Based in Carlow

Susan Hegarty

It's Nice To Meet You

My name is Susan and I have over 20 years’ experience in the travel industry. I’m originally from Cork and have worked in leading travel agencies in Cork, Dublin and Carlow.

I was bitten by the travel bug very early in my life. My father was in the Merchant Navy and he and my mother travelled extensively before I was born. When I came along I went with them too. I was in my first hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean when I was two months old and shortly after, was christened in France.

Perhaps it was this early introduction to the world or the tales of exotic countries and the wonderful souvenirs I grew up with that gave me a fascination and a love of travel.

I have been to many places including Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, USA, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Bermuda, Barbados, St Lucia, Bahamas, St Thomas, St Maarten, Puerto Rico, Mexico, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, most of Spain and Italy and Portugal, Croatia, Malta, Montenegro, Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia, 6 Greek Islands and Turkey.

When I joined Travel Counsellors I won the "Best Newcomer" award and recently came first in the country for Customer Service, both of which I am very proud of. I can book any aspect of travel for you including family holidays, city breaks, group bookings, or simply flights, accommodation, car hire, transfers or attraction tickets. I specialise in cruises and honeymoons, probably because they are my own personal favourites!

I have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, NCL and most recently MSC in inside, outside and balcony cabins for 7, 9, & 12 night cruises. I've also recently come back from my first River Cruise. I've cruised on some of the best cruise ships in the world including Allure, Harmony & Quantum of the Seas.

I am an Aussie Specialist, a South Africa Expert and Dubai Expert.

Being part of Travel Counsellors means I have access to extremely competitive prices and as we are bonded and licensed in Ireland you can be confident in booking with me. As your own personal Travel Counsellor, I am available at a time that is convenient for you and I am on call 24 hours a day should you need assistance when you are abroad.

Having a job I love is a dream come true. I’m extremely passionate and enthusiastic about holidays and would love to help you with your travel plans. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest Wishes,


Contact Me

Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact details on and I can get things started for you:

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My Blog

I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.


13 May 2021

After a short flight and a comfortable transfer we were in Marseille, France’s second largest city and situated on the south coast, it has a distinctly Mediterranean feel. We arrived in time to have dinner in one of the numerous restaurants located right in the old harbour area with views of the lovely waterfront and imposing Basilique Notre de la Garde lighting up the night sky. It was a great start to what turned out to be a fantastic stay. We explored the old town with its narrow winding streets and pastel coloured houses while enjoying all the area had to offer with its artisan stores and art galleries, and we indulged in some delicious food from the gourmet food shops. We took the ferry to Chateau d’If, a fortress made famous by the legendary tale of The Count of Monte Cristo, it had a fascinating history and offered beautiful views of the city. We walked the stunning corniche, a boulevard that runs along the coast with magnificent views, coves with lovely beaches and opportunities to relax in a nice bar with your choice of refreshments. We also took the train to the beautiful town of Cassis, with its origins dating back to 600 BC, this picturesque portside town still bears some of the evidence of when Roman settlers conducted maritime trade with North Africa and the Middle East. Known for it’s fine wines, we happily sampled the local signature dish of Bouillabaisse, a delicious seafood stew which we enjoyed in a lovely restaurant right next to the town’s beautiful beach. Marseille is also the gateway to cultural Avignon, historical Arles and the stunning Aix en Provence. Clanques National Park, on Marseille’s doorstep, also has opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, snorkelling and diving.

5* Sheraton La Caleta

11 May 2021

Set right on the seafront with beautiful panoramic views, Sheraton La Caleta is a great option for a luxurious break in Tenerife. La Caleta is a pretty fishing village known for its excellent seafood restaurants and it’s a great setting for the hotel. The hotel itself boasts 3 lovely pools, 4 bars, 2 restaurants, a 24 hour gym and large spa as well as kids club, tennis and mini golf and it’s a just a short transfer from the airport. We relaxed at the pool and the excellent pool bar, hired bikes and cycled all of the way to Los Cristianos, sampled amazing seafood and spent a day at Siam Park, one of my favourite waterparks. Tenerife is one of my favourite European options for a relaxing trip, I’ve visited numerous times and stayed in a range of accommodations. Get in touch if you would like to discuss the options that would suit you best.

5 * Lopesan Baobab Resort

11 May 2021

Staying in this hotel had been on my wish list for a while so I was delighted when an opportunity came about to spend 3 nights here on a short break. The hotel itself is quite stunning, with its striking entrance and distinctly African vibe it’s the perfect spot for couples, friends and also families to visit. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to an incredible room where we had direct access from our sun loungers on the balcony to a beautiful pool shared with three other rooms, it was unique and a real treat. We stayed half board and the quality and selection of the food was by far the best I have experienced anywhere in Europe. The hotel itself has 9 bars and restaurants onsite, 7 pools, a spa, entertainment for adults and children alike as well as a kids club, disco and waterpark for the little one. Flamingos lounged lazily in one of the many water features which I could view from my favourite spot, the cave bar with the gentle sound of the waterfalls in the background. The resort of Meloneras, where the hotel is located, is stylish with a lovely coastal promenade, upmarket shops and beautiful sunsets. I would highly recommend a few days or a longer break in this lovely hotel.

Lake Garda

13 May 2021

I was lucky enough to be invited on a trip hosted by Topflight to experience a few days in Lake Garda. In the past I’ve seen a lot of this beautiful country, however Lake Garda was always somewhere I wanted to experience for myself and what a whirlwind few days it was! After an early flight to Milan we made our way to the lovely town of Bardolino, with a distinctly Italian feel, this lovely lakeside resort dates back to 800 AD. Full of chic boutiques and cafes, it was a great introduction to our Italian adventure. After a hearty lunch, it was time to visit Cantina Zeni winery where we were treated to some excellent local wine, whilst we were being told about the wine making process and exploring the museum. Our home for the first few nights was The Savoy Palace in Riva, set on the northern shore of Lake Garda, it was a great base to enjoy the local breath taking scenery. We took a boat which runs regularly from Riva to other towns on the northern shores of the lake. My favourite town was the stunning Malcesine, with the imposing medieval Scaliger Castle at its centre and beautiful vistas as far as the eye could see, it was a haven for tourists eager to explore the quaint little streets with their colourful boats with some passing the time away in the lovely waterside cafes and restaurants. We were told this would be an active trip, but little did we realise that we would be climbing a mountain! Climbing the Via Ferrata was not for the faint-hearted, however it was well worth the effort and the views from the top were amazing. The following day we visited Gardaland, I was very impressed with the park, having been lucky enough to experience theme parks around the world, this was one of my favourites. With everything from Peppa Pig Land for the little ones to huge roller coasters, it had something for everyone in the family. Afterwards we got a tour of the lovely town of Peschiera before checking into our hotel Mayer & Splendid, located in the heart of Desenzano. On our last morning we enjoyed a sailing lesson and we were blessed with great weather, this was the perfect end to a wonderful few days. Lake Garda has so much to offer, whether it’s a family holiday, a group of friends or a couple travelling, there is an amazing range of accommodation and so many beautiful places to see, made easy by the efficient boat service. There is also an excellent waterpark and day trips to Verona and Venice can be organised, as well as the possibility to extend your holiday with a few days in Lake Como or Milan.

Dubai Theme Parks

06 May 2021

After a comfortable direct flight with Emirates from Bali we were whisked off to The Lapita Hotel, a Marriott Autograph collection property, for the last leg of our adventure. I immediately liked the hotel, beautifully designed with a Polynesian inspired theme. The property had plenty of amenities including a spa, gym, lovely pool complex and a good selections of restaurants and bars including a pool bar serving food and drinks. Access to the four theme parks was through Riverland – an area full of bars and restaurants and a large outdoor venue for concerts. It was themed in four different districts including a French medieval village and 1950’s USA. A great area to chill out and relax in when taking a break from the parks. The four parks were Legoland, Legoland Waterpark, Bollywood and Motiongate. My personal favourite was Motiongate and I especially liked the Panem Aerial Tour, a 4d hovercraft motion simulator based on the The Hunger Games film. This hotel is the ideal spot to relax in and enjoy these parks. Located about 35 minutes’ drive from Dubai and an hour from Abu Dhabi there are plenty of options for sightseeing too.

Mara River Safari Park

06 May 2021

The last two nights of our stay in Bali were in Mara River Safari Lodge. This was a unique way to end what was a fantastic stay to the island. The lodge was themed on an African Safari Lodge and the view from our balcony was of rhino's, zebra's and elephants. A basket of fruit was left in our room daily which you were able to feed the animals with. We had direct access to Bali Safari Park which had a host of interesting animals to see, shows and attractions to watch including a safari journey and a waterpark for the little ones with slides and rides. The lodge itself featured some great activities like elephant and meerkat feeding, a one of a kind restaurant where we were mesmerised by magnificent lions who were only a pane of glass away from us. The highlight of the stay was the night time safari where we were within touching distance of the tigers that were on the open air metal grill roof of the custom made vehicle we were in.

5* Ayana Resort and Spa

06 May 2021

I had booked this hotel many times for honeymooners and customers celebrating and going on an extra special holiday and I was excited to experience it for myself. Set on 90 hectares and perched on a cliff above the sparkling Indian Ocean, this hotel has everything you need for an incredible stay. With 19 bars and restaurants, 12 pools with everything from chill out, infinity to swim up and freshwater pools the choice really is endless. A private beach accessed by a unique inclinator was the icing on the cake. People flock from all over the island to experience the one of a kind Rock Bar, literally hanging over the ocean with an electric atmosphere and incredible sunsets it hosts many international Djs. There’s something to keep everyone happy from the 18 hole golf putting course, the tennis courts, gym, kids club, cookery classes to the shopping arcade featuring exclusive boutiques, a hairdressers and beauty salon. One of the highlights for me was the spa, voted Indonesia’s best spa their signature treatments in particular were amazing.

5* Indigo Bali Seminyak

06 May 2021

We arrived in Bali on a direct flight with Garuda Indonesia who were very nice to fly with. Our hotel was a short drive from the airport and we arrived to a warm welcome and a stunning open air lobby. The hotel, decorated in Balinese style, is one of my favourite hotels that I’ve ever stayed in. With four incredible pools, 6 restaurants, a unique tree bar and a chill out bar at the beach, where we experienced some incredible sunsets, it really was a dream come through. Our room was beautifully decorated, I had an amazing massage in the spa and I loved that everything was right on our doorstep. We could walk to a huge variety of shops, bars and restaurants – the choice was excellent and endless. I picked up lots of clothes and souvenirs and there was a great selection of hairdressers and beauty salons with very reasonable prices. We spent a week here and while I would have happily spent the whole time in the hotel it was a great base for exploring the island. We took a sunrise jeep tour where we visited hot springs, swam with manta rays, visited the monkey forest and the rice terraces of Ubud.

Touring Tokyo

06 May 2021

Japan has always been a fascination of mine and I was delighted to get the opportunity to visit Tokyo. We arrived on a comfortable Emirates flights after a short stop-over in Dubai. Feeling brave we took the train into the city, it took just over an hour and our hotel was well located and a short walk from the train station. Nothing prepares you for the sheer size and vastness of the city, with a population of over 37 million it is surprisingly calm and ordered with little traffic as public transport is very efficient. We toured the Gardens of the Imperial Palace, visited The Tokyo Sky Tree – the world’s tallest tower with 360 degree vistas, spent a day in Disneyland and enjoyed the panoramic views of the city on a Tokyo bay cruise. We enjoyed window shopping in the designer shops of Ginza, indulged in the freshest sushi on the waterfront in Odaiba and spent time in Ueno where the open air markets sold everything from fish to footware. One of my favourite dishes was Takoyaki which is octopus dumpling. The highlight of the trip for me was the day trip we took to Mount Fuji, Hakone and Lake Kawaguchi, truly memories to last a lifetime.

