Destination: Ireland

The Worst Airline PR Ever?

Photo by Tijani59, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Oh my. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start with a story as weird as this one.

Here’s what happened: Jason Roe, an Irish freelance web designer and blogger, posted an item on his website where he claimed he had found a quirky way to make the prices on Ryanair’s booking system drop down to zero. He followed up on the same post: “I did not claim to complete the booking process for a free flight. I found a bug that showed a 0.00 price listed beside flights. Orders could not go past the passenger details page.” (Whether the original posting implied that a free flight could actually be purchased is debatable.)

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Ryanair Joins the Cruise Game

Ryanair Joins the Cruise Game Photo by jon gos via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The king of low-cost carriers has joined forces with Costa Cruises and will now be offering discounted bookings with the Italian company through the Ryanair website, the Telegraph reports. “Ryanair and Costa Cruises will reduce the cost of traditionally expensive cruise holidays and bring greater choice to those looking to beat the recession and take advantage of these great value cruise holiday packages,” said a representative for the Irish airline.

There’s no word on whether Costa will start nickel-and-diming passengers as a condition of the deal. Charges for the lounge chairs on deck? Pay-by-weight at the buffet? A steadfast refusal to offer assistance, compensation or even a refund of the measly 15 pounds you paid for your ticket after a last-minute cancellation by the airline? (Not that I’m bitter.)

The Three Literary Capitals of the World?

Conde Nast Traveler has chosen Berlin, Dublin and Boston as its three best cities for bookworms. They’re all worthy choices, but still, I have to ask: Was this list originally titled, “Three Best Cities for Bookworms, Not Counting Paris and London”?

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Plans for U2 Tower in Dublin ‘Shelved’

Photo by Phil Romans via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

All four members of U2 are invested in the Norman Foster-designed building, a planned 36-story tower on the banks of the River Liffey. If it ever gets built, it will be the tallest building in Ireland. Developers wanted to break ground this year, but now they’re waiting 12 months to see if the economic climate in Ireland improves. Bono and the Edge, however, still seem to be moving forward with their plans for the Clarence Hotel.

Ryanair: The World’s Least Favorite Airline?

The Ireland-based budget carrier earned the title in an annual TripAdvisor poll—for the third consecutive time. Nonetheless, 42 million passengers are expected to take their chances with Ryanair this year, braving stingy legroom, unfriendly staff and frequent delays (the most common complaints against the airline) in exchange for those irresistible £10 tickets.

Photo by paolo margari via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Artisanal Food Movement Finds Ireland

Irish cuisine has a long, long way to go before the country’s chefs start petitioning UNESCO to declare the meat, potato and butter-based dishes a national treasure. But when Gourmet’s Colman Andrews visited the southeastern county of Waterford, he discovered an astonishing array of homemade delicacies at the local farmer’s market.

New Travel Book: ‘The Wild Places’

Author: Robert Macfarlane

Released in U.S.: June 2008

Travel genre: Wilderness travel

Territory covered: Britain, Ireland

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U2’s Bono, Edge Get OK to Reinvent Dublin’s Clarence Hotel

Photo by Phil Romans via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

The rock stars’ plan to demolish the riverside Clarence Hotel in Dublin’s Temple Bar district and rebuild it according to architect Norman Foster’s futuristic design was hardly assured to win approval. One conservationist called the design a “cannibalistic behemoth,” and an official inspector said the new building, which will include a “flying saucer-style roof,” would be “seriously injurious to the visual amenities of the area, would conflict with the policies of the current Dublin City Development Plan, and would, thereby, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

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Dingle vs. An Daingean: The End?

The popular Irish town best known to travelers as Dingle, and called An Daingean in Gaelic, may soon be known officially by two names, Dingle and Daingean Ui Chuis. That’s the compromise proposed by Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, who said he plans to amend a 2004 order requiring many Irish towns, Dingle included, to adopt Gaelic names. A majority in Dingle resisted the name change, favoring the English name for its familiarity with tourists. The residents came up with a compromise name—Dingle Daingean Ui Chuis—which prompted a round of international publicity and, now, an amended law and an AFP story. No word on whether Fungie will be getting a name change, too. (via Jaunted.)

Related on World Hum:
* Out: Dingle. In: An Daingean.

Photo by Michael Yessis.

Tags: Europe, Ireland

Rural Pubs in Ireland Becoming ‘So Yesterday’

The Irish pub may be ubiquitous around the world, but it’s struggling in parts of its homeland. Mary Jordan writes in the Washington Post, “Wealth has given the Irish more options and less time—a bad combination for the local pub. More people are spending sunny weekends in Spain rather than evenings of ‘craic,’ as good times and conversation are known, down at the pub.” The video that accompanies Jordan’s story is below.

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Ireland, Mermaids and a 500-Year-Old Grudge

When Bryan Patrick Miller’s mother was dying of a terminal illness, she asked him to visit Ireland and piece together their family’s history. It didn’t take him long to find out his “family was hated all over southwest Ireland.” His terrific New York Times Magazine story chronicles the revelation.

Related on World Hum:
* Family Traveling

Tags: Europe, Ireland

The World’s Most Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotels: From the Amsterdam Hilton to the Chateau Marmont

The Guardian’s Sean Dodson picks 10 sleeping giants of rock, including the spot where John Lennon and Yoko One had their “Bed-in for Peace” (Amsterdam Hilton), the hotel where Led Zeppelin chucked TVs out windows (the now de-balconied Hyatt Riot House, pictured, on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip) and the place where David Bowie lived in Berlin while recording “Low” and “Heroes” (Hotel Ellington). One obvious clunker: The Hotel Rival in Sweden, which is owned by Benny Anderson of ABBA fame. I’ve heard “Dancing Queen.” I’ve seen “Mamma Mia.” ABBA ain’t rock.

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World Hum’s New Seventh Wonder of the Shrinking Planet: The Irish Pub

The Irish pub has long intrigued us, both as a subject to write about and as a fine place to drink the occasional pint of Guinness. Thanks to Eva Holland for reminding us that the Irish pub also embodies many ways the globe is shrinking and cultures are colliding. It’s a worthy addition to our Seven Wonders of the Shrinking Planet. As Eva wrote in response to our call for a replacement to the now-closed Starbucks in China’s Forbidden City—hers was among a number of terrific suggestions; thanks to everyone who posted an idea—Irish pubs can be found just about everywhere in the world.

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Out: Bad Hotel-Room Coffee. In: Gourmet Joe.

Photo by depone via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

When checking in to my room at the Jury’s Inn in Limerick, Ireland recently, I noticed a coffee trolley labeled “Il Barista” in the lobby. It was adjacent to the reception desk and had a sleek espresso machine and mini-pastries. Mind you, there was no warm-blooded barista in sight. But my hotel, it seems, was latching on to an emerging trend. USA Today’s Roger Yu reports that access to quality coffee both inside guest rooms and in public hotel spaces is increasingly common.

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A ‘Random Guide to International Behavior’*

In his Sunday column, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Thomas Swick has some sage advice for international travelers, ranging from ways to stay out of trouble to simple pronunciation tips. Among them: “In Vietnam, don’t say pho with a long ‘o’ when ordering the popular noodle soup. (It’s pronounced more like ‘fuh’). In Ireland, don’t ask, ‘Are there any good books by local authors?’ In Singapore, don’t do a lot of things.”


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