America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Meditate on the world

There are some people whose company just sends you to sleep… and then there are the professionals like my pal SLM who put you into dreamland.

Travel and Yoga Nidra professional Sarah Lloyd-Morrison is one of those precious gems you discover on your life’s journey.

You know the type: chilled, funny and unstintingly patient.

And I’m glad to say that she’s not blocked me since we returned from Tobago www.tobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

Or at least this is what she told me to write when she had me under…. in her meditation class.

Tobago beyond: With SLM and pals in Tobsgo

And it’s just what I needed in lockdown and it’ll help me from killing my family.

Although there’s no guarantee that they’ll not kill me first if I say I’m meditating when there are chores to be done.

Of course now I can self-meditate I’m going to seek out a zen break.

Here are five of the best.

Rockies of ages

Shambhalah Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado: America’s hipster state where Brad and Dexter are so chilled.

Because of the Great Outdoors, the freestyle rock-climbing, white-water rafting, horseriding and maybe too the substances.

Where better then to zen out than Red Feather Lakes, 50 miles north-west of Fort Collins?

They’ve a variety of programmes from ‘Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction’ to ‘The Path of Simply Being’.

And they also have nature-based programmes with astronomy.

Stay a month, week or weekend in a tent or lodge suite. Visit https://www.shambhalamountain.org www.colorado.comand The New Frontiersmen.

Portyogal

Shamballah, Sintra, Portugal: I’m reminded here of the friendly Wolverhampton masochist who had me contorted during yoga in the Algarve www.quintadolago.com, www.visitportugal.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/sportugal-2/amp/.

Shamballah puts on a Yoga and Meditation Retreat.

And you know that Portugal is throwing its doors open again.

Before all this kicked off they were quoting three nights single room €350 per person. See https://www.shamballahretreats.com/retreats.

O Lotus Flower of Scotland

Kagyu Samye Ling. Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland: And this is the first Buddhist retreat in the west of Scotland.

They have all manner of accommodations including retreat rooms, camping and camper vans.

And five golden rules including: no killing, no stealing, no lying, no drink or drugs and no sexual impropriety.

You will, of course, be so zenned out you’ll love everybody because you’ll love yourself.

Or in the words of Choja Lama Yeshe Losal Rimpache: ‘Meditation means simple acceptance.’

See https://www.samyeling.org and www.visitscotland.com.

Ireland’s Garden County

Bobbio Centre, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: Now Irish sisters and brothers were a fixture of my upbringing.

My Dear Old Mum had a family of cousins who all went into the Holy Order.

And they would regularly turn up on our doorsteps in their long beards and shawls.

The Bobbio Centre in my beloved old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow is run by the Columbine Sisters.

They have 11 bedrooms and one en-suite single, special needs bedroom.

You have your meeting room and prayer room as you would expect and also a beehive which has created quite the buzz.

See https://www.columbansisters.org/bobbio-retreat-centre/ and www.visitwicklow.com..

Himalaya stayer

Vidya Niwas India Hotels, Himalayas: Hippies the world over will tell you that Dharamsala is where you need to go to find your inner zen.

And the Dalai Lama’s resident region in exile in India does have everything you need for meditation.

You can choose from the likes of The Rose Room, the Golok Princess Room, the Kotha Basant Room and the Sherpa Everest Room.

The views are gratis and the zen is guaranteed. See https://www.dalai-lama-dharma-dharamsala-miniguide.com/vidya-niwas.html

Where is your favourite zen retreat? Let me know and we’ll share.

And now we’re feeling all floaty here are some yoga guides… My Sporting Weekend International Yoga Day and Yoga-dabba-do – International Yoga Day.

Namaste: Sarah Lloyd-Morrison

And look out for my Meditation Diary with my Yogi Sarah Lloyd-Morrison in these pages.

MEET YOU IN NIRVANA

Canada, Countries, Ireland

Where Canadians honeymoon? Ireland

A quarter of a million Canadians can’t be wrong about Ireland.

Which is why so many in Canada https://visit-canada.ca will tune into an episode of CTV Life Channel reality show Where to I Do tonight.

About a couple who search for the perfect venue for the wedding of their dreams.

Lutrellstown

Filming took place here last summer and was supported by Tourism Ireland www.tourismireland.com and Fáilte Ireland https://www.failteireland.ie.

Rock on Tommy

I don’t know him myself but my Canadian pals will be familiar with host Tommy Smyth who is taking his show outside North America for the first time.

