Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way is a world-famous coastal route that spans seven of Ireland’s counties, taking in some breathtaking scenery along the way.

From Donegal to Galway, Kerry to Cork, the sights and sounds of the Wild Atlantic Way will stun your senses and reinvigorate your soul.

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Irish govt negotiating new US visa deal for Irish graduates

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Thousands of Irish graduates who seek to come to the US on the highly popular J1 12-month work experience program will be anxiously awaiting new negotiations on the visa program.

The pilot program is set to expire in October 2014, after five years, and as yet there has been no announcement to renew it.

The Irish Embassy, however, has confirmed negotiations are underway.

“Discussions between the Embassy and the U.S. State Department are currently underway with a view to ensuring that suitable arrangements are put in place for continuation of the Program beyond October,” they said in a statement.

US sources say a new deal could be announced soon, and there are hopes that the plan could even be extended to two years if the US State Department agreed.

The graduate JI visa is different to the student one, which sees undergrads come to the US for summer-long working vacations.

The Irish government and the US State Department put the J1 graduate visa together in 2009 after major efforts by the Irish side to make America more open. It is a reciprocal arrangement.

To qualify, an applicant had to:

· Be a citizen of Ireland.

· Be a bona fide post-secondary college/university student (enrolled and participating) or a recent graduate.

· Provide proof of sufficient financial resources, prior to the issuance of a Form DS-2019, to support themselves throughout their exchange visitor program and for their return home.

However, the opportunity presented by the end of the program may be to extend it for a two-year period by having the student renew after one year for a further year.

Many students have been unable to get long term jobs because of the one-year limit, which many employers dislike.

A leading immigration expert told IrishCentral that the new visa, if it comes, could be turned to Ireland’s advantage. ”I see no reason why it could not be extended to two years if that were done in the right way,” he said.

The extension of the visa will likely be be one of the first issues new US ambassador-designate Kevin O’Malley will face when he goes to Dublin.

Best country in the World

IRELAND is the best country in the world according to a new survey that ranks nations according to their contribution to humanity and the planet.

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The Irish topped the poll of 125 countries and their contributions to seven categories, including prosperity and equality.

The UK was seventh overall, but was awarded the top contribution to science and technology.

War-torn Iraq, Libya and Vietnam came in the bottom three of the survey, which has compiled its results for the first time this year.

The Good Country Index is the brainchild of respected independent policy adviser Simon Anholt, and combines 35 separate indicators from the United Nations, the World Bank and other international institutions, and ranks countries accordingly.

Mr Anholt works with various heads of state and governments, and has developed innovative strategies, policies and projects for more than 50 countries, enabling them to engage more positively and productively with other nations.

He said: “The idea of the Good Country Index is pretty simple; to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away.

“Using a wide range of data from the UN and other international organisations, we’ve given each country a balance sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.”

Mr Anholt insisted the survey was not designed to name and shame nor to make moral judgments about countries, but to recognise the importance of contributing to the greater good in a globalised society.

He hopes it will spark debate about what the purpose of a country is. He said: “Do they (countries) exist purely to serve the interests of their own politicians, businesses and citizens, or are they actively working for all of humanity and the whole planet? The debate is a critical one, because if the first answer is the correct one, we’re all in deep trouble.”

Mr Anholt called for countries to stop behaving “as if they are islands”. He added: “The whole world is connected as never before, yet we still treat countries as if each one was located on its own private planet.

“It’s time countries started thinking about the international consequences of their actions; if they don’t, the global challenges like climate change, poverty, economic crises, terrorism, drugs and pandemics will only get worse.”

The list looks at the size of a country’s economy, and then assesses its global contributions to science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, the planet and climate, prosperity and equality, and the health and well-being of humanity.

While Ireland topped the poll, the Nordic region makes a collective contribution to humanity and the planet which far outstrips any other part of the world. The United States came 21st in a ranking that was dragged down by poor scores on international peace and security.

Outside of western Europe and the English-speaking world, the highest ranked country is Costa Rica, which comes in at 22nd place, while Chile was ranked in 24th place.

The African nation which contributes most to the planet is Kenya, which, at 26th place, is the only country on the continent to break into the top 30.

Researchers said Kenya was an “inspiring example” which showed that making a meaningful contribution to society is “by no means the exclusive province of rich ‘first-world’ nations”.

 

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention beyond Munster ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures.

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Kiss The Blarney Stone – The Stone of Eloquence

For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate.

Once upon a time, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, we are rather more cautious of the safety of our visitors. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence.

Guinness Storehouse

The massive seven-storey building, a former Guinness® fermentation plant, has been remodeled into the shape of a giant pint of Guinness. A visit will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about this world famous beer from how Guinness is made to the ancient craft of Guinness barrel making in the Cooperage.

GUINNESS STOREHOUSE
GUINNESS STOREHOUSE