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The Sporting Life In Ireland
By Mike Thiel

With its mild climate and rural character, Ireland is a paradise for out-of-doors enthusiasts. Hunting, shooting, fishing, riding, and golfing opportunities abound. Pursuing these sports here will usually cost you less than in other parts of the world, but usually requires a bit of planning. If you plan to spend any time indulging in outdoor activities, bring waterproof boots from home, or better yet, buy a pair of wellies; it's one souvenir you'll actually use back home.

Angling

If you'd like to wet a line in an Irish stream, you'll need a license; they're relatively inexpensive. On the more famous streams and rivers, you'll have to rent a "beat" (a stretch of the stream), and will want the services of a local "ghillie," Gaelic for guide. For $40 to $100 a day, a ghillie will show you where the fish are and what to tease them with; the higher amount usually includes licenses and equipment.

The fee almost always includes a day's worth of colorful local lore and entertaining fish tales. Fishing gear may be hard to rent or borrow; it's best to bring your own.

Lough Corrib, in Co. Galway, is one of Ireland's most famous trout and salmon waters. At two of the gorgeous rental homes we checked out, you can rent a boat, keep it at your own dock, and fish to your heart?s content. A fleet of skiffs bobs at the ready at Belle Isle, an island estate we visited on Lough Erne. Guests staying in the ancient, palatial country home or in one of the more modest apartments in the converted stables and carriage house can use a skiff for just $13 a day.

Spring/Summer 2000



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