The Office of Public Works (OPW) now administrates the former Guinness family estate at Farmleigh, beside Phoenix Park. Farmleigh is closed to the public during government business and visits by foreign dignitaries, but the house and over 30 hectares of gardens and parkland are usually open to visitors on Thursdays, Fridays, weekends and bank holidays from March to December.
The old town is the heart of Estonia's capital city, Tallinn. That Baltic jewel is an ideal place for walking. Within a compact pedestrian area, there are historic churches, defensive towers and walled fortifications. The Gothic townhall used by Hanseatic merchants dominates Raekoja Plats, the cobbled market square. On the steeple, a symbolic town guard has served for centuries as a weather vane. The omens are favourable as the sun shines.
Stroll back into medieval history in Bergen, formerly Norway's capital. The old city is beside the harbour. Rows of distinctive wooden buildings line the waterfront at Bryggen. The Hansetic merchants' trading centre is now a museum recalling the austere lifestyle of German apprentices who prepared dried fish for export.
On Mount Pelier in the Dublin mountains, the Hellfire Club is a prominent landmark although trees obscure some views. From the carpark off the R 115 at Kilakee, follow the forest road winding its way to the summit. For shorter steeper routes, walk on the trails through the woods. Take care during Coillte forestry operations. Here and in nearby Massey woods there is a wide variety of trees: Sitka spruce, noble fir, Japanese larch, Douglas fir, sycamore, Spanish chestnut and Lawson cypress. Watch for heather, bilberry and furze, deer, squirrel and foxes.
Above the village of St Cergues, about an hour by car from Geneva, we started to walk in a French forest. It was baby Ruari's first mountain hike in an elaborate papoose which his parents took turns to carry on their backs. A notice- board asked visitors to respect the flora and fauna of this amenity area in Haute-Savoie, Savoy, formerly a separate state.
This waymarked route starts near the visitor centre in Glenveagh National Park. The walk takes about an hour on gravel and grassy paths, with limited access for wheelchairs and buggies. The trail traverses many habitats, including old oak woods, doire leathan, from which the trail is named. Observe the rich natural heritage and view Lough Veagh, the castle and Derryveagh mountains.
This peaceful place, ideal for reflective strolls, is dedicated to the memory of those who died for Irish freedom, especially in the 1916 Rising. President de Valera opened the gardens on Easter Monday, 1966 on the site of the Rotunda Vauxhall Gardens. Daithi Hanley's design reflects the Rising's themes. Liam MacUistin's prize-winning poem, "We saw a vision", is etched in Irish and English on the back wall. Human figures transformed into swans, recalling the Children of Lir legend, symbolise rebirth, victory and elegance.