America, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays – The Royal Canal and other Irish landmarks

Now the screw was peeping, as the lag lay sleeping. Dreaming about his girl Sal. And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle. All along the banks of the Royal Canal The Auld Triangle, The Dubliners

Luke Kelly drolled that ‘in the female prison there are 75 women and among them I wish I did dwell, and that auld triangle could go jingle-jangle all along the banks of the Royal Canal.’

And if you know this song, penned by Brendan Behan (and if you don’t then you’ve been missing out) you’ll walk along the Royal Canal in the north of Dublin singing it aloud.

Or if you’re cycling too as I have done, all the time hoping that the broken bottles wouldn’t puncture my tyres.

The Beardie Boys: The Dubliners

That was then, and this is now, and the announcement of the €12m scenic 130km Royal Canal Greenway is to be welcomed.

If you do the lot you’ll have chalked off 90 bridges, 30 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts.

And take in Co. Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford.

So as a preamble let’s get on with our Rainy Days and Songdays six of the best songs with Irish landmarks.

What a Corker!

Jim and Alan at the Phil Lynott statue in Dublin

As I was goin’ over the Cork and Kerry Mountains, I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was countin’. I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier. I said ‘stand and deliver, or the devil he may take ye Whiskey in the Jar, Thin Lizzy 

Musha rain, dum a doo, dum a da.

The Cork and Kerry Mountains have always held a special affection for me as the first travel assignment when a cub reporter in Reading.

Going over said mountains in our Citroen cars was not helped by a bout of seasickness going over on the Swansea-Cork ferry.

But nothing that the local tipple, Murphy’s Stout and the craic didn’t put right.

Low lie those fields

Those low-lying fields: Athenry

Low lie the Fields of Athenry, where once we watched the small birds fly. Our love was on the wing. We had dreams and songs to sing. It’s so lonely round the Fields of Athenry  – Fields of Athenry, The High Kings

Lowing, or maybe braying, around those Fields of Athenry were our four donkeys which came with the rented cottage.

I can’t remember what la famiglia called the three others but mine was Oaty as in Donkey Oaty!

I was maybe just tilting at windmills.

And as for stealing Trevelyan’s corn… we just bought some from the Centra for the donkeys.

The Band is back together

Neat little town they call Belfast

 In a neat little town they call Belfast, apprentice to tradeI was bound…, a sad misfortune came over me which caused me to stray from the land, far away from my friends and relations, betrayed by the Black Velvet Band Black Velvet Band, Peaky Blinders

It was more good fortune that came over me… to take me away from my friends and relations to the States after university.

And work, no not on the Black Velvet Band’s pitch, Broadway, but Boston where I inevitably served tables at an Irish pub.

Where every night among the most requested songs was Black Velvet Band.

And yes, of course, like our gullible hero of the song ‘many an hour’s sweet happiness I spent I spent in this neat little town Belfast.

As for a black velvet band, or any colour for that matter, try as I may I never persuaded one… i wonder if she’ll be there when I return.

Where the Dark Mourne sweeps…

London’s got nothing on this

Oh Mary this London’s a wonderful sight with people here working by day and by night, they don’t sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat. But there’s gangs of them dogging for gold in the street. At least when I asked them that’s what I was told so I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold. But for all that I found there I might as well be in the place where the Dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea Mountains o’ Mourne, Don McLean

Mourne Mountains, Co. Down: It’s always a thrill to see the Mountains of Mourne, my Dear Old Mum’s home province, when driving either north or south.

Mountains of Mourne this sweeping range, has a special place in our hearts as the lullaby I would sing to Daddy’s Little Girl.

It was round by Brockagh’s corner

Harkin’s Bar, Donegal

 It was down by Brockagh Corner one morning I did stray, I met a fellow rebel and this to me did say, he had orders from our captain to assemble at Dunbar. But how were we to get there without a car The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

Beockagh, Co. Donegal: And still on lullabies this gentle little ditty about the Irish War of Independence is an alternative to nursery rhymes.

If your mother is from Nationalistic north-west Donegal that is.

