Newstalk Heads West to the USA on The Hard Shoulder

Newstalk Heads to the USA for some Travel Inspiration January 29th 2020

The Irish Love the USA and we travel in our droves each year to the most popular spots but there is a thirst for something different from our American neighbours as we exhaust popular destinations New York and Orlando. There are thousands of wonderful options from other states for a very different holiday experience.

We’ve never been more connected with airlines and our national carrier is adding new destinations all the time our national carrier:

Aer Lingus operate a total of 16  direct routes which includes the two routes from Shannon to JFK and Boston. 14 different destinations.

Sample lead in prices one way

DUB JFK                                   €189 (twice daily)

DUB Newark                          €189

DUB Boston                           €189 (twice daily)

DUB Hartford                        €189

DUB Philadelphia                   €189

DUB Chicago                         €229 (twice daily)

Shannon JFK                            €199

Shannon Boston                    €199




Exciting news from American Airlines last year was the introduction of a direct route to Dallas Texas which really opens up the heartland of the United States

American Airlines is a full service airline offering complimentary meals and alcoholic beverages as well as in seat entertainment on all Dublin flights.

All 4 Dublin flights offer 3 classes of service :- Flagship Business, Premium Economy & Main Cabin

*Dublin to Philadelphia  – Airbus A330 Daily, Year round

*Dublin to Chicago -B787-8 Dreamliner daily May-Oct 2020

*Dublin to Charlotte – A330 Daily May-Oct 2020

*Dublin to Dallas –B787-9 Dreamliner Daily May-Oct 2020

*Shannon to Philadelphia –B757 Daily May-Oct 2020

Over 350 destinations to connect through the Hubs with all flights arriving into domestic Terminals after availing of pre-clearance in Ireland making transfers very short.


United Airlines have a plethora of connections

United Airlines From Shannon our daily seasonal service to Newark returns on the 29th March


United Airlines from Dublin have a year round service on Dublin to Newark New York and a seasonal service to Washington which resumes on the 22nd February and Chicago on the 29th March.


The Big news with United for 2020 is the launch of their new daily service on Dublin to San Francisco route commencing 6th June.

San Francisco is a major hub for United so is a great gateway to the Pacific islands like Hawaii and Tahiti as well as the West Coast of America and Canada.


New York State

I’m starting by taking a look at Dutchess county and we are not referring to Meghan markle type of duchess this is a reference to the area that grew out of new Amsterdam and it is filled with the wealth and culture that we expect to see up in new england….this area spreads way up to Niagara Falls and the border with Canada and it’s perfectly reached through Newark Airport. In fact you can get to see so much by doing a city stay and then venturing Upstate. It’s so big that it covers an area the size of France and holds a very unique history and culture.

My first must see in Dutchess County was the homeplace of America’s 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Hyde Park. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River, this estate is also home to the very first presidential library. I have visited a few but this one is particularly well placed historically as it gives the visitor great insight into FDR’s private life in his home as a young boy and follows through to tell the tale of his work life through the multimedia exhibitions at the library. It’s difficult to tell his story without the inclusion of his supportive and energetic wife Eleanor, and this is achieved with great aplomb and designated exhibits showing her input. Born of a Dutch American family, his wealth and position was orchestrated from the start with a life of privilege attending Harvard and Colombia Law School before working as a lawyer in New York. However his wife remarked that she believed his condition made him a more sensitive and understanding person. Indeed as I pass through the exhibits, Roosevelt’s apparent care for the common man through initiatives such as the New Deal seemed to transform the difficult era of the great depression. In 1933 when FDR took office the first time, 32 banks went bust and 50% of the farms in the state of Mississipi went up for auction. His policy of counteracting extreme poverty across the country involved the planting of 3 billion trees in the National Parks, a social security system and numerous building projects, saw him go on to be the longest serving president ever. It’s interesting to see the displays echoing the strong role Eleanor played at facilitating his work and extracts from her daily dairy which were perhaps the first evidence of a blog in the making.

Ciara from Platinum travel has a wonderful package and itinerary and she will make it bespoke for you

NY City, Hudson Valley & Long Island

01 May – 09 May 2020


Start your trip with a direct flight to The Big Apple and settle in for 2 days of fun an excitement exploring this amazing city.

Then it is time to escape to the stunning Hudson Valley countryside and beautiful Long Island beaches of New York State. Only a stones throw from the city by train and car, but yet both feel a million worlds away. A perfect way to escape after a busy city break!!


Day 1 – 3

Fly Dublin to New York on direct flight


Transfer to your Manhattan Hotel

Enjoy all the sights and sounds of this vibrant city. From Times Square to Liberty Island, Cruising around Manhattan Island, visiting outstanding Museums or just sitting sipping a Manhattan Cocktail, you will be spoiled for things to do.


Stay 2 nights Midtown Manhattan


Day 3 -5

Today you will take a train from Penn Station Manhattan to Poughkeepsie NY. Train takes approximately 1hr 30mins.

