mccambridges christmas

McCambridge’s of Galway launch taste of Galway Christmas hampers

Shop local in store or on line and bring a taste of Galway into your Christmas

McCambridge’s of Galway have launched their Christmas Hampers with a nod to local and Irish produce. Shopping local at Christmas gives an opportunity to give the gift of Galway with hampers featuring west of Ireland gems like Micil Gin, Gran Gran’s, Galway Cakery, Builín Blasta, Galway Hooker, Galway Bay Brewery, Spiddal River Brewing company and McCambridge’s own brand chutneys, preserves, teas and coffee.

Galway’s oldest grocery store which opened in 1925 and holds center stage on Shop Street is renowned for its selection of quality Irish produce, international wines and spirits and of course Hampers at Christmas. In 1996 The McCambridge Hamper was created by Norma McCambridge, now 22 years later there are fourteen customised hampers to choose from, including a Vegan one this year.

“We are always encouraging people to shop local and especially at Christmas. The importance for us as a shop to have people supporting local producers and retail in Galway is paramount to our business. We have embraced the online world by making all our hamper selections available to purchase through our website and know how important convenience is for people, Christmas is a time when people are looking to treat themselves, friends, family and work colleagues, the hampers give people a way of enjoying the best of Galway and Irish produce,” explained Natalie McCambridge.

A McCambridge hamper has become part of Christmas as it is the perfect gift for people to share with family, friends and colleagues across Ireland. The hampers include Country wide suppliers and new this year to the lineup are the award-winning Lismore Biscuits and Mezze Lavosh flat breads. Many of our favourites are making a welcomed return including Aine’s Chocolates, Mileeven Puddings & brandy butter, Big Red Kitchen preserves, Ditty’s biscuits, Butlers Chocolates, The Real Olive Co., Pandora Jellies and Candy canes.

A McCambridge hamper starts from €28 and is priced up to €335. The hampers are not just all about food as their Christmas hampers also include a non-alcoholic drinks selection,  there is the gluten free hamper and of course this year they are launching the Vegan Hamper, perfect for that plant based pal. The Vegan hamper is €58 and it includes Magic Mayan vegan chocolate, goupies vegan hazelnut chocolates, Finca vegan Red wine.

A celebration of all things Irish hamper is the pairing of Galways own Micil Gin with Skelligs chocolate, two Micil branded glasses, Poachers tonics and a Gin infusion kit. So everything Irish, wrapped and delivered to your door!

All hampers are available from November 9th and can be ordered in store, on line or by phone. Hampers can be delivered nationwide (and locally) or customers can collect from Galway in the Ballybane Warehouse or in the store on Shop Street. For a full list of hampers, costings and what’s inside check out www.mccambridges.com or phone the shop at 091-562259.

Top 13 Adventure Things to do in the West for Christmas & New Year’s

With all the giving and getting, spending and consuming, it can be very easy to get a little overwhelmed and frazzled at this time of year. Our solution is to get outdoors into this stunning place we call home and give the best gift you can give to friends, family, those in need; your time.

There is nothing like the West of Ireland air to blow out the cobwebs and refresh the mind after all the Christmas indulgence.

If you REALLY want to experience Christmas in the West, dive in! Brave the freezing waters for the traditional Christmas morning swim. Find the perfect gift among the stalls at the Christmas Markets and show off your Gaeilge with a breezy ‘Nollaig Shona Duit’.

Best Christmas & New Year’s Swims

There is NO better way to clear the cobwebs than a teeth-chattering dip in the Atlantic. So get your hip flasks ready and check out our pick of the best Christmas and New Year’s Day swims across the West.

Galway:
1. COPE Galway Christmas Day Swim.


This is the 29th annual Christmas Day Swim organised by COPE, where swimmers gather in Salthill and brave the icy waters together to raise money for the most vulnerable people in our society.
Last year over 450 people took time out of there Christmas Day to take the plunge, raising €28,900 for COPE’s services in Galway. Registration for the Christmas day Swim is €10 for one person or €30 for the family.

Anyone who wants to take the time out of the holiday season to help those who aren’t so fortunate can register online here.

The Christmas Day Swim will take place at Blackrock Pier in Salthill from 10am to 1pm. copegalway.ie/get-involved/events/christmas-day-swim/

2. Inis Mór, Co Galway

The Aran island has a variety of swimming spots, the most famous of which is Pól na bPéist – home to the Red Bull divers in the summer. The island’s population dwindles in winter, there are still plenty of intrepid souls who meet for a post-Mass gathering on December 25th.

3. Sligo: The Christmas Day Splash in Rosses Point

This annual charity swim raises much-needed funds for the MS North West Therapy Centre. The swim takes place from Rosses Point Yacht Club at 12 noon.

25 Dec, Rosses Point, Co Sligo facebook.com/Christmas-Splash-Christmas-Day-Rosses-point-Sligo-121508774625721/

There are a plethora of other charity swims in Sligo including Streedagh, Mullaghmore and Raughley.

4. Roscommon: Lough Arrow Annual Swim
Christmas Day 2018 sees the 18th Lough Arrow Annual Swim in aid of North West Hospice. The swim will start at 1pm at Flynn’s Pier, Lough Arrow and will see participants braving the picturesque Lough Arrow for a Winter dip. There is lots on offer for swimmers and spectators alike with a truly festive atmosphere of family fun on the lakeside including a DJ spinning Christmas tunes, hot whiskeys & mulled wine to warm the cockles as well as soft drinks for children. Events will kick off from 12:30pm Christmas Day with the swimmers going into Lough Arrow at 1pm. The annual swim has raised over €184,000 for the Hospice since it began in 2001. northwesthospice.ie/events/lough-arrow-christmas-day-swim/

5. Donegal
Culdaff, Co Donegal: The New Year’s Day swim at is Inishowen’s largest, hundreds of people from across Inishowen, Donegal and Derry take the annual plunge at Culdaff beach. This year’s swim kicks off 2.30pm on New Year’s Day.

Bundoran, Co Donegal: The Christmas Day swim takes place on the main beach at 12.15pm

6. Clare

kilkee christmas swim

Kilkee is a swimmer’s utopia. Its Pollock Holes are natural deep pools that replenish each time the tide recedes. Newfy (or Newfoundout as its officially called), has two diving boards which Richard Harris used to frequent. The annual Christmas Day swim is on Kilkee Beach at 12.30pm in aid of Kilkee Sub Aqua Club’s search-and-recovery activities.

