"Travelers411" Radio Show - May 14, 2016
Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel Suite.

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Hour 1

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Eithne Fitzpatrick, Owner, Fitzpatrick Castle, Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland.
www.fitzpatrickcastle.com

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For more information visit www.fitzpatrickcastle.com


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Mark Scott-Lennon, General Manager and Director, Fitzpatrick Castle, Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland.
www.fitzpatrickcastle.com

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


Guests Include:

Eithne Fitzpatrick, Owner, Fitzpatrick Castle, Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland.
www.fitzpatrickcastle.com

Mark Scott-Lennon, General Manager and Director, Fitzpatrick Castle, Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland.
www.fitzpatrickcastle.com

Hour 2

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Mark Scott-Lennon, General Manager and Director, Fitzpatrick Castle, Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland.
www.fitzpatrickcastle.com

Related Photo Galleries:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=461

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

Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring Mark Scott-Lennon.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19548

For more information visit www.fitzpatrickcastle.com


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Click here to listen to Kevin Duncan, Area Ranger North Coast, UK National Trust interviewed by Stephanie Abrams without commercials.

Kevin Duncan, Area Ranger North Coast, UK National Trust, Cushendun, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.nationaltruist.org.uk

Step Back in Time in Cushendun Village and the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland

Join Travel Expert and Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams and Kevin Duncan, Area Ranger North Coast for the UK National Trust as they discuss Northern Ireland's north coast, the Antrim coast, Cushendun Village, Rathlin Island, and the surrounding area.

Kevin Duncan says he is originally from Northern Ireland and grew up on a family farm just outside of Cushendun in Cargan which is about 15 minutes away by car. He says that while growing up on the family farm he developed a great love of the place and the landscape saying that "it is absolutely beautiful and has everything including lovely beaches, scenery, mountains and it is hard to beat the scenery that's on the North Coast." Stephanie adds that it is hard to capture the raw beauty of the land with a camera because of the scope of the land and the panoramic nature of most views.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams remarks that many of the farms feature gorse groves. Gorse is also known as Ulex and is a flowering shrub with yellow or marigold colored buds. Kevin Duncan tells us that gorse is used by farmers as a natural boundary for cattle and sheep and that it is most noticeable in the springtime and throughout the summer when it is flowering. Stephanie says that the region's imagery is replete with green grass, black and white cows and sheep accented by the golden gorse making a magical picture.

Kevin Duncan, Area Ranger for the National Trust, says that even though Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, it is hard for people to imagine just how green the area is and that it is "not until you fly in through the Belfast airport that there's so many shades of green that you can't imagine it." Stephanie says that she's come in through Belfast many times, but not since United became the carrier and merged into Continental. She says it's very convenient to come in via Belfast (from the US) and that Dooley car rental does have a car rental location in Belfast and they are the only family owned car rental agency in Ireland.

Kevin shares that Cushendun Village has a high concentration of conservation significance and has been deemed a conservation area partly due to the unique architecture of the area. In particular the architectural style is unique for the area because it has been built in the Cornish style. Kevin says that a walk through the village is like a step back in time since it hasn't been modernized. According to Kevin, the area owes its unique Cornish styling to the lord that managed the village, Ronald McNeill, whose wife was from Cornwall. Kevin tells us that when Lord McNeill's wife passed away, to keep her memory alive, he designed a set of cottages in the middle of the village in the Cornish style and that many visitors are surprised by the buildings since they are not in keeping with the local landscape.

Kevin Duncan says that "there's nothing nicer than taking a nice stroll through the village," and that one of the best aspects of the north coast, beyond the scenery is its "very friendly people that are always up for a chat and to find out about where you are from and find out about your life." Kevin lived in England while working for an environmental consultancy. He says he was "totally over the moon" to get back to the really friendly and welcoming attitude in his hometown area of Cushendun.

Stephanie says the Irish friendliness is unique in the world and that while the US has pocket regions, including the South, where hospitality and friendliness are a matter of pride, many other parts of the United States might seem a bit "cool" when it comes to the average encounter between strangers. She contrasts this with Ireland where she says "everyone is just warm and friendly and curious and wants to chat".

The room in which Stephanie Abrams and Kevin Duncan are conducting this interview is filled with murals and a poem inscribed on the wall which reads "In County Antrim near the sea how very happy I shall be our married life will be begun within the walls of Cushendun." Stephanie tells us to think of the Island of Ireland if planning a "romantic interlude".

Stephanie asks Kevin about some of the special things that visitors will find in Cushendun. At the top of Kevin's list are Red Squirrels which he says are in great decline in the UK, and in general elsewhere, due to Grey Squirrels which are an invasive species and more aggressive. He says it is one of the daily joys of living in Cushendun to visit a local natural play area where Red Squires come in the early morning and early evening to feed.

