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A Musical Look Back at My 2022 with Celebrating Queen – Part 3, Festival Gigs

A Musical Look Back at My 2022 with Celebrating Queen – Part 3, Festival Gigs

In 2022 I had 4 opportunities to perform with the Queen Tribute band Celebrating Queen, one of the best Queen Tribute bands in the USA. In this final look back at 2022 I look at the 2 festivals we played at in Dallas, Texas, and Miami, Florida. Two wonderful festival locations with 2 very different festivals.

Gig 3 – Festival #1 – Dallas Texas

On September 24th we were delighted to perform at the Murphy Maize Days Festival just outside of Dallas Texas. Having arrived in Dallas with American Airlines, I looked out at the baggage handlers and one was wearing a stetson, I knew I was in Texas at that point.

The Murphy Maize Days Festival 2022

The venue is a large green area in an area called Murphy just outside Dallas TX. The Venue was located about 2km from the location of the 1980s US TV Show Dallas. We were hoping to get a band photo outside the Southfork Ranch but it just didn’t work out. The festival is mainly a food festival and it was a joy to try some new foods. Our attendance at the show provided us with a meal in advance of the show and I chose Catfish. I had never tried it before but it came as a catfish po-boy. It was delicious – such a white flaky fish and it was a taste sensation – like tasting fish all over again. We did our sound check and as usual, I had my trusty Kronos on my Tech Rider. Our backline was all ready when we got there. I had to install some custom sounds to it, normally straightforward, but in 34C heat baking down it was an exercise in getting it done quickly. I had a walk around the venue with our drummer and bassist just to get a feel for the festival. It was 34C as I walked around but it was a different 34C than you would experience in UK and Ireland – perhaps the Atlantic airflow changes the way temperature is felt at home.  We did our soundcheck which was completed around 3:30 pm and with 3 hours to kill before showtime we took our transport back to the hotel for a freshen-up and a quick afternoon nap to recharge the batteries.

Around 7 pm we set off again for the festival venue and around 8 pm we took to the stage performing our festival version of our set list (basically we took out the Live Aid Set and did some of those songs separately). It was a great show but we did have a few sound problems with the switchover from our support band to our settings. For the first 6 songs, I had no monitors and only for my IEMs (In-Ears) I would have had huge issues. Not ideal but when you are on stage you just have to keep going – we eyeballed each other and stayed on track using the acoustic amps which were on stage for Bass and Guitar and also we had drums to keep time with. All in all a good show and we ended with a firework display as we ended our set.

Dallas was an unusual one and perhaps the sound issues clouded the enjoyment of the show in some respects but I still had a festival coming up in Florida in under 3 weeks’ time …


Gig 4 – Festival #2, Miami, Florida


The Greynolds Park LoveIn Festival 2022

The other festival was the Greynolds Park LoveIn which took place in Miami Florida on 16th October 2022. Miami is a city that I visited with my family back in 1996. On that occasion, we felt the area was a little unsafe and didn’t explore much. Now in 2022, it has totally been redeveloped with trendy restaurants, ice cream parlors, and really stylish fashion shops. We had a band day off on the Saturday so we decided to have a visit to south Miami Beach. We got a pizza at Tapelia which was at 551 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach – very tasty pizza but it’s about $50 per person when you have a drink, starter, and pizza. I suppose you have to expect that in Miami.

On the day of the show, we had a hearty breakfast at the hotel and then set off for Greynolds Park. The weather was a balmy 31C, something I would not be use to in October. Our dressing room, with it being a festival, was a big American RV with everything you could need. We got our lanyards and passes for access through the areas and we set up our stage area. For this show, I did not get my requested Korg Kronos, as it was unavailable in this area of the US, instead, I had a Nord Stage 2 (More about that later). We did our soundcheck and during the break in proceedings I had a look around the festival area, which was quite compact but there was a great atmosphere. The Grateful Dead performed here back in the early 70s.

The gig went off very well but getting back to my Nord synth, it is impossible to find the patches you need quickly. On my Kronos, you have a thing called ‘Setlist Mode’; so I can programme the full set all the patches, etc, and even sub-patches within a song and quickly switch back and forth between them using a foot pedal. Also, the Kronos patches are stored logically, so all the piano patches, organ patches, and synth patches are together so you can find them easily. On the Nord, patch 001 was piano, 002 was an organ, 003 was a different piano, 004 was some weird synth-lead … it made no sense. So as and from then I have on my tech rider “NO NORD STAGE KEYS” … life is too short to be making things hard on yourself.

