Allow us to present a lovely contemporary Grade II listed barn conversion in a beautifully scenic location with panoramic views of the surrounding valley (close to Yorkshire’s Grand Départ route). Carringtons Barn is the perfect holiday home for two! Find more info on our website.
A commemoration of Ireland’s patron saint and the arrival of Christianity in the Republic of Ireland, St Patrick’s Day is a celebration of the country’s religion and culture that takes place on March 17th every year. While the occasion is now celebrated in various countries around the world, nothing beats a trip to Ireland to join in with the festivities on the day’s home turf.
There are a number of traditions associated with St Patrick’s Day. The colour green has become associated with the occasion over the years, and wearing green, shamrocks or shamrock-related designs is incredibly common on the day. It is also a day when music, entertainment, parades and markets are held. All over the Republic of Ireland there are different events and gatherings to mark the occasion – and here are our top picks.
Without a doubt, one of the best places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in the Republic of Ireland is in Dublin, where every year sees the city come alive with a four or five day St Patrick’s Festival. In 2014, the festival is taking place from March 14th to 17th: four days and nights of the very best in culture, entertainment, music, food and drink.
The festival aims to showcase the huge amount of talent in the Republic of Ireland, and demonstrates the skills that Irish people of all ages and backgrounds have to offer. The colourful and lively St Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the highlights of the festival, along with The Greening Of The City, where some of Dublin’s most iconic buildings (including the castle and Christchurch Cathedral) are illuminated with green lights to mark the occasion.
Dublin’s celebrations also include funfairs around the city for both children and adults to enjoy, and a 5 kilometre road race that is suitable for fun runners, amateurs and experienced athletes alike. The weekend also plays host to an Irish Craft Beer Village, where visitors can enjoy sampling a selection of the country’s finest beers while listening to a wide range of live music acts. Established in 2005 and becoming increasingly popular since, it is by far the biggest St Patrick’s Day celebration in the Republic of Ireland.
Alternatively, head to Cork where the 2014 St Patrick’s Day Festival will take place from Saturday 15th to Monday 17th March. Every year the event features a different theme, with the theme for 2014 being “Legends” – a theme which will determine the fantastic outfits that will be on display at the highlight of the event: the Cork St Patrick’s Day Parade on the 17th.
In addition to the parade, Cork’s celebrations also include street performers, music, food markets, live performances and far more: a celebration where the entire city is out in force to commemorate their patron saint.
Downpatrick is rumoured to be the place where St Patrick is buried, leading to major celebrations. Their Cross-Community Carnival Parade is the highlight of their celebrations, and see everyone – whether Irish or not – coming together to pay tribute to the patron saint.
Visiting Galway for the St Patrick’s Day weekend will also guarantee plenty of fun and festivities. Galway also hosts its own parade, with both floats and celebrants on foot. This year’s theme is “The Sea”, which should make for some interesting costumes! While the parade is the culmination of the festival, Galway will also be hosting a range of other events and festivities.
In County Kerry, celebrations of all shapes and sizes will be taking place across the region. The small village of Sneem hosts an annual celebration that proves that even the smallest of places can celebrate in style! The village’s street parade is very well known across the local area, with prizes awarded for the three best displays each year – as well as for the best window display, best dressed spectator and more. Sneem also hosts a street market over the St Patrick’s Day weekend, which features both locally produced products as well as those from further afield in the rest of Ireland. The celebrations also include live music and entertainment, as well as the annual Cow Dung Lotto – a fundraising event that covers the insurance costs that the day incurs.
In addition to big city celebrations, there are plenty of smaller events taking place all over Ireland. On St Patrick’s Day itself, most pubs and bars will be joining in with the festivities, with traditional food, plenty of Irish beer and often live music too. Wherever you end up celebrating, it’s a day when you’ll find the whole of Ireland out in force to pay testament to their patron saint in a variety of fun and entertaining ways.
We can’t wait for spring here at cottages4you, so much so that we’ve launched a ‘Signs of Spring’ photo competition. If you find a sign of spring on your travels around the UK then simply take a photo, upload it to the competition our Facebook page, tweet it or post on Instagram with the hash-tag ‘#c4yspring’ and you could win a luxury spring food hamper – perfect for a spring picnic!
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Cumbria has been a countryside favourite for generations. With its breathtaking scenery, wonderful English lakes and panoramas this has become a favourite hotspot for romantics and poets for decades. The Winster Valley offers the most beautiful backdrop with wonderful walks and pubs in the area. Favourites are The Brown Horse Inn in Winster and the The Masons Arms located at Strawberry Bank. It’s a close call to find a more lovely setting.