Cruising to Bermuda

11 December 2021

With its famous pink beaches and stunning turquoise waters, Bermuda was always on my bucket list! I’m a huge cruise fan and when the opportunity came up to spend a few nights in New York and a week on a cruise line I hadn’t sailed on previously exploring the paradise that is Bermuda. I was hooked! After a couple of nights in the cool and contemporary Rui Plaza Times Square hotel, we boarded the incredible NCL Breakaway. One of the highlights of the trip was cruising out of New York seeing some of the most iconic buildings in the world and passing the Statue of Liberty, seeing the ship go under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge before going out into the Atlantic Ocean was a sight to see! With a few days at sea, it gave us the opportunity to experience the ship and all the amazing facilities onboard. We booked a balcony cabin with a premium all-inclusive drinks package. This was my first time to experience freestyle cruising and I really enjoyed it. With no set hours for evening dining it made the whole experience very relaxed. With 25 dining experiences to choose from, award winning entertainment including Broadway shows and a huge choice of facilities; everything from a beautiful spa to an aqua park, a rock climbing wall, mini golf, a ropes course and a basketball course, even an Irish bar, there was something for everyone. We were docked for 3 days in Bermuda which allowed us to experience all that the island had to offer day and night. We spent an afternoon on the gorgeous and famous Elbow Beach, we toured this small but influential island, stepping back in time when we visited St. George, a UNESCO Heritage site. With its old world buildings and reminders of the past with its stocks and whipping post, St. George was discovered by a ship from the United States in the 1600’s who was displaced in a storm. With a rich and enduring maritime history, I especially enjoyed my visit to the National Museum of Bermuda and the replica of the 17th century ship Deliverance which was vital in delivering supplies to the colony of Jamestown in the fledgling United States earning the title “The ship that saved America” by the colonists. Britain’s oldest colony, Bermuda, is a fascinating mix of British traditions, it’s not unusual to see a judge wearing a powdered wig or workers dressed in Bermuda shorts, the choice of the British military in hot climates. The island also has African influences, most notable with its reggae and calypso music and the associated food influences. We spent a really enjoyable afternoon on a food tour where we sampled some incredible food and recipes that have been influenced by Britain, Caribbean, Africa, Native America and Portugal. For me, the highlights were the fish chowder, spiny lobster and the decadent rum cake! Bermuda is a paradise for water sports; snorkelling, snuba, scuba diving, paddle boarding and kayaking to name a few. There’s lots to offer for all members of the family from bike tours, caves, catamaran cruises to an aquarium, zoo and swimming with dolphins. Whether you decide to cruise to Bermuda or spend some time in one of its luxurious hotels, there’s something for every member of the family.


29 October 2017

I’ve been sending my customers to Cambodia for such a long time and it’s one of my favourite destinations to sell but to experience it for myself was incredible! We started our adventure in Phnom Penh and to miss out on this city when you’re in Cambodia would be such a pity. To call the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum the highlights of the city may sound like the wrong term but while it was hugely overwhelming and quite heart breaking it was an experience not to be missed and I would recommend it to an everyone. We got to meet two of the survivors which was a very special moment. We travelled by road to Siem Reap and I have to say that it was an excellent way to see the stunning countryside. Cambodia has a lush green landscape, full of paddy fields and dotted with house on stilts, it’s quite idyllic! Siem Reap, while inland, has a real holiday atmosphere and it certainly has a great selection of hotels, restaurants and bars. The markets were huge and had a fantastic selection of shopping at unbelievably good prices. The nightlife was great too! The must do tour when in Siem Reap is the temples at Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was absolutely stunning! Another highlight was Tonle Sap. It’s a collection on floating villages where people literally spend their lives on the water with floating schools, shops and churches, it was an unbelievable sight. I have no doubt that this won’t be my only visit to Cambodia, I loved every minute. Please call me if you are thinking of traveling to Cambodia and I will be happy to give you plenty of hints and tips!

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam & Bangkok, Thailand

29 October 2017

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Asia that took in Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok. I’ve wanted to visit both places for quite a while and to say that I was excited was an understatement! We flew via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. It was my first time to fly with them and I was pleasantly surprised, the journey was very comfortable with excellent food, plentiful drinks and friendly cabin crew. Istanbul airport was great to transit through, very modern with lots of shops and restaurants. Before we knew it, we had arrived! Ho Chi Minh was a heady mix of old and new, traditional and trendy. We were only there for three nights but we packed plenty in! We took a terrifying (but fantastic) Cyclo Tour through the centre of the city in rush hour traffic. Not for the faint hearted but it was an excellent way to see the city. We visited the Cu Chi Tunnels, a vast network of underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. It was an incredible labyrinth of living quarters, hospitals, armouries and command centres. It truly was an unforgettable experience and a must do for any visitor to the city. We also cruised on the Mekong Delta which was a highlight for me, so tranquil and beautiful, I could have stayed for much longer. We had time to take in the markets which had a huge selection of goods, as a self-confessed shopaholic I was in my element. Bangkok was as busy and bustling as I had expected. I have to say that I loved the energy of the city. We spent an evening on a river dinner cruise. It was quite a sight watching the city sail by us, all the temples and buildings lit up and looking beautiful. Bangkok is a shoppers dream with endless malls and markets. There are plenty of other attractions also to keep you busy including the floating markets, Grand Palace, Ayutthaya and Bridge on the River Kwai.


30 October 2017

My parents had lived in Singapore for a time before I was born and I had grown up hearing stories about this exotic country. I was excited to see it for myself! We flew with Emirates who were, as always, great to travel with. Our hotel was situated in the centre of the city with easy access to all the attractions, most within walking distance. The hotel itself was gorgeous with an old world colonial feel, a lovely pool and spa and it is known for having the best weekend brunch in Singapore. Singapore is often seen as a stopover destination but with a huge range of entertainment options and events throughout the year, facilities for all the family, excellent hotels and restaurants and world class shopping there’s lots to recommend it for a longer stay. We visited Sentosa Island, Universal Studios, took in the amazing views from Marina Bay Sky Park, visited Chiang War Museum, went on the Singapore Flyer and enjoyed the Botanical Gardens as well as the amazing Gardens by the Bay. We ate some amazing food, drank Singapore Slings in Raffles and shopped till be dropped! 5 Nights wasn’t long enough! Call me if you want to find out more about this stunning city.

South Africa Adventure

11 December 2021

I was lucky enough to win a place on an exclusive Travel Counsellors trip to South Africa in conjunction with British Airways. Three nights in Cape Town, what a whirlwind it was! We flew out in style with a fantastic upgrade to Business Class, such a treat! After amazing food and excellent service with a flatbed for the overnight flight, we woke up refreshed and ready to explore! Our first point of call was Table Mountain, after a scenic cable car ride we took in the panoramic views of Cape Town and beyond. Next on the list, we took a tour along the coast and experienced some of the most stunning coastline I’ve ever witnessed. With its pristine white beaches and charming coastal towns, this is definitely a trip worth taking, we saw the famous penguins in Boulders Beach and finished off the day with a stop at the iconic Cape of Good Hope. Afterwards we checked into the Commodore Hotel, such a lovely hotel with a nautical theme within walking distance of the V&A (Victoria & Alfred) Waterfront. One of my favourite areas, with an abundance of lovely restaurants with the freshest of food, great value for money and a fantastic atmosphere, this is an excellent area to base yourself. We were up early the next morning to board the boat to Robben Island. This was my second time to visit Robben Island and it was still as fascinating as my first visit. A UNESCO heritage site, Robben Island has been used in the past for many things, including a military base and a hospital, it is most famous for the 18 years Nelson Mandela spent incarcerated there. Afterwards we visited the Winelands where we indulged in an incredible lunch in Richard Branson’s stunning boutique hotel, Mont Rochelle in Stellenbosch. Following that we took a trip on the wine tram in Franschhoek, where we stopped at some excellent vineyards and sampled some fantastic wine, it was great fun and a must do when you’re in the area! On our last day we visited one of the most infamous townships in South Africa; Khayelitsha. What an experience this was and we were lucky enough to visit one of the local schools and meet the children as well as visiting some of the entrepreneurial locals who had set up businesses. Finally, we took a tour of Cape Town where we experienced some fascinating local museums and learnt about the harrowing history of apartheid. In previous trips I’ve been lucky enough to drive all along the southern Coast as far as Port Elizabeth and visit Kruger National Park. South Africa is one of my favourite places to book for my customers, whether it’s a honeymoon or the trip of a lifetime, I would be delighted to help.

Exploring LA and all it has to offer

27 August 2021

Los Angeles (LA) has always been a popular destination for my customers, whether they are exploring all that California has to offer, combining it with nearby Las Vegas or possibly cruising out of the city on an adventure to Mexico or the Panama Canal. I was extremely excited to see it myself for the first time! As there is so much to see and do, we decided on a 10 night trip. There are lots of factors to consider when deciding on what area of LA will suit you best, so feel free to get in touch to discuss the many options. For this longer trip, we decided on Anaheim as a holiday base as it has a distinct holiday vibe as opposed to a big busy city landscape. It was the perfect base to explore the area and with excellent transfer options we decided not to hire a car. We stayed in the Marriott Anaheim which was a great choice, with a lovely outdoor pool and trendy bar, and it was within walking distance of Disneyland and a host of bars, shops and restaurants. I had pre-booked tickets for Disney, a day trip to San Diego with time in Seaworld, a beach day in Santa Monica and a whirlwind day trip that took us to Beverly Hills, Belair, Hollywood and cruising along Mulholland Drive, we also spent some time in the trendy Farmers Market renowned for it’s fresh produce snapped up by some of the best restaurants in LA. One of the highlights of the trip was our VIP experience in Universal Studios. I knew it would be busy due to the time of year, so I splurged on the VIP tickets which gave us priority seating at shows and the unlimited Universal Express. We had access to a special VIP lounge and a gourmet lunch in a fancy restaurant. One of the highlights was the exclusive backlot access we had where we toured some of the busiest movie sets on a special trolley and were also able to explore a number of fascinating and iconic sets. Los Angeles has so much to offer, it’s a paradise for theme park lovers with a large selection including Legoland, Knotts Berry Farm and Six Flags to name a few. Shoppers can indulge in retail therapy with everything from flea markets and outlet malls to designer boutiques. Beach lovers have a multitude to choose from, including Malibu, Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach which are some of the most popular around the area. For travellers looking for a cultural experience, there are a number of famous galleries and museums including The Getty Center located in the Brentwood area of the city. There are so many outdoor pursuits to choose from in LA, including surfing, paddle boarding and Kayaking to hiking and skating. A trip to the famous botanical gardens, the Griffith Observatory and even a trip over the border into Mexico are some of the ways to spend a unique holiday.


09 August 2016

This was my first trip to Fuerteventura and I wasn’t disappointed. Just a 4 night stay, we managed to pack lots in but you could certainly stay on this lovely island for a week or longer or even combine it with a stay in Lanzarote. We stayed at Suite Hotel Atlantis Fuerteventura, an all-inclusive property in Corralejo. I found the hotel to be very nice and modern with a good selection of pools, a lovely beach close by and a very good selection of food and drinks. They also had lots of activities and entertainment for families and a nice spa if you want to relax as well as an Adults Only section. With all of the appeal of the other Canary Islands like a great climate, good value for money and a large selection of accommodation, I really liked Fuerteventura. The stunning sand dunes are a mecca for divers, wind and kite surfers or someone just wanting their own piece of paradise without the crowds. We browsed through the shops in Corralejo, took the ferry to Playa Blanca in Lanzarote and hired a car to explore this large island. We particularly liked the beautiful fishing village of Morro Jable and Jandia.


08 August 2016

Everyone has one of those friends who has been everywhere, well, I do at least! She has exhausted most continents let alone countries at this stage so it was going to be a difficult task to find somewhere she hadn’t been before. Bratislava it was! With regular direct flights from Dublin, a large selection of hotels and excellent value for money (who doesn’t like a glass of wine for €1.50?!) it’s a great city break option. After a short flight we checked into our hotel, Danubia Gate. It was very centrally located, rooms were lovely and modern, breakfast was excellent and staff were friendly – they even gave us a voucher for a free drink on check in. We visited in December and picked a great time of the year with the Christmas Markets in full swing. The atmosphere was electric and the markets were definitely one of the main highlights of the trip. We visited some beautiful churches, saw Bratislava Castle which had great views of the city and took a day trip to Vienna. We spent the evenings in classy wine bars and trendy restaurants. Bratislava should definitely be a contender for your next city break.

