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Home & Away with Robert Walshe Newcomer to the Irish pet insurance market, Blue Insurances launched announced a new low cost quality pet insurance website protecting owners against unforeseen financial circumstances relating to their pets, be it pedigree or non-pedigree dogs and cats. Providing a choice of three policies to cater for different Irish household budgets, pet owners can rest assured that their favourite pet will receive the best of medical care whenever the need occurs. plans are extensive and cover dogs and cats against a wide range of circumstances including veterinary bills, third party liability, death benefit, kennel / cattery fees, holiday cancellation and lost and found ads. They also offer optional extras such as overseas travel which includes quarantine cover, emergency repatriation and loss of passport on their Premier and Premier plus Cover Levels.

Weekend Hotspot

In just half a century the Relais & Chateaux brand has established itself as the ultimate benchmark for charming hotels and international culinary excellence and I had the pleasure recently of experiencing one of their signature properties in the UK at Lucknam Park in the depths of Wiltshire near the Royal city of Bath. This 17th Century mansion set in 500 acres of listed parkland and gardens all manicured to perfection has been lovingly restored and stands majestically at the end of a long avenue of lime and beech trees. During the Second World War they were deployed as camouflage by a wealthy Englishman called James Wallis who built the central part of the house with the fortune he made from importing tobacco from Virginia USA to England in the late 1600s. Fresh flowers and roaring log fires in the groundfloor public rooms help ease the transition from check-in to chill-out. 41 spacious bedrooms (including 13 impressive suites) provide the perfect ambiance in which to relax and unwind. All are individually designed with marble bathrooms and each one offers splendid views across the park or courtyard. Some rooms have open fireplaces and sturdy fourposter beds. The Park Restaurant is spacious and intimate with crys-


tal chandeliers and fine views across the grounds. Michelinstarred head chef Hywel Jones is assisted by this year’s Roux scholar, Richi Desai. Both have won n Lucknam P numerous ark awards and h they present Bat k, Par m kna n The Spa at Luc exceptional cuisine.The restaurant occupies a former mornballroom within this 17th century ing., Standard mansion and a menu that offers ei- rooms £395, ther a la carte or a 7 course gourmet deluxe £545 tasting extravaganza which I had. & suites from The flavours were well thought out, £725. The best balanced, and beautifully executed thing about on the plate .A wonderful sommelier Lucknam is made our evening excellent pairing that while it wine. for the occasion. Lucknam oozes elegance, Park also has a luxury spa with su- the staffs are n The Park Resteraunt Lucknam Park perb facilities in an elegant Geor- hospitable and gian setting. This is the best facility everything is of its kind in the UK & Ireland and run with such right up there with the finest in Asia. ease that you Each room is individually designed barely even city with floor to ceiling windows in and has a view across the park or notice that you’ve arrived. Relais & all rooms. The Radisson Blu also ofover the courtyard. There are nine Chateaux properties in Ireland in- fers a 5* Edinburgh based property therapy rooms, including a couple’s clude Marlfield House, Cliff House & with rooms looking out to the Royal suite, but the spa is very popular lo- Sheen Falls Lodge. www.relaischa- Mile, Arthurs Seat and the Firth of cally, so it’s best to book treatments Forth. Positioned half way between in advance You can easily spend two The Scottish Parliament and Edinor three hours lounging around the burgh Castle, this is the perfect hotel pool and using the thermal cabins. Weekly Best Buy from which to explore Scotland’s The indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy Stena Line is offering Northern Ire- capital city from just £130. Also lopool is great fun providing jets and land holidaymakers the chance to cated on Edinburgh’s Historic Royal massage showers while the 20-me- escape to Scotland for an indulgent Mile is the designer 5* Hotel Missoni tre indoor pool under a glass roof break that won’t break the bank. The where customers can stay from just is double-skinned with heaters. . leading ferry company is now offer- £155. Those customers who fancy a This means that the air temperature ing short breaks to a range of luxury break away for the city can travel to around the pool remains consistently properties including Cameron House the 5* Cameron House in Loch Lowarm. Along one wall of the pool, in Loch Lomond, Hotel Missoni in mond and enjoy its stunning Highset just above the water, is a 4-metre Edinburgh and the Radisson Blu land views and roaring open fires. panel of flickering gas fire. The coun- in Glasgow or Edinburgh from just Whether you enjoy fine dining, loch try escape package at Lucknam Park £125 per person, per night includ- cruises, golf or spa breaks Cameron is inclusive of fruit and hand made ing breakfast and return ferry travel House will offer you legendary Scotchocolates in your room on arrival, by car. Customers can stay at the 5* tish hospitality at it’s very finest two dining experiences, three course Radisson Blu in Glasgow from just from just £165. dinner for two in the Michelin starred £125. The award winning architecRobert Walshe is a freelance restaurant The Park and an a la carte tural gem is set in the heart of the contributor / broadcaster and is dinner for two in the contemporary city centre, within walking distance guest travel writer for River Media and stylish Brasserie, accommoda- of some of the best shopping in the newspaper titles across the island tion and full English breakfast each UK and boasts stunning views of the of Ireland 