According to Kevin, Cushendun was once historically an important port and is only 12 miles to Scotland by boat. Before Belfast became established, he says, Cushendun was one of the most important ports on the north coast of Northern Ireland but that in the early 20th century when Belfast became established Cushendun "sort of fell by the way side." He says that the most efficient way to get to Scotland from the region today is via the ferry available at Larne, or by car. He notes that approximately during the period of the 1830's there would have regularly been about sixteen ships taking livestock to Scotland. Before the coast road was built, he says, it was easier to get to Scotland by boat or ship.

Stephanie says that during the commercial break she learned that if one was to take a boat from the Cushendun area to Scotland they would most likely arrive at the Mull of Kintyre which Kevin Duncan says is a short journey of about 12 miles which should take about 30 minutes. He says, though, that unfortunately with "times moving on" no boat or ferry operators are currently running that route. He says that some boat trips from Cushendull to Cushendun are run by local businesses and also that visits to nearby Rathlin Island are available. Kevin mentions that during one of his recent trips to Rathlin Island his boat was followed by pods of dolphins. He says he is a big nature enthusiast and getting to see them up close was a thrill.

Kevin Duncan also manages some of the land and properties on Rathlin Island. Stephanie Abrams notes that "You can see the island from the mainland" and that there is a ferry from Ballycastle that takes about 30 minutes to get to the island. She says that the views of the coast line from the ferry are dramatic and that sometimes the best view of a place are only from the water and as an case in point that the best views of New York City are from New Jersey, across the Hudson River.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams mentions that she's been discussing puffins with some people and that apparently the best time to see them in Ireland is between May and the middle of July because that is when they are nesting and spawning. She tells of a few places famous for puffin sightings which are the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare on the west coast of the Republic of Ireland, The Gobbins, as well as Portmagee which is just north of Dublin, to name a few.

Kevin Duncan wraps up the discussion and mentions that the popular HBO television show Game of Thrones was filmed, in part, in Cushendun in the sea caves. Various other locations in Ireland were selected as filming locations for the show due to its interesting and often rugged or unmolested environment.

Related Photo Galleries:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1708

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

Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring Kevin Duncan.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19549

For more information visit www.nationaltruist.org.uk


Guests Include:

Mark Scott-Lennon, General Manager and Director, Fitzpatrick Castle, Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland.
www.fitzpatrickcastle.com

Kevin Duncan, Area Ranger North Coast, UK National Trust, Cushendun, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.nationaltruist.org.uk

Hour 3

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Click here to listen to Laurence Ghisoiu, Visitor Experience Ranger, UK National Trust interviewed by Stephanie Abrams without commercials.

Laurence Ghisoiu, Visitor Experience Ranger, UK National Trust, Carrick-a-Rede, Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Cushendun, Carrick-a-Rede, Ballycastle, Great Fishing Spots and Films Featuring Irish Locations

Laurence Ghisoiu is a Visitor Experience Ranger for the National Trust, a United Kingdom charity status organization charged with the protection, land management and use of UK heritage sites and conservation areas. Travel Expert, and Radio Show Host, for the "Travelers411" Radio Show, Stephanie Abrams is on location in Northern Ireland at the site of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge discussing the beauty and natural charm of the area and getting a sense for its local history. www.travelers411.com

Laurence Ghisoiu says he is originally from Transylvania, Romania and jokes that he won't bite her, "at least during the daylight". Stephanie laughs that it’s a good thing that "days last until 10pm at night" during the summer months. Given his Transylvanian heritage, Laurence is tickled by the coincidence that the film "Dracula Untold" (2014) was filmed in Northern Ireland and uses Giant's Causeway as the location for scenes of Dracula's cave.

Laurence reminisces that it was a woman that originally brought him to Northern Ireland 6 years ago, much to the chagrin of his Mother. He says he always warns visitors to "beware they not get charmed" and explains that the people of the region are so warm and friendly that's it is all too easy to be charmed by the people and place. He jokes that the local people are "a bit nosy, obviously, every time you meet somebody they want to know where you are from".



By all accounts Cushendun is a romantic fairytale like spot sometimes sun-kissed and at others wind-swept but always magical. The village and surrounding areas are mostly owned by the UK National Trust which manages its use. It is across from Rathlin Island, seven miles off shore, where puffins can be seen nesting between the months of mid-May through mid-July. Visitors to the area can visit Rathlin Island via ferry from the mainland.

Giant's Causeway and many other locations in the north of Ireland have been featured in film and television including the wildly popular HBO series "Game of Thrones" based on the works of fiction by George R.R. Martin. Laurence Ghisoiu, Visitor Experience Ranger for the National Trust knows film buffs will enjoy searching out locations. Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams has visited several of these film-location sites and has seen movies that feature the region even in old movies, citing a black and white film "The Oracle", also known as "The Horse's Mouth", which she says was filmed in part at Giant's Causeway. Animated films have also drawn inspiration from the region as source material including "How to Train a Dragon", the animated children's film, which used Giant's Causeway in some scenes.

