Posts Tagged With: parking

Another Accessible Restaurant in Cork

Jean and I, accompanied by my brother Martin and his wife Mary, went out for a meal last night and the chosen venue was El Vino, The Elysian Tower, Cork. The Early Bird menu is available from 5:00 to 9:00 Monday to Thursday and with 3 courses for €25 and a really good selection there were no complaints from us. Our plates were all cleared. I hadn’t seen Baked Alaska on a menu for a long time so I had to try it; El Vino Baked Alaska. Maybe it’s an age thing but I can’t understand why it fell out of favour. The staff are friendly and accommodating.

The restaurant is very accessible and has a spacious accessible toilet on the ground floor.El Vino - May '17 Circulation space in the dining area is a small bit tight for a wheelchair. There are a limited number of dining spaces on the ground floor but more are available upstairs.

Parking is available in The Elysian car park with further spaces in the multi-storey across the road, adjacent to Cork City Hall.

We will definitely make a return visit – well worth it.

 

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Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee recently opened a new outlet in Cork. It is located in the Kinsale Road Retail Park adjacent to Turners Cross and joins Woodies, Harry Corry, Halpenny Golf and Home Store and More.

The entrance doorway is more than adequate for wheelchair entry and the inside is easily navigable. The accessible toilet is clean and spacious with sink, mirrors, hand dryer and rails all in the correct position. The only negative is the Emergency Pull Cord which was secured about 5 feet above the ground and thus inaccessible in the event of a fall. This is easily rectified. There is a large car park with a number of designated parking spaces at the entrance.

Costa Coffee - Turners Cross

Accessible Toilet at Costa Coffee

 

 

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Bellagio Coffee House, Mallow – Accessibile

Bellagio Coffee House

Bellagio Coffee House

We have just back home from a visit to Mallow and we had a cuppa in Bellagio Coffee House on Market Square. We didn’t have anything to eat but everything looked delicious. The café is not large but I was able to move around without rolling over anyone’s toes. Jack gave it his seal of approval as his buggy and my wheelchair were parked together. We (not Jack) had coffee and green tea and a well earned break from a hectic Sunday schedule of doing absolutely nothing.

The accessible toilet was clean and tidy with the appropriate rails but alas no emergency pull cord.

Accessible loo n Bellagio

Accessible loo in Bellagio

There is on-street parking nearby.

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A night out and the morning after

I’m not sure why I wrote this but it was weird this morning, not freaky, just different and since I haven’t posted a lot recently I decided that this would be a reintroduction of myself. I wanted to share some of WWW.MS.DG (Weird Wonderful World. Multiple Sclerosis. Declan Groeger)

My internal clock has 07.00 indelibly etched after a number of years taking a pill at that time every morning, a time of my choosing, and which must be repeated around 12 hours later. It really is not a hardship as I have my best hours in the morning; my energy levels slip a bit in the afternoons and evenings. Sometimes, like this morning I want a lie-in but my internal clock insists on telling me it is 7 o’clock and time to get moving.

You see last night we went for a meal and a movie with 2 of my brothers and their wives; Martin & Mary, Kerrie & Bríd and Jean & Declan. Let me set the scene; the movie was produced by my nephew Fionn and it was being shown at the Indie Cork Film Festival so it was a must see for us and a yellow rain warning was in operation for Cork. We arranged to meet in Luigi Malones for a bite to eat before the show. It was raining pretty heavily by the time we parked the car and we got our first wetting getting from the car to the restaurant. The food was up to Luigi Malones usual high standard but the accessible toilet was a major let down. It is tired looking but it is roomy and functional. It really needs a makeover. Our second wetting came while returning to the car and our third and final wetting came while we were moving from the car to the cinema by which time the rain was absolutely torrential. The film “Twice Shy” was directed by Tom Ryan and produced by Fionn Greger; it is topical and well worth watching if you get the chance. The rain had stopped by the time the film was over and it was well past my regular bedtime by the time we got home. The Gate cinema is wheelchair accessible with an elevator to the upper floors with 3 designated parking spaces adjacent.

