People tend to go a little crazy on St. Paddy’s day; most of us are familiar with the crowded parades, green rivers, and drunken revely. And it’s understandable why so many get excited about their love for Ireland, which is deservedly famous for its dramatic green cliffs, roaring peat fires, lively pubs, and welcoming locals.
Ranging from historic castles to modern boutiques, these nine hotels are packed with Irish charm and may help inspire your next trip — or at least help get you in the St. Paddy’s spirit.
This is a lot of fun!
From: Bankrate Insurance’s InsuranceQuotes.com
Soapmaker Irish Spring is offering up a chance to win a trip to Ireland.
Here are the prize details:
ONE (1) GRAND PRIZE: A trip for two (2) to Dublin, Ireland. Trip package includes round trip, coach-class air transportation for two (2) from a major airport near winner’s home (determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion) to Dublin, Ireland; five (5) nights’ accommodations at a hotel determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion (single room, double occupancy); ground transportation to and from airport and hotel; and $250 spending money. Winner must complete the trip within one (1) year from the drawing date or prize will be forfeited. Trip must be booked at least twenty-one (21) days prior to departure.
Sounds like a lovely chance to explore Ireland!
The sweepstakes is open to only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (including District of Columbia) who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry.
You have to enter soon – the sweepstakes ends March 30th, 2013.
Many will fondly think of St Patrick’s Day as a day of drinking and good cheer, with shamrocks and green clothing abounding and catchy Irish tunes playing in pubs and restaurants. Indeed, the 17th of March is an international feast day, which had a humble beginning in the Emerald Isle around 1,500 years ago.
The year 2013 will see the date shifted to the 18th of March, as the 17th falls on a Sunday. If you’ve ever been curious as to what the festive hullabaloo is about, keep reading for some fast facts and tips:
- St Patrick is a legendary Irish saint, famed for bringing Christianity to Ireland.
- Despite not being Irish himself, he was kidnapped in his youth by Irish raiders, and brought to their shores as a slave. He later escaped and studied to become a priest. After he became an ordained Bishop, he felt a calling to return to the Emerald Isle and spread the message of God’s love for all.
- He has a reputation for having driven all snakes from Ireland – though whether these were actual snakes, or the more likely pagan druids who were known for having snake tattoos, no one is entirely sure. However, Ireland is reputed to be the only country to have peacefully converted to Christianity, which says something about St Paddy’s persuasive powers.
- Another story that’s likely more fable than fact states St Patrick was the first to sanction that on leap years women could propose to men – story variations include that St Brigid petitioned on behalf of the women, and he granted the dispensation to her. Upon hearing it, she promptly dropped to one knee and popped the question, to which St Patrick bestowed on her a kiss and a fine silk gown, but politely declined the offer of marriage.
- It is believed that St Patrick died around the 17th of March, which is why it was chosen as a religious festival day, though it’s date occasionally moves if it falls during a holy week.
- Traditionally, the colour associated with St Patricks Day was blue, but green seemed to gain popularity in the 17th century and stuck due to his association with shamrocks – a 3-leaved Irish plant. Legend has it he started teaching pagans about the trinity of God using the humble shamrock as a visual aid for them to remember, and soon after his death, the colour green and shamrocks became synonymous with his feast.
- St Patrick’s day celebrations were in full swing during the 9th and 10th century, and his fame as a patron of Ireland slowly spread; so much so that the Catholic Church placed the St Patrick’s day feast onto the liturgical calendar during the 1600s due to its growing popularity in Europe.
- This feast is celebrated all around the world, especially in America, due to the high number of Irish immigrants, and a common sight on this day is a St Patty’s Parade. The first St Patrick’s day parade was held in 1762, in New York.
- In Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green each year on St Patrick’s Day, which occurred for the first time in 1962. St Patrick’s Day is a time that the Irish culture celebrates their heritage, so it’s not uncommon to see leprechauns, hear Irish music, and see other Irish symbols abounding.
Food and Drink
- Dying beers green is a common sight to see on St Patrick’s Day, and you’ll find pubs across most countries will indulge the public with this fancy.
