Dance show at the inaugural Swahili International Tourism Exchange in Dar Es Salaam.
The headlines this week…
*CSO: Domestic Trips up 5.8pc, Outbound Travel up 1.8pc
*Roaring Start to Swahili International Tourism Exchange
*ATWS Kicks Off in Killarney
*Shannon Scoops Airport Achievement Award
*Quantum of the Seas Sets Sail Backwards
*CarTrawler to Create 400 Dublin Jobs
Travel Extra TV
Our video of the week is a short documentary called The Ridge. It shows cyclist Danny MacAskill biking around his native Isle of Skye in Scotland and taking on the treacherous Cuillin Ridgeline. Watch here.
- Tourism Ireland uploaded a spooky video promoting the Bram Stoker Festival. Be sure to watch till the very end. Watch here.
- Tourism Ireland uploaded a video of Phil Spencer exploring Northern Ireland. The video features: Titantic Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, Causeway Coastal Route, Commercial Court, the Cathedral Quarter, Lyric Theatre, Queen’s University, the Botanic Gardens, Ulster Museum, and Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. Watch here.
- Fáilte Ireland uploaded a video promoting food experiences in Ireland. Watch here.
- DiscoverIreland.ie uploaded a video of Carol Byrne from entertainment.ie taking to the streets of Dublin to ask punters about their favourite Irish holidays. Watch here.
- US Embassy Dublin uploaded a video of shark expert Dr Pete Kilmley (aka Dr Hammerhead) visiting Malin Head. Watch here.
- The Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, London has a clock display that is made up of 135 dial clocks synched together to show the time. It’s hypnotic. Watch here.
- Almost every week, Travel Extra TV features an exciting video shot using a GoPro camera. But what if your life just doesn’t measure up to all the hype on YouTube? Mike Fry compared his life to that of a GoPro adventurer. Watch here.
- The London Telegraph uploaded footage of Austrian pilot Ivan Trifonov successfully taking a hot air balloon deep underground into a cave in Croatia. Watch here.
- Ryanair uploaded an online check-in video tutorial. Watch here.
It was not without its challenges but the inaugural Swahili International Tourism Exchange in Dar Es Salaam has established a platform for future growth. The Exchange intends to become the major regional travel fair for outbound travel but also for inbound Africa specialist tour operators. As Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania’s Minister for Tourism said when interviewed by Travel Extra, he intends this will become the new Indaba. Highlights included a stirring opening speech by Jakaya Kikwete where he declared “until lions have their own historians, the history of the jungle will always glorify the hunter”. Picture shows Kambona Mollel, the Kilimanjaro mountain guide who has ascended the famous peak 130 times, and who visited Ireland some years ago, with Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
700 delegates are expected to attend the Adventure Travel World Summit 2014, which opens in Killarney tomorrow (Oct 6). Delegates will be welcomed today from 1pm. A carnival featuring food producers, B&B ladies, Irish coffee, music and dance will take place on Scott Street. A street festival and a parade including dancing at the crossroads takes place from 5pm-6pm. A conference reception will take place in Market Square in the evening. Tomorrow, delegates will have the chance to take part in a Day of Adventure organised by Fáilte Ireland and local providers. The opening event will take place on Monday in Ross Castle. Fáilte Ireland estimated the value of adventure travel to the Irish economy is €852m.
Shannon Airport won the overall Airport Achievement Award for 2014/2015 from the European Regions Airline Association in Barcelona, the first time an Irish airport has been presented with the overall ERA award. Picture shows Patrick Edmond, Shannon Group Strategy Director, with the award. The award comes a week after Shannon won the lead award for best marketing of airports under 4m passengers at the World Route Awards in Chicago.
According to Q2 figures from the CSO, domestic trips are up 5.2pc (1.8m trips). Total expenditure was €377m: €197m for those on holiday, €67m for those visiting friends or relatives. Average length of stay was 2.6 nights, resulting in 4.6m bed nights. 48.7pc of domestic trips were classified as holidays while 32pc were to visit friends or relatives. Visitors who stayed in hotel accommodation account for 733,000 domestic trips and 587,000 trips for those staying with family and friends.
