Category Archives: Ireland

The Gobbins opens for dramatic cliff walks! Ireland News.

Gobbins(Toronto, ON – 04 Sept 2015) – Visitors to Northern Ireland’s famous Causeway Coastal Route now have the opportunity to experience an exhilarating walk to awaken the senses, above crashing waves on a spectacular cliff path over the Irish Sea. The Gobbins coastal walk experience, first enjoyed in 1902 by the Edwardians has now opened the doors to a modern cliff path to delight those who wish to experience the coast up close.

The magnificently restored Edwardian attraction features a series of tubular and suspension bridges, a staircase, caves and tunnels carved through the County Antrim basalt coast.

It offers a thrilling mix of rugged beauty, spectacular views, heritage, flora and fauna.

The route offers not just a walk along a cliff top but also includes metal bridges & water-splashed gantries installed along sheer cliff faces as well as below sea-level experiences of the caves and the bridges.
The Gobbins’ geologically diverse landscape is straight out of Game of Thrones and is actually in the vicinity of locations used in the filming of the hit TV show.

With access by guided tour, the journey begins at a state of the art visitor centre, from where walkers are transferred to the cliff path by minibus. Tours begin on the hour currently from 10am to 3pm daily. The full excursion including the visitor centre can take up to 3-4 hours. The walk is bracing and refreshing, and suitable for people of normal fitness levels.

Those not wishing to walk the path can still enjoy the stunning views and at the visitor centre learn about The Gobbins through an exhibition on the building of the path, its history from Edwardian times and the local geology and ecology. There is also a coffee shop and gift shop.

Only a 40 minute drive from Belfast, The Gobbins coastal path is in Islandmagee, a narrow peninsula just at the beginning of the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route and close to the famous Blackhead light house.

The area is an idyllic holiday spot and home to the Giant’s Causeway, the Glens of Antrim, Bushmills Distillery, Rathlin Island and miles of golden sand and loads of water-based activity. Walking the spectacular Gobbins Cliff path will now be a must for those touring Northern Ireland’s famous Causeway coastal route.

The Gobbins was originally designed by visionary engineer Berkeley Dean Wise and built in 1902. Its name comes from the Irish An Gobain, meaning ‘the points of rock’.

About Tourism Ireland:
Tourism Ireland is responsible for promoting the island of Ireland as a leading vacation destination for Canadians. In 2014, a record number of Canadians visited the island of Ireland. Ireland offers a wealth of experiences for travelers with scenic landscapes; vibrant cities; an abundance of culture and historical experiences; and world-class hospitality. For more about visiting Ireland go to (

Belfast Zoo takes delivery of critically endangered dragon

Belfast Zoo takes delivery of critically endangered dragon

~ Finale of advertising campaign to showcase Northern Ireland to millions of Game of Thrones® fans worldwide ~
Dragon in Belfast Zoo
(Toronto, ON – 09 June 2015) – Following months of negotiations, Belfast Zoological Gardens (BZG) is delighted to welcome the arrival of a critically endangered dragon at Belfast Zoo.
Considered all but extinct, the animal is housed in a specially designed enclosure, and where possible, his prey will be sourced from outside the zoo’s own collection.
The infant male currently has a wing-span of 10ft, but when fully grown his skull alone will measure up to 23ft.
Belfast Zoo Manager Mark Challis said: “We’re thrilled to have such an exceptionally rare creature here at Belfast Zoo. This dragon is an important addition not only for us, but for Northern Ireland as a whole. Despite their fearsome reputation and fabled ability to burn entire cities to ashes, we’d like to reassure the residents of Belfast that our keepers have received expert training, and we’re looking forward to seeing him thrive in his new environment.”

The animatronic dragon, which is operated by two controllers, marks the culmination of a campaign by Tourism Ireland in partnership with HBO® to promote Northern Ireland as the home of Game of Thrones®, and capitalize on the rise of screen tourism.
On Tuesday 9th June, visitors to the zoo can expect to see ‘dragon feeding time’, and watch the chief vet give him a checkup. Other events in the series have captured the imagination of Game of Thrones® fans, with some tracking down the stunts within hours of them going live. Video clips have attracted millions of views online.

