View from Cunnamore Pier, West Cork. On board the MV Thresher. A cute doggie making the boat trip with us.

Heir Island

A trip with my parents… We were intent on some kind of fact-finding mission on the ancestry of my family on my mother’s side, the O’Driscoll’s and so we headed to an island in the centre of Roaringwater Bay in south west Cork – Heir Island, historically part of the ancient O’Driscoll clan’s territory. Just 2.5 km long and 1.5 km wide, we met locals and residents on the boat, in the little café at the sailing school, even on the road…and maybe we know more now than we did before…

Heir is easiest to get to from Cunnamore Pier (between Skibbereen and Ballydehob) but there are also ferries from Baltimore and Schull. Take the MV Thresher, currently €6 return ( An alternative is Heir Island Ferries, also from Cunnamore Pier ( We were joined by a handful of locals returning with their shopping, a ton of boxes for delivery to houses on the island and two adorably cute westies along for the ride…


View from Cunnamore Pier, West Cork. On board the MV Thresher. A cute doggie making the boat trip with us.

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Round Up: Remarkable Modern Art Museums of Europe

I love visiting art museums both at home and abroad. Contemporary art is a special part of any country’s culture and I think it’s important to include on any travel itinerary.

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
South Shore Road, Gateshead, England
A small gallery in the north of England, the BALTIC has nonetheless attracted important exhibitions to Gateshead. Found across the Millennium Bridge from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the BALTIC, a converted flourmill, is six floors of frequently changing temporary exhibitions with a small library, gift shop, café, viewing terrace and rooftop restaurant. Previous exhibits have included Thomas Bayrle, Salla Tykkä, Mark Wallinger and Damien Hirst.

Always free and worth visiting for the views of the Tyne River and Newcastle alone…

Link to website


The Playground Project – a group exhibition on exemplary playground initiatives
Caroline Achaintre – a diverse range of the artist’s work in textiles, ceramics and prints

Stedelijk Museum
Museumplein, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Often skipped in favour of the Rijksmuseum’s collection of fine art many tourists are missing out on a remarkable encounter. Recently reopened and found in Amsterdam’s popular Museum Park. The bathtub shape of the external building is merely a taste of things to come. Covering the whole 20th century right up to modern contemporary art you never know what you will find here.

Last year I viewed The Oasis of Matisse, a large collection of Henri Matisse’s masterpieces throughout his life.

Unfortunately admission is not free but the museum is included in the Amsterdam card.

Link to website

Dream Out Loud – Designing for Tomorrow’s Demands
Magali Reus: Mustard
Mohamed Bourouissa: Horseday
Jean Tinguely: Machine Spectacle

Tate Modern
Bankside, London, England
THE contemporary art gallery of London. Known for its out there installations, no visit to London is complete without checking out this free gallery. A new ten-storey building behind the original converted power station opened last summer. Expect even more great art!

Link to website

Hyundai Commission: Philippe Parreno: Anywhen – an immersive site-specific installation
Georgia O’Keeffe – over 100 of her greatest paintings
Bhupen Khakhar: You can’t please all

Via Settembrini, Naples, Italy
Not something you would expect to find in the traditional city of Naples…yet madre (museo d’arte contemporanea donnaregina) fits right into the rundown urban architecture of the modern city. Located in the original 19th century building known as Palace Donnaregina and opened in 2005, madre displays a variety of temporary and permanent exhibitions. The permanent collection includes works by Anish Kapoor, Eulalia Valldosera and Andy Warhol.

Admission is €7 per adult but is free every Monday and during the whole of August.

