Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Ireland

A hug around the world

There’s a teacher on an Irish advert who promotes health insurance and says what she missed most when she was hospitalised was human contact.

‘I’m a real hogger’, she smiled. It was a visual thing, she wasn’t hoarding mementos.

Instead her animated figure was embracing nursery kids.

Crystal clear: Warm welcome in Barbados

She’s not alone in being ‘a real hogger’. The Irish love to hug and they are all happier for it.

So they’ll be missing hugging friends now that they, and us, are in lockdown.

Because some people are just more comfortable with hugging than others.

Yes, I’m talking about you, Crystal, Ruby, Geraldine, Marsha and Sheena.

On Barbados www.visitbarbados.org and Tobago https://www.visittobago.gov.tt.

Crystal, who taught me how to tie a bandana and unleashed this monster on the world…. Let’s rumba in Barbados

She was choked with the cold but the professional that she is, and perfect host too, she pushed on regardless.

And there was always a hug, as there was from everybody who worked at Club Barbados https://www.theclubbarbados.com on the Platinum Coast.

While Ruby who gave me my first Caribbean cooking class, okra, was in great form.

Delivering a telling-off before a hearty hug and laugh…. My kiss with Rihanna and www.tropicalsky.ie and www.tropicalsky.co.uk.

In safe hands: Geraldine, Jim and Virginia’s Betsy

Auntie Alison (they respect their elders and call their betters Uncle or Auntie) wowed us with her natural rhythm and moves…

As Uncle Kenneth and myself cooked Caribbean Chicken Curry in their restaurant, the Blue Crab http://www.tobagobluecrab.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/

I’ve been asked to relive those memories this week as part of a video by the Barbados and Tobago boards to promote the islands.

Irie!

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Holiday Snaps – Going solo

When nobody else will go with you, or you don’t want to go with anyone, then you go solo.

It doesn’t make you Johnny No Mates, in fact you leave with more friends.

Our friends at Travel Department www.traveldepartment.ie like to do their homework before setting on programmes for us. Obvs!

And so they have conducted a survey into ours and our UK neighbours’ habits.

Pilgrims on the Camino

Irish people are three times more likely than the British to go solo.

And four out of five solo travellers are female.

Wendy, or Mrs Always Right, a nickname she revelled in and one I think she gave herself at the bank she managed, is one such solo traveller.

Who I, another solo traveller, met ten minutes into my Camino.

I always find a cat on my Caminos

When I asked if she wanted me to take a photograph of her at a bridge.

We went on to spend the next four days with each other and a range of international friends we picked up along the way.

And that despite me swatting a wasp she alerted me too onto her foot and stinging her.

Just 12kms into the 100km CaminoWays http://www.caminoways.com trek… A pilgrim’s prayer.

With Francesca on the Via Francigena

While I only spent a couple of days with Elke I almost hugged her when we first met.

A friend in need

I had been three days on the Via Francigena http://wwwviafrancigena.com, had got lost obviously and hadn’t come across a human being for three days.

Other than at my billets. Until I met Elke.

We broke bread together, washed our feet in the stream and arranged to meet one another above Rome.

Which inevitably I missed and found myself in another grove. Still I got there and this is how… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

Splash hit: Thanks for the pic, Elke

Even when you are supposed to be on a couples holiday you can sometimes find yourself going solo.

I had been invited out to Barbados with Tropical Sky http://www.tropicalsky.ie to stay at Club Barbados http://www.theclubbarbados.com.

And while the invite was for me they had given me the option of a plus one at our own expense.

Which I had put to the Scary One at the time but which she returned to a week before I left… my mistake for not having it written down in triplicate.

Ruby’s rules: Her kitchen at the Club Barbados

Of course everywhere I looked there were couples. on the dance floor, in the swimming pool, on the terrace, at the bar, and the turtles in the sea.

Still, again, there is no such thing as a stranger in the Caribbean, only a friend you haven’t met yet.

And there was Andy, Ben, Jena, Patsy, Geraldine, Ruby, Bubba, Maradona (no, not that one), Lyndon and a host of others.

Here’s how a Scotsman in Barbados got on… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

Lean into it: Me and Andy in Barbados

Go solo with Travel Department. They have new 2020 Solo Traveller tours on offer.

