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Home & Away with Robert Walshe appetite for breaks away never seems to wane. Data from hotel and leisure specialist,, reveals the Irish as the second highest spenders in Europe when it comes to city breaks abroad this autumn. For city break bookings this year from September 1st to November 20th, people in Ireland have forked out an average €551 per person, falling just short of top spenders Germany on €631. Despite having to keep a close eye on finances we are spending 16% higher than the European average of €475, with Spain and Italy spending the least. It seems the appeal of warm weather, cold beer and Spanish tapas never loses its charm when faced with this year’s wash out Irish summer. Barcelona is a firm favourite for an autumn city break followed by Paris and Rome. For last minute trips the most popular destinations are Barcelona, Rome and Amsterdam respectively. Overall Europe’s most favoured destination this autumn has been London.

Weekend Hotspot kilworthhouse Set within 38 acres of beautiful roaming landscapes, Kilworth House in Leicestershire is a magnificent period hotel with a truly relaxing, warm atmosphere making you feel right at home. Here, in an imposing lateVictorian mansion, with matching new wing, was an extravagant interior, a jaw dropping glass-and-iron Orangery, palatial bedrooms, and a mixture of antique & contemporary furniture perfectly matched. Kilworth House was built in the 1880s by the High

Sheriff of Leicestershire, John Entwistle, as a fitting home for his position in society at the time. Like many houses of this period, it was designed for entertaining: dinners, balls and charitable functions attended by the well-to-do of the area. But by the First World War, its heyday was over, and since Entwistle had no children, the house went quiet, seeing no family life until the 1960s, when it was sold after the death of his second wife. In 1999 Richard McKay, a successful tour operator, and his theatrical wife, Celia, bought and meticulously restored the muchaltered listed building and its amazing Orangery. It’s a huge building with airy rooms and an abundance of space in both guest rooms and in common areas such as the living & dining rooms. Bedrooms are named after poets & writers with framed examples of their work on the walls; our spacious Kipling suite had a canopied bed and huge bathroom with free standing Victorian repro-style bath and washstand. I was fascinated to find a dolls’ house in our sitting room bedroom opens to reveal a television All the rooms come with excellent facilities including the Internet, T.V and lovely bright bathrooms. For a Saturday evening, the orangery was buzzing as you would expect with locals in particular wanting to be seen dining in such salubrious surroundings. Service, from the senior staff was on the money and the food offering I would describe as country wholesome with a good starter of Scotch egg with feta & beetroot and a 10oz rump steak served on an awkward wooden dish with pepper

Pet’s Corner...

When people buy a dog for themselves or for others they sometimes underestimate the overall cost of the product they have just invested in. Looking at a dog as a product is good when you are trying to get a proper picture of the cost. There should be no emotion involved as this is what often gets in the way of common sense, causes ill feeling in families and gets many dogs killed. Lets say the product initially costs €300 - €1000. This is the price that is put on many pedigree dogs today (way over priced). Proper breeders don’t actually make any money but puppy farmers make lots of money at the expense of the animals and families they end up in. Some people charge these prices for cross breeds... amazing. The average person

is taken for a fool by these gimmicks. A mongrel dog should be free to a good home even if it is the prettiest thing you ever saw. Rescue dogs need to be charged for as a lot of money is often put into them (vaccinations, neutering etc) during their stay in the foster home. This is where people should be getting their dogs from. Back to the cost... initial investment in an average dog. After the initial investment you now have to invest further in feeding, worming, vaccinations, neutering, bedding, toys, kennel fees, training classes, poop scoop and bags, health insurance and legal requirements. If we take a dog of one year old, a Labrador, then feeding will cost between €15 and €25 a week (for the rest of it’s life),

n Kilworth House

Hotel Drawing

corn sauce, beef tomato, mushroom & fries. The breakfast experience was wonderfully fresh and I noticed that the everchanging light in this space means that the mood feels right any time of day. Kilworth House is not just a hotel but also a destination venue for memorable celebrations such as weddings. There are so many fantastic rooms on offer to host celebrations that you can make it as private or public as you wish. The Kilworth House Theatre has been built in a beautiful wooded glade, close to the lake in the grounds of the estate. The auditorium has a maximum capacity of 540 comfortable, padded seats in tiered rows, all of which provide a superb view of the stage area. A magnificent sail-like canopy provides protection for the whole audience and stage area against adverse weather. There’s a special aura and magic about open-air theatre on a summer’s evening, so I intend to return to experience the magic of a professional production of a standard rarely seen outside the West End of London. The nearby town of Market Harborough is the