- Guinness is one of the most popular beers to drink, if you decide to avoid the green hued offerings, due to it being an Irish brew.
- Cabbage and Corned Beef are traditional foods eaten on this day, supposedly due to the Irish not being very wealthy, and cabbage was plentiful. Corned beef was a 19th century introduction, though roast beef, on the other hand, is thought to have been St Patrick’s biggest vice during Lent.
- “Green themed” dinners are quite popular with green foods served such as asparagus, spinach, broccoli, and mint-flavoured desserts.
For most, a small touch of green or a shamrock on your lapel will suffice, but if you’ll be joining a parade, then a more in-your-face approach will need to be followed. Think along the lines of fluffy green feather boas, giant leprechaun hats, “Kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirts, neon green shorts, etc. The sky’s the limit for green-themed items.
Author Bio: Roseanna McBain is a writer for TravelGround, a South African accommodation and booking website. She enjoys hikes on weekends, long walks on the beach, time spent with friends, and RPG games.
“An Irishman walks into a pub…” How very true. In fact, this scenario could be applied to any Irishman at any time in his life. Throughout the centuries, little has changed. The Irish, it seems, like a drink. Mind you, who doesn’t? It’s just that the Irish are always portrayed as, well…drinkers.
Stereotypes are prevalent, and none more so than an ruddy-cheeked Irishman toddling merrily down a winding cobbled street, singing a drinking song after thirteen pints of the black stuff. Ireland is a nation of boozers, and heaven forbid anyone who tells them otherwise.
The Emerald Isle – as poetic as it sounds – is a boozer’s paradise. A recent estimation suggested there are a staggering 10,000 pubs in Ireland, and the locals take pride in trying to visit every single one of them. Guinness is an Irish institution, with several heavy drinkers ending up in one. An Irish drunk is often labelled a loveable rogue, a befuddled figure of amusement, but scratch the surface and you might find…a loveable rogue, a befuddled figure of amusement.
The Irish clearly don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re quite content with the philosophy of “work hard, play harder”. And no one plays harder than the Irish. If an Irishman refuses a pint, he’ll partake with a double whiskey. If whiskey is not to his liking he’ll opt for a cider. And if cider is not to their taste they won’t be in a pub in the first place.
Recent reports reveal the Irish binge drink on average at least once a week. Nothing unusual about that you may think, but when you consider that 12 litres of pure alcohol is consumed per head every year, the Irish love affair with the demon drink runs true.
Dubliners revel in the fact that their beloved city is a haven for stag do’s, hen nights and general drunken shenanigans. That their way of life in their favourite boozer is interrupted by hordes of tourists looking for a few nights of oblivion is neither here nor there. An Irishman will embrace a foreigner on the same inebriated wavelength as themselves. The more the merrier. That is the Irish way of life.
But what of the consequences? It would be unfair to hint Ireland has a problem with drink that other nations don’t. Nevertheless, an increase in drink-related violence and sexual assaults is on the increase. An alarming three-quarters of all rape defendants reported they had been under the influence of alcohol. In 2009, 85% of the Garda Youth Diversion Programmes revealed that alcohol topped the list of reasons for crime. In the past year, about 9% of Ireland’s population – roughly 320,000 people – said they or a family member had been assaulted by an intoxicated person. This makes for grim reading.
However, the Irish wouldn’t dwell on such bleak figures. For now, the party is in town. Ireland will raise a frothy pint and salute their comrades – as the lifeblood that drives this glorious country forwards.
Ireland is one of the culturally rich countries in Europe whose history dates many centuries ago. The country has risen above and beyond civilizations, democracies, catastrophes, revolutions, wars and so much more, but still standing. From a nation of history and humility, Ireland has become a nation cultured by strong values and pride to become among Europe’s best economies and democracies to date.
The Irish flag passes off as one of the biggest symbols of the Irish pride. It’s a symbol of Irish history and means a lot to its citizens. The flag is characterized by three equally sized strips colored white, green and orange. Popularly known as the ‘Irish Tricolor’, the flag has been around since the early 19th century. However, here is its rise and history.
