The greatest Irish vacation ever! starts with one destination.

The greatest Irish vacation, your Irish vacation, starts with one destination!

Greatest irish vacation









What destination is that, You ask?

Well that depends on what you most want to see, but the point is to have one spot, one thing, one place, to use as a focal point of your Irish vacation and build around that.

Now don’t worry we won’t leave you stranded on the road wondering which way to go. We will pick some destinations and build around one central theme being careful not to break my one most important rule for vacationing in Ireland.

The most important rule when visiting Ireland, to have the Greatest Irish vacation;

“Don’t cram too much traveling into too little time”

Destinations for a great Irish vacation.

Pick a region. I would say to narrow it down to a specific town if you can, but if you want a feel for Ireland pick a region.

The southeast,

  • Fly into Dublin stay a day or two, checkout Kilmainham jail, a session in O’Donoghues Pub, shop a bit on Grafton street, learn the bus schedules, golf at Portmarnock at 200 euro a round.
  • Head south to Wicklow. Visit the Powerscourt gardens, Powerscourt waterfall, and my favorite the Powerscourt golf course. Stay in the pleasant village of Enniskerry. Take a trip out to Glendalough monastery and St. Kevins church. Travel through the Wicklow Moutains and forest preservation. Visit the Avoca village.
  • Head south to Killkenny the home of Smithwicks ale, would be a shame not to sample. head to Cleeres Pub home of the longest running session in Ireland. Maybe head out on a river adventure with go with the flow river guides. Kilkenny city will have lots of people watching, pubs, restaurants, not to mention castles, museums, cathedrals, and of course summer festivals.
  • Now if I’m in Ireland for ten days I think I have probably filled 8 of them in just these three stops. I suppose if I were ambitious I would head on down to Waterford and back up the coast to Wexford as I continued back to Dublin through Bray and Howth. Waterford and The Copper coast have a plethora things to do, from eight family friendly beaches, kayaking along ocean caves, shore fishing, rock fishing, or charter boats. Maybe check out road bowling, maybe put a wager down on the local champ. Perhaps you want to go fly a kite, well go to the Duncannon Kite festival in Wexford

Now here’s the thing, the best times I’ve had traveling in Ireland, the greatest Irish vacations, have been in unexpected places with unexpected people. If you spend all your time in museums and tours or on tour buses or rental cars you tend to drive right past these possibilities.

I had planned to layout the different sections to checkout in Ireland breaking it down into four or five sections. but having gone from Dublin to Wicklow, down through Kilkenny, to the coast to Waterford, then north through Wexford and Back to Dublin, I’m spent.

If your travels take you to Dublin try checking out what the east and Copper coast have to offer, I think you’ll be amazed.

Next post the South coast of Ireland





Strike a blow for freedom this 4TH of July.

Strike a blow for freedom!

These days people think you are some sort of radical if you decide to celebrate the freedom fought for and attained by generations past. I believe it is the exact opposite. The radicals are those who wish to fundamentally change the values that make us uniquely American.

Now when I refer to striking a blow for freedom it may be a little different than some may think. I remember seeing a movie reel of President Harry Truman taking a shot of whiskey and saying “Strike a blow for freedom boys”. It always stuck with me.

I like the everyday man in the president. I liked that you could and should celebrate the freedom we enjoy here in America.

I have come to expand the types of libation used in this salute tho the good old U S of A. This must be where my love of a good pint and the right to live free intersect. I remember back in Ronald Reagan’s presidency there was a bitter fight between Reagan and the Congress. The government shut down, in theory. So on that  day in August under a beautiful blue sky I celebrated with a toast to freedom. For in the end We are the government not the bureaucrats or politicians. I rather liked that none of these office dwellers could influence my fate, even if it was only a day.

Now I know that rules exist for the safety and well being of we the people. I know that in order to provide a more peaceful union such laws are implemented. I fear that by today we have so many laws, regulations, ordinances, that some people can be attacked for doing very normal things, but I digress.

