Our Blogs

This is What a 104 Year Old Pipe Organ Sounds Like

March 21, 2018 |

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 |

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
Ireland.com, 6 Luxury Castle Stays

Saint Patrick and The Bear

March 15, 2018 |

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 >

Au Diable Vert – the Velovolant (flying bicycles)

March 13, 2018 |

Imagine you are sitting in something that looks somewhat like the seat and roll cage from a race car, without the race car around it. Imagine you are hanging from a cable 15 feet above the ground. Imagine you begin to pedal, which propels you slowly through the trees, the ground falling away until you are 60 feet or more above the ground. Imagine that it is peaceful, the only sounds made by the breeze rustling the trees, some birds chirping, and the occasional squirrel squeaking. Imagine that all you can see are the treetops surrounding you and perhaps the next rider, depending on your location along the one-kilometre trail. Imagine that the only sensation is the gentle swaying of your pod and the occasional bump as it runs over a connection in the cable.

Now imagine you have vertigo or are scared of heights. That was me exactly. Read More >

Heliskiing in Iceland

March 09, 2018 |

“Enormous playground of never skied colours, chutes and wide opened glaciers” is how National Geographic starts their article describing skiing in Iceland.

“Without a doubt Iceland offers some of the most mind blowing heliskiing on the planet,” says snow magazine’s “top 10 Heliskiing experiences in Europe.” Read More >

Hawaii… Paradise Found

March 07, 2018 |

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 >

Introducing our Great Canadian Travel Bear

February 28, 2018 |

 Hi there!

Let me introduce myself. Well, I don’t actually have a name yet (but you can enter the contest to give me a name), so let’s just call me Great Canadian Bear for now. Although I’m only a few months old, I’ve been on all sorts of amazing adventures already. You see, I am The Great Canadian Travel Group’s newest team member. It all started with an idea to have a travel companion for all adventures the consultants go on. You know, to travel by yourself is great, but sometimes you just need a little bear to cuddle.

So, when I saw the job posted on the Polar Bears Wanted website, I could bearly contain my excitement. I applied and got the job! I was sad to leave my home in Canada’s Arctic, but the move to the big city has been really interesting, with lots of new experiences!

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Beyond Amsterdam – to Arnherm

February 20, 2018 |

windmills in the NetherlandsTravel to The Netherlands is always a treat for me, combining the fun of exploring more new places with an opportunity to visit friends in the northeast province of Drenthe.  My recent visit was no exception; this time we spent a day exploring the Open-Air Museum in Arnhem.  World War 2 history buffs will recognize the city’s name from a major battle, the largest airborne operation ever.  In September 1944 the Allied Forces failed in an attempt to break through German lines in and around the city.  The battle is chronicled in Cornelius Ryan’s A Bridge too FarRead More >

Ten Unconventional Romantic Places You Should Go

February 14, 2018 |

mouse figurine holding envelope and heartsAlthough the month of February contains a celebration dedicated to showing how much you love someone, it is not necessarily the only month that one can show this emotion. There are 11 other months in the year that are available to show that special someone how much you care about them. That being said, here is a list of ten destinations, in no particular order, that we think are unconventional romantic locations. Read More >