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O P I N I O N The Grumpy Old Troll I remember sitting in a classroom twenty five years ago when the teacher began to tell us a story. A story about three young goats living a happy life. There came a day when the happy little goats wanted to cross a bridge to get to the lovely green grass on the other side to fill their tummies. Of course it could not have been that easy or else it would have been a very short story. The tale took a sinister twist when we discovered that there was a huge ugly troll waiting under the bridge to eat anyone that passes and for some reason he seemed to have an insatiable taste for goats! The horror of it all was surely evident on my face as the teacher described the gory details of the trollâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appearance. Alas, as with any childhood story there was a happy ending on the way: the goats got across the bridge, the troll died and everything was right with the world. Looking back now, I cannot remember the morale of the story, but there was one element that stuck with me and, truth be told, had a long lasting psychological effect on me. As an impressionable 5 year old, the story scared the life out of me. What followed for the next few years was a terrified child fearing for his life every time he crossed a bridge. Was there a troll underneath? Was he going to eat me? Could I run fast enough if he jumped out? Who would hear me scream? It took a few years, but eventually my fear of trolls began to subside slowly. Gradually, I started to build up some courage and was able to walk briskly over the bridges instead of running and even the odd time stopping to taking to take a sneak peak over the edge if I was feeling brave. It was a long process, but eventually, as I started pushing on in life and entered my teens, I started to realise how silly my insecurities were and decided to push them to the back of my mind and man up about this whole troll business. In hindsight, the words of that seemingly harmless story the teacher told that day really had a long lasting effect on me. You may wonder why I regale this
silly little childhood tale of monsters, but increasingly these days we find ourselves all too often talking about modern day trolls and the damage they too, can do to us. This time though, they are not the stuff of childhood stories; in fact, they are a growing breed which walk freely amongst us. These modern day trolls are not big green and ugly - in fact, they look just like you and me. Internet trolls, a dangerous breed by any means, will seemingly stop at nothing to hurt whoever crosses their path. Their weapon of choice is words and their preferred armour is anonymity. The brazenness of these modern day monsters knows no bounds and nothing is sacred to them. The destruction they leave behind is not physical, as they lack the courage and integrity to face their victims, so instead they prefer to inflict psychological damage - this is where they get their real kicks. Internet trolls do not possess the ability to see the damage they can inflict on their victims as they quickly discard their targets and move straight on to the next without a second thought. These keyboard warriors are by nature self-claimed experts in a range of subjects and will tackle even the most educated minds with brazen gusto. They are a creature we must not entertain but remove from our lives without further thought. We are all too familiar with stories of online bullying and trolling and the consequences which it has on people. The fact, that people can cause damage from behind the safeguard of a computer screen and not care about the consequences, is becoming an increasing trend which is affecting more and more people. Words can be a powerful weapon and, more often than not, can have a lasting effect on people. Words can be powerful and uplifting, but they also possess the ability to have a negative effect on people. As the saying goes - for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; and when that reaction is somebodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mentality suffering, then things have gotten out of hand. The mind is a great and powerful thing, but also an extremely sensitive and
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fragile entity. When the mind is hurt there is no blood or physical scars, but it certainly takes a lot longer to heal than your average flesh wound. This is something we need to remember in our treatment of others. Internet usage is part of our daily lives these days and sometimes the lines between real life and the online world get blurred. Our lives are out there for the public to see, as we upload our photos to our social media accounts; we do this now without a second thought. The internet is a huge communication tool which we are engrossed in for a large percentage of our day and just as we do in our real lives, we need to be safe and aware in our online surroundings. If we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation in our day-to-day lives, we do our best to remove ourselves from that situation - it is time we started to use the same principals when it comes to our online lives. More than ever, we need to look after ourselves and others. Whilst we all try to be good citizens and caring human beings, sometimes we can slip up; so we should all take some time over the coming months to evaluate the power our words can have over others. I hope, like me, if you find yourself a victim of trolls - whether real or imaginary - that you will find the strength to overcome the fear they instil. For every bridge that I was forced to run across, I would need to remember that there was miles and miles of open road in between, where everything was better and there was nowhere for lurking creatures to hide. It is these open roads we need to concentrate on. Do not do, as I did, and go through your fears on your own talking about these fears is the best way to eradicate them. Remember that your mind is one of the most powerful things you possess and we should concentrate more on taking care of it. Article by: Dave Cuddihy Twitter: @davecuddihy Illustration by Jacob Stack www.jacobstack.net
p e op l e p r o f i l e KATie whelan
“Lisa’s Light is lighting up our bridges. We can help those in a dark place when they need it most.”
Katie Whelan and her cousin Lisa, were more like sisters. Katie was just 15 when Lisa lost her life by suicide, aged 20. Shocked and devastated does not even begin to describe how Katie and her family felt: “It was unbelievably hard. For so long I couldn’t even talk about her, I would burst into tears any time anyone mentioned her name. I don’t really know how we got through it. We just pulled together as a family and I had a lot of support from my boyfriend. It helped to know we were all there for each other, and that there would always be someone to talk to when I felt ready.” It was a long time before Katie would feel able to talk about her cousin. Nearly three years passed when, just before Christmas, she had a moment of inspiration that changed her life, and brought about Lisa’s Light. Lisa’s Light is a simple, yet powerful concept. A set of light boxes placed along Limerick’s Thomond Bridge, with positive messages to provide a light in the darkness when someone needs it most. It is a project that has become a reality through a few very intense months of hard work and community spirit. Amazingly, the idea came from a dream. “It was just before Christmas. I hadn’t really been dreaming of her before that, but there she was. Lisa was standing on the bridge, and I just remember all this light around her. Dreams aren’t always clear; I made sense of it when I woke – it seemed like there were boxes of light, and they had words in them, though I couldn’t really make them out. The most important thing I remember is, that Lisa was looking at the words, and it made her step back as she read them. I knew there was something in this. I was sure that I had to do something with it, and the
idea started to take shape.” That’s all it was – a dream and a fledging idea, when Katie decided to start telling people about it. “The details and planning – I hadn’t even thought about those yet. I went ahead and emailed Joe Nash at Limerick’s Live 95FM, telling him about the dream and the potential idea it had brought about. He invited me onto his show to talk about it, and Joe and the team have been really supportive
“The messages we have chosen are positive, life affirming statements. They are just a few words long, simple quotes that we hope will brighten up everyone’s day, whatever they are facing.” of the concept ever since.” Katie also set up the Lisa’s Light Facebook page and a petition and was overwhelmed by the support she received. The petition gained an incredible 4,000 signatures in the space of a month, and messages offering support continue to flood in to this day. Katie takes it all in her stride, joking that she’s always on the phone to the press. She doesn’t really seem to be aware just how inspiring she is. It is easy to forget that she is just 18, in the throes of her Leaving Cert. She speaks so eloquently about the concept,
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her determination and vision shining with every sentence she utters. She is on a study break the evening that we speak, having only finished school at 6pm. “It’s tiring, but I’ll get there,” she says modestly. She doesn’t put herself at the centre of the campaign – she simply believes so much in the idea, is determined that this is the legacy that Lisa should have, and has been doing everything she can to bring it to fruition. And, after only a few whirlwind months, she has done it. The boxes were unveiled on the 24th of March, the result of tireless fundraising and promotion by Katie, and of the never ending support from the Limerick community. From the council, to Limerick businesses, to everyone who donated whatever small amount they could, Katie cannot express enough gratitude. Her friend Eithne McGill, helped her bring the vision from her dream to an initial design. The Alphaset design, display and production agency on Limerick’s Bishop Street, are the ones responsible for bringing the drawings to life. “They have been absolutely incredible,” Katie says. “I approached so many different designers, electrical engineers in Dublin, you name it, and none of them could do what Alphaset have been able and willing to do for Lisa’s Light. They’ve pretty much done everything, all the design and prototyping and lighting – all in just a few weeks!” She is also keen to stress that none of this would have happened without the backing of the Limerick council members whom Katie approached to get the light boxes approved as an addition to the city’s bridges. The prototype got the official go-ahead in February.
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Katie Whelan with Grandmother: Eileen Culhane, Mother: Michelle Whelan and Sister: Chloe Whelan
Lisa’s Light isn’t just about suicide awareness. Of course, Katie is pleased to play a part in raising awareness and encouraging people to seek help, and she hopes the light boxes could play some part to prevent it. But she wants the boxes to be for everyone, for Lisa’s Light to be an addition to help boost the overall morale of the city. “The messages we have chosen, are positive, life affirming statements. They are just a few words long, simple quotes that we hope will brighten up everyone’s day, whatever they are facing.” Katie and her mum spent many hours deciding on the right words. “We got a lot of inspiration from the #littlethings campaign that is run by the HSE and the National Office for Suicide Prevention. The wording has also been verified as suitable by the organisations which was very important to ensure the installation could go ahead.” Another family member who has put their all into the project is Katie’s nan, Eileen. As we speak, Katie is busy preparing for the Lisa’s Light Fashion show fundraiser, kindly supported by the Ursula Stokes Agency. Eileen has been busy selling tickets to anyone she comes across, Katie laughs. “And Ursula herself has been brilliant too, she has been so handson to make the show a success.”
With what she has achieved in such a short space of time, does Katie see Lisa’s Light going national, or even global? – “I would love to see other counties, and yes –even countries, to take up the idea. We’ve had enquiries from someone in Wexford, so who knows? At the moment I’m just thrilled that it’s happening in Limerick.” Now Katie can talk about Lisa, and she speaks with great tenderness and love. “I am just grateful for the times we shared. I have so many happy memories, and I want her memory to help bring happiness to others.” So many of us will experience dark times. Whether that darkness lasts a day, a week, or more, Lisa’s Light will be there to help guide people through.
