Engaging Ireland News

Current news and information about Ireland and Irish travel

2011 St. Patrick’s Day Festival: Dublin

Have you firmed up your plans for St. Patrick’s Day 2011 yet?  The following article is from the Irish Independent newspaper’s online site from Wednesday, January 19, 2011.


This year’s St. Patrick’s Festival is jam-packed with world class entertainment and events.


Dublin’s streets will come alive as the annual parade kick starts the festival.

Onlookers will be dazzled by dancers, artists, street theatre troupes and marching bands coming from all corners of the globe.

DublinSwell –Words and Voices for the City of Literature

In a new and exciting move for the festival, DublinSwell –Words and Voices from the City of Literature, offers the public an once in a lifetime cultural evening celebrating Dublin as UNESCO’s new ‘City of Literature’.

This unique ticketed event will bring together a star studded line up of Irish faces from literature, music, film and theatre. Sebastian Barry, Roddy Doyle, Paul Durcan, Glen Hansard, Paul Howard ( Ross O’Carroll Kelly), Declan Hughes, Paula Meehan, Joseph O’Connor and many more will make the city come alive in an evening of imagination and inspiration.

In the stunning surrounds of the capital’s new Convention Centre, this promises to be a fitting and inspiring tribute to literary Dublin.

Tickets on sale now for Friday 18th March. See www.tickets.ie

Sharon Shannon

Sharon Shannon, one of Ireland’s most accomplished musicians will present a lively evening of traditional music at the National Concert Hall. Her unique style of accordion playing is celebrated worldwide, and her home-coming is sure to be a heartening musical experience.

Tickets on sale now for Saturday 19th March. See www.nch.ie

Events back by popular demand from last year include Céilí, Big Day Out and Treasure Hunt.

Céilí is an outdoor celebration of traditional Irish dancing on Friday 18th March. It offers you the chance to join in and fill the streets with dance as you immerse yourself in Irish culture and craic. Open to all, it promises to be an unforgettable afternoon filled with fun, as expert callers lead you through dances such as the Siege of Ennis, the Walls of Limerick and lots more.

The St. Patrick’s Festival Treasure Hunt is a fun filled free event for all ages. It takes place on Saturday 19th March. Crack the clues and conundrums that lie concealed in the many cultural venues around the city. The Treasure Hunt is great opportunity for all to explore or rediscover Dublin.

Big Day Out will feature the best of street theatre, performance and music in the heart of Georgian Dublin. With acts from Ireland and around the world, Merrion Square is transformed into a family wonderland on Sunday 20th March, a giant oversized playground

Posted 7 years, 1 month ago at 7:59 pm.

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Inaugural flight lands at Dublin’s Terminal 2

Appropriately, the first flight to land at Dublin Airport’s new Terminal 2 was an Aer Lingus flight. Love it or hate it, the new terminal is now open for business. The following is the article written by Tim O’Brien  that appeared in the Irish Times on Saturday, November 20, 2010, to mark this momentous occasion.

Dublin Airport Terminal 2

AER LINGUS flight EI205 landed at Dublin airport with perfect timing yesterday.

The inaugural flight to Terminal 2 (T2) arrived from Manchester as Taoiseach Brian Cowen finished his opening speech.

Shown live on a large bank of screens, the aircraft was seen outside within seconds of the Taoiseach describing the new terminal as a sign of hope for Ireland’s economic recovery and “a gateway to the future we all want for Ireland”.

As he wrapped up his speech, Mr Cowen said: “I want to say formally on this day, a day which sets out a future for this airport, that similarly we will set out a future for our country, to build on the work that we have done so that by the end of next year, we will be two-thirds of the way through the work that we have to do.”

After a brief walk through of the new terminal, the Taoiseach departed from a prepared speech to return to what he said was “justifiable concern” about the future of the country and its economy.

Blaming “abnormal market conditions”, he wanted to make it clear the Government was “sitting down with its partners to find a way forward that will deal with euro-area problems, as well as the specific problems affecting Ireland today”.

Mr Cowen said: “We have and we will engage in constructive discussions so that Ireland will take the decisions, so that the Irish Government will put forward a four-year plan on behalf of the Irish people. Because it will be the Irish people, through our efforts in the coming months and years, who will see us through.”

The need to adapt in the years ahead would, he said, involve “taking some steps back in order that we can forge forward again”. It was not “about losing all of the gains that we have made. This building, what this represents, does remain.”

Mr Cowen said Ireland would see revenues rise to 2005/2006 levels and “we will see our spending revert back to 2007 levels. That is how we will over the next few years ensure that we bring balance to our public finances.”

The four-year plan would be a responsibility for whatever government was in power, he added, “whatever about the ups and downs of electoral politics”.

The Government would put its proposals for the coming four years to the people. “We will make sure that we see through the next days and weeks in a competent and proper way, making the appropriate decisions in the best interests of our people.”

Before the Taoiseach spoke, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary, dressed as an undertaker and carrying a wreath, had displayed a hearse containing a coffin painted in the national colours in the airport campus. The costs of the terminal, he said, would be the death knell of Irish tourism.

