Welcome to The Moodie Report’s temporary Limerick Bureau. I’d love to say it’s just like home, but that would be, in Irish vernacular, a load of blarney.
Above is the lovely, tranquil view from my hotel room of the beautiful grounds of Adare Manor (looking out towards a superb golf course).
I’m here for Aer Rianta International’s 25th Anniversary celebrations, which culminates in a lavish Gala Dinner tonight.
I’ve been asked to say a few words about the influence of the Irish on the global travel retail industry. I guess I might get away with a one-word speech – ‘Profound’. But it’s such a great theme that I intend to add a few more. As the evening starts in just over two hours, perhaps I better go start now – what is it about me that I can’t really start functioning until the deadline becomes nigh impossibly tight?
To get here, of course, I flew into Shannon Airport, the place where duty free began all those years ago in 1947. I wonder what its creator, the wonderful Dr Brendan O’Regan would make of it now. I’m sure that tonight, high above the clear skies of County Limerick, he’ll be looking down from the heavens with a paternal smile and great satisfaction at the Irish having done so very, very well, in making his great notion flourish.
Footnote: Earlier I had a brief walk around Adare Manor’s grounds. A middle-aged couple asked me if I would mind taking their photograph. “Sure I said, where are you folks from?”
“San Francisco,” the husband replied cheerily. “You might have seen the Americas Cup yachting over the past few weeks there?”
I suddenly went off Americans fast. I think I managed to catch their feet in the photo but nothing else.
“No, I don’t like yachting,” I replied, mentally adding a two-word rider, “Any more…”