RSVP Magazine

Ian Dempsey Gives Us His Top Travel Tips, Must See Places And How His Honeymoon Didn’t Go To Plan

Let’s be honest, the closest thing we’ll get to a trip abroad right now is a virtual holiday. As celebs around the world kick off the new year with envy-inducing snaps of their antics away from home, we are dreaming of getting some sun, sea and adventure of our own.

Whether it is travelling through the Thai jungle, checking out the Icelandic waterfalls, or simply savouring the Ring of Kerry, everyone has a favourite holiday hotspot. We asked these IAN DEMPSEY for his top travelling tips and must-see places to visit.

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Where was your first ever holiday?

The first holiday I remember was to Warrenpoint in Co. Down. My parents were obviously ahead of the game on house swapping because a family from Northern Ireland took over our house in Dublin for a fortnight and we headed to the seaside. Their house was much more interesting than ours. It was on the sea front, there were at least three stories and there was a locked room which we couldn’t get into – my brother and I considered a break-in to discover the trove of treasures beyond the padlock, but he then broke his toe trying to lift his underpants off the floor like George Best so that put an end to that!

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

I love Portugal. In the madness of the Celtic Tiger we bought a villa in Almancil which is about 15 minutes from Faro airport so once you land you’re on holiday straight away. I’m not really a sun worshipper but I love blue skies and sunny days. Portugal, unlike Spain in my opinion, seems to have a lot more space for everybody and the people are more laid-back too.

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Where’s the worst place you ever visited?

On our honeymoon we booked a hotel in Cannes, south of France, which looked great in the brochure. It wasn’t. It was on the wrong side of the train tracks and there was carpet not only on the floor in our room but also right up the wall. But we had each other! If only TripAdvisor was a thing in 1986.

If money was no object, where would you go?

I recently went to Dubai for a short break and I loved it. I’d like to go again with a bundle of cash because it’s an expensive place. The buildings all around Dubai are awesome and each one outdoes the last. I know people say there’s a darker side to it but I was very taken by how law abiding it seemed to be. In restaurants and bars women hung their handbags off the back of their chairs and left their mobiles on the table when they went out  to get air.

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What’s been your worst travel disaster?

I flew back from Florida alone about 20 years ago and had to stop in Atlanta for a connecting flight. That flight was cancelled so I was put up in a hotel by the airline, on the outskirts of Atlanta. Inside the room there were signs telling me to lock and double lock my door and to not leave any windows open. There were noises (of pain but it may have been something else) in the next door room and the wails of sirens outside were constant. I thought I’d never get out of the place. My flight the next day was at 8:30 in the evening – I had checked in and was through to the boarding gate at 9:30 that morning.

What’s your most treasured holiday memory?

I love Japan and have been there three times so far. I love the way the people are so friendly and forward. A man came up to me in a restaurant in Nagano and sat beside me for about 20 minutes to simply practice his English. In a train station in Osaka, I asked a Japanese businessman to tell me which platform I needed to go to and he walked with me for ten minutes, showed me the spot and then walked back to where he was originally. And in Tokyo, the patience of the Japanese shone through when myself and my Today FM colleagues, with really very little sleep, literally hogged the Karaoke machine for a whole night. Jon Bon Jovi will never be the same again!

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