25 Dec, Kilkee, Co Clare loophead.ie/events/christmas-day-swim-in-aid-of-cancer-research/

Solstice Celebrations

7. Winter Solstice Labyrinth Walk, Loop Head, Co Clareloop head labyrinth
Welcome the return of the light on the eve of the shortest day of the year. Create an intention in your heart and walk the Labyrinth with family and friends this Winter Solstice.

At the centre, is the beautifully crafted statue of Danu, mother Goddess of the Tuatha de Danaan. Danu represents the protector of the Earth. The Triskell on her pregnant belly represents Earth, Sea and Sky.

You are invited to chant the healing mantra with us in the Yoga centre afterward. Donations are welcomed to help the Hope Foundation who support the vulnerable on the Streets of Calcutta. Please rug up well, wear comfortable shoes and bring a torch or lantern. Bring a little jar to hold a tea light.
loophead.ie/events/winter-solstice-labyrinth-walk/

8. Celebrate the solstice in Sligo with a Pagan Adventureseatrails christmas

Celebrate Pagan New Year on the 21st of December with marine archaeologist Auriel from Seatrails.

To mark this important day, you will first explore the interesting Caves of Keash where remains of extinct fauna were discovered at the turn of the 20th Century and a place that is steeped in Irish mythology. You can enjoy fabulous views from the caves out onto the rural landscape.

carrowkeel auriel

Then you will head to the incredible Stone Age passage graves of Carrowkeel, (a most inspiring place to be at solstice) to see the sunset over a majestic landscape and the moon rise lighting up the ancient tombs and the spirits of those who were buried there thousands of years ago. These people were farmers and fully in sync with the pagan calendar year. This was an important time for them as they looked forward to the lengthening of the daylight and the start of Spring, a rebirth of crops and animals and not to forget, a brand New Year!

Finish off with complimentary mince pies and hot chocolate out in nature ‘al fresco’. The cost is €25 for adults and €10 for children. Meeting time is 12 noon. Booking is essential. Dec 21.

Auriel is also running a Christmas ‘Heritage On Horseback’ With Seatrails on 29 December. Full details and booking at Seatrails.ie

Christmas Adventure Festivals and Events:

9. Blow the cobwebs away with a Christmas Paddle on Lough Gill

Here’s a day out with a difference for friends and families – kayaking on gorgeous Lough Gill with Sligo Kayak Tours. The three-hour tours are for everyone; no experience is necessary, and all equipment is supplied. Knowledgeable tour guides bring the lake, its legends and characters to life. A thoughtful stop off at a secluded island for a seasonal mulled wine and mince pies puts the icing on the cake so to speak. It’s a special time of year to be out with family and friends and Lough Gill is a beautiful place to spend a few hours.

Every day from St. Stephen’s Day to New Year’s Day (26-31 December) Sligo Kayak Tours run three-hour paddles starting at 10.30am. The cost is €40 per adult and €30 for the under 16s. Advance booking is essential 086 1999015 or sligokayaktours@gmail.com. facebook.com/SligoKayakTours/

10. Sturrall Headland Rock Climbsturral donegal

Winter climbing in the County of Donegal in the North West of Ireland is quite simply outstanding, alas it has a very fleeting window of opportunity. Due to its coastal position and relatively low lying mountains good winter conditions in Donegal are a rare commodity indeed.  Usually, temperatures have to be below 0 for 5 days consecutively, and down to -5 at night, and an ill-timed dump of snow can spoil it all. To take advantage of these fleeting conditions you have to drop everything, and brave the inevitably appalling road conditions to get there, for rest assured, it won’t last!

The winter light along Ireland’s most remote coastline is incredible. Around New Years Day adventurer Iain Miller visits the summit of the Sturrall in Donegal. The Sturrall Headland is one of the most outstanding sea cliff features in Ireland it is a true monster of a headland sitting isolated and far from the real world. It sits equidistant between Glencolmcille Village to the South and the An Port road end to the North. The ridge is approx 800m long and 180m at its highest point.

As this outing is very weather dependent, to confirm availability it is best to email Iain Miller directly. For more visit Iain’s website at uniqueascent.ie

11. Galway Skates ( 18th November 2018 – 16th January 2019)

Galway Skates brings Christmas Ice Skating on a real ice skating rink to Galway City for Christmas 2018. Visitors can expect to see Galway’s Leisureland transformed into one of Ireland’s premier Christmas attractions with one massive 500m2 ice rink.

www.galwayskates.com

12. Fanore Burren Christmas 2018 – 10k/5k Event

Get ready for 2017 by burning off the Christmas excess at the 6th annual Fanore Burren Christmas 10k/5k starting at 12 from O’Donohues Pub on the R477 “Wild Atlantic Way”. Registration open from 10.30

The Fanore event has built up a reputation for its high-quality finishers medal and this year we have pushed the boat out with a beautiful medal marking the centenary of the Easter Rising. You won’t find a better one.

The 10k course is challenging with a 400-foot climb in the first half – most, of course, is tarmac with 1km on the green road. 5k is a flat course on tarmac suitable for all.

Numbers can be picked up from 10.30 at start. Registration on the day from 10.30 to 11.30 by cash or cheque. Saturday 29 December 2018  active.com/fanore-clare

13. Achill New Years Eve:

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve there is a tradition in many villages on Achill Island in Co Mayo for their pipe bands to welcome in the New Year. A short parade followed by a rally of three or more Achill pipe bands provides a rousing and unforgettable New Year’s celebration for all the family. For the ‘morning after the night before’ how about a bracing dip in the Atlantic at the traditional New Year’s Day swim at Dugort. achilltourism.com/newyear

winter elves

Top 10 Things to do in the West of Ireland before Christmas

Twinkling lights, frosty winter air and festive cheer around every corner – welcome to Christmas in the West.

The most wonderful time of the year? We think so! Think bustling streets filled with festive shoppers, hot drinks enjoyed in front of a roaring turf fire and carol singers belting out your favourite Christmas tunes.