More information on Lisa’s Light can be found at facebook. com/LisasLightLimerick Article by Kayleigh Ziolo Twitter: @kayleigh_ziolo Images by Tarmo Tulit – www.tarmotulit.com
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J A M e s Rin g Meet the New CEO of the Limerick Chamber – James Ring
The first thing that strikes you about James Ring, the recently appointed CEO of Limerick Chamber, is his youth. Sitting in the offices of one of the oldest business establishments in the city, Ring exudes a sense that he is energetic, fresh and up for the task. As he engages with the interview, you quickly get the impression that this is also a guy who means business. Ring’s career to date has been interesting: as a graduate of CBS Sexton St, Ring went on to LIT to study Environmental Science and eventually transferred to the University of Limerick. “I thought my career would be mapped out as a scientist,” Ring says. “I worked for a time with Limerick City Council in their environment lab and then pursued a PhD in Environmental Chemistry at LIT. I realised after all this, that I didn’t see myself working in a lab. A position came up with IBEC in Dublin in the pharmaceutical sector. This took me out of the comfort zone of the lab and into the world of business lobbying and business representation.” At the relatively young age of 26, Ring discovered himself in a position where he found himself sitting at a table with Chief executives of multi-nationals and describes the experience as “a huge learning curve”. Most recently, Ring has been the CEO of Limerick Civic Trust, a role where he spent 5 years reshaping the organisation. “At the time, the Trust was going through a tough period,” he notes. “It had lost its founding director and was also in an extremely precarious financial situation. The challenge was huge and we had to make some really difficult decisions.” Ring would see his biggest achievement over the past 5 years as helping to clear the significant debt he had inherited upon accepting the role. “The Civic Trust wasn’t on its knees, it was floored,” Ring says. “Now you see it in a healthy state again. Some people criticised me for selling the
Georgian House, saying I was doing a disservice to the Civic Trust. My simple answer was, that if I didn’t do it there wouldn’t be a Civic Trust so which would you prefer? You have to take the criticism but I think the decision was ultimately correct.” Ring’s appointment to Limerick Chamber comes at a time when Limerick is seeing the start of an economic recovery. Recent FDI investment along with the 2030 vision allows him to enter the role at a period when working together is the order of the day. “The challenge for the city is, that it seems to be about to come on to the crest of a wave,” Ring says. “I don’t think it is there yet, but we are starting to move in the right direction. I use the word ‘starting’ because there is a long, long way to go yet. I don’t think we should start patting ourselves on our backs yet in saying we have done a great job. Yes, we have seen changes, but we have come from a really low base and we are really only starting to emerge. I hope we won’t see complacency set in and that we will keep on fighting to ensure Limerick is a bigger and better city.” Ring believes that the big advantage for Limerick is the fact that we may not have felt the full effect of the Celtic Tiger. Yet he warns, that whilst there may not be the huge financial problems seen in other cities, we do see large unemployment figures which need addressing. “We witness a lot of young people moving away from Limerick even to the likes of Dublin and Cork. Now we are starting to see positive statements and messages emerging,” he notes. Ring sees the recent investment in Limerick by the likes of viagogo, Northern Trust and Regeneron as something that will help to keep our young skilled people in Limerick. “This is the beginning of a crucial phase
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for Limerick and one that I believe the Chamber now needs to row in behind. I want the Chamber to now sell Limerick Inc. The IDA put a lot of effort into selling Ireland, but I want the Chamber to be the driving force of selling Limerick as an investment location and the heart of the Mid West Region.” Ring identifies a number of key aspects that Limerick must use as a selling point: “We have quick links to other major cities in the country and an international airport on our doorstep that has finally got its independence and is moving in the right direction,” he notes. “We have three universities in the city, which is unheard of for a city of our size and clearly shows that we have an educated population. We have a vibrant city centre, but we need to see that continue.” Ring would acknowledge the work that has been done to improve the retail mix in the city centre over recent years but highlights the need for Limerick to now focus on its evening economy. “Limerick effectively closes at 6pm apart from our restaurants and bars,” he feels. “That is not good enough, because the life of the city is drained at night-time. Even when you look at something as simple as a cinema and look back on the days when you had cinemas and bowling alleys in the city centre, you realise how far we have slipped.” “What can you identify now as something that drives our evening economy and brings throngs of young people into the city? Nothing. Even the coffee culture that you would see in other cities at night is not present in Limerick. Our evening economy must be addressed.” Ring describes Limerick Chamber as a sleeping giant that is ticking away, but could do an awful lot more. He identifies the need for the Chamber to become a much more action-orientated organisation.
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“I think a big role for me will be the liaison between the business community and the local authority to ensure that the correct conditions are met to allow business to thrive in this city,” he says.
James Ring on the Limerick Chamber balcony overlooking O’Connell Street
“Some people might have the impression, that the Chamber is just a talking shop and that we just sit around a boardroom table debating and discussing,” he acknowledges. “I suppose there has to be some of that to a certain degree, but this is just a small part of what we do. Under my watch I hope that people would see the Chamber become more action-orientated and one that is working to increase member engagement.” Ring feels the local authority have a role to play in terms of facilitating and opening the doorway to allow people help other citizens but believes the only people who can actually make things happen, is the business community. Ring is passionate when he says the days of being an island and working in isolation, are done. He believes it is crucial that the various different stakeholders in this city continue to work together.
“In terms of Limerick I would have developed an understanding of how the public machine worked during my time at the Civic Trust,” he says. “I have seen how this has changed over the past 5 years. When I started at the Civic Trust, Limerick was a very disjointed city. I now see much more joined up thinking. I wouldn’t say it was perfect, there is a long way to go, but we are certainly improving. The local authority is now working with the business community. You see groups like the Limerick Economic Forum which brings in Foreign Direct Investments, universities and other key stakeholders around a table. It is fantastic to see such a high level group plotting and planning Limerick’s positive future. Traditionally Limerick Chamber and the Council would have been entities known for the regular locking of horns. Ring still believes it is the Chamber’s role to challenge the Council but believes these interactions can be much more constructive. “There is no point in saying we are the Council’s best friend if the Council is not introducing business-friendly initiatives and making it easier for companies to open up and, most importantly – stay open,” he notes. “Look at the rates issue. We recently saw a significant reduction in rates and that has had a very palpable positive effect on business in the city. Things are starting to pick up. It would be absolutely devastating if we were now to increase rates again, thinking the job is done. We now need to help businesses, who were choked during the recession, to breathe again.” Ring says he has no time for people who consistently put out destructive comments and who cannot move away from being critical. “If you want to criticise, that is fine, but do it constructively. Show us potential solutions, show us leadership and how you think problems can be solved. In the past our downfall was our inability to work together, to understand our problems, but most importantly to constructively bring solutions to the table aimed at ultimately making Limerick the great place it deserves to be. That will be my approach and I look forward to such positive engagement over the coming months and years.” Article by Nigel Dugdale Twitter: @nigeldugdale Images by Tarmo Tulit - www.tarmotulit.com
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S T U D E N T L I FE
My Mind Is A Spectrum With Positives And Negatives; But That’s OK My name is Michelle O’Connor and I am a postgraduate researcher on loss and grief and a consultant in MyMind, a community based mental health service in Limerick. This year I became the Postgraduate Society president in Limerick Institute of Technology and was approached to run a Mental Health Campaign on Campus. A phrase that is used with children in my family when something breaks or someone falls is “But that’s OK”. The term always comforted me, because it reinforced that although something bad happened, it would be OK. It was a simple idea, but something that was more effective than I ever thought. This was run on campus where students were asked to write on a piece of paper: “Sometimes I feel (emotion)… But That’s OK”, and to wear that for as long as they felt comfortable. The goal was to connect and accept the negative and vulnerable emotions we experience. The response was something, which I will never forget as students committed to wearing their feelings for the day and connecting with others who experienced similar negative or positive emotions. I hoped that the wise and comforting words that provided me with ease would give the courage to others that it always gave to me. And possibly their own mother, father or friend would tell them “but that’s OK”. I wished to dispel the myth that we don’t or shouldn’t feel negative emotions, because we do. But to advocate that although we all feel negative emotions, the bruise will fade, the cut will heal and the vase can be glued. And if it doesn’t happen through your support network, it’s OK to access support elsewhere. It is OK to feel anxious, depressed, worthless, self-conscious or peer-reviewed, as one academic researcher stated in the campaign. I feel it would be disrespectful for me at this stage of the article not to state the emotion I wore on my t-shirt that day, because sometimes I feel anxious and I do have anxietyy, but that’s OK. The day I wrote
that on a piece of paper, I had at least three other people come to me and disclose that they also experience anxiety and found comfort in knowing I did as well and could share experiences and self-care techniques. Our minds are a spectrum and not a constant positive place. There will be unpredictability, erratic and pessimistic emotions in the continuum of my mind, but I have accepted that and know I can tell someone “I’m really anxious today,” and that will be OK. Although I had a keen interest in mental health, the rawness of emotion and connection from my peers inspired a passion in mental health awareness and conversely awareness into adverse emotions. I then pursued becoming involved with an organisation where I could extend my experience in the area and help people receive local, accessible and non-judgemental services. “MyMind” provides mental well-being services in Ireland and opened in Limerick in 2014. Not only does My Mind provide face-to-face counselling, but it also run online counselling and offers at reduced rates for students or unemployed persons. The vision is that everyone has easy and quick access to community based services and ensures a response within 72 hours. Besides English, MyMind also offers services in over 15 languages to provide support and information which is as accessible as possible to multiple different nationalities. I have now become a consultant and am happy to be the face of MyMind services in Limerick as I hope to break down judgement and barriers and encourage us all to wear and advocate the ethos “But That’s OK”. For further information please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.mymind.org
