Holiday World Show 2020

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Adventure experiences

Holiday World Show


Home holidays

Exotic getaways


per • The exl trends top travefor 2020 and tips e their r a h s s e i elebrit d memories c h s i r I • ans an l p y a d i l ruises, c ho , l e v a r me ture t • Adven riendly trips, hoore family f … and much m holidays ay inspiration holid side! in

Also at the show! » Overseas Property Pavilion » FREE Children’s Activities » FREE Entertainment

Friday 24th Jan, 1pm – 6pm Saturday 25th Jan, 11am – 5.30pm Sunday, 26th Jan, 11am – 5.30pm



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent



he Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) looks forward to welcoming you to Holiday World Show 2020 at the RDS Simmonscourt Dublin, taking place next weekend, Friday 24th to Sunday 26th January. This is a very special year for Holiday World Show as they celebrate their 30th anniversary, so this year’s show promises to be the most exciting show to date! This is also a significant year for the ITAA, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. We are delighted to come together with Holiday World Show to celebrate these two significant milestones.

Maureen Ledwith, Organiser of Holiday World Show


A BeCreative Editorial Production

This year’s show will welcome over 1,000 travel industry experts from all across the world, who will be able to offer advice and guidance on booking the perfect holiday. With a wide range of multicultural entertainment, kids’ activities, competitions, prizes and special show-only offers, this is an event not to be missed. Last year, Irish people spent €1.5 billion booking holidays with Irish travel agents and Irish tour operators. This figure shows an increase of 7pc from the previous year, with similar growth expected for 2020. Our members in the ITAA urge the public to book their 2020 holidays early to avoid disappointment, because there will be pressure on flights and accommodation in the more popular European resorts. Holiday World Show is the perfect place to start looking for your next adventure. Holiday World Show 2020 will see all the regions of the world represented under one roof – Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, US, Canada, South America, as well as holidays closer to home, with a host of exhibitors representing Ireland’s favourite European destinations. This year’s show will welcome more exhibitors than ever before, as well as the largest ever home holiday pavilion and a new overseas property section. For those looking to get married abroad or searching for their perfect honeymoon, experts from Ireland’s favourite wedding destinations are there to answer all your questions and make your walk down the aisle that little bit easier.

As this year marks the 30th year of Holiday World Show, there will be a range of special features for attendees to enjoy, such as free family entertainment, children’s art competitions, hundreds of free-to-enter holiday competitions, and special show-only deals which you will not get anywhere else. For three days, Holiday World Show will transform the RDS Simmonscourt into a hub of exotic, vibrant, multi cultural activity. Visitors can literally experience the locations that are on offer, and get first hand

advice that is not available on the internet. Whether you are seeking that once-in-alifetime trip, planning a well-deserved holiday, family break or honeymoon, Holiday World Show is THE must attend event of the year. We look forward to meeting you at the show.

4 Trends in travel 2020

16 Best of Ireland

26 A Peruvian adventure

6 Flying with the stars!

17 Holiday World Show floorplan

John Spollen, President of the ITAA and Director of Cassidy Travel, on Irish holiday trends and what’s big for 2020

Some well-known Irish faces share their favourite travel memories and upcoming holiday plans

8 Undiscovered Europe

Go off-the-beaten-track in Europe, with our guide to some of the best hidden gems in Spain, Portugal and France

EDITOR: Kevin Flanagan, ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Clodagh Dooley, Shauna McCrudden, ADVERTISING MANAGER: Paul Muldoon, (01) 7055 412 ADVERTISING: Orla Mooney, (01) 7055 371 DESIGN: Susan McClean, INM Design Studio, Belfast REPRO: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1

10 Ski family heaven!

Travel editor Kevin Flanagan takes his grandson skiing for the first time. Here’s his report

12 Are we there yet? Unforgettable family fun

Looking for some inexpensive family trips in the year ahead? The experts tell us their top choices

14 Far-flung destinations

We speak to the travel professionals about the best long-haul trips you can take in 2020

Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association

Thinking of holidaying at home this year, but don’t know where to go? Let Ireland’s travel experts guide you!

18 Exhibitors list 21 Holiday World Show Young Travel Writer of the Year

Pat Dawson CEO Irish Travel Agents Association

Travel writer Clodagh Dooley hikes the legendary Inca Trail in Peru, South America with Sunway, and learns a few things about the culture and herself along the way

28 Philadelphia Here I Come!

Kevin Flanagan spends his winter break in an American gem!

30 Falling in love with Prague

We announce the Young Travel Writer of the Year!

Travel writer Shauna McCrudden tells us about her trip to the heart of Europe, Prague, and how the old city charmed her more than any other

22 Special getaways

32 Keep on adventuring

Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon, a big-ticket trip to somewhere exotic is a perfect way to mark a milestone or special occasion

23 Cruising the Caribbean

We speak to newlyweds who spent their honeymoon on a Caribbean cruise

24 My favourite holiday experience

Holidaymakers share their fondest travel memories

Looking for a new adventure for 2020? We speak to an Irish couple currently seeking a thrill on New Zealand’s 3,000km Te Araroa trail

34 News, news, news

Extra, extra! Read all about the latest deals, news and reviews in the world of travel

Sunday Independent January 19 2020




Your holiday-of-a-lifetime starts at Holiday World Show Dublin 2020!


ast year, Holiday World Show Dublin saw over 39,500 visitors make their way to the RDS Simmonscourt for personalised advice from travel experts, plus the top destinations to travel to in 2020. This was an increase in visitor numbers from 2018, meaning the award-winning show continues to be a hit with Irish holidaymakers, 30 years after it was first introduced! Here is a snapshot of what you can expect at this year’s show:

THOUSANDS OF DESTINATIONS…UNDER ONE ROOF! With over 550 exhibitors, Holiday World Show is a one-stop shop for advice and inspiration on thousands of destinations across the world, as well as holiday destinations at home. If you are torn between choosing a holiday at home, a European location, or flying long-haul to destinations such as the USA or Asia, Holiday World Show 2020 can help. The show provides the opportunity to move from exhibitor-to-exhibitor, and get the inside track on not only where to go, but also how to pay less for your holiday. “I always try to get away somewhere every year and was completely torn about where to travel in 2019,” says Orla Carey. “I had read about Holiday World Show and decided to go along and check it out. I was amazed at how many options there were and how hassle-free and secure it was to book there and then. I ended up planning both a holiday at home and abroad at great value, and all with the advice of a travel agent and tourism professionals at the show.” The travel experts will advise you on

everything from booking your flights and accommodation, to the activities and attractions to visit on your trip. They consider factors such as your budget, your interests, the time of year you want to travel, who is travelling with you, any hidden costs you should know about, and if you need a visa and travel insurance. MAKE YOUR DREAM OF OWNING A HOLIDAY PROPERTY A REALITY Ready to take the plunge and invest in your own property abroad? Or, think you are ready but want to get more expert advice before making your decision? Well, event attendees will get the opportunity to see a great portfolio of holiday home properties, at varying budgets and tastes, through free personalised consultations. SHOW-ONLY DEALS, COMPETITIONS AND ENTERTAINMENT Not only are there dozens of great show-only deals and discounts at Holiday World Show, but there is also the chance to win some great holidays! There are prizes for weekend breaks at home and overseas holidays. There are even competitions for kids – at the show, primary school students can enter an art competition. Holiday World Show received hundreds of entries to the

‘Young Travel Writer of the Year’ competition recently and the winner’s story is printed on page 21 of this guide. Not to mention, there is also a fun Kids Zone and entertainment throughout the weekend. WIDEN YOUR HORIZONS January is the month of making New Year’s resolutions to lead a healthier lifestyle – which typically involve exercising more and eating healthier! But did you know that travel is healthy too? There’s a growing body of scientific evidence which shows travel is very good for your mental health. Studies have shown a connection between travel and an increase in creativity, a decrease in anxiety and stress, and a deeper sense of cultural awareness and personal growth. A 2014 study by psychologist Gilovich and colleagues even found that people were happier when they were anticipating an experience, as opposed to a material purchase. Which means it is a very good idea to make it your New Year’s resolution to travel more, and visit Holiday World Show to get planning that exciting new holiday experience. If you’re visiting the show with a specific destination in mind, make sure to bring

along some questions you want answered. You might actually end up choosing a place you have never thought about visiting, or even a destination you haven’t heard of before! That’s the beauty of Holiday World Show – whether you are searching for a family-friendly destination, an adventure holiday, cruises, solo-travel trips, or honeymoon options, there are a variety of categories and destinations waiting to be discovered. And, based on your personality, interests and budget, the travel professionals at Holiday World Show will be able to advise on what destination is best suited to you. Throughout this supplement, you will find some of the best tips from those in the travel biz on planning your dream holiday and how to make it one you will never forget. For a map and full exhibitors listing so you don’t miss anything at Holiday World Show Dublin 2020, turn to page 17. Holiday World Show 2020 is in the RDS, Simmonscourt, Dublin, from Friday 24th January 1pm – 6pm; Saturday and Sunday, 25th and 26th January 11am – 5:30pm. For more information, visit



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Trends in travel 2020

Shauna McCrudden speaks to John Spollen, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) and Director of Cassidy Travel, on Irish holiday trends and what’s big for 2020


ccording to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the number of passengers travelling through main Irish airports in the last quarter of 2019 increased by 4.2pc. Dublin Airport even set a new record with more than 3.4 million passengers passing through in August, an increase of 6pc on the previous year. Other CSO figures show the number of trips made abroad by Irish people in 2019 reached its highest ever, increasing by 7.9pc in the third quarter, moving up from 2.571 million to 2.774 million. The average duration of overseas trips made by Irish residents rose from 8.9 nights in 2018 to 9.1 nights in 2019. “We have definitely seen an increase in

John Spollen, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) and Director of Cassidy Travel

both frequency of travel and distance travelled,” says John Spollen. “There are more shorter trips, more city breaks and 10/11 day sun breaks and the USA has spiked in interest, with multicentre options more popular than ever.” But John says he has noticed that customers are far more careful and now want value for money instead of just the cheapest flight. “Holidays now need to have added value such as a private beach, all-inclusive holiday package, water facilities, activities on-site and other add-ons which add value to a trip. We have also seen an increase in clients wanting more thrill-seeking opportunities including extra add-ons such as cooking classes, wine tasting, hiking and adventure trips, multicentre trips to have a choice of multiple destinations, rail and cruises and even mini cruises for those new to cruise holidays.” Due to the complexities of some of these extras, a lot of people prefer the expert services of a travel agent says John. It has become more convenient to book with a travel agent to include every extra you want in a holiday. According to the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR), Irish travel agents reported an impressive €1.1bn turnover in 2018, which shows how strong the industry still is. Booking with a travel agent has many advantages, especially with an ITAA travel agent. John says that people prefer the services of a travel agent as it saves time and adds protection. “Not only do you get expert advice from professionals in holiday planning, but you also get unbiased recommendations plus someone who is always there to help in the event of a problem just on the other end of the phone.” TOP DESTINATIONS According to the AA Travel Insurance survey in 2019, 18.96pc of respondents planned to

spend their main holiday in Spain, making it the most popular destination for the fourth year in a row. Other European destinations popular with Irish tourists were France with 7.06pc, Portugal with 6.41pc, Italy with 6.04pc and the UK with 4pc. And outside Europe, the USA remains the most popular destination, with 5.76pc saying they planned to spend their main holiday there. While these have been big destinations in 2019, what will continue to be popular in the new year? According to John, there are many different top destinations depending on the season: Winter – “Some top places for Irish tourists will be European cities for short breaks and of course the Canaries, USA and Mexico. Hot destinations will always be popular in winter time.” Spring – “During the spring, you tend to see people taking more expansive city breaks and widening horizons in cities such as in Prague, Krakow, Lisbon, Rome, London or Dubai.” Summer – “Summer is the biggest time for holidays and main destinations such as Majorca, Portugal, mainland Spain and Greece will be the big places to visit. But people also want relaxing holidays and long-haul trips, so cruises will be in demand as will trips to countries such as Canada, which is becoming more and more popular with Irish tourists.” Autumn – “The hotter and more exotic destinations will become big news during autumn time, with Mexico and Greece increasing in favour. Places such as Abu Dhabi, Orlando and Vietnam will also be popular to visit as the USA and Asia will see more penetration from Irish tourists in 2020.” John says he sees new routes such as Rhodes, Sardinia, Puglia, Malta and Tel Aviv getting bigger in the new year. Routes that have been increasing in bookings such as Dallas, Minneapolis, Iceland, Vietnam, Montreal and Addis Ababa are worth visiting and are expected to welcome larger numbers of Irish tourists. But the biggest

Top picks for 2020

1. Cruises - John says cruises will continue to be a top trend with different types of travellers from families to couples. “Both ocean and river cruises are a big trend for 2020 as they have been for the last four years in a row.” 2.Environmental holidays – “Giving back to the local community is a big trend becoming more popular every year. People now want holidays that incorporate land travel and interaction with local communities on expertly guided holidays.” 3.USA and Asia – With more airlines offering transatlantic flights, for example Aer Lingus introduced its largest North Atlantic schedule in 2019 flying to 14 North American destinations, and more openings for Asian countries for cheaper than ever before, these holidays are a major trend in 2020. “We definitely see more penetration into the USA and Asia as there is now much more access.” To find your local travel agent, log onto and for more on Holiday World Show visit

priority in booking a holiday is not just deciding where to go, it’s also making sure to get everything you can out of the trip. “My advice for anyone planning a trip is always to book early and have a list of priorities for your family group to help narrow down searches to find your perfect fit. Close your eyes and imagine what your perfect holiday would be like and then tell your travel agent – they will find it. Always check what upgrades or little extras might be available for a small amount more but which can make a huge difference to the end experience – be open and prepared to push the boat out for new ideas.”

Sunday Independent January 19 2020





January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Flying with the stars!



WHAT IS YOUR HAPPIEST TRAVEL MEMORY? “I’d say most definitely my honeymoon with my husband Richard. We went to the Maldives for 10 days and then to Dubai. In the Maldives, we stayed on an island called Kuredu and it was picture-perfect, with green waters and white sands. We had incredible experiences including swimming with turtles and snorkelling. Stingrays would just swim by us! Then in Dubai, we did a lot of shopping in places such as the Dubai Mall and the Gold Souk (traditional market offering jewellery and gold) and also a lot of sunbathing. Dubai is one of those places that people should see at least once and Kuredu is a brilliant place to honeymoon, because it is so romantic. “I was also extremely lucky to travel to the Galapagos Islands with ‘No Frontiers’ 10 years ago. It was a very surreal and amazing experience. I got the opportunity to swim with giant turtles!” YOU HAVE STAYED IN MANY FAMOUS PEOPLE’S HOMES ON ‘LIVING WITH LUCY’, BUT WHICH DESTINATION DID YOU FEEL WAS THE MOST INCREDIBLE? “It has to be South Africa. I stayed with Gráinne Seoige in Pretoria, approximately a 50-minute drive from Johannesburg. It was stunning and I loved it there. We stayed in the bush in a tree-house, which was unbelievable. It was surrounded by wildlife, literally like being in a movie! We also went on safari and drank gin from a flask in the back of the jeep, which was great fun!” DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO TRAVEL IN 2020? “I don’t have any plans yet, but that being said, there’s always a celebrity who lives abroad, so I’m always excited to see where I could be flying to next with work. Lapland is a destination that is on my bucket list. I would love to travel there with my husband and three children – it looks so magical.” Lucy’s book ‘The Friendship Fairies’ is in all bookstores now

Gargano Peninsula, Puglia, Italy


Rob usually head away just after Christmas, but naturally we couldn’t this year. We do have a wedding in South Africa this year, so we’ll make sure we get a holiday in while we’re there.”

HEAD CHEF AND PROPRIETOR OF MACNEAN HOUSE AND NEVEN MAGUIRE COOKERY SCHOOL, TELEVISION PERSONALITY WHAT IS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE? “Before myself and my wife Amelda had children, there were some wonderful longhaul trips to Thailand and Vietnam. We went in January when the restaurant was closed and I always took a local cookery class. You learn so much about local flavours and their attitude to their ingredients. I always came back with new ideas. “As a family, we have taken breaks in Portugal over the past few years. It is a short enough flight which is great for the children. They love the beach and the sea, and I do a lot of walking. Most nights, we would all eat fish in a simple village or seaside restaurant and enjoy it. That’s what matters most.” WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN RECENTLY AND WHAT TRAVEL PLANS ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2020? “I have been very lucky with filming our RTÉ series over the years. We have spent a lot of time in Spain. I know it is work, but it often feels like a holiday, but don’t tell anyone that! It is so interesting to meet chefs and cook with them in their localities. The next filming planned is Puglia in Italy. Every time I go to Italy, I realise once again why they have had such a huge influence on world food.

Neven Maguire

“Italy is amazing. They have such history with food and respect for ingredients, many of which are geographically protected. That food tradition matters to me.” FOR THOSE PLANNING A HOLIDAY AT HOME IN 2020, WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO NEAR YOUR HOMETOWN IN CO CAVAN? “People are surprised at how much there is to do. Down the road from my restaurant are the beautiful MacNean lakes, where I often walk. There is the Cavan Burren Park, and Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh is not far away, where you’ll find the beautiful gardens of Florence Court Estate, and the Marble Arch caves. A trip to Belleek Pottery Visitor’s Centre is always interesting too.” Visit

YOU RECENTLY VISITED MARBELLA WITH YOUR HUSBAND AND ONE-YEAR-OLD SON BOBBY. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FAMILIES TRAVELLING ABROAD WITH YOUNG KIDS? “Typically, many people may see Marbella as a destination associated with nightlife, but whoever said that hasn’t been there! There’s plenty to do for families. It’s an easy destination to get to and the flight isn’t too long, so it is perfect for young kids. Just make sure you bring a carry-on bag for your child. Fill it with drinks, fruit and snacks as well as toys and books. Provide them with lots of entertainment while on-board. “Marbella is a holiday for all the family. You can go out and party if you want to, but you can also chill. I have been going there since I was three years of age with my own parents. There are loads of family-friendly beaches and beach clubs with swimming pools. There are also water parks (with and without animals) and theme parks. I find the Spanish are the best culture in the world when it comes to children. They adore the younger ones and are so welcoming towards them. And I find Spain is also great when it comes to shopping for children’s clothes!” WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST? “I would love to go to Brazil and Canada.” Watch ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on RTÉ One or catch up on


TELEVISION PRESENTER AND CURRENT PARTICIPANT IN RTÉ ONE’S ‘DANCING WITH THE STARS’ DO YOU HAVE A TRAVEL EXPERIENCE THAT WAS LIFE-CHANGING OR HAD AN IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE IN SOME WAY? “New York always has an impact on my life when I go there. My folks brought me when I was five years old and I will never forget that trip. We went on a helicopter ride through the city and visited the Statue of Liberty. My dad lived in New York when he was younger and I love hearing his stories about it. I try to go back every year, and I always look forward to the annual trip.”

