Posts Tagged With: ramp

Road Trip 2017

With our grandson Jack away in Spain with his Mum and Dad, Jean and I decided to do a bit of travelling in Ireland.

Day 1

The Rock of Cashel (Click Here) was our first stop. The ruined cathedral (1235-1270) occupies a commanding position overlooking vast swathes of lush countryside. Its age and location make access difficult for wheelchair users and the mobility impaired but it is doable and worth the effort. Public toilets, including accessible cubicles, are available adjacent to the car park.


View from the car park

We then travelled on to Holy Cross Abbey but as a funeral was taking place we decided to travel on rather than impose on the sad occasion. On the way to our final destination in Sligo we stopped off at Junction 3 (Topaz Re,Store) which has a range of snacks and an accessible toilet. We arrived at the Yeats Country Hotel, Rosses Point (Click Here) later that afternoon.

The hotel is accessible and the staff friendly and accommodating. Carpets in the reception area and corridors combined with slightly severe, but useable ramps, made wheelchair travel a bit more difficult but Jean was always nearby to give that extra power surge when needed. Our room was spacious, 2 double beds, a bed settee and an accessible bathroom. After settling in and resting we adjourned for drink and food. There are 2 designated parking spaces adjacent to the front door but a considerate fellow traveller decided that his car was too big or too precious for one space.

Day 2

After a hearty breakfast we headed north for Co. Fermanagh and Beleek Pottery (Click Here). The weather was not good and dull grey clouds hung low over the countryside interspersed with some heavy showers. The visitor centre is accessible with a great shop, a cafe, an accessible toilet and a number of designated parking spaces. We started our visit with a cuppa before spending time and money in the shop. The inclement weather didn’t allow for much exploring in either Enniskillen or Omagh and with the help of Google Maps we found our way back to our hotel.

Day 3

We enjoyed another hearty breakfast before heading off to The Ceide Fields (Click Here) in Mayo. The visitor centre is accessible with appropriate designated parking and toilet facilities. We had a cuppa in the cafe but unfortunately there was very little else that we could see as the elevator was not working and only a small section outside was wheelchair accessible. We did get to watch a video on the history of the area. We stopped for a bite of lunch in The Merry Monk, Ballina which is wheelchair accessible and accessible cubicles in the toilets.

We then traveled back to Sligo town for a mooch around the shops before heading back to the hotel.

Day 4

After breakfast and checkout we headed for home. We stopped off in Knock (Click Here) to visit the shrine and have a cuppa after which we had an uneventful trip home.




Even though the weather was less than good we thoroughly enjoyed our few days away


Categories: Fermanagh, Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: Cork | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

Hotel Killarney, Muckross & Dingle

Jean and I headed over the county bounds, last Wednesday, to join Mairéad, Rowan and Brendon along with Rupert & Blossom in Killarney (Click Here); we all stayed in Hotel Killarney. (Click Here) Mairéad and the gang stayed for three nights whilst we only managed one. While there we visited the Killarney National Park and Muckross House on Wednesday and onto Dingle on Thursday. The hotel is family friendly and Mairéad spoke very highly of it.

The reception area is tiled and easily navigable and Sheila, the receptionist on duty on Wednesday, greeted us with a warm friendly smile and was very helpful.

Reception Area

Reception Area

The dining room and a public bar are located on the same level. There is a further bar located on a slightly lower level (four steps) along with toilet facilities which include a spacious, clean and well equipped wheelchair accessible toilet. This lower level is accessed by a small platform lift which is operated by hotel staff on request.

Platform elevator between levels

Platform elevator between levels

Accessible toilet

Accessible toilet









Our bedroom, while being fabulous, was a good distance from reception and anybody with a manual wheelchair will appreciate that good upper body strength is required when wheeling on carpet. The room, which was more like a suite, was adjacent to a fire escape which is very important in the event of an emergency.

Our bedroom

Our bedroom

Our second bedroom

Our second bedroom

Our en-suite

Our en-suite

It consisted of a large double room, a large bedroom/sitting room/kitchenette and a spacious accessible bathroom with all the requisite rails and shower enclosure plus sink and mirror at the correct height. While on our way to breakfast on Thursday morning a lady, Christine, exited another bedroom on a mobility scooter. She told me that the entrance to her bedroom was a bit narrow for the scooter but it was doable. A few small issues with our bathroom would cause me to deduct a single star.

