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It’s All About Regional Marketing…

In 2010, my mom and I traveled to Ireland. We rented a car and went from Cork-Kinsale-Killarney-Galway-Sligo-Belfast-Giant’s Causeway-Dublin-Kilkenny-Waterford-Wexford-London. Cork is Ireland’s second largest city (about the size of St. John’s, NL), however, just a short distance away is Kinsale, a small town that is known for its food culture. With 2,257 people it is about the size of St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula. The regional marketing had us take the drive to the neighbouring community. It was an experience!

DSC_0877

The Provincial Government has cut its marketing budget by 25%. Despite winning 183 awards and being internationally recognized, the market for the International, out-of-province and local market is highly competitive and stakeholders will have to do more to market their business to maintain their bottom lines. I believe it’s all about regional marketing, let’s pool our resources and develop vacation guides, business directory, updates, mini-sites and more in a modern Viking Trail Tourism website.

Check out how Kinsale market’s itself: http://kinsale.ie/.

The Great Northern Peninsula has many reasons for which one must visit. Here is a short-list:

  • Gros Morne National Park, WORLD UNESCO Site – home to the Table Lands and 155,000 visitors annually.
  • L’Anse aux Meadows, WORLD UNESCO Site – more than 1,000 years ago, the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America. The only authenticated North American viking site. Nearby, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade is home to the replica viking ship, the Snorri. Wonderful cuisine en route: The Daily Catch, Northern Delight, Snow’s Take-out and The Norseman Restaurant.
  • Community of 50 Centuries, Bird Cove – for more than 5,000 the Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Gros-Water Eskimo and recent Indians. As well, a Basque presence and Captain James Cook cairn. Port au Choix National Historic Site has unique interpretation of archaeology and history.
  • The French Shore (Petit Nord) – Conche’s Interpretation Centre is home to a 222 ft tapestry depicting the French history, the Granchain Exhibit is found in St. Lunaire-Griquet
  • Grenfell Historic Properties – highlights the legendary Sir Doctor Wilfred Grenfell, his International Association, residence and his economic development through the co-operative process. Grenfell Historical Foundation and Handicrafts remain an integral part of the continuing story. Grenfell Memorial Co-op is the Newfoundland & Labrador’s oldest consumer co-op. Nearby are the Jordi Bonet Murals, Northland Discovery Boat Tours, Polar Bear Exhibit & Fishing Point Park.
  • Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve – home to more than 300 plants, 30 of which are rare and one Burnt Cape cinquefoil, which the Great Northern Peninsula is the only place in the world where this species grows. Raleigh is also home to a fishing village and carving shop.
  • Leifsbudir – The Great Viking Feast is the only sod restaurant in North America, built into the rock of Fishing Point, St. Anthony
  • GNP Craft Producers – a unique gift shop that makes seal skin products and shares the history of seal skin boot making. In nearby Flower’s Cove one will find “Seal Skin” boot church. The community is also home to thrombolites (existing on just a few places on earth).
  • Deep Cove Winter Housing Site – a National Historic Site is an open air museum which highlights the way of life residents experienced in both summer and winter living. It is south of Anchor Point which is home to the peninsula’s oldest consecrated cemetery.
  • Torrent River Salmon Interpretation Centre - the Interpretation centre in Hawke’s Bay is a must for the salmon enthusiast. Beyond the mighty Torrent, many salmon rivers exist in Main Brook. Roddickton-Bide Arm is a great place to also participate in recreational hunting and fishing, it is home to the natural Underground Salmon Pool.

An array of walking trails, nature, wildlife, icebergs, whales, recreational hunting and fishing, picturesque outport communities, attractions, shops, restaurants,  crafts, festivals, events,  local culture and heritage and people who will make any visit a treasured experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. We make need to take a page out of Kinsale’s book, and work as a region to pool our marketing resources and create a more dynamic on-line presence that takes in our region’s unique offerings!

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula & start planning your vacation today!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The Giant’s Causeway…part III

 

Pillers 12 meters high

In mid-November Live Rural NL author, Christopher Mitchelmore spent two weeks on vacation with some time in Ireland exploring Irish roots.  The Giant’s Causeway is a magnificent space to spend the day. I recommend to plan ahead and bring a snack to have a picnic by the sea.          
 

