Well-known visitors, a bump in tourism numbers, new travel apps, great deals for travel, and a renewed interest in Irish heritage filled the plus side
Rough economic times, an increase in taxes (not for Irish tourism products though), and the passing of Ireland Expert Pat Preston on the negative end.
As we look back on the year, we celebrate the many wonderful posts published last year by highlighting our favorite Irish-interest stories of 2011.
by Dalene and Peter Heck
The Canadian couple spent their summer in Ireland and filled their blog with accounts of their time on the Emerald Isle.
by Emily Westbrooks
She moved to Dublin with her Irish husband in 2008, and Emily Westbrooks fills her blog with all her favorite things. For a primer, start with her posts on Dublin.
by Fin Dwyer
Fin Dwyer takes us on a trip through Ireland’s past… and thankfully, gives enough facts to keep it smart and enough excitement to keep it interesting. Both his podcast and blog are worth regular visits.
by Megan Eaves and Bill Lehane
They were a bit quiet for part of the year, but their features were worth the wait as they continue to bring us tips and inspiration for Irish travel.
by Alan Bennett
This summer Alan Bennett zigzagged around Ireland by bus and blogged about his adventures… from sand castles to concerts to tall ships to funny costumes.
by Pol O Conghaile
His articles about places and trends in Irish travel appear in a variety of publications, but you can always count on travel writer and journalist Pol O Conghaile to showcase his best here.
by Imen McDonnell
With a new crop of posts about Irish farm cooking and stories from her life as an American raising a family in the Limerick countryside, Imen McDonnell has a way of making readers feel good… and it’s not just her gorgeous photos of food.
by Karen Robbins
With a rich collection of tales from her recent travels of the Emerald Isle, Karen Robbins visits every corner of Ireland in this series of posts.
by the Curious crew
September was Ireland month over at TCO (hats off to them for not choosing March when we were suffering shamrock overload). It was a pleasure reading their collection of articles.
by Jody Halsted
Don’t let the name fool you, Jody Halsted’s contributions to helping plan a great trip don’t require children.
by Multiple Authors
It’s all Irish travel all the time over at the Discover Ireland Blog, and they continue to offer unexpected articles that get us dreaming about Ireland.
by Cindy Thomson
Cindy Thomson started sharing bits of Irish history with us earlier this year, and her posts have quickly become some of our most-shared items.
by Got Ireland
We just love the month-by-month festival and event listing in this post. No, it doesn’t have everything, but it does offer a great mix of things to do that would be of special interest to visitors.
by Chris Hale
Chris Hale shares the highlights of his trip with his daughter.
by Peter Calder
The most memorable route in Northern Ireland isn’t necessarily a straight line… especially with a scribe aboard.
by Kaeli Conforti
Budget Traveler asked their readers to submit their favorite Ireland pics, and the submission give us a vibrant tour of the Emerald Isle.
by Richard Bangs
Richard Bangs continues his travel legacy with some charming video stops in Ireland. He’s got a knack for finding the slightly offbeat and interesting.
by Megan Eaves
Anyone who has spent time in the Fair City knows the city reveals a different side of itself around every corner. Megan Eaves introduces us to a few.
by Pauline Frommer
Three current events shaped Pauline Frommer’s visit to Northern Ireland… and she gives the country a big thumbs up.
by Michael Mullin
Everyone who has climbed to the top of St Patrick’s holy mountain has a different story to tell. Michael Mullin offers his in this installment of his series about Croagh Patrick.
by Naomi O’Leary
Naomi O’Leary gives us a wonderful snapshot of a charming trip to Dublin.
It’s always a pleasure when I read about someone exploring a lesser-known, but extraordinarily gorgeous region of Ireland and getting an interesting history lesson in the process.
by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
The moment I read that people “don’t go to the island, they’re going into it,” I was hooked.
by Frank McDonald
Despite what the locals believed twenty years ago, a stand of ruined pre-famine Irish cottages have been transformed into an International artists’ retreat.
by Time Out editors and Sulakshana Gupta
I was happy to see a few “extras” on this Dublin to-do list.
by Bob Montgomery
A fascinating history of the sea and Ireland’s insurrections unfolds along the Dungarven coast… and the views to sea are exciting too.
