Books Set in Ireland – Five Novels to Read Before You Travel

If you are traveling to Ireland, then you will no doubt be aware of the rich literary tradition the country has. Almost everywhere you go there are references to Irish writers, such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. And even today, somehow the Irish seem to be able to tell a story better than just about anyone else – whether it be in written form, or just through a chat in the pub.

So, if a trip to The Emerald Isle is on the agenda, then it is almost compulsory to take some books set in Ireland to read on your travels. But what should you read if Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ is not quite your cup of tea? Here’s a range of novels that will take you the length and breadth of Ireland, and give you a real taste of life over the years in this country filled with passion and history.

‘The Mammy’ by Brendan O’Carroll

If you want to know more about Dublin in the 1960’s, then this story of widow Agnes Browne and her seven children will do it. This is working-class Ireland with all its squalor, laughter and alcoholic fathers, and the best news is that the book is the first of a trilogy. The next time you are approached by a cheeky Dublin lad (and there are many!), you may find yourself thinking back to Agnes and her brood.

‘Little Criminals’ by Gene Kerrigan

And now to Dublin in contemporary times. The country has had its economic miracle and everyone is an entrepreneur, even the criminals. Frankie Crowe has a scheme to make himself some money, planning to kidnap a wealthy banker and set himself up for life. While this could be just a cops and robbers novel, Kerrigan does much to portray the underbelly of Dublin life, and the social changes that have taken place over recent years.

‘Juno and Juliet’ by Julian Gough

If you decide to head to Galway (and I’d highly encourage you to do so), then this novel is one of the few that is set there. This story of identical twins during their first year at university sees them adjusting to life in the city, drinking in the bars and attending classes from time to time. It’s a coming of age story in which Galway itself is one of the main characters.

‘The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty’ by Sebastian Barry

The tensions surrounding the Irish struggle for independence lie at the heart of this novel set in the town of Sligo in Ireland’s north-west. Unable to find work, Eneas joins the British-led police force the Royal Irish Constabulary, and in the process labels himself a traitor. As a marked man he goes on the run, and while the novel follows Eneas from country to country, he sneaks back to Sligo when he can. A compelling look at 20th Century Ireland, through a character who has become a victim of his country’s fight to exist.

‘Pomegranate Soup’ by Marsha Mehran

In this novel we see a different kind of migration — the story of three Iranian sisters who move to an Irish village in the 1980’s. It’s not often you get a food-lit story set in Ireland, but Pomegranate Soup is exactly that, with its celebration of Persian cuisine. Unsurprisingly the village residents take a while to adapt to this foreign influence in one of their local cafes, and despite the novel’s focus on a different culture, it provides plenty of detail of Irish life and landscape for those trying to learn more about the country.

There are many stereotypes about the Irish, but as a traveler you have the opportunity to reach beyond the surface of Irish culture and see what lies beneath. Reading books set in Ireland will help you do that, revealing details of Irish streets and cities, hopes and history – and when you visit the places mentioned, you will feel as if you know it just that little bit better than if you had arrived a stranger.

Global Travel International and How it Works

Global Travel International is one of several Internet marketing programs in the market today that is geared towards the integration of online booking and the brick and mortar business of a travel agency. It has a pretty solid reputation, and the fact that it has been around for the past 15 years is a testament to that. However, the real question is what it means for you? This article was created with the intention of helping you find out just that.

For a start, it is best to clearly understand this system’s working principle. In a nutshell, you are basically a hired individual that is expected to do the service of lead generation, and this is how you get paid. For a period of 14 days, it offers you the opportunity to try it out if it works for you with no risk on your part. The cost for the trial offer though is considered non refundable.

The cost in membership fees includes a yearly membership fee amounting from the $200 online offer to $698 which would grant you access to extra training modules and free vacations or cruises. Expect to also pay a one time activation fee. The system has three subscription levels consisting of Silver, Gold and Platinum. They all have a yearly membership renewal fee of $199. You subscription level has no bearing on the amount of commissions earned. It all depends on how much sales you manage to secure.

You will receive your own website once you sign up for the program which you can use to direct customers who are looking for good deals and booking travel tickets. Every ticket that a customer books grants you a corresponding commission which can tracked via a reference number through the aid of the system’s web page or by the GTI Travel Reservation Center.

One of the great things about Global Travel International is the fact that it has a huge network. Currently, they have 40,000 agents located in 80 countries around the globe. As a member, you may also benefit from discounts on your travel, accommodations and automobile rental expenses. There are certainly a lot of people who chose to become members in order to benefit from these discounts and are not a bit concerned about making any sales. This is especially true for those who travel a lot allowing them to save thousands of dollars a year on their expenses. It is also an advantage when you consider the fact that you are not actually doing any efforts at selling. Thus there is no need to exert any effort on trainings. Referring people to your site is all there is to it.