Posing on the trail with the hills and water in the background

 
Posing on the trail with the hills and water in the backgroundthe hillside green and beautiful orange glow, takes me back to a simpler time – a time when nature ruled and development was from human interference was far away.

A lonely walker on the trail at sunset

We stayed almost until sunset, climbing to the top to get a great aerial view of the 37,000 basalt columns.

 

The View from Above

Upon reaching our car, we decided to stop by a coffee shop in a small neighbouring village before driving to Dublin, Ireland to meet Marcel. The Giant’s Causeway has been a big highlight of my last European vacation.

Find your highlight here -

Live Rural NL 0 Christopher Mitchelmore 

 

The Giant’s Causeway…

The Giant’s Causeway was declared a World UNESCO Heritage Site. It is a scenic wonder of almost 40,000 basalt pillars that are a result of an ancient volcanic reaction.

The National Trust manages the Giant's Causeway

We were fortunate to miss out on this wonder the day prior, as it rained early evening. During our visit Friday afternoon we were greeted with many rays of sunshine.

The walk to the Causeway

We opted to walk to the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland, versus take the trolley bus.

Looking back...

As we look back we see some fisher people in their little outboard boat.

A boat out to sea

The walked was certainly worth seeing the thousands of hexagonal pillars ranging in varying heights.

Part of the Giant's Causeway

We spent awhile admiring the nature’s beauty. Stay tuned for additional posts relating to the Giant’s Causeway.

It is a must see in Northern Ireland!

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

In & Around Belfast City, Northern Ireland

When I think of my two visits to Belfast I often re-call and probably sang more than I should have the lyrics of Black Velvet Band:

City Center, Belfast

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds You’d think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band.
In a neat little town they call Belfast
Apprenticed to trade I was bound
And many an hour’s sweet happiness
I spent in that neat little town.
Till bad misfortune came o’er me
That caused me to stray from the land
Far away from my friends and relations
To follow the black velvet band.

Opera House

 We arrived in Belfast late Thursday night, checked-in and found a grand pub to get some really good grub. They even had a fire lit and a Celtic musician playing some tunes for the patrons. We had a couple of beers at the pub before calling it a night.

Belfast Christmas Market at City Center

An early morning led us to the City Center, where we decided we would do some shopping.

The City Center boasts excellent shopping. I remember in December 2007, touring the booths at the Christmas market. In 2010, during mid-November they were just getting set-up outside of the City Hall Building. I managed to purchase a jacket and lots of clothing, as well as a couple of sweaters for my sister as a Christmas present.

The Crown Bar

 
Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland and the second largest city of the island of Ireland. It has significant infrastructure and an inviting waterfront. We enjoyed a healthy lunch before taking a ride in the Hyundai Getz to the North to see the Giant’s Causeway.
 
We had a tight schedule as we had to arrive in Dublin later Friday night as we were meeting our final friend joining us for the vacation.
 
I enjoy the countryside of Ireland immensely. It reminds me of the beautiful scenery that is comparable in rural Newfoundland. However, there
are some vast differences as well, including the unique trees at roadside.

Trees at roadside to Giant's Causeway

 
Combining urban and rural regions while on vacation can really create a unique travel experience.
 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore
 
 
 

I fell in Love with the Galway Girl…

Inside the Tig Coili

Galway, Ireland is such a trendy city. It has been coined Ireland’s Cultural Heart as it boasts a vibrant lifestyle with a number of festivals and special events. 
 
We decided to drop into the “Tig Coili”, which was recommended by a Canadian travelling abroad. He was originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, which I had returned from only three weeks prior. We talked about Neechi Foods, Mondragon Bookstore & Coffee House, and the Chocolate Shop Restaurant.

JR & Sue Ellen were at the "Tig Coili"

 JR & Sue Ellen were at the “Tig Coili”The Tig Coili was a real treat. On sat with our pints just under a photo of Larry Hagman & wife with Linda Grey, who starred as Sue Ellen and J.R. Ewing on Dallas. This made me very happy, as I started purchasing the series in early 2008 and have 10 seasons under my belt.  This certainly put a smile on my face, knowing these TV titans also visited this venue. The pints were easy to go down, with a group of musicians playing fiddles and squeezeboxes. It was very relaxing.

