Posts tagged with "Ireland"

VAGABOND TOURS OF IRELAND

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Folds Galway into 2020 Itineraries

Honoring Europe’s Capital of Culture

 

Ireland’s Galway in February will become even more globally prominent. This city has been dubbed the 2020 European Capital of Culture.

An award-winning tour operator, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, is already preparing to fold Galway into as many of its 2020 tours as possible. This company will also offer opportunities for guests to sample a variety of world-class events that make travel to Ireland in 2020 a must.

 

The national event lineup for next year includes but is not limited to: 

• April 2020: The 50th anniversary of the World Irish Dancing Championships in Dublin

• June 15, 19, 26, 2020: European Soccer Championships 2020 Group Stage Matches at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.  The senior men’s soccer tournament games (UEFA European Championships) are being held for the first time in Dublin.

• July 2020: The Great Gathering at Cork 300, a maritime festival celebrating the oldest yacht club in the world

• July 23-27 2020: Clipper Round the World Race stops in Derry.

• August 29, 2020: College Football Classic in Dublin with Navy vs Notre Dame at Aviva Stadium. 

In addition to this calendar of one-off crowd-pleasers, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland asked its guides to tally up past-guest surveys of what their alumni thought were the most outstanding experiences in Ireland. Following is the result of their research, a perfect mix of hidden gems, historical events, challenging hikes and stunning destinations that create the ultimate Ireland bucket list of amazing things to do on the Emerald Isle in 2020 and beyond. 

• Visiting Skellig Michael, an island with puffins, 600 steep stone steps and a 6th century monastic settlement that was featured in Star Wars The Last Jedi (Episode VIII).

• Biking two brand-new greenways opening in 2020. One, a section of the Royal Canal Greenway, will be Ireland’s longest dedicated cycle path, leading from the outskirts of Dublin to Longford in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. When it launches in the second half of 2020, the Carlingford Lough Greenway will be Ireland’s first cross-border cycle trail, linking Newry in Northern Ireland to Louth in the Republic.

• Booking a Black Cab Tour to explore the history of Belfast that is contested by two tribes that are Catholic and Protestant, Republican and Unionist, Green and Orange.

• Downing a quaff in a hardware store.

• Watching a hurling match, the world’s fastest field sport.

• Soaking aching muscles in a kelp bath.

• Crawling inside Ireland’s myth-laden and highest passage tomb – in Armagh.

• Hiking from clifftop to waterline on Giant’s Causeway.

• Partaking of Listowel Writers Week in quiet north Kerry May 27-31, 2020. 

Vagabond’s 12 Day Giant Irish Adventure and the 11 Day Driftwood Discover Ireland itineraries embrace most of these experiences. All of the company’s tours begin in and end in Dublin. Guests are encouraged to schedule in optional Dublin events as they arrive or depart the city.

 

The 12 Day Giant Irish Adventure Tour is a two-time winner of Best Adventure Experience at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards in 2017 and 2015. The per person double rate is €2,899 (single supplement €490). This is Ireland’s ultimate guided adventure tour, journeying over mountain passes, riding horses on deserted beaches and exploring the Wild Atlantic Way.

 

The slower-paced, less active 11 Day Driftwood Discover Ireland itinerary is €2,749 per person double (single supplement €469). Guests discover Ireland from coast to coast through immersion in history, culture, music and crafts.

 

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom Mercedes-Benz Drifter or 4×4 Vagatron that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

 

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: info@vagabond.ie.

 

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

Stay in Your Own Private Castle with Wilderness Scotland

The Emerald Isle and Scottish Highlands are brimming with iconic landmarks (a.k.a tourist traps). But what about those who want more than a pint of Guinness or a bite of haggis? Wilderness  Scotland  (Europe’s No. 1 Rated Adventure Travel Company) and sister company  Wilderness  Ireland  offer Tailor Made trips designed by locals and delivered by local legends—making them a great way to discover the essence of a place in a way that few visitors have access to. 

