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 Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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