Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ireland Hospitality & Tourism Awards 2010

Here are the Winners according to Georgina Campbell Awards for 2010


Chef of the year: Henry Stone, Sha-Roe Bistro, Clonegal, Co Carlow

Restaurant of the year: L’Ecrivain, Dublin

Hotel of the year: Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare, Co Wexford

Pub of the year: Hargadon’s, Sligo

Bord Bia award for using local produce: Harry’s, Bridgend, Co Donegal

Ethnic restaurant of the year: China Sichuan, Dublin

Natural food award: Boyle’s of Dromore, Co Down

Hideaway of the year: Saratoga Lodge, Templemore, Co Tipperary

Taste of the waterways award: Keenan’s of Tarmonbarry, Co Roscommon

Wine award of the year: Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare, Co Wexford

Hosts of the year: Neil and Noreen Harrington, Virginia’s Guesthouse, Kenmare

Business hotel of the year: Crowne Plaza, Dublin airport

Family friendly destination of the year: Ballyvolane House, Fermoy, Co Cork

Atmospheric restaurant of the year: L’Atmosphère, Waterford

Newcomer of the year: The Fatted Calf, Glasson, Co Westmeath

Country house of the year: Marlfield House, Gorey, Co Wexford

Guesthouse of the year: I vyleigh House, Portlaoise, Co Laois

Farmhouse of the year: Lough Bishop House, Collinstown, Co Westmeath

BB of the year : Carlingford House, Carlingford, Co Louth

Casual dining award: Miss Courtney’s Tea Rooms, Killarney, Co Kerry

Green Ireland hospitality award: Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Recess, Co Galway

National breakfast of the year award: Ivyleigh House, Portlaoise, Co Laois

Best hotel breakfast: Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare, Co Wexford

Best farmhouse breakfast: Lough Bishop House, Collinstown, Co Westmeath

Best guesthouse breakfast : Ivyleigh House, Portlaoise, Co Laois

Best B&B breakfast: Carlingford House, Carlingford, Co Louth

Georgina Campbell award for outstanding contribution: Johnny and Lucy Madden, Hilton Park, Clones, Co Monaghan

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The 4 Best Day Tours out of Dublin

We are often asked what are the four best day tours to take out of Dublin City.

Here are my top four recommendations.

1. The Wicklow Mountains & Powerscourt Gardens
2. Russborough House & The National Stud
3. Kilkenny Castle & The Rock of Cashel
4. Trim Castle & Newgrange Boyne Valley Tour

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Sign in A Small Public Dancehall on The Beara Peninsula


I really liked this little sign i saw in a small dancehall in a tiny colourful village called Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula. The village is impossibly quaint and very colourful and romantic. I guess the sign has seen the Celtic Tiger come and go and the folks down there still dance the nights away oblivious to the rest of the world.
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Our New Highlights of Ring of Kerry Tour

Many of Our Guests ask for a shortened version of the Ring of Kerry which can be quite long especially if the day is combined with Muckross House & Gardens. Here is our suggested Tour.

Highlights of The Ring of Kerry Tour takes in the very best of this magical peninsula in a unique and unforgettable drive through the heart of the National Park. From Killarney and the Muckross Estate the narrow road winds up to Ladies View and Molls Gap where panoramic view of the lakes and distant peaks form a picturesque stop. We continue to explore this region in depth by travelling into the Black Valley where a blanket bog land is still harvested. Finally we ascend at the Gap of Dunloe driving though a magical valley of quintessential Irish beauty. Ending the tour we can make a stop at Kate Kearney’s Cottage where the adventitious can end the tour on foot or by horse drawn cart.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Irelands Best & Best Kept Secrets

With its endlessly green hills, dramatic cliffs, infectious music, and welcoming good nature, Ireland is hard to beat as a vacation destination. As St. Patrick's Day approaches, what better time to take a tour of Ireland's (and Northern Ireland's) best attractions, not to mention a few of their best-kept secrets?