Well it got me through childhood… give three cheers to the Teasy and Johnson’s Motor Car.

Meeting of minds in Wicklow

Moore Wicklow please

Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest. In thy bosom of shade with the friends I love best. Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease. And thy hearts, like thy waters, be mingled on peace. The Meetings of the Waters, John McCormack

And my beloved old homestead of Co. Wicklow and its poet laureate, Thomas Moore.

The Meetings is a family favourite, going back to the days when my Donegal Granny and Grandpa honeymooned here.

We would often return there in our Thirteen Years in Ireland on family day trips.

And skim stones which can be more of a danger sport than you might imagine.

Particularly if you’re that young boy on the other side of the bank who ducks just as a stone is jumping up out of the water.

Still, I did get a 12!

 

 

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

It’s a crime… police dramas around the world

Excitement is building to fever pitch ahead of the resumption of police drama Line of Duty on March 21 which allows us to explore police dramas around the world.

Hastings’ landscape

Europa living In Belfast

Belfast: I can’t find evidence but it must be true that Superintendent Ted Hastings is named after Belfast’s faves Hastings Hotels.

The seahorse on the wall of the Great Central Hotel is your compass wherever you go in the Northern Irish capital.

That is if you can drag yourself out of the Observatory bar atop the hotel where you get the best views.

And where James Nesbitt opens his Bloodlands detective drama.

Adrian Dunbar on the Graham Norton Show watches Vicky McLure at his Line of Duty mural

Hastings, aka Adrian Dunbar in Line of Duty has been immortalised.

As are all they take to their heart and allow to film in their city.

By having their image set as a mural… and be sure to take a black taxi tour around Belfast.

Check in at the Europa Hotel, part of the story, and get ready for a potted history of The Troubles.

Mob rules

Vegas baby

Once upon a crime in America: And everywhere there is an American dream there is a big job to realise that dream.

You can see how Las Vegas was built by Bugsy Siege.

And The Mob in Chicago in the Mob Museum and channel your inner Al Capone.

Call him Fonz

Tom Hardy as Capone in the Netflix dramas

Fonz Capone is synonymous of course with Chicago.

Where he was invited from New York by Johnny Torrio, and ended up running the city.

The invitations have piled up over the years for me to visit Chicago but the big job has eluded me thus far.

Last year was to be me marking the centenary of the Volstead Act which beckoned in Prohibition.

And I was all set to join one of the retro tours

My cocktail will be all the sweeter when I do get there…

I’ll just have to watch at the speakeasy doors for the cops.’

Florida where he ditched the Al

Miami vices and Capone

We never did find out why Mae Capone insisted to the police watching the house: ‘We don’r call him that [Al] here.’

Here is Palm Beach, near Miami, where the syphilitic Capone spent his last days under house arrest deep in the doo-doo (literally).

You can see it all in graphic detail on Netflix’s Capone, starring Tom Hardy.

Italy, the Old Country

The Old Country, Sicily

Of course Fonz (or Al) and la famiglia are really all just displaced Sicilians.

Visitors to Sicily will always head for Mt Etna until it gets too hot to handle.

But for those who stay awhile and see Taormina then a Godfather tour is highly recommended.

This one I’ve stumbled across includes a Fiat 500 {Cinquecento)and me and the Cinquecento have history.

When I stalled in the car park in the French Riviera and the good monsieur took over.

I’m not sure whether Capone would be so understanding.

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

How Carson said NO… to Northern Ireland

He is the Father of Northern Ireland.

But whisper it in Ulster, Sir Edward Carson never wanted the mantle, nor even the country.

A hundred years ago Carson turned down the invitation to become Northern Ireland’s first Prime Minister.

Not that his fellow unionists held it against him.

Instead they erected a statue to him in front of their imposing seat of Government, Stormont in Belfast.

Like much else in Northern Ireland everything and everybody isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

And it  makes them all the more interesting for it.

Carson the Dub

Just like King William of Orange, who isn’t the figure you see on flags and murals on a white charger….

The giveaway is that as a monarch he would have been far back from the River Boyne and would have worn a garter.

