A few reasons for choosing this part of Ireland for your holiday:
Westcove is an ideal base from which to explore the many fascinating areas in The Kerry Region, the most scenic corner of Ireland.
There are numerous possible excursions:- north to Killarney with its famous lakes, northwest to the legendary Dingle Peninsular, west to Waterville, Balliskellings and Valencia Island, from where you can take an unforgettable boat trip to the Skellig Islands.
To the south lies Bantry Bay, which is reached via spectacular mountain passes. Kerry and West Cork are dotted with wonderful tropical gardens, especially beautiful in May and June.
The countryside immediately surrounding Castlecove is ideally suited for all types of walking, ranging from gentle strolls along lovely sandy beaches to more serious hikes over craggy hills. The famous 'Kerry Way' walk takes you along the ridge of hills, all the way from Waterville to Kenmare and is well signed, but still wonderfully unspoiled.
As you can see there is so much to do in this wonderful area that you will be 'spoilt for choice'! The links below will help you decide which of the many options available will make your stay at Westcove even more memorable.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of the following suggestions. It is advisable to book musicians in advance for special celebrations. Many of the activities are weather dependant - you need a calm sea to land on the Skellig Islands for example - so Katherine Casey, our wonderful housekeeper (00353 861614328, email@example.com) - will be happy to help book these for you after you arrive.
A few suggestions for “Outings” within 15 minutes drive:
Arguably the best example of a pre-Christian fort in Ireland, Staigue Fort is less than 15 mins drive away. Turn Right towards Castlecove, it is signed to the left, just before the village. Well worth a visit, especially on a clear day, when the views out over the Atlantic are breathtaking. On your way back you will see the Staigue Fort Hotel on your right just before joining the main road. There you will find a small ‘Visitor Centre’ which makes a thought provoking attempt to explain the origin of this magnificently built stone circle. More importantly, this is an ideal venue for Sports Fans as they have Sky T.V. in their very welcoming Pub area. Sheila Galvin, the proprietor will probably make you sandwiches and although West Cove is only a mile away, will arrange transport back for you…(if necessary!)
In Caherdaniel itself – stop for a Guinness at Freddy’s – a well known local pub which has been there forever, or go to The Blind Piper – a younger atmosphere and excellent food – last orders about 8pm (see page on “Eating Out”). In summer, there’s a market in the village hall between 10 and 12 on Friday mornings – well worth a visit – lots of local produce and crafts. There is also an excellent food market on Sundays.
Just before Caherdaniel, there is a sharp left turn signed Eagle Rock Equestrian Centre. This is well run by Caroline Donnelly, an excellent horsewoman herself, with safe ponies/horses (suitable for all ages and levels of experience). Try to book at low tide as the best rides are across the sands of Derrynane Bay. Hard hats provided. Tel: (066) 9475145. Mobile 087 2462981
If you drive on past the riding centre, you eventually get to a pretty little natural harbour. You can park there and walk up the hills or out to an unspoilt rocky shoreline – especially dramatic in heavy storms! When walking over any local hills, always watch out for slippery rocks and unexpected boggy patches … and please keep dogs on leads if there are sheep about.
Turn left towards Waterville and then left again at Caherdaniel … lots of possibilities … If you just want a stroll along the dunes (dogs paradise with endless rabbit burrows) turn left (under 5’9” barrier) just as you get to a fork in the road … go straight on to
visit Derrynane House – a fascinating insight into Irish history – the house of Daniel O’Connell, “The Liberator” – I’ve seen the 25 minute video at least 20 times and am still intrigued ... the house and gardens are also worth a tour … in summer the tea rooms have an irresistible selection of home-made cakes.
Continue on, and at the end you get to a Car Park. On the left is a very good, sheltered beach for swimming/sunbathing (?!). On the right is an attractive little harbour where Helen Wilson and other qualified instructors at “Derrynane Seasports” provide facilities within a fine, safe harbour for windsurfing, waterskiing and sailing – with small ‘canoes’ for younger children. In low tide well worth a stroll over to Abbey Island – ruins of an old abbey and lovely views across the sweep of Derrynane Bay.