  • Today I wish to raise a toast and strike a blow for freedom to all those that get up everyday  and play by the rules.
  • I wish to strike a blow for freedom to those that create and play all the beautiful music I have been so lucky to hear.
  • I wish to strike a blow for freedom for all those that get off their duff and vote.
  • I wish to strike a blow for freedom for all those who have been told to shut up but talk anyway.
  • I wish to strike a blow for freedom to those who fight for my freedom, our freedom every day.

So it is with great pleasure that I raise my glass and show the words written so many years ago, that some would have you forget, and strike a blow for freedom.

strike a blow for freedom

The Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Happy Independence Day. Oh hell let’s do the full monty. And remember to read the list of signers to the Declaration of Independence who with their pledge risk their very lives;

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton


Why Irish eyes are smiling.

Irish eyes are smiling for the views they get to see

Irish eyes are smiling cause it’s where they wish to be

I envy those eyes that ramble through the glens, the meadows, and hills

I envy those eyes for sights so beautiful, up your back they send a chill


Of history past where heroes walked and their deeds were written down

And songs were sung of their bravery done against the royal crown

To walk the steps to the GPO or ponder by a strand,

freedom won, not to be out done, no feeling could be more grand


My Irish eyes in disguise from emigrant relations past

have seen some things amazing to me, and will always last

I have seen the Harp of Brian Boru in Trinity’s sacred hall

I have seen the spots we tourist must, and really had a ball


The Guinness House, the Cliffs of Moher, castles and spires tall

Hotels four stars with polished bars and gourmet feast and all

But the sights these Irish eyes enjoyed, much more than any other

Were the simple times spent with friends or golfing with my brother


Chats on end in cozy pubs, once we passed the locals approval

Or a simple pint at the end of the night regretting our removal

The times I spent with with some old gent hearing about Kinsale

It made me feel so welcome there like a brother of the gale


My travels fun have led me by these favorite things of mine

none of which can possibly beat a sweet and cold ninety nine

So to conclude this interlude of all things Irish, I do love

Ireland has and will always be, the best work, of the One Above

Irish eyes are smiling






Irish things to do for the summer, the best Irish things..

Irish things to do.

what Irish thing to do today?

Ah the lazy, hazy, crazy, days of summer are upon us. So of course I wish to put an Irish bent on Irish things to do. The best Irish things to do of course.

Irish things to do:

Find a festival.

If you happen to be traveling to Ireland there are a myriad of festivals, from plowing competitions, to potato festivals, to art festivals, feises and fleadhs. Find the one you like the best. Some are small and intimate and some are large extravaganzas like the Galway Arts festival, but small or large there is fun to be had.

If you are staying near home don’t fear as their are plenty of Irish fairs that take advantage of the summer weather. The fairs are nice but they do take a time commitment and sometimes I’m in the mood for something a little more laid back…so…..

Find some Irish music.

There is always some Irish music playing near you, sometimes you are lucky and a day of Irish music will come to town, like the CelticfestMilton which is playing June 26 2016 in Milton, ma.

My favorite Irish music opportunity is to find a good session. Now good session means different things to different people, but nothing screams contentment like great old Irish tunes being played well by great musicians. If you are in the Boston area checkout these venues for a good Irish session:

The Burren Somerville

The Druid Cambridge

The Brendan Behan Jamaica Plain

and for good singing acts Mr. Dooleys Boston has plenty of Boston’s best.


Now if you are looking for maybe the best of Irish things to do and maybe you don’t want to travel you might consider your own Irish music festival.

My favorite music selections and libations for my personal Irish festival

The Ivy leaf trad music, really good, with one or two songs as well, but mainly instrumental this link will take you to their site and you can buy their music if you choose

Once you have a nice base of trad it’s time for the Irish music legend Luke Kelly, I like Luke Kelly’s greatest hits but you can’t go wrong with anything from the legend who was Luke Kelly.