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Name: Diane O’Doherty Course: MA by Research – L.I.T Best thing about being a student? Being surrounded by such great people. I’ve met some of my closest friends in college. Best event you were at as a student? That’s a tough one! I think it would have to be Biffy Clyro in Dolans Warehouse in 2008. Dolans is such a great venue anyway, but to see them live before they became so famous was great. Highlight of your college life so far? Graduating with an M.A. in Sociology (Youth, Community & Social Regeneration) from UL. I absolutely loved the course and my research topic (graffiti in Ireland). Favourite student dinner? A wedge roll. Nothing compares to it. Favourite Limerick phrase? “Tackies”. I only recently found out why Limerick people call runners tackies (it was the Boer War)! Favourite place for a quiet pint? The Blind Pig or Cobblestone Joe’s. Favourite place to grab lunch? The Soup Cafe / The Old Quarter Favourite place to take someone special out for dinner? That’s a tough one as I’m vegetarian. Usually it would be Chocolat in Limerick City. What nightclub would you inevitably end up in on a night out? Costello’s. Tell us something we don’t know about you? I’m a mirror twin (Google it!!). One piece of advice that you would give to students? Make sure you prioritize college work and your social life. Once you find a nice balance, everything seems to work out. What is student life for you? At the moment I’m in the middle of doing an M.A. by research on tobacco control in Ireland. I’m usually writing up results, articles and planning a few social nights. Image by Tarmo Tulit FUSION MAGAZINE | 19
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N I A LL O ’ H A LL O R A N When Niall O’Halloran came into the Fusion office, we instantly made a new great friend. He is warm, genuine and full of wisdom that is beyond his years and damn, the boy can sing. He is a super example of the talent in Limerick, which when nurtured can go on to do amazing things — from his acting degree, studying in London and touring around Ireland, we talked at length about life, music and of course, The Voice of Ireland. So tell us a little about yourself? I was born and raised in Limerick and went to Caherdavin primary school and from there moved to Parteen. I was based in Dublin when I moved there for college, I studied musical theatre in Bull Alley Theatre Training, I did three years there and I’m just after returning home from London. I began singing when I was in primary school, I was cast as the lamb and I was raging (laughs), because I really wanted to be Jesus, but I was too old. My teacher let me sing My Shepherd is the Lord and my parents still say to this day, “I remember you belting it out.” That is where it all started. I’d imagine I was about five or six then, and shortly after I began expressive arts stage school, every Saturday until I was about sixteen or seventeen. I absolutely loved it, it was a fantastic way to start out and a way for me to express myself. At what point did it turn professional for you? Quite young, actually, in the musical theatre sense of things; if anyone needed kids, I’d be thrown in. I think my first pay-cheque was for £50 (old money) and that was for Oliver. It was for a Dublin based production company. Also, from my choice in college, Dublin first and then in London. After my studies in the U.K, I ended up coming home and doing a tour for 6 weeks around Ireland in schools and nursing homes. You have done a lot at a young age… It’s mad, I always set myself little goals and that was one of the main reasons for coming home was to focus on music, and really develop myself after touring around Ireland for awhile. So tell us, how you got involved with The Voice of Ireland? I was working in The Sage Café. I came home from work, and my mother was at the computer and I knew she was up to something, though I thought she might be sending an application to the army for me
— the mind goes to strange places (laughs), and it ended up that it was for The Voice. She knew herself, it was something I wanted to do. We ended up getting it in before the deadline at 11.50pm and I just thought nothing of it, I know how these shows can go and didn’t think my voice would translate well, but I wanted to get something up and running, to see if I could develop it, challenge myself on the other side of music I love. I wanted to see if I could get something out of it, I did and I was delighted. I didn’t think people would get what I was trying to do, because I’m a musical theatre singer and I thought it wouldn’t translate well to a popular TV show. Do you think the experience will change you? Absolutely, I think it already has in some way; it’s achieving what I set out to do —figuring myself out as a recording artist and a singer, songwriter. Although, I don’t get to perform my own songs on the show, I get an idea of the scene that I want to get myself into, and a chance to see what that world is like. I like to think of myself as a very optimistic person and happy-go-lucky, but in any tough situations I try and maintain that happy-golucky facade and then express everything else through music. That’s through my lyrics and music, and I love music that tells a story, and that someone can relate to and share to what I’m trying to portray. How are you finding the show, is there pressure? It’s intense, it’s a big machine and it’s so well organised and, fair play to them, trying to get everyone in to rehearse and for voice checks; and there is a lot of work behind the final product; and also working on screen — I have never worked on screen before. Do you still get butterflies right before you hit the stage? Oh, hell yes. I love it: the feeling before you go on stage is terrifying, but the high I get
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after the first note leaves my mouth makes them so worth it. Singing is my therapy. If I get into a song I can release all the pent up emotions I have stored inside me… rather than directing them at the conjurers of said emotions. I love that I have this outlet. My parents think I’m a stoner because I’m always so laid back… but it’s my singing therapy sessions that are the benefactors to my… chilled out demeanour! How has life been on The Voice and what made you pick Una? I knew how hard working Una was, before I auditioned for The Voice. She is so driven and passionate about music... that was something I really admired about her. But I’m a strong believer in energy and vibes... I felt really connected to her, my gut instinct was drawn towards her and so I went with that and it seems to be paying off. How has the support been? Ohhhh, it is the most incredible thing. Limerick in itself is an incredible network and when someone is doing something from Limerick the whole city gets behind them. Everyone is rooting for you. It’s so nice trying to get your music out, and for people now to recognise, is so positive and supportive. How is your family handling it? They are loving it. My grandmother is ringing me and being like “Oh, I’m getting stopped on the road!” — it’s very funny. My dad is great with it because my dad is this big rugby enthusiast, a real limerick man. And he’s really supportive. They’re all delighted, I’m so glad they get to see me accomplish something.
What do you hope to gain from the experience overall? Once I’m working, I’ll be completely happy no matter what scale. Ideally I would love to be able to get a nice record label and be able to tour around Europe and the world, and just share with people what I do and hope people will like it. But if I got to tour around Limerick and Ireland, I’d also be so happy with that. It just depends on how much work I put in, and I’m prepared to go all the way. What are the judges like? They are a howl — Bressie is an absolute gent, and he is so down-to-earth: he is really in it to look for a proper artist. Kian is so positive, he’s a sound man and a good laugh - I haven’t dealt with him as much as the rest of them, but what I’ve been told by his contestants is that he is a good laugh. Rachel is just the nicest lady on the planet. She’s just so cute, she’s so sincere and humble, she came up last week and gave me a big hug — a real nice person. And then Una is my life, she’s the best human I’ve ever met. Her work ethic is incredible: she is still doing stuff with The Saturdays, she’s just after having a child, she’s a judge on this and she has another show, Una’s Dream Ticket. I’d love to have that work ethic and she knows exactly what to do with an artist - Una is amazing. So tell us a little about your taste in music? I adore the old classic stuff — the kind of gritty produced stuff; I suppose the natural sound: real old soul blues, heart-in-your-hand kind of thing… also those heavy gospel vocals, the likes of Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, all the greats... Nina Simone, beautiful story tellers and beautiful voices like Marvin Gaye. I was heavily influenced by them from listening to records at home. Then I love real folk, stripped back stuff; laying everything out there when it hits you live, like Joni Mitchell and Jeff Buckley — it’s just incredible. But then I have been influenced by the concept musical revolution like Stephen Sondheim’s works and stuff. My music taste is a bit sporadic… but it keeps people guessing, which is fun. At the moment, I’m having my reoccurring Matt Corby and Edith Piaf sessions… I’d say anyone following me on Spotify will be out for blood next time they see those names on their screens.
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Who would be your favourite singer? Etta James, because of how emotional her voice is, how raw and dirty it is. It’s that real gritty style: you listen to her and you wanna shout and sing with her. It really gets me. Who would your ultimate duet be with? I think Joss Stone. I would really like to sing a song with her, I love to watch her, she’s doing really cool things. Maybe we could do like A Man’s World or something. So going forward, what’s the plan? My plan, win or lose. Win — it’s not in my hands what happens, but try and to get a single out and a couple of albums. Lose — I keep working, because I have a taste of what I want to do and now know there’s a market out there for me, I’d try do the festival circuit and get an EP together. What would you say to anyone who wants to become a singer or have a musical career? If you put emotion and passion into your work, the sky is your limit. A good voice and a good stage presence are needed yeah, but if heart isn’t in what you do, then no one else’s will be either. People love music because it can take you to another world, or show that you are not alone. So, I guess, be honest with what you do and the heart will be too. Cheesy, but I feel it’s true. I honestly do think being 100% honest with yourself, if there’s no crap with you and what you see is what you get, then people will love you. In regards to song writing: hard work — that’s what you need to do to put yourself forward and be an individual. You make your own destiny in any field, I think. Do you think Limerick is a good place for an artist? 100% I do! The place is so full of culture and is abundant with talent and artists. Everyone supports each other, I love being home and being around that. Finally, where can we find you? If I’m not drinking teas in The Sage Café, then you can catch me on Facebook page: Niall O Halloran – Music; or my Instagram: niallohalloran… or my twitter: @niallohalloran1
Interview by Michelle Costello & Olivia Chau Images by Tarmo Tulit www.tarmotulit.com
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F I T N ESS & HE A L T H 3 Top Foods for your Breakfast
Eggs These incredible edibles have made quite a comeback in recent years. Once shunned for being high in dietary cholesterol, eggs are now embraced as a healthy source of protein and nutrients like vitamin D. Why the turnabout? Research has shown that the cholesterol in our food has less of an impact on blood cholesterol than previously thought.
Salmon Salmon is one of the richest sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, a trove of cardio protective compounds, and can be readily cooked into a variety of scrumptious breakfast dishes. Salmon promotes brain development and function, prevents degenerative and inflammatory diseases and a whole host of others.
Almond butter Don’t eat eggs or dairy? Almond butter is an excellent alternate source of protein, and it’s filled with monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats). Plus, it’s really delicious spread on whole grain bread or paired with a banana or an apple. Nutritionally, almond butter is comparable to peanut butter, and they each have about 100 calories per tablespoon. Almond butter contains slightly less saturated fat, though—a definite point in its favour, even for people who aren’t allergic to peanuts.
