Shermanstravel Blog


Castles You Can Sleep InUnlike the baby Prince George of Cambridge, most of us are not born into royalty. That’s not to say we can’t fake it, though. With many former European royal residences being turned into hotels, we can at least sleep like a future king.

Here are just a few you can choose from. Read more

Up-and-Coming Cruise PortsEvery cruise vacationer has a favorite port of call. For some it’s posh St. Bart’s in the Eastern Caribbean or St. Tropez in the Western Mediterranean. Others value the culture of Barcelona or the Nordic history of Copenhagen. These destinations are common port calls for most major cruise ships, but there a handful of emerging ports around the globe that are getting the attention of both cruise lines and travelers looking for something a little different. Check out these five lesser-known, but up-and-coming ports… Read more

TV Tourism DestinationsYou watch your favorite television show to unwind after a long day at work or to enjoy some entertainment without leaving your couch. But some people are so inspired by what’s happening on-screen that they’re motivated to travel to the place depicted in their shows. Yes, TV tourism is a real thing, and destinations like Nashville and Northern Ireland reap the benefits when shows are based or filmed there. Here are some notable TV-centric destinations where visitors are flocking this year. Read more

Message Bottle QuebecLast October, nine-year-old Oisín Millea found a green two-liter soda bottle on the beach near his home in East Passage, in County Waterford, Ireland. Inside was a note from two 12-year-old girls from Quebec, who had tossed the bottle into the St. Lawrence River while on vacation in a beautiful town called Grande-Vallée on Quebec’s Gaspe coastline.

Various media outlets from around the world jumped on the story, which continues today when Millea and his family kick off a 12-day vacation in Québec courtesy of Tourisme Québec to commemorate the unlikely find, which Millea calls his “treasure.”

Highlights of the trip to Quebec, Montreal, and Grand Vallee, the coastal town where the bottle started its journey, include a visit to the Irish Memorial park on Grosse Ile, an overnight stay in a yurt, and whale watching in the St. Lawrence at Saguenay Fjord. Read more

The Best Places to Try Brown BoozeDo you know the difference between whiskey, bourbon, scotch, and rye? It can be confusing, especially since all bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbons, and all scotch is whiskey, but not all whiskey is scotch. (Think of it like bubbly. All champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne.) Here’s your go-to guide on brown booze and where the best distilleries are around the world. Read more

Hands-On Classes Around the WorldTravelers seeking cultural connections might want to roll up their sleeves on an upcoming trip. In big cities and small towns, a variety of hands-on classes are linking curious visitors with local experts. Whether you want to learn about cheesemaking or butchery, there are many opportunities to get your hands dirty and meet locals at the same time.

Many of these classes are focused around food, a pleasure that connects us no matter where we call home. Not only do the following classes teach us something new and provide the framework to connect with locals, but they are also delicious. With every class there is the reward of tasting what you made and feasting with new friends. Here are four of my favorite ways to get your hands dirty around the globe. Read more

Hangover Cures Around the WorldNo matter where we call home, we share one thing in common: gathering around the table to break bread and crack open a bottle or two. Sometimes when the conversation and local liquor get flowing, the result is a big old headache the following morning.

Approaches to alleviating the hangover vary by destination. Some are healthy, some are indulgent, and some are plain crazy – while others turn to a cheeky afternoon drink as the ultimate cure. Here are five hangover cures from around the globe. Read more

Adrian Sadlier/St. Patrick’s Festival

Green beer, nearly legal drinking in the streets, and raucous, overcrowded parades; they all come to mind when we think of St. Patty’s Day. But the holiday isn’t just an excuse for the Irish (and the “Irish For A Day” types) to get a bit boisterous. 

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Ashford ResizedGetting married is for the birds. At least that’s the case (quite literally) at Ireland’s historic five-star Ashford Castle (one of our Top 10 Castle Hotels), thanks to their new owl-assisted Proposal Package. Engage the assistance of Dingle, Ashford’s resident owl, for your unforgettable engagement, all set on the site of a 13th-century castle surrounded by some 350 lush Emerald Isle acres, marked by a backdrop of woodlands, mountains, and a lake and river. Sign up for the Proposal Package, and Dingle will swoop in on your beloved with an engagement ring tied to a string around his neck for a proposal that will have your soon-to-be-betrothed soaring herself (or himself). Read more

Golf Romance   K ClubIt’s hard to talk about golf without mentioning Ireland, but resorts in Spain and South Africa are luxury gems sure to give the Emerald Isle a run for its money.

The K Club; County Kildare, Ireland

The countryside, five-star Kildare Hotel and Golf Club (K Club for short) is a quick 40-minute drive from Dublin. The two Arnold Palmer-designed courses, the Palmer Ryder Cup Golf Course at The K Club and the Smurfit Course, are considered two of Ireland’s finest championship golf courses. The K Club’s Palmer Course played host to the 2006 Ryder Cup and 11 European Opens and is regularly ranked as one of Ireland’s top three Parkland courses.

