Africa

Cop Sharm El Sheikh

Well, our lords, ladies and leaders were never going to slum it again in a Northern European post-industrial city which is why they’re going to cop Sharm El Sheikh.

Glasgow may very well mean Dear Green Place but it’s not known as baking hot.

And the River Clyde is hardly the water playground the Red Sea offers which I know from Jordan.

You sphinx you know Egypt

Water everywhere: Coral Sea Water World

For some that’s not enough because it doesn’t have a pyramid or a sphinx.

You’d need to head 395kms south-west from the Sinai Peninsula.

And of course that’s why many visit Egypt.

And why The Scary One passed on our invitation to go to write about Sharm back in the day.

TUI puts U in the middle

Lying back on the job: The Red Sea

With the eyes on the world’s leaders at Cop27 from November 6-18 there will be renewed interest in the Egyptian resort.

All things aside it is refreshing to see Sharm recover its status from the 2005 atrocity that saw 88 people lose their lives.

And the credit there is to the people on the ground and the holiday providers who have restored confidence among tourists.

Our old go-to package holiday favourites and one-time employers TUI who look after everything for you.

So we can enjoy turtles on the coral reef, take a Jeep across the Sinai desert and party in Naama Bay’s nightclubs.

And yes if it’s good enough for the Bidens, Macrons and Trudeaus why shouldn’t we get along for the ride?

Oh Coral

Under the sea: The Red Sea

TUI are offering four nights all inclusive at Coral Sea Water World from November 6, going out of Birmingham for £1,014 for two.

And that’s a £936 total discount.

Coral Sea Water World boasts two huge pools and a waterpark.

You’ll have three restaurants from which to choose, two Asian and an Italian.

Nabq Bay is a 35-minute drive from the bars, shops and restaurants in lively Na’ama Bay.

The best resort

Way to go Joe: Pres Biden

The resort itself is jumping with a football pitch where you can channel your inner Mo Salah, a tennis court and spa.

And there are various live shows and music to get things going after dark.

And so what if our leaders are spoiling themselves wherever they are, they won’t be having the fun we will.

So cop on and cop Sharm El Sheikh.

And rock like an Egyptian.

 

Africa, America, Countries, UK

Get Black History Month

He’s a bit of a forgotten Commander in Chief but he is the US President who did get Black History Month… he brought it to the masses

Gerald Ford officially recognised the programme in 1976, the bicentenary of the USA.

When he called on the public to: ‘seize the opportunity to honour the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavour throughout our history.’

Of course theirs is February to mark the birthday months of the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Frederick the Great: Douglass

Ours in Britain is October and dates back to 1987 to mark 150 years of emancipation in the Caribbean.

Of course black history isn’t and shouldn’t be restricted to either February or October.

And while I’ve had to seek out black history myself around the world thankfully it is taught now in schools.

And, of course, it isn’t a black and white issue, these black icons should be everyone’s icons.

We share your dream

March on: Selma

Dr Martin Luther King: A leader for the ages and how we could do with his like today.

You can follow in Dr King’s footsteps throughout the Deep South from his birthplace of Atlanta, Georgia.

Through the bridge protest in Selma, Alabama to his final days in Memphis, Tennessee.

And his memorial in the unfinished statue in Washington DC, unfinished because it can’t be completed until the struggle is.

Sweet Harriet

I’ll be back: Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman: And even before the film of her life Harriet was immortalised in song in Swing Low, Sweet Harriet.

And you thought it was an England rugby song…

No, she was coming for to carry me home (the black slaves of the Civil War era, that is).

And you can see how she did it at the Slave Haven in Memphis.

Rightly now she stands proud on pedestals in the modern-day Oo Es of Eh, and most poignantly in her home state of Maryland.

The long march

Song in our heart: Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela: Mandela’s status and reach marks him out as the only statesman icon of our age.

With nearly 300 locations named after the first post-Apartheid President of South Africa.

Of course there were those, take a bow Glasgow who would rename the street on which the SA embassy was after Mandela.

So correspondence would be delivered to Nelson Mandela Place.

Mandela rests for eternity in his native Eastern Cape in inland in Qunu where they still speak his gullet-clicking Xhosa language.

Redemption Song

One love: Bob Marley

Bob Marley: And while there are other deserving black legends of music none pioneered black political empowerment quite like the King of Reggae.

Marley emboldened black people through his musical message at a time when racism was institutionalised throughout the UK and the world.

