Fresh Eire Blog
Dear Friends, Colleagues, Guests.
These are extraordinary times.
I hope you and yours are well and remain that way through this Emergency. I am acutely aware that this crisis affects everyone, everywhere.
Our industry, one which brings much joy to our beloved clients, and to us, has been devastated. Our partners in Ireland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Croatia have been devastated. International travel as we’ve come to know it has been devastated.
I am devastated.
At this time, and as more restrictions are necessarily enforced, I ask you to please recognise that behind each Tour Operator there are Guides who act as a doorway into another world, Administrators who check and double check everything to ensure a seamless experience, logistics professionals who make sure your bikes & support vehicle has everything you need, and Interns who race around behind the scenes to take care of the little things which mean so much.
Behind each hotel door we walk through there is a team who are committed to providing an excellent experience when we stay at their establishment. Behind each linen tablecloth there are scores of people who have worked so hard to ensure the meal you enjoy is memorable. Fresh Eire Adventures will not abandon these exceptional businesses in their hour of need.
I ask that you please don’t abandon us now.
Everything, now, has become uncertain. It is as though we have hit the PAUSE button.
To get through this we need to act compassionately. I believe we are all in this together.
I am asking you now to please not hit the STOP button. Rather, lets all PAUSE together until such a time as we can plan together once again.
I am asking you, my clients, to show compassion so that I, in turn, can be compassionate with the people and businesses who in turn need our support at this time.
I call upon you not to cancel your 2020 tours but instead to work with us and please reschedule for 2021.
If you are thinking of a trip for 2021 please get in touch and let us know you have not forgotten about us, our industry or our people. We will be extremely appreciative of such a gesture of solidarity. Your actions will be a beacon of hope to our brothers and sisters in Europe whose businesses have been decimated.
We will not be abandoning them.
Nor will we be abandoning you.
How we act now, how we behave in business, and in life, is the true measure of who we are as a society.
As we get to grips with our new reality we must not forget that this will pass.
Seamus Heaney, the late Irish poet wrote: “if we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere”.
The show will go on, just not right now.
We must look to the future with a sense of hope. The daffodils blooming today will bloom again next year.
Wash your hands. Stay safe. Stay in touch.
Padraic, Fresh Eire Adventures.
The following trips have been rescheduled:
Holland Tulips & Windmills, April 22-27 2020. NEW DATE: April 25-30, 2021.
The following trips are under review and may be rescheduled depending on best advice April 16th 2020:
Burren / Connemara, May 17-22, 2020. POSSIBLE NEW DATE (if rescheduled): Sept 6-10, 2020
Travel & the Coronavirus
Updated March 6, 2020 1400hrs CET
Fresh Eire Adventures takes the safety of our guests seriously—it’s paramount. We’re closely monitoring COVID-19, commonly known as the “novel coronavirus,” and are obtaining updates multiple times a day from a wide variety of government agencies, heath experts and local partners. We are not influenced by attention grabbing media headlines and we encourage our guests to rely only on reliable sources.
To ensure an effective and timely response to any new developments, we are updating a few key policies particularly in relation to cancellations in affected territories.
If you are worried about your 2020 trip scheduled to run in April or May 2020 please contact us by email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we adapt to this fluid situation we will post updates here.
Will Fresh Eire Adventures Run Tours?
Our goal is to keep guests safe while still enabling as many people as possible to safely travel in confidence.
WE CURRENTLY HAVE NO PLANS TO CANCEL ANY OF OUR SCHEDUELD TOURS.
Only where necessarywe plan to cancel tours 40 days prior to departure if our trusted sources advise against travel to the region. In that event, guests will have the option of transferring to a different lower-risk destination (such as a destination with a lower population density), or receive a travel credit to be used on another tour before December 31 2021.
All guests must make their own evaluations about what feels safe to them.
As always we strongly advise having top tier travel insurance where you can cancel your plans without penalty. At this time no insurance company will state whether they will cover cancellation directly relating to an out-break of Coronavirus; this however should not affect your decision. The best policies allow cancellation for any reason; be sure to read the fine print however.
Deciding Whether or Not to Cancel
Ultimately, each guest’s decision on whether to travel is their own. While we are happy to share information from health authorities and clarify our policies, no one knows better than you what your personal priorities, health needs, and feelings about risk might be.
Our Trusted Sources
- The World Health Organization (WHO)
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The U.S. State Department
- Our local partners and regional authorities.
Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens
Near Arthurstown, Kilmokea Country Manor and Garden, is a self-contained, yet modestly grand, family home. Expect homely bedrooms and a friendly welcome from genial husband-and-wife team Mark and Emma Hewlett. A small swimming pool, tasty home cooking and a charming Heritage Garden, including a Fairy Village, add to this one-of-a-kind destination.
Dubrody Country House and Hotel
Dubrody Country House and Hotel opened as a hotel 20 years ago by Kevin and Catherine Dundon. Rooms are very comfortable but the real draw here is everything else. The luxe country pile has grown to incorporate its own 'local bar', a cookery school, spa, and recently, a brewery - producing a very quaffable Pale Ale, "King's Bay", named after the small bay on which the charming and compact village of Arthurstown sits.
Opened by Billy Whitty and Joanne Harding, Aldridge Lodge offers luxury guesthouse accommodation. Food is a highlight here and the lodge had held a Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2007. Expect comfortable, en suite rooms and a cosy relaxing lounge, all tastefully and imaginatively decorated. Superb views of both the nearby beach, river estuary and the Comeragh Mountains.
Button and Spoon
A surprising find in Bridgetown, Button and Spoon is a tea room, restaurant and food store. Plenty of love and integrity about the place, mostly in the form of their very well-executed dishes. The "Fabulous Fish Platter" is a good choice: a symphony of the best of locally caught seafood - think ginger, lime and chilli prawn cocktail, hot-smoked trout and a delicious, well-balanced fishcake. Add a glass of chilled pinot grigio and a lunch sensation is born.
If you fancy a bite to eat after your Wexford town sauntering and browsing, lunch or dinner at Cistín Eile is a very good choice. Talented chef Warren Gilles has, understandably, gained something of a following in the Sunny Southeast for this clear grasp of flavour, seasoning and creative ingredient combinations. Try the unique Wexford Rissole, or almost anything else from his unashamedly Modern Irish menu.
Kevin Dundon has, rightly, gained international renown for his pitch-perfect dishes using the best of Irish ingredients. At Dunbrody House, experience that expression in the form of chef Nick Davey's executions of elegant, yet never prissy, dishes that give the freshest of ingredients plenty of room to sing. Try the classic Black Sole Meunière, pan-roasted on the bone, for the kind of dish memories are made of.
Islands of Kerry
Visit the islands of Co Kerry either before or after your Fresh Eire Adventures bike trip and you'll be rewarded by stunning landscapes, wild seacapes and a glimpse into Ireland's monastic past.
Blasket Islands- Na Blascaodaí lie some 6km beyond the most westerly tip of the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry, large humps of sandstone with awesome cliffs rise from the Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by smaller rocks and reefs, these are Na Blascaodaí. The largest of the nine islands An Blascaod Mór was finally abandoned in 1953 when the last twenty people living on the island were moved to the mainland. The island’s population, which once boasted one hundred and seventy five residents, had steadily declined through emigration. No other island community of this size yielded such a literary wealth, producing world renowned writers who documented island life in their beloved Irish language and whose work have been translated into many languages. An Blascaod Mór remains uninhabited today but the island is open to visitor
Skellig Islands – Na Scealga
Skellig Islands – Na Scealga lie thirteen kilometres off the coast of South Kerry, like floating pyramids of sandstone. The most spectacular of these islands, Sceilg Mhichíl – Skellig Michael – is a peaceful spiritual idyll and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over five hundred steps up a 1000 year-old stone stairway leads you up to one of the most magnificent monastic sites in Europe. Stone beehive huts where monks lived and prayed centuries ago cling to the Church of St. Michael. An Sceilg Bheag is a seabird sanctuary and one of the world’s greatest gannetries. It is home to more than 30,000 pairs of gannets among many other seabirds.
Valentia Island is one of great beauty and contrast. The western part of the island is dominated by the barren, dramatic cliffs of Bray Head which command spectacular views of the Kerry coastline while the mild effect of the Gulf Streams result in Valentia’s balmy climate and lush, colourful vegetation. The island’s main village, Knightstown, is reminiscent of an Anglo-Irish Village with its many stately buildings and refined ambience
But the island’s historical lineage goes back much further than that. Tetra pod footprints were found on the northern part of the island. These magnificent imprints of history are thought to date from Devonian times between some 350 to 370 million years ago. An important quarry on the northern part of the island which opened in 1816 still flourishes today. The famous Valentia Slate has been used in many prominent buildings including the British House of Commons in London.
There is more to Cork than simply Cork City. If staying in the city we recommend the following day trips, including days trips to the stunning islands, which will give you a flavour of Co. Cork.
