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Home & Away with Robert Walshe AIR New Zealand passengers will soon have the option to lay across two seats by buying the empty seat beside them at a much cheaper price and converting both seats into near-flat positions. One of the silver linings of the recession is that airlines are so desperate for business nowadays; it has become much cheaper to fly at the front of the plane. Aer Lingus has slashed business fares by as much as 60pc on its upgraded service, while American carrier Spirit Airlines is offering business seats for as little as $35 (€23) on a first-come, first-served basis at the airport. Getting work done on a long-haul flight should also become easier next year as more airlines move to introduce Wi-Fi and power sockets on all flights. Virgin Airlines is ahead of most of its competitors with standard power points at every seat on its planes, which means your laptop won’t run out of fuel during a long flight. The New Year is likely to do away with paper boarding passes too. Continental Airlines is already allowing travelers with devices such as Blackberry’s and iPhones to download their boarding passes then allow security to scan them direct from their personal screen at 28 airports, including Newark. Other airlines are likely to follow, making the entire flight process paperless. If your dream of booking a credit crunch holiday this year is being ruined by the stress of finding the best deals, don your slippers, grab a cup of tea and let frugalcrew. com take care of the hard work for you. The new consumer website, which has launched this autumn, has hundreds of money saving deals and tips on where to find travel bargains. Qatar Airways continued its expansion into India with the launch of its second route within two weeks – to the idyllic beach holiday destination of Goa. The new nonstop Doha – Goa route capitalises on the start of the winter holiday season with the destination particularly popular with holidaymakers from across Europe, from where Qatar Airways has excellent connecting flights.

Weekend Hotspot The city of Newcastle or as it’s also known in England, ‘Newcastle Upon Tyne’ sits upon the north bank of the river Tyne and provides some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes. The city is a bustling and vibrant environment which offers something for everyone. You will never be bored when visiting. In fact Newcastle was voted as Europe’s party capital in 2007 boasting the widest array of quality clubs, bars and lounges in this part of the England. The drinks are cheap and the opening hours long and most importantly the inhabitants live up to their reputation of being open and friendly no matter where you are from. Other than a vibrant nightlife, Newcastle has plenty in the way of things to


see. There is the Theatre Royal, an elegant Georgian Building located at the top of Grey Street, in which one can see a show or two. The Laing Art Gallery and the newly renovated Baltic Flour Mill are worth a visit to see some of the best classic and modern art. The Discovery Museum is a laugh for children and can be interesting for older in■ Newcastle Gateshead dividuals also, with its free Milenium Bridge admission making it excellent value. For sports fans, there is St James’ Park, ■ Disneylan d Paris where the football teams, Newcastle United play. way, this winter. A The Tyne Bridge is definitely the deal of three nights for the most popular place of interest in price of two means that a all Newcastle. It connects Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead weekend in Connemara will cost from €150pps, includand remains the regions most ing dinner one evening, until popular attraction. Many people Christmas. www.sinnotthowill have walked the streets of The Baglioni Hotel Newcastle without ever knowing in London offers the opporwhat lies a few feet beneath them. tunity to forget the daily The Victoria tunnel is a wagon routine and to fully live the way that runs for three miles underneath Newcastle city centre. holidays with different offers to satisfy every possiVolunteer guides now run guided ble need. walks for small groups (choice of Their “ New Year Packhalf hour or two hours) and bring its history alive with infectious enage “ running until January 11th 2010 includes a champagne thusiasm. The city is a magnet for hen and stag parties breakfast for two either in room or at the Brunello restaurant and two shopping vouchand its hotels boast an open door policy. ers for a 15% off every item in stock by Harvey Weekly Best Buy Nicholls, the luxury department store, internationally known and appreciated, with offers Abbey Travel is the official Irish agent in Ire- starting from £299. There land for Disneyland Paris and can offer the best is a little known fact, and it may be naughty to advice for hotel accommodation, transfers and say, but Hogmanay really started at Cashel in flights from Ireland to Paris. They are offering Connemara. Then the Scots “borrowed” it! So Family Packages for 3 nights/4 days from €96 be naughty and indulge, forget the “R” word unper adult per night. Price includes: 3 nights stay less it is Relax; Rejuvenate and Rest. Experience at Disney’s 2* Cheyenne hotel, 4 days entry the unique hospitality, fresh food and cosy atto both Disney Parks and free meals for the mosphere of this genuine Irish Country House whole family on selected dates between now Hotel for your New Year celebration. www. and March 2010. For more unbeatable value, Meanwhile another Blue remember that kids under 7 stay and play free Book member in Cork celebrates the arrival and from the 3rd January to the 1st April 2010 of 2010. Wine and Dine in Ballymaloe Country kids under 12 are also eligible to stay and play House and enjoy dinner, bed and breakfast infree. You should find some cluded with afternoon tea and cake during your great value at bed and breakfasts over the win- stay along with a celebratory drink and dancter. Many B&Bs around the country are offering ing on New Years Eve night.. Act as a spectator a 10 per cent discount, and in some cases an or join in with the local hunt as it departs from extra night free. Prices start at €25pps. See the Ballymaloe on New Year’s Day, chose to put on special offers on You can your riding boots or wrap your hands around a watch the wild Atlantic seas from the warmth warming glass of mulled wine as the hounds get of the Connemara Coast Hotel, in Furbo, Co Gal- excited.