These include a Danube River Cruise, a Bavarian Winter Break, a Milan City Break, a 12-night South Africa adventure, including a safari, and a Nile River Cruise.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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Moanday Morning – Self-service

And we’ve been had. I don’t know when and I don’t know where but it turns out that Modern Man has to serve ourselves.

But isn’t the whole point of serving that somebody else does it for you?

And that brings me to the other great con of our age, Do It Yourself.

You do it yourself, I want you to do it for me, that’s what I’m paying you for.

Photo by Naim Benjelloun on Pexels.com

I have absolutely no interest either in spending my free time following a diagram only a nuclear scientist can work out.

To inevitably find that there is a piece missing and that we have to shoot across town for a replacement.

It starts when you book your holiday…. on the net which inevitably has its own challenges.

You’re at your screen and the family is bending your ear all around you, so there’s the danger that you might book the wrong time or pay too much.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

And then when you get to the airport and you have to go to one of those baggage scanning machines.

I don’t know about you but I just end up asking for help (from a human).

I mean, I’m always happier when I see somebody else puts hands on my luggage and sends it on its merry way.

You get to the ticket scanner and you’ve got to remember which way to place your ticket.

I would have heart palpitations if I trusted in the barcode on my phone particularly as the memory on my phone would be down to 1%.

Travel colleague Issy Conway, George Washington and his Vice-President

And there would be no plug sockets in the airport.

After all that you want to refuel and go to the shop where there is another scanner…

And you just end up asking an assistant who is too busy taking to her pal to help,

Now when it comes to service Americans do it better than anywhere… http://www.visitusa.ie.

Although it comes with a premium… and tipping. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away!

But while I’m in an American mood having got together with American Holidays last week http://www.americanholidays.com I’ll give you a few of my Stateside jaunts.

Minnie-break

A charming reception at Kimpton Hotels in Dupont Circle http://kimptonwashington.guestreservations.com/27185/booking?gclid=CjwKCAiAqqTuBRBAEiwA7B66hXNBLV3iZn4bCp-HGxyKpRmWYVppUlmlZbkva-XdL-bGPk5rEZMtgRoCeIgQAvD_BwE and my review http://Easy DC.

Through the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World in Florida… https://www.fourseasons.com.

They even bring Mickey, Minnie and Goofy out to join you for breakfast although The Donald is harder to get hold of… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/

My pal: The Donald

Now I think of it, it’s the service and help that I’ve had while I’ve been away which have stayed with me long after I’ve returned.

And looking forward to returning to the Caribbean, this time Tobabo, how can I forget the hospitality at the Club Barbados Resort & Spa https://www.theclubbarbados.com?

With Tropical Sky http://www.tropicalsky.ie… and check out their deals there and across the world. Their discounts will knock your sandals off.

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Hungry & Thursday – Dishy Rihanna

I was happier behind the video camera which is unusual, I grant you.

After getting my hand smacked the last time there was a Bajan cookery lesson.

My Bajan friends were back in town, cooking, mixing cocktails and dancing.

So it would have been rude not to join in when the music started.

Particularly as I’d some spicy Bajan food and rum punch to burn off.

Now the thing I found out in Barbados is that rum can be a vital ingredient in the food. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

Breakfast of champions

I even found it in the sweet treats at the breakfast buffet on my first trip to Barbados (and the bread) for Crop Over, their carnival.

The best breakfast I had was made by my friend Donna who hosed myself and her husband Jevan down, washing off the paint and mud, after Foreday Morning. Before filling us with carbs.

And I then went down to Sandals for my second breakfast http://www.sandals.co.uk/barbados.

Now over to Ruby, and a cookery lesson at Club Barbados http://www.clubbarbados.com on the Platinum West.Coast on my Tropical Sky http://www.tropicalsky.ie trip to the Caribbean.

Cou-cou is on the menu. It is Barbados’s national dish.

The thing is that you stir the cou-cou, okra or cornmeal, with a 1ft cricket bat-style (it’s their national sport) cou-cou stick.

Which is what Ruby is wielding here.

Eat your cou-cou as an accompaniment to flying fish.

And here’s some rum punch which will be thrust into your hand the moment you land on the island.

As made by our cool as ice mixologist on the night in Dublin this week.

It’s about three minutes so you might want to get your Mount Gay, which means rum, out and pour yourself a rum and coke while you watch.