And you don’t need to do much digging to see that Carson never wanted the creation of Northern Ireland and supported a united Ireland.

Toby Carson, a teacher in the south of England, recalled that his great-grandfather had just sired a son a year before to his young wife.

And he wanted to devote his attentions to them while also holding out for a major legal position.

Carson was a leading legal light of his day.

That’s Wilde

And he even cross-examined his fellow Irishman Oscar Wilde in the case which led to the poet being sent to Reading Gaol.

The Great Carson was no Ulsterman it must be said.

A Dubliner, who spoke Irish and played Gaelic Sports as a child he lived in the south of England.

But he always remained in high demand in the new partitioned country he neither lived in nor wanted to lead.

So that when the Northerners asked him to grace Stormont with his presence when they put up the famous clenched fist statue he obliged.

On a podium

A man after my own heart… and I have just the spot atop Bray Head in Co. Wicklow instead of that cross.

Belfast, the city which eulogises Carson, is well worth a reccie around, either on an educational black taxi tour, the Museum of Orange Heritage and Stormont itself.

While if you’re of the Republican persuasion then check out the Irish Republican History Museum, though Carson would spin in his grave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Sport

My Sporting Weekend – a tale of two Georgias

And the result is not long in from Georgia… at this rate we’d have had a winner of the Masters before the Georgians plumped for Trump or Biden.

As it is they decided to go for Joe who wouldn’t look out of place as the honorary starter.

As it goes 85-year-young fitness fanatic Gary Player and Mighty 80 Jack Nicklaus, the most successful golfer of all time, gripped it and ripped it.

Now as it happens I know all about Gary’s legendary fitness having struggled to keep up with him around Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) 25 years ago.

After I’d been invited to accompany him as he shot a piece for Japanese television.

A November Masters has dressed Augusta National in its autumn colours which is different but just as pretty.

Still we can only hope that the famous old major will be back in its spring date next year and that we’ll get to be there.

Golfbreaks offers a selection of flight-inclusive packages for the event which is pencilled in from April 8-11 from £2999.

With the option to extend your stay at Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head or Kiawah Island.

With bespoke packages and a round of golf or an extra day at Augusta.

And as you can see my swing only needs a tweak from when I impressed them all at the Paul McGinley School in Quinta do Lago.

While if you’re more interested in the Open.

Then you don’t have to be this year’s Champion Golfer to enjoy the oldest major of them all.

You can just pose up in the golf village which I did at last year’s Open in Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

A packed Sandwich

This year’s competition was due to have been played in Sandwich (Royal St George’s) and will be next year.

Which means Kent on England’s south coast, and stop me here if I’ve told you this story already.

But when I worked full-time running a newspaper sports desk…

The secretary was tasked with getting accommodation for the golf writer.

Next year: At Sandwich

Let’s call her Kate and him Paul because that’s their names.

Kate came over to the desk all excited saying she had found Paul a place just 25 miles from the course…. in France.

Which is probably as wayward as one of my tee shots.

The other Georgia

Flag happy: With Ambassador George in Dublin

Not to be mistaken for the other Georgia.

Georgia of the Caucuses and Black Sea, boasts a fascinating history.

With perhaps its biggest claim to fame being wine is first recorded here.

I left with a more recent vintage from lunch at George Zurabashvili, the Georgian ambassador’s, residence in Dublin.

With the vow that I would visit one day (and I will).

And that I would support their rugby team unless of course they were playing Scotland or Ireland.

And it was easy yesterday because they were facing England, although I didn’t bring them much luck.

Countries, Cruising, Europe, Ireland

What a picture – my award-winning photographer wife

Every picture tells a story and this is ours.

World Photograph Day yesterday saw me trawling through my Travel memories with my award-winning photographer wife.

Sarah Frost as she was when she won two UK Royal Photography Awards.

And still is under her working name, before taking on my mantle.

Now The Scary One, as I affectionately and rather fearfully refer to her, has not been able to attend all my trips around the world.

A deserved reputation

Mostly because of the stipulations but sometimes I imagine because of reputation.

But when she has she has brought a colour to the trips.

