Posts Tagged With: toilet

Soba – Accessible and Very Tasty

Jean and I visited Soba Asian Street Food in Blackpool Retail Park last evening. We had heard good reports and are quite happy to add our voices to the many compliments. As you know I am not a food critic and this blog is largely about accessibility but the food was absolutely gorgeous, the portions not small, the service friendly and efficient and not expensive. A number of Gluten Free options are available and although I am not coeliac I thoroughly enjoyed my GF Chicken Wings in Mango Tamarind Sauce and my GF Sweet & Sour Chicken. Jean also enjoyed her Thai Green Curry. CLICK HERE for details

There is ample car parking available with a number of designated disabled parking spots close by. There are no obstacles to wheelchair entry but circulation space inside is a bit tight. The wheelchair accessible washroom is spacious and has the requisite rails and low level sink.

All in all well worth the visit! Accessible, tasty and great value

Categories: Cork | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Rachel’s Restaurant, Cork

Jean and I visited this new restaurant (Click Here) last weekend and were absolutely delighted with the accessibility, the staff and the food.It was another part of our ongoing birthday celebrations and it was great.

The double width entrance doorway is level with the footpath and same level continues throughout the dining with the exception of one raised section and there is plenty of circulation space. The wheelchair accessible toilet is exactly that, accessible. It is well decorated and has the appropriate rails etc. It lacked a mirror the night we were there but Rachel promised that it would be installed before our next visit.

This not a critique on the food as we are not food critics but we both loved our three courses and we gave 5 stars for accessibility, food and staff. There is on-street parking in the vacinity.

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

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

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.


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

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



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

Accessible Brighton 2017

Brighton Blog

The boarding at Cork Airport was slow and disembarking at Gatwick even slower; I was the last on and the last off. Brighton is about a 25 minute train ride from the airport and all the staff members were excellent. We stayed in the Premier Inn (Click Here) on North Street which is about 10 minutes from the station and only a very short distance from everything. This was another family trip – The Magnificent Seven back together again; we were in Spain together last September.

The hotel reception, restaurant and bar are located on the first floor which is serviced by 2 elevators. There is ample circulation space and a functional and accessible bathroom off the dining area. The Premier Inn chain (Click Here) has accessible bedrooms but each venue should be checked for individual needs. We had reserved an accessible room and it was exceptionally spacious but the bathroom was a bit of a let-down as it had a bath instead of a shower and baths are difficult for me but it was well appointed with a low level sink and an array of grab rails

Over the few days we rambled through The Lanes, old Brighton with Dickensian laneways, where we visited the world famous Choccywoccydooda (Click Here) and had a cuppa in The Plant Place. We had a light lunch in The Little Shop another day. The lanes are quite narrow and prone to pedestrian-congestion but have a large number of shops. The area is a bit hilly but manageable.

Brighton Pier (Click Here) is very accessible and well worth a visit. There is a wide variety of things to do including games arcades, rides, pubs and places to have a bite to eat. Jack won more than 1,100 tokens on his first attempt at a gaming machine; a game of Paw Patrol. Jellied Eels were available but Jean and I exercised self restraint and declined.  Staff members keep a sharp eye on the Disabled Toilet to minimise abuse. We travelled on BA 360i (Click Here) which is vertical ride reaching 450 feet into the sky giving panoramic uninterrupted 3600 views of Brighton. There is a clean and spacious Disabled Toilet in the terminal building. SeaLife (Click Here) aquarium is also worth a visit and is totally accessible. The main entrance is accessed by a considerable number of steps or via an underpass from the Pier side; my only criticism of the underpass was the awful stench that pervaded the area from entrance to exit. Improvements to the extensive promenade are ongoing and probably will be for a number of years to come but it is still accessible.

I was a bit tired the first day so the gang went to a nearby Mexican restaurant, Wahaca (Click Here), and spoke highly of the food. We had a light lunch the next day in the nearby ‘All Bar One’ (Click Here) which is accessible with a stair lift to the mezzanine floor where the accessible toilet is located and the food was great. Al Duomo (Click Here) an Italian restaurant was the setting for our big dinner; the restaurant is accessible and the food and staff fantastic. I didn’t check the toilet facilities. Henry, Rowan and I visited the Colonnade Bar (Click Here) which has a large step at the front door and the toilets are down stairs. However it is a lovely cosy, old fashioned bar and worth visiting when attending the theatre next door.