Now there’s a lot going on in Barbados, culinary, slow tourism, adventure tourism (scuba, snorkel, in fact any kind of water sports).

It is 10 years of Barbados Food & Rum from October 24-27 http://www.foodandrum.com. Also visit http://www.visitbarbados.org.

And check out the road tennis!

As they say on Barbados…

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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Monday Saver – €1500pp Maldives

Vanessa is one of those contagious spirits who convert you to their cause through their enthusiasm and dedication.

Of course, I ought to have been doing more then without anybody having to tell me.

But German Vanessa awoke me to the perils of plastic pollution in the ocean when I visited the Maldives.

I swear she talks to the turtles, hence me Christening her Mother Turtle. And I dare say they talk to her too.

Tropical Sky (tropicalsky.ie / 01 664 9999) is offering savings of up to €1,500 per person on seven-night stays at the five star LUX* South Ari Atoll for travel completed before January 5, if booked by Septermber 30.

The holiday now costs from €2,599 per person.

Lovely bubbly!

So what will you get:

Villa-only resort offers an off-grid island experience on the shores of Dhidhoofinolhu, bordered by turquoise lagoons.

The villas are spread along the palm-fringed beach and feature lofty thatched roofs with luxurious bathrooms and a private garden with an outdoor shower.

Guests can sail out on a traditional dhoni and swim up close to whale sharks, turtles, dolphins and manta rays, with tailored programmes led by experienced instructors.

Based on two sharing on half-board basis including flights from Dublin and transfers.

You want to learn more about the Maldives… here’s my review https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/

And a touch of Barbados, obviously

Here’s to Barbados

I like to keep up with events in Barbados… I have an insider there, my old pal Jevan.

Tropical Sky are also on the case for me.

They (tropicalsky.ie / 01 664 9999) is offering savings of up to €690 per person on seven-night stays at the 4* The Sands Barbados for travel completed before 20 December, if booked by 30 September.

The holiday now costs from €1,429 per person.

Meet the locals

So what do you get?

Brand-new all-inclusive beachfront resort situated across two and a half acres of white sand on the south coast. 

Ideal for families and groups, with suites sleeping up to six and oceanfront penthouses, as well as tranquil rooms overlooking the landscaped gardens for couples.

Highlights include palm-fringed freshwater swimming pool, spa and free scuba lessons.

Based on two sharing on all-inclusive basis and including flights from Dublin and transfers.

Some local knowledge

Remember this is the first place to go to get a feel for Barbados https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/.

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/.

Now if you bump into Vanessa or Jevan then tell them I’ll be back over real soon.

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Holiday Snaps – Biarritz

Right, the world’s leaders aren’t going to stay in a caravan park but I do heartily agree with the G7’s choice of Biarritz.

In a former life, and former newspaper, when I had to compete with others (the cheek of it!) to be picked to go on a travel trip, I landed Biarritz.

The newspaper’s system, as far as I could figure it out, was that the first one to reply was rewarded, though I suspect that quality control came into play too.

It went down though like a fart at a funeral among the women in the office that I was being sent to a Thalassotherapy Centre for some water-based spa pampering.

Water everywhere: At the Sofitel

The Hotel Spa Biarritz Le Miramar – Sofitel is where you should go when you’re in town.

And I fancy that The Donald, The Boris, the Emmanuel and The Justin all like a pandering.

I’ve also got a soft spot for The Angela and have been concerned to see her shaking, so she certainly deserves some spoiling.

You too can avail of some treats, and God knows, you deserve it.

Jump in: The Sofitel, Biarritz

I can still feel the seaweed wraps and a shiver goes down my back thinking back on the water hosing I got from the assistant.

The previous time I’d been hosed down was by a life guard in a swimming baths in Glasgow for messing about.

Biarritz by the sea with its iconic lighthouse, and at the gateway to the Pyrenees, is from €208 per night with an Energy Vitality Stopover. https://www.thalassa.com/gb/spa-hotel/2049-biarritz-le-miramar-sofitel.html.

Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com flies to Biarritz one-way from €19.99.

I doubt The Donald is on board. But I dare say that if he is and got the winning scratch card that he would share the winnings.

Or not.

