Archive for the ‘Tours’ Category

Adventure Tours Blog – Gillian Jones talks about Egyptian Gods

Posted by adminRick On April - 11 - 2014

Gillian Jones Guest Blogger

 

 

Egyptian Gods

There were many gods worshiped by the Egyptians – they firmly believed in an afterlife and the gods played a very important part of this. There are too many to mention here, but today we will focus on three of them.

 

Anubis

As we’ve already seen, and from the evidence the pyramids provide us with, we know that the ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife. When an Egyptian died it was believed that he or she would travel on to the afterlife, prior to this her or she would enter the Hall of the Dead. Here, they would see whether they were good enough to travel on to the afterlife. The god Anubis would have to weigh their hearts to see whether they were lighter than a feather. This test would prove whether or not they were good enough to go on to the afterlife and whether their spirits would live forever.pillow-tours-egypt-nile-holiday

Anubis had the head of a jackal and was always associated with mummification and the heart and feather test. Anubis had a wife called Anput who was also a goddess, and his daughter Kebechet was a goddess too. 

egypt adventure tours pillow travel

 

Bastet

If you have a love of cats then you would have fitted in well in Ancient Egypt. The God Bastet was the goddess of cats, naturally she had the head of a cat, or sometimes she was depicted with the head of a lion. One story has it that Bastet, who was the daughter of Ra, saved him from a snake Apep, who tried to stop the sun god Ra while he travelled across the sky in his ship.

As the Goddess of Cats it was Bastet’s duty to protect all cats. Ancient Egyptians had great respect for these feline creatures as they kept mice and rats at bay. Rats and mice were prime enemies to the Egyptians especially as they ate the grain and caused disease. Cats were so useful that Ancient Egyptians had great respect for them which meant that to kill one would result in death. When a cat died in the family home it was mourned by the entire family. They would often shave their eyebrows as a mark of their grief. Cats were often mummified like humans and mummified cats have been found alongside their owners.

Horus

Horus is the best known of all the gods in ancient Egypt. He had the head of a hawk or falcon and was the most powerful god of all. He goes back a long way, as far back as the Dynastic Period.

When Horus was a baby his father Osiris was murdered by Seth. Horus’s mother was Isis and they are supposed to have hidden in some papyrus reeds in the Nile until Horus was an adult. Horus went into battle with Seth as an adult to win back his father’s kingdom. However, during the battle Seth blinded Horus in one eye. Luckily for Horus, Thoth the god of Wisdom healed his eye. The eye of Horus became an amulet with magic powers.

Horus was a god of war and hunting. He was also a great symbol of power and royalty to the pharaohs. Many Ancient Egyptians believed that the pharaoh was Horus, but in human form.

Ruins of the Temple of Kom Ombo, EgyptGod of fascination

The god of Ancient Egypt holds a great deal of fascination to us today. They were of great importance to the Ancient Egyptians and they may seem strange to those of us who are only accustomed to worshipping one god.  However, Egyptians do share some familiarities with Hinduism and other faiths as a polytheistic religion. Evidence of the ancient gods can be seen in pyramids, walls of temples and on pillars. They may no longer be with us, but they are everywhere to remind us of their once powerful hold over Egypt.

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Gillian Jones Guest Blogger

Hogmanay

Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year, its origins are unknown, but some believe it may have originated from either French or Norse, or from an early form of the Celtish language.  The word was first recorded in the early 17th century and again towards the end. There are a variety of different spellings, but naturally, they all mean the same thing. It has a long history that can be traced back to the Anglo Saxon times. There are some who believe that Hogmanay is something the Scots inherited from the Vikings themselves. Shetland was under a great deal of Viking influence during their time here and they call New Year “Yules,” which is derived from a Scandinavian word the Vikings would have used themselves.

New Year celebrations

Hogmanay has always been the more celebrated of the two festive holidays. It is also the one venue that everybody wants to be when New Year’s Eve approaches.

Auld Lang Syne is a song that everyone sings as the clocks strike midnight on New Year’s Eve, it was written by Burns and is also one of the most frequently sung songs in the world. It’s also famous for having been used in various films, famous ones such as “When Harry met Sally.”

