Discover Ireland’s Grand Canal on a Barge Cruise

Discover Ireland’s Grand Canal on a Barge Cruise

For your next holiday, take a barge cruise down the Grand Canal and travel from Dublin to Shannon to discover all Ireland has to offer. You can admire the gorgeous green countryside and delightful little cottages that line the waterway, while diving into its interesting and intricate history as a commercial route which allowed the surrounding towns to prosper.
Length and Route

 

The Grand Canal in Ireland extends for 117 kilometres. Passing through Leinster, it flows from Ringsend in Dublin to the Shannon Harbour in County Offaly. This is the main route, built to connect the capital city with the country’s midlands. The waterway does also have another run that spreads from Lowtown in Couty Kildare to the River Barrow in Athy. There are also various branches that link up with four other towns, though it’s worth mentioning that your barge cruise will probably stick to the main route.

Along the way, you can enjoy beautiful views of Irish towns and villages with their charming little cottages, while admiring the many bridges that arch over the smooth water. The fauna and flora also remain untouched, with grassy towpaths and side roads lining the waterway and adding to the iconic Irish countryside feel.

History of the Grand Canal

Though the canal was closed to commercial traffic in the mid-twentieth century, it has since been restored to its former glory and regularly welcomes a variety of boats and barge cruises. It still features the original 43 locks, five of which are, from an engineering point of view, particularly interesting as they are double locks. Back in the day, these would have allowed the traffic to move faster as two boats can pass at once and there’s more chance of reaching a lock that’s in your favour. The lock-keepers’ cottages have also been refurbished to celebrate the history of this canal…

Relationship with The Guinness Factory

…And what a history it is! The Grand Canal played a crucial role in the creation and development of the Guinness factory. In 1759, two years after the construction of the canal began, Arthur Guinness founded his famous brewery. Thanks to the waterway, he could transport heavy loads of the raw materials he needed far more cheaply and effectively than by road. It was also an ideal way of exporting his finished product. When you pass through the eighth lock on a barge cruise, keep your eyes peeled for the Guinness filter beds which are still used by Arthur’s company today.

Impact of the Famine

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Ireland’s economy began to fail. As people lost their jobs, the Commission for Public Works set them to work on creating the canal. This was a successful scheme until the potato crops failed and the Great Famine broke out. Work had to be halted as labour became scarce. Eventually, trade and commerce on the canal declined, particularly as the construction of the railroads had just started.

By the 1980s, the Grand Canal had become something of a dumping ground. Thankfully, in 1986 it received a funding injection that sought to rejuvenate the canal and restore it to its former glory. Today boat traffic from barge cruises has increased and thousands are able to enjoy this historic waterway.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge cruise itineraries. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

A Barger’s Guide to the Canal du Nivernais

A Barger’s Guide to the Canal du Nivernais

Amongst the beautiful inland waterways of France, the Canal du Nivernais offers a scenic cruising route through the bucolic, history-laden landscape of Burgundy. Originally created as a feeder waterway along which to float firewood, today it has a very different incarnation as a popular route for the new breed of barge holidays in France.
A Working Waterway

 

The 174km-long Canal du Nivernais serves as part of the wider Bourbonnais and Bourgogne link between Paris and Lyon. It runs north-south between the basin of the Seine (at Paris) and the Saône and Rhône, almost parallel to the Yonne. Along the way it connects the Yonne with the Loire at Auxerre and Decize, respectively. Its strategic position was no accident and, in 1783, the French government commissioned its construction as a channel to transport the firewood so desperately needed by the freezing residents of Paris.

It was many more years before it reached completion (in 1843), but it then became a vital transportation hub for everything from wood and wine, to coal, stone and charcoal. The canal is fed by the Yonne and also from the north by another feeder canal leading from the Pannecière Reservoir, via the beautifully-constructed and much-admired Montreuillon aqueduct.