Having said all the great things about Global Travel International, I’ve also found a couple of challenges regarding its use. For one thing, the business operates in a polarized market. The first instinct of many people when planning and booking their travels is to access sources such as Expedia or Priceline which is the mainstream source for travel needs. Introducing your website to a large number of customers isn’t going to be a walk in the park. It’s also not easy to avail your self of those airline agent discounts which requires you to make $100,000 worth of sales.

The Bottom Line

Having explored the facts regarding this particular home-based business opportunity, I would say that the best way to take advantage of it is to benefit from the travel discounts that the system offers you as a valued member. This would be ideal for someone who travels a lot as part of their business needs. Expect the fact though that your Travel agent card may not be valid on certain establishments, so check on this first to see if you can make the best out of it.

With regards to actually making sales, it isn’t a very easy picture to paint given the fact that your income potential translates to $25 for a $500 ticket. The challenge of introducing your website also complicates the situation. It may help if you focus on group bookings and cruises instead. So unless you are up to these challenges, I would suggest sticking to the travel discounts if you have those travel needs. What do you think? Feel free to post your own review below.

Bali In Brief – The Ultimate Concise Travel Guide

Bali is a destination offering so much to the traveller that a brief guide explaining some of the facets of the island will help to decipher the many options and hopefully assist with your vacation choices. Any holiday is about maximizing your time, even if that simply means relaxing and doing nothing. You still want to achieve the goals you set in the best possible way and depart with the belief that you maximized your experience. In order to help you achieve those goals I have compiled a brief explanatory guide to the myriad of choices the beautiful island of Bali has to offer.

Amed

This has to be one of Bali’s best-kept secrets. Amed hosts some of the islands most enchanting beaches in a peaceful, totally relaxing setting. With very little going on in regard to nightlife, this is the perfect destination for families and mature travellers.

Amlapura

Amlapura is the main town in the Karangasem Regency and is home to some of the islands most alluring attractions including the Tirta Gangga (The Water Palace).

Asahduren

Bali’s clove plantation located 20 kilometres inland from Negara. The lush bold green of the plantation is an extraordinary sight.

Barat National Park

Bali’s largest national park located on the western side of the island and occupies approximately 10% of the islands land mass. The park is considered the last refuge of one of the most endangered birds in the world, the Bali Starling.

Bangli

Bangli offers remarkable views of Mount and Lake Batur. Situated hundreds of meters above sea level, the breeze in Bangli is both cool and refreshing.

Banjar

Providing a rare opportunity to witness cockfighting (for those who like that kind of thing) Banjar also offers the chance to experience the regions wonderful hot springs.

Batubulan

Batubulan village is an artistic rural locale in the western part of Glanyar Regency. It is famous for the artistic ‘blessing dance’ of the Barong. The village is sustained by the artistic crafts of woodcarving and stone sculpturing.

Bedugul

This is a small village in the mountains regions between northern and southern Bali.

Besakih Temple

Recognized as the most important and most sacred temple in Bali. Known as the mother temple, Basakih affords spectacular views of the tropical surrounds.

Blahmantung Waterfall

This pristine waterfall is located in the Pupuan area of Tabanan. With a higher than average rainfall the area is extremely fertile. Offers the perfect place for a cooling dip in the clear waters below the falls.

Botanical Gardens

A botanists delight! Eka Karya Botanical Garden in Bedugul was founded in 1959 and is the youngest yet largest of the four Indonesian botanical gardens.

Candi Dasa

Candi Dasa is located in Karangasem Regency just 10 minutes from Tenganan villiage. Originally a fishing village it has recently undergone a rapid transformation into a thriving tourist precinct.

Celuk

Located in the sub-district of Sukawati, Celuk is considered the home of gold and silver craft in Bali.

Denpasar

Denpasar is the capital city of Bali with an estimated population of half a million residents. A number of Bali’s best museums are located in the islands capital.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana

The islands main cultural park playing home to a giant statue of Vishnu mounted on his ride that is half man and half Garuda bird.

Gianyar

The Gianyar Regency is famous for its artistry and culture. Acknowledged for its beautiful natural scenery form the mountains to the coast.

Gilimanuk

This is the main port for traffic between Bali and Java Island. The port is located west of Negara.

Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah or ‘The Elephant Cave’ is so named for the shape of its entrance. A skilfully carved depiction of hanging leaves, rocks, animals, ocean waves and demonic humang characters running from the mouth.