Over 1.8m outbound trips were taken by Irish residents in Q2, up 1.8pc. Total expenditure on outbound trips was €1.4m: €887m on holidays, €238m visiting friends or family and €204m on business trips. Average length of stay was 7.3 nights. Britain was the most popular destination of travel (596,000 trips), followed by Spain (389,000 trips) and France (183,000).
CarTrawler announced 400 new jobs at its Dundrum headquarters over the next three years.
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas sailed from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany to Eemshaven in the Netherlands, where it will receive final outfitting and testing before making its debut next month. As with all vessels built at Meyer Werft, Quantum of the Seas had to travel backward on the River Ems before it could set sail. According to Royal Caribbean, conditions had to be exact in order to transport the 1,142ft ship: Wind speeds must be 20 knots or less, tidal barriers must be closed and there needs to be either a full or new moon. With only a few feet clearance on either side of the vessel, two tugboats had to guide her down the river. Power lines had to be rerouted and bridges along the river had to be lifted. Anthem of the Seas is still on tap at Meyer Werft. Watch here to see Quantum’s journey.
750 people attended the NI Cruise Fair organised by Oasis Travel in Belfast’s Stormont Hotel. Represented cruise brands included: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Silversea, Hurtigruten, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Riviera River Cruises, Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic, Hebridean Island Cruises, and Crystal Cruises. Azamara Club Cruises hosted a breakfast in the hotel’s La Scala restaurant. £1,138 was raided for Cancer Fund for Children through a raffle.Picture shows Nikki Singleton of Azamara Club Cruises and Sandra Corkin of Oasis Travel at Azamara’s breakfast.
ITIC published a position paper entitled Protecting the Irish Environment and Landscape – a critical issue for Irish Tourism. It outlines threats to the Irish landscape and warns that the outlook for Irish tourism will be bleak if the island’s brand of “beautiful and unspoilt scenery” is lost. ITIC proposes that the draft National Landscape Strategy should be finalised urgently; new and more prescriptive guidelines on local landscape character assessment should be drawn up; the designation of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be introduced to give areas of high scenic value formal statutory recognition as landscapes of national importance; and environmental impact assessments and statements should be prepared on a fully independent basis. Read the paper here.
- Karen Whyte of American Holidays won British Airways’ T5 Competition. Karen won six tickets to see One Republic live in the 3Arena with access to the Audi Club.
- Funway Holidays launched a 4-page October offers brochure. Highlights include free Disney Dining, USA city breaks from £599pp and multicentre trips to San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles from £1,165.
- Falcon’s 2015 #NRG brochure is available now. Bulgaria has been added to the 2015 portfolio. Prices start from €399. Group offers and 2 Weeks for the Price of 1 available on selected destinations.
- Tourico Holidays announced two new ancillary products sales programmes, 25+ Series and Ancillary VIP Programme.
- Royal Caribbean appointed Holly Wilkinson to the new role of trading support executive for the Irish market.
- Registration for ETOA’s 2015 Hoteliers European Marketplace in Paris and City Fair in London is now open.
- Tour Salon takes place in Poznań, Poland on Oct 23-25.
- The ETOA will organise a pavilion at the US Travel & Adventure Shows for its member to exhibit at a reduced rate.
- Travel Department’s offers this week: 7 night stay in Fiuggi from €749pps incl. flights, breakfast and evening meals, departing October 15; 3 night city break to Madrid from €299pps incl. flights and breakfast, departing November 5, 10 & 12; and 3 night city break to Budapest from €269pps incl. flights, breakfast and evening meals, departing November 5, 9 & 12. For more visit Travel Department’s website or call 01-6371600.
- ITAA’s offers: 7 nights Sardinia from €349pp, depart Oct 9; 10 nights Havana & Varadero, Cuba from €1,590pp, depart June 15, 2015; 3 nights Copenhagen from €329pp, depart Oct 30.
- Camino Ways is offering a 10pc discount on early bird bookings. Book here.
- Sunway exotic deals (incl. flights, taxes & accommodation): Bali from €1,219pp; Seychelles from €1,259pp; Zanzibar half-board from €1,329pp; and Cancun from €1,699pp. Depart May 23. Book on Sunway’s website or call 01-2886828.
