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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


McDonald's Ireland Eurosaver - Love

Love this ad. The Cork accent makes it something special.

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Smithfield makes the NY Times

As found by Laura @ http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/travel/26surfacing.html:

(They didn't mention the kids throwing stones and the other unsavoury types - and we'd kind of prefer the horse market found another venue, anyhoo...)

Changing Smithfield Still Holds On to Dublin-Style Fun

Published: April 26, 2009

FOR the last couple of centuries, the two main reasons to visit Smithfield, a diminutive Dublin neighborhood centered around a spacious square northeast of the city center, were to buy a horse at the local equestrian market and to see the red brick distillery where Ireland’s best-known whiskey, Jameson, was made.

The horse market still takes place monthly (though there’s talk of finding a new location), but Jameson moved most of its operations south to County Cork in the 1960s. The neighborhood soon fell into neglect.

But thanks to an urban renewal plan that the city started in 2003, Smithfield has slowly been making a comeback. Each of the square’s 300,000 cobblestones was uprooted, cleaned, polished and put back. Tall, contemporary-looking lampposts bloomed on the circumference of the plus-size plaza, and industrial-chic apartment and retail buildings rose on the western side of the square.

“A lot of people thought Smithfield would be an alternative to Temple Bar,” said Michael T. Hough, a bartender at the shabby-chic Dice Bar (79 Queen Street; 353-1-633-3936), referring to the once-derelict, now pub-crammed central Dublin neighborhood that was transformed into a “cultural quarter” more than a decade ago. “But it hasn’t really got there yet.”

In fact, the recent economic downturn hasn’t been kind to the neighborhood, as a few local businesses have recently shuttered. But Smithfield still has plenty to offer.

The distillery, meanwhile, has been rebranded the Old Jameson Distillery (Bow Street; 353-807-2355; www.jamesonwhiskey.com; admission is 13.50 euros, about $18.20 at $1.35 to the euro) and turned into a museum dedicated to the making of whiskey. Hourlong tours are given in six languages.

The legendary Light House Cinema (Blackhall Walk, Smithfield Market; 353-1-879-7601; www.lighthousecinema.ie), one of the city’s few indie movie houses, closed down when it lost its center-of-town location in 1996, only to resurface last year in a sleekly designed, award-winning space (with a modish cafe open to anyone).

The Maldron Hotel (Smithfield Square; 353-1-485-0900; www.maldronhotels.com; doubles from 59 euros), part of an Irish-owned chain, opened up a Smithfield branch last fall. The chic property’s 92 rooms offer free high-speed Internet access, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, balconies and, in some rooms, great views of the square. Stir, the hotel’s retro-chic restaurant and bar, serves decent globally inspired dishes like cumin-infused chicken strips and Peking duck.

A better dining bet is Peppe (31 North Brunswick Street; 353-1-671-8216; www.pepperestaurant.ie), a southern-Italian-leaning eatery serving thick-crust pizzas (9.50 to 13.80 euros) and hearty pasta dishes (10.90 to 13.90 euros).

Cristophe’s Cafe (Duck Lane; 353-1-887-4417; www.christophescafe.com), by day a casual spot for salads and sandwiches (5 to 10 euros), in the evening turns into a candlelit French bistro offering classics like ribeye steak in a red wine sauce (25 euros) and veal stew in a cream sauce (19.50 euros).

Any visit to Smithfield isn’t complete without stopping by the Cobblestone (77 King Street North; 353-1-872-1799; www.cobblestonedublin.com). There’s been some sort of drinking den in this spot for 150 years, but for the last 15, this popular pub on the north end of the square has become famous for its (sometimes impromptu) Irish music sessions. Both young and old, Smithfield veterans and newcomers turn up for plenty of “craic” (Gaelic for “fun”) and a pint or two of the local brew (that would be Guinness, of course).

No matter how trendy Smithfield becomes, some things, hopefully, will never change.

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Build an ipod (kind of) for €53.96

With iPhones still expensive, and with the climate, and having broken my trusty Pocket PC (that's for another post) I think I've assembled the next best thing - and ipod kind of.
  1. First take a Samsung Tocco from Vodafone. For the low-low price of €10.00 (on a €20.00 a month plan for 12 months), and even though the phone is a year old you get a lot: it's tiny, has a rad touch screen, it's 3G, and it comes with an optional leather flap that flaps over to protect the screen - no accesories required. I bought it online, they delivered it to my work the next day, and they switched my number across (yes, number portability!!!) the next day. All done.

  2. An 8Gb microSD card from ebay for €14.01 including postage from the UK. 8Gb! 14 Euro! This takes me back to my first 20MB MFM hard drive...

  3. A pair of Jabra BT3030 Bluetooth headphones for €29.95 (including postage) with "dogtag"-style remote for wireless musical listening. Unfortuantely they haven't been shipped yet. The "store" I bought from on eBay turns out to be one man, who "isn't home [and can't post them] until Thursday" - not impressed.
That's €53.96 or $NZ124.907 (at mid-market cross rates).

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Ireland AM

While I was having breakfast, Laura was improving her media profile by knitting on TV. Choice.

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The Easter bunny was good to me

The weather may be grim, and the food variable, but there are definite advantages to this northern hemisphere gig. For example, featured here is my M&S TopGear "The Stig" Easter egg - with 5 solid milk chocolate cars and a racing car soundchip.

Some say ... he melts if left at room temperature.

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You can't stop me

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Treasure Trove

Dublin presents a cold and rainy Saturday morning. Laura is fast asleep and left to my devices I found this - all the old NZ TV ads you could hope for. Including, yes, it's true, I found it, the Columbine Hosiery ad!

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Life in Ireland: Escaped bull on the loose in supermarket

From http://www.independent.ie/national-news/escaped-bull-on-the-loose-in-supermarket-1716755.html.

IT may not have been a china shop, but these dramatic CCTV pictures show what happened when an out-of-control young bull charged through a local supermarket.

Miraculously, no one was hurt when the animal escaped the clutches of its owner and ran into Cummins' Super-Valu in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo.

The bull had been at the local mart a few hundred yards away when it made its great escape. Shop owner John Cummins said: "The bull ran down one aisle, and into the store area, where he had a good look around and came back out again.

"He then charged down another aisle, and out the front door again. As the pictures show, there was a lot of people in the shop at the time, staff and customers.

"Amazingly, no one came directly in his path or it could have been very bad news. It was a happy ending to a story that could have gone very wrong.

"Some of the staff ran after him when he went into the store, but they got out of the way again when he turned around to come out -- and I wouldn't blame them."

By the time the bull was eventually recaptured by its owner, a local farmer, the only damage done was to fruit and vegetable stands.

"People were joking afterwards that our beef was fresh and fully traceable," said Mr Cummins. "He passed out Tesco to get to us. That tells its own story."

- Liam Horan


The Lost Islands

Anyone remember this show?

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It Could Be Sweet

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barely there

barely there
Originally uploaded by djcult
Salmon Wier, Galway


Galway Bay

Galway Bay
Originally uploaded by djcult