Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Doneraile Court

August 8, 2011

Doneraile Court was cared for and preserved by the Irish Georgian Society until it was handed over to the OPW some years ago.  Sadly since that hand-over, the house has been boarded up and has been in an unloved state.  It is disheartening for Irish Georgian Society members who subscribed so generously over the years towards the restoration to see it slowly fall back into decay.

The house is steeped in history having been the home of the St Leger family for many generations.  It’s time to encourage Failte Ireland, the OPW and Cork County Council to work together to create a wonderful tourist attraction.  The Examiner reported today some encouraging news that plans are afoot to spend euro 10 million to open up the house.  We should not forget our domestic tourists in the equation when working out the viability of this project.  The park is currently very well used and is a fabulous amenity for all to enjoy.  Lets make it even more special by opening up the house.

Posted by Catherine FitzMaurice of Kilbrogan House Bed and Breakfast Accommodation, Bandon

An American family’s first impressions of South West Ireland

April 16, 2008

A family of four Americans from Ohio having been staying with us over the past three days.  It is their first trip to Ireland.  They asked four interesting questions:-

1.  How come none of the public pay phones work yet we were able to buy a calling card.  How are we supposed to use the card?

2.  How come we can find no public toilets or else if we do, they have no toilet seats, paper etc etc.

3.  Why is there so much litter everywhere?

4.  How come the signs on the signpost at the bottom of your street have miles pointing towards Bantry, Enniskeane etc and kilometres pointing towards Macroom on the same signpost.  Have you divided up the country so that some places are still in miles and some in kilometres?

The answers are of course obvious to those of us who live here namely,

1.  the public phones probably don’t work because everybody has a mobile

2.  I doubt any locals use the public loos except those in shopping centres

3.  Pay by weight as we all know is a total fiasco.  Give people an option whether to pay for their garbage collection or not and they will choose not to pay!  I suspect that a scarey number of people in this country do not subscribe to a refuse collection facility.  Many can’t even be bothered to recycle so put their garbage in bags and drive to the nearest forest, farm, quiet laneway, grave yard etc and dump their bags.  I can take anybody who wants on a tour of our area to take a look at mountains and mountains of garbage dumped a mile or two away from the town.  Forget a tax amnesty, we should be campaigning for a litter amnesty.  We are destroying our country.

4.  Kilometres and mile signs.  The government promised us that when we changed over to kilometres, they would change the signs but sadly now the celtic tiger isn’t roaring quite as loud and tax receipts are down so we can forget any improvement in signeage.  GPS will become an essential piece of equipment in any car in the future.

Failte Ireland sells off Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine

April 12, 2008

Ireland of the Welcomes magazine is a popular tourism publication distributed by Failte Ireland mainly in North America and continental Europe.  Last week Failte Ireland announced that it has sold the publication to Dublin based Harmonia Ltd which currently publishes the likes of Womans Way, Food and Wine magazine, Irish Tatler, Auto Ireland and Diarmuid Gavin’s Garden Designs.

The remit of Failte Ireland no longer includes promotion of tourism to Ireland as this now falls under the remit of Tourism Ireland.  Instead Failte Ireland’s focus is the development of tourism in Ireland hence the desire to part with the Ireland of the Welcomes magazine.

Kilbrogan House welcomes guests from Malta

March 23, 2008

Last year a group of six Canadian doctors spent three days with us. During the previous year they had spent their holidays at a self catering property on Gozo, an island off the coast of Malta. They highly recommended their holiday in Gozo so we made a careful note of this tip.

Yesterday we were fortunate to have Jacques and Melanie to stay. They both live in Luxemburg. Jacques is from Gozo so we were thrilled to hear first hand from a local about where and when to visit. His recommendation is to go in April when it is not too hot and when there aren’t too many tourists around.

We asked Jacques about Mintoff and he was most surprised that anybody here would even remember this former prime minister of Malta. Mintoff is still alive and is 91.

Jacques and Melanie went to Cork for the evening and ended up eating at Wagamama which they said was very good. (I didn’t even know that there was a ‘Wag’ in Cork)

Jacques has been using a tom tom gps to navigate his way around the Irish countryside.  He had downloaded irish software for the trip so that the mapping would be up-to-date.  However,  the tom tom let him down around Glencar in Kerry and they had a very tough time finding the way to their accommodation.  Luckily Bandon did feature on the tom tom!!

