In other duck-related news..

What’s up, 🦆: Jimmy and Donald

It’s where the stars come out to shine… and there are few bigger stars in my eyes than The Donald.

While a group of Asian tourists gathered around Michael Jackson’s star on the Walk of Fame I sought out Disney’s greatest character.

You can do a walking tour of the stars that will take you an hour, and I did notice four stars with no names on them… waiting for Bandanaman, The Scary One, The Son And Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl obviously.

I’m wearing TK Maxx

Talking of walks, no walk in Hollywood is complete without a scaling of the Oscars staircase.

In the week that’s in it with me being named Irish Travel Editor of the Year it seemed only appropriate that I was here.

I would like to dedicate this to my best friend in primary school, my English teacher when I was 13, the lollipop lady, my running coach, my first editor…

For the full speech… well, you’ll just have to wait the two hours it will take to write it.

And to think that the first Oscars ceremony was all over in 20 minutes!

Of course, The Donald has the red carpet out for me at Disneyland. But first Universal!

And here’s what else has been happening (and a little duckie tale in here too).

With thanks to Attraction Tickets Direct

My weekend with Marilyn

Why I love The Donald

My weekend with Marilyn



My weekend with Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe’s resting place

Goodbye Norma Jean. The biggest sex symbol of them all is at rest at last, finished playing the part.

Although, of course, our fascination with Marilyn Monroe shows no slowing down.

Off a highway in Westwood Village Memorial Park Marilyn is as always who everyone comes to see.

The cream of nearby Hollywood also chose this verdant park to see out eternity.

Though as much as she had to suffer in life Marilyn must have felt she would find peace.

And she did until the worst lecherous objectifier of them all moved in next door, Hugh Hefner paying €75,000 to lie next to her.

Goodbye Norma Jean… I would have liked to have known you…

Off now in search of more Hollywood icons.

Trip courtesy of Attraction Tickets Direct @atdattractions and



Bali who?

Anne would ask me every week if a Bali trip had come across my desk and every week I’d tell her that if it did then I’d go to her first.

Her eyes danced the day I gave her the news. It’s an aural thing but bear with me. ‘I’ve got Ballet for you.’

I didn’t leave her hanging though and immediately told her that it was the Leeds Ballet, and good they are too but not what she was looking for.

She didn’t deserve that but I’m glad to say that I had got her away skiing and since then to Normandy.

Tropical Sky can ensure that you WILL get to Bali, and at a great discount price too.

Stay seven nights B&B at the five-star Laguna Resort & Spa for travel completed before December 24, if booked before June 30 from €1,349pp, a saving of up to €440pp. Includes return flights from Dublin and transfers.

So what’ll you get for your money? Well, you’ll be on the Nusa Dualists peninsula with lush lagoons and soaring palms.

And for facilities you’ll get tennis, fitness centre, sauna/steam room, hairdresser, Atisaya spa and a choice of water sports.

Visit 664 9999.

Bowled over by the Maldives

Anyone watching the Cricket World Cup, and hoping that Ireland puts one over on the home of the game, England, again?

I adopted the Sri Lankan cricket team after the staff invited me to join their match in the Maldives a couple of years ago.

No Kuma Sangarkkara me, but I did score a couple of runs before getting my teammate run out and tearing my leg open diving into the crease. It was an astroturf pitch you see.

Whether you want to be throwing yourself around a cricket pitch in the baking sun (unlikely) or just lying back and relaxing (you deserve it) then Hayes & Jarvis will set you up with the bespoke trip just for you. Because remember there is just ONE you!

And by checking out Hayes & Jarvis’ latest destination deals you could save yourself up to 40%.

H&J has Atmosphere Kanifushi, Maldivesfrom €3,799pp, based on December, departure from Dublin, staying for seven nights all-inclusive in a Sunset Beach Villa (two adults sharing) and including return airplane seaplane transfers (and believe me that’s one experience you’ll really treasure).

Call (01) 513 4329 or visit Or call into their office at 16 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2.

Piping hot

There are some things that a child should never see their Dad doing…. dancing at a wedding, doing Karaoke, smoking a shisha pipe.

Come again?

Talk Turkey (as I often do) and the Son and Heir will bring up his terror at seeing his Dad (and inspiration!!!!) smoking that dangly pipe in Bodrum when he was just seven years of age.

Like so many things we all do on holiday and regret it’s best left to the locals.

On my recent visit to Jordan I spent a relaxing half hour at the end of an exhausting but fulfilling day sipping my Turkish tea and watching two guys playing chess, smoking the shisha and blowing smoke in each others’ faces, though they didn’t seem to mind.

It’s what they do and I’d advise anyone to spend a little time just people watching in a Turkish or Middle Eastern cafe… it’s what they do.

