Search This Blog

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lonely Planet Names Belfast & Causeway Coast Best Travel Destination in 2018.

Belfast and the Causeway Coast were named the Number One region in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel for 2018.  Belfast and the Causeway shared the top ten list with other destinations like Alaska, Kii Peninsula in Japan, and Bahai in Brazil.

Belfast was praised for its world-renowned restaurants, historical sites and the friendliness of people in Northern Ireland.  The Causeway Coast has magnificent castles, seascapes and natural wonders.  The Causeway has been a film location for the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Lonely Planet wrote: 

"From epic landscapes to hip hotels and doomed ships to fine food, Belfast & the Causeway Coast has plenty to attract visitors. Belfast, a city once defined by the Troubles, has a new and compelling energy. Old shipyards are giving way to gleaming new developments, while Victorian architecture and Titanic Belfast ensure history is never far from the surface. To the northwest is the Causeway Coast, a stretch of rugged black basalt and white chalk packed with grandeur and myth. Here, you can devour fine seafood and craft beer, scout out Game of Thrones locations and trace the footprints of giants."

 Tourism Northern Ireland CEO John McGrillen said the recent increase in visitors is the result of “partnership marketing initiatives in the Republic of Ireland highlighting both well-established and new tourism offerings, from Titanic and the Causeway to Seamus Heaney Homeplace and the Game of Thrones tapestry.”

For more information about visiting, go to Discover Northern Ireland.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Thomas J. Butler Memorial Park Opens in South Boston

Massport  recently joined local elected officials, friends and family of Tom Butler to officially unveil the Thomas J. Butler Memorial Park in South Boston.

Joining Massport CEO Tom Glynn at the event were Governor Charlie Baker, Congressman Stephen Lynch, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, state Representative Nick Collins, City Councilors Michael Flaherty and Bill Linehan and other local officials, as well as former officials like Ray Flynn, Bill Bulger and Jack Hart.

The park is named to honor Tom Butler of South Boston, who was beloved in his neighborhood for his many decades of community service and charitable deeds to the town.  As Director of External Relations for Massport, Butler was also a well-respected public official who helped mitigate effects of Logan International Airport, Conley Terminal and Cruiseport Boston for the residents who lived nearby those facilities.

"My father acted as a buffer for the  community he served in his capacity at Massport," said his son Tom Butler, Jr. at the ceremony.  "If your team need baseball uniforms, or your kid needed a summer job, or if you were under the (airport) flight could call my dad.  His true passion was helping people on a personal level."

Here is a profile of Tom Butler.

The park is also part of Massport's Thomas Butler Freight Corridor, a .6 mile roadway which was built to keep 400-500 container trucks off East First Street and portions of Summer Street in South Boston.

The 4.5 acre park contains a path for runners and walkers, trees and flowers, seating and lighting, bike racks and a separately enclosed dog park.  It is part of Massport's initiative for open spaces.

Find more profiles of Irish-American community leaders here.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Inroads Ireland - Tours off the Beaten Path in 2018

Inroads Ireland, a Seattle-based travel company, offers a number of customized, unique tours of Ireland each summer and fall. 

Founded and operated by the husband-wife team of Carolyn Janette and Phil Ryan, Inroads Tours run from May through October 2018 and are divided into three segments: Go North, Go South, Go West.

You can find details of the 2018 tours with dates here.

Read more about Exploring Ireland here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Irish Cultural Centre Holds 27th annual Golf Tournament on October 23

The Irish Cultural Centre of New England is holding its 27th annual Golf Tournament at the Brookmeadow Country Club in Canton at 11 a.m. on Monday, October 23, 2017.

The golf tournament raises funds for year-round programming at the Cultural Centre. It is described as a day of golf, with music, raffles and a dinner afterwards.

Opened in 1989, the 46 acre Irish Cultural Centre represents the Irish and Irish-American community year round, with regular cultural activities including music, dancing, theatre and lectures; a Irish pub and Irish cottage on site, and playing fields for Gaelic sports such as hurling, camogie and football.

Find out more about the Centre here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Getting to Know the Island of Ireland

Tourism Ireland has created a new online film to highlight some of the many wonderful and unique locations that international visitors can enjoy throughout the island of Ireland.

From the Wild Atlantic Way and Northern Ireland, to Ireland’s Ancient East, Belfast and Dublin, there is so much for visitors to enjoy about Ireland. 

The film is being promoted through Tourism Ireland’s social platforms, including Facebook (4 million + fans worldwide), Twitter (440,500+ followers) and YouTube.

In 2016, Ireland welcomed approximately 10.3 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.3 billion.

For stories and information about going to Ireland from the New England region, read these stories on Ireland

For  full details on visiting Ireland, go to

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Guided Tour of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail from Boston Common, October 21

The final guided tour this season of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail takes place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, 2017, starting at the Boston Common Visitor Center.

The tour is led by seasoned guide Ted Kulik, who covers ten stops along the trail that encompass over 300 years of Irish history in Boston.  Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for seniors, students and military.  You can purchase your ticket at the Visitor Information Center front counter prior to the tour.

