Independent and said the following of Keem: “Achill boasts five Blue Flag beaches, […]

Fab Fermanagh: Is this Northern Ireland’s best-kept secret?

Fab Fermanagh: Is this Northern Ireland’s best-kept secret? Year of Food & Drink 2016 5Finn Lough’s transparent domes. From delicious cafés to domes under the stars, Lorraine Courtney says Fermanagh makes a super short break. Fancy seeing the heavenly bodies peppering Fermanagh’s ink-black skies from one of Ireland’s quirkiest new hotel rooms (above)? I spent a January night counting shooting stars in the middle of a Fermanagh woodland – and all while snuggled under the duvet. Designed by Belleek’s Ronan Lowery, Finn Lough’s transparent domes are very snazzy with four-poster beds crafted from local oak, a Nespresso machine, two cosy armchairs, fluffy robes and a telescope for gazing at the […]

Get to a festival in Galway

Get to a festival in Galway In summer, it seems like every weekend is host to a fiesta of some sort, whether it’s a ginormous music festival or a tiny village bash. But Galway is the king of festival season – from the summer races to the Film Fleadh, from the September Oyster Festival to the explosion of theatrics, music and art that is the annual Arts Festival. The streets are alive with performance, with illuminated puppetry taking centre stage. There’s a cracking food scene in Galway all year round, so keep an eye out for the April food festival too – NB While you’re at it: Grab a bite […]

Step into the Hole in the Wall, Kilkenny

Step into the Hole in the Wall, Kilkenny The first time I chanced on this offbeat wine bar in Kilkenny, I ended up writing words of Irish on a piece of paper while watching a documentary on George Clooney. The second time, I got chatting to a group of Canadian visitors who had just been playing hurling. It’s that kind of place – and that’s not even starting on the old Tudor building itself, hidden away down one of Kilkenny’s magical medieval alleyways. Dr. Michael Conway is the modest visionary behind this little gem. Stay long enough, and you may forget the rest of Kilkenny entirely

Visit “Craggy Island” & Father Ted’s House, Co Clare

Visit “Craggy Island” & Father Ted’s House, Co Clare It’s hard to believe that more than 20 years have passed since Father Ted burst onto our screens. It’s even harder to find someone who doesn’t have a soft spot for the series, which is why catching a glimpse of the parochial house is such a thrill. The house itself is found alongside several other locations in the Burren (including the Ailwee Caves), and the owners do a lovely cup of tea and cake (€10pp). Superfans can up the ante with a ticket to Tedfest, the annual festival on Inis Mór. It’s mad, Ted – NB While you’re at it: Swap […]

Visit the southern tip of Ireland, Co. Cork

Visit the southern tip of Ireland, Co. Cork When you get to the very bottom of Ireland, at Mizen Head, there’s a bridge across a gorge. On the other side, set on a tiny rocky outcrop above the wild waters of the Atlantic is Mizen Head Signal Station which was home to three light keepers until 1993. The Mizen Centre museum sets the scene but it’s not until you walk down the 99 steps and then get yourself across the bridge that you feel the power of the ocean and the isolation that the keepers must have experienced in times past – YG While you’re at it: Ireland’s most southerly […]

Climb a sea stack off the coast of Donegal

Climb a sea stack off the coast of Donegal New frontiers are hard come by in travel. So when an email lands telling you of a place fewer people have visited than the moon, you take note. Ireland’s sea stacks are among the least-visited nooks in the land, and more than 100 of them sprout from the sea off Donegal. I drove to the edge of the earth to meet the man behind that email (Ian Miller of Unique Ascent), and he took me on a nerve-jangling taster up Berg Stack, near Glencolmbcille. There was zero signal on my phone, but I never felt more connected – PÓC