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City Breaks in Europe – This Summer’s Hot Ticket

Typically when you think of summer holidays you begin to conjure up images of sitting on the beach all day sipping an umbrella drink, but more and more holidaymakers are moving to the city for their holidays, European cities specifically.

Obviously European cities are popular for a multitude of reasons: The history, the cuisine, the shopping.  There is something for everyone and it’s clearly a trend that many people looking to take holidays this year with many british tourists leaving the beaches of Spain and Greece in favour of city breaks all over the continent.

The main favourites for British tourists are Rome, Paris and Barcelona as they are well known.  Paris has many famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, L’Arc De Triomphe and the Louvre for the art lovers out there.  Rome also has a lot of historic remains from the days when Rome ruled most of Europe, amazing structure such as the Coliseum and the Circo Massimo have stood the test of time and can still be visited to this day.

There are plenty of other cities worthy of visiting though other than the big three of Western Europe, many of these can be reached by train from the previously mentioned big cities.  One such attraction is Venice which is famous for being the city built on waterways rather than roads.  Venice has been seen in many movies such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the new Italian Job and the recent James Bond movie Casino Royale.  Not far from Venice is Milan which is famed for being one of the fashion capitals of the world. 

Some tour operators may offer deals where you can have multiple stops on your trip to add a bit of variety.  One such instance could be getting flights to Rome or Venice, staying a few nights and then catching a train to Rome or Milan.  Near to Venice is also Lake Garda which can provide a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Other popular cities include Amsterdam and Prague, tow recent favourites for stag and hen weekends but also have amazing sights to see.  Prague is a brilliant example of Eastern European culture with buildings and architecture than is amazing to see especially when the snow has fallen.

flights to these cities can normally be found fairly cheap due to many holidays being booked in parts, one place for your hotel, and one place for your car hire and another for the cheap flights that get you there.

A lot of companies allow you to compose your own holiday and so you get to take on the role of a travel agent and make the perfect holiday for yourself.  These multi-stop city breaks ensure you can see all the places you want to in a short space of time, depending on how much you want to see you could spend only a day or two in one location or you could spend a week, with this kind of holiday you’re the boss and you can march to the beat of your own drum.


Madrid was once dwarfed by cities such as Rome, Paris and London, but after the death in 1975 of Francisco Franco, Spain’s dictator, it began growing one of the most culturally vibrant, round-the-clock cities on earth. If you take a Madrid weekend break or plan to stay for a while you will find that Madrid now has a mix of world-renowned artwork, busy public plazas, great cuisine and nightlife. Madrid has three reference points: The Puerta del Sol, the city’s absolute centre; the Plaza Mayor, The Golden Age core; and The glorious Plaza de Cibeles, with the most extravagant architecture. The oldest part of the city is commonly known as ‘Los Austrias’ after the Hapsburg dynasty. The Plaza Mayor is one of few parts for which the Habsburgs can really claim credit. An elegant arcaded square with some lurid murals added in the 1990s, this was where the greatest festivals and ceremonies of imperial Madrid were held, as well as bullfights and carnivals. It now has coin and stamp collectors markets on Sundays and lively dance bands during fiestas. Sol is Madrid’s most photographed square, home to the bear and strawberry tree statue. You will also find that much of the Madrid accommodation is part of the stunning architecture. Huertas & Santa Ana remains an important theatre district and for those art lovers planning a Madrid holiday, a visit to its three museums on ‘The Avenue of Art’ offers the chance to view countless famous works by notable masters. Among more than 7000 paintings in the Museo del Prado are pieces by Velazquez, El Greco, Titian, Rubens and Bosch. At the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, there are modern masters such as Dali, Miro and Picasso, including his masterpiece, Guernica. And the Museo de la Coleccion Thyssen-Bornemisza holds works by Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Goya.

There is a wide range of cheap hotels available to book online as well as cheap Madrid holidays and Madrid weekend break deals! Search for a Madrid hotel within certain dates using our site search facility, or use the link below to view the full listing of hotels in Madrid.

