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Irish Good-Bye
Treasures of Ireland:
The Irish Goodbye
(Dispatch #20)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

he narrative has now come full circle as the "band of merry media" – 18 travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations (Insight) on its Treasures of Ireland journey – gather for the very last time in colorful Dublin, the starting and ending point of our incredible week on the Emerald Isle.

Sinad, the head of public relations for Discover Ireland

Greeted warmly with "Céad míle fáilte (One-hundred-thousand welcomes)" by a smiling Sinéad, the head of public relations for Discover Ireland, our host for the evening, we enter the 18th century townhouse and take our places around several tables at one of the city's finer restaurants in swanky Dublin 2: FortyOne.

dishes prepared by Chef Graham Neville at the FortyOne restaurant

With dishes expertly prepared by one of the city's young, rising stars in the kitchen, Graham Neville, Food and Wine Magazine's 2014 "Chef of the Year" for both Dublin and all of Ireland, we're in epicurean heaven. Feel free to have a virtual taste.

In between bites and sips, Sinéad thanks us for experiencing some of the treasures of her country and hopes that we'll report back to our respective readerships and encourage them to come and visit the Emerald Isle, too, and soon. Mission accomplished!

at thr Ring of Kerry

Traveling on Insight's euro, not mine, I was invited to experience what paying guests get for their money, and it's quite a lot.

inside Ashford Castle

a dish from Chef Philippe Farineau at the George V Dining Room, Ashford Castle

Big Mike

Five-star luxury hotels, fine dining, fast-track entry into museums and iconic sights, knowledgeable local guides, arrival and departure transfers, all local transportation, baggage handling, surprising "signature" moments and "flourishes" when you least expect them, and, most importantly, Big Mike, our unforgettable tour director/concierge/storyteller, who kept us on schedule and entertained with his humorous, jaw-dropping tall tales.

Book of Kells and Long Room Library at Trinity College

hurling ball, Kilkenny

ride through Killarney National Park

Dingle Peninsula view

the cliffs of Moher

a massive dolmen at the Burren

on the bridge to Ashford Castle

glasses of Guinness

From the historic Book of Kells and Long Room Library at Trinity College to the sport of hurling in Kilkenny; from the Rock of Cashel to hospitable Killarney, the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way; from around the majestic Ring of Kerry to the extremes of the Dingle Peninsula and its poetic, namesake bay; from the heights of the windswept Cliffs of Moher down to the limestone landscape of the Burren; and, from the regal elegance of Ashford Castle to a perfect pour of the "black stuff" in Dublin 8.

What a week! What a journey! What treasures!


Off the motor coach and past our expert pilot, Eugene, aka The Quiet Man, the "band of merry media" gathers in the Double Tree by Hilton lobby bar for one final round and a farewell toast to each other until, hopefully, we meet again.

Swirling a Jameson on the rocks, I glance around at my fellow travel scribes and raise my glass in their honor. Then, in true "Irish goodbye" fashion, I head for the exit and quietly slip away.

Insight Vacations brochure

For detailed information on Insight's 100+ premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, including the craic-filled Treasures of Ireland itinerary, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

Irish sunset

Until next time, slán (goodbye)!

Related Articles:
A Pint of the Black Stuff; Food, Fun and Falconry at Ashford Castle; The Quiet Man; Piped Inside Ashford Castle; Galway Bay; The Burren; The Cliffs of Moher; Remembering the Great Famine

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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