Meaning of the Irish Flag
The history of the Irish flags goes back to 1642, when the Confederate Ireland’s flag was characterized by green and a golden harp. With the revolutions that followed soon after, the country was split in different factions; marked by different flags and color symbolisms.
In the aftermath of the first split, two kinds of Ireland emerged; the Old Ireland and the New Ireland. The old one was the green zone; New Ireland was orange. For some time, the country was at logger heads with no single symbol of unity.
The initial separation and perceived autonomy played a crucial role in the setting of the flag color, although only for a while. Thomas Francis Meagher is the name of the young Irish leader who had a vision for the unification between the two Irish factions, around 1848. His dream for a trilogy of orange, white and green was however, not implemented for more than half a century forward.
The religious angle in the Irish Flag development
Religion has always been a strong angle to the Irish development. Christianity especially, has been a pillar for Irish civilization. From around 1850, the biggest religious influences in Ireland were Catholics, Protestants, and Presbyterians.
These factions were represented by green for Catholics, orange for Protestants and blue for Presbyterians. The colors demarcated Ireland in religious terms. Between 1848 and 1916, they thrived.
Official flag color recognition
After years of bickering on what colors represented the Irish fraternity, in 1937, the Irish Republic was established. Its constitution recognized tricolor of green, white and orange as the national flag and this has been the same since.
Arrangement of the Irish flag
When the Irish flags are hoisted, the green stripe goes on the hoist side; the white goes in the center while the orange goes on the outside of the pole, or fly.
The Irish Flag Moving forward
The Irish Flag is an important symbolism tool for the Irish people and this will continue years to come. Whereas poles may not be a crucial aspect of the history, they represent the best way to showcase the Irish pride. www.flagpoles.co.uk is one of the best resources you can rely on for the flagpoles.
Whether you are a history buff or like to visit attractions that are just a little bit quirky, Ireland is the destination for you. From the Blarney Stone to an array of historically magical castles, the options for sightseeing tours in Ireland are virtually limitless. When planning your next holiday to the wondrous surrounds of Ireland, be sure to check out these not to be missed attractions.
As aforementioned, Ireland is home to some quirky attractions, with tales and legends dating back for hundreds of centuries. Constructed nearly 600 years ago, the Blarney Castle is a must visit tourist attraction in Ireland, mainly due to the popular ‘kissing of the Blarney Stone’. It is said that by kissing The Stone of Eloquence, one will receive the gift of articulacy and expression. From the richest of the rich to mere pilgrims, folks have flocked to the Blarney Castle to get a glimpse, and even a kiss, of the Blarney Stone.
Nature lovers will adore Ireland holidays, with sights such as those provided by the breathtaking Wicklow Mountains. The largest continuous mountain mass in Ireland, the Wicklow Mountains occupy an entire county, while bordering several others. Photo opportunities in this naturally wonderful area are virtually endless, so be sure to bring along your camera for this expedition.
Possibly the most infamous castle, throughout all of Ireland, the Dublin Castle attracts thousands of tourists each year. Since being built in 1204 AD, the castle has continued to play an important role in the rich history of the country. The castle spans over an enormous area of more than 11 acres, containing two museums, a number of cafés, conference centres, beautiful maintained gardens and various government buildings.
The recent birth of red panda cubs, a zoo home to a giraffe calf and tapir calf, the Dublin Zoo really is one of the most spectacular manmade animal habitats in the world. From rare species to much loved favourite, the whole family will enjoy a day at the zoo, frolicking with playful meerkats and discovering the various animal enclosures.
National Botanical Gardens
The National Botanical Gardens of Ireland are home to an abundance of different wildlife species, ranging between rare types of both fauna and flora. Located just 5 kilometres from the city centre of Dublin, this attractions provides for a convenient and enjoyable day out.
As previously mentioned, one of the biggest drawcards for tourists to Ireland is the historically beautiful castles that await them. The Kilkenny Castle is truly a picture of perfection, surrounded by the lush green countryside of Ireland. Established in 1195, this historical site was originally built to gain control of the fording point of the River Nore. Nowadays, however, visitors can explore the castle grounds, with guided tours providing an insight into the rich heritage of the country.
