Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes are calling. . .

The latest issue of Active Adult magazine carries a travel article I wrote after sailing around Ireland last year. We enjoyed that trip so much that we're going back this year. You can find the piece (and see some spectacular photos) in the March/April issue of Active Adult. It begins: With The Gathering Ireland 2013 taking place, this year marks the perfect time to discover all that the Republic of Ireland has to offer. Organizers of the year-long celebration expect to entertain 325,000 visitors, and as of February, had confirmed more than 2,500 separate gatherings. Some 8,000 visitors will attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin; 1,400 will meet to celebrate the surname Gallagher; and nobody can say how many people will turn up for a gathering of redheads. If you’re looking for a slightly less celebratory experience, you might want to travel west to discover Ireland’s isles. You can explore the botanical gardens at Garinish Island and climb to the top of a Martello tower built to guard against Napoleon. In the Skellig Island, you can see stone-built meditation huts where, centuries ago, monks lived for months at at time. And on one of the Aran Islands, if you dare, you can hang over the edge of a cliff at a famous prehistoric site and, looking down, see the waves crashing into the rock face 100 metres below. Yes, you can drive to Dingle and do the rest in stages. As it turned out, we were lucky enough to do it the easy way, by circumnavigating Ireland — as paying customers, mind — with Adventure Canada. We ate superb meals in a dining room with white linen tablecloths. We gathered often in the main lounge, which had a well-stocked bar, and listened to experts sort out the geography, history and politics of Ireland. “If you’re not confused,” one of them explained, “it’s because you don’t understand.”

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