Category Archives: Travel

The wobbly bridge of Carrick-a-Rede

If you are looking for a bit of thrill then you could do worse than go to Northern Ireland and walk across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. It is one of the most interesting sites to see in Northern Ireland, a land that is full of incredible sights to see. This is one of the most intriguing spectacles. It’s a rope bridge that has been put up for centuries that allows the mainland to reach a small island just off the main shore. This was put up in place so that the fisherman could access it in the summer and open up new areas without having to use a boat, which is dangerous at the best of times around the region. The Irish Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and the storms and the churning waters are worrying to navigate.

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This is why you need to have a few Aran Sweaters in your arsenal to keep warm and also keep out the wet sea spray that can get quite high and forceful on this part of the coast. The Aran Sweaters are perfect as they use a special wool that is actually able to resist water and keep the wearer dry. It was first used by the Fisherman of Aran and was handmade by their wives and mothers. You can get one from Shamrock Gift.

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You might want to contact your wife and or Mother before you go across the bridge. It is perfectly safe but the gap is imposing and the drop is very far. It’s fine though and well worth the journey.

Why Stroud is Such a Popular Place to Live

Many people in the UK have decided that city life is not all it cracked up to be and are looking for a place in a more rural location. There are many reasons for this – the fresher and cleaner air, benefits to mental health, more space in the great outdoors and peace and quiet are all things that attract people to a life in the countryside.

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One of the places that is a popular rural town is Stroud and the surrounding areas. Stonehouse estate agents like TGRES have lots of people enquiring about properties in the local area, so what is it that is so great about this region?

Firstly, Stroud is surrounded by beautiful countryside, so if you are planning on spending a lot of time walking around in the fresh air, then this is a great place to be. The Cotswold way runs through the area, which is a walking route of over 100 miles, and it also has lots of shorter walking routes that take in the beautiful scenery over the Stroud Valleys and beyond.

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Stroud is also a place that is laid back and offers a fantastic alternative lifestyle – full of local artists, finding beautiful things is easy here, and it also has a wide range of locally produced food available, which attracts people from not just all over Gloucestershire but further afield. Whether you want locally produced honey, a unique vase or fresh vegetables, it is easy to come by in Stroud.

What to Pack For a Ski Holiday

When planning your ski vacation, knowing what to pack for a ski holiday can be the difference between an enjoyable and a miserable experience. Your ski gear may seem lightweight, but that does not mean that you should skimp on quality. You can travel light, but you should still pack appropriate clothing, boots, headlamps, harnesses, gloves, fleece, a spare winter jacket, ropes, car keys, a mobile phone, a portable radio, toiletries, an idea box, and much more. Some Womens Aran Sweaters from Shamrock Gift are essential.

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One mistake many people make when they travel is to bring too much. This is one thing that will kill your ski holidays. The last thing you want to do is to bring all the essentials and then have no room left to pack your other items. One of the best ways to avoid this is to figure out exactly what you are going to be doing on the actual slopes and then buy ski travel gear that is specifically designed to handle this type of terrain.

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You will also want to pack appropriately for the season you are going to be in. For example, if you are traveling in the dead of winter, you should pack wool socks, a heavy wool liner, gloves, a heavy wool hat, a heavy wool coat, gloves, mittens, a pair of chokers, a knit beanie, and any other items that you would need to keep warm. The bottom line is that you should know what kind of skis and other equipment you will need before you shop.

Naturally Beautiful Places that you Must See on a Trip to New Zealand

New Zealand is a fantastic place to go for a holiday -despite the long flight duration, it is a really popular place for holidays. If you are planning on visiting New Zealand one of the best options is to look for New Zealand self drive holidays so that you can get out and see the remote areas of natural beauty that New Zealand is famed for. Here are a few ideas of places to visit if you are planning on a trip to this amazing country…

Champagne Pools – These pools at Wai-o-Tapu are an amazing natural wonder of New Zealand. Be prepared for the strong sulphuric smell caused by the volcanic activity in the area! The colours of the pools are striking, and this is a really unique and beautiful place to visit on your trip.

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Waitomo – These caves are a beautiful place to see and there is nowhere else like it in the world. The caves come alight with glow worms and you can take a boat trip to this beautiful underground world to enjoy this natural spectacle.

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Pancake Rocks – Head to the west coast to see one of natures greatest shows. These rocks were naturally formed over millions of years and because of their unique shape, as the tide comes in the water rushes through the rock formation creating a natural water show that will take your breath away.

Explore the Enchanting Wales on a Walk to Pen Y Fan

Wales is a land of beautiful terrain – from dramatic mountains to beautiful rugged coastlines, the diverse and wild landscape makes Wales one of the best places to visit if you enjoy spending time out of doors and the views across the landscape are spectacular.

