Posts Tagged With: toilet

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

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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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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

Hotel Barceló Aran Mantegna, Rome

I attended the 4th International Patient Summit in Rome a couple of weeks ago. It was held in the Barceló Aran Mantegna hotel and was sponsored by Novartis. It was a one day conference so, unfortunately, there was no time for sight-seeing. The conference was brilliant and I hope I can put some of what I learned into practice. Click here for further hotel information.

The airport staff in both Dublin and Fiumicino, Rome were very helpful on both legs of the journey.

The hotel was beautiful. It was well presented and easily accessible. Hotel FrontReception and all circulation areas were marble tiled which took the hard work out of wheelchair travel and as everyone knows wheelchair travel on carpet can be energy consuming and people living with MS do not have endless reserves of energy. The dining room and conference area were also marble floored.Lift Area

My bedroom was close to the lifts on the 5th floor and faced out to the front plaza. It is my first time encountering a hotel bedroom with 2 full bathrooms. There was a fully equipped wet room and a main bathroom. Circulation space in the bedroom was a bit restricted as there was a mini-bar at the end of the bed which resulted in the necessity to ‘walk’ to the window to open/close either the window or the curtains. Overall marks for the hotel 4 Stars Wet Room

As I said earlier the conference was great and was attended by 90 delegates from 24 countries. The company was excellent and I met a number of people whom I had previously only encountered on the internet.

Categories: Italy | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Puerto de la Duquesa revisited

Jean and I have just returned from our annual autumn visit to Puerto de la Duquesa, Spain for our annual autumn visit. It serves a double purpose; some serious R & R and also to boost our Vitamin D levels for the long Irish winter. The R & R element requires us to eat and drink and the seriously difficult part forced us to lie about in the sun and absorb large amounts of Vitamin D. The HSE or VHI might think of funding this. Not.

We ate in a number of restaurants and cafes and drank in a number of bars and cafes. There was no bad food and only one could count as a bad choice for me but not for Jean. The list towards the end of the blog would give the impression that all we did was eat and drink which is so wrong. We also found time to sit and lie in the sun and effectively do nothing for long periods of time. Life’s a beach and then the tide comes in.

Wednesday was not the best weather wise, in fact it was downright pouring rain for a lot of the day – no lying about in the sun or dipping into one of the 4 pools in Marina de la Duquesa or the beautiful Mediterranean. We made the short drive to Estepona with its beautiful approach road and promenade and stopped off in Carrefour for some essential supplies, alcohol etc. We also had tea and snacks there. There doesn’t appear to be a wheelchair accessible toilet anywhere in the centre.

Sabinillas hosts a market on Friday morning at the very end of the Paseo Maritemo so we headed off relatively early. Some of the Chiringuitos have been relocated and rebuilt.

Rebuilt chiringuito

Rebuilt chiringuito

Paseo Maritemo

Paseo Maritemo

Paseo Maritemo

Paseo Maritemo

Paseo Maritemo

Paseo Maritemo

The Paseo now stretches from Castillo, to the south of Duquesa, to beyond Sabinillas and is just awaiting the installation of a foot-bridge for the next phase up to Caseres. The Paseo is geared towards pedestrians, cyclists and really any mode of transport that does not have an engine. Anyway after the market we visited Miel (Click Here)one of our favourites. It has a great selection of food, both sweet and savoury. Jean says that the waffles with Belgian chocolate are to die for and are part of her ‘must have list’ on every visit. The ramp into the restaurant is short and steep and not doable without help but once inside the toilet is accessible albeit without the appropriate grab rails.

Miel - fresh fruit on pancakes and waffles with Belgian chocolate

Miel – fresh fruit on pancakes and waffles with Belgian chocolate

We stay in Marina de la Duquesa every time we are over and last year I wrote about how difficult access around the complex was for wheelchair users, buggy users or anyone with mobility issues. I spoke with Victoria who in turn spoke with the committee and orchestrated some huge improvements. Thank you so much. The entire complex is now accessible. One of the four pools has steps and a rail whilst the other three have ladder access. It would be really great if the local authority did their bit regarding accessibility especially in relation to footpaths, signs etc. Drivers would also need to be re-educated on parking but noticeable markings might make a difference. I accept that the nature of Puerto de la Duquesa militates against total accessibility but so much more could be done.