by Kristen Luna
We all have our must-sees in Ireland… Kristen Luna’s quest to find U2 gives her some memorable moments in the Fair City.
by Dr. Jessica Voigts
A story of great change in Ireland can be told in the life of Daniel O’Connell and Derrynane House.
by Mitchell Smyth
While most tourists spend their time walking Grafton Street and Temple Bar, Mitchell Smyth gives us a few other prime locations in Dublin to explore on foot.
by Glenn A Baker
Glenn A. Baker drops anchor in Cobh, a port known for migrants, celebrities, and shipping tragedies.
by Ciara Hegarty
The people of Cork wowed Queen Elizabeth this year, but they endeared themselves to Ciara Hegarty much earlier.
by Paul Walsh
For this online exhibition, Paul Walsh revisited sites that were photographed by Charles W. Cushman in June 1961. He snapped contemporary photos for all to compare.
by Leah Carri
Leah Carri came home to Ireland with her Australian hubby to explore sites like the Saltee Islands.
by Kerry Dexter
Irish music has a way of touching emotions and reaching hearts across time and place and language. That seems to be true, too, whether you hear the music at a big stage show, at a lively pub, in a living room. or through a recording.
by Mindie Burgoyne
In this video essay, Mindie Burgoyne talks with Dingle artist Carol Cronin about the impact a place can have on creativity.
by Gemma Tipton
It seems fitting that amidst all the talk of Ireland’s recession that the country would go back to its roots and name 2011 the Year of Craft.
by the National Leprechaun Museum
Ireland’s National Leprechaun Museum opened in Dublin, and they’ve kept themselves off the tourist trap list by focusing their efforts on information like folklore and legend.
by Tracy McVeigh
Ireland has a long history of seeing it’s young leave the island. Today there’s a new generation of Irish diaspora.
With emigration once again a fact of life in rural Irish communities, the rituals and traditions associated with leaving home are being revived.
by Dick Ahlstrom
The builders of Ireland’s ancient monuments such as Newgrange are elusive, but evidence suggests a complex society.
by Jenny Foxe
Breaking away from the consumerism overtaking Halloween, Jenny Foxe goes to the Irish origins of the popular holiday.
by the National Museum of Australia
Australians talk about their Irish heritage in several videos from the National Museum of Australia.
by Maev Kennedy
An interesting glimpse into the world of Irish emigrants in London.
by Nicholas Witchell
With a visit from Queen Elizabeth pending, Nicholas Witchell looks at how the relationship between the Crown and Ireland has been one of the longest and most difficult in the history of Britain’s monarchy.
by Rosita Boland
Rosita Boland visits an Irish traveler community and finds tales of social ostracism, tradition, and a reluctance to talk.
by Nick Bramhill
Sinead O’Connor’s recent divorce after 16 days of marriage might not be the best advertisement for Willie Daly’s matchmaking service (yes, she was a customer this year), but the third-generation matchmaker keeps the traditional alive.
by Michele Erdvig
In a day that changed the modern world, Michele Erdvig reflects on her time spent with the Irish when her thoughts were of home.
by Siobhan Long
Music lovers may have less money to spend on gigs and concerts these days, but that hasn’t stopped trad fans from breathing new life into sessions across Ireland.
by Eoin Ó Conchúir
If learning a new language isn’t intimidating enough, Irish has three distinct dialects. But Eoin Ó Conchúir assures us it’s not a problem.
by Robert J. Bateman
You may not have heard of the Battle at Gaines Mill (it happened in 1862), but the story of the Irish Brigade tells one of many stories of the Irish diaspora.
by Michael Lewis
This lengthy piece in Vanity Fair offers some insight into the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger.
by Shelly Hathaway
While most of us have seen the flash and dazzle of Riverdance, Shelly Hathaway has dug up some interesting archival footage of Irish dance.
by G. Beaverson
In this look at Irish history G. Beaverson takes us through Ireland’s Viking history.
by Gerry Britt
You’ll want to have the Kleenex handy as Gerry Britt takes you on the emotional story of researching his ancestry in Ireland.
by Rachel Murphy
As more Irish diaspora dive into their family histories, it’s always exciting to discover a potential source that may open another chapter in family history.
by Megan Smolenyak
We simply can’t resist a little genealogical history mystery… especially when there’s a happy ending (oops, did I give it away?).
