Brexit, VAT and bad publicity blamed for failure to sell Tory Island hotel

first_imgAn estate agent has blamed Brexit, an increase in VAT rates and poor publicity for a failure to sell a unique island hotel off the coast of Donegal.A number of outside parties expressed a strong interest in buying the 14 bedroom Óstan Thóraigh or Tory Island Hotel which had a price tag of €400,000. They included a hotelier from Belgium, a retired couple from Dublin and a US-based priest who wanted to turn the hotel into a retreat centre.The closing date for offers was on August 31st.However, the estate agent handling the sale, Gareth McLarnon from Glenn Estates, has revealed that the hotel has not yet been sold.He said that despite the current owners trading successfully and the hotel being busy, a number of factors have prevented a sale.Tory island Hotel. Photo Clive Wasson“We have not yet received a satisfactory offer for the hotel and so it will remain on the market. “In my opinion, there are a number of factors at play which has prevented a sale.“All those interested in buying the hotel were from outside of Donegal and the general area and they would have been swayed by a number of factors.“I think the uncertainty over Brexit has to be a major factor. Also the increase in VAT rates for hotels and the hospitality industry from 9% to 13.5% has certainly not helped.“Recently there has been some negative publicity about the numbers of visitors coming to Donegal being down so I think those considering buying the hotel who from outside the area will have been moved by this also,” he said.The hotel continues to be owned by island’s former lighthouse keeper Sean Doherty and his family. Mr McLarnon said Sean’s daughter and son-in-law now run the business and have enjoyed a good season and continue to trade well.“It’s a unique venture and will not suit everyone but the hotel is still trading successfully by the Doherty family and it is doing well.Tory island Hotel. Photo Clive Wasson“The hotel will remain for sale and hopefully someone will buy it and continue to run it successfully,” he said.The 14-bedroom hotel has a with bar and restaurant. The family-owned and run hotel is the biggest employer on the island and has been a focal point for many of the island’s historic moments since the 19th century.The business dates from the late 1800s, when the Ward family operated the hotel and a general store, supplying everything from salted fish to the marine chandlery.The store traded with passing ships while people from what Tory islanders call ‘the country’ also made regular shopping trips to Wards from the mainland.Roger Casement once stayed at the hotel and Easter Proclamation Signatory Joseph Mary Plunkett sent a postcard from the hotel on his second visit to the island in 1914. He wrote that he did not stay in the hotel, however, as Mr Ward was “very Sombre”.With a total population of around 140 Islanders (double that in summer), the Atlantic-battered island is steeped in history, mythology and folklore.The island outpost has long been a favourite getaway for artists, nature-lovers, bird watchers and many who simply want to switch off for a few days.Tory Island is part of the Donegal Gaeltacht and has one of the highest rates of native Irish speakers anywhere in Ireland.The only access to the island is by ferry and each crossing takes around an hour. The ferry runs four times daily during the summer season and twice daily during the winter months.Tory island Hotel. Photo Clive WassonBrexit, VAT and bad publicity blamed for failure to sell Tory Island hotel was last modified: August 19th, 2019 by StephenShare 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)last_img read more

