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Posts Tagged ‘AirBnB’

I’m still here

If you’ve moved on from following the blog…. I wouldn’t blame you.  Life really has got in the way of blogging the past few months.

However, I am still here.  Still doing things and rushing about trying to keep head above water.

We’ve had a busy summer again.

Alfie was in and out of hospital quite a bit.  The last stint was 2 weeks from 16th August, which, of course, clashed with one of our busiest times with AirBnB.  Alfie is feeling a lot better now, so fingers and toes crossed that we have reached the end of that journey.

View from the Cliffs of Moher

We did manage a couple of days off at the beginning of August to spend time with friends and to do the ‘tourist’ thing for ourselves.

I shall write about some of those experiences as well as the many topics spinning around in my head that I want to share with you.  So over the coming weeks, I may be having a rant or two!!!  And I guess, it is a good sign when guests want me to share recipes with them, so you can look forward to some recipes too!

How have you all been?

How has your summer gone?

Did you get to have holidays?

 

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This photo was taken by our airbnb guest last week…. check out Enrique’s Facebook page for some amazing photos : Quique Aparicio Fotografía

We really love this one of our handsome girl, Winnie.

Isn’t she handsome?

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Our neighbourhood is not a natural tourist destination, nor is it promoted as a tourist destination.  It is quite a hidden gem… almost a secret gem.  So we are delighted to receive the guests who do come our way.

our home

We have met some really lovely people… as has been said so often by guests “we came as strangers and left as friends”.  Perhaps, it is our listing, our reviews, or our location that attracts like-minded people!  We’ve had people from all parts of the world come stay, and many the lively conversation that’s been had over the kitchen table at dinner.

We often wish we could both persuade more people to come, and persuade those who do come to stay for longer.  The #MagicalMidlands has so much to offer – magnificent historical destinations; activities like cycling, hiking, fishing and walking; and, of course, beautiful scenery.

We like to think that by being hosts we are helping our community, bringing tourists to this wonderful part of Ireland, boosting the local economy just a little bit… and, of course, introducing guests to the ‘social dancing’ on Friday nights – always a big hit.

If you are planning a trip to middle Ireland, do stay a while.

We are delighted and thankful that bookings have started to come in for this year.  And, now Minister Heather Humphries, has launched a new Action Plan for Rural Ireland that promises a 12% increase in tourism for 2017…. well, we’ll see…..

As St. Patrick’s Day will give us a long weekend this year, we thought we’d do a special offer to encourage you all to come and visit the #MagicalMidlands.  As we are quite remote, we give guests the option of joining us in the kitchen for dinner.   You will see from our listing that we’re not bad cooks, so good food is guaranteed!

  • Option 1:  2 nights bed and breakfast, and dinner on both evenings at €120 per person – and a bottle of wine with dinner each evening.
  • Option 2:  2 nights bed and breakfast, and dinner on one evening at €95 per person – and a bottle of wine.

There you go folks…. 2 rooms available…. who’s coming?

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Since we started hosting on AirBnB we’ve come across the strangest (well to us) allergies and food dislikes.  I never knew people could be allergic to oranges?

Sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with interesting dishes that exclude ingredients that we would take for granted.  Imagine not using onions…. at all?

This past summer we had a family stay with us, where one member was allergic to dairy, egg and nuts.  Fine you say, BUT, they had a birthday during their stay.  Two adults (adult birthday), and 2 children (child allergic)…. so my challenge was to come up with a cake that everyone could eat and enjoy.

God bless ‘google’.

Dairy and egg free chocolate cake

Dairy and egg free chocolate cake

This cake then became a life saver again last week, when I was asked to bring dessert to a house with a similar allergy problem.  I think, but am not sure, that this would also actually qualify as ‘vegan’… maybe someone out there could tell me?

The amounts are a little odd, as the original recipe from Allrecipes in Australia was in cups.  So here’s my translation.

Ingredients:

  • 375 gr organic flour
  • 440 gr sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps Bread Soda
  • 50 gr Green & Blacks cocoa
  • 190 ml Sunflower Oil
  • 2 tblsps White Vinegar
  • 2 tsps Vanilla Essence
  • 500 ml Cold Water

Method:

Heat oven to 180 deg. Centigrade.

Line a 30 cm cake tin with parchment paper

Sieve the dry ingredients together.  Make 3 wells in the mixture, adding oil, vinegar and vanilla essence into separate wells.

Add water and mix really well.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes.

I iced the finished cake with a sugar and lemon juice mix…. literally mixing icing sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice together until I had the right consistency.

We’re not big chocolate cake fans here… but this has been a hit with us and everyone we served it to.

Enjoy!

 

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Oh I was so very organised yesterday.  I was really.

We had an AirBnB guest arriving, but I started the day way ahead on the preparations.  I even had time to stop and have coffee and a chat with a neighbour. Things were still okay….. I usually aim to have the house ready by 2 pm… giving us time to have a shower, and deal with anything else that might happen before a 4 pm arrival.

By 3 pm…  a bit behind schedule, but hey, I’m organised and everything is okay, I finally get to the shower.  Clean clothes on… time for some quick checking of emails, etc.

Our guest had messaged that he would be with us before dark.

Alfie gets into shower about 4.30 pm.