Of course pilgrims pay homage to Bob in his native Caribbean at mases (concerts) like the One Love gog I attended at Barbados Crop Over.

But most especially in his native and much-referenced Kingston in Jamaica.

Sweet Mary

Angel: Mary Seacole

Mary Seacole: Much though still needs to be done to level up with those we put on a pedestal.

And it is instructive that when the British government set up their emergency hospitals during Covid they called them Nightingales.

After Florence, whose harsh matronly rule of the hospitals out in Crimea are now being revisited by historians.

While Jamaican-born Mary is only recently being studied in schools.

Flo, we should remember, also turned Mary away, probably on account of her race, but she went on to set up her own hospital.

But Flo gets her own museum and gentle Mary must make do with a reference in the London Museum.

All something then to explore as we get Black History Month.

 

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Countries, Ireland, UK

A 94-year Mum odyssey

Happy Birthday Teasy, for you it’s been a 94-year Mum odyssey, and thank you for bringing me along for some of the journey.

I say that, but latterly I have done most of the heavy lifting…

And this Donegal Diva has fallen back on the credit she has built up over the years.

Like how she hounded me on a trip to New York when I was her plus one for my cousin Eddie’s wedding.

Teasy’s Travels

Or when I took her up to Ballybofey where my American cousin Kath and Dublin cousin Monica had also congregated.

And she tactlessly complained within my earshot that she had a husband, four brothers and three sons and I was the most selfish of them all.

The thing is as My Scary One, my wife, will tell you she’s the only one who could get away with that.

Slice of heaven: With Mum in Glasgow

Teasy, or The Squeezy, as we affectionately call her, has infused me with much, not least my looks.

And a love of travel although she has a fair jump on me there with South America and the Antarctic the only continents she hasn’t visited.

And I dare say she’ll get there yet.

When she does she’ll be able to regale them of her travels around the globe after she empty-nested.

A holiday Saga

Wall, what is it good for? Great Wall of China

It was quite the Saga… the Squeezy dragging my Dear Old Dad up mountain, down dale and across ocean.

They were Ying and Yang, no, not twins on their China trip but opposites.

My mum was up for anything which meant she jumped at the chance to fly over Mount Everest.

While Dad was back in the bedroom with Delhi Belly.

Chop, chop: The Great Canyon

They also took the helicopter over the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon with me retracing her footsteps years later.

While Mum followed the pilgrims on their knees up the steps of the Catholic Cathedral in Mexico City.

Probably though it was the tequila. Dad, of course, got Montezuma’s Revenge.

The rest of the world

Got the hump: In Australia

There was Australia, South Africa, Russia and all points in between all while I was having a very different Saga experience.

Not, not early onset dementia, but working for Saga during summer holidays in Aberdeen University student halls.

 

 

Africa, Australasia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

An Irish rugby conversion

As an Irish-Scot it’s when I’m at my most conflicted when it comes to international sports, but when it comes to egg-chasing mine’s is increasingly an Irish rugby conversion.

It wasn’t always so but then that’s 13 years in Ireland, and working in rugby heartland Ballsbridge in Dublin for you.

Scotland the grave

Scot the lot: Springjock Duhan van der Merwe

My own native land is Scotland of course, and let me remind you I followed them as a schoolboy through thin and thin in the late 70s and reported on them in even thinner times in the early 90s.

And now while the same can’t be said for Ireland in a football sense, in rugby the Boys in Green are actually for the most part Irish.

As opposed to a Scotland side which is filled with players who have been discarded by New Zealand, Australia and worst of all England.

In fact we’ve even coined a name for the legion of South Africans who have rebranded themselves as Scottish… Springjocks.

All of which running around aimlessly brings me to the imminent Rugby World Cup in France next year when I will more than likely be waving my Tricolour instead of my Saltire.

Now if you want to put yourself in the safest travel hands then get on board my old Irish pals Cassidy Travel‘s deals for France RWC 2023.

Deal us in

Vive La France: Les Bleus

Cassidy’s packages include return flights, return airport transfers, hotel accommodation (unless it’s a day trip) and t tickets,

So, whether you want a quick day trip, a longer 2-3-7 night option or a bespoke tailor-made sport holiday then Cassidy have you covered.

Game on

Drum up support: Romania

So without further ado here are the matches you can be at, starting with the Romania mania.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v Romania

Day Trip Package to Bordeaux!

9th September 2023

Don’t have time to stay? No problem at all! Make it a day trip!

