Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show Shownotes for MM DD 2010
Travel with Stephanie Abrams! - May 23, 2010 - Shownotes & Audio Archive

Sampling South American Wines at Algodon Wine Estates, San Rafael, Argentina; Contemporary Style at The Morgan Hotel and The Beacon Hotel, Dublin, Ireland; Beyond Tennis at Cannizaro House, Wimbledon, England; Inspirational Work of Angels-Beacons of Hope, Dublin, Ireland; Irish Humor with Author and Actor Malachy McCourt; Glasnevin Cemetery Comes to Life with Martello Media, Dublin, Ireland.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Scott Mathis, CEO, Founder, Algodon Wine Estates, San Rafael, Argentina.
www.algodonwineestates.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show sample the wines of South America with Scott Mathis, CEO and Founder of Algodon Wine Estates in San Rafael, Argentina. Algodon was founded about 5 years ago when Scott bought the vineyard and estate in Argentina's Mendoza region, at the base of the Andes. Scott originally intended to buy a small vineyard, around 40 acres, but ended up with Algodon, which has 2,050 acres of estate land and 325 acres of vines.

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Algodon Wine Estates against the backdrop of Argentina's Sierra Pintada Mountains.

"Algodon" means"'cotton" in Spanish. Scott explains that the estate's name was inspired by New York's Cotton Club of the 1920s and 1930s. "We're trying to create an atmosphere around wine and luxury that recalls the Cotton Club," he says. The vineyard itself nearly dates from the Cotton Club era; Scot says the original vineyards on his estate were planted in the 1940s. "It was a tremendous opportunity to create great wines with vines over 65 years old," he says. In his opinion, the Malbecs produced in Mendoza are some of the finest in the world today.

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Wine barrels at Algodon Wine Estates.

Stephanie and Scott agree that Argentina offers a great value for American travelers. "It's like the old Portugal or Spain in terms of how far your money goes," Stephanie says. She compares Buenos Aires to Madrid, with its fountain-filled roundabouts and European architecture. Scott concurs, adding that Buenos Aires used to be known as the Paris of South America. Today, he says, it's very affordable, at 4 Argentinean pesos to the U. S. dollar.

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Algodon Wine Estates against the backdrop of Argentina's Sierra Pintada Mountains.

He suggests that visitors fly into Buenos Aires or Santiago, Chile. From Buenos Aires, travelers can take an hour-long flight to San Rafael, a city of about 200,000 people that's just 15 minutes away from Algodon Wine Estates. Once at the vineyard, guests can stay in one of 9 suites on the property or enjoy Algodon's award-winning restaurant. "The lodge and restaurant were rated number one in Argentina this year and the number one accommodation associated with a winery in the world," Scott says.

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Algodon Wine Estates against the backdrop of Argentina's Sierra Pintada Mountains.

Guests at the lodge enjoy a "beautiful landscape with the Andes and Sierra Pintada mountain range in the distance," he continues. "It's a wonderful growing region with spectacular views." Algodon Wine Estates offers a winemaking experience, cooking classes, an 18-hole golf course, and a tennis facility with 9 clay courts and 2 grass courts. The estate is a day trip away from the Las Lenas ski resort. Visitors who want to extend their stay can even purchase one of 300 home sites on the estate, which range from 1-acre lots on the golf course to larger farms of 15-16 acres.

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Deluxe accomodations at Algodon Wine Estates against the backdrop of Argentina's Sierra Pintada Mountains.

Visitors can take home a smaller piece of Algodon Wine Estates: a privately labeled bottle, keg, or barrel of wine. "You can buy your own barrel, pick the type of grapes, and work with the winemaker, or just let him do the work," Scott explains. "You can create a family label for your home, estate, children, or whatever you choose. Lots of wineries will do private labeling, but not with their best wine. Here, visitors can choose from the best grapes, the same ones that we use for our award-winning wines." Algodon's wines include Bernardas, Malbecs, Chardonnays, and Chenins.

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Algodon Wine Estates against the backdrop of Argentina's Sierra Pintada Mountains.

"The best way to do it would be to visit the estate, luxuriate, do your own tasting, and then make your wine selections," Stephanie says. Since Argentina's winter begins in late June, the harvest starts in February and ends in April. Scott welcomes visitors any time, but suggests that guests more interested in wine than skiing come in October through May.