Then you have other choices to steer your Irish festival, these are your Irish things so what direction you go in is up to you. Maybe, Women of Irish music, Mary Black, Frances Black, Delores Keane. Maybe a bit new wave with Luka Bloom or Lunasa. Maybe a little rockier with the Cranberries or the Corrs, or full on rock with Rory Gallagher or Thin Lizzy. Then there are always the Chieftains, Van Morrison, Paddy Reilly, or the Undertones.

Once you have your music selections you going to need some food and libation.

There is a great book A course called Ireland about traveling Ireland and golfing where the author describes a meal served to his group in an upscale hotel,

“each table was brought the same sides to share along with carrots and greens came a generous helping of au gratin potatoes, a banquet sized bowl of boiled potatoes,and a baked potato for each of us.” I knew I’ld been in Ireland too long when three sides of potatoes didn’t strike me as funny, but in the face of so much starch, the guy next to us stopped the waitress and asked her to please bring him a bowl of french fries. It was almost enough to make me reach for the carrots, but I didn’t.”

So pick you favorite starch cooked your favorite way, maybe for the summer a good potato salad is appropriate, and a bowl of crisps as well, go full on Irish and get the new large sized bag of Taytos brand crisps.

Now my old friend Alfie, who is dearly missed, would throw a bit of goat on the grill, but, it’s your party so pick your main meal as you like, these days you can get Irish sausages and rashes from any good grocer. Since I’m an American of Irish descent, I’ll add the American stables of Steak tips and chicken tenderloins, hot sausage, and grilled veggies.

Now what to wash it all down with?

White lemonade, sure,

Club soda? sure, but I’ll have a lemon club, though most like the orange.

Lucozade? not really my cup of tea.

Tea? always appropriate, my choice is Barrys Gold.

Then of Course you could have a nice pint of stout.

Then again a nice cold ale might hit the spot, in moderation of course.

I’ll confess to enjoying a good Pepsi with my grill feast, not very Irish, that seems to come later, a few good stouts or ales, always enjoyable.

After a Guinness or Smithwicks or Magners, or Beamish, maybe a wee taste of a good Irish cream. The king is Baileys but the best may be Coole Swan give her a try.

So when you’re looking for nice Irish things give these a try or suggest your own.



Irish means different things to different people.

Hi again, this wee post is for those Irish that can be a bit confused by the different things the world considers Irish. For Irish means different things to different people.

Irish means different things to different people

What do you mean you’re Irish.











I was helping out at an Irish festival over the weekend, when I checked in to the volunteers center for my credentials, an office full of women originally from Ireland asked me “So were are you from” I told them from Hyde Park, they all laughed. Not the kind of belittling laugh you get for being a fool, but the kind of laugh that says ” Oh my God this man isn’t trying to be something he’s not”. For Festivals are full of people who are Irish, but Irish means different things to different people.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the fellas that think they are Irish, They think they are Irish with all their hearts, but in truth they are descendants of Irish. Descendants of Irish whose parents never let that island west of Britain out of their hearts. Parents who kept alive the songs and stories and food and drink and laughter and knowledge of a tyrannical government, and it’s power to destroy lives. Their Prodigy and the sons and daughters of their prodigy make up these festivals, and much of the Town I love so well, as well. For full disclosure I lie among them, generation upon generation, upon generation, upon generation removed from those who first stepped upon America’s shores. I only ask a few things of those who would be Irish.