Lucy Kennedy


Prince William Sound, Alaska


Sunday Independent January 19 2020

Glenda Gilson and her son Bobby


Dáithí Ó Sé

TELEVISION PRESENTER, CURRENTLY HOSTING RTÉ ONE’S TODAY SHOW WITH MAURA DERRANE WHAT IS YOUR FONDEST TRAVEL MEMORY AND WHY? “Years ago, when myself and my wife Rita started dating, Rita got me a Mediterranean cruise for our first Christmas. I had never been on one before. It was also our first real holiday together, which made it very special too. Outside of eating my own weight, waking up in a different city every morning was really cool!” DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO TRAVEL IN 2020? We haven’t been away as a family since Mícheál Óg was born, outside of going to visit Rita’s family in America. Now that Mícheál Óg is five years old, in 2020, we are planning to go somewhere. It’s not decided yet, but I really would love to go on a cruise to Alaska. Or, anywhere I can switch off and recharge!” WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST? “Even though I’ve been to 39 of the 50 States

in America, I would love to do a summerlong road trip, covering the North-West of the country. The real America for me is outside the big cities. Billings, Montana has to be my favourite destination I’ve visited in the States. We were filming a documentary on the Battle of the Little Big Horn and were there for six days. The locals call the place ‘Big Sky Country’ (a reference to the unobstructed skyline that seems to overwhelm the landscape). It’s like the sky dips down under the horizon, it’s amazing. And the local people are so nice in Billings, Montana.” BEING FROM CO KERRY, WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND VISITORS SHOULD DO ON A TRIP TO THE KINGDOM? “I think Dingle and Corca Dhuibhne really have it all. Great people, scenery, music, culture and everything else. And, the Slea Head Drive should be on everyone’s bucket list.” Watch ‘Today with Maura and Daithí’ Mondays to Fridays at 3.30pm on RTÉ One or catch up on




Undiscovered Europe

January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Praça do Giraldo



Want to escape the crowds and find a new favourite destination in Portugal? Susana Cardoso, Director for Ireland for the Portuguese Trade and Tourism Board, says you will fall in love with Évora and Coimbra.

icated to Santa Maria, the Cathedral of Évora was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. This Roman-Catholic church is the largest mediThe Portuguese version of Route 66! eval cathedral in To really explore Portugal’s hidden gems, Portugal and has cruise the National Road 2 (N2), the longest road in beautiful RomanPortugal. esque-and-Gothic style “At 739km long, it runs the length of the country from architecture.” north to south, connecting the town of Chaves in Trás-os» Get spooked Montes to the city of Faro in the Algarve,” says Susana. at the Chapel of the Chapel of “You’ll pass through 35 municipalities, encountering its Bones – “In the Bones in the history, landscapes and varied gastronomy. 16th century, Royal Church Franciscan of St Francis to “I would recommend at least five days to drive monks decided relocate the bones across National Road 2 and some places I would cemeteries were there, which are recommend to stop at are: Chaves (where it taking up valuable on display today!” starts), Lamego, Viseu, Góis, Pedrogão land, and so built » Wander around Grande, Sertã, Vila de Rei and Praça do Giraldo – Montemor-o-novo.” “This is the main square Roman Temple in Évora. Although it has a gruesome history (it was the focal point for the murderous 16th-century Spanish Inquisitions), Praça do Giraldo is much more charming today. It’s a popular place for tourists to sit at the open-air cáfes and restaurants and embrace the relaxing ambience.”


Susana Cardoso

ÉVORA Described as a ‘book of Portuguese art history’ and classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Évora is the capital city of the Alentejo region. Susana says, “the medieval city is an enchanting place to delve into Portugal’s past and the best way to discover Évora is by foot. It has been like a ‘secret destination’ in Portugal. I believe it is time to unveil it for the Irish people!” Here are Susana’s top cultural things to do in Évora:

» Take a photo at the Roman Temple – “The

Roman Temple is one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the most important landmarks of Évora. The original temple was significantly destroyed by Barbarian raiders in the 5th century, but from that time, what remained has been preserved by being incorporated into other buildings.”

COIMBRA Located on the banks of the river Mondego, Coimbra, a medieval city, has the oldest University in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe. “The University of Coimbra is a

Loire River in Amboise, Loir Valley

Harvesting of French wine grapes



dations of what to see and do in Loir Valley:

A new hiking trail has been launched » Immerse yourself in called Bercé which is a great way to explore nature at The Marsh of Vallée du Loir’s vineyards and orchards. “Split Cré-sur-Loir – “Listed into different stages over 98km distance, the as a Regional Natural walk takes you to Bercé Forest vineyards, Reserve and Sensitive orchards and charming villages,” says Natural Area, this site Margaux. “Or, cycling lovers can follow in the Pays de la Loire a new 320km itinerary, which enables region includes alluvial you to follow the Loire River from woods and wet meadowits source in Saint-Eman to land. The marsh has three Angers.”

“Although it is a more confidential and auWith historic castles, wineries and vinethentic territory, yards, Loir Valley is one of the most it has a wealth beautiful and interesting regions of unusual of France. And it is one of the and charmideal French destinations to go ing sites to to live like a local and not a discover. From tourist, says Margaux Seillé of the châteaux made Vallée du Loir Tourism. of tuffa stone, to remark“40km north of the wellable gardens or the Bercé Forknown Loire River, the ‘Vallée est. Irish lovers of city breaks, du Loir’ is located between the French art de vivre and gastronthree cities of Le Mans (1 hour omy will enjoy a stay in Loir Valley.” 30 minutes by car from Paris), Margaux Seillé Here are Margaux’s recommenAngers and Tours,” says Margaux.

interpretative trails (1km, 2km and 7km), which allow you to discover the area in a fun way. A circle trip by bike from the town of La Flèche allows you to discover the entire area of the marsh as well as orchards, another speciality of Vallée du Loir.” » Cycle around La Flèche – “During the cir-

World Heritage Site and it is truly incredible,” says Susana. “Don’t miss the opportunity to enter the gold-covered 18th century Joanina Library at the University, considered one of the most spectacular libraries in the world. Then, there is the ancient St Michael’s Chapel of the University of Coimbra and Salas dos Capelos, the ceremonial hall of the University. If you are brave, climb the 180 steps in the 16th-century tower to the highest point of the University for views of the city.” Here’s what else you can explore in Coimbra:

» Tour the Gardens – “The Gardens of

Quinta das Lágrimas are filled with exotic plant species, some of which are over 200 years old. There’s also a 19th century palace on the grounds and woodlands once used by the Royal family, which are ideal for long walks today. The Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra, approximately a 10-minute drive away, are also worth

cle trip by bike to The Marsh of Cré-sur-Loir, visit the charming Castle of Bazouges in La Flèche town. Also, check out the beautifully decorated theatre La Halle au Blé, a rare example of an early 19th century Italian theatre, or the Prytanée military academy founded in 1603 by Henry IV. For families, stop by the famous Zoo de La Flèche and enjoy surprising shows featuring eared seals and falconry, or enjoy the facilities and leisure activities of the Lakes of Monnerie.” » Enjoy food at La Chartre-sur-le-Loir – “Located 70km at the west of La Flèche, La Chartre-sur-le-Loir is the place to taste and enjoy the Vallée du Loir culinary specialities. In the heart of this flea market village, stop at one of the terraces and savour a glass of Jasnière or Coteaux du Loir (the two wines of the little vineyard of Valley du Loir), accompanied by Rillettes toasts. Rillettes is like pâté of pork or beef cooked for seven to eight hours.” » See enamelled art – “We often speak about the French art de vivre (‘art of the living’) and the Cafetieres and Cie museum in Montval-sur-Loir is a new way to immerse yourself in this culture. Created by Veronique Quellier and her husband, this museum beautifully displays old household objects made from enamelled cast iron. Their passion and knowledge of French royal history and Montval-sur-Loir anecdotes will take you through time. Entry is ¤6 per adult and free for children.” » Become a wine connoisseur! – “The Loir Valley wines have a long and prestigious history. Jasnière wine became the first French AOCs (certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines)


Sunday Independent January 19 2020


Cañón del río Sil, Ribeira Sacra. Photo courtesy of Turismo de Galicia

Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra

visiting. This was founded in 1772 for the University’s medical and history faculties.” » Stroll through the Alta (Old) Quarter – “This is where the University, the Old Cathedral of Coimbra and Santa Cruz Monastery are located. The old town is situated on the hill of Alacova and access to the town is gained via a maze of narrow, picturesque streets.” » Have fun at Portugal dos Pequenitos – “For some child-friendly inspiration, visit this theme park. There are kid-sized scale models of Coimbra and Portugal’s most-famous monuments for children to crawl inside and enjoy!” » Eat traditional dishes – “There are many great eateries to try in Coimbra. Praxis Restaurant Coimbra is home to some of Coimbra’s best beers and is the city’s leading brewery. Refeitro da Baixa Restaurant is located in Terreiro da Erva and does traditional Portuguese cuisine and wines. Leitão à Bairrada is a suckling pig dish and at Mealhada, nearby Coimbra, you will find a unique set of restaurants specialising in suckling pig: a true Portuguese love.” Visit or Stand L6/ M8 at Holiday World Show


Each year, Spain is named as the number one destination for Irish holidaymakers. But for those who want to go somewhere different to the usual Spanish destinations, what are the recommendations?

Rubén López Pulido

LA PALMA Rubén López Pulido, Managing Director of the Spanish Tourism Office suggests La Palma, the northernmost Canary Island. “It’s better known as ‘La Isla Bonita’ (the Beautiful Island) for its amazing and wonderful landscapes and cities.” Here is a snapshot of what you can discover in La Palma:

of local eateries, where visitors can taste the most representative dishes of the island’s gastronomy, for example, ‘papas arrugás con mojo’ (tiny potatoes boiled in their skin with lots of salt, accompanied by red or green ‘mojo’, typical sauce of the Canary Islands). All washed down with La Palma Designation of Origin wine!” » Road trip around the island – “Hire a car or rent a bike and tour the island at your own pace. It is also worth visiting other nearby cities of great cultural, artistic, and historical value such as El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane, or San Andrés y Sauces.” » The great outdoors – “La Palma offers a wide range of outdoor activities. The Forest of Los Tilos, in San Andrés y Sauces, is an ideal area for hiking lovers. For sun and sand, La Palma has outstanding beaches with crystal-clear waters, such as Puerto de Naos or Los Guirres, and seawater natural swimming pools like Charco Azul. Another must-see is Caldera de Taburiente National Park.”

Stargazing in La Palma. Photo by Van Marty, courtesy of Visit La Palma

in 1937. From the Chenin blanc grape variety, the whites develop an exceptional bouquet as soon as they are harvested and often become fine wines when kept. Coteaux du Loir wine followed in 1948. From the Pineau d’Aunis grape variety, the reds are light but show character with spicy tones. Today, new generations of winegrowers continue the work of their predecessors with the same high-quality standards. Visit the Domaine des Gauletteries winery, just outside Ruillésur-Loir, and meet owner Claire Lelais, who will take you on a tour of the estate.”

where visitors can have a few days of rest and relaxation, treating themselves to a wide range of treatments at their spa. The hotel has magnificent Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance style architecture and is also fully committed to the best sustainable practices and uses local produce.” » Witness the beauty of Galicia by boat – “There is wonderful scenery in Ribeira Sacra. Starting from the Santo Estevo hotel, visitors can embark on a number of unforgettable routes in the stunning setting of the Ribeira Sacra that is never crowded by tourism. Galicia’s Ribeira Sacra region is home to the amazing Sil River Canyon and you can visit this region in unique, less conventional ways. For example, by taking a short trip on a catamaran, or riding in a hot air balloon.” » Raise a glass of wine – “The Ribeira Sacra is one of Spain’s most beautiful vineyard areas. Its wine boasts five different Denominations of Origin; three million bottles are produced every year and many of its bodegas or wine cellars have won both international and national awards. Sample a fine Alvarino, Ribeiro or Mencia at one of Ribeira Sacra’s several wineries!” » Eat local – “Finally, be sure to try the delicious local cuisine. The fishing industry is all important in Galicia, so you can taste exquisite seafood. There are also some popular meat-based recipes, such as ‘caldeiro’ (a type of stew) or more versatile dishes like ‘empanada’ (filled pastries) that can be stuffed with pork, beef, sardines and octopus. In addition, Galicia has world-class cheeses including Tetilla, Ulloa, San Simón and O Cebreiro.”

Visit or Stand L4 at Holiday World Show

Visit or Stand L10/M13 at the Holiday World Show

» Go stargazing – “La Palma has been

Prytanée La Fléche

declared as a World Biosphere Reserve and Starlight Reserve (for stargazing). In order to avoid excessive light pollution, the island has been protected by law, becoming the first Starlight Reserve in the world, and in 2012 being designated a Starlight Tourist Destination. La Palma is an unrivalled location for stargazing and for learning about the scientific, cultural, natural and landscape related values of the stars.” » Explore the capital – “La Palma’s capital city, Santa Cruz de La Palma, is a beautiful city whose historic quarter boasts many palaces, colonial-style buildings and houses bearing typical elements of traditional Canary Islands architecture. This area is full Playa de Los Cancajos in LaPalma. Photo by Saúl Santos, courtesy of Visit La Palma

RIBEIRA SACRA Another spectacular spot in Spain is the Ribeira Sacra region, according to Ruben. “It is an area of inland Galicia with rugged landscapes, vineyards, mountains, the canyon of the Sil River, as well as Romanesque-style churches, shrines, palaces and monasteries.” Here are Ruben’s top picks of what to do in Ribeira Sacra:

» Stay in a monastery – “In the heart of the

Ribeira Sacra, you will find the 10th-century monastery of Santo Estevo. This has been converted into a high-line Parador hotel,



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Peter and Kuba on the slopes


Ski family heaven!


About the holiday: Kevin and Kuba with their ski instructor Hansen Frederikke, Schischule Westendorf


am the only member of my family that skis. That was until last year when I decided to take my four-year-old grandson Kuba to the slopes, with Topflight, to see what he would make of them. Luckily for me, he fell – if not quite in love – then certainly in “like” with skiing. Our week on the snow turned into one of my most memorable holidays, thanks in no small part to the Graham family from Cork, whom we befriended on our first day. From the moment Kuba and Peter Graham (5) joined class at ski school, they were inseparable. And after class they were joined by his brothers Robert (6) and Simon (7), and parents Emma and John as we enjoyed après ski, then dinner – such is the camaraderie of a ski holiday. The week turned out to be one long laugh, from the moment we got up, until the moment we fell into bed exhausted, but exhilarated! So how does a family ski holiday unfold? It starts with breakfast in the hotel – a challenge getting a four-year-old up and into his ski gear, (a combo of bribes and subtle threats such as “you’re going to miss Peter”, which always seemed to work). Then the short trek to the ski shop to put on ski boots and collect ski gear. I’d drop Kuba at the ski school by 10am – with a ¤10 note safely stored in his ski jacket pocket for lunch – and begin a day’s skiing on my own, joining one of the excellent classes organised by the ski school. After a day of skiing, I’d return and pick up Kuba at 3.30pm and join the Graham family for après ski (hot chocolate for the kids, something stronger for the adults). This was usually followed by a swim in the Hotel Jakobwirt pool, where we were all staying. Dinner was in the hotel, then it was a quick drink with Emma and John while the kids played, with the occasional, always dramatic interruption of “he’s taken my… (fill in as required)” before order was restored. Then it was bed without even time for a story, such was the tiredness we all felt at the end of a busy day. Rinse and repeat for the week. Add in lots of laughs and the unique experience of

Peter (left) and Kuba collecting their ski awards!

seeing life through the eyes of five, six and seven-year-olds and you have a truly amazing experience. But now let’s look at the skiing side of the holiday: SKI SHOW On day four, we were invited to watch a show put on by the kids. I stand in awe, remembering that after four days of my first ski trip, I could barely put on my skis without falling over! Now I see the wisdom of starting my grandson at four. I watch in disbelief as he comes down the slopes with his class in a choreographed display, waving and moving in time to the disco music which is blaring out over the slopes. They passed by without a wobble or care in the world. SKI CHALLENGE On the last day, the entire children’s ski class of some 80 kids went down a specially prepared slalom, individually racing against the clock. Seeing these mini-human beings fly past was impressive. Again, I wondered how I would have fared as a skier if I had started at five years of age, not 50. But I guess that is something I will never know. SKI AWARDS After it was all over, there was a special presentation at the local town hall for all the young skiers who had participated in ski

school that week. And it was with massive excitement that we all entered the town hall, parents, grandparents and children of all ages, buzzing at the prospect of their names being called out. The event, a true celebration, turned into a combination of the Oscars meets the Olympics! The local brass band played, and people clapped as the young participants were called onto the stage. Kuba duly went up with Peter to collect their medals and I stood with Emma and John snapping happily away. (I defy anyone not to watch this without a tear in the eye.) I reflected on how very glad I was to have been able to share my love of skiing. To see Kuba’s and Peter’s faces as they received their medals was a true treat. AND IN THE END... Kuba may never turn out to be a committed skier but I will never forget our trip to the slopes. We made hopefully life-long friends with the wonderfully generous Graham family and we had the time of our lives. In fact, on February 1st, Kuba and I will return to Westendorf to meet our friends again! Maybe next year Kuba will be joined by his three-year-old sister Maya. I, for one, can’t wait. SKIING WITH TOPFLIGHT A big thank you to Topflight, who organise the best ski holidays I have ever experienced. From the moment we arrived, to the moment we returned, the Topflight team was there. They met us at the hotel, made sure we had all our ski gear, got us to ski school, and looked after everything in between. What a company Topflight is, and what operation they run. I could not recommend this wholly owned Irish company highly enough! KUBA AND PETER’S VIEWS ON THEIR HOLIDAY Kuba: “I enjoyed skiing down the slopes and meeting Peter. I am also looking forward to staying in a new hotel next time.” Peter: “I made a new friend and we had a great time. I loved skiing down the mountain and getting the lift back up. But my favourite bit was the ski race at the end of the week. I loved it.”

