Countries, Ireland

Donegal and Derry Heir

Tourism Ireland’s £580,000 promotion of the jewels of north-west Ireland is only to be welcomed by this Donegal and Derry Heir.

TI’s campaign is to get the message across to more people about the Republic’s most northerly county and its neighbour.

Of course Donegal is a county Derryites know so well.

And its dramatic beaches, bars, cliffs and craic bring an annual exodus from across the border.

Particularly around the Northern Marching Season.

While Derry was historically the big wee town for Donegalites when they were one island which politically many people still believe they are.

Sons and daughters of Ulster

Cheers: With Teasy at the Doon Well

So TI’s message isn’t for Donegalites and Derryites (the appelations sound better in Gaelic).

I know only too well the charms of these Special Ds as a Donegal and Derry Heir of a proud Ulster family.

The McNultys wear their Ulsterhood proudly, it’s there in the crest with the name meaning ‘Son of Ulster’.

Of course they are nothing without the Daughters of Ulster, of which my Dear Old Mum Teasy is one special member.

A family heritage

No Butts: The Isaac Butt Heritage Centre

You can see her for yourself at the Isaac Butt Heritage Centre in Cloghan, named for the Irish patriot.

But the old school for my mum and her siblings, five more sisters and four brothers.

They had returned to the neighbouring townland (hamlet) of Brockagh from Derry.

Chez McNulty: Ramblers

Where the first son and three sisters were all born.

To run the McNultys hotel, now the Ramblers, where photographs also adorn the walls by the open peat fire.

Donegal invades Britain

Keep your eyes peeled: For the TI ads

TI’s nine-week campaign will reach at least 6.8 million people.

It includes eye-catching digital ads in London’s Waterloo station, as well as at busy roadside locations in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

With the slogan ‘two unique places, one amazing holiday’.

All of which you can check out on their website Tourism Ireland’s Ireland.com,

Where you can see great itineraries and short break suggestions for holidaymakers travelling with or without a car.

And good value offers from local tourism operators and from British tour operators.

Fly North

Flyin’ Air: With Ryanair

Activity will highlight attractive fares on direct flights to City of Derry Airport from Manchester (with Ryanair).

And from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool (with Loganair).

Promotions with easyJet will highlight flights from 13 airports in Great Britain to Belfast.

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.

 

 

America, Countries, Ireland

Mother’s Day Mother’s Way and New York

It was inevitable. Mother’s Day Mother’s Way and New York and The Happy Wanderer knew just how to play me.

The bould Teasy had taken me as her Plus One to my cousin Eddie’s wedding in the Big Apple.

Where she would preen her feathers and not just those on her hat.

The Irish Diaspora, of which I am of the Scottish variety, know well the awe in which the American wave is held.

And growing up in the Grey Glasgow of the Seventies New York City and my relatives were always held up as the idyll.

Alongside, of course, my Mum’s homeland of Ireland.

Broadway Mammy

This year’s blond: With ‘The Donald’ in New York

I’m in a New York State of Mind today after my old friends from Click&Go flagged up their NY offer to give your Mum for Mother’s Day.

To stay for three nights £619pp in the 4* Row NYC Hotel in the heart of Broadway in May with return flights Dublin to NY.

Give my regards to Row NYC: Broadway

My wee Mammy will be right at home too as she is the biggest diva of them all.

The rule of Mum

Double trouble: And two of my Irish Mammy

But some ground rules this time…

As a seasoned travel professional I know my way around an airport (OK, she doesn’t know the truth so indulge me).

And when your relatives offer to put you up don’t think for them or look a gift horse in the mouth.

It’s an Irish thing! As is demanding to pay the dinner bill.

And I’m reminded of the Irish advert where two oul’ ones batter the hell out of each other for the right to pay.

Shop till you drop

Shopped out: And the only time she’s quiet

Shopping too with any woman is a Herculean ordeal.

And in NY where that means Macy’s then my modus operandi is get in, get out.

Particularly as you can get lost in there.

And there’s no use denying that you had any part in choosing The Scary One’s souvenir.

BTW she still uses the candy pink Guess handbag.