Check out our list of the top things to do in the West this festive season.

Santa with a Twist

1. Santa at the Arigna Mining Experience.  Visit Santa underground at the Arigna Mining Experience in Co Roscommon, a world-class attraction using bona fide miners as guides. Given the rocky authenticity of the surroundings, this Santa visit is like no other. Santa will be in his underground grotto where he will meet all the children. There will be daily entertainment which includse face painting, story telling and lots more fun activities for the kids.Until 22 Dec. arignaminingexperience.ie/santa/

christmas westport house

2. Winter Wonderland at Westport House. Winter Wonderland at Westport House is a magical family experience brimming with Christmas cheer that will leave the kids starry-eyed and the whole family believing in fairy-tales!

Escape the wintery weather outside for the warmth of our open fires in this stunning historic house. Soak up the twinkling lights, lush green garlands and tinsel trimmings spilling festively from every corner of Westport House as the little ones enjoy a fun-filled Christmas experience that they are sure to remember forever.

Until 23 Dec. Westport House, Westport, Co Mayo. westporthouse.ie/event/winter-wonderland-2/

3. The Christmas Experience at Tullyboy Farm, Boyle, Co Roscommon

Down on Tullyboy Farm in Boyle in Co. Roscommon there is a chill in the air and all the animals are tucked up warmly in their beds awaiting the arrival of baby Jesus. The atmosphere is buzzing with excitement. The pudding is being made, Santa’s bags are being packed and the Elves are eager to bring you through the ten stages of the Tullyboy Farm Christmas Experience.

Parents and children can warm themselves with hot chocolate and marshmallows and mulled juices/mince pies in the Yuletide Kitchen where you can also help out with stirring the pudding and don’t forget to make your wish. Hear the story of Christmas in front of the big fire in the inglenook fireplace, then up the spiral staircase to Santa’s bedroom to see Santa’s old-fashioned bed and the naughty elf.

Visit the Christmas Experience at Tullyboy Farm until 23 December. tullyboyfarm.com/visitorfarms/christmas/

4. Visit Donegal’s Lapland

The longest running and most popular Christmas show in Donegal is back again for 2018 and you do really have to pass the North Pole to get here, we kid you not!

Santa’s Lapland in Donegal includes a live show, with an elf telling the nativity story as it unfolds on stage. Santa arrives down the chimney with a small gift for each child. They move on to Santa’s home, visit the toy factory and sit on his sleigh. There’s a second chance to meet Santa at his home, and have photos taken. See donegalslapland.ie

5. Santa’s Workshop at Ailwee Caves, Co Clare

Santa Claus has been taking up his annual residence at Aillwee Cave in Ballyvaughan especially to meet children and their families since The Millennium. He works very hard as he prepares this unique event.

Along with Mrs. Claus and his team of happy Elves, Santa ensures a very special personalised visit for each child. He arranges lots of exciting entertainment for all the family which continues right throughout each day. There is face painting, a puppet show and lots of carnival entertainment to be enjoyed.

Santa Elves are waiting with their LISTS of the boys and girls visiting every day. They will guide everyone along the cave passageways singing Christmas Carols all the way. Santa Claus with his helper will meet and chat with each child and of course, have a present for everyone. Mrs. Claus is there to greet the grownup with a glass of Hot Punch and a Mince Pie.

Santa’s train is available for rides all day long which will take you to visit the Birds of Prey Centre. There you will enjoy a complimentary visit to meet a Snowy Owl or a Happy Harris Hawk! A visit to Santa’s Workshop at Aillwee really is a unique, thrilling, fun filled day out for every generation of your family.
Until 22 Dec. facebook.com/aillwee

6. Brigit’s Garden, Galway

If you’d like to take the focus away from presents, you might like Brigit’s Garden in Galway. Their “Santa’s Christmas Magic Show” includes music and dancing, followed by the lighting of candles, and then the lighting of the Christmas tree – by magic. There are no individual presents for children (though there is a “symbolic gift” for each family). So if you’re worried about the commercial side of Christmas, this might be the one for you.

Until 23 December. brigitsgarden.ie

Christmas Markets

Nothing gets people in the Christmas mood more than a colourful market. Eating delicious festive food at markets will get us all warmed up for the Christmas dinner.

galway christmas market

7. Galway Continental Christmas Market

Galway Christmas Market

The Galway Continental Christmas Market makes its return to the City Of The Tribes from 6pm on Friday 16th November until Saturday 22nd December 2018.

The Galway Continental Christmas Market received over 350,000 visitors last year and there were more than 50 wooden chalets located Eyre Square along with the Santa’s Grotto, the German Bier Keller numerous other theatrical delights throughout the four week fair.

This year marks the Christmas Market’s ninth year in Galway, with artisan foods and Christmas present ideas from both local and international traders.

Signature amusement rides will be returning, including a 32 metre high Big Wheel, Helter Skelter and traditional Carousel.
Until 22 Dec. facebook.com/ChristmasMarketGalway/

8.The Mistletoe Market and Frosty Salmon Festival in Ballina.

The Frosty Salmon Christmas Festival returns to Ballina from the 6-23rd of December and promises plenty of festive cheer and seasonal celebrations. Ballina Mistletoe Market is a European style Christmas market which will bring Ballina back to its historic market town origins and will boast a range of local, traditional crafts and artisan food while the festival also boasts a host of concerts, carol singing, street performances at various venues and late night shopping for those last minute gifts.

A major addition to this year’s festival is the inclusion of Ballina on the Coca-Cola National Christmas Truck Tour. Stopping at the Military Barracks in Ballina on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 12, the truck will delight families with its the iconic ‘Holidays are Coming’ jingle, made famous in their Christmas TV adverts. Featuring a glittering winter wonderland setting nestled amongst a festival of lights, visitors will be able to enjoy a can of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Original Taste while enjoying exclusive photography opportunities and creating magical memories that will last a lifetime. This year, Coke merchandise will be available to purchase with proceeds going to St. Vincent de Paul and each truck tour stop will encourage consumers to recycle their cans, in line with Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste global commitment to collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one sold by the year 2030.
Irish Rail’s Polar Express Christmas Train runs on three dates this year – December 8, 15 and 22. Once again this special hour-long trip to Manulla and back with Santa and Mrs Claus on board promises to be a truly memorable experience for children of all ages. Tickets are now on sale from Ballina Train Station priced at €12.50 per person.
northmayo.ie

Strandhill Christmas Market9 Strandhill People’s Market, Sligo Airport, Strandhill

Strandhill People’s Market, now in its fifth year, opened its Christmas market last Friday, 08 December. Based in the unique surrounds of Sligo Airport’s Hangar, the market has become one of the biggest along the Wild Atlantic Way with over 50 stalls to choose from on each date.

