Archive for March, 2006

More growth, more cars

On the news that NCB stockbrokers have just released a very optimistic report on the Irish economy. According to the firm, Ireland, because of its ‘unique’ population profile among other things, will continue to have economic growth in the region of a very respectable 6% annually for the next 15 years. That’s less than the boom year times when we were up in double digit growth, but well ahead of Europe and the US at the moment. A key reason for this predicted boom is that the generally youthful Irish population is entering the age when it will earn best. The report also predicts 70,000 immigrants coming in annually, giving an Ireland in 2020 where a fifth of the population will be immigrants (like me!). The firm also says the good times will translate into even more car ownership however… yikes! Like we need more cars.

Overall, I’d be more cynical. Like RTE economics editor George Lee, I can’t see how we can assume continuing growth in our productivity (we are already up against some walls in that area now) and Ireland has massive pressures on infrastructure — healthcare, housing, roads, education — to manage any of this fruitfully. Plus, we are very much at the mercy of outside forces, such as the US economy, the European economy, the availability and price of oil (as we have virtually no indigenous energy sources) and so on.

This report seems to me to be a bit like predicting your 5 year old will go on to be the next Bill Gates in adulthood, based on her predilection for playing computer games. There’s a long and rocky road ahead and as we should know, people can as readily leave this country as flow into it.

Fresh — aka Morton’s for the Northside!

Fresh is the new upmarket supermarket in Smithfield — closer to the North King Street end, where there’s an area where you can turn in to park. I’d been meaning to check it out and see what was on offer, and was impressed — there’s a coffee bar serving Java Republic blends, and inside seating (and planning permission up for a full cafe area next door). They carry a huge selection of bakery goods much of them from Dublin’s venerable Bretzel bakery off the South Circular Rd. Hooray for us bread addicts! There’s a huge deli counter with all sorts of premade foods, soups, salads, and a very wide selection of very good quality items of the Donnybrook Fayre/Mortons variety — imported Italian risotto rice and handmade pastas, sauces, jams, European biscuits, a cheese counter, a fresh fish counter, organic and regular fruit and veg. There’s basic supermarket stock too — paper towles, washing up stuff, etc.

Much of this is pricier than Tesco but that’s to be expected when there are lots of Tescos buying in bulk and one Fresh. But Fresh can seriously differentiate itself with quality European foods, REAL food you’d want to eat not horrible stuff, excellent premade nosh, and a very relaxing environment. Another major advantage is not having to listen to that horrible canned music blasting at Tesco or endure teenage staff leaving pallets of food all over the floor while they chat over in some corner.

Basically Fresh gets a major thumbs up — it’s much larger than Mortons for example, stocks all the same stuff as those southside places, and looks very promising. Check it out, even if only to get a Bretzel pastry and a cup of coffee. Bet you’ll be back.

Enjoying St Patricks


Originally uploaded by DjMagra.

As I’ve outlined in my post below, there’s lots of people from lots of different parts of the world living in ireland nowadays, and this shot yesterday, taken at the St Patricks Day parade in Skerries shows how everyone was out to enjoy themselves.

Dublin in the New York Times

The New York Times currently have an article running highlighting the changing face of the city, and how we are now undergoing a cultural revolution, with our Polish, African and Chinese communities (amongst others) starting to build their own little cultural areas of the city, as every major global city has.

It’s a good read, especially as it points out a few restaurants that I have not yet heard of, but, sound great, so, will have to be checked out sometime in the near future.

Happy St Patricks Day

Happy St Patricks Day

Originally uploaded by tim7423.

Hey, wow, it’s St Patricks Day already…that one kind of snuck up on me! Happy Paddy’s Day everyone from the crew over here in Dublin. There was great ideas thrown about a few weeks back to do a big Patrick’s Day special over here on the metblog, but, alas, I think we’re all just exceptionally pressed for time.

Of course, the best resource for all thing’s Paddy’s Day today is the official St Patricks Festival website, but do also check out’s great Patricks Day section.

I have family over from England, so, I think we’ll be braving the typical cold, wet and windy Paddy’s Day weather, and heading out to a parade. We may also make it along to the wonderful Guinness Storehouse, one of Dublin’s greatest attractions. It really does warrant a post of it’s own, so, hopefully I’ll get around to that, with pictures at some stage in the not too distant future.

You can always wander along to Tourism Ireland’s Website where a live stream of today’s Dublin City parade is available.

