Adventure, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Out of my tree

And watching the Scary One plant her pear trees in the drizzle for National Tree Week has sparked memories of where I’ve been out of my tree around the world.

Let’s hear it for the beardies… on Barbados

Beardy trees

Caribbean: The trees certainly caught the Portuguese mariners” eye when they landed in Barbados..

Not the golden beaches, interestingly (well they have their own) but their bearded Ficus citrifolia.

While we all visit the West Indies for its beaches we miss a lot if we ignore its heartland so you should go safari.

Where Dwayne will tear up the woodland in his Jeep and the bowed bearded trees will flick your face.

Eat one of those famous Tobagonian meals of fish which has just jumped out of the sea and macaroni in Jemma’s Treehouse.

And sleep it off in your own treehouse in Castara Retreats in a hammock naturally.

Tree si

Bergamo is a poplar destination

Italy: And my favourite is this much-loved straight up and down tree… it’s very poplar.

My good friend and an Irish Travel Writer of the Year into the bargain, Muriel Bolger, wrote beautifully for me on their appeal, on a trip I sent her on to Northern Italy.

Which I checked out for myself in Bergamo this past Autumn.

I had, of course, familiarised myself with them when I went off-road on my Via Francigena pilgrimage.

Me and the chasing dogs.

Espana fir favor

Does this house look big on me?

Spain: And while the summer is when we all descend on Spain’s beaches here’s my ode to Autumn in Espana.

When nature is in a state of undress, and when she is at her most becoming.

The best way to discover a region is by foot and on my Camino in Galicia I trudged the same tracks the Medieval Peregrinos did.

I dare say that the tree growing out of this house was there then too.

The explorer to Tenerife, rather than the sun seeker, will head north, rather than south.

And the rainforest in the Northern Anaga Mountains. All of which you cam enjoy on your trip.

The Power of trees

Crane your neck: The Douglas Fir at Powerscourt

Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: And when you live in the Garden County of Wicklow then trees are all around you.

The tallest one in Ireland is on the magnificent Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, near Bray, some 60m plus which is it the seventh highest in Europe.

And when you stay in the sumptuous hotel you get a view, and a review, like no other.

And shiver me timbers

Who put that there? On Edge

Celebrity Edge: And trees are the last thing you’d expect on a cruise ship.

But this is just one of the things which separates the $1bn Celebrity Cruises Edge from the other ships on the seas..

Edge which I boarded two years ago for its inaugural trip from Fort Lauderdale to tbe Bahamas boasts Eden, a forested wonder et land of plants.

But then every on Edge transports you to a different world.


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.

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

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

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

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

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?

One of Hers


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.





Prehistoric Powerscourt

An oul’ dinosaur in Powerscourt… no, not me, but terra dactyls and Tyrannosaurus Rexes.

I’m in Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry in my own adopted county of Wicklow where it has been hosting our prehistoric predecessors.

The movie men and women have been here to shoot a secret Jurassic World short film.

Hollywood director Colin Trevorrow told Collider that Powerscourt’s grove of redwood trees look exactly like those in Northern California.

Take cover: Andre Holland and Natalie Martinez. Picture: Universal

Powerscourt has long been a favourite for movie-makers since Laurence Olivier turfed up here to film Henry IV there in 1944.

And now it can boast a Jurassic World eight-minute short film, the first Jurassic movie to have been shot in Ireland.

Battle at Big Rock has been shot by the director and co-writer of Jurassic World and its sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Do you know the way to the swimming pool? Picture: Christian De Grandmaison

And so… a teaser

Now this is how the plot goes…

A family takes the oul’ caravan out for a camping trip.

Camping, of course, can have its drawbacks…

Like the weather or someone forgets the groceries, or there’s no wi-fi, and maybe a large herbivore trundles past.

So who’s in it?

Only Selma and Moonlight actor Andre Holland and End of Watch’s Natalie Martinez.

Tree’s company. Picture: Powerscourt Estate.

My old friend Sarah Slazenger has had many unexpected requests at Powerscourt in her time.

But she is always equal to any of them, even including this old dinosaur.

Battle at Big Rock is available to watch online through YouTube.

And it has already garnered 3.8million views worldwide.

You want to know more about Powerscourt.

Well, this is how I got on when I went there with The Scary One…

Powerscourt is a particular favourite of ours and they have now opened up a new distillery on the grounds…

This is

What a waterfall: Powerscourt Waterfall

You should also visit And

And that picture above:

Well, that’s me at Universal Studios Hollywood where they have the best Jurassic World theme area….

Here’s some more fun, fun, fun in California… From


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

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

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

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 And this is what I thought 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

And let me tell you how good Hastings are and how my stay at the Grand Central was

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

Now I must go and have a soak.

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


More whiskey a go-go

It was 12noon, the mother-in-law had been here for a full day and a half so nobody could blame me for hitting the whiskey.

Thankfully I’ve got a brand new distillery down the road in one of my favourite spots here in Co. Wicklow, Powercourt Estate.

I’d heard all about what they were planning when I stayed over a year last Spring and am delighted to say that it is a fantastic addition to the hotel, the gardens, the centre… heck, everything,

There’s a tour for €20 which will let you in on the whole distilling process and I dare say that there will be whiskey at the end of it.

There’s also a fantastic and well-priced cafe too and a shop where you can buy the water of life and various whiskey-related products.

And the uisce bertha… well, I tried the Fercullen 14-year-old single malt (€92.95) which Niall told me was smoky. I’d say its not as peaty as Connemara or my own favourites the Islay whiskies and had a slight sweetness but it was certainly what the medical man ordered.

Before I developed my palate and got a few bob in my pocket I was wont to drink a Scotch blend Bell’s which was in every supermarket and off that you’d go into.

So I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to pull an imaginary rope on a very real 18th century outside the old Mill which is now the distillery.

Visit http://www.powerscourtdistillery.,com. And Powerscourt House & Gardens And Powerscourt Hotel.

And get out to the rest of the county.

And now that I’ve warmed myself up I’m digging out my review from Powerscourt from last year. in a new tab) And the gardens

Now this might be a case of drinking down to the top of the label.