Home & Away with Robert Walshe A consumer watchdog is urging holidaymakers considering trips to Greece to book packages to ensure their money is protected if the country exits the eurozone this summer. Which? is warning its readers that packages booked through UK tour operators are a safer bet than booking flights and accommodation separately. It went on to say that holidaymakers who do book independent trips should pay by credit card, so they will be guaranteed refunds if things do go wrong, and to buy travel insurance with supplier failure cover. It is hoping that recent price reductions by hoteliers and restaurants will lure more tourists who might otherwise be put off by Greece’s financial and political instability.
Weekend Hotspot Rathmullan House Co Donegal
Rathmullan House, Co Donegal is an elegant 1820s mansion set on a three-mile stretch of sandy beach, one of the best in the county. Built as the summer residence of the Knox family, it has been owned and run as a hotel by the Wheeler brothers and their wives since the mid-1960s. Right by gorgeous Loch Swilly, the hotel is moments from a sandy beach and Rathmullan, one of the prettiest villages in Donegal. Every one of the 32 ensuite bedrooms is different, each one with its own individual décor, appropriate antiques and the most splendidly comfortable beds. All budgets and tastes are catered for with superior rooms, standard rooms, single rooms and interconnecting rooms for families - and even a special doggie room, complete with its own bed! Downstairs a series of interconnecting living-rooms, including a library and a bar, have expansive sofas, roaring fires and in the spring
& summer months there’s a cellar bar and terrace. The hotel’s award-winning Weeping Elm restaurant is one of Co Donegal’s finest which is overseen by the Wheeler family personally collaborating closely with the hotel gardener, on seasonal produce. From their menu I selected Mulroy Bay scallops with crubbens, celeriac remoulade for starters and for main course I still think of the seared loin and braised shank of Pat Patton’s Rathmullan lamb, pea and parmesan fritter, carrots with cumin, lamb jus. Locally caught fish and seafood are specialties and the fillet of Maurice Kettyle’s dry aged Hereford beef, homemade corned beef, smoked beetroot fondant, horseradish puree, chicory and watercress is highly recommended also. To work off all that excessive eating you can enjoy the heated indoor pool, steam room and holistic treatments, available in-room. For those lucky enough to spend an extra long weekend at Rathmullan House remember you can explore the mountains, lakes and woods in nearby Glenveagh National Park, or take your pick from Donegal’s 1,000km of staggeringly beautiful coastline. The coastal path at Horn Head, a short drive away, combines miles of deserted white sand beach with breathtaking cliff top views. If you pay your bill in Sterling cash, Rathmullan will offer you a set exchange rate of 25%.This offer applies to Sterling cash only, not applicable for card payments or payments in any currency other than Sterling (UK Pounds). Rathmullan House is a leading member of. Ireland’s Blue Book a divine collection of Irish Country House Hotels, Manor Houses, Castles and Restaurants. Located throughout the island of these charming and stylish hideaways are the
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perfect choices for your staycation. Remember you can choose from over 40 elegant Georgian manors, stately castles, historic hotels, cozy B+B accommodations, luxury boutique hotels and designer lodges. Ireland’s Blue Book is also a member of Historic Hotels of Europe. http:// www.irelands-blue-book.ie/ rathmullan
Weekly Best Buy
Located in the heart of a magnificent estate just 3km from Cavan town, the Radisson Blu Farnham Estate is a contemporary and stylish hotel, full of country charm and character, surrounded by natural beauty among acres of rolling countryside. This summer take yourselves off for a more grownup break with the Ultimate Couple’s Package. Start this experience with a Gommage marine scrub on the Hamman Table before a relaxing hydrotherapy bath, to leave you refreshed and relaxed. Next, you will both enjoy the serial mud chamber, where you are covered in mud as the chamber gradually
warms. As the mud dries, it removes toxins from the skin. Steam then gently fills the chamber to soften the mud, before a warm shower is dispensed from the ceiling to wash away the mud, leaving your skin feeling luxuriously soft and smooth. Complete this wonderful experience with a massage each side by side. Enjoy full use of the thermal suite and pool (which are both adults only) and a light lunch before spending the rest of your stay exploring the numerous walking trails around the estate, playing golf or having a