Dingle Peninsula

Consistently voted one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Dingle Peninsula wins the hearts of so many with its lush landscape, which includes narrow cliff-side roads, mountain ranges, and sandy beaches. Jutting 30 miles into the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland's southwest coast, the peninsula offers unmatched sightseeing, surfing, swimming, and walking trails. The small market town and fishing port of Dingle provides a great place to listen to live music, grab a pint, and rest your head for the evening.

Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne

Located in Downhill Demesne near Castlerock, the Mussenden Temple is precipitously perched atop a 120-foot cliff edge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Originally built in 1785 as a summer library, the temple forms part of the estate of Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol, and its dramatic setting offers unparalleled views of the surrounding area. Visitors are welcome to explore the 18th-century ruins of the mansion, take a cliff-side walk, stroll along the gardens, or learn about 17th-century life in one of Northern Ireland's oldest surviving buildings, the Hezlett House.

Giant's Causeway

The only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland, the Giant's Causeway is one of the world's truly must-see destinations. Once said to have been built by giants, the 40,000 or so hexagonal columns were actually formed by volcanic eruptions. The legends that surround this area run deep, however, and visitors may get swept up in the myths of massive men and shipwrecks—Girona of the Spanish Armada foundered here in 1588—by walking among the stones.

The Burren

With more than 100 square miles of natural limestone in County Clare offering ancient stone structures, grassy fields, caves, and jagged countryside, the Burren is an explorer's dream. Among the top sites to see while visiting are the Ailwee Caves, a two million year old cave system; the Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen, an ancient stone tomb dating between 2,000 and 2,500 B.C.; Leamaneh Castle, with its 15th-century residential tower and 17th-century fortified home; and Caherconnell Stone Fort, a nearly perfectly preserved structure dating back between 400 and 1200 A.D.


About an hour south of Dublin, Glendalough, or Valley of the Two Lakes, houses the ruins of what was once one of the leading monastic settlements in Ireland. A hermit monk named Saint Kevin founded the monastery before his death in about 618. The settlement flourished for the next 600 years. Today, visitors can explore stone structures, churches, a cathedral, a round tower, and a cemetery.

Cliffs of Moher

One of the most photographed places in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher ascend more than 700 feet above the water and cover nearly five miles. The dramatic cliffs are home to several species of sea birds, including the only mainland colony of Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, and Choughs. Visitors are welcome to climb the stairs leading to O'Brien's Tower, which provides panoramic views. On a clear day, you may even catch a glimpse of the Aran Islands.

Ring of Kerry

Medieval ruins, sandy beaches, lakes, mountains, a lush forest, and a jagged coastline all call the Ring of Kerry home. Part of the Iveragh Peninsula, it's 110 miles of pure beauty. The drive takes place in County Kerry in southwestern Ireland, and begins and ends in the town of Killarney, which makes a good base camp for a trip. It's easy to travel the circuit in one day, but to see some of the sites off the beaten path, such as Valencia Island and the Gaeltacht area around Portmagee, requires a bit more time.

Aran Islands

Located in Galway Bay, the three Aran Islands provide a perfect glimpse into some enduring Irish traditions—Gaelic is still spoken and most people get around by horse and buggy or bike. The largest of the three islands, Inis Mor, is the most well-known and offers the greatest amount of modern-day conveniences. Inis Meain, or the middle island, is the least visited and clings proudly to its Irish cultural tradition. On a clear day, Inis Oirr, or the East Island, provides unparalleled views of the Cliffs of Moher.

Skellig Michael

Just eight miles off the coast of Portmagee and towering more than 700 feet above the water, you will find the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael, which houses a well-preserved sixth century monastic settlement. Visitors are welcome to walk in the footsteps of the monks who once inhabited this island by climbing the 670 steps leading to the now abandoned beehive-shaped huts. Puffins make the island their home in the late spring, while gannets consume every ledge on the nearby Little Skellig.


Once briefly named "Queenstown" in honor of a visit from Queen Victoria in 1849, Cobh reverted to its original name in 1921. Located on the Great Island in Cork Harbor, the town's streets climb a hill crowned by a cathedral overlooking the water. As the embarkation point, including the Titanic's last port of call, to America, Cobh was the last glimpse of Ireland for many people.

