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.

 

 

 

 

 

Countries, Ireland

Collins’ Hundred Year War

Beal Blath (or Green land) may not strike you as a bloody field but it is here in West Cork where we pick up the story of Michael Collins’ Hundred Year War.

It is little exaggeration to say that without Michael Collins the Republic of Ireland as we know it today would not exist.

And that’s why today thousands are gathering at Beal Blath to mark the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the leader of the Irish Free State.

The memorial: Where Michael Collins was assassinated

Collins was, and continues to be, a divisive figure in Irish history.

Either the genius commander of the Irish guerrilla force that brought the British Empire to the table.

Or the traitor who surrendered six counties of the island to the UK.

Collins’ legacy

Give ’em hell: Michael Collins

Collins’ legacy is, of course, two Irelands on the one island… or is it that there is even one at all which is not under British rule.

While there’s a split too there with the two parties who have ruled the Republic dividing along Civil War lines.

Under Collins’ party Fine Gael and his one-time captain and future Taoiseach Eamon De Valera’s Fianna Fáil.

But it is much more, and whichever side you come down on, it is worth probing Collins and the story of the Republic for yourself.

The story of the Republic

Just the job: The Italian Job

The best starting point is a post office… the GPO in Dublin where they still sort your mail and give you a history lesson.

And it was here that Padraig Pearse declared Ireland a republic in Easter 1916 and was executed for his troubles.

At Kilmainham Gaol along with the other leaders of the Rising.

And most dramatically the Scottish communist James Connolly who was shot strapped to a chair in the exercise yard.

Because his leg was gangrenous after he was shot during the Rising.

It’s an eerie but dramatic experience which is probably why it was chosen for scenes in the Italian Job and In The Name Of The Father.

Ireland of Hop-on glory

Best bar none: Liam Neeson in Michael Collins

Easter 1916 and the Irish Civil War feature heavily on your DoDublin Bus tour.

Where you will visit Collins Barracks the high point of the Big Fella’s career.

When the British officially handed back power to the Irish of Ireland.

You’ll remember it from the titular film with Liam Neeson memorably cast as Collins.

And the dialogue played out just as it had done that day but sans Collins’ expletives.

British officer: ‘You’re seven minutes late Mr Collins.‘

Collins: ‘You’ve kept us waiting 700 years. You can have your seven minutes.’

Only the rivers run free

Ambush: From the Michael Collins House

Seven hundred years then… Britain’s fascination with their noisy neighbours.

For noisy, of course, read craic with the Irish never having invaded the folks next door.

Unless it is with booze and a sing-song.

All of which leaves us with unfinished business as we reflect today on Michael Collins’ Hundred Year War.

 

 

Countries, Ireland

DubLynott City

You know when something new feels comfortingly old like Thin Lizzy’s frontman’s statue in DubLynott City.

Phil Lynott‘s statue outside Bruxelles bar on Harry Street has as much pride of place in the Fair City.

As Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell or Jim Larkin.

Boys are back in town: With Paul

But it has only stood, or in Phil’s case slouched, off artsy hub Grafton Street since this week seventeen years ago.

Little did I know that the following year I would embark on a 13-year adventure in the land of my mother and chronicle it with a host of visitors.

At Phil’s statue outside Bruxelles… and grab a Guinness in his memory.

The pint of Guinness

My Sarah: The Scary One and friends

The Irish rock pioneer famously telling Billy Connolly that that was his drink because it was black and white and Irish.

The truth was that Jack Daniel’s was more his drink.

And his mother Philomena who fell for a Brazilian sailor told the bold Billy, his pal, that she goes to his graveyard.

And tells him off for being a naughty boy.

Encore: With Al and Phil

Phil is still adored in his hometown where he is twice blessed…

He first got a statue and second a complimentary nickname for that plinth… the Ace with the Bass.

Not all of those who have been given their own platform have been as fortunate.

And so a rundown of those larger-than-life figures with their alternative monikers.