  1. If you are in your homeland, be it America, Australia, England, Canada, etc. It’s ok to say you are Irish. It’s what delineates us from other peoples who have different backgrounds, but in the end we are of our country, of Irish descent of course.
  2. If you are lucky enough to travel to Ireland, know you are in a sovereign country full of Irish citizens and you are from another country. You are a descendent. The funny thing is the less you push your Irishness on your Irish brethren, the more they will tell you “Sure your Irish”. Hey go figure.
  3. Know that Irish means different things to different people. I have met people around me who believe they are Irish. They believe it in their souls. Though I think they are full of shells, they really enjoy it so, what harm will it cause me to look the other way. For to them Irish is a dream, it lets them escape to places they will hopefully, someday visit.
  4. Then there is the green beer and funny leprechaun crowd, enough said. Though a leprechaun can cause havoc if you rub him the wrong way.

The best are the Irish who know how to play good Irish music. Yes this festival was full of good Irish music. There were the Wolfetones celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Proclamation, Brilliant as always.

There was John McDermott from Danny Boy fame who was as clear and crisp as any of his CD’s.

There were East coast favorites like DEVRI the self proclaimed Irish country band, belting out Irish standards and a few Haggard tunes as well. Thank you Declan and Stevie and the boys.

A good time was had by all, and this humble writer of this humble blog did his best to park cars as Mr. Pat Walsh instructed me to do so. I may have veered off of my instructions from said Pat Walsh a little, for I didn’t want to tell the patrons of the festival to get their feckin cars out of the entrance, but I did my best, as well as an American of Irish descent could do you know/

Memorial day 2016

While the current occupant of the White House decides to visit Japan this Memorial day Season I wish to apologize to all World War II Vets still alive as they were the ones who had to fight the Imperial Japanese

I suppose we are to forget “The Day that will live in infamy”, the sneak attack on           Pearl Harbor.

I suppose we are to forget the Bataan Death March

I suppose we are to forget Nanking

I suppose we are to forget how Japan handled civilians, from The website

They shot any man, woman, child, cow, hog, or just about anything that moved, They raped any woman from the ages of 10 – 65, and before burning the town they thoroughly looted it.”

He continued, writing in his unpublished memoir, “None of the humans shot were buried either, but were left to lay on the ground to rot, along with the hogs and cows.”


The Japanese marched into the walled city of Nancheng at dawn on the morning of June 11, beginning a reign of terror so horrendous that missionaries would later dub it “the Rape of Nancheng.” Soldiers rounded up 800 women and herded them into a storehouse outside the east gate. “For one month the Japanese remained in Nancheng, roaming the rubble-filled streets in loin clothes much of the time, drunk a good part of the time and always on the lookout for women,” wrote the Reverend Frederick McGuire. “The women and children who did not escape from Nancheng will long remember the Japanese—the women and girls because they were raped time after time by Japan’s imperial troops and are now ravaged by venereal disease, the children because they mourn their fathers who were slain in cold blood for the sake of the ‘new order’ in East Asia.”

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So on this Memorial Day I wish to Honor those that serve

I wish to honor those that served

I wish to honor those that served and died

I wish to honor those that served and survived

I do not wish to apologize to japan

I do not wish to take blame for japan’s Imperial appetite that woke The Sleeping Giant

I do not wish to apologize for the attacks on Japan

I do wish to apologize for my current president and lack of sympathy for American Veterans.

Name your Irish pub, something clever would be nice.

name your Irish pubAs every aging man and no doubt a fair amount of women dream about owning a fictional pub there are only two things holding you back. One is the hard work long hours and capital to get the Irish pub concept going. The other….. to name your Irish pub.

So this micro post will show a few examples of unusual Irish pub names  and  a few names your Irish pub could be.

Name you Irish pub, but don’t replicate these existing Irish pub names.


Durty Nellies, Clare

The dew drop inn, Kildare and Galway

The long haul, Dublin

The dying cow, Wicklow

The wander inn, Kerry

Stoop your head, Dublin

The squealing pig, Monaghan

Now these are all great names but as I sit and think, what goes into naming your own Irish pub? They may have a bit too much character for this old coot.

So, Name your Irish pub, after a family name?

