America, Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Princess Grace – what a Corker!

She is for ever Monaco’s princess… but Princess Grace – what a Corker!

Grace’s people hail from Newport, Co. Mayo.

And her grandfather John Peter Kelly, an honest brickie, emigrated to Philadelphia in 1867.

The bould JP only founded a construction company in the City of Brotherly Love.

And he built his fortune which found its way down to Grace.

It subsequently helped her to forge her way in the acting world.

Kelly’s aye

Seeing that this site prioritises all things American and Irish then Grace Kelly walks, nay sashays, into our world.

Particularly as the Irish are celebrating her this month to mark 60 years since she and her famous family visited Cork.

The Imperial Hotel Cork has a 60th anniversary special by pitching their prices at, yes you guessed it, €60pps for June 26.

You can only wonder how many suitcases Grace, Rainier, Caroline and Albert had that day… or what treatment they received.

But thousands of Corkonians lined the South Mall and would have gladly served as her bell hop.

Imperial mint

You’ll be pampered too.

The historic 200-year-old Imperial, known as the Grande Dame of Cork, is putting on a two-night Princess Grace themed pampering package.

And a bespoke Princess Grace Afternoon Tea features artisanal pastries made in the hotel and is inspired by her fave things.

Dine at the hotel’s new restaurant Thyme at Seventy Six on the Mall where you can eat like a royal.

So that’s a Royal Beef Stew just like Grace and her famille did in 1961.

Tea pour deux

Afternoon Tea at Imperial Hotel Cork.
Photo Joleen Cronin

That Princess Grace Afternoon Tea?… well, you’ll relax at High Noon (obvs) in La Fayettes, the stately tearoom that dates back to 1813.

And those favourite things of Grace’s that inform the pastry decorations?

How about a GK perfume bottle, a mini-Hermes handbag, a rose, Champagne and a selection of mini-sandwiches?

The 1hr 40mins Graceful Express spa treatment will allow you to channel your inner Grace (men be warned!)

The turn down service too has been especially developed with our heroine in mind with a new Princess Grace signature scent.

And all Graceophiles will know that Fleurissimo was her fave perfume, and this new signature scent will be infused with rose and bergamot.

Wall of fame

Dwell awhile in the lobby and peruse the archival newspaper exhibition.

And pick out too the famous people who have stayed here over the hotel’s 200 years.

The royal packages

To recap there’s that €60 special but because you want to be royally treated there are accessories.

That Princess Grace Pampering Package is from €195pp sharing and includes among other goodies one night’s dinner at Thyme and Prosecco for two at La Fayettes.

Royal-tea: And we’re channeling our Princess Grace

The Graceful Escape is a one hour 40 minutes treat you deserve and been saving for, for €180pp.

And tea pour deux is €60 avec Prosecco.

Now that is High Society!

Hello China: And she’s full of Grace, obvs

Princess Grace – what a Corker! And here’s the evidence.

And obviously a Philadelphian.

Back in Monaco

And Monégasque which I saw first-hand when I visited Monaco after school in the days after her tragic death.

We could hardly afford an ice cream then but deservedly I get treated these days in the royal manner in the Riviera.

America, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays – The Royal Canal and other Irish landmarks

Now the screw was peeping, as the lag lay sleeping. Dreaming about his girl Sal. And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle. All along the banks of the Royal Canal The Auld Triangle, The Dubliners

Luke Kelly drolled that ‘in the female prison there are 75 women and among them I wish I did dwell, and that auld triangle could go jingle-jangle all along the banks of the Royal Canal.’

And if you know this song, penned by Brendan Behan (and if you don’t then you’ve been missing out) you’ll walk along the Royal Canal in the north of Dublin singing it aloud.

Or if you’re cycling too as I have done, all the time hoping that the broken bottles wouldn’t puncture my tyres.

The Beardie Boys: The Dubliners

That was then, and this is now, and the announcement of the €12m scenic 130km Royal Canal Greenway is to be welcomed.