Vancouver & Las Vegas

09 August 2016

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Vancouver but I was in for a very pleasant surprise. Set on the Pacific coast of Canada and blessed with a great climate, Vancouver is a picturesque as it gets. Surrounded by mountains, dotted with parks and large outdoor public pools it’s a mecca for all sorts of travellers be it active and adventure travellers, honeymooners, artists, families or people cruising out of Vancouver on an Alaskan cruise. We hired bikes, took an incredible seaplane ride, shopped, took a day trip to Whistler and enjoyed lovely evenings in waterside restaurants taking in the stunning views. Vancouver is a cosmopolitan, safe and vibrant city and the gateway to the Rockies and a huge array of wildlife. It’s also easy to combine with California, Las Vegas, Chicago or New York. Las Vegas, is always one of my favourite places to visit. We spent 3 nights in The Venetian Hotel at the end of the trip. We loved this hotel with its elegant décor, all suite rooms, great casino and fantastic pool. During our time here, we shopped in the outlets, caught a show and enjoyed a day in the nearby waterpark.


09 August 2016

What a wonderful city! Built on waterways, Amsterdam is a great city to walk around taking in the beautiful old buildings and the lovely canals. There's a massive selection of lively restaurants, bars and cafes where you can sit back and appreciate this lovely city and its wonderful atmosphere. We stayed in the beautiful and very modern Room Mate Aitana. Getting from the airport was easy with very regular direct trains and the hotel was less than a 10 minute walk from the station. No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to Anne Frank's House which I found fascinating but be sure to book it well in advance. The Van Gogh Museum is definitely worth a visit too. We went on a canal boat where we saw the city from a unique perspective and booked a day trip that took us into the beautiful Dutch countryside where we passed windmills and stunning fields full of the most colourful tulips. Holland is a wonderful country, very safe, public transport is excellent and English is widely spoken. Amsterdam can be pricey at weekends so it's worth considering a mid-week break. Amsterdam can be easily combined with a stay or a day trip to Antwerp, Delft, Rotterdam, Gouda or Bruges.

Lucerne, Switzerland

09 August 2016

I had never been to Switzerland and really looked forward to this trip! We flew with Swiss Airlines, it was a very pleasant flight and we were landing at Zurich before we knew it. The airport is large and modern and we were able to take a direct train to Lucerne. We passed through lovely scenery and after just over an hour arrived in lovely Lucerne. Its dramatic location surrounded by snowy peaks and a shimmering lake is a year round destination. We stayed in the Hotel Continental Park which proved to be a great base and we were able to walk all around town from here. Lucerne has lots of lovely old building and quaint street and lovely bars and restaurants are dotted all over the lake, a fantastic setting for any meal! We visited the Christmas markets, took the cable car to the Mount Pilatus where the spectacular views didn’t disappoint and also took a day trip to Zurich.

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas

04 December 2014

To say I was excited about my trip on Royal Caribbeans Quantum of the Seas was an understatement. Officially the worlds first smart ship and one of the largest cruise ships at sea, Quantum has lots of new features never seen been before. Along with the old favourites like ice skating, rock climbing and flow rider, Quantum has introduced a sky diving simulator, a London Eye style capsule that can rise hundreds of feet into the air and an entertainment complex featuring bumper cars and a circus school! The ship boasts a larger than normal main pool, indoor pool with retractable roof and adults only pool which really was a mini oasis as well as hot tubs dotted around the upper decks . The ship has over $5 million worth of art, a state of the art fitness centre and spa as well as kids and teen clubs to rival any on land. There was a host of entertainment experiences on board from the large casino, to the late night live bands to the Broadway style Mamma Mia show, you are spoilt for choice. With 18 restaurants to choose from you simply could not go hungry! Quantum is the first ship to introduce Dynamic Dining and while I have always enjoyed traditional dining on board my other cruises I really liked this concept. You have 4 restaurants to choose from including my favourite, The Grande. The service, food and décor were superb, one of the best dining experience I've ever had! Quantum also has the first Starbucks at sea, a Bionic bar with robotic bartenders and Jamie Oliver's Italian Restaurant. There is a large choice of cabins to suit all budgets from insides featuring virtual balconies to incredible Royal Loft Suites. The whole feel of this ship was luxurious and classy yet laid back and relaxing with endless possibilities for enjoying a spectacular cruise. Call me if you would like to find out more about this amazing ship!

Malaga City

11 November 2013

When the opportunity arose to spend a weekend in Malaga I happily obliged. I had been to the Costa Del Sol before but had never been into the city and thought this would be a great chance to check it out. I have always been pleasantly surprised with the Spanish cities I’ve visited and I’m very pleased to say Malaga was no different. After a very smooth flight we arrived to glorious sunshine. The train station is located at the airport so it is very easy to hop on this into the city or indeed down the coast to the beach resorts. The train system is very efficient, great value and felt very clean and safe, an ideal way to get around. We were staying in The Vincci Posada Del Patio, the only 5* hotel in Malaga and a very short walk from the station. I can’t say enough good things about this hotel; it was lovely and modern in a great location with lots of spaces to relax in, a trendy bar with live music and very reasonably priced drinks. There was a lovely restaurant, roof top pool and the bedrooms were very spacious and airy. We were allowed to check in immediately by the friendly staff and were upgraded to a superior room without even asking! The sumptuous breakfast included in our room rate would have been worth coming to Malaga alone for! We spent a very pleasant afternoon wandering through the lovely streets in the old town and sampling some of the local specialities for lunch. There are an abundance of tapas bars, lots of really lovely buildings and plenty of shops. We found Malaga city to be great value and there are plenty of must see attractions like Alcazaba Fortress that was built in the 11th century and affords fantastic views of the city and the Roman theatre next door that dates from 1st Century BC! The lovely Malaga Cathedral is definitely worth a visit as is the Bull Ring and there are plenty of museums to enjoy, The Picasso Museum being the most popular. We took a stroll down to the lovely port area with a great selection of bars, restaurants and shops and a long sandy beach, it reminded me of Barcelona. The following day we took the train down to Torremolinos where we had fun shopping for bargains in the numerous shops and walked the promenade the whole way to Benalmadena stopping for some refreshments and lunch along the way. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice Torremolinos was with a beautiful sandy beach; the resort is perfect for couples, families and retired people who spend many of the winter months taking advantage of the lovely mild climate and excellent value for money. We finished off our adventure with a couple of hours in nearby Fuengirola before taking the train back to the city. I found Malaga was a great alternative to the beach resorts and a fantastic city break. It felt extremely safe and the atmosphere was electric in the evenings with many locals enjoying the weekend and the outdoor dining in the plentiful tapas bars and in the lovely squares. According to the locals we spoke to, while the weather is not guaranteed during the winter months, there is a good chance you will have pleasant sunny weather for your stay in their lovely city.


26 September 2013

Barbados, the name conjures up images of an island paradise with powder white sand beaches, lazy days and beautiful sunsets and this is exactly what I experienced on my recent trip to Barbados. Having been to quite a few Caribbean islands in the past, I was anxious to compare Barbados to them, not least because of the numerous good reports I’d received about the island. The trip got off to a great start when I experienced business class with British Airways. There really is nothing like sipping champagne and browsing the extensive entertainment and dinner menu while waiting for take-off. After a lovely meal with excellent service and a few hours’ sleep on my flatbed I woke refreshed to find myself arriving in Barbados! For a very special occasion, business class would be a real treat. On this trip I stayed in three different hotels: Turtle Beach, an all-inclusive property most suited to families on a gorgeous beach. Taminard, a lovely hotel close to all of the nightlife and shopping, with lots of water sports and three swimming pools and Crystal Cove, another all-inclusive hotel and my personal favourite. With beautifully appointed rooms, a lovely beach, friendly staff and a unique cave swim up bar this would be a perfect place for honeymooners. I really wanted to experience all this island had to offer and I wasn’t disappointed. Barbados is the wealthiest of the Caribbean islands, blessed with a wonderful climate that rarely suffers from hurricanes, a laid back style and people who are genuinely friendly and proud of their home, it has a winning combination for visitors. Some of the highlights of the trip for me were zip-lining through amazing scenery, swimming off the back of a Catamaran with turtles and beautiful fish in the most crystal clear waters I have ever seen, as well as having a polo lesson-having never been on a horse before, this was a real experience! I also got to try surfing, rum tasting, see some beautiful caves and share in the Barbados tradition of a fish fry on a Saturday night with the locals. I had an extremely fun day on a jeep safari touring the island with a guide who showed us the most incredible views and told us the history of the island, all the while keeping us thoroughly entertained with his jokes and good humour. I’ve come home with so many good memories of this trip and would happily return in the future. If you are considering a trip to Barbados I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Get in touch with me for more information or to organise you trip.

MSC Cruise

07 June 2013

I was excited to be going on another cruise! When we arrived for our flight at Dublin airport we were very glad we had booked Airport Genie! This is a fast track through security and we had no wait at all, I felt bad for the people in the regular line! After a short flight our driver was waiting for us at Venice Airport and a few minutes later we were pulling up at our ship, MSC Fantasia. We were on the ship in record time and our first impression was how gorgeous it was! The whole ship was well laid out, it was very glamorous with a large selection of bars, a huge theatre, lots of restaurants, plenty of shops, a casino, library with internet access, a kids club, a lovely spa and large gym, a 3d cinema, a formula 1 simulator, 3 swimming pools, one of which was indoor and another adults only, as well as numerous hot tubs and a waterslide. We had an ocean view cabin, our first time in one and it was perfect. It was the largest cabin we have had, well-appointed and it was lovely to wake up to the sun rising over our new port of call each day. This was a lovely itinerary with different ports of call every day: Bari, Katakolon, Santorini, Athens, Corfu and Dubrovnik. We were blessed with great weather and we made the most of it, relaxing in all of the lovely outdoor areas dotted around the ship. We enjoyed wandering around the narrow streets in the old town of Bari, steeped in history, we were pleasantly surprised with the lovely squares, churches and laid back atmosphere of the city. Katakolon was one of the ports I had been most looking forward to. Olympia, the birth place of the Olympic Games, is the most popular excursion here and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fascinating to see the remains of a place whose legacy has had such a lasting effect on our modern world. The ruins of great temples, hotels, a gym and a running track were clear to see. We awoke the following day to the spectacular sight of Santorini! The towns, precariously perched on top of cliffs, were like nothing I had seen before and I was enchanted. We took the cable car to Fira and this in itself was an adventure! I can see why Santorini is so popular, it is absolutely gorgeous and getting lost in the winding white-washed streets in Fira was a pleasure in itself. Our next port of call was Athens and who wouldn’t be blown away by The Acropolis and Parthenon, the symbol of Greece and the cradle of Civilisation? It was incredible to be here and we had a fantastic day. Corfu was next on the agenda, we took the ship’s shuttle into the lovely Corfu town where we walked along the lovely promenade and explored the many quaint streets with its gorgeous buildings and friendly locals. Our last day on board dawned bright and sunny. We were in Dubrovnik, what a port! Dubrovnik should be on everyone’s list of places to see. Its whole coastline is simply breath taking and the city itself is one of the nicest places I have ever visited. I’m so pleased that we decided to cruise with MSC. The ship was great, the staff were very friendly, we enjoyed all of the food and the shows & entertainment were good fun. Kids cruise fee with MSC which will certainly appeal to families. We were lucky enough to have two Irish couples around our own age at our table for dinner and we had great fun with them. We all made the most of our excellent value pre-booked beverage package, testing out the entire cocktail menu as well as pre and post dinner drinks. We spent two nights in Venice at the end of the cruise. Last year we had stayed in the centre of Venice, however, hotels are extremely expensive and it can be quite awkward to negotiate all of Venice’s bridges and narrow streets with your luggage. This time I booked The Delfino Hotel, one stop on the train from the centre of Venice, we found this an ideal spot. The hotel was lovely and modern and very reasonably priced and we loved our stay and had a wonderful time in Venice. Another wonderful cruise! The only thing I know for certain is that it won’t be our last!