I, and others living with MS, find that having a regular bedtime helps in getting a good night’s sleep and since I was late going to bed I decided to have lie-in in the morning. My alarm shrilled at about 07.00 and I turned over and took the pill and rolled back again. I slept but not a deep sleep and at 08.30 I was lying there thinking that I should get up, I will get up, I must get up, I want to get up. I wiggled my toes and did a mental check that everything was working and when I discovered that everything was fine I said I must get up, I should get up, I can get up but I didn’t get up and I don’t know why; I just lay there thinking about getting up but refused to act. This was MS brain at work. I wasn’t tired or cold, I was warm and rested but I just lay there and then at 08.45, without any warning my legs swung out of the bed and I found myself standing upright and ready to take on the world.

Is there a point to this story? Not really. I’m just saying that after a not very late night my head was in a different place when I awoke. I am now back to being supercalifragilisticexpialidicious sitting inside with beautiful sunlight shining in the window writing this.

Please don’t stop asking me to partake in different events. I may not be able to do them all but please let it be my decision. Borrowing Spoons has never been a problem for me and once I keep the number low pay back is not too difficult.

Categories: Cork, Just thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

McGettigans, Cork

We visited Mc Gettigans Cookhouse & Bar (Click Here) recently. The hostelry is located within the Ambassador Hotel, Cork and you would never imagine that what is now a beautiful hotel was once a nursing home. The hotel is snugly nestled on Military Hill which is the approach road to Collin’s Barracks, Cork’s only remaining working military barrack.

Mc Gettigans is a modern eatery, is beautifully decorated and the food delicious. Jean and I were joined for lunch by Elaine and Mairéad and the newest addition to the family our grandson Jack. We gave the menu a fair workout and all plates were cleared. Desserts followed with me declaring the Strawberry Pavlova the best ever.

Disappointingly there is only one designated disabled parking space adjacent to the front door which is serviced by a very gentle and user friendly ramp to a tiled and easily traversed reception area. Access to McGettigans would be difficult from other parking areas due to the hilly nature of the site. The dining area of McGettigans is accessible with a fully accessible washroom nearby.

All in all a great lunch in a great venue.

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Bellinter House and more

Saturday July 30th dawned overcast and cloudy but it was not raining and Jean and I headed toward Dublin for the wedding of my nephew, Conor Meany to his beautiful fiancé Lyndsey O’Neill.

C & L

Conor & Lyndsey cut the cake

This is not a commentary on the wedding which was absolutely brilliant. This is a critique of accessibility, or inaccessibility. I have said many times before that being able to get into and from a building is not sufficient to claim accessibility. If a person with mobility issues can’t get in it matters not what’s inside and if what is inside is not user friendly there is no point in going in.

We broke the journey in Midway, Portlaoise. There are a good number of designated parking spaces at the front door and the toilet is wheelchair accessible. There are a number of food outlets inside with a good selection of food to quell any tummy rumblings and keep us going until we reached our next watering hole.

The nuptial mass was held in St Brigid’s Church, Killester, Dublin which was about a 3 hour drive from Cork but our trusty SatNav got us to the church on time. St Brigid’s Church has ample car parking spaces and the most gently sloped ramp I have used in a long time. After the mass was finished and Conor and Lyndsey had officially been declared married we headed for Bellinter House, Navan, Co Meath for the celebration.

Considering that Bellinter (Click Here) was constructed in the late 18th century it would be unrealistic to expect it to be truly wheelchair accessible and it wasn’t. Some efforts had been made but they had not been adequately thought through. The elevator to the reception area was around the rear of the house, effectively outside the back door. It is a platform elevator that required an operator on the platform and another on the first floor and that was after an almost impossible journey over a stone covered courtyard. The hotel did provide a staff member to drag me to the lift and subsequently to our bedroom. The staff did as much as they could but the concept of independence was shot on seeing the gravelled courtyard and further died on seeing the elevator.

Our room was spacious and comfortable but the en-suite facilities fell short. The bathroom was more than spacious and the sink and mirror were set at an acceptable level; the toilet had a drop rail and grab rail at the appropriate height but the shower lacked any rails or seating and was impossible for me to use.