On the way back, why not call in at Keatings Bar on the left? Drinks and sandwiches usually available.
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Apart from strolling around the beautiful beaches and dunes of Derrynane as already described, there are a couple of excellent, slightly more challenging walks you can try, starting from Westcove itself.
An ideal 1-1¼ hour walk we often do, is to follow Kerry Way Walk signs over the crossroads, up the road ‘til just past a graveyard on the left. Turn left and follow the track straight over the hill, eventually coming down conveniently just by Freddy’s pub (the lazy way of doing it is to be driven up to the graveyard by a ‘non-walker’ who can then meet you an hour later at one of the Caherdaniel pubs and drive you back!) …… for more serious ‘hill’ walkers, a lovely 2-2½ hour walk is to start off the same way but about ¼ mile after turning left after the graveyard, take a dog-leg right – this track takes you up to the top of the hill (only attempt it on a clear day) and then right down, to a road which eventually ends up alongside Loch Currane, near Waterville … you definitely need to be picked up (about 2¼ hours after you’ve started, somewhere along the continuation of the lake road …) As you can imagine, magnificent views of the estuary from the top.
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Jeannette McDonnell is a Fáilte Ireland (Irish Tourist Board) Certified Tour Guide, with many years experience looking after International Visitors in Ireland. Having lived here for many years, she knows and loves every nook and cranny of South West Kerry and is able to offer you, our guests, imaginative itineraries and activities, presented with her warm and enthusiastic personality, and has many suggestions about exploring this fascinating area.
No group - or request - is too big or too small, so we suggest that you visit her beautiful website - www.kerrywildandwonderful.com - and then contact Jeannette directly to discuss the myriad of options, at which point she will of course be able to give you an idea of the likely costs involved.
phone: 00353 87 9791168
Kerry Experience Tours, run by a charming Dutchman, Gerrit, based locally in Sneem, has been highly recommended by recent tenants as being a very knowledgeable guide, great company and an excellent driver. He can take any number from 2–6 in a car and up to 16 in his minibus. Gerrit has many options for different sightseeing trips in the area including a full day Ring of Kerry tour. Please take a look at his Tours Brochure, and his Brochure for Westcove Visitors. Click here to see the Trip Advisor reviews.
phone: +353 (0)646689679
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Westcove, the perfect choice for your Kerry golfing holiday!
Westcove House, The Stables and Garden Cottage can together sleep up to 15 in separate bedrooms (16 if 2 share a twin!)... and
of course many more if there are couples in your group. Set off after a full Irish breakfast - use your own cars or we can arrange
transport - play one of the great Kerry courses listed below and return to enjoy one of Katherine's delicious home-cooked dinners in the
beautiful dining room at Westcove House .
Please note: Although we can only accept full week bookings during the summer months, short breaks (min 3 nights) are available the rest of the year.
There are five excellent and varied golf courses within ¾ of an hour's drive of Westcove : -
1 Waterville* Tel: 066 94 74102, www.watervillegolflinks.ie (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
This challenging, immaculately maintained links course, only 10 miles (20 minutes drive) to the west, is played by many top pros to prepare for
the British Open.... 'A must' for serious golfers. Green fees are high - about €150 at the time of writing - but reduced rates apply before 9am
and after 4pm Monday to Friday. Well worth an early start anyway as you're likely to have a clearer, faster round!
2. Skellig Bay Golf Club Tel: 066 9474133, www.skelligbay.com (email: email@example.com)
A relatively new course on the left just as you reach Waterville . On a clear day, the panoramic views back over Lough Currane and across the
Atlantic to the Skellig Islands are stunning . The facilities are being updated under new ownership, but with many challenging, unusual holes,
an excellent pro's shop - and green fees of only €50, Skellig Bay is an excellent choice for golf enthusiasts of any standard.
3 Parknasilla Tel: 064 66745195
(www.parknasillaresort.com/en/parknasilla-golf email: info@firstname.lastname@example.org)
This 12 hole course on the estuary (3 miles beyond Sneem towards Kenmare) has to be one of the most stunningly beautiful short courses in
the world! Take lots of old balls - they tend to plug in damp conditions and there is a lot of woodland and gorse. Every hole however
is very challenging - a really pretty walk for non-golfers too. No booking necessary, though it's worth checking with the Parknasilla Hotel
(064 6675600) to make sure you won't clash with a society or competition - weekdays recommended when you can often have the course to yourselves.