Hogmanay is an important time to celebrate with family and friends as it is all over the world, it is also a time to welcome strangers and to make way for a new year and welcome new prospects and possibilities ahead.

Christmas bannedhogmanay tour

Christmas was banned in Scotland for almost 400 years form the end of the 17th century to the middle of the 20th century. The Protestant Reformation may have played a part in this with emphasis placed on the Catholic influences on Christmas celebrations. This meant that most Scottish people worked through Christmas and only celebrated New Year, an occasion that came to be known as Hogmanay.

Traditions and customs

 

Along with celebrating Hogmanay there are little traditions that form a part of the New Year celebrations, such as cleaning your house on New Year’s Eve and clearing all your debts before midnight strikes. Something that we would all like to be able to do! There’s also the first footing which means that the first person entering the house after midnight should be a man and preferably dark, they should also bring with them some whiskey and shortbread. Edinburgh also holds a bonfire and fireworks celebration on New Year’s Eve, which is something that holds a long history going back hundreds of years.

The Hogmanay itself was also known as a smoking stick, this would be animal skins wrapped around a stick that was lit and would provide a smoking effect that was believed to ward off bad spirits.

Not all of these customs are carried out today except in smaller communities where some traditions are kept alive along with old dialects. A fire ceremony is still popular in Stonehaven not far from Aberdeen where fireballs are lit and swung from long poles with men carrying them down the main High Street. The fireballs are similar to the smoking sticks which ward off evil spirits.

These ancient customs and traditions are something the Scots are very proud of and rightly so, as they provide a perfect opportunity to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another in perfect style. Hogmanay is unique to Scotland, but their ideas on how to celebrate New Year’s Eve has spread throughout not just the UK, but the rest of the world. Who better than to show us how to celebrate New Year than the Scots? Happy Hogmanay!

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Gillian Jones Guest Blogger

 

La Tomatina

You would imagine that food fights are something only children indulge in when they’re feeling mischievous – but adults seemingly enjoy it too, and not just when they’re drunk either. Those that enjoy food fights would be best visiting the annual La Tomatina Festival in Valencia; there they can indulge in a really good food fight on a massive scale.

 

Legendary tomato fight- but how did it start?

As food fights go La Tomatina is a fight with a long and distinguished history going back to the end of the Second World War.There are many theories as to how it started, but 

la tomatina spainthe most popular one is something to do with rabbits eating water melon, people throwing tomatoes at them, accidentally hitting each other and then starting a rather energetic tomato fight. Yes it sounds crazy, but it’s entertaining. Another theory has it that there was a food fight amongst friends, tomatoes thrown at a carnival parade and a joke played on a musician, or even the accidental spillage of a lorry which developed into a tomato fight.

Believe what you will, but whichever way it originally started it has become a popular destination for tourists who want to take part in this legendary tomato throwing fight.

When does it start?

La Tomatina usually starts in August on the last Wednesday in the town of Bunol for the world’s greatest and probably dirtiest food fight. Thousands of people make their way here and it also coincides with a week-long festival of fun that features music, dancing, fireworks and music. Before the Tomato fights those who will be taking part in the fight engage in a competition to see who can make the best paella.

On the day of the fight which starts around 11am in the morning, trucks bring a large supply of tomatoes, for of course, without tomatoes, there will be no fight. These tomatoes are delivered to the centre of the town at the Plaza del Peublo. This fight has a tradition where the fight will not start until someone has climbed to the top of a very high greasy wooden pole and reached the top where he or she will find a piece of ham! Although sometimes the fight can sometimes start before the ham has been reached. Cannons are fired and then the fighting, laughing and shouting begins. Once it starts you take care of yourself and take no prisoners!

Take care!

Those who like to take part would be advised not to wear anything too expensive and are also advised to wear goggles and gloves if possible. The tomatoes are usually squashed before throwing so they don’t injure someone on the receiving end of a missile throw! Clothes are torn and people really get into the spirit of things, although they La Tomatina 2009are not allowed to bring any other kind of weapon in case they cause a fight that really will end badly.