Tommy will bring Josh and Andee to Luttrellstown Castle on the outskirts of Dublin www.visitdublin.com.

And a personal favourite, Kilruddery House & Gardens in Co. Wicklow https://killruddery.com.

And the Cliff at Lyons in Co. Kildare http://www.kildare.ie/tourism/

Kilruddery

Tourism Ireland in Toronto have been bysy flagging up the prog.

Party time

And hosted an online ‘watch party’ for Canadian influencers.

The online party included a Q&A session with the show’s host Timmy Smythe who chatted about his time filming in Ireland.

The Orangerie at The Cliff, Co. Kildare

And don’t I know it about Irish weddings with my Dear Old Dad and Mum marrying in Dublin’s port town of Dún Laoghaire.

Lost in France

Before heading for Europe on a road trip where Dad got them lost in Paris.

Wicklow’s vista

And the lesson here… honeymoon in Ireland.

America, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Gay you love me – five top gay wedding destinations

It may only have been for show at the Graceland Chapel, Las Vegas https://www.gracelandchapel.comwww.lvcva.com but Peter and Martin would have made a lovely couple.

IMG_4470
The King and I: In Vegas

As would Cami from Utah and myself who made sweet music on the dance floor of Harrah’s off the Strip https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-las-vegas and Strip… the light fantastic.

The Queen and I: At Harrah’s

All of which came back to me today with the fifth anniversary of Ireland becoming the first country in the world to pass a referendum to legalise gay marriage.

So to celebrate the glorious day, here are five great destinations, Ireland included, to tie the knot.

The Power of love

The Power behind the throne… my little flower

Powerscourt Estate, Avoca,Co.Wicklow, Ireland (https://powerscourt.com and https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dubak-powerscourt-hotel-autograph-collection/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2): And my old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow, Ireland’s Garden County.

A plush ballroom where celebs including Chris De Burgh’s daughter, the former Miss World Rosanna Davison, got married to slot machine heir Wesley Quirke.

The gardens and estate are a favourite location for movie producers but the biggest star of all is Powerscourt’s redoubtable matriarch Sarah Slazenger.

See Flowerscourt and www.visitwicklow.ie.

Say it with flowers in Amsterdam

IMG_1007

Dam romantic:Amsterdam

They’re everyone’s favourite celebrity couple so seeing that Celeb-catching belongs to the Gays.

Then where better to stay for your honeymoon than George and Amal’s Amsterdam hideaway.

The Dylan Amsterdam looks out over the Keizersgracht canal https://www.dylanamsterdam.com and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

They’ll put flowers in your bedroom, tulips of course and more on this king of flower in Pictures of Amsterdam.

And you’ll have a concierge to look after your every need and plan itineraries for you while there is also the invaluable city card http://www.iamsterdam.com.

As well, as of course, caviar in the Vinkeles restaurant. Well, it is your honeymoon.

Greek gods

And the bride wore white: In Kythera

Where all the men look like Zeus and I could easily have been turned. 

If you want the Athens experience then you’ll want to take in the Athens Riviera  http://www.athensattica.com where all the Beautiful People hang out.

While the Greek islands have always drawn us there.

With some even forgetting to go back like Dutch walking tour leader Frank and his partner who have settled down in Kythera.

And who can blame them? See http://www.visitkythera.com,  https://www.pyrgoshouse.com/attraction/walk-with-frank/ and My Greek odyssey.

Let’s go cruising

Norwegian would: With the Scary One on the fjords

Well, we had to didn’t we? Now cruises come in all shapes and sizes so there will be one to suit every one of you… 101 in our case.

And here’s one that comes highly recommended by Herself and Myself where we spent an anniversary http://www.msccruises.co.uk The call of the fjords.

Of course they can marry you on these cruises too which I found out on my first cruise Smooth sailing around the Western Med… no, not me.

If you want to go more upmarket still the gamechanger Celebrity Edge https://www.celebritycruises.com/gb/cruise-ships/celebrity-edge I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here will sail you around the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

With the best entertainment, a floating tender and Eden!

Brag about Prague

We’re only here for the beer: At the Strahov Monastic Brewery

Yes, you can walk by the Seine or go down the Grand Canal in Venice.

But maybe you’re more party people and want to kick back.

Then there are few better places than Prague… https://www.prague.eu/en.