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Golf at Algodon Wine Estates against the backdrop of Argentina's Sierra Pintada Mountains.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1582

Travelers411 Photo Gallery:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=329

For more information visit http://www.algodonwineestates.com


Link to this segment

Paul Fitzpatrick, Managing Director, The Morgan Hotel and The Beacon Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.
www.themorgan.com
www.thebeacon.com

Paul Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of The Morgan Hotel and The Beacon Hotel in Dublin, tells Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show why the chandeliers sit on the floor at his hotels. Paul's family also owns Fitzpatrick Castle in Killiney, near Dublin.

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The Morgan Hotel, Dublin.

Stephanie describes the Morgan Hotel as "a bit of contemporary glory in the midst of a lively area of Dublin," complete with "Alice in Wonderland" touches like a lit chandelier sitting on the floor of the lobby. Paul explains that he wants his hotels to combine "traditional hotel-keeping with a bit of contemporary spirit and fun," adding that he was inspired by a honeymoon trip to the Delano in Miami, Florida.

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The Morgan Hotel, Dublin.

"We're always looking out for new things to do," Paul says. For example, he took an Airstream trailer from the U. S. and converted it into a snug for the bar atop the Morgan's penthouse. (A snug is a private area in a traditional bar.) "In other hotels they have Jacuzzis on the penthouse," he explains. "We thought [the Airstream] would just be a bit different." The Morgan also has a lobby bar, which Stephanie describes as "clearly the watering hole of the area," and a residents' lounge one floor up, for those who want to get away from the buzz of the bar downstairs and relax with a drink or newspaper.

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The Morgan Hotel, Dublin.

At the Morgan Hotel, Paul and his staff aim to give visitors something they don't get at home, like white rooms filled with acrylic and glass. "Most people can't afford to do the white at home because of wear and tear," Paul says. "But at a hotel, it's fairly easy to keep clean. As people's standards of living keep going up, we have to come up with more clever ideas and twists."

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The Morgan Hotel, Dublin.

The Beacon Hotel is on the M50, about 30 minutes from Dublin's airport. Paul specifies that "it's in a good location but not in the city." The Beacon has a private car park and is better for visitors who don't want the hassle of driving into town but still want to explore the countryside, he says. Guests can park their cars at the hotel and take the Luas (Dublin's tram system) downtown.

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Dublin Ireland Grafton street pedestrian shopping center at Christmas; Saint Stephen Green shopping mall at one end.

Paul is particularly excited about The Baxter Hotel, which he hopes to open in Edinburgh, Scotland, in spring 2012. "We acquired the site two years ago and we have a Georgian building in front. We're hoping to do a big extension in back that will connect to the heritage site," he explains. Eventually, the hotel will have 166 rooms, including 33 suites. The Baxter will be right beside the Edinburgh Playhouse, close to George Street, Princes Street, and the National Archives. The hotel is in a great location in Europe, too; Paul says that Edinburgh is the second most visited city in the UK, with 16 million visitors a year.

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Ireland; Dublin; Grafton Street Shopping Arcade; KISS Band Attendees in Makeup.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1583

Travelers411 Photo Gallery:
The Morgan

Travelers411 Directory Listing:
Visit the Travelers411 The Morgan Hotel Directory Listing

For more information visit www.themorgan.com or www.thebeacon.com


Guests Include:

Scott Mathis, CEO, Founder, Algodon Wine Estates, San Rafael, Argentina.
www.algodonwineestates.com

Paul Fitzpatrick, Managing Director, The Morgan Hotel and The Beacon Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.
www.themorgan.com
www.thebeacon.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Jeff Ward, General Manager, Cannizaro House, Wimbeldon, England, UK.
www.cannizarohouse.com
www.distinguishedhotels.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show visit the Cannizaro House in Wimbledon, England and talk with Jeff Ward, General Manager. Stephanie is particularly curious about the pink bunnies that appear on the hotel's business cards, brochures, and bathrobes and the Cannizaro name.

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Cannizaro House in Wimbledon, England.

