Asia, Countries, Culture, Deals, Flying

Wu, Wu… The Land of the Rising 2021

We all deserve a big treat. And for 2021 we’re looking east, the Far East, and Japan, with our old friends Wendy Wu.

Which is as it should be as it was at the Chinese New Year lunch in Dublin in January that we travel writers first spoke about COVID-19.

The shape of things apart

There are many reasons to tour Japan at any time but the world’s focus will especially be on The Land of the Rising Sun in 2021.

When the delayed Olympics will take place.

Geisha load of this

A big cuddly bear… and a panda

Now as often happens with these things Japan’s charms are currently being flagged up on TV by one of our favourite Travel writers… in this case Joanna Lumley.

Who waxes lyrical about Japan’s stunning rail network and routes.

Pandamonium… that would be me on tour then

As usual Wendy was there first and she has two new tours including the UK’s first three-week fully inclusive rail tour.

Of islands covering the islands of Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido.

Wendy crew

And from now until the end of August there are a range of special offers.

And what’s for the next dish?
  1. Free single supplements for solo travellers (worth up to £1790pp) plus a range of dedicated solo departures.
  2. Free business class upgrades with Emirates, British Airways, Finnair (ex Dublin and Edinburgh), Air China and many more (worth up to £700pp.
  3. BA World Traveller Plus upgrades (worth up to £600pp)
  4. Free Vietnam Airlines Premium Economy Upgrades (worth up to £300pp).
  5. Savings up to £500pp per person across cherry blossom departures through March and April.
  6. Holidays can be booked with a deposit from £99pp with flexible terms and conditions.


Australasia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Rugby’s back in New Zealand

It was a rite of passage at my rugby-playing school in Scotland…. going to watch the touring New Zealand All Blacks in Edinburgh.

And I was counting down from weeks out to see Graham Mourie’s all-conquering rugby team finish off their itinerary at Murrayfield.

And listening to Timmy Teague’s promises that he would go onto the pitch and do the pre-war Haka war dance with the players.

How I felt on a rugby field

I got a flashback of Timmy as I heard of the return of rugby to the Land of the Long White Cloud with the Highlanders beating the Chiefs 28-27.

Highlanders’ fling

A thrilling match with the Highlanders stealing it at the end.

And best of all it was played out in front of 20,000 rugby nuts, with no need for face masks or social distancing.

The Land of the Long White Cloud

Nirvana, and a country where we’ll all be flocking to when we get the chance.

I have a hankering to visit Mangaotaki and the other locations used by Peter Jackson for Middle-Earth in Lord of the Rings.

Where my old colleague and singing partner from Rising Star Karaoke Bar and Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital Eoin played rugby.

Lord of the throw-ins?

‘Mr Brightside’ loved it and also learned the Haka… every rugby team in New Zealand practises it in training.

Stick your tongue out

Timmy could have done with some practical too… he was hopefully out of sync.

But he did do it. And the police allowed him back in to watch the second half of the game.

Hakademic really

He’d have been as well missing it. Scotland were hammered.

The All Blues: Not quite the same and Scotland take a beating in Dublin

But there’s nothing new about that.

Now you want to explore how to get out there.

Jimbo and Tommy Bowe.

Well, I’d always recommend G Adventures while check major airlines for flights and conditions.


America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, Ireland

Flyday Friday – Etihad and Emirates

Their colours are unmistakable – the superstars of the Etihad and Emirates.

Only I’m not talking about the footballers of Manchester City and Arsenal here but the staff.

And guess who only put the wrong picture on the wrong airline… I think I’d had too many shandies at a liquid lunch.

Of course plane spotters and frequent fliers know that it’s chocolate brown and purple for Etihad

And cream and red for Emirates

Emirates rates

Ready for take-off

But I’m not here to talk about airline uniforms, though there would be no harm in it, and I will get back to you on that.

More importantly these behemoths of the skies are only getting us flying again.

Emirates will begin flying to and from Dublin from June 15.

In the frame

Among 16 other cities to Dubai, the others being Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane.