There is a real frisson about the Czech capital and you can’t help but feel infused by it.

As I was when I passed by a Stag party wearing T-shirts emblazoned with ‘I turned Philip Schofield’.

Have your nuptials in the Castle area and stay at the Golden Key Hotel https://goldenkey.astenhotels.com/en.

Where you’ll be enchanted by the wooden ceilings and dainty downstairs sauna.

And imbibe the best beer in the world at the Strahov Monastic Brewery https://www.klasterni-pivovar.cz.

  

 

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.

Adventure, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

Skim Jim – the World Stone Skimming Championships,

And I’ll give you that one – I am an old tosser.

It’s a category of the World Stone Skimming Championships which will be held on September 27 on Easdale Island.

And yes it’s still slated to take place. Well with all those banks and beaches around you it won’t be hard to keep social distancing.

The founder: Bertie Baker

The brainchild of Bertie Baker, it was started in 1983 before falling away.

Before being brought back in 1997 by Eilean Eisdeal (The Easdale Island Community Development Group) as a fundraising event.

And a social gathering with the aprés-skim mighty as ‘stoners’ bopping away to covers band None the Wiser after the event.

A rolling stone

I know this why? My old Travel pal Keeley whim I met in Switzerland www.myswitzerland.com and Swhisskey on the rocks.

When we sidled off from the rest of the group to go stone skimming on an Alpine lake above Interlaken.

There’s something about the Alps and I was back skimming in Austria and Germany on my Topflightforschools www.topflightforschools.ie. walking trip around the Tyrol www.visittyrol.cim.

Stony, stony banks

Stone skimming is a game we all learn as children, easy to pick up with simple rules which translate across oceans.

The new Stones: None the Wiser

And which can be competitive too…

As my iron-pumping New York cousin Eddie displayed when he took me out on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond http://www.visit-lochlomond.com and www.visitscotland.com.

The Son and Heir

Watch for rogue throwers in Avoca

I worked on my throw, angle and trajectory (it’s all in the crouch) as I travelled through life finding new worlds as I went.

And a new pal to play with, the Son and Heir.

Being the competitive sod I am I needed to hold back the inevitable passing of tbs baton, or skimming stone.

Wicklow throwers

How sweet is the valley: Avoca

I would tale him on around the pools, streams and waters of our adopted county Wicklow www.visitwicklow.ie.

On one occasion I took it too far, at one of our favourite stretches, the poet Thomas Moore’s Meeting of the Waters in picturesque Avova http://www.themeetings.ie.

When I skimmed a ten and it bounced up onto the opposite bank.

Duck!

Luckily for me the boy in the other side ducked at the right moment and it jumped over his shoulder.

Of course there are. times when skimming a stone can be a solitary, reflective pastime when you want to get things off your chest…

Or out of your hand.

French farce

Off to go skimming on the Fresh Riviera

Such as when I found it the only way to get rid of my frustrations after I was denied the chance of driving a Fist 500 around the cliffs of the French Riviera.

I had stalled the classic car three times in the car park before we took off.

And the hire company’s guide persuaded me that he should take the wheel… The Boat D’Azur and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/uk.france.fr/en/news/article/contact-us/amp

All about the craic

Where’s your crouch? At the worlds in Scotland

The World Stone Skimming Championships http://www.stoneskimming.com is, of course, more than just the stone throwing.

It’s all about the craic too.

Time will tell if the pandemic will have abated to allow the Championships to run in September.

But until then I’ve got plenty of time, and space, to practise down North Berwick beach.

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

Adventure, America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Women’s Day – my own heroines

And by order of the management my heroines are – The Scary One, Daddy’s Little Girl and my Dear Old Mum.

All of whom have been wonderful (and challenging) fellow travellers on life’s unpredictable journey. Never my fault, of course.

Love boat in Amsterdam

Where do I start? I give her one thing to do, remember my dates for our weekend away in Monaghan Monaghan’s country roads.

While we almost ended up by taking the wrong bus from Hamburg, to east Germany rather than Kiel.

Springtime in Bergen

En route to our MSC cruise www.msccruises.co.uk up the Norwegian cruises where we almost missed our ship in Bergen. Moi???

It was always going to be a challenge on the slopes with Topflight www.topflight.ie to Soll Soll Mates.

Hamburgers on the menu

But we stayed out of trouble in Central Portugal, Secret Portugal all down to our perfect host Jose https://www.madomistours.pt.

