Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tourism Ireland’s latest promotion to help spread the word about The Gathering Ireland 2013 has become an internet sensation with its video‘We’ve Saved you a Seat’ clocking up over 580,000 views on YouTube since its launch.
The video, starring Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell,is a cheeky and humorous introduction to The Gathering by the film’s ‘hero’ Maxwell as he highlights various Gathering events – including theRedhead Convention, the Left-handed Festival, the Town of 1,000 Beards and theMessiah Gathering. It’s punchy and fast and full of humour (including Andrew Maxwell donning a Michael Flatley wig as he ‘Riverdances’ through Dublin’s famous cobbled streets in Temple Bar!) with Maxwell ably assisted by a supporting cast of hundreds all inviting the world to ‘be part of it’. Watch ithere.
The Gathering is Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative, consisting of a year-long programme of over 3,000 festivals, events and gatherings in all corners of country. Young or old there is a Gathering for everyone to enjoy with forthcoming highlights including:
· The Riverdance Festival, seven days of foot tapping fun from the world renowned Riverdance troop - including an attempt to break the world record at the longest Riverdance performance along the banks of Dublin’s River Liffey!
· 25 internationalsports tournaments with teams from Canada, the USA, UK and Europe competing.
· The unforgettableRedhead Convention, the Left-Handed Festival and Bog Snorkeling Championships!
· Choral Gatherings includingThe Messiah Gathering, Cork Choral Gathering and the inaugural Limerick Sings event.
· Arts, music and food festivals up and down the country from Kilkenny, to Waterford, to the isle of Inisboffin.
· Members of the tribes of Galway living in North America are invited to compete in anOyster eating competition at next year’s Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.
· A special jazz Gathering at theGuinness Cork Jazz Festival with over 1,000 music students from around the world in Ireland for a weekend of free jazz education.
Share the video you’re your friends on Facebook using the app:
For further information about The Gathering visit:

St. Austell's Station, Cornwall
       BritRail has announced the launch of its newest rail pass: the BritRail South West Pass! The BritRail South West Pass includes travel from London, through the lush hills of the Cotswolds, along England’s scenic coastline and onto popular stops in Wales, including Cardiff and Swansea. The addition of this new rail pass provides travelers with even more options when selecting the pass that best suits their travel plans, as there are now an unprecedented seven BritRail Passes to choose from, offering the best value for any UK trip!
       The BritRailSouth West Pass provides visitors with the flexibility to travel throughout Great Britain’s charming Southwest region, while enjoying unlimited train trips on each travel day and the ability to hop on and off trains en route. For example, pass holders can begin their journey in London where some of the world’s most visited sights and attractions await, then discover the city of Bath, with its Roman baths and Georgian architecture, head to Oxford, the home of England’s oldest university, and visit Windsor Castle, Salisbury Cathedral, King Arthur’s round table in Winchester and any stop in between.
       The Southwest coast also boasts popular destinations and beautiful seaside resorts such as Torquay, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Additionally, travelers can head to St. Ives’ beach and be in for a truly scenic ride through Cornwall and Devon. The journey includes stops in the picturesque waterfront towns of Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance along the way; the ideal getaway for leisure travel and family holidays! The region also has a number of golf courses near Bristol, Newquay, Barnstable, plus, Celtic Manor Resort in South Wales which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup, where golf enthusiasts can play a few rounds while taking in the stunning surrounding landscapes.
       The BritRailSouth West Pass is available in First or Standard Class. And for those looking for the complete First Class experience, we suggest the UK’s only on-train fine dining restaurant, Pullman Dining, which is available on select departures for lunch between Plymouth and London and dinner between London and Penzance. With a range of validities from 3 days to 1 month, this rail pass covers most mainline and branch line carriages operated by First Great Western, South West Trains and Heathrow Express trains. With over 280 rail stations, the BritRail South West Pass offers great value and convenience for travel in the UK’s Southwest region.
       To get your BritRail Pass visit www.ACPRail.com or www.BritRail.com, call ACP Rail’s Call Center at 1 866 938-RAIL (North America) or book through your local travel agent. Remember to buy before taking flight as BritRail Passes cannot be purchased in Britain.
Photo copyright Anne Gordon.

Friday, February 1, 2013


“In Dublin's fair city, where girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
She wheeled a wheelbarrow, through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels al-live, a-live oh.”
On Grafton Street make the aquaintance of Molly Malone, a comely young fishmonger whose story is told in Dublin's famous anthem of the same name. Molly, like the The Spire of Dublin, enjoys a litany of appelations: the Tart with the Cart, the Trollop with the Scallops, Flirt in the Skirt, the Dish with the Fish and the Dolly with the Trolley.

To visit Dublin and not see its statues would be for more reasons than one, a regrettable mistake.

The Irish in their irreverent but witty way have given nicknames to just about every statue and memorial in the city. Replacing O'Connell Street's Nelson's Pillar that was blown up by the IRA in 1966, is a tall slender spike, the Spire of Dublin, that has attracted huge attention. Waxing lyrical as only an Irishman can, its epithets include The Spike, The Stiletto in the Ghetto, The Stiffey at the Liffey, the Erection in the Intersection, The Nail in the Pale and the Binge Syringe.

James Joyce, a well-known Irish writer whose statue is on North Earl Street, is known as the Prick with a Stick.

When crossing Dublin's famous Ha'penny Bridge, there is a statue of two women chatting with their shopping at their feet. They're known as the Hags with the Bags.
And in Croppy Acre Memorial Park, Livia Plurabelle, a character in James Joyce's 'Finnegan's Wake' reclines in sensuous abandon in a pond. She's known as The Floozie in the Jacuzzi.
A tour guide recommendation: Contact Irwin Johnston, accredited by Failte Ireland - E-mail: johnstons@eircom.net.
For more about Ireland and the 2013 Gathering festivals and events visit the following websites:
All images are Anne Gordon's copyright.
Posted by Anne Gordon on Friday 1st February, 2013