Monthly Archives: June 2010

Laugh Out Loud – Funny Facts about Ireland

Even if the sun is shining and birds are singing (at least in Ireland), I know some of you may feel bad because of what’s happening at the World Cup! France and Italy prematurely going back home… You would never have imagined that … at least for Italy!!!

So in order to lighten the atmosphere, I just picked up a few funny facts about Ireland and selected a funny video (well, maybe not funny for those who witnessed it).

The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, in County Galway.

=>  All right it’s long and complicated, but I live in Alsace, in the North-East of France and we also have a few unpronounceable place names. You want examples??

  • Dossenheim-Kochersberg
  • Drachenbronn-Birlenbach
  •  etc…

 

An odd Irish birthday tradition is to lift the birthday child upside down and give his head a few gentle bumps on the floor for good luck. The number of bumps should allegedly correspond to the child’s age plus one. 

=> The question is: When aren’t you considered to be a child anymore??

 The home of Guinness is in Dublin. The famous Guinness Brewery at St James’ Gate has a 9,000-year lease.

=> Enough time to test the famous beer… and test it again!!!

=>  But don’t forget to drink responsibly!!

How about this fact: there is a village in Kerry called Inch and on a road sign outside the village there is this “Inch 1 Mile”.

=> Confusing or what?

There are more mobile phones in Ireland than there are people.

=> At least it’s not like in New-Zealand where there are 12 sheep for 1 human!

And to finish, a video, still dealing with animals but this time with a bull!!

This amazing scene took place in County Mayo at the beginning of the year. Maybe you’ve seen it or you’ve heard about it….. a bull turning up in a grocery and spreading panic in the shop.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q84HEIK3ID4]

If you want mor funny facts about Ireland, visit www.ireland-fun-facts.com

Alice, the French intern :-)

Galway & the Burren – Nature, Tradition & Nightlife

Last Weekend I decided, I had to get out of Dublin and explore Galway & the Burren with a couple of friends for the first time ever.
It took us about 3 hours to get from Dublin to Galway by car. We stayed at the Anno Santo Hotel taking advantage of the special 3 for 2 offer which allowed us to stay 3 nights and to pay only for 2, which was great, especially for me being on an Intern wage… The hotel is ideally located in Salthill just few minutes from Galway’s bustling medieval city centre. I think that the Anno Santo Hotel is the ideal base to get the full Galway experience. The rooms were comfortable with tea and coffee making facilities and a large bathroom and  the hotel’s atmosphere was warm and friendly. Tired and hungry we decided to try the food served in the hotel. We had  the typical Irish and absolutely gorgeous  beef stew with a pint of Guinness. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go out in Galway that night as we had to get up early the next morning to start our tour to Burren and Cliffs of Moher.
So, early the next morning we were off to the fantastic Burren. In case you don’t know: The Burren is in North County Clare and parts of South County Galway and covers an area of 160 square km. It is unique, like no other place in Ireland. There are no bogs and very few pastures. Instead there are huge pavements of limestone called ‘clints’ with vertical fissures in the called ‘grikes’. The Burren really looks like a moonscape (or like one would think it looks like…) Many of the views around there are truly spectacular. I’ll never forget Corkscrew Hill and its vista across Galway Bay or the journey around Black Head or the view from Ballinalacken Hill across to the Aran Islands.
We stopped for a quick break in the cute little village of Doolin (known as the traditional music capital of Ireland and venue for the annual Micho Russell Festival) and tried a famous full Irish breakfast for the first time.  I enjoyed it so much, this won’t be my last traditional Irish Breakfast! After this break we went on to the famous Cliffs of Moher. The weather was ok, a bit windy maybe, but the view was still incredible. The cliffs are a definite must-see when visiting Ireland! We walked around a lot to take pictures from every corner possible and we had a look at the Visitor Centre where we got interesting background information on the flora and fauna of the region. There were many little activity games for children…and they didn’t only keep the kids occupied – we had a great time trying them out, too.
After that we headed back to Galway. We decided to have dinner in Galway city centre at Mc Donaghs Restaurant, a seafood restaurant. We had really good cod and chips and an extraordinary Mc Donagh’s Cod Seafood Platter with oak smoked salmon, mussels, fresh salmon, cod salad, smoked mackerel, coleslaw and maire rose sauce all served with salad and brown bread. It was gorgeous. We completed the night walking in the city centre and drinking a couple of pints  in a few different typical Irish pubs.
The next day it was our last day in Galway, so we decided to visit every attraction in the city centre. First of all we visited the Cathedral, is one of the largest and most impressive buildings in the city. Built between 1958 and 1965, it stands on the site of the old city jail. The architecture of the Cathedral draws on many influences. The dome and pillars reflect a Renaissance style. Other features, including the rose windows and mosaics, echo the broad tradition of Christian art. The Cathedral dome, at a height of 145 ft, is a prominent landmark on the city skyline. Then, we visited the famous Spanish Arch, located Galway’s famous Spanish Arch is located on the left bank of the Corrib, where Galway’s river meets the sea. The Spanish Arch was originally a 16th century bastion, which was added to Galway’s town walls to protect merchant ships from looting. At this time, it was known as Ceann a Bhalla (Head of the Wall). Its current name “Spanish Arch” refers to former merchant trade with Spain, whose galleons often docked under its protection. Behind the famous Spanish Arch, overlooking the River Corrib and the ancient Claddagh village, it’s situated the Galway City Museum. We visited this interesting Museum where we explored aspects of the history and heritage of Galway. Walking from the Spanish Arch through the main historical street of Galway called Quay Street we reached the famous Eyre Square. It is a central plot in the centre of Galway city.  Originally, it was presented to Galway city in 1710 by Mayor Edward Eyre, and was hence named after him. In the past, Eyre Square had a wooden fence around its perimeter and this was subsequently replaced with an iron railing in the late 1700s. Nowadays there are no railings around Eyre Square. In 1965, Eyre Square was officially renamed “Kennedy Memorial Park” in honour of US President John F. Kennedy, who visited Galway shortly before his assassination in 1963. Today, Eyre Square is a buzzing area, with an abundance of shops, restaurants, and pubs.
During our last night in Galway, we kind of got carried away by the vibrant nightlife of the city. First we visited a lot of traditional Irish pubs along Quay Street, then we went on to some Bars and Lounges and after that, danced the night away in a club (and I can’t remember the names of any of the places).
Galway is a funny and young city and it is nominated as Ireland’s cultural heart and many sporting, music, arts and other events take place in the city (unfortunately not during our weekend there). The largest of these annual events include the Galway Arts Festival in July, the Galway Races in August, and the Galway International Oyster Festival in September. So we have a lot of good reasons to plan to come back to the city in the future!
Alice (the French Intern) :-)
[slideshow]