Unearthing our human ancestors

first_imgHagai Ron of the Hebrew University inJerusalem collecting samples from thecave for dating. A small stone tool excavated from theWonderwerk cave. The Wonderwerk cave in 3D, mapped byProfessor Heinz Ruther of Cape TownUniversity’s Department of Geomatics. Theexpanded section is of the front part ofthe cave where the discoveries were made.(All images: Michael Chazan)Janine ErasmusA team of researchers from South Africa, Israel and Canada, led by Canadian anthropologist Professor Michael Chazan and Dr Liora Horwitz of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, has found man-made artefacts, thought to be at least 2-million years old, in a cave in the Northern Cape.The Wonderwerk (Afrikaans, meaning “miracle”) cave, located 45km from Kuruman in the Northern Cape province, is a huge structure that has yielded a significant record of human history spanning hundreds of thousands of years. Ancient tools discovered in the cave are similar in age to those found at the bottom of Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge.The 30 artefacts, mostly small tools, are among the oldest known items of their kind and provide evidence that our ancestors lived in caves even earlier than was previously thought. This important South African find is the result of more than 60 years of work on the site.Because of the key role it has played in providing clues to our human existence, the Wonderwerk cave and its surroundings were proclaimed a national heritage site in 1993 and are currently on the Unesco World Heritage tentative list for South Africa. Although it is a valuable research site the cave is open to the public on an appointment basis.A shelter for manyBushman paintings on the Wonderwerk cave’s walls have been dated back some 10 000 years. The cave was first inhabited by white settlers in the early 20th century, when the farmer P.E. Bosman and his family lived there between 1909 and 1911 while he was building the present homestead. He later used the cave as a shelter for stock.Later, other farmers exploited the cave’s abundant bat guano for commercial purposes. Although the mining unfortunately destroyed much of the natural sediment in the upper levels it also led to the discovery of the first artefacts, alerting the archaeological community to the potential importance of the site. The first excavations began in 1940.The cave was owned by the Bosman and Nieuwoudt families until 1993 when they generously handed it over to the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, an institution that is active in a range of fields including archaeology and military and cultural history. The museum now oversees all scientific activity at the site.Ancient cave-dwellersThe 30 most recently found artefacts were found at the bottom-most level of the Wonderwerk cave and are believed to have been left in the cave by its former dwellers, not washed into it from the outside. The deeper the excavation, the older the layer, and the bottom level has been dated back two million years by researchers using a combination of methods, including palaeomagnetic and cosmogenic burial dating techniques.Palaeomagnetic dating is based on a global time scale that tracks changes in the orientation and intensity of the earth’s magnetic field over time, while cosmogenic burial dating is based on radioactive decay of a pair of cosmogenic nuclides. Unlike the similar technique of carbon dating, it can measure extremely old dates.While the oldest known stone tools, found in Ethiopia, date back 2.4-million years, those found inside Wonderwerk provide clues to the oldest known intentional cave dwelling by human ancestors, or hominids. Out of the numerous hominid species that lived in the area at the time, the most likely manufacturer of the tools, say researchers, is Homo habilis.Compared to modern humans, Homo habilis was short in stature and had unusually long arms, with a skeletal structure similar to that of today’s primates. The species was unknown until a specimen, consisting of bone from the head and hand, was discovered in Olduvai in 1960 by the Leakey team.Shortly afterwards a multidisciplinary team comprising Kenyan archaeologist Louis Leakey, British primatologist John Napier, and South African palaeoanthropologist Phillip Tobias studied the specimen extensively before making their announcement in 1964 that it belonged to a new species of man.The name, meaning “handy man” in reference to its tool-making abilities, was suggested by Raymond Dart, the renowned Australian anthropologist. Dart is best known for his discovery of the skull of the little Taung Child in the same region as the Wonderwerk Cave, which led to his subsequent announcement of the new species Australopithecus africanus.The work of millions of yearsAt 139m in depth horizontally, Wonderwerk is big enough to shelter many families and their livestock. The cave is a solution cavity, which means that it was filled with water millions of years ago. Located in the Kuruman Hills, erosion on the hillside has exposed one end of the cave, and today the only permanent water source is the Boesmansgat (Afrikaans, meaning “Bushman’s hole”) sinkhole some 12km away, and a seep on Gakorosa Hill 5km south of the complex.Geologically, the structure consists of stratified dolomitic limestone belonging to the 2.3-billion year old Ghaap Plateau Dolomite Formation. The almost perfectly flat Ghaap Plateau sits some 1 130m above sea level and extends 150km from east to west, between the Harts River valley and the Kuruman Hills.The plateau is made up largely of calcrete, a mix of sand, gravel, clay and other materials cemented together by calcium carbonate. The calcrete is covered with sparse soil and sits on bedrock of dolomite or calcium manganese carbonate, containing numerous caves, sinkholes and underground waterways.The Ghaap Plateau is notable as the location of the underground freshwater cave known as Boesmansgat, the scene of many a world deep diving record. The 13-year-old men’s world record for cave diving is held by South African Nuno Gomes, with Gauteng resident Verna van Schaik holding the women’s record. It is also the place where the plant Hoodia, currently fashionable as an appetite suppressant and diet-aid, is primarily found.The bedrock in the front of the cave is covered by 4m of almost horizontal deposit layers. Research reveals that the uppermost metre spans the past 300 000 years, while the bottom layer reaches back to 2-million years. Investigation of the layers shows human occupation at all levels.All archaeological material brought out of the Wonderwerk cave is now held by the McGregor Museum. These items include decorated ostrich eggshells, pollen dating back about 400 000 years, animal bones and remains including those of a now extinct species of horse, engraved stones, and stone implements such as Acheulean handaxes, which belong to the Acheulean tool industry from the Lower Palaeolithic era.The area’s renowned rock paintings were crafted in a variety of media ranging from red and yellow ochres of local origin to crushed plant roots and blood.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus on [email protected] articlesAncient arrows a clue to the past The hunter-gatherer GPS Useful linksMcGregor MuseumUnesco World Heritage CentreMaropengThe Cradle of HumankindHomo habilislast_img read more

Dotterer appointed to United Soybean Board

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of 19 members and 3 alternate members to serve on the United Soybean Board. The producers from around the country appointed to serve three-year terms included Dave Dotterer from Rittman, Ohio.“I truly appreciate the time and expertise that these individuals have agreed to provide, and know U.S. soybean producers will be well served by these men and women,” Perdue said.The board is composed of 73 members representing 29 states and Eastern and Western regions. To become a member, you must be a soybean producer and be nominated by a qualified state soybean board. The board is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Information Act.It became effective July 9, 1991, when the Soybean Promotion and Research Order was implemented. Since 1966, Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 industry-funded research and promotion boards.  They empower farmers and ranchers to leverage their own resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities.  USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity for participating stakeholders.last_img read more

