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What is Game of Thrones? Well, to sum it up…families of Lannisters, Starks, Snows, Targaryen, and Tyrell are shaken up with betrayal, royal incests revealed, and every character being forced to face some bitter truths. Who’s dead? Who’s alive? Tallying up the body count in particularly violent scenes of castration, beheadings, dragons unleashed. Returning to life, seeing through the eyes of animals, and even nude walks of attonement keep you coming back for what’s next. Whatever does it for you…why not make an attempt at experiencing it as they did in 299 A.C. in Northern Ireland. It’s not just another medieval times park so you will need to bring some of your own props but there are excellent tours that bring the show to life for the adventurous sort…Live it!

 

Travelling is exciting and stressful all at the same time, so keeping yourself healthy and fit is really important. We understand your concerns, the work pressure and how unsettled you can feel in a different town. So here are 7 tips on how our guests can set up a healthy food and living routine while travelling and staying at a Cloverleaf Cottages holiday home.

1. PACK FOR A WORKOUT
Don’t forget to not only pack clothes for tours and dining out, but also bring along some lightweight gym clothes, your trainers, a jump rope, a heart rate monitor and anything else you can fit inside your luggage. Alternatively, if you are staying in one location for a while, you may consider buying clothes or exercise equipment in the local shops. All of our cottages and holiday homes are located in central town areas, within walking distance to many fantastic shops, so you won’t have a problem buying all you need.

2. WALK AND EXPLORE THE AREA
Travelling away from home in a totally different town, city or even country can mean unsettled routine, not enough exercise and poor eating habits. But this does not have to be the case at all, you can establish a healthy routine straight away. There’s no better way of experiencing the town/city than by foot? You can ask our guest services team prior to your arrival for information about the local area, for some sights within walking distance – shops, parks, restaurants. This allows you to better plan your jogging route before you even reach the holiday home!

3. STOCK YOUR REFRIGERATOR WITH HEALTHY FOOD
As soon as you arrive to the holiday home, you can make your way to the local supermarket to stock up your fridge with fresh vegetables, fruits, yoghurt. Having your own food can cut down on those excess calories you don’t want or need. All of our holiday homes are within walking distance to supermarkets, grocery stores and many other shops. With a little planning, there are no food excuses!

4. USE THE KITCHEN!
In all of our holiday homes, we provide a fully equipped kitchen with a cooker hob, oven, microwave, utensils and pots and pans. So you can rustle up some beautiful healthy salads, make a roast, or cook a healthy one-pot wonder on the stove. Just relying on microwaving TV dinners is not the best way to stay healthy, so please do use the kitchen to cook delicious meals for yourself.

5. WAKE UP EARLY
Start each day early and try and keep your routine. We can hear you groaning already but it does really help. If you rise and shine at least 20 minutes before you normally would and workout in the morning, even a simple walk around the block will do! It may seem like a chore, but studies have proven that working out gives you more energy and makes you much more conscientious about your food choices throughout the day – why not start the day out right?

6. DRINK THE WATER
If you have been travelling, remember that airplanes were designed to get us from A to B fast, but the downside is that the cabin is not conducive to your health. Flying dehydrates you because of lack of humidity in the cabin air, so don’t drink anything caffeinated or alcoholic while you are flying as it will dehydrate you and even make you ill. Who wants to start their holiday feeling ill?

Try to drink a glass of water every hour on the plane. Your body will thank you for it.

7. UNWIND DAILY
Be kind to yourself. Unwind daily. After a hard journey, go for a walk to unwind, refresh your mind and eat healthily as regularly as you can. You don’t need to be perfect each day, treat yourself to a break as well. All of our holiday homes are near leisure centres with a cinema, a bowling alley, or even trampolining (yes, you read correctly), and getting to a park is not far either. Being productive also requires rest and relaxation.

Thank you for reading our blog, we hope our 7 easy ways to stay fit while travelling will help you.

 

June 17, 2017

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Everyone is guilty of having a digital addiction.  How do I know?  Just visit a coffee shop.  I challenge you to find just 3 patrons at your local caffeine peddler who isn’t focused on their digital device.  Worse?  How many of the patrons are communicating to someone within 5 feet of them via their digital device?