Our Honeymoon in Venice and Celebrity Cruise

23 May 2013

We left Rome the day after our wedding and took a direct train to Venice. This was a nice way to see the Italian countryside and quite relaxing. We opted for first class tickets which gave us more room and more storage for our luggage as well as a snack and a glass of wine. After much consideration we had settled on a cruise for our honeymoon. We’ve had wonderful cruises in the past and it’s an ideal way to see so many places with a touch of luxury and lots of facilities. The train brought us right into the centre of Venice. Our first sight of the city was amazing, it really is as gorgeous as I had imagined and very romantic. The perfect start to a honeymoon! After a lot of research I had settled on The Ad Place Hotel for our 2 night stay. Venice, like lots of places in Italy, can be very expensive and difficult to find a good quality hotel in. Ad Place is a beautiful small boutique hotel a few minutes walk from St Mark’s Square. We had pre-booked a private water taxi from the train station and I’m so glad we did. It was quite the James Bond experience cruising down the canal taking in the sights and sounds! Our room was just gorgeous with a four poster bed and chilled prosecco waiting for us on arrival, we had a canal view where the passing singing gondoliers serenaded us to sleep! The following day we were out early enjoying the relative calmness of a Sunday morning in Venice watching the locals walking their dogs and reading their newspapers in the numerous cafes that lined the canals. We walked all of the way to the cruise port where our ship, the Celebrity Silhouette, was already docked. We would be boarding her the following day and already I could feel the excitement building! We wandered back to the centre of Venice passing through real Venetian neighbourhoods with the scents and sounds of the locals preparing Sunday lunch, laundry hanging out of their windows and well fed cats on the doorsteps. We stopped for pasta and wine before getting hopelessly lost in the endless maze of streets that are Venice. There really is nowhere that compares to it, what a wonderful way to spend a day! The following day we boarded our ship and it was absolutely gorgeous. It is modern and stylish but in no way pretentious or stuffy. We opted for a concierge balcony cabin which was perfect for a honeymoon with extras like priority boarding, sparkling wine, fresh flowers and a pillow menu among others perks. This was a 12 night cruise taking in Bari, Slovenia, Split, Dubrovnik, Montenegro, Malta, Sicily and two days in Naples. Highlights were the absolutely stunning Dubrovnik and its gorgeous coastline, Montenegro, Malta and our trip to Capri when we were in Naples. We met some fantastic people, enjoyed sumptuous food and excellent facilities and made the most of our beverage package with plenty of afternoon cocktails, champagne and after dinner martinis. This was a dream honeymoon with memories that will last a lifetime.

Our Wedding in Rome

23 May 2013

When we got engaged a few years previously I knew that I wanted to get married abroad. We had visited Rome on a cruise and fell in love with it. It is a city with amazing energy, beautiful architecture and a fascinating history. It’s a very walkable city; just soaking up the atmosphere is wonderful. We found that getting married in Rome was not too diffucult and I picked up lots of tips along the way that I would be delighted to share. We stayed in The River Palace Hotel which was where we had stayed the year before when planning the wedding. This is a lovely hotel in a great location with friendly staff. I would highly recommend it! We arrived on Wednesday morning after a short flight with Aer Lingus and the day before our guests. We had a lovely reasonably priced lunch in a restaurant a few doors from the hotel and spent a lazy afternoon in the beautiful Borghese gardens which are just across the road from the hotel. That evening we visited the library restaurant. It was quite expensive but perfect for a romantic evening in Rome. The following day we met our guests arriving for the wedding. We were surprisingly calm, probably because we knew that everything was organised and that there was nothing we needed to do. That evening we dined in Blanko restaurant which is trendy and modern and close to the Trevi fountain with a tasty, good value menu. We woke up on our wedding morning to torrential rain! After plentiful Prosecco and a morning with the hair and make-up lady the sun came out, just in time for the drive to the church. The church itself, San Silvestro, is absolutely beautiful, very ornate and dates back to 761 and the ceremony was perfect. We had our wedding meal at Life restaurant. It is just off the Via del Corso and we had dined here on a previous trip. It is a lovely contemporary spot with a huge menu, friendly staff and reasonably priced. We had reserved their private room and the champagne and food served was excellent. The following morning we boarded the train for the start of our honeymoon in Venice.


08 August 2016

I’ve yet to come across another place quite like it. Parisians are very proud of their city and for good reason. There’s nothing like wandering around the large Boulevards, perhaps stopping for a coffee and crepe, while admiring the beautiful buildings and soaking up the lovely atmosphere. There are numerous parks to stroll away for hours, you will see couples, friends and families enjoying picnics and activities if the weather is good. I’ve been to Paris many times but on this occasion we stayed in The Ampere Hotel. Ideally located, it’s nice and modern and reasonably priced by Parisian standards. Our visit coincided with the finish of Le Tour de France which was a sight to behold. We managed to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tour, the view from the top is never one I get tired of. We spent time wandering the banks of the Seine and strolled through the very quaint Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre before finishing off a great day in The Louvre. We also spent a very enjoyable day in Disneyland, it’s very easy to reach by train or your hotel will organise a day trip. We sampled delicious food and wine and felt truly Parisian, even if only for a few days. With a host of museums and galleries, two theme parks within easy reach, the magnificent Versailles Palace close by and shops to rival the most fashionable in any European city, Paris really is a city with something for everyone. It’s also the gateway to Northern France whether you want to see the incredible Mont San Michel, visit the beautiful city of Lille or visit the D-Day Landing beaches for yourself.

Cancun, Mexico

03 June 2013

This was our second trip to Mexico. After much research we settled on The Royal Suites Yutucan as our base for this trip. After a comfortable flight with Delta via Atlanta we arrived at the resort to be greeted by our own butler and we were given a lovely spacious room with a Jacuzzi on the balcony! This hotel is part of a five hotel mega complex, we stayed in the exclusive adults only area but had access to all of the facilities of the other hotels including 14 restaurants, 13 bars; 5 of which were swim up bar, and 10 swimming pools. As the complex was massive there was always something new to see and do from the pink flamingos and resident crocodile to the organised activities during the day and the night time entertainment. Plenty of transport including a train and carts brought you anywhere you wanted to go to on the resort. We did a Segway tour of the resort the day after we arrived. Our guide was very funny and entertaining and we thoroughly enjoyed it, it was a great way to see the complex and a lot of fun. This resort is perfect for honeymooners with romantic walks through the jungle and lots of space on the beautiful private beach as well as the adult’s only pool. Singles are well catered for with plenty of bars and an onsite nightclub as well as families with a kids club and huge pools to keep the little ones entertained. Some of the highlights for me were the beautiful spa with reasonably priced treatments and whose facilities such as saunas and steam rooms were included in the cost of the stay. The freshwater pool, with fish swimming in it, was a unique concept and the service we received all over the resort was excellent. We took a taxi into the centre of Cancun and enjoyed some shopping and lunch. It is quite a crazy spot and we were glad to get back to our gorgeous relaxing hotel! We also took a day trip to Xcaret, an ecological park where you can swim and snorkel with a sting rays, sharks and dolphins in a unique setting of caves and rivers and a beautiful beach front setting. Highly recommended! There are lots of other trips you can do including visiting Mayan ruins, scuba diving, water parks and zip lining, fishing trips and golf. With a climate where the temperature rarely falls below 30 degrees, a huge selection of accommodation, great service, good value and a host of attractions, Mexico really has something for everyone. For more information please contact me.


03 June 2013

This was my second visit to Rome. As well as a winter break this trip was to research our wedding in Rome the following year. On our first trip to Rome we had fallen in love with this beautiful romantic city. The architecture, the atmosphere, history and the fantastic food make it a wonderful destination for a short city break or a longer holiday. It is also a good place for a few nights before a cruise with a lot of ships sailing out of the nearby port. We stayed in The River Palace Hotel which was an ideal spot. Across from the Borghese gardens and at the top of the Visa Del Corso, we were able to walk everywhere including The Colosseum, Trevi fountain and The Vatican. The hotel was perfect, quite romantic with lovely decor and friendly staff. The rooms were well appointed with a great breakfast and a four hour happy hour every evening where all drinks were half price. We certainly took advantage of this! There were also computers in the reading room with free internet access. Having already been in Rome we took the opportunity to simply soak up the atmosphere and enjoy strolling around this wonderfully walkable city. We also took a cycling tour, not something you associate with Rome but a very interesting and fun experience. I had booked this before we arrived and it took us to places we would never have seen by ourselves, we cycled along the ancient apian way and to the catacombs. A wonderful day and great exercise too! As we were looking for a nice restaurant for a wedding meal, we tried out some great restaurants and can recommend Ah Hoc, Life and Al Duello. We eventually settled on Life Restaurant, there was a huge selection on the menu, and everything we tried was delicious and very reasonably priced by Roman standards. There was indoor and outdoor dining and even a private room for special occasions which we reserved for our own wedding. December was a magical time to visit Rome with lots of the streets lit up with beautiful lights for Christmas and gorgeously decorated trees and displays in the shops.

Carnival Cruise

03 June 2013

After a smooth flight with Aer Lingus into Barcelona and one night in the city we arrived at the cruise port and our new home for the next nine nights, The Carnival Magic. This was a brand new ship and I was very excited to be on board! We had a spa balcony cabin, our first time in a balcony cabin and it was very nice to sit out in our own private space. Because it was a spa balcony cabin we had a few extras such as more toiletries, an expanded room service menu and free access to the thermal rooms and spa. The spa was a wonderful way to relax on a sea day or after a long day of sightseeing. The ship is gorgeous with a huge selection of bars and restaurants and swimming pools, water slides and a water park for kids. There is crazy golf, basketball, giant chess and an obstacle court not for the faint hearted twenty feet above one of the highest decks affording fantastic views. There’s a huge spa, gym, casino and theatre, library, shops, disco and an area dedicated to kids clubs and activities. The ports of call on this trip were Livorno, Rome, Naples, Sicily, Majorca and Marseilles. The last time we were in Livorno we visited Pisa and Tuscany. This time we spent the day in Viareggio, a beautiful coastal town on the coast. It was lovely to relax, have lunch in a local restaurant and swim in the ocean. Viareggio is great for a day trip or a longer holiday. As we had been to Rome previously we chose to drive to the cliff top town of Orvieto. We took a cable car to reach the town centre and what a view! The whole countryside was visible for miles, with its beautiful landscape of rolling fields, medieval castles and churches. We enjoyed the atmosphere of this beautiful town which boasts one of the most magnificent cathedrals in Italy. When we returned to the ship we watched The Gladiator with popcorn at the huge screen over the pool as we sailed out of the port of Rome. A very fitting end to a wonderful port! For our day in Naples we first explored Pompeii and then took a tour to Positano and Sorrento. The drive along the coastline is breath taking. Positano was just lovely, built on a steep hill we enjoyed the walk down to the beachfront with all of its quaint little shops and winding streets and Sorrento was equally lovely. It was then time to go back to the ship and get ready for the Captain’s cocktail party and a wonderful dinner and show. Sicily was our next port. That morning we climbed the slopes of Mount Etna (in a bus of course!) and our guide explained how the volcano is still erupting. He showed us ash that had fallen only a few days earlier and the spot where a lava flow had just stopped short of a town on the slopes of the volcano a few years earlier. Unbelievable! Then we were ready for lunch and where better to have it than in the famously gorgeous town on Taormina. This town is one of the nicest I have visited with stunning sea views and Etna dominating the background and wonderful narrow little streets that were a pleasure to wander through. In Majorca we took the hop on, hop off bus around Palma and took a taxi to the nearby waterpark. There are a host of day trips to be enjoyed in Majorca including many beautiful beaches, its aquarium, world famous caves, cycling and winery tours or ride its scenic railway. Our last port of call was Marseilles, the gateway to Provence. We spent a lovely day in Aix-en-Provence, the old port is beautiful and the drive along the coast stunning. This was a great holiday. The ships, ports of call and people we met meant that we would surely cruise again and certainly with Carnival Cruises Lines.