From enjoying a moonlight paddle in Yeats Country—home to unparalleled star gazing—to uncovering the secrets of the Loch Ness Monster to rappelling off sea stacks, Wilderness’ Tailor Made adventures unearth the true character of the destination. 

Forget everything you thought you knew about Ireland and Scotland with these one-of-a-kind experiences: 

Go Glamping in Yeats Country  

On a camping expedition in Sligo, Ireland, hike the breathtaking lakes, mountains, beaches and waterfalls that once inspired many of the great works of the Nobel Prize winning writer, W. B. Yeats. As the sun sets, hop in a kayak for a nighttime paddle on the “Lake Isle of Inisfree” to a private island. Leap onto the sand where a forested paradise awaits, along with a night of glamping in one of the world’s premier stargazing destinations. But first, enjoy wood-fired pizzas al fresco, while a local expert shares in the tales and legends of the area.  

Dates & prices available upon request.

Hunt for Nessie with a Career Monster Tracker 

While Scotland is known for its legends and fables, none are quite as famous as the Loch Ness Monster. While considered by some as folklore, the storied creature has been likened by scientists to a plesiosaur that dates back to the end of the last ice age. To unearth the history of the mystical creature, meet Adrian Shine, a naturalist and researcher, for a private boat ride as he shares his insider knowledge after years of studying Nessie. You’ll fly across the waters of Loch Ness, one of the largest and deepest expanses of water in the UK, as you search for this elusive creature.  

Dates & prices available upon request.

Spend the Night in Your Own Private Castle 

Nestled in the countryside on 500-acres lies a palace straight out of a fairytale—Aldourie Castle—and it’s easily bookable for a private rental for you and your closest 20 friends with Wilderness Scotland. This rare experience is set on the shores of Loch Ness, where well-tended courtyards, 16th-century gardens and horseback riding can be found as you stroll vast woodland grounds. For a closer look at the garden’s soaring pergolas, meet with your private guide for a tour, while keeping eyes peeled for deer, sea eagles and even basking sharks—the world’s second-largest fish. Stop for a tour at a world-famous malt whisky distillery to sip the Scottish ‘Water of Life,’ or hop in a sea kayak to observe the ruins of nearby Urquhart Castle from the water.  

Dates & prices available upon request.

Cast a Line with an Expert Ghillie 

Grab your waders and wellies for an unforgettable fishing experience with one of Scotland’s most knowledgeable fishing expeditioners. Take to the Highlands to uncover the locals’ best-kept fishing spots along the River Tay in Perthshire. Here, anglers can find the country’s most iconic species—Atlantic salmon—along with pike, rainbow trout and pollock. Cheers to the catch of the day with a glass of distilled whisky on the riverbank.  

Dates & prices available upon request.

Forage for Juniper to Make Your Own Gin

While whisky may be the official drink of Ireland, gin is also a popular local tipple. In Ireland’s Ancient East, you can learn the complicated science behind every bottle of Irish-made gin. Head into the forest with a naturalist guide to forage for fresh ingredients, such as juniper and other herbs. Then, head to an exclusive gin school to distill a bottle with your own herbs—making for a memorable souvenir.  

Dates & prices available upon request. 

Climb a Sea Stack High Above the Atlantic  

Head to what Ireland’s Donegal County calls “the most climbable rocks in Ireland” to unearth a secret spot where you’ll be suspended above the Atlantic waves for an adrenaline-fueled climb. But first, visit one of the area’s most remote spots to meet the local Gaelic-speaking characters who call the area home. They’ll guide you through the history of the separation between Northern and Southern Ireland, the basic knowledge of the Gaelic language and their local traditions. Then, you’ll be whisked away to a tiny island, where you’ll climb to the top of a sea stack, then rappel down the steep cliffside high above ocean waves. 

Dates & prices available upon request.