One hour later…

The fighting is allowed to go on for one whole hour, which one would imagine is enough for anyone; the end of the fight is signalled by the release of water cannons. At this point you must lay down your tomatoes! The streets are cleaned with fire trucks spraying down the streets, although the visitors don’t quite get the same attention.

You either go home and take a shower or bath, or throw yourself in the local river.

Bunol is a town in the province of Valencia in Spain and the festival is in honour of two patron saints. Both the festival and the tomato fight are not to be missed opportunities to let your hair down and have some serious fun!

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Gillian Jones Guest Blogger

Wychwood Festival

This year the Wychwood Festival will be 10 years old. If you’ve no idea what the Wychwood Festival is and you’re thinking of paying a visit this year then read on. It’s famous for its lively, friendly atmosphere and receives thousands of visitors each year.

Wychwood is a music festival with much more than just music; it also has comedy, cinema and workshops. This isn’t just a festival for the under 20′s, this is a festival that caters to families of all ages and sizes.

 

10 year anniversary

It started in 2004/05 and has gone from strength to strength. Rather than just provide music, the organisers fell upon the idea of providing a more eclectic experience for visitors with a variety of different acts and activities that would appeal to old and young.

It quickly became a success nationally and now it’s one of the most popular music festivals in the UK. This year’s line-up promises to be every bit as exciting as previous ones with The Stranglers, Bad Manners,The Boomtown Rats, Newton Faulkner among many others. There’s Paul Tonkinson, Philip Ardagh and The Gaslight Troubadours. There are exhibits from the Roald Dahl Museum and plenty of workshops to keep everyone happy.

The Festival is held on Cheltenham Racecourse which has its own fine history going back as far as the 19th century. The first organised race was held in 1815.  It’s a big event that attracts thousands of visitors, and while you’re there you can visit the Wychwood Festival.

A celebration of life

The Festival itself is the perfect beginning to a summer of festivals across the UK. The desire to celebrate life is clear whether you’re there to listen to music, take part in yoga, or workshop, or simply to listen to some of the comedy acts on offer.

MusicWychwood Festival Camping Banner

The BoomTown Rats reunion tour continues with an appearance at the Wychwood Festival on the 1st June. Wolf Alice will also headline on Sunday night. What’s also exciting is the fact that Graham Gouldman, founder of 10cc, will bring his “Heart Full of Songs” tour to the festival combining hits from his days with 10cc and new songs from his new album.

Children

For children with a love of books the Kids Literature festival should provide them with plenty to keep them busy. The Literature Festival Tent will have plenty of writers and illustrators with activities based on ideas and themes covered.

The Roald Dahl Museum comes to Wychwood and it’s not their first visit. There are storytelling sessions with Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts. There are themed activities to celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where you can create cards and sweets to rival the chocolate factory itself. Their story telling really does bring Dahl’s famous stories to life.

Most children will remember the Horrible Science series of books and Tony de Saulles brings his workshops to Wychwood. He’s had many of his illustrations published in numerous books and certainly knows what he’s talking about.

Comedy

Comedy is brought to Wychwood visitors by Gary Delaney, Paul Tonkinson and Wes Zaharuk so there’s plenty to keep people entertained if they prefer a little comedy in between the music. Overall this is one festival that’s family friendly with entertainment that covers not only different interests, but different ages. One thing is guaranteed when you visit Wychwood Festival, you’ll never be bored.

For more information, Click here.

Gillian Jones Guest Blogger

 

Dublin’s City Hall

In the last of our series of blogs to coincide with Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade we’ll be taking a look at Dublin City Hall. Along with many other beautiful buildings you may see on your way through the parade, you may catch a glimpse of this neo-classical 18th century Hall.

 

 

The beginning

Dublin’s City Hall came about when the Merchants of Dublin created a society, and looking for a base for their meetings set up a competition for someone to come forward with their own designs. Prior to the erection of the City Hall there had once been the Church of Sainte Marie, now a new building was needed. Thomas Cooley was to win the competition as the winning architect and construction began in 1769. It was completed 10 years later in 1779.