A Taste of Waterford

Back in April we headed down to the Sunny South East (yes it WAS sunny!) to the Waterford Festival of Food. This annual festival takes place in the lovely town of Dungarvan. Dungarvan is a very pretty harbour town ideally located for visiting the South; it is about halfway between two of my other favourite spots in the Sunny South; Cobh and Tramore.

The action packed festival programme included many free and (very reasonably priced) ticket events including cookery demonstrations, celebrity chefs, talks, guided walks, workshops, children’s cookery lessons, “Bus Bia” (food bus) tours, restaurant trails, a picnic in the park and of course the main even the Farmers Market! This was any foodie’s heaven!
We took our hungry selves to the “Super Foods Made Simple” workshop which consisted of cookery demonstrations using superfoods such as quinoa, oats, berries and more. I really enjoyed the workshop, it was very informative, and very well demonstrated how we can easily integrate these “super foods” into our diet and the benefits of doing so, and I am delighted to say I have since made two of the lovely recipes from the workshop. At €10 it was super value!

That evening we had hoped to go along on one of the Restaurant Trails, but of course we weren’t organised enough to book it in advance & proving very popular it was sold out well in advance, and no amount of trying our charm was going to get us a spot! So we thought what was the next best thing? The Tannery Restaurant of course! The Tannery Restaurant is based in the boutique style Tannery Townhouse Hotel & Cookery School.  Promising we would eat quick (it wasn’t hard!) they very kindly squeezed us in a reservation! Having heard great things about this restaurant & cookery school I hoped not to be disappointed, and can honestly say I had one of the best meals I’ve ever head. For starters I devoured the crab creme brulee, pickled cucumber, melba toast, followed by the ravioli of Cashel Blue & walnuts, shallots, maple syrup. It was a treat! For dessert we shared the guilt of a chocolate plate (not long after the finish of my chocolate deprived Lent it was divine!).  Afterwards we decided best to take our full bellies for a walk along the picturesque harbour before embarking on the pubs of Dungarvan!

Dungarvan is full of cosy pubs, and the atmosphere was mighty! I have to say I found the people in Dungarvan exceptionally friendly, even our guesthouse owner was still smiling when we rudely woke him at 5am because we couldn’t open the front door!!

Woken by some sore heads on Sunday morning we thought really there could be no better way to spend the day than at the big Farmers Market in the town square. When we arrived into the square it was buzzing and filled with stalls & stalls of yummy food (and one pig on a spit!). Live music was playing, children dancing and the sun was shining.  There was an array of cakes, hot food, homemade icecream and local artisan products.

What striked me most about Dungarvan was how pretty the town is with its quirky buildings, how friendly the locals were and how they sure know how to eat down in County Waterford!

Click here for some great deals on hotels in Waterford!

Click here for more information on things to do in Waterford!