Jeff explains that the Cannizaro House is a member of Distinguished Hotels. "Each hotel in the group had a different animal motif in a different color," he says. "Our motif was pink bunnies." As for the name Cannizaro, he explains that the Duke of Cannizaro originally built the home in 1705 as a place where his friends could stay when visiting London.

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Cannizaro House in Wimbledon, England.

Unfortunately, the original house burned down in the early 1900s and was rebuilt. "We're very fortunate to have a grand old house that's not listed as an historical site," Jeff says, since they were able to add 18 bedrooms in the late 1980s without much permit trouble. Cannizaro House currently has 46 bedrooms and sits on 34 acres of parkland. The property backs onto the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club. To play, guests either need to be golf club members or know Jeff, who can set it up.

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Cannizaro House in Wimbledon, England.

Other activities in Wimbledon village are horseback riding (there are a few stables and plenty of common land), bicycle riding (the hotel has bikes available), visiting English pubs, and the All England Club's tennis museum. The end of the museum tour, according to Jeff, features a life-size hologram of John McEnroe in the locker room. Cannizaro House offers a courtesy shuttle to Wimbledon village and the Tube station at Wimbledon. From the village, guests can be in London's West End in 30 minutes, says Jeff.

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Downtown Wimbledon, England.

Each of Cannizaro House's 46 bedrooms has a different feel. "We went through a complete refurbishment last year," says Jeff. "Each room has different wallpaper, there are 12 different carpet colors, 22 different silk lightshades, and 92 different chair fabrics." There are 4 suites as well; "one has metallic wallpaper, another has a 7-foot leather sleigh bed with chrome, and the Oscar Wilde suite has very sexy dark leather wallpaper and blue lighting," Jeff explains.

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Tennis court at Wimbledon in England.

Why should visitors come to Wimbledon (besides the tennis)? "Cannizaro House has a vast garden and yet is only a stone's throw from London's West End," Jeff says. "The accommodations here are going to be a little sharper on your price point than in downtown London and we have all the facilities you'd expect from a deluxe hotel—free wifi, free parking, and courtesy transportation to the town and station. We have a great bunch of people running the hotel and we're confident that visitors will be extremely comfortable."

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Stephanie Abrams (L) and General Manager of Cannizaro House Jeff Ward (R).

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1584

For more information visit http://www.cannizarohouse.com or www.distinguishedhotels.com


Link to this segment

Nollaig Fahy, Founder, Angels-Beacons of Hope, Dublin, Ireland.
www.angelsbeaconsofhope.ie

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show are uplifted by a visit with Nollaig Fahy, Founder of Angels-Beacons of Hope in Dublin, Ireland. Angels-Beacons of Hope are life-size sculptures along the lines of Sheeptacular in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The angels are currently displayed at Fitzpatrick Castle in Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland, but you can see photos here.

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Angels Beacons of Hope Photo Album at Travelers411. Click here for dozens of more Angles.

Nollaig came up with the idea for the angels 18 months ago. "I came home and told my wife that I was sick of the negativity in Ireland and somebody should do something about it," he says. "As I heard myself say those words, I realized I was that somebody." Nollaig wanted an idea that would communicate hope to people. He decided to focus on angels after discovering through his research that angels exist in almost every culture and often predate religion. "I didn't want to have a religious connotation, but people can attach one if they so choose," Nollaig adds. "It's not my place to dictate what angels mean."

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Ireland; Killiney; Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel; Angels Beacon of Hope Sculptures.

It took three months to come up with the contemporary design for the angels. Each figure is made in the UK out of polyurethane and fiberglass molds. Nollaig and his wife funded the project for the first six months until telecom company Vodafone stepped in as a sponsor. The angels were decorated by artists, celebrities, sports stars, and organizations that are "beacons of hope" in Ireland. "We gave people three options to get them on board," Nollaig explains. "They could paint the angel themselves, they could work with an artist from a local Dublin college, or they could work one-on-one with an artist to come up with a design. So the angels are pieces of individual artwork that are really inspirational."

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Ireland; Killiney; Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel; Angels Beacon of Hope Sculptures
.

The angels took a 9-week tour of Ireland and were seen by over 50,000 people. Nollaig says that even more people have visited the Beacons of Hope website and hopes to take the exhibit across America from 2011 to 2013. "We hope to present an angel at next year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Washington, D. C.," he says. "We'd like to go across America with this initiative and inspire as many people as possible."

