Irish Food Festivals in Spring 2014


This week, the Complete Savings Blog is looking forward to brighter days ahead, and the beginning of festival season around the country. Ireland is famed for its festivals, and they are a driving force in the economy. The Irish retail sector is beginning to show signs of life again, and these events are fun and exciting ways to boost the recovery. They invigorate local business, bring in tourism, and most of all, give us a reason to celebrate and enjoy the very best of Ireland. You’ll find food festivals popping up year-round, but here are the first two on the calendar this year.

tastes of sea and land in the harbour town of Dungarven

For a little seaside community, Dungarven punches far above its weight with the West Waterford Festival of Food. The small, scenic town of 9000 residents has come together to showcase the culinary delights of the area since 2008. This year the festival runs from April 10th to April 14th, with a huge range of free and affordable events for the whole family. Past years have included demonstrations from Michelin star chefs and a “Bus Bia” bus tour of local food producers’ farms, workshops, breweries, and kitchens. Special package deals with accommodation and festival tickets offer great savings for savvy foodies.

discover “the best of the west” at the Galway Food Festival

Spanning the long Easter weekend of April 17th to the 21st 2014, the Galway Food Festival is in its 3rd year. There’s a flourishing gourmet scene in the coastal city, and the festival is a joint effort by local food artisans, suppliers, and restaurateurs to highlight the unique character of Galway’s dining scene. Cookery classes, special tasting menus, outdoor events (including foraging trips), and much more are planned to take place in Galway city and the surrounding area. Most events are free to the public, though some require pre-registration. Thanks in part to a very savvy social media presence, this young festival is growing in strength and popularity. 2014 promises to be the best year yet. Keep your eye on the website for special offers and online booking as the festival approaches.

Food shopping is a constant in our lives, but beyond your usual lap around the grocery shop there’s a whole world of exciting food experiences to be had. While you wait for the weather to warm up, check out the local producers and suppliers in your own area. You may uncover a new favourite just around the corner. Do you have a favourite artisan food shop, market, or website you’d like to suggest? The Complete Savings Blog would love to hear about it!


HMV to re-open store on Grafton Street

Photograph: Alan Betson /Irish Times

HMV is to re-open on Grafton Street in Dublin a year after it was forced to close the flagship store further up the street.

Hilco Capital, the owner of HMV since last year, announced today that the new store will be located in the old A-Wear premises, currently occupied by clothing retailer Massimo Dutti. Hilco Capital acquired 141 HMV stores in Ireland and the UK for an estimated £50 million (€59 million) deal back in April last year.

HMV’s return to Dublin will lead to the creation of 35 new jobs, and should be up and running within three months.

The new shop will be the seventh new HMV outlet in the country, together with the 37 joint HMV-Xtra-Vision outlets.

Hilco Capital Ireland’s chief executive Larry Howard said today that HMV returning to Dublin’s Grafton Street “has been a priority for Hilco Capital, and we’re delighted to have secured this premises. We’re looking forward to bringing this iconic brand back to its spiritual home in Ireland.”


Last-minute Valentine’s Day Deals


40 million results to the rescue!

It sneaks up on us every year. Valentine’s day is less than a week away, and if you haven’t made plans yet, you might be starting to panic. Don’t. Emergency Valentine’s day plans are a time-honoured tradition, and it will all work out at the end. If you start today, you won’t be caught out. The Complete Savings Blog is here to help you fill your Valentine’s day weekend with a sense of romance. It’s possible to spoil your sweetheart and save, even at the last minute. And yes, it’s acceptable to book it now, offer it on Valentine’s day while the holiday or gift might be a week or so later…

sweep them off their feet with a weekend getaway

Cupid’s favourite day falls on a Friday this year, which makes it the perfect time to whisk your partner away for a short break. lives up to its name, offering great value for even the most spontaneous travellers. We found a flight and hotel package for London, departing from Dublin on February 14th, for less than €300 pp. Lisbon, Rome, Prague and Paris were about €100 more. Imagine their surprise!

If you want to stick closer to home, Hotels Ireland is offering a host of Valentine’s day packages around the country. All of the packages include a romantic dinner for two as well as breakfast each day, and the selection of three and four star hotels is excellent. Many packages are under €200 total for the whole weekend.

under the wire with gifts, experiences, and more

This week Groupon has gathered together its most romantic deals in one helpful category. It’s a great way to get a quick gift at substantial savings. Jewellery and spa breaks seem to lead the pack, and for good reason: a little bit of pampering never goes out of style. You can also find special deals on restaurant meals, but make sure you call ahead to confirm that reservations are still available. Shopping for guys on Valentine’s day can be a challenge, but Groupon shines here, too. Treat your guy to a new and exciting experience for the two of you to share: paintball, rock-climbing, brewery tours, and hot air balloons can all be fun and romantic adventures to enjoy together.

What’s the most romantic gift you’ve ever given or received on Valentine’s day? The Complete Savings Blog would love to know!


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Complete Savings Benefits

Complete Savings is an online savings programme offering members great benefits.

As a member of Complete Savings you can claim an initial cashback cheque, as well as a €10 monthly bonus, discounts on popular giftcards and up to 10% cashback at hundreds of online stores.

Complete Savings Ireland contact details

Complete Savings Ireland has a website: where you can log-in and access your member benefits. If you have any questions about your membership you can always contact the customer service team on 1800 806 167 (freephone from Ireland landlines) or

More Changes in Pipeline for Ryanair


These sometimes bleak weeks after Christmas have us daydreaming of holidays to come. Many wallets are still recovering from the season, so for those in search of a cheap and cheerful weekend escape, budget airline Ryanair has often been the bare-bones ticket of choice.

a new focus on customer service

A return to allocated seating, a 24 hour “grace period” when booking to allow for minor changes and corrections, and permission to bring a second small carry-on item such as a purse are among the concessions. Perhaps most surprisingly, O’Leary announced his intention to step back from the spotlight, saying that his abrasive public image was getting in the way. It’s all gone a long way towards humanising the brand’s reputation.

Ryanair and Google partner to revolutionise ticket buying

In an interview with the Sunday Independent this week, O’Leary spoke of a new partnership with search giant Google. The airline will share pricing and route information with Google’s new fare comparison tool, which he said was set to: “blow comparison sites like Skyscanner out of the water.” The project is expected to go live in March, and O’Leary is certain that Ryanair will be an important part of the launch. There’s no investment on the airline’s side. It’s a simple matter of providing information.

“Because Google, being Google, want to show all of the prices from all of the airlines on display…They need to find who has got the lowest airfare on these routes… and that’s us.”

The move is certain to raise Ryanair’s international profile. It fits in well with the planned website revamp and digital marketing overhaul, which O’Leary promises is the beginning of a watershed in the way people purchase tickets. The focus will be on convenience, fare transparency, and individual attention, with offers customised to suit each passenger, and an overall shift to mobile purchasing is in the cards.

What are your travel plans for 2014?