Biarritz is in the Basque Country and it is worth heading further afield to see its charms. I did, taking in Lourdes as well https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/

Turkish pipes of prace

At the crossroads: The Bosphorus in Istanbul

There are some things that will scar your kids… seeing their Dad smoking a Shisha pipe is one.

It’s not as if they put any drugs in it, or at least I think they didn’t, more of a sweet-smelling tobacco. Still impressionable seven-year-old minds and all that.

Bodrum in Turkey was perhaps my favourite of our family holidays, possibly on account of the Turks making a fuss of our Ally (like Ali, they said).

And our Laurie befriending Shannon.

And me taking second place in the talent contest, doing a Highland jig in my kilt.

Click&Go has half-board Turkey holidays among a clutch of great offers.

A seven-night stay at the 4* Ambrosia Hotel from €399pps. Travel in October. With return flights from Dublin to Bodrum. http://www.clickandgo.com.

And if you’re looking for another Turkish treat my Istanbul trip this summer is in today’s Irish Sun.

While I’ve also got another version on the site here https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/

A walk in Kerry

Plush: The Rose Hotel

I do hope the PR woman who was taking her first media group on what was then the inaugural Swansea-Cork Ferries trip was not put off by us all getting sea-sick.

And continued with her career.

It proved a thoroughly enjoyable introduction for another tyro, me, into the world of travel and Press groups.

Not least because it also included the use of Citroen cars for a spin around the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula.

These days, mainly because The Scary One has taken the wheel. I prefer to walk.

And that’s not because she throws me out of the car.

I’m off to Tenerife next month and am also trekking in Austria.

The beautiful Dingle Peninsula

And that means I won’t be able to avail of this intriguing walk in Kerry.

Courtesy of The Rose Hotel in Tralee this is a Walking Weekend organised for September 27 and 28.

Check in on the Friday evening and on Saturday guests will join Wild Water Adventures on a guided walk with a choice of three routes.

The Dingle Way (Easy 2.5 hours), Loch a Duin Valley (Moderate 4.5 hours) or Mount Brandon (Strenuous 6 hours).

The Walking Weekend package costs €160pp.

It includes two nights accommodation with dinner on one evening, guided walk, packed lunch and transport.

To book or for further enquires please contact The Rose Hotel visit www.therosehotel.com.

A little bit of sunny Scotland

Scotland, Barbados: Dwayne and I

I love finding Scotland abroad… in the world’s place names.

Here I am in sunny Scotland (obviously not the original) in Barbados.

Equally I have travelled in other lands where my Scottish forbears have gone before.

The Deep South of the US has a rich Scottish history with Ben Lomond and Banff revealing its Caledonian links.

But you can be deceived. Nevis in the Caribbean has no connection with Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis.

The Caribs first tried out Ouailie (Land Of Beautiful Water) while the early British settlers called the island Dulcina (Sweet Island).

Until they settled on Nevis from the Spanish Nuestra Senora de las Nievas (Our Lady of the Snows).

Does it even snow there though?

Tropical Sky www.tropicalsky.ie has savings of up to €1,200pp on seven-night stays at the 5* Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.

For travel completed before December 19, if booked before August 31.

The holiday now costs from €1,899pp. Includes return flight from Dublin.

Irie, let’s reprise some Caribbean adventures… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

It’s Scary… Halloween hooks

Exotic: Thailand. Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

You wouldn’t immediately associate Thailand with Halloween, it’s just that our holiday providers like to link dates and places.

In fact it isn’t Buddhist and Halloween is a Christian festival, but being Buddhist they do channel the spirits.

And go for miniature spirit houses outside their homes and businesses where they present gifts to their forefathers.

Emirates Holidays www.emiratesholidays.com is offering a ‘fangtastic’ (their words) seven nights at the 4* Santhiya, Koh Yao Yai from €3,729 per family.

That’s two adults, two children (under 11 sharing).

Including return flights from Dublin. Depart October 26.

Me, I’m a practising Boozist!

Malta pleasers

In neighbouring Gozo

It’s getting around to that time of year again when I made the besotted Miss F the happiest woman in the world.

I bent down to tie my shoelaces in Malta and she shrieked YES.

My pal, the multi-award winning Travel blogger Tom Sweeney www.tomsweeneytravels.blogspot.com, advises slip-ons.

Budget Travel www.budgettravel.ie has seven-night holidays in 4* accommodation with flights from Dublin and Cork with prices from €419pp.