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Ireland; Killiney; Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel; Angels Beacon of Hope Sculptures.

Once the tour is concluded, Nollaig plans to auction off the angels for charity. The angels won't be the end of his Beacons of Hope project, though; he wants to develop 100 new angels and take them on tour through war-torn countries around the world. "I'm going to have to create a small team to do this, but on the tour of Ireland, I met some fantastic people who agreed to come on board," Nollaig says. "I'm confident that if we've achieved this in 18 months, we can take this global."

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Ireland; Killiney; Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel; Angels Beacon of Hope Sculptures.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1585

Travelers411 Photo Gallery:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=325

For more information visit www.angelsbeaconsofhope.com


Travel Tips:

Jeff Ward, General Manager of Cannizaro House, has a suggestion for taking advantage of all the restaurants at Harrod's of London. "I like to wander through three different restaurants," he tells Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams. "I have an appetizer in one, an entree in the next, and dessert in the third."

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London taxi cab decorated with a Tiffany paint job.

Visitors who want to try their own Angels-Beacons of Hope project can try Cowpainters.com, which makes resin shapes in various sizes.


Guests Include:

Jeff Ward, General Manager, Cannizaro House, Wimbledon, England, UK.
www.cannizarohouse.com
www.distinguishedhotels.com

Nollaig Fahy, Founder, Angels-Beacons of Hope, Dublin, Ireland.
www.angelsbeaconsofhope.ie

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Malachy McCourt, Author and Actor, Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Limerick, Ireland.
www.malachymccourt.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show meet "full-grown leprechaun" Malachy McCourt, Actor, Author and Humorist in Limerick, Ireland, and New York City. Stephanie was recently in Ireland for the unveiling of a bust honoring Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Angela's Ashes" and Malachy's brother.

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Ireland; Limerick; Welcoming Malachy and Mike McCourt.

Malachy is a soap opera regular and also known as the bartender on "Ryan's Hope" and Father Clarence on "All My Children." He's also the author of "A Monk Swimming," a memoir that has nothing to do with monks. The book's name comes from a line in the Hail Mary ("blessed art thou amongst women") that Malachy misheard as a child. There's quite a contrast between Malachy's humble Limerick roots and the elegance of The Strand, the 4-star Limerick hotel from which Stephanie is broadcasting.

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Ireland; Limerick; Frank McCourt Bust Unveiling Ceremony; Leamys School; Gallery; Malachy McCourt; with Oldest Living Pupil of School.

"The hotels in Limerick used to have commissionaires, or doormen, with splendid gold-buttoned coats and epaulettes," says Malachy. "They would look at us slum urchins and shoo us away because we were dirty, unkempt gutter snipes. So we would look through the windows at the white serviettes, gleaming silverware, Waterford crystal, and glowing teapots and think, 'Wouldn't it be grand to be in there and have your dinner sitting down with all them swells?' But that wasn't our fate at the time; we had to get out and then come back."

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Ireland; Limerick; Frank McCourt's Bust Unveiling; Leamy School Attendee Malachy McCourt.

And Malachy has come back in style to honor Frank, whom Stephanie describes as one of the best-known Irishmen in the world in this century. The ceremony honoring Frank took place at the former Leamy National School, which has since been renovated into an art gallery. "We used to call it the Leamy Academy of Surgeons because they cut us up so much," Malachy remembers. "It was a place of torture. There was no love of learning; it was a holding pen for future convicts. They figured we were all going to end up in prison."

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Ireland; Limerick; Frank McCourt's Bust Unveiling; Leamy School Attendee.

Like Malachy, many Americans of Irish descent dream of going back to Ireland. As a child, though, Malachy fantasized about going to America. "I grew up in Ireland in abject misery," he explains. "We would look down the River Shannon and say, 'That water is going sixty miles into the ocean and then over to New York.' I wished I could get on a current and go over to America where everything was magnificent. Then we would wake up and realize we were still the same gutter snipes as when we started dreaming."

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Ireland; Limerick; Leamys National School where McCourt Boys Attended; Art Gallery; Museum Frank McCourt.

