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CBS News Report on Dalkey, Co. Dublin, Ireland as” Not Used to A-Listers is a Leaf Short of a Shamrock,” States Broadcast Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

There are many dangers in the world today. But one of those dangers, misinformation, is not new. I am too often disgusted when people in media talk about the travel industry, suppliers in the industry, and destinations as those who are publishing and broadcasting stories often don’t have a clue about the people, companies, and places they are talking about. Such is the case of a story about actor Matt Damon who is, like we are at the moment, marooned on the Emerald Isle. The story of Matt Damon calling into a local radio talk show last week is a source of curiosity, interest, and criticism as Matt and I share a similar experience of being amazingly lucky to be safe, well looked after, and overjoyed at being in a fairytale destination during this gruesome period of world history where there is so much pain at every turn for so many. We are very lucky to be in such a gorgeous and comfortable spot while we do our best to continue to be productive while being sidelined at the same time. So the story published by the Columbia Broadcasting System, CBS, at their website, reported by what appears to be a person who is either Irish, or more than likely, of Irish descent given her name is Caitlin O’Kane, gives me the very strong and regrettable impression that either Caitlin has never been to Dalkey, Co. Dublin, Ireland and knows little to nothing about the place or editors, as they far too often do, amended the piece and made it inaccurate in the process. In any case, someone should have checked before they made the assumption that Dalkey is a quaint place sheltered from superstars and celebrity types where the locals are now dazzled by the appearance of Matt Damon, not because Matt is a dazzling personality, but because this little village is just unaccustomed to having stars of his magnitude in their community.

Walking through a “loop hole” at Dalkey Castle which allowed archers to enter through one way and exit through another as an escape hatch giving us the word “loop hole” for getting out of bad situations including agreements.

And therein we find the problem resulting from (1) making assumptions about places without doing a bit of research and (2) talking about places you know nothing about as if you can make it up as you go along and no one will notice. Anyone who has been to Dalkey and abutting Killiney quickly learns that this area, in terms of star power is equivalent to Beverly Hills and Bel Air in California.

The CBS news article’s fundamental description of Dalkey is not just incorrect; it is Major League incorrect which is why I suspect that, just maybe, the author has never been to Dalkey or spoken with anyone who lives there or in neighboring Killiney. Here are the telltale signs as they appear in the CBS story printed in bold font below:

Many celebrities have been posting quarantine content from their mansions in Los Angeles, but one famous actor is nowhere near the Hollywood scene. Matt Damon and his family are self-isolating in the small seaside town of Dalkey in Ireland.

Since Dalkey is not used to hosting A-list celebrities, the actor has become the talk of the town.

Let me give you the facts:

