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

Who is beerier than Prague?

Whisper it around the Czech capital but they’ve relinquished their boozy crown. So who is beerier than Prague?

In a word Asheville. Ashe-where?

Asheville is a city in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

And it’s renowned for its arts scene.

Carolina on my mind

Asheville: In the Blue Ridge Mountains

Well they know already that they have more breweries per capita than any city in the US… that’s roughly 100 local beers.

But now they can add the prestiguous title of Best City in the World for Beer Drinkers as compiled by money.co.uk.

The researchers mark the cities on breweries per 10,000 people, bars, pubs and clubs per 10,000 and average price per pint in sterling.

Asheville scores 2.80, 7.86 and £3.58 from which I can only draw the conclusion… get me out there!

Czech out the beer

In the Strahov Monastery Brewery in the Czech Republic

Particularly as second and fourth on the list are beer cities I know well, Prague and Fort Collins, Colorado.

While the third beeriest is one The Son and Heir knows well, Krakow, Poland.

Where it was more ale than hail when he was a youth leader for World Youth Day.

While in Prague the most exercised you’ll get is walking back up from Wenceslas Square to The Castle.

But get this… £1.34 a pint.

Wade in with Colorado beer

Beertown Fort Collins

In Fort Collins you’ll be required to do some white water rafting although you’ll get the reward of a local brew at Paddler’s Pub.

And in FC that’s £2.87 a pint although you’d probably double that with the American tip.

It wouldn’t be a beery list, of course, without Dublin, and the Fair City comes in eighth.

Pure Genius: Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse is on every tourist’s list in Dublin’s capital.

Although some local knowledge here and pick your way through tourist trap Temple Bar.

Where you can pay nearly double the £4.70 money.com relays.

Islands of beer

Auld Boozie: In Auld Reekie, Edinburgh

It seems we’re well off too in my local city Edinburgh too although the doors are only a few weeks reopened.

Auld Reekie comes in 16th and will glory in coming in well ahead of London, back in 39th of 40.

Beer bucket list

Blowing a trumpet for Denver

So, who is beerier than Prague? Well, maybe the question should be let’s set a beer bucket list.

And tick off all 40.

Amsterdam, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, Rome (all again) and a number of others.

We’re only here for the beer.

Countries, Culture

The day Travel fought back exceptionally

This was the day Travel fought back exceptionally.

I have discovered since returning to the UK last year after 13 years in Ireland that a sinister exceptionalism, dressed up as nationalism, stalks the island.

Our clarion call

Get on board

Britain wants to be treated as an exception in the world from the continent in which the Ice Age determined it must lie.

And within that island its northern part is claiming that it should be treated as an exception.

On account of it having voted against Brexit.

Day of action

Spell it out

Scotland, meanwhile, is caught up in knots.

Because it had voted to stick with England not long before the Brexit referendum.

The separatists want now to reverse that poll which they put down to dirty tricks and misinformation…

Much like an offside goal at the Euros.

They hope that a second referendum which would be in the gift of an anti-vote Boris Johnson.

To free them from the UK.

They want to open the doors to readmission to the EU if only Spain fearful of Catalonian secession would remove their veto.

People power

United front

Yes, I know what you’re thinking…

Is this not a Travel site, jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com and not jimmurtywafflewafflewaffle.com?

Quite right. Only that British exceptionalism is stopping us travelling while the land I left, European Ireland can.

So while the EU prepare to roll out its vaccine passport the UK pushes back its Freedom Day.

Scotland stand up

Freedom?

We’re going into next month, a Freedom which doesn’t contain any such document.

Those of us of a Scottish variety must wait until August.

Only then can we enjoy what we once claimed could never be taken from us… our Freedom.

As is the way with a controlling figure we are being seduced with the offer of something shiny.

To keep us happy in the meantime.

Hail Malta and the Balearics

Malta solitude

Malta and the Balearics are being floated to be put on the Green List.

