Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Traveling Feet Shownotes
Traveling Feet - July 18, 2009 - Shownotes & Audio Archive

The Bug Bam Man; Cinema History of the Cliffs of Moher; The Morgan Hotel in Dublin; the Donegal Shop in Derry; Shanahan's on the Green on St. Stephen's Green.

Listen to the show in Windows Media Format:     hour1     hour2

Listen to the show in MP3 Format:     hour1     hour2

Hour 1

Topics Include:

Joseph M. Symond, inventor of a type of insect repellant and president of the company Bug Bam joins “Traveling Feet” to discuss his history in the bug business. Joseph is Australian born and spent his childhood vacationing along the country's Gold Coast (also known as Surface Paradise). The climate was tropical and when Symond went fishing he had to coat himself in DEET. He observed that not only were the bug's averse to the repellant, so were the fish.

  Martha Brae Jamaica Rafting Trip
Rafting in Jamaica

As an adult Joseph Symond became interested in natural bug repellants. He created a wristband that contained citronella in 1997. Though the product was fairly successful Symond decided to focus on his work in the film industry. Years later West Nile started to become widely reported on in the news. Symond was inspired to relauch his bug business. He created a new wristband (similar in fashion to a “cause” band) made of a recyclable materials and containing citronella, lemon grass and geranium oil. The bands are 100 percent water-proof, sweat-proof and scientifically proven to repel mosquitoes for up to 100 hours. The Bug Bam wristband appeared on the Today Show in 2006 and the product has since grown in popularity.

There are two ways to repel insects. The first is by coating your skin with something that will clog your pours to reduce the release of your pheromones in air. This generally works but the chemicals used in most products can go into the bloodstream. The second approach is to create a strong scent to mask your smell. The Bug Bam wristband does just that. Symond stresses that it doesn't have to be worn on the wrist. It can be attached to any clothing item and has a pleasant scent that makes you smell like a plant (the bugs won't know any better).

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Stephanie strongly recommends flying in and out of Shannon or Belfast when in Ireland because of the ease of the US Immigration procedure. Travelers go through the immigration process (paperwork detailing money spent and people associated with your party) while in air. Upon landing they go through customs but don't have to stand in line for any further processing. Furthermore, travelers coming from Shannon and Belfast only have to deal with customs on one side of the trip. The two airports are both small and easy to navigate.

Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre

The newly released Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince had several key scenes filmed in Ireland's Cliffs of Moher. Many other films have been shot at the cliffs as well. 1970's Ryan Daughter was mostly filmed in the Dingle Peninsula but has an opening sequence that shows a woman having her bonnet blown off by the wind at the cliffs. John Huston's 1963 film with Paul Newman the Mackintosh Man includes a car chase through the Burren and then a character's Mercedes crashing over the edge of the cliffs. The crew actually sent a car into the ocean and only had one chance to get the filming right. The Princess Bride also had scenes filmed at the cliffs. The Cliffs of Moher doubled for the Cliffs of Insanity.

The Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre was constructed a little over two years ago. It was built underneath the hillside so as not to distract from the beauty of the natural surrounding. The Cliffs are over 700 feet tall in some places and run 5 miles along the coast. Katherine Webster, Executive Director of the Cliffs of Moher of Visitors Centre says that facts and figures do not accurately describe the cliffs. It's a feeling visitors get when they look out over them. It's magical.

The closest village to the Cliffs of Moher is Licanoor, home of McHughs Bar, which Stephanie visited during her last trip to the area.

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Cliffs of Mojher
The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland

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Fun Facts:

Terry Gilliam was J.K. Rowling's personal choice to direct the first Harry Potter film. Gilliam was later approached by producers to direct Half Blood Prince but was quoted as saying, "Warner Brothers had their chance the first time around, and they blew it."

When J. K. Rowling read through the script for the Half Blood Prince she found a line where Dumbledore mentions a girl he had a crush on when he was younger. She informed the filmmakers that Dumbledore is gay, and that his only romantic infatuation was with the wizard Grindelwald.

Near the end of the Half Blood Prince Snape kicks Harry's wand away from his hand as he is lying on the ground. When he does so, a square of neon tape is clearly seen close to the middle of the shot. The tape is obviously used to cue Alan Rickman kick.

