The Novel Traveller Answers your Questions on Newstalk

Newstalk Wednesday 25th September 2019

This week on The Hard Shoulder I’m answering your Questions – remember to email them to me on this site or you can contact me on twitter or Facebook

Questions 1

We have two questions about New York…..

Noreen is going to New York Oct 6th to 10th flying into JFK and is looking for advice on what area of New York to book accommodation. “My first time going and I’m finding it very confusing which Borough to stay in for my first visit will be booking an apt on air bnb hopefully. I’m 35 not too interested in shopping and nice restaurants’ food very important and sightseeing! Would greatly appreciate a steer Kind Regards Noreen”


Michelle says:

For first time travellers to New York you have to soak up the atmosphere of Manhattan…Midtown around Time square is where most people make their first base. I recommend for Noreen staying further south in SoHo or Greenwich village. A mid-priced hotel such as The Washington square is a good pace and short stroll from nice cafes and restaurants. For a second or third stay The Borough of Queens is a short four stops from Maceys and quite a funky neighbourhood for cosmopolitan dining. You can access it by water taxi too which is cheap and offers a lovely cruise of the Hudson. Brooklyn is very residential with beautiful brownstone buildings and village atmosphere with Live Music and The Bronx is home to the New York Yankees the Botanical Gardens and hip hop.

Noreen can visit Staten Island on the free ferry service that runs from Manhattan downtown


Hi Michelle My sister and I are in our early 60s and would like to travel in March or April to New York. We would like to travel ex Cork or Shannon and spend 4 nights. Unfortunately, we have to budget and we are hoping that you can maybe recommend a good deal.
Looking forward to hearing from you! Attracta


Attracta should contact a specialist in New York such as American Holidays, or Tour America but larger operators Sunway also offer good value. April is a good time to visit New York but May is even better as the snow lingered late this year. Key sights to visit

Click and Go came back to me with this great price of €598pp travelling on March 11th

For four nights staying midtown at the Gallivant Hotel Times Square, Flights with Aer Lingus

I have this package from Travalu in Navan from Shannon The New York Central Hotel is in Midtown and on the edge of Central Park.

Check out our 4 Night City Break to New York on March 6th 2020 for €732 per person based on 2 sharing.

Price includes return flights, checked in 23kg bag each and 4 Nights accommodation in the 4* Hudson New York Central Park Hotel on a room only basis.

See more information

Contact us on 046 9068600 or email


Question 2.

Hi Michelle

Are there any hotels in Ireland where I could take my family for a short break over mid-term or Halloween. We have two children aged 8 and 6 so the Halloween theme will appeal to them. Daniel

Michelle says:

  • Ireland has taken ownership of Halloween and Failte Ireland’s Ancient East is host to a new festival The Puca Festival from October 31st – November 2nd In Louth and Meath around the Hill of Tara Athboy and Trim Castle, there will be music and a light spectacle

31 October 2019

  • TIME 17:00 – 21:00 PLACE

Fair Green, Athboy TICKETS

FREE (ticketed event, maximum 2 per person)

The Hill of Ward (Tlachtga) was a major ceremonial enclosure and one of the earliest sites to host Samhain. The place from which the light of the new year first emanates. The origin of all Irish culture ripples out from earthen mounds at Tlachtga and spreads out across the world.

You’re invited to continue the ritual of Samhain at the ancient hill and join us for a historical and spiritual procession in the shadow of this heritage site.

Here are some Halloween stays over Mid Term

Unwind & share ghost stories by the fireside at Faithlegg


Link to images  


Pack your bags with cosy jumpers, outfits to lounge and shoes for exploring this October midterm and spend some quality time with the family at Faithlegg.


Faithlegg has lots to keep everyone entertained both indoors and outdoors, the Leisure Centre is home to a swimming pool and kiddies pool for a splash about, explore the grounds surrounded by autumnal hues or venture out and blow off the cobwebs at the nearby seaside villages of Dunmore and Tramore, catch the latest blockbuster or have a mosey around the shops in Waterford city with fantastic Halloween attractions taking place during the midterm week including Wicked in the Woods (October 28th from 6-9pm and Sunday 29th October from 2-4.30pm) where award-winning company Spraoi will transform Carriganore Wood on Waterford’s Greenway at WIT Arena into an imaginative seasonal wonderland – with light, sound, effects creatures and live performance.