It was now time for the reception to begin and it began by me being dragged backwards over the courtyard gravel then around the front of the house, which was tarmacadam and was a comfortable spin, and into the second courtyard which was also gravelled. The only way in for me was to be dragged backwards again. There was a perfect concrete path connecting the function room to the Spa Area but that was of no use to me, unfortunately.  The function room was perfectly accessible and boasted a modern wheelchair accessible toilet. As my bedtime approached I faced the drag across both courtyards again but thankfully I did not have to use the elevator.

Bellinter Accessible Toilet

Accessible Toilet at Function Room

More dragging across the courtyards before breakfast the next morning; the dining area was accessible but I think this was more by accident than design.

Bellinter Dining Room

Dining Room

My one comment to the owners of Bellinter is why did you go so far but did not finish?

After a hearty breakfast and long goodbyes we headed for home. We stopped in Kildare Village (Click Here) for a break and bought Jack his first pair of boots.

Jack's Boots

Jack’s Boots

Kildare VillageTo people who don’t know Kildare Village it is an outlet mall with plenty of designated car parking spaces, is totally wheelchair accessible and has a number of wheelchair accessible toilets. We then back to the motorway and headed home.

Categories: Dublin, Kildare, Laoise, Meath | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A day trip to Rosslare etc.

Saturday morning dawned dull and dreary with dark grey clouds hanging low over the city; a heavy mist covered everything like a bad smell. Jean and I were heading to Rosslare, Co. Wexford, a round trip of approximately 400Km. We were going to Rosslare to collect our youngest daughter Mairéad from the ferry; she was coming home for some much needed ‘mum pampering’ after 7 weeks in hospital in London.

The weather varied between mist to light rain to quite heavy rain until we approached Dungarvan where it was dry and really we had expected nothing less in the Sunny South East. We stopped off in the Park Hotel (Click Here)  for a break and refreshments. The scones were lovely and you really can’t do a lot wrong with a pot of green tea. There are 2 designated parking spaces adjacent to the main entrance which is well ramped and the foyer and bar were easily traversed in the absence of carpet.

Park Hotel Dungarvan

Park Hotel Dungarvan

The wheelchair toilet was clean, tidy and accessible without having an excess of space. Unfortunately there was neither a hand dryer nor paper towels.

We called in to St Helens Village for lunch with my sister Anita and her husband Jim before heading for the ferry port in Rosslare.

There are plenty of designated parking spaces (Pay & Display) adjacent to the entrance. The entrance to the terminal building is ramped and internally the building is ramped between the ground floor and 1st floor but I think the ramps are more to facilitate wheeled luggage and passengers. I don’t think wheelchair users were considered when designing the building as you can see below the viewing deck is ramped on the inside but not on the outside.

The wheelchair accessible toilet was in the men’s toilet area and whilst spacious and functional it lacked basic cleanliness standards. Ferry Terminal 1The cubicle whilst having a sink lacked a dryer or towels.

Having collected our precious cargo we headed for home with one short stop at Mairéad’s friends house. Kate & Philip made us a cuppa and we continued on our merry way.

As the day drew to a close and dusk was falling there were some beautiful patches of red sky which we hoped were a portent for better weather tomorrow; ‘a red sky at night is the shepherds delight, a red sky in the morning is the shepherds warning.

Categories: Cork, Waterford, Wexford | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

There’s a moral in this story

Last Sunday morning as the wind howled and the rain bucketed down Jean and I headed for Dublin. I put a coat over my head as I ‘ran’ for the car. Ran is used very loosely in this context; I may have moved faster than normal but it was only marginal. Not really a wetting but more of a damping as the distance is short from the front door to the car.

The wind and rain had worsened as we approached Junction 8, M8 – the Topaz service area near Cashel when we decided to take a break for a cuppa. There are a number of designated parking spaces at the main entrance door. I decided to use my walker to go in in the interest of expediency, less setting up time. We both had a thoroughly enjoyable Apple Turnovers with our respective cuppas. The wheelchair accessible toilet is exactly that, accessible and functional – 5 stars.

