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Home & Away with Robert Walshe Scheduled and charter airlines improved their punctuality at the UK’s 10 biggest airports in the first quarter of this year as the number of services fell. Figures released showed that the proportion of flights leaving on time rose 11 percentage points to 81 per cent compared with the same period in 2008. However, the number of flights decreased by nine per cent, while passenger numbers were down 11 per cent year-on-year. Heathrow and London City airports showed the biggest improvements in punctuality. BMI Baby has put the first part of its summer 2010 flying programme on sale. The schedule includes flights from East Midlands, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff airports to seven Mediterranean gateways: Alicante, Faro, Malaga, Murcia, Palma, Menorca and Majorca. Prices for the flights run from April 19 to October 23, 2010 and start from £36.99 one-way including taxes and charges.

Holiday Hotspot Oz-Bus, the epic overland bus service from London to Sydney, is

re-launching targeting adventurers from 16 to 60 plus. Oz-Bus was successfully launched in 2007 as one single bus that took its passengers from London to Sydney on an adventure journey for the intrepid that required individuals to provide personal camping equipment. Under new ownership and management, the Oz-Bus concept has been completely overhauled to offer an adventure-trip-of-a-lifetime that uses local operators in 18 countries over 90 days. Oz-Bus now uses small, clean local hostels and hotels all the way to Australia. A maximum of 30 passengers will be taken per departure enjoying destinations such as Istanbul, Esfahan (Iran), Delhi, Kathmandhu, Bangkok, Ko Samui and Bali.  Running once a month between February and September, Oz-Bus will run eight London-Sydney departures in 2010, and – also for the first time ever – two Sydney-London departures. The cost of the trip is £4,399 per person including all transport between London and Sydney, accommodation every night, daily breakfast, experienced tour leader, and some meals. There is a New Year’s Eve special arrival in Sydney, departing the UK on September 27 including extra travel opportunities.

Weekend Hotspot

n Oz bus in Middle East

A recent trip to Aherne’s Townhouse and Restaurant in Youghal, Co Cork reminded me how wonderful this family run business is 20 years later. As a lover of seafood I suddenly realised why the Fitzgibbon brothers and their partners run

the finest seafood establishment on the island of Ireland. The Sir Walter Raleigh and movie Moby Dick connection with Youghal are reasons why many tourists visit this seaside town annually but would hazard a guess that the name “Ahernes” wins by a mile! Recently voted one of “Irelands most Romantic Restaurants” by the Bridgestone Guide, it is seafood that Aherne’s Restaurant is famous for. The property comprises a bar, cocktail bar and formal restaurant, breakfast room, drawing room and 10 bedrooms. The rooms are beautifully furnished and exactly what is pictured on the website. They are also luxurious and well appointed with a mixture of contemporary and antique pieces. The bathrooms are large and spotlessly clean and the breakfast was very fresh and cooked to order, no tired buffet here! Alongside the Irish cooked breakfast were poached pears, fresh strawberries, rhubarb and two types of grilled fish. Dinner was superb, with a huge seafood selection, set in the newly refurbished restaurant, menu options included roast monkfish, whole grilled sole, turbot, seared scallops with monkfish and prawns served on Wedgwood crockery. Youghal and the surrounding area is a year-round holiday destination and there is a wide variety of things to do. The town is centrally located between Cork and Waterford and the fantastic beaches are the first and greatest attraction of the region. Staff of Ahernes Townhouse and Restaurant guarantee an unforgettable experience in the Irish Rivera. www.

