Attractions and Festivals in Galway, Ireland

Galway is one of the largest cities located in Connaught, Ireland. It is a wondrous place with spectacular views of the countryside. Every year, many tourists visit this city to enjoy its landscape and experience a genuinely Irish way of life.

There are numerous attractions that one can enjoy in Galway City. It may not be possible to see all of them in just a couple of days but if you are armed with a good map or a competent tourist guide, you should certainly try to visit as many places as you can.

One of the most popular sights that tourists visit while in Galway City is Thoor Ballylee. This is a tower located beside the edge of a stream and made world famous by Nobel Prize winner W.B. Yeats. Back in 1916, the poet had purchased this Norman Tower and its accompanying cottages, because he fell in love with it during one of his many visits to Lady Gregory, his patron.

Apart from the tower, there is also another edifice that is closely attached to Yeats. It is called Dungaire Castle which was the ideal place for revivalists of literature way back when. These days, bardic traditions are being relived through the Medieval Banquets which are held every night. This event is for the celebration of Ireland's fascinating musical and literary past, which can be a spectacular sight to those who are into medieval traditions and folklore.

There are many other attractions that you can take advantage of while in Galway City. Among these is the Dan O' Hara's Homestead nestled in the hillside right below the Twelve Bens. Also, there is the Athenry Heritage Center which is ideal for discovering the story of the walled town of Athenry. Rare sports such as archery can be tried here.

For a slightly different side of Galway City, visit its national aquarium called the Galway Atlantaquaria which can be located by following the trail of the world famous Galway Salmon from the River of Corrib to Galway Bay. Here, a breathtaking view of the water world and its many wonders can be seen, from the starkly blue seabed to local lakes and rivers as well as the city canals. Learning about the highly diverse marine ecosystem of Ireland at The Galway Atlantaquaria has never been made more entertaining and fun with features including saltwater and freshwater exhibits. Children will adore touching live sea animals like crabs, lobsters and starfish.

More of Ireland's grim but interesting history may be experienced at the Battle of Aughrim Visitor Centre. You can also visit the Glengowla Mines which are situated two miles of Oughterard as there is many caverns and marble chambers with impressive lead, calcite, and silver formations to explore. Last but not the least, treat yourself to an awe inspiring sight by exploring the very picturesque Inishbofin. To tour this area, you can either walk, rent a bike or ride a horse.

Joyous festivals frequently happen in Galway City. Examples of these festivals are Galway Arts Festival, the Cuirt International Festival of Literature, the Galway Early Music Festival, Connemara Garden Trail and the Inishbofin Community Arts Festival. These festivals are not only perfect for tourists to get a glimpse of the way the locals celebrate and entertain themselves, they are also unique experiences that one will surely remember for many years to come. The Galway Arts Festival has great music, artistic creations and independent films that will please all ages and tastes.

Ireland is known to have a temperate climate. The winters are considered mild with barely a few days of below freezing point temperatures. Although weather conditions are unpredictable, it may be helpful if you prepare yourself for a lot of rain with some warm spells, especially during summer.

Ethnic and Heritage Festivals

"Attendance at an ethnic event while traveling is a great way to experience the heritage of the area being visited. It can also be a way to introduce the traditions of a travel destination that will be featured on an upcoming international itinerary."

For over six centuries people have been arriving on these shores to find a new home. Most have sought to blend with the multi-cultural way of life that is now the norm in almost all communities and regions throughout the continent. However, carrying on heritage traditions has also been an important part of establishing a new life in the Americas for most immigrants.

Celebrations of these traditions come in many forms such as a family gathering for ethnic meals, cultural clubs where groups participate in dances and ceremonies, religious celebrations that honor certain ethnic rituals, community heritage festivals and ethnic events. An important purpose of all these gatherings is to hand down heritage values and activities from one generation to the next and to remind all who participate of the contribution the ethnic influence has had in formulating the diverse North American society.

Here are some ethnic and heritage events to consider including in your travel plans.

