Archive for May, 2008

Garda Announcement

This came through with our institution mailing list today, and I really don’t like it that such an announcement came about. But I guess with this coming from the Garda, it shouldn’t be taken lightly and be brushed off as the exception rather than the rule. I’m saddened by this but will get this announcement out nonetheless…

Gardai have asked that everyone be on the alert for a well organised large group of foreign national pick pockets operating in the general vicinity of College Street – College Green – Dame Street – Grafton Street – Nassau Street. The group are aged from mid-teens to mid-thirties and consist of males and females. They are well dressed and act as if they were tourists with some carrying the usual tourist paraphernalia such as back-packs, maps, cameras etc. Besides pick-pocketing they also use the method of hassling and confusing an individual whereby a group of 2 or 3 will approach and surround a person under the guise of seeking directions. While that person’s attention is distracted by one gang member asking questions and directions the others commence there pick pocketing and bag rifling activities using maps, newspapers and magazines to conceal what they are doing. This method is also used on persons using ATM’s where an attempt is made to grab the cash being dispensed.

Unless it is absolutely necessary you are advised not to be carrying large amounts of cash on your person. Ladies should ensure that after using their handbags, the handbag is fully zipped or fastened. The bag should be carried tucked between your arm and side with the flap, if that type of bag, nearest your side. Gents should carry wallets in their side trouser pockets never in the back pockets or jacket pockets. Never carry cash or valuable items in a back pack. When using bars or restaurants never leave bags, purses or wallets on the table top. Handbags, fully zipped/fastened, can be placed on the floor well in under your table secured by the front innermost leg of your chair through the bag straps/handles.

If you become aware or suspicious of activities related to the above you are asked to contact the Garda without delay – PEARSE STREET GARDA STATION TEL: 01 666 9000.

Dublin Gig Guide: the next 2 weeks

May has been a monster month for gigs and June looks to be similar. So here are my choice cuts for the next 2 weeks (26th May – 9th June). It’s a Bank Holiday music extravanganza!

Radiohead at Malahide Castle. Sat & Sun 6-7 June. Do I need to say anymore? Thom Yorke and Co. deliver a great show and this should be no different. Unfortunately, tickets to both shows are sold out now but if you can snag a last minute ticket it’ll be well worth it.
Taster song: Electioneering

Hercules and Love Affair, Academy €30. Sunday 1st June. H&LA’s self titled album has been drawing praise from all corners this year. They combine catchy electro-pop hooks with some groovy soul vibes. It’s addictive stuff that will you make forget you can’t dance and hit the floor.
Taster song: Blind (feat Antony Hegarty)

Bon Iver. Crawdaddy €15. Mon 2nd June. Bon Iver (pronounced like the French for “good winter”) created a fantastic album this year by locking himself in a cabin in the wilderness and dividing his time between chopping wood and writing music. The result was a raw and lonely crop of songs delivered with a similar edginess to Ray LaMontagne. At €15 euro this would be my pick of the lot but I have a sneaky suspicion tickets might be sold out. Bring a date and you can hold hands and sway.
Taster song: Skinny Love

Local Band Picks

Large Mound. Whelans. €8. Fri 6th June. These Dublin rockers have been around for a while and are growing into one of the best rockers in town. One of the few bands in Ireland which still have guitar solos, be prepared for big distorted guitars but mixed in with a indie sound. The Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. comparisons are accurate and this could be a band that is best savoured live.
Taster Song: Cursed with the Knowledge

Jinx Lennon. Sugarclub. Fri 6th June. The Dundalk punk rapper poet is in town with support from Miss Paula Flynn (remember she did the David Bowie cover for Tipperary Water). Ticket prices not announced yet but expect them to be very reasonable <€18. Jinx’s music and social commentary can stretch from hilarious to vicious but go with an open mind and you will leave with no doubt that the man is a genius.
Taster Video from Balcony TV: Forgive the Cunts


Have I missed anything?

Africa Day

We all learn something new everyday. And yesterday I learned about Africa Day, thanks to Joerg’s Dublin Event Guide (for Free Events). Celebrated officially on the 25th May (today!), Irish Aid is supporting the big day with a variety of events all over the city!

The main event will be taking place at Dublin Castle with music (with Irish and African performers, including Kila, Mundy, Sinead O’Connor, Montema, Stone and Jezreel to name a few), bazaar (hurray I love bazaar and market), talks, food and drinks. Of course, it’s not just at Dublin Castle that there are something going on. Head out to some other venues too, such as Irish Film Institute that are showing a few African movies for free.