When I think of it, some of my favorite Irish pub names follow this route


O’Donoghue’s, Dublin

McSorley’s, Dublin

Neary’s, Dublin

Murphy’s, Galway

O’Connor’s, Clare

It seems around Boston more pubs are opening up with two names like

Hugh O’Neils

Waxy O’Neils

Paddy barrys

Biddy Earlies

Maybe they think they add some realism, hopefully their name is really Hugh or Waxy(no way).

Then you could name your Irish pub after an Irish Icon.

I think this is more popular in foreign countries than Ireland

Names with;









If you wanted to be a bit authentic you could spell your Irish pub name in Irish.


Tig Coili, Galway

Tigh Neactain, Galway

Roisin Dubh, Galway

Then their are the pubs I’ve just enjoyed and would like to pay homage to.


The Harbour bar, Bray

The Shanachie bar, Kinsale

Johnny Foxes, Dublin Wicklow border

Annie Kelleys, Tullamore

Joe lee’s, Tullamore

O’Donoghues, Stephens Green Dublin


So after I’ve put together these examples of fine Irish pub names, I guess I would name my Irish pub…

O’Shea’s harbor bar overlooking Stephens green, with Flutes and Fiddles, pints and pinters, saints and sinners, near the Dunloe gap across the Dingle bay, stuck away in a cozy snug and a gale wind, facing the cold Atlantic full of The fish of knowledge, warmed by a good lamb stew, by the footsteps of Finn McCool, James Connolly, and a merry plough boy, a plough and stars, and an enchanted way Pub


Cheers, and good luck naming your own Irish pub.

Ireland tourist sites that are must sees.

Ireland tourist sites

I usually write about seeing the less seen parts of Ireland, traveling the back roads and small towns, but in this post I think it’s time to give the iconic tourist destinations their just do. Yes this post will be dedicated to the Ireland tourist sites that really should be seen at least once. In many ways this list will give you an excuse to go back to Ireland and check another tourist venue off your list.

The Ireland tourist sites Bucket list.


The first on my list is the Cliffs of Moher.

Ireland tourist sites

The Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking, jetting out along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the West of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher provide a spectacular view of the rocky west coast of Ireland, from the Aran Islands and Galway Bay to the Blasket Islands and the Dingle Peninsula. There are some things to remember before you check out the Cliffs of Moher .

  1. Go on a clear day. This sounds easy but depending on a day in Ireland that will be clear is a crap shoot. It’s best to find out the days weather then book your trip.
  2. Take a bus tour to the Cliffs. I know, I know, I’m always going on about checking out things along the way and maybe staying in  an unexpected village, but you really can’t beat a short bus ride and not having to figure out parking and tickets and such. The times I’ve headed out to the Cliffs I’ve caught the bus from Galway City and they would drive through the Burren (another iconic Irish site) which included a tour of the completely dark underground caverns. Needless to say, you are a tourist for the day enjoying Ireland’s top tourist attractions, so go with the flow.
  3. If you can go in a less traveled time of the year. The high travel times bring, you guessed it, more travelers. Sometimes the majestic beauty of the Cliffs can be lessened when you feel like a side of beef slowly moving through lines. In the old days the Cliffs were there. People could go right over the edge, I’m sure some did. Today there is a visitors center and limits to access to the really breathtaking-scarier parts of the venue, even less when there are hoards of people all wanting a view. So if you can go early right at 9:00 am or later in the day after 5:00 pm or better yet at sunset which could be very late indeed 8:00 to 9:00 pm.
  4. If you happen to be staying in Doolin take advantage of the Pat Sweeney Cliff walk,  Don’t know how long it will take to be too crowded to be enjoyed but it looks fantastic.


The Irish Castle.

Ireland tourist sites

What you’ve never seen an Irish castle?


Although each Irish castle is unique, the feeling of walking through the hallways of ancient kings is common throughout most if not all ancient Irish fortitudes.