After the gig we returned to the hotel and I had a very enjoyable post-gig swim in the hotel pool, and in the Miami heat, this swim was very welcome indeed.

This was the last gig of 2022 for me and it was a year which I will never forget. Amazing highs, wonderful sights, performing with amazing musicians and trying foods and experiences within the locality where we are performing.

Bucket-list stuff!


Photo Gallery of the Dallas and Miami Festivals

Dallas Photos

You Know you're in Texas when your Airport Baggage Handler has a Stetson

You Know you’re in Texas when your Airport Baggage Handler has a Stetson

Amazing Green Beetle

Amazing Green Beetle I spotted on the ground

All Access band Lanyard for Murphy Maize Days Festival

All Access band Lanyard for Murphy Maize Days Festival

Temperature of 35C at Murphy Maize Days Festival

The temperature of 35C at Murphy Maize Days Festival

All Access band Lanyard for Murphy Maize Days Festival

All Access band Lanyard for Murphy Maize Days Festival

Stage for Murphy Maize Days Festival

The stage at the Maize Days Festival

My Korg Kronos on the stage for Murphy Maize Days Festival

My Korg Kronos on the stage for Murphy Maize Days Festival

Fireworks at Murphy Maize Days Festival

Fireworks at Murphy Maize Days Festival

Me at the Hotel

Leaving Dallas, last shot outside the Airport Hotel

You Know you're in Texas when you see that Magazine

You Know you’re in Texas when you see that Magazine at the Dallas Airport Newsagents

Miami Festival – Photos

Racing another Jot at 36,000ft

Racing another Jot at 36,000ft

Landing at night in Miami

Beautiful views while Landing at night in Miami

MASSIVE Cruise Ship in Miami

Massive Cruise Ship in Miami

Walking on Miami Beach

Walking on Miami Beach

Access All Areas for the Festival

Access All Areas for the Festival

Our Festival Stage

Our Festival Stage as seen during soundcheck – 6 hours before we go on

The Nord Stage 2 which I had replacing my Korg Kronos

The Nord Stage 2 which I had replacing my Korg Kronos

Back at the Hotel for a Post Gig Swim

Back at the Hotel for a Post Gig Swim

I hope you have enjoyed Part 3 which covered Celebrating Queen Tribute Band performing at the 2 music festivals in Dallas and Miami.  Next up I will do a small piece on the launch of Freddie: Songs of a Legend in Florida and Utah which took place in January and March respectively.

There are still some adventures to come through my involvement with Celebrating Queen and the charity the “Everybody Sings Project” and hopefully we will have some chances to perform and engage in this charitable work during 2023 and 2024.

Exploring Dublin: Travel Tips and the Best Time to Visit for an Unforgettable Experience

Exploring Dublin: Travel Tips and the Best Time to Visit for an Unforgettable Experience

Dublin, the capital city of Ireland, is a vibrant and historic destination that offers a blend of rich culture, fascinating history, and warm hospitality. From its charming streets lined with colorful Georgian houses to its lively pubs echoing traditional Irish music, Dublin promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler. Whether you’re a history buff, a literary enthusiast, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, here are some travel tips and the best time to visit Dublin to make the most of your trip.

Best Time to Visit Dublin

Dublin has a temperate maritime climate, meaning it experiences mild winters and cool summers. The best time to visit Dublin is during the summer months, from June to August when the weather is relatively warm and the city comes alive with festivals and outdoor events. However, keep in mind that summer is also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. Properties around this time get snapped up quickly so being on the ball and booking early on a website like Rent Hero is a good way to go. The earlier the better as you will have a larger pick of apartments, houses, and rentals. If you prefer fewer tourists and lower rates, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) or autumn (September to October), when the weather is still pleasant.

Dublin, the capital city of Ireland, is a vibrant and historic destination that offers a blend of rich culture, fascinating history, and warm hospitality.

Photo of Dublin Docklands, Luciann Photography, 

Wander through Vibrant Neighborhoods

Dublin is a fascinating destination that boasts a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct charm and character, and is easily accessible. Exploring these vibrant districts allows you to delve deeper into the rich tapestry of Dublin’s cultural heritage. From the renowned cultural hub of Temple Bar to the bustling shopping district of Grafton Street and the bohemian quarter of Stoneybatter, there are countless neighborhoods waiting to be discovered. Here, we invite you to embark on a virtual tour of some of Dublin’s most captivating neighborhoods, unveiling their unique offerings and hidden gems.

