Hill of Tara, County Meath

A site of mythical importance, Tara was the political and spiritual centre of Celtic Ireland and the seat of the High Kings until the 11th century. The spread of Christianity, which eroded the importance of Tara, is marked by a statue of St Patrick. The symbolism of the site was not lost on Daniel O’Connell, who chose Tara for a rally in 1843, attended by over one million people.

Tours from the Interpretative Centre point out of Stone Age passage grave and Iron Age hill forts, though to the untutored eye, these earthworks look like mere hollows and grassy mounds. Clearest is the Royal Enclosure, an oval fort, in the centre of which is Cormac’s House containing the stone of destiny (Lialh Fail), an ancient fertility symbol and inauguration stone of the High Kings. However, all this is secondary to the poignant atmosphere and views over the Boyne Valley.

The Hill of Tara is a must see on your Ireland tours.

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Phoenix Park, Dublin

A little to the West of the city centre, ringed by a wall 11km (7 miles) long, is Europe’s largest enclosed city park. Phoenix Park is over 1700 acres in size. The name Phoenix is said to be a corruption of the Gaelic Fionn Uisce, meaning clear water. This refers to a spring that rises near the Phoenix Column which, to add confusion, is crowned by a statue of the mythical bird.

Phoenix Park originated in 1662, when the Duke of Ormonde turned the land into a deer park. Deer still roam in the park today. In 1745 it was landscaped and opened to the public by Lord Chesterfield.

Near Park Gate is the lakeside People’s Garden the only part of the park which has been cultivated. A little further on is the famous Dublin Zoo. In addition to the Phoenix Column, the park has two other striking monuments.

The Wellington Testimonial, a 63m obelisk, was begun in 1817 and completed in 1861. It allegedly took so long to be built because of the Duke of Wellington’s fall from public favour. Its bronze bas-reliefs were made from captured French cannons. The 27m steel Papal Cross marks the spot where the Pope celebrated Mass in front of one million people in 1979. Buildings within the park include two 18th century houses Aras an Uachtarain the Irish President’s official residence, was built in 1751 and was home to various British viceroys until it became the residence of the president in 1937. The other is Deerfield, the residence of the US Ambassador and once the home of Lord Cavendish, the British Chief Secretary for Ireland who was murdered in 1882 by an Irish nationalist.

The only building open to the public is Ashtown Castle, a restored 17th century tower house which contains the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre. Five times the size of Hyde Park in London and over double the size of New York’s Central Park, Phoenix Park is large enough to accommodate playing fields for Gaelic football, hurling and polo, and running and cycling trails. It also has a motor racing track and facilities for horse riding.

Phoenix Park is a must-see attraction and is worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.

Glin, County Limerick

This charming village on the banks of the Shannon is the seat of the Knights of Glin, a branch of the Fitzgerald’s who have lived in the district for seven centuries. Their first medieval castle is a ruin, but west of the village you can see their newer ancestral home, Glin Castle. Originally built in 1780, the Georgian manor succumbed to the vogue for Gothic romance in the 1820s, when it acquired battlements and gingerbread lodges. There is some fine stuccowork and 18th century furniture inside.

Glin is a hidden gem that is worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.

Glen of Aherlow, County Tipperary

The lush valley of the River Aherlow runs between the Galty Mountains and the wooded ridge of Slievenamuck. Bounded by the villages of Galbally and Bansha, the glen was historically an important pass between Limerick and Tipperary and a notorious hideout for outlaws.

Today there are opportunities for riding, cycling, rambling and fishing. Lowland walks follow the trout-filled river along the valley floor. More adventurous walkers will be tempted by the Galty range, which offers more rugged hill-walking, past wooded foothills, mountain streams, tiny corrie lakes and splendid sandstone peaks.

The Glen of Aherlow is a hidden gem, contact us now to organise your Ireland tour.

Southeast Dublin

Despite its location close to the old walled city, this part of Dublin remained virtually undeveloped until the founding of Trinity College in 1592. Even then, it was almost a hundred years before the ancient common land further south was enclosed to create St Stephen’s Green, a spacious city park.

The mid-18th century saw the beginning of a construction boom in the area. During this time, magnificent public buildings such as the Old Library at Trinity College, Leinster House and the Bank of Ireland were built. However, the most conspicuous reminders of Georgian Dublin are the beautiful squares and terraces around Merrion Square. Many of these buildings still have their original features, including door-knockers, fanlights and wrought-iron balconies.

