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Home & Away with Robert Walshe Fáilte Ireland has revealed that tourist satisfaction with Ireland is at its highest for years though visitors from across the water still think we’re expensive. Its visitor attitude survey found that 88 per cent of visitors were satisfied with Ireland in 2010, the highest figure since 2005. The survey was carried out among 4,816 foreign visitors who filled in a questionnaire which was given to them on departure by Fáilte Ireland. The highest satisfaction rating was among North American visitors – 90 per cent of whom would recommend Ireland for a holiday. The lowest rate was 83 per cent among British visitors. Friendly people and beautiful scenery remain the most important draw for foreign visitors and in that respect the vast majority are not disappointed. Some 96 per cent of visitors believe the scenery to be beautiful while 95 per cent say the people are friendly and 90 per cent believe Ireland has an unspoilt environment. Just under 40 per cent of those surveyed agreed strongly that Ireland was a unique destination, but almost one in five are non-committal on this issue. Value for money remains the biggest negative drawback for visitors, but the percentage of those who say it is a factor has declined from 21 per cent in 2009 to 15 per cent last year. Fáilte Ireland is hoping for a 4 per cent increase in visitor numbers in 2011.

Weekend Hotspot

One of Dublin’s oldest and well known hotels, Mount Herbert Hotel, has announced that is has invested over €5 million in recent years on extensive refurbishment and redevelopment. In addition, the hotel has rebranded and will now be known as Sandymount Hotel. This investment is in the background of an economic downturn when combined with increasing competition has lead to a surplus of insolvent or loss-making hotel properties in the Irish market. Sandymount Hotel is unusual in the industry - a small business continuing to transform and grow despite numerous obstacles which have consumed many larger hotels in the surrounding Ballsbridge area. John Loughran Director Sandymount Hotel commented: “The tourism industry in Ireland has

been decimated in recent years. Lack of foresight in government policy saw the market flooded with hotels during the boom times which resulted in the oversupply of rooms. The new government will have to move swiftly to reduce commercial rates and close heavily indebted hotels if Ireland’s indigenous hotel sector, which forms the bedrock of overseas n tourism, is to survive.” In a bid to remain competitive and to reach out to new and returning guests both nationally and internationally the hotel has created a new, progressive and proactive online marketing campaign. Established by the Loughran family in 1955, Sandymount Hotel is located in a prime position next door to the Aviva Stadium. Located in prime position next door to O Callaghan the Aviva Stadium, the hotel n Rugby Players Donnachaeiling of the unv the at is the closest hotel to the my Lea nis & De Sandymount stadium and within walking Sandymount Line Out., distance of The O2, RDS, new Hotel Dublin. Convention Centre and Grand Canal Theatre. Guests can enjoy a relaxing stay in one of 168 stylish, comfortable bedpean rail tours and holidays from rooms, enjoy breakfast with views Erail. Prices from £741pps (about over the gardens at the Cordyline €875). See The Restaurant or catch up with friends Trans Mongolian adventure with for lunch and a pint in the contem- Asia specialists Travel Indochina porary Tritonville Bar & Terrace. departs on July 2nd for a 17-day Sandymount Hotel is also ideal for tour to coincide with the Naadam business visitors, with 9 conference Festival and will give you a chance & meeting rooms to choose from to stay in traditional huts, ride and as an Ipad user I am delighted camels, see the Gobi Desert and exthey offer complimentary WiFi.To perience Mongolian life. The advencelebrate this new chapter for the ture costs from £2,560pps. www. Loughran family Ireland rugby stars The Inn at Donncha O’Callaghan and Denis Ballilogue near Inistioge in Kilkenny Leamy unveiled ‘The Sandymount is an inspiring place to learn about Line-Out’, an impressive bronze photography. Mark McCall will be sculpture a tribute to Irish rugby. leading a beginners’ workshop in digital photography from May 27th to 29th. The price from €495pp inWeekly Best Buy cludes accommodation in the bouHow about a tour of Italy by rail tique inn, meals and tuition. www. and see Rome, Florence and Venice on an eight-day tour that begins from London on Eurostar. Staying Robert Walshe is a freelance two nights in each city will give contributor / broadcaster and you time to explore with a possible guest travel writer for River Media stopover in Paris on the way back. newspaper titles across the island This is one of a selection of Euro- of Ireland

Pet’s Corner...