There are a limited number of parking spaces to the front of the hotel and many more, including designated disabled spaces, to the rear. The hotel is very accessible and disability friendly and deserves to be supported. 4 Stars

Killarney National Park and Muckross House (Click Here For Details)

Shortly after arriving and booking in we headed off towards Muckross. The National Park extends to c. 26,000 acres.

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park

We opted for a Jaunting Car tour which took about 1 hour and no we didn’t see the entire National Park. Our tour guide Patrick made the trip very enjoyable and Tom the horse seemed to know his own way around leaving Patrick to concentrate on his description.

Boarding the Jaunting Car

Boarding the Jaunting Car

On Board with Máiread

On Board with Máiread









We stopped at Muckross House for a look around the outside and the gardens

Muckross House

Muckross House

Muckross Garden

Muckross Garden

and then on to Torc Waterfall, which is not wheelchair accessible.





We all thoroughly enjoyed the tour. We then headed into Killarney for refreshments. We found a number of designated parking spots adjacent to Scotts and headed in for our much needed refreshments before heading back to the hotel for a change of clothes and dinner.

After a leisurely breakfast on Thursday morning we headed off to Dingle (Click Here) by way of Inch Strand and the coast road about 90 minutes drive. The weather was quite wet and windy and when we reached Dingle we headed straight for the Aquarium. (Click Here)

Dingle Oceanworld

Dingle Oceanworld

Looking for Nemo

Looking for Nemo

The access was perfectly ramped and before we commenced our tour we enjoyed a cuppa and a scone. The aquarium is totally accessible and was a very enjoyable experience. The wheelchair accessible toilet is exactly that accessible with ample room.

We then travelled down the town and stopped off for ice cream in Murphy’s (Click Here) and a bit of shopping before heading for home.

Jean & Blossom enjoying Murphy's Ice cream

Jean & Blossom enjoying Murphy’s Ice cream

Máiread in Murphy's

Máiread in Murphy’s












The Beharie Clan stopped for a bit of hurling on Inch Strand but the weather deteriorated further and the game was cancelled

All-in-all a perfect few days.

Categories: Kerry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Long Weekend in Winchester

VFMLID=32890079Jean and I and other family members travelled to England at the end of May to help my nephew Mark Egan celebrate his marriage to the love of his life Lucy Anderson.

We stayed in The Holiday Inn Winchester for three nights and so had ample time to critique the hotel. Click here for further information. The hotel is both modern and roomy in all areas and caters well for people with disabilities. The Holiday Inn group are obviously aware that people with disabilities make up approximately 15% – 17% of the population and that is too big a market segment to ignore. There are ample designated parking spaces adjacent to the front door of the hotel.

Our Bedroom

Our Bedroom

Our room was totally wheelchair accessible with more than enough circulation space and had the best accessible shower/toilet area that I have ever seen. 

En-suite En-suiteThere were 2 sinks, one low for me and one normal height for Jean. There were more than enough drop rails and hand rails in the shower area and 2 emergency pull cords. There was also a pull cord to the side of the bed. The wheelchair accessible washroom in the public area is of a very high standard.

Public Accessible Toiet

Public Accessible Toilet

Accessibility Rating: 5 Stars

Mark & Lucy Egan

Mark & Lucy Egan

Mark married Lucy on May 29th 2015 in St Peter’s Church, Winchester. The church, though old, is nicely ramped to the front door and is spacious inside. After the beautiful personalised service was finished and Mark and Lucy had been declared husband and wife we headed for Clock Barn for the reception. This was just a 20 minute drive from the church.

Supporting Cast Alex and Katya

Supporting Cast
Alex and Katya

Clock Barn is a barn conversion set right out in the countryside and as Thomas Hardy would have described it ‘far from the madding crowd’. Click here for further information. The access ramps are a bit steep but doable with assistance. One section of the hall had steps to it but the main action area was all level. The wheelchair accessible toilet was exactly that, accessible in every way. The food and entertainment and company were excellent. Accessibility Rating: 4 Stars

Categories: England | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

O’ Callaghan Hotels Alexander Hotel – Great hotel but…

Let me start this blog by saying that the Alexander Hotel (click here) is great in most aspects, that is every aspect except the one in which I was most interested. Accessibility. There is a perfect ramp to the front door and a great disabled bathroom in the basement. There is more than ample circulation space throughout the ground floor of the hotel. The problems arose in the bedrooms.