While we were on the same wavelength this time in Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

My Queen of Dragons in Belfast

Because the previous time, 23 years earlier, when there was a fork in the cycling route and we ended up going 10kms out of the way.

Then there was the adventure of 13 and a half years in Ireland with The InterCon… what a Ledge! a particular highlight.

Mum Champagne

Get a grip

My first holiday companion… I was in her belly en route to her homestead, Co. Donegal https://visitdonegal.net and we’ve been back countless times.

Latterly when I would take her up from my home in Co. Wicklow.

On one occasion I was tasked to drive her and my Auntie Ronnie who was grieving her husband, my Uncle Tom, up from Dublin… in Ronnie’s automatic sports car!!!

My Mummy… and just as old

Then when I accompanied her to New York https://www.nycvb.com/about/ for my cousin’s wedding… and suddenly I was back to 12 years old again.

While she wimped out of the Red Hot Chill Pipers concert when we were VIPs in my home town of Glasgow https://peoplemakeglasgow.com at the World Pipe Band Championships https://www.theworlds.co.uk.

Daddy’s Little Drinking Girl

Piping hot

Now there are only good memories… from the time in England’s Lake District https://www.golakes.co.uk when she asked me to find a friend for her.

To a family camping trip in Co. Wicklow https://visitwicklow.ie… when she was nine and she swigged from my whisky flask and claimed that she thought it was tea!

With my trekking pal Big Jim Gallaghet

There was no pretence when we attended a cocktail night at the Dylan https://www.dylan.ie

Well, she is her Grannie’s grand-daughter… and don’t even get me started on the other Grandma, the storied Bamba.

*And now I’ve got started I’ll move onto my heroines from my own personal Travels.

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Down on the Wicklow farm

Chris’s mum made the best lunch spread of sandwiches and home-made cakes.. voles not included.

They were freely available though scuttling around the farmyard.

Which is where Sean found a dead one and slipped it into Wee Jon’s doorstep sandwich.

Conscience got the better of him though and he called a halt before Jon caught rabies.

Coat of arms: Aberdeenshire

We were down on the Aberdeenshire farm, seven students with hefty overdrafts but summer time on our hands.

And a farmer who needed his hay brought in.

So English Chris and Big Finlay, the Hebridean, were out in the fields bringing in the hay.

Andy and myself (sometimes Toothy but never on a Sunday, he liked those off and Chris never sussed and still paid him) put them through the chute.

Andy, far left, Wee Jon middle, and Finlay, right

Pyscho bagged them when they came out of the machine and Sean sealed them before giving them to Wee Jon.

Who stacked them at the back of the shed.

Armoured man: History aplenty

Trouble was that he should have made a pyramid because the bags swell.

And put weight on the back of the wall.

So that one day Chris phoned to tell me that the shed had come down and he’d lost his harvest.

And us our jobs!

I wish Sean hadn’t stopped Jon eating the vole sandwich.

And I told Jon and his too good for him partner, Rachel, as much when he came to visit this year.

Stuff and nonsense of which brings me to an Agricultural Heritage Week in my adopted county of Wicklow.

We’ve been here a while now: Co. Wicklow

Coolakay, Enniskerry, is offering guided tours on Friday, August 23, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm with owner and agri historian Robert Roe, main pic.

Robert, a sheep farmer and master of the plough, will show off his tractors, Jeeps and farm machinery.

And give talks about Ireland’s rich agri heritage.

Coolakay House & Agricultural Heritage Centre is on Powerscourt Waterfall Road www.coolakayhouse.ie.

And read my love letter to Powerscourt Flowerscourt.

There is reduced entry of €2. No children without accompanying adults.

Also www.visitwicklow.ie.

And after you’ve finished reading Flowerscourt here’s my letter to my first love, Aberdeen A light in the north.

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This Sporting Weekend – Gaelic

‘Come on and I’ll take you to the football’ always got the Son and Heir out of bed.

Nothing will probably compare to the time we were in Edinburgh and I told him to get his coat as we were off to see his beloved Liverpool.

Understandably he thought we were off to the pub until we got on the road to Sunderland.

I teased him too when we relocated to Co. Wicklow in Ireland and I tempted him again with football.

Despite Ireland being without a professional football league such is his love for the game that he would have gladly gone down to see Bray.

But we headed the other way to see Wicklow play Gaelic Football against I can’t remember who in Aughrim.