Today, Southeast Dublin is very much the heart of the city: few visitors can resist the lively atmosphere and attractive shops of Grafton Street. The area is also home to much of Ireland’s cultural heritage. The National Gallery has a good collection of Irish and European paintings while the National Museum has superb displays of Irish Bronze Age gold and early Christian treasures. Nearby, the fascinating Natural History Museum has preserved its wonderful Victorian interior.

Southeast Dublin is a must see attraction on your tours of Ireland.

Traveling with your Cat Requires an Auto Cat Feeder

Most folks who’ve traveled with their feline know the finicky appetites they have. They also know that when they’re hungry, they’re going to hurt someone unless they get their food. These mood swings in your cat can be very difficult for most pet owners, especially when the cat knows you’re the one responsible for feeding her. And when traveling with your pet, you know that sometimes it’s just too much of each other that causes some difficult times.

Avoid passive aggressive cats


Knowing the signs of an upset cat

If your cat has erratic behavior, pay attention to the times of day this happens. If there are certain times when she gets more aggressive with you and her toys or playmates or claws at strangers, it might be a sign that your little kitty is experiencing some low blood sugar levels due to being too hungry. When humans get hungry, they will often experience mood swings, which most likely come out in aggression or meanness towards others. If you notice this in someone or in yourself, you usually reach for a snickers bar or something similar to bring your levels back to normal. Taking this self-awareness into an otherwise wild animal, to project human qualities onto her, would speak the same things if you’re paying attention. Doing this will help you manage food aggression in your cat.

What happens after a meal

When your cat gets his fill, how does he act? Isn’t he more pleasant to be around? You’ll notice elevated levels of serotonin, or whatever the feline equivalent is.   What if there was a way to not only redirect a cat’s aggression related to meal times and eating habits away from you, the owner, to another inanimate object? You’d both be better off and your relationship will improve, guaranteed. And also, what if there was a way to make sure your little guy was getting the right food and in the right amounts throughout the day? You could surely see how this could help you to maintain some peace in the relationship. Especially when you travel.

When you’re traveling with your cat, it’s usually going to mean some close-quarters with the animal. Add to this that cats don’t like change very much, and many don’t like going on rides in cars.. forget the fact that you’re gone for days at a time and may be traveling extensively. This alone is enough to stress the cat out, so it’s a great idea to go ahead and grab some of the recommended resources we’ve put together for you when traveling this season with your cat.

1) The automated cat feeder

This little device will work wonders for the relationship. Not only will you garner some sense of peace in your relationship, you’ll also be able to stop the cat from seeing you as the antagonist / provider in relationship to food. If you’re the one with the key to the cat’s stomach, you’ll be both best friend and worst enemy. Don’t let this happen to you. It’ll ruin your chances for a genuine human-pet relationship. If the cat is able to separate you from his eating habits, the dynamic becomes much more pure. And you’ll get a more even-flow of behaviors and attitudes from el gato. Here’s a great auto cat feeder that I recommend that can help you with exactly this issue.

2) The  essential catnip

Now you might not be a proponent of catnip, I love it. But it’s a sometimes treat. Usually used to get the cat occupied for longer periods of time instead of clawing up the rug or my pants. If you’ve never used it, it’s kind of like putting your kids in front of a tv or mobile device. Not something you’d do all the time, but if used right it can be a very good thing for your relationship.

3) The laser pointer

No I know this is mean, but really, it’s a timeless joy. Using this to keep your little guy active is a no brainer. It’s funny for you, and the cat has no idea you’re the one controlling it. Win-win. Especially if he gets on your nerves, it might just be a cathartic way for you to inadvertently punish the cat without actually punishing him. Just food for thought here, but definitely worth keeping him occupied in more ways than one!

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Lammermuir Hills, South of Eyemouth

North of Duns, the low-lying Lammermuir Hills, with their extensive grouse moors, rolling farmland and wooded valleys, run east to west along the border with East Lothian. The hills are popular with walkers and there are numerous trails, including a section of the Southern Upland Way.

 

To the West, the Way can be accessed at Lauder, where it passes through the grounds of Thirlestane Castle. The narcissism and folly of the aristocracy is evident here perhaps more than in most ‘great homes’. Notice how many of the family portraits adorning the walls look similar? The extensive assemblage here is the result of the common practice of mass production used at the time. Many of the family have almost identical features, as the same bodies were used for their portraits with different clothes, faces and hands superimposed.

 

Thirlestane is also home to some of the finest plasterwork ceilings in Europe, and don’t miss Henry the Ram (a snuff box) in the dining room – kitsch beyond kitsch.

 

Lammeruir Hills is a must see attraction on your tours of Scotland.