"Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show - March 08, 2015
Exterior of The Mayflower Grace, Washington, Connecticut, USA.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Martin McCrossan, President, CEO, Founder, Derry City Tours, Derry City, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.derrycitytours.com
www.cityofculture2013.com
www.derryvisitor.com

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For more information visit www.derrycitytours.com and www.cityofculture2013.com and www.derryvisitor.com


Link to this segment

Patsy O'Kane, Owner, Beech HIll Country House, Derry, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.beech-hill.com

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Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
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For more information visit www.beech-hill.com


Guests Include:

Martin McCrossan, President, CEO, Founder, Derry City Tours, Derry City, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.derrycitytours.com
www.cityofculture2013.com
www.derryvisitor.com

Patsy O'Kane, Owner, Beech HIll Country House, Derry, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.beech-hill.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Click here to listen to Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President United States and Canada, Tourism Ireland interviewed by Stephanie Abrams without commercials.

Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President United States and Canada, Tourism Ireland, New York City, New York, USA.
www.ireland.com

Itinerary Suggestions for Exploring Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, Dublin, Belfast and More

Travel Expert Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams talks with Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President United States and Canada for Tourism Ireland. Alison says that she travels back to Ireland about five to six times a year and stays in touch with the product and experience. Her position requires a lot of travel within the US and Canada to promote the destination in the region.

Stephanie says she was last in Ireland for 28 days and nights between December 11, 2014 and January 8, 2015 and still didn't get to see all the things she wanted to see. Stephanie and Alison agree that there are new experiences becoming available all the time, among these Alison says is the new Tullamore D.E.W Visitor Center and distillery as well as a new Irish Whisky Museum in the center of Dublin.

Alison Metcalfe says that geographically Ireland is quite a small Island but very dense with heritage and history. She describes it as a destination that "grows upon you, invites you to get immersed in experiences and it isn't just about seeing the Cliffs of Moher or Giant's Causeway or Dublin or Belfast but as much about absorbing ambiance, meeting people, enjoying the food and conversation".

Tourism Ireland launched a new program about a year ago called the Wild Atlantic Way which represents a marketing initiative to bring attention to the west coast of Ireland and the Causeway Coastal Route. Alison Metcalfe says the route has been brought to life with a massive investment in signage and marketing to highlight thousands of tourist points of interest along the coast such as notable landscape, golf, castles -- like Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, food and more. Alison says there's something for everybody and that the program encourages tourists to engage and explore dramatic scenery right on the edge of Ireland; coastline that has shaped the development of Ireland's people and communities. Alison says it’s an opportunity to "connect with people in small towns and villages and immerse in local heritage and culture".

A visit to Ireland can be about so much more than check listing iconic attractions, Alison says. You can practice cutting turf, learn an Irish musical instrument, or learn the Irish language (Gaelic). Additionally she points out that everyone loves the coastal drives. Of the hundreds of possible itinerary combinations, Alison suggests one possible route could be to "go up to Donegal around the top to the walled city of Derry and along the coastal route; visit Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Reed Rope Bridge; visit the world's oldest licensed distillery at Bushmills or meander down to the Nine Glens of Antrim, explore Carrickfergus Castle and then head down to Belfast".

Stephanie suggests that if you are planning on visiting friends that live far away within the United States, it might make just as much sense to instead plan to meet up in Ireland. "Why not?", Stephanie asks. She says it may be easier to meet together in Ireland then meet each other within the US. According to Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President United States and Canada for Tourism Ireland, there are direct servicers operated from 11 gateways including Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Orlando, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. She says new Washington D.C. Dulles service into Dublin operated by Aer Lingus is starting in May, 2015 as well as extra flights out of JFK. Additionally, a third daily service starting in June to provide daytime flights is being added. Some travelers prefer the overnight flight while others would prefer to arrive at night and head straight to a hotel. Also, new services from Chicago and LA into Dublin are coming online.

With all the new service, Alison says that making connections is easy and with carriers such as United, Delta, JetBlue and of course Aer Lingus. Alison says that Jet Blue connects people with Ireland in about 50 different cities. Another program Alison mentions that is designed to make it easier for travelers to get to and from Ireland is the US preclearance program for Shannon and Dublin Airport. Travelers go through US full pre-clearance with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Ireland so when arriving back into the US they have already cleared customs.

Some may ask, "why all the hoopla over the Wild Atlantic Way and the Irish coast when it's always been there?" Alison Metcalfe, from Tourism Ireland, says that it takes a marketing push to let people know about all the wonderful stuff out there. Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams thinks that everyone has done a great job creating fun and unique signage with real artistry to help promote and identify worthwhile tourist offerings along the entire 1600 miles of coastline. Stephanie says Tourism Ireland and the Irish government have made it very easy to find little secret hidden treasures that you won't find in most guide books. She describes the signage as brown signs with white outlines of buildings and historic sites, waterfalls and castles with white lettering and an arrow indicating where to go. She says, when you come across a sign like this, you know you are going to find something amazing and interesting.