The organisers behind the family-friendly venue are constantly looking for new ways to expand its audience and make it an event for everyone to enjoy.
This December, they’ve brought back late-night opening at the market – it’s on every Friday leading up to Christmas.
The market has already proven to have had a significant economic impact on the surrounding area, creating employment, generating visitor spend, and making a substantial contribution to the winter economy in Sligo.

Details: December 2, 9, 14-16, 21-23, strandhillpeoplesmarket.ie

galway food tours10. Galway Food Tours Christmas Gift Tours

Shopping local has never been as important, and it is the best way of finding that novel and unique gift. So, Galway Food Tours (GFT) have teamed up with Galway institutions including McCambridges, My Shop Granny Likes it, Tigh Neachtains, Pálás Arthouse Cinema and The Tasting Room (America Village Apothecary) to offer the best food tours with the best local produce. More here.

 

 

foodcloud

Galway FoodCloud Hub opens with official call out to donate Food for Good

FoodCloud, the internationally acclaimed Irish social enterprise that pioneered the redistribution of surplus food from retailers to local charities, officially launched its third national hub in Oranmore in Galway today to deliver further impact in communities throughout the west of Ireland.

‘Connecting communities through food’ was the theme for the event, which was formally opened by Minister Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture  Food and the Marine.

Ireland generates over one million tonnes of food waste annually. FoodCloud and FoodCloud Hubs were established in 2013 with the aim of addressing the problem of food waste and social exclusion by connecting businesses with surplus food to charities that can use the food in communities across the country. To date they have redistributed over 41 million meals to 7,500 charities all over Ireland and the UK.

The launch of the FoodCloud Hub in Galway establishes their physical presence in the west of Ireland.

Aoibheann O’Brien, CEO of FoodCloud Hubs said:

“FoodCloud Hub in Galway has become a reality as a result of huge commitment and engagement from a wide and diverse range of groups from across society, the food industry, the charity sector, government departments and the business community. So far the Galway Hub has redistributed almost 400 tonnes of food to over 50 charities across the West of Ireland, that is the equivalent to 800,000 meals. The launch event today is a celebration of what has been achieved to date and a thank you to those who have helped to get us here but we also hope it will raise awareness of our presence in Galway and inspire more food businesses and charities to get involved and help to realise a vision for a world where no good food goes to waste.”

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Creed said:

“Every year, roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption is lost or wasted. Ireland has committed to reduce the amount of food we waste and is taking action by supporting organisations like FoodCloud Hubs and also through Bord Bia’s food sustainability programme, Origin Green. I am delighted to see the expansion of FoodCloud Hubs into the west with the Hub in Oranmore and I encourage all food businesses to get involved to make sure that no good food goes to waste.”

Speaking on behalf of Galway Simon, Karen Golden, CEO said:

“ The availability of food can be critical for people struggling to pay high rents.  The availability of food from FoodCloud allows us to help in a substantial way. It enables us to support people to have the opportunity to cover important expenses such as rent, heat and school costs, without having to forgo food or nutrition”

The food served at the launch, created entirely from surplus, was facilitated by Jess Murphy of Kai Restaurant, who holds the accolade of Best Chef in Ireland for 2018 and has worked extensively with Massimo Bottura internationally on his Food For the Soul food surplus projects.

For more information on FoodCloud, log onto https://food.cloud/.

galway food tours

Galway Food Tours teams up with local gems to create a truly Galway Christmas present range

Shopping local has never been as important, and it is the best way of finding that novel and unique gift. So, Galway Food Tours (GFT) have teamed up with Galway institutions including McCambridges, My Shop Granny Likes it, Tigh Neachtains, Pálás Arthouse Cinema and The Tasting Room (America Village Apothecary).

For a stocking filler with a twist: Pop into Tigh Neachtains Pub and pick up Irish Socksciety customised socks made especially for the pub and a voucher for a GFT daytime voucher. This can be used whenever you feel like exploring and eating your way around the city. This is sold in Tigh Neachtains (1 pair of Irish Socksciety Tigh Neachtains design socks and 1 GFT Day Tour Voucher) Price €55.

Nothing nicer after a big Christmas dinner than a sip of Irish Apple Brandy from Longueville House and a square or two of chocolate from Proper Chocolate Company with a GFT Voucher to be used in 2019. This is a perfect way to discover Galway through a whole new culinary light. On sale in McCambridges : (1 baby bottle of Longueville Brandy, Handmade from Bean to Bar Chocolate from the Proper Chocolate Company and GFT Day Tour Voucher) Price €55.

For movie buffs and food lovers get a great Pálás Arthouse Cinema ticket combined with a Food Tour Voucher. This gift feeds your body and your soul. Choose an interesting movie in the stunning Arthouse cinema and when you are feeling peckish join a GFT taking you around wonderful and tasty spots in the city. On sale at www.galwayfoodtours.com (Pálás Arthouse Cinema Ticket and a GFT Day Tour Voucher) Price €55

The Tasting Rooms and GFT have teamed up to offer an original gift for the food and drink lover in your life. The Tasting Room (America Village Apothecary) tonics will be the perfect ingredient when making your perfect g&t before you head out on the Galway Food Tour. “Davey’s Quinine Tonic Syrup makes the best Gin & Tonic ever”. [John McKenna] Available in-house on Dominick Street at the Tasting Rooms (Medium Tonic Syrup and a GFT Day Tour Voucher) Price €55

Or you could write down all your New Year’s resolutions or shorts stories you’ve been penning in the Irish Designed notebook from My Granny Likes it – contemporary Irish craft and design gift shop in Galway city, and come and a food journey around Galway with a GFT daytime voucher. Available to buy in My Granny Likes it (Set of Two Irish A6 notebooks decorated with original Dollybird Designs and GFT Day Tour Voucher) Price €55.