There are a wide range of cheap hotels in Madrid to suit families, couples, groups and singles. Combine cheap Madrid hotels and cheap flights to Madrid to create outstanding value Madrid holidays.

For information on cheap flights to Madrid please use the link below.


Even if you are only planning a Madrid weekend, make sure you leave just a little bit of time for shopping. Fashion for men, women and children from Spanish and international designers can be found around the streets of Almirante and Conde de Xiquena, as well as in the district of Salamanca which concentrates the best shops for jewelry, shoes, leather goods, furniture and gifts. Concentrated in and around the Plaza Mayor are plenty of shops selling traditional articles such as espadrilles, fabrics, ropes, hats and religious articles. Large department stores are located in the vicinity of the Puerta del Sol, and on the streets of Princesa, Goya and Castellana. Open-air markets such as the Rastro which is the most famous of the flea markets, opens on Saturdays and Sundays between the Plaza de Cascorro, La Latina and the street of Embajadores. Everything can be found here from valuable antiques to used clothing, including collector cards, books, records and paintings.


Madrid is one of the world’s liveliest cities, never sleeps and during weekends or before public holidays, and on the days running up to Christmas, it is not unusual to see more people out and about at 4, 5 or 6am in the morning than in many other cities during the day. Nightlife can be divided into the following areas – between Puerta del Sol and Plaza de Santa Ana, especially in a street called Calle Huertas is a great area if on foot as the many pubs, taverns, theatre-cafes and fashionable bars here are pretty close one to each other. Alonso Martinez and Bilbao are the names of two subway-stations, both of them in the heart of very lively areas. From the first one, try the locals around Plaza de Santa Barbara. Close to the other you will find, among others, Madrid’s most famous discoteque, Pacha, Argelles and Moncloa – Ciudad Universitaria are two more subway-stations where you may enjoy the ambience of Madrid’s university quarter. There are numerous traditional cafes to enjoy on a Madrid holiday, many of them decorated in the style of La “Belle Epoque”. On hot summer nights have a drink in one of the many beautiful terraces, where you will find large amounts of people until late in the night, mainly in Paseo de la Castellana especially between Cuzco and Paseo del Prado.


Language: Spanish

Currency: Euro

Airport: Madrid

Italys Art Of Good Living

Italy is mostly perceived by people as a country full of style which, only its own panache can match in the taste of good life. The food here is created with a desire to serve the very best of Italy. Kitchens in every part of Italy tries to outsmart, one another by introducing fresh recipes each time, comparatively being tastier than the other one. Their passion and zeal, for life is what that drives the Italian people. In Italy life is lived with so much zest, unlike any other place. Italy has its own ritual of modern day mating. Italian boys can be seen flaunting in their open top sports gear cruising by the street, looking cool, and roaming around in a desire to catch the any girls eyes. Girls getting dressed to the nines, pretending not to notice anything, drinking coffees in their designer dresses. This trend continues endlessly. In this region of Italy you can find a comfortable Italy vacation rental without any difficulty. Vacation in Italy is known as the fourth most popular holiday destination in the world. To this culturally diverse city the tourists flock annually. Majorities of diverse holidaymakers fly to Rome and rush for the Colosseum. The Hollywood movie Gladiator has brought an impression of real life. Many soldiers were thrown to the lions den with no mercy in 80 AD. This arena was then became the graveyard for these brave soldiers. The Vatican, technically not a part of Italy, lies within the walls of Rome. In fact it is the smallest country and an independent state. St Peter’s Cathedral is considered by all as the finest Renaissance Church of Christianity. It is a wonderful piece of architecture. Though one may have to compete with large crowds, the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is another must see piece of art. One should beforehand book ones visit so as not fall in trouble competing with large crowd. Overlooking Perugia is captivating small town of Assisi. Assisi sits high up in the mountains. Rocca Maggiore a 14th century fortress that was once regarded as a sentinel guarding this beautiful city. If one can negotiate the religious pilgrims then this place is worth watching. Also this is the place where St Francis was born. In the north part of Italy is the beautiful city of Milan. Milan is renowned for its exquisite shopping and fashion businesses. In fact the oldest shopping mall of the world the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is in Milan. Biblioteca Ambrosiana is among the most important libraries of European culture. It has Leonardo da Vincis sketches and copious documents of drawings and books. Italys richest architecture is the combination of these art pieces. Tourist feel that they get the best Italy vacation package here.Vacation in Italy, is a good place to start your vacation. You can start your vacation planning selecting Italy vacation rentals and popular itineraries, choosing from a wide range of Italy vacation packages. You may further customize it to suit your requirements and conveniences. You can view some of the most beautiful places in Italy dating from the period of the Etruscan , Rome & Venetian merchants.shttp://www.italy-vacation.com