Kilmainham Gaol Museum
Formerly a prison, the Kilmainham Gaol is now a museum that provides invaluable insight into the history of Ireland. As one of the largest unoccupied gaols, throughout all of Europe, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience to step foot inside these four walls of a prison cell.
Whether you want to absorb as much of Ireland’s heritage as possible or simply want to spend your vacation relaxing in the countryside, amongst a backdrop of charming castles, this is the perfect holiday destination for you.
It’s never fun to be low on funds, especially when everyone else is taking off for the weekend and leaving you behind to watch “Friends” reruns and eat microwavable food in plastic packaging.
Get out of that funk immediately, because some of the best opportunities for budget holidays Ireland has to offer are in Dublin. Yes, it has an international reputation for being a traditionally expensive city, but a little foresight, some planning and these great tips on accommodations, dining and sights will ensure that your stellar weekend holiday in Dublin keeps your purse plump.
Well, sleeping might not be the first priority on your docket, but a great budget hotel is so much more than just a place to keep your luggage while you’re out and about. Dublin Citi Hotel on Dame Street provides well-appointed three-star accommodations in single, double or twin rooms that all feature crisp white linen sheets and spotless towels. The staff is friendly, the breakfast hearty or light, depending on your preference, but most importantly, the location can’t be beat for convenience to major city sights. And you get all of this for rates as low as £34 per night.
Even more inexpensive is the two-star Portobello Hotel, another centrally-located hotel. This one sits along the Grand Canal, which was once used to ferry goods throughout the country. Most rooms even come with a view of the famous waterway, and they’re all clean, spacious and modern, with TVs and fax capabilities. The adjoining bar and restaurant ensure good food and drink, while the nightclub is a strictly over-age-30 meeting spot for mature tibbling of libations.
Get Around with Ease
Walking is, of course, a free, easy and eco-friendly option, but Dublin has a cheap public transportation system which covers the entire city and Dublin county, so getting to more outlying areas is less of a hassle, and the three-day Freedom Ticket is especially convenient for weekends. Renting a bike is also a great option, with no less than six bike rental companies in the city, and the ability to go where you choose at your own pace.
Attractions on the Cheap
Maybe you weren’t aware, but there are tons of free or low-cost attractions and sights in the city to keep you busy from dawn until dusk. Get your free admission tickets at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre for Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland, which open on Saturdays only. The residence has hosted guests such as John F. Kennedy, Queen Victoria and even Pope John Paul II. Farmleigh is nearby in Phoenix Park, with almost 80 acres, a Sunken Garden, a lake, a clock tower and of course, the beautiful Main House, a fine example of Georgian and Victorian architecture. On occasions when the house is not being used to house foreign dignitaries or for other state functions, public tours are available and free of charge.
The National Museums of Ireland are all equally inexpensive (that is, zero cash required) and full of fascinating historical artifacts and exhibitions. If you’re in thrall of the prehistoric, Celtic or medieval periods, then the National Museum on Kildare Street should be your destination. Lovers of military history will find lots to occupy their attention at the Collins Barracks, while the somewhat morbid Natural History Museum displays Victorian-era taxidermy at its most exotic. You can find nature of a different (and prettier) sort in the National Botanic Gardens, founded in 1795. The idyllic scenery and beautiful glasshouses will transport you back to a bygone era, totally free unless you’ve arrived by car and require parking.
Eat, Drink, Be Merry (and Frugal)
If you like to save your pennies for a good meal and a stiff drink, Dublin has what you want. Crackbird is an American diner-style eatery in the wildly popular Temple Bar neighborhood that serves up fare like fried chicken, waffle fries, chipotle baked beans and sweet sips such as lime ginger spritzer, all for reasonable prices. If you’re craving traditional Irish food done right, Kingfisher restaurant wows with their fish and chips, a delight to locals and tourists alike. The Steps of Rome in the Southside has made an impact with a complete lunch combo (starter, main course and glass of wine) for only £9.50 and fantastic take-out pizza by the slice.
Clark Delaney is a contributing writer and amateur gourmand who has traveled the world in search of the perfect cheeseburger. His favorite time to visit Dublin is around Bloomsday, spurred by his love for James Joyce. Currently, he lives in Glasgow with his family.