On arrival then take a quick 15 min taxi to pick up your car so you can start exploring the wonderful Hudson Valley Area


The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has inspired generations for centuries. It’s the birthplace of America’s first arts movement, the motherland of winemaking in America, home to America’s first culinary college, a Revolutionary War arena, and the landscape where the country’s founding families established lavish estates. The valley is dotted with quaint boutique shopping villages, spa retreats, farm markets, farm fresh eateries, and year-round festivals and events. There’s plenty of outdoor activities in the hills, on the water, or in the air, and all of it – surrounded by the stunning scenery with a Catskill Mountain backdrop. Enjoy a birds’ eye view on the Walkway Over the Hudson, a former historic railroad bridge spanning over 2 kilometers across and nearly 65 meters above the Hudson River. It is the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.

The region’s most iconic figure is President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the only U.S. president elected to four terms. FDR was paralyzed by polio at age 39, led the country out of the Great Depression, and guided America through WWII. A highlight to his estate is the FDR Presidential Library & Museum. The interactive museum is the first and only presidential library used by a sitting president.


Stay 2 nights Poughkeepsie, NY


Day 5-6

Drive a little further North East, approximately 1hr and stay in a wonderful Bed & Breakfast in Amenia

The Hudson Valley’s picturesque landscapes are a truly stunning sight.   Explore the Appalachian Trail or marvel at a stunning cave at Dover Stone Church. You’ll find riverfront paddle boarding and kayaking and hiking trails with fire tower views.

Farm-to-table dining is a way of life in the Hudson Valley. Known as the country’s first wine region, you can now tour and taste your way through wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries on the Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail.


Stay 1 night Amenia, NY

Day 6 – 9


Check out of your B/B after a homemade breakfast and today you will head for the beautiful beaches of Long Island.

Just outside of New York City you’ll find an entire island of surprises. Long Island offers diverse attractions coupled with premiere accommodations. The region is home to the famed Hamptons, Montauk, Fire Island and Wine Country. Gatsby-era Gold Coast Mansions, championship golf courses, ocean beaches and vibrant downtowns are favourited spots.

Long Island’s 120 miles of coastline offers unparalleled adventure. Surf East Coast waves at Corey’s Wave in Montauk and Skudin Surf in Long Beach, go sailing on the Long Island Sound, or head out on a deep-sea fishing charter. Unleash your inner daredevil with zip lines, adventure and water parks, hiking trails and I.FLY Trapeze


Stay 3 nights Southampton, NY



Day 9

Today its time to say goodbye to Long Island and head home.  Drive to JFK and drop your car rental off.

Fly direct from JFK to Dublin  (arriving in the 10th May)

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Deep South

There is something exotic about the deep south rich in food and music traditions and it has a painful history which it is trying to reconcile through education and important cultural centers – Deep south official tourism site here

Alabama is a wonderful state to explore as it has so much history in the civil rights movement, new Orleans and tennesse are famous for their music and of course Kentucky is the home of horse racing in the states and of course Muhammad Ali and George Clooney

If you’re planning on a road trip I would focus on music or food or try and take in a little of both. I really recommend speaking with an agent about what you would like to see and help them build an itinerary for you. I’ve two packages – one from American holidays who have a deep south itinerary for ten days and Platinum travel have great value for a two week tour of the regions music and food.

The South so unique it could be a different country

If you’ve visited other locations in America, you’ll find the South so unique that it could be a different country, and for a time, it’s residents thought it was! Come to savour the South, enjoy cuisine from low country cooking and Cajun spice, to good down home Southern fried chicken. Tap your feet to the beat in Nashville, Memphis, Lafayette and New Orleans, the region that gave rise to every form of contemporary American music. Visit Natchez, perhaps the best preserved antebellum town in the South and historic buildings in Atlanta, where you would swear you just expect Scarlett O’Hara to sweep down the mansion steps.

  • Experience the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
  • Enjoy the sounds of Beale Street in Memphis
  • Party with the Cajuns in Lafayette
  • Tour the French Quarter and Jazz National Historical Parks
  • Drive the Hank Williams Music Trail
  • Look behind the scenes at the CNN Headquarters
  • Taste the fabulous low country cooking of Mobile

Tastes of the Deep South

14 Nights From €1599 (Per Person)

Platinum Travel

American Holidays

Nashville, Memphis & New Orleans

Fr. €1619pp

3 NIGHTS Nashville, Millennium Maxwell House

1 Day Car Hire for Drive Between Nashville/Memphis

2 NIGHTS Memphis, Guest House at Graceland

4 NIGHTS New Orleans, Wyndham French Quarter


Travelling 06-Nov-2020 | Based on 02 Sharing

Flights from Dublin | Quote Ref 52358198


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The Great American West

official tourism site

I’ve been on a few ranch stays and there is something really special about staying with people on a ranch who love the land and their home. I’m sad to see this way of life dying out and in the states of Olahoma and Kansas there are none that cater for international visitors so you really need to eek them out – these lesser visited states have some of the most amazing stories and I’ve visited the red earth festival and museum of hte cowby in Oklahoma and the flint hills festival in Kansas which were probably two of hte most incredible experiences in my life and i did it with my dad who is a lover of the wild west – this is truly bucket list adventure you can have with any family member who loves nature, horses and romance of the westerns