LOCATION: WESTENDORF Situated in the heart of the Brixen valley, this cosy, unspoilt village is connected by gondola to the SkiWelt, which has 280km of runs, 90 lifts and 1,500 snow cannons. From your base at Westendorf, complete the SkiWelt circuit in both directions, savouring the different characteristics of Brixen-imThale, Söll, Scheffau, Going and Ellmau along the way. The nursery slopes in the centre of the village and excellent ski school makes this a great choice for beginners. For intermediates, there is a good choice of runs on the Gampen Kogle and Choralpe area, not to mention the SkiWelt circuit, while the steep and moguls black and off-piste runs will test the most advanced skiers.

CHILDREN & CHILDCARE IN RESORT BOBO’S MINICLUB: The dedicated children’s area makes Westendorf the ideal family location, with four Sunkid’s Wonder Carpets, children carousel, bambini lift, BOBO Express, tobogganing, camel hump run, magic ropes and poles, wonder tyres, snow noodles, snow sails, BOBO house, BOBO pass, BOBO sticker, and BOBO button, for example, for three to five-year-old kids. AVERAGE TRANSFER TIMES: From Salzburg Airport: 2 hours 30 min. From Munich Airport: 2 hours. HOTEL: We started at The Hotel Jakobwirt, which provides traditional Tyrolean accommodation, with a fantastic standard of service and offers excellent regional cuisine to give you a true taste of Austria. This hotel is a favourite of Topflight guests, with many returning year-after-year, as it guarantees a warm welcome, a very high standard of service and excellent food, all in the most beautiful of settings. Travel to Austria with Topflight, Ireland’s award-winning ski tour operator, and stay at the 4-Star Hotel Jakobwirt in Westendorf. Prices for the Hotel Jakobwirt start from ¤1,037pps, based on travelling on 29th February 2020. Includes: return flights, return transfers, accommodation for seven nights with breakfast, evening meals and taxes. Austrian holidays are available from Dublin, Cork and Belfast. Call Topflight on (01) 240 1700 or (028) 9752 1168, visit / or drop into your local travel agent


Sunday Independent January 19 2020

Family skiing in Westendorf

Kuba with Kathleen Sythes at Ski Club of Ireland


I took Kuba up to my old friends at the Ski Club of Ireland in Kilternan, Dublin, before we left, so by the time he arrived at the slopes in Austria he knew how to put on skis, and ski (and brake) down a slope! He enjoyed the Kindergarten ski classes for children between four and seven years of age, where emphasis is on safety, fun and learning. A set of four lessons is recommended, especially if you are planning to take kids on their first ski holiday. Kindergarten classes run throughout the season at 1pm on Sundays and last for an hour. Ed and Kathleen (both pictured) run the Kindergarten and are old stalwarts of the Ski Club of Ireland. Having seen them deal with the children, I am amazed at their patience and willingness to go the extra mile! I could not recommend the Ski Club of Ireland highly enough for both children and adults. The kids’ teachers were patient and all the kids had fun. I also came up for

Kuba and Ski Club of Ireland instructor Ed Sythes

refresher classes before I left. It means you save time and hit the slopes running. Call (01) 295 5658, visit or email




January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Are we there yet?: Unforgettable family fun



recent iReach Insights poll found that 93pc of Irish adults go on holiday at least once a year and nearly half of those will travel with their family. But the price tag is what puts many families off from travelling. What parents need is a fun trip which doesn’t break the bank. So what are some of the best options this year?

FOLLOW THE CAMINO “The Irish are among the top nationalities on the Camino de Santiago, as approximately 7,000 people from Ireland ‘do the Camino’ each year,” says Maria Golpe Maria Golpe Varela, MarVarela keting Manager at CaminoWays. “The Camino is a multi-generational experience, for instance a group of parents, teenagers and grandparents, or teams of fathers and daughters and other combinations. We are also seeing an increase in the number of requests from couples looking to take young kids along with them, either walking or cycling.” The Camino de Santiago is a unique

experience. It is a network of trails that have been travelled for centuries by pilgrims, individuals and families. It has become a phenomenon, not only because of its history and the cultural aspect of the route, but also because of the people along the way. Maria says the experience challenges you and can help you reconnect with others. But how does this make a good family trip? “It is a great bonding experience for families. Having that time together, cycling or walking the trail, is perfect for busy families who don’t have that quality time at home.” A typical seven-night package for families might include walking or cycling approximately 100kms in that week, an average of 20kms per day. “Accommodation would be in private hotels and guest houses along the route. Luggage is transferred on their behalf so they only need to carry their essentials such as water and snacks during the day and a holiday pack with practical information and their pilgrim passports. Dinners can also be included, as well as day tours once they reach Santiago. “There are many different Camino routes, but I would suggest the Camino Frances or Camino Portugues for those who

Keel Blue Flag Beach, Achill

Hillwalking in Mulranny, Co Mayo Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela Walking the Camino

are new to the Camino, as they are the most social routes, and they’ll meet many other pilgrims along the way.” The trail is relatively inexpensive for a family trip as most of the activities are on the trail, and most restaurants and bars along the way are very affordable. While the trail itself is the main attraction, Maria says there are many places along the route which appeal to families. “Cape Finisterre and Muxia are wonderful places to visit, whether it is walking or taking a day tour.” When in Santiago, a must-see is the city’s market says Maria, which is the second most visited place after the Cathedral. “You will find vegetables, different cheeses, fish and seafood in all shapes and sizes there - great souvenirs for foodies! It’s an amazing experience and I would recommend it to everyone.” Visit or Stand N4/P4

MEET UP IN MAYO According to Fáilte Ireland, Irish people are taking over 2,000 more domestic trips since 2014. One of these Irish home trips is to Co Mayo which according to Anna ConAnna Connor nor, Tourism Officer for Mayo County Council, is the 6th most visited destination in Ireland. “Over 1.2 million tourists visit Mayo every year,” says Anna, “meaning it is adept at accommodating large numbers of visitors and is right at the heart of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. So many of the county’s unforgettable landmarks are dotted along its coastline, such as spiritual Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay and Achill’s majestic cliffs.” Mayo is often referred to as the ‘Adventure Capital of Ireland’, due to its proximity to the Atlantic coastline which offers worldclass deep-sea fishing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, coasteering (a mixture of adventure swimming, climbing, scrambling and jumping along the coastline), kayaking and many beautiful Blue Flag beaches. But also because Mayo’s great outdoors are secondto-none with the lake district area of Cong, and mountain ranges including Mweelrea, the highest peak in Connaught. Anna says it’s an adventurer’s paradise and is perfect for a family holiday. “Mayo is a fantastic location for a family holiday. There are so many inexpensive things to do here too, such as cycling the Great Western Greenway. The free-to-enter Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre which is also Ireland’s first gold-tier International Dark Sky Park for star-gazing or astrophotography. There is also Belleek Woods, a popular family woodland trail and Belleek Castle.”

Sunday Independent January 19 2020



Surfing in Erris, Co Mayo

With so many activities and places to go, when a family gets to Mayo, here is Anna’s list for a great adventure holiday: » Cycle the 43km Great Western Greenway, from Westport to Achill, one of Ireland’s longest off-road cycling and walking trails. » Visit Westport House and Adventure Park for a day of family fun! The Pirate Adventure Park is great for kids under 12. » Explore Ireland’s largest island, Achill Island along with some of Ireland’s most spectacular walks, some of which include loop walks at Erris Head and Ceathrú Thaidhg. » The stunning 40km Atlantic Drive is a wonderful way to explore the county and check out the Céide Fields and Downpatrick Head along the dramatic north Mayo coastline. With megalithic tombs and ancient settlements, the fields are older than Egypt’s pyramids! » Or if you like boat trips, take a relaxing journey along the Monasteries of the Moy and visit some of Mayo’s ancient abbeys, chapels, towers, churches, refectories and cloisters. “Visitors will experience some of the most spectacular views along the wild Atlantic Way. Mayo is a really special place.” Visit or Stand S13/T13

FAMILY FERRY Air travel can be stressful for families, from getting children through busy airports to having to depend on public transport or rented cars at the holiday destination. Sea travel has the benefits of Diana Poole road travel coupled with the desire for a foreign holiday. “The quality of our ships and onboard facilities are second-to-none,” says Diane Poole OBE, Travel Commercial Manager, Stena Line, Irish Sea South. “Our amazing employees at Stena Line really go the extra mile every day to make sure that our customers have the best possible travel experience.” This month, Stena Line are introducing their newest ferry, Stena Estrid, on the Dublin to Holyhead route, which Diana says will raise the bar for ferry travel with two more due on the Belfast to Liverpool route in spring 2020 and early 2021. When it comes to family holidays, Diana says the best sellers are definitely their theme park breaks – especially Alton Towers, Legoland and Haven Holiday Parks. “We feature 11 Haven Parks across Britain and the closest parks in Wales are less than

The new Stena Estrid

90 minutes from Holyhead or Fishguard. Our Haven Holidays programme offers the biggest and best choice of family holiday parks and locations all over Britain. Alton Towers Resort, which opens in March, is hard to beat for a family-friendly break that appeals to all ages. Not to mention, our Rosslare to Cherbourg route opens up some great possibilities in France, and I would recommend a visit to Center Parcs Les Bois Francs, Normandy – a larger holiday village which is mostly traffic-free, so it’s ideal to let the kids run free.” Of course, the biggest advantage of taking a ferry is being able to take your own car, which means you can have as much luggage as you want and save money with no extra baggage charges to be paid. It also saves on car hire, parking, trains and taxis. But there is a lot more to do on a ferry which makes it attractive for families, especially for those with younger children. “Infants travel for free and you can take your pet with you too, which are both very important factors for lots of families,” says Diana. “The kids won’t get restless either as there is lots for them to do onboard and plenty of space for them to run around, while the adults can relax and explore all

Pirate Falls at Legoland

they want. Our new Stena Estrid for example, is decked out with two movie lounges, two Happy World kids’ play areas, a Sky Bar with superb views, a new Hygge reclining lounge, and much more. “Ferry travel has come on leaps and bounds in the past two decades and I know lots of people who, when they travel by ferry for the first time in ages, cannot believe what they’ve been missing all these years. I think that says it all.” Visit or Stand K10



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Kabira Bay on the coast of Ishigaki Island, Japan

Far-flung destinations



rom luxury train rides to family adventures in never-before-seen surroundings, a long-haul holiday is perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. But where are the best places to go in 2020 that you might not have thought of?


Uganda may be a country you know very little about, which is why Nadia Alam, Country Manager - Uganda, at Kamageo, UK representatives for Uganda Tourism says it’s time to start exploring its possibilities. Nadia Alam “There is such a diverse range of attractions and activities in Uganda,” says Nadia. “For example, safari game drives, as well as white-water rafting, kayaking and hiking.”

If you are looking for adventure, Nadia says there is the mighty River Nile to raft through or the majestic Mountains of the Moon to climb. For wildlife lovers, Uganda has plenty of opportunities to seek out primates and predators, for instance, Uganda is most famous for its mountain gorillas. Or for those that want to slow down, there are fantastic lodges to relax and enjoy the views of the stunning Ugandan landscape. Nadia, who says that a trip to Uganda is suitable for all travellers, whether you are looking for an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, interested in wildlife encounters, birding or relaxing, shares her top five adventurous attractions: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – “Over half the world’s population of mountain gorillas are in Uganda, which makes it one of the few places where tourists have the opportunity to trek and meet face-to-face with these incredible creatures. Numbers of the gorillas are increasing too with the help of tourism, and funds from the sale of permits which goes towards gorilla conservation. The gorillas are a must-see for anyone travelling to Uganda.” Jinja – Located at the source of the River Nile and known as the adventure capital of Uganda, there are plenty of river-based activities in Jinja. “There are so many activities to do here including white-water rafting for adrenaline junkies, as well as leisurely kayaking for the less adventurous.”

Uganda’s famous mountain gorilla. Photo courtesy of Uganda Tourism

Cattle herding in Mbarara – For a truly unique experience, try visiting Mbarara in Western Uganda. “This region is renowned for its longhorned Ankole cattle,” says Nadia. “They are often found grazing in the pastures en-route to the national parks. You have the opportunity to visit a working farm and find out more about the life of a herdsman and how they care for their cattle, as well as the dairy products they produce.” Queen Elizabeth National Park – Uganda’s most-visited national park has the widest

Relax and enjoy the views of Uganda. Photo courtesy of Uganda Tourism

variety of wildlife and biodiversity of any Ugandan park. “This is one of my favourite areas, as it’s home to numerous lakes and the Kazinga Channel which connects Lake Edward and Lake George. Boat trips are available on the Kazinga Channel and is a great way to see wildlife. The shores attract a wide range of animals including elephants, hippos, crocodiles and buffaloes. “Here, you will also find Kyambura Gorge, also known as ‘Valley of the Apes’. A forested gorge, it is home to a small community of chimpanzees as well as a variety of other primates and bird species. There is a viewing point overlooking the gorge which makes an incredible photo opportunity!” Murchison Falls National Park – One of Uganda’s oldest and biggest parks, Murchison Falls is named as such due to the magnificent waterfall. The Nile squeezes through a gorge and plunges into the ‘Devil’s Cauldron’, creating a trademark rainbow in the area. Famed for its beauty, the 1951

film ’The African Queen’, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, was filmed here. Nadia says, “Healthy populations of Ugandan kob (a type of antelope), elephant, giraffe, lion and other plains game, make it a great safari destination which can be enjoyed by boat, vehicle or even hot-air balloon! The 45m waterfalls are an impressive sight too which can be viewed from the top of the waterfall by vehicle, or the bottom by boat safari. “The people are what really make visiting Uganda such a memorable experience,” says Nadia. “Ugandans are really welcoming and eager to make your stay in Uganda special. One of the most positive pieces of feedback we hear is how friendly and welcoming the local people are. Uganda has a great mix of attractions, so it has something for everyone.” For more on booking a trip visit or Stand E6 at Holiday World Show


Sunday Independent January 19 2020


A red pagoda in front of Mount Fuji

Rocky Mountaineer


Why not try something new for your holiday this year - you can’t get much better than a luxury train journey through the Rocky Mountains of Canada says Sarah Revell, Business Development Manager for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Sarah Revell Sarah says there is no better way to explore one of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges than the Rocky Mountaineer tourism rail service. Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury daylight service train, meaning you travel by daylight and soak up all the scenery, then stop off to stay in hotel accommodation at night. “The great thing about travelling by rail is that you can sit back, relax and take it all in with pure style. A train journey is unique and is something that a lot of people haven’t done before in their lives. Travelling by train makes you feel a lot more immersed in your surroundings.” Sarah says they offer an authentic Canadian experience, the food served is locally sourced and most of the staff onboard are Canadian born and bred. Silver Leaf and Gold Leaf are the two levels of service and different tiered carriages on the train. Gold leaf is the most luxurious way of travelling, which 70pc of guests choose, as it offers unparalleled panoramic views in a custom-designed, bi-level glass-dome coach. Sarah says, “People want luxury and they want an experience they will remember. There are reclining heated seats, a bar service, a Michelin-star chef preparing the cuisine and unlimited delicious cocktails made to order.” The rail service, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, operates between April and October, with train packages ranging in duration from two to 14 days. “We have three routes which can be done in either direction, eastbound out of Vancouver, or westbound travelling towards Vancouver,” explains Sarah. “Our most popular route is the ‘First Passage to the West’ route which is at least two days linking Vancouver to Banff, where the peaks of the Rocky Mountains are clear to see. It’s a very peaceful journey between two beautiful Canadian icons.” But it isn’t just about the train - though it is a highlight of the trip. Rocky Mountaineer’s packages have itineraries showcasing the best of what British Colombia has to offer. Some examples of things Sarah recommends to see and do are: Lake Louise - “When you’re off the train, you’ll be in the very heart of the Rockies. So, I would always advise choosing the option to stay a night at Lake Louise. Waking up to see that beautiful lake is incredible. The sparkling blue-green alpine lake is at the foot of the Victoria Glacier, so the backdrop is incredible no matter what time of day it is.