Link to website

Daniel Buren: Axer/Désaxer
Mimmo Jodice: Attesa

Reading February 2016

The Guardian: Literary wanderlust: travel books

Huffington Post: The only time you can recline your seat and other travel tips

Skyscanner: Where to go for guaranteed winter sun

Solo Traveler Blog: Water destinations for a happier you

Cheap Flights: Forget the cab or even Uber: the best alternatives for getting to and from the airport in 12 major cities

Independent: Michael Palin’s top five travel tips

Hopscotch the Globe: 8 reasons to fall in love with Burgundy, France

Yahoo Travel: This app gets rid of the annoying part of travel

Trip Advisor: Destinations on the rise

Huffington Post: This One Detrimental Travel Mistake Could Ruin Your Vacation

Travels of Adam: The Olympic museum

Road Warrior Voices: Gamechanger: this app automatically connects you to Wifi at more than 180 airports

Road Warrior Voices: Kayak Routehappy partnership means that you’ll see in flight amenities in your search results

The Grey Eye: Quick tips for Munich

Rough Guides: Cheap places to visit in Europe

Forbes: The ten best budget travel destinations for 2016

Lonely Planet: Top 10 free things to do in Munich

Skyscanner: Six super creepy abandoned resorts

Gamin Traveler: How not to fear traveling alone

Curiosity Travels: What I learned from 4 months of road tripping the U.S.

The Guardian: Felt-tip tourists: holiday firm unveils adult colouring book travel guide


App Review: AppTripper

App Tripper is a travel guide and tool to find alternative and out of the way attractions in various cities around Europe. The quirky thing about this app is its use of mood to categorise attractions.

New user
There is no need to create a profile. The app is ready to use straight away.

Using the app
Cities are divided into 8 emotional maps and include Barcelona, Paris and London. There are many Italian cities described e.g. Florence, Turin and Naples. Attractions are chosen according to the emotional feeling that they communicate e.g. love, fear, wonder and surprise. There is a photo, some information and a map.


Screenshots from AppTripper: List of some cities available on AppTripper as well as some guides coming soon

Locations include urban spaces like fountains, monuments and historical buildings, religious places and works of art such as sculpture, UNESCO sites and contemporary architecture.

I most recently used the app in Munich. Some cool things I found were the Deutsches Museum, St Peter’s Church and the Miracolo sculpture.


Information on the Deutsches Museum and HVB Tower in Munich


Emotions to choose from on AppTripper; List of locations in Munich under the emotion’surprise’

You can use the app to pinpoint locations of interest within 200m around you. Content is also available in Italian, Spanish and German.

Plus it is possible to share your experiences on Facebook or the app’s own social community.

I could find local spots and alternative attractions I would have no hope of discovering alone

Only a few destinations so far
Requires all information on current destination to be downloaded before use – this can be quite large

Link to website

(This post is not sponsored or endorsed by AppTripper, all opinions are my own.)



Reading January 2016 Part 2

Fodor’s Travel: Food Lover’s Guide to Stockholm

National Geographic Intelligent Travel: Brilliant top ten Yorkshire experiences

Bloglovin’ The Edit: The ultimate New York City guide: 8 bloggers share their NYC go tos

Girl vs Globe: The perfect winter day in Bristol

World of Wanderlust: A quick guide to St Petersburg, Russia

That Backpacker: Things to do in Bruges, Belgium

Inside the Travel Lab: Unusual things to do in Dublin

National Geographic Intelligent Travel: How to get lost on purpose

Independent: Salzburg: 50 years since The Sound of Music

Lonely Planet: Best in Travel: Countries

Lonely Planet: Best in Travel: Cities

Lonely Planet: New openings in 2016

The Fresh Exchange: A weekend in Charleston

Travel Tech: 5 apps to keep your stress levels down at the airport

Kevin and Amanda: Create a custom travel map with Google Maps

History in High Heels: 44 tips for traveling in Italy

History in High Heels: Six things to do on a rainy day in Paris

Road Warrior Voices: Video shows airport baggage handlers kicking suitcases and letting them fall onto conveyor belt

My Wishlist of Places 2016

There are so many places I want to visit this year!!! The January blues are setting in and I am passing the time with planning my next getaway. Oh and it is only now that I’ve written them all out that I realise all these places are in Europe!