As welcome as that is we are particularly sore about this.

Because this is one situation where we promote exceptionalism.

We have long been advocating that there should be a special case made for the Spanish Islands.

And Tenerife too

So what about the Canaries? And the Greek islands?

For now, of course, our Travel sector must keep pressing our case.

Real freedoms for our exceptional Travel professionals and customers.

Yesterday was just the start, the day Travel fought back exceptionally.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Countries

Flagging up Jimmyaica

As Scotland strikes out again to try seize its freedom following the vote for independence parties in the Scottish election, your global traveller is flagging up one Scots-infused country of Empire which did… Jimmyaica.

No, Jimmyaica isn’t my lame efforts at Jamaican patois.

It’s more a recognition of the Scottish imprint on Jamaica (Scots are playfully known as Jimmys) and particularly its flag.

Jamaican flags will be flying even more proudly next year as the Caribbean Island celebrates 60 years of independence and some of you might wonder why it has that St Andrew’s Cross at its centre.

Flags are us

If some of you are tentatively wondering that it might have something to do with Scotland then go to the top of the class.

You may very well be a vexillologist, or somebody who loves flags and have found a link too between the Scottish flag and the Tenerife flag too.

I did when I went out to the Canary Island with CanariaWays and found that they have the exact same flag.

No, that one is in Tenerife

The initial suggestion for the flag was a Tricolour of green (agriculture and hope), black (the struggles of its people) and gold (sunlight).

But that was thought too similar to Tanganyika’s (now Tanzania).

But then you knew that already.

Scotland the Wave

Besides, a missionary from Glasgow, Rev. William McGhie (he’d obviously considered his ain Glaswegians well past saving!) had the ear of the Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante.

The Man of the Cloth persuaded him to embed Christian imagery into the flag.

And so the X of the St Andrew’s Cross found its way onto the flag to mark how the Apostle had lost his life.

Glasgow belongs to I and I

Glasgow Bar with owner Karl in Tobago

The Jamaican Glasgow on the west of the island is, of course, just one of a number of place names we both share.

Among the others are Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Greenock and ouch… Culloden!

So we’re off… with our official countdown to the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence.

And I’m bringing you this in association with Flag Up Scotland Jamaica which helpfully also seems to want to promote Caledonian preserves – flagupscotjam.

Jammin’ in Jamaica: Bob Marley

So where do we start in the story of Jamaica?

Well, how about at Scotland’s lowest point, no not the aforementioned Culloden but Scotland’s failed attempt at an empire of its own, the Darien Expedition in Panama.

Darien’s loss

It could have been Scottish: The Darien

The Darien Expedition was the breaking point for the old independent Scotland.

The whole nation from king to pauper had put money into the project only to lose more than just their shirt.

Cap in hand a section of the Scottish Parliament approached England to bail them out in 1703…

And the price was union, all of which you can read the whole story of in historian Douglas Watt’s excellent The Price of Scotland.

So where does this take us in the Jimmyaica story?

The Campbells are coming

Rev it up: Rev. William McGhie

Well to Colonel John Campbell who refused to allow Darien to put him off making his fortune and who decamped to Jamaica in 1700 and set up a sugar plantation at Black River.

He was by no means the first Scot on the island though.

Oliver Cromwell banished 1,2000 Scots prisoners of war out here in the previous century where they worked as indentured servants.

Others to be exiled included those failed colonialists from Darien, Jacobite rebels, criminals and Covenanters.

All ‘Scots’ look like this: Naomi Campbell. http://www.naomicampbell.com

Campbell’s kingdom has a rich lineage.

And it is said that there are more Campbells here per square acre than in the whole of Scotland.

While his descendants may very include supermodel Naomi Campbell and Costa Rica footballer Joel Campbell.

And the Irish too

I’ve found my own native land’s DNA elsewhere in the Caribbean in Scotland in Barbados and in Glasgow’s bar in Tobago.