Kissing the Blarney stone is only the most well known part of Blarney Castle. Explore the history, visit the gardens, heck go full out tourist and attend a medieval feast.

Of course there are scores of other Irish Castles from the top to bottom of Ireland. I have only seen a few, Bunratty Castle in Cork, the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary, all have a story, all have a history, all leave you with that feeling of remembrance of a different time and a different life.


The Irish Cabaret.

You will find yourself in a touristy destination, could be Dublin, could be Killarney, when there will be an Irish musical production or show being marketed your way. These can be a lot of fun if being entertained is what you are after. I attended a wedding and part of the week long celebration was a show at Johnny Foxes in Wicklow. It had Irish folk singers, Irish step dancers, a fellow spinning a yarn or two, very choreographed, very professional, and a lot of fun to boot. Just know that these productions are just that productions and they do their best to insure the tourists have as much “Irish” entertainment as possible. It’s kind of like watching a wild west show in Montana or Nevada it has a lot of hat but not a lot of cowboy.

The Ring of Kerry.

The Ring of Kerry is really a drive along the Great Atlantic Way through The Great County of Kerry. The drive is a winding, breathtaking, bedazzling, scenic, death defying, bus dodging, must do, if you happen to be on the great western coast of Ireland. Yes I highly recommend this.

Found this video on youtube from   “underwater Ireland”  it is the best representation of the Ring of Kerry I’ve found as words simply don’t do it justice.

Well there are my top four Ireland tourist sites that are must sees. Frankly there are hundreds more Ireland tourist sites to be explored, but since I’m a bit lazy I was hoping you might make some suggestions.



Ramblings for a rainy day

Sometimes thoughts come over me and I must ask for your indulgence, for today was a rainy day indeed and my thoughts just went to rambling. As with all my little wanders off from informative posts about Irish music or travel tips, if you have a line or two of your ramblings put them in the comments and share them with this small piece of the world.

Rainy day thistle

      ” The rain upon the thistle”


Today it rained and rained again in a not so subtle way,

It rained hard and soft and teasingly light as I went upon my way,

Some would utter unclean thoughts, about the moisture that persists.

Some would curse and raise a hand or swing wildly with clenched fists.


But the rain it fell so steadfastly so, with a rythym and a rhyme.

It pelted rhythmically upon my cap, were it to stop would be a crime.

A tune of the rain ran wildly now through this sopping brain of mine,

A tune that made my steps step lively, on and through the grime.


A jig, a reel, a hornpipe too raced from thought to thought,

And though the puddles deepened, these tunes they would not stop.

A concert played inside my head, of merry tunes indeed.

The music filled me mightily, all thoughts did supersede


And though this pelting rain was the father of my thought.

In order to write this tune down  I need a dryer little spot,

And so upon the road I see a pleasant little place.

A pleasant little place to pen a tune, with determined haste.


Haste is needed now as this warming little place,

Has stopped the rythym of the rain and seeks it to be replaced,

Replaced by warming thoughts, of hot drinks and warming fires,

Of cozy pubs, and friendly chats, and all ones earthly desires.


Luckily a nice cool pint keeps the tune in place.

I pen the reel with that certain feel that cannot be replaced.

And as I sit so satisfied I grab my own tin whistle,

And play the tune that I was given, by the rain upon the thistle.







The best Irish song for you to sing, it’s easy.

Yes you can sing the best Irish song, you can sing it well, and you won’t get thrown out of your house, pub, or county.

best irish song is easy to sing

There are those out there that say “I have have no voice, talent, and I am tone deaf” “I’m not singing”. Well I say rubbish.

There are two secrets to singing the best Irish song of the night, and instead of beating around the bush, here’s secret number one.

#1 Secret to singing the best Irish song……………….. Drum roll please,

Choose the right song.

This sounds simple but it is where most people fail. If you have very little range to your voice you need to find a song that doesn’t make you force the notes, that lets you exist in a comfort range.

