Martin & Mary, Jean and I headed out for our annual Christmas night out last evening. We went to Franchini’s Italian Restaurant in The Castlemartyr Resort in East Cork. Check out their website http://www.castlemartyrresort.ie/food-drink/franchini’s/ As you all know by now this blog is not about the food but accessibility and the other things that make an evening out more enjoyable for people with a disability and in particular for those with impaired mobility. The food was beautiful and reasonably priced. Martin & Mary had a shared platter starter while I had prawns and Jean had bruschetta. For main Martin had a Calzone, Mary had a Seafood Risotto, Jean had Italian Sausage Risotto and I had a Duck Pizza. There were a couple of gorgeous desserts and cappuccinos to finish it off. As I said before we could not fault the food.
Parking was a major issue as cars appeared to have been left in a rather haphazard fashion in what could loosely be described as the car park. The night was dark and there were insufficient lights to see what was what. Signage was non-existent and Mary had to go into Reception to find exactly where the restaurant was. A large number of cars were parked at the entrance to the restaurant but the parking area was not clearly marked out and pretty dark. Mary checked the availability of designated disabled parking only to find 2 spots poorly marked and both occupied by vehicles without the appropriate badge. Why didn’t that surprise me when they were so close to the entrance? Is it thoughtlessness by the drivers? Or did they just decide that people with disabilities should/would be safely tucked away in their beds of a Saturday evening and wouldn’t need the space?
The entrance to the restaurant was ramped both inside and out. When we had finished our meal I asked where the disabled toilet was to be informed that it was back near reception and I choose not to make the journey as it was a fair distance away. I went into the gent’s toilet just off the dining area. It wouldn’t take a lot to make it wheelchair accessible. The appropriate grab rails and an outward opening door to the cubicle would be good as there was ample room inside for the wheelchair. Mary and Jean both agreed that the ladies toilet was the same. We all agreed that there was a decided lack of freshness in the toilet areas.
I was really disappointed with the accessibility of the venue and would only award a single star. The Castlemartyr Resort is a 5 star hotel so they are probably not concerned with only getting a single star from me. However, it is estimated that in the region of 18% of people have disabilities and that is a sizeable market to ignore.