My own roots are in the old sod of Ireland and Armagh from where Patrick Murty hailed.

But I dare say that the rambling Murtys managed to get out to Ja as the locals affectionately call their island.

I’ll return to Jamaica’s many Scottish connections and I’ll be happy flagging up Jimmyaica.

As we journey on the road to the independence anniversary.

And I’ll scatter some Irish magic dust on the island too with the links which bind Jamaica and Ireland.

MEET JA ON THE ROAD

Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, UK

Sunday Sermon – God’s Own Country Scotland

God is handing out the countries: ‘You will have ice-capped mountains, pure water running down the streams and majestic deer roaming the verdant valleys.

‘You will be great explorers, missionaries, inventors, dreamers, poets, entertainers and educationalists.

‘And have the spoils of the land and sea to put on great feasts and the purest whisky to toast.’

The Archangel Michael pipes up: ‘Have you not given these Scots too much?’

The Lord shoots back: ‘Look at the neighbours I gave them.’

The charms of Scotland, my home country which I am reacquainting myself after a 13 years adventure in Ireland, are evident.

But as is often the case there is so much under my nose without me knowing.

And that is where I have Visit Scotland www.visitscotland.com to help.

It is always a good idea when relocating to another country, or just going on holiday, to check out the country’s tourist board website.

And so while the borders were closed (and some of the best still are) I was checking out where I still haven’t been in my homeland.

Up Helly Aa in Shetland

The Shetland Islands: And I’ve been trying to get up to Scotland’s most northerly islands since making friends with Shetlander Shona at uni in the Eighties.

And when we moved in to a new house in Aberdeen www.visitabdn.com Elizabeth whose parents hail from Shetland, and Scott lived opposite.

And now they have relocated to Shetland I’ve been making not so subtle hints about going up for Up Helly Aa, the January festival when the locals burn a Viking ship.

Alas next year’s festivities have been put off but when I’ve been waiting 35 years what’s another year? See www.shetland.org and https://www.uphellyaa.org/.

Roll out the Barra

Barra: I sat down to write a maudlin letter about how homesick I was on my first day in halls in Aberdeen University.

Before meeting up with my old schoolpal Martin, meeting a girl, and some Western Islanders and never looked back.

I spent the summer in Aberdeen Aberdeen – a light in the north and so after the following year’s first term it was a year since going home to Glasgow www.peoplemakeglasgow.com

Just my luck then that my pals got together in my future Best Man’s island of Barra before Christmas. My family put the foot down.

Barra http://www.isleofbarra.com/ is regularly on the list of the world’s most beautiful islands and has a Tintin connection.

Iona island

And this is a holy island where St Columba is believed to have come and set up base to spread Christianity throughout Scotland.

Many spiritualists and New Age hippies and Eastern mystics have made pilgrimages since.

I can just see myself doing my Yoga Nidra The Sunday Sermon – Yoga Nidra by the walls of the old Ionian church http://www.welcometoiona.com/.

Orkney’s past

When you leave the fabled John O’ Groats, the northernmost point on mainland Scotland, and named after a Dutchman, you’ll get to the Orkney Islands.

The Orkneys https://www.orkney.com/ too have an international connection with their Italian Chapel built by Italian prisoners of war.

And long before Christianity the pagans worshipped the Sun and you can see how in their stone circles.

I do… the Isle of Ewe

The Isle of Ewe a one-family (the Grants) off Wester Ross has become something of a cult island.

For young lovers.

Because put the words together and you get I love you.

Which is why imaginative young romantic men are taking their young ladies there to propose.

For my first wife it was Malta Malta pleaser. And after that jibe I’ll have to make some big romantic gesture.

And remember the most romantic way to travel is Caledonian Mac Ferries https://www.calmac.co.uk/.

America, Countries, Culture, UK

Carry on glamping

Amanda invited herself into my tent. Happy Days… until her boyfriend turned up.

And told us that we should leave town first thing in the morning… or else.

Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland’s south-west (https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/castle-douglas-p244361) was my first experience of camping and it didn’t put me off.

And we took off for Saint-Raphael https://www.francethisway.com/places/saint-raphael.php on the French Riviera the following summer after school.

Where there were no such dilemmas about having someone in my tent.

Cramped and sweaty

Once all our rucksacks were in the tent there was only room for one of us to sleep in it. Oh, and I struck out too.

These days I go higher style… The Boat D’Azur and https://www.google.com/amp/s/about-france.com/mobi/index-amp.htm.

And higher style means camping now too… or glamping as it’s come to be known.

So where’s best to go?

With staycations the order of the day now, here are thoughts on how to liven up your experience in the UK and US.

But just don’t muscle in on the wannabe local gangster’s moll.

Rocky mountain high

This is the right way up

Camping at height – Estes Park, Colorado: And a particular highlight. Get this… adrenaline junkies are suspended more than 100ft up a sheer rock face.

Where you will be strapped in for a night under the stars.

Kent Mountain Adventure Center https://kmaconline.com/directory/cliff-camping-colorado/ offers a vertical grill and views of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

And you’ll be able just to roll out and start climbing those Rockies… just tell Brad or Dexter I’m coming.

Visit www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen.

Gone fishing

Get the rod out

Yosemite slam: This is Big Country and you’ll want to reveal your hunter-gatherer.

Lake McClure at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is where to pitch tent.

And get out and fish the lake and get your heart pumping at the Exchequer Mountain Bike Park.

Before heading to Yosemite to take in the giant Sequoias.

Camping spaces can be hard to get in Yosemite National Park and that’s where Indian Flat Campground near the gates comes in.

You’ll strike gold too at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds just a mile from the Gold Rush town. See www.mariposa.com.

Norfolk Broads

Let’s cosy up in the tent

Hickling Campsite, Hickling, Norfolk (https://www.hicklingcampsite.co.uk): Of course for many of us there’s nothing better than snuggling up next to your loved one.

And here’s one we prepared earlier from Norfolk in England’s East Anglia.

You’ll get to stay in a self-contained hut.

The Norfolk Broads are one of England’s natural delights while further afield you can explore secluded beach walks and boat trips.

And check out the best that East Anglia has to offer with https://www.visiteastofengland.com/ and www.visitengland.com.

MEET YOU IN THE CAMPSITE

Deals, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Stay home

We’ve got skin in this game with Daddy’s Little Girl waiting for the OK to go back to her work at the hotel.

It doesn’t help that we pass by the very same hotel on our daily walk.

It is expected that Scottish hotels will reopen in line with national guidelines on July 15.

What a vista!

And when they do it will be time to reacquaint ourselves with our favourites and treat ourselves with some new ones.

Such as the Dunalastair Hotel in Perthshire https://www.dunalastairhotel.com, a lovely sweeping valley of a county.

Booted and suited

And one I usually passed through instead of stopping when I would drive from Aberdeen to Glasgow reporting on football matches.

Lounging around

Except for a boys’ weekend in Dunkeld, writing poetry for our Edinburgh Fringe Show. Now what rhymes with Glenturret?

New offers include Luxury for Less (from €99 per night), to the indulgent Highland Retreat (£499 for two nights). Rooms at Dunalastair Hotel Suites are from £129 per night.

Courtyard

Also see Visit Scotland www.visitscotlsnd.com.

Coming out of quackdown

We’ve been missing them so much during quackdown.

But every duckie’s favourite getaway in Europe, Hastings Hotels in Northern Ireland, have reopened their doors.

You’ll know what Hastings are all about by now Belfast Chilled and their signature look of a rubber duck in your bathroom.

They’ve had Rory Quackilroy, Duck of Thrones… you get the idea.

So they were rightly interested when this little fella came on the market.