Dublin Airport Authority chairman David Dilger defended the new terminal against allegations that it was over-specified and unnecessarily large. Its capacity was required to underpin future growth, he said.

On airport charges, Mr Dilger said the authority was a commercial organisation and had “no intention of providing our infrastructure for nothing”. It was dedicated to providing “excellent value for money to all of our passengers and all of our airline customers”.

The Aer Lingus inaugural flight was an Airbus A320, with 118 passengers. Aer Lingus will move its North American services to T2 in the New Year.

Other services to the US are also expected to be based at T2 from early in the new year. Etihad will base its Abu Dhabi service at T2 from Tuesday.


THERE WAS a large media presence, national and international, deployed to meet Taoiseach Brian Cowen at Dublin airport yesterday – an opportunity Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary was not going to miss.

With Cowen due to arrive at 11am, O’Leary ordered a hearse and coffin painted in the national colours, which arrived at Dublin airport at least two hours in advance.

The Ryanair boss, dressed as an undertaker, posed alongside a sign proclaiming ” Irish Tourism RIP”.

Was the coffin’s use of the national colours not showing disrespect, he was asked. O’Leary replied: “It is Irish tourism that is going to be buried today as a Government-owned bunch of bureaucrats open a €1.2 billion palace that Irish tourism doesn’t need and can’t afford. Remember jobs are being lost in Irish tourism, this year, this month, next month

because the DAA are cranking up the fees by 40 per cent when inflation is zero.”

O’Leary then headed to Terminal 2 where he posed on the escalators with the wreath, looking glum. Giving interviews, he caused a stir well in advance of the arrival of Mr Cowen.

One interview that went less well than expected was with a British TV broadcaster which concluded with the interviewer politely asking O’Leary for his name and position.

Ryanair will not be moving to the new terminal.


If you have flown into the brand new Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, leave a comment below to let us know your impressions. What’s good? Anything stand out especially? Is there anything that’s not there that you’d like to see?

Posted 7 years, 2 months ago at 9:08 pm.

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Breaking News: Notre Dame vs. Navy in Dublin

North American Football in Dublin, Ireland

September 1, 2012: Notre Dame and Navy will meet at Aviva Stadium in Dublin (not the one in the U.S. in Ohio, but the one in Ireland). We received the following information via e-mail recently:

East Rutherford, N.J. – Navy and Notre Dame, who will meet for the 84th consecutive year on Saturday at the New Meadowland Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., will officially announce at halftime on Saturday that the 2012 contest will take place September 1 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

With the official announcement, fans and supporters of both teams will be clamoring for ways to get a jump start on attending this momentous matchup between the schools.  Anthony Travel, the official travel partner for both schools (and only authorized source for travel packages that include game tickets), advises those wanting to attend the game in Ireland to visit www.EmeraldIsleClassic.com to secure their arrangements for the game.

“Our school prides itself on offering the best of the best to its students, alumni and fans,” said Chet Gladchuk, Navy’s Athletic Director.  “Being able to offer our alumni and supporters the chance to travel with us to Ireland to witness the game of a lifetime in such a unique and beautiful setting is something we are thrilled to be able to do again – for only the second time in our school’s history.”

Fans considering making the cross-continent voyage to the Emerald Isle for the game should heed travel advice to plan ahead for this unique trip, as travel and tourism experts expect the influx of the American tourists to Ireland to hit record highs surrounding that game. In fact, in 1996, when the first overseas game between the two teams took place in Dublin, it drew more than 40,000 fans to the game, with an estimated 10,000 fans traveling over from the United States.

“The University of Notre Dame and its football program enjoy unparalleled loyalty from alumni and supporters,” said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s Director of Athletics.  “Thousands of our fans joined us in 1996 for the first Nortre Dame / Navy matchup in Ireland, and we are confident that they will continue to support our team by coming along for another extraordinary experience in 2012.”

For the fans that may have experienced the game in 1996, as well as new oversees travelers wanting to experience this event for the first time, they will notice there are a variety of travel packages that were not available in 1996.  Anthony Travel offers the ability to truly build a one-of-a-kind trip, giving each traveler the opportunity to choose what they do every day they are on the ground in Ireland, instead of the traditional preset travel packages that require travelers to do what they have been instructed to according to a mass itinerary.

Fans can begin booking their travel arrangements on Oct. 23, 2010, which allows for access to the best packages available.

The variety of travel packages offered was designed to appeal to a wide range of fans wanting to support their favorite teams.  Each travel package includes game tickets plus numerous activities to enjoy while visiting the Emerald Isle. Travelers can select from a host of golf tours, city tours or excursion options, all ranging from four to eight days in length, giving them the chance to discover Ireland’s history, traditions and scenic beauty.