- Falcon all inclusive SplashWorld offer: 7 nights Dublin to Kos, Atlantica Club Porto Bello, Helona Resort from €1,901 for two adults and one child or from €2,430 for two adults and two children. Book by calling 1850 45 35 45 or visit falconholidays.ie.
- Funway Holidays’ X-Factor inspired packages: 7 nights at Occidental Grand Xcaret, Cancun, Mexico from £949pp incl. return flights from Heathrow. 4 nights at Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills, Los Angeles from £899pp incl. return flights with United Airlines.
- Sunway is offering a 10-night Canary Island & Morocco cruise from €849pp (incl. flights from Dublin to Barcelona) on board Norwegian SPIRIT. Ports of call: Morocco, Madeira, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Malaga. Travel dates: Nov 26 and Dec 6. Book on sunway.ie or phone 01-2886828.
- Abbey Travel is offering free half board meals and 20pc off hotels and park tickets at Disneyland Paris for bookings made before November 4 for travel between November 13, 2014 and March 31, 2015. To book call Abbey Travel on 01 804 7160 or visit abbeytravel.ie.
- Sunway deals, book before Oct 8: Morocco from €259; Fuerteventura from €429; Gran Canaria from €299; Lanzarote from €329; Turkey from €299. Book on here or phone 01-2886828.
- Thomson is offering 7 night all-inclusive trips to Atlantica Aegean Blue in Rhodes from €2,311 for two adults and one child and from €3,110 for two adults and two children. Depart Dublin May 27, 2015.
- GlobeHotels.ie is offering 7 night one bedroom apartment in Cordial Mogan Valle from €393pps, depart Feb 10.
- Falcon is offering 7 night all-inclusive trips to Atlantica Club Porto Bello from €1,851 for two adults and one child and from €2,380 for two adults and two children. Depart Dublin May 23, 2015.
- The Croke Park Hotel won City Hotel of the Year at the Gold Medal Hotel & Catering Awards. Picture shows Ricky O’Brien and Joe O’Sullivan of BWG Food Service presenting Alan Smullen, General Manager of the Croke Park Hotel, with the award.
- Newforge House in Magheralin, Co Armagh was awarded five-star status by NITB. Picture by Brian Thompson/Presseye.
- Hotel Kilkenny is offering a 2-night Bowling Break midterm package from €129 per adult sharing incl. two nights’ accommodation, breakfast, family ticket for K-Bowl Kilkenny and family pass to the Reptile Zoo and access to Kids Club. See ie for more.
- Liverpool is the most visited city by Jurys Inn’s Irish guests in Britain. Birmingham came in second, followed by Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow.
- Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Co Down is offering 1 night stay from £80pps, 2 night stay from £145pps and 3 night stay from £200pps incl. dinner in the Oak Restaurant, breakfast and access to spa facilities. Book here or call 048 4372 1066.
- The Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford is offering a 2-night family break from €240 or 1-night from €130 incl. family accommodation, breakfast and access to Kids Club. See ie for more.
- The Clarion Hotel Cork is offering one night’s B&B plus evening meal from €75pps from Oct 27-Nov 2.
- The Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy opened a new €1.6m extension that includes a conference & banqueting suite and 20 additional bedrooms. The new wing has created ten new jobs.
- The Glenview Hotel in the Glen of the Downs, Co Wicklow is celebrating its 100th birthday on October 18. To celebrate, The Glenview is offering a Stay and Dine 100 package for €100pps – offer includes 1 night B&B, full use of leisure club and one meal in the Woodlands Restaurant.
IUSA has opened up membership to veterans of the J1 visa programme. Register here to avail of cultural, political, business and educational events with US and Irish speakers.
Thailand‘s tourism minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul (pictured) said she wants all foreign visitors to wear ID wristbands and eventually tracking devices. “When tourists check in to a hotel they will be given a wristband with a serial number that matches their ID and shows the contact details of the resort they are staying in, so that if they’re out partying late and, for example, get drunk or lost, they can be easily assisted,” she said. “The next step would be some sort of electronic tracking device but this has not yet been discussed in detail.” A buddy system — tourists paired with a local minder — is also being discussed.
