Monday, August 30, 2010


Well it is about time, but it finally looks like Dublin is going to get a quintessential transportation map and would you believe it turns out it is a German who designed it.

Graphic Design student, Aris Venetikidis, arrived in Ireland eight years ago and noticed that it is difficult to navigate your way around Dublin City especially if you are not from the city.

So he set about putting together a complete map of all transport links on one map. He used the iconic London Underground map as the template and after initially finding it difficult to get backing has put together, what the Grand Canal Hotel thinks, is the best and most use full map produced.

Essentially, the map Venetikidis designed includes all bus services and stops, as well as existing and proposed Luas stops, existing Dart stations and the proposed Dart Underground link between Inchicore and Docklands, with intervening stations at Heuston, Christ Church, St Stephen’s Green, Pearse (Westland Row) and Spencer Dock.

Everything is colour-coded, and the 10 bus rapid transit lines proposed by Leahy are given names such as Beckett, Larkin, Stoker and Yeats.

These are shown on a large format map of the public transport network as a whole, then in detail on a separate map of the inner city area, so people can see exactly where they are going.

“Every stop is on it, because you can’t assume that every new user has a working knowledge of Dublin’s geography,” Venetikidis told the Irish Times. “So even Dubliners invited to a friend’s party, for example – all they would have to do is to identify the nearest stop on the map, which is not something they can do now, and then work out the route they need to take.”

As the London Underground map had shown, “a successful integrated public transport map is the key to motivating people to leave the car and make the switch to a sustainable transport mode. Couple that with a modern network of rapid transit and you have the solution to congested city centre streets and an absent infrastructure.”

Check out for a look at the designs.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Ireland has played host to many big Hollywood movies over the years including Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart and ahem...Far and Away. After a quiet number of years where the Celtic Tiger's roar seemed to scare the producers away. So here's the Grand Canal Hotel's lowdown on what is going on with filming in Ireland.

Well now that we are all skint they are coming back in there droves. Sean Penn startled onlookers in Dublin this week after he was spotted wearing a fuzzy wig and lipstick.

But his shocking get-up was all in the name of work, with the actor shooting a new film in the Irish capital.

In This Must Be The Place the Oscar-winner plays a wealthy, retired rocker who sets out to track down the German officer who executed his father.

The 50-year-old wore his familiar serious expression as he sported earrings and full make-up while filming scenes. A friend tells me that they are currently filming in Quinn towers in Blanchardstown.

Another, Knockout, an international thriller, starring Michael Douglas, Antonio Bandaras and Ewan McGregor, is one of the most high-profile Hollywood films to come to Ireland in recent years, mostly because it is directed by Steven Soderbergh who won a best director Oscar for Traffic in 2000.

Soderbergh’s previous films include the Oceans Eleven series, Erin Brockovich and Sex Lies and Videotape.

The multi million euro production of Tudors, starring our own Jonathan Ryes Myers, was filmed on location in Ireland while it's big budget replacement, Camelot, is set to start filming soon.

Saving Private Ryan was filmed in Wexford(1998), Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965) Ryan's Daughter (1970)Sarah Miles, Robert Mitchum, John Mills, Trevor Howard, Leo McKern Quiet Man, The (1952) Princess Bride, The (1987) Moby Dick (1956) Lion in Winter, The (1968) Crying Game, The (1992) Far and Away (1992) and of course Braveheart was filmed in Ireland.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Ireland's biggest musical production, Fame the Musical, kicks off tonight in the Grand Canal Theatre.
The Show has already been wooing audiences on national television, RTE,. But now Jessica Cervi and Ben Morris are hoping their fans will snap up tickets for the stage version following on from the eight series show, which was broadcast from the Helix Theatre in Dublin.
The two talented singers, who won the competition to star in the show, will take to the stage alongside 19702 soul legend Sheila Ferguson in a tale about a group of students in New York.
The show opens at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin tonight and runs until September 12, before going on a nationwide tour.
The Grand Canal Hotel are offering guests a fantastic chance to see the show. For just €99pps midweek and €109pps on weekends you can see the show, enjoy a pre-show meal stay at the hotel and have a full Irish the following morning. Available between 19th - 31st of August.

Monday, August 16, 2010


The the holiday sense of the coming to a close, but before we start preparing ourselves for Christmas (yeah i said it), there is still plenty of things to do in Dublin City.

This weekend for instance the Dublin Viking Festival kicks off. Now in its third year the festival is run over two days with numerous events taking place in the city centre.

The fun takes place on Dublin's Wood Quay and Temple Bar from Friday the 21st August until Sunday 22nd August 2010. The Vikings were the first settlers at Dublin and old reminants of their settlement have been found at Wood Quay in Dublin City Centre on the site of Dublin City Council's civic offices.

