06 May Where the World Vacations

Spring is here and with it comes the inevitable urge to travel during the upcoming summer months. Though the vast majority of Americans travel domestically, there are still those who wander farther. These are the people who dream of tropical getaways to Mexico, or hiking adventures in the northern wilds of Canada. These are the travelers who don’t feel fulfilled until there is a new stamp in their passport and a new security tag on their baggage. Seasonal wanderlust is hardly limited to Americans. In fact, Europeans are famous for their vacations. It certainly helps to live on a continent full of distinct nations easily reached by a car trip or short plane flight. Interestingly, a study conducted on travel trends for the EU noted that vacation destinations differ by nationality. Here are some of the results. Italians vacation in France. Yep, even Italians need a break from pasta occasionally. They head inland to the mountains and cities of France for a refreshing getaway. British go to Spain. It’s no secret that the Brits love the Mediterranean coast. Tans, tea, and tapas; Spain is the dream destination for everyone looking to escape the grey skies of England. The Irish visit the UK. This is a bit of a surprise until you consider that you can get a round trip from Dublin to London for $50. $50! You can hardly buy a suitcase for that price! Czech tourists choose Slovakia. Though not well known in the US, Slovakia is a gorgeous...

Read More

16 Mar Sláinte!

Looking for cosy wooden booths, Gaelic beer on tap and a friendly, no-nonsense bartender who will spin you a yarn? There’s a reason Irish pubs have become a worldwide phenomenon. You’ve doubtless been to one in your own city, but what about in Ireland? What are the best Irish pubs and where can you find them? Glad you asked… +++ O’Loclainn’s, Ballyvaughan This non-descript bar, tucked away in the back of an alley, is a popular haunt for long-time locals. While it’s just a small room with a stove, this little pub has one of the city’s most impressive selections of whiskies.   Hi-B, Cork No larger than a living room, Hi-B is notorious for its stringent upkeep of Irish traditions. The tiny bar is virtually unchanged since it first opened 90 years ago. Mobiles are banned and whisky is welcomed.   O'Riada’s, Kilkenny This small, often overcrowded pub is a lovably shambolic place to stop and have a pint. Enjoy a strong Guinness or get lost in its labyrinthine corridors to get a taste for this real Irish pub.   Mulligan’s of Poolbeg St, Dublin Considered one of the last big-name Irish pubs that has not bowed down to commercialism, Mulligan’s is a time-warp to the Ireland of the 1850’s. Ignore the television – its only modern addition – and appreciate the hand-carved wooden paneling and cozy rustic interior.   Tigh Neachtain's, Galway What could be better than snuggling by an open fire with a large glass of stout? If you’re after an authentic Irish...

Read More

04 Feb As Local As It Gets – Inis Mór, Aran Islands, Ireland

I'll set the scene: Arrive on ferry boat, a green landscape that would inspire Crayola, huts with thatched roofs and smoking chimneys, a man named Thomas and a horse named Johnny, another shade of green, fences made of rock and the smell of peat in the air. You're at the edge of Ireland. Not the Cliffs of Moher - you're on the Aran Islands and you own the islands. [caption id="attachment_1451" align="alignnone" width="300"] Inis Mor Arrival (Photo Credit: D. Palazzolo)[/caption] While designing programs, it's important to experience life as a local would. While I know a local wouldn't hire a horse and carriage to cart them around; locals do have horses and they do have carriages - and what better way to see the island than to have Thomas Faherty and one of his horses (Johnny) show us around? [caption id="attachment_1452" align="alignnone" width="300"] Johnny (the horse) and his Carriage (Photo Credit: D. Palazzolo)[/caption] Hiking to the Worm Hole requires one to have a keen eye and and strong ankles. Thomas dropped my wife and I off at a starting point and said, "Follow the red arrows. Make sure not to get sucked under by the tide. I'll meet you in a couple hours for some tea." As I looked out among the field of rough terrain, trying to locate even one red arrow, I noticed that, all of a sudden, the rock stopped. There was a cliff  and then there was a limestone pool...