Article Appeared in USA Today Newspaper

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guided Golf Tours of Ireland - 2010 - Our Top 10 Courses

Our Golfing Tours Take in the highlights of Irelands most beautiful regions .Ireland is known to have over 30% of all the links courses in the world and also some very well known parkland courses.The Most famous and most requested golf courses on our private guided tours are as follows.

1. Old Head of Kinsale - Kinsale, Co Cork - Most Beautiful Location
2. Waterville Links - Waterville, Co Kerry. - Spectacular Coastal Links
3. Mahoney Point, Killarney, Co Kerry - For Lakes & Mountain Views
4. Ballybunion Old - Ballybunion, Co Kerry - Challenging & Amazing
5. Lahinch Links -Lahinch, Co Clare - Historically The First Links Course
6. Doonbeg Links - Doonbeg, Co Clare - New & Great Links Course
7. The K Club - Straffan, Co Kildare. - Home of the Ryder Cup.
8. Portmarnock Old - Dublin, Co Dublin. - Near the city but on the coast
9. Royal County Down - Newcastle, Co Down. -Worlds Top 10 Ranked.
10. Ballyliffen Links - Ballyliffen, Co Donegal - Very Best in the North West
* We can also arrange special tours with our golf specialist guides if this is requested.This will give you the best ever golf tour of IRELAND, GUARANTEED.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Private Guided Tours of Ireland 2010 . Why ?? 10 Reasons Why !!

I often get asked the Question " Why a Private Guided Tour of Ireland ? " There are of course other options such as self drive, coach tours, Paddywagons, Bicycles, Horse and Trap, cruises and lots lots more.

However in my humble option the private guided tour gives the best of all the above for the following ten reasons.

1. You have complete independence to decide where to go and when to go there. We will guide you but of course the decisions are ultimately yours.

2. You get to travel in style. You get more comfort than a self drive and certainly more comfort than been crammed on a bus.

3. You have a living guidebook on your tour that will bring the landscape, the people and the culture to life for you. They will also help you to meet locals in their natural habitats ( ie the pubs, cafes, restaurants, shops and street corners)

4. You get years of expertise and guidance which is only learned through many travels through the emerald green landscapes.

5. You will only ever get lost if you really want to .. unless we go tracking down your lost lost relatives in a town that has ceased to exist .. that has happened !!
6. Relaxation, relaxation, relaxation .. is that what being on holiday is all about !!
7. Contributing to the local economy. We are a local company based in Ireland and all our driver guides are Irish .. we are guaranteed 100% Irish !!

8. We make the trip seamless for you that all you have to do is turn up at the airport, port, hotel etc and we take care of everything else.

9. You will certainly see and hear things you would never see or hear on a self drive or bus tour .. that is a guarantee.

10. Makes your friends envious .. tell them your "Taking a private Guided Tour of Ireland" .. they will wonder how you got so smart all of a sudden...

Shane Leahy

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

St Patricks Week Tour of Ireland 2010

Hi All,

We have created a wonderful 10 day / 9 night itinerary for those wishing to visit the Emerald Isle for St Patricks week in 2010.

Its a great time to visit Ireland for the following reasons.

1. Its Spring, Its Ireland, Green grass and yellow daffodils !!
2. St Patricks week is full of festivities and events.
3. Its still low season so the tour is 15 - 20% cheaper than high season prices.
4. We promise not to make you eat corned beef and cabbage and drink green beer ..
5. You get to dress in green and wear a ubiquitous leprechaun hat and beard.

Do you need any other reasons to visit the Emerald Isle in March .. think of it as Mardi Gras with "Green" instead of "Gras" ..

Tour is featured on this link and of course can be fully customized to your exact requirements .. we look forward to showing Ireland at the most Irish time of year.

On our sample tour we have Cork as the city to spend St Patricks Day. Why ? Cork was voted in the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2010 by Lonely Planet. Its a vibrant city with great culture and food scene and the main street is called St Patricks Street .. its ideal for the occasion.

Shane Leahy