The Engaging Ireland Podcast

Providing travel tips, guides to places of interest, interviews and all things Ireland – Hosted by Travis and Kathy Nelson

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Ep. 32 – Finn Mac Cumhal and the Captaincy of the Fianna

Illustration by Stephen Reid

It is said that Finn Mac Cumhal fought a goblin of the fairy folk on Samhain-eve on the hill of Tara. In this special Halloween-week episode, we tell the story of Finn and how he became the captain of the Fianna of Erinn.

This story is from “The High Deeds of Finn and Other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland”, By T.W. Rolleston, Illustrated by Stephen Reid, which can be found on Project Gutenberg at

Posted 3 years ago.

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Ep 31. – A History of Halloween Traditions

This is the first of a special Halloween series, where we explore the history of contemporary Halloween traditions and observances, such as bonfires, jack o’lanterns, costumes and trick or treating.

Posted 3 years ago.

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MiniCast – The State of the Podcast 2014

We’re back! Sorry to have been gone for so long!

In this small episode, we talk about what we’ve been up to and what our plans for new episodes.

We also mention the Thin Places tours led by our friend Mindie Burgoyne. You can check out her website at

Please follow us on FaceBook!

Comment below to let us know what you want us to talk about in upcoming episodes. What have you always wanted to know about Ireland or Irish travel? Been to Ireland and seen something amazing! Let us know about your experiences so we can share it with others that love Ireland too!

Posted 3 years, 1 month ago.

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Ep. 30 – Our Irish Firsts

In this episode, we talk about a request we got from the folks over at Infinite Ireland (, which prompted us to reminisce about all of the Irish “firsts” we experienced during our first trip to Ireland. We hope that you enjoy reliving the joys of our first days in Ireland with us!

Here are some of the places we remembered from that first trip:

Fairymount Farm –

The Rock of Cashel –

Clonmacnoise –

The Clonfinlough Stone –

Bunratty Folk Park –

Ailwee Cave –

Birr Castle –

Poulnabrone –

Craggaunowen –

The Cliffs of Moher –


Posted 5 years, 1 month ago.

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Ep. 29 – In the Footsteps of Patrick

Hill of Slane

In this episode, we follow in the footsteps of Saint Patrick, paying a visit to a few of the key sights connected with Ireland’s patron saint. Below you will find links to a variety of resources providing information about the sites included in this show.


Info about Slemish Mountain from Discover Northern Ireland:


To get to Slemish: take the A42 Carnlaugh road from Ballymena towards Carnlaugh/Glenarm on the Antrim Coast (or vice versa). About 7 miles outside Ballymena and to the right of the road is the little village of Buckna. Just outside it is Carnstroan Lane which will take you to the car park at the foot of Mountain.


Saints and Stones: Saul Church, County Down


To get to Saul Church: From Downpatrick, follow the A25 to Strangford. Turn right onto Mearne Road. At the crossroads, turn right following the signpost for the church.


Hill of Slane:


Croagh Patrick, County Mayo


Visitor’s Centre for Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick is situated five miles from Westport on the R335 road. The Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre, Teach na Miasa, is situated in Murrisk on the Pilgrim’s path at the base of Croagh Patrick mountain and opposite the National Famine Monument.


Croagh Patrick is situated near the town of Westport in County Mayo, Ireland. It is approximately 92 km from Galway City and 230 km from Dublin City. The main pilgrimage route originates in the village of Murrisk, 8km outside Westport. Westport is served by both bus and train from Dublin and Galway. The Croagh Patrick Information Centre is a further 8 km west of the town of Westport.


Normally, it takes about two hours for the average person to reach the summit, and one and a half hours to descend. What equipment is necessary for the climb? It is advisable to take sturdy footwear, rainwear and some drinking water. Climbing sticks are for sale at the Centre.


The Centre provides the following facilities: restaurant, information services, guided tours of the mountain, packed lunches, secure lockers, craft shop, shower facilities (for a nominal fee).