Best airlines for a budget

Paris to Marrakesh and return for $85….Barcelona to Rome and back, $70….London to Milan, return, for four cents!

These are just a sample of the low airfares I turned up during a recent Internet search for travel across Europe and into North Africa.

Discount airlines are booming in Europe these days, and for medium and long-haul routes across the continent, they can’t be beat for timing and price. For cost-conscious travellers from North America, they open up a whole new world; jetting out to various exotic destinations from one European base at an affordable price. In many cases, it’s cheaper for North Americans to book an overseas ticket to one of the major hubs like London then book a discount airline on to their final destination, than it is to fly direct. There are some drawbacks, including a longer time in transit and the risk of missing a connection. But as long as you are aware of the potential problems and do a little planning, the results can save you hundreds of dollars, and open up destinations you never thought you could afford to reach.

How can you uncover these juicy airline deals? First, get yourself organized with a special folder in your Internet Browser so you can store all the information you find. Then start clicking away….

1) One-stop shopping. Visit www.whichbudget.com, a worldwide clearinghouse for information about discount airlines. Simply plug in the country and city you wish to depart from, and the site will list all the destinations to which you can travel using discount airlines, along with hotlinks to the airlines’ websites. Many results will show multiple carriers making the same run, so check out each one for the best deal. And save the ones you like in your Favourites folder for future reference.

2) Google It. Whichbudget’s website is comprehensive, but it may miss an airline or two. Don’t hesitate to do a search for something like “discount airlines france” to see what pops up. Add anything new you find to your Favourites folder.

3) Don’t Ignore the Big Guys. Any time you find a great fare between two points, make sure you check with the traditional airlines that may make the same trip. Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national carrier, converted itself into a discount carrier in the spring of 2007 to do battle with the more recent upstarts. In fact, Ryanair, the Irish airline that pioneered discount air travel more than a decade ago, tried to buy up its new competitor, but the offer was rebuffed

Cheap Airl Tickets – Flying On A Shoestring

1. If you fly frequently, consider joining a frequent flyer program.

Frequent flyer programs can offer long-term discounts, so don’t always buy the cheapest ticket. Once you factor in the free tickets that you eventually qualify for, you could end up saving money. This is an especially good strategy for those who often fly overseas – how many trips to Singapore would it take to accumulate enough frequent flyer miles to get a free domestic ticket?

2. Check the airlines’ own websites

Don’t restrict yourself to the major airlines. Some regional and national carriers offer cheap airfare. China Airlines, for example, might offer cut-rate airfare to Beijing.

3. Check the online travel agencies

Expedia and Orbitz are among the most popular. Travel agents purchase air tickets at a discount by buying in bulk from the airlines, so they can often offer you cheaper rates than the airlines.

4. Be flexible.

Cheap airfares are often available only on certain days and require you to stay a certain minimum time.

5. Try the small agents in ethnic enclaves.

If you live in a big city and want a ticket to Japan, for example, go to Little Tokyo and check out the small agencies. If you want to go to Rome, check out Little Italy. I have purchased round trip tickets from Los Angeles to Tokyo for as little as US$500.

