Why did I go to Kilkenny Ireland and Beyond?


I traveled to Ireland in May 2017 to attend the Travel Classics International Conference in Kilkenny. I loved learning from the writers, editors and the conference founder, Maren Rudolph. Wondering what happens during Travel Classics? I made a video to show you:

VIDEO: Welcome to Travel Classics International Ireland 2017

Our keynote speaker was George Stone, the Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler. Maren arranged for me to interview him in a beautiful spot at Lyrath Estate where we were staying for the conference.

VIDEO: George Stone at Travel Classics

I was surprised that I could play the oldest sport in the world at all. It started 3000 years ago and is unique to Ireland. I had a great lesson in hurling with from The Kilkenny Experience. It was really fun and I even got my own jersey!

VIDEO: Ready to learn Hurling?

I loved our dinner at Mount Juliet Estate and learning about falconry from John with his Harris Hawks, Ozzie and Rodger. The hounds welcome was so enthusiastic they actually knocked me over! You can see that in the video in slow motion!

VIDEO: Exploring Kilkenny

After the conference, I explored the Wild Atlantic Way. Our first journey was from Kilkenny to Galway. I particularly loved the Barack Obama Plaza! We stayed at The Meyrick in the heart of Galway city. I loved our food tour and my favorite stop was the Hazel Mountain Chocolate Shop.

VIDEO: Kilkenny to Galway

Then we traveled on the Loop of Connemara with stops at Baile Conaola as well as Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Gardens.

VIDEO: Wander the Wild Atlantic Way: Kylemore Abbey

We dined at George V and stayed at Ashford Castle which dates back to medieval times and is now a luxury hotel. I loved walking the grounds and learning about the history of this incredible location especially the ghost stories.

VIDEO: Want to stay at Ashford Castle?

My favorite thing was the Hawk Walk at Ireland’s School of Falconry. Tommy taught us about Harris Hawks and especially Joyce (6 years old) and Fover (8 years old) who we took into the forest. The school opened in 1999 and it was one of my top travel experiences.

VIDEO: I walked a Hawk!

After Ashford Castle, we headed to Sligo to explore Lissadell House and Yeats’ grave. Did you know that there were four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature in Ireland?  W. B. Yeats, 1923, George Bernard Shaw, 1925, Samuel Beckett, 1969 and Seamus Heaney 1995

VIDEOExploring Sligo: Lissadell House and Yeats’ Grave Ireland

For dinner in Sligo, we went to Damien Brennan‘s home for a private dinner with Irish hospitality, food and a reading of Yeats’ poetry. I recorded most of the evening especially in honor of my high school English teacher. I know she would love to travel there in person but that is not possible for her right now so making this video was the way to share this incredible experience with her.

VIDEOYeats’ Dinner Experience Sligo Ireland

In Sligo we stayed at the Strandhill Lodge and Suites which was a ten minute walk from the beach and Voya Seaweed baths. This 300 year old Irish treatment was brought back into use by Neil Walton. You can now find their products at Canyon Ranch and other five star luxury spas.

VIDEOSoak in Seaweed at Voya

Next we ventured to Slieve League, sometimes Slieve Leag or Slieve Liag, where we found some of the highest sea cliffs on the entire island of Ireland. The is the Atlantic coast of County Donegal and some of these peaks are 601 meters or nearly 2000 feet. I can understand why people travel to see the Wild Atlantic Way; it is truly spectacular. I could have spent much more time here hiking and exploring.

VIDEO: Have you seen the Cliffs of Donegal?

Have you spent the night in a castle in Ireland? We had a lovely dinner at Cedars Grill on the property and stunning rooms at Lough Eske Castle. Roaming the grounds of the castle I looked for all the sculptures by Judith Holmes Drewry and Lloyd Le Blanc. I especially liked the dragon by the front entrance.

VIDEO: Exploring the art, food and rooms at Lough Eske Castle Ireland

The next day we went to Virginia and had lunch at The Mason’s Apron which I loved. Then we explored Trim Castle. There was  only one key and one door so it was easier to defend. The view from the top was spectacular but be careful of the trip steps! For our final night together, we stayed at stayed at Lough Eske Castle in Meath and had dinner at The Ivy. It was hard to say good-bye to our great group but we all know we will return to Ireland to see more of the sights!

VIDEO: Eating in Virgina, Visiting Trim Castle and Staying at Lough Eske Castle Ireland

What is the best way to get to the airport in Dublin? Airport Gateway! I loved traveling to the airport in style and being whisked through customs, security and immigration to my gate. Thank you Airport Gateway.

VIDEOHow should you get to the airport in Dublin? Use Airport Gateway Ireland

Thank you for exploring Ireland with me. I hope you enjoyed this video journey and will wander with me again soon! Lisa Niver

Lisa jumping for joy traveling in Ireland

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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