with Kathleen Murray give or take which brand you use. Very cheap brands will often just run through the dog causing it to poo several times a day (no need for that). There are so many brands now so it is important that you find one that suits your dog’s digestive system (dogs are not all the same). Vaccination prices vary from vet to vet but around €50 is average, a worm dose (every 3-4 months) €12, Microchip €35 is average, Flea dose (as often as required) is around €12 for a Labrador sized dog. Neutering: Male €75-€95 Female €130€150.

Grooming If the dog is long haired then grooming will be regular (every 8 weeks) and will cost approx €30-€40 depending on the dog. A Labrador will not require this


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ideal place to head for to experience rural life, stylish shopping, tasty food and winding waterways. Explore the local countryside, with a visit to Foxton Locks. Take the children to Wistow Maize Maze where the whole family can find their way around this themed maze. The market town of Lutterworth lies west of Market Harborough and is famous for being the place where Frank Whittle developed the jet engine. Also find out more about Frank Whittle’s invention at the town’s museum. Visit the grand 17th century house of Stanford Hall in season located on the banks of the River Avon or saunter into nearby Shakespeare’s country. From Belfast Flybe & Easyjet fly to nearby Birmingham or Aer Lingus ex Dublin numerous times daily. Kilworth House a leading member of Pride


Hotel England.

of Britain Hotels has now returned to its former glory and is once again the local place to come for grand entertainment, only this time as a hotel and not a private home. Pride of Britain Hotels offers some of the finest privately-owned properties in the UK. The collection includes grand country houses, chic city establishments and idyllic rural hideaways, with a mix of traditional and contemporary styles – but where the emphasis is always on great hospitality. www. kilworth_house

number one choice from its Wintersun programme as holidaymaker’s book to spend some of the Christmas run-up there. Prices for a December break in the sun start from just £329pp for seven nights in Lanzarote, based on two people departing Belfast on December 13 or £349pp on December 6. Holidaymakers can also fly to Tenerife on Dec 7 for £619pp half board. To escape for the Christmas week Falcon is offering seven nights in Lanzarote from just £698pp departing Belfast on December 20.

Weekly Best Buy

Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio Network and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland. www.

When it comes to jetting off during the Christmas period, leading tour operator Falcon Holidays claims that Lanzarote remains the

Home and Away Extra Adare Manor was once again named Ireland’s Leading Hotel in the World Travel Awards. The exquisite five-star, castle-like property set in an historic, 19th century manor house is surrounded by meticulously manicured lawns, exquisite walled and formal gardens, and acres of parklands. The tax on

long haul flights out of Northern Ireland has been abolished. The Stormont assembly passed the final stage of the Air Passenger Duty Bill yesterday, reducing the duty on long-haul flights from Northern Ireland airports to zero from January. The abolition of the tax was welcomed as a boost to the Northern Ireland economy.

How much does a dog cost? but it will need to be brushed well once a week to keep it’s skin and coat healthy and dirt free. Legal requirements are a licence €12.75 (post office), a disc with owners details €10 approx,. The dog will need a collar and a lead €20 and a Bed with bedding €30. Toys can cost anything from €2 to €50 depending on size and destructive capability of the dog. Toys are replaced often due to boredom or teething as dogs use them more during these times. These costs do not cover the replacement of plants, buckets, mops, shoes, furniture, carpets, tea towels, underwear, kids toys, school bags etc etc that get peed on and chewed if the dog is not trained or supervised properly. A Labrador is capable of ripping the number plate off

your car for the sake of something to do, if it is idle or bored. The cost on your nerves will be considerable. This is just a brief outline of what a product with four legs, a mouth and a backside can cost. There are many other hidden costs like compensation claims, car accidents, fines from dog wardens for pooing in places it shouldn’t,, unexpected illness and much more. The daily routine of feeding, training, exercise, brushing, toileting several times and cleaning up means you also need time for your dog. Think before you buy.

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