If you book by the end of March, you will receive a 15 per cent discount on the 2016 tours offered by http://www.irishtourism.com
, and this can make some of the offerings quite reasonable. For example, a 10-day tour of the West of Ireland starts, with the discount, at $578 per person and includes accommodation in bed and breakfast places, plus a final night at the luxury Dromoland Castle Hotel. Transportation and some tours are also included, but the price applies only in low season.
The western part of Ireland is the most authentic, the region where Gaelic is still spoken by some. Gaelic is a required course in Irish schools, but few people actually use it in daily life. The West is also a very scenic area, from the Ring of Kerry with its lakes to the Cliffs of Moher facing the Atlantic and Connemara, the wild windswept plains near Galway.
This was traditionally the poorest part of the country, the region hardest hit by the famine of the 19th century. While St. Patrick's Day is just past, Ireland is still in the news because this weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, one of the many events which led to Irish independence from Britain.
Ireland is a beautiful country and well worth visiting for scenery, culture and tragic history. It reminds me in some ways of Ukraine, a country which long struggled to be free of rule by its larger (and quite similar) neighbour. Most of my ancestors came from Ireland, so it is hard for me to be objective about the place.
The U.S. State Department recently issued a warning for Americans planning to travel anywhere in Europe to be aware of terrorist threats, so look for more discounts on tours to European destinations.
Labels: Connemara, Gaelic, Galway, Ireland