The girl is so pretty

The Trollop with the Scallops: Molly

The Tart with the Cart: Or the Dolly with the Trolley as she’s also known.

Of course as sweet as she’s made out Molly Malone plied the oldest profession in the world.

She should probably frequent Leeson Street then but was at the foot of Grafton Street until she was moved on.

No, not by the Gardai but to lay the Luas tram track.

And can now be found outside the Tourism Information Office on Suffolk Street.

The joys of James

Bloomin’ eck: James Joyce

The Prick with the Stick: The grounded Dubs are famously unimpressed by achievements.

And it doesn’t matter if you have written the most innovative and inventive book of your age you still get the treatment.

Mind you, you suspect that Joyce would have seen the funny side of having his statue on North Earl street compared thus.

Wilde one

And the Oscar goes to: Wilde

The Queer with the Leer: And maybe one that doesn’t stand up to today’s Woke World.

But again we reckon Oscar Wilde would laugh.

Oscar reclines in his green velvet jacket on a rock in Merrion Square across from his childhood home.

Simply done, there is a glass panel of his famous sayings.

And yes, Oscar, you’ll be pleased, we are all still talking about you.

Paddy takes a seat

Bench boy: Patrick Kavanagh

The crank on the bank: And, yes, it could have been worse so maybe Patrick Kavanagh won’t be spinning in his grave.

Of course while we associate Patrick Kavanagh with Raglan Road and also Grafton Street, he hails from the Midlands.

And if you’re inspired to find out more about the poet then Monaghan on the border is where to go and you’ll be sold on him too.

Kelly’s aye-aye

Sitting twiddling: Luke Kelly

???? ???? ????: And here’s one for all you Bandanini and Bandanettes out there to help me to honour Luke Kelly.

With the best I can do the Pisshead in the Bighead.

Curl power: Luke Kelly

In typical Irish style the legendary Dubliners singer has not one but two statues to him because of a mix-up.

But if anybody is to have such status we say the frontman for the most famous trad band of them all should be that man.

 

 

 

 

Countries, Ireland, UK

Hospitable Hugh’s invitation

Ireland’s fáilte is famous the world over and history records especially one Hospitable’s Hugh’s invitation in Fermanagh.

Hugh Maguire replied to his English visitor thus in 1539: ‘Your sheriff shall be welcome, but let me know his eric, that if my people should cut off his head I may levy it upon the country.’

That English visitor being Queen Elizabeth.

Poster boys and girls: With the Travel Circuit in Dublin

Perhaps best not look too closely then at her Tripadvisor entry or whether Eric ever did stay.

Thankfully Elizabeth’s modern namesake is now a friend to all Ireland following her historic trip in 2011.

Castle and keep

King (or queen) of the castle: Enniskillen

As are Hibernophiles from all across ‘the other island’.

All something to soak up then on your trip to Hugh’s fortress, Enniskillen Castle, and on your boat trip around the island town.

Where you truly will be afforded the best hospitality, and all at the best prices.

For only £20.75 per adult, £14.25 per child, with the Island Town and Castle Pass which guarantees hours of fun!

Going underground

Cave rave: Marble Arch Caves

A little-known fact here too and one worth telling all those Brexiteers as they try to wrestle with hard and soft borders.

The Marble Arch Caves is where trace the Owenbrean River runs free under Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Tickets are £12 per adult and £6 per child for a 75-minute tour.

C’Mahon round to our place

To the Fermanagh born: Mahon’s Hotel

These days, of course, the hospitality has moved on from Hugh’s castle to…

The family orientated Mahon’s Hotel situated in the quaint town of Irvinestown.

Walking options, golfing and water activities are all within reach with breaks starting at only £95 per night.

A different kinda lodge

Water view: The Killyevlin Lodges

Now not all lodges in Northern Ireland are so welcoming…

As the Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges which has a September Saver offer with prices at £175 per night.

The best resort

You’ll Erne your R&R: With a little watersports

If resorts are more your thing then make your way to the 5* Lough Erne Resort.

