herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Social networks formed by golf, song and the web

THURSDAY Reasons to be cheerful about Irish tourism, number 900-and-something: the Dunraven Arms is a wonderful rambling, period-piece of a hotel deposited like an ornament on the roadside in the beautiful mock-Tudor town of Adare.

I am here for a golf event and, although I do not play, I am going to join the 19th-hole celebrations.

We end the evening around the piano in Adare Manor and a honeymoon couple from America join the sing-song where Peter O'Hanlon is singing The Wild Rover to the tune of Ghost Riders in the Sky.

The cutting edge of the travel trade has gathered to play in a tournament organised by the technology firm Amadeus.

FRIDAY Getting home is quick and painless. There are no towns between Adare and Dublin nowadays with the new, improved road infrastructure.

SATURDAY The Liffey, that we canoe from Straffan to Celbridge, bears little resemblance to the river of my youth. The jungle is gone but where are the gravel beds? And how did we get so many golf balls? They come from the K Club and you find them popping over every weir and turn of the river miles downstream.

SUNDAY Off to Wexford. My diminutive dote of a mother-in-law, Sheila Milne, is getting a surprise: a presentation for 50 years of playing the organ at Ferns Cathedral. You can't retire, the Dean tells her, because the pension is not great.

Back to Dublin to relive the 1970s, Dublin against Kerry in all its colour and evocative intensity. The sense of excitement is the same. Must check if my old flares and tank top are in the attic?

MONDAY No, it is definitely not the '70s. The celebrations in Merrion Square are spectacular -- the mood of the city transformed. There must be some significance in moving the celebrations to the southside.

TUESDAY Tourism Ireland's finest, Brian Harte, Margaret O'Reilly, Sinead Grace and Mark Henry brief us on the island's latest tourism triumph, 500,000 Facebook followers.

Apparently, Ireland is second after Australia among tourist boards in their exploits on social media. Ireland has six times the social media footprint in 2011 it had last year, so something truly mystical might happen.

WEDNESDAY We left the laptop out overnight recently and the household pets, Daisy Corry, Heather Corry and Clinger Corry, set up Facebook accounts. They now have more than 1,000 friends each who can follow their incoherent ramblings. Their friends are from nearly as many countries as I have been to.

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