Ireland meet the European runners-up in Bordeaux.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

Match tickets

All from €599pp!

Rand old team

Rainbow nation: South African support in the townships

Bok your team, if your team is Ireland, against South Africa.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v South Africa

2 Night Package to Paris!

23rd September 2023

The perfect two-night deal for rugby fans!

Package Includes:

Return flights from Dublin or Shannon

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets

All from €1099pp!

From Bok to Jock

Split loyalties: Ireland v Scotland

And one where any Irish-Scot can’t lose.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v Scotland

2 Night Package!

7th October 2023

Two-night deal for you to enjoy one of the best

Rugby World Cup France 2023 events.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets

All from €899pp!

Pieces of eight

Hakademic: The All Blacks’ Haka

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Quarter Finals!

Tickets to both matches included!

14th & 15th October 2023

Should they progress, Ireland will then meet the winners or runners-up of Pool A,

which includes France and New Zealand, at the Stade de France.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets for Both Games

All from €1599pp!

And, of course, if Ireland beat the All Blacks (and everyone defeats them these days) they get to keep them!

So get your green out and support the Boys in France next year.

And that even includes Irish-Scots looking for a proper team to support… it’s an Irish rugby conversion.

 

 

 

 

 

Africa, Countries, Deals

Thandie baby in South Africa

You know when you see the kids you last saw when they were babies… well, that’s my Thandie baby in the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Thandie is one cat but before you go squealing to My Scary One that I’m a cheater, Thandie is a cat, a cheetah.

I first laid my eyes on the beautiful Thandie in Mount Camdeboo Game Reserve in the Great Karoo in the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

And when I say I first laid eyes on Thandie, our tracker Hewurt does that for a living and brought us to see Mother and Children.

They’ll be three now and I bet they’re a handful… ‘appen I should pop around and see for myself.

Cool for cats… in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

My old pals at Hayes & Jarvis are my go-to people for bespoke long-haul adventures.

And they will be there from the very beginning with your personalised passport folder right through your vacation.

But don’t just take my word for it but I got my own video message from ‘African Queen’ Catherine after checking out their offer.

Two for the price of one

Stick your neck out: In Namibia

And because we’ll be in the vicinity anyway why not visit the neighbours?

And I had Namibia waved under my nose by my old pal Tony when he represented the south-west African country in Ireland.

H&J have a 16-day Namibia and South Africa holiday with a guide price of £5,199pp.

The highlights

Table’s set: Table Mountain

 

H&J have handily bullet pointed out some of the highlights for us.

*Look out for The Big Five on an exhilarating safari drive.

*Drive along the scenic Garden Route on your way to stunning Cape Town.

*Take a cable car up Table Mountain for views of Cape Town and Table Bay.

*Discover the tallest sand dunes in the world in the heart of the Namib Desert.

On the road

Hostess with mostest: With Rachel in SA

 

Right, it’s a self-drive holiday but firstly they advise you board an internal flight from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park.

Situated in Mpumalanga and covering 19,633 square kilometres, Kruger boasts over 100 mammals, over 500 bird species and more than 300 tree species.

It’s a spectacular spot for wildlife and nature lovers, with luxury lodges dotted throughout the park.

Travelling onwards to Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape via the Garden Route, you can uncover sandy beaches, great museums, galleries and excellent restaurants.

Before heading on to the iconic Cape Town.

H&J recommend the SA vineyards, the 600 million year old Table Mountain and Boulders Beach, home to the African penguins.

Wham bam Namibia

Stick it in the trunk: Self-drive

Right, what to do with the other 12 nights.

Take in ‘The Beauty Queen of South Africa’ at your ease.

Namibia’s capital Windhoek boasts a Zoo Park, castles and alluring restaurants, shopping and places to stay.

And for the adrenaline junkies, there’s exciting water sports and paragliding and kite surfing.

For a complete change of scene, strike out on a trek of the 1,600km Namib Desert and enjoy the red sand dunes of Sossuvlei.

The coastal town of Swakopmund is popular for walking tours, shopping and expanses of beach.

Lovely Cheetah: Thandie

And it’s an ideal stop-off before continuing on your way to Etosha National Park, close to the salt desert of Etosha Pan.

And we’re back to the wildlife and the elephants, rhinos, leopards and lions, prior to flying back home.

But all after I see my Thandie baby in South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Africa, America, Asia, Countries, South America, UK

Brasaleia and other sold countries

For the day that’s in it when The Dutch Republic sold New Holland to Portugal in 1661 here’s Brasaleia and other sold countries.