Nestled on a 600-acre peninsula, it boasts spectacular views of the Fermanagh Lakelands and the world-renowned Faldo Course.

Enjoy the best available B&B rate with £70 Complimentary Credits from £149.

So get yourself out to Fermanagh Lakelands… and that’s me saying it, not Hospital Hugh’s invitation.

Asia, Countries, Ireland

Indialive alive oh

Happy 75th India and a special Indialive alive oh from Dublin to mark the part the Irish played in your story.

It’s not just the shared colours of the flags that they have in common.

So to celebrate Indiapendence with these fun facts on the feckers and the fakirs.

It’s a common misconception that the Irish flag informed the Indian drape.

The Irish green, white and orange flag dates back to 1848 which you’ll remember from your history books as The Year of Revolutions in Europe.

It was then that a group of French women gifted a Tricolore of vertical green, white and orange to Young Irelander Thomas Meagher.

The Irish Tricolore

Plain talking: The Irish flag

Ireland green for the Catholic tradition, orange for the Protestant and white for peace.

Wear the colours: India

The Indian cloth though sharing the colours is, of course, horizontal, and it has to be of khadi, a hand-spun fabric popularised by Gandhi.

The saffron green stands for courage, the white for inclusivity to other religions (Christians), green for the land.

And a central blue wheel for self-reliance.

Flagging it up

Sister act: Nivedita

Of course it wasn’t the first proposed Indian flag, that was the brainchild of Sister Nivedita, aka Margaret Noble, of Co. Tyrone.

The converted Hindu nun had suggested a red flag with a yellow inset depicting a thunderbolt and a white lotus.

She was rather more successful in raising women’s rights in her new country.

The Irish, in truth, have always been there for the Indians.

Just call me Dev

Indy Eamonn: De Valera

And those two titans of anti-imperialism, Éamonn De Valera and Mahatma Gandhi were great admirers of each other.

With Dev flying the flag for India in his rallying speech in New York: ‘We of Ireland and you of India must each of us endeavour.

‘Both as separate peoples and in combination to rid ourselves of the vampire that is fattening on our blood.’

Sandals in the wind: Gandhi

While he was presented with a green/white/orange tricolour in San Francisco by Gopal Singh.

Gopal being of the convicted Indo-Irish-German (1915) conspirators (get your history books out).

Throw in too the impact of Cork hunger striker Terence McSwinney from 1929 on future Indian non-aggressive activism.

Stars of India

Ya Bhutto: The Bhuttos

Future Indian leaders, Rahul Gandhi among them had Irish ideals running through them.

While remembering too that today is Pakistan Independence Day as well, Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharaf were both educated by Irish orders.

And Gandhi’s granddaughter Tara (and that’s Irish) also spoke up for Bobby Sands in Belfast.

When she told the audience: ‘It remains the same iridescent love today as I proceed on my 86th year of my life.

‘How inspiring to be in the land of Seamus Heaney and Bobby Sands.’

The Bloody Partitions

The hotseat awaits: Leo Varadkar

 

Now the friendship has extended to a half-Indian Leo Varadkar ascending to the station of Taoiseach which he will regain this December.

Of course the biggest similarity between the island of Ireland and the Indian Subcontinent, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is they have both suffered partition.

Because of the cack-handedness of the British Empire under the flag commonly known in Ireland as the ‘butcher’s apron.’

 

 

Countries, Europe, Ireland

Foal around at the Royal Dublin Horseshow

It’s more than just a showjumping event it’s where the D4 set go… to foal around at the Royal Dublin Horseshow.

I fell upon him because of the billboards but soon learned that rugby ledge Ross O’Carroll-Kelly is the ultimate D4 guide.

And he would guide me in the best places to go in my new work world… the bars.

And they’ll be Kiely’s of Donnybrook, Paddy Cullen’s, The Bridge and the InterCon.

All of which I road tested and made my own in my 13 years in Ireland.

