This is a guest post written by Sabrina Mable.
Thinking about traveling to Ireland this year? Start 2014 right by planning for that trip in advance and discover two of the best holiday destinations in Ireland. Truth be told, there are always so many reasons to travel to Ireland: the country’s breathtaking natural beauty, culture, the arts, and festivals or events that take place throughout the year. Now, for those that are thinking about going to Ireland to experience Irish craic, go where the craic is mighty!
This year, there are two “must visit” places in Ireland for that “Irish craic.” Be part of the festivities and visit Limerick as it celebrates its City of Culture status and Sligo as it hosts this year’s Fleadh Cheoil.
2014 City of Culture
As early as 2012, Limerick was already declared Ireland’s first City of Culture by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan. It comes as no surprise that this city was chosen to be the first City of Culture because the city has always been known for its vibrant cultural scene. Limerick doesn’t not really have a shortage of artists and performers since the local government fully supports local artists.
The year-long celebration to commemorate the city’s status started New Year’s Eve when Dolores O’Riordan, vocalist of The Cranberries, headlined the concert in front of City Hall. Around 3,000 people were there for the concert and that’s just the start of something great.
Over the next few months, expect a series of events held in the city. The Limerick City of Culture 2014 program is composed of 13 categories which will include street events, sport, architecture, children’s events, music, visual art, food, Secret Limerick, fashion and craft. Visit the official website for a complete schedule of events.
Highlights of the celebration will include Riverdance, concerts, and the Irish premier of Faust, Fuerza Bruta, and Underneath. Works of art by Irish and international artists from 96 countries will also be shown in the Limerick City Gallery of Art and other galleries in the city.
Folks who will be visiting Limerick this year for business or pleasure will certainly get additional treats by joining the festivities. Friends, families, solo travelers, and stag groups will also find that visiting Limerick this year will make will make their trip to Ireland a lot more memorable.
2014 Fleadh Cheoil
Fleadh Cheoil 2014, the much awaited annual music festival, will be held in Sligo, County Sligo this year which makes this Irish town one of the best places to visit in 2014. For those who are not familiar with this music festival, it was initially created to preserve the standards of traditional Irish music.
Primarily, the Fleadh Cheoil is a competitive event that around 20,000 musicians participate in. The competition is divided into age categories and ensembles. With thousands of performers, the elimination round takes place for months in many different places, but this year, the culminating event will be held in Sligo.
Sligo’s long history of traditional Irish music really makes it one of the best places for hosting this annual music festival. James Morrison, Jim Donoghue, Michael Coleman, Joe O’Dowd, and Paddy Killoran are some well-known musical luminaries that hail from County Sligo. In addition to the Fleadh Cheoil, there are other annual music festivals held in the county throughout the year like the Strandhill Guitar Festival and the Queen Maeve International Summer School.
Though the main reasons for visiting Limerick and Sligo this year are related to music and the arts, there are definitely a lot of other activities to enjoy during your trip to Ireland. Aside from being a center of culture and the arts, Limerick is known for its natural beauty. Known as The Land of Heart’s Desire, W.B. Yeats described it as a place, “where beauty has no ebb,”; the same can be said for Sligo.
The Shannon Region Trails runs through County Limerick which is perfect for those that wish to enjoy horseback riding, boating, walking, and cycling. Outdoor adventurers can easily find great spots for canoeing, scuba diving, and surfing.
Sligo has long been a popular surfing destination. As surfers know, some of the best waves in Europe can be had in Ireland’s beaches. Virtually all locals in Sligo can surf, in fact. With great beaches and music, Sligo is the perfect holiday destination for both surfers and those looking to enjoy some traditional Irish music.
Sabrina Mable is an author and recognized authority on planning hen parties. She currently works for www.Henit.ie and specializes in creating hen party packages for fun and memorable hen parties in Ireland. She has succumbed and joined the world of social media. Find her on Twitter & Google+.