We often talk about how technology is becoming the most dominant force in the industry, and report on the willingness to adopt the latest innovative technologies.

And while holiday home owners should definitely be responding to this, there are still people in the world who want to take a break from today’s information overload: they are proudly referring to themselves as digital detoxers.

Who are the ‘digital detoxers’?

It’s almost impossible not to have your eyes glued to a screen for much of the day, so much so that people develop addictions and anxiety related to technology.

People have become stressed because they’re trying to keep up with all of their notifications, to the point that some travelers – the ‘digital detoxers’ – are recognizing the healthy need to take a break every so often and ‘switch off’.

This year, the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, reported that:

  • 15 million UK internet users have taken a digital detox to seek a more sustainable balance between life online and life beyond the screen.
  • 1 in 3 adult internet users have sought up to a month offline.

Certain companies are already taking advantage of this, planning technology-free tours for travelers who want to escape the information grind.

So what can you do to attract these potential guests?

Encourage a real ‘connection’

Social media may be able to connect millions of people, allowing instant communication between them – but it’s an impersonal medium that does not enable a true emotional or sociable interaction.

Think about how your small holiday home can attract like-minded individuals and the way you use your space, amenities, and activities to foster true conversation and collaboration.

Digital detoxers will be in an extroverted frame of mind, enthusiastic about meeting other people, and eager to experience adventure.

Simplify options

The online world often bombards us with countless choices.

Whether it’s food, clothes, accessories, essentials, or experiences, there’s always an overload of variety that puts even more pressure on us to select the ‘correct’ one.

Digital detoxers will want less responsibility and easier decisions during all aspects of their trip. This can go a long way to refreshing your guests because less choice means less deliberation, and less stress.

Provide exciting tech-free activities

The only way to truly satisfy the digital detoxers’ need to escape technology and appreciate their time away is to provide enjoyable alternatives.

Consider offering:

  • List of yoga, dance, and pilates classes;
  • Relaxing massages and meditation;
  • Hobby classes such as cooking and crafting;
  • Mini-libraries and even writing nooks; and,
  • Partnering with tour operators to offer more adventurous pursuits like hiking and horse-riding tours.

Lean on mother nature

One of the first things people think of when they choose to depart on a digital detox is to go somewhere secluded – a forest, an island, outback terrain, or some other isolated yet beautiful location.

If your holiday home is in a position to promote any of these features, make sure you do so because it will likely be the most powerful selling point for tech-addicts looking for a break.

Even though guests will be very active in these locations, they will feel physically and mentally recharged.

Remember that exercise releases ‘feel-good’ endorphins that boost mood and energy levels and guests want to feel-good on a vacation.

 

Knowing the revenue management essentials for your self-catered holiday home is difficult at the best of times and it’s only becoming more complex.

Each year the hotel and travel industry uncovers many new influences and suggests new strategies accommodation providers can use. Owners and operators have a lot to deal with to stay on top of revenue management including:

All these factors and more contribute to making a strong revenue management strategy difficult for self-catering holiday homes. To simplify this, managers need to take a methodical approach to revenue production. You can do this by focusing on the historical formula for revenue management.

Here are our tips for your 2017 revenue management essentials:

Sell the Right Product

Obviously your product will predominantly be your entire property but there are important questions to ask yourself. How many rooms do you have to sell? Is it enough? What type of rooms do you offer and is there an adequate range? Do you have amenities to sell and if so, how will you do it?

The decisions you make here can, and most likely will, have a big impact on the health of your annual revenue. Being comfortable in the strength of your product is the first step to a successful revenue management plan.

Sell to the Right People

Once you’re confident you have the right product mix you need to clearly define and distinguish the audience you want to target. Is your property set-up to appeal more to individuals or groups? Will they be primarily business or leisure travellers?

You need to make a firm choice on what best suits your self-catered holiday home. If the configuration of your property is at odds with the market segment you’re targeting, you won’t see the positive revenue results you hope for.

Sell at the Right Time for the Right Price

How do you ensure the best return in regards to the occupancy of your holiday home? Smart decisions need to be made about when you adjust your rates and what your target audience can afford.

In times of high demand, it’s likely your property will reach full occupancy but if you take advantage of this by raising your prices, it could jeopardize this probability. If you keep your prices the same and your home fills up, your competitors will immediately benefit because they hold all the power in a high-demand period.

