Archive for March, 2006

So Long Lansdowne


Image017

Originally uploaded by DjMagra.

Yesterday’s Ireland V Scotland Rugby Match represented the final competetive rugby international that will be held in the oldest rugby stadium in the world before it is demolished and rebuilt as a shiny new 50,000 all seater stadium.

As someone who’s been going to games in Lansdowne for the past 10 years or so, I have to say, I won’t miss the old stadium, it really is such a poor show of a country that is doing so well economically, and really does stand up very poorly against the wonderful stadiums such as the Milennium Stadium or Stade de France.

Looking forward to being put up in Croke Park for the next few years as we’re awaiting the new stadium to be built.

More pics over on FLICKR

Stamullen Without Water

Stamullen, Co. Meath (on the Dublin / Meath border) which is about 2 miles away from where I live, is without water for the past three days. There has been a major watermain burst somewhere along the way, but, the local council’s have still been unable to find the source of the leak. More than 1000 homes are currently affected by this outage, with no hope of services being restored until tomorrow at the earliest, and certain people around the village hearing that it could be two or three days before normal service is restored.

Irish Blog Awards

So, last night saw the first ever Irish Blog Awards held in Dublin, and a great night out it proved to be too. Congrats to all involved in putting it together, as well as all the winners, not to mention all those involved in the Irish Blogging community, who really seem to have come of age over the past few months.

So, here’s to continuing the tradition, the quality of writing, and the good community spirit that has been established. For this metblog, we hope to see another couple of writers launched over the next week or two, as well as possibly having some guest-writers posting for us on occasion also.

If you are interested in either joining the Dublin Metblog team, or in submitting guest posts, please contact me and let me know.

If you’re going to San Francisco…

..be sure to say hi to another Dublin sister city — at least, a digital sister city if not a full on formal civic twin, like San Jose (whose role in this capacity was noted previously this week on this blog). News just in that SF mayor Gavin Newsom has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU — there’s always an acronym in a press release, as surely as Bertie can home in on any photo op) with Irish Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey to “form new collaborative channels” with Dublin’s Digital Hub. I’lll be interested to see if anybody in either location runs with this opportunity, but it clearly has some potential as there are a lot of creative companies in San Francisco and in the Digital Hub, particularly some of the small ones that could get a boost from a transtlantic relationship.

On a more general note, we now know where Minister Demspey is during this week’s Flight of the Ministers, when they all flee this rainy isle on St Patrick’s junkets throught the globe. One is always left wondering who is actually running the country… rumours in the past have indicated it’s Dustin, though I’d prefer to imagine it might be Jack from “Lost”.

New Railway Station for Dublin

Today saw the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen, turning the first sod on a new train station for Dublin City Centre, down at Spencer Dock. This is the first new main-line station to be built in the City Centre since Tara Street station was constructed in 1890 apparently. There have been plenty of DART stations built over the years alright, but, none serving main-line commuter trains, such as Navan and Maynooth in this case.

The station will also serve LUAS trams when the LUAS network is extended over the coming years. For anyone who has not been in Dublin for a while, and even for those of us who are in the city every day, Spencer Dock really is an amazing development, of land that three years ago was pretty much consigned to waste-land, it is now the fastest developing and most vibrant part of the city.

Counting the number of cranes over the south-docks skyline is a task I try to undertake on the DART into work most days, I’ve never been able to make it past about 30 without loosing count, it really is amazing!!

Oohh, the excitement

This coming weekend is one of the highlights in Dublin. No, I have not got my dates mixed up and so I am not a week early for St Patricks Weekend, I am talking about the fact that the Ireland V Scotland 6 Nations Rugby match is on this weekend.

I really do feel that the Scots are the best travelling crowd for rugby weekends, sure to be helped by the fact that their rugby team are playing great this year for the first time in a few years. But, they bring so much colour and fun to the city for the weekend they are here, with their kilts, jimmy hats, bagpipes and hipflasks. The craic around town is going to be unreal, with nothing but good natured banter taking place for the weekend.

I remember a few years back, standing in the square in Temple Bar on the Friday before the game, hearing bagpipes coming up from Fleet Street direction and seeing people stopping to look. So, I stood there, and saw a piper march a full rugby team in single file up to the door of a pub on the square, where the piper turned to face the squad, march on the spot, and pipe them into the bar, before following in behind. Now, that is how to do a pub-crawl.