Green fees - very reasonable at €20 - €25 - are usually payable at the small 'clubhouse' - if unmanned they can always be obtained at the
reception in Parknasilla Hotel. This legendary hotel has an excellent bar and lunch menu.
4 'Ring of Kerry' Tel: 064 6642000, www.ringofkerrygolf.com (email: email@example.com)
A relatively new 18 hole course, about 5 miles west of Kenmare, on the Sneem/Kenmare road - about 40 minutes drive.
It is hilly, with lovely views over the Kenmare Estuary … reasonable green fees - €60 per round at weekends, €50 on weekdays …take a
buggy if you're not a mountain goat! Our son and his young, fit friends really enjoy this course and find it an excellent contrast to
Waterville, being parkland in character, but equally challenging, with a welcoming clubhouse serving drinks and bar food at the end!
5 Kenmare Tel: 064 6641291 , www.kenmaregolfclub.com (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
About 45 minutes drive, this is a pretty course on the right, just as you go out of Kenmare towards Cork. Originally a 9 hole course -
there is now a second, ( rather hilly !) 9. During the week it is often possible to play the first 9 only for €25 - useful if you want to combine
golf with a shopping spree in Kenmare! (Otherwise green fees for 18 holes are €40 weekdays and €45 at weekends).
Other legendary courses in Kerry worth considering, all within 2 hours drive of Westcove:-
* These courses need proof of 'handicap' and booking well in advance, especially in high season
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John O’Shea (Tel: (066) 9475129 Mobile: 087 689 8431) has a well equipped fishing boat and is happy to take groups of up to 10,
deep sea fishing, but usually only in the evenings, from Derrynane Pier. He will sometimes come to Westcove Pier for longer trips by arrangement.
John will take you all the way to Skellig Islands – (of 'Star Wars' fame !)– a longer boat trip than from Port Magee, but much less driving.
Ray Cushe (0877809286) is very flexible and can take any number for fishing/leisure trips in his own boat, based in Westcove harbour - (from €80 for 2 hours).
Des O’Shea (0872906229 or 08723044270) offers a variety of boat trips around Kenmare and Derrynane Bays. Trips vary from 1½ to
4 hours and offer something to suit most tastes. More information is available from Des's website:- ribtrips.ie
Noel Donnelly (0879474616) - sunfishexplorer.com - offers a variety of exciting,
motorised Kayak trips for fishing and exploring the beautiful waterways near Sneem, 20 minutes drive away but well worth it! All ages catered for.
Michael Casey (Katherine's husband) mobile 0876 312718 knows all the best spots for catching fish (mainly pollock and sea bass)
off local rocks and beaches and will happily discuss it with you.
For many years Lough Currane – a beautiful lake, 5 miles long and 2 miles wide, nestling in the hills behind
Waterville - has been attracting anglers from all over Europe. Although the sea trout were in decline for a few years, the salmon farm
off the coast, generally considered to have been the cause of the problem, ceased to exist a few years ago, so now the fishing on the lake,
both for sea trout and salmon is taking off again with a vengeance.
Dominic McGillicuddy (Tel: (066) 9474023, mobile 0872051515) –
is a real expert and will take you to the best spots himself – or he will hire you a boat for the day if you think you can manage
without him. Take a picnic – there are some idyllic coves and islands where you can break for lunch. “Butlers Pool”
is a narrow stretch of river linking the sea with Lough Currane. Keen salmon fishermen may like to try 3 hours on it, probably best after rain and
at high tide … for availability and more information telephone (066) 9474244 (Waterville House).
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Music has always been a major part of Irish tradition and local pubs often have live music sessions, especially during the summer.... however we can now offer our guests a selection of tailor-made musical evenings at Westcove, ideal for larger groups and special occasions...Weekdays are preferable, and you can either contact Bernie and/or Pat directly or we can book them for you.