For more visit


Wild Atlantic Way with Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland. Spring 2015 News


The Wild Atlantic Way; the Longest Coastal Route in the World

Experience it with Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland


March 17, 2015. County Wicklow, Ireland – The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest defined coastal touring route in the world, embracing Ireland’s wild West Coast landscape, ancient monuments and historical sites. It’s a stunning route that twists and turns for 1,600 miles along an undulating coastline from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork. The Wild Atlantic Way is not just a driving route, it’s an invitation to adventure.

With countless ways to explore it by sea kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and even surfing, Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland makes it all accessible, thanks to their smartly planned multi-sport scheduled trips that take adventurous travelers to these authentic, off the beaten path areas along the route. Rates for a seven-day trip along the Wild Atlantic Way start at just $1,340 per person.

Utilizing custom-designed Land Rovers that take no more than 13 passengers, Vagabond trips explore an area in depth with daily adventures. One day it might be sea kayaking in sheltered waters off the coast of Cork, while another day its horseback riding along a beach in Kerry. Nightly stays are in coastal villages and towns, in locally owned guesthouses and small hotels.

One of Vagabond’s classic Wild Atlantic Way journeys is their World Tour of Ireland. Focused on the southwest and counties Kerry and Cork, this seven-day trip includes sea kayaking off the Beara Peninsula, horseback riding on the Dingle Peninsula, and mountain biking in Killarney National Park. The price is $1,340, based on double occupancy, including accommodations and breakfasts.

The Wild Atlantic Way may be Ireland’s best-kept secret and with the dollar at its strongest in 11 years, this is the perfect year to discover it.

Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland

Since 2002, Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland has been leading travelers on small group tours around Ireland. Vagabond was founded by Rob & Amy Rankin after traveling extensively through Southern Africa. Impressed by the classic African travel modes of safari and overland tours, they decided to bring the concept to Ireland. They established Driftwood Irish Journeys of Discovery in 2011 as a division of Vagabond to offer trips for more leisurely travelers. For more information, visit

St.Patrick’s Day recipes from Paul Rankin

St Patrick’s Day Recipes from Paul Rankin

For Immediate Release

(11 March 2014, Toronto, ON) — Wishing you a Happy St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland’s Celebrity Chef Paul Rankin shares his favorite Irish recipes to enjoy on March 17th. Please feel free to publish, share and post.

St Patrick’s Day is a great time to celebrate all that is wonderful about Irish produce and cooking. So what could be better than using the whole day to celebrate the culinary delights of the Emerald Isle? I have selected one of my favourite St Patrick’s inspired recipes for you to try at home. Make this St Patrick’s Day one to remember with this Irish Coffee Tart & Brown Bread Parfait.” Paul Rankin

Irish Coffee Tart

A dark and sumptuous tart with smooth chocolate as the background for the coffee and whiskey flavors. The ultimate touch is the Bailey’s Irish cream in the topping, but you could leave that out if preferred.

SERVES 8 – 10


For the base:

125 g. unsalted butter, diced
25 g. soft golden brown sugar
45 g. sugar
125 g. plain flour
1 ½ Tbsp. cornflour
pinch of salt
175 g. toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

for the tart filling:

300 ml. double cream
100 ml. single cream
100 ml. Bushmill’s Irish whiskey
300 g. dark chocolate, finely chopped
100 g. milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. coffee extract ( or very strong coffee )
2 eggs

for the topping:

½ leaf or 1 tsp. powdered gelatine
250 ml. whipping cream
150 g. icing sugar
4 Tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream


Preheat the oven to 170’C. / 325’F.

Process the butter, sugars, flour, corn flour, salt, and half of the prepared hazelnuts to a crumbly texture and pat into the base of a 23 cm. springform tin in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160’C. / 310’F.