Latino Experience

The celebrations for those with Latin roots and particularly with Mexican heritage are found in communities located throughout the Western states. The most widely celebrated Mexican events that offer cultural experiences for visitors include fiestas, Cinco de Mayo (victory over France), Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Dia de la Independencia (Independence Day) and Posadas (parades commemorating Mary and Joseph journey into Bethlehem). Some communities also celebrate Dia de la Candelaria, a religious celebration that features candlelight processions through the streets of the town and dancing. Music is always present at Mexican events, and you will find that the religious occasions are filled with drama, pageantry and ceremony while other events are festive and will have fairs, parades, competitions, food, dance and colorful costuming and decorations. Mexican heritage events are listed on most community event calendars. Two resources useful for learning more about Mexican holidays

Native Americans

The passage of heritage rites and traditions is important to all Native American and First Nation peoples. The focal point of many powwows and native fairs is the telling of stories about tribal ancestors and beliefs that are handed down from the elders to the younger generations. Highlighted by the use of colorful costumes, dances and ceremonies, these gatherings are considered sacred rituals, but visitors are often welcome to observe. Tribal cultural centers and guides provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about the history and beliefs of a tribe as well as the significance of the performances and ceremonies being presented. Most events have food booths and display crafts of the tribe. The Red Earth Festival, in Oklahoma City, OK is the largest Native American cultural and arts exposition in the world. More than 2000 artists, dancers and singers from more than 100 tribes across North American convene each June at the downtown Cox Business Services Convention Center. Contact 405-427-5228

The Latin influence and experience are much farther reaching than Mexico. Other Latin nations and cultures are represented in the West with many celebrating Carnival, including San Francisco which is host to the largest celebration of its kind in California.

This article is sponsored by: www.grouptravelblog.com

Music and Dancing in Greenland

While Iceland may boast popular singers and alternative bands such as The Sugarcubes, its musical history is fairly straight forward. Holidays to Iceland could see you attending the performances of Emiliana Torrini and Sigur Rós, or you could spend your time at Iceland Airwaves, a music festival where local and international bands perform at clubs throughout Reykjavík. If you are interested in music, you can see most types of music and performances, as you embark on an exciting specialist holiday in Iceland.

But it is Greenland's musical history that is particularly intriguing. Greenland's modern musical scene sees the amalgamation of Inuit and Danish music, combined with the added influences of some Canadian territories, Alaska and Eastern Russia. A rich musical tradition exists here, with all music types from folk songs to rock music forming an integral part of Greenlandic life. Greenland travel could see you dancing to the rhythms of Shamans and bopping to the music of hip-hop artist, Nuuk Posse, and it's worth investigating Greenland package holidays to see if you can tie in a performance with your trip.

Current Musical Trends in Greenland

While Greenland's current popular music scene is not as big as Iceland's, its modern music is unique in that it retains a traditional feel. The biggest record label in Greenland is ULO. The label is based in the town Sisimiut, and is responsible for the majority of the releases on the Greenland music scene. It covers a range of genres, and produces everything from the rock music of Sume to Inuit folk music. Also with the label is pop singer Rasmus Lyberth and hip-hop artist Nuuk Posse.

Simamuit is an interesting theatre group and would make for a good evening of modern performances with a traditional flavour when on a Greenland holiday. They combine indigenous elements of Inuit drum dances with masks and face painting, creating an interesting contemporary art form.

Traditional Greenlandic Folk Music

A holiday to Iceland could include discovering the Nordic folk music of the local people. And while this would be fascinating, it doesn't have the same extent of cultural diversity that Greenlandic folk music provides. On travels to Greenland, discovering its traditional music is a great way to get into the minds of the local people. It is in the east and the northeast that you will find the greatest amount of surviving traditional influences. On a Greenland holiday, take the time to watch the sacred drum beats and dances being performed, with the locals playing on an oval, wooden-framed drum, covered by bear-bladder.

Shamans would integrate drums into their religious traditions, often incorporating humor into the performances. Song and drum duals were used as a way for rivals to compete, where the competitor managing to elicit the most laughs out of the audience was the victor.