Pet’s Corner... with Kathleen Murray

with Kathleen Murray: Animal Behavioural Therapist

Losing touch with nature ARE we losing touch with nature? Growing up in Letterkenny is not what it used to be. Not that long ago, before Letterkenny exploded into a mass of buildings of all kinds, there were places to play, not far from home. There was access to streams, trees, fields, people and animals. That has changed. The county in general is very different now. In the more built-up areas children don’t have access to climbing trees, playing with frogs, tadpoles, neighbours or parents, in many cases, anymore or just being around animals in a nonthreatening way. These experiences are healthy, outdoor, natural and educational but unfortunately they are not that available anymore (the simple things that don’t cost money). When you don’t experience this as a child it can leave gaps in development. Sitting at home playing games on a computer or running the streets

aimlessly doesn’t give you the experiences or health benefits of a safe, natural and social environment. Movement, emotions, coping skills, sharing, falling, get back up again, laughing, being supported by family and friends, fresh air… these are all really important things. Mental and physical health is important. It is also important to the animals that are sharing your home. Running, jumping, playing, learning how to behave around others,

and being part of a social group is important to these animals. Staying in touch with nature, appreciating the simple things and respecting the importance of it all, is vital to a healthy community. People and animals share the community, always did and always will. Many people have lost touch with nature and in turn many animals are doing the same. This is sad. Community is all we have so we need to bring children and animals up in a healthy way in order to preserve it. This is easier said than done in the changing times we live in, but it is so important. If you feel that you have lost touch with nature, are feeling isolated or you are not providing a natural environment for your children or animals, then think about what you could do to change that… even in the smallest way. It’ll be worth it for yourself and also for all the people and animals around you.

Home and Away Extra

n Aherne’s Youghal , Co Cork.

Weekly Best Buy The Ice House in Ballina, Co Mayo is offering a two-bedroom family suite from Sunday to Thursday for €370, including dinner in the Pier restaurant one evening and breakfast each day. 096- 23500, Emerald Star has 20 per cent cruiser hire discounts in July www.emeraldstar. ie . American Holidays has a week on the Massachusetts coast from €672 based on four sharing www. The newest designer hotel in Naples, Romeo, has teamed up with the Madre museum of contemporary art to offer a package for a Francesco Clemente exhibition running until October 12. The package costs €274 per night for two and includes a sea-view room, breakfast, a limited-edition gift, free entry to the exhibition and a 20 per cent discount in the Daniela Steiner Spa www.romeohotel. it. Combine cooking and learning a language for a different type of summer holiday. A trip to Florence getting to grips with Italian in the morning, costs from €405

Irish Ferries are currently offering discounts ranging from €846 up to €1,429 on 13 and 14 night stays at the French holiday village resort of Port Bourgenay in Vendee and at the Port de Crouesty holiday village in Brittany. Offer applies on selected sailings in July and August depending on the resort. Looking ahead to Christmas, Irish Ferries passengers passing through Cherbourg this summer can avail of an exclusive discount on wine purchases which the company has negotiated with the local Normandie Wine Warehouse. By showing their Irish Ferries booking confirmation, wine buffs can get a 7.5 per cent discount on a case of 12 bottles increasing to 10.5 per cent on 120 bottles and more and 12.5 per cent on 300 bottles and over. See Donegal has been named as one of the worlds top 10 “charming small towns “by Taking your kids on holiday is more stressful than full time work according to Comedy legend John Cleese will be one of the stars appearing on Silver Sea’s new Silver Spirit ship. Cleese will recount anecdotes about his long career in comedy on February 20, 2010, as part of Silver Spirit’s 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage, which departs from Fort Lauderdale on January 21, 2010. Enter the social networking arena with the launch of Twitter and Facebook. The website will twitter exclusive special offers and deals that will not be available anywhere else. Robert Walshe is a freelance contributor / broadcaster to travel publications and radio programmes across Ireland and the UK.

Home and Away July 7th 2009  

Weekly Best Buy Holiday Hotspot with Kathleen Murray TUESDAY 7 JULY 2009 Robert Walshe is a freelance contribu- tor / broadcaster to travel...

Home and Away July 7th 2009  

Weekly Best Buy Holiday Hotspot with Kathleen Murray TUESDAY 7 JULY 2009 Robert Walshe is a freelance contribu- tor / broadcaster to travel...