Donegal holiday home named amongst best in the country

first_imgA Donegal holiday home has been named amongst the best in the country in a national travel awards scheme by Sykes Holiday Cottages.Mulroy View, a five-bedroom cottage overlooking Mulroy Bay near Kerrykeel in County Donegal, picked up the silver award.The property is ideal for families and friends celebrating special occasions or looking to explore this part of the country. The Donegal property was only bettered by Marino, an impressive rental property in Liscannor, County Clare.It took home gold thanks to its cosy living spaces and spectacular sea views. The property has a nautical theme, with décor inspired by the nearby fishing village and harbour.Bronze was awarded to A Country View Cottage, a rental close to Athenry in County Galway with its own games room including a full-size snooker table and minibar.Now in its third year, Sykes received 2,500 entries from throughout the UK and Ireland across 30 categories – ranging from Best for Romance to Best for Glamping, alongside regional winners. All three properties beat off tough competition from others shortlisted, but the judges were impressed by their style and facilities, as well as occupancy rates and customer feedback on cleanliness, comfort, location and value for money.Harriet Kerr, commercial director at Sykes Holiday Cottages, said: “The Sykes Gem Awards have given us the chance to celebrate unique holiday homes and their owners. More and more travellers are opting for staycations over holidays on the continent, and last year we saw a boost in bookings to Ireland.“Because of this, those with a second home or money to invest are increasingly turning to holiday letting – who knows, we may see them on the Sykes Gems shortlist next year!”Graham Donoghue, Sykes Holiday Cottages’ CEO, added: “We launched the awards to recognise and reward the hard work of the owners who are part of the Sykes family. Back then, we had no idea how popular they would be, but we’ve been overwhelmed by the response and this year received a record number of submissions.“I love being part of the judging panel – you hear about peoples’ passion for holiday letting and everything they do to go above and beyond to deliver unforgettable breaks throughout the UK and Ireland.” Cormac O’Suilleabhain, from Tourism Ireland, said: “Awards like this one serve to shine a spotlight on Ireland and the brilliant breaks available here. I was blown away by the standard of the entries, so it was tough to choose between them, but all three properties are very deserving winners.”Donegal holiday home named amongst best in the country was last modified: October 25th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Sykes Holiday Cottageslast_img read more