Located in the heart of Dublin, Temple Bar is synonymous with the city’s vibrant nightlife and cultural scene. Its narrow cobbled streets are lined with traditional pubs, lively bars, and restaurants serving up hearty Irish fare. The district is famous for its lively atmosphere, particularly in the evenings when musicians fill the air with traditional Irish tunes. Explore the Temple Bar Cultural Quarter to immerse yourself in the city’s artistic and creative energy, with galleries, theaters, and street performances showcasing local talent.

As Dublin’s premier shopping district, Grafton Street attracts both locals and visitors alike with its bustling atmosphere and diverse retail offerings. This pedestrianized street is home to a myriad of shops, ranging from high-end boutiques to popular international brands. Take a leisurely stroll, pausing to appreciate the skilled street musicians who serenade passersby. Grafton Street is also dotted with charming cafes, perfect for a coffee break or indulging in a delicious treat while people-watching.

Experience Dublin’s Pub Culture

Immersing yourself in Dublin’s famous pub culture is an essential part of any visit to the city, as it offers a unique insight into the local way of life and provides an authentic Irish experience. No trip to Dublin is truly complete without stepping into one of the city’s traditional Irish pubs, where history, camaraderie, and the smooth pour of a perfectly crafted pint of Guinness come together to create an atmosphere that is both welcoming and unforgettable.

As you embark on your pub-hopping adventure, be sure to include iconic establishments such as The Brazen Head and The Palace Bar in your itinerary. The Brazen Head, renowned as one of Dublin’s oldest pubs, exudes an undeniable charm with its low ceilings, cozy nooks, and dimly lit interior. This historic venue has witnessed centuries of revelry and has played host to numerous notable figures throughout Irish history. Take a seat at the bar or find a spot at one of the wooden tables, and savor the rich flavors of Ireland’s most famous stout while engaging in conversation with the locals, who are always eager to share stories and legends.

Engaging with the locals is an essential part of the pub experience. Strike up a conversation with the friendly Dubliners sitting beside you, and you’ll quickly find yourself immersed in lively discussions ranging from Irish history and literature to sports and current events. The Irish are known for their storytelling prowess, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself captivated by their colorful anecdotes and witty banter. These encounters often provide a deeper understanding of Irish culture and traditions, allowing you to forge connections and create lasting memories.

To sum up, Dublin beckons travelers with its captivating blend of history, culture, and warm hospitality. By following the travel tips provided and choosing the best time to visit, you can ensure an unforgettable experience in this vibrant city.

A Musical Look Back at My 2022 with Celebrating Queen – Part 2, Liberty Missouri

A Musical Look Back at My 2022 with Celebrating Queen – Part 2, Liberty Missouri

In 2022 I had 4 opportunities to perform with the Queen Tribute band Celebrating Queen, one of the best Queen Tribute bands in the USA. In this second look back at 2022 it involves a trip to a small town on the outskirts of Kansas City and that’s Liberty, Missouri. We performed in Liberty in June 2022 and we had a very nice venue of the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre to host our Celebrating Queen gig. If you haven’t seen Part 1 of this series, please take a look at Celebrating Queen in Utah.

Gig 2 – Liberty, Missouri

On Monday, June 6th I flew from Dublin to Chicago with Aer Lingus and had the joy of having no in-flight entertainment system and hot tea being spilled on me on the flight due to a careless person in the seat in front of me … who by the way didn’t even turn back to see if I was ok. The Aer Lingus crew was excellent, making sure I was ok. After that ordeal, I flew from Chicago to Kansas City with American Airlines who are always excellent to fly with.

What a Welcome to Liberty Missouri

Arriving in Kansas I could see lots of clouds on the horizon and it was just after sunset as we made our final approach to runway 19R. By the time I made my way from the airport to the band hotel, it was around 23:30 local time and I had been traveling around 27 hours by this stage. I made my way to my room, by now it was around 1:45 am (after a small mix-up with my room details), and settled in for what I hoped would be some good jetlag-catch-up-sleep … but that didn’t last. Within minutes our lead singer was banging on the door, shouting “Shane Shane get up … tornado”, I made my way to the door and was told that I had 1 minute to get out and get to the basement as there was a tornado warning. With that my iPhone made the most horrifying noise I have ever heard; it was like all the alarms on my phone going off at the same time with a notification basically saying Tornado Warning – seek shelter. We stayed in the basement for about 30 minutes until we were given the all-clear. So much for a relaxing sleep!