Beautiful designs

This was an adventurously large building the like of which Dublin had not seen before. It was certainly as beautiful inside as it was on the outside. It came with elaborate columns, a large and impressive dome decorated with Mosaics, and at the centre a window that threw light throughout the building. Near the north entrance of the Hall was a brass statue of George III.Tour to St Patrick's Day in Dublin

New occupants

Towards the mid-19th century the City Hall would have new occupants who would make further changes. Partitions were added and the construction of a new staircase would lead to upper floors and new windows which gave captivating views of Dublin Castle. A council chamber was added and the first meeting of the new Corporation was held in early autumn of 1852.

Disaster had struck in the early part of the 19th century prior to the Dublin Corporation’s new occupancy, where a balustrade from the front of the building had collapsed on to a number of people causing fatalities. An iron railing would be erected in its place. A stone balustrade would replace the railing in the mid-1800s by a new architect, a Thomas Turner.

Further additions

Towards the end of the 19th century a mosaic floor was added which featured the City Coat of Arms by another architect, this time a Charles J McCarthy. During the period of the First World War new historical frescoes were added to the dome by James Ward. They were later repainted after the original frescoes faded.

The final changes to the City hall came in the mid-1920′s when the supporting woodwork holding up the dome was replaced with steel. This was designed by another Architect a Mr Conor McGinley.

The Corporate moved to another location in 1995, but members of Dublin’s Council still meet on a monthly basis within the Council Chamber with Dublin’s Lord Mayor in attendance.

Still standing

Much of the first floor remains as it was, but much has changed below with the lower floor having been restructured completely. The reason for this has been to make way for a new multi-media exhibition which gives a broad history of the city.

Conservation and preservation

Conservation of this magnificent building is high on everyone’s priority and in the late 90′s restoration of the Hall was begun. It continues to be a beacon of pride for Dublin residents as an outstanding example of architectural splendour. Clearly everyone here in Dublin see the value of preserving this building for future generations, as it is such a fine example of 18th architecture and has a fine history. Make sure that when you pass through Dublin you keep an eye out for it.

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Gillian Jones Guest Blogger

River Liffey – St Patrick’s Day route

“A skiff, a crumpled throwaway, Elijah is coming, rode lightly down the Liffey…..” James Joyce, Ulysses

While you are following the St Patrick’s Day route in Dublin, you will no doubt take in some beautiful sights, buildings of note, interesting little shops and areas you wish to further investigate. What you will also pass along your route will be the River Liffey, a river that has played a significant part in Dublin’s life, its culture and its history.

 

Naming of the river

The Liffey splits into two parts, the north side and into a south side before travelling into Dublin Bay. Until the 18th century the River Liffey was known by another name; that of An Ruirthech, which roughly means fast and strong. It was also occasionally referred to as Anna Liffey which was referred to by James Joyce making the name famous with Dublin’s inhabitants.

River changes

The Liffy has changed over the years and become narrower as the city’s slowly expanded and claimed land with which to build. In the 18th century the river was changed to accommodate shipping. The river was trained to accept ships and in the 19th century it saw further development for deep-water berthing.

There are a breath-taking 16 bridges over the River Liffey.Tour to St Patrick's Day in Dublin

One of the most famous bridges is the Ha’penny Bridge. It was originally a toll bridge and was opened in the 18th century. Although it has been given many names it is more famously known today as the Ha’penny, as it cost half a penny to cross it when it was a working toll bridge.

O’Connell Bridge is in the very centre of the city. The bridge has been widened over the years to cope with the increase in traffic. At one time it was as wide as it was long. The bridge was named after Daniel O’Connell towards the end of the 19th century.

Famous buildings

One of the most famous buildings over the River Liffey is a building that was once known as a Food kitchen. It’s near the city centre and was once known by its original title of Soyer’s Food Kitchen. It was opened by Alexis Soyer, a famous chef who was asked to help by the government of the time as a result of the great potato famine. It had left thousands close to starvation. A soup was made that was guaranteed to stave off hunger for at least a day. Bowls of soup were served to hungry men and women with spoons chained to the bowls.

Destiny

The shoreline of the Liffey has changed considerably over the years. Naturally with the changes made to accommodate buildings and shipping, its changes have largely been determined by human hands.

But it provides a rich history that tells much about the development of Dublin as a bustling cosmopolitan city. It’s played its role alongside every man and woman. This amazing river once saw the first Vikings settle, it saw people go through terrible hardship and watched as it slowly grew into a famous city.