6. Book in advance.

Tickets booked in advance are normally cheaper than last minute purchases.

7. Buy from an air courier service.

Air courier services are companies that buy your luggage allowance in exchange for discounted tickets. Although they are the cheapest tickets available, they are usually reserved for international travel. Please note, however, that you may only bring carry-on luggage.

8. Become a student.

An International Student ID Card will get you lots of places cheap.

9. Offer to pay your way aboard an unregistered cargo plane by cleaning toilets and mopping the deck (bring along a parachute and you can stop anywhere you like – for the very adventurous only!).

More Flights To Mexico

Consistently ranking as one of the top international destinations for U.S. travelers, Mexico has seen steady growth in airline and tourism options in recent years. American interest in Mexican resorts and spas has grown in tune with Mexico’s long-term tourism plan, a focus that contributes over $12 billion dollars annually to the nation’s economy. In fact, Mexico has become so popular with travelers that Cancun now ranks third behind London and Rome in international air bookings placed at a popular online travel site.

During the past six months, both major airlines and low-cost carriers in the United States and Canada have expanded service to several cities and resorts in Mexico by adding flights to existing routes and launching new services. As a result, Mexico’s 20 million annual visitors, over 80% of which come from the U.S. and Canada, can expect to see better rates and increased options for airfare and vacation packages.

At the forefront of this expansion into the Mexican air travel market is Frontier Airlines. With plans to launch round-trip service between Denver and Guadalajara in December, Frontier will now offer flights to eight of Mexico’s premier resort destinations. Having established a “secondary hub” in Cancún that services seven U.S. cities, Frontier has afforded American tourists increased access to the city’s unique resorts and spas. The carrier offers nonstop flights between Cancun and all seven of its U.S. cities.

In recent months, Atlanta-based Delta Airlines has begun offering new non-stop services to several Mexico resort destinations such as Acapulco, Merida, and Ixtapa from Atlanta; Mazatlan from Salt Lake City; and Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco from New York’s JFK.

Just this year as well, United Airlines has added services from Chicago to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, in addition to a popular route between Los Angeles and Cancun. In all, United now has 16 distinct routes to Mexico from the American mainland.

Even smaller carriers like Alaska Airlines have greatly expanded their offerings. Alaska’s flight capacity to Mexico has grown by 22% in recent months, with most flights originating in the Pacific Northwest and California and traveling to Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.

Many carriers have also introduced seasonal flight services for the winter months. American Airlines’ new weekly non-stop service from JFK to San Jose del Cabo in the Baja California region will be offered from Dec. 16 to April 9, 2007. For their part, Northwest Airlines will add several seasonal routes from Midwestern cities to Acapulco, Manzanillo and Ixtapa.

Much like their American counterparts, Mexican airlines are also making travel more accessible with expanded flight offerings. Aeromexico and Mexicana already operate daily routes between New York’s JFK and Mexico City, while Mexicana and its low-fare carrier, Click, will begin service from Baltimore to Mexico City and Miami to Cancun. Flights within Mexico have also increased, making it easier to visit multiple resorts in one family vacation.

Even Canadian airlines are getting in on the action. Air Canada has added 25 additional non-stop flights per week, bringing the carrier’s total to 61. Included in the new routes are services from Toronto to Cozumel and Ixtapa and Montreal to Mexico City. Sunwing Airlines has begun offering flights from Montreal and Ottawa to Acapulco and between Toronto and Cozumel.

Most importantly, this trend doesn’t show any signs of stopping as airlines, travel companies and the Mexican government continue to lure American and Canadian tourists. Currently, affordable flights and vacation packages aren’t difficult to find, a fact sure to further increase interest in Mexico as an international travel destination. Perhaps it can be said that there has never been a better time to plan that Cancun family vacation or romantic getaway to Puerto Vallarta.