Green Building’s Growing Market Power

first_imgThe unveiling last week of McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study, at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show, in Orlando, Florida, affirmed — and put into sharper focus — previous observations (many of them anecdotal) about green building and its advances in the homebuilding and remodeling markets.Because “green” can mean any number of things, depending on who is doing the marketing, McGraw-Hill noted that, for the purposes of the study, the term did in fact encompass “many factors,” including efforts to recycle materials and divert them from landfills. But it also emphasized that green is now most closely associated with techniques to increase the energy efficiency of a home. Builders included in the study reported that the additional cost to go green is now 7%, versus 10% in 2008 and 11% in 2006.Potential for a big leapIn 2011, green homes comprised 17% of the overall residential construction market, the analysis showed. The core finding of the study, though, is that green construction is expected to comprise between 29% and 38% of the market by 2016 — a potential fivefold increase, from $17 billion in 2011 to somewhere within the range of $87 billion to $114 billion in 2016.For remodelers who specialize in green upgrades — which, again, are mostly directed to improvements boosting energy efficiency — the expected increases in market share are even greater: 34% of remodelers expect to be doing mostly green work by 2016, a 150% increase over 2011 activity levels. Many homebuilders have shifted to remodeling, the McGraw-Hill study (and others) points out, because demand for homebuilding has dropped off so dramatically.The study also showed that even though green construction and remodeling are growing nationwide, three regions are seeing higher than average growth: the West Coast, whose green-construction growth has been the most robust; the northern region of the Midwest; and New England.McGraw-Hill promises to further analyze the study findings and release the results in April at the NAHB National Green Building Conference and Expo, scheduled to take place in Nashville.last_img read more

The Strategic Power of Generating Possibilities

first_imgIt is important that you have a roadmap to guide you through all of the things that move you from target to close, especially the commitments you need. Your sales process, however, by itself is not enough to help guide you to winning new deals. It is necessary, but not sufficient. This is where being strategic in generating possibilities is invaluable.Methodologies are important, too. Methodologies are different from your sales process. For example, SPIN Selling is a methodology, not a process, as it doesn’t speak to the stages of the sales process. It’s a methodology for asking questions, and for my money, creating a compelling case for change. The Challenger Sale is also a methodology, and a very useful one today. Methodologies are also necessary, but not sufficient.I would argue that you also need a philosophy of sales. You need a set of beliefs about what is good, and true, and beautiful. You need a set of beliefs that guide how you sell. A lot of what I write here is my personal philosophy of sales and selling, like all things being equal, relationships win, and fast is slow, and if you create value you are entitled to capture a portion thereof.Another idea that lies outside a process or a methodology  that I would classify as a philosophy is the idea that selling requires the identification and selection from a number of possibilities.Turn By Turn Directions Are UnavailableLet’s say you are calling on your dream client. You have a great relationship with the main, decision-making stakeholder. You have also met his boss, and she has agreed to support your initiative. Things have progressed nicely, and according to your sales process, you are right where you want to be. You are certain that you are the preferred choice, and you are very close to winning a deal.And then, like turning off a light, your main contact tells you that they have decided not to move forward with no further explanation. And then he goes dark.Your process provides no guidance. Your methodologies don’t touch scenarios like the one described above. In spite of a lack of guidance, you still have to act. This means you need to generate and select from a range of choices.One choice may be to go over your main contact’s head and speak directly to his leader. She has already agreed to support the initiative, and you know it’s important to her. This might be your first idea as to how to get your deal on track, but if it makes you a little nervous, that’s because you know that doing so comes with the risk of completely alienating your main contact.Maybe you have more ideas.Another choice may be to have someone higher up in your organization call the leader of your dream client’s organization, to go peer to peer, leader to leader. A higher level discussion may be just the thing to put the opportunity back together, and you may have some air cover when your main contact discovers you have gone around him. It wasn’t you, though, was it? You have plausible deniability. Is that enough?There are still more ideas available to you.What if you went directly to your main contact and asked to understand what changed on his end so that you could better understand what might be done to put the train back on the tracks and help them achieve the outcome they were hot on just days earlier. If you find a way to put things back together it’s a win. If the answer is still “no,” you are no better off than you are right now. It feels like a long shot.Maybe you need to pursue two of these ideas simultaneously, or maybe you need to generate more ideas.One of the best ways to make good decisions is to first identify the choices available to you. If you only have one course of action, then the only decision you have to make is whether to take that action or not.Possibilities provide you with more potential opportunities to succeed, and they often provide you with additional choices should one approach fail.Possibilities make the impossible possible.last_img read more