Enjoy the views of of the Rocky Mountains A hot spring at Zao Onsen

Banff – Banff is located in Canada’s first National Park and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can soak in Banff ’s famous hot springs or simply take in the views of the Rocky Mountains. “Take a Banff Gondola. You can climb Sulphur Mountain to get a bird’s-eye view of six mountain ranges and then ascend in a fully enclosed four-passenger gondola cabin. You can get incredible views of the National Park this way.” Icefields Parkway – “I recommend a driving tour up the Icefields Parkway, which is considered one of the top 10 scenic drives in the world. It is one of the largest accumulations of ice south of the Arctic Circle and one of the most accessible icefields in North America. It has pure, rugged, wild, rocky terrain. Among the highlights are Bow Lake, the Columbia Icefield, Glacier Skywalk and Athabasca Falls.” Sarah has travelled on the train about seven times now, and she says, “I love seeing everyone get really excited at the station when they’re about to travel. Rocky Mountaineer is such a bucket list experience. Canada is a welcoming country, with fascinating wildlife such as bears and eagles. There are so many adventures just waiting to be had.” Visit or visit Stand P12 at Holiday World Show


“Going to Japan is like a journey of enlightenment,” says Darina Slattery, Managing Director of Unique Japan Tours. “The culture, cuisine, style and spirituality of Japanese Darina Slattery society is alluring and very addictive.” After hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup and now the Olympics in 2020, Japan

is seeing a big increase in the numbers of Irish tourists travelling to the ancient land. Darina says that along with these big events, holidaymakers are taking their trips to the Land of the Rising Sun to find adventure and invigorate the senses. “There is everything from tropical lush vegetation to sprawling urbanscapes. Their infrastructure is among the best in the world, designed to showcase technology and efficiency on a monumental scale. People also get a chance to challenge their own western perspective on personal values, which you don’t get in many other places.” From tech-heavy cities to peaceful forests, from stylish fashion quarters to adventure activities, there is something for everyone. Darina says their clients range from all ages, budgets and requests, and there are plenty more flights to the island than there used to be. “Japan is for everyone, adults, teens, older people and it’s so kid-friendly. The trains, toys, gadgets, roads, rails, food, people there’s something new every day for them.” So, what are Darina’s top picks for travellers to Japan? Island hopping in the Pacific – “95pc of our tours will take you to Tokyo and Kyoto, with good reason. However, outside these major cities, I would seriously recommend travelling to the islands; Amami Õshima, Ishigaki, Iriomote and Taketomijima are just a few of my favourites. These tropical islands are less crowded, have stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, calm coastal drives, and amazing wildlife. Our Traditional & Tropical Japan 2020 Tour is a great choice for this.” Dinner with a Geisha – The Geisha is an icon of Japanese culture. Dressed in spectacular silk kimonos, wearing white and red contrasting make-up, and doll-like hairstyles, Geishas have such beauty and charm. Darina says, “Get up close and personal over dinner and get a real insight into Japanese culture. The friendly Geisha will be ready to answer your questions and give you

a glimpse into this mysterious side of Japan. It’s also an opportunity to attend a traditional Japanese dinner wearing appropriate attire, a kimono.” Ski in Hokkaido – “You can ski in pure powder from December to April at affordable prices. Finnair has just started a direct flight into Sapporo from Helsinki. So, watch this space, the next trendy skiing destination is bound to be Japan! There are incredible facilities and world-class skiing in Niseko and Furano. Rusutsu is my top choice for a family ski holiday! If you can’t go North, you can also do a day trip from Tokyo to Gunma, literally at the slopes off the shinkansen!! Walk the Kumano Kodo region - South of Osaka/Kyoto lies the ancient trail of Kumano Kodo. “Enjoy a leisurely 13km trail around the Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine, with stunning cherry blossom walks and photo opportunities around Kawayu Onsen. Swim in the banks of Kawayu River and soak in the naturally hot river Onsen on our Japan Ancient Trails Tour. “Everywhere in Japan you will find the most amazing sunrise and sunset on the planet! Try some sushi at the fish market, attend the Gin and Tonic Laboratory in Kyoto and visit Picasso’s outdoor museum at the Hakone Open Air Museum. There is so much to see and do.” For those planning to travel to Japan in the next year, what does Darina advise? “Don’t try to see too many temples and shrines in Kyoto, as there’s lots more to do there, such as museums or underground shopping areas in train stations. Try to move away from big cities as much as possible and try to practice with chopsticks because you will need it! But more than anything else, use a tour guide and take the stress out of your holiday by having your plan ready before you go!” Visit or visit Stand A1/B3 at Holiday World Show


January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh

Jameson Distillery, Midleton

Best of Ireland


Cuilcagh Boardwalk, Co Fermanagh

Kinsale, Co Cork


espite Spain being the most popular destination for Irish holidaymakers, more Irish people than ever are choosing to spend their holidays in Ireland. In fact, recent research by the AA found that Ireland narrowly missed out to Spain on the top spot of Irish people’s favourite destination, with 17.4pc taking their main holiday here. There are many reasons as to why Irish people are choosing a getaway closer to home, such as avoiding airport stress. Not to mention, there is much to explore on our Emerald Isle. “Ireland is a place of amazing experiences, from breath-taking landscapes and captivating history, to bustling cities and romantic getaways,” says Seamus Heaney, Head of Visit Cork. “There is something for every visitor, whether they want to be at the heart of the action or just to escape from it all!” With 32 counties to discover, each with its own distinctive character, it can be tough to know where to go! To get you started, Ireland’s travel experts share the top things to look forward to in their regions:

FUN IN FERMANAGH “Fermanagh can provide some unforgettable experiences, both on land and on the water,” says Tanya Cathcart, Marketing Manager of Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism. “With Lough Erne dominating the county, you Tanya Cathcart can easily get on to the waterway, visit historic islands and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of life on the water. The new Boatyard Distillery tour is also accessible from the water, as are many of Fermanagh’s attractions and accommodation options.” Tanya recommends getting a personal guided tour of the Fermanagh Lakelands by Water Taxi, which includes a visit to historic Devenish Island and Enniskillen Castle. She

adds that a boating holiday is a unique way to explore the entire Lakeland region. “The cruisers are equipped to the highest level including heating, bedlinen and cooking facilities. Armed with a map of the Lakeland, you are in charge of your own vessel and can moor up anywhere from the centre of Enniskillen, to a quiet jetty surrounded by nature, water and silence! “From your cruiser, you can fish, birdwatch or simply watch the world go by. Step out on terra firma and try your hand at making a piece of Belleek Pottery, enjoy a night’s entertainment at Ardhowen Theatre or explore Crom Estate. All of these are accessible by cruiser, as well as by land.” Tanya advises adding these other land activities to your ‘bucket list’: a walk along the Cuilcagh Boardwalk and going underground at the Marble Arch Caves, one of the sites within the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark. “Or, you can bring the kids to the Fairy Trail around Lusty Beg Island, while adrenalin junkies can try some outdoor activities at one of the activity centres in the county. Food and drink lovers can experience a taste of the local cuisine by taking a tour on the new three-hour Enniskillen Taste Experience, during which many of the town’s best hostelries are visited. “Meanwhile, there is a great range of accommodation options – hotels with views over the lakes, self-catering cottages with outdoor play areas, or even stay in a Bubble Dome or Glamping Pod. The Fermanagh Lakelands is great value for money, and there are attractions and experiences to suit all ages.”

COME TO CORK! “Uniquely positioned at the start of two incredible Irish experiences in The Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East, Cork has something new to discover around every corner,” says Seamus Seamus Heaney Heaney, Visit Cork. “To quote Lonely Planet ‘all that is good about Ireland can be found in Cork’ and this can be seen in the purity of its food, landscapes and people.” In May 2020, Cork will host European Maritime Day. This will coincide with the county’s second year of hosting Seafest, a free national maritime festival with sea-related fun for all the family. “It’s a good time to visit Cork,” says Seamus. “Cork is the perfect setting for these events due to its rich maritime tradition. And, with the 300-year anniversary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club (the oldest yacht club in the world) also occurring in 2020, it’s sure to be a great year on the water!” Seamus adds, “There is also plenty happening outside the city in 2020, including the return of IRONMAN Ireland to Youghal on 21st June. This prestigious international sporting event is the largest triathlon event to be held in Ireland.” Alongside an event-filled summer, there are many activities you can enjoy in Cork

all-year round. “The English Market in the heart of the city is a must-see, due to Cork’s reputation for artisan food providers. (Over 70pc of Irish artisan food producers are found in Cork.) Another must-see is Spike Island, located just off-shore from Cobh, which was the last port of call for the Titanic. The Island itself is steeped in history. “And a trip to Cork wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Blarney Castle to kiss the world-famous Blarney Stone.” Cork also has many hidden gems for visitors to enjoy, including the Crawford Art Gallery in the City Centre, Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southerly point, and the Jameson Distillery in Midleton. For a true taste of Cork, Seamus says Cork is packed with quality eateries. “We have four Michelin-starred restaurants (Bastion in Kinsale, Chestnut in Ballydehob, Mews in Baltimore and Ichigo Ichie in Cork City). One of my personal favourite restaurants is Poachers Inn Bandon, who provide the freshest and best seafood that the West Cork coastline has to offer. “For anyone visiting Cork, I would recommend trying some of our local seafood, which can be beautifully coupled with other local artisan ingredients.” Visit or Stand R13 at Holiday World Show Visit or Stand T15/U13 at Holiday World Show






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C14 B11



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D14 D13

C12 D12 C11 D11 C10 D10


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S13T13 U10a


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N21 P33 P32 N20 P31 P30

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E15 F15

A9 A8 A7 A6 A5 A4




C3 D4



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Sunday Independent January 19 2020




Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Dance Hall Academy Irish Dance Juan Jose Manzano (Spain) – Spanish Guitar Regis Milan (Brazil) – Singer/Live acoustic Rietumkrast (Galway) – Latvia Folk Dance


Alma Boliviana (Bolivia) – Bolivian Dance Casa Peru (Peru) – Peruvian Dance Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Elve and Latvia United Children Choir (Dublin) Regis Milan (Brazil) – Singer/ Live acoustic Tango Society (Dublin) – Tango performance The Zoryanna (Dublin) – Tribal and Fusion Bellydance


Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Dzirnavinas (Dublin) – Children Latvia Folk Dance Karbunkulis (Dublin) – Latvia Folk Dance La'ir (Dublin) – Latvia Choir Raices de Venezuela – Venezuelan Dance Regis Milan (Brazil) – Singer/Live Music Tango Society (Dublin) – Tango Performances PJ Mask (Trabolgan)


ClapHandies The Brickx Club using LEGO® bricks Marcin Monkey – Fitness for Kids Children’s colouring competition in association with Stena Line




Caravan & Motorhome Show 2020 Company Name Bayview Caravan & Camping Park BBikes Ireland Brownes Mobile Homes Buccaner Touring Caravans Caravan and Motorhome Club Carnaby Caravans - Carnaby Silverdale 2 Bed Charles Camping Downshire Camping & Caravans

Stand No CM17 CM7 CM17 CM19 CM5 CM17 CM16 CM19


Holiday World Show Dublin 2020 Company Name Abbey Travel Adventures Access Africa Safari Achill Island Tourism Acorn Insurance Actons Hotel Kinsale Adams & Butler Advantage Austria

Stand No B6 D6 U11 G13 T15/U13 C6 N18


Aequora Lanzarote Suites Aillwee Cave Air Canada airBaltic Corporation Airfield Estate Airotel Alabama Tourism Alentejo Promotion Office Algarve Tourism Bureau American Holidays AMResorts An Seanteach ANA - All Nippon Airways Andalucia Tourist Board Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Aphrodite Hills Resort Arabella Jewellery Ards Peninsula Tours Ariaei Tours Arkansas Arrecife Gran Hotel & Spa Lanzarote Asociacion de Hoteles de Turismo de La Republica Argentina Atithi Voyages India Atlantic City Attraction Aqua Suites Lanzarote Backstage Theatre Longford Bahamas Tourist Office Baia Algarve Hotels Balkan Roads 'Take the road less travelled' Ballybunion By The Sea Ballynahinch Castle Hotel Barbados Tourism Marketing INC BeckettHanlon Worldwide Properties Beds Of Silk Luxury Holiday Retreat Bellbridge House Hotel Belleek Pottery Visitors Centre Benidorm Tourism Board BOM Sucesso Design Resort, Leisure & Golf Bot - Conan Lodge Brittany Bradley International Airport Breffni Arms Hotel Brian McEniff Hotels Brigit's Garden Bungalows Playa Famara Lanzarote Burden Smokehouse Burren Nature Sanctuary C'est Si Bon Ardeche Camping C'est Si Bon Bocage Du Lac C'est Si Bon Cap Soleil

N12 Q1 P9 P28 V3 N8/P7 K5 L6/M8 L6/M8 J8/K7 L2 S15 B3 L10/M13


H13/K12 C13 S9 F6 H7



C10 H6 K4

N12 T3 E11 L6/M8


U10a S15 F11 RV1 S3 R3 Q1 L10/M13 www.bellbridgehotelclare


N9 J5 Q14/R15 R6 S15

N12 N12 Q1 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7

Company Name Elddis Touring Caravans Elddis Avante Elddis Affinity Elddis Crusader Go-Pods Micro-Tourer Caravans Irish Camping and Caravan Club Irish Caravan & Camping Council Kampa Dometic Tents Awnings & Accessories New for 2020 Diamond Collection Outwell

Company Name C'est Si Bon Champ La Chevre C'est Si Bon Chateau Des Tilleuls C'est Si Bon Chateau Le Verdoyer C'est Si Bon Domaine Des Messires C'est Si bon Eurosol C'est Si Bon France C'est Si Bon L'isle Verte C'est Si Bon La Belle Etoile C'est Si Bon La Guyonniere C'est Si Bon Le Coin Tranquille C'est Si Bon Les Genets C'est Si Bon Moulin Du Bel Air C'est Si Bon Pont De Bourgogne C'est Si Bon Pyrenee Natura Cambrils Tourism Board Camden Fort Meagher Camino Groups Camp De Florence Campasun L'aigle Campasun Les Hautes Prairies Campasun Mas De Pierredon Campasun Paradis Du Campeur Campasun Parc Mogador Camping & Bunglow Park Las Dunas Camping & Spa Cap Soleil Camping A La Rencontre Du Soleil Camping Au Bocage Du Lac Camping Bois Soleil Camping Cala Gogo Camping Chateau De L'Eperviere Camping Chateau De Tilleuls Camping Chateau Le Verdoyer Camping Cros De Mouton Camping De Gaujac Camping De Savel Camping Domaine De La Bergerie Camping Domaine De Verdagne Camping Domaine Des Chenes Camping Domaine La Bergerie Camping Eursol Camping Holiday Green Camping Ker Helen Camping L'Ideal Camping L'ile D'Or Camping La Bastiane Camping La Baume La Palmeraie Camping La Blaquiere Camping La Citadelle Camping La Cote D'Argent Camping La Grand'Terre Camping La Grappe Fleurie Camping La Roubine Camping La Route d'Or Camping La Tabardiere Camping Lac De Panthier Camping Le Coin Tranquille Camping Le Bois Guillaume Camping Le Bosc**** Camping Le Domaine De Gil Camping Le Domaine Du Logis Camping Le Floride & L'Embouchure Camping Le Garden

January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

OPENING TIMES Friday 24th January, 1pm – 6pm Saturday 25th January, 11am – 5:30pm Sunday, 26th January, 11am – 5:30pm

Stand No CM19 CM19 CM19 CM19 B11 CM8 CM12 CM20 CM19 CM16

Stand No N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 L10/M13 T15/U13 N14 N4/P4 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 K9 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 L4 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 M5 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7


Website www.camping-les-genets.ft www.camping-la

ADMISSION CHARGES Adults €7 Senior citizens €4 Students €3 Special family price: 2 adults & up to 4 children €14

Company Name O'Meara Camping Ireland Royal Tents & Accessories Rushin House Caravan Park Slattery Water Sports Stuart Insurances The Green Guide Whiterocks Vango Awnings & Furniture Vango

Company Name Camping Le Lac Bleu Camping Le Logis Du Breuil Camping Le Pansard Camping Le Sen Yan Camping Le Tedey Camping Le Tropicana Camping Le Val De L'arre Camping Le Vaubarlet Camping Le Ventoulou Camping Lei Suves Camping Les Castels L'Orangerie de Lanniron Camping Les Castels Les Ormes Domaine & Resort Camping Les Coudoulets Camping Les Gorges De Chambon Camping Les Lacs Camping Les Mimosas Camping Les Pecheurs Camping Les Pinedes Camping Maiana Camping Mas Patotxas Camping Palais De La Mer Camping Parc Saint James Camping Pyrnee Natura Camping Soleil Fruite Camping Turiscampo Camping Village de la Guyonniere***** Campings Des Alpes Maritimes Campings Du Var Campings Grand Sud Campings Les Salisses Campissimo Campings in France Campsites in Brittany Campsites In Costa Brava and Pyrennees of Girona Campsites in Spain Canary Islands Cantabria - Green Spain Carlingford & Cooley Peninsula Carlingford Lough Ferry Carlow Tourism Carrickcraft Carvoeiro Golfe S.A Casada Cascais Tourist Board Cassidy Golf Holidays Cassidy Travel Castel Camping La Garangeoire Castellon Tourist Board Castlemartyr Resort Castlerosse Park Resort Castletroy Park Hotel/So Hotels Catalonia - Catalan Tourist Board Causeway Coastal Route Cavan Adventure Centre Cavan County Museum Celebrity Cruises Celestyal Cruises Celtic Ross Hotel / Farm Tours Center Parcs Charles Taylor Trading

Stand No CM20 CM20 CM11 CM2 CM1 CM14 CM4 CM19 CM16 CM1


Stand No N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 L5 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7




N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 K9 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 P3 Q4 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 P6


J10 N4/P4 L10/M13 L10/M13 R5 Q11 T6 U2 L6/M8 E14/F14 L6/M8 A9 E1/F1/H1 N6 L10/M13 T15/U13 T12 R2 L10/M13 S7 Q14/R15 Q14/R15 F4/F5 E7 T15/U13 T3 RV5/6/8/9


Sunday Independent January 19 2020 Company Name China National Tourist Office Choice Hotel Group City Break USA Clanree Hotel Clare Tourism Clonakilty Park Hotel Clonmel Park Hotel Cobh Heritage Centre Colaiste Naomh Eanna Colombia Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Comharchumann Na nOilean Complete Insulations Compostela Beach Coral Hotel Tenerife Connecticut Office of Tourism Connemara Coastal Cottages Constantinou Bros Hotels Coral Hotels Tenerife Coral Los Silos Tenerife Coral Villas La Quinta Tenerife Cork City Attractions

