I am Joan Scales journalist and broadcaster based in Dublin, Ireland. I have been writing and talking about travel and tourism for many years. Join me as I share some news, views, interviews, experiences and special offers each week.
5,000 Year Old Tombs
Last weekend I was in the Cooley Peninsula, in County Louth. I visited the lovely medieval coastal village of Carlingford on the lough shore. It was a busy weekend with lots of visitors from Northern Ireland where it was August bank holiday weekend. The highlight of my trip to the Cooley area was to see the Megalithic Proleek Dolmen Portal Tomb and passage grave at Ballymacscanlon.
Though these 5,000-year-old structures are on the private lands of the Ballymacscanlon Hotel and golf course, people are welcome to come and visit. The Dolmen is well signposted and about a 10 minute walk from the car park. If you manage to throw a stone on top of the Dolmen, it is said it will bring you luck. I managed to get one stone on the top. See Instagram video here.
Monday 29 August
The week began with a story on Newstalk Radio where the subject of noise pollution from the newly opened Runway 2 at Dublin airport. Residents in the area near the new runway are complaining that there is a lot more noise than they had expected.
I was on Newstalk Radio with Adrian Kennedy, to explain the importance of Dublin airport to the financial well-being of Ireland as a whole. The runway has been planned since 1968 and many hundreds of meetings were held with the local community. Hundreds of houses in the area have been sound-proofed. Listen back here.
Park City – Utah visits Dublin
The Pubilc Relations team from Park City, Utah paid a vist to Dublin to meet with a group of Irish journalists to promote this friendly city. It is a very relaxed place and popular not just for winter skiing but also for events like the Sundance Film festival and other year-round events.
Park City is a great place to begin your journey to discover the national parks of the United States. They include Bryce, Canyonlands, Zion and of course, the Grand Canyon which we are all familiar with. Access to Utah from Ireland to Salt Lake City is easy with daily flights to San Francisco. For more details about Park City see here.
We had dinner in The Ivy restuarant on Dawson St, (theivydublin.com) it was my first time there and it was beautiful restaurant, the food was fantastic and the service is great. I loved the tropical feel of the décor.
The Biggest Hotel Sale this year in Ireland - Staycity City Centre Opens
The bigget hotel sale, not just for this year but for a number of years. Bain Capital, an American private equity fund has sold the newly-opened (5 September) 340-unit Staycity Aparthotel off Mary Street for €100 million to Song Capital Partners Investment Firm. The acquisition is London-based Song Capital’s first purchase in the Irish market, see story here.
Staycity Dublin City Centre is on Little Mary Street in the former Markets area of the city and now the up and coming food hub of Capel Streeet is on the doorstep. The urban chic hotel has a large open courtyard and suites can sleep three - four guests and all are self sufficient with stylish kitchenettes. See my Instagram story here.
Stunning Profits for Dalata Hotel Group
On Wednesday30 August, I woke to the news that the Dalata Hotel Group had reported stunning first half year profits after some very tough years €46.7 million after tax for the first six months. I had been talking to some of the senior people in Dalata Hotels at the opening of the Samuel Hotel at the end of April in Dublin's IFSC, and they did hint that this year they were looking at exceptional trading.
Dalata say that their average room rate is €166 per night but we have seen some unbelievable rates in Dublin this year. Recently they opened the new hotel in Merrion Road in Dublin on the site of the former Tara Towers Hotel.
It is a soft opening at present, but watch this space. I am looking forward to a visit. The Dalata Group operates 49 hotels across the UK and Ireland with an incredible 7,000 plus rooms in Ireland the main brands are Clayton and Maldron.
Beyond the Trees - Amazing Treetop Adventure in Avondale
Ireland’s biggest outdoor activity Beyond the Trees opened at the Avondale Estate in County Wicklow on Midsummer Day, 21 June and I went to explore it when the crowds eased off. This extraordinary new venture has already grabbed attention and visits have exceeded their original expectations.
This adventure is a 1.4km wooden walkway up through the trees and then ascending a tower 38m (125 feet) high. This estate is Ireland’s home of forestry and is managed by Coillte, the national forestry organisation.
Beyond the Trees is a joint venture with Coillte, Fáilte Ireland and EAK the German designers of this amazing adventure, the first in the British Isles. It is a great day out for everyone, and the beautiful Avondale Estate has lovely walks to explore. See a video here.
The Donegal Camino - Walk for Cancer Care West
On Sunday, 4 September, a huge group of people began walking the Donegal Camino from Inishowen to Slieve League over this week. This is a charity event to raise funds for Cancer Care West and was the idea of Donegalwoman Peggy Skinner.
It you are anywhere near Donegal; you can sign up to join the walk for a day or two as it progresses through the county. The aim is to raise €50,000 for the cancer charity. Expect some appearances from famous Donegal musicians, singers and artists. Donatios are very welcome on at Idonate.ie.
In keeping with the theme of the Donegal Camino, I have found this great way to combine an Irish Camino and the traditional Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela. Uwalk.ie have organised a trip in October that will include doing the first 25km of your Camino in Ireland and the other 75km in Spain.
The Celtic Camino Group will begin their walk from 14 October from A Coruna to Santiago de Compostela. You will walk 75km in four days averaging about 15-25km per day. The route takes you through villages, towns, fields and beautiful landscapes until you arrive at Santiago De Compostela. The last night will be spent in Santiago De Compostela.
I travelled some of this route in July and there was beautiful scenery and amazing food everywhere we stopped. The price is from €660 for five nights' accommodation, meals, guided walks and baggage transfers. Contact Uwalk.ie and 0818 333990.
Autumn Short Breaks
There are dozens of flights from Ireland to Spain and a long weekend is a great way to explore some very interesting cities. This year I visited some new destinations in Spain and highly recommend them. They are Valencia, Santandar, Oviedo and Santiago de Compostela. All were different but each city was welcoming, interesting and had reasonable prices. Eating out was great value and it was fun to try local delicacies.
Or if you are looking for a week in the sun Cassidytravel.ie has great offers for September and October, with Majorca from €305pp, Costa Del Sol from €199p, Tenerife from €209pps, Gran Canaria from €249pps, Costa Dorada from €179pps, Fuerteventura from €325pps, and Lanzarote from €249pp, Cassidy Travel 0818 332500.
If you have any questions about travel at home or abroad or would like me to write about specific areas, do drop me line on email@example.com.
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