Where Ross is boss

I’ll wager the RDS is cool: Ross’s guide

It is to Ross you should go for a flavour of how the privileged D4 (that’s rugbyland) set live and love.

And his eponymous Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s Guide to South Dublin How to get by on, like, €10,000 a day.

With the greatest Ireland rugby player who might have been saying this about the Royal Dublin Horse Show…

Feast for a king and queen: With the Scary One at Halloween in the InterCon

‘The centrepiece of the Royal Dublin Horse Show is the famous Aga Khan Cup.

‘Though the event is as much a social occasion as a sporting one, drawing upwards of 20,000 spectators to the RDS in Ballsbridge.’

‘Interestingly, it is believed to be the only event that has South Dublin’s elite rubbing padded shoulders with country people, or ‘boggers’.

‘The most colourful day of the week is undoubtedly Ladies’ Day.

‘When rich women don summer frocks, high heels and wide-brimmed hats, drinks Pimms and Champagne.

‘And complain among themselves about the awful smell of the horses and the country people.’

In Ross’s words

And a word from: Ross

Followed by Ross’s own take…

‘It’s a little-known fact, roysh, but the Horse Show is basically the best week of the year for getting your Nat King.

‘And horsy birds from the country – they can never get enough.’

Probably not Fáilte Ireland’s sell, but before the cancel culture (or culchie if you like) shut us down, the joke is on Ross.

Floating with Stena

On the line: Stena at the Horseshow

One thing I do agree with him on though is that you can find yourself missing much of the showjumping action.

Because you’ve extended your long liquid lunch, and particularly when you’ve been hosted by sponsors Stena.

Roysh, be safe everyone and leave your beamer at home and avail of public transport.

DART of the matter: On Dublin’s train with my Leap card

Travel in Dublin with a TFI Leap Card across DART, Commuter Rail, Dublin city buses and Luas for just €2 on an Adult TFI Leap Card.

€1 on a Young Adult (19 – 24 yrs.) TFI Leap Card / Student TFI Leap Card or 65c on a Child TFI Leap Card with the TFI90 Fare.

Or push the boat (Stena obvs) if you’re coming from across the water and stay at the InterContinental.

Where you’ve a very good chance of seeing Ross, Christian, Oisin, Fionn and JP.

Our horsey set

And maybe even fellow scribe and Ross regular ‘One F’ whom I shared adventures and goat racing with in Tobago.

All by the by yes, if it’s equestrian ents you’re after join me, Ross, Mickey Raff and our own JP.

As we foal around at the Royal Dublin Horseshow from Wednesday, August 17-Sunday August 21..

 

 

 

America, Australasia, Countries, Ireland, UK

Visit our Neighbours

They may have left but Ramsay Street is still there and you can guarantee we’ll be back to visit our Neighbours… and other soap sets.

Everybody needs..

Lou, Lou, skip to my Lou: Lou Carpenter

Neighbours: Yes, you can tour around Vermont South (that’s the Ramsay Street neighbourhood) in Melbourne. Austraylya..

And sink a cold one in The Waterhole or Lassiter’s, or a cup of tea in Harold’s Cafe.

Who knows if you’ll see an overalled Aussie tomboy mechanic too just waiting to burst out into hotpants?

Corrie on regardless

Dance away: Roy and Norris, don’t ask

Coronation Street: If only the walls of England’s most famous pub, the Rovers Return could talk.

But the guides can, and do, and what they don’t know about the cobbled streets of Weatherfield ain’t worth knowing.

You’ll get everything you need to get you through the day in the Manchester suburb… a Weatherfield Recorder at The Kabin.

A fry-up at Roy’s Rolls before a night in the Rovers.

Dallas in wonderland

Well shot JR: Mr Ewing

Dallas: Not all soap is the same and Texas’s most famous ranch is a world apart from Newton & Ridleys and Our Kid.

And while Corrie has hotpots it has hot plots too and that it does share with the Ewings and Barneses of Dallas in Stetson Country.