A selection of beers on tap

 
Galway, even mid-week, mid-November presented an opportunity to crowd into an establishment and hear a great band perform with everyone raising their beer glasses. This reminded me of the movie, “P.S. I Love You“, when the lady goes to the pub and hears the man she met earlier sing, “I Fell In Love with the Galway Girl“. The energy in the room provided a great feeling of excitement as we celebrated being in Ireland with friends and family. That night we would be joined by another friend, Tobias, from Germany.
 

I Fell in Love with the Galway Girl....Party in Ireland

 
Galway is a vibrant city, which I hope to return to visit the streets once more.
 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore

Dining in Galway…

Irish Harp Beer

Late Wednesday afternoon we checked into Sleepzone. The room for the night cost 1 Euro each, or the equivalent of $1.36 Canadian. Sadly, I paid significantly more for parking that night.

My mom and I were greeted by my friend David, who I had met while
attending a semester at the University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic. He flew from Sweden to meet us and join our travels.
 
We were recommended this little restaurant by a local. It certainly did not disappoint.
 
 

Irish Stew and Veg

The order was a plate of Traditional Irish Stew with Veg (potatoes (whole and mashed), carrots and cabbage/green vegetables. A hungry man’s portion indeed.
 
After filling up on the main course, we treated ourselves to a dessert of Bailey’s Cheesecake.
Bailey’s Cheesecake

  I highly recommend the cheesecake, as the perfect way to end a great Irish meal.

 
Food in Ireland, like Newfoundland and Labrador would tease and tantalize the taste buds.
 
We left the restaurant very satisfied. Despite the rain, we decided to walk the streets and find a good pint and some music at the pubs.
 
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Christopher Mitchelmore
 
 

The Long Way to Muckross House

Pathway through Killarney...

We took the Long Way to Muckross House. My mom and I can certainly laugh about this mis-adventure. We parked in a vacant lot near a gate to the park. We passed a small home and trailed to the nice lake, followed a path passed an old church, cemetery and many fenced pastures that enclosed many cattle. It felt like an eternity, after already spending most of the morning on our feet.

Church & cemetary near Muckross House

I think we walked for more than an hour, nearly 6 kilometers. It was finally in front of us – Muckross House.  We entered the admission area only to be told, the next tour does not start until 1 hour 15 minutes. They suggested we tour the magnificent gardens. We explained where we came from, they were quite alarmed we parked so far away, when you can drive up to the property.It was quite funny – well the walk back certainly was not, but I am happy we were able to spend the morning with nature. Needless to say we walked back the trail, ever so tired to the car and parked on the Muckross House Property. 
 

Muckross House

Muckross House, was built-in 1843 by the Herbert Family.  The home has a history even linked to the Guinness Brewing Family to be sold to a wealthy American businessman, who gifted the property to his daughter as a wedding present. After her sudden death the family donated the property to the State. The State was unable to invest much money into the upkeep of the property and Muckross House was closed to the public until 1964.  
 
A public effort saw the restoration of the property which enables history to be preserved. There are many wonderful stories, artifacts and wonders that are told by exceptional knowledgeable guides. There is also a workshop, where workers produce 100% authentic local product for the gift shop. We had the opportunity to see how things are made, directly on-site. 
 

Horse & Buggy Rides Available

Established Newfoundland & Labrador tourism attractions could learn from these in Ireland, as people are interested in seeing how product is made and not poorly crafted goods or things that come from other countries (ie mass-produced in China).
 
For the tourism attractions, currently in waiting or dis-repair, community meetings are needed. Good things happen when communities, regions and key stakeholders work together to preserve a part of our living history.
 
Muckross House enforces a no photo taking policy. Therefore, it is a wonder you must experience for yourself, from the large kitchen, to 60+ different servant buzzers (that sounded a horn with a unique ring identified the room it came from), to a bath tub that allows you to pull the plug without getting your hands wet, an exquisite library, drawing-room, collection of local hunting trophies and paintings by Herbert to name a few.
 
Take some time to view the gardens and if you wish, you can take a Horse and Buggy that will guide you around the grounds and take you to a waterfall.
 
Enjoy!
 