In low-demand periods you need to think of alternative ways to maximize occupancy and keep revenue coming in. This is a time when you may offer packages or discounts to incentivize people who wouldn’t normally take a trip or those already traveling to stay longer.

Accurate forecasting is important if you want to get your rates right and stay on terms with your competitors.

Sell Through the Right Channels

Determining the best distribution strategy is perhaps the most important aspect of the whole process. Relying solely on direct bookings won’t be sustainable so you need to connect with a Holiday Home Rental Specialist to supplement your revenue.

In most cases, the stream from Holiday Home Rental Specialists will end up being your most dominant source of bookings. But how many channels does a small property need to connect to? Most can get away with three or four but even then you’ll probably also need the services of a channel manager.

The rise of mobile bookings has changed the face of booking behaviour but it doesn’t mean the process is more complicated. You simply have to change your angle of attack to prioritise travellers who book on smartphones and other online methods. Close attention should also be paid to social media and the bookings you can garner through that medium.

Ultimately, revenue management comes back to understanding the customer, the state of the industry, and the identity of your own business. Most businesses make life easier for themselves by consulting Holiday Home Rental Specialists to provide them accurate data and seamless distribution pathways.

To learn more about revenue management, subscribe to our blog

Check out some of our other blog posts

June 9, 2017

Though set in a galaxy far, far away and long ago, the Star Wars: Saga found a new home just off the coast of Ireland which provides an ending for the movie shot on the dramatic Skellig Michael. It appears in the last three minutes of the movie, there’s not a word spoken but none are needed. Skellig Michael speaks for itself.

Access to the island is only possible by boat, and to reach this incredible monastery, you must crawl that winding path of stairs seen above. Once you get to the top, you can take in such sites as this one, of the monastery’s graveyard, still standing after some 1300 years or more. The film captures the rock in all its splendour, giving magnificent views of The Wailing Woman, Christ’s Saddle, and the monastery, as well as detailing the 100 stone steps built by monks on the hostile terrain that lies in splendid isolation more than 11km from the mainland in the Atlantic. Portmagee, a village on the mainland overlooking the island, became the “Star Wars” crew’s home base during filming. Mark Hamill was seen pulling pints at the local pub the Bridge. In the local shops you could buy t-shirts that read May the Craic Be With You or ones that depicted seagulls wearing Darth Vader masks.

Haven’t ventured there myself, YET. However, the Star Wars film crew and the locals in Kerry, Ireland have been said to be excited to get new visitors from all over the world. Drop me a line and maybe we can tour Luke Skywalker’s home together?


Thought I saw that Rolls…right? How could you miss it? Didn’t take locals long to gather with news of Joey rolling into town.

Matt LeBlanc is currently behind the wheel of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn around the Ring of Kerry.

Top Gear has the former Friends star driving around Co Kerry’s scenic route in the “Drophead”.

The name Dawn was previously given to just 28 Drophead models between 1950 and 1954.

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For self-catering holiday homes, there’s really nothing better than direct bookings. These bookings are the most beneficial in terms of generating revenue, because they do not require you to pay a commission to an online travel agent/service.
They also are a direct return on your investment in your own marketing strategy.
While you can’t rely solely on direct bookings, these tips can help you increase the number of direct bookings that you receive at your property.

1. Create a user-friendly website
Your website should include key elements such as high-resolution photographs, short booking forms and a simple “Book Now” button that captures the attention of your target audience. Beyond that, it needs to have a responsive design that allows both desktop and mobile users to easily navigate the content on the page.

2. Hire an Online Booking Marketer
An Online Booking Marketer is well versed in driving direct bookings. Aside from getting your property listed on more than 160 travel websites worldwide, they can also offer photography, aerial drone photography, and social media marketing services as well. The majority of travellers today prefer to book their stays online, which means that you will lose a significant number of bookings without an effective Online Booking Marketer.

3. Design a rewards program that improves customer loyalty
This is an ideal tactic for transforming a customer that came through another distribution channel into a direct booking. For example, a customer who first booked a room at your home through an Online Travel Agent may be pleased with your rewards program, and book directly on your website the next time.