Traditional Inuit Music

At the essence of traditional Inuit music is drum beats and song. None of their music is purely instrumental, and the rhythmic beat of traditional drumming always lies at its heart. Dance too, plays an important role in Inuit musical traditions, and music is always accompanied by singing and dancing, often being very festive. If you go at the right time, you could witness or even participate in these spiritual yet entertaining events on your Greenland holiday.

The instruments commonly used in traditional Inuit music are whistles, bull-roarers (dating back the 17000 BC, these instruments were originally used as a means to communicate over large distances) and buzzers (whirling objects making a buzzing/humming sound). And illustrating European cultural influences, Jew's harps and fiddles have been incorporated into Inuit music.

The Art of Competition

Similar to the drum-beat duals in Shaman rituals, drum dances are used as a means of competition between two males, often cousins. The dancers compose songs which are sung by their families while they dance, and are usually performed in a qaggi, which is a snow-house used for events and festivals. The criteria for judging the dancers are based on their endurance in a lengthy performance, as well as the composition of the dance itself. Perhaps you would be lucky enough to receive an invitation to such an event while on your Greenland travels.

While the men demonstrate their strength through their dancing, women compete with one another through song. The two women will face each other and begin singing songs using throat-singing and making animal noises. The competition usually comes to an end because the women laugh at their own utterances, which is a demonstration of the friendly nature of the Greenlandic people.

12 Months of Cultural Festivals Around Australia

Australia is blessed to have so many wonderful cultural events, festivals and celebrations throughout the year. If you would like to incorporate some of these exciting events into your luxurious travel experiences, we've made it easy for you with a run-down of 12 months of cultural festivals around Australia:

January

Hobart Comedy Festival - some of Australia's biggest names in comedy head to Hobart for the annual comedy festival.

Sydney Festival - this is a superb showcase of Australian and international visual arts and performing arts and takes place across the city.

Tour Down Under, Adelaide ? the Tour Down Under is a cycling race that has become popular with Australian and international cyclists.

February

Adelaide Film Festival - held annually, this film festival is an ideal way to keep up with the happenings in the film world, along with special advanced previews and discussion panels.

ANZ Ladies Masters Golf, Gold Coast - this annual Golf Championship is held at the Royal Pines Golf Course, attracting golfing enthusiasts from all over the world.

Launceston Cup Carnival - one of Australia's most prestigious horse-racing events, this has become a major date in the Tasmanian social calendar.

National Multicultural Festival, Canberra - this festival celebrates the differences and similarities of the many varied cultures that make up 'Australia'.

Perth Festival - a leading cultural event in Western Australia, this popular festival showcases various artistic mediums for almost an entire month.

Royal Canberra Show - come along to the annual Canberra show to see local wares, agriculture, livestock and produce, and experience great entertainment and food.

Tamworth Country Music Festival - Australia's leading country music festival, with visitors travelling from across the state and internationally.

Tropfest - this is the largest short film festival in the world, with in excess of 150,000 visitors each year.

UWA Perth International Arts Festival - this long-standing arts celebration brings together a fine blend of music, theatre, literature, film and visual and street arts. Visitors can enjoy a mix of paid and free community events.

March

Melbourne Fashion Festival - this week-long celebration showcases some of the country's leading fashion designers and up-and-coming designers along with the very latest in fashion trends.

Moomba Waterfest, Melbourne - this event has been a Victorian favourite for over 50 years, providing a range of free entertainment and celebrations along Melbourne's waterfront.

Sydney Royal Easter Show - offers a solid mix of sideshows, competitions, parades, food, entertainment, rodeos and loads of fun.

April

Fremantle Street Arts Festival - this unique festival of top international buskers is one of the best festivals in Western Australia, with more than 100,000 attendees each year.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival - comedians from all over the world converge on Melbourne to provide three weeks of laughs and entertainment.

May

Canberra International Music Festival - join in the festivities as national and international musicians gather to entertain the crowds.

Hunter Valley Harvest Festival - local producers display their exquisite wines, olives and cheeses.