Africa Day website screenshot

Do click on the screenshot of the Africa Day website above to bring you to its main page, as well as a full listing of what’s going on today in celebration of this special occasion.

There are other events nationwide too, but of course, it’ll be a little hard to beat the lineups in the capital. Now, I’m just wishing for the day to turn lovelier than the current slightly dull and windy weather. It should be. The last couple of days have been quite similar, the way the days started a little grey but turned brighter and sunny even came the evening.

Barbeque Mixtapes

The recent weather has prompted a good start to barbeque season so I thought I’d take the chance to help you guys out and plug my other blog. My Top Five is a blog where every week I post my favourite songs around a particular theme or scenario. People go to the blog and leave their favourites and after a week I compile 10-12 songs together and podcast them.

This week we’re looking for songs to play at barbeques, so if you have any good suggestions or want to see what others think head over to You can also check out our previous podcasts there or on iTunes

The Barbeque Mixtape will be podcasted Friday 30th May.


Lets do it – Metblogs Dublin

To give our readers better content and experience visiting MB Dublin, we have got some new stuff for our readers this week and also in doing this we want to make MB Dublin as happening as some of other big cities in MB network like LA, NY, London etc..

First of, we have a new author – Thomas Lau. Welcome to MB Dublin Tom.

Secondly, we have a new facebook group (LINK) [need to be a member on facebook]. Some people have complained about the signing-up for leaving comments but as that issue is not in my hands, we thought we might setup a fb group to start with and take it to next level from there :). Join us on facebook.

Thirdly, we also setup a “Restaurants in Dublin” Google Maps (LINK) for all the restaurants we blogged and reviewed. All in one place for our readers to easily find and read about it.

View Larger Map

Last but not least, we are brainstorming on various other topics to improve MB Dublin and the readership experience, and we would release them in coming weeks. If you wanna be a part of it, join the discussion on facebook.

The best value M&S meal!

I picked up this flyer this morning when I was in Marks and Spencer to do some food shopping, and it simply is just such an amazing offer. The flyer pretty much says it all!

Marks and Spencer promotion flyer

Basically, the items don’t come in a pre-packed package or something like that. Instead, the items are on the shelves like they normally would but certain items are marked to qualify as part of the promotional menu price items. So pick one item for each of the category, put them together, and voila you’re set for a dinner for 2 person.

Only in participating stores (I know Grafton Street branch is definitely one of them) and from today until Monday, according to the small prints. Bon appetit!

Champions League Final Tonight

My first post at Dublin Metblogs! The Champions League Final is on tonight and for many people the big question is where to watch the match. Unfortunately in the past, I have always ended up in two types of pub for these big games.

Pub A: Bursting to rafters. It’ll take 15 minutes to get served and your drink will probably be half spilled by the time you’ve jostled your way back to the cramped corner of the room which allows you a view of a post-it note sized area of the screen. You won’t be able to see or hear but will know when the highlights of the game occur judging by the screams of the crowd. Be well prepared for some football chanting and some over excited fat man trying to crush you in his sweaty bosoms if his team win.

Pub B: Empty old man’s pub. People silently watch the game from their usual spots, perhaps one or two chairs might be pulled out to face the screen. Instead of screams and chants expect pretentious debate on the “flow” of the passing, diving, how Roy Keane was better and how the modern game is all about money and politics. Victory will be accompanied by minimal celebration followed by a brief discussion on how rubbish the game was.

So tonight I’m hoping to finally find a nice balance in the middle of Pubs A and B. I’m going to the Sugar Club on Leeson Street. They have a big screen and the first 50 people in get free Heineken. Actually, this is sounding more like it’s going to be a Pub A kind of place…. Any other suggestions on where to watch the match? Sinnotts opposite the Gaiety theatre perhaps? There’s a discussion on where to watch at Sinnotts with crowd

Value lunch at George’s Wine Bar

There’s one dining tips, tried and tested time and again, to getting great value meals – go at lunchtime rather than dinner. Most restaurants in town have incredibly marked up prices for the evening but keeping the tag low during the day in order to draw in more customers. This is, in a way, promotional work for them. If the punters are happy they are bound to return at dinner for special occassion and fork out just that bit more money.

George’s Wine Bar is definite one of those places. If anything, it’s one of the best kept secret for lunch! I’m even a tad reluctant to write about this, but at the same time, it would be selfish of me not to share. Main courses going at €9 each, and starter with main course going at €13. The price also includes tea/coffee at the end of the meal. Now, are you interested?

