Newstalk Questions and Answers on The Hard Shoulder

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Question one

HI Michelle and Ivan, we’ve a new addition to the family, a greyhound, and we would like to take him on a weekend break with us somewhere around Ireland, where can you stay with your dog? Tony

Tony the size of your dog is really important so do mention when you make a booking with the hotel. I’ve gathered a list that are happy to take greyhounds or larger. The Blue Book Properties have a full list that would be happy to take a large dog size Labrador and bigger. Including Enniscoe House in Mayo, Ghan house on Carlingford Lough, Marlfield House in Wexford and Gregan’s Castle in Galway Bay. Here’s the link to the page


Situated on the shores of Lough Swilly, a short walk through the rolling lawn, leads you to a two mile stratch of golden sandy beach. The interior of Rathmullan House is relaxed and welcoming with open fires burning in the homely lounges.

Bedrooms range from romantic doubles with garden views to the large garret rooms for families. A heated indoor swimming pool provided the perfect opportunity to unwind after a day of sightseeing. 2 Nights Bed and Breakfast from €140.00 per person. €10.00 charge for pet stay.

Current Mid-week Special Offer: The Great Escape

1 Nights Dinner Bed and Breakfast for a Couple

1 Night’s Dinner, Bed and Breakfast from €115.00 per person

Solo 1 Night’s Dinner, Bed and Breakfast from €130.00



A beautifully situated Georgian house overlooking Ballinakill Bay, which has been lovingly converted into a first-class hotel with a Victorian style conservatory and delightful drawing rooms with open log fires. All of the bedrooms are individually decorated and feature fine antiques and paintings.

Set in 30 acres of secluded woodland close to the ocean’s edge, Rosleague is a beautifully wooded area on the coast, located just one mile from the Connemara National Park, an area of some 5,000 acres and just 5 minutes drive to Kylemore’s beautiful Abbey and walled gardens. Salmon, trout and sea fishing; golf and horseriding all available in the area. Tennis court available for guests use.

€75pp dogs go free

dinner bed and breakfast €115pp

Tankardstown House have a special package for your pooch

Very Important Pooch (VIP) From €155 per person sharing

Get away from it all and relax in a truly special place. Bring your well behaved four legged family members along with you for some well deserved rest and relaxation in the tranquil grounds of our estate. Check in with your dog at reception and be taken to our beautifully appointed courtyard cottage suites where a complimentary doggie treat welcomes your four legged friend. There’s 80 acres of woodland and parkland for you both to explore.  Take a seat for dinner by candlelight in the critically acclaimed award winning restaurant, Brabazon and enjoy a 3 Course a la carte Menu, laced with strong seasonal influences. Let restful sleep take you over with only trickling fountains and birdsong to disturb. Awaken with a quick dip in the hot tub before a hearty breakfast sets you up for the day.

Other hotels that allow any size dog but only one per room include The Twelve Hotel, Castlemartyr Resort and The Lodge at Ashford Castle all allow for any size dog


Question Two

Dear Michelle I usually take my holidays with my husband in July and have been going to Portugal for several years and we love it but fancy a change. Can you recommend somewhere a little different not too far away? I’ve wondered about Croatia can you tell me more about it, all best Jackie

Croatia has been popular for the last number of years with Irish Holidaymakers. Dubrovnik  is well served by Irish Airlines with Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus offering flights to Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar. Zagreb Croatian airlines 3 weekly

Key points to note:

Similar to Italy, Croatia enjoys lakes waterfalls and  1200 islands. This means plenty of  water sports including white water rafting
May to October is holiday season but it won’t get as hot as Greece

Kuna is the money used in Croatia with seven to the euro
You can pay as little as two euro wine per glass as you go out into the countryside
Beautiful sea pearl of Adriatic history scenery weather
Island of Hvar enjoys huge yachts sailing in and got with new connections now with Ryanair to Zadar
Sailing swimming active adventure are all enjoyed in Croatia.

First stop for holiday packages from the experts at Croatia Tours
Croatia tours will tailor make your package 25 years Irish owned and Irish run fully bonded on Eden Quay, Dublin

Croatia Tours have a selection going out on 18th July staying at 4* & 5* properties including two centres – on Dubrovnik Riviera €1049 pps for seven nights staying at The Hotel Croatia 5* which is very popular with the Irish

Only 20 km’s south of Dubrovnik, the delightful resort of Cavtat with its picturesque bay, harbour and palm fringed promenade is an ideal destination for a family holiday and others who want a holiday of relaxation with the option to take in the hustle bustle of Dubrovnik City. Cavtat village has remarkable medieval character and offers distinctive and rich opportunities to visit art galleries and bookshops, but most importantly to simply enjoy the beautiful scenery that surrounds this village. The harbour of Cavtat is a cluster of cafes and bars where you can sit and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere or perhaps take one of the numerous boat trips to Dubrovnik and the small islands which lie just off the coast.