At Holiday World show I spoke to Jenny Bridgeman and she filled me in the states that are thriving on this history and culture and what there is to see

My great granddad was born in south Dakota and he was an unusual immigrant who returned to Ireland at the age of 18 with cowboy skills and even helped lasoo a cow from the lake in Johnstown castle when he settled in the family home in wexford

So how would someone go about choosing the best spots to visit in these states – theres a lot in it with the badlands and mount Rushmore…. again getting help with an itinerary will save time and money and you will get the most from the experience. This sample package takes in some of the most dramatic scenery and the national parks are a must if you really want to explore the real America

A sample itinerary from which includes all five states is this one – which has a starting price of €1,999 per person.

Best of The Great American West – Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho

Discover the Great American West


21 days of adventure through The Great American West

Start Rapid City, SD |Finish Jackson, WY

21 nights – €1999 per person based on 4 sharing – full fly drive including accommodation, flights, and car rental

The diverse and intriguing American states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming epitomise the Great American West. Year-round adventure, awe-inspiring scenery, majestical mountains, shimmering lakes, expansive prairies and tumbling waterfalls await. Not to mention legendary history and heritage, real-life cowboys, rodeos and ranches, American Indians, iconic National Parks and monuments, plus more wildlife than people. The Great American West has it all.

No Great American West adventure is complete without a visit to the world’s first national park. Yellowstone boasts the world’s most extensive area of geothermal activity, harbouring more than 10,000 geysers, hot springs and mud pots; the most famous being Old Faithful. A mountain wildland, home to grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk, the park is the core of one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone.

The Great American West is blessed with an unspoiled, natural beauty that beckons visitors from around the world. Take time to discover it yourself.

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New England is so popular with listeners and I’m always being asked about ideas for travel there so here is the official site to check out which part you’d like to visit

New England Package from Sunway

€1385pp for the following trip based on October 2020 departure.



Arrive at Logan International Airport. Pick up your rental car and proceed to your hotel. Enjoy your evening at leisure.



A full day free to explore Boston, the cradle of American liberty. The Revolutionary era comes to life along the Freedom Trail walking route. Visit the haunts of the patriots who stoked the fires of democracy throughout the Colonies.

DoubleTree Club by Hilton Hotel Boston Bayside



Along the route north of Boston lies almost four centuries of history, as well as some of the coast’s finest beaches and seascapes. First stop is Salem, the location of the infamous witch trials. Then drive along the coast to the charming harbor towns of Gloucester and Rockport. Enjoy the old-time seaport atmosphere of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and its wealth of historic buildings before crossing into Maine. Pass through Kennebunkport, summer home to Presidents, and enjoy exploring Portland, Maine’s largest city.

Best Western Merry Manor Inn



Your drive today takes you inland towards the spectacular scenery of the White mountains, the “rooftop of New England,” a landscape dotted with historic villages and enchanting covered bridges. En-route, experience breathtaking views of mountain ranges and pristine forests.

Town & Country Inn




Today, traverse the White Mountains that divide the New England states of New Hampshire and Vermont. The mountains are home to bears, moose, wild turkey, and deer. This route takes you through some of New England’s most beautiful scenery. Drive by Lyndonville and see Willey’s General Store in Greensboro before continuing through Craftsbury, a Grandma Moses kind of village, to Stowe. See picture-perfect villages and some of Vermont’s famous covered bridges.

Golden Eagle Resort, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member




Your drive today takes you alongside the Green Mountains of Vermont, part of the Appalachian Mountain range that stretches from Quebec in the north to Alabama in the south, and through the Connecticut River Valley. Step into Old Sturbridge Village and find yourself transported back in time. In historic households and shops, at water-powered mills and on working farms, explore the everyday tasks and seasonal celebrations of early 19th-century New England.

Hampton Inn & Suites Mystic




Journey south towards the Massachusetts coast. Many of America’s most prominent families – from the Astors to the Vanderbilts – have summered in Newport. Many of their homes are now preserved and open for tours. Continue along the coast on your way to the Cape. Explore magnificent Cape Cod with its high cliffs, rolling dunes, broad beaches, miles of walking trails, picturesque villages and delicious seafood. This peninsula is a beloved vacation spot for visitors and natives alike. Stop in Plymouth, a living panorama of Pilgrim and Colonial times and see the Mayflower II.

Heritage House Hotel





This morning drive back to Boston and return your car in time for your departure flight.






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