If neither Bernie not Pat are available there are many other excellent musicians around. Katherine will be happy to discuss these with you.
Music and Dancing with Bernie.
Over the years, Bernadette Kennedy has inspired many Westcove visitors of all ages to take to the floor... Her expertise and infectious enthusiasm guarantees everyone — even the most hesitant — can perform a series of Irish "Set Dances" in no time at all! During well earned breaks, Bernie, herself an accomplished cellist and four or five other musicians, will entertain you with traditional Irish music.
You may choose one of the following options (both will take place in The Games room in The Stables and last for 2 - 2½ hours.)
A dance session with a group of musicians will cost €300.00
A dance session with recorded Irish music will cost €150.00
Please note Bernie prefers to be paid in cash on the day.
To find out more about Bernie, also an acclaimed local artist visit http://www.bernadettekennedy.ie.
Listen to — and "sing-along-with" — Pat and friends.
We are lucky to have some exceptionally talented musicians based in the area...Patrick Waters specialises in playing all types of music from Irish ballads, traditional Irish music, to the contemporary classics... He has performed all over Ireland, but given a bit of notice, is happy to spend an evening entertaining our guests at Westcove House... His extensive repertoire ranges from old classics...("The Mountains of Mourne", "Rocky Road to Dublin", and James Taylor's "You've got a friend") to contemporary material such as Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan etc. His main instruments are guitar and bouzouki... and he is happy to let anyone in the audience play or "sing along" with him. (There is an electronic keyboard in the house which all are welcome to use)
In addition Pat performs a specially written concert, "1916 Signatories" in honour of the seven signatories to the Irish Proclaimation. This is a concert in word and song that pays tribute to seven individuals who hold a unique place in Irish history. It consists of a short insight into the personal life of each man followed by an original song for each signatory.
Please check their website http://www.1916signatories.com for more information.
For an evening performance with Patrick Waters alone the fee is €160.00
Any additional musicians will incur a further charge of €80.00 per musician.
For a performance of the concert "1916 Signatories" the fee is €400.00
An Evening with Tradish
Tradish are a local group consisting of Wally Desmond (flutes, whistles, Irish Pipes, Mandolin and Guitar), Vincent Hyland (Guitar and Vocals) and Aoife Desmond (Fiddle and Vocals). They play all types of music, including Irish Traditional, Irish Ballads, classic Acoustic Rock, American and Irish Folk/Country to Jazz and Blues. Songs include the classic Luke Kelly 'The Ould Triangle', Irish Traditional music sets such as 'Morrissons', Eurythmics "Here comes the rain" to Bill Withers "Ain't no Sunshine". When available they are joined by special guests including singers and instrumentalists. They love nothing more than people joining in. So if you feel like playing or singing the stage is yours... The atmosphere is warm and friendly.
Tradish can be watched here...
For an evening performance with Tradish the fee is €210.00
Any additional musicians will incur a further charge of €70.00 per musician.
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Vincent Hyland is one of Ireland's best known natural history personalities. He is a multi award winning natural history filmmaker, publisher, producer and director and has appeared on BBC, UTV including TV3, RTE and TG4. He has contributed to programs such as BBC's Coast, RTE's Living the Wildlife as well as having a segment on RTE's Nationwide about his wildlife illustrations and paintings.
He is qualified in natural sciences is a fully licensed passenger boat skipper and emergency first responder. He is a 32 year scuba diving and underwater filmmaker expert. He has travelled extensively, filming in places such as Antarctica and Galapagos, Africa and along the Atlantic Shores of Ireland. He has made 5 films including Puffins of Skellig Michael - the first iBook textbook for ipads. His short films have been officially selected for screening at the North Sea, Seattle and San Francisco Irish reels film festivals. He lives in Caherdaniel with his partner and their three year old son.
A 1½ hour wildlife talk with Vincent.
Content will cover whale, dolphins and marine life of Kenmare Bay with a film showing the best of this.
This talk would take place in the Games room at Westcove. Props and a large HD TV are included. It would be an excellent last minute alternative to one of the outdoor options below, should the weather on the day prove unsuitable.
The cost is €100 per group.