Flooding

Sadly, the Liffey is as vulnerable to flooding as the rest of the UK. Only recently it burst its banks in January. Strong winds and rain created the necessary ingredients for the river to burst wide open.

Although the River Liffey may not be able to fight the inclement weather we’ve all been suffering with, it’s survived many changes over the years, and we can only hope that it will still be with us in another 100 years.

For more information please Click here

 

Gillian Jones Guest Blogger

 

Trekking the Nepalese landscape

As we’ve seen Nepal is a fascinating and complex country with a diverse culture. The landscape is full of stunning views, tumbling mountains and breath-taking wilderness. There’s also a diverse range of wildlife from the jungles of Nepal to the mountains of Himalaya.

 

 

Trekking

Visitors often come for the trekking, never really knowing what to expect. The mountains look down temptingly from their snow-capped peaks, caped in pristine white clouds.

But it is nowhere near as hard as it might seem at first glance, as Himalayan trails only become difficult once you are near the top. It’s relatively safe and it’s hard to get lost. Of course it’s better still if you go with your guide. It can be both hot and cold and there are several hours of walking involved, but no Olympian levels of fitness are expected. As long as you are reasonably healthy the treks are easy enough to tackle and breaks are included. Yes, it can sometimes be quite slippy, steep and narrow. Suspension footbridges are never popular, but all of that is worth it if you really want to see some of the stunning vistas of Nepal.Annapurna Foothills Short and Scenic (11 Day Tour)

Shrouded in mystery

Himalaya also boasts at least 8 of the world’s highest peaks. In Hindu mythology the mountains are believed to be where the Gods go to meditate. Sherpas believe that certain summits are the embodiment of certain deities.

Conservation

As you can imagine the mountains of Nepal are extremely popular, and with this in mind there is heavy emphasis on conservation. The country’s breath-taking biodiversity deserves protection. Visitors to the region have a part to play in keeping the country clean as much as the locals do. Visitors are advised to use wood as little as possible, for both heat and cooking while out trekking. It’s important not to leave litter lying around, and the use of water bottles isn’t advised as the Nepalese do not recycle them here.

Although its unlikely visitors fall ill while they’re trekking, sometimes heatstroke can strike when you least expect it, trekkers are advised to drink plenty of water and eat something salty. Of course it can be very cold too, especially the higher up you are. With this in mind, it’s advised that sunglasses are to be worn so as to avoid snow blindness. It’s also important to look out for signs of hypothermia.

Nepalese wildlife

As already mentioned Nepal has an extremely varied biodiversity. It has a vast range of mammals, birds, and plant life. While out trekking it’s an ideal opportunity to see if you can spot something.

Nepal has nearly 900 species of birds. A lot of Nepal’s wildlife can be found in their jungles such as the one horned rhino. However, there are many different species living up in the Himalayas too. One of the most famous inhabitants is the snow leopard as featured on BBC1’s Planet Earth series. It has thick white spotted fur and is very elusive. You may not get to see a snow leopard, but you may see some of Himalayas bird population, such as the bar-headed goose, snow goose, golden eagle, demoiselle crane, peacock, or Eurasian eagle owl, to name but a few. 

There are varied habitats in which to live here from the forests of the foothills, to ice bound peaks and mountain lakes. You will find Tibetan foxes, red panda, grey wolf and Napal Everest Panorama 16 Day TourEurasian lynx here, as well as the Asian golden cat.

Spiders

As well as mammals, there are a fair amount of insects. Arachnids live quite happily in the Himalayan Mountains. For those of you who aren’t great fans of the spider, you may not take this as good news, but they are fascinating creatures. Once such spider lives quite happily thousands of miles above sea level, this is the Himalayan jumping spider. It’s small but strong and able to survive high up. Unfortunately, the diet here is not particularly varied for the spider and it lives off stray insects that have blown up Everest Panorama (16 Day Tour)the mountain.