The term, functional training is being said a lot in the fitness industry lately. But do we know what it actually means? Most people assume it’s just another trend with every gym looking to make a quick buck before it dies out. What it basically means is training in such a way that mimics real life in all three planes of motion. First off, we have sagittal movements: imagine a vertical plane that divides our body into left and right halves. Motion along the sagittal plane moves us back and forward, like walking or running. The goal, really, is to use both sides equally. Secondly, we have frontal movements: this vertical plan divides our body into the front and back. When we move along the frontal plane, (therefore you move) we exercise our front and back parts equally — (for instance) jumping jacks are a prime example. Lastly, we have transverse movements: this is diagonal or rotational movement, (another prime) a good example of this movement would be a golf swing. Look at it this way: imagine an office job sitting at the desk all day, then sitting into the car to go to the gym to sit into a machine — get the picture? Now, don’t get me wrong,
machine weights have their place in every gym whether it’s the beginner starting out, the older person looking to keep active or even the bodybuilder looking to isolate a certain muscle group, there will always be a need, but motion is what propels the body so I truly believe we should train the way we move — simple as that. This can be done in a number of ways. If TRX is your thing, then perfect! You probably won’t find a more functional tool in any gym, but that doesn’t mean it’s for you. Play about with free weights, kettle bells, (ViPR) etc; heck, even your own body weight is an awesome tool to train with. Find what suits your ability and your goal. Once we know how to move correctly and reinforce correct movement patterns, the possibilities will be limitless.
plank in all sorts of variations - some bad, some good. My biggest pet peeve is folding over of the arms. Once the body starts to get tired, then automatically the lower back will arch, taking everything away from this exercise. I also see people hold it for god awful time. The plank is most affective in short bursts and will lead to greater results. Here is how you get started. Start in plank position with palms flat. Make sure shoulders are level with your elbows, so you’re not reaching too far forward or too far behind you. Once that is done, I then want you to brace your core (squeeze it as tight as you can). Then finally I want you to squeeze your bum as hard as you can — this will bring you into a total body plank, and trust me — it’s not easy. Just be mindful of your lower back!
A strong core is the foundation of all movement. When you condition your core to a certain level, you will notice how everything else improves. Try the following routine to get you started on your functional journey. Here is one I have been using in my classes for a while now. I often see people doing the
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Try 10 sets of 10 seconds 10 seconds on 3 seconds off with no rest! Trust me, do this a couple of times a week and you will see results! Article by Eric Johnson – www.ttr.ie
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9 Foods to Keep In Your Kitchen If You Want To Eat Clean Apple Cider Vinegar
Choose raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, also known as “with the mother”. Peer into the glass bottle and you should be able to see a cloudy mass at the bottom — that’s the “mother”, a ball of living enzymes. Raw (unpasteurised) ACV can help promote better digestion, aid with heartburn, help with calcium absorption and to alkalise the body.
Mung beans are easy to sprout, and delicious in salads and stir fries. Soaked mung beans, cooked with medicinal spices, ginger, garlic, onions and soothing bone broth, makes for an incredibly delicious and immune-boosting dish that you can stockpile in the freezer. Great for any time when you are feeling a little less than your best.
A great pick-me-up for the whole system, this detoxifying and anti-inflammatory bright orange root contains curcumin, which is known to have extremely potent medicinal properties. Widely available in powdered form, add turmeric spice to soups, stews, juices, smoothies and, of course, your favourite curries and Asian dishes.
A good tip is to fry and roast with ghee (and coconut oil) and save extra-virgin olive oil and cold-pressed flaxseed oil for salad dressings and drizzling over ragus and stews when they’re being served up to preserve their nutrients. Look for quality ghee from pasture-raised cows. Ghee is the rich fat from butter, and is packed with antioxidants to boost the immune system.
Regular table salt is highly processed and bleached, and bears little resemblance to natural salts like rock and sea salt, which are dried in the wind and sun. The enzymes are preserved as well as the trace minerals and elements, which will help make your food taste incredible! Proper salt is the key to tasty food. Our favourite, Himalayan salt, contains the same 84 trace materials and elements found in our bodies.
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Rich in chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals, freeze-dried spirulina powder can be stirred into water, fresh juices or smoothies. It doesn’t smell particularly appetizing, but once combined in a refreshing green smoothie, you won’t taste it.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste that’s delicious in savoury and sweet recipes alike. Dark tahini made from unshelled seeds is more nutritious and has a stronger flavour than light, but light tahini is easier to incorporate if you’re just getting used to the flavour.
Properly fermented gluten-free soy sauce adds just a little depth to sauces, soups and stews, and isn’t just for Asian dishes. It’s a traditional Japanese sauce made from fermented soy beans. While similar in colour and flavour to soy sauce, I go for tamari because it’s gluten-free, and thanks to the higher concentration of fermented soy beans, is thicker and richer so you won’t need to use as much.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, which makes it heat stable — a perfect and tasty fat for stir-frying, baking and roasting as well as adding to smoothies and sweets. Made up of medium-chain fatty acids, it provides an easily obtainable energy source that doesn’t spike blood sugar levels. Like all natural fats (grass-fed butter, unrefined extra-virgin olive oil), coconut oil makes a meal satiating and helps your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in your food. Coconut oil is easily absorbed by the skin, so its unique properties are enjoyed as part of our skin care routine, too. It makes a deeply nourishing, chemicalfree moisturiser for skin, lips and hair and an excellent, gentle, makeup remover. A pantry essential, but one you’ll also find (it) on the bathroom shelf. Top Tip: Check out www.mindbodygreen.com
HEALTHY BODY HEALTHY MIND Statistics tell us that one in four people will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their life. If anything, this figure seems quite modest and so it makes sense that we should all be aware of simple, natural ways to support our mental health. While the diversity of mental health afflictions is vast, the common denominators which we require for optimum mental health are relatively universal. So let’s have a look at just some of them, which you can implement right away. Breathe! Oxygen is the number one nutrient used by every cell in the body. Obviously, given the huge workload and the wide variety of functions the brain controls throughout the body, it has a constant need to have its cells well-oxygenated. When under pressure, we have a tendency to resort to shallow, rapid breathing. Not alone does this mean poor oxygenation to the extremities, as we’re only filling a fraction of the lungs, it also perpetuates the cycle of hyperventilation, which triggers further anxiety. The chemical imbalance caused when there is excess carbon dioxide presses the fight button in the nervous system. This is the least efficient mode for optimum mental health. So make a conscious decision to breathe deeply and slowly through your nose. Pause regularly throughout your day to see if you have fallen back into the more familiar shallow breathing pattern.
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Quick Fixes Another knee-jerk reaction to stress tends to involve reaching for coffee, sugar, cigarettes or alcohol. While these addictive substances trigger dopamine release in the short-term, providing a quick fix, long-term dependence has the opposite effect. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is involved in motivation, so having a regular supply in circulation gives us a health boost. Once this falls below a healthy level, trying to motivate yourself to do anything, including making healthy choices, reaches an all-time low. When tempted to reach for an emotional support, in the form of the above-named addictions, reach instead for B vitamins. The vitamin B family are the fundamental vitamin to support the nervous system. Beans, lentils, fermented foods, seeds and nuts will all provide B vitamins, as well as fibre and slow-release protein. Ironically, the more sugar, caffeine and alcohol you consume, the more you deplete your B vitamins. As a result, you become more susceptible to stress, so you need even more stimulants, which further impact on your B vitamins. You see where this is going? Boosting your B vitamin intake is like providing a comfort blanket for your nervous system, so stimulant cravings will subside gently. Switch Off, Plug Out! We have never been more connected via social media, yet on an emotional level, we have never felt more isolated. We are social creatures and so we thrive on actual, not virtual, social contact. Switch off technology at least once a week. Take a news-fast, while you’re at it. Hearing the same negative headlines on the hour is a really easy way to drag your mood down and raise your anxiety. Instead, go for a walk, meet a friend for Chamomile tea and an upbeat chat. (A sugar-laden, caffeinated mocha and a negative moan-fest just perpetuates negative neural pathways.) Play with your cat or dog, try playing a musical instrument, write a letter, plant some lettuce seeds. Anything which slows the pace down and doesn’t require a power supply, passes the test. The social media world will go on for one day without you. Don’t Leave your Empathy at Home Unfortunately, mental health issues still seem to come packaged in stigma and judgements. As a result, many people who are suffering are slow to broadcast it to the world. Do your bit to move the whole mental health conversation on. If someone appears to be carrying the weight of the world, don’t compound the problem by verbally abusing them. And certainly don’t be tempted to tell them to ‘cheer up’ or ‘get over it’. If they could, they would. Therein lies the problem. Instead, tactfully suggest you’re willing to listen, if they need to talk. Or perhaps if you have gone through something similar yourself, share that. Just knowing that it’s possible to come out the other side can sometimes be enough of a lifeline. Don’t make it all about yourself though. “I remember when I went through this, it was even worse than what you’re feeling,” does not exactly have an empathetic ring to it. Keep your competitive side for track and field. Have a Purpose Whatever age you are, feeling you have something to contribute to society, however small, gives your life meaning and helps to reinforce the idea that your contribution matters, and therefore you matter, to other people. This doesn’t have to be about paid work. You could join a cause online, volunteer some of your time at a local charity, drop in on an elderly neighbour, take your granny’s dog for a walk. (Activity is a natural anti-depressant.) Much of the anxiety we experience today relates either to work-related stress, or being stressed due to lack of work. Putting the focus on areas of your life which are equally important, but don’t define you by your job or career, is hugely helpful in balancing the playing field. And remember, the human body is designed to be healthy and is extraordinarily adaptable, so there is always potential to recover, however bleak your situation feels. Article by Jennifer Allen www.yourkeytothrive.com
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“One of the worst things about feeling like I did, was that I knew I wasn’t being logical. I knew that I was agonising over inconsequential matters and that only made me more annoyed with myself.”