Costa Del Sol

09 August 2016

Costa del Sol is always one of the most popular destinations I book for my customers and it’s easy to see why with plenty of daily short flights and many resorts very close to the airport. With its excellent climate it’s a year round destination for couples, families, golfers and people looking to explore. On this trip I stayed in Torremolinos. This location is ideal, perfect for a beach break as well as enjoying a host of shops, bars, restaurants and the lovely marina nearby. I found Costa del Sol to be excellent value for money. You could stock up in one of the many supermarkets or enjoy a meal out for very little. We walked the lovely long promenade that stretches for miles and extends into Benalmadena. We took the train to Fuengirola and explored the upmarket resorts of Marbella and Puerto Banus. On other trips to the area I’ve taken a day trip to Morocco and also to Gibraltar. There are a myriad of stunning cities bursting with history within easy reach, a day trip can easily be organised to Seville, Granada, Ronda, Cordoba or Cadiz.

Barcelona and Royal Caribbean Cruise

03 June 2013

This was our second cruise, we flew into Barcelona two days beforehand and stayed at The AC Diplomatic Hotel, a lovely hotel with a roof top pool and a few minutes walk from Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is filled with cafes, tapas bars and restaurants. There is a wonderful food market, La Boqueria, where you will find every culinary delight imaginable and lots of weird and wonderful street entertainers. We took the hop on hop off bus which gave us a great overview of Barcelona and dropped us off at some of its main attractions including Camp Nou, Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell. A must see! We also took the cable car to Montjuic. What a spectacular view! When we arrived at the port the lovely Voyager of the Seas was waiting for us. One of its best features is an indoor promenade that runs the length of the ship and contains bars, shops and restaurants. During the cruise there are events here like parades that are good fun to watch. Also on board are several swimming pools, a rock climbing wall, an ice skating rink, a basketball court, miniature golf, lots of bars and restaurants, a spa, gym, kids club, casino and a huge theatre for evening shows. We had an inside cabin and it was a perfect base for us. Inside cabins are great value for money and have all of the facilities you would get in a very nice hotel room. We opted for the late set dining which meant that if we chose to eat in the main dining room for dinner we had the same dining companions each evening. Between the waiting staff and our fellow diners we had great fun each evening and looked forward to catching up with everyone and hearing about their day. The ports of call on this cruise we Naples, Port for Rome, Livorno, Villefrance & Toulon. In Naples we took a trip to Pompeii. We had a wonderful guide who took us around the site and made the place come to life with her descriptions of Pompeii. She took us through the streets showing us where the wealthy lived, in houses that still had some beautiful murals that were amazingly pretty intact. One of these house had a mural of a fierce looking dog, she explained that this was basically a beware of the dog sign Pompeii style! We saw the fast food joints of the day, taverns and sit down restaurants, bakeries and bath houses. We saw the casts of people unfortunate enough to be caught up in the eruption. Quite remarkable considering the eruption that destroyed this city took place in 79 AD! This is a place I will never forget and should be on everyone’s list of places to visit. In Rome we had a wonderful guide who took us on an early morning visit to the Colosseum. We also had stops at the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps before a lovely lunch in a traditional Italian restaurant. The Vatican was next where we were able to skip the long queue and had a private guide who was an art history student and did a great job of guiding us around before arriving at the Sistine Chapel. What a sight! At Livorno we had organised a trip to Pisa and Florence. The leaning tower was great to see but Florence was the jewel in the crown. Our next stop, Villefranche is gorgeous, with narrow little streets and lovely buildings. On days when there are cruise ships in port, stalls are set up along the water’s edge with handmade jewellery, clothes and souvenirs. It is about 5 miles from Nice and Monte Carlo is just a bit further in the other direction. Both can be easily reached by public bus or train. Other trips include Cannes, Antibes, St Tropez and the gorgeous medieval hilltop village of Eze. We took the local bus into Nice and walked through the lovely streets in the old town with its beautiful fruit and flower markets before having lunch on the promenade. Our last port of call was Toulon in Provence. We took a trip to the pretty hilltop town of Le Castellet and in the afternoon visited the lovely seaside town of Bandol. This was a great cruise. We saw so many wonderful places, amazing cities, breath taking countryside and coast and thousands of years of history all from the luxury of our ship. A highly recommended trip!


23 May 2013

We flew out for a two night break to Krakow with Aer Lingus. Krakow by all accounts is gorgeous. It's a city with a fascinating history and is wonderful to stroll around soaking up the atmosphere and the beautiful architecture. We stayed in the gorgeous Andels Hotel. Perfectly situated in the centre of the city with the train station only minutes walk away and the largest shopping mall in the city on your doorstep it was ideal. During our stay we took a half day trip to the salt mines, a short drive from the city. I would highly recommend this as it is a truly fascinating place with chapels, alters, statues of the last supper and the pope as well as incredibly intricate chandeliers all carved completely out of salt! Public transport was very easy to use and we found it great value for food and drinks as well as having excellent shopping options. Don’t miss the beautiful Wawel Cathedral and Castle and the Church of the Virgin Mary. Other day trips include Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Zakoplane, The Tatras Mountains and Warsaw, all of which can be booked in advance of your trip. For families Krakow has a wonderful zoo and a year round indoor waterpark. Krakow was an excellent city break and somewhere I hope to return to in the future.

Las Vegas

03 June 2013

This was our second trip to Las Vegas and for those people who think that it's a place to spend just a few nights I couldn't disagree more! Las Vegas really is a city that doesn't sleep with round the clock shops, bars, restaurants, entertainment and casinos you can do something different every day and never get bored. June was a perfect time to visit with long days of guaranteed sunshine and pleasant night time temperatures; we made the most of our 8 night trip. It's hard to describe Las Vegas to someone who hasn't been, it's like Disneyland for adults! Each hotel has its own theme and attractions like rollercoasters, a lion habitat, aquariums, pirate shows, dancing fountains, The Eiffel Tower and lots of exhibitions and shows. Most hotels have a huge selection of bars and restaurants to suit all budgets, shops, spas, gyms and large pools one which has a lazy river and wave pool and another which has a water slide that takes you through a shark tank! On this trip we stayed in The Luxor Hotel which we really liked. The hotel is excellent value for money with one of the largest nightclubs in Las Vegas, a huge casino, a lovely spa, quite a selection of trendy bars and dining venues as well as 4 pools totalling 19,000 square foot. We had a pyramid room which was quite unique! Having been to The Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam already we took a trip to Red Rock Canyon and Zion National Park, both were stunning and well worth a visit. All of these can be pre-booked before arriving in Las Vegas. During our stay we took full advantage of the outlet mall a few miles from the strip where we picked up excellent bargains, it is easily accessible by bus or taxi. We also visited The Fashion Show Mall, right in the middle of the strip; this is a mecca for shoppers. Las Vegas is an ideal destination for couples and honeymooners, singles and hen and stag parties. While Las Vegas is not particularly child friendly it is possible for families to spend a few nights here as part of a longer visit to The States. Las Vegas is also a good destination to combine with Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego which are all close by or as part of a cruise holiday or trip to the Caribbean. Viva Las Vegas!


03 June 2013

Milan, the industrial heart and powerhouse of Italy can sometimes be over looked as a city break destination with people opting instead for more obvious Italian cities like Rome, Venice and Florence. To say that I was blown away by Milan would be an understatement. I spent 2 nights there and it simply wasn’t long enough to experience all this city has to offer. To keep the cost of accommodation down we stayed in The Antares Rubens Hotel, a few minutes from the city centre we used the excellent and cheap public transport to get around. This hotel was a perfect base and ideal for our needs. On the top of our sightseeing list was the Last Supper painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. It is essential to pre-book this due to its popularity and we were blown away by it. The painting is so realistic that you can almost feel the emotions of the disciples being portrayed. Next on our list was the amazing Duomo. The third largest church in the world and having taken 500 years to complete it is a sight to behold with its 3,500 statues and 135 spires. A climb to the roof is a must where we saw all of Milan laid out before us, we were lucky to go on a clear day where we could see the snow covered Alps in the distance. For people watching there is no better place than the magnificent glass roofed arcade of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Opened in 1867 it is a masterpiece of glass and mosaics and it is the place to be seen, it’s where the wealthy fashionable locals hang out and the style is a sight to behold! The Rectangle of Gold is where the famous Milan boutiques are located, Armani, Prada and Versace to name a few. For people with a more conservative budget there are many outlet stores that offer discounts of between 50-70%. Milan is also famous for its flea markets where every imaginable item is sold. There markets are very popular with locals and tourists alike where many bargains are to be had with some markets pulling in crowds of 150,000 people! Art and museum lovers are spoilt for choice in Milan with the famous La Scala Opera being another big attraction. Football fans will be in their element at the San Siro Stadium where you can take tours and view the museum. Night owls are well catered for with a large selection of trendy bars and nightclubs, a lot of which have happy hours with DJ’s and free platters of food including oysters and smoked salmon. If you travel to Milan during the summer the man-made lake Idroscalo is a welcome break from the hot busy city. Located on eight square kilometres of forest and parkland it offers beach clubs, barbecue facilities and two open-air swimming pool. With a six kilometre cycling and hiking path around the lake it’s an ideal spot for families and has swings, climbing frames, jungle gyms and skate board ramps to keep the children amused. Milan is also an ideal base for seeing the surrounding areas with a host of day trips possible including trips to Verona, Lake Garda and Lake Como as well as Genoa, gorgeous Portofino and the marvellous seaside towns of Cinque Terre. For those who have always wanted to see Switzerland hop on The Bernina Express that will take you on one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world passing gorges and glaciers and ending up in the exclusive resort of St Moritz.

Disneyland Paris

03 June 2013

I had been to Disney previously but only as a day trip on a visit to Paris so I was looking forward to experiencing a stay where I would have more time to explore what Disney has to offer. We flew with Air France and after a comfortable flight and a short transfer we checked into The Magic Circus Hotel. It was very nice with a family theme and a nice bar and restaurant. While not onsite at Disney it has a free shuttle that will have you at the park within minutes and runs throughout the day. While we were there we were lucky enough to see all of the Disney hotels and a few other properties like The Dream Castle and The Explorers Hotel. My favourite was Disney's Newport Bay with a relaxed New England atmosphere and an indoor pool it was ideal for all types of guests. The Explorers Hotel was also lovely. It was warm and inviting with a gorgeous bar, nice restaurant and large bedrooms perfect for bigger families. The pool is a child's dream with a pirate ship in the middle of it and an adventure and activity area close by as well as a video games arcade. Other hotels include The Sequoia Lodge which has a cosy outdoors feel, The Cheyenne and Santa Fee where the Wild West is recreated, The New York Hotel with a theme as the name suggests and the very plush Disneyland Hotel. Located right at the entrance to the parks this would be perfect for a special holiday. While we were there we took full advantage of all the wonderful shows and attractions. Some of my favourites included Space Mountain, The Haunted House, Pirates of the Caribbean and of course the magical parades complete with fireworks. There were lots of options for dining in the parks during the day and at night the Downtown Disney area comes alive with bars, restaurants and entertainment to suit all the family. We spent one of our evenings at Buffalo Bills Wild West Show. The ticket price includes your food and drinks can be bought at the bar. This was a lot of fun and I would recommend it for an entertaining evening. There are also plenty of other things to do including a day or evening trip to Paris, an aquarium close by and an outlet store selling a huge range of goods at competitive prices. There's never a bad time of year to visit Disneyland Paris, throughout the year there are special celebrations for occasions such as St Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. I have many special promotions where kids travel free, free half board offers and 4 nights for the price of 2. Call me for full details. This truly is a magical holiday!