If you do the lot you’ll have chalked off 90 bridges, 30 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts.

And take in Co. Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford.

So as a preamble let’s get on with our Rainy Days and Songdays six of the best songs with Irish landmarks.

What a Corker!

Jim and Alan at the Phil Lynott statue in Dublin

As I was goin’ over the Cork and Kerry Mountains, I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was countin’. I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier. I said ‘stand and deliver, or the devil he may take ye Whiskey in the Jar, Thin Lizzy 

Musha rain, dum a doo, dum a da.

The Cork and Kerry Mountains have always held a special affection for me as the first travel assignment when a cub reporter in Reading.

Going over said mountains in our Citroen cars was not helped by a bout of seasickness going over on the Swansea-Cork ferry.

But nothing that the local tipple, Murphy’s Stout and the craic didn’t put right.

Low lie those fields

Those low-lying fields: Athenry

Low lie the Fields of Athenry, where once we watched the small birds fly. Our love was on the wing. We had dreams and songs to sing. It’s so lonely round the Fields of Athenry  – Fields of Athenry, The High Kings

Lowing, or maybe braying, around those Fields of Athenry were our four donkeys which came with the rented cottage.

I can’t remember what la famiglia called the three others but mine was Oaty as in Donkey Oaty!

I was maybe just tilting at windmills.

And as for stealing Trevelyan’s corn… we just bought some from the Centra for the donkeys.

The Band is back together

Neat little town they call Belfast

 In a neat little town they call Belfast, apprentice to tradeI was bound…, a sad misfortune came over me which caused me to stray from the land, far away from my friends and relations, betrayed by the Black Velvet Band Black Velvet Band, Peaky Blinders

It was more good fortune that came over me… to take me away from my friends and relations to the States after university.

And work, no not on the Black Velvet Band’s pitch, Broadway, but Boston where I inevitably served tables at an Irish pub.

Where every night among the most requested songs was Black Velvet Band.

And yes, of course, like our gullible hero of the song ‘many an hour’s sweet happiness I spent I spent in this neat little town Belfast.

As for a black velvet band, or any colour for that matter, try as I may I never persuaded one… i wonder if she’ll be there when I return.

Where the Dark Mourne sweeps…

London’s got nothing on this

Oh Mary this London’s a wonderful sight with people here working by day and by night, they don’t sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat. But there’s gangs of them dogging for gold in the street. At least when I asked them that’s what I was told so I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold. But for all that I found there I might as well be in the place where the Dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea Mountains o’ Mourne, Don McLean

Mourne Mountains, Co. Down: It’s always a thrill to see the Mountains of Mourne, my Dear Old Mum’s home province, when driving either north or south.

Mountains of Mourne this sweeping range, has a special place in our hearts as the lullaby I would sing to Daddy’s Little Girl.

It was round by Brockagh’s corner

Harkin’s Bar, Donegal

 It was down by Brockagh Corner one morning I did stray, I met a fellow rebel and this to me did say, he had orders from our captain to assemble at Dunbar. But how were we to get there without a car The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

Beockagh, Co. Donegal: And still on lullabies this gentle little ditty about the Irish War of Independence is an alternative to nursery rhymes.

If your mother is from Nationalistic north-west Donegal that is.

Well it got me through childhood… give three cheers to the Teasy and Johnson’s Motor Car.

Meeting of minds in Wicklow

Moore Wicklow please

Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest. In thy bosom of shade with the friends I love best. Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease. And thy hearts, like thy waters, be mingled on peace. The Meetings of the Waters, John McCormack

And my beloved old homestead of Co. Wicklow and its poet laureate, Thomas Moore.

The Meetings is a family favourite, going back to the days when my Donegal Granny and Grandpa honeymooned here.

We would often return there in our Thirteen Years in Ireland on family day trips.

And skim stones which can be more of a danger sport than you might imagine.

Particularly if you’re that young boy on the other side of the bank who ducks just as a stone is jumping up out of the water.

Still, I did get a 12!