Carnival Countdown!

 

We are offering 20% off all remaining accommodation! 

Win 2 tickets to The Carnival de Nice!

https://www.stayyna.com/specials/carnival-countdown-18506/

 

As the carnival draws closer (this Saturday!), we interviewed Anastasia, an artist performing on the flower float and Kristen, a local designer who has imagined 3 of this year’s floats…

 

  1. What is the atmosphere like when you are performing?

Anastasia - It's like to live a fairy-tale, as the Nice flower carnival is a special event full of happiness and magic moments. Moreover, it is just so precious to see, child, adult, senior smiling. 

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  1. What materials are used to make the floats? How long does it take to build a tank from beginning to end? How many people work on each tank?

Kristen - The tanks are built by maskers, designers do that imagine and draw, this drawing then serving for the masker for its realization. They use new materials such as polystyrene which allows you to make better finished personages and great cartoons. But they also still use the traditional method of paste board must combine tradition and Design Style for our carnival retained its identity. Generally, they begin construction towards October to finish ... just before the first cycle! The number of revellers to work on changes all the time depending on the stage of construction, these are teams of ten people. Before they there were almost only men, today there are also many women.

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  1. Tell us about your costume? How long does it take to put on?!

Anastasia - Each costume is a handmade piece of art, designed accordingly to our personalities. Mine is full of colourful gloss and glitter and I am not able to let you know more than that as all the costumes will be revealed on February 17th! 

It doesn't take long to put the costume on, approximately 15 minutes, but each of 18 artists need to have their hair and the make-up done. So, we gather at 7 a.m. while the carnival starts at 2 30 p.m.!  

  1. You’ve been creating floats for Carnival of Nice since 2002, what makes the Nice Carnival special for you?

Kristen - Being in the region, I have always heard of the Carnival of Nice and child I went sometimes. Today to see my chariots scroll's magic, it's a kind of return to the world of childhood world that one should never leave if and responsible adult! Thanks to the carnival I also travelled extensively to present exhibitions of my drawings for Carnival or give lectures, conduct training courses in Japan, China, Italy, Colombia ... like drawing, carnival is an international language.

 

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Credit - Nice Carnival

  1. What are your responsibilities in the flower parade?

Anastasia - I am one of 18 artists animating the carnival and performing on the flowered floats. During the parade, we share our festive mood with the spectators and launch flowers. Each float as well as each costume is inspired by this year’s Space theme!

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6.All the floats you have created, which was your favourite? and why?

Kristen - My King in 2002, first because it 'was my first king, it was over 15 meters high was fully motorized, could asseoir on his throne which was behind him. It was an old king of the Franks, in 2002 we were Abandoner our historic monarchy (Franc) to go to the Euro. This tank represents the last fight Pardu ahead of the old king who rebelled against his disapriton and its replacement by a new monarchy. Symbolically we did end on 22 February 2002 Carnival Official Date money of changed, we like each whole year to the end of the carnival is burning the king (actually we burn a copy of the King). This old Frankish king went up in flames like our old. The Franks timing and symbol were perfect!

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7.Describe the Nice Carnival for you in just 3 words?

Kristen - Crowd, laughing tradition.

Anastasia - Magic. Happiness. Blossom. 

 

Don’t forget to book with STAY YNA! 20% off all remaining accommodation!  Going fast!

https://www.stayyna.com/specials/carnival-countdown-18506/

And enter our CARNVIAL COMPETITION! Win 2 tickets to The Carnival de Nice!

TO ENTER –

Email KING OF SPACE to enquiries@stayyna.com

Winner will be announced will be announced 15/02/18

Terms and conditions apply. GOOD LUCK!


Made in…Dingle!

Dick Mack’s Brewhouse

We are offering 30% off our Dingle homes this February! 
https://www.stayyna.com/specials/30-off-ireland-january-and-february-stays-2018-18409/
Win 2 tickets to Dick Mack's Brewery!

"What a great addition to an already legendary town. The IPA is to die for. Cool fit out, great tunes, and enthusiastic brewers." A quote from one of the many five star reviews the newly opened Dick Mack's Brewhouse has received since it's launch in September 2017.