There are 122 locks and 23 dams along its length and in one section three tunnels have been hewn from solid rock to allow its passage. Travelling through the tunnels has been described as a silence so complete it is akin to “the silence of a sepulchre”. Despite the magnificent feat of engineering required to complete its course, many of the locks were constructed to what were deemed ‘sub-standard’ specifications. This meant that with a length of only 30m, some of them were unable to accommodate larger barges, leading to a decline in the waterway’s usefulness.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the local authorities saw the potential of the Canal du Nivernais as a touristic attraction, and an extensive decade-long rehabilitation programme was implemented. The works provided facilities and mooring for private and commercial vessels along the route, which has enabled operators to include the canal on the itinerary of their barge holidays in France. A host of surrounding attractions can be enjoyed from the water and on shore-based excursions.

Attractions en Route One of the most popular attractions en route is the magnificent Saint-Germain Abbey, in Auxerre. Dating back more than a thousand years, the monastic complex contains a veritable treasure trove of history within its cloistered walls. Along with the oldest wall paintings in the country, archaeologists have unearthed a sarcophagus from the sixth century and the crypts, nave and tower of the abbey are almost completely intact.

Something a little more energetic that can be undertaken along the canal route at the lovely village of Merry-sur-Yonne is climbing at the famous landmark, Le Saussois. This imposing crag set against a highly picturesque backdrop is renowned as one of the most challenging climbing sites in the country, although there are plenty of pre-bolted areas for novices to cut their teeth as well.

With a reputation as one of the most interesting and enjoyable places for barge holidays in France, the history, engineering and scenery of the Canal du Nivernais serve as an important reminder of the past and a delightful insight into the present.

A Simple Plan Automobiles

A Simple Plan Automobiles Important Tips For Choosing The Right Tires For Your Car

Making an investment in buying a car can be one of the greatest things that you can ever do. For you to maximize the use of your car, it will be vital for you to make sure that you have done proper maintenance on your vehicle. Changing the tires of vehicles is one of the areas that is very much required. One of the factors that cause accidents these days is having worn out tires.For you to avoid some problems caused by having worn out tires on your auto, there is a need for you to consider changing them as required by the manufacturer. You might become overwhelmed to select the right tires for your car.This is why you have to consider some factors if you don’t want to make a mistake in buying the right tires for your vehicle. Provided below are some of the most important things that you need to think about if you want to buy the right tires for your vehicle. A Simple Plan Automobiles

The kind of the tires
When it comes time to replace the tires of your vehicle, it will be very necessary for you to know what is current and then learn about your options. A lot of people will not want to change the type of the tires that they have but will instead buy the same with the ones that they have.Others will want to replace them with the models that excel in the areas that may matter most to them. A Simple Plan Automobiles

The dimension of the tire
Before buying the tire for your car, you have to know its size. Can always know the size of your car from the wall of the tires and the manual of your car.

Consider the quality and the cost of the tires
It will also be important for you to think about the excellence of the tires to install in your car after you have known about its size.It is important you consider the best tire quality as you are going to utilize it more and will also give you a better driving experience.

Consider the warranty
Budgeting when buying the tires is something that which is very important. Purchasing the tires from the shops that offers warranty is a very nice thing as they are costly.The dealer will give you an idea on the miles you should cover with the tires without wearing out and if this is not going to happen, then you can have a replacement.

A Simple Plan Automobiles

 

Beginner Guide to Using Reddit

Beginner Guide to Using Reddit

This is called the ‘front page of the internet’, so wanting to get involved with the Reddit community is completely understandable.

But when you land on the homepage for the first time, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. Reddit is a site with its own rules, structure, and language.

If you want to get into Reddit action, read this quick guide and learn the ropes before you jump.

So what is Reddit?

Reddit is a content democracy based on a voting system. This is the place to learn the latest news and find a sense of community.

Once you start using it, you’ll find that Reddit is more culture than a site, which means it will be difficult to understand on the first day. Like turning on the first day of school and hoping to get into the direct click of the bat.

There are lots of community jokes and referrals, and although this may be a bit surprising at first, it’s the same thing that will make you feel part of an increasingly close family.

How does Reddit work?