Depart October. And for a refresher on all that Malta has to offer read my https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/malta-easer/.

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Barbados: Friends in need, friends indeed

‘It’s all right for you going off to Barbados again,’ SHE opined from across the sofa.

I didn’t have the heart, or courage, to tell her that I had invited her a month or so previously but that she had declined.

And I would never have won that one even if I’d had it in triplicate.

I’m feeling lonely, honest! At Club Barbados

As it was I ended up going to the couples hotel Club Barbados http://www.theclubbarbados.com next to Sandy Lane but a lot more relaxed, on my own.

The first night I was there the courting couples were all up on the dance floor.

By Day 3 the word had got out and random couples were inviting me to dine with them.

And then just as I felt that I was part of a group came the stinger.

But I have some company

Out snorkelling I saw Mother and Father Turtle getting it on.

So, be warned.

And besides I really do want to introduce Herself to the island and the friends I have there and met then and the previous year at Crop Over.

And some keeping their eye on me!

Thankfully Tropical Sky tropicalsky.ie / 01 664 9999 will sort you out with a really affordable seven-night holiday for travel completed by December 20, if booked by August 31.

The offer means that this holiday now costs from €1,729pp.

That’s SOME company: With Rihanna

What’s on offer

And you’ll get a:

* $20 Spa voucher per guest

* All-inclusive beachfront resort near Bridgetown – within reach of the Mount Gay Rum Factory, George Washington House and the Barbados Museum.

* Highlights for couples include adult-only restaurant, Beach Bar & Grill for cocktails and relaxing Karma spa, as well as jacuzzi and swim-up bar.

Based on two sharing on all-inclusive basis and including flights from Dublin and transfers.

To get you in the mood… for a holiday!!! https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/ And a Jocktail Cocktail https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/15/jocktails-bajan-monkey/.

For more on Barbados check out http://www.visitbarbados.org.

And another view from another Barbados lover.. That’s someone who loves Barbados not a dirty secret I’m keeping. http://beautifulbarbadosblog

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Holiday Snaps – Save money on Italy

A man goes into the doctor: ‘Doctor, I feel like an Italian island,’ Doctor: ‘Don’t be Sicily.’

Dramatic: Sicily Photo by Mauro Reem-Itchy on Pexels.com

You obviously need more than a morning and afternoon to spend in Sicily but alas that is all we had on our day trip from Malta.

Of course we could easily put that right with award-winning Italian holiday specialIsts Topflight.

Their Italian sale is up and running from today with savings of up to 30%.

There are discounts for the remaining summer season (August – October) on every date across all their featured resorts including on a selection of family holiday options.

There is also a raft of Italian escorted tour experiences on sale.  

Topflight’s Italian Holiday Sale offers holidays from Dublin, Cork & Belfast. It ends at midnight on Thursday, 15th August. 

As a sample, Topflight offers seven days in Sicily on August 24, staying in the 3* Villa Linda (B&B), Giardini Naxos was €871 now €599pps.   

Or leaving on the same day, 4* plus RG Naxos (B&B), Giardini Naxos was €1255 now €869pps

And from Cork why not try out Lake Garda? Seven nights departing August 17 and staying at the 3* plus Hotel Garda Bellevue (H/B) was €1037 now €699pps.

Visit www.topflight.ie.

You want more Italy. Here’s how to make the best of Rome. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/

Dominican followers

Your own beach? Photo by Leonardo Rossatti on Pexels.com

My old work buddy Scott spent his honeymoon on a community centre floor in the Dominican Republic because of the hurricane.

Tropical Sky will ensure you spend your holiday in a 5* hotel at a great price.

They (tropicalsky.ie / 01 664 9999) have some of the best savings on the market.

With savings of up to €850 per person on seven night stays at Casa de Campo for travel completed by November 6, if booked by August 31.

The offer means that your holiday will cost from €1,509pp.

Among the features are 50% off access to three championship golf courses; 20% off Spa treatments pp.

You’ll have complimentary non-motorised water sports, tennis, horse riding, golf cart and teen-only activities, including billiards tournaments, air hockey and movie nights.

Based on two sharing on all-inclusive basis and including flights from Dublin and transfers.