Just down the road from Bodrum, and TUI are spotlighting Dalaman with its beautiful historic sites, stunning Blue Flag beaches and a lively nightlife scene. TUI has seven nights’ self-catering on June 10 at the 3-star Club Even from €389pps. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Paris for families

The very same Son and Heir had me climbing the walls in Paris when he kept insisting on stopping to refuel on food (or was that Rome or New York, but you get the point?)

France is perfect for families but Paris is probably best kept for courting couples. Or is it?

Les Villages Nature Paris is the ideal way to do Paris for families… by staying outside and travelling in.

And new to Les Villages Nature Paris is the indoor Climbing Paradise which boasts modern interactive technology. Personally, I prefer the modern interactive technology of a phone videoing someone else doing it, but, hey, climbers all look to be having great fun.

A seven-night stay at Les Villages Nature Paris in a Clan Comfort Cottage, arriving July 6 is priced from £418.50 (£1,674 total reduced from £2,242, saving 25%) based on four people sharing on a self-catering basis. And remember when you do your currency conversion that this Brexit palaver means our Euro does well against the Pound.


Everything in the garden’s rosy

Hello blossom! I love gardening. I could sit and watch the Indomitable Mrs M prune and weed all day.

One of the charms of a staycation in the country is the joy of opening the curtains and seeing the explosion of colour before you before taking a walk in lush gardens.

The River Lee Cork has a stunning River Club and new Blossom Grove Terrace installation in partnership with Lillet and Brown Thomas to show off and is backing it up with a great offer.

BTs, you say? Yes, there’s a €25 voucher included in the Brunch, Bubbles and Blooms package.

Brunch, Bubblers and Blooms at The River Lee is based on two people sharing and includes overnight accommodation, bubbles on arrival, brunch with complimentary Lillet cocktail and that BTs voucher.

Call (021) 493 7772 our visit

Letter from America

As you know, all things being equal, I should be in West Hollywood and on my way to meet up with my old pals Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy at Disneyland.

And I will of course keep you posted when I get back on Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge Star Wars attraction and all that Universal Studios has to offer.

Until I get back though a quick reminder that Aer Lingus flies to LAX from €208.99 each way as part of a return trip. Four flights per week. Average flying time 11 hours.

And our national airline carrier is also offering €40 off return flights to our hottest summer destinations too and €20 off return flights to all our European routes. Visit


And look out to for a great new series when I return United Stays of America.


City of dreams: Dubai

That’s the Business

Got a spare €2,0000 burning a hole in your pocket? Who knows?

Emirates has return fares in Business in its sale with the best lie-flat beds, gourmet food, Champagne, wines and choice of movies from Dublin to Dubai, return from €1,999.

And the VIP treatment starts way before you board with a chauffeur-driven pick-up from your home included (mileage restrictions apply, don’t take the Mickey!).

Book between May 31 and June 9 for Travel between July 1 and September 10. Visit There are are also special deals too to other destinations, in the Far East.

Me, my Aircoach chauffeur, who I feel knows me by now, did the needful. Hint, hint!

Aer to help

Worth waiting for: An LA story

A special shout-out to Aer Lingus’s green goddesses, their ever-so-helpful air crew who helped out Ellen in an unfussy and calming manner after she got nauseous on our flight into Los Angeles.

They relocated me after I’d asked if Ellen could get the space of another seat and organised a wheelchair for her on landing.


Land Of Monsters And Men

Perfect setting: Iceland

I’ve started so I’ll finish.

Back when I was growing up the only Icelander we knew was Magnus Magnusson who gave us Mastermind and also lived up the road from us in Glasgow.

What do you mean you thought I was old enough to know the Vikings?

Since then there have been a couple of ropey footballers and Bjork. It certainly has been so quiet…

But then indie band Of Monsters And Men came along with a sound which seemed to resonate from ancient myths.

How good then would it be to see them in their own country?

Icelandair helped found the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival where the country’s greatest modern export will be showcasing their new music in November.

Look out for Icelandair packages from €293 including flights from and return to Dublin, and festival passes. Hotel packages are also available.

Visit and http://www.i

Fifteen good reasons

Well €14.99 really.

Ryanair has 100,000 unlocked seats to be booked by midnight tonight.

Travel throughout summer from May 31 to September 30.


The Happiest Man on Earth

This is AWESOME!

Thank you so much to my peers who voted me Travel Editor of the Year at the awards yesterday at the Shelbourne Hotel.

In time-honoured tradition, a big shout-out to my writers, designer Geoff McGrath and columnists Mal Rogers and Catherine Murphy. And to all the winners on the night.

Well done too to the legendary Michael Collins and the impossibility-talented Niamh Waters for everything they do for all of us. And I know that though I am in LA and could only send a video link that Ed Finn and Alex Gibson would have knocked it out of the park as presenters.

