Sunday, 29 May 2016

TodayFM: Holidays for Film Buffs


Earlier today, I popped into the Today FM studios to talk about film location holidays on Neil Delamere's Sunday Best. You can listen to the podcast here.

We had plenty to talk about, so I thought I'd put up a little post with some more information about what we covered, as well as some other great spots that might tickle your fancy.


Game of Thrones

I've only seen a few episodes of the show (honestly, I don't think I can watch one more throat-slitting) but there's no denying the locations used in the show are stunning. With the majority of the show shot in Northern Ireland, we have a wealth of gorgeous spots to explore right on our doorstep.

You have two options - you can join a tour, or go it alone. Gameofthronestours.com runs day trips from both Belfast and Dublin, exploring plenty of spots from the show. You'll trek around Castle Ward Estate, which is home to nine locations from the series (including much of Winterfell). You'll also hike around Tollymore Forest, where you'll find the brooding and atmospheric spots where bits of bodies are found (and puppies!) The tours cost €55 from Dublin, or £40 from Belfast, and the guides are often extras from the show with some stories of their own to tell.

If you want to go it alone, then visit the dedicated Failte Ireland page or go to the Causeway and Glens site. Both have plenty of info about the sites you can visit and the scenes that were shot there.

The app is amazing - it's worth downloading even if you're not a superfan. You can find it on the Google Play store and iTunes.

Star Wars


Want to head out on your own Star Wars hunt? Check out the Failte Ireland page, which has plenty of information on the locations used. The Moorings is the B&B which housed the production HQ - you can see their package here. Failte Ireland put together a great video about the production, which you can watch below...



Edinburgh International Film Festival

This is running from June 15th - 26th and you can find all the information about the events on their website. There are still some really great deals to be found - flights with Aer Lingus over that period are starting at €25.99 one way, and there's an awesome castle view apartment on Air BnB for €140 a night.

New Zealand

Think of movie locations, and doubtless New Zealand will be top of the heap. There's never been a country so synonymous with a movie project (and it was also voted number 1 in a recent HBO poll for holiday destinations made famous by film and TV). Unsurprisingly, you can find an awful lot of information on the New Zealand site, including itineraries, locations and the scoop on Hobbiton.

Los Angeles

Hollywood Forever Cemetery is where you'll find the graves of the stars, as well as the movie screenings among the tombstones (yikes). Another great spot is the Margaret Herrick Library - run by the Academy (yes, THE academy), it's home to old movie scripts, test shoots, costumes and more.

If you have any questions, do leave me a question in the comments section, or tweet me @nicola_brady.

Friday, 6 May 2016

In Louisville for the Kentucky Derby? Here's where to eat and drink in the city


Think that the Kentucky Derby equals elegant headpieces and sips of champagne? Well, you're only a tiny bit right. While a select few take to the VIP stands in the Churchill Downs, the rest gather together on the field for what sounds like a pretty raucous session.

As it's technically against the rules to bring in your own alcohol, booze is smuggled in using ingenious methods. One man smuggled a bottle of bourbon into a giant baguette. Another managed to sneak in and bury his stash in the field, ready to dig it up on the big day. And plenty of women arrive with rather large bosoms and leave looking rather depleted. (PS - did you know a wine bra is an actual thing?)

But while the party spirit is most definitely in the air on derby weekend, there are plenty of other reasons to head to Louisville. Whether you're heading there this Saturday or not, here are some great spots to check out in the city.

Down One
This bourbon bar is right in the middle of downtown, with a little bit of a speakeasy feel (head through the door of the phone booth and you'll find yourself in a 'secret' room). They make a great Old Fashioned, but be sure to order the Rosemary’s Baby Julep if you spot it on the menu - it's a gorgeous blend of rosemary, bitters and bourbon.
See: www.downonebourbonbar.com

Harvest
There's a burgeoning farm to fork movement in Kentucky, and one restaurant that sticks to this philosophy is Harvest, in the NuLu district. All the ingredients come from within a 100 mile radius, and when a dish is gone, it's gone. There have been near riots from people looking for a taste of their top notch fried chicken.
See: www.harvestlouisville.com 



Muhammad Ali Center

Believe it or not, there are some people who don't know too much about Louisville's own Muhammad Ali. There are even some people who start walking through the museum dedicated to the man, confused as to who Cassius Clay is. Ahem. But those people do figure it all out - and if you're a fan, you'll love this insightful experience.
See: www.alicenter.org

Evan Williams Experience
Trust me when I say that Kentucky is all about bourbon. I was there for a week and, at the end of my trip, could have opened my own distillery. There are plenty of distilleries you can tour, but the Evan Williams one is right in the middle of the city, and takes you through the story of the bourbon with an interactive tour and tasting. Added bonus: the guy who plays Evan Williams (on screen and as a hologram) is so handsome that he'll haunt your dreams. Trust me.
See: www.evanwilliams.com 


Thursday, 5 May 2016

A photography tour of Iceland

My camera set up at the first stop, Seljalandsfoss waterfall
Back in October, I nipped over to Iceland with TD Active and Dublin Photography School. The aim? To come back with pictures to be proud of, and to break away from the Auto function on my brand new DSLR. The other, slightly trickier aim, was to snap the Northern Lights. But these notoriously elusive little blighters never made an appearance, despite me nearly donating my extremities to frost bite in an attempt to hunt them down.

