Europe

Ballyfin Demesne, Ireland

By Sharron Livingston, July 1, 2014

There are 600 acres of land surrounding this remote but very stately home in St Laois. Parked by its lake are bikes and golf buggies but the best way to look around is by pony and trap. The driver, Lionel, points out the estate’s parish church, various follies, such as the viewing tower built to create jobs during the potato famine, the grottos and hidden gardens.

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Happiness is a town called Harrogate

June 6, 2014

Harrogate has recently been named the happiest place in the UK in which to live - for the second consecutive year. So what makes this quintissential English town so special?

There's no denying its attractive and historic Georgian architecture.

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Where to get your thrills this summer

By Sharron Livingston, June 6, 2014

Duinrell Amusement Park and Tiki Waterpark
Where: near The Hague in Holland

Why: It may be in the heart of lush forest and near to a sleepy, wide beach but you'll get white knuckle rides and thrilling water slides at this amusement/water park combo.

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Westbury Hotel, Dublin

By Sharron Livingston, May 27, 2014

I had just turned into the side street from Dublin’s famous Grafton Street to the Westbury when I saw it. I instantly recognised the life size statue of Dublin-bred Phil Lynott. I was still humming “The Boys are Back in town” when I got to the reception desk on the first floor. “A fan of Thin Lizzy are you?” asked Eddie, the concierge in a charming Irish lilt.

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Dublin: Tales of one city

By Sharron Livingston, May 27, 2014

I recently discovered that Dubliners are avid storytellers with a lyrical lilt, humour and a lot of poetic licence.

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Hotel of the week: Buttermilk B&B, Worcester

By Sharron Livingston, November 27, 2013

When you are alone in a strange town, spending a few nights there can seem a little, lonely. So on a recent budget trip to Worcester, I shied away from the faceless chain hotels, opting instead for a bed and breakfast.

I found one in the village of Ladywood, a few minutes drive from town and noisy local pubs. At the every least, I reasoned, I would be in pleasant surroundings.

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Hotel of the week: Hotel & Spa iader Zadar, Croatia

By Sharron Livingston, November 27, 2013

The Iadera gleams with newness. From the glass lifts, to the radiant white bathtubs, to the burnished sheen on the croissants, everything is polished. For guests at the luxury spa, it’s all about renewal too, settling into fluffy white robes, cleansing in the clear blue sea of the private beach, getting the grime scrubbed off, your tired muscles pummelled and eye bags smoothed away.

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Hotel of the week: Sloane Club, London

By Anthea Gerrie, November 15, 2013

Anyone who’s ever wandered past those millionaires’ mansions in Belgravia and wondered what it would be like to live the life can now do so for a few days courtesy of the Sloane Club.

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France’s Opal coast is a true gem

By Andy Mossack, July 1, 2013

From his lofty perch, Napoleon gazes across at what might have been. Back in 1804 more than 100,000 men of his grand army stood alongside him here at Boulogne-Sur-Mer poised to invade England. They even built the column in anticipation of victory.Fortunately, they got distracted by Austria and Russia in the east and abandoned the invasion.

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Italy :Ghetto life

By Andy Mossack, May 21, 2013

Alone bell tolls from somewhere close by, not an unfamiliar sound when you’re in Italy, but at this moment it’s rather more poignant. I’m inside Ferrara’s ancient shul, still going strong in the heart of the former medieval ghetto, nearly 600 years after it was built.

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