4. Invest in content marketing to increase your visibility online
Fresh, valuable and accurate content is necessary to maintaining your top rankings on a search engine’s results page.

5. Interact with and engage your guests on social media
Create contests, post videos and respond to comments that are left on your page. Don’t forget to incorporate online booking into your social networking profiles, as this is another way you can drive direct bookings via the likes of Facebook.

6. Offer a discount to customers who call you or visit your property to finalize their reservation
It’s not uncommon for travellers to use Online Travel Agents and visitor information centres to get basic information about local attractions in your town. However, they may contact you directly with follow-up questions. Consider offering a discount to these customers to entice them to book immediately with you.

7. Encourage guests to leave feedback online
Online review sites are one of the most powerful ways to promote your brand online, particularly if you frequently receive positive feedback. Solicit online reviews from your guests after they have stayed at your property, and be sure to remain active on the most popular review sites. Many travellers will read these reviews, as well as your responses, and are likely to book direct if they like what they see.

8. Be available for your guests at every stage of their online booking journey
Encourage direct bookings by making it easy for guests to contact you. Provide all contact information, including phone number, email and text messaging number.
Increasing your direct bookings should be a priority within your online distribution strategy, as this allows you to increase the revenue that you earn and continue to expand the services and products that you offer at your property.

April 12, 2017

SEO for Self Catered Home Rentals: Where to Put Your Keywords

When you first opened your home to rent, you knew that you would be required to wear many hats and fulfill dozens of roles on a weekly basis.

But sometimes, it comes as a surprise that you also have to be an online marketing expert while additionally maintaining daily operations.

Search engine optimization — or SEO — is an important part of your web development strategy. You need to use powerful and relevant keywords to rank highly in the search results.

Here are a few SEO basics you need to know when it comes to incorporating keywords into your content:

Place keywords in Title Page and Headers

Search engines, such as Google, are going to crawl your title page and headers to rank your site on the search engine results page.

Use your targeted keyword in the title page, and incorporate variations of the keyword into the headers.

For example, if you have a holiday home in Cork, you would want to use the following keywords:

Title Page: Local Home to rent in Cork, Ireland
H1 Header: Welcome to Cork: Your home to rent in Ireland awaits

Incorporate keywords into Main Content

Adding your target keywords into your main content takes finesse. You need to place the keywords in a prominent location, but they also need to occur naturally within the text.

The search engines place a priority on relevant and accurate content, so you can’t fall into the habit of keyword-stuffing your content.

Ultimately, your specific target keyword should appear exactly as-is at least twice during the text. The first appearance should occur within the first several lines of the content.

You should research high volume search words that are relevant to your business and include these in your content.  Ie, these are keywords that receive a high volume of hits while doing a current events search: Chelsea Football Club, ‪Tottenham Hotspur F.C., ‪Antonio Conte

Take these words and make the following statement in a blog:

Need accommodations to see Antoine Conte and the Chelsea Football Club? Check our availability at this link: http://cloverleafcottages.co.uk/online-booking/

Or try this one for Wonder Woman, ‪Gal Gadot, ‪Diana Prince:

The newest edition to our cleaning team resembles Gal Gadot who, incidentally, is starring in the new Wonder Woman movie.

Also, you will want to add keyword variations and even relevant photos with hyperlinks into different parts of the content.

Don’t forget about Meta Keywords and Meta Phrases

The metadata for your website is going to be seen by your guests, but it’s highly visible to the search engines that are ranking your website.

This is why it’s necessary to optimize your meta phrases and keywords with your target keywords. Adding a location to your keyword is critical, particularly for businesses in the travel industry.

  • For the meta description: Verify that it is less than 156 characters. Use the target keyword or keyword phrase in the first sentence, and include a call-to-action.
  • For the meta keywords: Verify that the keywords are less than 25 words combined. Use keyword variations that are relevant without being repetitive. This is a good place to include common mistakes and misspellings that a searcher might use when looking for your property.

Monitor your Google Analytics account frequently to understand the keywords that are trending and to select the keyword phrases that are most relevant to your home to rent.

If you’re looking to revamp your website, Cloverleaf Cottage’s tips could be just what you’re looking for.