For the filling, bring the double and single creams to the boil together, remove from heat, and add the Bushmill’s and coffee extract. Cool slightly before stirring in the chopped chocolates. Stir and when they have melted, stir in the eggs. Pour the filling over the cooked base, and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for approx. 20 minutes until just set, but still slightly wobbly at the centre. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the topping, soften the gelatine in 2 Tbsp. cold water for a few minutes, heat gently to dissolve, then set aside to cool slightly. Beat the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks, sift in the icing sugar, and mix in the gelatine and Bailey’s. Spread in an even layer over the chocolate filling and leave to set.

Serve in slices with a chocolate sauce and lightly whipped cream with the remaining hazelnuts scattered over and around the cake.

Brown Bread Parfait with Bushmills Prunes

SERVES 4 – 6



70 g. white chocolate, chopped
175 ml. Double cream
2 Tbsp. milk
¼ vanilla pod, split
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey
175 g. Irwin’s stoneground brown soda bread, crusts removed, and broken up to pea size crumbs


200 ml. Water
50 ml. Orange juice
175 g. sugar
½ lemon1/2 orange
120 g. pitted prunes
4 – 6 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey


To make the parfait, melt the white chocolate. Place half the cream, the milk, and the
vanilla on to boil in a small pan.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. When the cream mix has come to the boil, slowly pour it on to the yolk/sugar mixture, whisking continuously. Return to a medium heat and cook out over a low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When it is ready, strain through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl, and allow to cool slightly.

Add the custard to the melted chocolate, and fold in the bread crumbs. Place in the fridge to chill for about ½ hour.

Whip the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold it and the Bushmills together with the custard mix.

Pour into individual ramekins, ( approx. 100 ml. Size ) and place in the freezer, for at least 2 – 3 hours, or even over night. ( If it is too hard, take from freezer to fridge for about an hour or two before serving. )

Place the water, orange juice, sugar, orange, and lemon in a medium pan, and bring to the boil. Add the prunes, cover, and summer gently until soft, about 20 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the lemon half, and orange half, and add the Bushmills. Set to one side.

To serve, demold by dipping each ramekin into hot water for a couple seconds, just to loosen, and then run a sharp knife around the edge. Carefully tip out the parfait into the centre of each plate, and surround with the Bushmill laced prunes, and a little of the prune juice. Garnish with mint and icing sugar as desired.

Serve and enjoy!

Ten Great Reasons to Visit Ireland in Winter

Ten Great Reasons to Visit Ireland in Winter

(Toronto ON, 1 November 2013) — So you need a reason to visit the island of Ireland? OK, how about pubs doubling as museums; cool, crisp, beach walks; shopping adventures from flea markets to boutiques; an explosion of funky new eateries; walking in the real Game of Thrones sets, or saving a fortune?

Tourism Ireland has ten great reasons why you should visit Ireland in winter …

Reason #1 – NO SUNBURN!

Put away that after-sun – the winter weather in Ireland is crisp, cool and cosy.
Read more >

Reason #2 – COSY PUBS

Grab a seat in the sung at your local bar, and just buzz for a beer!
Read more >

Reason #3 – SAVE MONEY

Free, affordable and special offers are four words every traveller likes to hear. In Ireland, you’ll be hearing them a lot during the winter season.
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Reason #4 – SHOP IN STYLE

Hmm, what to do with all that money you’ve saved…Some shopping perhaps? Holiday Season gifts are all wrapped up in the Emerald Isle.
Read more >


Want to really understand Ireland? Walk this way! The easiest way to get under a country’s skin is to walk it & Ireland’s got exactly what you need.
Read more >

Reason #6 – GREAT MUSIC

Can you hear that? It sounds like an entire island listening to quality music and rocking out at buzzing gigs. It sounds like Ireland.
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An entire year of festival fun and frolics means you’ll have no reason to be idle in Ireland.  2013 is the year of The Gathering Ireland and what does that mean for you? It means you’ll never be bored.
Read more >