Dubrovnik is situated to the southernmost part of the Croatia, its flagship attraction Dubrovnik Old city itself is a priceless pearl, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the south shores of the Adriatic Sea. It boasts a perfect climate, awe-inspiring natural beauties, rich historical heritage, and diverse tourist offering, Dubrovnik is without doubt the most treasured and most frequently visited destination of the Dubrovnik Riviera.

Dubrovnik’s tempestuous past dates all the way back to ancient times which has wrote a history filled with thrilling adventures, legends and battles. Throughout the middle ages the walled city state thrived through extensive trade with other maritime ports such as Genoa, Pisa and Venice. So notorious at the time for its wealth, education, art and architecture it became the envy of Venice and its Republic. Every aspect of it past helped build and forge the spectacular city we see today, it is no wonder it was chosen by HBO’s series ‘Game of Thrones’ for one of its filming location.

For those more interested in the typical sun holiday – spending the day sun bathing and swimming over viewing the historical sights of the ‘Old Town’, there are many areas inside the old town which have access to the sea, and just outside the city walls the ‘Banje’ beach offers the sun worshipper the perfect haven. The Lapad Peninsula, approximately three and a half kilometres to the west of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, is dotted with pleasant beaches, bars, cafes, restaurants and the majority of hotels in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik doesn’t lose any of its brilliance at night. There are numerous restaurants, nightclubs and cocktail bars to choose from. For those in the mood for a relaxed night out, there is a rich offering of restaurants, ranging from pizza to fine dining venues. It is highly recommended to try the seafood dishes when in Dubrovnik, just like all of Croatia but if fish is not your thing a wood fire beef steak will not be hard to find, but hard to forget.

Two centre Dubrovnik and Island of Hvar 3* & 4* €1155 pps



Question Three

My sister has been a paraplegic for ten years and every year we go away somewhere in Ireland. This year we hope to go somewhere in Spain. She has two care takers who will travel with her also. Have you any suggestions, Thank you Marie

Marie you need to go to a travel agent as this is a very specific request. There is a wonderful hotel group called Ilunion which is owned by the national blind society in Spain. They have 25 properties in 12 destinations all over Spain. To find out more go to Or read my article that I wrote about them go out of their way to cater for guests with special needs and offer Braille around the hotel and telephones with lights and have larger than usual signage.

The three-, four- and five-star hotels – targeting urban and holiday markets – are situated in the main Spanish cities across 12 provinces. Between them, they have more than 3,700 beds and what really sets them apart is that 40 per cent of the hotels’ employees have some type of disability. In addition, four of the hotels – Ilunion Suites Madrid, Ilunion Barcelona, Ilunion Valencia 3 and Ilunion Valencia 4 – are Special Employment Centres – workplaces where at least 70 per cent of the staff are people with disabilities.

I went to the Travel Broker in Clontarf and they have put together a good suggestion for your trip to Spain.
This option below is to the Costa Brava in the area of Tossa del mar which includes flights with RYANAIR [Special assistance explained below] departing 02nd June, wheelchair assisted transfers [5 Seater adapted taxi – 40 minute transfer] & 1 x accessible room & 1 x single room in the 4 star Hotel Golden Bahia which is in the centre of Tossa Del Mar, great reviews to date. The beach is a 10 minute walk but Tossa del Mar is very flat. The hotel Golden Bahia facilities are accessible to wheelchair users.


Ryanair – Flight details:

Dublin to Barcelona Girona

Sun 2nd Jun 13:30 – 17:00 FR 7036

Barcelona Girona to Dublin

Sun 9th Jun 11:20 – 12:55 FR 7037


20kg checked bag included

 Return accessible transfers included


Hotel Golden Bahia – Tossa Del Mar

1 x adaptable rooms with half board – breakfast and evening meal included – 2 adults sharing

1 x single room with half board 7 nights

Total cost for 3 adults – € 2689



Special Assistance – Online Guide

What types of airport special assistance are available?

There are a number of types of airport special assistance available. Excluding oxygen, these options can all be booked in advance online or by calling our special assistance line.