The Tornado Warning on the iPhone Notification 
The Tornado Warning that appeared on my phone accompanied by a wailing screech from the phone – probably designed to wake you up

We arrived at the venue the next day and had a look around, arranged some small tech details, and proceeded back to the hotel for a quick rehearsal and show run-through.


On the day of the show, we had a band lunch at a very nice Italian-run steakhouse/sports bar restaurant and then proceeded to the LPAT venue for the show. The venue has the most beautiful Yamaha Grand Piano, even nicer than the Steinway which I played in St. George Utah back in March. I also had my trusty Korg Kronos 88key workstation which is always on my tech rider and is rented for me when I get there.

The Yamaha Grand Piano all ready to Rock before the Show with the Korg Kronos behind it
The Yamaha Grand Piano all ready to Rock before the Show with the Korg Kronos behind it

The show itself went off amazingly with a fantastic set of Queen Hits. I have an audio recording of the show and for me, it’s one of the best shows I have done. Some of the Highlights are Bohemian Rhapsody, Hammer to Fall, Under Pressure, and Killer Queen. At one point during Hammer to Fall, a member of the audience, dressed in a very convincing Freddie Mercury Live Aid outfit came up on stage and started to sing into one of the microphones – our lead singer had to politely ask him to leave the stage. We had a very good projection system at the show and this allowed us to project images behind us as we played. Also at the end of the show, as normal for any Queen tribute, God Save the Queen, was played – but we had credits rolling with the band names, our stage manager, and all that so it looked very professional. The team at the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre was amazing and I look forward to returning. After the show, we had a band catch-up over some pizza and snacks, a really good evening for sure.

Exploring Historic Liberty

The day after the show we got some downtime and explored the small town of Historic Liberty. There is a lot of history in this area and the town square looks very much like the one from Back to the Future with the town hall in the central green square and all the quaint shops around it. As we walked the area it was 33C, very hot and it was only a 30-minute walkaround before you started feeling the heat – at least I did because we rarely get 33C in Ireland.

The fun wasn’t quite finished though. I was leaving the night after this show and I decided to get some rest from about 8 pm to 2 am as my flight was not leaving until 6 am. My plan was to sleep until 2 a.m., get to the airport at about 3:30 a.m. and I would be in perfect time for the 6 a.m. internal flight to JFK. But at 10:45 pm, another Tornado Warning. The iPhone notification and sound went off again, I was getting texts and phone calls to come down to the hotel basement. So much for a relax. Looking back, I suppose it is part of the experience of living in that area of the world. We would never experience this in Ireland so all in all, it was an interesting trip.

Returning to Liberty with Freddie: Songs of a Legend

We are back in Liberty Missouri on January 6th, 2024 with a new show which I wrote called “Freddie: Songs of a Legend” and you can get tickets for the show via the Freddie at the LPAT ticketing site.


Photo Gallery of my Trip to Liberty, Missouri


The Band Hotel room with walk-up Jaccuzi

My room had a very nice Jacuzzi in it also – ideal for a post-gig relaxing soak

The Tornado Warning on the Weather Radar

The tornado warning on my weather app

Me before our crew started loading in at the The Liberty Performing Arts Theatre

Just arrived at the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre

The Liberty Performing Arts Theatre Auditorium

The Liberty Performing Arts Theatre seating 760 in the audience

Me trying out the Yamaha Grand Piano before the Show

Testing the Yamaha Grand Piano moments after arriving at the gig ; pre load-in

A shot of me during the show playing You're my Best Friend on the Korg Kronos

On stage during the show, this was You’re my Best Friend about 6 songs into the set

The Liberty Performing Arts Theatre

The view from the back of the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre

The Yamaha Grand Piano all ready to Rock before the Show

The Yamaha grand piano is all set up with the Korg Kronos ready to go in the background.

Historic Liberty

A plaque with some information about Historic Liberty. Quite a lot has happened in this small but beautiful town.

The Heat in Liberty during the day reached 33C - I was melting

The weather was very warm as we explored the town the day after the show

Rainfall Radar during the Tornado Warning

Weather Radar as the second tornado warning comes into effect and we yet again take shelter in the hotel basement.