If you want an excellent but inappropriate anecdote about spending 4 hours in the freezing Icelandic countryside, ask me the next time you see me. But it isn't pretty, so just be warned.

Each day, we set off into the depths of the country to see, and snap, the best that Iceland has to offer. We ticked off all of the main sites - the geysers, the waterfalls, the black beach. But at each one, instead of merely traipsing around taking cursory smartphone pictures, we set up shop and were taught how to properly capture each.

Having Sinead and Stewart on hand was invaluable. I am far from a camera pro - despite being taught multiple times, I'm still pretty clueless when it comes to mastering the settings - so having expert tutors available meant I was always able to ask for help.

You can read my full piece on the trip on the Irish Independent, but I thought I'd share a few of what I believe to be my best pictures below.


Geysir

We visited the famous geysers towards the end of the trip, and I think it is where I first realised I needed to spend a little time away from the viewfinder. Each time the geyser exploded into the air, I was spending less time really looking, and more time snapping in something of a panic. I also made sure I took a little wander to the smaller pools and geysers, too.

Oh, and it's essential to say "Alright, geezer" at the moment of each eruption. Every eruption.



Gullfoss Waterfall

Iceland is filled to the brim with waterfalls. We played around with a few settings to get a silky, liquid appearance to the falling water, with some pretty cool results. But Gulfoss was my favourite, despite it being absolutely freezing. Properly, mind-numbingly chilly.

Pretty, though.




The Bloody Northern Lights 

You know, I'm fairly sure that the Northern Lights are a myth, created to lure tourists to Scandinavian countries. They could even be nuclear pollution, for all we know. And anyway, I can't tell you any more because they chose to hide away (if they even exist). While we waited in a little lay-by, we played with capturing star trails and the night sky. So we didn't leave empty handed.


Random Little House 

I think this was taken at Seljalandsfoss, our first stop. My pictures from this first location were fairly shoddy, if I'm honest... a lot of them were distorted by water on the lens, and the rest just looked a bit, well, crap. But onwards and upwards!


Skogafoss Waterfall

I got more into the swing of things at Skogafoss. I stayed further back (to avoid mist on the lens) and played around with different settings, distances and perspectives.




You can see more about these photography holidays at TD Active at tdactive.ie and more about Dublin Photography School at dublinphotographyschool.ie.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

What to do in the Seychelles when you've tired of your lover


When I went to the Seychelles, I expected to be surrounded by couples gazing adoringly into each other's eyes. I predicted that the only other people there would be part of a pair, and that I would spend the majority of my time rolling my eyes at their displays of affection.

In reality, I saw a lot of couples who had been in the company of only each other for a fortnight. And boy, could you tell.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Bologna in Pictures


Oh, Bologna. A town so pretty you just want to eat it all up. So you do - tagliatelle with rich Bolognese ragĂș, thin slices of pizza scattered with torn mozzarella, salty bread dipped into olive oil... and a chilled glass of sparkling wine. That'll do quite nicely.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Avoiding snakes in the St Vincent rainforest (with video)


I don't know why I bother asking. Whenever I'm in a tropical country (or any non-Irish country, really) and about to venture outside a city, I ask someone about the snake situation. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Night Hike up Benbulben (in the rain)


A few weeks ago, I was driving into Sligo with a friend. The sun was inexplicably shining, and Benbulben, our very own table mountain, was standing over Sligo town, glowing in the dwindling light of day. We both admired it. 

"You can easily forget it's there, can't you?"

It's true. It dips in and out of view, depending on where you are and how clear the day is, but this imposing monster of a mountain is an incredibly cool landmark to call our own. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Video Room Review for The Delano hotel, Las Vegas


If you're a fan of tiny boutique hotels, you're going to be out of luck in Vegas. This is the land of mega-hotels - towering beasts filled with thousands of rooms, sprawling casinos and gigantic pools. Most of the world's biggest hotels are located in the city, with The Venetian and The Palazzo taking top place with 7,117 rooms and suites. In fact, out of the top 15 largest hotels on the planet, 10 are in Vegas.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Iced Ginger Green Tea



Golly, it's hot, isn't it? What a heatwave we're having! The sun is splitting the sky, we're all walking around looking lovely in our sundresses and...

I can't, I can't. It's FREEZING here. It's boiling in Dublin, sweltering in London and I'm sitting here jealous as sin. In a cardigan.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Street art in Downtown Las Vegas


Sometimes it's a little difficult to avoid cliches in travel writing. I don't mean the obvious ones, like "hidden gem" (which is just the worst) or "breathtaking views". I mean the other ones, like "There's so much more to Las Vegas than gambling and showgirls"

But guys - there's so much more to Las Vegas than gambling and showgirls. 

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