ISLE magazine: Book an Escape in Ireland in 2015
While it is certainly nice to have a few gifts to open on Christmas Day- there is nothing like having a special getaway booked for early in 2015 to give you something to look forward to.
In each issue of the magazine we feature getaways and whenever we can we try to get away to different part of the country ourselves. So, where does one go? And what kind of getaway do you want? Are you looking for the full on relaxed spa treatments and delicious meals? Or somewhere that gets you outside and makes you get active to shake free some of those extra pounds you've accumulated over the holidays?
A great website to visit first is Ireland's Blue Book site. They celebrate their 40th Anniversary this year.
Forty years ago, in 1974, Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House (who recently turned 90) was the first President of Ireland’s Blue Book and a founding member. Today this collection of Irish Country Houses, Manor Houses, Historic Hotels, Castles and even a lighthouse includes forty-six different properties throughout the island of Ireland.
Latest additions to the collection ... more
ISLE magazine: Christmas Markets and Irish Handmade Gifts
Today is December 1st ! The countdown is seriously on now for getting all ready for the big day. We previously published our 10 Irish Food Gift Ideas on our blog so hope you'll find that list helpful. We feel most people enjoy to be treated to special food gifts.
Christmas markets all opened throughout Ireland last week and while many will stay open all through December - some will only be open for one or two days. We've compiled a list of some of those coming up. They are a great place to buy not only Irish food gifts along but also other handmade Irish gifts. We'll list what we can here but also check out our Facebook page - starting today we'll be doing the 12 Days of Christmas gift ideas as well.
Opening this Thursday and running until December 7, the National Craft and Design Fair is held at the RDS in Dublin. Here at ISLE we always find a wonderful range of gifts here to brighten your home or fill your kitchen cupboards and it is a source of ... more
Desi Kenny's Christmas Book List
Desi Kenny has been contributing to ISLE magazine for the last few issues and because we've decided to postpone the next issue until 2015 we are publishing his book list up on our blog instead.
Des Kenny was born in Galway and a member of the Kenny Family who have been selling books since 1940. He was educated in Galway and Paris and jokingly says that he has been selling books since before he was born. You can purchase all the books he has reviewed from (FREE worldwide shipping) www.kennys.ie
1. The Hidden People by Joe McGowan
From the pen of renowned Sligo author and folklorist Joe McGowan comes another wonderful collection of short stories and memories celebrating an Ireland that is no longer with us. Ranging from the intricacies of village life to the thrilling climax of an Irish emigrant in Vietnam these tales reveal a delightful panorama of village life in all its vicissitudes.
2. Dorothy Stopford Price Rebel Doctor by Anne MacLellan
A biography of this fascinating woman who not only played a key role in eradicating TB in Ireland by introducing the BCG to Ireland ... more
10 Irish Food Gifts for Christmas 2014
Christmas is just about upon us and once again this year we wanted to share some of our favourite foodie finds for the year.
Christmas time is of course a time filled with gifts and food and we think that food makes a wonderful gift because it is a time to treat our friends and loved ones with delicious goodies to savour and enjoy together. So, once again, we've rounded up 10 of our favourites (this is by no means all we love but we had to limit the list for the purpose of this blog post).
1. Burren Smokehouse Salmon - We just love this company. In the Premier Issue of the magazine we did a big feature on Birgitta and Peter Curtin. To read that piece - go to our 1st Issue in our Archive. The smokehouse is based in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare and next door is the Roadhouse Tavern where Peter has the Burren Brewery. We love their salmon year round - serve it with brown bread and a bowl of soup, give it as a gift, serve it as a starter ... more
Our Founder, Lisa McGee, Plans for Thanksgiving
I've been preparing for 2 radio interviews with West Limerick 201FM. The first will air on Tuesday, November 25th (2 days before Thanksgiving) and so I've been reminiscing about Thanksgivings in America but also how I've kept the tradition alive here in Ireland with family and friends.
Every year since moving from New York to Ireland in 2007 we celebrate Thanksgiving with three families of us that live in Nenagh. We all lived in New York at the same time and moved back to Ireland over a three year period - so each year we alternate between houses and celebrate together.
Without fail, I always bring my sausage stuffing. The recipe was originally published in my book, At Home in Nantucket (published in 2004) and I've been creating slightly different versions of it each year - slightly adapting it depending on availability of ingredients. The hardest adjustment for me moving to Ireland was believe it or not, the sausage content. In the States you can buy a roll of sausage meat that has quite a good substance to it and is already well seasoned so I ... more
ISLE magazine: Visits the Sligo Coast
Somehow the summer slipped away very quickly this year probably because I spent much of it exploring parts of Ireland I had never visited before. Sligo was my destination in early June. Until now I had only really driven through Sligo en route to Donegal but the most stunning natural landmark for me is Ben Bulben. Ben Bulben, for those of you who don’t know, is a large rock formation that is part of the Dartry Mountains. It rises above the road heading North out of Sligo town and is a prominent point of reference from anywhere in the area. Below is buried Sligo’s most famous native son, William B. Yeats, in the graveyard at Drumcliff Church.
