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, Europe, Ireland

I wish I was back in Ireland

Where they are coming out of lockdown after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told his people when they could meet again.

While the only faces I see outside of my family back here in Scotland are our new guinea pigs Finlay and Fiachra.

Let me at the lettuce

May 18 is the first stage of a five-point road map.

With the phrase which will excite our garrulous Irish friends the most being ‘outdoor meetings between people from different households’

It sounds less of a reward than is first heralded, with myself and my new North Berwick neighbours having had a street party last week.

Jim tomorrow: With Travel pal Jim Gallagher and my Laurie

Don’t call the police, it was just the four of us from either side of the pavement.

If the Irish can hold their breaths (and they’ve been doing well, thus far, even cancelling their St Paddy’s Day parade) then that first hooley will be something.

It’s likely though to be phase five on August 10 before the real craic can start with the key phrase ‘larger social gatherings will be allowed.’

My local boozer: The Beach House, Greystones, Co. Wicklow

Other key highlights include:

*Opening of public libraries (June 8)

*Small retail offices will be open with social distancing observed (June 8).

*Small social gatherings will be permitted (June 29).

*If you like your museums then you’ll be at the front door of the newly reopened museums and galleries early… and the churches too (July 20).

And with the Son and Heir at our favourite Dublin bar Mary’s

*Bad news though for the kids of Ireland schools will reopen on August 10. Those who can be dragged away from the hooley.

Just to get you in the mood here’s what Dublin https://www.visitdublin.com, one of Europe’s great cities, has to offer.

We’ll meet again: No, not us, The Temple Bar

And here’s where to stay in Dublin and its hinterland, Co. Wicklow www.visitwicklow.ie.

The InterContinental in Dublin 4, Rugby central, it’s the InterCon… what a Ledge! and Flowerscourt, Powerscourt in the Garden County.

While beyond the Pale there is much to offer too… Monaghan’s country roads.

Now to catch a flight back… www.tourismireland.com and https://www.failteireland.ie.

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – home distilling

Stocks are running low what with The Son and Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl being home… the solution, brew your own.

I took a shot at this in my Twenties when I bought a homebrew pack and drunk it with Andy, my Best Man.

Beer country: Colorado www.denver.org

Probably before it was ready.

Beer professor

Would that I had known Travis then. He’s only a beer archaeologist in Avery, Colorado… The New Frontiersmen and www.colorado.com.

All of which brings me onto breweries, and more specifically brewery trips.

Watch out for the monks: Strahov in Prague

Czech this out

The Strahov Monastery Brewery, Prague https://www.klasterni-pivovar.cz: And memories of sitting in a bar (remember them) in the Prague area, The Castle, with a trio of different Czech beers on the menu.

Before being given a guided tour of the on-site brewery and finishing off the night drinking Czech liqueur with plain-clothes monks.

See https://www.czechtourism.com/home, Hope springs eternal.

Bottle it: BrewDog

Brew for you

BrewDog, Aberdeenshire, Scotland: https://www.brewdog.com/bars/uk/dogtap-ellon?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb-dogtapellon: And they had me at pets who the hipster employees are allowed to take to work.

The dinky craft beers from the outpost of Aberdeenshire Aberdeen – a light in the north and www.visitscotland.com.

Happy hour: Brains in Cardiff

Booze Brain

Brains, Cardiff, Wales https://www.sabrain.com: And our lecturers at my journalism college in Cardiff knew that to be a top reporter we needed to hone our drinking.

So they gave us a Brains brewery tour and an hour free drinking in the bar… which meant half a dozen beers. See https://www.visitcardiff.com and https://www.visitwales.com.

A beer for rascals

Colorado cheer

Avery Brewing Company, Colorado, USA: https://www.averybrewing.com: Where the man with the coolest job in the world (after me) beer archaeologist Travis works.

Travis persuaded the brewery in Avery in America’s craft brewing heart, Colorado, to employ him to curate beers from the ancient Middle East, and further afield.

Last orders: In Monaghan

One for the road

Brehon Brewhouse, Co. Monaghan, Ireland http://www.brehonbrewhouse.ie: The best beers are often the ones at the end of a long and winding road.

And having gone round and round in circles in the backwaters of Co. Monaghan https://monaghantourism.com and Monaghan’s country roads we finally found our bar in the friendliest micro-brewery in the area. Nectar!

