Blarney Castle: More Than Just a Kissing Stone

Why do more than 400,000 people a year visit Blarney Castle, in the south-west of Ireland? I’d always assumed that they all went to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, and not much more. Certainly that’s what I did, on a long ago visit to the nearby town of Cork. But I had...

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The Historic Places of County Kerry

Ireland may be modern and vibrant, with a lively social scene, but it is also an ancient country. The first people arrived almost 10,000 years ago, travelling by boat from the continent of Europe. They soon began to leave their mark and today you will find evidence of...

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Books to Read Before You Visit Ireland

I’ve just booked my trip to Killarney in October, and I’ve been thinking about what books I’d recommend to anyone visiting Ireland for the first time. It’s not an easy task. Ireland’s long and sometimes troubled history, combined with a rich folklore, has provided...

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TBEX Killarney, A Sneak Preview

My first TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference was in Ireland, in the capital city of Dublin. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve been to all the TBEX European conferences since, as well as this year’s TBEX International in Jerusalem. In October this year, TBEX is...

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Staying in Trastevere, the “Other Side” of Rome

Across the river from the main city, Trastevere is Rome’s “left bank”. A slightly bohemian area of students and artisans, its old narrow streets packed with bars and restaurants. I’d never explored the district before, but on my recent trip to Rome I stayed in an...

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The Renaissance Art of the Villa Farnesina, Rome

Rome is full of art treasures. Grand buildings from every stage of history, churches full of statues and other artworks, and much, much more. So it would be easy to miss the Villa Farnesina. I discovered it by chance, passing it on an early morning walk. It was a...

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100 Presepi: A Christmas Exhibition in Rome

I first discovered presepi in Naples a few years ago. These are individually designed nativity scenes, a traditional Christmas decoration in Italian homes, but also found in churches and other public places. I thought of them as a southern Italian custom, but that was...

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