Life is about recommendations. Restaurants, wine, books, food, you name it, if someone tells you to try something or visit somewhere, the seal of approval is worth its weight in gold. As a travel writer, I make new discoveries through articles, television documentaries and word of mouth. The latter is my favourite – a recommendation from someone I trust means it’s worth following up.
I set up this website to share my travel experiences with readers and to inspire people to travel the world. I enjoy being able to recommend a hotel, city or country that captures my imagination and heart. However, rather than me harping on about places I’ve visited, I thought it would be nice to introduce new voices to my website. It’s always nice to mix things up.
So over the next few months, alongside my usual posts, I’ll be asking people from different walks in life, about their favourite hotels, travel experiences and travel tips. Why? In the hope we can provide the inspiration for you to go out and explore the world in 2013.
First up, the lovely Sinead Desmond, broadcaster and presenter on Ireland AM. When I was doing publicity for the Timeout Guide to Ireland Sinead interviewed me on Ireland AM and could not have made it easier. I was sick at the thought of having to fill 12 minutes talking on camera. However, she was bubbly, friendly and put me at my ease in no time. She’s well-travelled and has great taste, so I thought I’d ask her a few of her travel favourites.
Question: Where is your favourite holiday destination abroad and why?
SD: It has to be The Cook Islands, they are undoubtedly the most beautiful place I have ever been to, the sea and sea life was magnificent, the diving was out of this world and the people were so welcoming.
Question: What are your three desert island ‘must haves’?
SD: Books, bikinis and someone to rub sunscreen on my back!
Question: Where was your best meal in the past 12 months?
SD: A homemade lasagne made by a friend, Jean, who cooked if for a gang of us when we were saying in Chamonix this summer. We had come back from climbing Italy’s highest mountain and she had cooked us this dish, it was the
best lasagne I have ever had. It was a recipe from a certain area in Italy and it had egg in it, I am still dreaming about it!
Question: You have one week, free of charge, at a hotel of your choice. Where would you choose?
It has to be Aghadoe Heights
in Killarney. I adore Kerry – it has some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland and the service in Aghadoe is second to none. The whole package is perfect as far as I’m concerned – the food, bar, spa (especially the spa!) pool, the views and the people there just can’t do enough for you. I was lucky enough to stay in the incredible penthouse once, when we did a shoot there for VIP magazine, and as we sat in the outdoor hot tub I took in the magnificent views of Carrauntoohill, while my husband drank a beer and watched Munster play on the outdoor telly. I have never seen him happier in my life! I always come back from Aghadoe feeling really rested and relaxed and that, to me, is worth its weight in gold!
I have to also mention two other hotels, which I cannot rate highly enough. Inchydoney Lodge and Spa
, Cork is another favourite, the location is stunning. I love the seaweed treatments in the spa and if you go get the crab claws and chips in the bar, yummy, yummy, yummy! The second is the Shelbourne Hotel
, which is my favourite place to stay in Dublin and they have a brand new spa which is incredible!
Question: You are completely broke, but have to take a break. What is your go-to cash friendly holiday?
SD: Camping! I love being active and in the outdoors. Ireland has stunning scenery and it’s all free. Camping is the best way to see it! Some of my favourite childhood memories are of camping holidays with my family in Wicklow, Clare and Kerry. All you need is your rucksack, tent and boots and off you go. Sitting around a camp fire having the chat after a days hiking is without doubt one of my favourite things in the world to do!
Question: If you won the lotto, where would you book for your holiday and why?
SD: I would buy a boat and head off around the world with my husband and never come back!
Question: What’s your preference when on holiday: real book, e-reader or audio book?
SD: Actually I just came back from Tenerife, where for the first time ever, in my experience, Kindles outnumbered real books around the pool. I am a huge fan of Ipads and Kindles and do use them to read, but I’ll always be a book girl. Going into a bookshop and buying a new book is still a thrill for me and great value for money!
A big thanks to Sinead for sharing her travel tips and experiences with us!