Around Ireland…

Temple Bar

In our own garden county of Co. Wicklow, in Dublin, the iconic Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel at a famous Dublin 4 institution, and a haven too in Temple Bar, and in the heart of the Midlands in the border county of Monaghan.

And up north from where us Murtys hail and London and England where the Frosts hail.

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That way, Sweden

While she also caught the fun of skiing in Austria, wining and dining in Portugal Centro, cruising in the Norwegian fjords with stop-offs in Copenhagen and then a city trip in Hamburg.

And also at George’s and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel, her photographs have always enhanced the experience.

Though there was a time on board the MSC Preziosa when it was particularly slippy because of the Norwegian rain.

Photo album

And she looked as if she might fall overboard. I very nearly caught her too!

So opening up the album here are my Frostie’s Favourites and some of her creativity has even rubbed off on me. See if you can spot which are hers and which are mine?

The fjords

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Which one’s the troll?

And She was up every morning bright and early to capture Norway’s waterfalls, inlets and try to spot trolls.

There was one still sleeping off the previous night’s wine, in our MSC Preziosa cabin room.

Bitesize Hamburg

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Walking on air in Copenhagen

And when She wasn’t putting her feet up in the beach bar in tbe Rieperbahn she was snapping life around the port.

Amsterdam by George

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žCan I be trusted on a bike? In Amsterdam

And sometimes we make a rod for our own back because after staying at the Dylan Amsterdam where George and Amal stay then everywhere else is a disappointment.

Heart and Soll

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White delight: In Soll

I fell for you Heart and Soll as Cole Porter sang. And while I was falling down the slopes She was getting the ski boots off and capturing the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser.

The power of Powerscourt

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Towering talent… one of mine

And the two things that She loves more than anything in life and neither of them are me are in Wicklow that’s gardening and shopping.

Powerscourt has them both... and don’t my credit cards know it?

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One of Hers

 

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And one of Jose’s

And lastly here we are the picture of happiness as taken by our Portuguese guide, photography fan and pal Jose.

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Royal Portrush

The rain in Northern Ireland is horizontal and the bar was 20 deep, pushing me to the apron of the canopy. My Sporting Weekend this weekend last year was Royal Portrush.

As golf reflects on its missed Open this weekend we all hark back to that magical week last year.

When the game’s oldest and greatest competition returned to Northern Ireland after 67 years.

Come rain or Shane

And Ireland’s own Shane Lowry crowned it all by taking the iconic Claret Jug.

The good news for Shane is that he is still Champion Golfer and will hold onto the trophy for another year.

I just about handed it back after I got the obligatory picture at Portrush.

The Co. Antrim course is credited with putting on one of the best Open Golf Championships in many a year in spite of the pelting rain.

Fantastic

The hospitality and the interactive golfing activities in the tents were second to none while the banter of the locals was relentless.

The course was set up wonderfully well with the intersections across the holes allowing you to take in multiple games.

Of course to get the best view you want to either get your steps out to see over the tall American in front of you.

Or just hunker down by the apron of the green.

Those trousers will dry themselves out.

Northern exposure

Though if you want to you can take shelter in the grandstands.

All of this, of course, makes us hanker after the return of spectators to the Royal and Ancient Game.

While Shane rightfully took the plaudits he would be first to accept that Northern Ireland was as big a winner over the week.

Sometimes we take for granted what we are used to.

And Northern Ireland is an old friend (jeez it’s the Murtys homeland from before the 18th century when they decamped to Scotland).

Clayton comforts

But from the moment that we arrived at the Clayton Hotel in Belfast http://www.claytonhotelbelfast.com.

And ate one of their famous ‘wee’ Ulster Frys to set us up for the final day on the course we were treated like Kings.

By our friends in the North, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board http://www.discovernorthernireland.com.

With the air full of optimism (and water) last year the hope was that the Open http://www.theopen.com would be returning to the Antrim coastline soon.

Get the drinks in

The only thing I would change is that I get to the bar quicker.

And that Scotland produce a player in the next couple of years.

To bring the Claret Jock back to the Home of Golf.

