Travel Expert Talk Show Radio Host Stephanie Abrams - Info
Radio Show Host, Travel Expert, Stephanie Abrams' Travel Blog

Where did you go? Everywhere.

What did you do? Everything! And That Includes that Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland and Brigit’s Garden in County Galway!

This is my second trip to Ireland this year and I’ve already visited three places I’ve never visited before while stopping in to revisit places and people I adore.  If you’ve never been to Ireland you have no idea what you are missing. And if you’ve been to Ireland once or twice for a week or two, you have no idea what you have missed as you just can’t see it all, even in dozens of visits!

So here are a few things to consider for your next trip:
By flying roundtrip from Newark’s Liberty Airport (EWR) to Belfast, Ireland (BFS) with Continental Airlines, an airline that still knows how to treat passengers like people and not like cargo, you just may find, as I did, a fare that saves you hundreds and hundreds of dollars over other routes.  Don’t fly to Ireland with a connection in England as the cost of the airport taxes may outweigh the cost of the airline ticket. When you fly through London to Shannon or Dublin or Belfast, you’ll have the airport tax in Newark, the English airport tax and the local airport tax of the airport you land at in Ireland.  There’s a good chance the tax alone will be over $300 in that itinerary so when you see a cheap fare to Ireland on an itinerary with a connection in the UK or in another European county, check out the tax before you jump on the cheap fare which could wind up very expensive.

Belfast Airport is even quieter and gentler than Shannon Airport and Dooley Car Rental, the only independent car rental company in Ireland will pick you up and deliver you to your car making your arrival smooth as silk.  If you’re planning to spend some time in the Belfast area on arrival or need a hotel close enough to BFS to be convenient before your departure without feeling like you’re in a cookie-cutter airport hotel, try Dunadry Hotel & Country Club. You’ll find their family owned and managed historic property a special addition to your trip. Be sure to linger over a cup of coffee in their conservatory lounge and visit the special tree in their garden which factored into the peace process in Ireland.

Be sure to pick up a copy of A Wonderful Story written by John J. Mooney, CEO of Mooney Hotel Group who is based at Dunadry.  There’s a good chance he’ll do a few magic tricks for you that will add to the special memories you’ll take away with you.  John may introduce himself as John. J. Wonderful and in my book he absolutely is!
 
If you want a quick and enjoyable education on the Irish-American connection, you must stop at The Ulster American Folk Park where you’ll quickly learn about so many Americans who made major contributions to American life whose roots are in Ireland and particularly those were Ulster Americans.  The original home on the original site where Thomas Mellon was born in 1813 stands on the grounds here at this County Tyrone museum and outdoor restoration village.  In America, Mellon became a lawyer, a judge and later founded the Mellon Bank.  And did you know that it was John Joseph Hughes, born in County Tyrone, who emigrated to America with his parents and later became the first Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of New York. It was his vision to build St. Patrick’s Cathedral and he laid the cornerstone for the building in 1864 shortly before his death.  Today, with so many other cornerstones placed as the building went into construction, the stone he laid to commemorate the commencement of the construction, is down in the bowels of the building requiring some assistance and a guide to find the place where the marker lies in the St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In Galway, we were introduced to Brigit’s Garden, a must-visit place.  The garden combines Irish history, celtic culture, modern sculpture, ancient architecture, wild flowers and herb garden in blend of ancient and modern in tranquility and peacefulness. It’s a remarkable place to spend an afternoon or host a benchmarking event or occasion.  The natural settings are a photographer’s paradise and the unique sundial created by the owners will fascinate every visitor. 

The Ulster American Folk Park, Brigit’s Garden, the Volvo Ocean Race. . . . three wonderful experiences and we’ve only just arrived!  Couple that with a wonderful chance meeting with John Hume, 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, at the Beech Hill Country House in Derry and I’m flying higher than the Continental plane that brought me to Ireland!

We’re off to the races. .  .the Volvo Ocean Race, that is, with a stop at Cnoc Suain, Cultural Hill-village in An Spideal (also known as Spiddal) about 5 kms. from Glenlo Abbey and I’ll give you the report on that experience when we get back! Have to run because we go on the air live to the US from Glenlo Abbey at 4pm Irish time and the first boats are anticipated at around 7pm if nothing changes. So, literally, we’re flyin’ high!

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

2 Responses to “Where did you go? Everywhere.”

  1. Alexandra says:

    Stephanie! Just read your travelblog, you have a very captivating way to describe things and making me want to see them! Having been addicted to Ireland since my first visit in 1999 and this year making my big dream come true of living and writing my next book here on the westcoast, I found many great tipps of venues I haven’t seen yet, thanks for that. As I will be on your next stop (working in Ballyvara House, Doolin) I am looking forward to meeting you in person and hearing some more tipps of hidden treasures to discover!

  2. jilliantsai says:

    Great post! Just wanted to throw it out there for anyone looking to travel to the Galapagos Islands that I have found Galapagos Inc by Wildlife Vacations (www.galapagos-inc.com) to be a very helpful source for booking travel to the region.

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