(more…)

January 2, 2017

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Ireland is originally a Catholic country and although not so many people are religious these days, Christmas is still a huge celebration. We love our traditions in Ireland and here are just a few we practice for Christmas:

1. Christmas Cakes and Puddings:

People complain that Christmas starts too early in the year. Halloween is barely over and the shops have their decorations up, in fact they had a Christmas shop in the Brown Thomas shop in Dublin in August this year. But the tradition for Irish Mammys is to have the Christmas Cakes and Puddings made by October – in order for them to have time enough to mature properly before the big day.

It is also traditional in each family for the children to take turns stirring the mixture. They would stir it 3 times in an counter-clockwise tradition and make a wish at the same time.

2. The 8th December – Culchies day out

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day was traditionally the day families came ‘up from the country’ to do their Christmas shopping in one of the larger towns like Dublin, Cork or Galway. Although this doesn’t happen so much now, there is still something magical about strolling down Henry Street or Grafton St in Dublin, Shop Street in Galway or Patrick Street in Cork at Christmas time.

3. Visit to Santa:

If you were lucky enough to live on the East side of Ireland you would have been brought to Dublin on the 8th and along side the shopping there would be a visit to Santa and the amazing window displays at Switzers – now Brown Thomas, mentioned earlier. Santas around the country would have a pink bag full of toys for girls & a blue one for boys. We were delighted to just have a quick chat with the great man and a lucky bag. Now there are a number of Christmas experiences around Ireland – Winter Wonderland in Westport house, Winterval in Waterford or you can even visit him in a cave at the Ailwee Caves!

4. The Christmas tree:

A tradition still in Ireland as it is all around the world. The lights are always in a tangle even though you wrapped them up nice last year and there is the annual argument over who gets to put the angel on the tree – inevitable it is the youngest member of the house hold.

5. Candle in the window:

Although a religious tradition originally, many houses will light a candle in their window on Christmas Eve. This was to signal to Mary & Joseph that they were welcome at the house.

Nowadays, the candle is lit to welcome anyone who may need shelter for the night.

There is a permanent candle in the window of Aras an Uachtarain thanks to President Mary Robinson who famously re-adopted this custom during her term of office, to remember all of the emigrants that had left Ireland and let them know the candle in the window would always be lighting to remember them show them their way home.

6. Midnight Mass:

Being that we are Irish, midnight mass is not at midnight – it used to be but now you are more likely to be at mass at 9pm on Christmas eve. It is normally the night that those who are returning home get to catch up with their family and friends in the pub afterwards. You’ll never see the mothers out, as they are busy starting the Christmas dinner for the next day.

7. Christmas dinner:

We love our food and Christmas dinner is the biggest event of the year. It is a huge family affair and woe betide you if you don’t make it home for dinner on Christmas Day. It is still quite a traditional meal with roast turkey, stuffing, ham, gravy, and vegetables namely the dreaded brussel sprouts. Everyone eats as much as they can before heading to the couch to enjoy a family movie like Indiana Jones, before having a nap. Left over turkey is the meal for the next few days as no one wants to cook!

8. The Panto:

Again more of an East/Dublin tradition, is the pantomime in the Gaiety or Olympia Theatre. Another great day out with the words “ He’s behind you” ringing in your ears on the drive home.

9. New Years Eve:

New Years Eve is always a good night out in the pub or in a neighbours house. In recent years, New Years Eve has turned into a 3 day festival in Dublin with everything from concerts, 3D light display, treasure hunts, comedy and much more! It’s a great couple of days in a stunning city – www.nyefdublin.com

10. 6th January:

The feast of the Epiphany, is the day when Christmas officially ends. Decorations are taken down and put away for yet another year. In the West of Ireland it is called Little Christmas or Nollaig na mBan (women’s Christmas) where the men do all the work and prepare a meal for the ladies of the house.

December 12, 2016

Although Ireland does not celebrate Thanksgiving, they had a very big part to play in it’s creation. The ”first Thanksgiving” was actually celebrated on Feb 21, 1621 when a band of starving pilgrims at Plymouth Rock were saved at the last minute by the arrival of a ship from Dublin bearing food from Ireland.