The weather had deteriorated further as we were leaving after our break; the car was outside and we were inside with no alternative but to make a bolt for it. My first difficulty arose as I rounded the corner and the wind nearly blew me back inside. I was left with no choice but to move forward. I got to the car and had just folded the walker and deposited it securely in the car when a gust of wind blew the door and my hand slipped on the very wet side of the car and I did not have a soft landing. My chin met the tarmac which was hidden under a fine pool of water. Jean exited the car like Speedy Gonzales and two other ladies who happened to be passing came to my assistance and rapidly lodged me safely in the car; I am extremely grateful to those who came to my assistance. My clothes were no longer dry, my chin was a bit grazed and swollen; otherwise I was fine except for a major dent in my pride. We all know that old saying that pride goes before a fall and in my case it did, literally.

The moral contained in this tale is very simple and is often forgotten. Don’t go out in bad weather unless you really must and if you do go out pay special attention to the conditions. This obviously applies more to people not in the prime of health and help should be accepted when offered.

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MS & Me – my latest post

This week Declan Groeger questions those amongst us who think Disable Parking spaces are a free-for-all.

My MS Roller Coaster Ride officially began in 1988. You know what I mean when I refer to it as a roller coaster ride- there are so many ups and downs and the speed of the ups is never as fast as the speed of the downs.

Click here to read the full post

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A Valentines Day Jaunt Part 1 – Powerscourt Hotel

Jean and I (well maybe just me)are not renowned for celebrating Valentine’s Day, or rather the commercial aspect of the day, a few days before or after is fine but the 14th of February well, no. This year Jean treated me to a stay in Powerscourt Hotel in Co Wicklow and it was absolutely fantastic. Click here for further details.

We headed to the hotel on Sunday morning stopping off at Chez Nita & Jim in Stillorgan for a break and a cuppa before the final leg of the journey. Powerscourt Hotel has 5 stars and totally worth every one of them. The hotel reception area is a mixture of tiles and wooden flooring and is easily navigable. I was glad that Jean was with me as the reception desk did not cater for me or any other wheelchair user signing documentation at a comfortable height.

We had been upgraded to a suite which was absolutely super but unfortunately the bathroom in the suite was not disabled friendly and we had, regretfully, to decline the upgrade.

Our bedroom was spacious and wheelchair accessible. The en-suite was equally spacious and the drop rail and grab rail were in the appropriate places.  The sink and the mirror, with its built-in television screen, were set at a good height. One reservation I have concerns the seat in the shower area; it is a smooth surface which is not the best when it is wet and is relatively easy to slide off it. On a more positive note all the appropriate grab bars and drop rails were in place as was the emergency pull cord.

We adjourned to the Sika Restaurant for a romantic evening meal. The food was well presented, tasted beautiful and the staff were very attentive. The restaurant was totally accessible as were the accessible toilets in the public areas. Please refer to the menu for a more complete description of our meal.

The wheelchair accessible toilets in the public areas were exactly that and were clean and tidy.

20160214_165606

Wheelchair accessible toilet

I have previously awarded 5 Accessibility Stars to a number of hotels and restaurants but because of the issues with the shower seat and the reception desk I will deduct a half star and award 4 ½ stars. The shower seat is easily rectifiable but the reception area may take a bit more planning.

Part 2 will follow shortly.

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Mid Week Break in Dublin

Jean and I headed for Dublin last Tuesday morning for a pre-Christmas, mid-week break courtesy of our two daughters (Elaine & Mairéad) and their respective husbands (Henry and Rowan). For those of you who don’t know Ireland Dublin is our capital city and seat of Government. It is about 2 ½ – 3 hours drive from Cork but us Corkonians believe that Cork is the Real Capital.

We were booked in for two nights at The Gibson Hotel (Click Here) and attend a show, How Now Mrs Browns Cow, in The 3 Arena (Click Here).

By the time we reached the hotel we were both gagging for a cuppa and after check-in we adjourned to the bar to relieve our thirst. The bar has quite an unusual name; the hemidemisemiquaver barand the cheesecake that Jean chose as an accompaniment was absolutely delicious. The public areas are all smooth floored and easily navigable in my wheelchair. There were 2 unusual art installations in the reception area.