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Christopher Mitchelmore
 
 

Killarney National Park – Killarney, Ireland

Serene Morning at Killarney National Park

 
After spending an enjoyable day visiting Blarney Castle, Rock Close, visiting Kinsale‘s Farmer’s Market and Charles Fort, we took a scenic drive to Killarney.
 
It rained that night, very heavily. It did not prevent us from going to the pubs. In fact, we did a pub crawl after eating a lovely meal we visited three other pubs and got to take in some music from five very talented people, playing a hodge-podge of instruments. My mother even had a pint of Murphy’s that night.

Two Baby Red Deer at Killarney National Park

 
An early morning arrival was a real treat to Killarney National Park. In the photo on the right, to the very far right one can make out two tiny Red deer as we pulled into the parking lot.
 
We spent some times walking the trails and exploring Ross Castle.

Ross Castle, Killarney National Park

 Ross Castle, according to a panel, is a tower house that was built sometime in the 15th century by the O’Donoghue family who ruled the Killarney area at the time. The castle is on a lake with wonderful views for those who wish to breathe in the beauty of this National Park.

My mother explores remains of Ross Castle

 The grounds have sufficient seating. Once can even feed the ducks or swans. The surrounding area has a good trail network. We were even able to see some early morning joggers and dog walkers.  For those coming to Newfoundland & Labrador, but for those in Ireland, a day at Killarney National Park is a must! 
 

One last view of Ross Castle

 
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Christopher Mitchelmore

Charles Fort, Kinsale – Ireland

Mosaic of Charles Fort, Kinsale, Ireland

 
Tuesday afternoon took us to Summer Cove on outskirts of Kinsale. We passed the golf club and lighthouse to stop for a  visit at Charles Fort. The mosaic illustrates the fort’s star shape. The grass remains pretty green for November 15, 2010.

A view of the ruins

 
The fort was once a stronghold that protected Kinsale Harbour. Some of the remaining buildings have been converted to tell the story, displaying uniforms, artifacts and panels.
 
We walked around the property to get a view of the harbour. It was “blowing a gale”, definitely not a day to be on the water.

View of the Harbour

 The design reminded me of a family vacation of Fort Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

We must preserve our local sites, as we are quickly losing values of the past that make rural Newfoundland & Labrador unique. Deep Cove Winter Housing site and Flower’s Island are two examples within a 25km radius of my home. It is time to ensure History is preserved and the

More Ruins

story-told appropriately.

 
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Christopher Mitchelmore
 
 
 
 

Celebrating 100…A walk through the Enchanted Forest

I bet this tree is more than 100 years old...

This post celebrates my 100th article on the Live Rural NL blog…which debuted in June 20, 2010.  It has been a wonderful opportunity to share with my readers my take on local culture, heritage, share recipes from grandma’s kitchen and provide some local photos of the scenic beauty of the breathtaking Great Northern Peninsula.

I have recently also began sharing some recent travel experiences to France and Ireland. During November 2010, my mom and I spent time connecting with the Irish culture, which for many rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians would have immigrated.

Dolmen (Methalithic Tomb)

We spent the rest of the morning on Tuesday, walking through the enchanted forest at Rock Close.

Rock Close is laid out on a pre-historic Druids site with the remains of huge
boulders, rocks, a dolmen (a megalithic tomb), a sacrificial altar and a witches kitchen. You will also find Japanese bamboo trees, magnolias, Siberian dogwood and weeping willows and a stream which can be crossed.

Druid's Cave

There was something magical about the place, as you made a wish after climbing the wishing steps. The ancient trees of the forests were something out of a storybook. It was quite interesting to see unique plants and pass a druid’s cave. I had the opportunity of visiting Stonehenge, England in 2007.

I enjoyed the druid’s cave and the witches kitchen. As well as the many photo opportunities with the old growth forest. I even got to practise framing.

Ireland, like this beautiful province has many outdoor attractions. Take some time to appreciate what is in your backyard.

Framing my Mum from Inside the Cave

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Christopher Mitchelmore

I Kissed the Blarney Stone – Blarney, Ireland

 

Blarney Castle

An early rise on Tuesday led us to Blarney. We walked around the Town, seeing a bird sanctuary, churches, Blarney Mills Shopping Center and of course Blarney Castle. The morning was crisp, but the walkways were “just beautiful”, as Mom would often state. The flowers, trees and water views were pretty impressive en route to the castle.