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Golf Romance   Whistling StraitsCouples looking for an active and luxurious getaway should take a look at our snapshot of golf resorts that are as serious about spas and gastronomy as they are about the great game itself.  These three domestic beauties are close to hearth and home – in the California wine country, on the rugged coast of Oregon, and on the shores of Wisconsin.

Golfers, like the U.S. settlers, hit the East first, then went west. But skip over the well-known courses in southern Florida and the California desert. Some of the finest and best golf resorts today are now in Wisconsin, Oregon, and the foothills of California. These blazing hot American resorts rival anything Europe has to offer.

Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits; Kohler, Wisconsin:

This Midwestern gem is ranked among the top golf resorts and courses in the U.S. None other than the legendary Pete Dye designed its four championship golf courses.

Blackwolf Run opened in 1988 with two courses, Meadow Valleys and The River, which are among the most challenging courses in North America. Both courses just reopened the greens after an extensive, two-year renovation.

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InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso SpaIf you have a thing for H2O – you love to be near it, in it, over it, or under it – here’s a sampling of some of the unique water-centric features of a variety of resort and cruise ship spas in the U.S. and around the globe. All are located on or near the ocean as well, so it’s water, water everywhere!

Deep Ocean Spa, Bora Bora: If you are planning a romantic getaway or honeymoon, consider the exotic South Pacific island of Bora Bora, where The Deep Ocean Spa at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (shown above at left) is a water-lovers’ fantasy come true. Features include overwater treatment rooms with glass panels in the floor so you can spy on fish as your back is massaged, and an al fresco hydrotherapy circuit filled with mineral-rich sea water pumped from 3,000 feet below the Pacific. Rooms from $670, treatments from $108.

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Ireland hotelsSummer is the perfect time to visit the green shores of Eire, and with our newly updated Ireland Travel Guide you’ll have all the latest on what to see and do while you’re there. We’ve got some exciting additions to our hotel guide, from a bustling Dublin hotel near the city center to a wooded resort next to a wildlife park in the east of the country.

  • For a dose of Irish culture in Dublin, the Burlington Hotel offers an in-house cabaret showcasing traditional Irish music, song, and dance, with a four-course dinner for about $80/person.
  • Fota Island Resort, set on 780 acres of peaceful woodland on Fota Island in County Cork, has three golf courses, a hydrotherapy spa, and golf and fitness camps.
  • At the Parknasilla Resort & Spa, you can bed down in the luxurious Princess Grace suite, where Grace Kelly once stayed with her family.

Get the skinny on all the recommended castle hotels, resorts, and B&Bs in our Ireland Hotel Guide.

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to Ireland. For general trip-planning information, see our Ireland Travel Guide.

Aerial view of Ashford Castle in IrelandIreland may just be top o’ mind this week as everything gets tinted green – from beer and mashed potatoes to Chicago’s river and New York City’s Fifth Avenue. If so, now is a great time to book a luxurious romantic getaway to the Emerald Isle, as some of my favorite castles and hotels are offering fabulous spring specials. Here’s what’s available:

Ashford Castle: This stunning 13th-century castle once owned by the Guinness family (shown above at left) is as grand and romantic as it gets. Located on 350 acres beside Lough Corrib in County Mayo, about 26 miles northwest of Galway, Ashford Castle features 83 individually designed rooms and suites decorated with antiques (the best, called Staterooms, have four-poster beds and fireplaces). The George V fine-dining venue has period décor, including Waterford chandeliers, while the more intimate Connaught Room is known for its intricate wood carvings and French cuisine. Stay two nights at Ashford Castle, for a total of $545, including full Irish breakfast, and get a third night free at Ashford or at nearby Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate, through April 30, 2011.

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Limerick, IrelandCome celebrate everyone’s favorite Irish holiday in the motherland, by getting three nights in a Limerick hotel for $364 (total). The Mustard Seed Hotel at Echo Lodge is offering a rare Three for Two St. Patrick’s Day Special. Pay for two nights between March 9 and 17 and stay the third night for free. Located less than an hour from Shannon airport, County Limerick offers a quaint Irish village setting, beautiful scenery, and a lively pub-centric nightlife. This hotel started out as a restaurant, and once it became a destination dining spot, expanded into the elegant Mustard Seed Hotel.

THE VALUE: For two adults, you’ll pay a total of $364 for three nights ($122 per night!). Plus, you’ll get a free daily Irish breakfast.

THE CATCH: You must stay two nights between March 9 – 17 to get the third night free. The $364 price is calculated from a total package cost of 260 EUR, and exchange rates may fluctuate.

THE DETAILS: This deal is available through March 20, 2011. Book online at the Mustard Seed’s website.

WE’VE GOT MORE: For general trip-planning information, see our Ireland Travel Guide.

Book a flight to the Emerald Isle with our Travel Search price comparison tool.

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