Rick on 2FM

Ok, after writing that title, I realise that I’m kinda stating the obvious, given our own Rick O’ Shea is a presenter for 2FM, but, this is something different. Rick is going to be appearing on the Dave Fanning Show, tomorrow, Thursday, to speak about blogging, and in particular, the Irish Blog Awards which are happening this weekend, and which Rick will be presenting on Saturday night.

Keep an eye out on Rick’s excellent blog for more info. You can also listen to the radio show between 18:00 and 19:30 GMT tomorrow, and don’t forget to tune into Rick’s show also!!

We don’t need no steeenking broadband!

Or at least, that’s pretty much how a special Dail (parliamentary) committee thinks the Government has approached this apparently exotic concept of promoting the growth in use of high speed internet connections. You know, that stuff that underpins a healthy economy, shows your population is engaged and well able for a world that is communications-based, one could go so far as to say, shows you are part of a knowledge-based economy and society!

But, no, says the Oireachtas Communications Committee in a condemning report. Says Reuters:

The committee said it was disappointed that no action has been taken on the 12 recommendations published in its March 2004 report, the biggest-ever public debate on the broadband issue.

Chairman Noel O’Flynn said the neither Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey nor his department had discussed the report with the committee. “Sadly I have to say that in the two years since that launch, almost no account has been taken of the recommendations contained in that committee report,” he said.

“It is safe to conclude that progress has been almost non-existent and where there has been progress it has been in spite of rather than due to proactive management and policies by the stakeholders.”

Oh come on, you nattering nabobs of negativism, it’s only been two years! These things take time! Policies must age first like fine wines, in order to be uncorked at some future date when… hey, vinegar is useful too! Makes great salad dressing. And listen, if dial up access was fine for your mothers and fathers, then it will be fine for you too, children of Ireland!

Freedom of the City for Geldof and Delaney

At this time of year, when most of our politicians fly off on junket heaven to celebrate St Patrick’s day anywhere but here, it was nice to see a nice family day out in Dublin last Sunday.

At the Mansion House the Freedom of the City was given to two great men. Live Aid man, Bob Geldof and Olympian runner Ronnie Delaney.

This is just an honour but what an honour, it’s a mark of thanks, well done and recognition of being a Dubliner amongst Dubliners. And you can graze your sheep for free on St. Stephen’s green!

It was a nice honour, a family day and great to see the Olympic medal winner and the man who saved the world, humbled and thankful that their families where there to share their honour. Bob Geldof was there with his Dad, partner and children. Ronnie Delaney spoke warmly about the joy of sharing this honour with his family. It was touching, low key and honourable.

Many years ago, Geldof penned the vitriolic, brillant song Banana Republic about Ireland when he was denied playing at Lepordstown race course and only one hotel, Blooms, was brave enough to give them a room. Hard to believe but that song seemed annoy the delicate heart of Dublin City Council, who constantly denied him this well deserved honour. Thankfully, that bitterness has passed, and along with Ronnie Delaney who had to exile himself to train to become an Olympic winner, on a bright spring day, their city gave them their highest honour – Freedom of their hometown, Dublin. A bit like this article, better late than never, lads.

Do you know the way to San Jose, Bertie?

Many people are blissfully unaware of the fact that Dublin and San Jose are sister cities. I feel this was a sly twinning job on behalf of the Irish Industrial Development Agency (IDA Ireland) many years ago to promote connections between Silicon Valley companies and Ireland (if so, it worked well as most of the top 10 companies in tech have offices and operations in Ireland).

The SJ-Dublin connection is of course played up at this time of year, as we roll towards St Paddy’s Day. While I was out visiting family in Menlo Park, I heard a radio segment all about the many events planned for the saint’s day in San Jose as part of this celebration of sisterhood. The Big Deal is that Bertie, our beloved taoiseach, is heading out to do his St Patrick’s duty on the 14th at the Spirit of St Patrick dinner there. This is exciting enough to qualify as ‘breaking news’ on the news section of the website! Whaddya mean, what website? Of COURSE there’s a website, this is Silicon Valley!

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