Check Emirates’ website for conditions and prices and keep updated on Ireland’s travel rules.

All’s well that ends well

Welcome on board

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon than aboard an Etihad airplane in Dublin Airport.

Getting the full VIP treatment and winning air miles. Only I haven’t cashed them in yet.

But I will when the Scary One lets me get travelling again… and, no it’s nothing to do with COVID.

I’m eating alone

There’s always a big welcome from our friends at Etihad and they have introduced Wellness Ambassadors to deal with your every flying need.

Aer Lingus, the model airline

I’m flying the flag

I’ve spent many a happy afternoon in the company of Ireland’s national airline carrier Aer Lingus

They showcased their own livery rebrand and new uniforms in the last couple of years.

And they continue to keep us occupied and enamoured with foreign destinations.

Virtually for now such as through Seattle and the Olympic National Park.

Green for go

And the brilliant blue water blue water at Lake Crescent and hiking routes through Hoh Rain Forest only make us more impatient to get on that flight out to Seattle.

See and

Now back to my lockdown indulgence, my complete series of Frasier.



Black Friday feeling

Everyday I write the book. as Elvis Costello once wrote, but his was all about love, ours is about what we love… holidays.

Every day I bring you something special… Give us this Day on Sunday, Cruiseday Tuesday, Hungry and Thursday.

And usually Flyday Friday, but this week I can’t and wouldn’t want to ignore Black Friday.

So here are a few offers doing the rounds:

In the air

America is where it all started so this will probably put you in the mood to go Stateside.

And luckily for us Ireland’s national airline carrier Aer Lingus are offering €100 off return flights to North America.

To any of their 12 destinations. Offer ends midnight, December 3.

But it’s sun you’re after… and Emirates has plenty of that to offer with return flights from Dublin.

With my old favourite the Maldives just one of the destinations with mouthwatering discounts.

They have seven nights all-inclusive at the 5* You & Me Cocoon Maldives from €2149pp.

You’ll get a saving of up to €875 on your stay.

And a complimentary room upgrade from Manta Villa to Dolphin Villa.

Valid for Travel on 2-4 and 9-11 June. Book by 4 December.

Hit the beaches

Photo by Suraphat Nuea-on on

Our friends at TUI have all our bases covered

They have a range of holidays from long to short and family.

Fancy Thailand? Seven nights B&B at the 3*+ Chanalai Garden Resort, Kata Beach from €1309pps for March 30.

Or our old faithful Lanzarote, seven nights S/C at the 3*+ Cinco Plaza, Puerto del Carmen, for a family 2+1 from €1469. For mid-term, February 17.

Photo by Emils Plinte on

For a taste of the Canaries visit

TUI also has savings with its Black Friday codes: €100 off when you spend €1000 code name BF100.

Or €125 off when you spend €2000 with code name BF125. And €150 when you spend €3000 with code name BF150.

Hit the seas

Look after your princess with Princess Cruises

Which comes with the magic key, the OceanMedallion on either Crown Princess or Regal Princess.

Try the bumper 17-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruise on Crown.

It calls at Seville (Cadiz), Valletta (and you know what I think about Malta…), Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini and Cartagena.

Photo by ines bahr on

Prices from €1399 for two sharing an inside stateroom and €219pp for third and fourth guests. Departs November 6.

Among nine round-trip voyages, out of Southampton, across Northern Europe and the Med.

There are six Regal cruises, 12-night round-Britain sailings, out of Southampton, Fares start at €1209pp.

Hit the slopes

From Austria to Andorra and other letters in the alphabet too with Crystal Ski

They are offering €50pp off if you book before December 3.

And seeing we mentioned Austria: a wee Christmas trip, seven nights in the 2* Manzano Apartments, Pas de la Casa s/c, €279pp (four sharing).

Austria is a treat…

And Andorra, January 26, B&B stay in the 3* Haus Edelweiss, Zell Am See for seven nights from €685pp.

The offer runs until Tuesday, December 3.

I’ll catch breath and bring you more offers but it’s Thanksgiving tonight with the Americans at in Dublin.