Welcome to our latest Made in Dingle blog. This time we are featuring the newly launched Dick Mack's Brewhouse which has opened up behind the legendary Dick Mack's pub on Green Street. The Stay YNA Dingle team were treated to an amazing tour of the brewery as part of our Christmas night out and we were highly impressed by the history, ambition and values of this new start-up - and that was before we even got to taste any beer! 

I can't recommend the brewery tour highly enough. On arrival we received a warm welcome and the passion and excitement surrounding this new enterprise was instantly infectious. We were shown around by Finn MacDonnell, who is of the fourth generation of the MacDonnell family that has run Dick Macks pub in Dingle since 1855. Finn's telling of the Brewhouse story from it's inception all the way through to the thrill of their first brew was honest and captivating and demonstrated the true determination and clarity of vision it took to stick to their gut instincts, stay true to their goals and do things right at every step of the way. 
 
 

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The idea to start a micro brewery in the old cattle shed building behind the pub first took root in Finn's mind a couple of years ago. With the recent addition of an outdoor seating area and artisan food trucks in the Dick Mack's courtyard he felt that the small craft beer operation would be a good addition to the overall Dick Mack's experience for locals and visitors alike. Over a drink at the bar with his friends Aussie Barrett and Seamus Lynch the idea came out in discussion and the two friends absolutely loved it. The dream had been born.
 
Dick Mack's Brewhouse is currently producing three distinctive beers - Amber Ale, Session IPA and Coffee Stout. All three are receiving excellent reviews so far - with good reason. Everyone in our tour group was given half a pint of each of the beers in the Taproom. The coffee stout is sensational. It has just the right balance of flavour with none of the bitterness you might expect. It is the result of a finely tuned collaboration with the extremely popular Bean In Dingle coffee shop next door. 
 
I had a few questions for Finn:
 
1) With the rising popularity of craft beer in Ireland and new breweries setting up around the country, what to you hope will set Dick Mack's Brewery apart from the rest?
 
We already have the Dick Mack's brand name and a channel to market through the pub. The brewhouse has an interesting history from it's uses over the years as a cowhouse and milking parlour, a storage loft for sheep's wool and the site where Tom Mack bottled the pub's beer in the early 1900's. We have invested in the best equipment in order to keep the process airtight, eliminate any contamination and keep the quality of the product consistently high. The water we use comes from our own well which we know is very pure from our regular testing and we use the highest quality hops and grain.
 
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2) What are your plans for the future of the brewery?
 
Our focus is on quality not quantity. We are always going to be a micro brewery and therefore there is no pressure to grow too big and risk losing our unique identity. Our original plan was to just produce enough beer to supply our own pub. We hadn't anticipated the level of interest we have received from the other pubs in Dingle and we are delighted to have such support from them. We are working towards supplying these Dingle pubs but we do not intend to expand our market outside of Dingle. Supporting local business is important to us and if we can help create employment in our town we will be very proud of that. We hope that our brewery tours will help bring more visitors and create spin-off benefits for the community.  
We will soon be introducing our "Rotational tap" in Dick Mack's bar which we aim to stock with a new beer every month for customers to try. This exciting project will allow us to get creative and experiment with new types of beer and different flavours and see what we can come up with. Some may work and some may not and we are looking forward to receiving customer feedback on our efforts!
 
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Where can we get more information?

On our Facebook page Dick Mack’s Brewhouse, Twitter @dickmacksbrewhouse and website www.dickmackspub/brewhouse. We will soon be adding new links and a map showing which pubs and restaurants have our beer in stock to the website!

dick-macks-brewhouse-taproom

Don’t forget to book with STAY YNA! 30% off your stay in February 2018!

https://www.stayyna.com/specials/30-off-ireland-january-and-february-stays-2018-18409/

And enter our DICK MACK'S BREWERY COMPETITION! Win 2 tickets for a tour of Dick Mack's Brewery!

TO ENTER –

Email DICK MACK'S to enquiries@stayyna.com

Winner will be announced will be announced 16/02/18

Terms and conditions apply. GOOD LUCK!


King of Carnivals!

We are offering 20% off all remaining accommodation!
Win 2 tickets to The Carnival de Nice!
https://www.stayyna.com/specials/carnival-countdown-18506/

Finally, the longest month EVER is over! Bye January, see you next year! Welcome fun February!

Now I know what you’re thinking, what’s February got to offer?  Well I have the remedy to cure those blues… It involves awash of colours, big heads, fireworks, countless amounts of flowers and an unforgettable atmosphere, I could go on but I know you’re already sold.