The Lightning just before the tornado warning was issued

This is a photo that I took on my DSLR about 30 mins before the tornado warning came into effect. The storm could be seen approaching from the northwest and the lightning was on a level I had not seen before.

Freddie Songs of a Legend Jan 6 Liberty MO

Promotional Poster for our new show “Freddie: Songs of a Legend” which takes place on January 6th 2024 as we return to Liberty, Missouri

I hope you have enjoyed Part 2 which covered Celebrating Queen Tribute in Liberty Missouri next up I will do a small piece on our festivals in Florida and Texas.

There are still some adventures to come through my involvement with Celebrating Queen and the charity the “Everybody Sings Project” and hopefully we will have some chances to perform and engage in this charitable work during 2023 and 2024.

You can follow my musical timeline journey at 

A Musical Look Back at My 2022 with Celebrating Queen – Part 1, St. George Utah

A Musical Look Back at My 2022 with Celebrating Queen – Part 1, St. George Utah

In 2022 I had 4 opportunities to perform with the Queen Tribute band Celebrating Queen, one of the best Queen Tribute bands in the USA. We performed in Utah, Missouri, Texas, and Florida and I have outlined some of my experience via a chronological photo review of my journey to these 4 states between March and October 2022. This is part 1 and covers my gig with Celebrating Queen Tribute in Utah, a small city of St. George Utah.

The First Gig – St. George Utah

On Sunday, March 13th I flew from Dublin to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Las Vegas directly on a KLM 787 Dreamliner. If you are flying to Las Vegas, this is the way to do it, KLM’s Dreamliner is not only comfortable but has great onboard service and I hardly felt the approximately  11-hour flight. I landed around 3:40 pm local time having taken off at midday from Amsterdam … so I only lost 3 hours and 40 mins from my Sunday. I then checked into the Band Hotel which was the Luxor Hotel and Casino, a very nice hotel and under-rated in my view. The hotel has an Egyptian theme with a sphynx outside the entrance and the interior is less Egyptian than it was when it first opened; it once had a Nile-themed river cruise through the hotel.

Las Vegas was a bit of a culture shock. 24 hours earlier I was in Waterford where the tallest building is only 5 or 6 floors high, Now I’m in Vegas where the tallest hotel is the Fontainebleau Las Vegas which is 735ft high and has 68 floors. I did take an early morning walk from the Luxor to the Bellagio and back, stopping for breakfast at the American institution of Denny’s on the way.

On Monday and Tuesday we had rehearsals at MDV Studios in Las Vegas and on Wednesday we traveled to St. George Utah for the show. St.George Utah is a very nice city, and was compact enough for me to walk to and from the venue during load-in.

The day of the gig was St. Patrick’s Day and because I was Irish this was capitalised on. We had a Radio interview on 95.9 The Hawk and I was asked to say a few words in Irish, so all the way in the car I was practicing how to say  “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” in Irish. (I only have Smeara Dubha, Fear an Phoist and Go Tobban left in my head when it comes to Irish, and let’s face it we never speak it once we leave school …. so I had to relearn how to say this basic phrase). Anyway, they loved the chat and we were on air with them for about 18 minutes, discussing and promoting the show. You can watch the Full Radio Interview on YouTube. The radio station was all done up for St. Patrick’s Day with a mini-breakfast celebration outside the station … goes to show, that everyone loves celebrating the Irish.

Around lunchtime, we had a sound check and a full dress rehearsal. The show itself was amazing, with 940 people in the fully seated auditorium at DSU and one of the widest stages I had seen. The photos from the first gig in Utah are shown below with some descriptions.

The strange thing is that I had no nerves and I didn’t really comprehend the audience until about 6 songs from the end. I think I had been preparing for this day for so long that performing in front of an audience was just not a big deal. The show was perfect; we did have a few monitor issues but the band did not drop a note and the show was excellent. As Musical Director I had very little to review/comment on as a post-show analysis. 

The green room at DSU with a nice grand piano and lots of food was available also

Our GreenRoom at DSU came with a grand piano and a great selection of food and snacks … but no brown M&Ms as requested.

The View when Traveling to Utah from Las Vegas

The view when traveling from Vegas to Utah

Celebrating Queen Merch

Celebrating Queen Merch

From My Room at The Luxor Hotel and Casino, a view inside the Luxor Hotel

The view from my room at the Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas

From the stage I'm on Piano and the Korg Kronos is nearest

Me on piano with the Korg Kronos ready  for when I need it

Celebrating Queen on stage
Celebrating Queen on stage from the back of the auditorium

I hope you have enjoyed Part 1 which covered Celebrating Queen Tribute in St. George Utah next up I will do a small piece on Celebrating Queen in Liberty Missouri.