Keeping Nepal beautiful

Nepal is beautiful, if you take the opportunity to trek up one of its many mountains, and you are bound to have an unforgettable experience. Keep an eye out for Nepal’s diverse wildlife and make sure you play your part in helping Nepal preserve its environment while you are there. That way Nepal’s stunning landscape and fascinating biodiversity will be with us for many, many years to come. 

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Anzac Day Blog – Gillian Jones writes about Australian Anzac Day

Posted by adminRick On February - 21 - 2014

Gillian Jones Guest Blogger

 

Australia ANZAC Day

ANZAC is an acronym and stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. This special group consisted of an army corps that was set up in World War 1 and officially formed in Egypt in 1915. It was disbanded in 1916 after the evacuation of Gallipoli. This special army corps were put together to fight the Turks.

 

 

One hundred years

As we celebrate the centenary of World War II it seems an ideal time to remember those that lost their lives during this hard fought war.

ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux

Plea for assistance

The British had mounted a naval expedition against Turkey after the Russians asked for help. However, the battle was abandoned after serious losses which included 3 battleships.

Australia and New Zealand enter the war

The Australians and New Zealand corps were brought in while Britain made attempts to land, although little progress was made. For 9 months the British, Australian and New Zealand troops fought against the Turks in appalling conditions. Gallipoli was lost. Sadly, over 100,000 men died which included 44,000 British and French, and nearly 9,000 Australians, and nearly 3,000 New Zealanders.

A part of something bigger

Although Gallipoli played a small part in the First World War, and the figures of those that died were far less than the war as a whole, it was still a considerable loss.

Bonds

The soldiers of both New Zealand and Australia had formed a great bond as they fought alongside each other. But the Gallipoli battle was a disaster, they were evacuated soon after, with no victories, and only a heavy loss of life to show for this hard fought battle. A third of the New Zealand’s troops died, and the small communities back home were devastated. It all seemed such a waste of life as nothing had been gained and there had been no significant influence over the wars outcome.

Letters home

Letters that have survived the war tell of the conditions and the bravery of the soldiers:Pillow Tour Anzac Day 2010

“For an hour or more I struggled on slipping every now and again right down the side where the earth was very loose, making my already wet and heavy clothes still heavier with the mud that hung to them. I found it very slow work my pack and rifle and shovel etc. catching every few minutes in the thick scrub, I had at times hard work to extricate myself I seemed to have handles sticking all over me, but what we accomplished that day we ourselves marvel at now. In spite of the dirty and in some cases ragged uniform covering tired bodies the men were cheerful and laughed at their plight, some jokingly saying “Oh, if only my girl could see me now”.

Private Roy Denning, written from hospital in Malta after being wounded, 1915

“who, with dying and wounded around him, and machine gun bullets tearing up the ground where he stood, steadied and waved forward the remnant of his platoon until he himself fell pierced with several bullets…”

Second Lieutenant Wilfred Emmott Addison foretold his own death before leaving for Gallipoli. The piece above is an excerpt from Charles Bean, Australia’s official historian on Addison’s self-fulfilling prophecy.

A celebration

Celebrating ANZAC Day on April 25th doesn’t set out to celebrate a great triumph, but it does celebrate the bravery of not only those that survived, but those that gave their lives so valiantly. The bravery, tenacity and ingenuity shown during the Gallipoli campaign is certainly something worth remembering. Close ties between the two countries were formed as a result of this terrible battle that has lasted to the present day.

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Hay Festival Banner

Pillow will be offering various pre-pitched camping options at this years Hay Festival at the end of May 2014.  These options range from traditional 2-man tents, through larger family camping facilities, to luxurious glamping under real canvas.  What better way to enjoy literature and the arts than to do so under the beautiful skies at Wye Meadow Camping, and taking a gentle 3 minute stroll to the festival every day!

Click here for further information.

See you there, The Pillow Team

Gillian Jones Guest Blogger St Patrick’s Day Parade, Dublin

St Patrick’s Day will be with us before we know it and we’ve already seen how fabulous this day of celebration is. However, St Patrick’s Day goes on longer than for just one day. Celebrations can go on all week, and there plenty of things to see and do once the parade has completed its    journey. Below are just three attractions on offer for visitors to take advantage of before, during and after St Patrick’s Day Parade.