For more information, shop local or pop onto www.galwayfoodtours.com

atlantic economic corridor

Atlantic Economic Corridor: €500k funding announced for the Western Development Commission (WDC)

Michael Ring, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, and Seán Canney TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, today (10 December 2018), announced additional funding of €500,000 for the Western Development Commission (WDC) to support the work of the Atlantic Economic Corridor initiative and to maximise the use of the Western Investment Fund which provides financing for micro-enterprises and SMEs in the Western region.

Speaking at a meeting of the Atlantic Economic Corridor Taskforce in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, Minister Canney said: “The AEC project is a collaborative initiative, with public and private stakeholders working together to develop the strengths and assets of the cities and towns along our western seaboard, from Donegal to Kerry.”

“The aim of the project is to connect the economic clusters and catchment areas of the region to attract investment, support job creation and improve the quality of life of the people who live there.  The project is overseen by the Atlantic Economic Corridor Taskforce, which I chair, involving key stakeholders from the public and private sectors who share a common vision for the growth of the region.“

Minister Canney continued: “As the AEC initiative develops and grows, the importance of strengthening the collaboration between stakeholders and in communicating our message is paramount.   I have therefore asked the Western Development Commission to take on a co-ordinating role to support the work of the AEC Taskforce and its Subgroups. The support and knowledge that the WDC can bring to the AEC project at regional level will be invaluable to my Department and to the development of the Atlantic Economic Corridor project as a whole.”

To support the WDC in this work, Minister Ring said: “With Minister Canney, I have secured €500,000 in additional funding for the WDC for 2019, which will help them to strengthen their resources, both to support the AEC project and to maximise the impact of the Western Investment Fund which provides investment for micro-enterprises and SMEs in the Western region.  I want to thank the Board and Chief Executive of the Western Development Commission for agreeing to carry out this new AEC coordination role and my Department looks forward to working closely with the Commission to help deliver on the AEC’s objectives.”

The announcement comes just weeks after projects based in the AEC region secured €50 million in investment from three Government funds to support rural and urban regeneration and enterprise development.

Tomás Ó Síocháin, Chief Executive Officer of the WDC, said: “There is significant alignment between the work of the Atlantic Economic Corridor and the goal of the Western Development Commission in building a sustainable future for vibrant communities. The work of the AEC Taskforce will benefit the full length of the western seaboard. The WDC, in co-ordinating business, state and community effort, can bring the benefit of 20 years of investment, development and policy experience to bear in helping the AEC to become a globally competitive region of scale.”

More at atlanticeconomiccorridor.ie

connemara seaweek

First Irish man to climb Mount Everest Dawson Stelfox among amazing adventurers set to enthral audiences at Connemara Sea Week 2018.

The first Irish man to climb Mount Everest Dawson Stelfox is among the amazing adventurers set to enthral audiences as the biggest celebration of Ireland’s coastal communities’ is set to kick off next month in Connemara.
Among Ireland’s longest running festivals, Connemara Sea Week 2018 celebrates Ireland’s coastal communities and their wonderful marine heritage while serving up a jam-packed programme full to the brim with superb entertainment.
connemara sea week
Kicking off on October 21st, this eclectic, multidisciplinary festival celebrates the sea and will host a series of engaging, insightful talks on the future of the country’s coastal communities. 
The festival’s one day conference will explore the theme of sustainability, with a fantastic line-up of speakers hosting an insightful panel discussion. 
 
Dawson Stelfox became the first Irish man to climb Mount Everest over 25 years ago. As the festival explores the theme of the quest for adventure, he will share his incredible experiences with visitors as part of a series of invigorating talks sure to inspire both young and old.
 
Joining Dawson Stelfox will be Galway man Damian Brown. Continuing with the theme of the quest for adventure, he will share tales from his trip rowing across the Atlantic. The two amazing adventurers will be speaking in the National Park on Saturday, October 27th at 2.30pm. Another leading expert on our ocean, and talking at this year’s Sea Week is Simon Berrow, he has travelled the world’s oceans studying albatrosses, seals, penguins, sharks, and more. A passionate scientist and lover of Ireland’s natural heritage, he founded the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and the Irish Basking Shark Study Group. Simon will talk about the effect our ocean is having on whales, and in turn what they are telling us about the future of the ocean.
 
connemara sea week
This week-long cultural extravaganza will see a wide range of family-friendly events taking place within the stunning surroundings of Connemara. Visitors will be enthralled by the sensational visual spectacle of the mini boat regatta. Not to mention the spectacular ‘After the light’ parade; an unforgettable night of myth, magic and amazing creativity as visitors enjoy fabulous costumes, brilliant installations and magnificent fire sculptures.
 
The annual schools’ programme runs throughout local schools for the duration of the festival. Students get the unique opportunity to learn first-hand about Ireland’s marine history as marine biologist Dave McGrath, ecologist Gordon Darcy and director of the National Aquarium Noirín Burke share their all-important expertise.
 
The festival will celebrate the very best of Irish traditional music with a stellar line up of some of Ireland’s most respected and celebrated folk artists. The festival will bring together all of the country’s top traditional musicians, with the biggest names in Irish folk music offering up the very best the Irish traditional music scene has to offer. Among the music legends set to enthral audiences are John Spillane, Luka Bloom and Máirtín O’Connor. 
 
Award-Winning Chef Jonathan Keane will Cook a Local Seafood Feast at Sea Week to Mark European Region of Gastronomy, Galway.
Letterfrack native Jonathan Keane, the award-winning head chef at The Lodge at Ashford Castle, is returning home to cook a very special ‘Community Celebration of Seafood Dinner’ at the Courtyard Café on bank holiday Monday the 29th of October at 7.00pm. Chef Michael O’Meara whose book ‘Sea Gastronomy’ won the best Seafood Cookbook in the World in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2016 and his book ‘Oyster Gastronomy’ with Mairín Ní Choimín won again in 2018.   Rare double for a chef and for publisher Letterfrack’s Artisan House.

Celebrating the magnificent artistic talents of the local community, the Small Works Exhibition will see western based artists explore the mysteries of the sea with a superb showcase of original works of art. All work is presented anonymously and sold at bargain prices.
 
