Home & Away with Robert Walshe United are now operate a new direct Washington service which complements a daily nonstop service between Dublin and its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport, which has operated since 1998. Both the New York and Washington services are operated by Boeing 757200 aircraft featuring 169 seats, 16 flat-bed seats in United Business First® and 153 in United Economy®, including 45 Economy Plus® seats with added legroom
Weekend Hotspot Grand Hotel Riga – Latvia
Riga is the capital of Latvia as well as the country’s largest city. Known for its art nouveau architecture and its well-preserved historic quarter, Riga is a popular tourist destination in northern Europe. The city is an easy city to navigate, comparatively small and with clearly defined districts. The Daugava River bounds the medieval Old Town, and the city spreads northeast from this historic core. A large park, where the Riga Congress Centre is located, divides the Old Town from a late-19th-century neighborhood of outstanding buildings that earned Riga its UNESCO World Heritage honours. Start at the Town Hall Square
where you can see the historic Town Hall, the House of Blackheads and a statue of St. Roland, the patron saint of Riga. Also at the square is the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia where you can learn about the Soviet Occupation of Latvia. The other ‘must-see’ attraction of Old Riga is St. Peter’s Church, one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture in all of the Baltic states. Built in 1209 with money from the magistrates’ offices, it was intended as a church for the people of Riga. Until World War II, its tower, the current version of which was completed in the 20th century, made it the tallest wooden building in Europe. Today, while its ecclesiastical functions continue, it is also used as a concert and exhibition hall. A lift installed in the 1970s is now available for speedy visits to an observation gallery at the top of the spire from which there are unparalleled views of the city. The streets of the Old Town are off limits to most vehicles so use only taxis with yellow license plates, and be sure the meter is engaged. It is better to phone for a taxi or to use those from the ranks at a major hotel. Buses, trolleys and trams (the fastest) are all covered by e-
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tickets, which can be bought at newspaper stands and vending machines or on the vehicle itself. Originally built in 1877 as the Central Bank of Latvia, Riga’s Grand Palace Hotel lends a stately elegance to the architectural pastiche that makes up the city. Surrounded by UNESCO World Heritage buildings, it occupies Riga’s physical and spiritual core - the cobble-stoned 15th century Old Town, host to numerous restaurants, shops, and trendy bars, not to mention grand castles and domed churches. Grand Palace Hotel offers 56 rooms, furnished in soothing shades of beige and blue. Bathroom floors are heated, and highspeed wireless is standard in each room. Despite the hotel’s rich history, it is filled with all the latest necessities: complimentary wireless Internet, a business center, fully equipped meeting spaces and a health club with a sauna. The Pils Bar, with its hunting trophies, is a popular place for local businesspeople to meet, and Seasons Restaurant is a good choice for entertaining clients. The Grand Palace “romantic & honeymoon” package offers a stay in one of their luxurious rooms, luxury transfer from and to the airport, railway station, ferry port or bus station, flower arrangement
and bottle of champagne upon arrival. Also a one time 3-course candlelight dinner (excluding beverages), full breakfast served in the room or in the “Suite “restaurant along with daily use of sauna, Turkish steam bath and fitness room plus early checkin and late check-out free of charge upon availability. The rate for a 2-night stay is 220 EUR per night for 2 persons or for a 3-night stay from 195 EUR per night for 2 www.grandpalaceriga.com Holidaymakers and business travellers to Riga are being offered the opportunity to save money on airport parking to get their trip off to the best possible start with the Park and Fly offers at the Hilton Dublin Airport. These tailor-made packages include one night’s accommodation plus parking starting from as little as €85*, helping to
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take the stress out of the early-morning holiday rush to the airport. Guests may choose from five packages to suit their needs; 24 hours, 3 days, 5 days, 8 days or 15 days. The hotel offers a free shuttle to the airport when booked in advance www. hilton.com/dublinairport Both Air Baltic & Ryanair fly daily to Riga ex Dublin.
Weekly Best Buy
Waterford Castle Hotel is Ireland’s best kept secret for idyllic stay-at-home family vacations – offering great value Lodge accommodation, an exquisite castle, delicious meals and healthy activities, set on a stunning and unique private island. Waterford Castle 3 bedroom Lodges are luxurious holiday homes within the 320 acre Water-
ford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort. so much for the kids – an outdoor playground, exciting kids menus, babysitting service and a kids club for children between 4 and 9 which includes a charming Teddy Bears Picnic with the children every Friday. And the lodges are pet friendly, which means you can bring your family’s best friend along too!You can enjoy 5 nights self-catering accommodation at Waterford Castle Garden Lodges from €680 or 7 nights from €849, subject to availability. www. waterfordcastle.com 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 Older travellers account for over half of all holiday spending, with the trend only set to increase, according to a report by escorted tours operator Travelsphere.It found those aged 45-54 take more holidays abroad than any other age group, while 55-64 year-olds were the only age group to increase longhaul travel between 2008 and 2010, when the market shrank 9%.The “Frequent Flying and Globe Trekking Older Travellers Report”, prepared in association with Min-
tel Research Consultancy, found that 40% of all long-haul trips in 2010 were taken by 45-64 year-olds. People over 65 are the most prolific of the 45+ market, with 28% taking at least two foreign holidays a year compared to just 19% of all British holidaymakers., The report also found that those over 55 are just as tech-savvy as the younger generation as two-thirds book their entire holiday online compared to 57% of under 45 year-olds.
with Kathleen Murray
Is your dog overweight? Are overweight dogs a symptom of a human problem? Why do dogs become overweight? They get fat by eating too much. Who is feeding them all this extra food that they don’t need? Dogs are being indulged now to a level that is unhealthy. Putting our emotions and thinking onto our dogs is causing trouble for the dogs. If we are eating and the dog is sitting looking at us, some people cannot ignore the dog. They have to give in to the demands of the dog… that is what the dog is doing… he is demanding your dinner. He doesn’t care if you have a dinner or not. He just wants what you are having and if you give it to him then you are telling the dog that he is more important than you.
The dog won’t feel guilty. He won’t be thinking “My owner has no dinner, I’ll give them half of my dinner”. Dogs think in a very simple and straightforward way. If they want something they let you know. It doesn’t mean they have to get it. If they want to run across the road in front of a car would you say “Oh, go on then, enjoy.” Dogs need boundaries to ensure their safety. Giving in to all their demands does not ensure their safety. Feeding them too much is not ensuring their safety, it is putting them at risk. It will put too much strain on their joints and organs and shorten their life. That is not being kind to your dog, that is killing your dog. If you are really thinking about your dog then only give it what its body needs to function
properly and if you want to be kind to it then take it for a walk. If your dog is already overweight then start to help it by cutting out the in-between snacks and treats. Have the amount of food that it requires for a daily portion set aside and then you can feed it to the dog in one feed, or two smaller feeds. Adult dogs only need one feed but if you are not able to stick to that then make the overall daily amount into two portions. A little in the morning and a little in the evening. If you don’t know how much your dog should be eating then read the portion sizes on the bags of dried dog food. That will give you a measurement to go by. If your dog is still looking for food after its had its dinner then this is normal. If it has been used to more food then it will need time to adjust. Exercise can
help with this. Play a game or teach your dog some new things to distract it.
If you are not sure if your dog is overweight then take it to your vet and they will tell you. 0863192247