Oban in south west Scotland offers a haven of romanticism and peace and quiet. This retreat is the ideal setting to get away from it all. One of the rare attractions here is seal spotting! Another attraction is fresh local seafood. The Crafty Kitchen, a beautiful restaurant is not unknown to serve freshly caught langoustines in the morning.
Moving further a field, Italy is renowned for being one of the most romantic havens in the world, as well as being a top lovers’ holiday destination. This country has so much to offer beyond even Venice and Rome, so let us explore some beautiful destinations.
Lake Como is drenched in glorious villages and villas, with a long-standing reputation for romantic travel. Within Lake Como is Bellagio, also known as the ‘Pearl of the Lake’. This is a beautiful village to kick off your adventure. The area is encompassed by breathtaking mountains and hills. An idea for romantic sightseeing is to take the convenient funicular from Como Town to Brunate. Taking this route will allow you to fully experience the lake and alps – enjoy!
The Amalfi Coast is equally glorious. Located here is the amazing destination of Positano, arguably one of Italy’s most romantic hubs. This gorgeous town is actually built on a cliff face, giving voyagers views of the breathtaking sea. The destination has a mild climate so can be visited all year round. A truly stunning location.
Of course we can’t forget France! From the beauty of Paris to the enchantment of Provence, this county has a whole host of cities perfect for devoted sweethearts. Here are a couple to whet the appetite.
For amazing boutiques, art galleries and pavement cafés, St Paul de Vence is the destination of choice. Prepare to be amazed at what sights a short walk through the village’s winding streets can give you. You’ll pass truly elegant fountains, stone walls entrenched in vine and stunningly beautiful statues found in small nooks in the walls. There’s much to see here! Particularly the wonderful views of the sea and mountains. This is a great location, just 5 minutes from the area of Vence. Here, loved ones can experience a beautiful Matisse designed church.
For the more active, Montsegur offers lovers the chance to climb the famous Pog Mountain! Situated in France’s Midi-Pyrenees region on the tip of Cathar Country, this destination also offers the chance to explore the Cathar Castle ruins, the Middle Ages last architecture of the religious sect – a remarkable piece of history.
The vibrant cultural heritage of Ireland is well renowned; this is a country that is blessed with some of the most stunning natural scenery in Europe. Rolling greenery and a stunning rugged island coastline unsurprisingly have drawn filmmakers from the world of film and television to shoot against a scenic backdrop with superlative good looks. The ancient and haunting landscape has featured in many of our favourite movies and television programmes, we are going to take a look at some of the best known.
Braveheart – County Wicklow and Kildare
Much of this historic Scottish epic was in fact shot in Ireland, including many of the films key battle scenes. To the consternation of some, the tax breaks and lower costs in Ireland meant that much if the movie was filmed outside Scotland. The two countries of course share a Celtic connection with much of their common history shared across the ages. The mountains of County Wicklow play host to village scenes in the film with the remains purpose built cottages still present today. The Battle of Stirling Bridge was filmed on a huge area of flatland in County Kildare, between New Bridge and Kildare.
Ryan’s Daughter – County Kerry
County Kerry on Ireland’s wild westerly Atlantic reaches was the setting for scenes in ‘Far and Away’ but also the classic academy award winning Ryan’s Daughter. Starring Robert Mitchum, the film is set during World War I during the aftermath of the Easter Rising. The picturesque backdrop for the drama is the fictional village of Kirray, on the Dingle peninsula. Considered one of County Kerry’s most beautiful areas, the rugged Dingle Peninsula perhaps best captures the romantic essence of Ireland, a mesmerising seascape that is simply breathtaking. The deep blue water with surrounding scenery makes this one of the most beautiful corners on the Irish Isle.
Father Ted – Aran Islands, County Galway
The much loved Channel 4 comedy series Father Ted depicts the hilarious exploits of three priests exiled off the west coast of Ireland. Outdoor scenes were predominantly filmed on the Aran Islands, and in particular Inis Mor and Inis Oirr. As testament to the enduring popularity of Father Ted, fans still flock each year to see for themselves the real life setting for ‘Craggy Island’. These pristine islands in the Bay of Galway represent a throwback to a lost way of life in Ireland, an authentic flavour of old Ireland a land swathed in the lore of myth and legend.
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