Pet’s Corner...

Home and Away Extra No traffic jams, no queues, plentiful car parking. wonderful gifts, services, delicious food & wines all under one roof… In recent months, Longueville House in Mallow, Co Cork has been gathering designers & trinkets that are both fashionable & affordable all conveniently made available to you, for your home or as thoughtful Christmas gifts. There will be stunning jewellery, glad rags, sassy shoes & handbags, kiddie’s toys & clothing, beauty products, fragrances & candles, interior design accessories, Irish designed lingerie, artisan festive food & more! Enjoy the bubbly, mulled wine, or non alcoholic punch and tasty nibbles on arrival. Special B&B Rates from €75 per person sharing. Single occupancy €100 B&B. www.

with Kathleen Murray

Stolen or missing dogs with Kathleen Murray: Animal Behavioural Therapist

Lots of dogs are missing from their homes. Some of them have been stolen, some have had accidents, some have been shot for chasing sheep, some have wandered off and haven’t returned, maybe because someone else has taken them in or sold them on. If you find a dog then please report it as someone may be looking for it. If you suspect that your dog has been stolen then please give a full description at your local Garda station. Records are kept of stolen dogs and this is very important in case the dog ever shows up some-

where further down the line. Micro-chipping dogs is very important as this will speed up the return of the dog... if it hasn’t fallen into the wrong hands. It is also very important to check the papers to see if you’re dog is being advertised as a dog for sale. If a dog fits the description of the one you have lost then ring up and ask about the dog to see if you can get any information that would help... or go along and see the dog yourself. You never know. Lots of dogs are stolen and then sold on to new people. If you have just bought a dog and are in any way suspicious about it

then ask your local vet to scan it to see if it has a microchip. This will give the details of the previous owner and you can ring them. They may not be the people you just bought the dog from. There are people that try to remove microchips from the dogs so that they cannot be traced. These people are heartless thieves and anyone with any information should give it to the guards in confidence. It is always wise also to watch out for vans or any vehicle that is acting in a suspicious way and have it checked out. It may be on a quiet road late at night, it may me crawl-

ing along observing houses, it may have several dogs in the back of it. It is no harm to have it checked out by the guards. Common sense will tell you if it is just a family dog situation. Some people have 4 or 5 five dogs or more and may be taking them out for exercise or something but these kinds of people are usually known in an area by the locals anyway, so it won’t be hard to spot the difference in that situation and an actual dog theft situation. Precautions should be taken by dog owners especially at this time of year. It is very

easy to steal a dog on a dark evening. Always know where your dog is and if you are going out or away from home for any length of time then please make sure that your dog is either being watched or under lock and key. Dogs have been stolen from dog runs, they have been sto-

len while people were at mass, they have been stolen right in front of their owners in their own garden. Thieves are fast and have no conscience so it’s up to the owner to make sure that their dog is safe at all times. It can be a very upsetting experience to lose a family pet.


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