Caribbean, Countries, Deals, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Staycations and Dubcations

So one of you loyal Bandininis and Bandanettes has asked where the term Staycation originated?

And the answer is Stacey Shun!

The more prosaic explanation is that it belongs to the Canadian comedian Brent Butt from the TV show Corner Gas in the episode Mail Fraud from 2005.

And a view of the gardens

I guess he’s the Butt of all jokes!

Of course the times we’re in has thrown up a whole plethora of new terms.

I’m hungry

To which our friends at our fave Dublin hotel, the InterContinental Dublin, have added Dubcation.

The InterCon, as anyone in Dublin’s rugby heartland knows, is the old Four Seasons.

And that it is Ireland’s greatest international that never was Ross O’Carroll-Kelly.

I’m looking forward to, as I always do at this time of the year, to the new Ross book with COVID at the heart of it, and Staycationing and Dubcations.

Bed down

Try out their new Lobby Lounge among all the other old faves including ESPA pampering, and watch out for my interview with ESPA founder soon.

Their Luxury Dining Escape Package is available from €145pps per night, including bed, breakfast, dinner, complimentary car parking and access to the Wellness Area.

Sing Montego Bay

I think I remember but it’s twice as good, Like how cool his rum is from his silver tray, I cool to be thirsty in Montego Bay – Bobby Bloom

It‘s the first thing you’ll be offered, even before water… a rum punch, and usually. a steel pan band.

Jamaica has long been on the radar. I recall being asked in Barbados what my favourite Caribbean island was.

The answer had, of course, to be Barbados, but there was an onus on me to collect islands with which to compare. Which led me to Tobago.

Irie. So this brings me to my old faves Sandals and their new Montego Bay On Sale package.

Seven nights at the Sandals Ochi Beach from €1445pps. Travel dates: June 1-July 31.

You’ll stay in a Riviera Bamboo Grove Premium with Virgin Atlantic flights thrown in.

And a big welcome here to to the new Barbados Minister for Tourism Lisa Cummins… you know where I am, Minister!

Virtual odysseys

And with our leaders around the Western World keeping us under house arrest, for fear that we might catch foreignavirus, we’re all going on a Virtual Odyssey.

It does allow more of the world into our homes though while we wait to get back out there.

Japan, where it will be next year with the Olympics in Tokyo, have a Matsuri Presents weekend live streaming on website and social media channels.

A Virtual AsianCation of you will.

You’ll get to see martial arts, kamishibai theatre performances and food demos.

The programme will run from 10am-8pm on Saturday, September 26 and 9pm-8pm, Sunday, September 27.

I’ll get my kimono out or borrow one from my old friends Stewart and Hisayo.

I’m sure they’ll have one in the wardrobe from their Scots-Japanese wedding on the island of Islay.

When we broke the sake box and wished them Koun o.

And now I have the bit between the teeth and I know you like a series why don’t I kick off a series Virtual Odyssey.


Countries, Culture, Ireland

Coviday Snaps – Life after lockdown

Lockdown has let us all reboot, rebrand and refurb, and for dapper manager Nicky Logue that also applies to his Dublin 4 hotel, the InterContinental.

Nicky has spent the lay-off productively updating the wardrobe for which he has become known on the Irish capital’s social scene.

Nicky, like all good hotel managers, is omnipresent, and omnifashionable and will no doubt have a swanky suit for the occasion of the big July 20 reopening.

The bould NIck has always given me (and the Scary One) a warm welcome when we visit either for a snifter or a cheeky night away… Rugby central, it’s the InterCon… what a Ledge!

And the hotel which is an institution in Dublin’s most hip suburb, which is a long Jonny Sexton kick away from the RDS with the Aviva Stadium just up the road, will be even better than ever.

With the ground floor, lobby and bar getting spruced up.

Visit or call (01) 6654000.

And you’ll no doubt catch D4’s most famous resident, the rugby ledge himself, Ross O’Carroll-Kelly.

He’ll only be whiling away the COVID-19 days in his second home, the Ice Bar.

A Port chaser

They come in all sizes

The Portuguese already have a jump on us of course and this week sees restaurants and cafes up to 400sqm reopening.

As well as museums which coincides with International Museum Day. Art Galleries, palaces and churches are also getting the green light.

We’ve flagged up Turismo de Portugal’s Clean & Safe seal which will give reassurance to visitors which we hope will include us soon.

Which will mean a bit more of this… Secret Portugal and SPORTUGAL See

England – the Home of Golf?

Magdalene Fields, Berwick-on-Tweed

I’m recycling this one from my old colleague and voice of golf Martin Dempster of my old paper The Scotsman who has been flagging up (and he wouldn’t use such a lame pun) the thorny subject of cross-border golf.

And the growing attractiveness of the Berwick-on-Tweed courses Goswick and Magdalene Fields to Scottish golfers who are excluded on this side of the border from taking their clubs out.

Which is making me even more itchy to get my garish V neck jumper on as my new billet looks out over the historic North Berwick course south of Edinburgh.

Northumberland will be the first place I’ll be going once I get permission to leave these 2kms around my house. And there is much to enjoy there too.

The north-east of England has many charms including Hadrian’s Wall, the Holy Island and Alnwick and Bamburgh castles.

Us Scots have long held a claim to Berwick and they have impressive fortifications to keep us out.

And where we once came foraging, plundering and laying waste with our claymores, now the good folk of Berwick are keeping their eyes peeled for those in tartan-clad plus-fours with golf bags slung over their shoulder.