France: Bordeaux and the southwest coast, Lyon, Rennes and southern Brittany
France is a beautiful country and I love everything French – croissants, the language, camembert, cycling… I have been a few times but never to Bordeaux, Lyon or Rennes. Read this article about top things to do in Lyon.

Hungary: Budapest
I’ve recently read so many good things about this city! Try Travel Dudes: You can’t leave Budapest without doing these 7 things.

Ireland: Wicklow and Wexford
I adore exploring new parts of my own country. In these east coast counties I’d like to visit the National SeaLife Aquarium Bray, Glendalough, Hook Lighthouse and Rosslare beach. See Visit Wexford for more.

Poland: Krakow
You might know World Youth Day is on in Krakow this July. I am considering going but also know that Krakow is one of the top cities to visit this year according to Trip Advisor: Destinations on the Rise.

Portugal: Lisbon and the Alentejo coast
Having been to Lisbon before but not having much to say about the place I feel the city deserves a second chance. I plan to further explore the Bairro Alto, Alfama, Belem and the nearby Atlantic coast.

Switzerland and Austria
I loved Innsbruck last summer and can’t wait to see more of the Alps in both Austria and Switzerland. Places like Interlaken, Lausanne, Geneva…. the beautiful views, history and hiking will be a dream come true.

UK: London, Cornwall and southern England
I feel like going to London and pretending to live in a big city for a week or a month – does that sound silly?! Also I’ve never explored the south of the country and the stunning coastline from Brighton Pier to the White Cliffs of Dover…

If even half of these wishes become a reality this year I will be one happy traveller:-)


Reading January 2016

Wanderlust: Planning a great American road trip

The Pin the Map Project: Tips for enjoying London on a budget

Traveler’s Universe: Things to do in Brussels

World of Wanderlust: Loire valley guide

The Travel Hack: Agio app review: find the best currency exchange

Living the Dream RTW: Sydney travel guide: places to see and things to do

Living the Dream RTW: Move over big cities, small village trips in Europe are the best

Borders of Adventure: The four cultural corners of San Sebastian, Spain’s Basque Country

Fodor’s: 50 reasons to visit every US state capital

National Geographic Intelligent Travel: Five ways to drink coffee around the world

The Travel Hack: The 12 best weekend escapes to take in 2016

The Travel Hack: Visiting Portmeirion, the Italian style village in north Wales

This Could Lead to Anywhere: First day in Geneva, Switzerland

Gomio: Top five reasons to meet locals

Metro: 10 top things to do in Monaco

Lonely Planet: Visiting Iceland: 14 dos and donts

Perth Now: Top 10 free apps to download before you go travelling

Fodor’s: Why we souvenir

Euronews: Safe, but a turn off for camels: fun facts on air travel

Huffington Post: How not to be stupid while travelling

Rough Guides: Budget airline travel hacks

Global News: Would you live in a van to travel non-stop? This man’s doing it

Random Reading List

I’m not sure where I found any of these articles! Have fun!!

Travelettes: Why You Should Visit North Yorkshire Now

My Life’s A Movie: 10 travel hacks for shit you forgot to pack

Where Is Tara: Secret tips for flying Ryanair

Independent: One in three Irish people pack their own tea and coffee when travelling abroad

The Guardian: Holiday guide to Sardinia’s best beaches, plus restaurants and hotels

Go See Write: Top tips for my favourite free picks in Rome

The Pin the Map Project: The Copenhagen Traveler’s guide to Copenhagen

Wanderlust: Road trip ideas in Brittany, France

Hole in the Donut: Tour of Mostar Bosnia Herzegovina

Traveldudes: Avignon, Provence, France

Hand Luggage Only: Unique independent coffee shops in London

Wandering Trader: 5 amazing California adventures

Hippie in Heels: 17 travel bloggers to follow in 2016

Heart of a Vagabond: Portugal: 7 natural wonders

Colleen Brynn Travels: We ate Ireland

Global Grasshopper: FlightHub’s guide to Montreal, Canada

The Travel Hack: What to pack for the Canary Islands

Travelettes: 10 reasons to love Innsbruck

Traveler’s Universe: Things to do and places to visit in Valencia

Y Travel Blog: How to use Pinterest for travel planning


Trends in types of travel for 2016

Religious/spiritual travel
Whether it is once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Mecca or Rome, short trips to shrines in your own country e.g. Knock in Ireland or a spiritual yoga and lifestyle retreat in India travel for religious reasons is again increasing. There may even be a festival atmosphere to the experience as at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland this summer.