 

It’s The Carnival de Nice! An annual festival taking place 17th of February – 3rd of March on the French Rivera that brings in a million visitors from across the globe!

The Nice Carnival is 6 carnival parades, by day or by night, made up of 17 floats and more than 1000 dancers and musicians from all over the world to make you live this authentic and magical event!

Each year the carnival holds a theme and this year it’s the King of Space! Past themes have been, King of Music, King of Energy and King of Gastronomy.

To celebrate this epic event we held a series of interviews with The creatives who make it all happen!

 

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Photo credit - Nice Carnaval

Meet Chad Crowe, an illustrator, cartoonist and designer of floats for The Carnival de Nice. Since 2005 Chad has designed over 20 floats!

  1. The theme for this year’s Carnival is King of Space. How do you start your creative journey when given a subject? How long does it take to form an idea and design a float? 

A good, and difficult, question to answer, as the process tends to vary, depending if I’m struck by an inspiring idea or have to go dig one up. It usually starts with cramming your mind with input about the particular theme: researching all the individuals, discoveries, events, etc. that are connected. The second step is to actively brainstorm all the possible ideas you might have from the research you’ve done, and see what connections you can make, how it might relate to modern life or contemporary politics, etc. and not be too self-editing. Then, take a break and let it sit for a week or so, as your mind tends to start filtering out the ideas and symbols that seem to matter (without stress of an immediate deadline). Then it’s time for the actual drawing and creation, and during the process you might find new props, perspectives or humorous elements to add as your pencil is actually working on the page. Then, you mail them out and have to forget all about them for a few months until you learn if any have been chosen - but of course you can’t forget them because you really want them to be turned into amazing floats and have yet another justifiable excuse to return to Nice

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Regarding the contest, there is usually about a month in which to work on the ideas for submission. The first two I usually spend researching/contemplating, and the last two weeks drawing. For the creation of the floats, I think they manage to do them within 3-5 months. Impressive given the amount of floats, size and incredible detail. The Carnavaliers are amazing craftsmen.

  1. We are loving the Rocket Brexit float designed by you Chad. It really reflects how many of us feel in the UK at the moment! Do you feel the carnival floats can be more than just a bit of fun and can really be a great platform to put some interesting views out there? 

 So glad you enjoy the Brexit rocket! I think the carnival floats are a really wonderful vehicle for expressing opinion, and releasing some tension, on the political and social issues we are all faced with. In the middle ages it was an accepted steam valve for the lower classes to express their anger and frustrations with the King and monarchy for a short period of time- and identities hidden behind masks and costumes (and of course also fitting with the Catholic tradition of Lent). Even though things have changed a great deal since the middle ages, this tradition is still mocking the powers and policies that affect us in an increasingly globalized world - whether those structures are Trump, Brexit and the EU, or the fast food industry, climate change or human rights. And it’s all done in a spirit of humour. Of course, the floats could just be non-political, for light-hearted entertainment too, which is a worthy goal in itself. France, and many democracies, show a strong toleration, and support, for satire, intellectual freedom and individual expression. The carnival is another way of showing they culturally uphold these values - and they also want to have a good time.

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Photo credit - Nice Carnaval

  1. 1873 was when Carnival de Nice started, if you could choose one theme to go back and design, which one would it be and why? 

What a great opportunity that would be! I can’t seem to find a list of all the carnival themes since 1873, so have no idea. I would have enjoyed working with the artist G.A. Mossa, as his drawings and creations were outstanding. And designing a float that might have been seen by Queen Victoria would have been incredible (possibly a giant caricature of her secret lover, John Brown, dressed up in Highland gear and playing the bagpipes?). I’ve noticed that the theme “The King of Madness” tends to be cursed, but that theme would be perfect for contemporary times.

  1. You’ve been designing floats for the Carnival de Nice since 2005, what makes The Nice carnival special to you? 

It’s hard to put into words, and perhaps more of a feeling. Although I can’t speak French, in art history classes my favourite artists tended to be French: Honore Daumier, Tolouse Lautrec, Gustav Dore - they put their traditional artistic skills in the service of drawing the real life in the streets, and to the comic and the absurd. Nice seems to represent this devotion to the arts, by the numerous artists naturally drawn to the area for the climate, but also for the freedom and lightheartedness - it is dedicated to the arts, but also to playfulness, humour and the good things in life - not taking itself too seriously. And it’s located in a jaw-dropping landscape, surrounded by a beautiful bay and filled with amazing architecture, history, cafes, restaurants and markets - I wonder how it’s possible for anyone to not enjoy this city. For the good luck to have been included in the contest and have a connection to such a unique place that celebrates art, satire and the good life is a dream come true.