Virgin Holidays has asked its suppliers to pledge not to receive cetaceans that were captured from the wild after February 14, 2014. So far, 27 resorts have signed the pledge. Wildlife campaigners criticised Virgin Holidays for not taking a stronger stance against whale and dolphin captivity, noting that the pledge does not include an agreement to end the sale of tickets to resorts like SeaWorld.
Travel website hotelied.com is promising guests discounts on hotel rooms in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland and Tel Aviv depending on the size of their social media following on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Instagram.
Up to an hour will be shaved off the journey time for Eurostar passengers travelling from London to Geneva when trains change in Lille instead of Paris from December.
A traveller in Sydney Airport caused a major security alert which resulted in dozens of flight delays after he accidentally bypassed a security screening area because he was too busy staring at his iPad.
VisitScotland is encouraging visitors to experience some “leaf-peeping” this autumn. For those who don’t know, leaf-peeing is simply visiting foliaged areas and admiring the autumnal colours. Three upcoming leaf-peeping opportunities: The Enchanted Forest light show, Fascally Woods, Perthshire, now until Oct 26; Dumfries & Galloway Wild Autumn outdoor festival, Dumfries & Galloway, Oct 11-Nov 2; and The Dougie MacLean music festival, Dunkeld, Perthshire, Oct 24-Nov 2.
- L’Apogee Couchevel ski resort will launch the KYUB Japanese restaurant, Cigar Lounge and Le Bar when it reopens on Dec 12.
- Modern Family director Ryan Case live-tweeted a nightmare flight with a drunk passenger.
- Sandals Resorts & Beaches Resorts will introduce free Wi-Fi across all its resorts from Dec 1.
- Magical Kenya Travel Expo takes place at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on October 8-10. Around 150 buyers from over 30 countries are expected to attend.
- Graubünden Tourism Board is celebrating 150 years of winter tourism in St Moritz.
- Nevada celebrates 150 years since it became the 36th state to enter the USA on October 31. The event will be marked with events across the state including the Las Vegas Nevada Day state parade, morse code sending of the state constitution to President Lincoln, Fireman’s Dance and the Nevada 150 Masquerade Ball. See org.
- Plymouth city in Devon, England will hold a candle lighting ceremony on November 20 to mark the countdown to the 2020 celebration of 400 years since the Mayflower sailed in search of the New World.
- NYC & Co said the theme of this year’s Village Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village is ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’. The parade takes place on 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street on Halloween night.
- The Peloponnese Region and Costa Navarino will host the 2015 ABTA Travel Convention on Oct 12-14, 2015.
- The Scottsdale Museum of the West will open in December.
- Vienna Tourist Board will mark Ringstrasse boulevard’s 150th birthday next year. Institutions including the Wien Museum, the Vienna Jewish Museum, the Austrian National Library, the Museum of Natural History and Kunsthistorisches Museum will be paying tribute with exhibitions and guided tours. Click here for more.
- Travelport announced the appointment of Elzabeth Buse, Michael Durham and Douglas acker to its Board of Directors.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the year-round I Love New York bus service to a range of upstate destinations. The schedule will connect passengers to wine, beer and cider trails and seasonal festivals around New York State.
- The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission gave the go-ahead for Expedia to takeover online travel company com.
- A glass-bottomed bridge has opened in Pingjang, southern China. The bridge stretches 300 metres between two rocky peaks 180 meters above a valley.
- French adventurer Sylvain Tesson won the Dolman Travel Book Award in England for Consolations of the Forrest, an account of six-month stay in a log cabin in Siberia.
- Amsterdam Light Festival takes place from November 27 to January 18. Light sculptures by international artists will be lit up throughout the festival.
Food & Wine
- Chocolatiers Mary Teeha, Karen Keane and Alyssa Jade McDonald will appear at a Meet the Makers evening at Highbank Farm, Cuffesgrange, Kilkenny on Nov 8. Tickets €8, see com for more.
- Hotel Arts Barcelona appointed Michelin starred chef Antonio Saez (pictured) as its new Executive Chef.
- This week is Cava Week in Ireland. To celebrate, The Port House restaurants in Dublin, Zaragoza and Salamanca in Dublin and Bodega Cava in Galway are offering a portion of seafood paella and a glass of cava for €10.
- Dine Out Lauderdale will take place from October 1 to November 1. Three-course meals will be available at $35 prix fixe at restaurants across the county.