Have a look at its lunch menu. And drool over the following images. ;-)

Bread and salmon

Trout and pork

My friends and I have been there several times, and I’ve been working my way trying the different dishes on offer. The smoked salmon (top, right) is light and perfect for a summer day. Pan fried sea trout (bottom, left) is delicate and delicious, and I love the sweet potato purée very much. The distinct flavour of porcini dresses up the sauce for the pork (bottom, right) just so beautifully too. I have also tried the swordfish that is served with an unusual green vegetable purée – I like the pairing of the fish with mango salsa. And oh, we also like asking for olive oil to go with their bread selection (top, left).

Anyone that I have recommended this restaurant to so far had not been disappointed. The quality of food served here is consistent, although for some guys, the portion may be a touch smaller but that’s when ordering a starter (either soup or shrimp salad) makes a lot of sense.

So the next time you’re in the city centre near Trinity College area, why not drop by George’s Wine Bar?

George’s Wine Bar
29 South Frederick St
+353 (0)1 679 7000

View In Google Map

Sponsor a child

Children can be incredibly aware of social issues, and this was demonstrated by my colleague’s daughter just a week or so ago. While watching her favourite kiddie channel, an advertisement came up, seeking for sponsorship of children in countries that require continuous support. She turned to her mother and very candidly asked “Mummy, these children don’t look very happy. Is it because they don’t have food and toys? Can we help them?”

My colleague and her husband made an agreement then that they would try to seek for a programme to sponsor a child, and hope by this they would educate their daughters of charity and awareness about poverty.

But first, they want to know where to start.

I have been sponsoring a child from Ethiopia for a while now, through Action Aid (UK) because at that point when I started, Action Aid Ireland didn’t yet have such programme in place. My understanding of this organisation is that the money doesn’t go to the child individually but to the community where various projects to improve the living standards and education levels are being carried out. In return the organisation would send periodical progress reports (so to speak) along with maybe a sketch or two by the child.

Not wanting to sound heartless, but I’d rather not receive any of the correspondence by post. I am more than happy to receive email correspondence (this is more environmentally friendly, plus it means less cost on printing and postage) and would rather the money be spent less on administrative items and more on community projects. So far, I’m happy with the level of correspondence (or non-correspondence) that I’m receiving.

But I digress.

So where can you start if you’re considering a worthwhile project like this? Here, I am suggesting 5 organisations (in alphabetical order) that are/have Irish base which you can investigate further, of their aims, their projects and how they are helping the communities that need assistance.

1) Action Aid Ireland
2) A-Z Children Charity
3) Child Fund Ireland
4) Plan Ireland
5) World Vision Ireland

Most of the sponsorship plan requested between €20-€30 per month, and on a long term basis so that there’s continuous funding to carry out appropriate works without constant worry (and administrative duties) of seeking for new sponsors to replace those who withdraw after just a short period of sponsorship. The key here is community development, so it is a little bit of a long term commitment from all parties involved.

It is not a huge sum of money involved – one less fancy meal in town per month – but it will make such a difference to the life a child somewhere. To have basic comforts such as housing with clean water facilities. An oppportunity to education. The list continues. These, are priceless.

Lost in conversion

Have anyone gave a read to today’s Irish Times Pricewatch article (premium content, subscription needed) about Irish consumers being ripped off, not just by virtue of high prices but also by losing out in the process of currency conversion?

Many of the retailers within the city are part of UK chains, such as Topshop/Topmen, Oasis, Coast but to name a few, and often times, you do see the prices on the tag, being in Euro and in Sterling. Some European retailers such as Zara and H&M would have pricing in Euro as well as other European currencies not within Eurozone.

In facing this, how many consumers are actually asking if we’re being charged accordingly?

Given the strong Euro at the moment, we should rightly be paying less for our purchases. However, such currency advantage is not being passed on to us at all. If anything, should the conversion rate be following the other trend, I can bet that the price would be hiked immediately to reflect the market situation. “We have no choice” would be the mantra of the retailers. But of course, the current situation is one that shows stronger Euro, and these businesses simply have no wish to pass on the benefits and rather keep the profits higher to themselves.

Such discrepancy is more apparent when dual pricing tags are operational. To that end, some retailers are now moving to display only single currency unit (i.e. Euro) and remove the Sterling for comparison. A tad sneaky really.

I have switched a good bit of my purchasing to online shopping of late, particularly those of books and CDs and the likes. By being exchange rate-aware and choosing the appropriate currency for payments to be charged, not only am I paying a cheaper price to start of with, I’m also making a saving through the currency conversion. Even with the delivery costs associated, I’m still paying less.

It pays to be price aware, and don’t let bad business practices flourish!

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