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  1. What is your favourite float you have ever created? And why? 

 This is a difficult one - they all feel like children.  Perhaps the float of Gerard Depardieu as Gargantua sitting on a pile of gold coins as Putin feeds him from a silver spoon. Mr. Depardieu actually happened to show up at the carnival that year, and had no idea that there was a float of him parading around - an absolute shock for him and me! He was a great sport about it, and visited the carnival warehouse to autograph the spoon the next day. I also like the King of Greek Loans, and the giant cyclops begging for Euros from a German banker.

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  1. What happens to the floats at the end of each carnival? We have visions of them being stored away like the Ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark! Or are they preserved? 

 Great vision! Perhaps thousands of years from now they will discover the giant lost ark of carnival floats? I have no idea what happens to them. Would love to get one for our house or backyard one day!

  1. Describe the atmosphere of the Nice Carnival for you in 3 words? 

Festive. Artistic. Playfully Rebellious.

 

Don’t forget to book with STAY YNA! 20% off all remaining accommodation!  Going fast!

https://www.stayyna.com/specials/carnival-countdown-18506/

And enter our CARNVIAL COMPETITION! Win 2 tickets to The Carnival de Nice!

TO ENTER –

Email KING OF SPACE to enquiries@stayyna.com

Winner will be announced will be announced 15/02/18

Terms and conditions apply. GOOD LUCK!


WELCOME BERLIN!

Ryanair have recently launched a brand new direct flight from Berlin to Kerry airport. It’s the first new flight route for Kerry airport in 7 years! This is great news for the Dingle Peninsula as it opens up a very straightforward easy way for German visitors to come and explore our majestic setting on the renowned Wild Atlantic Way.

ryanair-plane

 

Culture, creativity, entertainment, leisure and fabulous food is how Lonely Planet describes Berlin – but as contrasting as rural Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula may first seem, the same words can apply.

The local people are known for their warm hospitality and wicked sense of humour. They know how to have fun and this is evident in the lively, traditional pubs, the thriving traditional music sessions and passion for holding festivals (any excuse for a party!).

Dick Macks!

Dick Macks!

Berlin has beer and we have "the black stuff", creamy pints of Guinness, which adds to the merriment! The amazing coastal scenery and unspoiled ancient landscapes from lakes to mountains are unique to the Dingle Peninsula and it’s one off the most stunning sections of the famous Wild Atlantic Way. Thrilling outdoor activities include sea kayaking, hiking, golf, fishing trips, boat trips, whale and dolphin eco-tours, stand up paddle boarding and surfing. There is also a thriving arts and crafts culture with many designers and artists being inspired by the landscape and history of the area. The artisan food scene is huge with food festivals, great eateries and local distillery tours to be indulged in!

surf-slider

 

The Dingle Peninsula is situated in the captivating Southwestern corner of Ireland and juts out 50 miles into the great Atlantic Ocean. With direct flights from Frankfurt to Kerry airport and this newly-launched route with two flights a week from Berlin to Kerry airport, visitors can now travel to the Dingle Peninsula easier than ever before. Tourists can now find themselves in the heart of the Dingle Peninsula in less than 1 hour by car or taxi from Kerry airport. 

Many people don't realize that they can fly to and from Kerry airport and tend to fly to Dublin, Cork or Shannon and they don’t know what they're missing! Flying to or from Kerry is a delight. It’s a small, friendly airport with no long queues, no large arrival halls, no long walks to gates or parking nightmares - passengers are in and out in minutes with none of the stress we associate with larger multi-terminal airports.

At Stay YNA we’ve already welcomed guests from Berlin taking advantage of the new flight and our stunning homes and hospitality and we’re looking to welcome more!

Visit www.stayyna.com/dingle-cottages/ for more information or contact Lauren or Laura at enquiries@stayyna.com.

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Roses are red, violets are blue, how will you celebrate valentines? Maybe a romantic trip for two!