Subreddits
This is the channel in Reddit. If you’re new, you’ll automatically subscribe to top subreddits, like Technology, Music, and Games. As you continue to use Reddit, you will find more subreddit to subscribe.

Multireddits Beginner Guide to Using Reddit
This is a customizable group so you can enter your subdocument. They will sit neatly in your side bar so you can easily get to the destination you want.

Upvoting
Help improve items with upvoting. If they get enough upvotes, they will appear on the Reddit homepage.

Downvoting
If something is not helpful or interesting, you can give it a downvote.

Score
The number of upvotes and downvotes on the item will affect the overall score. The score is between the up and down arrows. The number of upvotes minus the number of downvotes gives you the item’s score.

Karma
Karma is obtained when you continue to use Reddit. This is based on the amount of upvotes and downvotes that have been collected and your comments since you opened your account.

Learn Reddit Lingo Beginner Guide to Using Reddit

We are not joking when we say that Redditor has their own language. Here’s how to crack the code:

TL; DR – Too long, unreadable
If someone has installed a wall of text, it is not uncommon to see this in response.

HIFW – How do I feel when …
Use this along with a GIF that expresses your extreme emotional reaction to a given subject.

FTFY – Stay that for you
Usually used when a person defeats or exceeds a claim made by another Redditor.

OP – original poster
This is used when referring to the person who originally started the thread or the post in question.

ITT – In this thread
Use this when you want to generalize the community within a certain thread.

Before you post …

Do not forget to polish your Reddiquette. Do not spam and never ask others to upvote your content. Each subreddit has its own rules to follow, so do not forget to check out this before you post.

North V. South: The Battle of the Poles

North V. South: The Battle of the Poles

Your breath feels like it freezes as soon as it leaves your lungs, your back and shoulders ache from carrying equipment for days and your legs are shaking – yet, somehow, you’ve never been happier.
Traveling to the Poles is the dream of many an adventure lover. These remote, inhospitable locations offer unique sights and experiences to those brave enough to venture towards their icy hearts.

 

Practicalities

For a first-timer, the safest and most practical way of embarking on a polar expedition is by joining an organised group. This way you can make the most of professional trekkers’ experience and truly enjoy the trip knowing you are in good hands. There are several good companies which specialise in polar expeditions so do your research to find one that suits your needs.

Which Pole if For You?

Teamwork and discipline are key during these trips and you’ll make lifelong friendships with those you cross the ice with. But which Pole is for you? North or South?

North V. South

A trip to the North Pole takes around three weeks and covers around 200km. To reach it, you must head out over the frozen depths of the Arctic Ocean. Underneath metres of ice is the freezing sea, so this ice moves! The drift of ice may work against you and the air is frustratingly humid so you must constantly work to keep your tent dry. Cold management is also a constant battle – keeping warm is key to survival.

Sound like fun? Other challenges include skiing against the drift of the ice and pulling your equipment hundreds of kilometres by sled…

Though these trips are hard work, you’ll have plenty of time to admire the stunning scenery as you’re not trying to win any awards. This trip is for you to gain a better knowledge of both yourself and the strange land surrounding you. A good polar expedition company will take their team at a steady pace, allowing you to absorb the misty mountains of ice and the overwhelming sense of isolation.

A trip to the South Pole is usually shorter, coming in at about a week and a half. Unlike the Arctic, the Antarctic is a continent. Underneath the ice there is firm ground so you won’t be battling ice drift here. The air is also extremely dry – the driest on earth in fact. These factors mean that habitation is possible at the South Pole. However, the Antarctic comes with its own challenges. The driving wind works with the immobile ice to create harsh ‘sastrugi’. These irregular ridges are difficult to walk on and navigate through – especially in the high altitude which can leave you breathless or dizzy. Of course, just like in the Arctic, keeping warm is difficult but essential.

Visitors to this remote region are left speechless by the icy wilderness stretching out endlessly before them, lit by the eerie 24-hour sun that never sets.

Though the Arctic and Antarctic offer very different experiences, the feeling of euphoria when you reach your goal is the same and unparalleled. How does it sound? Terrifying? Or thrilling? If the latter, a polar expedition might just be the perfect trip for you. Good luck!