27 May 2013

Cyprus is a year round island, with its mild winters and long hot summers it has an ideal climate for visitors. The best months for sunshine are April to October but it’s possible to enjoy this island year round. We flew out for one week but it is definitely a destination that you could spend longer in. We stayed in The Lliada Beach Hotel, set right on the beach in Protaras, its location in the centre of the resort was ideal and the hotel has a pool, small gym, a bar, snack bar and restaurant. Protaras itself has everything needed for a relaxing holiday with a large selection of places to eat and plenty or bars including some Irish ones. It is also very close to Ayia Napa if you want to sample its famous nightlife. Cyprus is quite large and as a result it has lots to see and do if you can tear yourself away for the beautiful beaches. We took a trip to the water park in Ayia Napa, Water world; this was one of the best ones I have been to. The park is well laid out with plenty of sun bathing areas for the less adventurous and a large selection of slides, some that I had never seen before and were a lot of fun! If you like history Cyprus is a treasure trove, boasting 3 UNESCO Heritage Sites it is a land filled with ancient villas, tombs, theatres, churches, palaces, mosaics and monasteries. We took a trip to the ancient site of Salamis where we saw the original walls of the city and got a glimpse into their world as we toured the fascinating site including an ancient gym, theatre, Roman baths, forum, basilica and temple. It is possible to take a trip to the pyramids in Cairo from Cyprus and even Israel and Jordan. Water enthusiasts will be in their element with some of the best snorkelling and diving sites in the Mediterranean including the wreck of a Swedish ferry that sank with a cargo of over 100 lorries, the nearby British Air Corps helicopter wreck or the remains of a cargo ship that sank in the 1970’s where it’s possible for divers to view still carpeted hallways on the decks and the bars of chocolate still in the vending machines! It is also possible to hire a motorboat for the day and make your own way around this beautiful island. Swimming with dolphins, a trip to one of its 50 wineries, walking and cycling in the mountains, skiing during the winter in its highest peaks or simply relaxing and enjoying the wonderful seafood that Cyprus is famous for are all possible. It truly is an island with endless options.


03 June 2013

We flew direct with Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi, the flight and service was extremely good and I would certainly recommend them. They have also recently increased their luggage allowance to 30kgs per person which is a big bonus especially when you see how many amazing shopping malls there are in Dubai! Etihad provides a bus service at no extra cost to its customers into the centre of Dubai. We checked into our hotel, The Palace Old Town for the first few nights of our stay. This hotel is located within walking distance of the new Dubai Mall and overlooks Burj Kailefa, the tallest building in the world. It is a gorgeous hotel built in traditional Arabian style with great facilities including a good choice of restaurants, a spa and lovely pool. Most visitors planning a trip to Dubai think that they must stay on the beach but this is not the case, you generally pay a big supplement to be at the beach and most hotels in the city offer much better prices and offer free shuttles to the beach for their customers. Taxis are also extremely cheap and the new metro is very good value and easy to use. While in Dubai we visited quite a few hotels. Some of my favourites included The One & Only Royal Mirage, The Westin Mina Seyahi and The Madinat Jumeriah Complex. They are all gorgeous and perfect for a romantic break or honeymoon. The Jumeriah Beach was very bright and airy and an ideal family destination with great pool, beautiful beach and lots of kid’s facilities and activities as well as being next door to one of the best water parks I’ve ever visited. Another favourite of mine was The Grand Hyatt Dubai, while not at the beach; the facilities were excellent with a huge outdoor pool, lovely spa and indoor pool, large selection of bars and restaurants and a great atmosphere. For the last few nights of our stay we checked into The Kempinski Mall of the Emirates. As a self -confessed shopaholic I was in heaven! The lobby of the hotel had direct access to the mall and the view from my room of the Burj at night all lit up was spectacular. We were lucky enough to go on a desert safari which was a lot of fun with a dinner in the desert afterwards, the setting sun surrounded by miles of sand dunes was very special and I would definitely recommend this trip. We also got to experience dinner and a light and sound show in a desert resort, amazing! If you are looking for something a bit different, a few days away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai in one of these desert hotels, would be amazing, in some, each room comes complete with its own swimming pool. This was my second time in Dubai and it won’t be the last. It really ticks all of the boxes, the most beautiful white sand beaches with turquoise waters, the most luxurious hotels, incredible shopping and duty free and great family facilities including 2 of the best water parks in the world. To find the best hotel to suit your personal needs, please contact me.


03 June 2013

We flew with Aer Lingus for a three night break to Prague. The airport was very large and modern and there were lots of options for transport into the city centre. We decided to take public transport and it was surprisingly easy with a lot of people speaking English and everyone was friendly. We arrived in our gorgeous but reasonably priced hotel, Hotel Savic, in the heart of the city in the old town and close to the astronomical clock tower. We were greeted by a friendly receptionist and a glass of champagne. Our room was wonderfully decorated and a great space to relax and chill out in after a day of sightseeing in this delightful city. After freshening up we took a walk around the lovely streets close to the hotel with its beautiful buildings and wonderful atmosphere. There are lots of bars and restaurants in this area perfect for a quick bite or long romantic dinner. Its good value too compared to Ireland. The following day we took an organised excursion to Terezin Concentration Camp. While it is thought provoking it is a trip I would highly recommend. Our guide was passionate about her country’s history and never wanted people to forget the events that took place there. On our last morning, after another sumptuous breakfast, we took some time to enjoy the shopping Prague has to offer. It is famous for its amber and crystal and we bought some lovely jewellery as a reminder of this beautiful city and our trip. Prague has lots of shopping opportunities and one of my favourite was the large shopping centre located under one of the main metro stops. I was in retail heaven! In the afternoon we visited Prague Castle, absolutely gorgeous and a Unesco Heritage Site. There are a number of other day trips that can be organised from Prague including beautiful Vienna, captivating Dresden, the gorgeous world heritage listed Cesky Kromlov Castle, museums, the opera and lovely spa towns. Three days wasn’t long enough in this magical place, I will be back!


22 May 2013

Lisbon, perhaps it’s not the first place you would think of for a city break but it is well worth a visit and has a pleasant climate for most of the year. I spent a very enjoyable 3 nights here, we stayed in The Clarion Suites which was a great base and within walking distance of all of the main sights. This hotel would also be perfect for a longer stay with some of the rooms having kitchen facilities and a separate living area. We had lovely mild weather during our stay and enjoyed outdoor dining in a city famous for its pastries and wonderful seafood. While Lisbon is very walkable, public transport is easy to use and good value. We particularly enjoyed the Belem area of the city with its lovely botanical gardens, maritime museum, its cafes and antique markets. We loved the beautiful squares of Lisbon and the imposing monastery with its long and interesting history. We took the train out to Estoril and Cascais. These lovely coastal towns, with an authentic Portuguese feel, are nice alternatives to the beaches of the Algarve. During our stay we enjoyed wonderful food at the lovely waterfront area and a few cocktails at the trendy bars nearby. There are many day trips that can be organised in advance of your trip to Lisbon including the beautiful Sintra, city tours, biking tours, boat trips and perhaps most popular of all, the famous town of Fatima. I was most definitely surprised by this charming city, I will certainly return.


23 May 2013

We flew to Orlando via Atlanta with Delta Airlines, as always they were good to fly with. We cleared immigration in Dublin and arrived on time into Orlando. After collecting our hire car we made the short trip to The Doubletree Universal which is perfectly located. It is just off international drive and has easy access to shops, bars and restaurants with Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure within walking distance. We were there for 8 nights and we had a great time visiting all of the main Disney parks, Universal Studios, Sea World and Wet and Wild. We also took a day trip to Kennedy Space Centre and were able to dine with an astronaut. We had pre-booked this in advance of coming to Orlando and it was fascinating to hear all of his stories about life in space. Another trip we had pre-booked was a trip to an Orlando Magic Basketball Game which was a lot of fun with an electric atmosphere and big celebrations when the local team won! Orlando is a shopper’s paradise with two large outlet malls as well as countless shopping malls. It is extremely good value for money and there is a huge selection of goods on offer. There are also opportunities for day trips to the beach, trips to The Everglades, swimming with dolphins and manatees, sky diving, hot air balloon rides, Madam Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, crazy golf, water sports on the lakes and a large selection of golf courses. It’s possible for me to pre-book all of your excursions and theme park tickets before you leave home which is much better value than buying them when you arrive. There is a huge range of accommodation in Orlando to suit all budgets including hotels, fully equipped apartments with all of the comforts of home: full kitchens, Satellite TV, PlayStations, kids clubs, playgrounds and some complexes even come with their own waterparks. It is also possible to hire a home with a private swimming pool. Orlando really has it all and is a year round destination. It is also easy to combine it with another area if you want to do a two centre holiday in The States or Caribbean.

Caribbean Cruise and Las Vegas

03 June 2013

This was our first cruise and we were excited to be seeing some beautiful Caribbean Islands. We were combining it with a trip to Las Vegas which was another first. We flew to Miami and spent the night at the Sofitel Miami, it was a perfect for a stopover before a cruise as it was so close to the port. Located right on the water with a lovely pool and beautifully appointed rooms we enjoyed our brief stay. The following day we boarded Royal Caribbean’s Explorer on the Seas. This gorgeous ship has something for everyone with lovely pools, hot tubs, a first class spa, rock climbing wall, basketball court, mini golf, an ice skating rink, kids club and a huge selections of bars and restaurants. The highlight for me was the indoor promenade that ran the length of the ship and had shops, a pub, and a 24 hour snack bar, this area came alive in the evenings with parades and entertainment as well as being at the location for the captain’s cocktail party. It’s hard to imagine what a cruise is like until you have been on one. The range of facilities and top class entertainment, the variety and quality of the food, the attention to detail, the friendly staff and the fantastic ports of call really make it a dream holiday. During the cruise we stopped at Nassau in The Bahamas where we took a city tour and visited the local market before heading to the famous Atlantis Hotel which has to be seen to be believed with its massive aquariums, shark reef and fantastic waterpark which we loved. The following day we arrived in Puerto Rico. This American island has a rich heritage and the cruise port is ideally located in the centre of the capital, San Juan. We spent a lovely day exploring the old fort that offered wonderful views and has a very interesting history. We stopped for lunch in a local restaurant which was very reasonably priced where we sampled delicious local dishes and we took advantage of the excellent tax free shopping; there is a large selection of stores as well as an outlet mall nearby. St Martin was another treat. Half Dutch and half French the island has a distinctly European feel. It boats friendly people, a rich heritage and power white sand beaches. It is also possible to take a trip to the exclusive island of St Barts, playground of the rich and famous. We walked into town from the ship and after enjoying a stroll along the lovely waterfront we took a tour of this pretty island. St Thomas, in the American Virgin islands was our last stop. Another duty free island it is great for shopping and boasts one of the best beaches in the world. Water sports enthusiasts are well catered for. You can also take a tour of the island and visit the infamous pirate Blackbeard’s castle before sampling some delicious local rum. Before we knew it we were on our flight from Miami to Las Vegas. We spent 7 nights in the Mandalay Bay Hotel which was stunning. As with most Las Vegas hotels it has a large selection of bars and restaurants, our room was huge with a panoramic view of the strip and a marble bathroom that featured a Jacuzzi bath as well as a TV and telephone. The weather was perfect in April, in the mid-twenties, we spent lots of time enjoying the spectacular pool area which boasted a wave pool, lazy river and an artificial beach. We took a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon landing in the canyon for a champagne toast and lunch before rafting on the Colorado River. It doesn’t get much better than that! Photos of the Grand Canyon really don’t do it justice, it was incredible and a once in a lifetime experience. During our stay we also visited the architectural marvel that is Hover Dam. We explored the strip, immensely enjoying stopping at all of the hotels each of which has its own theme and seeing what they had to offer. We shopped in the outlet malls, enjoyed great food and visited trendy bars and nightclubs. This was a great trip, the combination of the cruise and stay worked very well for us and it was lovely to enjoy some great weather while it was still cold at home. If you would like expert advice on cruising, please contact me.