The struggle is real… What do you get your better half for Valentines day? How many roses say “I Love You”. One? Twelve? Or is it twenty? And then you find yourself googling what colour rose means what… damn it cupid! St Valentines Day is a hard time for all of us. However have no fear… enter hopeless romantic Lauren! I’ve got you covered to impress your beau this V day. 

Nice has so much to offer to make your getaway super romantic and you can fly to Nice from London from as little as £24.68, Great start!

https://www.easyjet.com/en/buy/flights?isOneWay=off&pid=www.easyjet.com  

Here are a few of my favourite ideas…

1. FOR CHEESY LOVERS

Le Lieu, La Cave du Fromager

Located in the heart of Nice, The Old Town the restaurant La Cave du Fromager is the ideal spot if you are looking for something more intimate. A beautiful cellar with exposed brick and stone, separated into several rooms. Cheese is their passion but there is also plenty to choose from! It’s a yes from me! 

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2. FOR THE LOVERS OF GOOD FOOD

 Mas Provençal

If you’re looking for a restaurant that’s a bit quirky but also breath takingly picturesque then look no further. Mas Provençal, located in the Village of Eze, is a magical setting, surrounded by fresh flowers, vegetables and exotic trees, even grapes hanging from the ceiling! If you are a wine lover Mas Provençal quality of aged wine is second to none. Their risotto and lamb are world famous and you can find lots of fantastic reviews about them! 

Although if I were you I would spend the afternoon in this beautiful medieval village, you can get the 82 or 112 bus from the Port in Nice. Eze is located on a hilltop about 1,400 feet above sea level (so wear suitable shoes as the streets are very steep and cobbled!), surrounded by astonishing views!It will be an unforgettable experience! 

http://www.restaurant-mas-provencal.fr

 

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3. FOR THE OUTDOORSY DUO

 Picnic at the Chateau (castle) of Nice

Okay, so it’s a little bit of a trek but TOTALLY worth that view. 

My personal favourite, grab some nibbles from the Cours Saleya food market in the morning and a bottle of prosecco and have a stroll up the Chateau. The walk up is beautiful as you get a 360 view of Nice and it is not disappointing when you reach the top! Don’t forget to take a blanket to snuggle up in. 

http://en.nicetourisme.com/nice/92-parc-de-la-colline-du-chateau

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4. FOR CREATIVE COUPLES

 Private perfume creation at Galimaid perfumery -

A perfect day trip, just jump on the train to Grasse (takes about an hour) and meet a renowned perfumer! You can book a private session to create your own scent and leave with 100ml of your personal perfume. You can even get the opportunity to discover you ‘Nose’ and discover behind the scenes. 

http://www.galimard.com/index.php/en/online-boutique.html

 

galimaid-perfumery

 

5. FOR the ‘READY TO POP THE QUESTION’

A Lovey – Dovey stay at our Juliette apartment -

If you are looking to bend the knee, STAY YNA’s Juliette apartment is known for its engagements. Over the last 10 years we have had no less than fifteen proposals and the same number of acceptances! Located in the Old Town it’s next to lively Place Rossetti with cafés and street singers and the magnificent glittering domed cathedral. It’s also a stones throw away from the Cours Saleya market, where you can buy some fresh flowers and all the ingredients for your romantic dinner. 

Sip champagne on the balcony and soak up the ambience, the perfect setting for a day to remember. 

https://www.stayyna.com/rentals/allrentals/juliette/

 

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If we can help you make your Valentines day special please contact Lauren on enquiries@stayyna.com , we are happy to help! 


Most Instagrammable…Dingle!

Dick Mack's Pub and Brewhouse

The words "Where's Dick Macks? Opposite the Church. Where's the Church? Opposite Dick Macks" are stenciled on the pub gates and it generally sums up the quaint, quirky, iconic character of the pub. Dick Mack's has been operating as a pub and leather shop on Green Street since 1899. Steeped in history, stepping into Dick Macks is like going back in time and it remains to this day as traditional as you can get. Still making leather belts and serving great Guinness, in recent years Dick Macks has also gained an amazing reputation as a whiskey pub and was voted Overall Irish Whiskey Bar of the year in 2014, 2015 and 2016. 