The 90 minute walk takes you through Boston Common, past the State House, Old Granary Burying Ground, down School Street, and over to City Hall and Faneuil Hall.

The Irish Heritage Trail was created by Boston Irish Tourism Association as a way of sharing the illustrious history of the Irish in Boston from colonial times to the present.

Find more about the Irish Heritage Trail here.

For more details on the October 21 tour, contact Colette at BITA.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Harpist Patrick Ball Performs at Blackstone River Threatre on October 14

Renowned Celtic Harpist Patrick Ball is performing "A Pilgrimage to Yeats Country" at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2017.

Tickets to the show are $15 and can be purchased at the venue the night of the show.

Ball's show about the Irish poet W. B. Yeats combines the age-old traditions of storytelling, poetry and verse, and music  and dance.  Yeats, founder of Ireland's National Theatre, delved deeply into the culture of Ireland's peasantry when shaping his body of work, which helped him win a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

Here is a schedule of upcoming concerts at Blackstone River Theatre.

For year round information on Irish cultural activities in New England, visit

Monday, October 9, 2017

Boston College Celebrates the Seamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music on October 12

Séamus Connolly, a 10-time All-Ireland fiddle champion and former Sullivan Artist in Residence at Boston College, returns to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the acclaimed Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music launched by the BC Libraries. Connolly will describe how his project—a digital collection that pays tribute to his early traditional music mentors—came together.

The event takes place starting at 6 p.m. at the Cadigan Alumni Center at 2121 Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton.  Admission is $20 and registration is online

The evening will feature live music performances by Jimmy and Séamus Noonan on flute and tin whistle; Séamus Connolly on fiddle; and Shannon and Matt Heaton on vocals, flute, and guitar.

Find out about Irish cultural activities year round in Boston at

Norwegian Air Service from Providence Profiles the Rhode Island Irish Connection

Graphic Courtesy of Providence Journal

 There is significant joy around Southern New England these days, since T.F. Green International Airport in Providence became a regional hub from for travel to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.  The launch of Norwegian Air’s new service from Providence gave New Englanders a direct path to Belfast, Cork, Shannon, Dublin and Edinburgh.

Find information about fall and winter Norwegian Air flights to Ireland and the UK
It turns out the Providence airport is ideally located to meet the ongoing needs of travelers looking for direct service at low cost.   T.F. Green is “an access point for a huge part of the Northeastern U.S.,” industry analyst Michael Boyd told the Providence Journal this spring.  According to the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, 64% of New Englanders live within 75 miles of Green.

Rhode Island – an Irish State

Rhode Island ranks fifth in the country in terms of Irishness, with 17.9% of residents claiming Irish ancestry, according to the U.S. Census.  Those routes go back to the early days of the Thirteen Colonies.  In the 18th century, Ireland’s great political thinker George Berkeley settled in Middletown, RI from 1729 until 1732.  His initial plan was to build a college to teach Indian children. 

Then in the19th century waves of Irish immigrants moved here, drawn by the bustling seaport of Newport.  Irish laborers built Fort Adams, a massive project that lasted from 1824 until 1857.

Today, Middletown, Narragansett, Charlestown, Scituate and Jamestown still have large Irish-American populations.

Culturally, there is plenty of traditional Irish music around Providence, led by fiddle ace Jimmy Devine and Irish step dancers like Tir na Nog.  And the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland brings in top Irish traditional bands, including Lunasa, Karen Casey and Cherish the Ladies.

Newport has perhaps the most vibrant expression of Irish heritage today.  Last March it celebrated its 40th annual Irish Heritage Month, with dozens of Irish-themed events, lectures, exhibits and a parade.  It has its own Museum of Newport Irish History in the Fifth Ward, “a working-class neighborhood sandwiched between Newport’s commercial waterfront and the opulent Oceanside mansions of the rich and famous,” according to travel writer Christopher Klein.

And since 2002, Newport also has a sister city connection to the seaport city of Kinsale in County Cork, known as the Gourmet Capital of Ireland.  The two cities have a novel chef exchange whereby chefs from each city visit their counterparts in alternate years, according to Kathryn Farrington, vice president of marketing for Discover Newport.

Best of all, Rhode Island is centrally located, with Cape Cod, Boston and New York all within easy driving distance.  But chances are, when you get to Rhode Island, you’ll want to stay awhile, like the Irish have been doing for many centuries.

Find out more about visiting Rhode Island

For more about the Irish community in New England, visit

A version of this story appeared in the summer issue of BITA's Travel & Culture Guide

Friday, October 6, 2017

JFK Library Screening New Documentary, "John Hume in America: In the Name of Peace, on October 10

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum is airing a new documentary entitled, "In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America," at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

Admission is free, but registration is required.

The screening has been named an "Event of the Week" by Boston Irish Tourism Association.

The screening is followed by a discussion between filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick and former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who was the Northern Ireland envoy during the Clinton Administration.  Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen is moderator.

Former U.S. Senator Paul Kirk introduces the documentary and discussion.

Here is a schedule of upcoming forums at the JFK Library.

For year round information on Irish activities in Massachusetts, visit