As you all know I’ve moved on from the Irish Daily Mail but the Irish Daily Mail hasn’t moved on from me and you can still read my nonsense here on my blog and recent and imminent adventures on both publications.

Working with all you wonderfully talented people is gweat quack!

California screamin’… Day 1: West Hollywood

Telly or mini-bar? Mmmm…

Thwack! That’s the jet lag set in… 3.30am here and as the Beautiful People roll out of Rage and the Viper Rooms nightclubs in West Hollywood I’m bolt upright in bed watching trailers of Disney’s new Star Wars theme park attraction Galaxy’s Edge which I’ll road test for you while I’m here.

I’ve been good and left the Kimpton Le Peer mini-bar alone (or at least that’s my story) and might even take a dip in the inviting pool downstairs next to the bar. Visit

I’m going to the chapel and I’m going to…

I need to work off the octopus and Cabarnet from last night from the hotel restaurant… or this morning… I’m all out of sync but then I do need to make every second of La-La Land count.

Pride is around the corner, every corner, and that makes for a chilled, safe vibe for an early-morning stroll.

Beverly Hills is in the other direction. I need to get some cop-on. I overshoot La Peer Street, off Santa Monica Boulevard. And don’t the street names just sing to you?

I finally arrive back where an inviting pool awaits and I can build up an appetite for breakfast.

And you know what American breakfasts are like.

Now I hope we’re not doing any rollercoasters today!

Uncle Sam-a-Man

Donald, I’m on my way! Tell the gang.

I’m off to Disneyland in Anaheim to meet my old pals who I last saw in Walt Disney World a couple of years ago. Donald still keeps in touch, sending me a thank-you card after I got back from Orlando.

First up though is Hollywood,

I’ll be road testing the new Star Wars theme park attraction at Disney as well as all that Universal Studios has to offer. And I’ll be finding out all the news from all Fifty states at the American travel fair IPW. Visit,,,,,, www,

And of course our national airline carrier Aer Lingus Now will my Donald Duck costume fit in the overhead cabin?

I’ll be back though before you know it, so I’ll leave you in the capable hands of my Minnie-me, the one, the only, the indomitable Mrs M.

And here’s a wee reminder of what happened the last time I met The Donald. Visit in a new tab).



Dubai’s the limit

My cousin doesn’t know it though the rest of the family do… I rechristened her Phyllis (as in Phileas Fogg) on account of her many, many holidays.

Phyllis’s favourite port of call was Dubai and she is not alone. What a wonderful sight it is too to awake in this colossal city.

Budget Travel is offering a ten-night cruise and stay on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, departing January 2020, visiting Dubai, the Greek Isles, Italy and more. From €1,499 including return flights.

The Jewel of the Seas offers rock-climbing walls, poolside movie screens and West End style entertainment.

The offer also includes two nights in the 5-star Atlantis, The Palm Dubai on a half-board basis. Visit or call (01) 435 0024.

Turning Japanese

Ireland will be hoping to peak this Autumn at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

It’s peak time too for you to cruise Japan with Cassidy Travel. A Circle Japan cruise for nine nights in September aboard the Diamond Princess is on offer from €2,359.

Dine on freshly-prepared sashimi, watch street performers in the Atrium, or take in a lavish production show with a host of cultural excursions too.

For those preferring to tread an independent path, flights to Tokyo are typically between €639 and €789 and Cassidy Travel can arrange accommodation and transfers to suit any bespoke adventure.

Prices are perperson and exclude flights, unless otherwise stated. Packages can be booked in any of the nine Travel shops across Dublin or call (01) 873 5000. Visit

Island in the sun

Foot, road, or water… I can’t be trusted to find my way on any of them, probably because I’m lucky enough to be able to put myself in the hands of others.

My first cruise, and we all remember our first, was from the French Riviera, dropping in on Barcelona, before finishing off in Majorca. It was there that I almost crashed into April’s pedalo, although I maintain it was her bad driving.

Majorca is much more than Magaluf, and I would especially recommend the north of the island and Soller. TUI offers seven nights Dublin to Majorca on an all-inclusive cruise from €1,139pps, departing on May 19. Billed as Spanish Delights, you’ll get an inside cabin. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

All gone to look for America

It’s that time of the year again… when I head off to America’s Travel fair to meet my friends from the Fifty States and report back to you on all that’s on offer. This year it’s Disneyland in Anaheim.

Americans come in all shapes and sizes, and isn’t that wonderful?

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Chewbacca and even more unreal, Hollywood’s fantastical creatures who all hang out in West Hollywood where I’ll be visiting, staying and partying in.

Just to whet your appetite here’s my tales of past American Travel fairs from the past two years…. in a new tab) in a new tab) in a new tab)

Oh, and I’ll be donning some new costumes and headgear. By way of a preview this year Mickey Mouse will be wearing a Jim Murty outfit.