In 2017 Dick Macks opened their very own brewhouse onsite. The brewhouse building has a fascinating history and has survived many uses through several generations of the Mac Donnell family. A tour of the brewery is the perfect way to spend an afternoon and what better way to sample the latest beers than in the old taproom itself.

dick-macks

Dunquin Pier

A charming little feat of architectural madness, the access road to Dunquin pier is perhaps the steepest, narrowest and bendiest track in the whole of Co. Kerry. Built into the dramatic, rocky cliffs at the most westerly tip of Ireland's coast, the stunning views out to the vast Atlantic and the Blasket islands are breathtaking. Just don't get too distracted by them as you negotiate the challenging terrain on foot. 

The pier is the departure point for the ferry to The Great Blasket island during the summer months. A word of warning though, do not attempt to drive down this road as you will get very, very stuck - as embarrassingly discovered by unsuspecting tourists on more than one occasion in recent years!

dunquin-pier

 

Clogher beach

This rugged, spectacular beach is the best place on the Dingle Peninsula to storm watch during the wild winter season. As you drive down the narrow road towards the beach it feels as if you are about to roll straight down into the rough, angry seas as you approach the "Dangerous cliffs and Strong Current signs". It is with a sense of relief and an adrenaline rush that the left turn into the safety of the small carpark above the beach comes into view. From here you can park up and face the full force of the uninterrupted Wild Atlantic Waves as they churn up seas of white foam and unnervingly huge waves and high sea sprays. 

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Mount Brandon

Stay away from that mountain! There is still a small number of locals on the Dingle Peninsula who remember giving cups of tea to survivors of World War 2 plane wrecks and recall farmers falling to their tragic deaths tending to sheep on steep ridges. These folk consider climbing Mount Brandon for pleasure and exercise a crazy thing to want to do. Religion and pilgrimage, maybe, but just for fun, no.

Thankfully, there are now many, many visitors and locals who seek to satisfy their sense of adventure, who relish a challenge and who are inspired by the sensational views that reaching the summit of Mount Brandon provides. At 952m high, Mt Brandon is one of the country's highest mountains and requires a reasonable level of fitness and experience including proper hiking boots, equipment and clothing. Climbers should allow 4hrs to complete the challenge and bring sufficient food and water. The rewarding views and sense of achievement are totally worth the effort.

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By Yasmin


Our Ibiza

By Pip and Fred Kirkby

We asked our Ibiza Director's Pip and Fred what 2018 is looking like for them in Ibiza

  1. What are you looking forward to in Ibiza 2018? 

 New Year’s Day:  starting with a sweat 2018 swim at Salinas beach, it’s a tradition in Ibiza for a lot of the locals to take a dip every hour on the hour until 3pm!  And then lunch with friends and dancing at DC10. We cant wait to continue to discover the hidden Ibiza as we get to know and love the island more and more!

salinas-beach

2. Your favourite go to go beach bar?

 For paella:  Cala Martina, just north of Santa Eulalia, and otherwise the chiringuito at Cala Llenya - if you can cope with the super hot boardwalk!  It is less a walk down it than a dance to get to it with burny feet!

3. Are you crossing anything off your bucket list this year? 

 

A weekend in Formentera - making more of it than a day trip to enjoy the contrast to Ibiza.  It’s a different “vibe”. Maybe hire a moped to cross the island, get lost and discover hidden beaches! Definitely watch the sunset from Fora De Barbaria.

Calo des mort, Creek located in the east part of Platja Migjorn Formentera, Spain 09/2015

Calo des mort, Creek located in the east part of Platja Migjorn
Formentera, Spain
09/2015

4.What was your favourite memory of 2017?

 The summer!  (All of it!).  Fun with friends and family:  amazing days on the beach, long lazy lunches, walks to see beautiful bits of the island. There are so many wonderful things to explore here in Ibiza, 2018 should be filled with many more adventures.

5.What was the last photo you took? 

 

The sun setting on another amazing day in Ibiza

ibiza-sunset

 View fromSan Antonio (from our hairdressers!  It’s great getting your haircut there - the whole family does - awesome hairdresser - Mel - and even more awesome view!) 