MEET YOU IN THE BREWERY

Countries, Europe, Ireland

Holiday Snaps: Easter Ireland

Thoughts of Ireland are never far from my mind but never more so than at Easter.

Easter was our time, my Mum and me.

When she would drive us over to see her Mum and Dad and sister in Co. Donegal in the north-west of the country.

We would have some adventures on the way.

Cheers: With Our Blondie

Such as the time when we ended up on the Scottish island of Arran. Because she was too busy talking.

And did not listen to the steward, and went into the wrong queue.

I’d keep up the tradition of going to Donegal http://www.govisitdonegal.com at Easter when I relocated to Ireland and County Wicklow http://www.visitwicklow.ie.

And we would always stay in the town of Ballybofey near to her home hamlet of Brockagh.

Get out of my picture

Mum, having been brought up in the only hotel in the hamlet, was always a stickler for standards.

But she was always treated as a returning heroine by Jackson’s http://www.jacksonshotel.ie manager Barry.

I never had the heart to tell her that Irish hoteliers treat every guest the same way.

Of course neither of us are able to visit Donegal just now.

Where Dad is seeing out eternity with the rest of her family.

But it is reassuring to know that Donegal hasn’t forgotten us.

Donegal’s delights

With my friends at Harvey’s Point https://www.harveyspoint.com sending on their Easter greetings.

Tranquil: Harveys Point. http://www.booking.com

And Niall and the team are naturally showing that Donegal optimism.

With an offer for when we get back travelling again.

The award-wining Harvey’s Point is offering 10% off gift vouchers which can be redeemed in full against future stays.

We’ll maybe not tell her though that it was another Ulster county Monaghan which laid out the red carpet for us.

When the Scary One only brought us there a weekend early.

Visit https://monaghantourism.com/plan-your-visit/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/monaghans-country-roads/

And Easter elsewhere

Lie back and think of Austria

There’s a meme going around just now.

Where Maria Von Trapp is being carted away from the hills (black humour will help us through this crisis).

Drink it all in

The Austrian hills are, of course a shifting landscape and beautiful either in the snow https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/europe/soll-mates/ or when the glades are verdant.

I was all over Austria last year walking with Top Flight for Schools https://topflightforschools.ie… and drinking https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/26/hungry-and-thursday-the-off-sales/!

In the pink: Get funky with your eggs

This being rural Austrian Tyrol https://www.tyrol.com it’s all about the eggs.

There are two kinds – the decorative ones and the chocolate ones. The decorative ones are blown beforehand so they are a hollow shell.

No yolk

Chocolate treats

The locals then use ferns and small flowers.

They are attached to the egg, before it is coloured or stained and then removed to leave a pattern.

The best bit though is that they are then used in an adaptation of a favourite childhood game.

Eierpecken is an Austrian pastime where the eggs are knocked together, just like conkers?

Visit www.blog.tirol/en/2018/03/diy-naturally-dyed-easter-eggs/ and here: www.pinterest.ch/pin/554998354055595995/
Austrian Tirol: www.visittirol.co.uk

Swiss roll

Fun and games: In the Swiss Alps

I like the way the Swiss roll.

And if you thought it was schnapps, schnapps and more schnapps you would only be half right.

Heaven with Hell

The beer, they go in for a brew called Hell, ain’t half bad.

While they also serve whisky at the top of the Jungfraujoch railway https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/jungfraujoch-top-of-europe/ and https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/.

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/europe/swhisskey/.

And delivery of Easter wine is very much part of their seasonal rituals.

The big cheese

It was started as a religious, social and calming offering back in 1575 in Verbier and has continued ever since.

Let the train take the strain: In Switzerland

In the past the parishes or the bourgeoises bequests in kind and in money.

In return for being the ones to offer the distribution of wine, cheese or even bread during Easter.

Peak condition: In Switzerland

Nowadays, it encourages families and friends to get together for a feast.

So channel your inner Swiss today when you feast on wine, cheese or even bread during Easter.

These are the Swiss wines to look out for https://swisswine.ch/en/news/amazing-swiss-wine-regions-discover 
Verbier: www.verbier.ch/en/index.htm

Africa, America, Asia, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Give us this Day – funerals

It’s not been a typical Sunday – when I got to my new church today the regular priest wasn’t there because he had died the previous week.