If you thought Westeros was just a land of fantasy, think again. The Game of Thrones TV series required a setting as epic as the storyline. Naturally, they came to Northern Ireland.
Read more >


You’ll put a stone on. But it’ll be worth it.  The grub (food) is good in Ireland. Trust us, when you taste it you’ll understand …
Read more >

Reason #10 – IRISH PEOPLE

Everywhere you go on the island of Ireland you’ll find friendly locals offering Ireland’s famous warm welcome. Céad míle fáilte, come on in and take a seat by the fire after an unforgettable day exploring the Emerald Isle.
Read more >

Year-round direct service from Toronto to Dublin begins in 2014:  April 21st with Aer Lingus and May 1st with Air Canada rouge.

Jump into Ireland!

For further information about visiting the island of Ireland go to

Northern Ireland Travel News, Summer 2013

Derry~Londonderry’s UK City of Culture Meets Rural Tranquillity & Outdoor Adventure in Northern Ireland

Toronto, ON (05 June 2013) — DERRY~LONDONDERRY has been proudly named the UK City of Culture for 2013, with the city’s famous walls bursting at the seams with cultural events taking place from January to December 2013. A visit to Northern Ireland’s cultural enclave this year holds more than meets the eye, as just 10 minutes away from Derry~Londonderry’s hundreds of cultural diversions lies a beautiful natural world just waiting to be discovered.

This summer it couldn’t be easier to mix and match the cosmopolitan buzz of Derry with rural tranquility and outdoor adventure that lies beyond.

Situated just south of Derry~Londonderry is the FAUGHAN VALLEY which contains some of Ireland’s oldest forests and preserved habitats offering magical waterfalls, ponds and wildflower meadows at Ness, Oak and Killaloo Woods. Discover a range of natural woodland habitats and prehistoric monuments, bustling Plantation towns, stately homes and gardens, and plenty of adrenalin fuelled activities with the region offering something for all ages and tastes.

The Faughan region has one of the highest concentrations of adventurous facilities in the UK or Ireland, with enough to keep even the most unbridled dare-devil entertained. These include angling, equestrian, food and drink, spa and relaxation, cycling, walking, golfing, paintballing, zorbing, go-karting, fishing and water sports.

A must-tour is ASHBROOK HOUSE, one of the oldest houses in the north west of Ireland, which uniquely, has been continuously lived in by the same family for over 400 years and is still a private home. Set in 30 acres of mature parkland, the house is full of interesting artefacts and related stories brought back from all over the world by various ancestors.

There is plenty of accommodation available, from cosy four and five star self-catering cottages and apartments, to B&B retreats and relaxing hotels with beautiful grounds to stroll through.

With first class accommodation, a plethora of recreational activities and trails showcasing an abundance of natural wonders and ancient gems, the Faughan Valley is an also excellent base for exploring the UK City of Culture itself.

Forthcoming highlights for Derry~Londonderry includes this weekend’s spectacular RETURN OF COLMCILLE pageant designed by Frank Cottrell Boyce – with Michael Bradley, legendary bassist of The Undertones recently added to the lineup; FLEADH CHEOIL NA hÉIREANN (Festival of Music in Ireland) comes for the first time to Northern Ireland in August; as does the MAIDEN CITY FESTIVAL, celebrating diversity with a packed week of performance in music, dance and drama; Ireland’s premiere electronic music festival CELTRONIC zips into town in late June; and in the latter months the famous LUMIERE city light show (which originated in Montreal) brightens the city’s streets; as does the prestigious TURNER PRIZE, presented outside of England for the first time in history.

According to Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel, Derry~Londonderry is the fourth best city in the world to visit in 2013! The travel experts have said that the city’s selection in their top ten places to visit was based on its 2013 calendar of cultural events and it also credits the city’s impressive redevelopment as a reason to consider a visit: “Derry is a brilliant example of a city that has bounced back from difficult times. This is a city with heart, which shines through in its exciting arts and music scene.”

