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Holiday at home with a staycation

staycationNo matter what the product – when it comes to marketing, I’m an advertisers dream. Currently gracing billboards around the country is Moher Man replete with demented expressions. He is currently the face of 7up Free and its campaign to get behind the Cliffs of Moher as one of the seven wonders of nature. I had no idea there were seven wonders of nature but his impish grin charmed me into finding out more. This led to adding Moher Man as a friend on Facebook and within days of receiving confirmation that we are now officially ‘friends’, my wall is being bombarded with images of Mr Congeniality surfing near the trá. Yesterday his status read as pondering whether he would be a suitable candidate for Brangelina’s rainbow family. The man is brilliant. And for the record, I got behind the Cliffs.
Being from Clare, I must admit I am slightly biased when it comes to matters of the heart, sorry home. Just as Clare has the Cliffs of Moher to offer as something ‘different’ to see or do, so too have most other counties in Ireland. I don’t mean of the begorrah variety either.
With talk of the CRUNCH everywhere I am wholeheartedly supportive of anyone who decides to holiday at home this year. ‘Staycationing’ is becoming more popular than ever. Earlier this year, Fáilte Ireland launched its biggest ever advertising campaign in a bid to capitalise on the domestic tourism market. If someone even mentions Fáilte Ireland to me, I immediately think of that great song by The Laundry Shop – ‘Highs and Lows’ – and then it becomes an ear worm for days. I think of the Atlantic Ocean, lengthy rail journeys, friends, family, pints, music and good times.
Whilst The Phoenix magazine recently (jokingly) said that passports should be issued to Southsiders having to visit Croke Park for the rugby semi final, I’m suggesting that each county could issue their own unique visa for stamping on an individual’s domestic passport. Administratively, it could be issued by the local bigwig (oh come on, every county has one). Just imagine – a little electric guitar illustration to symbolise Rory Gallagher’s birthplace of Donegal, a Spanish Arches depiction to remind you of your visit to Galway, a little image of blaa (bread) to take you back to your break in Waterford, the family crests of the McCarthy/Dundon gang to act as a symbol of your near escape from Co Limerick.
Seriously though, you could check out Marco Pierre White’s latest culinary venture which is the Steakhouse and Grill at Fitzers, Dawson Street or try Electric Picnic (and if this is a little beyond your budget how about the Cois Fharraige festival?). Why not attempt to climb Croagh Patrick? Maybe visit a spa. Play golf (if you really must). Go hillwalking. Experience the glory of camping. Visit your town mouse/country mouse friends.
You might like to steal a piece of the Croke Park pitch and plant it in your garden. I did this nearly 20 years ago on a school trip to the Big Smoke and despite the act being completely illegal, my father still laughs about it. Get a mug printed with the slogan ‘I heart Monaghan’. In fact shop ’til you drop – the point is do it here, at home. There’s no language barrier, no currency exchange, no checking in two hours before departure and it can be as cost effective as you make it. In short, it rocks!
Oh and if the PR people behind 7up Free are reading this, I know it’s a long long way from Clare to here but Moher Man is welcome at my door anytime.

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