Executive ro

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n Stena Line

Home and Away Extra The Tropical Medical Bureau has published a guide for staying safe on safari this year and the main points include 1. Remember you are the visitors - not the animals. 2 Early morning and late nights don’t make good companions .3 Carry a torch in case you need to wander at night! 4 Have some plaster dressings and an antibiotic cream in case you get scratched. 5 Carry Tick tweezers to carefully remove any unwanted lodgers as soon as possible. 6 Wide brimmed hat to protect against sun exposure. 7 Drink plenty of fresh clear water. 8 Avoid getting too close to the animal’s water holes.9 Bring zoom lens for the camera and binoculars - safer than getting too close. 10 Insect repellents will reduce the early morning attention of the mosquitoes. 11 Tsetse bites are painful and need extra attention to avoid sleeping sickness.12 Don’t paddle in the water holes - too many unfriendly creatures won’t like you intruding on their home turf. 13 Leave the perfumes and aftershaves at the hotel as mosquitoes are attracted by strong odours and 14 Treat any cuts or scratches as soon as possible

to reduce the risk of infections www. The “biggest ever ships to operate on the Northern Ireland-Scotland route” are being introduced on Stena Line’s Belfast service this coming autumn, to coincide with the opening of the company’s new terminal on Loch Ryan. Sister ships Superfast VII and Superfast VIII will replace the HSS Stena Voyager, Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator, which currently operate between the two countries, when the company’s new £80m Loch Ryan port opens in the autumn. The Superfast vessels, the biggest ships ever to operate on the Northern Ireland-Scotland route, will cater for both passenger and freight traffic. Each ship can carry up to 1,200 passengers, around 660 cars or 110 freight vehicles and will be able to complete the journey between Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2 hours, 15 minutes. The introduction of the new ships to the route later this year will coincide with the opening of Stena Line’s purpose built £80m port facility at Loch Ryan Port, Cairnryan in Scotland, which will replace its Stena’s current base at Stranraer.

with Kathleen Murray

Why does my dog not listen to me? with Kathleen Murray: Animal Behavioural Therapist

Have you ever gone for a walk with your dog and found that, when you met another dog or a person, your dog wouldn’t listen to you. You might have said “No” or “Sit” or “Stop” or anything that came to mind but the dog went on pulling, or barking. A deaf dog is something that is noticed very early in life, so if your dog is not deaf then it is simply ignoring you. If a dog is ignoring you then it is either because it doesn’t know what you are asking of it (because you haven’t taught it) or it doesn’t respect you enough... you are not worth it. Dogs want to check out other dogs so if you ask your dog to

do something in the presence of another dog then it is a good test to see if it will listen to you and do what you say. Getting a dog to listen to you has nothing to do with commands. All too often I hear people saying “Sit” or “Stay” or “Come here” and the dog completely ignores them. Commands are not a remote control they are just commands. If the dog doesn’t want to do them then it won’t. Getting a dog to want to listen to you in the first place is where the magic lies. How is it done? How do you hold your dog’s attention? You can get your dog’s attention by making a high pitched

sound, by holding out a piece of food, by holding up it’s favourite toy etc. This should have been started when you first met your dog. Dogs are a big novelty when they first arrive in a new home. They are often indulged because people want to be liked by their dog. The dog may be running from one person to the next to be petted or for a treat and then the owner may call the dog away from the fun to see if it may want to go out to the toilet. That moment is the beginning of the process. If the dog comes that is good. If the dog does not come, and the owner lets them away with it, then

the dog now knows that it does not have to listen to it’s owner or pay attention to them. Start as you mean to go on. This person did not follow through and make the dog come to them. Getting a dog to come to you should not be done in a loud, frustrated or abusive way. You can make a dog come to you either by using a lead, using a treat, making a sound, squeezing a toy etc etc., to encourage it. The dog should be rewarded immediately when it comes. If the owner does not follow through and the moment is lost, then there is no use in trying to get the dog to walk quietly on a lead or stop jumping

on visitors (because the dog has been taught to ignore the owner and it will not take them seriously if they now try to do something else with it). You need to spend time, energy, effort and a lot of patience with your dog so that it will listen to you and respect you.. You need to teach it that when you speak (once) it means something. An adult should always supervise training and playing when children are involved. Respect needs to be taught

and the lesson is easy if you have trust in the teacher. You need to set the ground rules very early and stick to them, that way you and your dog will listen to each other ,and then life will be so much easier. Trust and respect are very important. It’s a two way thing and they are the basis for any good relationship. Keep things simple, firm and calm.

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