Stand No E4 R18 H7 T9/U7 S3 T15/U13 T5 T15/U13 U11 C3 R19 T9/U7 RV3 P14 J4/K3 S15 S15 H13/K12 P14 P14 P14 T15/U13

Corlea Trackway Centre


Costa Calida - Region De Murcia


Costa Sal Villas and Suites Cottage Pride Creative Ardagh Croatia - Vodice Tourist Board Croatia Tours Crover House Hotel & Golf Club Croydon Park Hotel Cruise USA Cuba Tourist Board Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism Cyprus Golf Dan O'Hara Homestead - Connemara Heritage & history Centre Davagh Dark Sky Park Deep South USA Destination Niagara USA Dillons Hotel Letterkenny Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance Discover Ballyshannon Discover Boyne Valley Discover Bundoran Discover Galway Discover Kerry Discover Long Island Discover New England Discover Newport Rhode Island Discover Northern Ireland Discover Travel DK Oysters Dom Pedro Hotels Dominican Republic Tourist Office Donegal Food Tours Donegal Hotel Collection Donegal International Airport Donegal Self Catering Donegal Tourism Donegal Town Enterprise Scheme Dublin's Outdoors Dubrovnik and Neretva Tourist Board Dutchess County - Cruise Specialist Eagles Flying/Irish Raptor Research Centre Edgeworth Heritage & Literary Trail EL AL Israel Airlines El Delfin Verde Costa Brava Resort El Rompido Embassy of Argentina Embassy of Ethiopia, Federal Democratic Republic Embassy of Latvia, Republic of Embassy of Peru Embassy of Slovakia Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Emirates Holidays Energy Wipe ENIT - Italian State Tourist Board EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum Escorted Tours USA


V5 T3 P18 P21 Q14/R15 R18 H7 G8 H13/K12 L8


R10 K5 H2 T9/U7 S12 T9/U7 Q3 T9/U7 Q16/R17 U10 H2 J4/K3 J4/K3 S6 A7 S15 L6/M8 F9 T9/U7 T9/U7 T9/U7 T9/U7 T9/U7 T9/U7 T14 P19 H2 N2


T3 G7 L10/M13 L8 G4



P28 D3 P25 F6 G1 RV2 L12/M15 S19 Q1/S4 H7

Company Name Ethiopian Airlines Euro Garden & Homes Exodus Travel Experience Killarney Exploration Dome Explore St Louis Explore! Farnham Estate Hotel Cavan Fermanagh Lakelands Tourism Fiddlers Green Festival Fiona Egan Cloughan Farm & Cookery School Fitzpatrick Hotel Group Flight Centre Fly Drive USA Follow the Camino Forbairt Chonamara Lair Forever Lifestyle Fosters Chocolates Fota House & Gardens Fota Wildlife Park Foyle Hotel Foz Atantida Frank Keane Group Frazer Ferries Group Fuerteventura Tourist Board G Adventures Gael Turas Galicia Tourism Board Galway 2020 Garryvoe Hotel Shanagarry Garvetur Holidays Genealogical Society Of Ireland Gervanne Camping Glasnevin Cemetery Museum Glencolmcille Folk Village Gran Canaria Great Lakes USA Great Lighthouses Of Ireland Greek National Tourism Organisation Grimming/Donnersbachtal Tourist Board H&Z Corporation LTD (Clickheat) Halkidiki Tourism Organization Hankyu Travel International Harvey's Point Country Hotel Hayes & Jarvis Heritage Island - Ireland's Premier Attractions Hertz Car Hire Hilton Belfast Templepatrick Golf & Country Club Historic Royal Palaces (Hillsborouh Castle) Holiday Inn Express Antrim Horizon Worldwide Hotel Beacon NYC Hotel Coral California Tenerife Hotel Coral Compostela Beach Golf Tenerife Hotel Coral Los Alisios Tenerife Hotel Coral Ocean View Tenerife Hotel Coral Suites & Spa Tenerife Hotel Coral Teide Mar Tenerife Hotel Estrela de Fatima Hotel Ria Park Hotel Hotel Westport Hotel Woodstock Hoteles Servigroup Hoteli Vodice Hotels Olympia & Olympia Sky Croatia House of Waterford Crystal Huelva Tourism Board Hurtigruten - Project Travel Iberostar Hotels & Resorts Ibiza Tourist Board ICELANDAIR Ideal Homes Imperial Hotel Cork India Tourist Office Innovart Intasun Homes Property Consultants Ionad Cois Locha Irish Ferries Irish Golf Review Irish Heritage Trust

Stand No C4 P34 B6 S11 H14/K13 J6 D9 Q14/R15 R13 S10



J3 G5 H7 J11 S15/U11 S23 V6 Q2 T15/U13 T9/U7 L6/M8 A10 Q11 L10/M13 B8 U11 L10/M13 Q16/R17 T15/U13 L6/M8 N23 N8/P7 Q1/S4a T9/U7 L10/M13 J7 Q1 H9 N18 D14 H8 B3 T9/U7 J8/K7





R11 B5 J1 P14


P14 P14 P14 P14 L6/M8 L6/M8 R4 R18 L10/M13 P18 P18 U3/U5 L10/M13 J13 L8 L10/M13 J9 C11/D11 T15/U13 B5 G4 B10 T9/U7 P8 Q9 Q2

19 Company Name Irish Language Holidays Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) Irish Whiskey Museum Israel Government Tourist Office Istria Tourist Board Jamaica Tourist Board Japan Airlines GSA Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) JMG Travel Joe Walsh Tours Johnstown House Estate Jordan Tourism Board Kansas/Oklahoma Travel & Tourism Katarina Line Kenmare Marketing & Events Group Kentucky Tourism Kilcar Coastal Tourism Development Killary Fjord Boat Tours Killeavy Castle Estate Killester Travel Kinsale Hotel and Spa Knights and Conquests Heritage Centre Knights Templar Tours Korea Tourism Organization Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Gardens L'Abri des Pins L'Hippocampe - Haute Provence (Sunelia) La Ballena Alegre Costa Bara Camping & Bungalow La Finca Golf & Spa Resort La Gomera Tourism Board La Palma Tourism Board La Sirene Camping Clubs Lanzarote Tourist Board Laois Tourism Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Laura Lynn Foundation LCPSPAIN Le Bois de Valmarie Camping Le Pin Parasol Camping***** Leitrim Tourism Leonardo Hotels & Resorts Leptos Calypso Hotels Public Les Camping De Bretagne Les Camping De Normandie Les Campings C'est SI Bon Les Campings Campasun Les Campings De Bretagne Les Campings De L'ardeche Les Campings De Normandie Les Campings Des Landes Les Campings Des Pays De La Loire Les Places Dorées Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter CLG Life Adventure Centre Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Lismore Heritage Town & Centre Listowel Business & Community Alliance Lithuania Little Windsor Longford Tourism Lough Foyle Ferry Lough Inagh Lodge Loughree Distillery Louisiana Office of Tourism Lusitania Museum and Siganl House Madeira Promotion Bureau Magnetic Balance Maine Office of Tourism Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Maldron Hotel Belfast International Airport Malone Lodge Hotel & Apartments Malta Tourism Authority Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark Maryland Office of Tourism Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Matilde Beach Resort Mayo The Adventure Capital McGuill Travel McKeever Hotels Medieval Mile Museum Kilkenny

Stand No U11 A3 Q1 G7 P20 E9 B3



H12 A6 Q2 G3 K6 P21 U9 K5 T9/U7 S15 S10 L8 T15/U13 T3 M3 L13





M10 L10/M13 L10/M13 P5 L10/M13/N12 P30


S16 B9 P5 Q4 N20/P31 H13/K12 H13/K12 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N9/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 L5 T9/U7 S10 Q12 Q1 U8b P26 RV T3 Q11 S15 T3 K5 T15/U13 L6/M8 RV J4/K3 C1/D1


R18 N19 Q14/R15 H7 J4/K3 P18 S13/T13 A4 R11 Q1


20 Company Name

Stand No Website

Michael Collins House Mid & East Antrim Borough Council Mid Ulster District Council Midleton Park Hotel & Spa Mississippi Tourism Model Railway Village West Cork Montalto Estate Montana Tourism Monte Santo Resort Moorings Moroccan National Tourist Office Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa & Golf Resort Mountain Ways Ireland Mountains of Mourne Country Cottages Mourne Glamping Pods Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion Moville Boutique Hostel MSC Cruises Mulroy Woods Hotel Murcia Property Services Murcia Vacations Mysteries of India NAR UK Navan Centre Nesbitt Arms Boutique Hotel New Hampshire Travel and Tourism New Nation Travel & Tours New York State Division of Tourism Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre Newry and Mourne Museum Nire Valley County Waterford North Dakota Department of Tourism Norway with Project Travel Nowaday NYC & Company Office de tourism de la Vallee du Loir Oideas Gael OLE International Omagh & Sperrins Region OPW Heritage Services Orange County Tourism Oranmore Lodge Hotel Conf & Leisure Oriel House Hotel Cork Orlando Outdoors And Dirty Pafos Regional Board of Tourism Parc Saint James Le Sourire Parc Saint James Montana Parc Saint James Oasis Passage East Ferry Passport Services & Consular Directorate Pastime Connemara Peacocke's Hotel Pearse Lyons Distillery Pestana Gramanho Philadelphia PhoneWatch Planet Cruise Platinum Travel

T15/U13 S8 R10 U1 K5 T15/U13 S10 H7 L6/M8 L9 H10 R7 S10 S10 S10 S10 T9/U7 J14 T9/U7 G11 G11 B4 H5 N8/P7 Q1 T9/U7 J4/K3 E5 H2 Q1 S10 U6 H7 J13 J1 J1 L4 U11 E13/F13 R12 T10 H2 Q15 U1 H5 Q14/R15 H13/K12 N21 N8/P7 N8/P7 N8/P7 Q11 Q13/R14 U11 S15 Q1 L6/M8 H6 E15/F15 P12 H7

Plus Farinose


Poonel Tour and Travel PortAventura World Princess Cruises Project Travel Pure Cork PY Hotels & Resorts S.L. Railtours Ireland First Class! Car Free, Carefree Rathlin Island Ferry Reel Irish Music Tours Region Of Central Macedonia Riu Hotels & Resorts Riverside Park Hotel Riviera Travel Rockefeller Centre Rockhill House Rocky Mountaineer Roscommon Tourism Rose Hospitality (Jackson's Hotel & Villa Rose & V-Spa) Royal Caribbean International

F6 M12 J15 J13 T15/U13 N15


S7 T9/U7 H8 P16 T8 N3 J1 T9/U7 P12 S14



Company Name

Stand No Website

Sacred Tours Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Saint-Cyprien Tourism Board Salou Tourism Board Salzburg Tourism SalzburgerLand Tourismus GmbH

M3 D10 M5 L10/M13 N18 N18


B5 E7 L8 K4 T23 N8/P7 M3 L6/M8 N18 R18 P32 M6 S2 K11 P5 N5 U8 Q17 T15/U13


T9/U7 Q14/R15 N20/P31 M17 L6/M8 C14 C5/D7 H7 L10/M13 T15/U13 N13 T9/U7 K10 RV4/RV5


E8 C8 N6 N7 L9 K1/K2 B1 C9 U1 U1 U1 R8 L10/M13 K5 H13/K12 H6 H12 F8 J2 L8 R18 H7 S10 R18 T9/U7 R18 R3a J1 L6/M8 S7


Sands Beach Resort Lanzarote & International Marathon Sanyog Gupta Voyages Seafarer Cruising & Sailing Holidays Sean Skehan World of Golf SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Select Hotels of Ireland Selection Camping Shamrock Walking Tours Shantivillas Sheraton Grand Salzburg Shoreline Hotel Show Promotions Siblu Holidays France Silver Line Cruisers Silversea Cruises Sirene Holidays Sites Et Paysages by Le French Time Skellig Coast Tourism Network Ski Club Of Ireland Skibbereen Heritage Centre Skyline Flying Club, Abbeyshrule Aerdrome Sliabh Liag Centre Slieve Russell Hotel Golf & Country Club Slow Adventure Leitrim Smilebright Sociedade de Golf da Quinta do Lago Sole-Mates South African Tourism South Dakota Department of Tourism Spanish Tourism Office Spike Island Spring Hotels Station House Hotel Letterkenny Stena Line Stormhall Strokestown Park House Gdns & Famine Museum Sunday Independent Sundowners Overland Sunelia Domaine De La Breche Sunelia Vacances Sunsail Sunway Holidays Taipei Representative Office in Ireland Take on Nepal Talbot Hotel Carlow Talbot Hotel Stillorgan Talbot Suites at Stonebridge Wexford Ten Square Hotel Tenerife Tourism Corporation Tennessee Tourism Thanos Hotels Paphos Cyprus The Countryside of Philadelphia The Cruise Broker The Earth Trip The Florida Keys & Key West The Flying Golfer The G Hotel Galway The Great American West The Green Holiday Cottages The Hardiman The Highlands Hotel The House Hotel The Inn At Dromoland The Kixby Hotel The Lake Spa Resort - Vilamoura The Manor House Rathlin Island The Port Authority Of New York and New Jersey The River Lee Hotel


The Rusty Mackeral The Seaweed Skin Company The Talbot Collection The Talbot Hotel Wexford

T9/U7 S18 U1 U1 the-river-lee-hotel

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Sunday Independent January 19 2020


21 The Li River

Holiday World Show Young Travel Writer of the Year I


In advance of Holiday World Show Dublin 2020, secondary school students throughout the country were asked to enter the Holiday World Show Young Travel Writer of the Year Competition. Students had the opportunity to write about their favourite holiday destination or travel experience. Along with receiving a ¤100 One4All voucher and free Family Passes to Holiday World Show Dublin 2020, the overall winner has their winning story printed here. We received some terrific pieces and it was a very difficult decision. But the overall winner is...drum roll, please...5th Year student Ellen Li from Castleknock Community College under the guidance of her teacher, Ms Kane for her incredible travel piece, Guìlín:

GUÌLÍN remember my first day back to school when I was four. Our teacher asked us all where we had been over the summer. The child before me had said Spain, and was rewarded with some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’, and high-pitched praise from the teacher. When it came to my turn, I said Guìlín and was met with blank stares. With all the language proficiency of a four-year-old, I tried to explain the sprawling mountains and the sweetness of Osmanthus tea that I always associated with Guìlín, which only earned me more blank stares. I remember feeling sad then, even though I didn’t know why. The city in southern China has always been a second home to me. I would go back every summer and spend a month there with my maternal grandmother. She lived in a rural town by the Li River. It was a place where there weren’t many cars and you could always hear the faint rush of the river in the background. I woke before dawn every morning to the chorus of 40 roosters in the front yard (I always felt a particular satisfaction whenever my grandmother made chicken soup!). My grandmother would be up even before then, to take in the Osmanthus tea she had left out to dry. I would put on the grass slippers she had woven for me anew. If I was early enough, I would catch Old Li preparing his nets to go fishing. I asked him to take me with him even though I knew he would say yes. He had one of those traditional wooden boats with the bamboo paddles that you had to row by hand. I asked him why he refused to get the faster electric boats that I saw in Beijing, and he told me that the motor would scare the fish away. The Li River wasn’t like the Liffey, which was always loud and rushing to get somewhere. The Li River was old and weathered. It had walked the path to the sea so many times that it felt no need to rush. In

Karst Mountains, Guilin, China

the quiet hours of the morning, it stood so still that you forgot it was a river at all. Of course, I didn’t come on the boat trip to see Old Li haul smelly fish on-board! I came because I loved watching the sunrise. The sun would split the horizon and for a moment, the Li River was not made of water, but molten amber. The mountains of Guìlín are unlike any others in the world. They jut out of the ground with whimsical spontaneity as if it was not us who built around them, but the mountains themselves who grew around us. The foliage and trees on them were eternally green, impervious to the coldest weather.

Hidden within those mountains was the palace of the Ming dynasty. I knew that a lot of historians and Chinese locals visited, but I still liked to pretend that the palace was a great secret that only I knew about. I think about it now, and I suppose that even then I felt some sort of injustice that no one knew where Guìlín was. In school, we were never taught about the Ming palaces. No one knew how beautiful the Li River looked with the sunlight spilling on it. They didn’t know how much more comfortable grass slippers were than the most expensive runners. It was a place that lived and died with the people that lived there.



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent



rish people love to travel,” says Siobhan Byrne, CEO and founder of Adams & Butler, which provides bespoke trips. “There are, of course, times when Irish people just want an inexpensive getaway to spend time on the beach in the sun. But for people celebrating their birthdays or anniversaries, rather than throwing parties, more and more people are booking those big bucket-list trips to destinations afar. “They want to celebrate a certain precious time in their lives and create amazing memories with the people they love most.” However, even if you are not exactly travelling Siobhan Byrne away to celebrate an upcoming milestone, Siobhan says everyone should have a life-changing trip at some point in their lives, “somewhere completely different. Somewhere that will take them out of their comfort zone”– that in itself is a special occasion.

THIS TIME FOR AFRICA “We once had a client who was going through cancer treatment, and was given three months to live,” says Siobhan. “On his bucket list was a trip to Tanzania, Africa, with his wife, so they came to us and we helped to organise this for them. Helping them put their dream into action was an amazing feeling and they got good news on their return, as the cancer had gone into remission.” One particular destination off the coast of Tanzania that Siobhan recommends is the archipelago of Zanzibar. “Zanzibar is a beautiful destination, with white beaches

Zanzibar, Africa

and bright emerald seas. “You could have two very different experiences in Zanzibar: chill out in a hammock on the beach with a novel or, for the adventurous, there is so much to explore and do like snorkelling. Then there’s the cultural aspects, including exploring historical Stone Town, and discovering the island’s slave trade past, which is an emotional experience and can open your eyes.” Another popular African destination is Zimbabwe, “This is a classic safari destination for those who want to see the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros). It has the best guides; the game is fantastic and taking a safari there is very affordable.” Then there is Rwanda, near central Africa. “Rwanda has many new 5-Star hotels, as well as Singita Kwitonda Safari Lodge, a leader in ecotourism and luxury travel. I also love Uganda, in central Africa, again a great safari destination.” Siobhan continues, “Irish people seem to be very interested in wildlife documentaries, so go that extra step and actually book a safari. It is a mind-blowing experience.” But it’s not just the animals that make an impact, it’s the people. Siobhan says, “My husband is from Kenya and everyone is so welcoming there. “When you visit Africa, you feel that exuberance. On top of that, you have the breath-taking landscapes, some amazing beaches, luxury properties and fantastic animals.”