   Mom braves the Poison Garden  as we wait for the castle to open for viewing. It was interesting to learn about the different herbs and plants that are dangerous when consumed or if one comes in direct contact. I thought this was a nice value-added feature of this tourist attraction.

I kissed the Blarney Stone!

After walking the narrow stairways we reached the top. Wall panels noted the difference between Blarney & Baloney:

Baloney: Is when you tell a 50 year old she looks 18,

Blarney: Is when you ask a women how old she is, because you want to know what age women are most beautiful.

Kissing the blarney stone, apparently gives you the gift of eloquence. In fact, Winston Churchill kissed the blarney stone and was an outstanding orator.

The View from Above

I kissed the Blarney Stone. Now, I have ensured to have the gift of gab, if I had not previously mastered it. Imagine the droves of people that come from all over the world each year to kiss this stone.

Take the time to enjoy the views, castle and surrounding gardens.

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

 

Experiencing the Newfoundland – Ireland Connection

I visited Ireland in 2007. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin with local Irish men. This happened because the week before Jen and I were in Stockholm, Sweden and starting talking to them in the street. I am glad she did, because we had a truly authentic Irish Paddy’s Day experience with the kitchen party at an Irish residence, to whirly burgers and more. Thank you James, Elmo and others. Jen & I will never forget the times at McGowens.

We returned again in April, after missing our cheap flights with both of us over sleeping; as we all celebrated the end of the semester the night before. This resulted in us taking multiple trains, underground, bus, ferry, shuttle and tram. We travelled from England to Wales to Ireland to dock in Dublin, Ireland 12 hours later than expected, but we made it. My final visit to the island was in December 2007 when I flew to Edinburgh alone prior to Christmas. There I met the Dodgemeister and a Swedish Princess. After a couple of days I took the train to Glasgow and the ferry to Belfast, Northern Ireland. On the ferry, I watched Meet the Robinson’s, one of Pixar’s excellent movies. It is right up there with Despicable Me. After arriving in Belfast, I was able to experience the Christmas Markets around city hall and enjoy many hours of excellent shopping.

As you can see, my previous trips to Ireland and Northern Ireland resulted in multiple forms of transit. Never though, did I ever rent a car and attempt to drive on the left hand side of the road, until November 2010.

Hyundai Getz

My mother must have been very trusting or scared for her life constantly. After we landed at the Cork airport, I picked up my rental car from the Budget Kiosk desk. After getting in and driving one car it had an incredible beeping noise that would not go away. I check all doors, windows, handbreak, but nothing seemed to stop it. So back to the Kiosk and they exchanged my Nissan for a little Hyundai Getz.

Side View of the Hyundai Getz Street In Ireland

Our flight was delayed from Paris, coupled with the delay with changing the rental car pitted me in the second largest city in Ireland during rush hour traffic with no experience driving on the left. I have to say it was quite the daunting driving experience, but after getting parked that night each successive day seemed like a breeze.  

I love Ireland, it is like a second homecoming, as the beauty of the land reminds me of being in rural Newfoundland, only the grass in Ireland is Emerald Green, even in November. In 2007, I made multiple trips, but never really experienced Ireland, as I did not venture outside capital cities. Therefore, I decided it was important to see the countryside and the best way to achieve this was to rent a car, as it allowed me the freedom to explore the tiny villages and rural castles. 

Prior to leaving I downloaded maps on my GPS (Gertrude Prudence Spencer, I mean Global Positioning System) as I felt that getting use to the narrow roads, new landscape and driving on the left would be enough for me to manage without having to find my destination. It would have been almost impossible to manage without the GPS, driving as much time would have been lost trying to find locations. 

Street In Ireland

I enjoyed taking “roundabouts” (traffic circles), claiming to be “roundabout king”. I am sure though maybe I received a horn once or twice.

 
The rural regions of Ireland are beautiful and the landscapes breathtaking. One does not have to look far to find why one would want to come to Ireland. For many of the same reasons, people flock to rural Newfoundland & Labrador.
 
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Christopher Mitchelmore
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