Opera In The Garden

THE MERRION IN DUBLIN PRESENTS ‘OPERA IN THE GARDEN’ WITH THE WEXFORD FESTIVAL OPERA

This summer, the 5-star Merrion Hotel in Dublin will once again partner with the Wexford Festival Opera for two exclusive performances on June 5 and 6, 2019 to present “Opera in the Garden” in The Merrion’s own private gardens in the heart of Dublin.
During the event, guests will have a preview of one of the Wexford Festival Opera‘s 2019 ShortWork opera productions. Georges Bizet’s one-act comic operette, Le Docteur Miracle, centered around a young man’s attempt to win the hand of the mayor’s daughter, will be specially staged to complement the elegant backdrop of The Merrion’s gardens.

Peter MacCann, General Manager of The Merrion Hotel, said: “We are delighted to welcome the world-renowned Wexford Opera Company to perform one of their ShortWork operas against the backdrop of The Merrion’s tranquil terrace gardens. Last year’s event was a huge success and we were thrilled with how it was received by all those in attendance.”

The black-tie event begins with a Champagne reception on the terrace, followed by the performance, and concludes with a private dinner prepared by Executive Head Chef Ed Cooney and served in the Georgian salons of The Merrion.
Tickets for this event are limited to 100 per night, and are priced at €295 (approx. US$332) per person, including the Champagne reception, performance and dinner with wines.

For more information click here. For more information on Opera in the Garden click here.

ABOUT THE MERRION

The union of four restored Georgian townhouses, joined with a contemporary Garden Wing, The Merrion’s 123 guestrooms and 19 suites include a two-floor Penthouse Suite and private rooftop terrace. The Tethra Spa offers a range of treatments and an in-house pool. In addition to the Garden Room restaurant the Merrion is home to Ireland’s only two-star Michelin restaurant, Patrick Guilbaud. The Merrion houses the largest collection of private art in Ireland outside of the National Gallery. The Merrion is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

Six Day Ancient Ireland Tour

 The cinematic journey back in time is nearly over. The History channel’s blockbuster hit, “Vikings” is scheduled to conclude its sixth – and final season in 2020.
But in Ireland the Vikings and their lasting influence still remain. An award-winning tour operator, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, recreates for visitors Ireland’s own Viking history in some of the places where the Vikings pillaged and plundered in their quest for precious baubles and arable lands.
 
The company’s Driftwood: 6 Day Ancient Ireland Tour travels south from the gateway city, Dublin, through County Wicklow (old Norse for “Vikings Meadow”) where many episodes of “Vikings” were shot. (This fully guided small group tour won a “best” award at the 2019 Irish Tourism Industry Awards.)
 
Guests may envision Vikings landing longboats off the Irish Sea and the flags of Norman invaders from England who, with help, eventually did them in. The artifacts they’ve left behind signal bloodshed one moment and repentance the next. More than any other region of Ireland, this coastline separated by mountains from inland valleys defines how the Irish came to be in the 5000 years since Stone Age settlements.
“A common view is the Vikings were raiders who didn’t stick around. But some did. As early as 800 AD they set up winter camps (longphorts) here, plotting how to loot the wealth of monasteries, intermarrying with indigenous Celtic Gael, putting down roots and founding our first capital at Waterford,” notes Rob Rankin, co-owner of Vagabond Tours. “The Vikings had a settlement in 841 AD in what is now Dublin. Then in the late 12th century, another predator, the Normans, thrust and parried the assorted kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland.”
 
The tour’s first major stop explores the site of a Viking attack on Christmas night in 835 AD on Glendalough, a 6th century monastic center. Farther south comes the Viking Triangle, the virtual museum cities of Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny. The Vikings founded Ireland’s first city, Waterford (Norse for “windy fjord”), in 914. Here one can visit museums and buildings rife with Viking lore. Participants on this trip have the option to:

  • Tour the Viking Museum in Ireland’s oldest civic building, the 800-year- old Reginald’s Tower;
  • Watch history come to life at the 3D King of the Vikings virtual reality experience. 
  • Step into a real 13th century chamber at the Medieval Museum,
  • Behold the elegance of 18th century Georgian Waterford at the Bishop’s Palace Museum. 