Ryanair traffic in September grew to 8.5m passengers, up 5pc. Load factor increased 5pc to 90pc.
Picture shows Larry Loftis, Boeing Vice President, Abdulla Alsaboosi, Honourable Consul General to the UAE in Los Angeles, and Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, celebrating the roll out of Etihad’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
- 36 Etihad cadet pilots started a three-month aviation training programme at College Ireland Aviation Services in Weston Airport, Leixlip.
- Denis O’Brien sold Aergo Capital to CarVal Investors.
- Ryanair has ditched its charity calendar of cabin crew in bikinis.
- Head of BA, Willie Walsh, said he is “delighted” that Virgin Atlantic’s domestic airlines is struggling to fill flights.
- QuickPark is offering a complimentary Family Pass on the CityScape Dublin Luxury Sightseeing tours for customers who book parking at Dublin Airport before Oct 31.
- Aer Lingus is considering operating direct flights from Belfast City Airport to Germany and Malaga.
- Michael O’Leary offered free fights with Ryanair to the family of soccer player Jack Grealish if he chooses to play for Ireland.
- CityJet is halting daily flights from to Dublin and Amsterdam from Cambridge International Airport in mid-May.
- In response to a customer’s query on Twitter, Ryanair revealed that it is working on a Windows Phone app.
- The pilots’ strike that cost Air France €280m was called off on Sept 28. Air France said it now plans to speed up the development of Transavia.
- Der Spiegel said Lufthansa may hire Private Air to operate the 14 A340s it plans to use for low cost long haul flights in order to get around the need for pilots’ approval.
- Members of Belfast City Council told Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on his visit to Ireland that they want to see the addition of daily flights between the two cities.
- Qatar Airways sponsored the 2014 Ham Polo Farewell Cup in Richmond, London.
- Blackpool Airport said it will have to close down unless a buyer can be found before October 7.
- To celebrate Europe retaining the Ryder Cup, Ryanair is offering half-price golf bags on ryanair.com from now until Oct 13.
- The European Aviation Safety Agency issued guidelines that allow passengers to leave electronics on for the entire flight without using flight mode.
- Skuli Mogensen: WOW Air Dublin to Keflavik route to launch June 2, 2015 using A320 or A319. Flights on Tues, Thur and Sat, leaving Dublin 12.10 & Keflavik 06.20. Flight time 2 hours 20 minutes.
- Ryanair is now offering Lavazza coffee on all flights.
- Qatar Airways signed an interline agreement with Vueling, which came into effect on Wednesday.
- Balkan Holidays will add four additional flights from Belfast to Bourgas, Bulgaria, in summer 2015: Three extra weekly flights will be added from May 25 and an extra flight at the end of season departing Sept 21.
- Finnish restaurants Nokka, GW Sundmans, Savoy and Fishmarket have designed a new Signature Menu that will be available in Finnair’s Business Class on long-haul flights from Helsinki from the end of January 2015.
- Belfast International Airport will give passengers to option to donate £1 to Action Mental Health when paying for their airport car parking.
- An easyJet flight attendant was jailed for 21 months for using the airline’s staff discount travel to smuggle cigarettes through English airports. On over 130 trips, the attendant and four other staff hid cigarettes and tobacco in their luggage to avoid paying £180,000 in duty and taxes.
- Etihad will offer full inflight connectivity services – Wi-Fi, mobile services and Live TV – on its entire B777 fleet.
- A strike by air traffic controllers in Greece was called off this weekend after it was declared illegal by an Athens court.
- Air Canada plans to crack down on oversized carry-on bags with a $25 fee for the first checked bag.
- TAP is offering return flights from London to Rio de Janiero and São Paulo from £579pp, and return flights from London to Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife, Manaus, Belém, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Natal from £617pp. Book until Oct 15, travel from Nov 1.
- Finnair was named Best European Airline at the TTG Travel Awards.
- Stena Line is offering day trips by foot from Dublin-Holyhead or Rosslare-Fishguard from €5pp, available Sunday-Thursday until Nov 2 (book up to 48 hours in advance). Stena Line is also offering family mid-term trips: Alton Towers from €470 for two adults and two children incl. return travel by car from Dublin-Holyhead and two nights’ accommodation at Jurys Inn Derby. Oakwood Theme Park from €49pp. Short stay in Fishguard or Holyhead from €165 for car and driver. Rosslare-Cherbourg by car and two nights’ accommodation from €85 per adult per night. Book on ie or call 01 204 77 77.