Most of us would love to stay in bed a little bit longer in the mornings. Just five more minutes so you can prepare yourself for that chill across your shoulders when you pull the blankets off. Well, for me five minutes wasn’t enough, I wanted to stay in bed for about five years. I would wake up and before I’d even open my eyes I could feel it. A big, dense, heavy ball right in the pit of my stomach. I would try to go back to sleep in a vain attempt to escape back to a dream I was having. Hell, even if I’d been in the middle of a nightmare it was preferable to the feeling of that knot forming in my gut. Feeling physically sick at times of high stress is a very common thing, but I found that I had that feeling at all times. From the second I woke up, to the moment I was mercifully able to go to sleep again that night, it would be there. Nagging away, telling me that there was something I should be worrying about, something I should be scared of. My life would not seem very stressful to the casual observer. I had a job, a place to live, a great group of friends and a loving, marvellously laid-back family. But all of that was irrelevant when it came to anxiety. I wouldn’t need a big debt looming over me or a relationship problem to worry about. I could worry about anything. I was walking around with an almost permanent sense of dread that I was one false move away from ruining my life in some vague, undefined way. Every time I sent a text message I thought I was likely to say the wrong thing, every time I had a drink I assumed I was going to embarrass myself, every time I was introduced to someone I was sure I was making a bad impression. So I found myself withdrawing in my mind, taking a step back from the world outside my head. I figured the best way to not worry was to not feel anything at all. I thought numb would be better than painful. I could just leave my phone off for days because I was expecting a call or text that would make me anxious. Whenever I spoke to friends about feeling a bit down I always stopped short of the truth, giving the impression I was just having a bad day when really I felt like I was having a bad life.
From there it was an easy jump to thinking I must be pretty stupid to let myself get into such a state and maybe someone who made such a big deal over nothing didn’t really deserve to feel any different. Confidence and self worth are difficult to build up but they can be eroded very quickly, indeed, and although I think I would be considered a confident person by most people I meet, I was a long way from it. I left things go as they were for far too long before a couple of very emotional outpourings within the space of a couple of weeks made me realise I was going to feel this way forever unless I did something about it. Now I had long since convinced myself that I would be boring my friends by talking about how I felt. That they had more pressing problems themselves. But I knew I couldn’t internalise it forever so I decided the next time someone asked me how I was doing I’d be honest and rather than just say “Ah grand,” I’d say “Not great really” and see how people reacted. So I did, I said it every time I was asked for about three months and I was amazed by how incredibly willing people were to listen. My friends, people I met through comedy, casual acquaintances, almost everyone I spoke to not only listened but could understand what I was talking about. I couldn’t believe how often people said “I know what you mean, I’ve felt like that myself”. I’ve never felt so relieved in my life as I did when I first heard those words. Now, obviously not everyone in the world has suffered with anxiety so you can’t expect everyone you meet to understand, but if you feel the way I did, I promise you — it’s not just you and I who’ve gone through it. Talk to someone, anyone, and if they don’t want to know then talk to someone else. I guarantee, it won’t take long to find someone who has felt exactly like you have. For me personally, that was an unbelievable weight off my shoulders because I really felt during that period of my life that I was the only person in the world who felt like me. But I’m not. And neither are you.
Article by Danny Ryan Twitter: @thescruffycomic
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T R AVEL The Redhead and the Backpack #2 All through my twenties, I promised myself that I would pack a bag, take off, travel, and see the world. As is to be expected, life got in the way: work, relationships, lack of savings. In October 2014, I turned 29 – AGGH! A year until the big 3-0. This birthday was enough to make me take the bull by the horns, hand in my notice and just... GO! On January 23rd 2015, after having a huge fight with my backpack (it didn’t appreciate being stuffed with my Boots money-off cleansing wipes), I set off on my travels to Southeast Asia. It was to start with four friends for the first two weeks (their “summer holiday”). I was to then, set off solo, just me – the redhead and the backpack. Here I chart the journey, the experiences and the adventures along the way.
Where’s Leo?! (Koh Phi Phi & Maya Bay) After our quick stopover at Ao Nang, we hopped on a tuk tuk from our hotel to the pier to catch the 13.30 boat to Koh Phi Phi (pronounced Pee Pee), a small island about 40km from the mainland. A few days before, we had a bit of a panic as it is high season on Koh Phi Phi, and so we booked a hotel in advance. It’s going to be a shock to my system when the girls leave, and it is hostels, hostels and... some more hostels!! We arrived on the island’s Tonsai Pier about 90 minutes after we set off from the mainland and were met by the hotel’s porter to walk us to our “Banyan Villa”. I loved this hotel: right on the beach, close enough (but not too close) to the crazy Koh Phi Phi nightlife and best of all — an amazing gym on site (I’m sad, I know, but all this Pad Thai isn’t going to work itself off!!). On our first night, after settling into the hotel, we treated ourselves to an amazing meal at Le Grand Bleu, a beautiful restaurant on the pier. For 3 courses, along with a few cocktails each, we spent about €18 per person — this is quite a blow out in Thailand but back home, you’d barely get a sandwich and a coffee for this! Our meal included a dark chocolate mousse-like dessert which a friendly American ex-pat dining there promised us would be orgasmic. The next day, we did the short trek up to the island’s view point. What a view over Koh Phi Phi! The photos don’t do it justice. We looked out over green mountains to the aqua blue sea below. Phi Phi really is a beautiful island. From the view point, we walked through the forest to find a beach on the other side of the island. There, I had my first true Thai massage experience, listening to the waves gently lapping onto shore. All sounds very romantic but... don’t partake in Thai massage the day after a heavy gym session... my facial contortions prompted my masseuse to ask if I was injured. All this torture cost a bargain at €5. Later, we had our first night on the town and “the buckets” commenced. These are basically children’s beach buckets, filled to the brim with a drink/ cocktail of your choice. Kind of a “wolf dressed in lamb’s clothing” though, as my sore head the next day attested to!
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On our third day, two of our group decided to go scuba diving. Finding a company to take you on Koh Phi Phi is not difficult, as instructors line the main pedestrian street to entice you to sign up. The girls had an amazing time and Leanne, whose first time it was diving into the depths of the ocean, became hooked. I would have loved to have done this, but due to hearing problems that I already have, decided not to... I wanted to leave Koh Phi Phi with a tan, not with a complete lack of hearing! Instead, I decided to head to Maya Bay of “The Beach”/Leonardo Di Caprio fame. A few people had warned me that this bay was now completely over-run by tourist boats, but we’d come this far that we wanted to see this famous beach for ourselves. And for 300 baht (about €9) for a half day tour, how bad?! Maya Bay was MOBBED (shock!). Hundreds and hundreds of tourists thronged the beach, selfie sticks interrupted the horizon and the air was heavy with fumes from the boats that pulled up to shore every few minutes. Aside from that though, trying to blank all of that out, it was easy to see why this beach was chosen as the location for the infamous film. Beautiful — tourists, selfie sticks and boat fumes aside! We all left Koh Phi Phi for Koh Phangan feeling a little sad, having had such a good time on this little island. Days were spent exploring and soaking up the sun, nights were spent dancing on the beach amongst the fire dancers. For any of you that ever go here, here are some of our favourites: - Le Grand Bleu for amazing food and drinks and feeling a little bit “luxurious” in the process. - Papaya restaurant. This really didn’t look like much from the outside (or inside) but the food there was some of the best Thai food that we’ve had. And cheap too. - Carlito’s. A bar overlooking the ocean. Amazing cocktails, live acoustic music in the background and what’s said to be the island’s best fire show. - Banana Bar for its amazing roof top bar on the beach. A great place for meeting fellow backpackers, too.
“Full moon, half moon, total eclipse” (Koh Phangan & Bangkok- take 2) The trip from Koh Phi Phi (west coast) to Koh Phangan (east coast) was looooonnngggg! It involved a boat, a toilet-less bus for almost 3 hours, then another boat. The boat, of course, was packed with Full Moon party goers. Luminous paint and paracetamol at the ready! Koh Phangan is an island known for its Full Moon parties. It’s thought that they started when a group of backpackers on the island had a going away party for a friend in the mid-80s. The next year, another party was had and it grew from there. Now, up to 30,000 people descend on one of the island’s beaches, Hat Rin, for a party upon every full moon. On arrival at the island, we hopped in a taxi to take us to our beach bungalow. This was about a 45 minute drive away from Hat Rin, on a beach called Hat Thong Noi Pan Noi. Although I was worried about how far this was away from the action, it turned out to be a good call. We got to enjoy a “less drunken, less touristy” Koh Phangan pre-party, and taxis were really easy and cheap to get us
to Hat Rin for the full moon craziness. The party was madness... having scrawled fluorescent yellow and pink all over ourselves and our new Yorkshire friend Ben (as you do), we got a pick-up truck down to Hat Rin. After paying our 100 baht (€3) to cross the barriers onto the beach, the games began. The place was like a playground for adults: water slides from rooftops going down onto the beach, rings of fire to jump through, face-paint everywhere — in the words of Johnny Cash, “I jumped into a burning ring of fire... and it burned, burned, burned...!” After a day of recovery on Koh Phangan, we took a short flight from the nearby Koh Samui to get back to Bangkok. Koh Samui airport has to be the most beautiful airport I’ve ever seen. Tropical, outdoors, beautiful. And while the flight was only 55 minutes, a complimentary 2 course Thai lunch was served. Michael O’Leary, eat your heart out. In Bangkok, we indulged in our last little bit of luxury before going our separate ways and me becoming a “real backpacker” (Pinocchio voice there as I typed that!). We stayed in the “Sivatel” in Bangkok’s CBD. An amazing hotel, with amazing staff. “Tony”, the bellboy, practically booked the next leg of the journey to Chiang Mai for me (“real backpacker” soon, I promise!) There was even more luxury when we paid a visit to “The Lebua State Tower”. A MUST DO in Bangkok. This is the rooftop bar of “The Hangover 2” fame. The views are out of this world, and while the cocktails are about 800 baht (€23), I felt that it was well worth it for the experience alone: espresso martinis while overlooking the lights of Bangkok — bliss. You actually don’t have to buy anything to get to the rooftop, but as a treat, why not?! Make sure that you dress to impress though — no flip flops or shorts, get the heels and shirts out. Also, a word of warning… Probably because the steps of the rooftop bar feature in the film and are now quite iconic, you can’t take a picture of them from the bottom. They’ll make you delete it, as we had to do this... And so, as I’m about to become a solo traveller, I’m making plans for the next few weeks. This morning, I decided to take advantage of the nearby Vietnamese embassy and get my visa sorted. You have to do this before you arrive in the country, via an embassy/agency, or you won’t get in. In Bangkok, I tried and failed to get the visa, as I was refused a “same day” service, which is supposed to be available for some extra baht. Onward plans wouldn’t allow me to hang around for an extra 3 days waiting on it. Processing times seem to depend on the mood of the clerk and he was NOT in a good mood that morning. Grumpy visa clerk was rude to the point that I wanted to burst into tears. Then I thought of a lady outside the embassy. She was selling fruit shakes on the footpath and before the embassy opened, helped me to get my passport photos for the application. She left her stall, took me by the hand and walked me 3 blocks through the rush hour crowds, to an office where I could get them done. Fruit shake lady. Tony. THIS is Thailand. And now, my first overnight bus is coming up... I can’t wait...! Article & Images by Yvonne Dallman Facebook: /theredheadandthebackpack
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BEAUTY Hair While the celebrity-obsessed know that shorter hair is pretty much the hottest ticket in Hollywood right now, this Spring/Summer the fashion world seems to be slightly disconnected from this and very much centred on luxe, loose dressed hair.
