Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Travel on RTE’s Today

This week on RTEs Today Show I was telling about the wonders of Travel to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.

Located in the north east of the United States Pennsylvania has a lot of different sides. To the east beautiful national parks and historic Philadelphia on the Delaware River and the west is part of the Appalachian Trail and touches the Great Lakes and start of the midwest. Philadelphia is located half way between New York and Washington DC making it central for anyone wanting to explore the north-east of America

Two airlines connect Ireland directly to Philadelphia from Dublin, Aer Lingus and American Airlines with flights daily from Dublin.

Philadelphia City

Founded in 1701 by William Penn who gave the state and the city its name, Philadelphia aka the City of Brotherly Love, is the sixth largest city in America, with a population of 1.5 million it is the second biggest city in the north-east. Fairmount Park is one of the largest city parks in the world covering over 2000 acres.

The Independence Museum Park is a must stop for history buffs as it houses, Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 and later the United States Constitution. The building which was originally built as the Pennsylvania state house was the centre of American political life in the 1700s. The Liberty Bell became a symbol of freedom and independence during the American Revolution and its famous crack has become a symbol of national unity and resilience.

The Museum of the American Revolution is dedicated to the timeline of the story of the American Revolution and holds many amazing artefacts including George Washington’s tent.

Philadelphia City Hall is rather unique it’s built in the centre of Penn Square which was a primary location of public gatherings. It’s 548 feet tall at the top of the building there is a large statue of William Penn overlooking the city of Philadelphia and the sea. It is an impressive example of the French second Empire architectural style.

One of the popular attractions is the Eastern State Penitentiary, a former prison, which operated from 1821 until 1971 and is considered to be the first penitentiary designed, so the inmates were placed in separate confinement. It had numerous infamous criminals, including the notorious, Chicago gangster, Al Capone, and bank robber wheelie seven.
Places like the barbershop and infirmary and numerous artist.

Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest continually inhabited a street in America it was intentionally built close to the port as most of the inhabitants were merchants
Today the street is a National historic Landmark. American Football is another great draw with the Philadelphia Eagles did very well last season making it to the finals of 2023 Superbowl.


Pennsylvania is a tax free state for clothes and shoes so a great stop off to go shopping!


Art in Philadelphia 

Everyone who saw the 1976 movie Rocky is familiar with The Philadelphia Museum of Art where Sylvester Stallone ran up those steps. It was founded in 1876, with thousands of works of art spanning over 2000 years of world culture.

Philadelphia is a walking outdoor gallery as The National public art program was launched in 1984 to create a space for artists with a goal to turn public spaces into art. If you take one of the many segway or walk tours through you will notice murals at every corner, spread out throughout the city. It was voted best city for Street ART by USA Todays Readers Choice Awards for 2023.

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Love Park also known as John F. Kennedy Plaza is a public park located in the heart of Philadelphia. It is best known for its iconic love statue at 14 foot tall red aluminium statue designed by Robert Indiana features. This large space is popular for people to relax and enjoy the city. It’s also used as a gathering place for events and concerts and popular for skateboarders. I personally loved the Barnes Foundation, home to one of the most significant collection of impressions and early modernist works in the world.

Did you know that Philadelphia is also home to a remarkable collection of cars from around the world – Simeone Automotive Foundation is close to the airport and even if you only have a day in the city it’s a must see- with winners of the mille mighla race and fastest cars in the world from each decade – including Bonnerville flats racers.

Reading Terminal Market

America’s founding city is the latest of just eight destinations in the United States to be selected by Michelin for inclusion in their distinguished collection of global food guidebooks. The best place to have a truly authentic philly cheesesteak (cheesy steak and onion sandwich) is at Reading terminal market – an indoor food Emporium offering fresh food from over 100 merchants. It was established in 1893, making it not only one of the largest but also one of the oldest food markets in America. Reading terminal market offers a plethora of local foods such as pretzels and apple dumplings and donuts. Philadelphia is known as the snack capital of the world.

Hershey Park

In Dauphin County Hershey Park is famous as the home of America’s favourite chocolate brand. Travellers come from all over to explore the town field and chocolate. We can enjoy Hersey’s in Ireland now and this theme park is in the site where the chocolate was originally made – a modern day Willy Wonka Chocolate factory. There is a rich history of dairy farming in the area with a collection of great things to do and fun shopping. Don’t forget Pennsylvania offers tax free shopping, which means the price you see on the label is the price you pay without hidden taxes at the checkout.

Dutch Country 

Pennsylvania Dutch country in the county of Lancaster, you can find a large portion of the states Amish, Mesonite and Brethern communities. Pilgrims from the 1700s they left Europe to avoid persecution and have maintained their way of life for centuries. Much of the area is rural with whitewashed fences, perfect covered barns, and horse-drawn buggies. Using only basic agricultural equipment and no modern technology they preserve an eco friendly existence that doesn’t infringe on the environment.
One of the best ways to explore this countryside is at the local markets, where are you will find, Apple butter and shoofly pie.
The best place to learn more about the Amish community visit, the Amish experience and the Amish farm and house are a must visit.


I’m not sure if you remember having to study the Gettysburg Address for the inter cert in the prose book exploring English 2 but it starts…four score years and more…. and was a famous speech by Abraham Lincoln. Gettysburg is the site of one of the most significant battles ever fought in the American Civil War and the battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, three days of fighting resulted in heavy casualties and the retreat of the confederate army. This is where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address, counting all men equal. It also marked a turning point of the war making the abolition of slavery a cause of the war. Today the park which is over 2,000 acres is home to the Gettysburg information centre, where you can get a fully guided walking tour, bus tour or segway to take you around the site

Pennsylvania countryside and Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens- Located in Chester County, PA, about an hour outside of Philadelphia, Longwood Gardens showcases more than 9,000 species and varieties of plants spread out across more than 1,000 acres of gardens and elaborate horticultural displays. PA has the longest fall foliage due to 120 varieties of trees.

Total Eclipse

Next year there will be a Total eclipse over parts of the USA in April 2024 A good base in this area is the city of Erie, near the natural beauty of Presque Isle State Park. This park has a sandy peninsula ideal for maximizing your duration of totality, up to a generous 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Another location is Erie Bluffs State Park with viewpoints 90 feet about Lake Erie. From this vantage, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Moon’s shadow crossing the lake.

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