No, you didn’t know the Dutch took 63 tonnes of gold from Portugal for what would become Brazil.

They had run the north-east part of the country we now know as Sambaland for 31 years before cashing in after a war.

The Dutch were the great merchants of their day and dealmakers.

And the best dealmaker of our day, and most famous living New Yorker, Donald Trump, would have approved of another deal.

Manhattan transfer

The art of the deal: With The Donald in New York

Dutch governor Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the native Americans in 1621 for trinkets to the value of $24.

And when the Dutch relinquished it in 1674 to the English who rechristened it New York they got the rich sugar and cotton territory of Suriname in South America in return.

Now you might remember Trump offering to buy Greenland a couple of years ago probably thinking we still deal this way.

United Stakes

The table is set: In Vegas

And in truth that is how America completed their manifest destiny.

Through most famously the Louisiana Purchase from France for $15m to help the Gauls fund the Napoleonic Wars.

And having got a taste that spending money is better than spending blood they went back 16 years later with $5m for Florida.

The growing US splashed out $18.25m to buy California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona from the Mexicans in 1848.

All of which would be a poor take on a weekend in a Las Vegas casino.

LA is my laddie: In Los Angeles

Ten million greenbacks got them southern Arizona and New Mexico from their neighbours five years later.

But they weren’t finished there and sealed the deal of all deals when they waved $7.2m under the Russian Bear’s nose in 1867 for Alaska.

And again that proved to be mere loose change compared with the oodles of money they’ve taken in oil since.

While the Americans have waved the chequebook more than anybody the British haven’t been slow in flashing cash either.

Rate Britain

Water island: Singapore

And at various stages they have bought bits of India and Africa from the Danes.

All of which makes you think Trump could have done a deal with them over Greenland.

While Singapore was purchased from Johor, a state in Malaysia, for $60,000 in 1824.

Scots bank it

Leg it to… the Isle of Man

Who would have thought too that the Scots were at it too long before any of them.

When they forked out 4,000 marks sterling and 100 mark annuity to the Norwegians for…

The Hebrides, Kintyre, islands off the Firth of Clyde and get this, the Isle of Man, from Norway in 1266.

It’s ironic then that the Scots were “bought and sold for English gold such a parcel of rogues in a nation” when they surrendered to the union with England which created Great Britain.

And which you can read all about in the excellent Price of Scotland from historian Douglas Watt.

All of which we’ll reflect on on this lazy Saturday afternoon… Brasaleia and other sold countries.

 

 

Africa, Countries, Deals

Souk it and see in Morocco

I’ll never complain of a shopping mall again after Marrakech… but hey, you should souk it and see in Morocco.

And particularly because you’ll have our old friends Ireland’s Travel Department as your hosts and not the false guide I trusted.

You know the one I’ve told you about before who told me he knew a very good barber (pre-beardie Bandanaman).

Only for said Sweeney Todd and himself trying to fleece me when I got there.

One thing led to another and after a brush with a snake charmer in the torrential rain I found myself back in the souk.

And behind a funeral procession of wailing Moroccans and a rather shoogly cart where the poor deid fella’s feet seemed to be attracting flies… or was that the cows.

Carpeted

Anyhoos, bursting for a wee (all that tea) I gave in to the constant traders’ hard sells and took up the invitation of a Turkish tea in a carpet shop.

The Scary One got a shock when a threadbare carpet arrived at Chez Murty with a rather expensive price tag days after I got back.

And it was more than a penny I spent there.

Just be careful is all I’m saying and although I did actually resist the carpet seller’s advances I might not have.

Go with experts is all I’m saying and that’s exactly what TD active Holidays are.

Fes of the heart

They are offering an east meets west seven-night guided holiday to Morocco.

They are flagging up year-round sunshine, medinas, cosmopolitan cities, sandy beaches, barren desserts, impressive mountain ranges, culture and tasty cuisine.

You’ll discover Morocco’s largest Mosque and ancient Roman ruins in Casablanca.

And savour regional flavours with an authentic cooking class led by a local chef in Fes where you can get one of those Tommy Cooper hats.

Camel caravan in the Sahara of Morocco

You’ll get to explore the Sahara Desert with a camel ride and traditional overnight camp stay… but just watch the mountainside cafes and their tajines.

And you’ll spend a half-day walking the Tizi n’Tichka Mountain Pass in the Atlas Mountains.