Connemara Sea week takes place from 21st-29th October within the breath-taking surroundings of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. 

Top 10 Things to do in the West of Ireland this Halloween

Autumn is officially here; despite lamenting the passing of an incredible summer we are definitely enjoying the beautiful blue skies and mellow fruitfulness Autumn brings to the West.

With the October bank holiday and Halloween just around the corner, we thought it would be useful to highlight just some of the great festivals and events taking place across the West over the coming weeks.

westival website

1. Westival, Westport Music and Arts Festival, Co Mayo

We are beyond excited to see the brilliant line-up for Westival (Westport Music and Arts Festival ) which in Westport, Co Mayo runs from Wednesday October 24 to Monday October 29, incorporating the Halloween Bank Holiday Weekend.

Westival takes pride in being an Autumnal-Halloween-festival of comfort, many of the events take place during the long evenings, around open hearths of softly-lit rooms, or during dusk where the imagination can play part in interpreting the world with magic and intrigue.

Le Galaxie and Lisa Hannigan lead the line-up for the first ‘Westival’ festival in County Mayo. 24-29 Oct, Westport Co Mayo. westival.ie

 

burren food fayre

2. Co Clare: Burren Food Fayre
The Burren Food Fayre kicks off for another year on October Bank Holiday weekend. With Food demos, Farmer’s Market, Burren Bellini & Best stall competition and delicious local, artisan and Wild Food. The theme for this years Fayre is “Taste Without Waste”. The Pavillion, Lisdoonvarna, 28 Oct burren.ie/event/burren-food-fayre-4/

3.  Galway City: Macnas Street Festival

The annual Hallowe’en parade by Macnas (who celebrate their 32nd anniversary this year), will take place on Sunday 28th October 2018 at approximately 5.30pm. The narrative theme of this year’s parade is ‘Out of the Wild Sky’ which celebrates the act of transformation being unleashed upon the city by bringing a world that is hypnotic, intoxicating, mysterious and filled with shadowy and noble things. Expect signature Macnas giant creations and sculptural images, pyrotechnics, bespoke costumes, and epic performances to live and original music. Street-hopping, traffic-stopping excitement and chaos will be orchestrated by the hundreds of performers from the Macnas Young Ensemble, Youth Ballet West, the Macnas Youth Drummers, The Hit Machine and the Public participation programme. Spectators are encouraged to wear costumes too. Galway City, 28 Oct, macnas.com

4. Sligo Town: Sligo Live Festival

Sligo Live celebrates folk, roots, and indie music. Over the years it has carved out a niche as a relaxed, intimate and enjoyable music festival, attracting visitors from all over Ireland and abroad. Sligo Live is one of the most relaxed, friendly and enjoyable music festivals in Europe, having hosted major international and Irish folk, roots and indie artists in intimate indoor venues for 12 years. Headliners this year include the Boomtown Rats, Lisa Hannigan and Saint Sister. Sligo, 24-29 Oct, sligolive.ie

5. ‘Gaeilge Galore ar an Turas Mór’, Sligo

Ceolteoirí Tireragh wishes to preserve and promote the Irish language by undertaking a bus tour of historical sites in the West Sligo region, with an emphasis on the Irish language throughout the journey and sites.

The ‘Gaeilge Galore ar on Turas Mor’ bus tour departs on Monday 29th October, leaving Dromore West Community Centre and visiting six historical sites in the West Sligo area. This event is free to join. Conversation takes place in Irish along the way, with information given at each site and refreshments and an Irish music and song session to end the event. Dromore West, Sligo, 29 Oct. To book a place call 086 876 5545 after 6pm.

carrowmore halloween6. Samhain Sunrise at Carrowmore, Co Sligo

Celebrate the changing of seasons with sunrise at Carrowmore Megalithic tombs in Sligo. The Carromore complex of passage graves dates back to 3,700 BC.

Samhain means Summers End and is also the start of Winter, which starts on November 1st.   The changing of the season is marked in Carrowmore; this is also the last day of our season. All are welcome on October 31, but you need to get there early. 31 Oct, Sligo. facebook.com/carrowmoreopw/

7. Haunted House at Westport House, Co Mayo

Are you ready to scare yourself silly this Halloween?!

Westport House will be hosting it’s annual Halloween Fest from 20th and 21st October as well as the 27th to the 31st of October from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Get ready for plenty of ghoulish delights, scary stories and creepy fun that all the family will be able to enjoy!

  • Head to the Haunted Estate House, transformed into a spooky old mansion for Halloween Fest.
  • Gather ‘round the cauldron for Scary Story Time, with wicked tales from the White Witch of Westport.
  • Brave souls can visit the dark dungeons, where the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley locked up her prisoners.
  • Carve a creepy pumpkin* and decorate some ghoulish goblin cakes at the Spooky Spoons Workshop.
  • Get your Michael Jackson zombie moves on at the Thriller Dance Class.

Westport House, Westport, Co Mayo westporthouse.ie/halloweenfest

8. Kinlough People’s Market, Co Leitrim

The Kinlough peoples Market is a new venture, and has had it’s first very successful market, but getting into the spirit of things they are now presenting a new Halloween Market, with their wide range of products shown and the ‘Fairy Forest’ for the kids it is a day out for all the Family.

With the Halloween market on the 28th of October, the market will continue on regularly on the last Sunday of each month. 28 Oct, Kinlough, Co Leitrim. facebook.com/kinloughpeoplesmarket/

9. Castle Adventure Open Farm Spook Fest, Co Donegal

Family Halloween Event at Castle Adventure Open Farm. Kids haunted House, Face painting, storytelling, spooky disco and much more.

No Booking Required.

lough key halloween10. Lough Key Halloween Spook Fest

A wide variety of fantastic activities will be running from 27th October – 2nd November for the whole family to enjoy this Halloween at Lough Key

All activities are open for the week with some being weather permitted

Join Lough Key this Halloween for the ‘Spoooky Scenes’ in the visitor centre, all the adventures at the Adventure Play Kingdom, the Tree Canopy Trial, the Zipit Forest Adventure, splashy fun at Lough Key Boat Tours and many more fun activities and adventures. An experience like no other for this Halloween. 27 Oct – 02 Nov. Lough Key Forest Park, Co Roscommon. loughkey.ie

 

 

 

top things to do in galway

Top 10 Things to do in Co Galway

A large county with attitude to match, Galway has too much to offer; this incredible county and its city are some of the most visited places in Ireland. So given the incredible wealth of things to do in both city and county we have split this list in two.