We visited Churchill Square Shopping Centre (Click Here) which is new and modern and much the same as all modern shopping centres.

We noticed that many of the buses were named after local people which we found a bit bemusing albeit a nice recognition of deceased local people who had made a “significant contribution or had a strong connection to the area in their lifetimes”.

We booked an accessible taxi for the trip back to the railway station and then our onward journey home. All-In-All a five star experience

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

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.

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

Starbucks – Blackpool S.C.

Starbucks seem to be opening everywhere and Blackpool Shopping Center is the most recent I have seen. For those of you familiar with B.S.C. Starbucks is located in the unit vacated by Xtravision some time ago. The entire area is wheelchair and buggy accessible (ask Jack) and has ample circulation space. Jack came with me to check it out.

Jack my assistant

Jack my assistant

The Accessible Toilet is exactly that, accessible, as it should be for a facility that has just opened. It is spacious and clean and has all the appropriate bars in the appropriate places. I was disappointed to see that the emergency pull cord was secured about 2 meters off the ground. I did speak with Tommy about the matter and he assured me that he will raise it with his immediate supervisor. I will return shortly to check it out.

Parking is readily available with a number of Designated Disabled Spaces in the immediate vicinity.

Feel free to leave a comment.

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

The Flying Enterprise

We were at the Flying Enterprise on Friday evening for a meal and a chat and maybe even a drink or two. Who are ‘we’ you might ask and I will answer that later.

Group Photo

The Flying Enterprise (Click Here) is very accessible, tiled floor and no awkward thresholds, and the staff are friendly and accommodating. 11 of us had a meal and drinks but mostly we chatted among ourselves. The food and the service were both excellent. I have no hesitation in recommending it. The accessible toilet was exactly that, accessible and clean and neat and tidy. An extra few people joined into the group after the meal was finished. A limited amount of on street parking is available nearby.

Accessible Toilet

Accessible Toilet

Now back to the question of “Who are we?” We are a small group of people living with MS in and around the greater Cork area. This is a group of individuals who happen have Multiple Sclerosis as a common denominator. It is not about comparing notes and signs and symptoms but neither is it about ignoring the reality of MS. It is a social group that was started about 2 years ago and was originally a group for the newly diagnosed but has gone from strength to strength since its inception.

Please feel free to leave a comment.

Categories: Cork | 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

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.

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

A Valentine Jaunt Part 2

After a hearty breakfast in the hotel Jean and I headed for Part 2 of our Valentines Jaunt and so we headed off to Powerscourt Waterfall which is the highest in Ireland at 397 feet. (Click here for further details) There had been some snow overnight and the morning was very brisk and invigorating (in other words COLD). Neither of us was really interested in a trek around the area of the waterfall, well Jean was cold and I wasn’t able, but I think it would a beautiful setting for a picnic on a warm sunny summer day so we admired the scenery for a while, took a few pictures

and headed across country to our next stop, Glendalough.

Glendalough is a monastic settlement founded by Saint Kevin in the 6th century and is run by the Office of Public Works. (Click here for further details) There was still a small amount of snow on the ground so I restricted my visit to the Visitors Centre which is totally wheelchair accessible. The exhibitions are very informative and the 15 minute film which is in an accessible intimate theatre is also very enjoyable and informative. There are a number of specified walks around the area of varying degrees of difficulty available.

I did have a number of issues with the accessible toilet in the men’s area (I didn’t check the Ladies Loo); the emergency pull cord was severed at ceiling height which made it totally useless and there was no drop rail at the side of the toilet bowl. It seems that the emergency cord is regularly pulled and snapped; I suggested that a push button alarm be installed close to the floor as a viable alternative and that a drop rail be fitted.