Wildlife Walks and Excursions
1) Flowers of the forest and Sand dunes.
A walk through Derrynane National Historic park followed by a looped walk around the Sanddunes. Flower identification, natural history of the formation of the dune system, geology of the area including a visit to the protected Natterjack toad ponds.
2 hours @ €150 per group. Own transport required, meeting at Derrynane House Car Park.
2) Rock Pool Explorer.
A trip to some of the local rockpools to explore the animals inhabiting these shallow marine environments. This includes learning about how animals survive, what they eat, how to identify them and distinguishing their behaviour. Fishing with nets (provided). Each participant get the chance to catch animals and get their feet wet in this fun learning environment.
1½ hours @ €150 per group (weather and tide dependent). Own transport required, meeting at Derrynane House Car Park.
3) Mountain walking in the Caherdaniel Locality
A walk to the top of Coom, along the old bog road across the ridge to see the beautiful scenery and back along the Kerry way to Caherdaniel village. Walk includes talk about the local geological formations, the copper mines, the flora and fauna.
2½ hours @ €150 per group. Own transport required. Meet in the Caherdaniel village.
4) Kenmare Bay Motorised Kayaking Expedition
Early morning from Westcove. Explore the inshore coves of Kenmare bay including Seal watching and possible Dolphin and Whale watching. See seabirds and possible exotic species such as sunfish close up.
This trip involves the use of motorised Kayaks. Easy to use, a brief training and safety session (30 minutes) will be provided before departure. All safety equipment including life jackets and spray decks are provided. Light refreshments also provided. Guided by qualified Skipper and wildlife guide Vincent Hyland.
Duration 3 hours, €300 for 5 persons (weather and sea condition dependent.)
5) Snorkelling in Derrynane
A 1 hour snorkel along Abbey Island. Take in the underwater beauty of our temperate maritime shallow seas. This trip will open your eyes and senses to the beautiful clean underwater environment of Derrynane. Wetsuits and masks are provided.
Duration 3 hours, €125 for a group of 5 persons, or €25 each. Own transport required. Meet at Derryanne Sea Sports.
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You can swim, row and shrimp nearby and there are several sandy beaches within ten minutes drive.
Derrynane, 4 miles away, has an excellent watersports centre in the summer - with facilities for all ages, including water-skiing, windsurfing, sailing and canoeing. Scuba diving facilities are also available locally. See Derrynane Sea Sports for more information
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During the winter, challenging shooting over the wild stretches of bog land for woodcock and snipe can be arranged. Irish gun licences need to be obtained in advance.
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Beach riding and pony trekking are available 2 miles away at Caherdaniel.
Eagle Rock Equestrian Centre are recommended.
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(* it is advisable to book these restaurants, especially for evening meals in high season)
There are several excellent and varied restaurants around. The convivial atmosphere of the Irish pub is legendary - the whole family can be assured of a very warm welcome, and many have live music, especially in the summer.
We are very lucky to have The Blind Piper, only 3 miles away, in Caherdaniel, serving excellent home cooked food.
- The Blind Piper (066) 9475126 (Caherdaniel)
Lunch and dinner - excellent pub food throughout the day and evening (please note last orders are generally taken at about 8pm)…
Live music – usually on Thursday evenings
- Derrynane Hotel (066) 9475136
Only 2 miles away, towards Caherdaniel, the nearest convenient spot for dinner and cold lunches. Good value and lovely views over the sea. Weekly musical evenings in the summer
- O'Carroll's Cove (066) 9475151
Beach Bar/Restaurant - between here and Caherdaniel, now serving delicious gourmet meals as well as snacks all day - only 2 miles from Westcove - catering for all ages…check their 5* reviews on tripadvisor/facebook
- The Sugarshack Vintage Tearooms are located in Caherdaniel next to the church car park … as well as a unique choice of loose Teas and Irish Artisan Roasted Coffees, served on vintage china, Kay offers a selection of home-made soups and savoury dishes - using home grown vegetables - all cooked on the premises … (and of course home-made cakes!) … Open Easter till end of September … 0872617522
Lots of possibilities for pub lunches including: The Lobster Bar, The Fisherman's Bar (Butler Arms Hotel), The Corcan - ideal for children…
More formal restaurants include:
- *The Smugglers Inn (066) 49474330
(by the sea near the golf course) - a lovely setting… known for its superb seafood (choose your own lobster!), open for both lunch and dinner - more expensive than some, but worth it!