On checking in I was assigned room 6408. The room itself was lovely but the door into the en-suite was too narrow for my wheelchair and there were no grab rails.

Room 6408

Room 6408

Door too narrow in 6408

Door too narrow in 6408

Grab rail getting out of wheelchair in 6408

Grab rail getting out of wheelchair in 6408

Grab Rail for getting up off loo in 6408

Grab Rail for getting up off loo in 6408

I raised my concerns with reception who promptly arranged for a transfer to room 6404.

Door wide enough in 6404

Door wide enough in 6404

The en-suite door was wide enough but instead of a shower there was a bath and again no grab rails. Baths are not good for me so I headed back to reception where I was told that there were no wet rooms in the hotel. The offer of assistance with the bath was a misplaced effort at minimising my discomfort. I opted to return to 6408 as being the better of the two options.

Approximately 15% – 20% of people have some disability and businesses that ignore that segment of the market do so at their peril. Not every person with a disability needs a wet room but the door to the bathroom must be wide enough for a wheelchair and grab rails, for the toilet and and in the shower, are essential. Hotel doors are heavy and a door release button should be provided for exiting the bedroom.

Categories: Dublin | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Murph’s Tavern, East Ferry, Co. Cork

We went to Murph’s Tavern in East Ferry for lunch today as there was nothing to eat at home prior to heading off to Duquesa tomorrow. Elaine and Henry kept us company. It was an added bonus that draught Heineken was available and no washing up to do after. East Ferry is located in East Cork a short distance beyond Midleton.

The restaurant is in a beautiful picturesque setting in Lower Cork Harbour overlooking the estuary.

Another view from Murph's Tavern

Another view from Murph’s Tavern

The view from Murph's Tavern

The view from Murph’s Tavern

The ramp at Murph's

The ramp at Murph’s

The dock at Murph's

The dock at Murph’s

There is a great ramp for wheelchair access which will accommodate all those with accessibility issues. The food and drink were great. Jean & Elaine had Clonakilty Black Pudding Salad while Henry had soup. I had Ballycotton Hake goujons while the others Roast Beef which was capped off with 4 exceptionally tasty desserts. Some wine, Heineken and Capuchinos added that little extra to the meal.

There is a wheelchair accessible toilet but it is very cramped and even though the door is outward opening space is still tight. There is parking available in front of the restaurant.

All in all well worth a visit and we will certainly return.

Categories: Cork | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Brook Inn

Being such a lovely day yesterday and Jean just having finished her allotted night duty for the week we went out to lunch. Jean’s choice was the Brook Inn, Sallybrook. Click HERE for their website. There is roadside parking available and also a car park to the rear. The front entrance is well ramped and accessible. We chose an outside table as it seemed such a shame to eat indoors on such a fine day. The food was perfect and the service was both attentive and friendly. Full marks for both.

I was aware from a previous visit that the wheelchair accessible toilet was not the best and had made staff aware of my concerns. This time the light was not working and I still could not get my wheelchair in. I left the wheelchair at the door and the door a little sliver open to allow some light in but privacy is good in delicate situations. I made two staff members aware of the issues and that the resolution to getting the wheelchair in was to change the door to outward opening. I couldn’t make a recommendation on the darkness as I didn’t know whether it was simply a bulb problem or something more serious. Disabled Accessibility Scale Rating 2 from 5

I will make a return visit at some stage and will reassess the rating.

Categories: Cork | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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

The Radisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin

I just had a very enjoyable overnight stay at the Radisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin. I was attending an MS Bloggers forum courtesy of Novartis. The hotel is modern and accessible. There is a gently sloped ramp to the automated revolving front door. There are hinged doors to either side of the revolving door, presumably to provide access for people with a mobility impairment although there is no signage to indicate this.  Neither door is automated which can be problematic for wheelchair users and less mobile guests and visitors. It is a problem that can be easily rectified as the technology is readily available.

