Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Blue Insurances are exclusive sponsors of the Travel Media Awards 2012

Just logged into Linkedin and saw on my update page "

Pictured above:  Kathryn Thomas from  RTÉ and Ciaran Mulligan, Joint Managing Director of Blue Insurances.

According to the details of this release -

For this year’s Winter Networking Event on Friday 23rd November, following on from the success of last year’s Inaugural Travel Media Awards, we are delighted to announce the 2012 Blue Insurances Travel Media Awards.

The event calls on the media to vote and give their say on who they think stands out in the travel industry and vote for their favourite travel companies.
This year we are delighted to announce that the awards will be sponsored by Blue Insurances.

Ciaran Mulligan, Managing Director of Blue Insurances, said “Blue Insurances are delighted to be the exclusive sponsor of the Travel Media Awards 2012. These awards are unique as they are voted for by the Irish media whom Blue Insurances very much supports. We are also very pleased that Kathryn Thomas, a well-known celebrity from RTÉ who is familiar with the Irish travel industry, will be presenting this year’s prestigious awards.”

Michael Collins, Managing Director of, said “Following the success of last year’s Inaugural Travel Media Awards we are very happy to be holding the Awards again. Blue Insurances are a great sponsor to have for the event and we look forward to working with them and ensuring that the event equals, if not surpasses, last year’s success.”

As always, the event will be in the Westbury Hotel in the centre of Dublin. It will start with a networking drinks reception in the Marble Bar, followed by a lunch in the award winning Wilde Restaurant, where the winners will be announced, and then downstairs to Novo Bar for informal networking and afters drinks.

Over the course of the next 5 weeks we will be inviting you, the Irish media, to vote on your favourite travel companies. Category list below.
  1. Best Short Haul Airline
  2. Best Long Haul Airline
  3. Best International Airport (not in Rep of Ireland)
  4. Best Cruise Company
  5. Best Irish Hotel
  6. Best International Hotel Group
  7. Best Tour Operator
  8. Best Online Travel Agent
  9. Best Tourist Board or CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau)
  10. Best Travel Agent
  11. Best Travel Website (i.e. information resource)
  12. Best use of Social Media by a travel company operating in the Irish market
  13. Best Ski Destination by Country
  14. Best Summer Destination by Country
  15. Best City or Short-Break Destination
  16. Best Worldwide Holiday Destination by Country
  17. Best Travel Insurance Provider
The voting will be independently audited and managed by the Department of Tourism at DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology)

More information Here   Sounds like an interesting afternoon / evening.

Blue insurances have an advertising feature page at

Here you can find out more information about their insurance products including - - car hire excess insurance, - gadget insurance, - breakdown insurance,,, and - Travel Insurance, - wedding insurance and - Pet insurance.

Blue Insurances was established in October 2003 by Joint Managing Directors Ciaran Mulligan and Rowan Devereux. The company is based at Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 and also has an office in Cardiff, Wales

Monday, 22 October 2012

Digital TV Switchover in Ireland

In 2 days time the old analogue TV signal in the Republic will be switched off. For those with cable or satellite TV it looks like there is nothing to do to ensure continued reception, just keep on watching as normal.

Fo those with a TV aerial, unless the user switch to cable or satellite they will have to buy a small decoder box, unless their TV already has one built in.

According to the website - SAORVIEW is the new national free to air (subscription free) digital television service and will replace the old TV network when it switches off on 24th October 2012. SAORVIEW is available throughout Ireland to about 98% of the population Like the old TV network, SAORVIEW uses an aerial to receive the TV signals. The RTÉ subsidiary, RTÉ Transmission Network Limited (RTÉ NL) owns the old TV network and also owns the network over which SAORVIEW operates.

TV in Northern Ireland is also switching to dital this month and there is a useful download here

Going back to the website - Can I get SAORVIEW in Northern Ireland

SAORVIEW estimates
that overspill of SAORVIEW into Northern Ireland will reach about 65% of the population after analogue switch off, on October 24. In addition, RTÉ and TG4 will also be available on the Freeview network from a few sites in Northern Ireland. You will need a Freeview(HD) box or TV to receive the Irish TV channels on Freeview. According to the ARGOS website these are being sold from around €59.99 to €164.99

SAORSAT is the name given to the infill free-to-air satellite television service put in place by RTÉNL to deliver Irish television services to the 2% of homes that are not covered by SAORVIEW. Their website says As you are using a satellite dish and satellite receiver for SAORSAT, you can also use this equipment to receive other free-to-air channels, with the addition of an extra LNBF.  This means you can now get all your favourite Irish and UK channels with no monthly cost.

It will be interesting to find out if this will now mean if someone buys one of these SAORSAT satellite dishes if it will work in Britain for example as at the present time unless you do not appear to be able to watch Irish TV (apart from UTV/BBC Northern Ireland free on a SKY dish) in Britain.

Tara TV packed up many years ago and although British broadcasters's programmes are available in Ireland it is not so good for anyone wanting to watch Irish TV in Britain. You can pick up some online via the RTÉplayer or TG4 player.