Stephanie says that nearby Dunluce Castle was used as a location in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl". Laurence says that climate almost makes sense because there are underground currents of warm water fueled by the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean keeping it warmer. He says even though the north of Ireland is at about the same latitude as Newfoundland in North America, the area is about 10 degrees warmer because of the Gulf. Stephanie remarks that she's always surprised to see Palm trees thriving in the north of Ireland. Also, an interesting design detail is that many of the Palm trees are in large ceramic pots. Laurence clearly loves the area but jokes that his part of Ireland gets "365 days of sunshine, most of them liquid sunshine."

Laurence is sure to point out that Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is an actual functioning bridge, not a movie prop or theme park exhibit creation. It is similar to the kind of bridge you might expect in a film like Indiana Jones, just authentic and purpose built. Though Laurence presents a picture of modern design updates the experience of crossing the bridge sounds unique. The bridge is only about sixty one feet long, narrow at two feet wide and has side grasps now set at about four feet tall. Laurence tells us that the sides used to be about three feet tall, but were recently raised. No doubt that is a big comfort to taller visitors, especially given that winds can gust above forty miles an hour as visitors on the bridge are hovering one hundred feet above the open ocean.

Laurence Ghisoiu says he's seen visitors as young as 6 weeks to more than 80 years old out on the bridge musing that some of them will take as few as several seconds and others several minutes to make the crossing. He does note that on high-wind days the bridge will close, but even that process adds a bit of drama to the experience for those already on the Island side. The bridge will close when winds reach 40 mph for safety, though those already on the island still need to return to mainland at that point. When this happens, rangers and staff will escort each visitor walking them back across the bridge individually. He jokes that visitors get a "bit more than they paid for".

As this conversation between Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and UK National Trust Ranger Laurence Ghisoiu continues we can hear some background noise in the tea and gift shop, a cozy spot on the Antrim Coast. Laurence tells us the anecdote "Fog on the sea good on the land", suggesting those who are more timid should visit the bridge on foggy days. On those clear days, crossing the rope bridge sounds a bit more on the adventurous side, but nothing compared to the original version of the bridge in 1755.

Laurence says the true history of the bridge begins with a "wee" Cottage on island in the 1600's, around the same time Shakespeare wrote his plays. There was a fishery on island and prior to the bridge, a boat would travel between the small island and mainland. In 1755 a rope bridge was created and instead workers at the fishery would cross the bridge which at that time had only one rope hand hold because their other hand would be carrying something (i.e. fish). Stephanie can't imagine making the crossing under those circumstance and Laurence jokes that the crossing, even today, is a bit of a "roller coaster of nature". It sounds like the current design iteration of the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge takes a bit of the edge off of the experience but can still be a wild ride.

Laurence Ghisoiu shares a little more of the history behind the place and says that for over four hundred years salmon have been fished at the site. He says that of the 36 places on north coast best known for salmon fishing, this one is the best. Stephanie adds that other regions might want to argue that as a point of pride. She says Ireland is home to many great fishing spots and suggests a few to traveling anglers. She says the River Moy runs through the property of Mount Falcon in County Mayo and that Ashford Castle, at least during the previous ownership, allowed fishing off the castle's draw bridge. Laurence mentions that the River Bush in Bushmills is well known for the quality of its salmon fishing. He notes that visitors will need a special license to fish which they can get at the Bushmills Research Institute for Salmon which is in the middle of village. He says after you get your license you can start fishing immediately because the institute is on the river. He says rental equipment is available at Bushmills, whereas at other locations, like Giant's Causeway, you would need to bring your own equipment.

Interestingly, according to Laurence Ghisoiu, when locals say "fish" they mean salmon and when referring to any other kind of fish they would use the actual name. He says salmon in Ireland is a smaller fish than in North/South America and local fishers Achi Colgan and Morton's in Ballycastle were originally fishing at Carrick-a-Rede.

Laurence assures us that the bridge is rated for up to fifty tons and they only permit up to eight people on the bridge at a time. He jokes that the bridge was made in Belfast, so limiting the number of people using it at a time is a good idea, a reminder that the Titanic was also built in Belfast. "Every Monday we replace the Duck tape, just in case," he chuckles.

Laurence Ghisoiu from the National Trust leaves us with the impression that the walk to the bridge is what makes people fall in love with the place. The lead up to the gap between the mainland and the small island fishery is an engrossing twenty minutes of walking opening up to a one hundred foot high limestone cliff. Visitors will find views to Rathlin Island fort which is seven miles away and Isla, the birth place of Scotch, can be seen thirty five miles away. Laurence describes the views as "amazing" with the unique sounds of the Atlantic Ocean waves crashing as a visceral part of the experience.

Related Photo Galleries:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1724
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=538

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

Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring Laurence Ghisoiu.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19550

For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk


Link to this segment

John Higgins, Visitor Experience Supervisor, UK National Trust, Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Related Photo Galleries:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1708

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

Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring John Higgins.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19551

For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk


Guests Include:

Laurence Ghisoiu, Visitor Experience Ranger, UK National Trust, Carrick-a-Rede, Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk

John Higgins, Visitor Experience Supervisor, UK National Trust, Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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