What is now Southfork was once Duncan Acres ranch (yes, that Joe Duncan) near Plano, Texas, and now fittingly belongs to a dude called Rex.

You’ll get to see the gun that shot JR, Lucy’s Wedding Dress, the ‘Dallas’ Family Tree, and Jock’s Lincoln Continental.

Kilcoole for cats

Down on the farm: Glenroe in Co. Wicklow

Glenroe: From the sublime to the agricultural and Holy God it’s Glenroe.

And for people of a certain age in Ireland then Glenroe, the everyday tale of farming folk in the Garden County of Co. Wicklow, conjures up nostalgia of a more innocent time.

It also has a special resonance for those of us for whom it was the next village (real name Kilcoole) down the train line from my old stomping ground in Greystones.

Glenroe has, of course, been replaced but certainly not upgraded by the grittier Fair City which is set in fictional Carrigstown in Dublin.  

I’ll be in Scotland before you

Loch who’s talking: Take The High Road

Glendarroch: And as with everything Ireland and Scotland move pretty much in step, even with their soap names.

And so the Jocks had their Take the High Road set in Glendarroch, which is really picturesque Luss in Loch Lomond.

Before moving on to River City,set in Shieldinch in Glasgow.

And where Glenroe had the Biddy and Miley plotline Take the High Road had busybody Mrs Mack.

Much like Mrs Mangel to make a parallel with Neighbours.

And where the Aussie soap gave us Kylie, Russell, Guy and Margot, Take the High Road gave us James Cosmo.

So all you soap fans there’s something of everything to keep you going.

As we contemplate to visit our Neighbours… and other soap sets.

 

Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Car hire and higher

Off on a road trip, well it’ll cost you because it’s getting car hire and higher out there.

And nowhere more so than my spiritual home Ireland where in some counties they’re a must.

My old mum would oft refer to her homestead of Donegal in north-west Ireland as the ‘forgotten county’.

And it didn’t help when they ripped up the rail tracks in 1959.

Donegal driving

Donegal Mammy: And son at Doon Well

So now if you want to get about you need to either have a car, rent a car…

Or your hotel or B&B can get Eileen to ask Aoife who knows Niamh is passing and can get you halfway.

Where Bladhana can get you to Sorcha, but make sure you’re ready or they’ll leave without you.

By the end of it all, of course, you’ll feel one of the family.

Of course, many of us prefer our independence, but alas that comes at an increasingly greater price.

With DiscoverCars.com revealing the average cost of hiring a car in 2022 rose by 267% on the previous year.

Site for sore eyes: Discover Cars

Their data highlights an average increase of 47% worldwide.

With the average cost of a one-day car hire rising from £43 to £67.

So to get on the road in Ireland you’ll shell out £155 (yes, we know they’re in the Euro), up from £42.

Now we would never let a small thing like expense put us off a destination… we’re just giving you the road manual.

On the road again

Obrigado: With the Scary One in Portugal Centro

The world’s second biggest country takes some getting around.

And that no doubt is the spiel for a spike of 264%.

Full reveal here on the third biggest mover here, Portugal-Azore Islands.

Because when we toured Hidden Portugal, Portugal Centro, we had the services of a driver/guide/historian and Coimbra’s most famous son.

Jose Madomis of Madomis Tours.

Now we’ve availed too of the services of our own fellow Britons, ninth with an 85% rise, but still cheaper than the trains.

With Katarina in Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, fifth at 131% but again with a history lesson thrown in… and Becherovka and salty age-defying water.

While Greece is tenth at 81% which may persuade you to do a Pheidippides and run the 26 miles or so from Athens to Marathon.

There’s no rhyme nor reason why the other countries on the list should have seen such hikes.

But Israel, Iceland and Albania are countries where you need wheels because donkeys correctly have rights now.

Slowly does it

By hook or by crook in Tenerife

Of course with everything on the rise sometimes the best we can hope for are small increases.

And the Canary Islands at just 2% leads the way here.

