Wednesday August 21, 2013

Hello and welcome to this edition of Ramblings. It continues to be a strange summer, weather wise. Over in Scotland and Ireland we endured a heat wave…of sorts that is! It got into the mid to high 80’s which is not too bad. The trouble is that most of the hotels don’t have air conditioning…and for safety reasons the windows only open a little, so no cross breeze was possible. It made for some warm nights. From a scenic point of view the countryside was spectacular, nothing but blue skies and sunshine.

The trouble is that the Irish and Scots don’t do heat very well. There was an epidemic of men ‘sans shirts’ on parade, displaying alabaster white body parts that have never seen, and should never see, the light of day…physiques sponsored by the makers of Guinness stout, McEwan’s ale and Pizza Hut I should think. All of this was in contrast to bright red faces, necks, arms and legs…yes legs, for they went around wearing shorts, and not only that but it seemed to be trendy to have black socks pulled high on the calf with any number of shoe styles adorning the feet…loafers, slip-ons, boots, sneakers, sandals or whatever could be found lying on the bedroom floor!  Quite a treat for the ladies!!

Scotland is stunning in the summer sun, as is Ireland. It’s hard to describe and photographs don’t seem to rise to the occasion. Our ferry trip from Scotland to Ireland was memorable. It was yet another gorgeous morning and the ferry was well appointed and comfortable. We had a lovely group of folks and the Tour was very successful. Our visit to the new Titanic Exhibition in Belfast was a highlight of the Tour as was our cruise on Loch Lomond, and our Scottish Banquet…I loved the haggis..really I did, I loved it…had about three portions…mmmmm! Thank you to all of our group members for joining us this year.  

We have the 2014 Ireland Tour package together and the flyer and full itinerary should now be up on our Tour Page.

Here’s a brief description:

Date: July 23 – 30, 2014. Cost: $1,887.00 per person sharing (land only).
Seven nights in luxury four star Hotels. Full Irish breakfast daily.
Five table d’hote dinners.
Irish Medieval Banquet with entertainment.
Full sightseeing itinerary and admission fees to advertised visits.
Gratuities to driver, hotel porterage, transport by luxury motor coach, government taxes and service charges and complimentary O’Donoghue Tour flight bag.

We will be exploring Ireland’s South West, traveling through the counties of Limerick, Clare, Kerry and Cork. We will spend time out on the Dingle Peninsula and visit the Cobh Heritage Centre, the Midleton Distillery, the Stone Age settlement at Lough Gur and much more. Activity level is moderate and our Tour size is small…between 20 -25 members. Please check out our Tours page for all the information and contact phone numbers.

I have been asked to put together a Tour to Italy in the Spring of 2014. While I haven’t received the complete Tour package yet I do have a fair bit of information in place.

Date: April 25, 2014
Tour begins with pick up and water transport from the airport in Venice.
Two nights in Venice.
Two nights in Florence, transfer by motor coach.
Three nights in Rome, transfer by motor coach.
English speaking guide throughout.
Three hotel dinners, two restaurant dinners.
Full breakfast daily.Seven nights in luxury Italian hotels.
Full sightseeing itinerary including the Vatican and all major sites in Rome, the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, The Piazza San Marco in Venice, the Doge’s Palace and more…and some nightly Irish /Italian sing songs.
Visits to Siena and Assisi en route.

While we are still waiting for hotel confirmation and pricing the final cost will be somewhere around $2,750.00 per person, sharing (land only). Italian Tours involve more walking than others because the cities are walking cities so the activity level on this tour is at the high end of moderate. This will be a small Tour group, 20 -25 only.

This Tour is a departure for us and it will give me the opportunity to explore my Italian roots and practice up on my Italian songs!!Because we’ve chosen the prettiest time of year to visit Italy we have a much shorter time to sell the Tour and so there will be a cut-off date.

If you are interested in this Italian adventure please contact me ASAP. If we don’t have twenty group members signed on before December 1st the Tour may have to be cancelled.

I join the Norwegian Dawn in Boston on September 13th as she sails for Quebec City. It will take seven days to reach Quebec and another seven to return to Boston. Stops will include Halifax-Nova Scotia, Portland-Maine, St. John-New Brunswick, Charlottetown-PEI, Bar Harbor-Maine, Gaspe-Quebec and Quebec City. We sail again from Boston on September 27th doing the same run. These cruises can be booked as either seven or fourteen day cruises. I was on the Dawn back in May doing the Boston – Bermuda runs and I’m looking forward to being back onboard again for a month.

Please check my schedule before coming to performances as things sometimes change. I’m really embracing Facebook and if you log on regularly look for me.

I’m still working on the Terra Nova recordings and am still hopeful that the project will be finished by the end of the year.

I want to offer congratulations to my young cousin Colin and his wife, on the birth of their new son Evan James O’Donoghue. The family is in Canada while Colin is shooting the new season of ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’. He plays Captain Hook on the show.

Don’t forget to tune into the Green Island Radio Show if you are traveling around Georgia on Saturday nights at nine…or find us online at if you’re sitting at your computer. We are now in our 21st year. Long may it last.

That’s it for now. Thanks as always for your support.

Harry O'Donoghue