All this is within easy reach of the Faughan Valley and some of the finest outdoor adventures in Northern Ireland – experience the highpoints of a spectacular year-long cultural programme and retreat to a rural haven? Sounds like heaven … Jump In!

Tourism Ireland Welcomes Announcement of Toronto to Dublin Year Round Service from Air Canada rouge in 2014

Tourism Ireland Welcomes Announcement of Toronto to Dublin Year Round Service from Air Canada rouge in 2014


Toronto, ON (25 April 2013) — Tourism Ireland has welcomed the announcement that Air Canada will convert its current seasonal service between Toronto and Dublin to a year-round service, beginning May 1st 2014, operated by its new leisure carrier Air Canada rouge


The island of Ireland offers a wealth of unforgettable experiences to Canadian travellers with its spectacular scenic landscape, vibrant cities, rich heritage, cultural attractions and an exciting festivals and events calendar which delights visitors 365 days a year!   The strengthening ties between Canada and Ireland continue with over 4 million Canadians claiming Irish ancestry and Ireland’s unique “cead mile failte” (one hundred thousand welcomes) awaits every Canadian visitor who chooses the Emerald Isle as their holiday destination.  

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The announcement of a year-round service from Toronto to Dublin is wonderful news for tourism to the island of Ireland from Canada. We have worked with Air Canada for many years and we look forward to working closely with Air Canada rouge to maximise the promotion of this flight. As an island, direct, convenient and competitive access services are critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism. Tourism Ireland is committed to working with Air Canada rouge, Dublin Airport and other tourism interests, through co-operative marketing, to drive demand for this service.” 

Famous for its warm welcome and hospitality, the island of Ireland’s hotels, top class B&B’s, luxury resort spas, and historic castle stays offer an enticing variety of accommodation options, and no visit to Ireland is  complete without sampling the country’s top rated visitor attractions, art, culture and music.

Any time of the year is a great time to visit Ireland and the Fall to Winter months, September through to December, are bursting with a variety of entertainment including; the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Cork International Jazz Festival, the Wexford Opera Festival, Belfast Festival at Queens, the Cork Film Festival and New Year’s Eve Dublin to name but a few!


Tourism Ireland has a busy program of promotions under way this year, in particular highlighting over 3,000 festivals and events taking place for The Gathering Ireland 2013 and the unique cultural experiences to be enjoyed in Derry~Londonderry for the UK City of Culture 2013.   

The year-round service will begin May 2014 with five scheduled flights during the summer peak season (reducing to three times per week in the winter months).   The Air Canada rouge route will be serviced by the Boeing 767-300ER aircraft consisting of 264 seats with three customer comfort options.  All flights offer wireless inflight entertainment, stylish modern cabins and come with Air Canada’s consumer member benefits.  Bookings will become available from June 2013 through and travel agents.

 Visit for further information about Ireland.

Celebrate St.Patrick’s in Toronto!

Ireland Invites the World to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day & The Gathering

TORONTO, ON (March 11, 2013) — In 2013, the year of ‘The Gathering’, Ireland prepares to celebrate its national holiday with the biggest and brightest St Patrick’s Festival ever. From Dublin to Downpatrick, from Belfast to Boyle St Patrick’s Day is an unforgettable celebration in Ireland and we’re inviting the world to join the party!

Speaking about St Patrick’s Day 2013, Jayne Shackleford Manager of Tourism Ireland Canada said “Every year we look forward to St Patrick’s Day celebrations as it is wonderful to feel that unmistakable bond around the world on Ireland’s national holiday, especially in this year, the year of The Gathering – the greatest Irish get together of all time! The motto of The Gathering is ‘be part of it’ and there has never been a better time to do so in Ireland where an array of superb music, literature, culture and history awaits.”