In this list, you will find our top 10 things to do in County Galway; this stunning large county of beautiful coastline, islands, culture and craic.aran islands

1. Escape to an Island

For those looking to go remote, Galway has an incredible selection of islands to visit; some of Ireland’s most diverse and beautiful.

The Aran Islands

The three Aran Islands, Inis Mór Island (Big Island), Inis Meáin Island (Middle island) and Inis Oírr Island (East island) are situated at the mouth of Galway Bay. They are famous for their geological formation, historical monuments and their Gaeltacht heritage. The Irish language is still spoken here.

Each of the Aran Islands offers something unique in terms of landscape, culture and heritage. More than anything the best experiences are the ones that involve interactions with hardy souls who live on these islands year round.

Accessible via a short ferry trip from Ros a Mhíl, the three ruggedly beautiful Aran Islands feature ancient ruins of churches and monuments, as well as extremely hospitable locals. Visiting the islands is like stepping back into a time before globalization and commercialization

inis mor

Inis Mór

Inis Mór:

Without doubt a visit to iconic Dún Aonghasa is a must-do for any visitor to the Aran Islands. This extraordinary stone fort stands guard over Inis Mór with its three massive drystone walls that run right up to sheer drops to the ocean below. Situated on the edge of a cliff at a height of 100 meters above the Atlantic on Inis Mór island, it consists of a series of concentric circular walls, the innermost, the citadel, enclosing an area of approximately 50 meters in diameter. The relentless Atlantic Ocean has been hammering away at the cliff face since 1100BC when the first fort constructions were built at Dun Aengus, and the fort is now half eaten by the sea. Believed to be up to 2000 years old, Dún Aonghasa is a world heritage site and one of Ireland’s most visited attractions and as a result one of its most vulnerable.

Inis Meain:

The Aran Islands have long drawn creative and literary types to its inspiring landscape and rich cultural environment. None more so than Inis Méain now famous for being home to the world-renowned author JM Synge who spent five summers here over a century ago.

At the west end of the island, Synge’s Chair is a viewpoint at the edge of a limestone cliff. Take time out here to exhale and drink the wild beauty of the atlantic’s might like the famous author once did.

Inis Meáin’s scenery is breathtaking, with a jagged coastline of rugged cliffs, stunning beaches and fields boredered with the stunning geometry of old stone walls.

While on Inis Meáin we especially recommend a visit to Inis Méain Knitwear and the Inis Meáin Restaurant and Suites. One of Ireland’s most in demand luxury guest accommodation.
Inis Bofin:

Inis Bo Finne (Island of the White Cow) lies seven miles off Galway’s coast and was the winner of the ‘Best Island Holiday’ in the 2013 ‘Irish Times Best Place to Holiday’ competition. It is a magical island, with safe, sandy beaches, rocky inlets, a ruined castle, a weekly market in the summertime, a charming museum of island life and a range of places to stay, from hotels to hostels. This summer it even had a cafe on a double decker bus!

It may be home to just 200 souls, but Inisbofin’s pubs, hotels and locals all contribute to its legendary status as a magical destination. inishbofin.com.

2. Get off the Grid in Connemara National Park:

Immediately southeast of Letterfrack, Connemara National Park spans 2957 dramatic hectares of bog, mountains, heath and woodlands. The park encloses a number of the Twelve Bens including Bencullagh, Benbrack and Benbaun

There are three main walking routes throughout the park each one offering spectacular scenery and wildlife with every step.

Of the six national parks of Ireland, Connemara may well be the most beautiful. The park is noted for its diverse range of birds, which has led to it being described as a bird watcher’s paradise. There are also numerous ancient megalithic and neolithic burial mounds and tombs, which offer a glimpse into Ireland’s prehistoric period. connemaranationalpark.ie

sky road

Sky Road

3. Journey along one of Ireland’s most scenic routes 

The Sky Road is a 20km (12 mile) jaw-droppingly scenic loop route near Clifden in the wonderful Connemara, Co Galway. Part of the Wild Atlantic Way scenic drive along Ireland’s west coast, the Sky Road peninsula juts out into the Atlantic against the backdrop of the 12 Bens Mountain Range.

Along with the Inagh Valley scenic drive south of Leenane, the Sky Road in Clifden is one of the top tourist attractions in the entire Connemara region. Very few places in Ireland can match the rugged beauty and range of scenery that can be seen from the Sky Road. The route is well signposted from Clifden and easy to find. connemara.net/the-sky-road/

misunderstood heron

Misunderstood Heron

4. Visit an Award-Winning Food Truck on an Irish Fjord:

The Misunderstood Heron is a food truck that sits on the edge of stunning Killary Harbour in north Connemara, looking out on one of only three fjords in Ireland. Sitting in the grounds of Killary Adventure Centre, the outdoor picnic benches and the wooden cladded truck blend beautifully into its environment.

We can vouch that the coffee alone is worth the stunning drive into Killary Harbour for. Winner of a Georgina Campbell award in 2018, just get there before it sells out!

Misunderstood Heron, Kilary Adventure Centre. facebook.com/MisunderstoodHeron

kylemore abbey

5. Visit Ireland’s Most Romantic Castle – Kylemore Abbey:

Known as Ireland’s most romantic Castle, Kylemore Abbey, located in Connemara, Co. Galway is the No.1 tourist attraction in the West of Ireland.

When Mitchell Henry and his wife Margaret travelled to Connemara in the 1850s they fell in love with the region. Mitchell returned in the 1860s and purchased the estate of Kylemore and built a splendid castle as an gift for his wife.