By 5 pm…. all hell had broken out!  Why do these things happen when you have clean clothes on???

The dogs started barking furiously.  I thought it was our guest arriving.

No. No. No.  Silly me.

I looked out the window to see our pigs in our neighbours field.  Aaargh!  This is taking ‘free range pork‘ to a whole new level.

Quick donning of wellies, grab a feed bucket and try to tempt them back to our side of the fence.  Of course they were having none of it…. they’d just broken out via the orchard so had bellies full of apples.

An hour and a half later – mist falling, darkness falling and by the way, there is no time for a toilet break…. and yes, I really needed to go – we had to abandoned all attempts to get them back.  We’d managed to tempt Ginger back.  She ate some grain while we continued to tried to convince Perky to return to the fold.  Then Ginger decided it was much more fun to join Perky running about with cattle.

Seriously pigs are the worst!

Scheming pigs

Scheming pigs

By 6.30…. shopping still had to be done, dinner still had to be cooked, and guest had not arrived yet (strange).

At 7 pm…. I get a message while in supermarket…. I am at Lissatunny and cannot find you.  Well, that’s not surprising as it is 45 minutes south of us!!!!

Many phone calls later, and a meet up in the village and our guest finally got here at about 8 pm.

Oh, and the nice clean clothes I’d put on a few hours earlier were filthy!!!!

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Summer 2016 has been our third summer of hosting on AirBnB, and has, in fact, been quite different to previous years.

Our guests have typically been mainly from the USA, however, this year our guests were mostly European – mostly either German or English.

our home

We did have a chat with those US guests who did come to stay, about ‘why’ Americans weren’t travelling.  We thought it might be because of the election. However, they said that a lot of Americans are worried about terrorist attacks in Europe and this is why they are not travelling.  We haven’t had the chance to travel this year, but I do wonder do Irish people consider terrorist attacks when travelling in Europe?

Perhaps one of the most interesting conversations I had with guests was based around food!  Are you surprised?

The conversation is particularly pertinent when you read the results of a survey carried out by Failte Ireland:

Developed in partnership with Fáilte Ireland the newly published research examines the perceptions of over 2,500 travellers in ten countries including Ireland. The research also showed that food is now an essential part of the overall visitor experience with 93% of those surveyed reported participating in a food activity on a recent trip. This tells us that the pursuit of a unique and memorable experience is on the rise. While 66% of holidaymakers rated food as important in their overall experience of Ireland this increased to almost one in four (78%) amongst food travellers.

Well guys if food is ‘part of the overall experience’ we, as a nation, need to step up to the plate quite a bit to cater for vegetarians!  Yes, can you believe it, here I am living on a farm where we produce free range pork products and I am asking the Irish nation to improve their vegetarian offerings.

Our guests, a young German couple with their 4 year old son, spent a fortnight travelling around Ireland, staying in B&B’s and eating out.  (Yes, it does surprise us that vegetarians choose to stay with us.)  When I asked what was the vegetarian ‘choice’ like on their travels …. the answer….. soup, pasta or chips.

Come on folks, you can do better than this.

For dinner I made Parmigiana with our own aubergines which they totally enjoyed. My homemade granola and our own eggs for breakfast the next morning were also a big hit.  It was the first time they had been offered eggs for breakfast.

I don’t have a huge repertoire of vegetarian options…. but I can certainly do better than soup, pasta or chips!  I am sure others could to.

 

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Continuing with how busy this summer has been….

Despite a very slow start on our bookings via AirBnB, once May arrived bookings started to come quick and fast.  And, in fact, kept coming right through to last week.

Now all has gone quiet, but hopefully it will pick up again.

In previous years our guests have been predominantly from US and Canada, but this year visitors have been mainly from Europe, with the occasional Australian or American thrown in too.

Initially I thought that maybe Americans were not travelling because it is an election year, but having discussed it with those who did visit, it seems Americans are afraid of terrorism attacks in Europe.

Isn’t it strange how perspectives can be so diverse?  From here looking on, we’d probably think going to a nightclub or a shopping mall in US could be more dangerous than visiting a city in Europe.  As I say, all about perspective.

As always we have met such lovely people.  Sometimes within minutes of people arriving you feel like you’ve just met an ‘old friend’.  We’ve had some great evenings of chat and banter sitting around the kitchen table.

Friday night guests are usually treated to a visit to Lorrha GAA Club for the social dancing… always a great night…. sometimes a bit of a culture shock for guests.

Thank you so much to all the lovely guests who took time out of their vacation, or the busy lives when they got home to post reviews…. they are very much appreciated.  This one from an Irish guest won our hearts though.

Guest review

Guest review

As bookings were so slow to come in via AirBnB – which has more to do with North Tipperary not being a ‘tourist destination’ than anything else – we decided to look at some of the other platforms out there.  Did you know that there are so many?

We recently had our first booking via Homestay.  I had forgotten that we had even registered on there back in 2013!  It has taken 3 years for us to get a booking… however, it was worth the wait, again we met a lovely couple from Ballymena.

Other platforms include TripAdviser, Wimdu and Flipkey.

Have you ever used any of these platforms?  Which are your favourites?

And, as always, we’d be forever grateful if you can share or recommend us to travelling family and friends.

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