"Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show - May 11, 2014
Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare & Company. Photo by Kevin Sprague.
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Hour 1

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Mauro Galli, President, TourCrafters, Libertyville, Illinois, USA.
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Mauro Galli, President, TourCrafters, Libertyville, Illinois, USA.
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Hour 2

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Tony Simotes, President and Artistic Director, Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, Massachusetts, USA.
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Stan Bradley, Managing Director, Air Ambulance Card, USA.
www.airambulancecard.com

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For more information visit www.airambulancecard.com


Guests Include:

Tony Simotes, President and Artistic Director, Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, Massachusetts, USA.
www.shakespeare.org

Stan Bradley, Managing Director, Air Ambulance Card, USA.
www.airambulancecard.com

Hour 3

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Michael Ring T.D., Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Irish Parliament, Dublin, Ireland.
www.ireland.com
www.oireachtas.ie/parliament

Follow the Wild Atlantic Way Through 1500 Miles of Irish Coastline Discover Hundred's of Points Along The Way

Travel Expert and Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams talks with Minister Michael Ring, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport for Ireland, about Ireland's new Wild Atlantic Way. The Wild Atlantic Way is a 1500 mile long coastal route which runs from Kinsale in County Cork westward and northward all the way up to Giant's Causeway on the Antrim Coast. Michael is calling in from his office in Westport, County Mayo. He says Westport was recently voted by the national daily papers as the best town in Ireland to live. He says it's a beautiful town on the coastline with unique historic charm. He says the restaurants and sea food are excellent, citing Matt Molloy's pub.

Michael Ring says you find great shopping and brilliant music, which he notes is free of charge. In Mulrany he suggests bike rental and that there are rentals where you can go on bike and when you get tired they'll bring you back. He says you'll find beautiful scenery in Mulrany, in Newport and Westport and that there are great beaches to be found. He says there's great stuff all over, in Mayo, Sligo, Rosscommon, Galway, Kerry, Donegal, in fact all along the 1500 miles of the Wild Atlantic Way. He says you might not fit everything in on the first trip and shouldn't struggle to. It might take 3 weeks or a month or longer to explore everything.

Stephanie says one of the great things about touring Ireland is that every nook and cranny along the way is filled with attractions, things to do and places to stop and explore. That's in contrast to touring a place like the United States where you might drive hundreds of miles and not see any development.

Michael Ring and Stephanie talk about 'Craic', which is Irish for fun. Michael explains that if you were to say about someone 'that they are good craic', that means they are good fun, have a sense of humor, they are witty and they'll be able to tell you a story.

Michael Rings says you'll find great food, great chefs, and hotels all around Ireland. If you are looking for an adventure holiday such as a cycling trip you'll find scenery and packages to fit. If your thing is museums, or researching your own Irish ancestry, that makes for a great trip. He notes the many libraries, the rich history and the ability for the curious to research their Irish ancestry. He says you'll also find surfing, swimming, beaches and much more. Last year, he says, Ireland created 14,500 new jobs in the tourism sector.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams mentions the Infrastructure upgrades Ireland has been doing. She and Michael agree that its now very easy to get from Dublin airport to the west coast of Ireland in under 2 hours. They say you'll find a nice smooth road replete with gorgeous scenery on both sides. Stephanie says travelers should also consider flying into Shannon so they are already on the west coast and ready to begin their Wild Atlantic Way adventure. From Shannon airport they are right in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way. Michael Ring says "If they go right, they go into Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim. If they go left, they go into Kerry, Clare, Cork."

Minister Rings discusses the recent CSO figures; numbers of people coming into the country. He says that the first three months of the year experienced a 6% increase in travelers coming from North America. In 2013 it was 14% higher. Last year 1,158,000 visitors came to Ireland creating 1 billion in revenue.

Michael Ring also says that especially for folks coming from the United States, pre-clearance for both Shannon and Dublin airports, from American Airports is a great option for travelers. Travelers clear Irish customs within the United States, so when they land in Ireland they don't need to go through customs on that end.

Discussing west Cork, Michael says it is beautiful countryside, with great beaches, scenery and food. He also mentions Loop Head, Galway, South Killary Harbour, Mayo's Downpatrick Head for its beauty and scenery. Michael and Stephanie both agree that Ceide Fields is a very impressive place to visit. Its an archeological site dating back to a 6,000 year old agrarian community where each farmer had an identically sized plot to work. They say it's a great place to explore and learn about the ancient people of Ireland.

Minister Ring says they are in development of a travel app which will help explain to people a bit about what to do and the history of places. There are 159 discovery points with signs and information about points on the map. Some of the places Minister Ring mentions are Malin Head in Donegal. In Sligo, County Donegal, he says' there's Malin More Head and the Jersey Island or Mizen Head in County Cork. In Kerry he suggests the Blasket View a great example of rural Ireland. He says about the Wild Atlantic Way that he "thinks it's exciting and something people will like". He thinks when people start to do the 1500 mile drive, even if they need to come back to Ireland to finish up the whole route, they'll find the real Ireland and fall in love with it.

Michael Ring and Stephanie Abrams shift gears to talk about Ireland's museums. Stephanie says that museums In America are known for being gigantic things whereas the museums of Ireland tend to be smaller and focused on a particular subject so they don't try to massively cover the entire history of the world. She says that on the outside they are generally in a historic building, though they don't seem hugely impressive on the outside. She says there are of course exceptions to that like the Museum of Country Life, but that many of the museums are small and unassuming on the outside and they remind her of an Amethyst in the forest where you only see the gem inside when you kick it over.

Michael Ring stresses that the museums are all free in Ireland and they are very conscious about their history and want give people an opportunity to come in and find out about Ireland's history. He says most museums are good to come and explore for "about a half day or a few hours". "In other parts of the world you pay", he says. Stephanie says "God Bless the Office of Public Works (OPW), marvelous job on the buildings, free, go in at no cost".

Today, Minister Ring says in Westport, it is a beautiful day and he can look down the town from his office. He says there are people walking around and enjoying themselves. He mentions the "Fabulous golf in the country". In Westport he says "they have a brilliant par course". He also mentions Belmullet in County Mayo. He says there are lots of Links courses, or golf courses on the sea, with stunning views. He notes the Connemara links course. He says "We take it for granted that everyone knows Ireland is famous for its golf courses. One third of all Links courses in the world are in Ireland and half of those are in the North West." He suggests as a tip that though there are the top rated courses in the world in Ireland, there are many other courses which are still top quality in the world of golf, just a bit inland, and you can get tremendous value for top notch golf experience by sampling those. Stephanie mentions that David Isby, Senior Producer for this show, is an avid golfer. He has a lifetime membership to the Ring of Kerry golf group.

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For more information visit www.ireland.com and www.oireachtas.ie/parliament


Guests Include:

Michael Ring T.D., Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Irish Parliament, Dublin, Ireland.
www.ireland.com
www.oireachtas.ie/parliament

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