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Just because it is winter does not mean that you need to stop enjoying the great outdoors – one of the best times to see Wales is during the winter months when the earth feels at its most wild – of course make sure that when you are heading out that you have the correct equipment – for a hiking backpack Ireland based shop can help you, it is also a good idea to let someone know where you will be going.


One of the most rewarding and popular walks in wales is the walk to the highest point in south Wales – Pen Y Fan. The peak stands at 860 Metres above sea level and when you climb to the top on a clear day you will be able to see as far as the southern coastline of Wales to the south and Snowdonia to the north.


On your hike to the top of Pen Y Fan, you can also stop at the peak of neighbouring Corn Du which was once a bronze age burial site and like much of rural Wales has long been associated with myth and mystery.

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The lake which sits just beneath Corn Du, Llyn Cwm Llcwh is a beautiful and unusual mountaintop lake, left over from the ice age – it also has a few mysteries of its own. It is said that on May Day anyone who went to the middle of the lake would be able to enter the fairy realm through a door which appeared for one day only.  One year someone took a flower from the realm and the door never appeared in the lake again.

Enjoy the Best National Parks in Britain

It might be the end of summer but that doesn’t mean we can’t all get out and enjoy the fresh air. In fact, autumn is one of the best times of the year to get out and explore the British countryside. With the kids being back at school, popular places are a lot quieter, and the beautiful autumnal colours are all on display across the country.

All you have to do is get some walking maps – you can find a walking map from the map shop and decide where you would like to go – you are spoilt for choice with lots of national parks all around the country, there will definitely be a place that you can get out and enjoy the great outdoors – here are just a few of them…

Head to the stunning coastline of Wales in Pembrokeshire National Park. The best way to see the sea is from this fantastic walking route, the Pembrokeshire coast national trail. See the wildlife that abounds here, from the seabirds nesting in the cliffs to the seals bobbing in the sea.

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Get your walking boots ready for one of the most popular walks in the UK – the Penine way. This spans across 3 National parks and takes in the amazing countryside from the Peak district to the Yorkshire Dales – at 268 miles it is certainly a challenge, but walkers are rewarded with a stunning array of scenery.

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Cyclists will enjoy the South Downs way – with over 100 miles of countryside to experience, the trail spans across the entire South Downs National park, where you can enjoy the woodlands as well as the beautiful coastline of the region.

Bath time for the Romans

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When it comes to looking back at Roman history there are many things that they developed that we still use today or that we have taken the basic idea for and developed further as technologies have advanced. This includes the road network that we have here in the UK as well as the centre of town and city set ups. We have also taken the idea of underfloor heating from them. OF course the flooring that a Electric Underfloor Heating Gloucestershire company will install today is much more advanced than that of Roman times but the idea began with them.

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The Romans enjoyed nothing more than getting together and enjoying some time in their bathhouses. These were very elaborate buildings that had mosaic tiles on the floor and water that was sometimes infused with essential oils. They would spend vast amounts of time in this room. The flooring was heated in what is known as the ‘hypocaust’. It was a series of columns in the underfloor space and a channel that ran to the furnace. The hot air would travel down this channel until it reached the network of columns. The air would rise up through this space and the subsequent floor above creating a nice warm floor and overall atmosphere above.

Reasons to Visit Manchester

Manchester is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the UK so if you are looking for a weekend away, then look no further. You are sure to find something to suit everyone in Manchester. One of England’s biggest cities, the city grew as a port, around the Salford Docks and has continued to be a thriving business hub, for companies large and small such as CCTV Manchester company as well as a popular place to enjoy a weekend away with the family. Here are some of Manchester’s fantastic attractions…

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The Trafford Centre- This enormous shopping centre is a real hit with those who love to shop – but there is also a lot more to it than that. For a family weekend away, the Trafford Centre is perfect, as it not only has all the big name brands to keep shoppers busy, but also has plenty of other activities including the Imax Cinema, the Legoland experience, Sea Life Centre and Laser Quest.

The Lowry – For theatre lovers, the Lowry is a must. This spectacular building to the side of Salford Quays is the perfect place to see a show. It is actually made up of three smaller buildings, offering a diverse range of shows, to the big West End hits, to opera to top comedians. Visitors are spoilt for choice.

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The National Football Museum – You don’t think of Manchester without thinking of football – home to two of the UKs biggest football clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City, football fans can fill their boots at the National Football Museum. Explore the history of the game, have a go at a penalty shoot-out, and explore the tours that the museum has on offer.