The Boston Post discovered the earlier date for the Thanksgiving ritual. It showed that the traditional date of the autumn of 1621 was actually incorrect. According to a columnist for the Boston Post, the Pilgrims in the winter of their first year were starving and faced the end of their project to colonize the new world when “a ship arrived from overseas bearing the much needed food.”

Because of anti-Irish prejudice at the time, they neglected to name it as an Irish ship. The Irish ship was called The Lyon, “its provenance and that of the food was Dublin Ireland.” It turns out, that the wife of one of the prominent Plymouth Rock brethren was the daughter of a Dublin merchant and that it was he who chartered the vessel, loaded it with food and dispatched it to Plymouth.

The Irish connection was not admitted, even though a number of Irish organizations challenged the issue. Nonetheless, the Massachusetts historical records revealed the tale, giving the Irish a fair claim to saving Thanksgiving.

Us Irish like to help out where we can and in 2015 we were ranking the 9th in the World Giving List. Not bad for a small country in the Atlantic!

Credit: www.irishcentral.com and www.irishculturalsociety.com/essaysandmisc/thanksgiving-irish.html

 

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November 7, 2016

Ireland is known as the ”land of 40 shades of green.” But we have to say we love the colours in the Fall just as much, if not more! You look out the window each day and the colours have changed – There are numerous browns, yellows & reds.

 Not only are the colours stunning but the weather can be too. This Fall we have had the best weather all year. There is a beautiful stillness in the air with very little wind or rain. The seas and lakes of the Wild Atlantic Way are calm and the reflections are stunning, making it hard to figure out what is real and what is a reflection.

 There is nothing better than wrapping up for the slight chill and heading to the beach for a walk – yes we said a walk on the beach in November! Or pack a picnic of sandwiches and hot coffee for a trip to the nearest forest to run through the fallen leaves and admire the beauty.

It is also a quieter time of the year for visitors. Head to the pub for a pint or a hot port and it won’t be long before you have made friends with the locals. Fall may just be our favourite season!

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Pokémon GO is an augmented reality mobile game. Since its recent release, it has gained great popularity among gamers. Currently the game is only available in a few limited countries, however with Nox App Player you could play it anywhere in any country on your Windows PC without leaving your desk and collect all the Pokémons. This is great for people who don’t have the game yet in their country and of course also for people unable to get outdoors.

Pokemon sightings are catalogued with accuracy and sorted into categories of Common, Uncommon, Rares, Ultra Rares, and Epics.  The app allows users to quest for Pokémon through their camera lens. The Pokémon will appear in real time, allowing users to try and “catch” the Pokémon. Game users (also called “trainers) can also find valuable eggs that are “hatched” by logging miles walking with the app. The game also allows users to battle each other and train in what’s called a Pokémon gym.

App users across the Internet have encountered safety concerns of a wide variety while playing Pokémon GO. The main advice to take away from these and all safety concerns – attention to your surroundings is the key to safety!

This could also be the new paradigm of marketing.  Virtual world signs and advertising.  Adults may not be the predominant users of the new app but the parents of children who share the obsession may just be a larger target audience than most are aware.  Either way, I intend to embrace this new fad and register as many game items in our holiday homes as my marketing budget can afford.


Props to Kamil Krolak for producing this short film which brought together people from the furthest corners of the world… Galway has such a diverse ambrosia of people that it made the perfect setting. One of my favorite answers came from the young Boston, MA couple who professed, “I would have spent more than a week in Ireland.” How would you have answered?

July 17, 2016


Wiki Definition – “Glamping is a portmanteau of glamour and camping and describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping.”

City folks may be the ones who wanderlust about the great outdoors more than those who have it as their own backyard, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t explore new ways to have fun. Whether you are attracted to the water or rather stay on dry land, there’s something out there for you. Quirky, Fun, or Eclectic, there is a Glamorous Camping option for anyone.


If you managed to make it through the whole video, you will now be needing a nap. I’m usually torn before sharing this type of video because I realize it could mean tourists could soon be crowding my happy place. I also realize, nothing is better than sharing a world some may never know. Share if you like but just know it kills a little piece of me everytime you do ; )


The Mustang V8 5 Liter touring the Wild Atlantic Way with none other than Chad McQueen (Steve’s son), behind the wheel and on the “right side of the car”. First ever in Europe.