Just a thought you could market your own new duckie, Julie…. Quacks Armstrong! See https://hotrading.shop/products/helmet-duck-bicycle-horn-light and https://www.hastingshotels.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8pP5iqeQ6gIVk4eyCh3oRAlPEAAYASAAEgIydPD_BwE.

And also see www.discovernorthernireland.com

And meanwhile in the south

Lobbying for The Conrad

All our favourite hotels in Ireland are reopening.

We have already flagged up our favourite in our old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow, Powerscourt https://powerscourt.com and Flowerscourt.

And I now want to promote the splendours of Conrad Dublin, a hotel I’ve enjoyed on a function level but yet to laid down by head there.

Apart, of course, from when my head would hit the table through too much vino.

Among the goodies on offer in what they are packaging as Dream Away are the Picnic Package, the Literary Tour and Dublin City by Horsedrawn Carriage.

And seeing you’ve been locked away at home for months then why not treat the whole family to a night in the Conrad Family Room.

The interconnecting family room is €350 for the night for two adults and two children. See www.conraddublin.com.

To the lighthouse

Ciara O’Leary is all smiles at the lighthouse

So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were struck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sky – Virginia Woolf

Lighthouses can be by contrast snug or solaces from people.

And Hook Lighthouse in Co. Wexford in the Republic of Ireland on June 29 is reopening its doors with the latter in mind.

Hook Lighthouse, the Lightkeepers Cafe and the outdoor dining option, the Seahorse, will all open seven days per week.

With last access to the grounds at 4pm and dining closes at 5pm.

Pre-book a free pass online at www.hookheritage.ie or take a guided tour by phoning (051) 397 055.

Also see www.failteireland.com and www.discovernorthernireland.com.

Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Freeday Friday – Braveheart Wallace’s Scotland

And few fought fiercer for freedom than William Wallace.

Which is why I didn’t baulk at retracing the Great Man’s footsteps when doing a recce of Stirling for Daddy’s Little Girl.

Falkirk Bridge In miniature

Battlefield history is perfectly placed for a return – after all where is there more expanse than a battlefield?

Killer Bs: Burns, Bandanaman and Bruce

Unless, of course, you’re an English soldier stuck in a muddy burn (that’s a Scottish stream) a long way from Chipping Norton.

Stirling, if you’ve never been, is a mini-Edinburgh https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/02/17/edinburgh-an-old-friend/amp/ with its own castle, a better monument, the Wallace as opposed to the gaudy Scott on Princes Street.

My friend William

And, best of all, it’s where the Scottish nation was reborn on the fields of Bannockburn on June 24, 1314.

Which you’ll know from watching Braveheart.

When an army of 8,000 hairy-arsed, skirty-wearing Scots defeated 20,000 Englishmen.

Stirling Castle

Only Wallace wasn’t a 5ft 9ins Australian.

Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to wield that great Claymore sword which put the fear of death up the enemy at Falkirk Bridge.

You want to come up and visit, Do.

I’d advise though to stay at the Portcullis https://www.theportcullishotel.com next to the Castle.

The Portcullis Hotel

Rather than The King Robert https://www.kingroberthotel.co.uk, named after King Robert the Bruce), just off the battlefield… it looks more like a motel.

If you want a more authentic experience still I dare say that you can find a campsite and imagine yourself pitching tent just like those soldiers of old.

In the presence of greatness: And Robert the Bruce too

See https://www.stirlingcastle.scot/visit/, https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/bannockburn and www.visitscotland.com.

MEET YOU ON THE BATTLEFIELD

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food

Hungry and Thursday – sweet, sweet ice cream

King Henry VIII’s Greensleeves means two things to me… Miss F’s slow wedding march and the ice cream van.

Just why Tudor music should be the go-to tune for ice cream vendors I’ll put out there for you to chime in with an answer.

But I rather enjoy the image of Henry running out in his padded garb for his 99.

And I suppose it could happen… on a film set. And I dare say Jonny Rhys Meyers and Damian Lewis like a double nougat or a screwball.