  1. Dalkey, a tiny village in a posh suburban area about 20 minutes drive to  Dublin City Centre, lies at the bottom of a big hill abutting the town of from Killiney, better known locally as the Beverly Hills of County Dublin.
  2. Knowing the term “Beverly Hills of Dublin,” wouldn’t that alone give you an inkling that A-list celebrities just might live and frequent the region? If you said, yes, then, BINGO, you’re right!
  3. While the term “A-list celebrities” might be open to discussion as to whom should be on it, were I to tell you that among current residents in that tight little region and past residents and oft-visitors are such people as Bono, Enya, Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson . . . do they meet the standard for A-list celebrities? If you said, “Yes,” BINGO again! Hanging out in the little village shops, cafes, walking along the streets any day of the week, there’s a good chance you’ll spot some celebrity-type meandering about. This is not an area unfamiliar with super-stars! Quite the contrary!
  4. While Americans and Italians go gaga over celebrities, chase them thru streets, interrupt their dinners and private moments for autographs and photos, and hound them so that there is no sense of privacy in their lives, the Irish have a laissez-faire ‘how about that’ attitude that takes the presence of ‘celebrity’ in stride, much like their unflappable reaction to British royalty, with a, “Yeah, so what else is new?” attitude. For the celebrity, this is a breath of fresh air to actually be allowed to just “be” in public with only a smile, a nod, or no recognition at all from those in the vicinity. And A-listers are quite happy to shop and dine in Dalkey, and have a drink or tea time at Fitzpatrick Castle at the top of the hill from Dalkey village in Killiney where twice I’ve managed to miss seeing Liam Neeson in their lobby lounge and once missed Pierce Brosnan by seconds. I managed to miss Pierce Brosnan, as well, when we were both in residence at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in New York City but I did get to meet Melissa Rivers there and have breakfast 2 tables away from Robert DiNero and didn’t even notice he was there! What a pity!
  5. Matt Damon is ensconced in a very luxurious modern villa in Dalkey and, like our smaller, historic, spaciously comfortable and charming 1700s farmhouse in County Antrim, is the perfect hideaway from the massive troubles of the world during this pandemic. I have to concur with Matt Damon, that being in “Lough Down,” anywhere on this enchanted island that is Ireland, as long as you can stay healthy to enjoy it, is a truly magical experience and we are so lucky to be anything but ‘stuck’ here! And I’d be lying if I told you it’s a hardship to be here.  Matt Damon was criticized for his happiness quotient while being in Ireland but it’s hard to pretend it’s an awful experience in order to appear to be having the gruesome experience so many others are having.  Whether we deserve to be this happy is a philosophic debate for another time but, as Breeta Geary, a SKAL member whose father founded SKAL Mayo and whose family owned Pontoon Bridge Hotel in County Mayo for many years, once said to me, describing something good happening in the midst of something not so good, “You know, Stephanie, sometimes the wind is blowing in the right direction.” You can’t argue with Irish logic!  So, while we recognize the pain and suffering going on globally and truly empathize and sympathize with those who are ill and those who have loved ones suffering, we also recognize how blessed we are to be safe, sound, looked after by neighbors and brand new friends in Ireland,  and so happy that if our path to go home  had to be blocked, we are so lucky that the obstacles in our path kept us in Ireland, especially at Corner Cottage in County Antrim and I know Matt Damon feels that way about being “stuck” in  his luxury villa in Dalkey surrounded by the beauty of nature and the abundance of caring people and wholesome Irish food products. It  really is a fairy tale experience.
  6. If you’re lucky enough to be in Donegal, one of these days, you just might see a local property owner and his wife, Matthew Broderick, who inherited his grandfather’s Donegal home,  and Sarah Jessica Parker roaming about some of my favorite shops in Donegal Town being ignored by the locals who know they are there and who go out of their way to ignore them. A-lister, British royalty, Joe Shmo from Kokomo, it’s all the same to the Irish. Ah, how refreshing! And chances are, you’ll get a lot more attention if you’re Joe Shmo from Kokomo than if you’re an A-lister as folks are as warm and friendly and curious about visitors as they could possibly be but recognize that celebritiy-types would, generally, prefer to be left alone.
  7. And, lastly, it occurred to me that, more than likely, a visit to Wikipedia would have given some insights to the journalist into Dalkey and Killiney which create a stream of local A-listers “swanning about,” an expression that says it all, no? But even Wikipedia got it wrong when whomever posted their story lists Enya’s incredible castle home as being in Dalkey when, in fact, it’s in Killiney, just down the road from Fitzpatrick Castle but so close to Dalkey that an error like that is an easy one to make. Nonetheless, the stars out in the daylight hours in Dalkey and Killiney rival the Milky Way at night. This is not an area unfamiliar with celebrity visitors. If you’re going to report on it, get it right, please. And, better than that, plan to visit the region. You, too, will catch the spirit of a fairy tale experience. And Ireland is the place to have it!

Slan agus beanacht,

And sending you sunshine, mist and rainbows from the Emerald Isle,

Your personal travel expert,

Herself the Elf,

Stephanie Abrams

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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