And for more on Northern Ireland, check out Belfast Chilled and Belfast’s rich tapestry

Deals, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Stay home

We’ve got skin in this game with Daddy’s Little Girl waiting for the OK to go back to her work at the hotel.

It doesn’t help that we pass by the very same hotel on our daily walk.

It is expected that Scottish hotels will reopen in line with national guidelines on July 15.

What a vista!

And when they do it will be time to reacquaint ourselves with our favourites and treat ourselves with some new ones.

Such as the Dunalastair Hotel in Perthshire https://www.dunalastairhotel.com, a lovely sweeping valley of a county.

Booted and suited

And one I usually passed through instead of stopping when I would drive from Aberdeen to Glasgow reporting on football matches.

Lounging around

Except for a boys’ weekend in Dunkeld, writing poetry for our Edinburgh Fringe Show. Now what rhymes with Glenturret?

New offers include Luxury for Less (from €99 per night), to the indulgent Highland Retreat (£499 for two nights). Rooms at Dunalastair Hotel Suites are from £129 per night.

Courtyard

Also see Visit Scotland www.visitscotlsnd.com.

Coming out of quackdown

We’ve been missing them so much during quackdown.

But every duckie’s favourite getaway in Europe, Hastings Hotels in Northern Ireland, have reopened their doors.

You’ll know what Hastings are all about by now Belfast Chilled and their signature look of a rubber duck in your bathroom.

They’ve had Rory Quackilroy, Duck of Thrones… you get the idea.

So they were rightly interested when this little fella came on the market.

Just a thought you could market your own new duckie, Julie…. Quacks Armstrong! See https://hotrading.shop/products/helmet-duck-bicycle-horn-light and https://www.hastingshotels.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8pP5iqeQ6gIVk4eyCh3oRAlPEAAYASAAEgIydPD_BwE.

And also see www.discovernorthernireland.com

And meanwhile in the south

Lobbying for The Conrad

All our favourite hotels in Ireland are reopening.

We have already flagged up our favourite in our old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow, Powerscourt https://powerscourt.com and Flowerscourt.

And I now want to promote the splendours of Conrad Dublin, a hotel I’ve enjoyed on a function level but yet to laid down by head there.

Apart, of course, from when my head would hit the table through too much vino.

Among the goodies on offer in what they are packaging as Dream Away are the Picnic Package, the Literary Tour and Dublin City by Horsedrawn Carriage.

And seeing you’ve been locked away at home for months then why not treat the whole family to a night in the Conrad Family Room.

The interconnecting family room is €350 for the night for two adults and two children. See www.conraddublin.com.

To the lighthouse

Ciara O’Leary is all smiles at the lighthouse

So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were struck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sky – Virginia Woolf

Lighthouses can be by contrast snug or solaces from people.

And Hook Lighthouse in Co. Wexford in the Republic of Ireland on June 29 is reopening its doors with the latter in mind.

Hook Lighthouse, the Lightkeepers Cafe and the outdoor dining option, the Seahorse, will all open seven days per week.

With last access to the grounds at 4pm and dining closes at 5pm.

Pre-book a free pass online at www.hookheritage.ie or take a guided tour by phoning (051) 397 055.

Also see www.failteireland.com and www.discovernorthernireland.com.

Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Northern Ireland where Your Daddy’s Your man

And a wee (well everything is wee in Northern Ireland) apology to my friends in that part of the world for overlooking them in Five Irish beaches.

So in an effort to redress the balance and because it’s the nearest place abroad that I can go without being quarantined on the way back, I give you Northern Ireland.

For Father’s Day.

Benchmark: With the Son and Heir in Belfast

Now the Murtys have been all over this part of the island and not just the present iteration.

The patriarch, ‘er me, took his first steps in this scribbling business at the Belfast Telegraph as an intern and got offered my first job on the Coleraine Chronicle.

While the Son and Heir studied at Queen’s before spending a year working in Belfast.

Weaving a tapestry

We were though merely following in the footsteps of weaver Patrick Murty of Co. Armagh who had come to Glasgow in the 1770s.

All of which blether brings me onto this offer around Giants Causeway around where we spent a family holiday.