There are still some adventures to come through my involvement with Celebrating Queen and the charity the “Everybody Sings Project” and hopefully we will have some chances to perform and engage in this charitable work during 2023 and 2024.

You can review my Musical Timeline at 

Unearthing Ireland’s Hidden Gems: The Most Underrated Destinations

Unearthing Ireland’s Hidden Gems: The Most Underrated Destinations

There’s no denying that Ireland is a land of enchanting landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. While popular destinations like Dublin, Galway, and the Cliffs of Moher often steal the limelight, there are numerous underrated hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These lesser-known destinations offer unique experiences, breathtaking beauty, and a chance to immerse oneself in the authentic Irish spirit. If you’ve made enough winnings playing at an online casino ireland, use them to plan a trip to these locations.


Nestled on the west coast of Ireland, Connemara is a rugged and untamed region of striking beauty. Its wild landscapes, dramatic mountains, pristine lakes, and sweeping coastlines create an awe-inspiring backdrop. The region is home to charming villages like Clifden, renowned for its lively atmosphere and traditional music scene. Visitors can explore the majestic Connemara National Park, hike the Twelve Bens mountain range, or take a scenic drive along the Sky Road for breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.


Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland


Kilkenny is a medieval city that exudes charm and history. Located in Ireland’s Ancient East, its narrow winding streets are lined with picturesque buildings, including the iconic Kilkenny Castle. Visitors can delve into the city’s rich heritage by exploring the medieval mile, which encompasses historical sites like St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey. Kilkenny is also famous for its vibrant arts and crafts scene, boasting numerous galleries, craft shops, and the internationally renowned Kilkenny Arts Festival.


The Aran Islands

Off the coast of Galway, the Aran Islands offer a glimpse into traditional Irish culture and a way of life that remains largely untouched by modernity. Inishmore, the largest of the three islands, is home to ancient stone forts, such as Dún Aonghasa, perched on dramatic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic. Visitors can cycle or take a horse-drawn carriage around the island, immersing themselves in the captivating landscapes, rugged coastal scenery, and the warm hospitality of the islanders.



Sligo is a hidden gem renowned for its natural beauty and literary connections. The region inspired the works of renowned poet W.B. Yeats, and visitors can explore places like Lissadell House and Drumcliffe Churchyard, where Yeats is buried. Sligo’s diverse landscapes encompass pristine beaches, majestic mountains like Benbulben, and serene lakes. Adventure enthusiasts can partake in surfing, hiking, or even go on a seaweed foraging expedition along the picturesque coastline.

West Cork, Garnish Island, Cork, Ireland

West Cork

Nestled in the southwest of Ireland, West Cork offers a delightful blend of rugged coastal scenery, quaint villages, and gourmet delights. The region’s colorful towns, such as Skibbereen and Clonakilty, are known for their lively arts and music scenes. Visitors can explore the stunning Beara Peninsula, take a boat trip to the enchanting Fastnet Rock, or indulge in the culinary delights of the famous English Market in Cork City. West Cork provides a true taste of Ireland’s laid-back and welcoming spirit.


Dingle Peninsula

Heading over to County Kerry, you’ll find the Dingle Peninsula, a treasure trove of stunning scenery and Irish folklore. Visitors can explore the charming town of Dingle with its colorful houses, traditional pubs, and lively music scene. The rugged coastline offers breathtaking views, especially from Slea Head, where you can catch a glimpse of the mystical Blasket Islands. History buffs can visit ancient sites like Gallarus Oratory and the Beehive Huts, while outdoor enthusiasts can hike along the cliff trails or go dolphin-watching in Dingle Bay.


Boyne Valley

The Boyne Valley in County Meath is steeped in ancient history and mythology. It is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne, where you can explore the impressive Neolithic tombs of Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth. The area is also dotted with medieval castles, such as Trim Castle, and ancient monastic sites like Monasterboice. The Boyne Valley offers a fascinating journey through time, where visitors can immerse themselves in Ireland’s ancient past and discover the roots of its rich cultural heritage.