Pet’s Corner...

with Kathleen Murray

with Kathleen Murray: Animal Behavioural Therapist

Preparing for Christmas WHAT do animals need at Christmas? Peace! They need the same routine that they have every other day of the year. They need normality. It is very important for animals that live in the home, especially, to be able to get up and go to the toilet, get breakfast and totter about just like they do normally. Animals don’t know about Christmas, they just see that there is a lot of excitement or panic going on. People get frustrated at the thought of organising stuff, they are under pressure, and this year there may be a lot of people under the weather due to financial problems as well. Animals get upset by all of that. They can become confused and start acting up because they don’t know how to handle it. One day the house is quiet, the next day it is like a train station. People are drinking

and bumping into things, wanting to “pet the dog” or cat and this can be a frightening experience for an animal. If people get bitten under these circumstances then it should be no surprise to anyone. Sometimes people decide to give the dog some beer too. This can be very dangerous for a dog and it is very stupid and cruel for people to do this as the dog will get confused and may go to the toilet in the house or bite someone as it is scared and unstable. It could also fall and hurt itself or walk out in front of a car. Some people give the animals crisps, chocolate, turkey, big dinners or toys that could choke it. The veterinary surgeries never fail to see dogs that have “not enjoyed Christmas” at all. They see anything from vomiting due to over-eating, animals being fed

stuff that didn’t agree with them, to animals having to be operated on because they ate a toy, Christmas tree decoration, a piece of a board game or something else. Chocolate, as most people know, is toxic for dogs so make sure that the boxes of chocs are well out of reach. They could kill your dog if they feast on them. The main thing to remember is to keep your animals as close to their normal routine and food as you can and don’t forget that they also still need to be exercised. If there is a party going on then ask your friends not to indulge the animals. If this doesn’t work then put the animals in another room for their own safety, well being… and peace. Happy Christmas to you all and to your animals.

Home and Away Extra THE former Royal Scottish Automobile Club in Glasgow has been transformed into a luxurious five star hotel a year later than originally planned. A £25 million redevelopment has seen the building become Blythswood Square. The work carried out by boutique hotel group, The Town House Collection. The 100-room property joins four hotels in Edinburgh – The Bonham, Channings, The Howard and The Edinburgh Residence - owned by the company. Going on a cruise? To cut your risk of getting sick while sailing the high seas, avoid using the ship’s public bathrooms, according to a U.S. study, reported by Reuters. Researchers found that only 37 percent of 273 randomly selected public restrooms on cruise ships that were checked on 1,546 occasions were cleaned at least daily, with the toilet seat the best cleaned of six evaluated objects. On 275 occasions no objects in a restroom were cleaned for at least 24 hours with baby changing tables found to be the least thoroughly cleaned object. London is to get a new ‘townhouse hotel’ in time for Christmas with the opening of The Arch London. The hotel has 82 rooms and nine suites and is already a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Pride of Britain. NCL Freestyle Cruising is giving guests the chance to take their festive celebrations to sea with a choice of 15 sailings this Christmas and New Year. With seasonal cruises across Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii, South America, Mexican Riviera and the Panama Canal, guests can take their pick from a wide range of warming winter escapes. NCL goes all out on festivities so ships are decorated throughout and offer interactive holiday shows, on-board carols and Christmas Eve services - and on Christmas Day itself, guests can indulge in a holiday-themed menu. www. British Airways is adding an additional flight to Shanghai from December with frequency on the London route rising from five to six flights a week from December 4. The decision has been taken due to increased customer demand over the past year. Robert Walsh is a freelance contributor / broadcaster and is guest travel writer for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland

Home and Away Dec 21st 2009 All Titles  

Weekly Best Buy deal of three nights for the price of two means that a weekend in Connemara will cost from €150pps, includ- ing dinner one e...

Home and Away Dec 21st 2009 All Titles  

Weekly Best Buy deal of three nights for the price of two means that a weekend in Connemara will cost from €150pps, includ- ing dinner one e...