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The hill fort on Inis Mor known as Dun Aenghus
The hill fort on Inis Mor known as Dun Aenghus

The West of Ireland: Stories in Stone

The first thing you notice about the West of Ireland is the predominance of stone in the landscape. There are no trees to speak of, and even the outbuildings are built of stone, yet the countryside is lush and green.

From the Stone Age tombs on the Burren, to the Iron Age hill forts of Inis Mor, to the battered castles and monasteries of the Middle Ages, to the ubiquitous stone walls enclosing tiny patches of land, these stones tell the story of Ireland. And a grand, uplifting story it is, though surely not a cheery one.

But it has a happy ending, or at least as happy as one could hope for in an imperfect world. Ireland is free and at peace, jobs are plentiful, the crime rate is low, everyone has health care and the government is committed to protecting the environment. To many Americans that starts to sound like the Land of Oz... Read more

Belfast, Northern Ireland: Peace Brings Prosperity

Belfast, Northern Ireland, has put down the guns and opened its arms to the world. The agreement, brokered with the help of the US back in 1997, paved the way for an intensive construction and improvement program.

The only sign of “The Troubles,” as the years of violent sectarian conflict are known, is the extensive collection of wall murals that still adorn both the Falls Road and Shankill neighborhoods. The most appropriate mural said it all: “Life is too short for this shit!”

Besides these fierce paintings depicting hunger strikers on Falls Road, or Thomas Cromwell in Shankill (there are more than 700 murals across these neighborhoods), the city has reduced security and welcomed a state of ‘normalcy’ that has brought prosperity and even tourists. We had a craic (a rockin’ good time!) during our visit... Read more


Theresa Bourke in her parlor
Theresa Bourke in her parlor

The Fiddlers' Retreat: Irish Music, Irish Food, Irish Culture

Tucked away in the little town of Loughmore, Ireland is the perfect retreat for a person itching for a truly Irish experience. Theresa Bourke, music teacher and performer, owns and operates the Fiddler’s Retreat, where she says you will experience, “great food for the body and great music for the soul.”

Bourke runs two programs for beginners and advanced musicians to come to Ireland and take fiddle or violin lessons with her, while staying in her beautiful home and dining on her home cooked delicacies made of the finest local produce and ingredients. Read more


Captain Kent St. John cruising in Ireland
Captain Kent St. John cruising the Shannon River

Whiskey and Water: Self-Cruising the Emerald Isle

Islands and boats have a strong connection, and while Ireland isn’t exactly a yachties’ paradise, self-cruising Ireland in a motored cruiser links you to a lifestyle and culture unchanged for centuries.

Ireland’s Shannon River has long been a passage through the very heart of the country, and there are 300 miles of other rivers and lakes to explore, as well as countless villages, castles, and hiking paths. And even in the chill of a late winter, the Irish warmth and whiskey can make an ancient mariner out of even the most land-locked traveler. Read more

The third little pig
The third little pig - Bunratty, Ireland

Cruising in Ireland from South to North

The water from the canal lapped at the Swilly Star (our boat) and the George Mitchell Peace Bridge loomed up ahead. Heading up the Erne and Shannon Canal wasn't even possible until 1994. The irony is just how peaceful it is.

The canal was the first joint project undertaken by the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. After a self-skipper cruise on the Shannon River a little while ago, (see above story) the chance to join John Daly of the Irish Tourism Board on uncharted water was overpowering so I went to GoNOMAD to look up Ireland flights... Read more

Read more GoNOMAD stories about Ireland:

The Boston Boy Visits Dublin: "Wicked Brilliant!"

The Magic of Ireland

Belfast, Northern Ireland: From Blast to Bloom

Tipsy Pilgrims Lost in Ireland: A Rambling Fireside Story

Inis Mór: As Irish As It Gets

Southern Ireland: To Drive or To Be Driven?

Riding Trains and Ferries in Ireland and France

West Ireland Photo Gallery

Valentia Island: The Far End of Ireland

Boyle, Ireland Destination Guide

Doolin, Ireland Destination Guide

Achill Island, Ireland Destination Guide

Building Peace in A Time of War: Global Volunteers in Ireland

GoNOMAD in Ireland -- First stop in the around the world family journey

Lauren and Josh's Ireland Photo Gallery

Find Discount Flights to Ireland

Biking in the West of Ireland

Travel Reader: Understanding Yeats in Ireland


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, abolished in 1834.A School's out on Monterrat! Many of those slaves had come from Ireland which
of a longer journey to Ireland. A World Alone After that first glimpse of the vast and (this time
. A In Ireland, they drink Guinness and do pub crawls in DublinAand all of that is grand
for 14 years after making RyanAs Daughter . Although the film was almost entirely made in Ireland
from Ireland, currently living in Istanbul. A Read more about Istanbul on GoNOMAD



Tags: storySection: Destinations
Location: Europe, Ireland
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