Blarney Castle & Gardens
This medieval Castle near the River Martin was built six hundred years ago by a famous chieftan, Cormac MacCarthy. Situated 8km from Cork City and 16km from Cork Airport, this historic castle is most famous for its stone. The Castle in now partially in ruins, you still have the opportunity to kiss the legendary Stone of Eloquence in order to receive the infamous "gift of the gab". The stone is set in the wall below the battlements, and to kiss it, one has to lean backwards. Continue your day walking in the Gardens to fully appreciate Bog, Poison and Irish gardens.
A classic example of a 17th century star-shaped fort, it is one of the largest and best preserved forts in the country. Charles Fort has been associated with some of th most momentous events in Irish history including the Williamite War 1689-91 and the Irish Civil War 1922-23. Visitors are advised to wear footwear suitable for uneven terrain.
The Queenstown Story
Discover Cobh's unique orirgins, its history and legacies, the story of Annie Moore the first emigrant processed at Ellis Island, and Cobh's special connections with the ill-fated Titanic all dramatically recalled at the Queenstown Story.
St. Colman's Cathedral
Titanic Experience Cobh
Retrace the footsteps of the 123 Queenstown passengers who boarded the Titanic from Cobh. Check-in at the White Star Line Ticket office, experience life on board and discover the facts surrounding the tragic sinking of Titanic
Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park is set on the scenic Fota Island in the heart of Cork Harbour, where you can come face to face with free roaming animals & birds from all parts of the world.
Islands off Co. Cork
Bere Island is rich in natural and cultural heritage and has a range of visitor sites to enjoy from archaeological sites of the Bronze Age to Nineteenth and Twentieth Century military installation. Situated at the entrance of the deepest harbour in Europe, the island offers breathtaking scenery, organised activities and great hospitality. The Bere Island Heritage Exhibition hosts a wealth of information on the story and history of Bere Island. Berehaven Harbour and Lawrence Cove are very safe and sheltered harbours for large and small boats and the marina has full facilities for visiting sailors. Ultimately Bere is a charming island away from the hustle and bustle of modern life
Oileán Chléire – Cape Clear Island
The Gaeltacht Island is Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island and is a paradise of solitude and inspiration. Its wild romantic scenery, sparkling harbours, cliffs, bogs and scenic pebble beaches all contribute to the island’s unspoilt charm. Heather, gorse and wild flowers cover the rugged hills between dry stone walls. Megalithic standing stones, a 5000 year old passage grave, a 12th century church ruin and a 14th century castle are testament to the island’s rich cultural heritage. You’ll be steeped in wildlife on the island: rare migratory birds, whale, leather-back turtles, sun fish and shark are spotted every year, as well as regular visitors, the dolphins. Its hilly landscape featuring magnificent high cliffs and lonely sheltered coves are a delight to explore on foot or from the bow of a sailing boat. Oileán Chléire offers relaxation, nature and peace, a friendly bilingual community removed from the hustle and bustle of the mainland life.
Dursey Island is the most westerly of the West Cork’s inhabited islands; Dursey lies across a narrow sound and is a great getaway from the fray of modern living. This rugged island is accessed via Ireland’s only cable-car, which runs about 250m above the sea and takes six people at a time. The island is part of the Beara Way walking trail and having no shops, pubs or restaurants offers the day visitor a unique experience of calm with spectacular views of the Beara peninsula. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise with rare birds from Siberia and America being spotted there. Monks from Skellig Rock are said to have founded the ancient church of Kilmichael on Dursey, now a ruin
Garinish Island or Ilnacullin is a tiny island with a big reputation. Stashed away in Glengarriff harbour, known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island of garden and rare beauty. The gardens of Ilnacullin owe their existence to the creative partnership, over one hundred years ago, of Annan Bryce, then owner of the island an Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. Garinish Island is open form March to October and there is an island admission charge separate to that charged by ferry boats.
Sherkin Island, one of the Carbery’s Hundred Isles, in Roaringwater Bay, is the ancestral home of the O’Driscoll clan whose castle lies just above their pier. Nearby you can also see the ruins of a 15th century Fransiscan abby. Sherkin buzzes with activity during the summer months and locals are renowned for their warmth and hospitality. Come to hear great live traditional music or enjoy the activities of the Sherkin Family Regatta, a big splash in the island’s social calendar. Sherkin’s three sandy beaches make great secluded swimming areas and walking along the shore you may see seals, otters, schools of dolphins or the porpoises which gave the island its name.