Golf, Home, The Spirit and Saturday Night…

Daragh, I’m personally sorry….. Met him at the Blog Awards last weekend and he turned out to be a really nice guy and what have I done to repay his friendship and offer of a pint? Feck all… Nothing…. Zilch…..

Although to be fair I do have a wife, 2 kids, friends, a radio show, Myspace page, Bebo page and a blog to keep spinning all at one time :-)

My thoughts for this weekend are twofold. First there are 3 vastly differing and yet, I’m sure, compelling for diffferent reasons shows on at the RDS this weekend. The Golf Show, Mind, Body & Spirit Show and Spring House & Garden Show all will be well attended but I know which one tickles my fancy (I’m a non-golf playing non-homeowner…)

My second thought is that I find myself at a loose end by myself this Saturday night for the first time in ages and I’m heading out in town. Saturday night of Paddy’s weekend you’d think I’d be overwhelmed with choice but alas… Unless Mocrac in the Sugar Club or Giveamanakick in Whelan’s are your bag the pickings are fairly slim on the ground. Barry Murphy is doing a Comedy Circus thing in Vicar Street and that looks like the only viable choice of the evening….

Anyone know of something I don’t?


A barking mad St Paddy’s Day

new cats and dogs 134 If you’ve done the parade a gazillion times, and don’t want to waste the day (literally) in the pub this St Patrick’s Day, why not head for the annual Irish Kennel Club National Dog Show? Held in the club’s big arena just past the airport on the way to Swords (it comes up a bit unexpectedly, so watch for it on the right), the show is a really fun day out, especially for families as kids will get a real kick out of looking at all the breeds, hearing all the barking, and petting a few furries. The art of primping, fluffing and drying is on view constantly too (and that’s just the show people). There’s also an in-house cafeteria (serving pretty plain food! but kids will love it; sarnies, and everything with chips) so you can make a good day of it. Action is taking place all day Friday, and Saturday as well, but if going Saturday don’t arrive much later than mid-morning or you’ll miss all the action as it winds down fast once most have done their bit.

Basically, Friday is most of the larger dogs while Saturday is the toy breeds — the latter being a bit more silly and entertaining, I think, mainly as they are more primped and styled and in some cases hilariously small. There’s also agility and so on happening outside so hopefully the weather won’t be too vile. It’s a few euro in, pretty cheap at the price for an unusual day out. If watching a bit of Crufts this past week got you into the mood, check out for directions and further info. Oh and bring some cash if you own a dog as there’s great shopping to be had at excellent prices; merchants come from all over the island as well as the UK to ply their doggy wares.

For Victor

A lot happened this weekend just gone. There was so much good news, Ireland winning the rugby, England being beaten in the rugby (had to sneak that in!), Formula One coming back to us, the Blog Awards, and lots, lots more!

However, one of the greatest success stories of the weekend evolves out of some very tragic circumstances. A young rugby player by the name of Victor Connell hit the news this weekend. Victor suffered a serious spinal injury whilst playing the sport he loved in October 2005, when a scrum collapsed. As a result, Victor is paralysed from the neck down. He has spent the months since that tragic day undergoing intensive surgery, rehab and physio, and is slowly but surely getting towards the point where he can move home to a very different way of life.

Listening to Victor on the radio the other morning was an inspirational, moving experience. The guy is just so positive, and focused on returning to as normal a life as he possibly can. On Saturday, at the rugby match, 250 friends and family of Victors were doing a bucket collection around Lansdowne Road. They managed to collect a whopping EUR 100,000 for Victor’s fund, surely one of the greatest one-day bucket collections ever done. Obviously Victor’s story didn’t just have an effect on me.

I urge you all to check out his website and learn how to make a donation towards him there. Or, you can check out his cousin Gavin’s blog post about growing up with Victor, and giving details of how to donate to Victor’s fund via PayPal. Please, please go and do this, it’s important.

Gardai Seek Missing Person

Gardaí are seeking the public’s help in tracing the whereabouts of 21-year-old Richard Wellwood of Highfield Mews, Rathmines in Dublin.

Mr Wellworth was last seen in the Temple Bar area in the early hours of Saturday morning.

He is described as approximately 193cm (6’3”) in height, and well built, with brown hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans and a black and white top.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Pearse Street Garda Station on 01-6669000.

More DART woes

It seems to be turning into a recurring theme on this blog, but, once again the DART in Dublin is having problems, this time with the line between Bray and Greystones (both technically Wicklow, I know, before people point it out). The lines have been out of service for most of today, and are not expected to be back before lunchtime tomorrow. Extra buses between the two stations have been laid on for commuters.

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