For safety reasons on Ryanair flights we require an able bodied person aged 16 and over to accompany a reduced mobility passenger who is not self-reliant.

Guidelines for Air Passenger Self Reliance:

The below information regarding air passenger self reliance is set out by the UK Department for Transport -Access to Air Travelfor Disabled People: Code of Practice (July 2008)

Each passenger must be self reliant by reference to all of the categories below. If not, then he/she must be travel with an able bodied accompanying person aged 16 and over who is capable of providing the assistance required.

  • Passengers must be capable of using toilet facilities unaided
  • Passengers must be capable of feeding themselves unaided
  • Passengers must be capable of administering their own medicines and medical procedures unaided.
  • Can support their upper body without assistance

Where a reduced mobility passenger is travelling with an accompanying person, we will do our best to ensure the accompanying passenger is seated next to them. In order for an airport to provide the required special assistance, passengers must check-in at least 1 hour 40 minutes before their flight departure

Passengers with pre booked assistance requirements should arrive at the boarding gate at least 30 minutes prior to the flight departure. The able bodied accompanying adult can’t assist more than one reduced mobility passenger and must purchase the prevailing adult fare.

Special Assistance Options

Option 1: (CODE: WCHR) Passenger requires assistance (departure & arrival) through the airport to the boarding gate

Option 2: (CODE: WCHC) Passenger requires assistance (departure & arrival) through the airport and lift on/off to/from the aircraft seat

Option 3 :(CODE: WCHS) Passenger requires assistance (departure & arrival) through the airport and up/down the aircraft steps

Option 4: (CODE: BLND) Blind/vision impaired passenger requires a walker (departure & arrival) through the airport to the aircraft seat and separate safety briefing from the cabin crew

Option 5: (CODE: BDGR) Passenger travelling with a guide/assistance dog that requires a walker (departure & arrival) through the airport to the aircraft seat and separate safety briefing from the cabin crew

Option 6:(CODE: BLDP) Passenger is blind or vision impaired but requires no assistance (travelling alone or accompanied)

Option 7: (CODE: DPNA) Self-reliant passenger with an intellectual disability who can understand & respond to safety instructions who requires assistance (departure & arrival) through the airport to the boarding gate (departure & arrival)

Option 8 (CODE: DEAF) Passenger is profoundly deaf and requires a separate safety briefing onboard the aircraft

Option 9 (CODE:PETC) Passenger travelling with a guide/assistance dog – no special assistance services required

Option 10 (CODE: OXYG):A passenger requiring in-flight therapeutic oxygen must pre book and pay for the service at least 7 days prior to travel, by contacting our Special Assistance Line.

Where do I go in the airport to get my pre-booked special assistance?

There is a special assistance desk located within the airport. If you have pre-booked airport special assistance, on arrival at the airport please present your online boarding pass at the special assistance desk.

In order for the airport to effectively provide pre-booked special assistance, passengers must present themselves at the airport special assistance desk 2 hours before their flight departure time.

Question Four

Michelle, I’m getting married next year and my fiancée and I don’t know where to start to plan our honeymoon. The wedding is costing a fortune but we want a memorable honeymoon somewhere exotic that we will remember. Look forward to hearing your ideas thanks Bill

Bill you haven’t been specific about what you consider exotic or how far you’d like to travel. After a busy wedding weekend you may prefer a shorter flight rather than taking on a long journey too far away. One of the priorities to bear in mind is the weather. Check out hurricane season and monsoons if travelling far away. I suggest going to a bespoke travel agent such as Classic Collection who will pick out something special for you whether it is within Europe or somewhere further away.


Some of the favourite with honeymooners are  Santorini ,  Sicily , Sorrento & Amalfi Coast , Crete , Tuscany , Halkidiki ( New Ryanair direct flight for S2019) , Dubrovnik , twin centre with Montenegro .

Because everything they do is tailor made they can put together an itinerary to suit all requirements, eg, we can do a few days in Athens and on to one of the Greek islands – we arrange all flights the various transfers , all of which are private transfers . We can prebook any excursions or special treats through our concierge service. Twin centres in Italy popular and again pre – bookables such as Opera tickets, car hire, train tickets can all be done by them. Long Haul – Antigua and Barbados , popular for honeymooners but very much hotel/beach based.


Re pricing because everything is tailor made it’s difficult to put a price together so contact your local travel agent or directly on 01 5413000 and they will put together a couple of suggested itineraries.



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