- *Dooley's (066) 947 48766
opposite the Craft Centre, on the Cahirciveen road â€“ serving excellent food at a reasonable price
- The Point (066) 9472165
A friendly seafood pub on the coast, just short of Cahirciveen (by Valencia ferry) - (a selection of fresh fish and wild smoked salmon available opposite at 'Kerry Fish', except Mondays). Lunches served only in high season. Dinners all year round.
- Sacre Coeur (064) 66 45186
An excellent 'family' restaurant, always open for dinner, also lunch during the summer.
- The Riverside
Delicious homemade food from 10-5.30
- D O'Sheas
Good pub grub all day - with lovely views over the Sneem Estuary
- The Purple Heather - lunch only...not open Sundays...
Highly recommended - try their 'open' crab sandwiches on home-made bread...
- 'No 35' (064) 664 1559
Main Street, Kenmare â€“ quaint and full of character with fabulous, reasonably priced food and very welcoming staff
- *Packies (064) 66 41508, *The Lime Tree (064) 66 41225 and *Mulcahy's (064) 66 42383
All the above are central and have excellent reputations - especially for evening meals.
Many more but we don't know much about them. We would be grateful if our visitors would let us know of any other venues which they could recommend – and indeed tell us of places to be avoided! Please add to our collection of menus wherever possible.
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Des O'Shea offers a variety of boat trips around Kenmare and Derrymane Bays. Trips vary from 1½ hours to four and offer something to suit most tastes.
More information is available from Des' website http://www.ribtrips.ie/trips
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The nearby Blueberry Hill Farm offers a variety of courses and activities for both adults and children of all ages. Extremely popular with our visitors - especially for rainy days. Check out their Family Fun Tour.
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A wonderful experience for all the family is an outing to Killarney Falconry
where you can see these wonderful birds of prey at very close quarters. Please see their web site for full details, and contact them here: www.killarneyfalconry.com/about.html.
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John and Kerryann Fitzgerald have been running Seaweed Discovery Workshops, Walks and Tastings from their base in Caherdaniel since 2009;
their shared love of nature and all things marine lead them to focus on seaweeds, which they have been harvesting, eating and experimenting with for years.
Kerryann uses her culinary skills to create a range of delicious dishes from a series of hand harvested local seaweeds.
Click on this link to see some ideas of what they could offer Westcove visitors: Seaweed walks for Westcove. You can contact John direct on 086 1062110, or email email@example.com.
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Storytelling is the oldest traditions in Ireland and in ancient times some of the greatest exponents of it came from the Westcove area. Today the tradition is being preserved by one of Ireland's best loved storytellers, Batt Burns from nearby Sneem. He experienced the seanchai tradition at first hand when he lived with his grandfather in the Hills of South Kerry.
A schoolteacher by profession he became a full time professional teller in 1994 and since then has travelled all over America to Irish clubs, College campuses, Storytelling festivals as well as Irish Fests at Milwaukee, Cleveland and Dublin. Ohio. He has performed at The Kennedy Centre In Washington DC on three occasions and travelled to Masterston, New Zealand some years ago.
In spite of the excitement of travel he is never more happy than spinning yarns, sharing anecdotes, snippets of folklore and reciting poetry close to home. As you sit by a peat-fire in Westcove house he will transport you back in imagination to Ancient Ireland where you will sup with kings and queens, hear haunting ghost stories and be fascinated by hero tales and adventures.
Batt is also a successful author, his book "The King With Horses' Ears and Other Irish Folktales " won a major award in the USA in 2010 when it was considered the best collection of folktales for young readers by The Storytelling World magazine.
Title of Presentation: Whisperings of Ireland
Duration: 60 to 90 minutes.
Batt hosts several tours of Ireland during the summer months and is in high demand at Irish venues of entertainment. Early booking is very advisable. To find out more, visit
his web site http://www.battburns.com.
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