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The end result is a series of Festivals -- Chamber Music, New Music, Literature, Early Music, Visual Arts, etc. Most of these last a week or so, but a couple of the newer ones are at four days as of now. They'll likely expand, if they follow the tried and true methods of their older siblings.

There is a fair amount of new construction along the Quay on the East shore of Bantry Bay, which leads directly to the Atlantic Ocean, some four miles to the south of the town. One of these recent additions is the scrumptious and sumptuous Maritime Hotel, which aims to be a full-service resort hotel catering to visitors and locals with conference and party facilities. It's only been open about three months, so not everything is in place, as of yet. There are a few small snags here and there, but any question, any problem is dealt with immediately, including a smile by the staff-member doing the fixing. The smile is absolutely sincere.

It's rather a posh place actually, with gorgeous and unusual visuals, especially the lighting fixtures in the public areas. Rooms are large with a wide variety of amenities, although Americans will long for facecloths and ice machines. On the other hand, there is an up-to-the-minute fitness/health center, and a pool. There is a fairly large bar, with clever little alcoves, a snug, and a roofed patio for a different take on the scene. The restaurant is even larger, and sports a breakfast buffet, with both Continental and full-menu service.

Wireless and cable internet is available in the rooms, but not in lobbies, although that's on the to-do list.

There is also an older hotel -- The Bantry Bay -- down the street a bit, plus bed and breakfast accomodations around the area. For real posh, try the Bantry House itself. At certain times of the year, they accept a limited number of guests, and there are tours of the house and gardens on occasion. More about that in days to come.

I need to get myself settled in and ready for Saturday, when all the grand and glorious music begins. I can hardly wait!

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Copyright © 2 July 2007 Kelly Ferjutz, Bantry, Ireland


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