Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Splendors and Surprises in Ireland’s Killarney National Park

Ross Castle, Killarney National Park, IrelandSmack in the middle of the town of Killarney in western Ireland, my hotel, the fantastic Foley’s Townhouse, originally a coaching inn from 1795, provided exceptionally easy access to Killarney National Park, just a 15-minute stroll away. It was the first time I ever walked from my bedroom into a national park. That unbeatable proximity is a pleasant introduction to this outstanding park, which not only boasts the features you would expect to see in a national park, but a few surprises as well. Read more >


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Portals to Greatness: The World’s Best Entryways

Canadian Parliament, Ottawa, OntarioFor better or worse, we often make snap decisions about books, or magazines, or people, by their cover. Sometimes we’re right, and the contents inside are as wonderful or as horrendous as we prejudged; sometimes we’re wrong, and exactly the opposite happens. When it comes to the world’s most magnificent building entrances, however, they never fail: They invariably lead to something magical inside, but they also always capture our attention, seducing us into admiring them on their own merit. Read more about the top five entryways in the world >


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Five Things You’ll Love to Do in Dublin, Ireland

Long Hall, Trinity College, Dublin, IrelandEvery March 17, the world is invited to be Irish in honor of St. Patrick, the fifth-century missionary and bishop who brought Christianity to Ireland and reputedly rid the entire island of snakes. Whether you’re celebrating by attending a parade, slow-cooking some corned beef and cabbage, toasting this rich heritage with a shot of Jameson’s Irish whiskey, or simply donning something green, this is the day to appreciate everything the Emerald Isle has to offer. If you’re in Dublin on this holiday, you’ll be lucky to be part of the annual celebrations. But even if you miss it, this lively city offers plenty for the other 364 days of the year. Read more about my top five things to see and do in Dublin >


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Five Doors to Admire Before You Open Them

House of the Blackhead, Tallinn, EstoniaWe pass through doors countless times every day — in our home, our workplace, the subway, elevators, barns, garages. Most are fairly unremarkable, utilitarian means of egress. But every now and then, a masterfully crafted door stands out in the crowd, arresting our attention, hinting at something remarkable behind it and enticing us to go inside and discover the treasures or surprises awaiting us on the other side. These are my top five doors in the world. Read more >


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Ambling Around One of the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens at Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, Ireland

Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, IrelandOne of the best things about Dublin, Ireland, is the ease with which you can reach other destinations outside this hectic metropolis, whether it’s another city, like Belfast, or the famed Irish countryside. I took advantage of the abundant connections by hopping on a double-decker bus to the village of Enniskerry to see the famous gardens at Powerscourt Estate — 47 acres of spectacular grounds, including Italian and Japanese gardens, the tallest tree in Ireland, and a pet cemetery that includes a tombstone for a 17-year-old-cow named Eugenie. Read more>


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Five Churches in Ireland That Require Your Attendance

Ceiling, Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork, IrelandWith thousands of churches all over the Emerald Isle, you never have to go very far to find a house of worship. Their styles span nearly a millennium, their denominations vary — and going to church has never been more interesting. Combining fascinating history, spectacular architecture, and centuries of spirituality and tradition, they have become irreplaceable components of both the cities in which they stand and the typically green countryside that they adorn. These are my top five churches in Ireland. Read more >


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Five Post Offices That Truly Deliver

Post Office, Ljubljana, SloveniaIn the present era of instantaneous communication and e-everything, post offices around the world are in serious decline. But it wasn’t all that long ago when post offices were the lifeline of nations, delivering long-anticipated letters, critical documents, history-making news, and packages of all shapes and sizes. Their vital importance was reflected in the grandeur of the buildings that housed them . Although some of them no longer serve their original purpose, these are my five favorite post offices in the world. Read more >