Licence to chill

Toe the line: Hemingway’s six-toed cats

It’s obligatory as a Scot (and many others) to say that Sean Connery was the best James Bond but I’ve always been different and like my own childhood Bond, Roger Moore.

Pearse Brosnan is the best modern-day Bond while Timothy Dalton is the most underrated. Daniel Craig? Pat!

This year is the 30th anniversary of one of the best Bond films, Dalton’s Licence to Thrill when Bond went rogue.

The opening scene takes place on the Seven Mile Bridge with other segments filmed at Key West International Airport and on Whitehead Street at the Key West Lighthouse and Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum.

Pappa Hemingway is a template for journalists, and not just his adventurous life.

And he was also a cat man.

He had a penchant for polydactyl cats. That’s six-toed cats. Check out the 40-50 polydactyl cats who live on-site.

Tours are priced from $14 (approximately £11.50). visit: www.fla-keys.com/movies-tv and www.filmkeys.com/past-productions.cfm.

Aer Lingus flies to Miami. Visit www.aerlingus.com. We found a return trip Dublin to Miami from €457.63.

See you in Tenerife

Old fishing boat at the Mirador de El Archipenque. La Gomera island in the distance

I’m counting down the days to my trip to Tenerife in September.

Travel Department has a Tenerife Coast & Cuntry seven-night full-board guided holiday.

Excursions will include a full-day guided tour of the highlights of the island, a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage colonial city of La Laguna and a visit to Mount Teide National Park.

Prices start from €659pp for seven nights including return flights, full-board 4* hotel accommodation, all transfers and fully-guided excursions with an expert local guide, departing regularly from September – November 2019.

Visit http://www.traveldepartment.ie

The last days of summer

I always associate the Shelbourne Hotel with travel functions and balmy summer nights.

The iconic Dublin hotel are billing their latest package as The Shelbourne Swan Song.

It is a special occasion but you deserve it.

Running from August 18 until September 5 it’s an an overnight stay that includes breakfast and a Summer Spritz cocktail on their new Terrace for €299 for two people sharing.

Visit www.TheShelbourne.com.

Slieve Donard’s grand plan

Golden vision: Slieve Donard

You’d think it would be plenty plush enough – Hastings Hotels’ Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Co. Down.

But they’re making it even better.

Their €1.2m renovation has included a refurb of its kitchen including all new equipment, as well as the redesign of the hotel’s drawing-room.

The final stage of the programme is due to be completed in September when 16 of the Slieve Donard’s luxury bedrooms will be upgraded.

Visit http://www.hastingshotels.com for Slieve Donard and Hastings’ other hotels. http://slievedonardhotel.guestreservations.com/

Christmas is coming

He’s getting ready: Santa in Lapland

It’s only 137 days until Christmas and Santa and TUI are getting ready.

TUI will fly you out and back to Lapland on the same day with departures from Dublin on December 7 and 14. 

All guides, visits to Santa and outdoor activities like sledging and snowmobiling are included.

All your thermal wear is included in our winter wonderland too; just bring your normal warm day clothes to wear underneath and you’ll be toasty and warm.

Adult price from €719 and child price from €599. Visit https://www.tuiholidays.ie. Call 1850 45 35 45 .

And I’m beginning to look a lot like Christmas too. Another opportunity to see what can be done with a green beard and some baubles.

Where are those baubles now?

And look out for a new feature https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/10/this-sporting-weekend-rugbys-big-in-japan/ today.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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Holiday Snaps

Start spreading the news… New York is more than just the city, although what a city! So start spreading out to New York State and start to discover its many charms.

Our friends at New York State who are never strangers and regularly come to see us in Dublin were in town again to share their wares.

NYS Partners represents Long Island, Greater Niagara, Buffalo, Wine, Water and Wonders NYS Tour and Dutchess County,

Bandanaman and Long Island are in more than nodding terms… it was my first billet in New York, aged just 17, when I stayed with my cousins.

Water water everywhere: Photo by Chait Goli on Pexels.com

It may surprise some that Long Island isn’t in New York but it’s not one of the five boroughs: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island.

But who couldn’t be entranced by the Hamptons mansions on Long Island, the setting for The Great Gatsby and still hang-out for the rich and famous…

New York State has water, and what water with Niagara, wine, and Buffalo with its wings and that’s the nourishment I need.

And if you want the last word on it… then New York State came up with the logo I heart NY. Insert the heart emoji yourself. You don’t expect me to do everything for you!