Exploring bicycle culture in South Africa

first_imgJohannes van Wyk and his children Chris, Danisha and Sarie not only cycle, but arealso capable bicycle mechanics. Twin sisters Louisa and Johanna Mokoaqoencourage each other’s love of cycling.Marina le Grange prefers to cycle short distances, rather than getting into a car. (Images: Day One Publications) MEDIA CONTACTS • Stan EngelbrechtDay One Publications+27 82 928 6586 RELATED ARTICLES • SA’s first hydrogen bike rolled out • Improving lives with bicycles • Bikes for Africa – from bamboo • School campaign helps change lives• Going green for 2010Wilma den HartighTwo South African friends who share an enthusiasm for bicycles and cycling have started a project that explores South African bicycle culture and commuting on the saddle.The project, called Bicycle Portraits, is the idea of Stan Engelbrecht, a photographer and publisher, and Nic Grobler, a motion graphics designer.The focus of the project is to provide insight into the lives of people who use bicycles for daily commuting, instead of just leisure or exercise. With global warming a concern across the planet, the efforts of these energetic people have the potential to make a big difference.Since early 2010, Engelbrecht and Grobler have travelled across the country, on their own bicycles, to take photographs of saddle commuters and their bikes.“It has been an incredible journey to meet South Africans who rely on two wheels for transport, and also to meet their bicycles,” Grobler says.They have been everywhere, from South Africa’s major cities to the West Coast, from country towns in the Free State to Orania in the Northern Cape.“So many times, when we look at the bicycle and the owner, they just fit together. I don’t know how it works, it is just a weird connection,” Grobler says.South Africa’s diversity of peopleEngelbrecht and Grobler have photographed South Africans of all ages, and from all walks of life. Some of the cyclists they meet along the way use bicycles because they cannot afford cars or public transport. Others just love cycling.Marinda le Grange, from Orania in the Northern Cape, had this to say about her bicycle: “The most enjoyable thing for me on the bicycle is when I become daring enough to ride with no hands, just to pedal and not hold on – then I feel young.”David Mamabolo, from Muckleneuk in Pretoria, said many people want him to sell his bicycle to them. “But I always say no because I really like it. You see, it’s an old one like me.”Chrystl Küstner, from Pretoria in Gauteng, works as a physiotherapist and uses her bicycle to visit patients. “I like cycling with a purpose, not just for the sake of it. I go to the shops and I do my shopping, carrying a backpack and using my carrier. I do all my shopping with the bicycle, or with my feet – I don’t like driving with a car,” she says.Awie Harmse bought a bicycle because he can’t afford a car. Salmon Mojaki says that his bicycle may have an old frame, but it is one of the strongest frames you can get, and his bicycle has been the best transport he’s ever had.Many benefitsEngelbrecht and Grobler are raising funds to publish a full-colour hardcover photographic book early next year of their travels, the people they have met and their stories.The co-founders hope the project and the book will encourage more South Africans to get on to their bicycles and start peddling.Strangely, besides all the benefits one could enjoy from owning a bicycle, commuter cyclists still seem to be a rare breed,” Engelbrecht says. As they spent more time on the road, they realised just how few South Africans use bicycles to commute.They also want to change perceptions about cycling. Given all the benefits, such as independence, health, fitness, cost-effectiveness, and kindness to the environment, more South Africans from all social classes should be encouraged to use bicycles.Many of the cyclists they interviewed told them that cycling was easier on the pocket. Cycling helps them to save money every month by avoiding public transport. However, Engelbrecht says that he’s not exactly sure why so few people don’t own bicycles or cycle.Some of the reasons they have identified include cultural intolerance, stigma of poverty, physical danger and lack of infrastructure. “We’ve noticed that as our major centres develop there still seems to be a trend to make cities more friendly for cars, not people,” he says.If roads were more cycle-friendly and the correct infrastructure was established, owning a bicycle could change the lives of many people. South Africa’s socio-economic climate makes it the ideal location for cycle commuting, Grobler says.For more people to take up cycling, there is a great need for good quality, yet affordable and comfortable bicycles in South Africa.Cheap imported bicycles are another challenge, he says. They have too many gears, smart paint jobs and are poorly made. “Second-hand bicycles can be cheap but simple, robust and easy to maintain. That is what we need,” he says.Inspiring South Africans to cycleThrough the project, Engelbrecht and Grobler also want to empower underprivileged South Africans. Some of their ideas include teaching bicycle maintenance skills and providing cyclists with important cycling gear such as helmets, tyres, tubes and locks.One of their long-term goals is to create a support structure such as a trust funded through a percentage of book sales, or a charity, for people who appear in the book.Grobler says that they have relied on social networking sites such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness of the Bicycle Portraits project.This has been very successful and has created an entire community of local and international followers who are interested in the project. Some fans are cycling fanatics, but others are not familiar with bicycles at all.The Kickstarter initiativeEngelbrecht and Grobler decided to raise funds through the Kickstarter social-network pledge-for-a-reward fundraising page.Anyone with a creative idea can pitch it on the Kickstarter website. The way it works is simple: every project must have a funding goal (an amount in dollars) and a time limit between one and 90 days, determined by the creator of the project.Once the deadline is reached, funding will either be successful if it reached the goal, or terminated. If it meets the goal, all pledge amounts are collected at once and the money is handed over to the project creator. In return, the project must be completed as promised.If the project does not meet the funding goal all pledges are cancelled. To encourage people to pledge, each project has to offer a reward as part of the pledge deal. Engelbrecht and Grobler have undertaken that each person who donates US$50 (about R348) or more will receive a copy of the book.Their goal is to raise $35,000 (R243 862) to complete the production of the book. Fundraising has been divided into three pledge drives. The third and final fundraising leg will start in December.In the first phase, they raised more than $15,000 (R104 512) to cover travelling, shooting, writing and preparation of the content for the second phase of the project.In the second pledge phase, $9,000 (R62 707) was collected for design, layout and pre-printing preparations. They hope that the third fundraising phase will raise $12,500 (R87 093) for printing and binding of 3000 copies of the book.Revealing the spirit of South AfricansIn comparison with the rest of Africa, and a country like the Netherlands, South Africa has quite a bit of catching up to do when it comes to cycle commuting. But besides motivating more South Africans to cycle, Engelbrecht says the project has also revealed the character and friendliness of South Africa’s people. Wherever they went, people were big-hearted, eager to share their stories, and truly inspirational, he says.last_img read more