The People’s Parade

In recognition of The Gathering Ireland 2013, the year when the Emerald Isle hosts a 365 day party of festivals and events, the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin will burst with even more Irish magic as ‘The People’s Parade’ welcomes thousands of participants from all over the world to walk the city’s famous cobbled street. For the first time in the parade’s history 8,000 people will have the chance to ‘be part of’ the spectacular parade procession and over 300 Canadians are expected to be there at the heart of The Gathering – marching, dancing and jumping through the 2.5km route across Dublin’s historic fair city. Over half a million spectators will line Dublin’s streets cheering on the procession and soaking up the electric party atmosphere.

This festive feeling reverberates up and down the island of Ireland as parades in every shade of green, and all shapes and sizes get underway. It’s this exciting combination of colourful floats, marching bands, dancers, street performers, and that inimitable Irish craic that makes Ireland THE place to be on March 17 … we’ll see you there!

Seasons Greenings in Toronto & Ottawa

St Patrick’s Day is the national holiday celebrated in more countries than any other, and some of the world’s most famous sites and attractions have signed up to salute their Irish cousins and be part of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Global Greening’ initiative. Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza; Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro; the Las Vegas ‘Welcome’ Sign; the Sydney Opera House; New York’s Empire State Building and Table Mountain in South Africa are just some of the famous sites “going green” and sharing in the Irish spirit of fun, immersion and participation.

In 2013, for the very first time, Toronto’s CITY HALL will “go green” turning its spectacular towers green on March 16 & 17 and Ottawa’s MUSEUM OF NATURE will have a “Green Lantern” as the Museum plans to illuminate its famous rooftop Queen’s Lantern with sparkling emerald lights. These beautiful buildings light the way for Canadian’s to join the fun of Tourism Ireland ‘Great Green Off’, a worldwide online contest at where Canadians can create and share their own ‘Greening’ video or picture – with the best submission scoring a ‘Gathering’ trip to Ireland this year for the winner and five friends!

About St Patrick’s Day & The Gathering

Born Maewyn Succat in 385 AD in the Welsh town of Banwen, he was then captured by Gaelic slave traders at the age of 16 and sold to an Irish sheep farmer. Enslaved for six years, during which he turned to Christianity for comfort until he escaped at the age of 22, he spent the next 12 years living in a British monastery. It was there that he adopted the name Patrick. Saint Patrick later returned to Ireland as a bishop with the task of spreading Christianity to pagan Ireland. Visitors to Ireland today can visit Saint Patrick’s burial place at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Co Down.

In addition to honoring the great Irish saint, St. Patrick’s Day represents worldwide unification and a sense of global community to those who are Irish-born, of Irish descent or Irish like-mindedness as they come together. This feeling of togetherness is strongly felt in the year of The Gathering which includes the St Patrick’s Festival season among 3,000 festivals and events taking place nationwide. The Gathering is a year-long celebration of Ireland’s people, its unique culture, heritage and rich history. It is about the people of Ireland throwing open their arms and inviting anyone who feels a connection to Ireland to come and visit in 2013.

So go ahead, Jump In!

Find out more about visiting Ireland on

Tourism Ireland and announce upcoming collaboration to promote The Gathering Ireland 2013

Jump Into Ireland Ancestry_ca-Logo1

For Immediate Release

Tourism Ireland and announce upcoming collaboration to promote

The Gathering Ireland 2013

Toronto, ON (September 27, 2012) – Tourism Ireland is delighted to announce an upcoming collaboration with to promote The Gathering Ireland 2013. The Gathering is an open invitation to the world to come and visit Ireland in 2013 for a unique celebration of all things Irish. Ireland may be a small country, but the Irish have put down their roots all over the world. More than 70 million people worldwide now claim Irish ancestry; quite something considering the total population of the island of Ireland is just over 6 million.

Canada’s connections with the island of Ireland go back at least 200 years and today nearly 5 million Canadians claim Irish ancestry*. Tourism Ireland and will work together to reach these Canadians, helping them trace their Irish roots and inviting them to be a part of this unique celebration.