We headed off again in beautiful sunshine and stopped for lunch in Joannes Cafe in Gorey. Check out her Facebook Page.  The cafe is accessible without any difficulty from the footpath. I used my walker to enter the cafe and even though I found that the accessible toilet was accessible I’m not sure how user friendly it would have been in the wheelchair. I suspect it might be a bit tight. We both had Steak Sandwiches with chips and pepper sauce, which were very tasty, before heading for the last leg of our journey.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Categories: Wexford, Wicklow | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


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.

Don’t forget to leave a comment or use the Contact Form

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

When more than the thought counts.

Accessible Toilet Facilities – the good and the not so good..

This post is not about building regulations or statutory obligations regarding accessible toilet facilities. It is more about common sense and usability. I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter but I do know what works and doesn’t work for me. Those of you who know me know that even though I use a wheelchair if I have difficulty getting into a particular toilet it will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for a person with a greater impairment. Overall size is important but layout is critical. I will deal with a number of the issues I have come across over the years; some are easily remedied, some not so easy and some are so serious as to make me ponder on what qualifications the genius designer possessed.

The first and most obvious rule is that the door must be wide enough for a wheelchair to get in.

Alexander not accessible

The door isn’t nearly wide enough

There must be sufficient space to allow the door to be closed when a wheelchair is inside. This problem is not uncommon and may be easily remedied. The cheaper option is to change the door to outward opening but there is also the option of a sliding door to consider. This is a very important issue because privacy at this time is exceptionally important.

MUH door close

Impossible to close the door with a wheelchair inside

Ample circulation space for a wheelchair is next on the agenda. It really isn’t good enough to find that you can get in and close the door, just about, but you can’t position the chair correctly to move on to the toilet seat.

Gibson Accessible Toilet

Ample circulation space is essential

The appropriate grab rails and drop rails should be in place. Absence of or insufficient rails makes life difficult for the user and could be downright dangerous.


Drop rail and other rails are well located

The emergency pull cord is useless if not accessible. The person trying to use the cord will, most likely, be on the ground. This is another reason to consider an outward opening door because if the user is on the ground in a small toilet it will be impossible to open an inward opening door without causing further injury.

The two pictures below were taken in Gatwick Airport in 2014 and show an alarm button adjacent to the toilet bowl and also a long alarm border on the opposite wall.

Hygiene is important and therefore the correct placement of such things as the toilet roll holder, the sink and the hand drier are important.

The 2 photographs below are the best wheelchair accessible toilets I have come across.

This critique of accessible toilets is based on my personal experience and all the photographs are my own. Please feel free to copy and share, leave a comment or use the ‘Contact Form’ to contact me privately.

Categories: Just thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Spencer Hotel, Dublin

The MS & Me blog (Click Here) team had our annual meeting in The Spencer Hotel (Click Here), Dublin earlier this week. The hotel is located in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in the heart of Dublin. The train journey from home was uneventful and as usual The Irish Rail staff were as courteous and efficient as ever. It was lunch time when I arrived and after check in I decided to grab a bite to eat with my brother Eugene who had kindly met me at the train station. I had the best Chicken Caesar Salad ever (IMHO) and Eugene had a bowl of soup accompanied by some lovely brown bread.

The ground floor is totally accessible with non-carpeted floors; people who don’t use a wheelchair don’t realise how much energy is used in getting around in a manual wheelchair on carpet. There is a wheelchair accessible toilet on the ground floor and a low level desk for wheelchair users when signing the appropriate paperwork.

We had a very informative meeting among ourselves and some staff from Multiple Sclerosis Ireland (Click Here) and followed on with a Patient Focus Group with Novartis. With the business of the day concluded we adjourned to the hotel restaurant for food and beverages.

My allocated bedroom was on the first floor and it was perfect for my needs. A very wide entrance foyer led to the bathroom area and on into the bedroom. The bathroom was perfectly spacious with all the necessary handrails in the appropriate places. The sink was a marginally high and the marble splash back made preening myself slightly more difficult. The seat in the shower area was a first for me; it was cushioned and height adjustable. After a hearty breakfast the next morning I headed for the train station and my return trip home.

Accessibility Rating 5 Stars

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

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.


    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.


    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

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

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