EXPEDITION TO ECUADOR Another special destination, based in South America, is the Galápagos Islands. Danny Giles, Sales Manager UK & Ireland of Silversea Expeditions, says an expedition cruise to the volcanic islands in Ecuador is a trip-of-aDanny Giles lifetime. “Described by famous British naturalist and evolutionist Charles Darwin as ‘a little world within itself ’, the volcanic Galápagos Islands are Mother Nature at her most creative,” says Danny. “It’s not hard to understand why this colourful destination and its biodiversity inspired the theory of evolution: rare birds decorate the sky, otherworldly reptiles patrol alien landscapes, and dozens of endemic floral species bloom in full splendour. Galápagos has it all.” 2020 will see the introduction of Silversea Expeditions’ new ship Silver Origin which appeals to all types of traveller, young and old. “Expedition cruising allows guests the chance to get close to the unique surroundings. No two days are ever the same!” says Danny. “On a Silversea Expedition, we have a guest ratio to Expedition team member of 1:10. This allows our guests the best opportunity to learn and experience the islands as nature intended.” Some of the experiences Danny says guests can expect include visiting Punta Cormorant. “This is one of the most interesting sites on the islands. Land on the olive-green sand and walk to Flour Beach, a favourite nesting site for green sea turtles, hoping to see flamingos on the way. Floreana offers some of the best snorkelling sites. And, the largest colony of marine iguanas in the Galápagos can be seen sunning on the black lava shores of Punta Espinoza.” Danny says one of his own personal highlights is the diverse wildlife. “Snorkelling with turtles, rays and sea lions in their natural habitats and observing their daily routine is a memory that will never fade.” Along with creating memories on-shore, Danny says guests can look forward to luxury on-board. “Everything is taken care of, from the unpacking by your own butler, to enrichment lectures by the highly qualified Expeditions Team. There are spacious suites, a diverse

choice of restaurants, beverages in-suite and throughout the ship, in-suite dining and room service, on-board entertainment, and a spa and fitness centre.” Before embarking on one of Silversea’s seven-day cruises, Danny says preparation is key, “Read and watch documentaries about marine behaviour, then you’ll know what to expect and how to behave in the presence of these extraordinary creatures. It’s important to approach wildlife cautiously and only photograph the animals from a safe distance, so they don’t feel threatened.” The seasons in the Galápagos are split roughly into two: cool and dry (June to November), and warm and wet (December to May). “The warmer season is better if you want to go diving, because the water will have calmed down and the visibility will have improved. There are also more sea turtles around,” says Danny. “January–April is a time when the landbased animals are breeding and in May–November, the nutrients in the water mean the marine life is at its most active. Whatever date you choose to explore the islands, you will always see incredible wildlife and scenery.” Danny also advises taking a day off from using your camera. “You will be able to see everything on a wider scale, and truly embrace your incredible surroundings.” Visit and Stand C6 at Holiday World Show Visit and Stand K11 at Holiday World Show

Sunday Independent January 19 2020


23 The stunning Caribbean

Cruising the Caribbean


Symphony of the Seas


spray’ which was a highlight of the trip for ccording to Click&Go’s 2019 Travel Barometer, sales of cruise us both.” With an aqua theatre, ice-skating shows holidays saw a 23pc increase and silent discos (dancing while wearing over the past year. And according to John Spollen, President of headphones) to dance the night away in the nightclub, Laura and Colin say they the Irish Travel Agents Assowere spoiled for choice. But it was the time ciation (ITAA), cruises are set to continue together they enjoyed the most, looking out being a big trend in 2020. Cruises are such at the ocean view from their personal cabin. a popular holiday experience, that young They were even introduced to their perhoneymooners, Laura and Colin Farmer, sonal housekeeper on the day they arrived, decided to start their lives together while with a direct number if they ever needed sailing in the Caribbean. anything. “We thought a cruise was a onceColin says, “The service was in-a-lifetime adventure we would exceptional on the ship. We had never forget,” says Laura from Co always assumed cruises were Monaghan. “That’s why we demore for older people, but we cided on one as our honeymoon saw a mixture of ages, including destination. We knew we would young families. And we can see be able to enjoy the ship and all why. There are various packages it had to offer, while stopping off to choose from. We had a ‘drinks at several different countries and package’ which meant we didn’t enjoying their cultures.” Colin and Laura have to pay for any drinks in any Laura and Colin’s cruise was Farmer bar, restaurant or in the pool area. booked through Royal Caribbean It also had some food covered. There are International, and they departed on their packages to suit all ages and interests.” seven-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise in May 2019 on the ‘Symphony of the Seas’ SEEING THE SIGHTS cruise ship. They travelled from Dublin to There are several different shore excursions London Heathrow, then to Miami where they stayed three nights before boarding the that holidaymakers can avail of at each port on a cruise. According to Laura, it depends ship at Miami port. They booked through a on how much people would like to spend travel agent, which Laura says made their and with advice from the tour advisors on lives a lot easier, as they had everything the ship, they were able to book these excurarranged for them. sions themselves. “One word to describe the trip would “Our first stop was Philipsburg, St be ‘amazing’!” says Laura. “The ship had Maarten, then we went to San Juan, Puerto everything, including different themed Rico and our final stop was Labadee, Haiti. bars and restaurants. For example an ‘Alice Unfortunately, Philipsburg was recovering in Wonderland’ themed restaurant which after being hit by a recent hurricane, but Colin was adamant we had to visit! The ‘Mad Hatter’ was the host and it had Heston we were able to take a small boat out to a beautiful secluded beach there, where we Blumenthal-style food, where everything sunbathed, swam and had a few drinks was so different but so delicious.” at our own private bar. We chose a more “There was a casino too,” says Colin, “a daring activity in San Juan when we went spa, an outdoor pool with water slides and zip-lining in a secluded rainforest. We hiked sun loungers on the top of the ship. There through the rainforest and enjoyed going on was also a sports area offering mini golf, six scenic zip line trips.” table tennis, zip-lining and you could even Colin adds, “Laura was terrified of the learn to surf with ‘FlowRider’. The entertainment in the evenings was excellent, and zip-lining, but I loved every minute of it!” Laura says her favourite activity was we went to see the Broadway show ‘Hair-

in Labadee, Haiti where they arranged an entrance into the Aqua Park. “We completed an obstacle course on the water and were sliding down water slides. It was my favourite because I’m a big kid at heart! We also lay on the beach, drank piña coladas out of pineapples and shopped at the local craft market. You can explore locations independently too, or stay on the ship if you wish. It’s really up to you to make the trip what you want.” So, do Laura and Colin have any tips for people who are thinking of booking a cruise holiday? “Don’t think everything is included in your package like we did,” says Laura. “Just be aware of the additional costs that you might have, like internet costs for your personal cabin, the prices for the high-end restaurants on the ship or even tipping staff which we found to be expected on the ship. But overall, just try to enjoy your time.” Colin says, “It’s a totally different experience to be sailing for days on end. One of my favourite parts was getting to know people on the ship who were sailing with us as they all had different backgrounds. It was an incredible experience and a great start to our marriage!” For more on Royal Caribbean cruises visit or visit Stand N2/ P2 at Holiday World Show

Top tips for cruises 1. Be aware of any extra expenses – While your particular package will cover what is included, always check if you need to pay extra for excursions, spa treatments, other food expenses or even tipping staff. 2. Book with a travel agent/cruise specialist – You might have the perfect cruise in mind, but it’s best to book through a travel agent who can find the right package for you based on your tastes, age range and type of activities you like. And if anything goes wrong on board, the travel agent is just one phone call away. 3. Pack smart – While a cruise ship can be casual, you might need formal wear or a smart casual outfit for evening meals. And don’t forget your sports gear and comfortable footwear if you plan on any adventure or hiking activities, along with a small backpack.



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

My favourite holiday experience


Camel ride across the Sahara

Retired teacher and blogger Hilda Smith, and her husband Graham, from Dublin went on a group trip to Morocco recently. Here, Hilda speaks about how travelling with a group allowed them to immerse themselves in the North African country’s culture

Hilda and Graham travelled to Morocco with TDactive (www.tdactiveholidays. ie), specialists in small group adventure holidays and Travel Department’s (www. sister brand. “We first used Travel Department 13 years ago to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in South Africa, which was stunning. We subsequently went with them to China, the USA, on two Mediterranean cruises, and city breaks to Salamanca and Lisbon. In 2018, we went with TDactive to India and lately, the one-week trip to Morocco, which was truly memorable.”

“Our fashion stylist daughter, Courtney, had done several fashion shoots in Morocco and loved it, so ever since, Hilda Smith we have wanted to visit,” says Hilda, blogger at www.overthehilda. com. “We decided to book a group tour, because at this stage in our lives, we are happy to let someone else organise everything and I find you learn so much more about a country when you have good guides!”

RICH CULTURE Throughout the trip, the group covered over 1,800km starting in Marrakech, then Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, Sahara Desert, The Dades Valley over the Atlas Mountains, and back to Marrakech. They stayed in a mixture of riads (traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard) and hotels, which Hilda says “were all excellent”. “Some of our highlights were visiting the third-biggest Mosque in the world in


Casablanca, the blue city/kasbah in Rabat, and wandering with a guide around the UNESCO-listed medina in Fes. We would not have found our way around or out of it without him!” Hilda adds, “We packed in so many activities which allowed us to really experience the culture of Morocco. For example, we had a cookery lesson in Fes, showing us the traditional way to cook a tagine, which is a stew-like dish and comes in many guises (lamb, chicken, vegetarian). It is delicious and the lesson was great fun, as well as being informative. We even took home the recipe. “We also visited a 1,000-year-old tannery, and watched men dyeing skins in the ageold way by tramping through large vats. The process is all manual and hasn’t changed since medieval times. And, we saw traditional pottery/ceramics being handmade. Their work was skilled and highly labour intensive.” However, Hilda’s favourite part of the trip were the camel rides and the night spent in the Sahara Desert. “We had a 90-minute camel ride to our campsite, and then when we got there, we had a wonderful meal and a Moroccan sing-song around a campfire under the stars. The night sky is certainly brighter than it is at home and seeing a satellite darting through the sky certainly added to the excitement! We had a magical time.” TRAVEL GUIDE For those considering travelling to Morocco, Hilda highly recommends booking a guided group trip. “It takes the stress out of travelling. The trip is organised for you: flights, accommodation, transfers and guides. You feel safe, because when you’re in a group with a guide, you are never hassled. “Not to mention, you see so much more. TDActive has excellent guides and hires local expert guides, who speak good English and are highly-educated.” Hilda adds, “Guided group travel is also a wonderful way to meet other like-minded people, whether you’re travelling solo, with friends, or as a couple. We’re already looking forward to our next trip. We’re keen to do as many active and far-flung trips as possible when we still have the energy!” Mirror of the Olmecs, Mexico

Market stall in Marrakesh

Eleonore in Fiji

GOING SOLO French student Eleonore Boucher tells us about her incredible solo adventures Eleonore Boucher, a 21-year-old student from France, has been on Eleonare Boucher many solo adventures and says that while she feared being alone in a foreign country at first, she became more involved in the local experiences of the countries. “I travelled around with my family from an early age,” says Eleonore. “Every time I came back from vacation, I wanted to go right back again and have new experiences. It was my parents who gave me a taste for adventure and a desire to travel.” Eleonore embarked on many trips through the Fiji Islands, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico and Canada, which she managed to finance herself while being a student. “I take advantage of all free holiday time and internship periods to discover the world which allows me to discover around three countries each year if I’m lucky! I have now travelled to 22 countries across four continents.” DISCOVERING A PASSION When Eleonore turned 18, she participated in a three-month volunteer project in Fiji, which began her solo travel experiences. Since then, she has been challenging herself every year to discover a new country for a few weeks. “In 2019, I started my trip in Mexico, and in three weeks I had travelled through 12 cities and islands: Mexico City, Xochimilco, Palenque, Bacalar, Tulum, Valladolid, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Holbox and Rio Lagartos. I took planes, buses, cars and boats and never slowed down. I then had the chance to go to Greece in August for two weeks which was a beautiful trip. I visited four islands, Santorini, Folegandros, Sifnos, Paros and the capital Athens. The weather conditions were ideal and I could take a boat between each island. It was spectacular!” ADVENTURE SEEKER When Eleonore travelled to Vietnam in 2018, she accompanied the locals on a long

Sunday Independent January 19 2020


Big Sur, California

walk in the rain, through the rice fields of the north of the country and visited magnificent temples. She was also able to practice rurex, the exploration of abandoned places in rural areas, or ‘ghost towns’, including the Ho Thuy Tien abandoned water park, where she says the elements are frozen in time. “I have always loved adventure and finding new areas to explore. When I was in Fiji, my favourite activity was trekking in the jungle. This was exceptional and it felt like I was in a dream! Becoming immersed in the local community and practicing customs was a real highlight of the trip. Having spent several months there, I was able to create a climate of trust and learn local customs. For example, the ritual of kava, a traditional beverage consumed for several centuries in Oceania and it is a special moment shared by Fijians. “But if I had to choose, Bali was definitely my most beautiful trip, the island was so charming. There are beautiful walks and views, dense forests where a large number of monkeys live, and it is the perfect place to learn to surf. It is a fabulous island where I felt safe and secure and it’s a place I can’t wait to return to!” For those planning to travel solo, Eleonore says try not to put yourself in any unnecessary danger if you can help it and always get advice from the locals. “Speak to staff in the hotel or hostel, talk to travel agents and research the areas on the internet. Many places can look attractive, but there can be high risks of crime so make your own judgment call after you research them. Always inform your relatives of your location, and even try telling hotel staff where you are going. If you are going trekking, hiking or doing other activities, try to join groups so that you are not alone in case of an accident. “But travelling alone is also about being open-minded, being sociable and letting yourself be carried away by beautiful adventures in foreign lands. Embrace it!”

CALIFORNIA DREAMING Last year, Claire Brooks and her fiancé Donal Morkan travelled to California for the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival – and it didn’t disappoint! “For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to experience Coachel- Claire Brooks and la,” says Claire. “It’s the Donal Morkan whole LA festival vibe – palm trees, blue skies and being out in the desert while some of the biggest names in music play live! “Myself and Donal have also always wanted to explore California, so it seemed like a good idea to do both.” Based just outside Palm Springs, LA, Coachella takes place on two different weekends in April, with the same line-up each weekend. Claire had seen through Instagram, that tickets were always snapped up like gold dust, so did plenty of research online beforehand to ensure she got her hands on a pair.

Claire at Coachella, California

“Tickets for Coachella go on sale twice in the year. So, if you’re thinking about going in 2021, the presale option is around June and then the next sale would be around January. While tickets are approximately $400 for general admission, the trick is that if you manage to get early tickets in the summer, you can pay for the wristbands monthly. This is what we did, so it took a lot of pressure off.” FESTIVAL FUN Claire describes the entire experience of Coachella as “out-of-this-world.” “The atmosphere was so laid-back and there was a great energy around the place. Everyone was there to have a good time. I thought the festival was very well run and I felt completely safe. “Beyonce and Eminem were two of my highlights from the weekend – they were incredible. But for anybody who doesn’t have a huge interest in music, there’s so much more at Coachella. Lovely food pop-up stands from LA eateries, art, games and the well-known Coachella Ferris Wheel.” During the festival weekend, Claire stayed in The Hilton in Palm Springs. “Accommodation can be quite expensive in Palm Springs, but there are inexpensive accommodation options around, such as the Hard Rock Hotel or even Airbnbs. Getting from Palm Springs to Coachella is a half-hour shuttle bus journey every day, so another accommodation option is Palm Village, which is actually located closer to Coachella. “One thing I do regret is not researching my accommodation options better, so if I was to return, I would definitely try to book through a travel agent, because they’ll also be able to inform you of any hidden costs or resort fees.” ROAD TRIP After Coachella, Claire and Donal rented a car and drove through California, seeing sights and destinations including Laguna Beach, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea and the Big Sur. “Out of all the places we visited, the beach city of Carmel-by-the-Sea was my favourite. It was like something out of a movie, with fairytale cottages and scenic beach views.” Claire says they also loved Alcatraz Island, located in San Francisco Bay. The famous island was used for military prisoners and held some of America’s most difficult and dangerous felons back in the late 19th to early 20th century. “We booked a boat across to the island and got a guided tour. The day we went over, there was even a former prisoner there, he had written a book since and was doing a signing!” Claire says the entire trip, from Coachella to the road trip across California, is one she will never forget. “When I was in Coachella, it actually felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. It was so surreal to finally be there. I would definitely go back again!”