Start your Ibiza adventure with STAY YNA…

Our Ibiza Villa are now available for 2018

Villa Can Felix

3-pool-4

Casa Isabella

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Casa Vista

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Wren’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day, the 26th December is a very special day on the Dingle Peninsula, which is home to the renowned “Wren’s Day” celebrations. Fundamentally, “The Wren” is a long-standing traditional event, alive with colour, music and celebration which reflects the local community in which it proudly has its roots. Historically, there have always been a number of Wren groups including the Green and Gold Wren, John Street Wren, Goat Street Wren and The Quay Wren.

I had my first experience of the Wren (pronounced “wran” around here) last year. I happened to fall in with The Quay Wren and become part of it all! I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting but it certainly exceeded anything I had imagined. I would describe it as a rich, joyous, cultural mix of history, tin whistles, drums, fancy dress and a serious amount of “ceol agus craic”.

I was drafted into The Quay Wren last November 2016. Over a pint with friends in Hannie Agnes’ Bar somebody asked me if I could play the tin whistle. ‘Well, I could when I was 8’ I jokingly replied…but by the end of the evening I had been persuaded to go along to band practice the following Tuesday evening in John Benny’s pub and give it a go. And so I became the newest member of The Quay Wren, Dingle!

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One evening a week from then until the big day itself we met for training and band practice in different pubs along the quay. It was serious business with notes and new tunes to be learned every week but it was also great fun and a fascinating insight into local tradition and the significance of the wren amongst the local community. One evening we all met in The Marina Inn for the “making of the straws”. This very important ritual is necessary to complete the costumes required on the Wren’s Day itself. Oaten straw is woven into hats and skirts to be worn on the day and as many members as possible are required to help out.

On the morning of 26th December we gathered at The Marina with our drums and whistles. Each member was dressed up in green and white costumes (the official colours of the Quay Wren). Face paint, straw skirts and a range of finery from wigs to onesies were adorned and off we set to the tune of “Take Her Away Down the Quay” with banners and buckets aplenty. Each wren group collects money for charity and The Quay Wren charity is the RNLI Life Boats. We marched a route around the town stopping at different watering holes along the way drumming, whistling and rattling buckets all the while. Towards the end of our journey, in keeping with a long-lived tradition, all of the wren groups met at the main bridge in town. All of the bands and their followers mixed together and played an assortment of tunes as one. A friendly rivalry exists amongst the different wren groups but this coming together in celebration of the festival was really something special and the highlight of the entire event for me.

And so it is time again to dust of the drums and dig out the tin whistle for the next outing - Wren’s Day 2017. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Hip Hip The Quay! An Cé Abú!

By Yasmin Kenny

 

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Nice Christmas Market!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… hot chocolate, blazing fires, mulled wine and the smell of ginger bread baking. Or, if you’re anything like myself, this time of the year means catching a cold, stressing out about staging elaborate scenes for elf on the shelf (I mean, REALLY?) and running around shopping centres trying to decide if you should buy mum that gift she really deserves, or, the Zara coat YOU cannot possibly survive the winter season without. Yep, it’s Christmas time!

To stop me becoming a total scrooge, there is one thing that gets me into the Christmas spirit every time without fail and that is a good ole Christmas Market. The Nice one has grown to become something really special and is one of my favourites, as it’s less touristy than its German counterparts.  Called the Village De Noel or Christmas Village it’s located in Place Massena and Jardin Albert 1er and there are many fun things to do and see for all.

You can’t miss the Ferris wheel in Place Massena, which has wonderful views over the rooftops of Nice. The Fountaine de Soleil is where you can jump on the tourist train to see Nice’s must–see spots. My favourite part of this winter wonderland is the large ice rink where I can show off my Torvill and Dean skills.

The market is buzzing with a festive atmosphere that gets you in the Christmas mood. With 50 to 60 wooden chalets to purchase local goods, it’s fab for a little bit of Christmas shopping! So wrap up warm, grab a mulled wine and a tasty treat from the selection of international food stalls and just have a wonder.

Village De Noel is definitely a Nice attraction not to be missed and you can have an afternoon or evening out at a small cost with your friends or family. Christmas is above all about enjoying time with your loved ones. So I brought my Zara coat. After all ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ SORRY MUM!