And walked across the Carick-a-Rede rope bridge with the Son and Heir, now a full head taller than me, on my shoulders.

Bridge too far? The famous rope bridge. https://www.causewaycoastfoodietours.com/catch-and-sea

When Daddy’s Little Girl came along we sailed the seas across to Rathlin Island and against advice she ate a chocolate bar and fizzy pop and was sick.

The Lighthouse

Of course she and her brother bounced back and we cycled up to the lighthouse. Good memories and a perfect place to lock down.

So without further adieu www.discovernorthernireland.com offers us, among a range of other goodies…

Enjoy Rathlin Island

A sail at sunrise to catch your own breakfast on the Causeway Coast; Catch & Sea, and you’ll set sail from Portrush Harbour into the rising sun over the Mull of Kintyre and Rathlin Island.

You’ll get a rundown on the history of the area and the cave where Robert the Bruce took inspiration from a spider reweavung his web – to try, try, try again.

Catch of the day

You’ll take your catch to a local chef.

They will lay out a home/-cooked breakfast with your fish as the centrepiece.

This offer is by voucher at a competitive 365pp, £35 per chold (ages 6-16). See https://www.causewaycoastfoodietours.com/catch-and-sea 

Crowning moment: Game of Thrones

At the risk of irking my friends in the north there are a bunch of other offers to report including Game of Thronesie sites.

But I’ve got a couple of weeks to prompt my kiidies until June 21st so I will return to this.

Adventure, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Covid-day Snaps – Good news from Ireland

And as no new deaths are reported overnight in Ireland further good news with our Travel industry starting up again.

It will come as little surprise to Hibernophiles (people who love Ireland) that Connacht is to the fore.

Well, as the old traditional song goes The West’s Awake!

Let there be fire

The West has a special place in my affections as it was here that I spent my first holidays cut from my Mum’s apron strings.

As I holidayed with my Dublin cousins in Salthill, Co. Galway.

I don’t think it was entirely altruistic as my parents did get a chance to globetrot.

Still as an early teenager I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.

The Wild Atlantic

Picture postcard

I dipped my toe in Spidal (quite literally) with my Uncle and cousins avid swimmers.

And I did the same on the dating scene where again I was left hopelessly out of my depth.

We went over the county border too to Co. Mayo and the Marian site of Knock which surely left a mark.

As I have ticked off Lourdes The Lourdes prayer, Fatima Secret Portugaland Medjugorje What’s the story, Medjugorje? Wouldn’t you like to know since.

All of which meanderings brings me back to Hotel Westport’s plans for the revived summer season.

Estate of the nation

Fill up my bowl

Westport Estate stretches to 400 acres – plenty of room for social distancing there. And it is also at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way https://www.wildatlanticway.com/home.

And it is overlooked by St Patrick’s mountain Croagh Patrick.Which that very same Mum never tired of telling us she walked up barefooted and without a good breakfast when she was pregnant.

I let her off because it was my brother she had on board.

Westport is an ideal set-up to showcase what I believe will be a new direction in how we take our holidays… slow travel.

Carry on camping

Round the campfire

Take their Family Bush Camp which will give families the chance to reconnect with nature through bush crafting and survival activities.

Packages start at €79 pps for Bed & Breakfast  and bookings can be secured at www.hotelwestport.ie.

The upside of our clamour for more space in our post-lockdown holiday is that we will reacquaint ourselves with all those great country houses.

Where families can run around the corridors to their hearts’ content.

Westport House is an 18th-century manor house also on Westport Estate and just a stone’s throw away from the hotel.

Visitors can stroll through the grounds and enjoy the gardens and take in the 3.5k looped Lakeland and woodland walk.

House about that?

Caravan of love

The house itself is open to day-visitors and they will be able to immerse themselves in 300 years of Irish heritage.

Camping and caravan breaks will be in vogue when we all get out on the road again. And you can take advantage too in the onsite 3* park on the Westport House Estate? Visit www.westporthouse.ie.

For those for whom gastronomy is central to their holiday experience. And the Irish food experience is rightly celebrated around the world then here’s some more good news.