Back at Faithlegg, Mum and Dad can treat themselves with a trip to the tranquil Faithlegg Treatment Suites, or a round of golf on the award-winning golf course before retreating to the Alyward Lounge and snuggling up together on one of the cosy couches by the fireside – the perfect place to share spooky stories!

The Halloween Midterm Break package at Faithlegg is available from €458 and includes 2-nights accommodation in a family room for 2 adults and 2 children and one 4-course dinner in the Roseville Rooms Restaurant. Children are accommodated on a Bed and Breakfast basis only in family rooms



A Ghostly Gathering at The Heritage 

Families will get a ghastly great welcome this Halloween mid-term at The Heritage, a wickedly luxurious hotel with interconnecting family guestrooms, or extra spacious family junior suites which have a separate sitting area making them perfect for families with infants or young children.

Their special Ghostly Gathering two night stay has lots to keep the whole family entertained, with a creepy cocktail for the kids on arrival, a family dinner included on one evening, a scary movie shown for the children each evening in their purpose built cinema, with a portion of poison popcorn of course, and a family pass to ‘The Halloween Happenings’ at the nearby Lullymore Heritage Park which includes lots of ghastly ghouls and terrifying treats such as Haunted Holograms, Terror Train Trips with Zombie attacks, Terror Treasure hunts and the Devilish Den of Play in the Funky Forest and much more!!

The Ghostly Gathering break costs from €540.00 total stay (based on 2 adults and 2 kids under 12 sharing).


Just one hour from Dublin, The Heritage also has playground and a fairy garden for the younger kids, a Games Room, Wii Room and a cinema for the older kids and lots of great activities and sightseeing nearby including Emo Court, the national Stud & Gardens, The Rock of Dunamase, bike hire on the Barrow Way, Slieve Bloom mountain walks and lots more. Mum and Dad can enjoy some well-earned relaxation by taking a trip to the world class Heritage Spa, enjoy a stroll together around the five km walking track; or simply sink into a cosy couch with a drink and a bite to eat and relax.


T: +353 (0) 57 8645500


Boo at Ballymaloe
Treat your little spooks to some frightfully memorable interactive fun at Ballymaloe this Halloween.  Bed and Breakfast bookings include FREE entry for children to “Boo at Ballymaloe” (taking place in Ballymaloe Grainstore).
This Spooktacular offer is based on a family of 2 adults & 2 children per night in a superior room for bed & breakfast to include passes to “Boo” for the children between Friday 25th October until Saturday 2nd November- subject to availability.
Valid From: 25.10.2019-02.11.2019
Price: €300.00 per family of 2 adults and 2 children
Ballymaloe House is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book. For more information on this offer see or call Ballymaloe directly on 021 465 2531
Halloween Chills & Thrills at the Ice House Hotel
Check in and chill out with a two-night Chills and Thrills adventure. Enjoy breakfast each morning, special Halloween treats in your room on arrival and a delicious three course dinner on one evening with a pre-dinner spookalicious cocktail. Relax and unwind with full complimentary use of the Chill Spa Thermal Suite and Outdoor Spa Garden.
For a little added frightful Halloween fun, join the Scary Woods walk in Belleek Woods during the Halloween Festival in Ballina.
Valid From: 24.10.2019 – 04.11.2019
Price: From €255 per person
The Ice House is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book. For more information see<> or call the Ice House directly on 096 23500
Halloween Family Offer at Hayfield Manor
Enjoy a little spooky-themed break this Halloween at Hayfield Manor, with two night’s accommodation, Full Irish Breakfast each morning and Dinner on one evening in the popular Perrotts Garden Bistro for 2 adults and 2 children.  Adults enjoy a 4 course meal with full choice from the Perrotts Garden Bistro menu and children choose 3 courses from our healthy options Children’s Menu which will feature a special spooky dessert on Halloween night.
Little ones enjoy Halloween treats on arrival to the hotel.  Join the fun on Halloween night & become immersed in our family activities with our Halloween Party, including a family pumpkin carving competition, treats and traditional Halloween games followed by a spooky Ghost Trail. Junior Guests will then enjoy a Halloween movie with popcorn and Halloween treats in our spooky Library.
Valid From: 28.10.2019 – 02.11.2019
Price: €762 per family.
Hayfield Manor is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book. For more information see<> or call Hayfield directly on 021 484 5900