The Low Ponytail
The Textured Topknot.
How to create the perfect Topknot every time.
Making a splash this spring-summer, Boho waves are here to stay. Loose waves teamed with a centre parting dominated the catwalk at Valentino, Narcisso Rodriguez and Emilio Pucci. To steal this look its worth investing in a wand, such as the ghd Curve and a good heatactivated spray such as L‘Oreal Techni.Art Pli.
As seen at DVF, the Textured Topknot fuses a light undone finish with a cool urban feeling. This is best done on day old hair. All one needs is two elastic bands, some hair grips, hairspray and gel, or a matte clay or paste to finish.
The low ponytail seems to be everywhere in one incarnation or another. From sleek at Oscar De la Renta to a low ponytail adorned with crimp at Stella Mc Cartney. This is a must-have for every fashionista and can be dressed or undressed to compliment any outfit.
First, create a high ponytail on the crown with one elastic band. Once the ponytail is secured, spray the hair with the hairspray to eliminate any flyaway hair. When the ponytail is nice and clean, twist slightly and tie the other elastic to the end of the ponytail. From this point the ponytail is twisted back on itself and secured to its base with the hairgrips. Then finish the topknot with some matte paste for a beautiful undone finish. Article by Stephen O’Driscoll Image by Tarmo Tulit – www.tarmotulit.com
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MAKE UP Catwalk To Everyday Trends Here is a step-by-step guide on how to bring Spring Catwalk trends to everyday wear. Healthy, glowing skin and a strong statement lip look, that’s natural but very fresh and bright. This look is wearable day or night.
Step 1: Prep and hydrate the skin with MAC Strobe Cream. Next, it’s (foundation, which is) Dior Star liquid foundation: buff the foundation into the skin all over, it gives a brightening, flawless finish. Charlotte Tilbury’s ‘Filmstar Bronze and Glow’ — this product is amazing and makes contouring and highlighting so easy. Just buff on a small line diagonally under your cheekbone, and blend out until the line is smooth. The highlighter then will be going along the cheekbones, the nose and the cupids bow (depression at the centre of the upper lip).
Step 2: Eyes: Warm up the eyes with MAC prolongwear paint pot, Groundwork, by buffing all over the lid and crease of the eye. Then a patting motion on the lid with MAC eye shadow All that glitters. Use a white eyeliner pencil to highlight the bottom water line, using MAC Fascinating kohl pencil. Then lots of mascara for the eyelashes, using Bare Minerals Lash domination mascara. Brows are filled in with Benefit’s brow palette light shade.
Step 3: Add some colour to the cheeks with Dior Rosy glow blusher.
Step 4: Always use primer before adding lip colour. MAC primer Prep & prime should be applied all over the lip, let it dry for 5 minutes. Apply MAC Lady Danger all over the lip.
Article by Mary Kiely Twitter: @kielymary Images by Tarmo Tulit www.tarmotulit.com FUSION MAGAZINE | 32
M e n ’ s Fa s h ion Top 5 Items For Any Man’s Wardrobe This Spring.
1. The Denim Jacket: It’s time to put away the Parka coat for another year and invest in something lighter. The denim jacket is perfect for that transition from winter to spring. With endless options online and in store you’re sure to find the perfect fit just for you this spring, a very popular design and a must-have for your wardrobe this season is the rugged look.
2. A Classic Shirt: The perfect go-to for any occasion is a simple but sleek classic shirt. As the temperatures begin to rise, this is the perfect statement piece for spring. Ralph Lauren is the expert of classic shirts and offers endless options and prints for your own personal taste. The Oxford Sport Slim Shirt offered in a rich pink tone is perfect for spring and this shirt will complete any outfit.
Where to buy? Urban Outfitters. How much is it? €68.63
Where to Buy? Brown Thomas Limerick. How much is it? €99.00
3. Chinos: A must-have for any man this spring is a pair of chinos. The perfect balance between casual and going out, the right pair of chinos will have you feeling comfortable at any time of the day. A style staple, chinos are here to stay and will be for a long time yet. River Island offer the widest range of chinos in multiple different colours and many different sizes.
4. The Brogue: A stylish but traditional shoe that never goes out of style, and is at the top of every man’s list this spring. The brogue is the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. Available in almost every colour you can imagine, the brogue is a firm favourite from season to season. The Jeffery West collection is a luxurious crafted brogue which also gives it that edgy look for the younger generation. With 100% real leather, this brogue is a massive investment for any man.
Where to buy? River Island. How much is it? €30.00
Where to buy? Asos. How much is it? €239.09 5. The Bag: From the traditional man to the modern man, everyman needs a bag. Whether it’s for the office or the lecture hall, we all need something to hold our valuables. The perfect bag can be hard to find, right? Do we want a massive bag? Do we want a small bag? Well what about in-between? The Ted Baker Pocket Holdall is the perfect fit: with its individual style this bag really is a must-have for any man. Its spacious interior really adds that finishing touch and is perfect for spring. Where to buy? www.TedBaker.com How much is it? €204.93
Hats Off To You Sir!
The Flatcap Fresh from the Dolce & Gabbana AW15 runway the flat cap makes its return to the fashion scene just in time for those long spring evenings. The flat cap, often associated with agriculture, has been giving a new lease of life for 2015 and is now a must-have accessory for any fashionable man. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be George Clooney or David Gandy to pull off this look: style it with a light wool blazer, a classic print shirt, some stylish jeans and a smart pair of brogues and you’re ready to go. Where to Buy? Asos. How Much? €36.98
The Fedora The Fedora hat has a long history of tradition and has returned to its former glory. A timeless hat that you can pretty much style with anything. Hot off the heels of Paris Fashion Week, Pigalle menswear has given the hat a firm breakthrough for spring. Many high street stores are now carriers of the fedora hat such as Asos, River Island and Boohoo, but if you fancy an investment, Lock & Co Hatters in London provide the perfect wide brimmed fedora with seamless stitching; the fedora is a true classic. Where to buy? www.lockhatters.co.uk How Much? €357.20
The Baseball Cap When Gucci did Beanies, Ralph Lauren did Baseball. A true salute to the casual male, but a move in the right direction. Whether it’s daytime or night, the baseball cap will carry you from season to season effortlessly. Neutral colours and a casual outfit will always be the right idea for this look. Gone are the times of wearing your favourite team’s logo cap, the choices are now endless with thousands of simple but so effective new designs. Also, wearing your cap backwards is a straight up no, unless you’re 12! Where to buy? Brown Thomas Limerick. How much? €40.00 Article by Evan Considine Blog: Pageforevan.blogspot.com
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STYLE ON THE STREET
Name: Gavin O’Gorman Where are you from? Limerick What are you wearing? Shirt - €40 Scanlan’s Menswear Newcastlewest Suit - €150 Scanlan’s Menswear Newcastlewest Shoes - €80 River Island Who is your style guru? David Gandy
Name: Grace O’ Sullivan Where are you from? Cork What are you wearing? Jeans - €50 River Island Jumper - €60 Whistles Scarf - €30 Zara Gillet - €25 River Island Coat - €40 New Look Who is your style guru? Rihanna
Name: Ronán Brady Where are you from? Dublin What are you wearing? Jeans - €60 Topman Jacket - €140 Topman T-shirt - €10 Topman Cardigan - €50 H&M Boots - €130 Schuh Who is your style guru? Sam Smith
Name: Julie Moynihan Where are you from? Cork What are you wearing? Long top - €25 Bershka Slip - €35 White Fawn Boutique Jacket - €80 Bershka Scarf - €10 Penneys Who is your style guru? Cara Delevingne
Verveine Agrumes Shower Gel (Citrus Verbena) - €17.50
No7 Beautiful Skin Pore Vacuum Mask - Boots - €18.25
This shower gel has a fresh irresistible scent bursting with essential oils of verbena, orange, geranium and lemon tree that leave you feeling like you’ve had a visit to a spa. It’s invigorating, citrus aroma is sure to put a spring in your step after a morning shower. The scent is strong enough to follow you around after your shower without being overpowering. We love the packaging too because we’re all for a bit of luxury! It can be enjoyed by both men and women and is suitable for sensitive skin. All in all, this product left us in a happy mood and gets major thumbs up.
This peel-off mask, we promise will not disappoint. Even the name suggests it’s like some spring- cleaning for your face! With impressive ingredients such as sea salt, lentil seed extract and witch hazel, the grey paste is a treat for sensitive skin. For a self confessed pore squeezer, any product that promises to banish black heads has an element of excitement! Although the product doesn’t stress that a little goes a long way, it is wise to confine your purifying plans to the nose and t-zone as it is a heavy duty mask that could leave softer areas a little red. After eagerly waiting ten minutes, the mask was a joy to pull off and left the skin visibly smoother and clearer. Win win! The tube states that the mask is suitable for all skin types but it can be drying on the skin so follow up the vacuuming with a good cleanser and moisturiser!