“As the official travel partner for both schools and the only authorized source for travel packages that include a game ticket for this game, Anthony Travel has already been hard at work preparing exclusive travel options for supporters wanting to take advantage of this historic game destination,” said John Anthony, President and CEO of Anthony Travel.  “We are hoping all alumni, fans, friends and the general public use this game as a great excuse to experience a foreign country as magnificent as Ireland.  We have put together exclusive packages that allow travelers a stress-free, unforgettable experience.”

The football game will be held in Dublin’s new Aviva Stadium, a four level state-of-the-art facility with all 50,000 seats under cover.  This new stadium is located in a scenic residential area just outside of Dublin city center, allowing travelers staying in nearby hotels the opportunity to walk to the game.  The intimate Aviva Stadium is also much smaller than the U.S. stadiums the schools typically play at – offering an experience unlike any other state-side.

Golf enthusiasts can test their skills on such famous and ancient courses as Waterville, Old Head, Ballybunion, Tralee and even the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.  City tours will allow visitors to explore the contemporary sights and quaint delights of Dublin, Kerry, Galway, and Killarney, as well as Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland – two areas travelers may not have visited in 1996. For the adventurous, the excursions offer a broad sampling of castles, coastlines and culinary pleasures.

All customizable packages include accommodations at three-, four- or five-star hotels, ground transportation, exclusive private parties at the famous Guinness Storehouse, a full Irish breakfast each day, on-site travel assistance, and more.  In addition, special rates on airfare will be provided by Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national airline, to travelers booking through Anthony Travel.

For complete information on this historic game and tour packages, visit www.EmeraldIsleClassic.com

Posted 7 years, 3 months ago at 7:55 am.

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Unique Irish Accommodation – The Irish Landmark Trust

The Barbican gatehouse, Co. Antrim

If you’re in the planning stages of your trip to Ireland, consider looking at some of the more unique accommodation that Ireland has to offer. In general, the Emerald Isle offers a wide range of accommodation options, from bare-bones hostels to five-star castles and manor hotels. There’s something for every taste, but, if you want a more memorable holiday experience, be sure to look into some of Ireland’s more out-of-the-ordinary places to stay.

The Irish Landmark Trust (http://www.irishlandmark.com/) has, in our opinion, some of the most interesting self-catering options available. For example, if you’re the kind of person who would like to get away from it all with only the call of the sea birds and the sounds of the sea for neighbors, you can rent the lightkeeper’s house on Loop Head, a wild and secluded corner of Ireland that will take your breath away. But not so far out of your way that you can’t pop into a nearby village for dinner and pint!

Loop Head Lighthouse

Or perhaps you’d prefer something more ‘regal,’ like The Barbican in Antrim, a 19th century structure that resembles a medieval gatehouse. Of course, you can even rent a castle, if that is more to your taste. Some people just want to have the experience of staying in their own castle. If this describes you, check out  Clomantagh Castle in Freshford, near Kilkenny. This tower castle was built in the 14th century and sleeps up to 10.

If the big city is more of a draw for you, they’ve even got distinctive properties in Dublin City near Merrion Square  or the Temple Bar district on Eustace Street.

Of course, the Irish Landmark Trust isn’t the only place you’ll find unique property listings. Next time, we’ll look at some of the other options available to the traveler who wants something different.

Clomantagh Castle, Co. Kilkenny

(Photos courtesy of the Irish Landmark Trust website.)

Posted 7 years, 3 months ago at 8:16 am.

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What’s on in Ireland

The festival season in Ireland is still in full swing as we enter the month of August. We’re highlighting just a few of the myriad events taking place all over Ireland.

Belfast Taste and Music Fest 2010 runs 4 – 8 August in, of course, Belfast at the Botanic Gardens. This festival brings together two favorite pasttimes of just about everyone we know: food and music. For more information on this event, visit http://www.belfasttasteandmusicfest.com/.

Also running from 4 – 8 August is the Dublin Horse Show, brought to you by Fáilte Ireland. This annual extravaganza was first held in 1864 and is aptly described on their website as  “a celebration of Ireland’s affinity with the horse, from the best show horses to the best international show jumpers.” The event is held a the Royal Dublin Society’s complex in Dublin. A list of events and details about the show can be found at http://www.dublinhorseshow.com/.

Don’t forget the annual Kilkenny Arts Festival, which begins on August 6 and continues through August 15, with events taking place in venues around Kilkenny. The festival website proclaims that this festival is “the very best in Irish and international visual art, clasical music, theatre and dance, jazz, world & traditional Irish music, literature, film, architecture, indie music, craft and children’s events.” Their website can be accessed at http://www.kilkennyarts.ie/ for a complete listing of events and festival information.

And, finally, if you’re anywhere near Kenmare on August 15, you will want to make a special effort to visit the Kenmare Traditional Annual Fair. You’ll experience a fair like the ones that used to take place all over Ireland but have faded into just a memory in most places. The Kenmare Chamber of Commerce website has a little bit of information and a contact e-mail at http://www.kenmare.ie/community-event-view.php?id=1.

These are just a scant few of the gatherings and festivals that will occur across Ireland this month. If we have left out your favorite event, leave a comment telling us about it. Slan go foill!

Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 10:25 am.

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