Though if you do hire a car (at only £25 the cheapest on the list) then why not walk some of the way.

With CanariaWays where you’ll experience the many Tenerife eco-systems before refuelling at the Franco-theme Bar in Afur.

Fly drive

Love a duck: At Epcot Centre, Florida

Now for many of us getting behind the wheel of a car in a foreign country requires a deep breath.

And my only attempt, in a Fiat 500 in Cannes, and it’s dashboard gearstick, never got out of the car park.

Although I kept that quiet from the organisers of the Florida Keys road trip.

Alas, but fortunately for other road users, it got cancelled by Covid.

Cut-price cars

Rocky mountain high: Colorado Rockies baseball team

Unbowed, I’ll be back though to the Sunshine State and you will too particularly with a 23% decrease in the hire of a car.

Bookended in the top four is America’s Playground, Colorado.

That’s when you’re not roped into their abseiling, freestyle rock climbing, white water rafting or roadside skiing.

Who is squeezed in between the two, why Guadeloupe and Australia… let’s go Outback.

And let’s not be put off when we see the car hire and higher.

 

 

 

Countries, Ireland

The EPIC Irish

We’ve all suffered the stereotypes, ‘the mean Scottish Jock’, the ‘mining Taff’ and well, the less said about Irish tropes… let’s hear it for the Epic Irish.

The award-winning EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin are fighting the good fight in redressing those prejudices.

And they’re starting with the myth of the ‘fighting Irish’.

Like this guy who jumped out at me from the side of a bus.

No, This Is Not Us, the slogan for their redress of the Irish stereotype.

Paddywhackery

Spell it out: An EPIC experience

You’ll have noticed too that this caricature professes his love for potatoes and looks a little worse for wear for the drink.

Now in truth I have met the CGI Paddy McFlaherty but more in the past.

Today’s Irishman, and woman, is as likely to be black, Asian or Eastern European than the farmer or Ginger Comely Maiden of De Valera’s day.

Just as your country is populated now and over the centuries by those who have the Celtic gene.

And although you’d expect me to say it you’re better for it.

But don’t just take my word for it (well, do).

But EPIC have given us a pantheon of great emigrees who have enriched foreign shores..

Pantheon of Irish

Plastic Paddys: EPIC redresses the balance

Patrick Greene, CEO and Museum Director of EPIC said of the campaign, ‘This is not us’ is a challenge for the world to assess their assumptions about the Irish.

‘And to evolve their perceptions beyond stereotypes.’

Voted Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction for the past three years, EPIC offers a fully interactive experience.

It brings Irish history to life and allows visitors to discover what it really means to be Irish.

Bygone age: Paddy

‘This is not us’ is not the first time that EPIC has campaigned against stereotypical and clichéd depictions of the Irish.

In 2019, the museum offered free tickets to visitors who handed in their plastic St Patrick’s Day merchandise at the door.

Aileesh Carew, Director of Sales and Marketing, said: ‘We would like to invite people to come to EPIC for themselves and help us to set the record straight.

‘Come and learn more about Ireland’s history, the Irish people who left this island and the true impact that they had, and continue to have, on the world.’

The architects of Ireland

The 47th President of America: In Washington DC

Long before ‘King’ Henry Shefflin the hurler, James Hoban was, or should have been, King of Kilkenny.

As the architect for the White House in Washington DC.

Ireland is well-known as the land of saints and scholars and poets and pip stars, artists and architects.

Like Peter Rice, of Dublin and Dundalk, who helped design and build Sydney Opera House and the Pompidou in Paris.

And who was known in the trade as ‘The James Joyce of structural engineering.’

Or Dame Katherine Lonsdale, of Newbridge, Co. Kildare who elucidated the structure of the diamond and after whom the lonsdaleite is named.

All deserve their place in the roll of honour of the Irish and global hall of fame.

When still some associate Ireland with Paddy McFlaherty.

The best way is to visit the Irish Emigration Museum and learn more about the EPIC Irish.