A walk past Charles Fort in Kinsale

March 21, 2008

We highly recommend the walk that starts from the small car park at the far side of Charles Fort near Summercove, Kinsale.  The walk takes you along by the sea to the Kinsale boat yard.  You can watch the boats coming in and out of the harbour and you also get a tremendous view of Charles Fort.  Check out the photo below and take yourself down to the fort.  Afterwards we often stop for tea at the Blue Haven cafe in Kinsale – in my opinion the best cafe in Kinsale!

Charles Fort Kinsale

A visit to Italistro, an authentic Italian restaurant in Bandon

March 21, 2008

Last week two of us visited Daniele Quatrana’s new Italian restaurant in Bandon called Italistro. Daniele is the owner and is from Italy though has lived here for over 30 years. He told us that nearly all the fixtures and fittings have come from Italy and it certainly has that feeling.

The surroundings really work. Daniele has chosen clean pastel colours and a very modern decor. The restaurant is also cleverly laid out so that there is ample room between the tables and there is a feeling of privacy yet a buzz around the place.

I chose a spicy hot pizza and had the choice of three different sizes with a thick or thin base all at different prices. What I really like about this menu is that you can have just a pasta or pizza or if you feel a bit more peckish, you can choose a steak or other meats, ie he has catered for everybody at all price brackets. Our bill was less than euro 30 per head for a pizza and a couple of glasses of white wine which I thought was very reasonable. Incidentally, the pizza was the best that I have eaten in a long time and so far all my guests from Kilbrogan House who have visited the restaurant have been favourably impressed. Daniele, we have been waiting for such a restaurant in Bandon for a long time so well done!!

Lunch at the Capella in Castlemartyr

March 21, 2008

We had two American guests to stay here at Kilbrogan House. They had lunch at The Capella on their way to us and raved about it. They were, perhaps, a bit biased as one works for the company that owns the hotel. In any case, I had the good fortune to be invited to lunch at the hotel last Saturday so was able to check out if their recommendation was credible.

I thought the experience was tremendous and great value at euro 40 a head for two courses. The lunch itself was superb. There were at least five choices for each of the courses and between us we sampled most of what was on offer. There was nothing but praise from our group. The dining room looks out at the ruins of the castle and a recently created garden. We were a group of six and our table was somewhat hidden away at the end of the dining room – almost like a private room so we didn’t disturb any of the other diners.

What was so special about our Capella lunch was the entire experience – The ambiance, the stately lounge with a fabulously ornate ceiling. Go early and take a tea before lunch as you won’t be disappointed. We walked around the garden afterwards and took a peak into the spa which looks wonderful. The living accommodation has been neatly tucked away at the side of the old historic house. This project must have cost millions to develop and every last detail has been carefully worked out.

Tom Doorley wrote a very favourable review of the lunch here and we concur with his findings! Take a trip their yourself for a special occasion. This hotel is light years ahead of places like the new Carlton in Kinsale. It has a magical, special ambiance. It’s a shame that the Capella don’t make more of the history of this magical place as it is such an integral part of the entire experience.

A visit to Lismore Castle and Gardens

March 21, 2008

Last weekend we had the good fortune to take part in a cream tea in Lismore Castle itself in aid of the Lismore Travel Writers Festival. It is a rare treat for the public to gain admission to the grand medieval style pugin banqueting hall. The original castle was built in 1185 so is steeped in history. It was acquired by the current owners, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, in 1753 and was then remodelled in gothic style using cut stone shipped in from Derbyshire near their residence, Chatsworth House.

Lismore Castle

60 of us sat down to an old fashioned style cream tea and were warmly welcomed by Lord and Lady Burlington. Lord Burlington is the son of the present Duke of Devonshire. After tea, we were taken on a very informative tour of the garden by the head gardener. Dozens of camellias and all kinds of varieties of magnolias were in full bloom as were a sea of daffodils. The gardens and Lismore Art Gallery which is housed in a once derelict west wing of the castle are open to the public.

We would highly recommend a visit to Lismore Castle Gardens. The many herbaceous borders are a sight to behold in the summer months.

We wish the Lismore Travel Writers event every success and congratulate the Burlingtons for their kind sponsorship.

Incidentally Kilbrogan House was built by the Duke of Devonshire in 1818 but was sold off in the late 1800s.

Lismore Castle Gardens