“ is really excited to help Tourism Ireland invite Canadians to Ireland in 2013,” said Julie Wingate, Marketing Director of “Ireland is a big part of many people’s ancestral journey and The Gathering Ireland represents a natural next step for anyone with Irish roots to take their family history experience to the next level. And of course, anyone who isn’t sure if they have Irish roots can check by visiting and signing up for our 14-day free trial.”

“Tourism Ireland is thrilled to work together with on the promotion of The Gathering Ireland here in Canada,” says Jayne Shackleford, Manager of Tourism Ireland. “The Gathering is the most ambitious tourism initiative ever undertaken in Ireland and it’s about asking anyone who has Irish blood, a link to Ireland, or even just a love of our country to join the Irish for a series of amazing and diverse events throughout 2013. We can’t think of a more natural fit.”

The Gathering is the people’s party. It will kick off in spectacular style on New Year’s Eve 2012 with an event that will receive world coverage and will then be celebrated through clan gatherings, festivals, special sporting events, music and concerts taking place all across the country, all year long. Many Irish celebrities have put their name behind this citizen-led initiative such as Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan.

How Irish are you? Discover your Irish roots by visiting for a 14-day free trial and to be a part of the Gathering visit

August News from Ireland Tourism.

Go where Ireland takes youPowerscourt House & Gardens

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The island of Ireland is packed with things to see and do throughout 2012. From its famous Gardens and Castles to its amazing festivals to the many small islands scattered around its coast – there are many hidden gems just waiting to be explored!


Dublin is renowned for its world-class cultural credentials, which include several Nobel prize-winning authors, its designation as a UNESCO City of Literature, and a non-stop celebration of the arts. Come September, the city ratchets up its output to celebrate an abundant cultural harvest that’s written in the very stones of its streets and buildings. Forget hushed museums and hallowed halls – this fall visitors are invited to jump into the explosion of vitality that is Dubiln’s Festival Season.

Highlights include:

Absolut Fringe (September 8-23)
It’s Ireland´s biggest multi-disciplinary arts festival encompassing theatre, dance, music, comedy, street and international arts.

Dublin Culture Night (September 21)
This annual event invites locals and visitors to boldly go where they may not have gone before, by taking advantage of the extended opening times and free entry into more than 150 art galleries, museums, studios, churches, historic houses and cultural centres across the city.

Arthur’s Day (September 27)
Here’s an opportunity to enjoy two things that the Irish love – a pint of Guinness and a good party.
With concerts and music sessions in pubs, clubs and streets across the city, the only decision required is where to be at 17.59 to toast the man who invented the ‘black stuff’ – the legendary Arthur Guinness.

Dublin Theatre Festival (September 27 – October 14)
Europe’s oldest specialist theatre festival will stage an amazing array of Irish and international theatre productions.

Open House weekend (October 5-7)
Delivered by the Irish Architecture Foundation is an exploration of the vitality of Dublin through its architecture, and the people who live, work and play in it.



Mount Stewart

Florence Court
This mansion is surrounded by a large area of parkland, garden and woodland, with breathtaking views of Benaughlin and the backdrop of the Cuilcagh Mountains. You’ll also find the famous Florence Court Yew – reputedly the ‘parent’ of all Irish yew trees.

Huntington Castle & Gardens
Part of an ancient hallowed site, nearby is a little Neolithic stone, used in pre-Celtic times for healing, and the River Slaney, known as the river of healing. The castle itself is located at what’s known as the Crow’s Foot, the confluence of the River Slaney and the River Derry, named after the druid oak.

Mount Stewart
This 18th-century house and its award-winning gardens are situated on the tranquil shores of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. With its manicured formal terraces, grand lake, overflowing and colourful gardens, and rare plants, the estate, now owned by the National Trust, will leave a lasting impression on its visitors.