What are the Centre’s business hours? Spring Season (April and May) 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. High Season (June through August) 10.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m. Shoulder Season (September and October) 11.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Low Season (November through March) Limited opening hours. Please e-mail for details. If you’re interested in possibly joining a group pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, call on this number for more information: +353 (0) 98 28871.


Discover Ireland website:

Directions: Croagh Patrick is situated five miles from Westport on the R335 road. The Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre, Teach na Miasa, is situated in Murrisk on the Pilgrim’s path at the base of Croagh Patrick mountain and opposite the National Famine Monument.

Note: Croagh Patrick is a high mountain and is a difficult climb, so those climbing it should be prepared. It is advisable to wear solid footwear and bring good clothing, a stick and mobile phone. It can get very cold on top of the mountain and weather conditions can change during the course of the climb.

Pilgrimages: For group pilgrimage enquiries call: +353 (0) 98 28871

Opening Details: Opening Details Public access to the mountain. Visitor Centre open daily from St Patrick’s Day through to October.


Jim Burns’ account of his amazing, but harrowing climb on Croagh Patrick.



St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, County Armagh info came from here:


April – October: 9.00am – 5.00pm

November – March: 9.00am – 4.00pm

Group tours must be pre-arranged with the Cathedral Steward.


As the Cathedral receives no state funding visitors are invited to make a small donation to assist with the preservation of this historic building. The suggested amount is £3 for adults or £2 concession.


Sunday Services

10.00am Holy Communion – (Said – No sermon or hymns) Traditional Form except 2nd Sunday

11.00am Sung Eucharist – Choral Matins 2nd Sunday, Contemporary Form

3.15pm Choral Evensong – Sung Eucharist 2nd Sunday, Traditional Form


Weekday Services (Monday – Saturday)

9.30am Said Matins

12.30pm Celtic Eucharist – 1st Wednesday of each month


St. Tassach’s Church, Raholp, Co. Down


Down Cathedral 


+44 (0) 28 4461 4922
+44 (0) 28 4461 4456




From Visit Downpatrick website”


Opening Hours:-
Monday – Saturday – 9.30am to 4.30pm
Sunday – to 5.00pm



Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick

+44 (0)28 4461 9000

+44 (0)28 4461 9111


Opening Hours:

January – December

Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday Closed
St. Patrick’s Day 9am – 7pm

July – August

Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 1pm – 5pm

The Centre is located on the Market Street, in Downpatrick’s town centre.

Travel by Bus and Rail from Belfast:

The local Ulsterbus service regularly goes twice an hour from Belfast to Downpatrick. The Europa Bus Centre is located in Glengal Street beside the Opera House and behind the Europa Hotel. The journey takes just over an hour and the Centre is a 2 minute walk from Downpatrick Bus Station. See the Ulsterbus timetable for more details about your specific journey.

Travel by Bus and Rail from Dublin to Downpatrick:

Regular services run from Dublin Connolly Station the Dublin Busaras bus station and Dublin Airport. A connection can be made in Newry or a rail and bus connection through Belfast. The Centre is a 2 minute walk from Downpatrick Bus Station.


Travelling by Road from Dublin:

Take the M1 North to Dundalk, the N1 to Newry, enter the town and take the A25 to Downpatrick through Hilltown and Castlewellan.

Travelling by Road from Belfast:

Take the A24 out of Belfast heading for Newcastle and the A7 to Downpatrick through Carryduff, Saintfield and Crossgar.


Adults £ 4.95

Children £ 2.55

Concession £ 3.35

Family £11.75
(2 Adults & 2 Children)

Adult Groups £ 3.30
(25 or more)

Children’s Groups £ 2.25
(25 or more)

Senior Citizen Groups £ 2.70

Education Group £ 3.50

Auditorium Only £ 2.15



Assorted links to information about Saint Patrick:

Jump into Ireland Blog about St. Patrick’s Trail


The Catholic Church’s information about St. Patrick


St Patrick’s Cathedral – Armagh and its link to Patrick



A recreation of Saint Patrick’s legendary journey

From Pocket Britain


The Real St. Patrick, Bishop of Ireland

by Fr. Kristopher and Matushka Elizabeth Dowling

Posted 5 years, 8 months ago.

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