While there’s no talking to a woman who insists on wearing her stilettos on the hop-on, hop-off Manhattan bus.

An Irish homecoming

Donegal calling: At Ballybofey’s Jackson’s Hotel

And as I alluded to The Diva is even more empowered in her homestead of Ireland and her village of Brockagh, Co. Donegal.

Where she was wont to stride down the road with her sisters in her fur coat back on their return to the Bogs of Donegal back in the day.

And all of us, the next generation, revert to (or are reverted to) childhood when our parents have been around. 

A Ballyhoo

Green, green, grass of Ireland: And two peas in a pod

Such as in our old stomping ground of Jackson’s Hotel in Ballybofey.

When in the hotel where here, not Shannon, was where Irish Coffee originated she shared this gem with my Dublin cousin Monica…

‘I’ve four brothers, a husband and three sons and James (my Sunday name) is the most selfish man of them all.’

And this after I’d taken time off and driven her all the way up from Greystones in Co. Wicklow!

Silly old woman had forgotten.

That with her hearing aid in she was speaking louder and I could hear her.

Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday, ye mad thing. 

And for context think Catherine Tate’s alter ego Nan from Nan The Movie.

Meanwhile I’ll daydream about Mother’s Day Mother’s Way and New York.

And much, much more.

 

 

 

Africa, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Flying, Ireland

Christmas cards on the table

Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale and a Happy Christmas to you all.

And merci, gracias, grazie and thanks a lot to all my friends who have sent me Christmas cards this year.

I’ll even let you off cancelling your Christmas parties and not sending me a Christmas hamper this year.

So here are a few of the Christmas cards I’d like to show off to you…

Christmas in my Sandals

Open-toed: In Barbados

And yes that’s just how they roll at Sandals and in the Caribbean.

Where what they lack in chimneys and fireplaces they make up for in mango trees.

And Santa can soothe his feet in a Sandals swim-up pool.

My old friends in Ireland

Top point: Harvey’s Point

And while my Dear Old Mum will be spending her Christmas in a Glasgow care home, a nod to her homestead of Donegal.

Donegal, in the north-west of Ireland has all the warmth of the peaty sod and will be wonderful this Christmas.

So here’s to all Donegallers everywhere and thanks to the award-winning Harvey’s Point.

Scandi Claus

When I was thinking of going to Sweden this year my first port of call was my old Irish pal and Scandiphile Alan.

Happy Christmas… in Swedish

And a God Jul to you too and destination specialists Hadler DMC.

I got a tantalising view of Sweden on my MSC Cruises trip from Kiel, Germany through Denmark and up to Norway.

Cruises WILL be back in the New Year and of course that means river cruises too as well as the big seabreakers. Anyone for MS Arena?

Another year younger

And how long they look: Ethiopian Airlimrs

I’ve told you once or a hundred times about the lifegiving qualities of Enkutatash, Ethiopia’s New Year.

Because they live by the old calendar.

Back in the day an invite came through for Women’s Day from Ethiopian Airlines and a trip to celebrate womenhood in Ethiopia.

From where Lucy, the first women we have bones for derives.

I offered to drag up. But in the end I sent a colleague.

Bohemian wrapsody

Prague rocks

Of course we know who looked out on the Feast of Stephen.

Only the bustling Wenceslas Square will be empty this Christmas.

The Czechs are the most wonderfully resilient people, situated as they are between Europe’s great powers.

They will be back and so will we… Urquell in hand by the beautiful Vlatva River.

We wish Wu a Merry Christmas

Panda-monium

And isn’t it just like that? You get a card in and you panic that you haven’t sent them one.

So to Wendy Wu and the two Johns thank Wu for everything this year, particularly the legendary Chinese New Year lunch in January in Dublin.

And I know you’ll look after The Son and Heir when he heads to China next year.

And a Felice anno nuovo too

These Italians have style

And in the most fallow of fallow years I will always treasure my Autumn trip to Bergamo with Omio.

Miei amici have gone back into the strictest zone as they predicted when I visited but I’m sure it will all pay off.

And we’ll all be eating stracciatella gelato soon in Citta Alta.