The Military Might of Burgundy: Château de Bazoches

The Military Might of Burgundy: Château de Bazoches

One of the best but frequently overlooked ways to see Europe’s sights is by water. There’s nothing like cruising in a hotel barge and immersing yourself in the local scenery and culture, especially when there’s so much to see all around you. Join us aboard L’Art de Vivre on a journey through Burgundy, and soak up some of the finest attractions that France has to offer.
For lovers of France and military history alike, L’Art de Vivre will take you exactly where you’d like to go. The Château de Bazoches is a treasure trove of historical interest, military prowess and elegant architecture.

 

Back in Time

Dating back to the twelfth century, the grand château was originally built on a Roman site, overlooking the Morvan landscape. The estate itself originates from the fashionable antiquity of the seventeenth century, as evidenced by its magnificent architecture. Walking through its halls, you can easily imagine the courtiers of King Louis XIV strolling past you.

A True Genius

The most famous owner of the château is Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, widely renowned for his military genius. He purchased the estate following his enormous success in the siege of Maastricht, for which Louis XIV rewarded him with a large sum of money. His home became the headquarters for his strategic and fortification designs, which were widely respected and used by many French cities for over a century.

Ahead of his time, Vauban understood modern advances in technology and weaponry, making him a master of military planning. He would use intricate miniature ravelins, bastions and moats to further his ideas, and became a pioneer of the bayonet rifle, the iron-barrelled cannon and the mortar. His prowess in military engineering and strategy was unparalleled, so it’s no surprise that over 300 cities in France feature his designs, including Lille, Dunkirk and Bayonne.

Luxury Libraries

Château de Bazoches is also home to an extensive library, which contains over 5,000 books and is a must-see for literature enthusiasts. Vauban himself had a passion for literature, and penned his famous Royal Tithe during his time there. Unfortunately, his written criticism of the upper classes and the inequalities of the taxation system cost him his royal favour, causing him to fall from grace for the rest of his life.

Further Information

If the rich and varied history of this grand Burgundian house sounds too good to be true, what are you waiting for? European Waterways will take you on a luxury hotel barge cruise and ensure that you take in all of France’s best sights. For more information, don’t hesitate to explore our website or get in touch with our friendly team of experts.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury hotel barge holidays in France. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

Go Sky High & Ski Free in Courmayeur

Go Sky High & Ski Free in Courmayeur

Courmayeur, nestled in the Italian Alps at the foot of Mont Blanc, may be famous as an elegant ski resort but for those who want the snow and mountains without the high octane thrills, it also offers a range of other activities.
With exclusive boutiques and excellent restaurants scattered around the resort’s pretty pedestrianised centre, combined with the short transfer from Geneva to Courmayeur, it makes a wonderful spot for a winter break, even without the skiing.

 

Mountain Views Without Skis

Restaurants and boutiques are all very well, but if you’ve come to the Alps for stunning mountain views but don’t want to do too much walking then you’ll be thrilled to discover that the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car makes the mountains accessible to all.

First built as a way of connecting the Italians of Courmayeur with the town of Chamonix in France as early as the 1930s, the original cables were destroyed by French fighter planes during World War Two.

After the war, a station was opened at 3300m, but engineers were unable to reach the summit due to the shifting glacier ice. It wasn’t until 2015 that the top station at Punta Helbronner was finally opened at 3466m.

Today the Skyway Monte Bianco takes visitors from Courmayeur, up through a series of stations, to the summit of Mont Blanc with views of many of the Alps’ highest peaks.

Spend Time at the Skyway Stations

Starting at Pontal, visitors are swept up the face of Mont Blanc to the first station of Pavillon du Mont Fréty.

Those who just want to feel they are at the heart of the mountain landscape will enjoy spending the day at the station here, enjoying the botanical garden (which specialises in Alpine plants) or relaxing in its restaurant, shopping area or cinema.

