Displaying items by tag: travel

Many of us will know the Swan Hellenic name but few will know that it has been given a rebirth, in 2020, with three new ships and varied itineraries that cover the globe.

The opportunity to learn, explore and in some cases contribute to knowledge is an important factor for many when choosing a holiday. Swan Hellenic have a long legacy of discovery tours, with their first cruise in 1954 organised for the Hellenic Travellers’ Club, which had been founded by Lord Byron in 1906. Head of Classics at London University, Francis Kinchin-Smith led the cruise and invited three guest lecturers for the 14-day cruise around the sites of ancient Greece.

SH Vega has just completed her inaugural circumnavigation of Ireland, stopping at Bantry, Dingle, Galway, Portrush and the Causeway Coast before heading to Skye in Scotland and down to Dublin allowing more people to see and experience Ireland's sights.

When I first see her from the Samuel Beckett Bridge looking down towards Dublin Port, she is moored at Cruise Berth 18 right beside the Thomas Clarke Bridge, more commonly known as the East Link and the Point / 3 Arena.

Published in Guide
Sunday, 11 September 2022 00:31

Two Donkeys in an Irish Field

Two friendly Irish donkeys in the Irish countryside, a field of green and yellow under a drumlin.

The donkey, Equus asinus would have been a common sight in Ireland before the age of the tractor, now a rare enough treat to spot these friendly creatures although I have photographed and written about them before here on Panoramic Ireland.

The drumlin is the hill in the background with cows, a drumlin (Irish word used in geomorphology) is a hill formed by glacial action - the ice moving along flat ground and sculpting it through mechanical action.

Published in Photo Tours

Travel to Ireland remains challenging at the moment, although the country has dropped any mandates in relation to COVID-19 and Coronavirus, it is now the problems with actually getting you or your bags to Ireland.

Every day the newspapers are full of stories of international travellers and those returning home who have arrived but their bags have not.

This actually happened to a recent visitor who spent time here with Panoramic Ireland; JL who arrived from the USA via Edinburgh into Belfast.

JL arrived with a slight delay, five minutes so not too bad, but his baggage, as well as half of the flight's baggage, did not arrive.

Published in Guide
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March 2022 has seen many changes in Ireland, there are now no public health measures in place in order to mitigate against COVID-19.

This has allowed people to attend large sporting events, music concerts and to travel through Ireland with no forms to fill in - the useless Passenger Locator Form is gone, unfortunately the mask-mandate has gone too meaning that it is up to the individual as to wear a mask or not in indoor settings.

And to complicate things further PCR tests are now virtually impossible to get unless you pay a private provider meaning that positive case numbers are largely underreported. Combining the over-the-counter lateral flow or rapid antigen tests with PCR tests, reported positive tests are three times more now than at the start of the month.

Austria is about to reintroduce mask-wearing requirements as positive numbers increase rapidly there, the Scottish Government have kept their requirements in place until at least April 4th and other European countries such as Italy (until May1st) still require FFP2 masks in public indoor and transport settings.

In Ireland, unfortunately, the Irish Government have decided to leave the decision to the individual, which means virtually no-one wearing a mask in public settings.

This increase in cases, of people not taking basic precautions has led to the rather embarrassing spectacle of the Taoiseach being quarantined on Saint Patrick's Day in Washington DC, indeed he will be stuck there until the end of March.

As of yet, Ireland has not seen increases in intensive care hospitalisations but those do tend to lag.

Ireland is still a safe place to visit and with plenty of open spaces in the countryside there is an easy escape from the crowds.

Join me, Panoramic Ireland, to photograph in Ireland.

Published in Guide
Saturday, 29 January 2022 21:46

Sunbeam Road, Colourful Winter in Ireland

A fine afternoon sky from today in Ireland with rays of the sun . 

Sunbeams break through fast moving clouds as the sun edges past the hypotenuse of this nebulous triangle into clear blue sky for a short time.

The hills and low mountains of Ireland, illuminated in places into the distance.

After a fine scene of golden winter light yesterday, this definitely made a perfect afternoon outing with camera to mark three years since my cancer operation. Indeed it reminded me of this image from the time of my chemotherapy.

Published in Miscellaneous
Saturday, 08 January 2022 14:13

Ireland Coronavirus Update - January 2022

As of the 6th of January 2022, people travelling to Ireland will not need to have a negative PCR test to visit the country.

The rules were introduced in the autumn of 2021 when the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was beginning to spread throughout the world.