Mount Usher Gardens
Located in Ashford, Co Wicklow, this private estate is home to exotic flowers from around the globe, truly spectacular magnolias in spring, trees and shrubs and a beautifully classic rose garden.

Powerscourt Estate
Set in Co Wicklow at the foot of the Great Sugar Loaf Mountain, the captivating gardens on the estate are among the most impressive in Europe. With its giant sequoias, dwarf copper chestnuts, azaleas, magnolia and rhododendrons – this is a garden-lover’s paradise!


Belfast Botanic Gardens

Altamont Gardens
Located near the village of Ballon, Altamount houses a fascinating collection of ornamental gardens and lakeside walks with soaring redwood trees and the atmospheric multi-coloured Chinese dawn redwood.


Belfast Botanic Gardens
First established in 1828, the gardens have been enjoyed as a public park by the people of Belfast since 1895. With an extensive rose garden and long herbaceous borders, tree enthusiasts can also seek rare oaks planted in the 1880s. Near Queens University, the Botanic Gardens are an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage.

Japanese Gardens
As part of the Irish National Stud, which is home to some of Ireland’s finest thoroughbreds and is Ireland’s only stud farm open to the public, the Japanese Gardens are Europe’s finest and Saint Fiachra’s also includes woodland and lakeside walks.

Rowallane Garden
Located in Saintfield, Co Down, this enchanting garden was laid out from the mid-1860s by the Reverend John Moore and afterwards by Hugh Armytage Moore, who established connections with botanic gardens throughout the world.

Seaforde Gardens
The star of this Co Down garden is the hornbeam maze, which was planted in 1975. Its intricate pattern can easily be observed from above by looking down from a new Moghul Tower. The Tropical Butterfly House features a large flight area with hundreds of exotic butterflies.


Inish Turk Beg
Inish Turk Beg is a private island in Clew Bay, off the West Coast of Ireland. Home to award-winning accommodation, spectacular scenery, free-spirited adventure and fine artisan produce, Inish Turk Beg means “small island of the wild boar”. It is the tallest and one of the largest islands in Clew Bay, and has borne witness to a wide variety of historical events. On a trip to Inishturkbeg, visitors can look forward to exploring its local whiskey distillery, its many restaurants and food specialties and a tour of its local Stud Farm.

Rathlin Island
An island off the coast of Co Antrim, Rathlin is the only inhabited offshore island in Northern Ireland, with a rising population of now just over 100 people. One of 43 Special Areas of Conservation in Northern Ireland, it is home to tens of thousands of seabirds, including common guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins and razorbills – about thirty bird families in total.

Cape Clear
Lying south-west of Co Cork, Cape Clear Island is the southernmost inhabited part of the island of Ireland and has a population of over 100 people. It’s officially a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area but most inhabitants speak Irish and English. Seals, basking sharks and dolphins are found in the surrounding water, while sea pinks and honeysuckle are common plants on the land. Cape Clear is also home to a lighthouse and a bird observatory. The first weekend of September, it plays host to the Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival, which has been running annually since 1994 and features professional international storytellers from around the world.

Clare Island
This mountainous island guards the entrance to Clew Bay in Co Mayo. Famous as the home of the pirate queen, Gráinne O’Malley (the formidable ruler of the district around Clew Bay during the second half of the 16th century), today it’s home to approximately 125 people. Overlooking the harbour is the 15th/16th-century O’Malley castle, which was modernized in 1831 to serve as a coastguard station.

Achill Island
Ireland’s largest island is easily accessible by Road Bridge from the beautiful Currane peninsula. Achill encompasses dramatic land and seascapes, which have provided inspiration for artists and writers for many years. Join the breathtaking Atlantic Drive along the coast and continue to Keel village to view the magnificent Minaun Cliffs. Achill has a rich cultural heritage, with painting, writing and archaeological schools, traditional music and dance and, as a bilingual community, Irish is spoken in a relaxed natural environment.


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