For a truly breathtaking view of the Alps, carry on up the cable car to the top station at Punta Helbronner. The modern structure (designed to look like a shard of ice) has a 360º viewing terrace and a crystal museum, as well as a café, bar and restaurant.

Relax with a Skyway Spa

Put all thoughts of aching skiing muscles out of your mind and instead imagine staying at the Pré-Saint-Didier Spa and indulging in its ‘Spa and Cable Car’ package. The deal includes days spent on Mont Blanc at the Skyway’s beautiful stations, followed by relaxing, rejuvenating treatments in the spa’s elegant therapy rooms.

How to Get There

Since relaxation and beautiful scenery is at the heart of your winter break to Courmayeur, it’s good to know that getting there couldn’t be easier. There are regular flights from the UK to Geneva, and a short, easy transfer of an hour and a half from Geneva to Courmayeur.

For the ultimate stress-free transfer from Geneva to Courmayeur, book an executive car with Shuttle Direct before you leave home and we’ll be there to meet you at the arrivals lounge when you land and take you directly to your resort accommodation.

Live in the Dry Season in the Galapagos

Live in the Dry Season in the Galapagos

Usually, the word “dry season” conjures up arid vision, inadequate. But for the outlying islands of the Galapagos Islands, the dry season is nothing boring.
Unlike some other destinations around the world, the dry moon is actually an ideal time for nature lovers to start a wildlife voyage in the Galapagos. It does not experience a typical tropical climate, and between July and December is actually a time of great activity, migration and breeding. Live in the Dry Season in the Galapagos

What Happens During The Dry Moon?

The archipelago has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The season here is directly influenced by the cold Humboldt Current, which mixes with warm water from the equatorial currents and causes the rich nutrients (from Humboldt) to rise to the surface. During the dry period of six months, currents are driven toward the island by prevailing trade winds, which have a profound effect on local ecology.

Animal Sea Abundance

With an abundant supply of food, marine life is growing rapidly at this time. Along with the number of fish that can be seen in shallow waters, the population of sharks, octopi, rays and crustaceans swells to a greater proportion. For sea turtles, this is the time of breeding in the prime and December marking the start of their nesting season. Live in the Dry Season in the Galapagos

High Height

The height of various volcanic islands means, even in the dry months, there is significant rainfall in some areas. On the plateau, the drizzle and mist of moist known as Garúa is a constant presence and, while under the conditions at the bottom is quite arid, fertile and tropical highlands. Therefore, large numbers of animals – like the Giant Turtles – migrate to higher ground for food. While this seasonal movement occurs on a smaller scale than Africa’s “big migration”, it is the same principle. To find very active wildlife, most trips to wildlife voyages in the Galapagos at this time of the year will include trips to several island plateaues.

Breeding time

Surprisingly, temperatures are lower during the dry months, and during this cold weather many species choose to breed. It is very common among bird species and, when their young are hatched, large numbers of small fish in the surrounding waters serve as a reliable source of food. Boobies, Frigate and Flightless Cormorants begin their marriage early in the dry season, and their numbers increase as the gliders begin to appear in the following months.

Other species that have a higher profile during this breeding period are the unique Lava lizards, migrant sharks, flamingoes, sea lions, penguins, whales and dolphins.

Dry Moon End

At the end of December, as the Humboldt Current slows and rises in temperature, there is a shift in wildlife activity that is clear as the second season of the archipelago – a wet approach. For those planning a wildlife voyage in the Galapagos, no time in a year is a bad time, but the dry season can be a fun and enjoyable time to visit.

Live in the Dry Season in the Galapagos

 

Introducing Young Minds to Intriguing India

Introducing Young Minds to Intriguing India

Planning a school trip brings with it more than administrative and organizational responsibilities. The challenge is on the shoulders of educators to choose goals that can engage young hearts and minds in such a way that deep and active learning can be achieved based on their immersion in culture. India is such a place – the school trip to this vibrant center of color and culture can transform life and life that is reinforcing for young minds.
Interesting Indians Introducing Young Minds to Intriguing India

School trips to India are enormous and, depending on the curriculum, can accommodate a myriad of religious sites, community projects, and aspects of local tradition and culture. The most successful trip will incorporate all of this to give a good view to all students in the country, but also some breathing spaces in places that quite often surprise their cultural system. Exploring the Unknown

For a school trip with a focus on economic and socio-political studies, experiencing striking community differences in India can give young learners valuable insights. While observing the pollution and marked trash that accompany daily life may be encountered at times, it provides an excellent opportunity for them to reflect on the need for environmental awareness.