Travel tour Italy

Traveling to Italy can be a dream-come-true experience. From the Ancient Roman Empire to the Medieval Tuscan fortress towns and the Venetian Republic, Italy has got culturally rich history to offer the curious visitors. With a lot of options for cheap travel, people across the world have started visiting Italy for their vacations. For a complete European experience, you need to visit this romantic destination of Italy. If looking for budget accommodations, you can go for cheap hotels and budget hotels in Italy.
Italy has got lots in store for the lovers of art, history, architecture, and music. With a blend of all these panache, Italy stands apart with its rich, bold, and romantic flavors. Italy is the most visited vacation spot in Europe. People in Italy are charming and sociable. They like to do everything in a big and better way. Some of the favorite topics among the Italians are food, families, music and custom. Knowing Italy through books and media is not enough to cherish its splendor. Visit this place to include in the list of the memorable experiences of your life.
What’s stopping you from taking a vacation to Italy? Is it high expenditure, insufficient budget, and chaos of booking a hotel? No need to worry! A variety of trusted providers offer quality services that help you find Cheap Hotel, budget accommodation, and discount hotels. If not a hotel, then you can rent a house or an apartment for a few days. Another way of sticking on to your budget in Italy is to use public transportation whenever possible. Italy is popular for its far reaching rail network. You can also take an Italian pocket dictionary for an adventurous feel.
Another way of saving money without compromising on quality is to go for an off-season vacation. Try to avoid peak season from summer months of June to August. The best off-season month to visit Italy is September. Do not worry; the sights of the Italian summer would still be bountiful in September. One of the plus points of visiting Italy in off-season is that you can roam around without seeing crowds of visitors. Moreover the services would even be better owing to the low number of people visiting. Hotel rates per night go more affordable during off-season. Also the hotels and airfares are cheaper in the off season as compared to other times. One can also find a variety of discounts that are available for guided tours.For complete information on travel to Italy and other regions in Europe, discount hotels, Cheap Hotel, and budget accommodation in Italy, visit www.TravelTourItaly.com.
Italy Tour/a> Italy travel guide for tours, vacation in Italy, Hotels in Rome, Venice, Naples, Florence, to Italian Hotels, Milan, cheap lodging, Accommodation, Budget Rooms, Sightseeing, Italian Beaches.

Holidays in Milan

Milan is the second largest cosmopolitan city of Italy after Rome. It is one of the chief silk markets in Europe. Inhabitants of the Milan are very fashionable and particular about their dresses, perfumes and hair styles. Milan is well-known as a holiday station and considered as hot destination for city breaks. There are many travel agents offering cheap flights and hotel packages in Milan. You can easily book online yourself Milan city breaks for a holiday or business trip.

Milan is a vigorous metropolitan area offering a absolute variety of actions and tourist attractions. Milan’s climate is Mediterranean and you can comfortably visit throughout the year. Mountains to the north guard the city from the nastiest of the Arctic chills, but there are the periodic cold snaps. The throbbing heart of Milan is Piazza Del Duomo the whole city seems to revolve around the square; people can be seen everywhere, either on their way to the office, out for shopping, off to the theatre, or else slowly walking around under the elegant arcade. Milan is a class destination for city breaks.

Shopping In Milan

The most important pull of the Milan is shopping and eating. The country is leads in fashion and design technology. Fashion is its lifeblood, and is a dwelling for some of the world’s most stylish boutiques, designed by leading architects with modest elegance. There are many showrooms with the work of glass and mirror and there are shops selling rare and original furniture. Milan is ranked nearby Paris and London as one of Europe’s greatest places to shop. A short break in Milan will always be cherished by you even long after your holidays. You can find the every thing in this city, specially its in the fashion and design. For a luxury shopping in Milan, the sort out places are Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Sant’Andrea. In case of the affordable purchase there are Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Corso Buenos Aires, Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese. Corso Buenos Aires is one of the longest streets in Europe.

Hotels In Milan

Milan can boasts of many hotels ensuring a quiet, peaceful and a enjoyable stay for business and leisure travellers alike. The graceful location of hotels in Milan offers a beautiful view and superb inner courtyard. You can get the cheapest rates for Milan hotels at http://www.mymilan.co.uk. You can also choose the location that suits you best as they offer hotels in all districts of Milan.