Now that it has well and truly catapulted positive cases in Ireland and the difficult task of controlling its spread means that it is difficult to continue with the process of making tests mandatory since the virus is so widespread here as in most other European nations.

However, unvaccinated travellers will still need to have a negative PCR test or show proof of recovery from the virus.

And all arrivals should take a daily lateral flow test (LFD), more commonly known as an antigen test here in Ireland, for five days after arrival.

That is, if you can actually find one to buy, nevermind five! They have become incredibly difficult to source, in Ireland; until recently anyone who wanted to test for Covid has had to buy one of these tests but recent days has seen the HSE provide three free tests to those under 39 in place of PCR tests. The best places to find them are in supermarkets such as Aldi and Dunnes Stores as well as chemists.

Panoramic Ireland's one-to-one tours of Dublin and beyond eschew large groups to allow you to concentrate on seeing Ireland, photographing your interests all without outside interruptions.

Take a private tour with Panoramic Ireland.

Published in Guide
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As you may have already heard, July 19th will see a number of restrictions eased in regards to COVID / Coronavirus in Ireland.

The world's most restrictive lockdown will be no more, in time for the arrival of the Indian or Delta variant.

Travel into Ireland from overseas will be relaxed so if you are looking to find out more about travel to Ireland after Covid then look no further.

The Common Travel Area (Ireland and Britain) is separate to the EU Schengen rules, and travel from Britain will be eased to allow visitors to not have to go into quarantine. The hotels they use for mandatory hotel quarantine do little for the reputation of the country's tourism sector; no local would want to stay there and thankfully if you are visiting from Britain, the USA and Europe you won't have to from the middle of the month!

Published in Guide

Today 28th of May 2021, the Irish Government announced the next phases of Ireland's reopening post-covid.

This includes the return of international travel on the 19th of July, which as Father Ted fans will know is also the day in history when Galway was liberated from the Indians, Marathon became Snickers and of course the ice age ended.

The 19th of July will see visitors from the EU able to return to Ireland which has had the most severe lockdown in Europe, and then at some point beyond that travellers from outside the region will be able to visit- from the USA, Canada etc. If fully vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 / Coronavirus or with a negative test then no quarantine will be necessary.

Panoramic Ireland's photography tours and workshops are bookable from now through all of 2021, so plan ahead and check availability for your visit to Dublin, Galway, Cork, Antrim Coast and anywhere else in Ireland.

Published in Photo Tours
Thursday, 27 May 2021 15:20

Southbound, Phil Lynott Statue, Dublin

A sunny day in Dublin and until recently I couldn't help but think of the place as a bit of a ghost town.

Usually a visit to the Phil Lynott statue in Dublin, just off Grafton Street, is busy no matter the time of day.

But over most of the past year since the first lockdown in March 2020 right through to May 2021, the statue of Ireland's greatest Rocker; bassist, singer and frontman of one of the most influential rock bands of all time - Thin Lizzy, has stood mostly alone.

Here a triptych from a recent visit and I couldn't help but think of the lyrics of one of their finest tracks:



The boom time it is over

A ghost town is all that's here

The gold rush it is over

And depression days draw near


So, tonight after sundown

I'm gonna pack my case

Without a word, without a sound

Disappear without a trace


Ohh oh, I'm going southbound

Ohh oh, I'm going southbound




I used to listen to this song on my long travels, pre-covid, around Ireland especially on my way south from the north but also on many occasions heading west - well it was kind of southwest.

Interestingly, Southbound was on their Live and Dangerous double live album in 1978 and, although denied after its release, it was later confirmed by producer Tony Visconti that the song was recorded during a soundcheck and the audience dubbed in afterwards.

Nevertheless, whether on the album Bad Reputation or Live and Dangerous it remains one of my favourite songs.

So thankfully, with the reopening that is currently happening, Phil's statue is not quite so lonely and Dublin not so much of a ghost town; that depression slowly receding.

And Panoramic Ireland's tours are also coming back so it's time to book for summer 2021 and beyond, find out more here for Dublin.

Published in Photo Tours
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Go Mall / Slow - It kind of looks like travel is beginning to come back to a sort of normality in Ireland, from Monday 10th May 2021.

With an incredibly slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the world's longest lockdown, ranked also as the most strict in Europe, next week (from Monday 10th of May) sees Ireland allow nationwide travel.

For most of the past five months a five kilometre travel limit has been in place and most of the economy has been at a standstill.

Published in Miscellaneous
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