Tom Ford: Noir -100ml - €96.00
Verb: Dry Shampoo for Men - 2oz - €13.21-
A slight twist on the original Tom Ford classics, Noir is a more urban, but still sensual and sophisticated addition to the evergrowing line of Tom Ford Cologne. The extracts from the violet flower really help this cologne to hold its power and will have you smelling good for hours.
Longer locks for the guys have hit us with a bang! (Thank you Harry Styles.) Verbs dry shampoo is perfect for those guys who don’t have time in the morning or who are just too lazy at night for a full shampoo. Simply apply through the hair and allow it to set for two minutes and you’re ready to go.
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With Mother’s Day over for another year, fashion’s current obsession with the maternal reminds us that these are the women to celebrate all year round. The most recent fashion month will be remembered for scandals of a familial nature. At one end of the spectrum was the rumour of Anna Wintour’s rally to ban infants from the front row of fashion week, and at the other was Dolce & Gabbana’s universally adored show featuring models proudly carrying babies which celebrated the role of the Italian “Mama”. I could write an entirely separate article on the North West vs Anna Wintour ridiculousness, and the fact that Kanye West was quoted as saying that perhaps his daughter was so upset because she sensed that people are being mean to her Daddy when he’s just trying to make the world a beautiful place… get a grip, Kanye. But that wouldn’t really be about fashion; and I think it, in fact, does a complete disservice to the industry as a whole. Let’s look instead at the significance of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s show, and the new themes which seemed to crop up in Milan. The four main fashion capitals have always fallen into four (limiting) categories. New York is big business and safe design, London is creatively off-the-wall, Paris is chic and elegant, and Milan has stayed traditional, with not a lot of new designers coming in to freshen up the scene. Instead of trying to fight against this, D&G has embraced it, with their glossy ad campaigns featuring generations of families in the most stereotypical (but beautiful) Italian settings. Their Autumn/Winter 2015 show took this a step further. Shunning past fashion stereotypes of design that is only accessible to an elite few, dresses were featured that incorporated drawings from Dolce & Gabbana’s team’s children. The colour and warmth was palpable. D&G classics were re-invented, with incredibly stylish, but also practical, lace shift dresses looking more chic than ever. Floral prints and embroideries were sweet without being saccharine. A favourite touch of mine was the re-invention of the tiaras that have appeared in the past few seasons, re-designed as crystal and fur headphones — surely the coolest accessory for the busy Mum. In the previous season Dolce & Gabbana showed a collection inspired by matadors, which resulted in Madonna’s infamous outfit on this year’s Grammys red carpet. I think the fashion world is breathing a sigh of relief that this is one collection that won’t result in another ass-baring disaster, and instead spreads a pleasantly positive message — to treasure those lovely women in our lives. … And as quickly as I wrote about the positive messages being spread by Dolce & Gabbana, the scandal over the pair’s description of IVF babies as “synthetic” erupted. This offensive and narrow-minded viewpoint massively taints a collection which otherwise should have been a high point for the designers. While I and everyone at Fusion strongly disagree with the pair’s backward statement, we feel this is an issue to be addressed instead of hidden away, as prejudice can’t be defeated without awareness of the topic. Article by Laura Hastings Twitter: @LauraHastings89 Image by Tarmo Tulit - www.tarmotulit.com Special thanks to The Friends of Breastfeeding Mum to Mum Support Group Limerick FUSION MAGAZINE | 36
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Photographer - Tarmo Tulit - www.tarmotulit.com - email@example.com - 00353 (0) 87-6837250 Stylist - Michelle Costello Models - Jessica Lyons, Evan Considine Clothing - Ladies - Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Donnells Boutique - Catherine Street, Limerick - 061-415932 - The Edge - Cornmarket Row, Limerick - 089-4111841 No. 15 Le Maison de Curio - Anne Street, Limerick - 061-404922 Men - Esquire Menswear - Roches Street, Limerick - 061-412010 - The Edge - Cornmarket Row, Limerick - 089-4111841
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B U S I N ESS
Pressure, in the right doses, helps us to thrive. Yet there are times when it all gets too much. It is important to recognise when you are affected by stress, how to manage the triggers, and when you should seek external help. Coping with stress is often a personal task, but remember that it is also an employer’s responsibility to look out for the well-being of their workers. If you feel that the culture of your workplace breeds stress or if there are behavioural or bullying issues amongst colleagues, don’t be afraid to speak up and suggest how these issues may be resolved. When it comes to managing stress at a personal level, the following may also help… Recognise your Triggers It may not always be possible to change circumstances or eradicate a trigger, but it helps to know what raises your stress levels so you can prepare coping strategies. We are all affected by different things, it might be a single but huge looming project, or having to juggle multiple deadlines. Self-awareness is a big step in managing stress. Delegate Stress is often brought on when we take on more work than we can physically accomplish in the time allocated. We all want to prove how productive we are as employees, and managers are often pressed to try to do more with fewer resources. Delegation of tasks wherever possible isn’t admitting defeat, it’s a sign of good time management. If you have too much on your plate, look at what can be passed on, what can be postponed, and what can be consolidated or cut out altogether. And if you are working on a particularly sizeable project, make people aware you will be less available to respond to other queries or requests for the duration. Switch Off Our constantly-connected smartphone culture means it is hard to resist the urge to ping a pre-pre meeting email at 11.45pm on Sunday, or quickly re-read of that report you received earlier that day. Having little or no distinction between your work time and personal time means you carry the pressure with you at times when you should be winding down. If no one else is at work there’s not much that can be done anyway, so un-sync your work inbox for a few hours – you will find the office is still standing when you arrive the next morning! It’s OK to Cry All too often we feel we have to bury our emotions at work, for fear of being deemed unprofessional or ‘weak’. First of all, many successful people have
owned up to crying in the workplace – Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook being one of them. Emotions show that you are invested and motivated, and it is likely not to get the negative reaction you may be worried about. Secondly, if you do allow yourself the release of crying, it may help to ward off further stress from bottling up a natural reaction. It may also move those around you to talk about the source of the issue, offer support and take the pressure off by pulling closer together to get the job done. Find a Daily Outlet Whether it’s a lunchtime run, reading a book on the way to and from work, or listening to your favourite classical music at home whatever it is, that helps you switch off, do a little of it each day to restore calm to your
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mind and face things anew. Recognise the Danger Signs Long periods of stress can be both mentally and physically debilitating, so it is important to seek help when things are becoming too much and you are struggling to find a way out. If you feel yourself frequently on the verge of tears during your working day, if your appetite is drastically increased or decreased, if you’re experiencing insomnia, shortness of breath or other signs of anxiety – it is time to talk. Tell a colleague, friend or family member, or visit a doctor or mental health professional. Article by Kayleigh Ziolo Twitter: @kayleigh_ziolo
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FO O D & D R I N K
What is your earliest memory of cooking? When I was a kid we used to have family dinners and I remember my mom explaining to me what to use in the kitchen and also how to use it. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received about cooking? The single best piece of advice I have received is “never stop learning” keep looking for new combinations of taste. What is your favourite part of being a chef? I can be creative, I can be myself. The face of people enjoying my meals gives me such satisfaction, I take pride in my work. What is the strangest thing you have ever tasted? The strangest thing I have ever tasted is fish with all its parts, scales, offal’s and everything. Actually one of my friend’s children made it, I didn’t like it too much, but I was rather polite and I finished it all. What is your favourite dish to eat? Anything my grandmother made me, I loved all the meals she gave to me, but if I were to pick just one from her, it would have to be napoleon cake. Although when I started work in Mejana I tasted the Lamb Kafta and now it’s my favourite dish to eat. What is your favourite cuisine to cook? My favourite is Lithuanian but I also love French. I found when I started working in a Lebanese restaurant everything was new and interesting. I discovered so many new tastes, which opened a new world of food for me.
Do you ever order a sneaky takeaway? When I’m working no, I make something myself quickly but I’m guilty as well just like everybody else. Confectionary is my downfall. If you could cook for anyone dead or alive, who would it be? Everyone thinks of somebody rich and famous but for me I would keep it simple. I love cooking for my friends, chatting, laughing enjoying our time at the dinner table. What do you make of reality shows devoted to kitchens? I don’t devote much of my time to television, but every once in a while I watch one of those shows. I try to understand the dynamics between the staff and I look for ways on how I can improve. Which celebrity chefs cooking do you love the most? Hands down, it has to be Linas Brazinskas, he keeps shocking everybody with his striking ideas. You may not know him but he is quite famous in my country, he thought me everything I know today. Finally, have you any tips for all our readers? Follow your instinct and try out new ideas and new things and keep reading this magazine!
Image by Tarmo Tulit
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CHEF - Luidmila Ceponiene RESTARAUNT - Mejana
Beef Medallions By CHEF Luidmila Ceponiene
Ingredients: Beef fillet - 50g Eggplant - 80g Tomatoes - 80g Courgettes 80g Mozzarella cheese Basil 40g Sunflower oil 5g Salt and pepper 20g Balsamic caramel.
Method: 1. From the beef fillet cut across the grain of three round medallions. Then cut the eggplant and tomato into 3 medallions 1cm apart. 2. Fry the meat and eggplant until soft. 3. Put the medallions, eggplant, tomato, cheese on skewers. Season with salt and pepper. Grease a baking tray with sunflower oil and bake for 5-10 minutes. Depending on what degree you like to fry. 4. Make balsamic caramel. Pour it over the medallions sauce, garnish with basil. Bon Appetite!
WINE OF THE MONTH CHATEAU MARGAUX 2006
Margaux wines are known for being full-bodied, but they tend to be lighter and have a softer texture than the more intense wines of neighbouring villages. The Margaux 2006 is very powerful and rich. It is a fantastic wine. Full, silky and structured. Yet layered and rich, with loads of mineral, violet and coffee character with so much finesse in the nose. It is easily our wine of the month.