A monseigneur, the good man who was clearly well liked had worked until his mid-eighties.

But then again my Dear Old Dad would have done the same.

The Big Man in Donegal

Should you be passing through somewhere on your holidays, and like me you go to where people play and pray, then you might witness a funeral.

I did in Marrakech when I was trying to get out of the souk without being robbed blind, by a jewellery seller trying to thrust a mint tea into my mitts.

And so here is an unscientific funeral procession around the world:

The Marrakech Express

Souk life in Morocco

Morocco: The Muslim tradition is that the dead should be carried shrouded through the streets with their feet exposed.

Through a busy souk cheek-to-cheek with a Moroccan huckster… https://visitmarrakech.com.

The funeral pyre

Fiery funeral

India; Note to family and friends, I’m considering Antyasti…

Being burnt on a pyre by a river where Hindus like to put rice into the dead person’s mouth among other rituals.

Being of the Glaswegian variety, I’d ask for some chicken tikka masala in there too. Visit https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en.html.

Hang ’em high in the Far East

Hillside haven

Philippines, China, Indonesia: The superstitious people of the Far East like to get a rung up on the route to heaven.

By hanging funerals to the side of hills.

They don’t say what happens when there’s a landslide or avalanche though! Visit http://www.tourism.gov.ph, https://www.discoverchina.com/article/china-tourism,

They do them well in Ireland

Life is just a bowl of cherries, Dad

Ireland: And naturally there’s drink involved.

On the night before the funeral traditionally the body is laid out for the wake.

And that would mean in the front, or best, room where the deceased would be togged out in their best clothes.

And drinks would be had around them and stories told. Slainte. See www.tourismireland.com and https://www.failteireland.ie.

And for some country life see Monaghan’s country roads.

The Saints are coming in New Orleans

Let the music play

New Orleans: This is the way to go… with trumpet blast at a jazz funeral.

And its the way that the good people of Norleans do it.

Me, my introduction to Norleans was at the American Travel Fair, IPW, when the New Orleans convention treated us to gumbo, jambalaya and Sazeracs…. for breakfast.

My type of town… before the famous Preservation Hall Jazz Band piped us in with When The Saints Go Marching In, and we did, to the conference.

Where I think I fell asleep. But I will visit https://www.neworleans.com.

And if you like the Deep South you may want to try out my American Trilogy The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings.

Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Thirteen years an Irishman – My five Irish homes

Growing up in Scotland to an Irish mother, and father with Irish roots, I was tagged Irish, or at least Irish-Scots.

Even after 13 years in Ireland I’m still seen as Scottish. I don’t know why, was it the accent, the kilt…?

But, in truth, I will always have two homes.

So, on the day we move out of the home we have filled for 13 and a half hours here are my five Irish homes:

Herself at her favourite Glendalough

Co. Wicklow: The Son and Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl both agree that growing up by the sea in Greystones was a privilege.

And you can ALWAYS get a coffee or hot chocolate. Some happily queue for veggies’ heaven Happy Pear https://thehappypear.ie.

Me? I prefer the eccentric Tomasso and Caffe Delle Stelle https://greystones.ie/caffe-delle-stelle/.

Greystones is framed by Bray Head and the town harbour. Great cliff walk and train ride through the Brunel tunnel.

Also Glendalough, the Meeting of the Waters, Avoca. the inspiration for Ballykissangel, and the spectacular Powerscourt with its waterfalls.

Visit http://visitwicklow.ie, https://www.irelandsancienteast.com and when we stayed… Flowerscourt.

Brill in Belfast City

Belfast boys

Belfast: The aforementioned Son and Heir has relocated to Belfast, another excuse to go up north, as if I needed any.

Myself and the Scary One have obviously been up to see him.

And also the Game of Thrones door, the tapestry in the Ulster Museum https://www.nmni.com/Home.aspx and the Titanic Museum https://www.titanicbelfast.com.

We stayed and can recommend the https://www.fitzwilliamhotelbelfast.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxO6shb615wIVArDtCh0Zyw_DEAAYASAAEgJ_LvD_BwE.

While when I get the chance to zip up there for, say The Open at Royal Portrush, with Discover Northern Ireland https://discovernorthernireland.com/about-northern-ireland/19-reasons-to-visit-northern-ireland/, or Van Morrison at the Europa http://europa-belfast.hotel-rv.com/index.htm?lbl=ggl-en&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7taG1L615wIVFODtCh0c2Q-dEAAYAyAAEgKsnPD_BwE and staying at the Grand Central Hotel https://www.grandcentralhotelbelfast.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjvK297615wIVR7DtCh3wmA7kEAAYASAAEgIb-fD_BwE.