We then proceeded to check out our bedroom. It was perfectly spacious and had a perfect en-suite bathroom with all the appropriate hand rails. The shower seat was at a perfect height for me as were the sink and mirror.

The hotel has 12 wheelchair accessible rooms.

We rested a while and then headed down for something more substantial to eat before going to the show. There is a wheelchair accessible toilet located at either end of the bar/dining area.

Accessible Toilet

Accessible Toilet

The food was fine and then we made our way to the 3 Arena, which is only a stone’s throw from the hotel, to see the show. The wheelchair section is on the First Floor and offers uninterrupted views of the stage. There are a number of accessible toilets and the upper floors are serviced by elevators. The old adage that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ is definitely true and Jean and I and thousands of others laughed our way through the two hour show and left in high spirits.

We were glad we were staying in the Gibson as the walk/roll back to the hotel took only moments.

There is Luas Tram Stop at the front door of the hotel and the following morning after breakfast we headed for one of the frequent trams and the short trip to the city centre for a bit of light shopping. O’Connell Street is wheelchair friendly and navigable unassisted if necessary.

We were really only browsing but did pop into a few shops for a look around. We yielded to temptation in Arnotts and had a cuppa and a cake. Not having bought very much we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel and a after a brief rest we headed over to Stillorgan to Anita and Jim’s home for a bite to eat and a catch up.

I know that it sounds as if we ate and drank our way through our short break but we really didn’t. Thursday morning came around and after check out we headed home and thankfully arrived safely with our batteries still fully charged from the inimical Mrs Brown and her Boys.

5 Accessibility Stars to both

The Gibson and The 3 Arena.

5 Laughability Stars to Mrs Brown and the Boys

Categories: Dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Respect Designated Disabled Parking Spaces

Parking

Designated Disabled Parking Spaces and the abuse thereof has long been a source of controversy. The spaces are frequently occupied by thoughtless/selfish people with no right, they are frequently occupied by the ‘I’ll only be a minute brigade’ and badges are being used by ineligible people.

Before we consider a solution, it is necessary to understand why the problem exists. Designated Disabled Parking Spaces are the most coveted spots in any car park; they are the closest spots to the entrance doors and are also wider than the usual parking spots. The main reason they are designed this way is to make life less difficult for people with mobility issues. The car door may have to be fully open for a disabled person to get into or out from a car or their wheelchair may need to be placed at the side of the car for the person to sit in immediately on exiting the car. The parking spaces are located close to the entrances so that a disabled person can get inside as rapidly as possible particularly in inclement weather and let’s be honest Ireland has more than its fair share of bad weather.

There is also the issue of ineligible Blue Badge Holders and in my opinion these are the worst offenders of all.

Remember that it is not a prerequisite that a person uses a wheelchair to legitimately use the parking spaces. Some disabilities are not readily visible. Some people can only walk a short distance without fatigue setting in and it should be remembered that whatever the distance walked from the car it is the same distance back.

I would like to see these parking spaces being better policed. I would like to see Traffic Wardens and the Gardaí (Irish Police) check the badges when they see a person alighting from or returning to a car in public areas. Legitimate badge holders should not be embarrassed as identifications are often checked and this would be no different. The policing of these spaces is a different matter on private property but they should be monitored in a like manner by whatever security is employed.

P.S. San Diego are increasing parking fines for illegal use of these spaces to $740 (Click Here) and a judge in County Clare put a driver off the road for 6 months (Click Here) plus a fine of €500 for illegally parking in a designated parking space for sheer convenience – the ‘just a minute brigade’

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A Fantastic Weekend in Limerick

Munster played Treviso in the Champions Cup on Saturday November 14th in Thomond Park (Click Here) and we were there. The four of us, Declan, Jean, Elaine and Henry, headed for Limerick on Saturday morning after Josh had been kennelled. The journey was uneventful except for the usual hotspots of Buttevant and to a lesser extent Charleville. The weather was poor and on arrival at the Limerick Strand Hotel (Click Here) we opted to stay in and stay dry before the match. Teas, coffees, scones and paninis were ordered, delivered and consumed in the Terrace Bar. The toilet facilities, which include 2 wheelchair accessible toilets, are situated one floor below reception and are accessed by elevator. We inspected our rooms and were more than happy with the accommodation.