Ireland has changed, though, and today it's a pleasure for Malachy to visit. "I came back and spent nine weeks working up in Connemara," he says. "I took the time to just get in a car and drive. I didn't know where I was half the time and didn't give a fiddle. You just go into a place and ask where you are. They'll tell you at length, so three weeks later you can get on the road again. Don't ever ask directions, because the whole of your holiday will be spent following them."

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Ireland; Limerick; Frank McCourt's Bust Unveiling; Leamy School Attendee Malachy McCourt; Stephanie Abrams.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1586

Travelers411 Photo Gallery:
Dublin

For more information visit www.malachymccourt.com


Link to this segment

Mark Leslie, Managing Director, Martello Media, Dublin, Ireland.
www.martellomedia.com

Mark Leslie, Managing Director of Martello Media in Dublin, brings Glasnevin Cemetery to life for Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show. Martello Media created the visitors' center experience at Glasnevin and has won awards for centers at the Cliffs of Moher, Black Rock Observatory in Cork, and the Yeats exhibit at Dublin's National Library.

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Ireland; Dublin; Glasnevin Cemetary; Ireland's National Historical Cemetary; Tombs; Grave Markers Of Wealthy Influential.

"Glasnevin Cemetery is a national necropolis where 1.2 million people are buried, from the ordinary to the great," Mark says, "and everybody has a story. The cemetery kept marvelous records of every person buried there, however lowly, including where they lived, who they were married to, and how they died." He admits that the cemetery is not what springs to mind as a wonderful family activity, but says that the amount of information on the inhabitants makes it rich in historical and social information.

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Dublin Ireland the Yeats exhibit at the National Library designed by Mark Leslie's team who gives Stephanie Abrams a personal tour.

The centerpiece of the Glasnevin visitors' center is a 10-meter long interactive touch table. Through the table, visitors can access pictorial biographies of 200-300 people buried at the cemetery and follow a timeline of the cemetery's 280-year history. "You can press on a person to see their biography and the table will show their network—other people they knew who are buried there," Mark explains. Other features include interactive maps to help visitors find certain graves and detailed biographies in the form of interactive virtual books.

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Ireland; Dublin; Glasnevin Cemetary; Ireland's National Historical Cemetary; Tombs; Grave Markers Of Wealthy Influential.

The visitors' center also has a wall of shelves enclosed in glass. Inside are mementoes from ordinary people buried at Glasnevin that represent their trade or daily life: a teacup, a pair of glasses, and a lady's leather gloves. The idea, according to Mark, is to showcase the social history of the cemetery, not just to highlight its more famous inhabitants. His favorite figure associated with Glasnevin, though, is Daniel O'Connell, whom he describes as "one of the most famous people in the world 150 years ago."

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Ireland; Dublin; Glasnevin Cemetary; Ireland's National Historical Cemetary; Museum Daniel O; Connell Exhibit.

Daniel O'Connell was a leader and activist who pioneered the non-violent civil rights movements that later inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. "He invented the tactics, slogans, and ideology that inspired other political movements and figures, including Frederick Douglass and European nationalists," Mark says. "He was a man of universal outreach, though he's largely forgotten today even by the Irish."

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Ireland; Dublin; Glasnevin Cemetary; Ireland's National Historical Cemetary; Daniel O'Connell Tomb.

O'Connell founded Glasnevin Cemetery to promote civil rights, Mark adds. Under Ireland's old penal laws, Roman Catholics had no civil rights and had to pay a 5 pound tax to be buried in a Protestant cemetery. O'Connell opened Glasnevin to people of all religions and no religions—Catholics, Protestants, humanists, and atheists alike. Today, people of 30 different faiths are buried in Glasnevin, from Zoroastrians and Muslims to Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists. Future plans for the Glasnevin visitors' center include new multimedia exhibitions on the centennial of certain deaths, which will then be folded in to the existing touch table exhibit.

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Ireland; Dublin; Glasnevin Cemetary; Ireland's National Historical Cemetary; Museum Daniel O; Connell Exhibit.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1587

For more information visit www.martellomedia.com


Guests Include:

Malachy McCourt, Author and Actor, in Limerick, Ireland, New York, New York, USA.
www.malachymccourt.com

Mark Leslie, Managing Director, Martello Media, Dublin, Ireland.
www.martellomedia.com

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