The wheelchair accessible toilet, in the foyer, was locked when I went to inspect it and didn’t get back to check it out. Spacious elevators are available to all floors including the spectacular Sky Suite on the 7th where our meeting was held. Underground parking is available. My bedroom was comfortable with a wheelchair accessible toilet. The toilet was roomy but access was a bit problematic and I am not really sure about the solution. Changing the side the door is hinged on would solve the problem from the wheelchair accessibility point of view but it may create other problems. A potentially more serious issue is that the Emergency Pull Cords were tied/tidied up about 5 feet off the floor and thus totally inaccessible to a person who fallen and needed to call for assistance.

I would give the hotel 3.5 from 5 on my disability scale.

PS added at 17.40 14/03/2014 – the hotel replied by email and said they were aware of the issue regarding the bedroom and it is on the renovations list. Will it get done? only time will tell.

Categories: Dublin | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Puerto De La Duquesa 2014

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything but December and January are not great months for getting around in Ireland and the bad weather doesn’t help. Anyway we headed for our favourite holiday destination, Puerto De La Duquesa, Spain on January 26 in an effort to shake off the winter blues. We arrived at Cork Airport in storm force wind and rain and to my utter disappointment the air-bridges were not in use. I can’t say that I was surprised as there seems to be some sort ban on using them in Cork. We flew to Malaga where the weather was warm and sunny and dry and we had the use of an air-bridge to disembark the plane. Go figure – wind and rain no air-bridge beautiful sunshine air-bridge.

There really isn’t a lot to report about Duquesa. A lot of the restaurants were still closed for the winter so our choice of eateries was very much reduced but we managed to muddle through. Parapiros still has the issue with the disabled toilet being up 2 steps but the food is well worth it. La Traviata has toilets that are not wheelchair accessible and the situation is the same with Hemingways. Both need a degree of mobility. C Bar, Ocean, Mandarin Palace and The Mexican all have accessible toilets but all 4 have a step up which makes unaccompanied access difficult. Miel on the Paseo Maritimo has an accessible toilet but has a seriously steep entry ramp. Having said all that we will continue with our visits. The issues with accessibility are usually trumped by great weather, food and drink. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that great but after what we left behind in Cork just being dry was great and any bit of sunshine was a bonus.

This is me topping up my Vitamin D3 levels. DSCN3898

Categories: Spain | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Puerto De La Duquesa, Manilva, Spain


I will begin with very brief description of Puerto De La Duquesa (the Port) and some of the recurring issues regarding mobility impaired holiday makers and residents. Puerto De La Duquesa is on the Mediterranean coast (the Costa del Sol) about 60 minutes drive from Malaga Airport and 30 minutes drive from Gibraltar. The Port is built on 3 levels and therefore hills are involved when accessing the different levels. The blue van is parked at the entry to Level 1.HillCastillo is to the south of the Port and Sabinillas to the north and all are connected by a lovely promenade which is usable unaccompanied – quite a distance between the 3 places.

All of the properties on the lower level (sea front) have a small step up to individual terraces and some have a further step to get inside the building. ImageMost of the recently modernised properties have wheelchair accessible toilets which are usually  incorporated in the Ladies Toilets. I say most but not all. Some of the hills are quite severe. The 1st level is quite wheelchair friendly and the 2nd level is manageable once the hill has been conquered. Some paths are dished whilst others are not. One side of a Zebra Crossing may be dished and the other side not.


Day 1 – We left the Cork International Airport Hotel early in the morning to head for the airport to continue our journey to Spain. Cork Airport, as you would imagine, is very accessible and wheelchair friendly but why have 2 airbridges and not use them? The airport staff were courteous, friendly and very helpful. The Aer Lingus staff were equally helpful but I fail to understand why someone bothered to put a wheelchair decal on the toilet door; it is a tight squeeze even for able bodied passengers. We landed in Malaga Airport on time, collected our rental and headed south to our destination of Puerto De La Duquesa. It was an uneventful journey thanks to Jean, my companion, wife and driver, but the tolls are very expensive; €12 in less than an hour.

Our first port of call after dropping our bags was the Dolphin Bar, on the sea front, for a light snack and liquid refreshment. ImageThe toilet was fully accessible. We then went shopping in Carrefour in Estepona. The centre is accessible with loads of parking but disabled toilet facilities are sadly lacking. Later we went to The Mexican back in Duquesa for our evening meal. Accessing the toilet requires a degree of mobility. After that we continued the refreshment theme and went to the Cork Tree on the first level and the hill makes access to the upper levels exceptionally difficult (impossible) if unaccompanied.