Dublin Viking Festival Information:

Viking Village
The village folk are dedicated to the accurate and entertaining portrayal of Viking and Medieval times and lifestyles. With a village of tents, locals at work and trained soldiers in combat, you will feel embraced by this time period’s culture. Lectures on weaponry will get you up to speed and you can even try out your hand at Archery. The village area will be equipped with picnic tables, food stands and Viking hat stalls.

A meeting point for the tours of Dublinia and the Viking House will be located in the Amphitheatre/Wood Quay throughout the weekend. Once you attend the festival throughout the weekend you can avail of 2 for the price of 1 tickets to Dublinia.

Wax Museum
Throughout the festival, the Dublin Wax Museum will be performing scenes from various plays that are relevant to Viking Dublin. There will be 3 shows a day. After the show, why not head to the Viking themed room in the wax museum. It features a wax figure of the Viking King of Dublin and a replica of the Viking Dublin city.
Once you attend the Viking Festival you can avail of Special Discounts for the wax museum if you attend the museum after 5pm. Discount rates are; Children go free with a paying adult (Adult price €10) or a family ticket discount of €25 (normally €30).

Viking Splash
The unique and highly appraised land & water tour of Dublin are offering special discounts throughout the festival weekend. They will also be offering free family passes as prizes throughout the weekend!

Walking Tours
Walking Tours of Viking Dublin will take place on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival. The tour will include historically significant places and areas where everyday life and major events occurred; narrow laneways and hidden streets, Dublin Castle, Christ Church, archaeological discovery sites and much more.

Viking music
To complete the Middle Ages atmosphere, traditional Scandinavian and medieval style music will be played at different intervals throughout the festival by local and professional musicians.

Children’s’ Entertainment
For the kids, there are art zones open from 1-4pm each day of the festival. They will participate in making masks and memorabilia and designing and making their own helmet plaques. There will also be the favourites; face painting and balloon modelling.

Outdoor Viking Movie
There will be outdoor screenings of the 1958 ‘The Vikings’ starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis. A picnic blanket and snacks are recommended to enjoy this screening.

Food and Drink
Available at the festival will be different types of local made and foreign food; including hog roast, breads and Danish pastries. Also, drink stalls with apple cider and mead.

Arts and crafts stalls
The arts and crafts stalls will have genuine Viking tools and memorabilia for sale. Take home with you medieval artefacts and souvenirs and keep the Viking spirit alive.

Apart from souvenir stalls, there will also be a selection of stalls selling middle age and medieval inspired jewellery and clothing.

Enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


A German man has given up a thriving sales career - to become a travel agent to teddy bears.

Ulrike Bohmler says his Teddy-In travel firm has been besieged by hundreds of enquiries from customers.

They pay Mr Bohmler, from Cologne, to take their soft toys on holiday to Britain and other countries.

He takes snapshots of the teddies outside famous landmarks to record their holiday adventures.

"It might sound crazy but people love their soft toys and want to give them the best," explained Mr Bohmler.

"I accompany the toys on their tour and although people might laugh at it, a lot of people genuinely love their teddy bears and want the best for them."

I've sent him a messege to tell him about the great rates at the Grand Canal Hotel in Dubln...we won't even charge for the teddy.

Thanks to for the story.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


A Malaysian hotel chain are hoping to bring Ryanair type bedroom prices to Britain this year...and maybe Dublin to follow?

The room would cost you as little as €25 but but you'll also be charged for using the hotel's hair-drier (£2), its towels (£1 each) and storing your luggage (£2)? Your ride upstairs in a lift is free, as is the air conditioning, but your budget will need to stretch a further pound to secure your belongings in a safe. Want to get your room cleaned? That's £7.50 a day.

This year, Tune Hotels hopes to take on bloated room rates in London and do for the British hotel market what easyJet and Ryanair have done for aviation. It will offer standard rates of £35 a night for a bed, power shower and central location – with chargeable extras.

The nine Tune Hotels in Malaysia and Indonesia offer deals as rock-bottom as £2 a night. The chain's first British hotel is set to open on London's Westminster Bridge Road on 30 August, with further outposts planned across the country, depending on the popularity of the Waterloo operation.

"It's all about choice," says the company's chief executive, Mark Lankester. "We say consumers should assemble the experience as they see fit. We aim to provide whatever suits the customer in terms of timing, price and the comfort people require. If you want to stay in a five-star hotel, there are plenty of them already in London. But if you are really concerned about price then we are going to be relevant."

Have no fear though people. The Grand Canal Hotel will be sticking to great value rates with no extra charges for what you'd expect in a hotel room. That said I'm sure some of the budget hotels not too far from us are sweating at the thoughts of it.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I was listening to he radio earlier and there was a story about strange place names in Ireland and I thought it would make for an interesting Blog. So here is a list of questionable town names in Ireland.

1. Muckanaghederdauhaulia, Co. Galway - the longest place name in Ireland. It’s a small village in the Connemara Gaeltacht between Camus and Carraroe, in County Galway. In Irish, this is Muiceanach idir Dhá Sháile – which literally means “pig-shaped hill between two seas”. It is also thought to be the longest name for a port in the world. The second longest place name in Ireland is Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow, at 19 letters.