According to the website they say Can everyone in Ireland get Saorsat?
"Every one in Ireland will be able to receive Saorsat.  It will have a very tight footprint over Ireland. There have even been reports that Saorsat has been received in the Isle of Man, South West England, Northen Ireland and parts of Wales."

If anyone knows more please reply on this blog.

And now with the final switch off of the analogue signal in BBC TV land, goes the Ceefax service after 38 years. What will regulars like former British Prime Minister John Major do now for their information?

TV has changed a great deal in Ireland since the listings on Saturday March 6th 1976 in The Irish Times. Just one Irish TV channel then - RTE

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

2013 Georgina Campbell Awards have been announced

Representatives of the very best in Irish hospitality gathered at Bord Bia in Dublin yesterday, for the announcement of the 2013 Georgina Campbell Awards. These are Ireland’s longest-running hospitality awards, and highly respected by the industry.

Here are the highlights as outlined in the eflyer received a few minutes ago.

A special award, given in recognition of the special contribution made by exceptional individuals in Irish hospitality

Other awards from around the country:

Hotel of the Year - GRANVILLE HOTEL, Waterford, Co Waterford

Restaurant of the Year - THE GREENHOUSE, Dublin 2

Chef of the Year - IAN ORR, Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge, Derry City, Co Londonderry

Pub of the Year - NANCY'S BAR, Ardara, Co Donegal

"Just Ask!" Restaurant of the Year Award sponsored by Bord Bia - ARD BIA, Galway City

Seafood Restaurant of the Year sponsored by BIM - THE OAR HOUSE, Howth, Co Dublin

Seafood Chef of the Year sponsored by BIM - BILLY WHITTY, Aldridge Lodge, Duncannon, Co Wexford

Hosts of the Year - PADDY & JULIA FOYLE, The Quay House, Clifden, Co Galway

Business Hotel of the Year - THE RIVER LEE HOTEL, Cork City

Wine Award of the Year - O'BRIEN CHOP HOUSE, Lismore, Co Waterford

Newcomer of the Year - EAST CAFÉ BAR, Howth, Co Dublin

Family Friendly Hotel of the Year - HOTEL WESTPORT, Westport, Co Mayo

Pet Friendly Hotel of the Year - CROMLEACH LODGE HOTEL, Lough Arrow, Co Sligo

Hideaway of the Year - MOY HOUSE, Lahinch, Co Clare

Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year - THE BEACH HOUSE, Buncrana, Co Donegal
Atmospheric Restaurant of the Year - WEST END HOUSE, Killarney, Co Kerry

Ethnic Restaurant of the Year - MICHIE SUSHI, Dublin 6

Café of the Year - THE WOODEN SPOON, Killaloe, Co Clare

Natural Food Award - GLENILEN FARM DAIRY PRODUCTS, Drimoleague, Co Cork

Country House of the Year - CARRIG HOUSE, Caragh Lake, Co Kerry

Guesthouse of the Year - DRUMCREEHY HOUSE, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare

B&B of the Year - THE ARCHWAYS B&B, Rosslare, Co Waterford

Farmhouse of the Year - ANNAHARVEY FARM, Tullamore, Co Offaly

Hotel Breakfast - Dunraven Arms Hotel, Co Limerick
Guesthouse Breakfast - The Quay House, Co Galway
B&B Breakfast - The Archways B&B, Co Wexford

Georgina Campbell Guides website is very well presented and promotes Irish hospitality very well. To visit the site Click Here

If you are in the self catering hospitality business and are looking for a very inexpensive way of promoting your holiday home in Ireland or other countries take a look at the Self Catering Holiday Rentals at the Irish Property Insurance website Here

Updates from

Just received an eflyer from Two important issues have been highlighted for Landlords in Ireland -

1) Property Price Register LaunchedThe long-awaited property price register has finally been launched showing the exact prices of all houses sold since the beginning of 2010.

It shows that 17,621 houses were sold across the State last year. Dublin saw most activity in 2011, although just 5,725 homes sold in the city last year. Longford was where fewest properties changed hands with just 139 transactions in the county in 2011.
The register is compiled by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) using stamp duty figures from the Revenue Commissioners and details are limited to price, address and date of sale. Details such as property size, number of rooms or the condition of the property are not included.

The register is an essential source of information for property investors as it provides the most accurate basis to date by which landlords can estimate the current value of their properties.
Check out the register at 

2) Tax Return Reminder

Remember the 31st October tax return deadline is fast approaching. Every landlord must by law file a tax return. If you are requiring assistance engage the services of an accountant.

Thanks to for this information

Almost one in three investor mortgages is in trouble in Ireland, new figures have shown.

The Irish Independent has just reported that Lenders warned to tackle buy-to-let mortgage crisis -

Almost one in three investor mortgages is in trouble, new figures have shown.

The failure of banks to deal with buy-to-let mortgages and the arrears on residential homeloans risks bankrupting the country a second time, a senior central banker said.

Director of banking supervision Fiona Muldoon has revealed that 37,000 buy-to-let mortgages are in arrears -- payments are three months or more behind.

And another 11,000 investor mortgages have had to be modified as property owners can't meet the repayments.