Porty’s finest

Did you know though that the 99 was created just up the road from here?

In my old stomping ground of Portobello, Edinburgh’s town beach https://edinburgh.org and www.visitscotlsnd.com.

Arcari claims to be the birthplace of the 99 with the number that of their address in Portobello High Street.

Where Stephen Arcari broke a chocolate flake in half and put it on the ice cream

Hundreds and thousands please

An alternative explanation is that it comes from slang, 99 meaning excellent and alluding to an elite guard of 99 soldiers who served the King of Italy.

The Pope’s fave

Now I don’t know about the King of Italy but our Popes have been partial to a gelato, or ice cream.

We have the Good Book, the Vatican Cookbook, as our holy scripture here which tells us that Pope Francis loves an Argentine fave dulce de leche and its caramel flavour.

And he knows his flock loves gelati too, being known to hand out 3,000 ice creams to Rome’s poor and homeless.

And some raspberry sauce

All of which kept my mind occupied as I stood socially distanced in my queue.

Walk this way

And for a quick and invaluable guide on Rome and how to get there by foot with Francigena Ways see www.FrancigenaWays.com, https://www.rome.net and Small roads lead to Rome.

MEET YOU IN THE QUEUE

Africa, America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Putting these statues on a pedestal

All joking aside about Zlatan ‘The Ego’ Ibramovich being cut down to size.

But is it right that the Sweden soccer superstar should befall the same fate as Edward Colston in Bristol, Lord Nelson in Dublin and Saddam Hussein in Baghdad?

The fallen Zlatan. www.abc.go.com

Now I’m all for sportspeople, celebrities, actors and even, and particularly, animals to be put on a pedestal.

Because haven’t the aristocracy and the war leaders had their day in our affection and deference?

So here are is my unscientific list of my favourite statues.

And please let me know who I’ve missed out.

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh

Bobby’s boy: Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh

Well, if Bobby’s tale was good enough for Walt Disney then it’s good enough for me.

Bobby is buried not far from here in Greyfriars Kirk next to his master John Gray on whose grave he slept every night.

And he was then awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.

You’re advised though not to kiss his nose for luck as many started doing… it’s not lucky for Bobby as it’s wearing away.

For more on Edinburgh and Scotland visit http://www.edinburgh.org and http://www.visitscotland.com.

And, of course, I always like to flag up ma wee hame country. And here’s a wee sample of what we eat and drink…

With https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/19/hungry-and-thursday-whisky-and-the-water-of-long-life/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/26/hungry-and-thursday-curried-christmas-turkey/

Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruleville, Mississippi

A little big woman: Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi

Sometimes it’s the design that catches you and stops you in your tracks.

And so it is with this remarkable little woman,

The President of the USA, Lydon Baines, Johnson took extraordinary measures in stopping her saying her piece at the Democratic Convention by having television change its schedule.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s life was extraordinary, born into a sharecropping family and picking cotton from the age of six, she was later forced out of her home, threatened with her very life and beaten.

All because she wanted to sign on on the voting register.

She summed up her struggle in the Civil Rights Movement thus, and of course nobody could say it better: ‘I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.’

Visit www.visitmississippi.org

And why not read my American Trilogy… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-story-of-the-blues/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/elvispresley-the-king-of-kings/?

Anne Frank, Amsterdam

The flower of youth: Anne Frank in Amsterdam

Us journalists like to think of ourselves as hard-bitten but I had to choke back the tears walking through the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam…. http://www.annefrank.org.

The audio narrative dwelt on a passage in her diary where she mentions that she wants to become a journalist when she’s older.

And what a journalist she would have been… ethical (yes, some of us are), prying and fearless.

Amsterdam is one of the world’s great cities and Anne one of history’s greatest figures… http://www.iamsterdam.com.

And here is proof of that… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/

Piss, Prague

Splash

Statues should be provocative and the Czechs have this one down to a T.