Settlers Cove Noosa Food and Wine Festival - celebrate the diversity of tantalising food and wines in Australia with some of the country's best chefs and winemakers, along with food and wine critics. Spend three days enjoying a sample of first-class food and wine along with a variety of entertainment.

June

Gympie Stampede - for three entire days, join in the fun as Gympie entertains crowds with traditional country music, country gospel and talented poets.

Melbourne International Film Festival - one of the country's largest annual film festivals, this winter festival combines film screenings with other events and celebrations over almost three weeks.

Sydney Film Festival - celebrate the joys of film, special screenings and reviews of Australian and international films.

July

Brisbane International Film Festival - if you enjoy watching movies and short films, you will enjoy the Brisbane Film Festival which showcases some of the most outstanding films from around the world.

August

Bangalow Music Festival, Byron Bay hinterland - this infamous weekend of music celebrations attracts visitors and musicians from around Australia and the world.

Barossa Gourmet Weekend - this is a wonderful event where visitors can indulge in tasty food and impressive wines from the Barossa Valley region, all while being kept entertained with a range of activities for everyone.

Hamilton Island Race Week - a world class yachting regatta that has been running for more than 25 years.

Melbourne Writer's Festival - for ten days, visitors get to meet authors and discover the secrets to good books and getting published.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - for six days, celebrate the start of the new season's fashions with fashion parades, events and parties by leading local, national and international designers.

QANTAS Darwin Turf Club Gala Ball - this amazing social dinner and entertainment event is held outdoors, beneath the stars.

Taste of Gold Coast - for two weeks you get to sample some of the deliciously fresh produce from around the Gold Coast region while celebrating the joy of good food and wine.

The Darwin Festival - this exciting festival lasts for two and a half weeks and is a celebration of the multi-cultural mix that makes Darwin so special.

September

Brisbane Festival - a three-week festival to celebrate the arts scene, with international artists, fireworks and a host of community events.

Canberra Floriade - the annual festival of flowers to celebrate the commencement of spring.

Cronulla Spring Festival - one of the largest outdoor festivals in Sydney, this is a celebration spring.

Noosa Jazz Festival, Noosa - this exciting jazz festival attracts performers from around the world, celebrating jazz music from the traditional styles through to more modern melodies.

Perth Fashion Festival - this annual festival displays latest season's fashions while showcasing some of the state's up-and-coming designers alongside the more established leading designers.

Royal Adelaide Show - one of the largest events held in Adelaide each year. Organised by the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia, this is a huge display of local produce, agriculture and livestock, along with having a host of fun rides, entertainment and activities for all to enjoy.

Valley Fiesta, Brisbane - this annual three-day celebration is often referred to as the city's 'biggest street party', with various forms of entertainment centred on Brisbane's food, dance, fashion, music and art.

October

AFL Masters National Carnival - held over eight days, this is a major national event for AFL players. This Carnival is held in a different Australian city each year.

Bathurst 1000 - a premier event of Australian motor sports as V8 Supercar drivers race around Mt Panorama.

Brisbane Cabaret Festival - four nights of activities combining great food and wine with excellent music and fun for all.

Launceston Blues Festival - let your hair down and soak up the fun at this three day blues and roots festival.

Lexmark Indy 300, Gold Coast - the annual Indy Cart championship event held over four days, combined with parties and special events.

Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival - held during October and November, this is the highlight of the Victorian social calendar incorporating the 'race that stops a nation', the Melbourne Cup.

Royal Hobart Show - the annual show displays a range of local agricultural wares, livestock, produce and businesses, along with offering rides, entertainment, show bags and lots of great food.

November

Balmain Art & Craft Show, New South Wales - one of the most popular community events in Sydney.

Northern Territory Billfish Championship - spend four days catching and releasing mighty marlin while competing in one of the country's best fishing competitions.

December

Australian PGA Championship, Sunshine Coast - this is the oldest golf championship in Australia, attracting golfing greats from across the world.

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - this famous race begins on Boxing Day and its completion is celebrated with parties galore.

The Hobart Summer Festival - Tasmania's main summer event provides a range of celebrations scheduled around the Sullivans Cove area.

Woodford Folk Festival - one of the largest and most popular events on the calendar, with many people travelling from all over the country, and some from overseas, to join in the six days of festivities. Entertainment includes plenty of fine food, music, writers, forums and panel discussions and loads of fun.

Five Big Mistakes Artists Make at Art Festivals When Learning How to Sell Art

When learning how to sell your art, one of the most rewarding things you can do as an artist to help sell your work and establish yourself as an artist is to participate in an Art Festival, whether local or afar. You get to meet wonderful people, allow others to experience your art and possibly connect with others who can help get your work in other venues.

However, to be able to turn the art festival into a successful opportunity there are some tips you should consider when selling your art. Allow me to indulge you for a moment with some of these tips that artists should not do at an art festival.

1. Never sit behind your tent and read a book with potential buyers walking-in and out of your booth.

When people see you in the back of your booth sitting and reading a book or newspaper they may get the feeling you don't want to be bothered. Get-up and get in front of your booth and let the people get to know you and get a feel of who you are. Most people will not come behind your booth to talk to you. Also you can not sell to people sitting down in the back of your booth. Like I said in other articles and posts your booth is like a store. You want to be up front where customers see you and you can talk to them and work your way into a sell.

2. Please don't eat in your tent or in front of your guests.

How would you like it if you went into a department store and needed help but the sales clerk was too busy stuffing their face? Well that's what you look like when people come into your booth when you are too busy eating. People are not going to interrupt you as much to ask you a question about your art if they come in your booth and see you eating. You could be losing sells. If you will have to eat at the festival go off away from your booth so your eating won't be a distraction to your customers.

3. Don't have all your buddies and families members hanging out in your booth.

Have you ever walked in a store and the owner had their family members or friends all huddle up talking and laughing. How did it make you feel when you went into the store? Uneasy I bet. Well that's how people feel if they come inside your booth and all your buddies are hanging out in your tent talking and not really contributing to your business. Some people may not even come in to look at your work if they see a bunch of people just hanging out doing nothing in your booth.

They will come in if they see a line of people with money in hand ready to purchase your work. So please tell your friends not to come and hang at your booth.

4. Not having artwork that focuses on one theme or niche.

One of the best ways to be seen as a professional artist is to have artwork created around one theme or niche using the same techniques or process. It could be that you have sculptures on birds, photographs of women, paintings of rural landscapes and so on. The point is that you want your work to be consistent with each other.

You don't need to have a painting of a bird, a painting of jazz musician and or photograph of a landscape all in one booth. It looks as if you haven't found your voice as an artist. And if you haven't you may want to decide which direction you want to take with your art and stick with it.

My advice to you is to find something that you like to create and something that will sell very well within your geographical area. I paint images of musicians playing jazz music with a palette knife on wood and canvas. When I first started out, I painted a little of everything, landscapes, still life and abstraction and I would have all of them in one booth. I found out that this was not the route you should take if you want to be successful as an artist. Today people come-up to me and say "Hey you're the guy who paints those musicians, I love your work". They have identified me and my specialty. I want to make sure people are able to do the same when they see your artwork or see your name.

5. Not having any business cards, artist statements or credit card swipe machine; not having one of these is Art Festival suicide.

First, there are several people who will like your work when they first see it but will not be able to purchase it at that time and if you don't have a way for people to contact you have just missed out on some money, plain and simple. Secondly, having an artist statement helps people learn about you and your work and if you don't have other things other than your artwork to promote you, you are in for it. Having an artist statement is like your company's mission statement.

Lastly, credit card processor, everyone that enters you booth will not have cash or a check and by having a credit card machine you can give your customer a chance to purchase your work. You don't want to miss out on sells especially just because you don't take credit cards.

There are easy ways to get credit card processors, just look online for the best deals. You don't have to have the fancy electronic ones. If you are just starting out you can get the manual ones where they slide back and forth.

Art Festivals can be a lot of work yet fun. With these tips mentioned above you can definitely help increase your sells and make your experience of selling art wonderful instead of a drain.

So be positive and focus on being a great artist and a great businessman or businesswoman that you truly are.