During many scenes of the film it is obvious that Harry's glasses have no lenses.

Mark Knopfler agreed to write the music for the Princess Bride on the condition that director Rob Reiner put the hat that he wore in This Is Spinal Tap somewhere in the movie. The hat appears in the bedroom of the Grandson.

The character of the "Dread Pirate Roberts” from the Princess Bride is based in fact. A Bartholomew Roberts operated in the Caribbean in the early 18th century.

During the filming of Ryan's Daughter Robert Mitchum planted marijuana trees in the back garden of the hotel that was used by the production cast and crew on the Dingle Peninsula. Mitchum gave many of the people connected with the production – including actress Sarah Miles' mother, and the local constabulary - their first experiences with the drug.

Guests Include:

Joseph M. Symond, President, Bug Bam.

Katherine Webster, Director, Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, County Clare, Ireland.

Hour 2

Topics Include:

International travel declined this year as the result of the current economy. This has actually encouraged hotels, restaurants and bars to offer great values. Stephanie organized a trip for a family of four to Ireland. She made sure to average the big splurge reservations against more modest accommodations. As a result she developed a trip with properties ranging from 5 star castles to quaint country houses. The entire 21 day trip had an average cost of $235 USD a night and included all breakfasts and service taxes as well as two dinners.

The Morgan
The Morgan Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

The Morgan Hotel in Dublin is a boutique property that puts attention into every detail. Stephanie refers to it as a “whimsical environment”. The Morgan is located on Fleet Street in the Temple Bar district next to a Hard Rock Cafe and close to the River Liffey. It is also within walking distance of Grafton Street, Trinity College and many fabulous restaurants.

Paul Fitzpatrick, Owner of the Morgan, is currently working on opening a new property in Edinburgh, Scotland. The 63-room boutique hotel is still in the planning stages but will be located three minutes from the Playhouse Theatre opposite St. James Shopping Centre. The property will consist of a series of five story, five terrace houses with a back extension linking through to the main property by way of a glass bridge that looks out over Carton Hill.

Click here to see August, 2006's Hotel Monthly featuring Dublin, Ireland's Morgan Hotel.

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During her most recent trip to Ireland Stephanie recorded an interview with the Owner of the Donegal Shop, Carol Meaglep. At the time Carol was assisting some American customers, Michael and Kathy from Kingston, New York, who stated on air that the store was extremely special. The Donegal Shop is located in the city of Derry and specializes in authentic Irish handcrafted items. Many of the products are made by small local family-owned businesses. The store carries home spun wool, sweaters, tweed garments, Grandfather's Shirts (which have no collars), hand-woven vests and Celtic jewelry. The store also sells Crolly dolls which are famous handmade porcelain dolls from County Donegal. Average dolls cost €150 euros.

Town of Donegal Road Sign

The Donegal Shop is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. In honor of the event the proprietors are creating an online shopping component to their website. This was requested by many customers.

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One of Stephanie's favorite restaurants in Dublin is Shanahan's on the Green which is located on St. Stephen's Green in the city's downtown. The bottom floor of the restaurant is the “Oval Office Bar” which contains an original JFK Rocking Chair from Air Force One and other US presidents' memorabilia. The upstairs restaurant is situated on two levels. The founder of Shanahans was born in Boston and he designed the restaurant as an American-style steakhouse. Shanahans specializes in Irish Angus beef, seafood poultry and pork. The restaurants strive for superb quality in its food and a relaxed atmosphere with a staff dedicated to customer service.

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Related Photo Galleries:

The Beacon Hotel The Morgan Hotel

Fun Facts:

John Shanahan, founder of Shanahan's on the Green, invented the reading program “Hooked on Phonics”.

Guests Include:

Paul Fitzpatrick, Owner, The Morgan Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Carol Meaglep, Owner, The Donegal Shop, Derry, Ireland.

Martin Clegg, Managing Director, Shanahan's on the Green, Dublin, Ireland.

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After gasping at the Cliffs of Moher too exhausted to talk one starts listening to the chronicles of the locals in Cork known for spinning a new yarn.

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