This is What a 104 Year Old Pipe Organ Sounds Like

March 21, 2018 | Andrea Rempel

Imagine yourself sitting amongst strangers on metal benches, that were surprisingly comfortable, waiting in anticipation for someone to come to the stage that is laid out before you in an open-air pavilion. The architecture that surrounds you is pristine, built in 1914, and looks like someone has taken great care in preserving the history of this beautiful venue. That’s because they have.

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Sleep Like Royalty in an Irish Castle

March 15, 2018 | Lois Farley

With World Sleep Day and St. Patrick’s Day falling consecutively on Friday, March 16th and Saturday, March 17th, I thought it’d be only fitting to look into the idea of sleeping in an Irish castle. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of spending at least one night like a prince or princess from a fairy tale?

Ireland offers up a lot of great choices for a castle stay. Here are three choices, but there are many others.

  Ashford Castle, County Mayo
The original castle construction began back in 1228, so some of the castle’s stonework is approaching 800 years of age. The famed Guinness brewing family purchased the castle in the mid-1800’s and put about $75 million into the massive renovation to upgrade the interior. With additional modern renovations the castle now features its historic façade and “bones” along with stunningly restored interiors and a state-of-the-art spa. Not just a place to lay your head, it’s an experience, the chance to live a dream of staying in a genuine castle, but still having all the creature comforts we’ve come to expect.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare
Built in the 16th century, the limestone, medieval castle with its statuesque turret sits on 450 acres of lush green grass and verdant gardens. Since the 10th century Dromoland has been the ancestral home of the O’Briens, Barons of Inchiquin and descendants of Brian Boru High King of Ireland during the 11th century. For the next 900 years a branch of the O’Briens lived and ruled from this castle. Retaining all the grandness of bygone eras the castle has been upgraded to a very comfortable standard, offering everything the modern day, discerning “royalty for a day” is looking for.

  Ballygally Castle, County Antrim
In real estate it’s said that location is everything, and Ballygally Castle has that in spades! This turreted treasure has been standing guard over the spellbinding Causeway Coastal Route since the 17th century. Rumoured to be one of the most haunted buildings on the entire island, Ballygally boasts more than one spectre, including former residents Lady Isobel Shaw and Madame Nixon. If you’re brave enough you can visit the Ghost Room in one of the turrets!

Read about more Irish castles where you can sleep like royalty:
Irish Times, Ireland’s Top 10 Castles to Stay In, 6 Luxury Castle Stays

Saint Patrick and The Bear

March 15, 2018 | GCT Bear

Hi there! Great Canadian Travel Bear here.

I still don’t have a name, but for now, since it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, I am taking on the name Patty O’Lantern. I think that it’s pretty fitting. As you can see, I’m green with envy because of all the Irish people and people of Irish descent who get to celebrate on that special day. That got me to thinking about my own ancestry, so I decided to take one of those DNA tests to find out who I really am. And, guess what? I discovered that I can trace my family tree back to Ireland! Apparently genetic evidence shows that I am a descendent from the Irish Brown Bear that lived during the last ice age. I think it’s kind of crazy to know that my great-great-great-great-great-great… you get the point… grandmother bear was hanging out in a country across the ocean thousands of years ago! Now, that’s cool! Read More >

Hawaii… Paradise Found

March 07, 2018 | Lindsay R

The fresh, floral air invigorates you. The warm, tranquil waters revitalize you. The breathtaking, natural beauty renews you. There’s no place on earth like Hawaii. Whether it’s your first time to Hawaii, or your tenth time, the six unique islands offer distinct experiences that will entice any traveler. I encourage you to explore the islands and discover Hawaii for yourself.

Hawaii is like no other place on earth.  Home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the world’s tallest sea mountain.  Birthplace of modern surfing, the hula and Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Former seat of a royal kingdom and home to the only royal palace on US soil. Hawaii is one of the youngest geological formations in the world and the youngest state of the union. But perhaps Hawaii’s most unique feature is its aloha spirit: the warmth of Hawaii’s people that wonderfully complements the Islands’ perfect temperatures. Read More >

What’s New

February 12, 2018 | Lois Farley

Scotland Slowly by Sea – travel solo and pay no single supplement! More single cabins have been made available on this expedition cruise in Categories 3 to 7. Explore the coastline and hidden gems of Scotland on this small-ship adventure June 11-21, 2018. Subject to availability, so call now for best options!

Quark Expeditions has a variety of cruise and wilderness lodge programs on sale, up to 35% off, for bookings made by March 31, 2018. Save on select departures from November 2018 to February 2019 of the Antarctica Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent and the August 2018 sailing of the Greenland Explore: Valleys and Fjords cruise. Arctic Watch wilderness lodge is currently on special with CAD at Par for all 2018 dates. Call us now for best selections on these great offers!

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