January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Machu Picchu, Peru

Sacred Valley

The climb to Sun Gate

A Peruvian adventure

Views along the Inca Trail



00 steep steps to climb and we would finally make it to Sun Gate, once the main entrance to the famous Incan citadel Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was believed to be an estate for the Inca Emperor Pachacuti, before the Incan civilisation was wiped out by Spanish invaders in the 16th century. Sun Gate was where we would get our first glimpse of Machu Picchu from afar, provided the fog cleared to reveal the site to us. “You can do it, Haku*!” our guide Nick chanted as we came to the final leg of the four-day Inca Trail My heart was pounding in my chest, both as a result of the hike I had done so far and the fear of climbing the narrow, steep steps ahead of me. My mouth was dry, my t-shirt damp, and thighs sore – but this was it, I had nearly completed the Inca Trail, a total of 42km across four days. Would I make it the rest of the way without passing out? And, would I even get to see Machu Picchu if the fog didn’t clear? TRAVELLING SOLO Back in November 2019, I booked the trip to Peru through Ireland’s leading travel company Sunway. I travelled to Peru’s capital Lima, and it was in Lima where I would be meeting the G Adventures tour group joining me on the trek to Machu Picchu. I felt nervous. I had travelled solo many times before, but as hiking and camping with strangers in a different country would be a completely new challenge, I really didn’t know what to expect. Or, indeed if I would survive – both the hike itself and being four days without any signal on my phone! But when I met with the group – people

from a variety of destinations including the UK, Canada and Australia – we clicked instantly and I soon switched off from life outside of Peru. Everyone had their own personal reasons for doing the trail, and I was surprised that so many of the group had travelled solo too. That’s what makes an escorted group trip so great: although you’re travelling solo, you’re guaranteed to make new friends from around the world and meet like-minded people. We certainly all shared a love for the Peruvian cocktail Pisco Sours anyway, which we found out that first night! The next day, we travelled on an hour flight to Cusco, a city in the magnificent Peruvian Andes and once the capital of the Inca Empire. Cusco is located 3,399m above sea level, so to help prevent altitude sickness, some of us chewed coca leaves, a remedy the Incas once used. (I can confirm, coca does not help with hangovers, but it can with altitude sickness!) We had a day to explore Cusco, visiting main sites including Plaza de Armas (the square in the old city), before our guide, Nick, briefed us on everything we needed to know about embarking on the Inca Trail. Because the next day, we would be leaving our main suitcases behind in Cusco and travelling onto Ollantaytambo (a village in the Sacred Valley) with just our camping essentials. GETTING TO KNOW LOCAL CULTURE En-route to Ollantaytambo, a little less than two hours away from Cusco, we had the opportunity to see beautiful views including that of Sacred Valley itself. But what was probably most striking, were the visits we paid to the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving

*Haku = ‘Let’s go’ in Quechua, an official language of Peru

Co-Op, the rural village of Cuyo Chico and the Parwa Community Restaurant in the small village of Huchuy Qosqo. This gave us a true taste of Peruvian culture. G Adventures are committed to sustainable tourism and developed many initiatives that help to support these local communities. For example, at Ccaccaccollo, local women showed us the traditional methods they used to produce textiles made from llama and alpaca wool. It was fascinating to watch their natural dyeing techniques, including using beetle blood to dye wool red. We all stocked up on scarves, hats and jumpers to bring on the trek and home for the winter! In Cuyo Chico, we were given a pottery demonstration by a group of families who had created a business together, and we had the opportunity to purchase some handmade souvenirs. Meanwhile, a delicious traditional dinner was served at Parwa, a farm-to-table program that boosts the local economy. These visits were eye-openers and it was such a heart-warming feeling to know that I was contributing, even in a small way, to keep these communities alive.

THE INCA TRAIL Waking early the next day in Ollantaytambo, I said my farewells to my friends and family back home on WhatsApp, as I parted with the internet before the hike. On the way to the Inca Trail starting point, a 40-minute bus journey from Ollantaytambo, my stomach was in a knot. Once there, the local G Adventure porters took away our bigger bags (containing our sleeping bags and other items we wouldn’t need during the hike) which they would be carrying along the trail for us, while we held onto our own day bags. We then got our passports stamped and set forth on the trail. We passed along meandering streams, taking in the Andean scenery and ancient Incan ruins, such as Llactapata, and the butterflies in my stomach gradually eased off. Until suddenly, we were going up and up, and before I knew it, I was panting heavily, gasping for air. Out-of-breath, I started to worry if I would be able to go on for the rest of the trail, but tried to focus on anything else other than how tough it was. The group atmosphere was a help, we all motivated

Sunday Independent January 19 2020

each other to continue on slowly. Approximately five hours later (11km hike), we reached our first campsite to a round of applause from the porters. A wave of exhilaration swept over me. After freshening up, it was dinnertime. Lunch and dinner were delicious three-course meals each day, cooked by the G Adventure chefs using local produce. So, whatever weight I was losing during the hike, was going straight back on in the evening! With full bellies, we tried to get some shut-eye for the night, as heavy rain drops began pelting onto our two-man tents. We had a big day ahead of us – taking on Dead Woman’s Pass, not a very encouraging name!



The group at the final destination - Machu Picchu

DEAD WOMAN’S PASS The rain poured down as we woke early and pulled on hour hike to our next camp our rain jackets for the seemed a cinch compared second day. At 4,215m, Get ready for your tour with to the other two days. I Dead Woman’s Pass the G Adventures App. Chat with felt more relaxed and is the highest point your fellow travellers before, during, focused on taking in the of the Inca Trail and and after your trip, and prepare with beautiful views and rugets its name because packing lists, offline maps, and more. ins. On our last night of its crests resemble the the hike, we spent some form of a woman’s supine Visit time getting to know the body when seen from the mobile/ porters and chefs. They valley below. This day was a really made the trip for us challenge, not just because the as they looked after us very terrain becomes much rockier, well, as did our guide. We had an but also because of the weather condiearly start ahead of us, so we said our tions. The sun did appear as we got closer to goodnights and retreated to our tents. the top, but unfortunately when we eventually reached the top, the rain started again. MACHU PICCHU So, photographs with the beautiful valley in It was around 3.30am when we heard the the background were out of the question. regular wake-up calls of the porters. We While overcoming the pass was a celepacked our bags for the last time, ate a light bration in itself, what goes up must come breakfast and waited an hour at the checkdown. The steps down to camp are much point nearby for the gate to open. As the fog steeper and with rain, extremely slippery caved in around us, we trekked through the and dangerous. I thought going uphill was a rocky terrain, but the next two hours went challenge – this was much trickier! Over two quickly – there was a sense of excitement hours later, we reached our next campsite among the group, as we were getting nearer and I never felt as happy to see my tent. and nearer to our final destination. We Another delicious evening meal, some reached the 100 steps to Sun Gate, and as I laughs and a night’s rest later, and it was the looked up, I paused, took a deep breath and third day. I had made it this far. The ninebegan to climb.

Travel to Peru with Sunway!


Beginning of the Inca Trail!

At the top, a crowd of other hikers stood awaiting. The sky was a vivid blue but the fog was still dense. Until it started to shift and slowly, Machu Picchu came to light. There it was, right in front of me. We all stood in complete awe at the magnificent sight. It seemed very surreal. But it wasn’t simply the fact that I was looking at Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was also the fact that I had completed the hike; that sense of achievement. There were moments when I was frustrated, tired and felt like I couldn’t do it. But I learned to shut out the negative voice and, instead, live in the moment. And this is something I’ve brought back home with me. In the words of American historian and activist Miriam Beard, “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” This is true of my experience in Peru. After a wonderful guided tour around Machu Picchu (a 40-minute hike away from Sun Gate), and a final night spent with

INCA DISCOVERY: Fly to Lima and return from Cusco. Depart 17th March 2020 from ¤2,180pp. Price includes: flights ex Dublin, 20kg bag per person, taxes, transfer from airport to hotel for one night pre-trip, seven night’s accommodation (twin-share), some meals, local transport (including flight, train and private van), Inca Trail permit, guide, porters and quality equipment. Price also includes January Sale reduction of ¤222pp off tour, which ends 31st January 2020. Other dates available. Quote GIndo50 for a further ¤50 off per person. You can also get a further 20% discount on certain G Adventures trips booked between 24th and 28th January 2020, for travel departing before 31st October 2020. Subject to availability and change. Sunway are agents for G Adventures in Ireland. Contact Sunway on (01) 231 1890 or visit See Sunway at Stand K1/K2 at Holiday World Show

the group, I was sad to say goodbye. Peru was truly a life-changing trip and I would recommend to anybody considering hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, to book with Sunway. The organisation of the entire trip from start to finish was impressive and they helped to arrange everything, from the accommodation and flights, to the tour itself. It was an experience I will treasure forever.



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Philadelphia City Centre

Philadelphia Here I Come!

The famous Liberty Bell



very Christmas, I try and get away. By St Stephen’s Day, I aim to be on a plane out of town. Dublin is great up to Christmas Day but after... well I can take it or leave it. Last Christmas, I went to Hong Kong and China (an amazing experience). This year, I decided to stay a little closer to home and visit my sister, who lives in New York. We both agreed the Big Apple is too busy with tourists during the festive season, so we decided on Philadelphia instead. What’s more, there’s a direct flight with Aer Lingus and, for my sister, it’s only a short train ride from NY. Job done. A friend of mine, travel writer Ed Finn, had extolled Philadelphia’s virtues, after visiting last year. But having never visited before, I had no idea how it would all pan out. I was not to be disappointed. THE BUSINESS – AER LINGUS I left on 27th December. On long-haul flights, I try and opt for Business Class, and as Aer Lingus now flies directly to Philly, their Business Class offering was my option of choice. Once the rigours of US Customs Pre-Clearance is over, you have access to a special lounge, the 51st&Green beside the US departure gates. This Lounge is the perfect retreat away from the bustling Terminal and somewhere to enjoy and relax before the long-haul flight. I get a child-like pleasure and huge enjoyment flying Business Class. It is the nearest thing us adults get to the giddy excitement of opening Christmas gifts. Aer Lingus Business Class means no queuing from the moment you arrive at Dublin Airport. You fly through security and are first into the lounge or onto the plane. Best of all, for me, is the glass of bubbly that they hand you as you wait for take-off. It always seems odd to me that they even ask would you care for a glass of Champagne (as if someone is going to say “NO”)! Gourmet meals followed but it was the sense of peace that I loved most. Flying Aer Lingus Business Class for me means both

The Card Players by Cézanne at the Barnes Foundation Museum

enjoying the ride and arriving fresh and ready to enjoy the destination. It is entirely stress-free and reduces my jet lag. So, after a good night’s rest in our Embassy Suites rooms in Philadelphia, I was up early and ready to explore. PHILADELPHIA – THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE Philly’s best-known landmark is LOVE itself — the Robert Indiana sculpture in John F Kennedy Plaza, northwest of City Hall. Gazing at the sculpture as I walked past it every day, I began to ask myself the question: what do I love about Philly? After a week, the answer came loud and clear: What’s not to love about The City of Brotherly Love? Philadelphia is like New York but without the hustle and bustle. The streets are not crowded. The restaurants are easy to get into. And the art galleries have no queues. It is a delightful city, and much less expensive than its more famous neighbour. PHILLY FOOD Philadelphia has become America’s gourmet destination of choice. From BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) pop-up restaurants, showcasing the next generation of young chefs, to fine dining experiences - Philly has it all! We ate at Parc, one of famous restaurateur Stephen Starr’s excellent properties.

landmark building built by the legendary Parc picked up the James Beard Award for Best Restaurant in the country in 2018, so it architect Lord Norman Foster, we ate at has a reputation that did not disappoint. We Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerate oysters there on New Year’s Eve, washed ichten’s amazing restaurant floating above the clouds. Now that is an experience never down with a half-bottle of Laurent Perrier. to be forgotten! Another of my favorites was Cadence, a newly opened regional American BYOW THE ART OF PHILADELPHIA restaurant in South Kensington. The tapas But if you asked me what was my favourdishes had a spicy Mexican influence and ite thing about Philly, I would say, the bar served killer Margaritas. without hesitation, the art. Harp & Crown has a growThe Barnes Gallery blew ing reputation. Located in me away with its collection a completely renovated of Renoirs, Cezanne’s The space on Sansom Street, Card Players, and Van between 15th and Gogh’s The Postman. The Philadelphia CityPASS saves you 16th streets, it brings And all seen in the up to 48pc on combined admission to together old-world intimate setting of the Philadelphia’s top attractions. Choose touches of charm with collectors recreated three, four or five attractions out of its four chandeliers on townhouse. But even 12 options. Valid for nine the ground floor, funky that was upstaged by consecutive days. vintage wallpaper and what awaited us at the For further details, visit leather club chairs. Execamazing Philadelphia utive Chef Armando JimeMuseum of Art (PMA). nez’s approach to cooking is Set above the steps made impressive, and he served one famous by the ‘Rocky’ movie, this of the best salads I have tasted world-renowned gallery was one of the anywhere. But on the last night, we literally reached best I have ever visited. There was a modern exhibition running for the stars and enjoyed the ultimate when we visited. Entitled: “Designs for Philadelphia eating experience - a meal in Different Futures” that had us thinking the 5-Star luxury of the Four Seasons at the about all aspects of what awaits us in the Comcast Center. Located atop a 60-storey


Sunday Independent January 19 2020

SPONSORED Kevin and Anne in Philadelphia

HOW I GOT THERE - AER LINGUS Aer Lingus flies direct from Dublin to Philadelphia four times a week, increasing to daily flights for its summer schedule, with Business Class fares starting from ¤1,029 each way including taxes and charges. Economy fares start from ¤189 each way including taxes and charges. All guests flying to North America with Aer Lingus will enjoy



Located right in the heart of the city and within walking distance of all major sights, this 3-Star hotel will suit the budget-minded traveller. I enjoyed a large, spacious room with a great view of the Parkway. Overnight accommodation in a One Bedroom Suite at Embassy Suites Philadelphia Center City costs from $199 per night. For further details, visit


not-too-distant future. From human faces cloned from discarded chewing gum found on a New York street, to robots that interact as you smile at them! After the modern came the classical – and what masterpieces the PMA has! I searched until I found Rogier van der Weyden’s Crucifixion Diptych (c.1460) one of my all-time favourites. Then it was onto modern masters and Vincent van Gogh’s iconic Sunflowers, painted in Arles in 1889. (It’s kind of weird seeing the actual painting you have seen so many reproductions of, up close and personal). We even heard that the PMA did yoga classes every Wednesday at 6pm, so we went along with our towels and change of clothing just to see what it was like. It was a surreal blast! Just imagine doing yoga

Yoga in the Philadelphia Museum of Art!

surrounded by the remains of a 13th century cloister and assorted medieval artefacts! I will be returning to this unique museum as soon as I can.

Also situated in the heart of the city is the aptly named The Logan, Philadelphia’s Hotel. We stayed at this luxury hotel and enjoyed a Junior Suite with a King bed and pull-out sofa. The room offered incredible views up the Parkway towards the museums. It was a great time The Logan, staying at the Logan. I Philadelphia’s Hotel had a massage at their well-appointed spa, followed by a swim in the pool. That night, we dined on some of the best steaks you can find in the city, courtesy of Chef Mike Young, the Sous Chef at Urban Farmer, located in the hotel itself. Mike


complimentary meals and drinks, endless hours of in-flight entertainment and US Customs and Border pre-clearance at Dublin and Shannon airports. Complimentary lounge access is also available for all Business Class guests. For more information, visit

showed us just how they age their steaks and grow their mushrooms – an eye-opening experience! For travellers who want a pampered Philadelphia experience, the Logan hits the sweet spot! For more visit or call +1 215 963 2746


But if you are in Philly celebrating a special event (or just celebrating life), I could not recommend anywhere more amazing than the newly opened Four Seasons at the Comcast Center. This is a 6-Star Relax at the pool experience. I have The Four Seasons travelled extensively around the globe but have rarely seen such attention to detail. From the moment you arrive, to the personal greetings, to the way you are shown around the spa and gym, nothing is amiss. There is even an infinity pool on the top floor that has you literally swimming on top of the world! Staying at the Four Seasons really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! For more information, visit or call +1-215-419-5099



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

Left: Charles Bridge Below: Astronomical Clock

Falling in love with Prague



rague is often called ‘The City of 100 Spires’ and the second you land, you realise why. The most noticeable feature of the city is its architectural splendour. The city castles of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, the churches, town halls, and towers all command immediate attention. And attention was indeed what I gave it when I arrived, along with my two friends Eileen and Dympna, for a week-long break back in December. I never expected to fall in love with another European city, I thought cities like Berlin, Amsterdam and London had my heart, but this small Czech city bundled away in Central Europe and a two-and-a-half-hour flight away from Ireland, has truly become my favourite.

View over Prague

A PURRFECT ARRIVAL When we landed in Prague we got settled into our apartment, MH Apartments River Prague located in Smíchov. This was a perfect location for us, as it was just a 15-minute walk to the most important sights. In fact, we soon realised that we could get pretty much everywhere we wanted to go just by walking. While there are plenty of metro, trams and buses for which you can buy passes at different stations for a very small price, you can also just put on a pair of walking shoes and get to the main tourist areas within 20-30 minutes. So, with our walking shoes on, we went to see the city. The first thing that caught my eye was how preserved the city seemed to be. It felt like walking through a town from the 15th century as the old buildings have been kept so well. The city is divided into areas – Old Town, New Town, Lesser Town among many others. New Town isn’t exactly new though, it just happens to be slightly younger than Old Town by a hundred years or so! When we got to areas with the bright blue, pink and yellow buildings all around me, I thought I was in a toy town. I expected dolls to walk out and for a city famous for its puppets, that wasn’t out of the realm of possibility! As it was late, we wanted a bite to eat and we were spoiled for choice. The city is filled to the brim with top restaurants – traditional Czech, Italian, takeaways and Michelin-stars throughout the town. While we waited for a table (always make a reservation for a Saturday night!), we decided to visit the Cat Café. There are now four of these establishments throughout Prague and we couldn’t pass up the chance to chill out surrounded by beautiful cats. And surrounded we were! Wearing slippers, you can relax, drink tea or coffee, play video games and board games while at least a dozen cats

Shauna at the Lennon Wall

roam around and play. We each had our favourites and I even bought a magnet with the cutest cat on it. Cats, coffee and cake – you can’t go wrong! TOURING THE CITY The next day, we were desperate to see more of the city so we chose a Prague Walking Tour. This five-hour tour took us all the way from the historic Prague Castle to the extravagant Charles Bridge and, of course, the stunning Astronomical Clock. This medieval clock is the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. Its ornate design represents the sun and the moon, and when the clock strikes, the procession of the mechanical Twelve Apostles inside and outside the clock set in motion to ring out the hour. From medieval times to recent rock history, the tour also took us past the Lennon Wall. Being a big Beatles fan, I was as happy as can be that there was a monument for one of my rock idols, but I also learned of its political past. Its John Lennon-inspired graffiti became a symbol of resistance against communism and other political causes. The graffiti on the wall really spoke to me about how something seemingly innocuous as some drawings, could be a representation of power for those that have none. NIGHTLIFE Everything in Prague is easily accessible and close to each other. So much so that by day three, I felt like we didn’t even need

Google Maps anymore! For instance, from the Lennon Wall, it’s a very easy jaunt across Charles Bridge to the centre of Old Town, one of the biggest tourist areas. From here, it’s a simple trek to Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square which were both holding the Prague Christmas Markets at the time. The Christmas spirit was alive and well! Here we enjoyed the famous chimney cakes, especially those from the Good Food Coffee and Bakery. This rolled cone-shaped dough is grilled, topped with sugar and a walnut mix and filled with ice cream, berries, or even savoury foods – whatever your heart desires! It’s a pure Prague delight. FUN IN PRAGUE Of course, we couldn’t leave the city without trying out the entertainment. Puppets are a major part of the Czech culture, so we knew we had to find a puppet show before we left. We got more than a puppet show when we attended Mozart’s iconic opera Don Giovanni in the original Italian – but the performance was done through puppets at the National Marionette Theatre in Prague. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this spectacle. The puppeteers themselves became part of the show, as did a little puppet Mozart who kept getting more and more ‘drunk’ while introducing the different acts of the show. I could see the same opera again, sung by human beings, but I don’t think it would come close to the marionette version. One of the most magical experiences had


Sunday Independent January 19 2020


Thinking of a city break? Try these out! NEW YORK

The marionette Don Giovanni

to be the Black Light Theatre. Combining black-light theatre techniques, pantomime and dance, the performance is one big optical illusion. We went to see ‘Aspects of Alice’, a story inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland’. It felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me the whole time, as puppets and props are controlled by actors dressed in black and seem to move of their own accord. The trippy story is told only through music, expressive dance, and tricks without the use of spoken word. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and it’s not something I will forget anytime soon. The food, the people, the magical oddities of entertainment and night-time wonders all came together to create the charm of this little hidden city. I never thought it would affect me as much as it did but it has become one of my favourite places and my ticket is already booked to go back!

