300,000 to gather in Ireland . . .



by Ken McGoogan

people are set for the Gathering in Ireland. Some will be tracing their
ancestors. Others will come to see the monasteries, or to follow in the
footsteps of the writer James Joyce. Many will make their way to the
Guinness Storehouse, where visitors journey through the 250-year history
of Guinness and finish up in the Gravity Bar, free pint in hand,
looking out over the City of Dublin.

is getting set for 2013. Every town, village, and hamlet looks to be
preparing for The Gathering, a year-long celebration of all things
Irish. Tourism Ireland is anticipating that more than 300,000 visitors
will turn up, among them tens of thousands of Canadians. If you intend
to become one of them, I�ve got good news for you, and maybe a few

wife, Sheena, and I recently spent three weeks rambling around the
Emerald Isle, our third visit in past few years. We had been hearing
that Ireland was in the doldrums as a result of the recession in Europe.
So what surprised us most was the vitality, energy, and good humour.

started in Dublin, where Grafton Street has become a pedestrian mall.
On any afternoon or evening, here we encountered a carnival atmosphere:
people going both ways in streams or else standing in circles, entranced
by one of the jugglers, musicians, comedians, or acrobats. At the foot
of Grafton, we had no trouble finding the risque statue of that
fictional fishmonger Molly Malone. The locals call it �the tart with the
cart.� Turns out every statue and even the new Spire has a nickname,
though most are unprintable.

couple of blocks east, the pubs in the colourful Temple Bar area were
invariably heading for lift-off at what usually we consider bed time.
The same was true even of the uptown pubs around St. Stephen�s Green.
But, hey, we were on holiday, we love Irish music, and sure, we
gravitated to O�Donohue�s on Merrion Row. The liveliness would keep
growing, apparently, until 2 or 3 in the morning.

decided to splurge on one fine meal, we headed for Hugo�s Restaurant,
kitty-corner across the street from O�Donohue�s (yes, that was how the
night began). To continue reading on website Travel Thru History, click here


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