Unsurprisingly 2020 was not a good year for work as a Tour Guide, very little travel, therefore not so many visitors to this lovely part of the world. However, there have been highlights, such as working with local people and visitors to Armagh from the island of Ireland, staycation was the theme of the summer and I was really happy to be able to showcase this city during the period when restrictions eased. Thanks to Tourism Northern Ireland one of the best and most enjoyable days I had this year was on 10th August when I had the pleasure of meeting and being the local guide for the Award Winning Travel Journalist, Radio and TV Presenter, Ed Finn.
It is fitting that Ed arrived on one of the brightest, sunniest days we had all summer. Ed has a show on Sunshine Radio and joked with me that he brings the sunshine everywhere he goes, from that moment I knew that we were going to get along famously. Ed was travelling around Northern Ireland with camera man Ciaran O’Donnell whilst putting together a TV programme for DiscoverNI to record some of the New Experiences which will be featured under the Embrace A Giant Spirit umbrella. Ed had been on a brief visit to Armagh before but this time he was coming back for an in depth guided tour. We started off on the Hill of Armagh which was very apt because even though this city is built on 7 Hills, Armagh takes its name from this particular hill, it translates from the Irish version Ard Mhacha, the height of Macha, a Mythological Celtic Queen, a supernatural being, a War Goddess. I have developed a new experience “Unearthing Macha” which will explore her story and links to this city.
Under the blue skies and in the warm sunshine we had a leisurely walk around Armagh, delving deeper into many of the interesting aspects of this unique city, uncovering the links with St Patrick, with Brian Boru, arguably the most famous High King of Ireland who is buried in the shadow of St Patrick’s CofI Cathedral and admiring the beautiful Georgian architecture which abounds here. Ed was very interested to hear that Armagh is the only Cathedral in the world to have 2 Cathedrals named after the same saint – St Patrick, patron Saint of Ireland. In a matter of hours we covered 2 millenia before Ed and Ciaran had to continue their journey but they solidly assured me that they would revisit to discover more about our heritage in this corner of the Emerald Isle.
Ed has been promoting travel and tourism for over 20 years, he has a weekly travel show on Sunshine Radio and is a regular contributor on RTE’s Today Show, as well as writing for a range of well known newspapers and magazines.