Multi-generational travel
Trips involving several generations of a family e.g. grandparents, their children and their grandchildren are becoming more common. Extended family members and even those relations with only tenuous links are being included. Popular holidays include family-friendly cruises, family oriented campsites and beach resorts and grandparent-owned holiday homes.

Sports travel
People have always travelled to support their teams and their countries in various sports but 2016 will be a bumper year for spectators the world over. From annual events like Le Tour de France and Champions League to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro there are plenty of ways to show your colours this year.

Solo travel
While solo travel has always been popular recently there has been a growing acceptance of the solo traveller as an actual person. No longer a loner with no job, friends or family (granted that stereotype is ~50 years old!) solo travelers are now the epitome of the adventurous, yolo, 21st century traveller. Thanks to social media connections, the sharing economy (AirBnB, Uber, Meetup etc) and an increasingly open-minded society there is no solo in travel anyway… Solo Traveler Blog is one of the best resources for solo travel options.


Any discussion of travel trends would not be complete without mentioning the present fear of travel to some destinations in light of recent terrorist threats. I unfortunately find I am questioning myself: Am I now more scared to travel? Are there certain places that I am avoiding? Should there be? I have no advice to share on this topic but I sincerely hope that the world will not be changed for the many because of a few…


Some more links:

Huffington Post: 8 coming travel trends for 2016

CNN Traveler: Our travel specialists predict the top travel trends in 2016

A Winter Wander: Glenbower Woods, Killeagh, Co Cork

Happy New Year! A new series for a new beginning – a winter wander – outdoor adventures in winter wonderlands!

A typical Irish woodland, Glenbower in East Cork, is a fun outdoor trek. The woods surround part of the Dissour river. There is a nature trail that is sheltered by a blend of deciduous and coniferous trees including ash, sycamore, oak, pine and fir. The river, though a muddy brown, was still and tranquil in some places yet wild and thrashing in others such as at the weir or a waterfall surging down the hillsides.

The trail crosses the river at three points and loops back to your starting point, ~3 km in total. The route is mainly flat and so is suitable for most people. However this winter has been a wash out so some parts of the track were muddy or waterlogged – wear your wellies!

It is also possible to go a bit off-track! Feel the ferns brushing your ankles, duck under low hanging branches, squelch through mud and fallen leaves, search for one of the many creatures the wood provides a habitat for – red squirrels, otters, pheasants, willow warblers and more – or just enjoy the serenity of being surrounded by nature…


The ‘official’ start of the walking trail (featuring my dad!)


Two roads diverged…


‘White Bridge’ at the far end of the trail








Fallen tree across the path!

At the end of your trek make sure to drop into The Old Thatch for some sustenance! I won’t judge you for partaking of the liquid kind! The Old Thatch also has a full bar menu including roast meats, fish, salads and sandwiches.

To get there
: Killeagh, a small rural village, is found on the main N25 Cork-Waterford road – about 15km from Midleton to the west and Youghal in the east. In the centre of the village, alongside The Old Thatch pub, take a small road signposted Glenbower Woods and then an immediate left alongside the back of the pub. There is some parking here or another parking area with picnic tables and a playground another half mile down the road. This is the real beginning of the woodland trail…


Links: Glenbower Wood website and Facebook page.
An Irish Times article from last year

Featured in some of the photos is my dad!



Sustenance at The Old Thatch, Killeagh