Love a Belfast and Memphis duck at Christmas

Or at any time of the year but this season when the turkey is celebrated as king of the birds, let’s hear it for the duck.

And Hastings Hotels, who by popular demand, have released the back story of their rubber duckies.

If you haven’t stayed in a Hastings hotel then why?

If you have or are a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know how much of a fan I am of Hastings.

Having enjoyed a memorable stay at the Grand Central Hotel.

Which anyone who knows Belfast will recognise for its seahorse symbol, your compass for the city.

And then there’s the Europa Hotel where I enjoyed a cabaret jazz night in the company of Van Morrison…

Which you can read here… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/belfastvanmorrison/. I do love Belfast and adopted Belfast boy Son and Heir even more…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/07/hastings-ulster-hotels-will-cure-your-snoring.

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/31/a-carer-sharer-belfast/

Hastings (and now I) have a flock of rubber ducks ranging from Rory Quackilroy to Duck of Thrones.

Although I still think that having had Prince Charles and Camilla visit they should bring out a Duck and Duckess of Cambridge.

Now there’s something about ducks which brings out the big softie in me… it’s something about the big lips. And this video is gorgeous… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlQ05_6jyHM

And my love for the Donald from my visits to Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim.

But there’s another hotel which instantly comes to mind when I think of Hastings.

And fear not Hastings you have the Irish pond all to yourselves.

I refer, of course, to the Memphis Peabody Hotel ducks in America.Which you can check out at http://www.peabodymemphis.com

These are some quackers thoughts from America… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/ Or https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/03/disneystarwarsopening-stair-wars/.

While https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/05/in-new-duck-related-news-2/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/03/in-more-duck-related-news-2/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/01/in-other-duck-related-news/

Which their Duckmaster parades through the Tennessee city’s hotel lobby.

The Duckmaster

So here’s a big shout-out to all our feathered friends in all their guises.

And a recommendation for a great Christmas present, a voucher for Hastings Hotels… www.hastingshotels.com.


Holiday Snaps – Poetry at the Rose Hotel, Tralee

There was a young man from Glasgow…

Jim Murty, The Forth Stanza

Truth be told I’m really only doing this blog between Edinburgh Fringe poetry performances… the organisers have been onto me every year since 2002.

To return with my group The Forth Stanza.

Who back in the day were as big in the world of poesy as Take That were in pop music.

That’s how I always arrive

We were five former student pals who hooked up together over pints and poems and toured Scotland.

Honing our first show we decided to go away for a lads’ weekend in Dunblane, Perthshire where the juices positively flowed.

The Rose Hotel, Tralee has the same idea and has a series of literary evenings with special guests to while away the November nights.

Cosy evenings

Kicking it all off on Wednesday 6th November is Ireland’s foremost spoken word artist, Stephen James Smith.

Best-selling author Róisín Meaney will doff her floppy haat on Wednesday 13th November.

While the following Wednesday it’ll be the turn of award-winning writer Donal Ryan.

Writer, poet and broadcaster Michael Murphy will bring it all to a close on November 27 when he will be in conversation with former fellow broadcaster Ciana Campbell. 

Give us a poem

The writing nights will run from 8pm–9.30pm in the Kerry Suite of The Rose Hotel, with admission free with no reservation required. 

You can also make a night of it and enjoy an overnight stay from €75pps including dinner and breakfast.

For more information, call +353 (0)66 7199100 or email info@therosehotel.com

A welcome by the fireside

Fine dining

Some of the biggest welcomes you’ll get are from Irish hoteliers.

Like in Monaghan where I arrived a week early and they turned things around for me and the town juggled everything for us… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/monaghans-country-roads/.

Dublin and Co. Wicklow is where I’ve spent the last 13 years and this is where I’d stay when I’m away from Chez Murty… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-intercontinental-what-a-ledge/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/flowerscourt/.

Benchmark: With the Son and Heir in Belfast

I always love to get up north, not least to see The Son and Heir. His floor is an inviting prospect but I prefer Hastings Hotels… http://www.hastingshotels.com.

And, of course, the best country in the world is Scotland. And here are the two cities I love best… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/.

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/brexit-aberdeen-a-light-in-the-north/.



Holidos and don’ts – bathrooms

An ill-chosen bathroom can spoil what I’ll grudgingly call Paradise… as can the lazy use of the word ‘Paradise’.

I used to ban my writers from employing the word at my last newspaper although that didn’t stop some contributors.

I mean unless they had actually been to Adam and Eve’s gaff then who’s to say whose Paradise is Paradise.

It is the biggest cliche in Travel and its original meaning has become diluted by overuse.

And you know what they say: avoid cliches like the plague.

Champagne o’clock: Sandals, Barbados

So, back to bathrooms.

There are only two things I need in a bedroom… a good bed (there’s a clue in the name of the room) and a good bathroom.

Oddly it is no longer compulsory for there to be a bath in a bathroom.

If I were to choose the favourite bathroom I have stayed in I would definitely opt for Majorca.

Long after I’d got out (probably after an hour and a half) and returned home I was waxing lyrical about it.

Can I remember the name of the hotel? No! But it had a spectacular view of the Med. Perhaps you can find it for me http://www.infomallorca.net.

And jets. You press a button and it shoots out water.

It was so good I got out, dried myself down and got back in again.

Now, you don’t need to see pictures.

But you need to see these images.

In a hot tub in Sandals Hotel in Barbados https://www.sandals.co.uk/sandals-barbados/.

Oi, your time is up. Photo by Jonathan Andrew on Pexels.com

With the bottle of Champagne that they leave in your room every morning.

And a little birdie, Rihanna, who pops by too… although that might just have been me.

Duck your head in

You don’t have to go to Barbados for a good bath, although it IS Barbados http://www.visitbarbados.org. And this is what I thought https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/ http://My Kiss with Rihanna

One of the best bath experiences I’ve had in this country is at the Powerscourt Hotel in Co. Wicklow .

Where I laid back with a malt whiskey and watched the Masters on the TV screen on the wall. http://Flowerscourt

While visitors to the North of Ireland will know all about Hastings Hotels’ schtick, their rubber ducks, among them Rory Quackilroy http://www.hastingshotels.com.

And let me tell you how good Hastings are and how my stay at the Grand Central was https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/belfastvanmorrison/

I have my collection, fronted of course by Hastings’ quackery (main picture), but it seems you have some of your own too.

Judging by these pictures below.

Rubber duckies, but Hastings are better. Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now I must go and have a soak.

It’s a good day for the ducks, but then isn’t it always?


Drum roll….

I officially hate my wife.

Not because she left me for a whole day – and I had to make my own meal – while she went up to see George Ezra (meh) in Belfast.

But she only met Ronnie Vannucci Jnr, the drummer with the greatest rock band in the world The Killers.

Ronnie Vannucci Jnr

Of course if it had been me I’d have taken a selfie and posted it every day….

So gratuitously here’s a hall of fame (and I’m still working on it) of people who were lucky enough to meet me.

And remembering that this too is a Travel blog let’s mention the Culloden Hotel where the Great Men were staying, even though they didn’t give me the nod nor lock all at the doors until I’d got up there.

The sumptuous Culloden Hotel which is part of the Hastings group offers room only from £85pps or Your Luxury Bed And Breakfast From £100pps. Visit http://www.hastingshotels.com.


Anyone for Jimmy: Judy Murray is
He’s a bit one-dimensional though: Cliff Richard
Love you, love you, love you,: Natasha Bedingfield
Trumped you all: With ‘The Donald’
With The Real Donald
The Mart and The Murt: Sign me up