Rachel Gaffney’s Letter From Texas

 This month the famous foodie who’s flying the tricolour for us in Texas shares her thoughts on Promoting Ireland – and draws our attention to a place that we already love which adds a whole new dimension to being ‘ pet friendly’!

As I write this column, the news is circulating across the globe that we are experiencing COVID spikes in the Sun States, namely California, Florida and Texas. Most people know I live in Dallas. People may see or hear that I am in Ireland this summer, and they would be correct. This trip has been planned for quite some time and it is not a holiday.

Once I arrive, I will be giving my information as required to the authorities in Ireland and will then spend 2 weeks in quarantine, also required. Ordinarily I would simply re arrange my flights for another time. I have been working with a TV producer in Connecticut for a few years and we are filming over a period of four weeks. We have hired the cameraman in Ireland and after my quarantine we will hit the road visiting North Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Connemara, Co Down and Dublin.

I have just completed my fourth month of stay at home in my house here in Dallas. My only outings have been to the grocery store, one doctors appointment and a much needed eye doctor appointment. A girl has to be able to see! I seem to have lost all sense of time and I am now really missing my friends and my kids. My oldest lives Downtown Dallas and he does not leave his apartment either. Our youngest did not return from University as he did not want to risk coming home either. I miss them very much also.

During this time frame I have learned so much more about Ireland. I have made some wonderful new connections and friends through social media. As much as people might dislike Zoom or Instagram Live, I find they have introduced me to people, places and products in a better way.

Today, for example, I hosted an Instagram Live conversation with Rosaleen McMeel, former Editor of Image Magazine, who now writes for The Currency News and CEO Magazine Australia. We talked about our likes and must haves coming out of Ireland. The idea was and still is very simple. Tell people the stories. Share the products. I learned about new skincare products, new fashion designers and places. Rosie learned about a few from me also. People joined in and waved. We included them. I have developed a feeling for a certain brand, property or person through their social media accounts. Some are really great at engaging and this engagement works.

A few weeks ago, I received a tweet from Barrow house in Tralee. A luxurious eight bedroomed guesthouse overlooking the water. They had me at hens. Yes, hens. When they told me they had a spa and guest house for hens, I knew I had to learn more. I am a frustrated farmer really. I like the land and the sea and the dirt. But, I simply love, hens, chickens and bees. I found out that they do indeed have a special hen house for guests who want to bring theirs with them. I simply love this. So much so, that I just have to visit and check it out as I think this is a property my clients will simply love.

If I won’t stay there, then I won’t book you there is my mantra. It’s important for me to know everything about a place. If Daragh McDonagh had not drawn my attention to this hen and chicken spa, I might have missed it. It is yet again another reason why people in the travel and hospitality business must and should engage whenever they can. It works if you work it.

Again, if you see me or hear that I am in the area, please remember that I will be self quarantining for two weeks and doing everything required of me. And do please send me tweet or follow me on Instagram of you think I should know about your property.

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