‘Piss’ is the good people of Prague’s commentary on the politicians who have urinated all over their country.

You’ll not see it here but once the water gets flowing they pee all over the map of the country.

The Czechs as well as being the world’s biggest lager drinkers, per population, with some of the world’s best beers, are wonderfully anti-establishmentarian.

Visit http://www.czechtourism.com and here’s some other musings on the Czech Republic https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/24/czech-it-out-2/

Phil Lynott, Dublin

The boys are back in town: With my old pal Paul in Dublin

There are statues to musical giants all over the world but while former Thin Lizzy lead singer Phil Lynott isn’t the best or most famous singer of them all, try telling that to Dubliners.

It is a tradition now for visitors to Dublin to have their photo taken outside Philo’s statue off the main Grafton Street shopping thoroughfare.

That other statue, the Tart with the Cart, Molly Malone? Well you can leave that to the uninitiated.

And seeing you’ll be in town here is where you want to stay… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-intercontinental-what-a-ledge/

And this site will point you in the direction of other goodies… http://www.visitdublin.com.

Nelson, Bridgetown, Barbados

He’s obviously not the only Horatio or the biggest, and as I’ve alluded to already some not too far from here even blew him up.

But he was a survivor, except when he was killed obvs, and he lost an eye and an arm.

Death might even have been a better gig too as he was transported home in a vat of rum… a good way to go and one that the Bajans would have approved of.

Until, of course, his old shipmates drilled a hole in the vat and drunk the rum!

Statues are a controversial subject but my Bajan hosts were keen to tell me that Nelson was part of their story too.

And so ignore the white liberals who like to speak for black people, they’re glad to have him keeping his one eye open on what’s going on in Bim.

For more on Barbados see http://www.visitbarbados.org. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

Martin Luther, Dresden

Closer to God am I: The Frauenkiche

Some statues can withstand anything.

Martin Luther stood as a defiant symbol of Dresdeners refusal to see their city disappear after the Allies’ firebombing at the end of the Second World War.

The Dresdeners rebuilt the obliterated Frauenkirche sixty years later, after they had got rid of the Communists.

Using as the plans photographs they had asked the public to send in from their weddings.

Dresden was known as the Florence of the Elbe and it is one of the great architectural stories of our age, or any age, to see how the Dresdeners have rebuilt their city to the same grandeur of its renaissance days.

For more information on Dresden http://www.dresden.de and also take a trip through the ages with me with https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen

With Tom and My Little Princess in Copenhagen

Yes, the Little Mermaid is more visited, but personally I prefer the top-hatted Hans in the heart of Copenhagen.

Hans was an eccentric all right and once decamped on Charles Dickens, walked around the house in the starkers, and made it difficult for Charlie to show him the door.

Very Scandinavian and it just makes me want to revisit Denmark… http://www.visitingcopenhagen.com and digging out my Scandinavian wanderings https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/

Nelson Mandela Voting Line, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

March to Freedom: In Port Elizabeth

Statues shouldn’t just stand there. No, really. And this is a moving symbolic Voting Line which sums up South African democracy.

This is our host Sisseko and beside him a kid as he would have been back in 1995 when South Africa had its historic vote.

It is also immersive and you don’t have to climb up a plinth to get next to it as they do in Glasgow when they put police cones on the Duke of Wellington.

It is the way I should imagine that Nelson, a native of the Eastern Cape, would have wanted it.

And for more on South Africa’s Eastern Cape visit http://www.meetyoursouthafrica.net and http://www.southafrica.net. And this is how I tries to do it justice… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/homemyoffice/whats-new-pussycat/

Martin Luther King, Washington DC

Unfinished business: Martin Luther King in Washington DC

We’ll never stop building statues, of course, and I expect a Bandanaman up in my name when my Travelling days are done.

This statue of Dr Martin Luther King is never meant to be finished though.

Until the Civil Rights struggle has been finally met which, of course, it never will be, alas.