Achill Island

Seek out Achill Island off the coast of County Mayo, a hidden gem renowned for its rugged beauty and unspoiled landscapes. The island boasts stunning sandy beaches, towering cliffs, and picturesque villages. Keem Bay, with its turquoise waters and dramatic backdrop, is a must-visit spot. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in activities like hiking, cycling, and water sports. Achill Island also offers a vibrant arts scene, with galleries showcasing local talent and a thriving traditional music tradition that can be enjoyed in the island’s cozy pubs.


Glenveagh National Park

Tucked away in the remote wilderness of County Donegal, Glenveagh National Park is a haven for nature lovers. The park is dominated by the impressive Derryveagh Mountains and encompasses pristine lakes, heather-covered moorlands, and lush woodlands. Visitors can explore the enchanting Glenveagh Castle, nestled on the shores of Lough Veagh, and take leisurely walks or challenging hikes through the park’s diverse landscapes. Glenveagh offers a tranquil escape, allowing visitors to connect with nature and experience the raw beauty of Ireland’s untamed wilderness.



Hope you enjoyed this piece on Ireland’s Hidden Gems. As you know I am based in Ireland and you can find more information about Ireland’s Hidden Gems in the main Travel Blog section.

Five Places to Visit in California That Are Not L.A.

Five Places to Visit in California That Are Not L.A.

Just about everyone has their own version of the dream California holiday. After years of watching countless TV shows and films set on the west coast of America, it is like we already know the place. Many head out to California to follow their dreams and invariably end up in Los Angeles. But what if I told you that there is more to the Golden State than just LA?

In fact, there is a whole lot more. California is home to over 39 million people and almost covers the entire west coast of the US. It is a state that is the home of the movie industry, year-round sunshine and some would say that the best betting sites in California are the best anywhere. But where do you go if Los Angeles is off the itinerary? Read on to find out.

Joshua Tree

The small city of Joshua Tree is east of LA and just north of Palm Springs. But you will only want to use the place as a base, as the main attraction is the desert landscape that surrounds it. You can explore the vast Mojave Desert and the Joshua Tree National Park, just to the south.

There is a distinctly otherworldly vibe about this part of California and the scenery is just begging to be hiked through. Make sure that you plan ahead and stock up on water though, as temperatures can get very high here. For a spot of culture, you can always explore the creative artsy vibe of the town when you return from the wilderness.


San Diego

If you really want a beach holiday from a trip to California, then San Diego is an excellent alternative to Los Angeles. In fact, with 70 miles of golden sandy beaches, this city just north of the border with Mexico is arguably a better beach destination. That’s what all the surfers who flock here would say, anyway.

Another thing that San Diego has in common with LA is that is a city that has spread out. There are plenty of neighbourhoods to explore, all with the laid-back vibe that is distinctly west coast. If breweries, restaurants and cool spots are your thing, then San Diego is well worth checking out.


San Francisco

Head 500 miles north of San Diego and you will find yourself in a very different kind of Californian city – but one that has been attracting millions of visitors for decades. Known for its progressive attitude, San Francisco was the centre of the hippie movement in the 1960s and 70s and is now one of the global tech hubs.

The Golden Gate Bridge has to be seen to be believed, while the city’s Chinatown is one of the biggest in the world. For those of you with a penchant for the darker side of things, a tour of the infamous Alcatraz prison is also a must. But there’s so much to do in this cool city – just be prepared to shed your inhibitions.

Wine lovers will definitely want to visit Napa

Figure 2 Wine lovers will definitely want to visit Napa

Napa Valley

There are, of course, hundreds of activities to enjoy in Napa Valley, just north of San Francisco. But most people head to this stunning part of the world for one thing – the wine. Napa and neighbouring Sonoma are part of the world-renowned California wine country and produce some of the best tipples in the world.

Let yourself sink into the scenery and enjoy the sunsets as the light shines down on the miles of vineyards that dot the area. Make the most of the region by biking between the different winemakers and enjoy some of the best al fresco dining you will ever experience. And to top it all off, stay in one of the beautiful boutique hotels that populate this heaven on Earth.


Big Sur

If taking a picture of the famous Hollywood sign is one cliché of a California holiday, then jumping into a convertible and driving up the Pacific Highway is surely another. With the wind in your hair and the radio playing classic tunes, the west coast road trip is a thing of dreams and legends.

Big Sur is actually found a little south of San Jose, but it is the entire area that attracts visitors who fantasize about the wild and rugged coastline jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. There are plenty of hiking trails and other outdoor activities to keep yourself busy, but make sure you save some time just to hit the gas pedal and ride off into the sunset.

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