by Aoife O’Riordain
The visits of the British and US heads of state are big news, but you don’t have to be a VIP to enjoy some hidden Irish gems.
by K.C. Dermody
The city of Dublin has some wonderful museums, pubs and lots of great shopping, but you’ll miss some of the best things about Ireland if you don’t wander outside the city.
by Adam Alexander
A new gastronomic trail in Donegal aims to put locally produced food firmly on the foodie map.
by Peter Donegan
Confession, we’re thrilled the Irish Fireside made the cut. Confession #2, I don’t have a garden, but I still listen to The SodShow.
by Erin Halvey
Being married to an Irish man means Erin Halvey has gotten to know Ireland from both the tourist and local perspective.
by Megan Eaves
Before making it to the altar in Ireland, Megan Eaves lets you know how to do it yourself.
by Maryann, Views from an Irish Backyard
Her original Non-Irish Irish Speaking tutorial got her on last year’s list, and now we can all enjoy Maryann’s upper level course.
by Corey Taratuta
Mobile technology is creeping into the Irish travel sphere, and here’s where you’ll find a few of the best.
by Oda O’Carroll
Even in strainened times, Ireland has never needed an excuse to celebrate. If the more eccentric end of the cultural spectrum is to your liking, here are a few of its more unusual events to whet your appetite.
by Joy Harron
With the addition of an iPhone app and a new category listing for Bed and Breakfasts, B&B Ireland has added a few new ways to help choose the perfect place to stay.
by Chris Christensen
Combine the bubbly personality of Jessie Voigts, the inquisitive nature of Chris Christensen, and the joys of the Ring of Kerry and Episode 304 of the Amateur Traveler Podcast delivers a delightful 30-minute Ireland fix.
by Sheila Ryan
Rural Ireland is peppered with Megalithic sites, and Sheila Ryan explores a few that might not have the notoriety of Newgrange, but offer a deeply rewarding experience.
by Susan Daly
Spooky castles… eerie pubs… Susan Daly gives us a dose of ghostly Ireland.
by Michael Freeman
Looking at a new exhibition by David Creedon, Michael Freeman gives us a look at the forgotten homes of Ireland.
by Rusty Long
Ireland’s popularity as a surfing destination surprises many, but for wave-chaser Rusty Long, it was the size of the surf that caught his attention.
by David Brice
Golfers don’t ‘need’ great scenery to enjoy their sport, but boy oh boy does Ireland offer an added bonus, as David Brice reveals.
by Shelley Marsden
Amp up your Netflix queue with a full list of films with direct connections to Ireland.
by Rosemary Allen
Many senior travellers view independent travel with trepidation and so they are more likely to choose whistle-stop guided tours or cruises, but that wasn’t the case for Rosemary Allen and her husband.
by Bruno Maddox
Travel and Leisure takes up residence at Crom Castle, in Northern Ireland, for a perfectly charming weekend.
by John McKenna
Are the Irish turning their back on the spud? John McKenna tells us more about the Irish and their potatoes.
by Dan Saltzstein
There’s a wee bit of Ireland in Queens.
by Eva Sandoval
Even solo, one can enjoy a stop in a Dublin pub.
by Piers Fawkes
Just about anyone who’s downed a pint of the black stuff in Ireland says it tastes better there. Now there’s scientific evidence to back it up!
by Shelley Marsden
Do you know your Gubbeen Cheese from your Cashel Blue? You will once you’ve read this!
by Clare Kleinedler
Clare Kleinedler introduces us to the new generation of Irish foodies who will turn your idea of Irish food on its end.
by Irish Whiskey Notes
Forget about when to serve red or white wine — pairing Irish whiskey to your menu is a lot more fun.
by Sasha Martin
Guinness! Bailey’s! Chocolate! Decadence!
by Sarah Benton-Kenney
Inspired by the delicious seafood living off Ireland’s coast, Sarah from the Snippets of Thyme blog makes me hungry and long for Ireland at the same time.
by Alex Meehan
There’s a new heaven for foodies in west Waterford. And this article gives us a taste that leaves us wanting to go back for seconds
by Ella McSweeney
Ella McSweeney highlights one entrepreneurial farmer who has turned his passion into one of Ireland’s newest ‘farm to fork’ products.