New malting barley guide highlights potential for a growing market

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Farmers who want to tap into the state’s surging craft brew industry now have a guidebook to help them grow a key ingredient: barley for malting.Since raising barley for beer is considerably different from growing it to feed animals, grain experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University have just published a guide on growing it for malting. In Ohio, winter barley is planted in early fall and harvested in late June, typically avoiding high temperatures that can increase protein content in the grain.Barley for beer needs to be low in protein and high in carbohydrates. Barley for feed animals, which is what most of the barley grown in Ohio is used for, is the opposite: high in protein and low in carbohydrates.“We’re looking forward to beer made from Ohio-grown barley,” said Eric Stockinger, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. “It’s taken us a lot to get to this point.”The number of acres planted in malting barley in Ohio is on the rise, spurred by the state’s growing craft brew industry, Stockinger said. He is testing seed varieties in plots across Ohio to find one that will produce barley suitable for malting and good enough for beer.A new privately-owned malting facility is expected to be built in Marysville, creating a demand for local barley. Malting involves soaking dry barley, letting it germinate and then drying it for use in making craft beer.As it stands now, much of the craft beer made in Ohio uses barley from outside the state, including Europe.Farmers who plant barley for malting need to guard against head scab, caused by a fungus that can reduce the quality of the barley grain, said Laura Lindsey, a small grains specialist with Ohio State University Extension. Lindsey has test plots of winter barley around the state and both she and Stockinger are among the authors of the new guide on growing the crop.Applying the right amount of nitrogen at the right stage is critical because too much nitrogen or nitrogen applied too late could increase the protein content in the barley, making it unsuitable for beer, Lindsey said.“If quality standards are met for the barley, there should be a premium for the grain,” she said. “Farmers are very excited about it. Prices are low for wheat, corn and soybeans, so they’re looking for a niche, a new opportunity.”Barley for malting is expected to bring in $6 to $7 a bushel, Stockinger said.While that price may be attractive, if anything goes amiss in harvesting or storing the barley, the malting facility could reject the crop, and currently there are no secondary markets for it. Barley for malting can’t be stored in a common silo because if the barley mixes with other barley varieties, it can be rejected, Stockinger said. A maltster may also reject barley if the seed coat of the grain is damaged during harvest.“The malting companies only want the best stuff,” he said. “Ohio has the capacity to produce the finest quality malting barley, but doing so will also require that the growers are diligent in managing their crop.”last_img read more

Updated Encyclopedia Page on Photovoltaic Systems

first_imgNew material and more informationThese new economic realities forced us to take a fresh look at the Photovoltaic Systems page in the GBA Encyclopedia. The page has been updated with new material and revised information on PV costs.The Photovoltaic Systems page is one of many articles in the GBA Encyclopedia that is available only to GBA Pro members. To enjoy all of the benefits of GBA Pro membership, subscribe to GBA Pro today or try our 14-day free trial.GBA Pro members are invited to take a look at the new encyclopedia page, and post comments and suggestions for improvements. Only a few years ago, the installed cost of a grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) system was about $7 per watt. Now that inexpensive PV modules are widely available, the price has been cut in half (to about $3.50 per watt) in many areas of the U.S.As architect Jesse Thompson pointed out in his GBA guest blog, PV Systems Have Gotten Dirt Cheap, falling PV prices are a game-changer.last_img read more

The Invisible Force Ruining Your Culture

first_imgThere is a force that causes businesses to produce results that are far less than the those they are capable of creating. It causes them to lose the talented employees they need, and it causes them to treat their clients and customers poorly—and in some cases, to treat them as adversaries. Like all of the most powerful forces on Earth, it is invisible to the naked eye. This force is negativity.The Only Cancer That Spreads by Contact  Negativity is the only cancer that spreads by contact. It is passed from Patient Zero, the carrier, to the people with whom they come into contact. It starts with Patient Zero complaining about “the way things are” and “the way things should be,” even though the person infected with negativity never does anything to make things better. To do something about things that might be better, you have to be a positive, optimistic, future-oriented individual with the ability to see things as better than they are and work towards that vision.Patient Zero’s complaints starts to infect susceptible Future Hosts with a seductive idea, the idea that none of the challenges or problems are the fault of Patient Zero or the Future Host. Instead, the problems are external forces working on Patient Zero and their prospective Host.The problems come from their unreasonable difficult clients, the ones that no one could serve because they are so needy, always asking for help producing the results they need. Other problems are the result of Patient Zero’s inept leadership team who is nowhere near as smart as Patient Zero. Then there are the other employees, the ones who actually believe that they do good work and make a difference for their clients. Over time, because Patient Zero continues to whisper in the ears of those who are keen to believe that nothing is their fault, there are new Hosts carrying the infection and infecting others. At some point, because the disease presses on unopposed, it runs rampant.Fighting the Infection  The advice given to boxers before a fight is apt advice here: “Protect yourself at all times.” If you are a leader, protect your culture at all times.If you don’t know who Patient Zero is, it’s likely they are right now reshaping your culture to one that is negative. If you know who Patient Zero is and have done nothing to protect yourself, your team, and your culture, their infection is likely already spreading throughout your company, making your culture something that repels good people instead of attracting them.To create a positive, optimistic, future-oriented, and empowered culture, you have to remove people who work against those ends before they destroy your culture. You have to work twice as hard on shaping a culture around beliefs and values that bring out the best in people, that provide them with a sense of agency, and that allows to do meaningful work.last_img read more