Cuisines, Nightlife, Clubs, Pubs & Cafes

Eating is one of Milan’s greatest delights. The city has implemented a number of international recipes over the years, it is famous for fast foods, cakes and desserts. The Brera area has several modish restaurants and countless bar viz. wine bars, pubs, cafés, bistros, wine cellars, live music bars and lots more to opt from. The Milan night’s panorama is very comprehensive and keep modifying its variations. Milan has some of Italy’s top clubs, cinemas and bars, it is famed as the Italy’s clubbing capital.

City Breaks In Milan With Flights & Hotels

There are many UK based travel agents offering cheap city breaks to Milan. They also provide cheap flights to Milan and hotels in Milan in their short break packages at discounted rates. You can book a short city breaks to Milan at http://www.mymilan.co.uk and receive an additional discount of £5.00 per person on very online booking of flights & hotels in Milan. The discount of £5.00 are offered only for city break packages thought you can book only flights or only hotels as well at very cheap contracted rates. Get yourself ready for spending your weekend holidays in Milan as www.mymilan.co.uk makes available everything you need for apleasant & relaxing city break.

Flights to Cork, Ireland

Cork International Airport is the gateway to the beautiful Southwest of Ireland. Last year over 3.2 million visitors passed through its terminals – it has certainly come a long way since its first landing back in 1961. Cork Airport is now the 3rd largest airport in the Republic of Ireland. Located just 8 kilometres south from Cork City centre and ideally positioned on the N22, N20, N8 and N25, there’s easy access from all areas.

SkyLink and Bus Éireann operate a regular service between the airport and the city centre. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes. Bus Éireann also run a service to Kinsale, taking in Cork Airport. You’ll find a taxi rank outside the arrivals hall. You can also hire a car at one of the car rental desks. Our advice though is to book your car hire before you travel to Cork to avoid disappointment.

Just two years ago on the 15th August 2006, Cork Airport officially opened a new state of the art terminal. Designed by Jacobs Engineering Group and HOK, this new terminal is the first 21st century airport terminal of it?s kind in Ireland.

Located right in the centre of Cork Airport Complex you’ll find the Radisson SAS Hotel. This is a popular hotel ideal for those wishing to catch an early morning flight or who have a late arrival time. Offering first class facilities all rooms are en-suite and include satellite television, direct dial telephone, trouser press, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar on request and all rooms are air conditioned. There’s also a 24 hour shuttle bus service to and from Cork Airport available. Two other excellent choices are the 3 star Travelodge Cork Airport and the 4 star Cork International Airport Hotel.

Which airlines fly to/from Cork?

A very large number of Irish, British and European destinations are serviced by Cork Airport, the complete list of scheduled flight destinations is as follows:

Alicante – Aer Lingus
Amsterdam – Aer Lingus
Barcelona – Aer Lingus
Belfast – Aer Arann
Berlin – Aer Lingus
Birmingham – Aer Lingus & bmi baby
Bratislava (Vienna) – SkyEurope
Brest – Aer Arann
Bristol – Aer Arann
Carcassonne – Ryanair
Cardiff – Aer Arann
Dublin – Aer Arann & Ryanair
East Midlands – Ryanair (until October 2008)
Edinburgh – Aer Arran
Faro – Aer Lingus
Galway – Aer Arann
Gdansk – Wizz Air
Geneva – Aer Lingus
Glasgow – Ryanair (until October 2008)
Jersey – Aer Lingus
Katowice – Wizz Air
Lanzarote – Aer Lingus
La Rochelle – Aer Arann
Leeds Bradford – Aer Arann
Liverpool – Ryanair
London Gatwick – Ryanair
London Heathrow – Aer Lingus
London Stansted – Ryanair
Lorient – Aer Arann
Malaga – Aer Lingus
Manchester – bmi baby & Aer Lingus
Munich – Aer Lingus
Nantes – Aer Arann
Newcastle – Jet2.com
Newquay – Air Southwest
Nice – Aer Lingus
Paris – Aer Lingus
Plymouth – Air Southwest
Prague – Aer Lingus
Rome – Aer Lingus
Southampton – Aer Arann
Tenerife – Aer Lingus
Warsaw – Wizz Air