Stephanie says that on her last trip, the itinerary moved her from Galway, northward through Mayo and into Donegal, then up into Inishowen, eastward into Derry, then north of Derry to the Antrim Coast into Belfast in Northern Ireland and then back into the Republic through Monaghan. She says one personal highlight for her was a January 1, 2015 brunch date with Sammy Leslie at Castle Leslie in Monaghan. After this she moved on to Cavan, which she says "has a lot going on". Along the route she says she saw Wild Atlantic Say signage frequently and describes the signs as "skinny, long rectangular, brown signs where the W's for Wild Atlantic Way look like jagged rocks and rugged coast line like that found near the ocean". She compliments the artist who designed them. Stephanie says of the Wild Atlantic Way that the "whole area is a WOW".

Alison Metcalfe says another great itinerary would take travelers from Kinsale all the way up to the Inishowen Peninsula. She says that as you head around the walled city of Derry and Londonderry, along the Causeway Coast, signage is a bit different but the journey and the road continues. The Wild Atlantic Way can be divided into different sections and itineraries. Alison suggests that travelers visit Ireland.com for sixty or seventy different itinerary suggestions on "what to do and see, where to stop" depending on interests.

Alison and Stephanie agree that a visit to Ireland is a bit different then a visit to many other countries in the world, or Europe. They feel that the true Irish experience is meeting the people along the way. Alison says that Ireland is a place of unique character and characters; that the people are the glue that bring the sights and experiences to life. She says the Irish love Americans and that the countries share a strong common heritage in many instances and it's very easy to feel like a local and get off the beaten track to discover what makes the country tick.

Alison Metcalfe mentions the Dublin Discovery Trail which is a walking trail through Dublin City. She says there are number of themed walking trails across the city and they are using technology to bring some of these experiences to life. Tourists can choose to explore paths that focus on Medieval Dublin, Viking Dublin, or perhaps, Literary Dublin. She says Dublin is a great city to explore on foot.

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams says that on a recent trip she for the first time went on the Lewis, which she describes as being like a Disney World experience. Stephanie says she stayed at The Spencer, one of the Fitzpatrick group hotels, and it is about a half block from The Lewis and two stops to the downtown Grafton Street shopping area. Alison Metcalfe says in addition to the Lewis there is also the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART).

With Dublin Bay on the coast, Alison says, it's very easy to get from the city into the coast north to Howth and Malahide or south to Dalkey and Killiney. Alison Metcalfe says that the Dublin Bay cruise is a great way to see the city and see it from the water. According to Alison, Dublin is relatively small, not landlocked, and taking a bay tour is lovely thing to do in the spring and summer. She says you can also get from Dublin to Howth in about 20 minutes via the DART and that visitors will find there a charming fishing village and wonderful pubs. Stephanie advises that you don't need to have a car when you are in Dublin, "you won't use it and just pay for parking". She suggests instead that you should wait to pick up a car for when leaving Dublin.

Alison Metcalfe lets us know about some "hot news" in Belfast for music fans. While Liverpool has The Beatles, she says Belfast has Van Morrison, Snow Patrol and James Galway, among others. Alison says Van Morrison will be performing an open air venue to celebrate his seventieth birthday and also that tickets go on sale around March 10, 2015 for performances August 23 and August 24, 2015 at the Slieve Donard Hotel which is near the Mountains of Mourne.

Alison says this year marks the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the Irish poet and laureate W.B. Yeats and that there is a new trail between Dublin and Sligo for fans to discover the west of Ireland that inspired his writing. There is a special Yeats Day on June 13, 2015 to celebrate his birthday and also a perennial Yeats exhibit at the National Library in Dublin, which Stephanie Abrams says is spectacular.

Shifting gears to close out this interview Alison Metcalfe from Tourism Ireland and Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams discuss what Alison calls a "culinary revival" in Ireland. Alison says of food in Ireland that it has been undergoing a "renaissance" during the last five to ten years. She says visitors will find incredible food experiences thanks in part to Ireland's wonderful green grass, fresh Atlantic Ocean and fresh air. With local product and traceability from farm to table for beef, lamb, fresh vegetables and fish, Chefs are creating great Irish dishes.

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Travelers411 Directory:
Click here for the Tourism Ireland Directory listing where you'll find links to all interviews with Tourism Ireland in one place.

Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring Alison Metcalfe.

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http://www.travelers411.com/minisite/ireland

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18339

For more information visit www.ireland.com


Guests Include:

Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President United States and Canada, Tourism Ireland, New York City, New York, USA.
www.ireland.com

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Christine Afiouni, Director of Sales, The Mayflower Grace, Washington, Connecticut, USA.
www.gracehotels.com/mayflower

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Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring Christine Afiouni.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18330

For more information visit www.gracehotels.com/mayflower


Guests Include:

Christine Afiouni, Director of Sales, The Mayflower Grace, Washington, Connecticut, USA.
www.gracehotels.com/mayflower

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