Goa Lawah

The name given to a cave inhabited by thousands of bats that spend most of their time hanging from the ceiling. It is also home to one of the most sacred temples in Bali, Pura Goa Lawah.

Jimbaran

Jimbaran is a fishing village that also houses some of the finest hotels in the world. The beaches of Jimbaran are lined with hundreds of seafood restaurants.

Kintamani

Mountain village with impressive panoramic views form the plateau atop Mount Batur.

Klungkung

This is a destination that holds a special place in Balinese history and culture. Once home to the kings of Klungkung and their noblemen who developed the music, art and culture that thrives there today.

Kuta

Perhaps the most recognizable place in Bali. This beachside precinct is known as the centre of nightlife activities in Bali. It is also a thriving shopping area with lines of shops, boutiques and galleries.

Lake Batur

This is the widest lake in Bali and is surrounded by magnificent scenic vistas. Considered a sacred place by the Balinese people, visitors can enjoy the hot springs near by.

Lake Bratan

Located in Bendugul, Lake Bratan is the second largest lake in Bali. Stunning views are seen from the lake of Pura Ulun Danu Temple on its shore.

Lovina

Lovina Beach is a 12-kilometre stretch of coast to the northwest of Singaraja in northern Bali. Lovina is considered by many to be the best family vacation spot on the island of Bali.

Mount Agung

Agung is Bali’s highest mountain peak. It is believed to be the home of the gods in Balinese culture. Bali’s most sacred temple, The Mother Temple of Besakih is perched on its slopes.

Negara

Negara is best known for the famous bull races. This area is remote and rarely visited by tourists and offers a glimpse of the true Bali.

Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is home to the largest international five-star resorts on Bali. A peaceful, relaxed atmosphere with calm beaches this location is suited to the more discerning traveller.

Nusa Ceningan

This area is home to Bali’s largest seaweed farms.

Nusa Lembongan

A small island located 20-kilometres off the eastern coast of Bali. The island is known as a ‘virgin island’ with crystal clear water and local seaweed farming. It is also world-renowned for its quality surf breaks.

Nusa Menjangan

This is a small diving island off the northwest coast of Bali and is exclusive to a set number of divers per day.

Nusa Penida

Another of Bali’s smaller islands that is renowned for the chances of seeing sharks, turtles and its reef system in crystal clear visibility.

Nusa Serangan

Better known as Turtle Island this small island is used as a turtle sanctuary. Locals house turtle eggs in purpose made huts until hatched and released.

Padangbai

This is a small fishing village in the east of Bali. It is well-known for its beautiful white sandy beaches.

Sengeh Monkey Forest

Located in the south-west of Bali this small section of forest is renowned for its primate population who inhabit both the trees and the local temple.

Sanur

Sanur is one of Bali’s largest traditional villages and a well-established tourist area. Recognized as one of Bali’s best snorkelling and diving locations.

Seminyak

Seminyak is widely considered to be Bali’s premiere tourist destination with its natural relaxed appeal, world-class accommodation and fabulous fine dining restaurants.

Singaraja

Once the capital city of Bali, Singaraja was the main port during the Dutch occupation of the island and retains a strong colonial feel.

Tabanan

The Regency of Tabanan is home to the dramatic temple of Tanah Lot that is best known as the most photographed temple in Bali.

Tanah Lot

This is one of the most popular places of interest in Bali. Tanah Lot is home to Bali’s most impressive ocean front Hindu temple.

Tanjung Benoa

A beautiful area of Bali best recognized for its large number of coconut palms. It is one of Bali’s most perfect water-sports locations.

Tegallalang

Tegallalang is a major arts and craft location with amazing views of the layered rice fields.

Tulamben

This is a small town on the northeast coast of Bali. It is world-renowned for its famous dive site that contains a stunningly diverse underwater eco-system, especially around the wreck of the Liberty Glo, a US Army Transport ship torpedoed by Japanese submarines in 1943.

Ubud

Ubud is best known as Bali’s centre of art, craft, dance and music. The spectacular views of terraced rice fields make it one of Bali’s most visited destinations.

Uluwatu

This site is famous for its magnificent cliff top views and surf break. With its spectacular temple overlooking the clear blue water of the ocean below. Large numbers of monkeys inhabit the area.

Hopefully this concise look at the island of Bali will assist you with planning your next visit. With so much to do and so little time it is highly recommended to forward plan and list some of the key elements you would like to incorporate into your Bali holiday. Whatever your choices, I have no doubt at all that your time spent in this magical slice of paradise will be treasured forever.