20th Jan

Royal Caribbean: Cruise takes a Quantum Leap

HT1, Royal Caribbean, NorthStar-Exterior

They’re being billed as the world’s first smart ships – a trio of Royal Caribbean titans setting sail in 2014 (Quantum of the Seas), 2015 (Anthem of the Seas) and 2016 (a third ship, as yet unnamed). Royal Caribbean says the new, Quantum Class ships will offer customers “the most technologically driven holidays in the world”, with highlights including cocktails served by robotic bartenders in the Bionic Bar, sunset views in the North Star – an observation pod that rises…

11th Dec

5 Fab Hotels to spend Christmas in this winter

Merchant Hotel

By Genevieve Lyttle The lure of Christmas in a beautiful, well-organised and well located hotel can be irresistible. Some seek the peace and quiet of Christmas in a remote location. Others crave the big city seasonal buzz – either way, fantastic hotels await you… as does a complete lack of washing up! Removing the stress of cooking and swapping it for serene and peaceful settings with first class food is proving increasingly tempting for Irish families. Here are my favourite…

25th Nov

Iceland 2.0

route 1, iceland

Not long ago, Ireland and Iceland were poster children for the global financial crisis – small, screwed-up island nations that flew too close to the sun and came crashing down in a heap of ashes alongside their bloated banks. Thankfully, we have turned a page. Both countries are starting to look like Phoenixes rising and – whisper it – Iceland has even gotten affordable. Fancy a visit? Here’s the best bit: two new direct flights will connect Ireland and Iceland…

18th Nov

Review: Kilronan Castle, Co. Roscommon

Kilronan Castle, silhouette

Atmosphere, ambition and a warm-hearted staff combine to make this four-star a cracking getaway for discerning visitors to Roscommon and Leitrim. Kilronan opened just as the recession struck (it’s a sister hotel to Lough Rynn Castle in Mohill), but has stayed the course to forge a comfortable niche – and a thriving wedding business – in a very under-rated county. Highlights: A fifth star will soon be Kilronan’s for the taking. A classy spa, two AA Rosette restaurant and sprawling…

18th Nov

Jersey: Channeling Island Life

Portlet Beach, Jersey

Think of a holiday island within easy reach of Ireland, and places like Majorca, Ibiza and Sardinia spring to mind. But there’s an intriguing prospect a lot closer to home – one that seduces with quiet charm and idiosyncrasies rather than UV rays, Aquaparks and apartment blocks. That island is, of course, Jersey. A quiet little skipping stone set between England and France, Jersey measures just nine miles from end to end. It is at once quintessentially English (red telephone…

17th Oct

Portraits: The Arigna Mining Experience

Maurice Cullen, Arigna Mining Experienc

The beauty of Roscommon’s Arigna Mining Experience is not that it’s a world-class tour in the middle of nowhere (which it is). It’s that the tour guides are bona fide miners. I’m led into the mountain by a man who once made a living squashing his body through treacherous gashes – it sure beats a summer jobber with a flashlight. I visited the experience for a second time recently, and shot these portraits of the ex-miner guides. “There was no…