Home to the Benedictine Nuns since 1920, Kylemore has been renowned as a place of spirituality and education ever since.  Perfect for a family day out and easily accessible from Galway or Mayo, Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden offers visitors scenic photographic opportunities as well as woodland walks, garden tours, fascinating history, beautiful architecture, ample shopping in the craft shop and tempting homemade delights in the restaurant and tea rooms. kylemoreabbey.com

6. Shuck some oysters at Moran’s Oyster Cottage

Some of County Galway’s finest seafood, including lobster in season, is served in this atmospheric thatched pub and restaurant, set in a quiet cove. Moran’s Oyster Cottage dates back almost 300 years. Today, Moran’s is run by Michael Moran, the seventh generation of the Moran family in the business. It is renowned the world over for its excellent seafood which attracts people from the five continents, and is open all year round.
Moran’s serves smoked salmon, crab, prawns, crab claws, Galway Bay oysters and lobster all day. moranstheweir.com

Thoor Ballylee

7. Discover the Yeats Connection

Thoor Ballylee, the  fourteenth-century Hiberno-Norman tower in Gort, was once described by Seamus Heaney as the most important building in Ireland, due to its close association with his fellow Nobel Laureate for literature, W.B.Yeats. The tower has recently re-opened again after flooding, and coincides with the launch of the inaugural Yeats Exhibition.

In an idyllic setting by a stream, this 16th-century Norman tower was the summer home of WB Yeats from 1921 to 1929 and was the inspiration for one of his best-known works, The Tower. yeatsthoorballylee.org

8. Cleachtaigh an Gaeilge in an award-winning cultural retreat:

Cnoc Suain is a rural retreat in Spiddal that gives visitors an insight into Irish culture and traditions in a genuine way. Founded and lovingly run by husband and wife team Charlie and Dearbhaill (who is a native of the area), the 200-acre retreat offers an immersion in Irish culture, past and present, in a richly diverse bog landscape. There are 17th century cottages, perfect for an idyllic break; the field room, which hosts music (Dearbhaill is an accomplished musician), song and dance as part of the cultural experience of Cnoc Suain, all situated in luxuriant bog beauty. cnocsuain.com

brigit's garden

Brigit’s Garden

9. Escape the City in a Natural Playground Sanctuary

Brigit’s Garden takes you on a magical journey into the heart of Celtic heritage and mythology, making it one of the truly outstanding places to visit in the West of Ireland. The award-winning Celtic Gardens are widely regarded as one of the most spectacular in Ireland, set within 11 acres of native woodland & wildflower meadows. In addition to the Celtic Gardens, visitors can enjoy the nature trail, an ancient ring fort (fairy fort), thatched roundhouse and crannog, and the calendar sundial, the largest in Ireland.

Brigit’s Garden is very family-friendly with a kids’ discovery trail, a natural playground and lots of opportunities to explore. Brigit’s Garden is located in Roscahill at the gateway to Connemara, between Moycullen and Oughterard. It is well signposted from the N59 main road,  just a 20-minute drive north of Galway city. brigitsgarden.ie

gurteen beach

10: Experience Caribbean Beaches in Ireland

County Galway has some of the world’s most stunning beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters akin to many a Caribbean beach on a sunny day.

Just a short drive from Roundstone village lies Dogs Bay, one of the most spectacularly beautiful beaches in the world.
Dogs Bay is a horseshoe-shaped bay with more than a mile long stretch of white sandy beach. It backs on to Gurteen Bay, and together they form a tombolo which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Equally stunning is Coral Strand near Ballyconneely. The coral sand is, in fact, is in fact detached red calcified seaweed, maërl or otherwise known as coralline algae which form the beach and feels like fine gravel underfoot. Coral Strand is a stunning location for swimming, kayaking, snorkelling and exploring. connemara.net/beaches

Have we missed something? Let us know!

galway city

200 new jobs in Galway with online furnishings company Wayfair

Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W), one of the world’s largest online destinations for the home, marked the 10th anniversary of its multi-lingual European Operations Centre in Galway, Ireland with the announcement of plans to expand its workforce across the country. Through the launch of a virtual workforce to include more than 200 new jobs, Wayfair is reinforcing its longstanding commitment to the region. The company plans to add both virtual and office-based roles in Ireland as it scales its team to keep pace with the rapid growth of its e-commerce business in Europe.

“Wayfair’s success is deeply rooted in our commitment to creating an exceptional experience for our customers,” said Liz Graham, vice president of sales and service, Wayfair. “Over the past ten years, as we expanded our Galway workforce from a few employees to more than 400 today, the team has continuously delivered exceptional support for our customers in Europe. There is no doubt that the excellence of our Galway team has been a key driver in our tremendous business growth across the region. We are now delighted to further expand the team with the launch of a virtual workforce in Ireland that will enable us to tap into an even broader talent pool and provide new employment opportunities to a wider range of highly qualified candidates.”

With the launch of its new virtual workforce in Ireland, Wayfair is committed to creating a best-in-class virtual employee experience. To do so, the company has instituted a dedicated virtual leadership team and developed trainings and career development programs to ensure employees are equipped with tools to succeed. Focused on attracting and retaining top talent, the virtual program provides employee flexibility while also allowing the company to expand its talent pool and optimize staffing. These growth efforts are greatly supported by the Irish government through IDA Ireland.

“The expansion by Wayfair in Galway reflects the wealth of skills, including language and ICT, in the West of Ireland,” said Sean Kyne, Minister of State. “That companies like Wayfair have chosen Galway as a hub for their European operations is a boost not only for Galway but for the West and the Atlantic Economic Corridor. The launch too of a virtual workforce at Wayfair will ensure the benefits will be felt across the country with team members working in their communities. I wish the Wayfair team continued success in Ireland and globally.”

“I am delighted that Wayfair is expanding its operations in Galway, and adding an additional 200 jobs across Ireland,” said Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland. “As a global leader in e-commerce, Wayfair’s customer-centric culture has created a compelling business environment which continues to attract top talent. Our ability to support the expansion of major companies like Wayfair illustrates how regions can provide businesses with the relevant expertise required for such operations.”

Wayfair’s international sales and service organization was recently recognized for customer service excellence, earning the Silver Stevie® Award for Customer Service Department of the Year.

Wayfair offers full-time positions with a wide range of benefits including equity, bonuses, tuition reimbursement, medical insurance, tax saver commuter benefits and discounts on employee purchases. The Ireland team includes roles in customer service, inbound sales, finance, supplier operations, business analysts, recruitment and training.

For more information on hiring and career opportunities in Galway, visit wayfair.co.uk/careers