To Top pool from BL3 - before

To Top pool from BL3 – before

From Bl 3 to pool

From Bl 3 to pool

From Bl 3 to pool

From Bl 3 to pool

Looking at Top Pool

Looking at Top Pool

From Bl 9/10 to pool

From Bl 9/10 to pool

From pool to BL 9/10

From pool to BL 9/10

Looking at large pool

Looking at large pool

Looking down at large pool  - before

Looking down at large pool – before

I have added a link to all the establishments we visited where they have there own web site

The Slow Boat (Click Here): Frontline Chinese restaurant. Food great but the ramp to the toilet could require a wheelchair with a strong motor or a strong pusher.

The Mexican (Click Here): Frontline Mexican restaurant. Food great and the toilet spacious and accessible

Griffins: Frontline bar and restaurant. Didn’t eat here but the ice-creams are gorgeous. I didn’t visit the toilets on this occasion but my recollection is that they are a bit tight and access is cramped

Dolphin : Frontline cafe. Food and drink great. Toilet accessible and spacious.

Ocean Bar (Click Here): Frontline cafe and bar. Great cakes and other food. Toilet accessible and spacious

C Bar (Click Here): Frontline cafe and bar. Great cakes and other food but didn’t get to check the toilet facilities

Casablanca Click (Here): Frontline Moroccan cuisine. Jean loved her choice but I didn’t particularly like mine. Toilet accessible and spacious.

Mandarin Palace: Frontline Chinese restaurant with great food, attentive staff and an accessible and spacious toilet unfortunately without grab rails.

Ciao:  First level Italian restaurant. Food great and the toilet was accessible and spacious

La Buena Vida: First level Spanish restaurant. Food great and I didn’t check the toilets but I was informed that they were not wheelchair accessible and a bit tight on space even without a wheelchair.

The Cork Tree: First level bar. Plenty of good company and drink. Plenty of out door tables and seating. Toilet is accessible and spacious but the storage of some bar stools takes some of the space.

Pat Dooleys Bar Duquesa: First level bar. Good company and drink, limited outdoor seating but the views from inside overlooking the Port more than make up for it. The men’s toilet is accessible with a bit of work but is not ideal.

Parapiros (Click Here): Top level Italian restaurant. Great food but being on the top level access requires assistance and the toilets are up steps without a ramp although the staff are exceptionally helpful

La Traviata (Click Here): Top level restaurant with a wide variety on the menu. Great food but the night we were there the access to the wheelchair accessible toilet had to be cleared. It was accessible and spacious

The Bistro Steakhouse: Top level restaurant with great food, drink and service. The wheelchair toilet is accessible and spacious.

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The Wilton, Cork

The Wilton

We popped out to Wilton Shopping Center earlier today and decided to visit a local hostelry for a sandwich as it was lunch time. The Wilton is very accessible with the appropriate ramped entrance and internal ramp also. Click here. The Beef Bap with chips was perfectly enjoyable as was the company of Elaine and Henry and Mairéad (home from London for the weekend). The wheelchair accessible toilet was not signed and was not accessible. It was inside the gents washroom but try as I might I could not get the door to close when the wheelchair was inside. A staff member was near by and I demonstrated the impossibility of the task. The solution is the usual inexpensive one, that is to change the door to outward opening. I hope management will take this constructive criticism on board.

Categories: Cork | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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.

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The Viaduct Inn, Cork

It has been a while since I posted anything so it’s time I started again. Jean treated me to lunch last Friday. We were on our way to West Cork after my latest accupuncture session. We stopped at the Viaduct Inn just minutes from Bishopstown, Cork. Click HERE to view their website. The food was lovely. Jean had a Spiced Beef Enchilada and I had Roast Beef. Access to the building is good. Disabled toilet facilities were poorly marked as was the designated disabled parking space, yes – one single space. The car occupyimg the space did not have a badge on display. The access ramp from the car park was clearly marked like a yellow box junction but on exiting the building we discovered some genius in a new white jeep had totally blocked it. It was obviuosly too far for the driver to walk another 20 feet from an available parking spot. You all know this person, his/her time is more valuable than ours and will only be a minute or two. Yeah! Right. Stupidity is not a disability. Management cannot  be held responsible for thoughtless and reckless patrons but could clearly do more in this instance

We continued West to meet a man by the name of Christy O’Sullivan and after only a short few minutes talking he pointed out that we were distant cousins and could trace part of our family tree back to the 1700’s. More work to be done there

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