 

We headed off towards the stadium which is only a few minutes from the hotel. There were no major inclines to make life difficult but one badly parked car did not make life easy. Bad Parking My companions shared the ‘driving’ duties as I was having a lazy day. We reached Thomond and went for a look around the museum which was informative but still growing as Munster Rugby grows in history. We managed to down a few drinks and hotdogs before taking our places. The weather was deteriorating with a swirling wind accompanied by cold wet rain.

Thomond Park is very accessible and the 5 star accessibility rating I gave it last year still applies.

Munster won the game in poor conditions and by the time we headed back to the hotel the wind and rain had died down. The wind and rain started up again after we got back to the hotel so we decided to stay in the bar and refuel while a musician kept us entertained. The food was fantastic. The only negative that we could apply to the hotel was the music/noise reaching our rooms on the first floor. I would not recommend rooms immediately over the bar area.

On Sunday morning we headed in to Limerick city for breakfast in The Buttery, Bedford Row (Click Here). Accessibility is fine but there is a small step at the entrance door and circulation is good. I didn’t check the toilets and after a scrumptious breakfast we headed for home.

Limerick Strand Hotel –

5 Accessibility Stars

Thomond Park –

5 Accessibility Stars

Categories: Limerick | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Writing 101 #12

I struggled with this today. I tend to keep my opinions to myself unless the issue really exercises me, unless I’m really passionate about it. I don’t like to refer to myself as an activist or a trouble maker. There is one aspect of life that I am passionate and that is accessibility which also encompasses inaccessibility. Accessibility is a right not a privilege.

It is not always difficult to make places accessible, just a bit of thought and common sense. By way of explanation let me give you a number of examples.

  • A perfectly spacious toilet with the door opening inward but when a wheelchair is inside it is impossible to close the door. At times like this privacy is important.
  • A tourist attraction with 2 flights of steps up and the directions for wheelchair access nestled at the top of the first flight.

    Inaccessible tourist attractio

    Inaccessible tourist attraction

  • A hotel with a perfectly accessible and spacious toilet in the basement area but no access for a wheelchair user.

    10

    Steps to Dining Room

  • A hotel with a wheelchair accessible room but the toilet and shower area are inaccessible.
  • A section of a hospital that has no access for wheelchair users.
  • A new restaurant that has all its toilet facilities up a flight of stairs. The owners felt it unnecessary to have a wheelchair accessible toilet.
  • A church with a disabled parking space at the furthest point from the door at the bottom of a hill.

    DSCN4086

    Ridiculous location for the parking space

These are not fantasies. These are places I have experienced personally. Thoughtlessness and bad design are the root cause. It seems that the premises have complied with the letter of the law but ignored the spirit of the law. The resolutions are listed below in the same order as above

  • An outward opening door was the solution
  • The notice is now placed at the bottom of the steps
  • I have made suggestions but no action has been taken
  • I don’t have an update on this hotel
  • This issue has now been rectified
  • Apparently there was no legal necessity
  • Apparently there is no legal requirement regarding the location of such spaces

Consideration and empathy at the design stage are crucial to make our world accessible.Please feel free to comment or use the contact form

Categories: Just thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Hanleys of Cork Seasonal Shop

It’s not far away you know! What says you? Christmas says I.

It comes around at the same time each year and each year we get rid of some older decorations and add some new ones. This is our first year in our new home so we decided to treat ourselves to a little extra. With that in mind we visited Hanley’s of Cork Seasonal Shop.

In terms of accessibility the shop is excellent. There are 2 designated parking spaces in a more than adequate car park. The shop is really accessible and even though gloriously stocked with all you might want in Christmas decorations it is navigable in a wheelchair.56 4 3 2 1

Hanley’s is also a Garden Centre which is totally accessible. There is a beautiful cafe on site. There are steps and a ramp connecting the Seasonal Shop and the Garden Centre but this is not doable without assistance.

I can thoroughly recommend a visit whether you are mobility impaired or not.

