Category Archives: Travel

Here’s my first weekend back in Amsterdam

flying over Dublin Coastline

Flying over the Dublin Coastline

We have just moved to Amsterdam for a few months to be closer to friend’s and Alex’s family. The last time I lived in the city was over 10 years ago. A lot has changed since then, myself included.

As much as I give out about the weather and the transport in Dublin. It is where I am from, it is my home town, it is familiar and I have a sense of belonging. I also know a lot of great people in the city. The capital has a lot going for it these days; great places to eat, good live music, great pubs, it’s close to the sea, mountains and lakes and has some stunning landscapes. Continue reading

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Hiking to a hidden heart shaped lake


On the hottest day of the year, we decided to climb the third highest summit in the province to see a glimpse of the heart shaped lake. Let me put this into context. It is Ireland, so the temperature hit 20c for the first time this year and the entire country went a little wild. The city centre was like a ghost town while everyone escaped it to enjoy a few precious rays. (See bottom of post for route details) Continue reading

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Top things to do in Marrakech in 3 days

Marrakesh in 3 days - Top things to do (1)

Top things to do in Marrakesh

I’m normally the person at airport arrivals looking enviously at the handheld signs hoping my name would be on one rather than haggling with the taxi man or trying to get the correct change for the local train or bus. This time, however, it was my turn to arrive in style. Our driver was there to greet us and we found some top things to do in Marrakech over the next 3 days before we headed to Essaouira. Continue reading

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How to enjoy Barcelona like a local

Devil festival Sants Barcelona

Sants festival – How to enjoy Barcelona like a local

It all started with a conversation with a girl I had never met at Fusion Festival in Germany during the summer. “If you’re ever in Barcelona let me know, you can stay with me”.  A few months later we booked flights to Barcelona for the weekend before our trip to Morocco. I emailed her to ask if she could recommend any good hotels or areas to stay in Barcelona. She replied “I know a great hotel, it’s called my place”.

As she had a hectic weekend planned for when we were over (a birthday party, a going away party and a wedding). She very kindly offered for us to stay in her boyfriends apartment. Who we had never actually met before. “Just go to this address, here’s his number, he doesn’t have whatsapp, he’s a hippie”. Continue reading

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Irish banks block cards when abroad

I wrote a post about Allied Irish Bank (AIB) Lowering its daily maximum withdrawal limit back in 2011 and thought it might be time for an update on the subject.

Several people have told me anecdotes about how they or their friends were impacted not  by the limit but by another inconvenience. Your card being completely blocked. Continue reading

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Visiting the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain

Visiting the Alhambra Palace Granada Spain

Visiting the Alhambra Palace Granada, Spain

A guide to visiting the Alhambra Palace in Granada

I have to be honest here. Until I actually started researching I have to admit (ashamedly) that I had never thought of visiting The Alhambra Palace. In fact I hadn’t even heard of it – for shame!

This vast UNESCO heritage site is really spectacular. It deserves all your attention so dedicate at least 1 day (more if possible) to absorb the entire complex. Continue reading

5 Travel Gadgets to watch out for in 2015

Travel Gadgets to watch out for

Travel Gadgets to watch out for

As a technology and media lover (nerd …Ahem) and avid traveller, I am always on the lookout for the latest Travel Gadgets. I spend hours and hours searching the internet for the latest improvements that could make my battery laden life a little bit easier. 2015 has been an interesting year for battery and battery-powered gadget developments so I decided to compile the below “Wishlist” with some nifty gadgets to watch out for. Continue reading

Conquering new heights at Connemara National Park

Conquering new heights at Connemara National Park

Conquering new heights at Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park never lets you down. It consistently provides stunning landscapes, hiking trails, a playground for both big kids and little ones, a selection of Connemara pony’s and most importantly epic photo opportunities for friends and family. In spring, we brought Alex’s parents who were over from Amsterdam for a visit. Continue reading

Where we stayed in Puglia, Italy


Where we stayed in Puglia Italy

Where we stayed in Puglia Italy

Puglia is a region in southern Italy located at the ‘heel of the boot’.  Although we had both been to Italy several times neither of us had been to this part of the country before. It is mainly visited by holidaying Italians and manages to escape the influx of mass tourism that other parts of the country can be prone to. When I was researching for the trip I found it difficult to find information in English. So I hope this post will help you decide on where to stay in Puglia.  We certainly found a few gems that I would highly recommend. Continue reading

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Exploring the Squatted Bari Barracks Ex-Caserma Liberata

Ex Caserma Liberata, squatted army barracks in Bari #soundsystem #streetart great people #Italy

A photo posted by Vourneen Taylor (@thetravelnerd) on

After a few days exploring Bergamo we flew down to Bari with a cheap Ryanair flight. Originally I thought it might be nice to take the train and meander down the length of Italy. Unfortunately, the cost came to a few hundred euro, the time it would take was going to take half a day at least and the flight came to 40 euro for both of us. Decision made. Continue reading

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What to do in Beautiful Bergamo Italy

What to do in beautiful bergamo italy

What to do in beautiful Bergamo Italy

We received a really warm welcome when we checked into our Airbnb. When you choose not to stay in a standard hotel chain, you tend to get more personal service from people who actually care, and give you lots of local tips and what to do in Bergamo Italy or wherever you might be staying. This can lead to a richer travel experience overall. When we were in Italy last year in Lake Maggiore we also used Airbnb.  Continue reading

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Tips for visiting Amsterdam

Tips for visiting Amsterdam

I am Amsterdam sign, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Here are some tips for visiting Amsterdam. Let me know your thoughts and if I need to add anything here.

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List of Lisbon foodie faves for Ravenous Rory !

Lisbon Restaurants for foodies

Lisbon Restaurants for foodies

This post is dedicated to Rory Kelly, my fave Bicyle thief … like ever! He has a food blog that will have your mouth salivating faster than a Ferrari. This super duper dude is popping across to Lisbon on his hols and here is the list of my fav foodie spots that he’s asked for. Continue reading

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Panini’s with a view of Lake Maggiore & ‘Big Chuck’


San Carlo Hotel & Restaurant Pannini with a view

We sauntered in the direction of the lake, past bakeries that were closed, hairdressers, fish shops and estate agents. The people seemed happy and animated. The spray from a large fountain cooled us down. I then saw a group of Muslim women and men praying in the shade of a tree towards the lake. Surrounding the worshippers were dog walkers ambling, Italian tourists lazing on benches, couples taking selfies and kids playing and laughing. It felt like everyone was happily doing their own thing but as part of a community. Continue reading

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Visiting Rocca di Arona Viewpoint at Lake Maggiore

Visiting Rocca di Arona - Angera italy view

Visiting Rocca di Arona – Angera italy view

We wandered from the centre of Arona in Lake Maggiore with no particular direction in mind. However, the sign for Rocca di Arona peaked our curiosity so we headed in that up another hill towards it. On the way I saw a “nonna” hunched over moving slowly but with purpose. She had a leathery  iron creased face and was clutching a spade.  all set to do some hard core gardening. Italian Grannies are great. Continue reading

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Kilkenny in a Weekend, Festival Fun a Cat & Castle


Butler House Gardens Kilkenny Cat

Kilkenny Cat at the Butler House Gardens

To the back of the ivy covered Butler House building there were walled gardens that belonged in a fairy tale and a Kilkenny cat. He stole the show. Silky black and still, his beady eyes focused on the carp fish in the pond. His patience was endless, waiting for just the right moment to go fishing. He creeped forward slowly towards the waters edge. With a swift swipe of the paw he went for it. The fish evaded his attempt and the cat was left damp and disappointed. (The “Kilkenny Cats” are also a nickname for the local hurling team. They were the defending champions who also were left defeated at last years All Ireland Hurling Championship by the Clare team. )
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Things to do in Athlone when it’s raining!

Athlone Cathedral & Luan Gallery

Athlone Cathedral & Luan Gallery


The weather forecast gave warnings of heavy rainfall just before we were about to leave Dublin. One of my friends even said ‘I feel sorry for you’ heading down to Athlone tonight. Others asked “what the hell are you going to do there?” Turns out there is plenty of things to do in Athlone even when it’s raining. Continue reading

Stateside snippets: From New York, Boston & Dallas

Subway New York Skyline at Sunset

Subway Train with New York Skyline at Sunset


New york is a city that is ever-changing. She shows me a new side to her every time I visit.  It was love at first sight for me, the instant the Manhattan skyline revealed herself from the yellow cab window over a decade ago. We rekindled again a few years later for the St. Patrick’s day festivities, then again to visit friends in Queens and more recently experienced yet another new view of the big apple. Continue reading

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