Rock the Kasbah

You’ll also drive through Dades Valley and along the famous ‘Road of 1,000 Kasbahs’.

And yes they say it rocks… ask your parents here for Clash references.

Staying in a combination of traditional riads, hotels and even a traditional Berber camp, this is a small group tour.

Includes return flights, transfers, 4 nights’ accommodation on a half board basis, 3 nights on a bed and breakfast basis; tours and expert guides.

Departs on 15th September from €1059 pp. So go ahead souk it and see in Morocco.

 

 

 

Africa, Asia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

The 22 Committee and all things 1922

We’ve heard of little else in the UK all week so let’s do a deep dive into the 22 Committee and all things 22.

The 22 Committee, or 22 as it’s come to be shortened to.

It’s the group of backbench, or rank and file, MPs who have hastened the leadership contest.

In Liz they Truss: Liz Truss

Put aside that there’s something arcane about a committee called the 1922 in charge of the direction of travel in 2022.

Or not…

Let’s time travel and compare where we were in 1922, where we are now, and where we can compare.

The Irish Question

The Big Fellow: Michael Collins

Dublin: As 1922 dawned, Ireland was still in the UK, was about to become a Free State and halfway in was engaged in Civil War.

Irish history breathes from the streets.

With one of the most dramatic statue-lined thoroughfares anywhere in the world.

The GPO where the Proclamation of the Republic was announced in 1916 is halfway up O’Connell Street and has a museum.

While the Collins Barracks where Michael Collins oversaw the transfer of power from Britain should be on your route.

As should Kilmainham Gaol where the rebels of Easter 1916 were held.

And in whose exercise yard the Scot James Connolly was shot strapped to a chair.

The Scottish Question

Bloomin’ Rosé: Nicola Sturgeon

Edinburgh, Glasgow: And in 1922 Scotland had parked its self-government ambitions promised them in 1914.

Like the Irish they put it on hold because of The Great War.

But unlike their Celtic cousins they took a different fork in the road.

Scotland’s bloated cities, particularly its largest Glasgow where living conditions for most people were a heath risk, rose up.

There was a riot in George Square in Glasgow in 1919.

And three years later Red Clydeside socislist MPs had got a foot in Westminster.

These days their descendants, Nicola Sturgeon et al are more pink or rosé than red.

They sit in the devolved Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.

It is open for visits, tours and gawking at the MSPs.

All roads lead to Mussolini

Pass the Duce: Benito Mussolini

Italy: And Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, heralded in an era of Fascism.

When his March on Rome led to him taking power.

Mussolini still has a rather big footprint in Italy in a way unthinkable say with Hitler in Germany.

I’m reminded by my guide Ingrid in the rebuilt Renaissance City of Dresden.

Where a mural of Communist icons survived the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

That if we airbrush history we open ourselves up to repeat it.

And Mussolini’s stark self-aggrandising architecture in Bergamo, my last Italian pit stop.

It only reaffirmed the beauty of the Renaissance art around it.

While dark tourists, of which I am one, will learn more of Italy between the wars.

In his home town of Predappio in Emilia-Romagna.

Hello Uncle Joe

No ordinary Joe: Joseph Stalin

Georgia: And on the other side of the great political divide Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin in charge of the newly-created USSR.

The first Soviet Union including Belarus, Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucasian Republic of Armenia, Azwrbaijan and Georgia.

Stalin had started out on his reign of terror in Georgia.

As a Russian Mafioso fixer (who does that sound like?) and bank robber.

Fly the flag: With Irish Georgian ambassador George

And despite his history of repression and cull of his own people Stalin is still marked in his own republic of Georgia.

But don’t let that put you off.

Georgia is the original home of wine, has a rich culture and Black Sea coastline to savour.

Toot and come in

Ya big Egypt: Tutankhamun

Egypt: And in 22 the British unleashed some dark forces.

No, not in the return of its latest Tory PM, a Scots-educated leader in Bonar Law (now you know).

But in Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and its riches in the Valley of the Kings.

It was a momentous year for the Egyptians.

With the ancient land gaining independence from the UK and Fuad I crowned king.

Whether the Tories elect us a Mummy PM, a first BAME Premier or someone who again is too male, too stale a thought here.

Bonar Law lasted but a year.

His successor Stanley Baldwin a year too, before Britain got its first Labour PM Ramsay MacDonald.

All things to consider for the 22 Committee and all things 1922.