Christmas Rating 5 Stars. Accessibility Rating 5 Stars

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Jacobs on the Mall – 5 Accessibility Stars

We went for a meal last night to ‘Jacobs on the Mall’ (Click here for details) which is one of the more expensive restaurants in Cork but last night was a special occasion. We were celebrating Jean’s retirement after 40 years with the same company. She started training there in 1974 and finally decided to call time and enjoy life a bit more. My brother Martin and his wife Mary were also part of the celebration as Mary also opted for an early retirement package.

The restaurant is on the site of the ‘The Turkish Baths’ which ceased to function many moons ago. There is a small step at the entrance door and the restaurant is accessed by 3 more steps but there is a platform lift to the side of the steps for ease of access for those of us with any mobility impairment. There is ample circulation space in the dining area and the accessible toilet was perfect. Accessibility rating 5 stars.

We opted for the ‘set menu’ which offered a number of choices in starter, main and dessert which was priced at a pleasing €29.95. There was an option of 2 courses for €26.95. Some of the main courses were priced at €30 which we felt was a bit excessive even for a special occasion. We washed the food down with couple of bottles of Pinot Grigio.

There are a number of designated parking spaces in the immediate vicinity.

Categories: Cork | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Steroids, the ultimate three day event

I hadn’t been feeling great for a while but I thought I could tough it out on my own, without the assistance of CHEMICALS. Was I wrong! Sure I was but I am stubborn and bolshie and try to sort out my MS issues internally. The power of positive thinking, yoga and any other self-help remedy that I could think of. There comes a time when a third-party intervention is required and for me the time had come. I needed help.

I eventually contacted my Neuro and explained my problem while at the same time realising that I had not had steroids for 4 years. I remember that because I had a session just before my daughter Elaine’s wedding and that was July 2010. Now my daughter Mairead is getting married in August so it was probably time to reboot my system.

A funny thought ran through my mind in relation to steroids which said ‘now that your 2nd child is getting married and I only had 2, maybe I won’t feel the stress and pressure of being the wedding planner ever again. Maybe I would never need steroids again. Good luck with that! Men are always so involved in wedding preparation that the pressure is immense.

My 1st infusion was scheduled for Tuesday morning but due to a misunderstanding I was not informed. I was settled into the gym doing some upper body work, legs not so good, when Jean phoned and I made my way to the hospital at speed. I got into the infusion unit and I met the receptionist who knew me from my days on Tysabri, infusions every 4 weeks. It was like meeting a friend I hadn’t seen for a few years. On into the ward and met the nurses who again knew me from my Tysabri days, more old friends. Had a chat with them all, got my fix and headed for home with the return time indelibly etched in my brain.

Day 2 and Jean dropped me over as parking can be quite difficult and in any event we had decided to meet Elaine for coffee in the adjacent shopping centre when I would be finished. More old friends and catch ups. I got my fix and headed for Wilton Shopping Centre for tea and cake with Jean & Elaine. We had to move our Friday Coffee Club to Wednesday as Elaine was heading away to Limerick for the Special Olympics.

Day 3 dawned bright and early and I headed off to the hospital for my last dose. The infusion ward was full to capacity so I was facilitated in a different part of the hospital. I met no one that morning except the neurology nurses and they are brilliant and know me better than any other nurse in the hospital but I already had my catch-ups with them.

Day 3 crystallised the social aspect of medication in my mind. I had been getting Tysabri every 4 weeks for 5 years. I had met numerous nurses over that time and would be delighted to introduce any of them as my friends. There were different receptionists and not to forget the tea ladies who were always there to get me a cuppa and some toast. I also met fellow MSsers in for their Tysabri trips and we would always have a chat and a bit of banter in our adjoining cubicles. I don’t meet any of them anymore and I often wonder how they are getting on. The one thing that I don’t miss about Tysabri is the 4 weekly blood tests and infusion but I do miss the social contact. You see we were all in the same boat and there is some degree of comfort knowing the person alongside you knows what you are going through.

It has been suggested that the social aspect of medication is a powerful factor and that people on clinical trials receiving placebos in group environments fare better than those receiving the actual medication in isolation. Interesting, but another days work.