This comfort range allows you to sing freely, effortlessly, and confidently.

Now what do I mean by range?

Every person, no matter how poor a voice they think they have, can make a least one pleasing sound, they can hold at least one nice sounding note. This note may be high, it maybe low, or it might be smack dab in the middle, but trust me it is there.

The choice of song that has a decent amount of high or low or middle tones which ever suits your range is what we are after.

I have a hard time with high notes, so I started out with songs that you can sing lowly, for I am a lowly singer. There will be, and are, notes in songs I sing that do not fit my range. This is where you adjust the song to fit your range, instead of reaching higher for the note I’ll drop down for a similar effect.

When you pick out that first song from your list of best Irish songs you will already know you can sing bits and pieces of it, pick out the one you can reach most bits and most pieces.

These are some songs that I find easier to sing,

The water is wide

Finnegan’s wake

Down by the glen side

Hills of Connemara


I Know, I know, what good is being able to not totally hack a part of a song? Well the thing is once you have a song that you can partially sing. You practice on shaping the parts you can’t quite handle yet. You listen to the cd or mp3 and sing the first verse, when you hit the part you have trouble with, you change it a bit till you find a path you can walk or sing through.

We are not going for a full on Adelle, we are going for an enjoyable acceptedness.

Do not underestimate the importance of knowing the lyric fully in aiding your singing of the song. Full fledged confidence can be undermined by a faulty memory.

Now if you think I’m full of hooey, think about the Happy birthday song.

The first part is easy for all,(happy birthday to you). The second part no big problem,(happy birthday to you). The big finish exposes a lot,(haaapppy  biiirthhday dear singer) if you amended the last part to be more similar to the earlier two. You would have sung a less diverse but more successful song.

These are songs I can sing but need to adjust because of my range.

Whiskey on a Sunday

Cliffs of Doneen

Sam Hall

Danny Boy

There is a part of Danny Boy that you truly need to have a top range to sing as written–

It’s I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow

People always expect you to mess this up, especially when like myself you are just an average singer, but I practiced this part enough that I can drop down an octave and push a pleasing tone confidently and quickly get to tell Danny boy how much I love him so.

#2 Secret to singing the best Irish song……………….. Drum roll please,

Love the song and don’t care what anybody else thinks, or in a word—-


Now there is a not so fine line between someone who loves to sing their favorite song and some drama queen hack Irish Folk singer wanna be, but that being said, nothing trumps talent like passion.

I use this example a lot but it was a life changing event.

My wife and I are in the Shanachie Pub in Kinsale, County Cork some 25 years ago. We are there in late October and have had a nice time talking with the different folks when we are told a local singer just showed up and we were in for a treat. Well this fellow was good, a professional, and very enjoyable, but it was what happened after he finished which was so life changing.

This old woman shuffles up to the microphone and starts singing a local tune. She had the worst voice I have ever heard, the first few words made me think it was a joke. Her voice had the resonance of wild cats being swung by their tails as their claws were being scratched across a chalkboard. She didn’t care. She sang her song. She projected, confidently, proudly singing her song. She sang this song about her town that she loved and that love of singing came through. By the time she finished, every person was standing up and gave her a standing ovation. It was a beautiful performance.

I learned on that day that if you have a song you love, let her go, confidently, and proudly. The world is full of people who like to criticize everyone and everything. Ignore them, because there are just as many people who really like seeing people enjoy singing a song they love.

Those are the 2 secrets to singing your best Irish song and I’ll just add a few pet peeves that you should consider and be prepared for.

Singing Pet Peeves.

  1. You don’t Know the words
  2. Either sing or don’t, don’t need to be begged to sing
  3. Sing in the appropriate venue. Don’t force your way into a trad session.
  4. Don’t monopolize a singing session
  5. To many stanzas of unknown endless songs

I’ll be looking forward to hearing the good the bad and the ugly, it’s all for fun, and I hope all Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day,