27 May 2013

Mid October was an ideal time to be in Luxor with very hot days and mild evenings. We stayed at The Maritim Jolie Ville Kings Island Hotel which was, as the name suggests, an island a few miles from the centre of Luxor. This was an ideal spot with access to the city but with us having our own private oasis onsite. The island boasts its own zoo, walking trails, a gym and spa, a selection of bars and restaurants and two swimming pools. The infinity pool, located right on the banks of the Nile, was a wonderful place to relax as we watched the traditional Feluccas sail by and the local children frolic in the water, all the while being handed cool towels by the attentive staff who were happy to serve you drinks and snacks from the comfort of your sun lounger. We found the locals to be friendly and welcoming and we hired a local guide who took us to The Valley of the Kings and Queens, Luxor Temple and the Temple of Hatshepsut. Our guide explained the story of this famous female ruler, Queen Hatshepsut, who famously posed as a man in order to gain the throne and leadership of Egypt. We took an early morning air balloon ride, the view was nothing short of spectacular with the sun rising and the countryside dotted with temples and famous landmarks stretching as far as the eye could see. On one of the evenings we attended a traditional night with Nubian music and belly dancers which as a lot of fun and very enjoyable. Another highlight was Karnak. After viewing this magnificent temple which is amazingly intact we were treated to a sound and light show. This takes place in the grounds of Karnak and you are seated overlooking the sacred lake where you hear the story of Egypt accompanied by a wonderful light show. This was a fantastic holiday and Egypt is such good value for money. Hotels are very reasonably priced as is the cost of food and there are fantastic local products to be found including woodwork and leather goods and a huge range of spices, some of which would be very expensive at home. From Luxor it is possible to do a 5 day Nile cruise to Aswan. You can also take a trip to Cairo to see the pyramids and Sphinx, the famous Khan el-Khalili bazaar and of course the Egyptian Museum which houses 165,000 artefacts. If you are travelling to Egypt another popular destination and a direct flight from Ireland is Sham El Sheikh. Situated on the Red Sea, most of its hotels are located on their own private beaches and have excellent facilities including numerous pools some with their own water parks, spas and plenty of facilities and entertainment for couples and families alike. Sharm El Sheikh is known for its excellent water sports and boasts the famous Ras Mohammed National Park perfect for swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and boat trips with a huge variety of corals and marine life. Quad biking in The Sinai Desert, jeep safaris and camel rides are just some of the activities on offer as well as trips to Cairo, the Bedouin village of Dahab, Moses Mountain where Moses received the 10 Commandments and St Catherine’s Monastery believed to be the site of The Burning Bushing. I will certainly be returning to Egypt and next time hopefully for a longer trip. For the easiest way to get there and best prices, please contact me.


03 June 2013

Crete is often seen as a party destination, somewhere for young and lively holidays and while there are certainly resorts that cater for this type of trip, there is far more to Crete than this. The largest Greek Island, it has a long and fascinating history, being so far south in the Mediterranean it is blessed with a climate that boasts long hot summers and mild winters. This was my second trip to Crete and I certainly hope it won’t be my last. Previously I had stayed in Stalis, this time we choose Malia. Close enough to Hersonissos for a night out but less hectic with a nice beach and a plentiful supply of bars and restaurants it was a good option. Crete has a large choice of waters sports and we spent a very enjoyable day in one of its water parks. During our stay we took a day trip to the former leper colony of Spinalonga. This was a unique trip and I felt immersed in the history of this poor group of people who were removed from their homes and put onto this island to live out the rest of their days. We saw perfectly preserved houses and churches and the fortress that surrounds the village. There are plenty of day trips in Crete including the pretty village of Elounda, the lovely Agios Nikolaos and my personal favourites Rethymnon and Chania with their gorgeous harbours filled with lovely waterfront cafes and restaurants, their winding streets and beautiful Venetian buildings with their faded grandeur hinting at a truly amazing past. Don’t miss a day trip to the breathtaking Santorini or a visit to Knossos. This is the site of the legend of the Minotaur and his labyrinth and dates back to 2000BC and was the political, economic and religious centre of the Minoan Dynasty. For the active there are endless opportunities for walking and cycling and even the adventurous will find the 18km trek through the Samaria Gorge exhilarating. Other options include Jeep safaris, sailing, diving, canyoning, kayaking, river trekking and rock climbing. Of course you could always just sit on your sun longer and plan what more active pursuits you will undertake on your next trip to Crete!


27 May 2013

Set quite far south in the Mediterranean Sea, Rhodes is a good place to get some early summer sun. The temperatures here rise early in the season and the weather is more reliable than other spots in Europe in May. Our apartments, The Rodos Sun, were a few minutes’ walk away from the lively centre of Faliraki. We had the best of both worlds, being able to relax at the pool and dine in the nearby restaurants or go into town where there was a huge selection of restaurants, bars and clubs. Rhodes is a paradise for water lovers. Lindos is probably the best known area with its crystal clear water and gorgeous beach. There are an assortment of water sports in Rhodes including kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving as well as boat and fishing trips. There is also a waterpark, perfect for cooling down on a hot Greek day. You can hire bikes, scooters, quads and cars to get around the island and taxis are reasonably priced. We fell in love with gorgeous Rhodes town with it chequered history and fantastic atmosphere, wandering through the narrow cobbled streets is a real pleasure. The Acropolis is well worth seeing with a 2nd century stadium which once staged competitions in preparation for the Olympic Games. The magnificent Palace of the Grand Masters, now a museum, is also very interesting as is the Archaeological Museum. You also have the opportunity to visit the lovely Turkish resort of Marmaris on a day trip. After a short boat journey we arrived at the marina and lovely promenade that runs along the town. Packed with waterfront bars and restaurants we spent a very nice day relaxing and checking out the shops and markets where incredible bargains were to be had. A shopper’s paradise! This was a lovely holiday and depending on the resort you choose Rhodes is suitable for families and couples alike as well as people looking for a young and lively holiday.

South Africa

03 June 2013

I had always wanted to see South Africa and it makes an ideal winter sun destination. We left on a chilly November day from Ireland and landed in sunny Cape Town the following morning. Driving in South Africa is safe and it gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace but it is certainly possible to visit and not drive. Itineraries can be put together with transfers and pre-booked day trips as well as trips to safari parks. We stayed at The Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel which was perfectly located with a huge selection of bars, restaurants and shops to suit all tastes within walking distance. That evening we made our way to Camps Bay, a short drive from Cape Town; it is a lovely beachfront town popular with the rich and famous. We met friends for dinner who were in the area and had a wonderful evening sipping cocktails and watching the most spectacular sunset over the ocean. The following day we did a full day trip to the wine lands. As we had wanted to sample some wines we left the car behind and took a pre-booked excursion. We stopped at the lovely towns of Paarl and Stellenbosch before learning about the wine making process in one of the leading wineries in the area. We then had a beautiful picnic lunch in the same estate; the setting could not have been more perfect with a gorgeous lake filled with ducks, wonderful weather and delicious food washed down with wines from their own vineyard. The next day we took the ferry to Robben Island. Our guide had himself been incarcerated there and this made the whole experience even more moving. He explained how he had been taken from his family and everyone he knew and brought to Cape Town, hundreds of miles away. He showed us the cell where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and we were able to tour around the island seeing where the jailer’s families lived. In the afternoon we took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. The view from the top was spectacular and is definitely a must see. The following day we drove along Cape Peninsula. We stopped in the lovely seaside town of Hout Bay where we had a delicious fresh seafood lunch. In the afternoon we reached The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve where we were able to walk to the top of the peninsula and see where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. On the way back we stopped at Boulder Beach where we encountered the cutest penguins I have ever seen. At ease in their natural habitat they were a joy to watch. One final stop at the Kirstenbosch Gardens, a UNESCO Heritage Site and by then we were truly exhausted but happy. The following day we took an organised tour to Cape Town’s largest township, Khayelitsha. Our guide explained how she herself was removed from her home in the centre of the city and was forced to move to this township for no other reason than the colour of their skin. She brought us to one of the local schools to meet the children and we went to visit two enterprising locals, one who had started a restaurant in her kitchen and another who had set up a bed and breakfast. There are many other trips that can be organised such as boat and fishing trips, shark diving, city tours and the option of a day trip to a private malaria-free reserve where you can see the big five. This is a great alternative to a longer safari if time is limited. The following morning we took a flight up the Kruger Park. Our home for the next three nights was Kruger Park Lodge. It was a magical spot with all of the comforts of a luxury hotel. Morning and evening game drinks we included and we were lucky enough to see a huge assortment of animals. Sumptuous food and great service made this a perfect end to our South African adventure. South Africa is an enchanting land with gorgeous beaches, breath-taking scenery, welcoming people, quality accommodation as well as a rich diverse history and of course outstanding wildlife. When planning a trip options include driving the Garden Route, visiting Sun City – the Las Vegas of South Africa with its glitzy hotels, casinos, golf courses and nearby game reserves. It is also easy to add a few nights in the nearby Victoria Falls.


02 June 2013

We flew via London with British Airways for our 10 night Florida adventure. For the first few nights of our trip we stayed at The Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach, situated right on the water it was a very comfortable stay and I would certainly recommend it. With its gorgeous intercoastal waterways, laid back atmosphere and lovely hotels Fort Lauderdale is poles apart from its neighbour, hectic Miami, a city that never sleep. During our stay in Fort Lauderdale we enjoyed walking around and soaking up the atmosphere, we enjoyed a glass of wine and freshly caught seafood in some of the numerous waterfront restaurants and relaxed by the pool. We took an air boat ride in the Everglades National Park, containing 105 million acres of swamps and jungles this is an area not to be missed. We saw alligators, snakes, exotic birds and my personal favourite the adorable manatee. We also visited Saw Grass Mills, a short drive from Fort Lauderdale and Miami; this is the biggest mall I have ever been to. With a massive selection of shops and excellent prices it would be easy to spend an entire day here. After four nights at the Sheraton we made our way to Miami and checked into the Doubletree Surf Comber Beach. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. With its stunning white sand beaches, art deco architecture and Cuban influence the vibe in Miami is electric. Sitting in one of the abundant cafes watching the world go by was a real treat. While we were there we took a city tour of Miami which brought us to the Art Deco district, South Beach, Little Havana, Coral Gables and Millionaires Row. We also took a Duck Tour which is an amphibious vehicle that can travel on land and water; this was a fun way to see the sights and would be great for families. There is a host of other attractions in Miami including the Miami Zoo, Jungle Island, Monkey Island, hot air balloon rides, helicopter rides, jet skiing, kite surfing and boating and fishing trips. The Miami Art Museum and the Miami Science Museum are also worth a visit as is a day trip down to the Florida Keys. Having a car is not essential if you base yourself in Miami as bicycles, scooters and electric cars as well as pre-booked tours are an alternative way to see the sights. After our three unforgettable nights in Miami came to an end all too quickly we made our way up the gulf coast stopping in lovely towns like Naples and Sarasota before arriving in St Pete’s Beach, our last stop on this trip. The gulf coast is the perfect place for relaxing with a lovely selection of towns that boast gorgeous beaches and there is a large selection of accommodation to suit singles, couples and families. We stayed in the Don Caser Hotel, dating from the 1920’s; it has an air of timelessness and grandeur. All too soon this trip came to an end. With an endless list of attractions for all the family, Florida will most definitely be a place we will return to. Call me for best rates and advice.

My customer stories

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Susan has just booked our latest holiday, giving us loads of options to choose from, all within the requirements we need with small kids. We have used her in the past and she is always a pleasure and nothing is an issue. Highly recommend her.

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Susan was extremely helplful and took the stress out of planning our Honeymoon. No question was too big or small and she gave us so many destination options to choose from!