There had been a lot of noise around their new coach, Kerry and the game’s legend Micko O’Dwyer.

The whole community atmosphere of the day caught our imagination.

Parking on a muddy verge, creature comfort food and us standing up with the crowd for the national anthem Amrhán na bhFiann.

Or Soldier’s Song, an anthem I’d learned at my Donegal mum’s knee and on the terraces of Celtic Park in Glasgow.

Kerry http://www.gaa.ie

And I loved too that fans of both Gaelic football teams milled around together where football teams don’t.

And against his better judgment the Son and Heir enjoyed himself.

Although I don’t think either of us remember who the opposition were.

Or whether we won.

The national games

The All-Ireland Gaelic football competition and Ireland’s other indigenous sport hurling are nearing their climax in September.

And whoever wins, and it’s usually Dublin and Kerry at Gaelic football, and Kilkenny at hurling, the cups will do a tour of the counties.

And the other game of hurling. http://www.gaa.ie

And I got a taste of it when I was told of the lengths that neighbouring town lands, or village outposts, in Monaghan would go to to gain an advantage.

Read my misadventures in Monaghan’s country roads.

And for all you want to know about Co. Monaghan see http://www.visitmonaghantourism.com and Co. Wicklow http://www.visitwicklow.ie

For everything you want to know about Ireland’s home sports visit http://www.gaa.ie and Ireland http://www.failteireland.ie.

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We will delight them on the beaches

We’re all different and my elder brother would prefer to stay in the hotel in Ibiza rather than hit the beaches.

My parents loved the beach and my Mum, in particular, loved to sunbathe.

Me being the restless sort and never a strong swimmer I preferred a beach game.

And I spent a week in Menorca playing Boules with German boy Uwe at the age of 9.

We didn’t share a word but we shared a love of sand as do parasol supplier We Are Promotional http://www.wearepromotional.co.uk/printed-branded-parasols-pubs-breweries/.

Beach boys (and girls)

They have given us this survey of our habits.

Which I’ll pick through for you.

The most expensive beach on amenities including luxury huts and parking is Renaissance Island, Aruba at £302.54pp.

And the cheapest is Huiquan Bathing Beach, China at £8.94pp.

In among them is Bournemouth. If fate had taken a different turn I could have been working there. http://www.visitbournemouth.com.

Fourth in the table at £168pp I’d have been looking for that factored into my salary.

Which would have had to be good to save up for those beach huts.

Fun for all the family

Huiquan again is the place to go for families (of four) at £34.96.

Beach bummin’ it

But I picked out Bathsheba Beach on the east of Barbados… let me share https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/. And check out http://www.visitbarbados.org.

There I ate a bucket of Bajan chicken, Banks beer in hand and waves crashing around my feet.

We Are Promotional costs Bathesba Beach at £108.03 including water sports, ice cream, lunch and beers.

Get there early: For your sun loungers

It’s always tempting if you’re up early and see an abandoned beach just to snuck up on a sunlounger and parasol and grab it.

I very nearly did it in Fort Lauderdale last December.

While I was intrigued to find the prices at Nazare in Portugal.

Portugeezers on the beach

Which is one of the best short-haul holiday countries for those living in Britain and Ireland (http://www.visitportugal.com).

At €18.89 it’s not as expensive as Waikiki in Hawaii, at £40.06.

But I’d still recommend the beaches of Portugal Centro between Oporto and Lisbon as a better alternative. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal/.

Tricks on the water

I’ve never worked out water sports. I tend to inhale when I should be exhaling.

Water show

But the Cool Set in Biarritz know what they’re doing.

The French Riviera resort comes third on their list of price of water sports at £89.90pp.

And let me show Biarritz off to you. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/. And visit https://www.france.fr/en.

Behind the most expensive, Coney Island in the US at £216.32pp.

And lastly, and most importantly in many’s eyes, ice cream.

It’s more than a euro a lick at Railay Beach, Thailand at £22.19pp.

Brighton rocks

Compare that with the tenth, Brighton at £4. And they’re all top tens. Visit www.visitbrighton.com.

My 99 in the beautiful beach town of Greystones, Co. Wicklow where I live is just €2.50… and the pound and euro are virtual parity. http://www.visitwicklow.ie.

Watch out for my top beaches in a blog coming to you soon.

While I’ll also share with you the origins of the 99, my old Sandy stomping ground of Portobello, Edinburgh.

MEET YOU ON THE SAND