Unusual October Attractions Greet Ireland and UK Visitors

Haunted Hampton Court
Haunted Hampton Court // Photo by newsteam.co.uk

Munich’s Oktoberfest attracts crowds from around the globe. Dublin’s version isn’t quite as well known. But it’s a good suggestion for clients who may be heading to the Emerald Isle in the coming weeks. 

Dublin’s Oktoberfest takes place through October 4 at George’s Dock in the IFSC Docklands. Admission is free for the event, which features authentic Bavarian beers and iconic culinary specialties such as sausages, pretzels, Käsespätzle and pastries. A roster of entertainment includes folk bands, yodelers and polka dancing lessons. 

“The Oktoberfest is pretty authentic. Even the barmaids come from Germany,” Laura Hoover Lamb, founder of McKinney Shaw Travel, tells Travel Agent


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Custom trips to Ireland and Northern Ireland are Hoover Lamb’s specialty. It’s an interest a long time in the making. 

“My mom is Irish and my entire family lives there. My parents worked for Delta, so we were able to go to the island several times per year,” said Hoover Lamb. 

Though she still makes frequent visits to Ireland and Northern Ireland, fall is her favorite time to travel. 

“It’s not as crowded as it is in June and July. You can get into restaurants. And it’s still green,” said Hoover Lamb.

Kari Jevert’s clients are typically interested in travel to Europe during late spring and summer.

“I do tell them that during fall and winter, the lines aren’t as long and the rates are better,” said Jevert, a travel consultant with All About Vacations.

Ireland has been especially popular this year, said Jevert. The destination is also attracting a surprising range of clients.  

One recent inquiry is particularly fitting as Halloween approaches. 

“I actually had a priest come to me the other day who wants to go to Ireland. He said he’s always been interested in ghosts. He’s been researching haunted palaces and told me the ones he’s like to visit. I thought that was a bit unusual to say the least,” said Jevert. 

Then again, it may not be that unusual. “Haunted Tours” of historic castles, palaces and other destinations are becoming increasingly popular in the U.K.

Cupola in Kensington Palace
Cupola in Kensington Palace

In London, “Eerie Evening Tours” will soon be available at Kensington Palace. The royal residence in Kensington Gardens was Queen Victoria’s childhood home. Princess Diana lived there, as do her sons today. 

The “Eerie Evening Tours” highlight Victorian legends and unexplained mysteries of the historic palace. They’re scheduled for select dates beginning October 30 and will run through January 2016. A special Halloween tour takes place October 31 and Christmas tour on December 12. 

Upstream from Central London, Hampton Court Palace marked its 500th anniversary this year. Henry VIII’s legendary residence is acclaimed for its architecture, landscaping and tumultuous history. Beginning October 31, the darker side of that history comes into focus during twice-weekly Victorian Ghost Tours

The Haunted Gallery at Hampton Court Palace. // Photo by Historic Royal Palaces/newsteam.co.uk
The Haunted Gallery at Hampton Court Palace. // Photo by Historic Royal Palaces/newsteam.co.uk

A few hours from London, the 1, 100 year-old Warwick Castle sits on the banks of the River Avon. From October 24 - November 1, visitors can take part in “The Haunted Castle” tour. It includes a fire joust, and a dungeon tour accompanied by tales of condemned prisoners and the Black Death

If clients are venturing to Scotland, they may have Glamis Castle in Angus on their itinerary. Dating from the 14th century, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. 

It’s also said to be the most haunted castle in the British Isles. 

Glamis Castle has a strong connection to the royal family. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was born there, as was Princess Margaret

Visitors lucky (or unlucky) enough to be at Glamis Castle on October 31 will enjoy a special Halloween twist on the castle tour. Activities for all ages will highlight the ghost legends and mysteries surrounding the castle over the centuries. 

Even a play set at Glamis Castle is said to be cursed. The superstitious refer to it by a nickname, “The Scottish Play.” 

It’s better known as Shakespeare’s Macbeth

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