For holiday destinations operating from Cork here is a listing of Charter Flights to/from Cork Airport:

Almeria – Falcon
Bodrum – Sunworld
Bulgaria – Sunway, Budget Travel, Falcon, Concorde.
Dubrovnik – Condorde, Sunworld.
Faro – Budget Travel, Sunworld, Topflight, Stein Travel, Panorama, Falcon.
Gran Canaria – Budget Travel, Sunway, Stein Travel.
Heraklion – Budget Travel.
Izmir – Budget Travel, Sunway, Sunworld.
Lanzarote – Budget Travel, Sunway, Sunworld, Stein Travel, Falcon, Topflight, Panorama Travel.
Majorca – Sunway, Stein Travel, Budget Travel, Falcon, Sunworld, Panorama.
Malaga – Stein Travel, Budget Travel, Falcon.
Reus – Budget Travel, Falcon.
Santorini – XL Airways.
Tunisia – Panorama.
Verona – Topflight.

Mairead Foley writes for the Ireland travel and accommodation website http://www.GoIreland.com

Visit GoIreland for all you need to know before visiting Cork, like what to see and where to go. You can also book B&Bs, hostels, guesthouses, self catering and Cork hotels.

Dream of Flying

Flying Lesson

Unaided I could fly, swooping and diving.

No Icarus was I for what was there about me

that could melt? – no wings necessary;

just the will not to be on my feet and

no ambition for cloud lands that only freeze.

I knew the secret and could tell it, so soon

it was a family affair. We had a journey to make

to a place and for a purpose I cannot now recall

if indeed I ever knew.

Low we went and fast, laughing at the surprise

on every ground-fast face. We swerved between them

just inches from the pavement. At first we flew sitting

as if on invisible seats: our magic was prosaic;

but soon we became bolder.

Once I broke away down a peeling corridor to a dingy bar and through it without stopping to order: no greater intoxication needed.

After the swerves came now the swoops, clearing buildings with outspread limbs and unpractised ease, for confidence and skill came without effort. I tell you there was no fear and why should you disbelieve this plain fact? (Pilate asked what truth was, but I know he never flew – except in old jokes)

I let the others go on and perched on a chimney pot to think this out. How did I know old Pontius never flew?

One night in Judea he could have dreamed of soaring over the sea to Rome. But I dismissed that at once as irrelevant, for I was not dreaming.

For me then, on that hard unsteady roost, I was in the real world that had brought me sudden and unlooked for grace, just as true as all the griefs and joys that buffet and bend us from our first breathing.

I knew I had the knowledge of the birds, but no need of wings or mighty muscles. All you had to do was clear and simple – to be freely shared as soon as I was ready. But that was for later: now my companions were gone and I was just sitting. It was time to fly again.

Time to fly again, but now without remembrance of how I had first begun. The chimney pot was suddenly steeple high. A time for thought to cease. I trusted and toppled forward. A slither on damp slates and then, and then, a joyful soar.

And I knew the secret again and I knew that trust was part of it. Not all of it, but the soul of it, if a secret can have a soul. So much easier to trust when flying. Staying low now, arms outflung, along a road straight and deep between hushed trees. It was growing dark, but I did not doubt I would find the others.

I was with them again and we flew together among high silent ruins of factories. All life was gone from their gaunt bricks and chimneys but we were not oppressed, so full were we of our common gift. For us they were not lifeless husks of expectation: they were a playground in which we wheeled and circled.

Then I woke up quite suddenly. For a moment I thought I still had the secret, but the shade of Pilate sniggered as I walked to catch my train.