By Lauren

 

 

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NOEL 2015

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Other Voices

There’s something about the cold, wintery December weather and the twinkling Christmas lights that adds another dimension to the atmosphere around town. Blustery rain showers, wild seas and the biting cold are all the excuses you need to seek refuge by a roaring fire in a cosy pub and enjoy an amazing live music experience over a steaming hot toddy, the whole thing is relaxing, welcoming and so inviting…

December 2011 was my first time to go to the Other Voices music festival in Dingle. Before that I had heard talk of it but not enough to suggest how unique an event it really is - for that you just have to go and experience it first hand. There wasn't a huge build up to the festival, but I did become aware of an underlying, subtle sense of excitement and anticipation around the place in the weeks leading up to it. I wasn't living in Dingle at the time but was a regular weekend visitor. I still remember the envy I felt when I got a text from a friend on the Thursday night before the festival officially kicked off telling me they were in McCarthys pub with The Coronas, Damien Dempsey and Declan O'Rourke. Thankfully I was on the road west the very next day and determined not to miss out any more the fun.

Other Voices is unike any other music festival I've ever been to. All of the gigs and events are completely free, even the headline acts in St. James' Church! Tickets for the church gigs cannot be bought - they can only be won through competitions. But getting into the church isn't the main highlight! In fact, it's nearly better if you don't! The church gigs are live streamed on big screens to the main pubs around town which means you can enjoy the music from the comfort of a high stool with the added bonus of being able to enjoy a drink or two! The music trail around town is extensive and just as entertaining as the headline gigs in the church. Here you will find something for all tastes in small, informal settings, mainly pubs but also coffee shops, restaurants, galleries etc. Most of the music trail gigs are printed in the festival brochure but many are not. Some of my best memories have come about because of randomly popping in to a bar for a sneaky hot port and finding something magical happening.

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Dressing up isn't required and you can get away with wearing winter woollies, hats and scarves. There are no VIP or no go areas, famous musicians, emerging artists, locals and visitors all mix happily together. You could just as easily find Hozier sat next to you on a bar stool as your next door neighbour. Everyone goes to Benner’s after the church gigs and all are welcome. It's all very low key and is a seamless continuation of the pub scene with people chatting with friends, and, you know, new friends like Damien Rice, Gavin James, Ellie Goulding or Glen Hansard...

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The unplanned nights are always the best. Two years ago, a friend and I popped into the supermarket on the Saturday afternoon of the festival. While there we decided to check out what was happening in the Tom Crean brewery. David Kitt was playing. He was an exceptional and it was the just beginning of another fantastic evening. One Sunday night we were at home, a little weary after two excellent nights at the festival and contemplating an early night. But we had heard about a local band that were playing in one of the pubs. Not wanting to miss out we found our second wind and headed in. I'm so glad we did. It was our first time seeing Walking on Cars and it was so exciting to discover such up and coming talent right on our doorstep. I remember jokingly saying that in years to come we'd be able to say we saw them before they were famous. Never a truer word as it turned out.

That's the thing about Other Voices - lots of emerging new musicians feature. At the 2015 festival we decided to go to a gig in the Dingle Court House, largely out of curiosity to see what an actual functioning court house would be like as a venue. We were blown away by Wyvern Lingo. It was an outstanding experience and they held the audience captivated throughout.

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Last year we were lucky enough to get to attend a gig in the church for the first time. We managed it simply by chancing our arm and being in the right place at the right time - the street outside the church. Once the people with wristbands had gone in we asked the doorman on the gate if there would be any chance of standing room at the back or taking the place of any no-shows. To our amazement he told us to just hang on and he'd see what he could do! 5 minutes before the first gig was due on stage he ushered us in. We ended up in the front row. Amazing. Pixie Geldof was the stand out performance that night, but other memorable acts included Kojey Radical and Rejjie Snow. This rare opportunity to experience the live gigs from inside the Church was fascinating. The acoustics, for one thing, were unbelievable. The quality of the production for the Other Voices TV show was impressive - the presence of all the high tech equipment and TV cameras was a little disconcerting at first but once the performances started it all seemed to fade into the background.

The first acts are now being announced for Other Voices 2017. Needless to say we are eagerly anticipating yet another wonderful weekend of music, atmosphere and time spent with friends old and new. A truly rare event, it still manages to be one of the music industry's best kept secrets.

 The 2017 Other Voices Music Festival takes place from 1st - 3rd December and like every year we simply can't wait!

You can enter to win tickets here - http://www.othervoices.ie/eir-other-voices-2017

Or visit Other voices Fabebook page - https://www.facebook.com/OtherVoices

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