All posts filed under: Travel

A visit to the Scottish Highlands

I have always wanted to visit the Scottish Highlands and I finally got my act together and went for a 6-day trip last summer 2014.  We flew into Glasgow Prestwick with Ryanair, and being able to fly midweek, we managed to get return flights from Dublin for €30. What a bargain! There is so much to see and do in Scotland that it was difficult to plan an itinerary for the six days but we decided to visit Iona, the Cairngorm mountains and Inverness.  We hired a car at Prestwick and after we arrived on our evening flight, we drove to Balloch (often referred to as the gateway to Loch Lomond) where we stayed overnight and enjoyed the spectacular sunset.

A long weekend in Madrid

If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive City Break and are flying from Dublin Airport, check out Madrid.  Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly there and the flight time is short so you can make the most of your time away.  Both carriers have competively priced flights so check both when booking.  We actually flew out with Aer Lingus and back with Ryanair when we spent 4 days in Madrid in December 2014. This meant we got the flight prices and times that suited us best.

A week in Marrakech, Morocco

You can now fly direct to Marrakech from Dublin with Ryanair.  This has made Morocco a very affordable holiday destination for Irish people.  Earlier this year, a friend and I booked flights with Ryanair and set about organising ourselves for a week in Marrakech. It quickly became apparent that in deciding where to stay, you have to make a choice between the old and the new Marrakech.  The old is the Medina, the area that includes the Square (Jamaa El Fna) and the Souks.  The most popular “new” destination is Gueliz.  I had some idea of what the Medina would be like from watching various travel programmes on TV and did some further research.  Although it would be clearly be a more authentic experience to stay in a traditional Riad within the Medina, we decided to stay in a modern hotel in the new town of Gueliz.  This choice may not be for everyone.  There are many very lovely Riads in Marrakech offering superb accommodation, food and facilities but there were a number of reasons …

Cashel and the Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary.

Many of us make a real effort to travel far and wide to see well known tourist attractions, historical buildings and great views. Yet many of us have places close to home that would fall into these categories that we may not have visited at all.  Sometimes it’s good to be a tourist in your own county.  I became that tourist recently when I visited Cashel in my home county of Tipperary.

The Great Western Greenway – Achill to Westport, Co. Mayo

I am not a cyclist.  I do not own a bicycle.  In fact, I cannot remember the last time I was on a bicycle.  However, I really wanted to cycle the Great Western Greenway from Achill to Westport.  All 42km of it.  In one go…  Many of my friends (particularly those well aware of my level of fitness) were kind when they told me I was being a little ambitious.  Of course, that made me determined to do it. The 42km long Greenway is the longest off-road cycling (or walking) trail in Ireland.  It follows the old Westport to Achill railway line.  It passes through Mulranny and Newport and some of the most beautiful views in Ireland can be seen along the way.

Galway – A Visitors’ Guide – Where to Eat

So now that you have decided to visit Galway and booked your accommodation, you need to figure out where to eat whilst you are here.  Galway has so many great and varied restaurants, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fine Dining? There are many “Fine Dining” restaurants in the city.  There is one Michelin Starred restaurant – Aniar.  (See separate post on this site). This is a small restaurant so if you plan to visit, you will most certainly need to book in advance, particularly if you wish to visit on a weekend night.  The restaurant now has a new Head Chef – welcome Ultan Cooke!   www.aniarrestaurant.ie If you like Fish, then you really must visit O’Grady’s on the Pier in Barna (again, see separate post on this site).  The restaurant is easily accessible from the city centre by car or taxi and is well worth the trip.  It really is one of the best restaurants in the Galway area and its setting on the beach at Barna is truly magical. http://www.ogradysonthepier.com

Galway – A visitors’ guide – Where to Stay

I am very lucky to live close to Galway City which is a truly wonderful city with a holiday feel all year round.  Its beauty, charm, many attractions and summer festivals make it a magnet for tourists.  For first time visitors, it can be difficult navigating through the accommodation options around the city of which there are many.  Visitors can choose to stay in the City Centre, in Salthill or further out along the coast such as in Barna or Furbo.  There is also a wide variety of accommodation to be found from Hotels to B&B’s to Hostels. Here are some options to consider if you are in the process of booking a trip to our wonderful city.  City Centre – Hotels Hotel  Meyrick – 4 Stars This most central of hotels is located in a landmark building beside the train station and fronts onto Eyre Square.  This hotel will cater to your every whim offering spa treatments, dinner in the Oyster Grill, cocktails in the Oyster Bar, afternoon tea in the Lobby or sports …

Zip Lining – A Tree Top Canopy Adventure in South Africa

I really couldn’t go to Storms River Village in South Africa without trying the Tree Top Canopy Tour in the Tsitsikamma Forest.  It seems to be one of the main activities in the area and best of all, you don’t need any skills to take part!  We booked it well in advance and were staying in the village the night before.  It was only then that I began to think maybe we had made a mistake and that there might be a scary morning in store for us.  Should we chicken out? We decided to go but there were butterflies in the tummy when we arrived at the office of the tour company the next morning.  There were three other people there who would join us on the tour.  There were three guides allocated to us also, one of whom was recording the event and we were going to purchase a dvd afterwards.  We were given a briefing of what was to follow and shown the equipment etc, then we signed on the dotted line and went to get …

My visit to the Magic of Bubbles Festival 2010, Franschhoek, South Africa

Life through a glass of Bubbles! Franschhoek (French Corner) is a gorgeous foodie village set in the heart of the Western Cape winelands and easily accessible from Cape Town.  It is known as The Gourmet Capital of South Africa and is home to many wonderful restaurants (including Le Quartier Francais, recently awarded 36th place in the Worlds Top 50 restaurants).  The village is also surrounded by some fantastic vineyards which dot the spectacular mountains around the village. The Franschhoek Magic of Bubbles 2010 fell on the first weekend in December with the Sunday coinciding with our departure back to cold Ireland.  What better way could there be to spend our last day than sipping bubbles in the warm sunshine of beautiful Franschhoek? The South African produced sparkling wine is called MCC – Methode Cap Classique.  The quality is generally very good indeed; on a par with most champagnes and, I would say, better than the majority of the prosecco and cava that is available on the Irish market. In South Africa, a bottle of good MCC will retail from the equivalent of about e10 making it an …