Day 2 – This was a day for some serious relaxation in the sun. We spent some time by the pool but didn’t get in for a swim. The paths around the pool are not the easiest to navigate but ‘doable’ even if unaccompanied. ImageThe toilet block near the pool is wheelchair accessible but accessing the individual toilet cubicles require a degree of mobility. We went for our evening meal to the Jolly Sailor on the first level.  Accessing the toilets here requires a degree of mobility. We returned to the Cork Tree after dinner. The toilet here needs a small degree of mobility as it is also used as a store.

Day 3 – We went to the market for a look around this morning. There is plenty of parking and the site is gently sloped with the ground rough in places. There is a wheelchair accessible public toilet and ample parking. We went to the Kinaree Thai, on the first level of the Port, for our evening meal. Kinaree ThaiThe restaurant is very accessible and ramped inside where necessary. The wheelchair toilet is fine. We finished off again in the Cork Tree.

Day 4 – There is beautiful promenade connecting Duquesa with Sabinillas. We headed to one of our favourite spots, Miel, for our morning snack. The ramp to the inner restaurant is steep and not doable unaccompanied and accessing the toilet requires a bit of mobility.ImageWe went to the Bistro, on the top level in the Port, for our evening meal. The restaurant is accessible as is the wheelchair toilet. Getting there requires a bit more work than the lower levels. We finished our evening in the Cork Tree.poor ramp

Day 5 –  We trundled back up the promenade to Sabinillas and stopped in the Last Resort for liquid refreshment. There is a short steep ramp, which requires a bit of assistance, to the indoor area but the toilet is very accessible. We then stopped in the Green Olive for lunch. The indoor area is accessible unaccompanied as is the toilet but access to the toilet was a bit restricted close to the door. Later that afternoon we visited the Ocean Bar back in Duquesa where the toilet is accessible and roomy. We then headed for the Dolphin Bar.

Day 6 – We went to the local Super Sol for a bit of shopping. Very accessible with an accessible wheelchair toilet. . We had our evening meal in Sabor Toscano on the first level and Jean tells me that the toilet is quite spacious but access a bit restricted. We finished off our evening in the Cork Tree.

Day 7 – We started off in Estepona market. We went to La Totta ice cream parlour to check the facilities and found them seriously lacking; an able bodied person carrying a bit of extra weight couldn’t get into the men’s toilet. We stopped off in the Jazz Bar next door but didn’t check out the facilities. We later visited the Slow Boat on the lower level of Duquesa. Slow BoatThe toilets are situated up a number of steps but the ramp is way too steep. Neither of the toilet cubicles is wheelchair accessible. We again finished off our evening in the Cork Tree.

Day 8 – The Dolphin Bar was our venue for our morning snack. We had our evening meal in Parapiros, our all time favourite restaurant in the Port, located on the top level. The wheelchair toilet is perfect internally but there are 2 steps and no ramp. Two of the waiters lifted the chair up and down without making a fuss. We finished off our evening in the Kinsale, on the first level, which is perfectly accessible with a perfectly accessible wheelchair loo.

Day 9 – The Ocean Bar provided our morning snack. We later went on to Griffins on the lower level. The toilet is accessible unaccompanied but it is a bit tight. GriffinsWe finished off in the Cork Tree.

Day 10 – We started our evening in the Kinsale and then went on to the Victor Grill both on level 1. ImageI noticed that there were a number of steps and no ramp up to the toilet area and when I asked about a wheelchair accessible toilet I was simply told ‘none available’. Jean asked another server if it would be possible to use an adjacent restaurant (which is apparently owned by the same people) and that was arranged. That restaurant is called Il Capitano and the toilet was totally accessible. We finished up in the Cork Tree

Day 11 – We headed back to Malaga Airport which fortunately use airbridges. Surprise surprise on our return to Cork we had the use of an airbridge.

These are an extra few pictures to show some of the problems faced by people with reduced mobility and wheelchair users when seemingly small issues and lack of thought create huge problems  and conversely where planning and thoughtfulness towards the minority make holidays and life in general much more bearable.

We will be returning for more sun, sea and sangria

Categories: Spain | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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