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!
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
- What a view today on the Great Northern Peninsula… (liveruralnl.com)
- Inspired by our Lifestyle & Fishing Heritage (liveruralnl.com)
- Fishing Remains Our Mainstay (liveruralnl.com)
We stayed almost until sunset, climbing to the top to get a great aerial view of the 37,000 basalt columns.
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
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.
As we look back we see some fisher people in their little outboard boat.
The walked was certainly worth seeing the thousands of hexagonal pillars ranging in varying heights.
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!
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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:
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.
An early morning led us to the City Center, where we decided we would do some shopping.
- Galway, Ireland – Pubs and Clubs (bootsnall.com)
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.
I highly recommend the cheesecake, as the perfect way to end a great Irish meal.
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.
- Charles Fort, Kinsale – Ireland (liveruralnl.com)
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
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
I enjoyed taking “roundabouts” (traffic circles), claiming to be “roundabout king”. I am sure though maybe I received a horn once or twice.