The Crystal Maze – The favourite 90s TV game show experience – get together a team of 8 and try your luck in the four different zones before taking on the ultimate challenge – the Crystal Dome! Don’t forget to book before you go as obviously this is a popular attraction!

What made Lourdes so special?

Lourdes is the most visited shrine for Christian pilgrimage in the world. However, contrary to popular belief, it is not an ancient site but became a destination for pilgrims fairly recently. The importance of Lourdes came from an apparition of the Virgin Mary that occurred in 1858. Here are some fascinating facts about the religious significance of this town in France.

The season of pilgrimage runs from April to October every year, with the most significant date being 15th August and the Marian Feast of Assumption. Around 4-6 million pilgrims from across the globe visit the town, with over 200 million thought to have visited since 1860.

The apparition occurred some 18 times between February and July 1858, appearing as a robed woman in a small grotto known as Massabiele near Lourdes. The apparitions appeared for a fourteen-year-old girl called Bernadette Soubirous.

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Bernadette received instructions from the robed lady that the local priest should construct a chapel in the grotto and many people would soon come and visit.

During the 16th appearance of the apparition, the robed lady revealed herself as the Virgin Mary. Bernadette was sent into an ecstatic trance and began digging in the grotto’s earth until she reached a puddle of water. The puddle grew larger over the following days and became the now iconic sacred spring of Lourdes.

In the beginning, the site was only known to those in the region but when news of incidents of healing began to spread, the therapeutic powers of the springs became known worldwide. For flights to Lourdes from Airports in Ireland, visit

The site grew so popular that it soon became overcrowded. In response to its growing global reputation, a grand basilica was constructed above the grotto to replace the former chapel and it was completed in 1958.

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The pilgrims who visit Lourdes every year do so for the healing powers of Bernadette’s spring. They bathe in the waters and enjoy the restorative effects. All reported miracles are thoroughly examined and many are verified as exceptional examples of healing at the grotto’s springs.

The most apparitions of the Virgin Mary appear in Roman Catholic countries and are often experienced by young children between the ages of 6 and 12. The messages given to the children often contain information on world affairs, of which the children would have no prior knowledge. Some of the information and predictions have been remarkably accurate.

Visiting Lourdes is a special experience for many, with visitors buying special rosaries at the shrine of Saint Bernadette. The rosaries are made from glass, wood, crystal or pewter and some even contain some of the water from the spring. Also available are artist’s renditions of the apparition of the Lady of Lourdes. Many pilgrims enjoy organised tours of the town as well as the surrounding countryside.





Visit the quirkier side of Edinburgh

If you’re heading to Edinburgh, make a note of these slightly more unusual attractions that are too good to be missed. Take a walk off the beaten tourist path and discover the quirky, lesser known treats that this Scottish city has to offer.

Maison de Moggy

Cat lovers everywhere will want to include this on their itinerary. This is the very first cat café in the whole of Scotland. What could be more awesome than cats plus coffee plus cake? Enjoy your visit with twelve felines but be sure to make a reservation as this is one popular destination. There is a charge to enter the café for an hour session, but all the money goes towards the care of the kitties.

Surgeon’s Hall Museum

For those with a strong stomach, at this museum you’ll see exhibits like diseased kidneys in jars and deformed appendages just sitting around shelves in jars full of formaldehyde. It’s an unusual attraction but if you have a genuine interest in medical history or anatomy, then this place is fascinating and highly educational, if a little gross! The museum also combines other collections such as the Wohl Pathology Museum, the History of Surgery and The Dental Collection.

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Camera Obscura

This is a cool and quirky museum located not far from the iconic Edinburgh Castle. It’s a unique mix of fun house and museum with five floors of interactive exhibits and fun illusions. Right at the very top of the building, you’ll find the Camera Obscura and an awesome view of the city and castle. For flights to Edinburgh from Irish Airports, visit

Museum of Childhood

This museum is like a walk along memory lane and contains a wealth of interactive exhibits for families and children to enjoy. It’s free to visit and explains the importance of play in child development. Its full of toys from different eras of history and covers topics as broad as changing décor and health care.

Leith Walkway

It might be a humble path but its bursting with charm and history. The water of Leith walkway offers a peaceful escape from the bustle of the city without even leaving the city. It’s pretty long though, at 12 miles long but you can choose how far to walk. There are some amazing photo opportunities of the river and local wildlife but be prepared for rain and mud.

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Mary King’s Close

A great place for discovering the darker elements of Edinburgh’s past. It’s a little creepy, this underground city but full of exciting interactive exhibits but it’s hugely popular so get your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Mary King was a female merchant who lived near the close and this museum is located beneath the Royal Mile with a maze of passages transporting you back in time to when Edinburgh was a busy global centre of commerce and trade.