2. Newtwopothouse, Mallow, Co.Cork - this is a small village 6 km outside of the Mallow, the Cork town. It's famous for growing the best grass in Ireland.

3. Muff, Co. Donegal - the source of endless crude jokes, especially since the installation of a diving board in this small seaside town. Apparently, the name derives from a mispronunciation of the Irish 'Magh', meaning plain.

4. Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford - a small seaside town in Co. Wexford, just south of another rather morbidly named town, called Gorey.

5. Nobber, Co .Meath - derives from the Irish word “an obair," which means “the work.”

6. Hospital, Co. Limerick - acquired its name from the Knights Hospitaller, a Christian organization in the time of the Crusades. Ironically, the town doesn’t have any medical facilities.

7. Kilbrittain, Co. Cork - you would think that it might be political correct to change this name now that the conflict in Northern Ireland over, but the locals refuse to budge.

8. Cockhill Road, Stamullen, Co. Meath - there are a number of ‘cocks’ in Irish place names: Shercok, a town in Co. Cavan, and Kilcock in Co. Kildare, which is about 40 km of the Dublin suburb, Ballsbridge.

9. Kill, Co. Kildare - perhaps one of the more violently named place names in Ireland, along with Swords and Stoneybatter, both in Dublin.

Thanks to for the above. It saved me a lot of time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


We have to say we were not at all surprised at the Grand Canal Hotel to read that Dublin taxi drives are among the friendliest in the world...according a survey on

Our "friendly" cab drivers have a reputation in their homeland of being lewd, rude and opinionated but the survey lauds the Irish drives for their "cead mile failte".

The survey revealed that international travellers find our lads the third most friendliest drivers on the planet. Fiar play to you lads!

London's famous black cabs led the way in the survey with 59% of international travellers saying that English capital's cabs were by far and away the pick of the world's taxis.

But every silver lining and all that...the lads were also voted one of the most expensive on the planet, coming in fourth place on par with New York.

New York also picked up the rudest award along with Parisian drivers while Roman cabbies were voted the worst drivers.

Voted the best city overall, London was also names the most expensive city (19pc) and the safest (20%) when it comes to cabs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Dublin Horse Show, RDS, 04 August 2010 - 08 August 2010

Apparently Irish people are horsey mad!!! We'll in August we certainly go wild for the horses especially as The Failte Dublin Horse Show kicks off.

From August 4-8 the Dublin Horse Show takes over the entire RDS complex in the heart of Dublin. This year they are celebrating 137 years of the Dublin Horse Show, Ireland’s top equestrian event, which offers a great day out for horse enthusiasts and families alike.

Highlights of the Show include, the drama of the Land Rover Puissance featuring the famous ‘Wall’, the Longines International Grand Prix, the Aga Khan Challenge Trophy, the Longines Press Award for Elegance and over 100 national showing and show jumping classes.

Experience live music, visit the ultimate kids’ and nature zones, marvel at the fashion of Blossom Hill Ladies’ Day, wander through the art and crafts exhibition, and shop at over 300 trade stands! Join us at the RDS this August… there is something for everyone! Tickets for the 2010 Dublin Horse Show are on sale now!

Click here for the full programme of events.


A couple of weeks ago we received a mail from a guest who was coming to stay with us during the summer. The gentleman made an unusual request which has required a bit of research and is now the topic of this particular blog.

Mr Gregory Lesson had recently been on a vacation to Paris and had a unique experience of having dinner at a private residence of someone he had never met before. This experience turned out to be the highlight of his trip…which is saying something because Paris is a truly beautiful city. Anyway, he asked us if we could organize something similar for him and his daughter when they arrived in August.

So, being the lovely hotel that we are, we did a bit of research and it turns out that this is not such an unusual experience. There are a number of organizations in the world that promote such comings together. One organization is Servas.

Gregory and his daughter are staying at the Grand Canal Hotel from August 8th – 10th and anyone interested in having them over for a bit of grub and culture can contact him on

“My unusual request is to ask you how we might find such a welcoming family while in Dublin. Obviously I would be most interested in a family with a daughter near my Jennifer's age. I have a Skype account and would be happy to do a video meeting first. As a second choice, I might be willing to buy dinner at a restaurant for all,” read Gregory’s mail.

I did find one particular organisation who promote cultural tourism. Servas is an international network for making contact with people from all over the world, set up over 60 years ago. The idea is for people to meet and talk to each other, which can be a good way to help promote peace and international understanding. It's for travellers who want to understand how other people live, work and think, and who want to find out about the places they visit from the people who live there.

So I’ll pass this information on to our guest. But that said if anyone out there is interested in welcoming a lovely family, father and daughter, into their house for dinner let us know.

Check out the Servas website for more information or contact for the Irish part of the organisation.