Flyday Friday – Ryanair flyin’ where?

One of my favourite things around the house (The Scary One, of course) is my globe.

Particularly when one of those destinations crop up on the Ryanair roster for summer 2020 which I’ve never heard of.

Palanga is one, Podgorica another. I was concentrating in Geography class when Verona and Marseille came up.

Palanga, I learn, is a resort dunes resort with an L-shaped pier, restaurants and bars and a neo-Renaissance palace.

It houses the Palanga Amber Museum, and we all know its healing qualities.

Beach life. Lithuania

The Baltic states have come more onto the agenda in recent years, not least because of Ryanair.

And yet some people still get confused, or infused by booze, such as the journo who went to Lithuania and wrote a great article on Latvia.

Palanga is from €60.99 flying out of Dublin, €64.99 from Pogdorica (it’s in Montenegro), Marseille, €35.99, Verona €64.99.


Big in Japan

Phew, no baby.

Rugby fans have been flying around Japan.

And we’ve given them the airplane etiquette guide courtesy of Emirates and Nigel Owens Emirates and ref Nigel on airplane etiquette.

As if they’ll pay any heed of that.

It makes all the difference if you have the right person next to you on your flight.

Which is why Japan Airlines have nailed it with their booking plan where you can see a child icon on the seating.

And so can then avoid being next to those seats when you come to book.

One suggestion… a rugby ball on your seat plan to flag up rugby louts on the plane!

Touchdown New York

And he’ll be there. Donald’s home city

My cousin Eddie the Fireman reluctantly showed our aunts the calendar with a picture of his bare torso, on a visit to Ireland.

Eddie has always been that shy, retiring sort.

I stayed with him and his family on my first visit to New York and watched him play quarterback for his school.

Touchdown! The NFL season is back. Eddie’s team are the Giants, our other cousins are NY Mets fans.

Aer Lingus is offering a 4* NY getaway from €602pp.

Return flights from Dublin to NY, three nights in the 4* Row NYC Hotel.

It is also offering up to €100 saving on North American return flights. Ends Monday.

And there’s my take on NY on this site…


Flyday Friday – Hotter in Dubai (and Iran)

The Outlaws love an overnighter though it’s more Dalry than Dubai, Tyrone than Tehran.

But if you’re going on a long-haul flight, and I have Tehran, Iran in mind here, then let’s talk again about the hub, Dubai.

And talk about Emirates which flies 22,000 people a month to Dubai… and want to send more.

If Dublin Airport completes its €1.8bn expansion.

With this in mind, the carrier’s country manager Enda Corneille raised the prospect this week, saying the next logical step would be a third flight out there.

He flagged Johannesburg and Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as popular fly-on routes with Irish visitors.

But if you want something a bit more left-field why not try Dubai and Iran?

And that’s where I hope to visit next year to see for myself and check in with my old pal Arthur. Watch this space.

Emirates flies to Tehran from €1,165 return. Visit

Thinking Out Loud about Ryanair

It’s a dream to see The Killers in Las Vegas.

And I’m going to put some undue pressure on the American Travel Fair, IPW, to have Brandon and the Boys play next years in Neon City.

But if your personal favourite is Ed Sheehan (no judgment!!!!) who hails from the rock’n’roll hotbed of Ipswich then read on.

Ryanair will get you there, to the nearest airport.

And they’ll give you tickets for the Omnipresent One for August 26.

For this and The Lion King in London, theme parks in Barcelona and much more visit

I wanna be like Disney Paris

Real life is SO overrated, right? Wouldn’t it be better if we all lived in a Disney world?

Why then the trend for reality… Dumbo, the soon-to-be released Cats and before that The Jungle Book.

Talking of The Jungle Book, it was never off our video (ask your parents) when the Son and Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl were young.

And it, and Winnie the Pooh, are still the best films Disney made.

Holidays with Aer Lingus has two to four nights in an official Disney Hotel in Paris, theme park tickets and return flights, Dublin to Paris.

You’ll get 25% off Disney Park and Hotel, Paris.

New Special Offer available up to November 6. Book by August 27. Visit