Categories: Just thoughts | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

It started with a trip down memory lane…

Jean & I both sat our Leaving Cert 40 years ago this week. Wow, are we getting old or what? In honour of the event and getting nostalgic I decided that I wanted to have a look at my old school Colaiste Iosagain, Baile Bhuirne Iosagain 1WP_20140601_002for old times sake. It is all locked up now and has been for many years and it really is a shame to see such a fine premises going to waste. As I looked through the locked gates and pondered on my 5 years spent as a boarder my thoughts strayed back to my sporting prowess or lack thereof. I was never any good at sports. I couldn’t run fast or kick a ball. I wonder was this an early indicator of my subsequent diagnose of MS? Or did other members of the family get the sports genes?

The local pub was called The Mills and it was ‘out of bounds’ to us schoolboys. Jean wanted to call in so we stopped for tea and scones which were thoroughly enjoyable. WP_20140601_004WP_20140601_003There is ample car parking to the rear with a slight slope to the entrance door. The wheelchair accessible toilet was accessible. Overall I would award The Mills 5 stars on my Disability Accessibility Scale.

We travelled on over ‘the county bounds’ into Killarney, Co. Kerry

It was dry but cloudy and  rain threatened and rather than risk a wetting we visited the Outlet Mall. It is not fully tenanted but was still an enjoyable experience. There is ample car parking available included a number of designated disabled spots and a wheelchair accessible toilet on the 1st floor. 5 stars on my DAS

We travelled on over the narrow mountain roads towards Kenmare. We were tempted to stop at Molls Gap for lunch but it looked pretty full. The weather was foggy and the views were obscured so we passed by. When we arrived in Kenmare it was humming but there were 2 disabled parking spaces available. We parked up and went to Foleys for lunch. Jean and I shared a massive bowl of spicy chicken wings, Jean then went on to have a Chicken Baguette with all the trimmings whilst I had a smoked salmon salad and a pint. The food was lovely. The restaurant was easily accessible from the footpath and there was adequate circulation space inside but there was NO WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE TOILET. I am somewhat mobile but getting into the men’s toilet was difficult enough. 1 star on my DAS.

I think that it would be great if all premises had some external signage indicating disabled accessibility. People with disabilities make up approximately 18% of the population and businesses ignore this market segment at their peril.

We travelled on over the mountain to Glengarriff and had tea and biscuits with Eugene and Angela and their new dog before heading for home.

As I said at the beginning it started with a trip down memory lane

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Milano, Cork

Milano is located at the lower end of Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork. Check it out here. The street is pedestrianised during the day and construction works on nearby Parnell Place makes parking and accessibility more difficult. The nearby construction work will soon be finished and I think will have been well worth it. The main entrance to Milano is well ramped and the wheelchair accessible toilet is accessible. We shared doughballs and dips as a starter. Jean then had a Sloppy Giuseppe Pizza while I opted for a Legerra Salmon Salad. ImageThe service was friendly and efficient. All things taken into account I award Milano 5 stars on my Disabled Accessibility Scale. Well worth a visit.

Categories: Cork | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Gougane Barra

Jean & I went for a ramble last week. Jean was driving as usual so that I could enjoy the scenery when I wasn’t dozing off. We headed west towards Macroom, on to Inchigeelagh and then to Gougane Barra where our first port of call was Cronin’s Bar and Cafe. I had a lovely scone with my tea and Jean indulged in a cappuccino with a slice of cheesecake. There was ample parking at the accessible front door but no designated spaces, but there was no wheelchair accessible toilet in evidence. We rambled over to St Finbarr’s Oratory Image

 which has accessible paths but there are steps to the main entrance. Construction of a ramp is well underway at the side of the chapel, the completion of which I await with anticipation. There are wheelchair accessible public toilets Image a short distance from the oratory. There was a group of vintage motor cyclists at Cronins while we were there and 1 of the motor bikes was first registered in 1925 and had been driven from Downpatrick. 

We travelled on west through Ceim an Iadh over towards Ballylickey with all the associated beautiful scenery of West Cork. We took our time driving back through Bantry, Dunmanway and Bandon finishing up back in Cork where we went to Milanos for a late lunch/early dinner. Milanos will be the subject of a separate post.

Categories: Cork | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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