Read More

12 Jan Wish, Kiss, and Touch

The new year is here! 2015 is the year for travel and discovery, and all the personal wealth that comes with it. We’ve put together a list of places for you to go this year that are not only beautiful and entrenched in history, they will bring you good fortune. 1. Edinburgh, Scotland- Grayfriar Bobby Statue Meet the most famous and beloved terrier of Scotland, Grayfriars Bobby. His life-size statue stands near the main entrance of Greyfriar Kirkyard, a cemetery in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The statue was erected to memorialize the Skye Terrier who kept faithful watch over his master’s grave for 14 years until his own death in 1872. A tombstone marks his actual burial site in Kirkyard, where he rests eternally near the grave of his owner John Gray. The story has unfortunately been discredited by recent research, but tourists still enjoy rubbing the nose of the loyal pup for good fortune. City officials encourage you to pet gently, not because he bites, but because his nose has undergone some damage over the years from repeated touching. [caption id="attachment_1340" align="alignnone" width="189"] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greyfriars_Bobby_statue,_Edinburgh.JPG[/caption] So sweet. 2. Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland- Blarney Castle Kiss it, it’s Irish! When you’re in Ireland, be sure to visit the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone for the “gift of the gab.” According to legend, proprietor of the castle Cormac MacCarthy was being denied his land owning rights by Queen Elizabeth I. Feeling helpless to argue his case, he...

Read More

20 Aug The Musical Isle

Irish music is one of the few indigenous music styles to have attained both international popularity and commercial success. Though traditional music styles do not often translate well when played for audiences outside of their native country, Irish folk ballads, drinking songs, and rock music have all connected with listeners around the globe. This is particularly true for American audiences with a hankering for a sense of the ‘old country’. Below you’ll find Panrimo’s picks for the Top 7 Most Beloved Irish Songs. 7) I’ll Tell Me Ma https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBKdcn7whOs Though the video above is a performance by the all-male troupe Na Fianna, I’ll Tell Me Ma is a song traditionally sung by young girls. A well-known children’s song bemoaning the hijinks that result from adolescent flirtations, it is lively, fun, and easy to dance to. In fact, it used to be associated with a game! Similar to ‘Ring around the Rosie’, a group would hold hands to form a circle around a boy (or girl) in the middle. At the appropriate moment, the center child would call out the initials of their crush, who would then join them in the middle. Ah, young love. 6) Siúl A Rún https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rHLxnuYUYU Siúl A Rún (Walk, My Love) is a lament for lost love was written during a particularly war-torn period of Ireland’s history, though no one is quite sure which. Best guesses place it sometime around the Glorious Revolution, when English occupying forces gave young Irishmen the difficult...

Read More

21 Jul Knot Just Art

One of Ireland’s chief exports (apart from zinc, ore, and Guinness) is artwork. Hugely popular all over the world, the colors, craftsmanship, and patterns integral to Celtic culture can be found reproduced on everything from t-shirts to jewelry. One of the most integral and recognizable elements is Celtic knot work, but do you actually know the meaning behind the knots? Before you get that cool-looking tattoo, better check our basic guide to Celtic knots first. 5) Tree of Life Knot [caption id="attachment_919" align="aligncenter" width="500"] I want to plant a few of these in my yard.[/caption] http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41pcpSZj3nL.jpg Just like the Shel Silverstein book about a similar deciduous character, the Tree of Life is all nourishing, all giving, and a symbol of how life continues despite it all. With strong roots to anchor it, and branches reaching out to all, this knot is the perfect design to remind us of how we’re all connected. 4) Sailor’s Knot [caption id="attachment_920" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Who knew sailors could make such cute bracelets?[/caption] http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=76841387 Also commonly known as a Lover’s Knot, designs of this type always feature 2 separate threads intertwined until it’s impossible to figure out how to tear them apart. So why are there two different names for the same style of knot? Historically, sailors would present their sweethearts with knots or symbols of this sort before leaving on long voyages. So romantic! 3) Shield Knot [caption id="attachment_921" align="aligncenter" width="674"] This letter is signed, sealed, and SHIELDED.[/caption] http://images3.sw-cdn.net/model/picture/674x501_297970_135607_1338413387.jpg One of the most ancient designs, this four-cornered...

Read More