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Showing posts from July, 2007

Experience Ireland or Travel Ireland

I have served my guiding and teaching services to several wonderful groups this year. The last two groups I have served were wonderful examples of the experiential vacations that I had dreamed the Celtic Ways tours would become.
One group was a writer's group, mainly same sex partner women. I feel honoured that they hired myself, a male guide.

The group I have just said farewell to included several McDonald's, yes the burger chain, executives.
These folks were incredible and truly entered into the spirit of experiencing Ireland through space rather than distance.
Forming itineraries has been a challenge.

To folks within the USA and Australia, Ireland seems like a dot on the atlas and can create the impression that travelling from coast to coast is commuting. For example, one person asked me if they could do The Burren in the morning, do the Connemara in the afternoon and perhaps have lunch on one of the Arran Isles in the middle.

Individuals and couples are more mobile and will cove…

Spirit Of Place

A telephone inquirer asked me, today, to provide a short definition of the type of tours we provide. My automatic answer was “Instead of visiting Ireland for the purpose of visiting sites, taking a few snaps, and moving on we invite people to experience the ‘spirit of place’ from a few select sites, that many have not previously heard of, and through doing so truly experience Ireland while genuinely being rewarded with a personal restoring vacation”.
After the call I suddenly thought “what is this ‘spirit of place’ that I spontaneously threw into my statement”.
Wikipedia.com explains “Spirit of Place refers to the unique, distinctive and cherished aspects of a place; often those celebrated by artists and writers, but also those cherished in folk tales, festivals and celebrations.”
Goodness me, how that statement defines my life’s work and passion that has evolved into the tours and performances that we serve folks with today.
To expand what Wikipedia explains, but in my own words, I aim …

To Breifne By Train

In addition to megalithic sites and ancient traditions being a passion of mine since I was a young child, I have always had a love affair with the railways. Maybe this is partially connected to my herbal and shaman grandfather also being a railway man along with his brothers.
If I do not have passengers to carry to and from Dublin I love to take the train. In addition to getting to see different countryside and culture than on the road its also quite practical. First its great to have someone else drive. You can walk around for a stretch, have a sandwich, some tea, coffee or beverages and do some work on the table with the laptop, these days.
I would love to encourage more visitors on our tours to arrive by train than have us collect them at the airport. I think its adds another wonderful element to an Ireland visit, a side of Ireland than many travellers do not experience.  Railway travel in Ireland is also quite inexpensive, under 30 euros return from Dublin to our local Boyle station…

David Nigel Lloyd at Markree Castle

David Nigel Lloyd,
a California Bard coming to Co. Sligo

David Nigel Lloyd, who will be performing in the chapel at Markree Castle on Tuesday July 10th, is known in his home town in California as the Bard of Bakersfield.

California boasts many fine players of traditional Irish and Scottish music. David Nigel Lloyd, more commonly known as DNL, has been popular within the California Celtic music scene for many years.

DNL's popularity has grown through his talent of re-writing and arranging Celtic songs to suit his local California desert culture. For example,  and old ballad’s elfin knight becomes a familiar ‘desert rat’. One of his most popular songs is ‘Chuchulainn in Bakersfield’. Of interest to Co. Sligo audiences, David has replaced historically inaccurate traditional verses within a couple of songs with verses from William Butler Yeats’ poems.

DNL accompanies himself on an eight-stringed octar, a mongrel mandocello-like instrument; on a steel-stringed guitar with a unique drop-t…