You have to travel to the Big Apple at least once in your life, just like I did last January. Staying in Hell’s Kitchen, we were close to local transport routes and only a short walking distance to Times Square. By using the CityPASS, I was able to get into the best attractions and skip ticket lines. From the very top of the Empire State Building to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the sights were incredible and will stay with me for a long time. If planning on a visit, buy a ticket for the crown of the Statue of Liberty – you won’t be able to look at it the same way again! Purchase a CityPASS from one of the participating New York attractions or online at For more travel ideas, see

LONDON London is just a hop and a skip across the water, but it’s a whole new world compared to Ireland. I visited back in September and my London adventure took me from Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to taking pictures at the infamous Abbey Road crossing which adorned the Beatles 1969 album, Abbey Road. From there to Oxford Street shopping and then on to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, I was in fandom heaven as I bought my wand, floated a broomstick and sat in a ‘flying car’. Well worth it for any fan! To buy tickets for Harry Potter, visit


Edinburgh has everything for any kind of traveller. I travelled there in March 2019 and was hit by how mercurial the city was. You can enjoy a relaxing, history lesson and visit Edinburgh Castle, or you can enjoy the other

side and its party city credentials. There is so much to see and do there. From funky bars such as Frankenstein, to cool nightclubs and fun tours, you will never be bored in Edinburgh. For more, visit



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent

James and Gillian at the Tongariro Crossing Tararua Ranges

Keep on adventuring “G rowing up, I loved hearing all about my mum and dad’s travels in their glory days,” says Tipperary native Gillian Lupton. “At home, my boyfriend James and I both loved hiking mountains around Ireland and almost every weekend, we would go hiking around the country or head over to Scotland, to the Munros. “Our passion for travel eventually led to a round-the-world trip, starting in June 2018. This trip included going to the Russia World Cup, trekking 4,000m and 5,000m mountains in China, and trekking two 6,000m mountains in the Himalayas in Nepal!” Gillian, from Roscrea who was working as a primary school teacher in Ireland and James, from Camross, Co Laois, are clearly adventurers at heart. After a trek around the globe, they stopped off in Sydney to earn money for a year before setting off again. But this time, it was for a once-in-a-lifetime trail which would take around four months to complete. James says, “New Zealand was always a place we wanted to visit, so when we discovered the Te Araroa trail, we knew it was perfect for us. Although when we told our family and friends we were doing it, it took them a lot more convincing than it took us they all thought we were mad!” After spending countless hours researching the trail, they found that the Te Araroa trail, meaning ‘The Long Pathway’ in the native Maori language, would take preparation. Going all the way from the northern point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga, to the southern point, Bluff, the 3,000km trail required top fitness and mental resilience. “For a thru-hike like this, the weight of your pack is what can make or break your whole trip,” says Gillian. “Every gram counts, so each item in your pack has to be very thoughtfully considered.” And while they were fit enough to do it, they were still very nervous. “We kept hearing stories of fellow hikers getting swept away by fast-flowing rivers and getting stranded in mountain huts due to changing weather conditions. It was the first time either of us had done anything like this, so the days leading up to the start were quite nerve-wracking!” BEGINNING THE TRAIL Gillian and James started the trail on 28th September 2019, and it took them 70 days to

LOOKING FOR A NEW ADVENTURE FOR 2020? WE SPEAK TO AN IRISH COUPLE CURRENTLY SEEKING A THRILL ON NEW ZEALAND’S 3,000KM TE ARAROA TRAIL ABOUT THEIR LOVE OF ADVENTURE AND WHY THEY CHOSE TO COMPLETE THIS INCREDIBLE FEAT walk the North Island finishing in Wellington. They started the South Island section on 10th January 2020, which will take between 60-70 days to complete. This means that by the end of the trail, they will have hiked for approximately 120 days. “The very first part of the trail was a fourday hike along 90 Mile Beach which only had a few water sources,” says James. “This meant in our first few days on the trail, we had to hike 12 hours a day. This section is notorious for breaking people at the very start of their 3,000km journey. People say if you can make through 90 Mile Beach, you will make it to Bluff. “A normal day consists of waking up around 6am, then heading off for the day for 10-12 hours walking with a few short snack

breaks and about an hour break for lunch. Then it’s bed before Hikers’ Midnight which is 9pm.” As they are hiking, meals are not Michelin-star quality, with most breakfasts consisting of porridge or cereal bars, and dinner is generally dehydrated peas, noodles or pasta and flavoured tuna sachets stirred in. Lunch usually consists of a wrap with either peanut butter, avocado and tuna or cheese. Gillian adds, “After eating wraps for sixty something days in a row, I can no longer look at them without wanting to throw up! We also had to share a spork for a while and let me tell you, it really tests your relationship when you have to take turns giving spoonfuls of your dinner at the end of a long day hiking!” Canoeing along the Whanganui River

NEW ZEALAND ADVENTURE Having hiked through 2,000km of New Zealand’s stunning landscapes already, Gillian and James have passed through beaches, overgrown forests, volcanoes, rivers, cities, towns, farmlands, mountain ranges and even canoed down a major river. But while the surroundings are beautiful, the hike and the places along the trail can still be dangerous. One favourite area on the North Island according to Gillian was the Tararua Ranges, just north of Wellington. “The weather changes rapidly in the mountains and we just made it through before extreme winds hit, blocking hikers for over a week. It took us four days to complete that part, hiking along ridge lines and staying in remote huts nestled in the mountains each night. The combination of the remoteness, difficulty and beauty have made this the highlight of the trip so far. “Another highlight has been the Tongariro Crossing, which is an alpine trail along a saddle of a live volcano. We were walking on the mountain used for Mount Doom in ‘Lord of the Rings’ (Mount Ngauruhoe). As we are both big fans of the trilogy, this was very special for us. We camped at the foot of the volcano and completed it over two days.” The only section of the 3,000km trail that doesn’t involve walking is the 150km canoe down Whanganui River. This large river cuts right through the densest, most remote bush land in New Zealand and James says it was so remote, they had zero contact with the outside world for six days. James says, “We hired two-person Canadian canoes and, while making our way down the river, we were surrounded by towering cliffs on both sides with hundreds of waterfalls flowing off them into the river. There are plenty of rapids on the river and luckily, we didn’t tip over unlike some people we know! The river is of such great significance to the region’s Maori people, that it was actually granted legal status as


Sunday Independent January 19 2020

Bucket list adventures

Gillian and James on the Tararua Ranges

From an Iceland glacier hike to tracking lemurs in Madagascar, Ciaran Whelan, Trade Sales and Business Development Manager for Explore, the experts in adventure travel, gives us some travel ideas for the daring travel lover 1. Iceland’s Golden Circle - “Experience the thrill of rafting the Hvita River along the Gullfoss canyon and explore the black sand beaches of the south shore. Then put on crampons and grab an ice axe and head onto the stunning Sólheimajökull glacier for a guided hike.” family-iceland-yurt-adventure

a person and so it must be treated with the greatest of respect.” A CONTINUING JOURNEY Gillian and James have another two months left on their adventure trail and they are as enthusiastic as ever. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any challenges. Gillian says, “Road walking is a part of the trail that all hikers dread due to the toll it takes on your joints and the danger of walking beside live traffic. But a roadblock that showed up towards the end of the North Island was nutrition. It’s not easy to get enough nutrients and calories on the trail and the food we carry must be light. This is why it’s important that when we reach towns, we try to eat as healthy as possible, but sometimes it can be hard.” But despite any challenges facing them, the adventurous couple say this has been the most rewarding life experience for them both. “Things become very simple and


stripped back on the trail,” continues Gillian. “It has given me such a feeling of appreciation for many people in my life including my family for being so supportive of all the crazy plans I make, to my own body for being able to undertake such a demanding trail, and of course James for the endless support and encouragement he has given to me. It has given me such an insight into real life in New Zealand, which we might not have seen travelling by bus or car. “I am already dreading the end of the trail as it will have been our entire life for five months. We will have a huge sense of accomplishment, but I know we will be sad to say goodbye to the simple lifestyle and the people that have been like family on the trail. We are halfway through, but already don’t want it to end as it has truly been the adventure of a lifetime.” For more on the Te Araroa trail, visit

2.Discover Chernobyl - “Here, you can spend a long weekend exploring the incredible abandoned sites reclaimed by nature on a Chernobyl tour in the Exclusion Zone, which was created when the Number 4 reactor exploded back in 1986. Discover the ghost town of Pripyat, the Red Forest, and the ‘New Safe Confinement’ structure around Reactor 4.” 3.Madagascar: The Lost Continent “Travel to The Lost Continent in search of exotic wildlife, contrasting cultures and spectacular scenery. Then, track the Indri lemur at sunrise to hear their morning call at Andasibe Reserve and walk in the rainforest of Ranomafana and observe various species of lemurs, chameleons and amphibians.” madagascar-wildlife-tour 4. Brazilian Amazon by boat - “This unique trip is dedicated solely to discovering the

Walk the rainforests of Ranomafana

rich ecosystem of the Amazon, journeying between the cities of Belem and Manaus by a variety of different boats. Sail along the unimaginably wide Amazon River, exploring the thriving communities living near the banks. This is certainly a trip for an active traveller who is willing to forgo higher comfort levels to experience something extraordinary.” brazilian-amazon-by-boat 5.Family Dragons and Islands of Indonesia - “Experience the best of Indonesia through the islands of Flores, Komodo, Bali and Lombok. Travel through paddy fields and thick tropical jungle, stopping to walk through ancient tribal villages that have kept their traditions over thousands of years. Board a boat for three days on the waters off the Komodo archipelago to search for the infamous Komodo dragon and climb Kelimutu Volcano for stunning views of three crater lakes, famed for its ever-changing crater lakes that change colour through the day.” family-indonesia-highlights



January 19 2020 Sunday Independent


Second-city winners

If you’re looking for destination inspiration for 2020, look no further than a ‘second city’ says Mary Denton, newly appointed CEO of Sunway Holidays. “If you look past the main tourist trails, you will be rewarded with fewer crowds, lower costs and enjoy a more authentic experience.”

Hook Head Lighthouse, Co Wexford

St Paul Cathedral, Thessaloniki, Greece


Mary continues, “Lesser-known cities that were under the radar for most travellers are now front and centre of our Sunway offering, and with good reason.” Sunway offer distinctive cultures and histories that are worth experiencing first-hand. Best of all, you can use the new Sunway, Your Holiday, Your Way, online booking system to book separate flights and hotels, according to your tastes and budgets. “These below cities prove that ‘second’ doesn’t always mean second best,” says Mary. PORTO, PORTUGAL “You have the best of both worlds in Porto,” she explains. “The city’s river banks are crowded with hip new bars and cool pavement restaurants. Cultural life includes world-class concerts at Casa de Musica and exciting art exhibitions along Rua de Miguel Bombarda. But this city is also an ancient metropolis, with cobbled streets, beautifully tiled churches and all the old-world sensibility of lazy lunchtimes and friendly locals.” THESSALONIKI, GREECE “A new destination for Sunway, Thessaloniki, is already gaining traction,” says Mary. “Dotted with historic sights but still resolutely modern, Greece’s second city is a destination worth visiting – the New York Times named it one of their top destinations for 2016. “Laid-back, yet vibrant, it’s a very walkable city. With ancient ruins rooted in the middle of the city from UNESCO sites to fascinating museums, it’s a treat

Whether it’s a short family break, a two-week holiday surrounded by Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, or if you are an ‘empty nester’ looking for a well-deserved break; then Wexford is the place to visit in 2020!

for lovers of history, combined with all the amenities of modern life too. Check out the Ladadika District, a hotspot when it comes to eating and drinking. Named after the numerous olive oil shops that used to populate the area, it was the former bazaar and central market of the city under the Ottoman rule.” KRAKOW, POLAND One of the most well-preserved cities in Europe, Krakow’s entire Old Town is classified as an UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk through the main market square, the largest medieval square in Europe, to experience Krakow’s living history. “An insider tip – if you need a break from the city, walk into Planty Park, a 52-acre park that forms a green belt around the Old Town,” says Mary. “At night, you can walk among the lit cathedrals and historic buildings, enjoy one of the many nightclubs in the Old Town or in the popular Kazimierz neighbourhood.”

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO “The urban architecture in Marrakech is so significant, that UNESCO designates it a World Heritage site,” says Mary. “On the edge of the Sahara Desert, its pink earth, palaces framed by the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, and its busy souks make it a visual and noisy city.” Highlights include the Kasbah, the 16thcentury Saadian Tombs and the beautiful Bahia Palace. “Second-city travel will reward you in a number of ways: terrific regional food, a laid-back pace and great value. allows you to choose dates, hotels and other options on cities you might not have considered before. You can build your own holiday and have all the confidence of Sunway’s high standards – they have done all the hard work for you with pre-approving hotels and other components of your trip.”

Wexford has a huge selection of family-friendly hotels that cater for children of all ages, while ensuring adults also have time to explore and discover some of the county’s many hidden treasures. For example, the recently re-vamped Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience, a new immersive visitor experience which transports the visitor back in time to experience New Ross in its former role as an emigration port. Or check out the recently opened Gothic Revival Castle at Johnstown Castle, Estate Museum & Gardens. This entirely new ‘3in-1’ attraction at the castle, museum and ornamental gardens includes a new visitor centre and café in the castle courtyard, and a new lower lake walk-and-woodland play area. There’s also a unique 86-metre-long servants’ tunnel – from the original meathouse to the castle basement and kitchens! For families, Kia Ora Mini Farm, Pirates Cove, Wells House and Hook Head Adventures are among the highlights not to be missed. Or for those who enjoy exploring the very best of the county’s vast heritage and charm, Wexford Trails is now one of Ireland’s leading trail networks that offers walking, craft, heritage and garden trails across the county.



Bucket list and family holidays

Lake Garda, Italy

If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life, are offering Camino walking holidays from just €519pp. This specialised walking holiday company will book trusted locally run hotels and pensions to give you an authentic feel of the Camino. Choose your own pace with several options for different stages of difficulty. Your bags will be transferred daily and a local team is on hand to provide emergency assistance if required. will help you find the perfect route so you can finally tick the Camino off your bucket list. For families, are offering the perfect choice to bring the kids on a holiday that will make lifelong memories. Enjoy a 3-Star Italian family holiday in Lake Garda

from only €399pp, or a 5-Star Croatian camping holiday from only €445pp with activity programmes, swimming pools and sports facilities. If a cruise is your next big expedition, then the cruise experts at have some fantastic deals. Take a bucket-list trip to Orlando for five nights and sail for seven nights on Royal Caribbean’s incredible and innovative Harmony of the Seas, including flights, for just €1,613pp. For something a bit closer to home, you can now sail directly from Dublin on Celebrity Reflection for an 11-night luxury Iceland and Irish Sea Cruise from €2,087pp. T& Cs apply. Visit, call (046) 906 8600 or email


Sunday Independent January 19 2020




TOP TRAVEL KNOWLEDGE Travel agents have in-depth knowledge of holidays after many years of booking trips for thousands of people. Sharon Harney, Product Development, Cassidy Travel, says, “Travel agents have top expertise and destination knowledge. They know the best resorts, the best properties in each resort and how to get the deals and rates to make your trip the best it can be.”


ONE-STOP-SHOP Holidays require a huge amount of planning and research before you click ‘book’ – you need to make sure you have the best-value flights, a trustworthy accommodation provider, and activities that provide the greatest experience. “Through a travel agent, you can acquire every single aspect of a holiday including flights, accommodation, transfers, activities, excursions, park tickets, insurance and more. “Let an expert deal with all aspects of the holiday, check prices and availability.

Let an expert take care of visas, vaccination information, currency information and so much more.”


KEEPING YOU SAFE The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) travel agents are fully bonded and licenced for their customers’ protection. This means that, no matter what happens, from flight cancellations to your event or match abroad being cancelled,

your holiday is fully secure. “Travel agents have an agency bond that covers all possible extreme situations such as a third-party company (airline or tour operator) ceasing operation,” says Sharon. “You get assistance in case of overbooking or cancellation by suppliers, an out-of-office hours emergency number and immediate assistance in case of strikes or other sudden travel disruptions.” Agents are constantly informed about

most destinations, so if any destination becomes risky due to natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, fires etc) or political instability, agents can make appropriate arrangements to change destination or organise refunds where possible. Cassidy Travel have been exhibiting with Holiday World Show for the 30 years of the Show. To book a holiday with Cassidy Travel, visit


January 19 2020 Sunday Independent