I visited Sligo thanks to the invitation to join a group of bloggers and journalists who had been invited in the lead up to the So Sligo Food Festival and to discover some of the delights the county has to offer. We were not to be disappointed!
Next year's festival takes place on the 10-14th of June and coincides with the 150th Birthday of Yeats - be sure to save ... more
ISLE magazine: Breaks Away to Belfast
In the last few years, I’ve visited Belfast over five times. The new motorways make it easy to break away to Belfast. Of course Belfast is known for its troubled history but today the city has much to offer visitors. The highlights for me are many – far too many to cover here but here is a selection of my top recommendations.
I actually returned from Belfast this past Saturday and coincidentally The Irish Times ran a piece the same day about the difference in the numbers of visitors travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Surprisingly, very few people from the Republic are travelling to visit Northern Ireland in comparison to those in the North coming South. What a shame that there is such a vast difference. According to the Irish Times - in 2013, 400,000 people from the Republic went to Northern Ireland for a least one night but an overwhelming 1.6 million people from the North travelled to the Republic for at least one night.
Northern Ireland has plenty to offer both for city visits and for attractions and natural beauty. In Issue ... more
ISLE magazine: Escapes to the Burren
At a recent launch for the Cliffs of Moher Geopark (www.burrengeopark.ie) in Lisdoonvarna, I was reminded just how much this region has to offer. Geologically this region has a barren limestone landscape that is home to an amazing amount of flora including Arctic and Alpine flowers. There are caves such as Doolin (www.doolincave.ie) and Aillwee Cave (www.aillweecave.ie) to explore and of course the majestic Cliffs of Moher (www.cliffsofmoher.ie) are also a spectacle to behold. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors in the Burren and ecotourism is thriving (www.burrenecotourism.com) . Visit the Burren Outdoor Education Centre (www.burrenoec.com) - enjoy a range of activities from rock climbing and kayaking to hill walking. You can go surfing in Fanore at the Aloha Surf School (www.surfschool.tv) or go sea kayaking in North Clare (www.northclareseakayaking.com). Be sure to check out a range of walks and hiking experiences as well– www.mullaghmore-burren.com, www.burrenguidedwalks.com, or www.heartofburrenwalks.com.
[caption id="attachment_637" align="aligncenter" width="717"] Landscape in the Burren.[/caption]
When it comes to food in the Burren this is something I know a bit ... more
ISLE magazine: Checks out Family Outings for Mid-Term Break
Thanks to Discover Ireland for sharing with us this great list of ideas to do all over the island this mid-term break
Climb every mountain!
Scale new heights and bond with the family on a climb to the top of an Irish mountain. You haven’t lived until you can say – ‘our family climbed Croagh Patrick’! Base yourselves in Westport, Co. Mayo, where you can make the most of the town’s super family facilities. Enjoy adventure playgrounds and pedal boating in the grounds of Westport House, www.westporthouse.ie or discover more about our rich history at the Famine Museum and Grainne Uaile Centre nearby. You can dip into the Greenway with its cycling and walking routes stretching out to Achill Island. www.greenway.ie.
[caption id="attachment_598" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Croagh Patrick[/caption]
In Co. Kerry attack the mighty McGillycuddy Reeks with the encouragement of an entertaining mountain guide from Hidden Ireland Adventures. Choose from a range of trails suited to all ages and abilities and don’t forget to pack a picnic and bring a camera to record those special moments. www.hiddenirelandadventures.com Combine a living history lesson ... more
ISLE magazine: Celebrates Valentine's Day in Ireland - Irish Tokens of Love
Once again the day for love is here again and regardless what you think or feel about it - we decided it was time to celebrate Valentine's Day in Ireland - Irish Tokens of Love - both traditional and contemporary.
Of course, the most common symbol that anyone Irish can relate to is the claddagh. The symbol itself is most commonly found on traditional claddagh rings, however, you can be sure to find it in many other places too. It represents love, loyalty, and friendship (the hands represent friendship; the heart represents love; and the crown represents loyalty).
[caption id="attachment_578" align="alignleft" width="221"] A claddagh drawn with Shamrocks.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_579" align="alignright" width="168"] A typical claddagh ring.[/caption]
The Harvest Knot or Love Token. Traditionally these knots were made from straw to give to a loved one and you can see them on display at the National Museum of Ireland along with wedding dresses, rings and other tokens of affection.
[caption id="attachment_587" align="aligncenter" width="270"] A harvest knot[/caption]
The following are on display in the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks.
• Harvest ... more