Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Malahyde Castle DublinThe Dublin Pass with a transportation add-on is an affordable way to tour this Irish city at your leisure. I used this pass during my visit to Ireland and really enjoyed being able to hop-on and hop-off the bus at different stops. It was a safe and fun way to see the city. It includes entry into 30 different attractions, such as Dublin Castle, The Bram Stoker Dracula Experience, Dublin Writers Museum, and many more. If admission is normally free to the attraction, the Dublin Pass gets you things such as an extra souvenir or a discount in attraction gift shops.

    The Pass offers discounts at certain restaurants, on tours, and other attractions. Pass holders can get 25% off the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl or a free bottle of house wine at Abbey Tavern, with meal purchase. The pass can even be used for Airport transfer into Dublin City Centre, but beware that once you activate your card, the clock starts ticking.

    Audio and Video Tours

    VisitDublin.com offers free downloads of iWalks, which are audio tours for your iPod or mp3 player. There are twelve themed tours to choose from, or download all of them. The Guinness tours are available in a variety of languages. The official tourism site for Dublin also has a video to get you in the travel mood. The video is set to U2’s Beautiful Day.

    If you are thinking of visiting Dublin and searching for some great deals, or if you just want to take a virtual vacation away from work today, go to VisitDublin.com.

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  • april2006-359.jpgFriday’s post reminded me of when I had the pleasure of traveling to Dunfanaghey, located on the northwest coast of Ireland. I stayed at Arnold’s Hotel, a family run business that offers the amenities of a larger hotel, yet the charm of a bed and breakfast. I knew I would like this place, if not for the view of Sheephead Bay, then for the warm and inviting peat fire glowing in the lobby. The price was very reasonable, starting at 65Euros per night with breakfast. Arnold’s Hotel also offers special events throughout the year, including writing classes, photography weekends, and even home-cooked Irish cooking lessons.

    My room was clean and cozy, with a surprisingly spacious bath. I dropped my bags and went in search of comraderie down in The Whiskey Fly Bar, where our group met up. I did my best to make friends with the bartender, Sterling, but imagine my surprise when Mr. Arnold himself poured me a drink. He charmed me with his Irish accent and somehow talked me into another drink. And another. And then the sweet couple who was sitting next to me bought me a drink to celebrate their anniversary. Boy, I was loving Ireland.

    I stumbled up to my room, and my travel friends stumbled to theirs. I closed my eyes, but the room started to spin. Let’s just say it was a long Irish night. I wasn’t looking forward to an early game of golf, but when in Ireland, one must golf.
    The next morning, Mr. Arnold was awaiting me in the lobby, all ready to drive just a few of us to Dunfanaghey Golf Club. Mr. Arnold was even kind enough to let me borrow his very nice clubs.

    april2006-375.jpgThe course was fantastic and I couldn’t believe I was standing in Ireland, on a golf course, overlooking the bay. The breeze was crisp and cool, so I bought a goofy knit hat with a pom-pom on top and borrowed a warm vest from a friend. Non members can play here for 22Euros, but I think there is a discount for international visitors. What a steal!

    The course wasn’t very busy, so our crew really took in the scenery of the ocean on one side, and fields of horses on the other. This links-style course was simply breathtaking. Our afternoon closed with another visit to The Whiskey Fly Bar and a round of Guinness.

    The Irish really know how to entertain.

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  • I learned a few things while I was in Ireland:

    templebar.jpg

    A hot soak in seaweed relieves jet-lag.

    When someone says “Now that’s good craic (pronounced crack)” they are not referring to a drug. They are referring to a fun time and good conversation.

    Do not ask for cream with your tea or coffee. You will get whipped cream. Instead, ask for milk.

    A proper pint of Guinness is served to those who wait. It takes time for this brew to settle properly before drinking.

    People in Ireland don’t name their children Shannon (uh-hm, Mom). It is the US equivalent of naming your child Mississippi or Rio Grande.

    You can pay to spend the night in a former insane asylum in Sligo.

    Sitting in a pub, Guinness in hand, with a peat fire burning, is a really good memory to have.

    Jack in the Box is not a restaurant, it is a dead man from Dublin.

    U2 got their start playing on Grafton Street.

    Temple Bar is not an actual bar. Well, it is a bar, but the name refers to an area that is the cultural quarter of Dublin.

    After a few pints of Guinness, you might see faeries.

    To make your own memories and learn your own tips, visit DiscoverIreland.com.

    Slainte!

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  • The New York Daily News recently ran an article by Chanize Thorpe regarding passport cards. This informative article offers all the goods on the new passport cards, including a list of pros and cons.

    passport photo by kappuruThe cards would be valid for travel by land or sea to Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada and Bermuda, so if you travel frequently to these destinations, maybe a passport card would make sense. If you travel anywhere else, or by air, you would still need a traditional passport book.
    Maybe the passport card is a good idea, but each card is embedded with a chip that can be read wirelessly up to 20 feet away. The chip contains an id number that is linked to photos and biographical information that is stored by the government in a “secure” database. Those interested can go to the US State Department’s Official Site to get info on passports and id cards.

    Okaayyyy. So, this means that I could get a passport card and anyone with the capability could walk within 20 feet of me and scan me for all of my personal information? Hello, Jason Bourne. Where are you?

    No offense, but this totally freaks me out. I think I will keep my traditional passport for the moment. To read the article in the NY Daily News, click here.

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