Wednesday, December 26, 2012

derry hotels, hotels derry, city of culture, derry city of culture

derry hotels, hotels derry, city of culture, derry city of culture

City of Culture status could do for Derry what the Olympics did for London, organisers have claimed.

It is hoped the year-long event will transform perceptions of a city blighted by some of the worst violence of Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of Culture Company 2013, said the plethora of art, music and drama planned for every month next year would also restore civic pride and rebuild confidence.

“Derry has suffered from being at the epicentre of the Troubles but also having second-city syndrome,” said Ms McCarthy.

“But it has punched above its weight in terms of cultural output during the Troubles and now it can make a very significant statement about its own self-confidence, its own self-belief and its own cultural richness in this City of Culture moment.”

Derry staved off competition from Norwich, Birmingham and Sheffield to take the inaugural City of Culture mantle.

Highlights of the programme include a pageant on the River Foyle to celebrate the return of Colmcille – a warrior monk said to have founded the city – by Frank Cottrel Boyce who wrote the much lauded Olympics opening ceremony.

Ms McCarthy said: “I think one of the defining moments for the City of Culture year is going to be the return of Colmcille.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in just what type of thing it is yet.

“It is a large-scale public performance spectacle that uses the landscape of this city to literally bring St Columba back and that is going to really blow people away.

“That is going to be very special – that is going to be our Olympic moment I think because that is something that is so of, and from and about this place that will leave people feeling wow.

“If we can get close to what the Olympics achieved I would be a very happy person.”

Other key events include the all-Ireland Fleadh in August; a military tattoo in August; and the Turner Prize which will be at Ebrington Square from October to December.

Ms McCarthy said Derry had won the title because the whole community had been galvanised.

She added: “It was a very forceful bid because it was bought into by everybody and it was delivered with such passion.

“After that it was the strength of the concepts.

“Also, in the same way as Glasgow and Liverpool when they won European Capital of Culture they could probably see that this city had most to gain. It was a city emerging from a troubled socio-economic past as well as literally a troubled past.”

Derry is where the Troubles broke out in 1969.

During the height of the 40-year conflict, the streets were blighted by some of the worst scenes of violence including the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre where British paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march killing 14 civilians.

More recently, the city has been targeted by dissident republicans who have twice tried to bomb the offices of those organising next year’s festivities.

The actions of the dissidents have prompted hundreds of people to take to the streets to protest for peace.

Ms McCarthy said they would not be deterred.

She said: “It is always a concern but any city that you go to in the world is going to have the issues that are specific to that city.

“London has its own problems and it didn’t stop London from doing the Olympics. Look at what happened in Delhi prior to the Commonwealth Games.

“Every single city in this world, anywhere you would go to do something of this scale and magnitude will have its own particular bespoke issues to counter and to get around.

“We are no different. Of course it’s a challenge but we are here to put together an incredible cultural programme that speaks for itself and that people want to come to because it is something wonderful in its own right.”

The festival – officially known as Derry-Londonderry 2013 – will begin on January 20 with a free Sons and Daughters concert on the banks of the River Foyle, to be broadcast by the BBC.

Ms McCarthy said: “In this place right now – even with the economic crisis - there is a real hopefulness, an ambition and a self-belief that you would not have seen had the city not won the City of Culture title.

“I genuinely think it will transform perceptions of the city both from its own people but also from outside.”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

hen party, stag party, spa hotel deals, special offers, best rates, cheap hotels, short break offers, win spa weekend, golf and spa specials

hen party, stag party, spa hotel deals, special offers, best rates, cheap hotels, short break offers, win spa weekend, golf and spa specials

It you've got to organise a hen night, fear not - there are plenty of options from murder mystery evenings to farm bootcamps.

So your best friend is getting married and has appointed you chief bridesmaid. Congratulations. It’s now officially your job to listen to the endless details, wear the unflattering dress and, worst of all, organise the hen night.

A poison chalice if ever there was one – what if nobody comes? What if everybody comes but nobody enjoys themselves? What if no one wants to totter round Temple Bar in an L-plate all night?

Relax. The good news is that, after years of telling us they didn’t want noisy hen dos lowering the tone, Ireland’s hoteliers are falling over their stilettos trying to attract them. What’s more, there are now loads of hen-oriented activities that you can combine a hotel stay with, to ensure everybody has a good time.

At the White Lady Hotel in Kinsale, they gave one of their store rooms a makeover and devoted it to hen parties. Now known as The Powder Room, it’s a suitably girly space which hens can use as base camp for a range of different activity packages.

Hens often, for example, use it to book a make-up class, before heading into the nightclub next door where management reserve the VIP section for the group.

Another option is a Murder Mystery Ireland hen event. Apparently, dead bodies are a guaranteed way to break the ice between friends and future family, no matter how frosty the initial relations.

Based in Mayo, the MMI team operates nationwide and provides costumes to ensure everyone is safely in character before the backstabbing starts, with a facilitator laid on to ensure any blood on the carpet is fake.

For something a little more sedate, how about a pottery session? With marriage on the way, it’s only a matter of time before plates get thrown, so start by throwing them on a potter’s wheel.

At The Pottery Experience in Portmarnock, Co Dublin, hens produce personalised tableware for the bride and groom, which makes for a nice memento.

Everyone gets to either decorate a breakfast or dinner set, or design and decorate a commemorative platter. Bring your own food and drink and make a night of it. The Pottery Shed offers a similar service in Kilkenny.

In Galway, hen parties are a speciality of Dance Divas, a studio in Dominick Street. Choose a style of dancing – anything from Michael Jackson’s Thriller zombies to 1950s Grease style – don the costumes, learn the moves and have your picture taken afterwards on the specially dressed set. The additional bonus here is that you’ll all have a great new dance routine for the wedding.

The Strand Hotel in Limerick has residential hen packages with a mix of cocktails, clubbing or discounted hair and beauty treatments to choose from.

Then, depending on what you prefer, the hotel can also organise, for a supplement, hen activities such as a roller disco session, private dance lessons, make-up sessions and even a nude art class. Just to be clear, the hens keep their kit on, the model guy doesn’t.

If it’s more practical help your bride is in need of, check out An Grianan, in Termonfeckin, Co Louth, headquarters of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) Bootcamp, as seen on RTÉ. The D Hotel in nearby Drogheda has special discounted rates for group bookings headed for the ICA.

Finally, how about a hen party in a place where there really are hens? Causey Farm, in Meath, attracts brides-to-be and their buddies to find out how to chase chooks, milk cows and catch banbhs.

There’s art too, as guests are encouraged to paint their life stories on the walls of barns. And there’s a spa element – in that hens are led to a strip of bog, told to take off their tights or socks and walk, barefoot, through it, for a pedicure like no other.

Causey’s owners can arrange accommodation packages with local hotels, leaving hens free to address practical skills such as how to bake soda bread, play the bodhrán and dance jigs, possibly all at the same time.

On-farm fun is guaranteed and you’ll all be BFFs, like, forever.

Hotel Best Rates BOOK NOW

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