The owner and head chef of Cian’s on Bridge Street, Cian Hayes, will be opening a pop-up restaurant experience in Hotel Westport this summer.

If you have been keen to stretch your legs, and you will be fitter than you think with all those laps around your neighbourhood.Then you will be eager to get out on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Ride on!

Can I cycle for ever?

And for cyclists then Clew Bay Bike Hire have a fleet of two-wheelers with your name on them.

Guests at Hotel Westport can truly experience the wild Atlantic west by hiring bikes on site.And then cycling an exclusive and accessible 10km loop through the estate, the harbour, and the town.

And if you’re feeling ambitious, why not take on the breathtaking Great Western Greenway?

And meanwhile in the Disunited Kingdom

I’ll let the pictures from Bank Holiday Weekend in the United Kingdom.Where England has different rules to lockdown than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland speak for themselves.

Southend, England
Wales
Aberdeen, Scotland
Portrush, Northern Ireland

And I love all parts of this Disunited Kingdom so when the time is right, and be patient.

See www.visitengland.com, www.visitscotland.com, www.visitwales.com, www.discovernorthernireland.com and http://www.visitbritain.com.

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

COVID-day Snaps – Testy times in Montana

Yes, it was the Cojonasvirus that did for the Testicle Featival in Clinton, Montana.

It’s what I miss most from my travels, not the sun (tick) or the drink (tick) but what’s different… that I can’t find at home.

Testicle festivals (and yes, we’re talking bulls here) are more commonplace than you might think.

Because after all they’re what’s being sized up at farm shows.

In fact a cows’ udders contest was one of the first journalist duties I was given at the Newbury Show in southern England.

Did Woodward and Bernstein start like this? Well possibly if they began their careers at the Clinton Daily News https://www.clintondailynews.com.

Visit https://www.visitmt.com. And here’s a further take on the West in Colorado Go West and The New Frontiersmen and https://www.denver.org and www.colorado.com.

Get on your bike in Northern Ireland

And a big shout-out to nine-year-old James Cunningham who has raised €2,800 for homeless charity The Peter McVerry Trust.

James has only been on a virtual cycling ride, 280kms over two days (that’s 12 hours).

Clontarf’s James, the next Stephen Roche, is a legend in his own right which isn’t surprising as he’s got good genes.

Mum Fiona is the award-winning Tourism NI ROI Market Manager.

Now Northern Ireland is perfect terrain for bikes and I’m flagging up one of its jewels, Rathlin Island.

The isle, off the coast of Antrim, is reputedly where King of Scotland Robert the Bruce met his spider in a cave and tried, tried, tried again.

Which was why we sailed across some choppy waters for a cycle.

Despite our best advice the Son and Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl gorged on chocolate bars and fizzy drinks.

Which meant our cycle up to the lighthouse took a little longer than it should.

Unless you are James Cunningham! See http://www.rathlincommunity.org/visit and. https://discovernorthernireland.com.

And here’s a sample of the great North… Belfast Chilled and Belfast’s rich tapestry.

Portugeezers

And by the power of Zoom we hooked up with our friends from Portugal to fly the green and red country.

The plan was to dye the old beardie in national red and green colours but lockdown lethargy kicked in.

And Daddy’s Little Girl was still in bed when I needed my makeover.

So you’ll just have to make do with this photo from the Portuguese Christmas lunch in Dublin from a couple of years ago.

The good news is that Portugal https://www.visitportugal.com/en is ahead of the curve and making it safe to travel again, and I’ll tell you just when.

You may well want to get away from people and out to nature.

Where you’ll see birds with Ibis fliers with beaks like spoons… https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/amp/.

Or check out Lagoa Dos Salgados in the Algarve.

Prestigious clifftop resort VILA VITA Parc https://vilavitaparc.com/en/welcome can arrange a guided tour (€65pp).

Rates: Doubles start from €330 per night.

Package: Stay three nights B&B from £1835pps with Elegant Records, economy class flights from Luton with EasyJet including private airport transfers.

Call Elegant Resorts on (01) 244897000 or visit http://www.elegantresorts.co.uk

Obrigado.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD