Category Archives: Travel

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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Beeriliant Berlin Birthday Bash

Hallo Berlin

Hallo Berlin

So as it happens every 4 years a bunch of my mates who live in various places  across Ireland meet up and go on a weekend city break together in celebration of a birthday. The first time we went away it was Paris. Next we went to Rome. This time it was Berlin’s turn. Continue reading

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Tinakilly House Hotel Wicklow Weekender

Four poster bed Tinakilly

Four poster bed Tinakilly House Hotel

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My Dublin Bucket List

Seomra Spraoi cafe

Image courtesy of dublinwithfoodallergies.blogspot.ie

 

Since I am now based in Dublin and not currently travelling. I thought it would be an interesting idea to bring my sense of adventure and exploration to my own city. I want to recreate that sense of openess and curiosity that I bring with me while travelling. I want to discover new places, new people, create new memories, push the bounderies a little by doing things I would not do normally, to really experience this city. Continue reading

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Irish Microbreweries the Black Sheep?

 

The Black Sheep Beer Menu - Capel Street, Dublin

The Black Sheep Beer Menu - Capel Street, Dublin

Since we’ve been away there has been a big increase in Irish microbreweries and pubs that stock their produce. I visited Against the Grain on Aungier Street with some mates from The Netherlands and decided to check out their sister pub on Capel Street The Black Sheep.

 

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Being Back in Dub Town

Airbnb Guinness Guestroom

Airbnb Guinness Guestroom

The good thing about returning home after extensive travelling and not having a 9-5 job is that you have lots of free time to explore your own city. A lot has changed in the 2 years I’ve been away from Dublin and I’m enjoying getting to know her again. Continue reading

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A walk, a fall, a beer & a bet – Dandenongs, Australia

Sherbrook Falls, Dandenongs, Australia

Sherbrook Falls, Dandenongs, Australia

I appreciate a state that gives its residents a day off for a horse race. The 5.6 million inhabitants of the State of Victoria are given a public holiday for the Melbourne Cup each year. So, to take advantage of this free time I roped a friend in to taking us on a road trip.

Sometimes you only realise how much you miss open space and nature when you escape from a metropolis. Ferntree Gully is in the Dandenong Ranges it is only about an hour from Melbourne CBD but feels like another world. Even in the carpark the green & red parrots swooped overhead and happily pottered about in gangs on the tarmac. The sounds were unfamiliar, the air pungent and the temperature was even a few degrees cooler. Continue reading

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[Guide] How to book a cheap flight

 

book a cheap flight to Bali

Bali flight

For me booking a plane ticket is like a game. This might seem a little weird for some. However, I adore the challenge of securing the lowest possible fare.   Often I am used as the go-to person to book a cheap flight. So I thought I would share a few tips with you.

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What am I doing in Melbourne?

view from the rooftop cinema melbourne australia

View from the Rooftop Cinema Melbourne, Australia

This question was asked quite a bit recently, so I decided it would be a good idea to divulge some background information. From October 2010 to April 2011 my boyfriend and I travelled through Thailand, China, Laos and Malaysia. I am not a digital nomad and we got our money for travel the old-fashioned way, by saving.

I was working in contract positions as well as freelance writing. After paying the bills and day-to-day living costs, it took us about 2 years to save up slowly bit by bit. Working hard for our freedom, we sacrificed nights out and buying any new stuff in the process.

However, we had done this all before in 2007 and in 2004 I packed up and moved to Amsterdam for 3 ½ years. Stuffing backpacks, calling the utility companies and just hitting the road for as long as we possibly can is something we are used to. It’s nor everyone, but I find it keeps life interesting.

This is not me trying to show off here, I just want to say that if you really want to travel you can always find a way to do so. Don’t let a mortgage, fixed contract or money be an excuse to prevent you from realising your travel dreams.

So back on topic what the hell am I doing in Melbourne? In April, we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne basically to cash up. As Europe is in an economic catastrophe right now Australia is probably the best place to be. We are lucky that both our passports allow us to apply for a 1 year working holiday visa. I am working full time, writing part-time and my boyfriend is also working full-time and has several projects on the side. So we’re busy and back in saving mode. It kinda feels like being in limbo we are not quite travelling, not quite settled and we are far from home.

If we are able to reach our savings goal by next April we will have a lot of options. One of which is to live in Berlin for a year, en route visiting some of the pacific islands, Peru, New York, ….. ??

Any suggestions on my itinerary welcome!

 

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Melbournes artisan roasters pop up at Black Coffee

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I sampled some of Melbourne’s finest roasted coffee at the Black Coffee pop up last weekend. Continue reading

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Most scenic places I’ve been: Tad Fan Waterfalls, Bolaven Plateau, Laos

Tad Fan Waterfalls Bolavan Plateau Laos

Tad Fan Waterfalls Bolavan Plateau Laos

We peered out from a rickety wooden fence to look at the view. Wow. Parallel streams flowed down 120 meters to the pool below. The strong current smacking the rocky shelf half way, before descending further into a misty cloud. I stood mesmerised following one splash all the way down. We went to the restaurant balcony and zoned out on the view over lunch.


How to get to the Tad Fan Waterfalls:

1. Hire a motorbike from Pakse head East on Road 13 for around 40 km towards Pak Song
2. A tuk-tuk will take you to the falls for US$20 flat rate (source Travelfish.org)
3. The local bus costs 15,000 kip, and departs from Pakse’s Southern Bus Terminal (source Travelfish.org)

 

From my 2007 Asian Diary – Ourechoes.com

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65 Degrees Café – Boutique coffee roasters with buzzing baristas

65-degrees-cafe-Melbourne

65 degrees café, Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Lunch in Melbourne CBD can be difficult to navigate for a visitor. The city makes you work to find its treasures. It is well known for hiding bars down maze-like laneways for example. Sometimes, I find it is like an expedition to wade through the high street past cookie cutter cafés to unearth a cosy corner for a tasty treat. However, there are plenty of them lurking under the skin of the city you just have to know where to look.

Melbournites in general are a relatively laid back bunch, however, when it comes to coffee they don’t mess around. Coffee even has its own language here; long black (americano), flat white (latte),  short mac (Macchiato).

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Most scenic places I’ve visited: Ko Wai, Thailand

Ko Wai, Thailand

Most scenic places I have visited - Ko Wai, Thailand

This series is a visual ode to the most scenic places I have visited. I want to pay my respects to the places I have travelled for giving me such rich and memorable encounters. Hopefully, in the process I might also encourage others to go out and explore the world and be respectful and mindful of its beauty.

The photograph was taken from a sea kayak we had hired for the day on an attempt to circumnavigate the tiny  island of Ko Wai. As the island has no roads, no cars or other means of transport except a few small dirt paths the only way to get around is by sea.

En route, we passed dazzling turquoise coastlines, amazing coral life and jungle terrain that flowed almost to the shore. What is not shown however, is my terror.

As we moved further around the island, the waves became increasingly choppy.  We started taking on a lot of water. The wind also picked up slightly making it more difficult to steer and avoid the coral and rocky terrain that lurked underneath the surface threatening to damage the kayak.

When, we eventually did make it back, minutes before sunset fell. We all yelped a ‘wohoo’ as we arrived safely ashore. Dragging our sea soaked, exhausted bodies to the bar for a well deserved Singha beer.

How to get here:
From Bangkok take a bus to Laem Ngop pier then take a ferry to Ko Wai. Alternatively, take a ferry from Bang Bao on Ko Chang

 

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Life in melbourne and pics of our first months in Australia

Hi All,

Just a short one to let you know how things are going. We’re still living in Melbourne in the same funky neighbourhood. The person who’s place we are living in keeps extending her time away which is great for us. I have made good progress on the job front and should be able to start soon. We have been working on some of our web projects in the mean time and are learning lots and making good progress. I’m currently helping some of our mates in Amsterdam launch a drum and bass music label on-line (www.easternpromiseaudio.com)  and we have 3 other websites to work on, so no shortage of things to do.

Apart from from that, we are enjoying ourselves. We are getting further acquainted with our neighbourhood and other funky suburbs of Melbourne. I enjoy walking to the Library most days (about 40 mins) where I usually use the internet and resources in the afternoons. We often also walk back home from the city centre in the evenings and explore various suburbs at the weekends, sampling more of the great café’s and cheap eats that dot the streets.. The grittiness and abundance of quality graffiti around our area  ( Melbourne inner suburb called Fitzroy) also makes for some great shots. I recently picked up a great lens for our camera at a garage sale and am enjoying it to the fullest with all the cool things to photograph around our area.

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ABOVE:Graffiti wall in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Graffiti of this size is actually quite common around the neighbourhood.

BELOW: One mouth watering sandwich at Babida last weekend. One of the many great bars and café’s in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

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We also did a coach surf a few weeks back at the  start of the great ocean road which was a great experience. Very nice host, great food and cliff walks on the coast of south east Australia. So everything is moving on nicely, except for the fact that the winter has hit here  (damn you southern hemisphere!) . Things could be worse though, with temperatures at the level of your average Irish summers day…

I have added a good few photos that we took over the last view months roaming around. You can have a look through them below. Enjoy:

[nggtags gallery=Australia,…]
The pictures above are all images I have uploaded for Australia, If you click on one to enlarge it, you can browse through all of them in large format by clicking the left or right buttons. To see the image gallery for each location separately, Please check the Gallery pages from the menu at the top.

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Ayatthuya, Thailand – a 3rd class train ride, a relaxing at Baan Lotus guesthouse & a lot of temples

After a one night stop over in Bangkok with the usual long islands and some dinner at Hemlock restaurant we went on to catch the third class train to Ayutthaya from Hua Lamphong station in a pretty hungover state.

 

getting-some-air_third-class-train-to_ayutthaya_thailand

getting-some-air_third-class-train-to_ayutthaya_thailand

 

To our surprise the ticket price for the 3rd class two hour+ long train ride was only 75baht (about E1,90) for the 5 of us. We found some seats in the rickety but pretty clean coach without windows and soon departed. We crawled slowly through the the city, stopping at small stations or just grinded to a halt on the track on various occasions – we passed many track side shacks and restaurants which you could touch if you reached out of the window. After about 1hr15Min’s we where out of the city and going through swamp lands and rice paddies ricketing across the occasional river. Simmered out, after all the fresh air and mesmerizing views of the train ride we headed out of the station and took the small ferry across the river (the former capital of Ayutthaya is on an island surrounded by rivers) which we shared with some locals and monks. We found a coffee and had some food while Vourneen set out to find us a nice Guesthouse.

 

The ferry accross the Chao Praya River in Ayutthaya

The ferry accross the Chao Praya River in Ayutthaya

 

We ended up staying at the Baanlotus guesthouse, which is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable guesthouses we found in Thailand so far.[singlepic id=295 h=130 float=left] The guesthouse sits on a big plot of land with an impressive size lotus pond behind it and a covered jetty running over the middle of it. The back of the pond is surrounded by dense woodland which adds a very rural feel to it. The Guesthouse is run by a dotty pensioner biochemist who had to come back to Ayutthaya after her parents past away to look after the house. As she had so many international friends come over that she decided to start a guesthouse. She has many enchanting stories to tell and the pond is full of fish, some very large lizards and even a 30 year old turtle that pops its head up occasionally.

[singlepic id=293 h=120 float=right]From this relaxing place we set out to explore the old capital ruins, many temples and the old trade settlements over the next 2 days, while having relaxed lunches at the river side and eating at the local night market stalls. we visited the museum in the old Japanese settlement which gave a lot of information about trade and foreign influence. It also showed the important role the Dutch VOC shipping company had played in the area by documenting and mapping the surroundings and trade relations.

Ayutthaya has a very relaxed atmosphere and not too much to offer in the form of nightlife but we got extremely relaxed and were almost sad to leave Ayutthaya after the 3 days we had stayed. However, we had spotted the prospects of a reggae festival so were ready to head to Chiang Mai on the evening of the 19th of January…

Find a selection of pictures from our visit to Ayutthaya, Thailand below. You can also visit the gallery page for a slideshow of these pictures.

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