Also check out https://visitbelfast.com and Belfast Chilled.

Monaghan country life

Rolling hills

Teamwork? I find the destination and I leave Herself to organise us getting there, so is it my fault if I give her the wrong dates?

So when we turned up in Monaghan one week early we had to rely on the kindness of the townfolk… Justin Asian Street Food, Monaghan County Museum and Brehon Brewery.

We did make our high tea meeting a couple of weeks later at Castle Leslie where Paul and Heather Mills got married. Let It Be!

Visit https://monaghantourism.com and read Monaghan’s country roads.

Donegal land of my mother

Double trouble

I’ve been going to Donegal all my life… to visit my grandparents, my auntie, and doing an annual pilgrimage with my Mum since.

We always stay in the hotel in the nearest town to her Brockagh homestead, Jackson’s http://www.jacksonshotel.ie in Ballybofey where the Irish Coffee was born.

My mum was the first intake of the Brockagh school which is now home to the patriot Isaac Butt Heritage Centre https://www.discoverireland.ie/Arts-Culture-Heritage/isaac-butt-heritage-centre/10716.

Where photos of her and her family is up on the boards.

While we also love to visit Portnoo with its deserted island and The Flight of the Earls Memorial and Doon Well holy site in Rathmullan.

Visit https://www.govisitdonegal.com.

My rare oul’ times in Dublin

Flagging it up: Temple Bar

Twelve and a half years of it I spent in a soulless, friendless office… but thankfully my pal Nicky runs the iconic InterContinental next door… The InterCon… what a Ledge!

Temple Bar is where the tourists come but you can pick and choose and get away from it all at the Gibson Hotel https://www.thegibsonhotel.ie/?nst=0&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwoCdtd615wIViLTtCh0WCwqCEAAYAiAAEgLDsfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds.

I’ve spent many of the best days of my life in Dublin…

Mary’s Bar and Hardware Shop off Grafton Street https://marysbar.ie/?utm_source=maps&utm_campaign=gmb is the pick of my pubs although I’d be shot if I didn’t mention The Workshop Gastro Pub http://www.theworkshopgastropub.com.

Chapter One https://www.chapteronerestaurant.com does the best steaks while Chai Yo Teppanyaki https://www.chaiyo.ie the best Chinese while Wendy Wu Tours http://www.wendywutours.ie the best Chinese New Year spread.

Raising the bar: with Herself

You want museums? Yes, there are the obvious attractions, the Book of Kells in Trinity College Dublin and Dublin Castle.

But I give you The Little Museum of Dublin https://www.littlemuseum.ie/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5-2-u_y15wIViKztCh2XGQ6dEAAYASAAEgJYS_D_BwE, the Hugh Lane Gallery http://www.hughlane.ie with Francis Bacon’s recreated studio.

And Kilmainham Jail http://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie where the 1916 leaders were executed including the gangrenous Scot James Connollly, strapped to his chair.

And for more on Dublin, visit https://www.visitdublin.com and https://www.tourismireland.com.

MEET YOU BACK IN IRELAND

Uncategorized

Morning Monaghan

I’ve always had the warmest welcome when I’ve stopped off in Monaghan at my auntie and cousins so any chance we get to reciprocate we lay out the red carpet which we did yesterday.

Monaghan, on the border of Northern Ireland, is a treat… great music with the capital of Irish Country music Castleblaney up the road and great food and music (try their craft beer) and trails for walking and biking.

And it’s where Paul McCartney goes in Ireland when he wants to get married.

If you’re looking for Ireland’s famous ‘a hundred thousand welcomes’ then this Midlands market town will be right up your street as we found in very different circumstances this very week a couple of years ago…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/monaghan’s-country-roads/(opens in a new tab)

Visit http://www.monaghantourism.com. http://www.andysmonaghan.com. http://www.westenra.com. http://www.glasloughvillage.com. http://www.castleleslie.com. http://www.tasteofmonaghan.com/glaslough-chocolate-company. http://www.brehonbrewhouse.ie. www.patrickkavanaghcountry.com.