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					An Irish Voyage
Tierney Carlson CSC 110-02 April 12, 2006

Ireland has always been a place of mystery and magic. The reason many people go there to visit is because of the beautiful vistas and the enchanting atmosphere. The rich history, enchanting natives, and captivating scenery all add to the experience of traveling to Ireland. Even though the friendly locals treat tourists like neighbors, there are some things everyone should know before leaving on their voyage.

History Understanding the background of one’s destination is important because the history of a place tells the traveler what it once was and how it became what it is today. Ireland’s history reaches far back. Most historians believe that people have lived on the Island since 6000 B.C., but it wasn’t until 4,000 years later that groups arrived from southern Europe. Christianity, the main form of religion in Ireland, was brought there around 440 A.D. by the celebrated St. Patrick. Extraordinarily enough, St. Patrick was not originally from Ireland, but from England. Today he still continues to be Ireland’s patron saint and his remains are to be found in Downpatrick Cathedral in County Down.

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Ireland was again changed in 795 A.D. by the first Viking invasion. Even though the Vikings only had control of Ireland for a small time, there are still areas where they influenced the island’s culture and landscape. Misfortune struck the Irish people in the form of a potato famine. Starting in 1845, a potato blight affected all the crops in the entire country. It lasted for four years and over a million people died from disease and starvation. Over eight million left their homeland, usually emigrating to another country.

Fun Fact: Over 80 million people claim Irish ancestry
Geography Ireland is a really unique place to visit because it is an island. It is surrounded by coastline and its small size permits easy travel from one end to the other. The landscape is varied and distinctive, with volcanoes, rivers, and limestone forests. Beginning in County Cavan and flowing all the way to County Clare, the Shannon River covers a length of 344 kilometers. It is the longest traversable waterway in Europe and is home to a diverse wildlife. A volcano is what is thought to have formed the Giants Causeway many years ago by the flowing and cooling lava. The site has a lunar feel because of the basaltic rocks covering the area. Another geographic feature in Ireland is the Burren. Limestone deposits built up where there was once ocean and formed the layers, caves, lakes, and streams stretching from County Clare to County Galway. Over seventy percent of Ireland’s flora can be found here.

Fun Fact: Ireland has over 1400 km of coastline

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Culture The Irish culture is filled with traditions, music, dancing, drinking, and merry-making.. All of these things are a part of the Ireland experience. Everyone in Ireland thinks of traditional Irish folk dancing as a serious and competitive event. The folk music can be heard anywhere, from pubs to festivals. Poetry and writing are a huge part of Irish culture. The Irish love to express themselves whether it is in the form of a poem or even a joke. The main social gathering in any town in Ireland is the pub. This is the place to go to discuss local and world issues, to dance, to listen to poetry, and to mingle.

Fun Fact: The University of Dublin has its own Department of Irish Folklore. There are over 100,000 myths and legends documented.
Transportation There is only one way to get to Ireland, but there are many different types of packages available. If one decides to travel to Ireland and explore the island by themselves he or she needs to know prices for airfare, rental cars, hotels, and restaurants. All the following information is based off of a five day trip. o Rental car prices range between $90.00- $120.00 o Hotel prices range between $90.00- $300.00 o Restaurant prices range between $18.00- $36.00

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Airfare Prices:

United Airlines Spring Summer Fall Winter
$2600.00 $1100.00 $680.00 $2600.00

American Airlines
$630.00 $950.00 $530.00 $480.00

Continental Airlines
$930.00 $1300.00 $620.00 $600.00

There are so many places to visit in Ireland, it is recommended that one explores the entire island and doesn’t stick to an itinerary. If, however, a structured trip is desired a package tour may be the way to travel. Depending on the season and type of accommodations, tour packages usually vary from $900.00 to $2,000.00.

Ireland is a great place to explore castles and caves and traverse volcanoes and rivers. There are beautiful oceans, but there is also stunning landscapes. Travel to Ireland, and experience the magic.

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Bibliography

1. Aer Lingus Group. Aer Lingus. 2001-2004. 11 April 2006 <http://www.aerlingus.com> 2. American Airlines, Inc. American Airlines. 2006. 11 April 2006. <http://www.aa.com/> 3. Car Rental Ireland and Ireland Car Rentals Unlimited. Irish Car Rentals. 2004. 11 April 2006. <http://www.irishcarrentals.com/g/index.html> 4. Continental Airlines, Inc. Continental Airlines. 2006. 11 April 2006 <http://www.continental.com/> 5. Gulliver Ireland. Dublin Hotels. 2006. 11 April 2006. <http://www.goireland.com/> 6. Tourism Ireland. Discover Ireland. 2006. 11 April 2006 <http://www.discoverireland.com/us/>. 7. United Airlines, Inc. United Airlines. 2006. 11 April 2006. <http://www.united.com/homepage>

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