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Photo: Beautiful Ireland Castle Photo

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Video: A Short History of Ireland

A concise Irish History Documentary which I hope will be somewhat helpful to Irish History students at all levels.

Must Haves from Ireland

Ireland is a magical country steeped in history and a vibrant culture. It is the perfect destination if you are looking for a holiday that incorporates rolling countryside, glorious coast lines and cities full of wonder. Whilst you are on your travels there will be plenty of beautiful places to stop and pick up some traditional and fun Irish souvenirs to take home with you. The question is what to buy? Well here are some of the best souvenirs and traditional mementos to grab during your visit.

For the jewellery lover

Ireland has a real connection to their Celtic past that can be felt throughout the country; from the architecture all the way through to the traditional Irish jewellery that can be found in any of the shops. If you are a fan of collecting jewellery from the places that you have travelled to, then you simply have to have a look for a gold Claddagh ring.

A Claddagh ring is a traditional symbol in Irish history that depicts two hands holding a small heart with a crown on top, and as with many pieces of Irish history, it is steeped in meaning. The heritage of the Claddagh ring dates back to the 17th century when they were given as tokens of love and it is easy to see why. The meaning of the separate parts of the ring is; the hands symbolise friendship, the heart is love and the crown over the heart represents loyalty. There are many stockists of this fine piece of jewellery, or if you are looking for something more particular then head to Littlewoods Ireland to get some inspiration.

For the technology fan

Let’s face it the majority of us wouldn’t go away without some form of technology; whether it’s our smartphones or tablets, we all need something to give us a glimpse into the virtual world. So why not celebrate your time in Ireland by blending together your passion for the latest technology, with the sheer depth to Ireland’s culture? Starting with a fabulous lap top sleeve brandishing a traditional Celtic symbol or Irish flag. Whilst away you will need to protect your precious laptop from damage, this will be a great way to celebrate your holiday and make sure that your laptop makes it home safe and sound.

First things first though, if you don’t have a laptop and you want one then you should have a look at what is available to you in Ireland as it may save you some cash. Whether you are looking for a Dell or a Mac, be sure to visit Littlewoods Ireland laptops on finance and see what you could be taking home. Once you have your laptop, grab one of these sleeves to go with it. These can be found all over the country, so you will have no problem finding one and let’s face it they scream Ireland.

For the follower of fine foods and drink

Ireland produces some of the most succulent meats, cheeses and whiskies on the planet, so it you are a food fanatic then this is definitely right place for you to visit. From Dublin’s history with Guinness all the way through to some of the freshest sea food on the planet, you will enjoy some of the most unique and best tastes. If you are looking to take home a little souvenir of your time in Ireland and you are a fan of their food culture then you have to get yourself a small bottle of traditional whisky. There are thousands of breweries all across the country, many of which offer tours so that you can see your whisky being made, something that only adds to your purchase.

Ireland’s Top Picnic Spots

Ireland has been enjoying fantastic weather of late, and what better way to enjoy the sunshine than with a picnic in one of the country’s many scenic locations?

The nation is renowned for its fantastic unspoilt landscapes and breathtaking countryside, so make sure to appreciate the natural beauty by getting out and about as frequently as possible.

Just pick up lunch boxes, cooler bags, a portable barbeque and the likes from Viking Direct IE, hop in the car and take the opportunity to picnic in some of the world’s most spectacular locations.

The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, constitute Ireland’s most-visited natural attraction, according to this website, and they make up the perfect location for a picnic.

Visitors are offered spectacular viewing platforms, with the likes of Galway Bay, the Maumturk Mountains and the Dingle Peninsula all being visible on a clear summer’s day.

Picnic benches are provided not far from the visitor’s centre, so all you need to take along is a cooler bag packed with your favourite food and drinks.

Head to Killarney National Park, County Kerry, home to the country’s highest mountain range as well as stunning lakes and woodlands, for a peaceful and tranquil picnic.

Muckross House has a dedicated outdoor spot where you can eat, so consider laying out the contents of your basket here before exploring the Victorian mansion, farms and gardens.

You don’t have to save your trip for a sunny day, either – Discover Ireland claims that Glencar Waterfall, County Leitrim, is most impressive after rainfall.

Place a rug down by the viewing area and enjoy the sights and sounds of the waterfall while having your lunch – it’s the perfect spot for couples planning a romantic day out.

If you’re out with the kids, visit The Irish National Heritage Park, County Wexford, which has a picnic area alongside playgrounds and an adventure centre to keep the little ones entertained.

The park also hosts special events, from Easter egg hunts to walking stick construction courses, so keep an eye on the website to find out what’s happening this summer.

Eire Alert: Win a Trip to Ireland from Dream Plan Go

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Dream Plan Go is offering up the chance to win a trip to Ireland. This contest requires the use of Facebook to enter.

Here are the prize details:

One (1) Grand Prize: 6-night/7-day trip for two (2) to Ireland (not to exceed a total of
$4,900). Prize package includes the following:

Roundtrip air transportation from a major airport nearest the winner’s home
address to Dublin, Ireland.
Six (6) nights hotel/B&B accommodations.
Seven (7) days economy rental car.

Winner will coordinate with the designated travel agent or Sponsor representative to
organize and plan this vacation package (not to exceed $4,900). Travel must be booked
within (6) months of award date and travel must be completed within one (1) year of
award date.

Sounds like a great chance to explore Ireland.

This sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of entry. You must also be willing to use Facebook to enter.

Limit: You may enter one (1) time during the Sweepstakes Period excluding BONUS entries. You may not enter using more than one Facebook account. Earn one (1) BONUS entry for each friend you refer/share on Facebook, Twitter or via Email who enters the Sweepstakes. The same friend cannot be referred more than once by any one person.

You have to enter by July 26th, 2013.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO ENTER!!!

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Article: Ireland’s 9 Most Memorable Hotels

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.

Read more here.

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Article: Ireland’s best trips: Ancient Ireland

Ireland is a road-tripper’s dream, with scenery and history in every direction. To turn your car into an instant time machine, all you have to do is hit the road and wind your way through middle Ireland’s collection of ancient tombs, Celtic sites and monastic cities, covering 3000 years in just four days.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ireland/travel-tips-and-articles/77670#ixzz2OHm9IeoL

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Article: 10 Interesting Facts About the Irish

Listverse has an interesting list of 10 facts about the Irish that’s worth a reader. Check it out here.

Eire Alert: Win a Trip to Ireland from Irish Spring

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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.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO ENTER!!!

The History of the Flag of Ireland

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.