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January 14, 2013

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Travelling with Mark Cagney

by Julianne Mooney


Mark Cagney

I often do the travel slot on Ireland AM with Mark and he’s usually been to at least one of the destinations I’m talking about, which always makes it more interesting. Travelling is subjective so I think it’s good to hear what other people think of places I’ve visited.

It was fun chatting to Mark about his travels for this piece, hearing about his favourite travel spots, his dream holiday and holiday tips. I discovered he’s done a good bit of travel in South America and would love to travel more there. My travel guide for Argentina sits patiently on my bookshelves, pages earmarked at the places I aspire to visit one day. I can’t remember why, but my trip to Argentina fell through several years ago and my itinerary stares at me mockingly when I open the guide. Ah, one day.

So over to Mark Cagney, broadcaster and presenter on TV3’s Ireland AM, for some of his travel tips.

Q: Where is your favourite holiday destination abroad and why?

MC: It would have to be Italy. I’ve never been anywhere in Italy and not liked it, except the city of Naples, which has something sinister about it. I have been going to Italy once a year for the past 12 years and love it. Sicily would be one of my favourite spots, as are Sorrento, Campagna and Calabria.

Italy has everything, 2000 years of history on one corner, an Armani shop on the opposite corner and usually a few superb restaurants in between What’s not to love?

Q: What are your three desert island ‘must haves’?

MC: The only thing I have to have is music. Anything else I can live without, but not music.

Q: Where was your best meal in the past 12 months?

MC: There’s a lovely Pakistani restaurant in Howth, The Okra Green, which is the only restaurant I’ve been to twice in the past year. The best meal of my life was in a restaurant in Trento, Italy – Le Due Spada. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in the world, dating back to the 11th century. We didn’t know what we were eating half the time, but it was amazing, a real culinary feast!

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Q: You have one week free of charge at a hotel of your choice, where would you choose?

MC: If it was just myself and my wife, then Capa La Gala, Sorrento. It’s stunning and the perfect place for a romantic holiday.

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Q: Where would be your best child-friendly hotel?

MC: Actually our best experiences have been in Ireland. Kelly’s Hotel in Rosslare is ideal for families, it’s the most child-friendly hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The Slieve Russell in Cavan is also great.

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Q: You’ve just won the lotto, what holiday are you going to book?

MC: I would love to go to Chile, as it’s somewhere I’ve wanted to visit since I was a child. I used to have a globe in my bedroom and was fascinated by the country that resembled a baguette. It looked like it had been randomly stuck onto South America and this intrigued me. It amazed me that a country could be so diversified, with jungle and deserts, some of the finest vineyards and then stretch all the way down to the Antartic. I love the Latin way of life, the people and culture, hence my love of Italy, and South America holds a real interest for me. I’d also love to visit Buenos Aries and to see more of Bolivia and Peru.

Q: What’s your preference when on holiday: real book, Kindle or audio book?

MC: Real book. It has to be paper and ink. No replacement. I have to be able to feel and touch it.

Q: What’s your top travel tip?

MC: Be organized and don’t do last minute stuff. Things go wrong on holidays, that’s the way of things, but don’t sweat it. You’re on holidays so take your time and enjoy it. Also, don’t take anything on holiday that you can’t live without, because if you lose it, you will be devastated.

Insurance, get it. And finally, bring really comfy shoes. At some point, on every holiday, you will be somewhere and end up having to walk forever (or what feels like forever in the sweltering heat). Don’t be tempted to wear a pair of flimsy flip flops or the new flash shoes you just bought as they’ll just destroy your feet. Comfy shoes, for that long, unexpected journey.

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