Though cool and a sight to see, I’m uncertain if Ireland is ready for American muscle. I mean, what’s the enthusiast gonna do with all that power on the curvy Wild Atlantic Way roads? I suppose the N6 and M1 will now be a little windier.

Anybody rushing out to get one?

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Homeowners with standard variable mortgages (SVR) look set to benefit from reduced interest rates in July.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said he had met with the country’s main six lenders – AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank, KBC and ACC – to discuss “the comparatively high standard variable rates currently being charged by the banks”.

Mr Noonan said there was agreement from all lenders that customers should have access to more competitive mortgage products .

At a press conference outside Government Buildings today, Mr. Noonan said he has given the six banks until July 1st to make their announcements as to how they will reduce the cost of standard rate variable mortgages for customers. “All of them in one way or another will offer an option to each holder of a mortgage to get a reduced rate,” he said.

In some cases, this will involve a straight rate cut but in others it might involve offering a lower fixed-rate to a customer. “We’ll expect announcements from the banks in their own time between now and the first of July.”

April 20, 2016

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MAJESTIC – Adjective

1.having or showing impressive beauty or scale:
“the majestic Rockies”  synonyms: exalted · august · great · awesome · elevated · sublime ·[more]

Revisited The Cliffs of Moher this past week.  In our small group of explorers, included Lanice (from Greenville, SC), Emily (from Sedona, AZ), and Bill Millhouse (from Virginia – photographer responsible for the attached photo).

We searched the rugged countryside of Ireland’s: Connamara Mountains, The Burren, and Counties Galway, Clare, and Mayo for a memorable and even unforgettable view.  After battling the unpredictable Irish weather, there it was…the truly majestic double rainbow.  This site can only be described as majestic because, to my knowledge, nobody has ever witnessed such a site at this landscape marvel.  I’m sure there have been similar sightings at every corner of the globe…please share @holiday_ie

I challenge you all to a majestic photo competition…


While I immediately loved Ireland I still love and miss Charleston, SC.  It could be that for the lack of sunshine in Ireland, the Irish people have been blessed with a sunny disposition. It might just be all the “how you doing’s?” since it’s that kind of hello that perfectly opens a conversation. Either way, it really struck me how easy going the Irish are, how easy it was to just start a conversation and how people seemed interested in exchanging a word or two with you (I won’t assume they were).

It’s here that I’m learning about “taking it easy” and “being grand”. I’ve found it surprising how easy it is to meet new people and now I’m just enjoying the whole experience. Overall, Ireland seems to be like a good pint of Guiness. Once settled, beautiful.
In saying that, Galway is not too unlike Charleston in one fundamental aspect. We love visitors.

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My wife, Susan, and I had the wonderful opportunity of strolling about one of Ireland’s 7 Wonders as well as acclaimed tourist attractions; alongside an extensive panorama view of the astounding Cliffs of Moher. We then proceeded to the nearby township and port of Doolin where we witnessed white capped waves crash against the surf creating 40-50 foot high sprays. After a refreshing stroll, we advanced on towards the limestone section of Ireland; also referred to as the “Burren” – where you will wonder about the klints and grikes all the while observing the radically unique flora and fauna that is solely native to this incredible ecosphere. Hidden within the Burren valley was Corcomroe Abbey which is said to have been built by Donal Mór Ua Briain, late in the 12th century. Topping it all off we visited the Hazel Mountain Chocolatier and witnessed their craft via their taste tour. This will be a must do excursion for any of you venturing to our neck of the woods.


The 2016 food festivals promise to be every bit as good with proposals for ‘A Celebration of 100 Years of Food in Ireland‘, in addition to the ever popular cooking demonstrations and an expansion of the eclectic ‘programme of Food Tours’ to include trips to the Aran Islands, the Burren, farms, producers and craft brewers.

The novelty activity of ‘digging for their dinner’ will also be introduced this year with a seaside foraging trip taking place for those interested. Other quirky events will include pop ups, cocktail classes, wine tastings and a comprehensive schedule of talks on a range of topical issues in the food and drinks industry.


Just a taste of what Galway is blossoming into with the “European Capital of Culture” designation in 2020. I’m looking forward to what the next few years bring by way of the Failte’ Arts Festivals.