Visit http://www.iloveny.com.

Tee ladies

The R&A, the guardians of golf, except for in the US and Mexico (go, figure) were at pains up in Royal Portrush on Sunday to promote the fact that the golf season now moves on.

From the Open Golf Championship… and that the Solheim Cup is on the horizon for Europe and America’s best golfers at Gleneagles.

Maybe you’re already making a late pitch for Catriona Matthew’s European team or you just want a bit of recreational golf. Either way this package at the world’s Best Golf Hotel (World Golf Awards 2018) will be right up your fairway.

Enjoy an overnight stay and two days’ golf at the 5* Dromoland Castle. Arrive on October 20 for a two-course lunch at the Fig Tree restaurant followed by an afternoon Golf Clinic with Head PGA pro Ian Kearney at the Dromoland Golf Academy. You’ll dine at night at the AA Restaurant of the Year, the Earl of Thomond Restaurant.

Don’t get too relaxed though. After breakfast the next day there’s an 18-hole Ladies competition, teeing off from 9am-10.30am followed by the prize-giving.

From €295pps. If you’ve got time you can avail of the self-guided woodland walks around the 450 acres estate and fun use of the Leisure Centre and swimming pool.

Visit http://www.dromolandgolf.com/luxury-october-golf–break or call (061) 346 7007.

She sells Seychelles

This week I hope to meet my cousins over here for a family get-together when the conversation will quickly turn to golf… their great passion. And foreign shores.

A favourite holiday destination of my Uncle and Aunt was the Seychelles and my cuzes could sell Seychelles on the sea shore.

And so can Tropical Sky. Particularly at these prices.

Try savings of up to €1700 per person on seven night stays at the 5* Banyan Tree, Seychelles for travel completed before September 30. The holiday is now €3189pp.

Each villa is furnished in a traditional Creole style and comes with a private pool, indoor sunken bath and the option of in-villa dining or BBQ.

Based on two sharing on a half-board basis and including flights from Dublin and transfers. Visit http://www.tropicalsky.ie or call (01) 664 9999.

Sphinx she knows better

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

And she’s usually (no, make that always) right. She told me that if she wanted my opinion she’d give it to me.

I know she makes a great Mum but I reckon my Scary One would have made a great Mummy in Egypt too.

She did though pass up on a trip out there a few years ago, though in retrospect I think she was wise to hold out for the real Egyptology over the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Luxury Gold has two itineraries in Egypt in 2020. Each journey includes a luxurious voyage along the Nile aboard the deluxe all-suite River Tosca where you can relax on the sun deck, the pool or the shaded cabana.

Book before August 31 and save up to €1,000 per couple on departures between January and April.

Elegance of the Nile is 12 days with up to €1,000 saving per couple while Elegance of Egypt is seven days with a saving of up to €500 per couple. Visit http://www.luxurygoldvacations.com or call 1800 98 989 98.

All roads lead to Rhodes

Here’s a welcome: Rhodes. Photo by Jean van der Meulen on Pexels.com

You’ve left it late again. Don’t worry there are some great late deals to pick up.

TUI has Dublin to Rhodes, seven nights’ self-catering at the 2*+ Kassandra Apartment at Ialyssos from €449pps on August 28.

Or my old favourite for a late and good budget trip, Bulgaria. TUI has seven nights’ B&B on August 29 from €489pps.

Visit http://www.tuiholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Get your skis on

Are you having a laugh?

Well, no. The sun may be splitting the heavens but the skiers among us never stop dreaming of a white one.

Crystal Ski Holidays has two for one lift passes on select winter holidays to Andorra, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland. With deposits starting from €150pp.

Depart on December 21 and stay in the 3* Borsat IV Apartments, Tignes on a self-catering basis for seven nights from €705pp (four sharing).

Depart on December 21, stay in the 3* Hotel L’Aigulle Rouge, Les Arcs on a half-board basis for seven nights from €879pp.

I’ll come back to New Year later… it would be ridiculous to think of that yet. I’ll leave it a week.

Center of everything

The €233m forest resort that is Center Parcs Longford Forest had a soft opening yesterday.

Special offers from €399 for three or four nights in a two-bedroom lodge off-peak. Visit http://www.centerparcs.ie for a full range of rates.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD