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Plan travel around Irish Harp School?

Plan travel around Irish Harp School?

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Group: Community Member Last Active: Sun 6 Mar 2016 4:22 AM Visits: 12
The 2016 Irish Harp school is being held in Kilkenny Aug. 17-23. Lodging and activities there are available during that week, but either before the school starts or after it's finished, my husband and I would like to plan a two-week trip that includes Sligo, where we have friends, and the small village of Clones where my great-great-great grandfather was baptized in 1828. We'd also like to visit Dublin and the Wild Irish Way. We're in our 70's. Can you help us with suggestions as to how to do this?
Posted Fri 4 Mar 2016 6:41 PM
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Ireland
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Group: Approved Community Member Last Active: Thu 13 Apr 2017 6:55 PM Visits: 118
Hi Lela,
Sounds like a fascinating school - do you play already?

For your trip - on balance I'd recommend going after the school. Reason being the school holidays in Ireland end at the end of August. As your trip would extend into early September the places you might like to visit will be a little less busy and better value. Also - this is a little Irish secret... the best weather of the year seems to be always when the kids are studying for exams in May & June and when they go back to school in September. September weather is often the best of the year. 

A couple of important decisions:
1) How do you like to get around? Renting a car gives you lots of flexibility but some people get a little nervous about driving on the opposite side of the road. The Dublin-Sligo road is excellent & very easy but between Clones & Sligo & around the Wild Atlantic Way things get tighter. You can take your time, stop & start, so it's never a problem just something to consider. If getting someone else to drive you around is what you'd like I'll list some tour operators who do a really nice job of looking after you. 

2) How active would you like to be?
For example, a couple of hours from Sligo is Achill Island which has the 'Greenway' a really lovely cycle path on the Wild Atlantic Way. It's not very tough but requires a little effort. You can rent pedal bikes - and ones with a little electric help :)
Alternatively - between Clones & Sligo you'll be near Carrick On Shannon where you hire a boat to go cruise on the river Shannon. Again it's a little effort but a fantastic experience. My wife and I did it two years ago with no experience and it's just great. If outdoor activities aren't your thing - think about Irish music sessions in pubs or some food experiences. I'll put in a couple of links below.

Links:
* CIE Tours - have been bringing people to Ireland for ages. Here's a list of their tours.
* Vagabond tours go off the beaten track & do a lovely job here
* Hire a boat to cruise on the river Shannon - both relaxing and active at the same time!
* Mulranny Park Hotel is on the Wild Atlantic Way and the Greenway - you can rent bikes from here too. This is an excellent location actually. Driving on the coasts of nearby Achill Island is amazing - I took thousands of photos here.
* The Ice House Hotel gets *lots* of recommendations. I've been told I'm going there soon
* On September 4th the All Ireland Hurling final will be on in Dublin. I was at the 2013 final with 80,000 other people - I felt like we were right at the heart of Irish life at that moment - the President & Taoiseach (Prime Minister) are there. The game is two thousand years old and it feels like you're living history too by watching it. Tickets become available later in the year on the GAA website
* In Dublin, if you can, book Locks Restaurant - it's really great. There are quite a few good restaurants but I like that one.

That's a few tips - I'm sure a few more will occur to me after I stop writing. Enjoy your planning as much as your trip!

All the best,

Brian




Posted Fri 4 Mar 2016 8:04 PM
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Group: Community Member Last Active: Fri 13 May 2016 11:08 PM Visits: 232
Hi Lela, welcome to the Community and congrats on your plan to attend the Irish Harp School! :) You could get from Kilkenny to Dublin and then stop in Clones while you're on the way to Sligo so you can see some parts of the Wild Atlantic Way from there. While you're following your family's trails in County Monaghan, you might also follow those of the great poet Patrick Kavanagh who also grew up in this county. Furthermore, the village of Clones can boast artists such as playwright Eugene McCabe who grew up here, and the poet Thomas Bracken as well as boxing champion Barry McGuigan. You can learn a lot about Clones and County Monaghan's history with the local McCabe Heritage Tours and the Clones Town Heritage Trail. The long Summer days will also give you plenty of time to explore, and this will be a plus considering you're going to visit the Wild Atlantic Way: as you're visiting Sligo, you'll see the heritage of another great Irish poet, ie. W. B. Yeats – besides this, don't miss the wild region of Connemara in County Galway and the West Clare area in County Clare (the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren are a must-see, plus, as you love music, you'll love the trad music sessions in nearby Doolin's pubs). If you have enough time, a drive to the Ring of Kerry in County Kerry will also delight your eyes.
I have collected information on all those sites in this online album for you, but if you need more tips let us know! ;) 
Posted Fri 4 Mar 2016 8:29 PM
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Ireland
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Group: Approved Community Member Last Active: Fri 24 Feb 2017 4:26 PM Visits: 23
Hi Lela,

A website well worth checking out for what to see and do when you arrive in Ireland is the recently revamped website www.heritageisland.com.

This website is an invaluable tool for anyone planning a visit to Ireland, and profiles 87 premier visitor attractions and heritage towns around the island of Ireland. It provides useful information such as opening hours, dates, admission rates, languages available, on-site facilities, accessibility, etc., and also includes many stunning images and videos of each location. There are a good number of locations in Dublin and on the Wild Atlantic Way featured.

There is also a section highlighting suggested touring routes throughout the island, which should be of great use to you in helping you get the most from your stay.

Many visitor attractions and heritage towns also organise festivals and events throughout the year, so it is worthwhile visiting the Events section of this website to see if there is anything taking place that might be worth taking a detour for: http://www.heritageisland.com/events/. Of course, these events are also a great place for getting to meet the locals.

Heritage Island also produces a comprehensive touring guide book and discount pass, providing considerable savings at most attractions featured in the guide and on the website, including many 2 for 1s, and % discounts off. This is available online for €7.99 including postage to anywhere in the world at: http://www.heritageisland.com/buy-your-ireland-touring-guide-2016-here/

I hope you have a wonderful and memorable trip to Ireland!

Best wishes,

Caroline



Posted Mon 7 Mar 2016 11:40 AM
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