While in Waterford, now famous worldwide for its crystal stemware, guests revel in two nights of luxury – hardly Viking style — at Waterford Castle Hotel. (The castle became a hotel in the 1980s and underwent a major refurbishment in 2015.) Little Island, on which the castle stands, is strategically encircled by Kings Channel and River Suir. From the 6th century it housed a monastic center. From the 9th to 11th centuries the Vikings built fortifications on what was then called Island Vra (Dane’s Island). The early 12th century stone castle remained in the hands of its original owners, the Fitzgeralds (later kings of Ireland) for over 800 years. The island was a reward for the family’s role in the 1170 Norman invasion. (In Woodstown, just upstream from the castle, is relatively new evidence of a significant Viking settlement unearthed in the 21st century.)
 
At the mouth of another river the Vikings established in the 9th century a settlement they called Ueigsfjord or Waesfjord (“ford of the waterlogged island”), today’s Wexford. The Norse controlled this region until challenged, in part, by the Normans early in the 12th century. (In nearby New Ross guests may opt to visit the Ros Tapestry where 150 stitchers since 1998 have created 15 dramatic tapestries depicting Norman history in Ireland.)
 
In Kilkenny, the stronghold of a Norse clan since the 6th century, artifacts are buried deep. But in the 1990s a tour guide discovered silver and bronze treasures including buttons from a Viking coat.
 
In addition to Waterford Castle, other aristocratic homes and their gardens are players on this itinerary. Visitors will:

  • Behold the splendor of 12th century Kilkenny Castle,
  • Ramble the Robinsonian gardens of Altamount House,
  • Dress for battle at the medieval Ballyhack Castle,
  • Walk in awe around 13th century Tintern Abbey,
  • Kiss the Blarney Stone and explore Blarney Castle and Gardens. 

Departures (14 total in 2019) from Dublin are from mid-April through mid-October. The per person double rate is €1,819 (€315 single supplement).
 
On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4×4 Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

Picture This Release “Dance Away With You” Video

PICTURE THIS RELEASE “DANCE AWAY WITH YOU” MUSIC VIDEO TODAY

FIRST NORTH AMERICAN TOUR KICKS OFF THIS MONTH

WATCH MUSIC VIDEO HERE: https://youtu.be/K00qGDeNyZc

Today, critically acclaimed Irish international phenomenon Picture This release the official music video for “Dance Away With Me” from recently released full length album, MDRN LV. Watch HERE.

In support of MDRN LV, the band hit the road on their first proper North American headline tour this month.  The tour will make 17 stops across the country starting in Toronto, ON on April 22 and wrapping in Seattle, WA on May 18.  Full tour routing below, get tickets HERE.

2019 North American Tour Dates

April 22     Toronto, ON         The Velvet Underground

April 23     Montreal, QC       L’Astral

April 24     Cambridge, MA   The Sinclair

April 26     Pittsburgh, PA      The Club @ Stage AE

April 27     Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel

April 30     New York, NY      Irving Plaza

May 1       Philadelphia, PA The Foundry

May 3       Columbus, OH     The Basement

May 4       Nashville, TN       The Basement

May 5       Chicago, IL          Lincoln Hall

May 7       St. Paul, MN        Amsterdam Bar & Hall

May 10     Denver, CO          Larimer Lounge

May 11     Salt Lake City, UT   Kilby Court

May 14     Los Angeles, CA Troubadour

May 15     San Francisco, CA   Slim’s

May 17     Portland, OR        Doug Fir Lounge

May 18     Seattle, WA          Columbia City Theater

ABOUT PICTURE THIS

The biggest selling Irish act in both 2017 and 2018, and the nation’s hottest musical export in decades, Picture This arrived as a phenomenon with their self-titled 2017 full-length debut, Picture This. Certified triple-platinum in Ireland, it held the #1 spot Overall in the country for four weeks, while topping the Streaming Chart for seven weeks. Moreover, it remained in the Top 5 since release. Just over two years since their formation, they’ve impressively sold over 400K tickets, concluding 2017 with a sold-out UK and Ireland tour highlighted by gigs at O2 Shepherd’s Bush London, SSE Arena Belfast, and a two-night stand at 3Arena in Dublin. This summer marked their first stadium tour in Ireland, which capped off with a 35,000-person stadium show selling out over 3 months prior. During late 2018, they teamed up with super producer Jayson Dezuzio to record the 2019 follow-up, MDRN LV.