 

Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Sustainable Tourism

Heaven is a place on Earth Day

And this is when thoughts turn to where you get away from it all and where Heaven is a place on Earth Day.

And where they actually do put the Earth first.

Deliver Jordan

The Dead Sea, Jordan

Our friends at G Adventures with whom I traversed the Dead and Red Seas and Wadi Rum are all about sustainability and community support.

And while others do the old cultural appropriation thing (Boris Johnson in India anyone) G actually put something back.

G shares its good fortune with local communities in partnership with Planeterra Foundation, its non-profit partner.

And they build organic farms and restaurants in Jordan et al.

And provide tourist opportunities for trekking and cycling enthusiasts.

Colossal Colorado

Rocky mountain high: Colorado Rockies baseball team

Now as you’ll see from my cover page Brad left an impression on me when he told us in the Rapids…

This is our office so look after it.

Colorado truly is America’s Playground and you’ll find Brad and his man-bunned freestyling the Rockies.

And even one or two dry-skiing along the side of the road, all protecting their greatest asset.

Protect our skies

By hook or by crook in Tenerife

And so we’ve done the Earth, now the Wind (or we’ll call it the skies) before we alight on the Fire.

And there are few clearer skies than the night ones in Tenerife

Where at the top of Mount Teide National Park you can be among the stars.

Yes our CanariaWays all-action walking party but also the Bull, Bear, Saturn and Uranus (no yours).

And all because they keep their island clean.

Clear the air

Safari time: In South Africa

Now we can all do our little bit to arrest global warming.

And Raggy Charters Whale Watchers and Dolphin Watchers in Gwberha (Port Elizabeth when I visited) do more than most.

As they plant a speekbom plant every time they take the boat out to the island to rebalance emissions.

And for those of you who pay attention (and I’m also talking to you up the back) it might just save air travel.

Land of ice and fire

The Northern Lights: Iceland

And, yes this is the Fire bit of the Earth, Wind and Fire elements.

And we have our old chums at Hayes & Jarvis to show us around Iceland.

They urge us to embark on a South Island road trip from Reykjavik around the Golden Circle.

And you’ll take in the Strokkur Geyser, Gullfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park.

While all visitors to Iceland naturally take a dip in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.

While if you’re very lucky you’ll get to see the Northern Lights on a clear night.

And so you’ll have your own go-to places but try these out.

And you will find Heaven is a place on Earth Day.

 

Africa, America, Countries, Ireland, UK

A town called Patrick

Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone and here off pat around the world we celebrate you if you’re from a town called Patrick.

And there are surprisingly few too.

There are only eight Patricks across three countries.

McCool kid

My cup of TT: The Isle of Man

And even more startlingly none are in the country where St Patrick is most celebrated, Ireland.

But in an island in the Irish Sea, all right, the Isle of Man.

Patrick (population 1,576) is in fact more of a parish, in the west of the isle, than a town.

The Isle of Man, of course, is a well-trodden soil for the Irish…

Mighty craic

Giant helpings: Finn McCool

And the craic there is always 80.

Of course it was invented when Irish giant Finn McCool was chasing a Scottish giant across Ulster.

He picked up a handful of earth and chucked it at him…

The sod created the Isle of Man and the crater he left behind is now Lough Neagh.

Moving on, and such was the footprint that the Irish have left on the USA that you won’t be surprised to see some Patricks there.

Off Pat in the USA

Doll’s house: In Mississippi

And so you’ll see a Patrick in Mississippi, Nevada, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Texas.

Whisper it but the Patrick commemorated isn’t our snake-chasing saint.

The Nevada one is an American soldier Patrick McCarran, who bought the land and also begat a US senator.

The Texas a postmaster Patrick Gallagher.

Both obvs Irish-American.

Flagging it up: Lesotho

Now we can only imagine Patrick and its region St Patrick (see we got one) in Lesotho is the Irish missionary influence in Africa.

The land-locked mountainous country is completely encircled by South Africa.

But it is timely to mention that it resisted the interference of South Africa and continues to do so.e

Even if it that means a continuing water dispute.

Water of the good life

Ruby do: With Ruby in Barbados

Of course, today is more about the Guinness than the water.

And so if you’re a Patrick, come from a place called Patrick, or a region St Patrick’s.

As in the region north-west of Sir Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados.

Then you’ve got an extra reason to celebrate today on St Patrick’s Day.

We celebrate you if you’re from a town called Patrick.