Pumpkin Power at Dunbrody House
Combine a wonderful 2 night escape to Dunbrody with some fabulous fun-filled Halloween treats for all ages. Enjoy a free Pumpkin Carving class for residents only on Halloween afternoon between 4pm and 6pm, followed by Halloween games in The Local until 7.30pm. All this combined with two nights accommodation with Spooky Halloween Dinner on one night and of course the legendary late breakfast until Noon each day.
Valid from: 28.10.2019 – 01.11.2019
Price From: €265 per person
Dunbrody House is a member of Ireland’s Blue book, for more information visit<> or contact Dunbrody House directly on 051 389600

Ireland is having more and more festivals – this weekend there is a special Viking one in Wexord

Brand New Viking Fire Festival Announced 

A brand new epic festival is set to take place in Wexford town on Saturday, September 28th. The first annual Viking Fire Festival will be hosted on Wexford’s quayside by the Irish National Heritage Park.

The historical Wexford town will be transformed back to Viking times, as the Wexford Quayside will be turned into a real-life Viking Village hosting an immersive experience akin to life over a thousand years ago. The ancient settlement will be populated throughout the day with a host of re-enactors who will be going about their day-to-day life as if it was 900AD and offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy storytelling, a Viking market, coin striking, spinning, weaving, leatherworking, metalwork and woodwork, with some Viking music performances and even the chance to participate in some slave trading.


The Vikings founded Wexford town sometime before 900AD when they first settled and the street layout today can be attributed to these early settlers. Those same streets will see the Vikings maraud through the town once again on the evening of Saturday, September 28th as a Viking Parade will be led by the Bloco Garman Drummers as they descend onto the Wexford Quayside where the festival will culminate in a spectacular Inferno Fire Show. The fire show will be performed by Ireland’s most skilled fire performers, as they present their most popular production, Firestorm, a show of enchanting light and shadow, skill and choreography. Inferno is an intense blazing experience.

Alongside the real-life Viking Village, a Viking Treasure Hunt, Viking Talks and Children’s Storytelling plus a Craft Beer and Food Market will all be on offer to visitors throughout the day.

Question 3.

Matthew is looking to bring his family to Disneyland Paris
” I am Looking to find the best travel company to book 4 nights in Disneyland Paris in Feb 2020 for 2 adults and two kids 3/5. Our Budget is €2500 all in transfers and park tickets if possible.”

Be warned Matthew that Paris can be very cold in winter!

If he can hold out until April it could make a big difference to the experience especially as his children are so young. I brought my kids at that age and the highlights were feeding the giant gold fish in the lake and swimming in the hotel pool. Queues can be long for kids and if it’s cold the whole family will feel it –

NavanTravel offer this package For just €1999 based on a family of 2 adults and 2 children you under 7 you get: Return flights leaving on February 26th with 10kg cabin baggage pp, 4 nights in the Cheyenne Lodge in a family room, park tickets for the duration of your stay, return airport transfers and FREE half board meals!

*UPGRADE to Disney’s Sequoia Lodge Hotel for an additional €300
Sequoia Lodge has a swimming pool*

See more information

Call 0469068600 or email

21st Feb        Dublin-Paris          06.40am-09.25am

25 Feb            Paris-Dublin         5.00pm-5.50pm

Enjoy 4 nights in the Cheyenne Hotel in Disneyland Paris with Free Half Board included. Park passes & transfers included also

EUR2400 – includes flights, 1x checked in bag, transfers & accommodation. Priced based on 2 Adults + 2 Children.

Offer must be booked by 01st Oct. Prices subject to Grogan Travel

Click and Go Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Hotel: Santa Fe Hotel from €1639 per family,5:0/RO/DUB/0/7963/991534308/1638?search=all/Paris_Disneyland/2020-02-04/3/2:3,5:0//DUB/0



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