 

Hairy Lemon

The Hairy Lemon pub is on Stephen Street which visitors will no doubt pass on their way through as they follow the parade. This is a popular pub with both locals and tourists, with an old fashioned feel, rustic décor and a warm welcome as you enter. It’s constantly busy with a bar and restaurant downstairs and a lounge upstairs. This is a nice old fashioned pub that has been unusually named after a local dog-catcher in the 1950s whose head apparently, looked like a lemon!

Buskers Bar

Tour to St Patrick's Day in DublinYou’ll find the Buskers Bar in the Temple bar, on Fleet Street not far from O’Connells’ Bridge and Grafton Street, which is along the route the St Patrick’s Day Parade takes. Buskers Bar is quite different to the Hairy Lemon, in that it has a modern bar with less of a rustic feel and a more modern contemporary vibe. The slick, modern deco reflects the bar’s personality, it serves excellent cocktails and has an impressive wine list. There are cocktail lessons for those that want to learn and there’s an excellent menu serving good food. Buskers have live music 7 days a week, and like the Hairy Lemon are popular with both visitors and tourists alike.

Grafton Street

For those who don’t quite enjoy visiting Dublin’s famous bars, but still want to get their St Patrick’s Day festival fix, they can always take a walk down Grafton Street, a long shopping street with both old and modern buildings sitting side by side. This is one of the most unique shopping streets in Europe and is popular with visitors from all over the world.

There are plenty of historic buildings to admire for those interested in Ireland’s history, with a good mix of old and new. This is a busy, bustling city, but Dublin is friendly, with Grafton Street offering locals and tourists a fine shopping experience, with a variety of retail stores on offer. There’s a selection of high end and high street goods, and there’s plenty to choose from with an eclectic range of stores. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants to rest tired feet, before continuing on. There are plenty of street performances which remind the visitor of Ireland’s cultural heritage with plenty to keep passers-by entertained.

History

Grafton Street has a fine history itself, being named after Henry Fitzroy, the 1st Duke of Grafton, the illegal son of Charles II. The street was established by the Dawson’s, a well-known family in Dublin. Grafton Street starts at Stephen’s Green and finishes not far from Trinity College.

Famous Statues

On the corner of Grafton Street is the famous statue of Molly Malone from the famous Irish ballad “Molly Malone.” It was erected back in 1988 and is a centre piece of this famous street along with another statue of Phil Lynott, frontman of Thin Lizzy, erected back in 2005.

Entertainment

Every year Bono, along with other street performers entertains crowds on Grafton Street, something that started back in 2009, starting out as an impromptu performance, but something which Bono has continued to do ever since.  There are plenty of eclectic performances to keep people entertained on Grafton Street and there’s plenty of opportunity to be taken by surprise. Spending time in Dublin to celebrate St Patrick’s Day Parade can be a spontaneous occasion with plenty going on, contributing towards some unforgettable memories.

The Tours

ANZAC DAY in France & Belgium

  • Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 April 2015

The Hay Festival

  • Thursday 21 to Sun 31 May 2015

Wychwood Festival

  • Friday 29 to Sunday 31 May 2015

Ladies Day at Royal Ascot

  • Thursday 18 June 2015 or
    Saturday 20 June 2015

Glastonbury Music Festival

  • Wednesday 24 to Sunday 28 June 2015

Henley Royal Regatta

  • Wednesday 1 to Sunday 5 July 2015

British Grand Prix at Silverstone

  • Friday 3 to Sunday 5 July 2015

International Air Tattoo

  • Friday 11 to Sunday 13 July 2014

CarFest (NORTH)

  • Friday 1 to Sunday 3 August 2014

CarFest (SOUTH)

  • Friday 22 to Sunday 24 August 2014

Belgium F1 GP at Spa

  • Thursday 21 Aug to Monday 25 Aug 2014

La Tomatina , Spain - The Tomato Fight

  • Tuesday 26 to Thursday 28 Aug 2014

Moto GP at Silverstone

  • Friday 29 August to Sunday 31 August 2014

Oktoberfest

  • Thursday 16 September to Tuesday 7 October 2014

Hogmanay

  • Sun 29 Dec 2013 to Thur 2 Jan 2014