ABOUT REPUBLIC RECORDS

A division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, Republic Records is home to an all-star roster of multi-platinum, award-winning legends and superstar artists such as Ariana Grande, Black Sabbath, Florence + the Machine, Hailee Steinfeld, James Blake, James Bay, John Mellencamp, Julia Michaels, Kid Cudi, Liam Payne, Of Monsters and Men, Post Malone, Seth MacFarlane, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift and more. Founded by brothers and chief executives Monte and Avery Lipman, it is also comprised of innovative business ventures, including American Recordings (The Avett Brothers), Boominati Worldwide (Metro Boomin), Brushfire (Jack Johnson), Casablanca Records (Tïesto), Cash Money (Drake, Jacquees, Nicki Minaj), Hollywood Records (Sofia Carson, Zendaya), Lava Records (Greta Van Fleet, Jessie J, Lorde), Monkeywrench (Pearl Jam), XO (The Weeknd, Belly, NAV), Young Money (Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj), Roc Nation (Jaden Smith, Justine Skye, The Dream), among others. Republic also maintains a long-standing strategic alliance with country powerhouse Big Machine Records, and Universal Music Latin Entertainment.  In addition, Republic has expanded to release high-profile soundtracks for Universal Pictures (Fifty Shades of Grey, SING), Fox TV (Lee Daniels’ STAR, The Four), and NBC TV (The Voice), as well as other notable film and television franchises.

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Morro Bay Leprechaun Crawl

2nd Annual Morro Bay Leprechaun Crawl
Join in the fun as pubs, bars, and restaurants sample area IPAs, regional wines, and small batch craft whiskeys… alongside local nibbles and a GREAT NIGHT OUT!!!

Cost includes all of your tastings and nibbles (check out our map for locations). Only 2 requirements: Be over 21, and dress in your version of an Irish leprechaun (and you better believe we’ll have prizes for best costume!). Oh… and there’s more!!! A fully filled out Leprechaun Passport could win you $1,000 in prizes! Somebody is taking the prize home… will it be you? Tickets are on sale here.

And the party doesn’t stop there. Stay the night in Morro Bay and enjoy our “Green Walk of Shame” the next morning at participating restaurants. Details TBA.

Designated Drivers can play for free.

New Single by Cheat Codes

CHEAT CODES team up with Afrojack for huge new single, “Ferrari”
+ announce forthcoming dance EP, “Level 2”
available via 300 Entertainment

Multi-platinum, electronic dance music trio CHEAT CODES  (comprised of Trevor Dahl, Matthew Russell and Kevi Ford) have teamed up with Afrojack for the huge new track, “Ferrari”, taken from their forthcoming EP, “Level 2”. The bass-heavy track blends dance and hip hop sensibilities that break into an anthemic chorus, drenched with Cheat Codes signature electronic textures that have seen them become one of the fastest growing pop and dance acts, garnering over 2 billion streams.

The monumental track is over a year in the making- Matt of Cheat Codes explains: “We met up with Afrojack in the studio over a year ago, we wanted to figure out how we could blend our two sounds into something cohesive. We first heard the drop and knew it was something we could come together on. A lot of the process was back and forth through email sending demos. Gonna have to hit the stage together at some point because the clubs are gonna love this one.”

The dance-floor ready anthem is juxtaposed by it’s dark lyrical narrative that ultimately tells the tale of a missteps in a relationship. Matt adds, “Ferrari is that moment when you really mess up in a relationship and have to overcompensate to try and make it better”

“Ferrari” follows, “Feeling of Falling,” their new single and collaboration with pop sensation KIM PETRAS. The euphoric anthem pairs Cheat Codes’ signature sugary electronic hooks with Kim’s mesmerizing vocals. The group released a remix bundle of the track, featuring re-works from the likes of Daniel Blume, Danny Quest, Justin Caruso, and Angemi, as well as Steve Aoki – which is available now.  Cheat Codes, who are touring with Steve Aoki throughout the UK this February, recently remixed Aoki’s collaboration with BTS,  “Waste It On Me”.