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We found Susan to be so efficient, supportive, hugely informed and dedicated to us as a couple. She was so encouraging and helped us to make our very own bespoke tailored honeymoon. Susan was so patient, we asked for various different locations to which she supported us with until we found the right destinations for us. She exchanged her personal exploration and tips that really supported us through our decision making. This lady is exactly that, she is so dedicated and I am so glad we chose to have support with our honeymoon as there is no way we could have done this on our own. Thank you so very much Susan xx

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I had never dealt with a Travel Counsellor before and I cannot thank Susan enough for booking our dream holiday toThailand this Christmas. The stress of finding reasonable flights and accomodation for a Christmas holiday was torture until Susan was recommended to us. We were told she was fantastic and she didn't fail to meet our expectations. She has such patience and was so helpful for two girls that wanted to party but also to relax. We didn't make it easy on her :) I would highly recommend Susan and I will most definitly be dealing with her again for my future holidays. Thank you again

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Excellent service from the point of going into the airport to begin the holiday to coming back home - everything went like clockwork. A wonderfully well informed Travel Counsellor full of well thought out suggestions appropriate to our family profile. Practical and level headed on the one hand and she also brought an infectiious excitement to her suggestions regarding our itinerary. I would highly recommend her and will use her expertise in the future...many times.

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We recently came back from holiday which was organized by Susan Hegarty. From start to finish she was helpful, courteous and very efficient. This was the first time we went through Susan. She was recommended to us by an acquaintance, and we were delighted with her level of service. All relevant paperwork arrived on time, and she always responded promptly to any queries we had. I would certainly have no hesitation passing her name on to others. She could not have done more.

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I have to say from the minute I contacted Susan about our honeymoon she was absolutely brilliant. She went above and beyond to help us pick our hotels and destinations for our cruise and wouldn't recommend anyone better for the job. Anything that we came back with that we had questions about or were unsure about Susan had no problems with re-adjusting and reassuring our trip for us. Both of my sister's and a lot of friends have booked their honeymoons through Susan directly and I will be sending all of my friends Susan's way in the future for their own honeymoon and holiday plans. Thanks Susan we appreciate all you have done in arranging our trip of a life time. Emma and Daniel xx

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Third year now to book our summer holiday with Susan. As always, Susan gives you great choices and is very accommodating with our questions. It's a pleasure to book through her and her follow up is excellent.

Sent by Ray O'Neill

I find Susan very helpful, pleasant and knowledgeable. I have come back again and again to her to help me in arranging and booking my trips and I have recommended her to other colleagues as well. She genuinely tries to put together the best experience for you and listens to your requirements. Well done Susan!

Sent by Brian Okeeffe

A friend of ours recommended Susan to us and after dealing with Susan I have also advised other friends to give her a call. She was very friendly and helpful and gave us great advice about our honeymoon. She took the stress out if booking our honeymoon. Highly recommend her to other people looking for a great holiday. Thanks Susan.

Sent by Eleanor Ryan

We booked our family holiday with Susan. She was excellent! Gave us lots of choice and didn't put us under any pressure to book. Would definitely recommend Susan and will be booking our next holiday with her!

Sent by Julie Murphy

Susan provides a fantastic service, no problem is too big or too small to be dealt with. All our bookings have been well catered to our needs and she is always willing to go that extra mile to fulfill our requirements. Well done Susan.

Sent by Dawn Rogers

We have booked numerous family & couple holidays with Susan, we have never been disappointed. Susan's customer service is always 100%. I always recommend her to family, friends and clients and I have never heard a bad review about her. Keep up the good work Susan.

Sent by Clare Farrell

Whenever we book a holiday we book through Susan. She is a joy to deal with, not only does she understand our requirements but is always so efficient and has a great knowledge of so many destinations. The prices are always extremely competitive and after many years holidays we have yet to find anything to fault. Without any hesitation I would recommend Susan.

Sent by Bernie Bergin

I have booked two holidays with Susan. It is always a pleasure to deal with. She always listens to my requirements and has never disappointed me compared to other agencies. I have recommended her to family & friends and they have always been delighted with Susan too. I would highly recommend her.

Sent by Áine Regan

Susan is fantastic to deal with - very professional and organised. Always at the end of the phone/email if needed. I would never book a holiday with anyone else and I highly recommend her services.

Sent by Helen Bolger

Booked my honeymoon last October 2014 with Susan for September 2015. I never met Susan but a colleague recommended her. I paid a deposit for flights and then paid the rest 8 months later. Susan booked us a trip of a lifetime starting in Vegas with the Aria Hotel who gave us a complimentary upgrade to a penthouse because they knew we were on honeymoon!

Sent by Margaret Henson

It was great to have all my travel arrangements looked after because I'm not very good with computers. All my arrangements were just organised so I had no worries except to just pack and enjoy!

Sent by Maggie Ryan

This was my 1st time using a travel consultant to book a holiday & I found Susan extremely friendly & helpful. I travelled with a friend to Crete. The hotel was small, the rooms were pretty modern & the staff were outstanding. Transfers can be a little tricky but after a little hiccup on night one everything else went to plan. I would have no problem recommending Susan.

Sent by Ann Marie Gray

I would well recommend booking holidays through Susan for her personal service and she goes beyond the call of duty. She is always at the other end for any queries you may have. And such a pleasure to deal with - always friendly and helpful.

Sent by Barry Amond

My wife and I had a great experience with Susan. Any queries before and during our holiday were promptly and efficiently dealt with. Spectacular service and looking forward to using Susan in the future.

Sent by Maria Fleming

Fantastic lady to deal with. Asked her so many questions and she couldn't have been more helpful in answering all for me. She has found me an amazing holiday, perfect for our needs. Would highly recommend Susan.

Sent by Eleanor Donohoe

We booked our holiday through Susan in May, 8 of us were going so booking through Susan was suggested to me by a friend. I'm so glad we did from the get go as she arranged everything even down to the little things like the hotel printing off our return boarding passes, taxis and ferrys - nothing was left out. To say she's top notch is an understatement! Will definitely be going through Susan again.

Sent by Tina Kavanagh

Always love to book my holidays with Susan Hegarty. I honestly think it is the most fab way to plan your holidays - the service is fantastic and she is always on the end of the phone to talk. It is great value for your money and everything is done for you. My holidays start when I ring susan so it's a big huge thumbs up from me!

Sent by Noelle Conroy

I have dealt with Susan in the past and would highly recommend her for any further bookings. Her last recommendation for my family holiday in 2014 was excellent and as a result we have booked our 2016 holiday with Susan again.

Sent by Aine McGrath

Great service! We're really looking forward to our holiday. Susan is a pleasure to deal with. It is brilliant to be able to contact Susan so easily and she always gets back to us swiftly. We can't praise her service enough.

Sent by David Kelly

Susan is one of people who are highly professional organiser who know what's needed for that relaxing holiday. If you want a problem free holiday where all of the hidden extras taken care of before you head to the airport you must talk to Susan firs. Again I highly recommend her.

Sent by Maria Phelan

Thanks again for all your help in planning our family holiday last July. We all enjoyed it immensely!! I have recommended you to all my friends. Will hope to use your services again next year. Best wishes Maria

Sent by Patricia Hennessy

Service was friendly efficient and amazing to deal with would highly recommend the service

Sent by Margaret O'Sullivan

I contacted Susan about booking a family holiday, she not only give me and my family a carefree holiday everything was as I requested and that made our holidays plus of course the sunshine! Thanks Susan...

Sent by Karen O'Mahony

Susan is an amazing travel consultant. She was there for us every step of the way. From start to finish and everywhere in between Susan researched, booked, checked, listened and helped. We are so happy that we found her. We have recommended her to family and friends and will definitely be back again!

Sent by Marissa O'Brien

We recently booked a short stay in Fuengirola with Susan; excellent service and very nice person to deal with. She made everything so easy for us when we arrived at our destination everything was what we had asked for. We will definitely be booking further holiday packages with Susan. Thanks for everything.

Sent by Bernie Bergin

I booked my holiday with you in July. We went for a week in Fuertevetura. We stayed in Costa Tropical apartments. It was perfect.The weather was perfect location also. We had a fabulous relaxing holiday. It was exactly what we wanted thanks to you Susan. The apartment was spacious & clean. Pool was perfect. I have recommended your service to my friends. I will definitely book my holuday with you again. Highly recommend you for your service.

Sent by Laura Crosbie

Susan was so helpful in the booking process and very patient with any changes I wanted to make. She is also very knowledgeable and really can give good advice on where to go - location wise and what hotels are good. I will definitely use her in the future!

Sent by Thomas Murphy

Dealing with Susan was great. The fact that Susan had first hand experience with all the destinations was a big help and I also liked that fact that Susan gave us her own honest opinion when asked which helped make the process much easier. We first worked with Susan for our last holiday which was a Mediterranean cruise out of Venice. When we first approached Susan about holiday ideas and she recommended the cruise. We were a bit unsure about it but it turned out to be one of the best holidays we have ever been on. Susan's approach is to have everything looked after for your entire holiday and is easily contactable should you run into any trouble, which happened with the ash cloud while in Venice. Susan organised everything to get us home as quickly as possible which we were very impressed with. I have recommend Susan to many of my friends and we will be booking all our holidays through Susan going forward.

Sent by Elaine Sullivan

Very easy to book and really quick to return emails. Will definitely use Susan again when we look to book our next holiday away. Thanks

Sent by Caroline Ainscough

I am delighted to get an opportunity to let you know that Susan has been a pleasure to deal with. Susan has looked after us, every need and each query answered in depth without delay. Thank you so much Susan. Look forward to you looking after our next booking.

Sent by Ann Murphy

Found Susan very helpful and she got me a great deal. I will definitely book again with her.

Sent by Anne Moran

My friend referred Susan to me, I found her efficient courteous pleasant and helpful. I would have no problem in recommending her service to any of my friends. Way to go Susan and best of luck with your work.

Sent by Agnieszka Chorobik

I know Susan for a few years before she began to work in this company, Susan worked then in the travel office and she was always very helpful and still is always able to advise and help in choosing a vacation. Places which she recommends are interesting with an attractive price. Susan knows what I expected and never disappoints.

Sent by Claire Roche

I’ve dealt with Susan when booking holidays for almost ten years. I’ve never met anyone as enthusiastic and passionate about travel. She is my first port of call any time I plan a holiday, given her extensive experience in the travel industry. She is a delight to deal with and she always finds me great offers.

Sent by Phoebe Murphy

I have used Susan,s services on several occassions and have always found everything to my satisfaction and would have no hesitation in recommending her to others.

Sent by Fiona Freaney

I cannot recommend Susan highly enough, as a single mum on a budget I was unsure of our options as to a holiday abroad. Susan sent me lots of options but I was still unsure. I got back to her about six weeks later and she started all over again without any hesitation and she found us the perfect holiday. I will never bother agonising over websites again! I have already passed her details onto loads of people. Thanks again Susan. Fiona.

Sent by Aaron Mythen

Great service, afters sales excellent , could go on and on. Highly recommended which I have done many times.

Sent by Karl Browning

Excellent service. Very professional. I will definitely be booking again with Susan.

Sent by C Maher

A pleasure to deal with, made booking our holiday very easy, thank you.

Sent by Natalie Drea

Booked our holiday with Susan we can't wait. Was so handy she recommended lovely hotels for our stay; hassle free. Will definitely book again with Susan

Sent by Amy Enright

Working with Susan was like getting a family member to organise our holiday. So warm and friendly and superbly efficient . I have travelled quite a lot but Susan was by far the bes I have ever booked with, not to mind having the best deals available! Thank you. I have already recommended you to all my friends and work colleagues.

Sent by Jessica Burns

Susan was extremely helpful. Couldn't have been more on top of her job. Delighted to have been recommended to her! Could not have got a better service.

Sent by Siobhan Dunne

I was delighted that I found Susan on Travel Consellors. She really put my mind at ease and planned for me a fabulous honeymoon that I can’t wait to go on. I felt like I could ask her any question and she would answer it so promptly. She was easy to get along with and I never had any issue with her, whatever I asked she did. I have numerous friends getting married over the next two years and I will definitely encouraging them to book their honeymoons through Susan. I couldn't thank her enough.

Sent by David Nally

The service we received from Susan was excellent. She presented us with numerous options for consideration, which met our budget requirements. Any questions we had were answered promptly and comprehensively. Before dealing with Susan, we had enquired about our trip with a other travel agents but they were not exactly helpful, they told us that our budget would never stretch to the type of holiday we wanted. Susan presented us with a few different options, all meeting our requirements and within budget.