- Irish Ferries is offering a 3-night stay at Alton Towers for €439 for two adults and two children incl. three nights B&B, return ferry travel with car and one full day’s family pass to the park.
- Cruise passengers leaving Copenhagen Airport will be able complete their airline check-in while onboard the ship.
- A Carnival Escape passenger died after falling from the mast of the ship in the port of Miami.
- Norwegian Cruise Line will use The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place design on Norwegian Escape. The design, first used on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, includes an oceanfront boardwalk with restaurants, bars and shops and three decks of dining, bars, entertainment and gaming. Norwegian Escape is scheduled for delivery in October 2015.
Footage of the Wild Atlantic Way will be broadcast to an estimated 8m homes in an episode of paddle-sports TV series Facing Waves on the Outside Television travel channel in the USA. The episode will be syndicated to another 50m homes in 25 other countries. Nikki Gregg was in Ireland this week filming with Dave O’Hara of SUPForAll in Sligo. Filming took place in Sligo, Doolin and Liscannor.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s 11 day trip to Ireland concluded on Monday. Mayor Walsh attended business meetings in Shannon, Galway, Donegal, Derry, Belfast and Dublin throughout his visit.
Meanwhile Seattle Mayor Ed Murray swapped the Emerald City for the Emerald Isle for his first overseas trip as mayor. Murray held a talk with Galway University law students, administrators and faculty, and led a discussion on employments and marriage equality for the Irish LGBT community. Tomorrow, he will meet with the American Chamber of Commerce in Dublin and during the week he will hold a meeting about the marriage referendum. On Tuesday, he will meet President Michael D Higgins. Daniel Beekman of The Seattle Times writes: “Like Seattle, Galway is a wet coastal city and the forecast there calls for rain this weekend, with high temperatures in the low 60s. Murray should feel right at home.”
Tourism Ireland won four awards at the CLIO advertising awards for their Wild Atlantic Way campaign: gold CLIO in Music Digital Integrated; silver in Music Innovative Medial; bronze in Music in Film, bronge in Music in Digital/Social. The gala ceremony took place on Wall Street, New York and was hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.
74pc of tourism businesses are upbeat about their 2014 performance according to the latest Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer. Other findings: 79pc of accommodation providers reported an increase in visitor numbers – hoteliers reported an 82pc increase in visitors, guesthouses reported a 69pc increase, hostels are up 64pc and B&Bs are up 60pc. Unsurprisingly, the good weather boosted the camper & caravan sector and the industry as a whole. Repeat visitors remain the most positive factor this year. Read the report here.
Dracula Untold hits the big screen this week. Filming took place in Northern Ireland last summer. Locations included the Giant’s Causeway, Divis & black Mountains, Mount Swewart House & Gardens, Tollymore Forest Park, Scrano Country Park, Killynether Woods and Roe Valley Country Park.
Travel Extra visited Clonakilty & District, which won the Rural Destination EDEN award in 2007. Conor McMahon writes: The town itself is a busy spot. In the evening, music spills from the thronged bars and you can hear the chatter of busy cafes and restaurants. We stopped in An Súgán restaurant & bar on Wolfe Tone Street. The menu plays on traditional pub grub with class. Portions are generous, which is just what we needed after the long drive from Tarbert. We overnighted in the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery and headed out to Inchydoney the next morning for a surf lesson with Rob from Inchydoney Surf School. The wetsuit may have been flattering but there was no escaping my beer belly when it came to getting up on the board. The two left feet didn’t help either. Rob was very encouraging, but it was hopeless – I swallowed more waves than I caught. Back in the comfort of Dunmore House Hotel, we enjoyed a spectacular lunch overlooking Clonakilty Bay and a blue sky. I had the West Cork roast lamb with mint jelly. As I tucked in to my meal, a jazz version of The Smiths’ song ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’ began playing over the sound system – a surreal moment, seeing as I got more than I wanted: four varieties of potatoes on offer.