“Ferrari” comes in the wake of another exciting year for Cheat Codes. The group are on the heels of their track, “Only You” which featured Little Mix and its inventive music video featuring TV star, Peyton List. “Only You” hit #1 at UK radio and received critical acclaim from the likes of Billboard, TIME and Rolling Stone.  Earlier this year, the group was joined by Fetty Wap and CVBZ to take the stage at Jimmy Kimmel Live! to perform their single, “Feels Great.”

Find Cheat Codes:
More Info On Cheat Codes:   
•  Over 2 billion streaming consumption of repertoire.
•  “Feels Great” ft. Fetty Wap & CVBZ is recently RIAA Gold Certified in the US.
•  Remix of Maggie Lindemann’s “Pretty Girl” is approaching 5 million units globally.
•  300 debut single, “No Promises” ft Demi Lovato is Platinum in over 15 countries with     over 4 million global equivalents to date.
•  “No Promises”  peaked Top 5 at Pop radio with 80MM in audience reach.
•   Platinum  Certified:  US,  UK,  Norway.  Australia  X2, Ireland X2,  Portugal,  Poland,       Netherlands, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy, Canada & Sweden
•  Gold  Certified:  UK,  Belgium, Brazil,  Colombia,  Denmark, Germany,  Finland,               France, South Africa, Switzerland & Spain

Vagabond Tours Accepts Two Top Awards

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland is no stranger to accepting awards. In early February the company received not one but two 2019 Irish Tourism Industry Awards presented Feb. 2 at the Clayton Hotel in Dublin.

These awards recognize those people and companies that create enhanced experiences to draw people to Ireland. Awards are granted across 15 categories for general initiatives such as accommodation and marketing, and regional specific awards for the Atlantic Way, Hidden Heartlands and Ancient East. Fifteen winners were chosen from among 75 shortlisted nominees. For more on the awards see https://www.irishtourismindustryawards.ie/

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland’s 6 Day Ancient Ireland Tour won in the category Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience, under 25,000 visitors. “We introduced this tour in 2018 to help answer the question, “Who are the Irish?” explained Rob Rankin, co-owner with his wife, Amy Rankin. In their imaginations guests burrow into bogs, scale crenellated towers and shimmy up mountains for glimpses of Ireland beginning with Iron Age Celts sifted into Stone Age sands. See: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-eastern-ireland-tour/.

Best Environmental Tourism Innovative went to Vagabond Tours of Ireland for environmental initiatives that in some instances have led to significant cost savings for the company while other initiatives are viewed as company investments that “we hope will have a long-term benefit to the environment,” said Rankin. These include:

  • Offsetting the company’s total annual carbon emissions and restoring Ireland’s lost woodlands with a program of replanting indigenous Irish hardwood trees.
  • Offering free compostable cups to guests to use in local coffee shops instead of non-recyclable cups.
  • Giving each guest an aluminum water bottle to use instead of single use plastic bottles, helping to eliminate an estimated 30,000 fewer plastic bottles per year in Ireland.

Vagabond’s staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in custom mini buses, Mercedes ‘Vagatrons’ or 4×4 Sprinters Newtrons that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: info@vagabond.ie.

CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM

Catfish and the Bottlemen’s third album,The Balance, will be out Friday, April 26 via Capitol Records. The album is now available for preorder HERE.
In the breaks between electrifying outdoor and festival shows in 2018, Van McCann (vocals, guitars), Johnny Bond (guitars), Robert Bob Hall (drums), and Benji Blakeway (bass) retreated with Irish producer Jacknife Lee (U2, The Killers) to carefully craft The Balance over a 12-month period. Recorded in seclusion at two locations Grouse Lodge in Moate, Republic of Ireland, and The Chapel in the countryside of East Lincolnshire the band lived and breathed the album while residing together in rural isolation. The album was mixed by Craig Silvey (Florence + the Machine, Arcade Fire).
We loved living in the same place, says McCann. We were staying there the whole time, so we were waking up around each other and working until we needed to go to bed. Jacknife was always up. He was the first up and the last awake. It’s good when you’re completely engulfed in recording in a place like that, living together, because every day and all day it was about the songs. We had fun too; they were the funniest album sessions we’ve done.
The eleven-track album features the new single Longshot, which has amassed over 6 million global streams since its January 8 release, as well as the live fan-favorite Fluctuate. Fans will be able to hear these new songs live on the band’s upcoming U.S. headline tour which kicks off March 12 and will hit the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, CA on March 22 and Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn, NY on April 3. All tour dates along with the full album track listing can be found below. Tickets are available HERE.
In addition to the album name and familiar one-word song titles, the creative bridge between 2014’s platinum-certified debut, The Balcony and its gold-certified follow up, The Ride, has been reinforced by the band returning to San Francisco-based graphic artist Tim Lahan to provide cover artwork for a third time.
Practically of no fixed abode, Catfish and the Bottlemen have toured constantly since their formation, now over a decade ago. The past eighteen months have seen the band claim their place as a bona fide arena band at home, adding a sold-out UK arena tour in February 2019 to an impressive list of already conquered stages. Significantly, it also invited more quality time with global fans on tours to South America, Australia, Japan, and the United States, culminating in an electrifying main-stage performance at Lollapalooza in 2018. Long shot hints that the band’s rapid ascent to big hall players has crossed over to influence their time in the studio.

DUBLIN’S MERRION HOTEL

DUBLIN’S MERRION HOTEL CELEBRATES ITS 
21ST AND 252ND BIRTHDAYS

Two hundred and fifty years ago Dublin was a city of fashion and wealth, political unrest and poverty. And it was 21 years ago that four adjoining mansions that were built 252 years ago in 1766 – a decade before the independence of the United States – were fashioned into Dublin’s most prestigious hotel. “The story of The Merrion is the story of Ireland,” says General Manager Peter MacCann, “and to celebrate the 21st birthday of the hotel, we’ve commissioned a new publication designed to recall its unique heritage – The History of The Merrion Hotel.”

From musical soirées to political intrigue, love and betrayal, dueling and dinner parties, the buildings of The Merrion Hotel have been at the heart of Ireland’s history for a quarter millennium. Today, guests at The Merrion enter through the magnificent foyer of Number 24 Upper Merrion Street. Many arrive for important meetings that could change a person’s life or even a country’s destiny with Leinster House, the seat of the Irish Government, located across the street. But others arrive just to luxuriate in the meticulously maintained splendor of Dublin’s most distinguished hotel.

Sir Arthur Wellesley,illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso

Richly illustrated, with original drawings by award-winning artists Anna and Elena Balbusso, The History of The Merrion Hotel tells of the wide variety of captivating characters that have occupied the four mansions’ wonderful rooms. Perhaps the most famous is Arthur Wellesley, born here in 1769 and who went on to become Britain’s first Duke of Wellington. It was he who beat Napoleon in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo and later twice became Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister.

Then there is Lord Mornington who impoverished himself through his love of music, to the wonderfully named Valentine Lawless who took the Fenian Oath – one of the first political expressions of Ireland’s wish to be independent of England – within the Merrion’s walls. These stories are as engaging as they are historically revealing.


Alongside its rich history, splendid facilities and service, The Merrion Hotel is famed for holding the country’s largest private collection of late 19th-century and early 20th-century Irish art outside the National Gallery. The lavish portrait illustrations, recently shortlisted for The World Illustration Awards, 2018, also contain architectural detailing that can be seen in the hotel today. The History of The Merrion Hotel brings all the color and personalities of the period into focus, and will be presented to all hotel guests during the 21st birthday year. Additional copies are available for 10 Euros at the front desk or by emailing concierge@merrionhotel.com.

For more information, please visit www.merrionhotel.com.