few drinks on the sun terrace. The Couples Retreat includes overnight luxury accommodation and Super Buffet Breakfast from €210 per person sharing midweek/€235.00 per person sharing weekend www.farnhamestate.ie Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ “kids stay for free” summer promotion offers a great start to a memorable summer holiday. From Up to 2nd September, all kids up to the age of 16 stay for free in Mövenpick’s European hotels, (e.g. in Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague or Izmir) when sharing with their parents or staying in an interconnecting second room (e.g. in Stuttgart or Frankfurt). Big smiles are guaranteed upon arrival: All kids will receive a T-shirt saying: “If you can read this, you have to buy me an ice cream”; and an ice cream voucher with which they can choose from any
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Mövenpick ice cream flavour at the restaurant for lunch or dinner. Kids are also invited to enter a competition to win a holiday for their family, by painting their favourite menu at the restaurant. The most creative paintings will win a family vacation to Egerkingen, Den Haag or Prague. The winning paintings will also be published on the Mövenpick facebook page and website, and will appear later on the kids menu cards of the restaurants. www.moevenpickhotels.com/europe Robert Walshe is a freelance contributor / broadcaster and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland. www.robertwalshe.com
Home and Away Extra The world’s top hotel, according to customers of booking site Expedia, is in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia in Eastern Europe.Marrol’s Boutique Hotel topped the company’s 2012 Insider Select list, compiled using 500,000 guest reviews of 150,000 hotels offered on Expedia websites. Guests claimed the Marrol stood out for its room benefits, including free minibar and computers, and the hotel’s “superior level of personal customer service”. A fur-
ther seven hotels in Eastern Europe made it into the top 100 list, whereas only four properties in the UK made the cut. Scotland outperformed the rest of the UK with Aberdeen’s Hilton Garden Inn hotel coming in fourth place. The Knight Residence in Edinburgh ranked 41 in the global list. London secured 10 hotels in the top 650 Insider Select list, the highest ranking of which was the InterContinental on Park Lane which scored 31.
with Kathleen Murray
How much is that doggy in the window? A dog is an expensive animal to keep sometimes over it’s lifetime, but it has as many benefits as it has flaws. A dog will cost you emotionally, physically and mentally as well as in the pocket, but you’ll be a better person at the end of it… if you have looked after it properly and responsibly that is, and not cost it it’s life in the meantime. It will pay you back in ways that may surprise you. A dog will never judge you the way a human will so your dog can be your therapist and companion all-in-one. For people that are stressed or worried, a dog makes a great listener and it’s always up for giving you affection. For people that like a perfect home with a perfect family etc a dog can bring some reality to the situation. It can teach them that there is no
perfect thing or being on this planet but that there are a lot of good times to be had while you’re getting over the shock. For anxious, obsessive personalities a dog can bring out the more relaxed and willing to try something new side of you. It may have been hidden for quite a while but the dog will find it. A dog can teach you that you can’t be anxious all the time and that being calm is safe and good for you. Other people will find you more approachable and enjoy that side of you that they don’t often get to see. If you are a cleaning freak then a dog will teach you that it isn’t them that’s going to kill you. It will be a heart attack from the stress that you put on yourself trying to keep up… and for what.? A dog is great at challenging the actions and be-
liefs in people that they thought were set in concrete… or if you have just become set in your ways, or in a rut.
New life A dog brings new life to people and situations. It helps you to enjoy the simple, important things in life that money can’t buy. Love, overcoming challenges, patience, fresh air, good working partnerships, loyalty, fun, trust, coping skills, confidence in your abilities to learn new skills, compassion, gets you out of the house and back into life etc. For relaxed, laid back personalities a dog can get you up and onto your feet. It can make you move and find new things to enjoy in your natural relaxed manner. It will be good for your mind. You won’t lay about all day if there’s
a dog in the house. It will be good for your heart and health in general. People with depression, temporary illnesses and setbacks can recover better with the help of a dog in many cases. The dog needs to be taken care of and looked after throughout it’s lifetime obviously, but in return it will give you experiences and memories that many people will cherish for their lifetime. Always remember that a dog will devote
itself to it’s owner and would never intentionally do something to upset it’s owner so it’s owner needs to be worthy of that devotion by taking it’s care seriously. Learn how to look after a dog properly and the dog will look after you. When your dog misbehaves it’s a sign that there’s something that you need to work on, so enjoy the lesson. That’s one of the dogs ways of paying for itself. Free four legged therapy 24/7.