But what genius and how moving. For more on my favourite capital city visit http://Easy DC and http://www.washington.org.

Adventure, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Covid-day Snaps – Good news from Ireland

And as no new deaths are reported overnight in Ireland further good news with our Travel industry starting up again.

It will come as little surprise to Hibernophiles (people who love Ireland) that Connacht is to the fore.

Well, as the old traditional song goes The West’s Awake!

Let there be fire

The West has a special place in my affections as it was here that I spent my first holidays cut from my Mum’s apron strings.

As I holidayed with my Dublin cousins in Salthill, Co. Galway.

I don’t think it was entirely altruistic as my parents did get a chance to globetrot.

Still as an early teenager I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.

The Wild Atlantic

Picture postcard

I dipped my toe in Spidal (quite literally) with my Uncle and cousins avid swimmers.

And I did the same on the dating scene where again I was left hopelessly out of my depth.

We went over the county border too to Co. Mayo and the Marian site of Knock which surely left a mark.

As I have ticked off Lourdes The Lourdes prayer, Fatima Secret Portugaland Medjugorje What’s the story, Medjugorje? Wouldn’t you like to know since.

All of which meanderings brings me back to Hotel Westport’s plans for the revived summer season.

Estate of the nation

Fill up my bowl

Westport Estate stretches to 400 acres – plenty of room for social distancing there. And it is also at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way https://www.wildatlanticway.com/home.

And it is overlooked by St Patrick’s mountain Croagh Patrick.Which that very same Mum never tired of telling us she walked up barefooted and without a good breakfast when she was pregnant.

I let her off because it was my brother she had on board.

Westport is an ideal set-up to showcase what I believe will be a new direction in how we take our holidays… slow travel.

Carry on camping

Round the campfire

Take their Family Bush Camp which will give families the chance to reconnect with nature through bush crafting and survival activities.

Packages start at €79 pps for Bed & Breakfast  and bookings can be secured at www.hotelwestport.ie.

The upside of our clamour for more space in our post-lockdown holiday is that we will reacquaint ourselves with all those great country houses.

Where families can run around the corridors to their hearts’ content.

Westport House is an 18th-century manor house also on Westport Estate and just a stone’s throw away from the hotel.

Visitors can stroll through the grounds and enjoy the gardens and take in the 3.5k looped Lakeland and woodland walk.

House about that?

Caravan of love

The house itself is open to day-visitors and they will be able to immerse themselves in 300 years of Irish heritage.

Camping and caravan breaks will be in vogue when we all get out on the road again. And you can take advantage too in the onsite 3* park on the Westport House Estate? Visit www.westporthouse.ie.

For those for whom gastronomy is central to their holiday experience. And the Irish food experience is rightly celebrated around the world then here’s some more good news.

The owner and head chef of Cian’s on Bridge Street, Cian Hayes, will be opening a pop-up restaurant experience in Hotel Westport this summer.

If you have been keen to stretch your legs, and you will be fitter than you think with all those laps around your neighbourhood.Then you will be eager to get out on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Ride on!

Can I cycle for ever?

And for cyclists then Clew Bay Bike Hire have a fleet of two-wheelers with your name on them.

Guests at Hotel Westport can truly experience the wild Atlantic west by hiring bikes on site.And then cycling an exclusive and accessible 10km loop through the estate, the harbour, and the town.

And if you’re feeling ambitious, why not take on the breathtaking Great Western Greenway?

And meanwhile in the Disunited Kingdom

I’ll let the pictures from Bank Holiday Weekend in the United Kingdom.Where England has different rules to lockdown than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland speak for themselves.

Southend, England
Wales
Aberdeen, Scotland
Portrush, Northern Ireland

And I love all parts of this Disunited Kingdom so when the time is right, and be patient.

See www.visitengland.com, www.visitscotland.com, www.visitwales.com, www.discovernorthernireland.com and http://www.visitbritain.com.