On a different level, a visit to a community project like Father Ravi Shelter, working with homeless children in Delhi, can offer a deeper understanding of the problematic socioeconomic problems of the city and how this dedicated group works to combat them. Introducing Young Minds to Intriguing India

Religious place

A fusion of religious beliefs exist side by side in India, with relics and contemporary ornaments of Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism on a constant display. Students will have the opportunity to visit significant places of worship and witness firsthand how, even amidst diversity, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence so vast can and will last forever.

In the holy city of Rishikesh they can join in an important Hindu ritual called Gangga Aarti, which involves fire victims – in this case a small floating candle called diya – sent down the Ganges River, accompanied by prayer and song worship. While in Delhi they can follow the community food program at the beautiful Sikh temple, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, where volunteers prepare food and visitors of all races and religions are welcome to participate.

Finding Local Culture

The Indian identity is defined by deep cultural intonation. For young people, exploring cities and rural areas allows them to see how ancient traditions and contemporary innovations are closely intertwined.

A visit to the village of rural crafts offers another dimension to the tour, and Dilli Haat is a fascinating portrayal of tradition in action. This bazaar is a compilation of 62 kiosks, whose products are displayed in accordance with the birth status of the owner for 15 days. With a row of beautiful items, ranging from carvings of sandalwood to silk, this is an interesting cross section of the creative industry. Aravali Eco Village offers an immersive experience of a different kind, where visitors stay and get a chance to interact in local dances, crafts, and ceremonies.

Exploring a society very different from them in every way will bring young people beyond their comfort zone and provide a completely new facet with their worldview.

John Gardiner is Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specializing in school trips for schools and youth groups to the UK, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveler, John is keen to provide students with a valuable and exciting learning experience outside the classroom. By sharing expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and continue their studies into life. Introducing Young Minds to Intriguing India

3 Internet Tips from Someone With Experience

3 Internet Tips from Someone With Experience

The Most Important Factors to Consider When Finding a Great Internet Service Provider

It’s easy to see how so many companies these days are going to be struggling to keep up with the changing times and tools that are being used. It’s especially easy to see the kinds of shifts that are going to happen in the business world when you look at various types of communication and information-sharing strategies that companies use. Basically, you’re going to find a wide range of reasons why the internet will prove to be one of the most important tools in today’s economy, both for consumers and for companies. 3 Internet Tips from Someone With Experience

Before you can really take advantage of what the internet has to offer, though, it’s going to be important that you choose the right type of internet service provider to help you get connected. There are often a lot of different companies out there that you’ll be able to work with when it comes to connecting to the web. What this means is that you need to come up with some sort of a list of qualities that you’re going to seek out from the service provider that you’d like to work with. You’re going to find that the following guide can make it quite a bit easier for you to be able to choose a great internet provider.

What you’re generally going to want to look for when it comes to the ideal internet service provider is a sense that they will always be able to keep the internet connection you’re paying for as strong as possible each and every day. If you want to be able to engage in important communications with the people in your company’s orbit, it will be absolutely essential for you to be able to get an internet connection that is going to remain strong no matter what. You should feel more confident in the work you’re doing when you don’t have to worry about a faulty internet connection. 3 Internet Tips from Someone With Experience

Naturally, it’s also going to be very important for you to consider a couple of key additional features that you’ll be able to get from any internet provider that you work with. There are a wide range of businesses out there who will look around for an internet provider who can offer the right type of hosted phone system.

If you’re able to take a little bit of time, it will be no trouble to find a good internet company. With their reliable service backing up your company, there is no doubt that you’ll be as productive as you’d like.

3 Internet Tips from Someone With Experience