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DRINK OF THE MONTH Easter is a time for millions of us to consume ridiculous amount of chocolate. I usually do not have a sweet tooth, but once in a while I give in to the pleasure of sipping a cup of rich hot chocolate, in my own cosy environment. It always cheers me up when I am feeling mentally drained, releases my happy endorphins, and gives my taste buds a quality pleasure trip to Heavenville.
Serves 2-4 (depending on your cup size) 2 cups whole milk (you could also use skimmed milk) 130g bittersweet chocolate (best quality), finely chopped or shaved Optional: 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Once the milk is warm, whisk in the chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot. (If you want to infuse more flavour to your chocolate, do it at this point; adding cinnamon, hazelnut syrup, fresh chillies, cardamom or any other flavour you love will make this drink even more special) For a thick hot chocolate, cook at a very low boil for around 3 minutes, whisking all the time. Make sure you keep an eye on the mixture all the time, because it might boil up during the first moments. Taste, and add brown sugar if desired. Serve warm in small cups. I sometimes sprinkle a little bit of Fleur de Sel on top, it will balance the flavours even more.
10 ADDITIONS TO YOUR HOT CHOCOLATE 1. PEANUT BUTTER
3. MAPLE SYRUP
8. CHILI POWDER
Article by: Kaur Ellermae Image by Tarmo Tulit â&#x20AC;&#x201C; www.tarmotulit.com
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BAKING C r è m e Egg Che esecak e Long before the Easter eggs hit the shops, we get a little snippet of the season in the form of crème eggs. And what better way to indulge in those little poppets of delight, than to wrap them up in a super easy, creamy, smooth cheesecake. With its no bake, one bowl, anyone-can-do-it style, this cheesecake will wow your friends and family! All of the ingredients are readily available, store bought and can completely suit anyone’s budget. The cake is sickly sweet, chock full of calories and indulgent to the very last mouthful. It is incredibly creamy and comforting. The crunch from the golden biscuit base adds a rough texture to balance out the smooth taste of the cheesecake. The mini crème eggs spiked throughout the cheesecake add a playful element to the sheer gluttony. But then that’s the whole thing right… having your cake and eating it.
No bake! This is one for your fridge
One spring form baking tin. I used a 7 inch wide 4 inch deep pan.
What you need
Putting it together:
•260g digestive biscuits •155g melted butter (or not melted if you own a food processor) •500ml double cream •125g caster sugar •2 x 200g pots/tubs of Cream Cheese (use full fat and the best brand that you can afford) •Mini crème eggs (I used about 2 bags, but you can be greedier) •3 or 4 regular size crème eggs for decoration
1. Line the bottom of your tin with a circle of parchment. 2. Crush the biscuits until they look like sand. Mix with the melted butter and press into your tin. Or if you own a food processor, lump the butter and biscuits in together and blitz until they have all come together. 3. Unwrap the mini Crème Eggs and chop them fairly roughly into quarters. 4. Whip the cream, cream cheese and caster sugar, until combined and smooth. Do not over whip here or you will not have a soft cheesecake. 5. Throw in the chopped mini Crème Eggs and then fold the mix gently until fully combined. 6. Pour the cheesecake mix into biscuit based pan and flatten the top with the back of a spoon. 7. Chill your cheesecake for at least 3 hours or even better, overnight in the fridge.
Optional Decoration: •100g chocolate •100g White Chocolate •Yellow/OrangeFood Colouring
Presenting your bake:
1. Warm a butter knife under a hot tap and dry it. Run the warm knife around the edge of the inside of your cake tin to help release the cheesecake from the plan. 2. OPTIONAL: Melt your milk and white chocolate and allow it to cool slightly before drizzling over the cake in whatever fashion you choose. Colour whatever white chocolate you have left until you reach a yellow colour of the crème egg, and then drizzle this over also. 3. Cut the large Crème Eggs in half and use to decorate the top of the cheesecake, whatever way you want to. Article & Photos by Hazel Ryan Sheehan - www.cupcakerys.com Twitter: @cupcakerys
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Almond, Lemon and Ricotta Cake This light and lemony cake extends itself as the perfect alternative to the overload of chocolate being presented to you this Easter. The single layer cake offers all the great accompaniments, usually brought to you with a dessert, but is great for those who wish to avoid gluten or simply cannot have it. It is completely flourless, made with ground almond meal instead. The ricotta adds a wonderful blend to the batter. While mild in flavour, it does bring out a lovely sweetness in the bake. The lemon adds the perfect counterbalance to the sugar components and provides for another layer of flavour. It reminds me, very much, of a French friand (a soft, muffin sized cake) only bigger. The flavour is both sweet and tart while the texture is almost chewy on the outside but soft, moist and fluffy on the inside. I always feel that this bake gets improves with age. It always tastes better the day after it is baked so in my opinion, making it the night before you plan on serving it, is best.
One 8-inch round spring form tin
6-8 greedy people
What you need
Putting it all together:
• • • • • •
1. Preheat your oven to 160*C/320*F/gas mark 3. 2. Line the bottom and sides of your baking tin with baking parchment. 3. Whisk the egg whites until they have at least doubled in volume. Leave to one side. 4. Mix together the butter, egg yolks, sugar and the zest of the lemons until light and fluffy. This should be 6-8 minutes. 5. Fold in the ground almonds, followed by the ricotta. 6. Fold in the lemon juice to the almond mix, and add to the egg whites until fully combined. 7. Pour the mix into your prepared tin, sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top and bake on the middle to low shelf of the oven for 40-45 minutes. Or until the top springs back slightly when pressed lightly. 8. Allow to cool in the tin, before removing it and unwrapping the cake. Dress in a dusting of icing sugar before serving.
120g butter 225g caster sugar 4 eggs 275g ground almonds 225g ricotta Zest and juice of two lemons
Article & Photo by Hazel Ryan Sheehan - www.cupcakerys.com Twitter: @cupcakerys
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VA L’ S K I T CHE N In the Raw Ireland is a country renowned for its rain, something we complain about bitterly on a daily basis. We are also known for our incredibly good beef — grass fed or green as the rest of the world calls it — and our milk and dairy products and happily now, for our cheese. The rains fall, the grass grows, the cows and sheep eat the grass, the cows are milked and everyone is happy — except there’s something very wrong with the picture. Almost all milk in Ireland is subject to pasteurisation and homogenisation, two processes which have been assured to be “for our safety and health”. As adults and humans we have been denied the option to consume milk in its raw state which is full of the live and beneficial bacteria which are so important for our good gut health. In days gone by Irish people had probiotic foods in their diet naturally when they made butter from the raw, untreated cream of their dairy herd. The buttermilk that came from the buttermaking was kept and drunk alongside a feed of potatoes and butter. Simultaneously, grain would be ground freshly and soaked in the buttermilk to make a wholegrain sourdough loaf in the bastible pot over the fire. Pasteurisation and homogenisation has turned our milk into a product devoid of nutritional benefit. It is full of antibiotics which wreak havoc on our immune system and contribute enormously to such conditions
as acne, obesity; it is far lower in vitamin C than raw milk and harder on the digestive system. The Weston Price Foundation conducted a survey amongst 700 families and determined that over eighty percent of those diagnosed with lactose intolerance no longer suffer from symptoms after switching to raw milk. However, legislation in Ireland dictates that you cannot buy raw milk (according to current news) in shops but you can procure it from a farmer. You will pay above the usual price per litre but the flavour and texture, the creaminess of the milk is beyond comparison with shop bought, regular milk. Any health risks associated with consuming raw food products is your choice, like eating raw fish or rare meat, although it’s worth investigating who supplies raw milk in your local area. It’s ironic that we are so scare-mongered into being afraid of untampered, pure and natural food when supermarkets are bursting at the seams with nutritionless, over-produced food products. But that’s another rant. When it comes to making things in the kitchen from milk: yogurt, kefir, cream cheese and other cheeses, you can’t compare the results you get from raw milk. The proof, as they say is in the pudding, the milk pudding.
Thick Set Yogurt This yogurt has a more set consistency and it is very easy to make, too. You need the same ingredients.
Method 1. Bring the milk to a boil and let it reduce by one third by leaving it to simmer. Take it off the heat and transfer it into a clean glass bowl or a wide mouthed glass jar and allow it to cool until the temperature is like your own body temperature, about 36*C. 2. Stir in the yogurt, cover the bowl with a plate or put the lid on loosely and leave it overnight in the hot-press or a cooling oven again for the night. 3. In the morning you will have a gorgeous smooth and thick creamy yogurt.
Article & Images by Valerie O’Connor - www.valskitchen.com Twitter: @valoconnor
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Paneer This is the easiest and fastest cheese you can make. No waiting around for a week with a cheesecloth bag dripping; but, be warned — the yield is far less that it is for regular cream cheese and the whey has lemon in it, so I don’t keep it but it is a yummy drink if you mix in some honey and drink it hot — shame to waste it. Paneer is an Indian cheese usually made from buffalo milk and has a hard, almost rubbery texture which stands up to frying and so it can be used in curry dishes and it retains its shape too. It can be marinated in herbs and garlic, as I like to do since the cheese has no added salt. You can add some salt to the curds while making it, if you like.
Ingredients: 1 litre milk, preferably raw Juice of 1 lemon 1/2 tsp sea salt
Method: 1. Heat the milk in a pot, bring it to a foamy boil. Stir the milk and pour in the lemon juice, turn off the heat and continue stirring until clumps of curd start to appear 2. Keep stirring the milk until you have large clumps 3. Now sit a colander over a bowl and line it with muslin or cheesecloth which you have scalded. Pour the cheesy mixture into the cloth and let most of the liquid drain, sprinkle on your salt, if using and give the curds a little stir 4. Now fold over the cheesecloth and sit a heavy weight on top of the cheese, I use the marble mortar and pestle I have. Within about half an hour your cheese is ready. Ta da!
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An Eating Disorder: What is it and what can I do?
The way in which weight is discussed in today’s society is casual and careless. Many of us tolerate personal attacks on the appearance of well known figures, or those just known to us, with ease and little genuine concern. Many of us then respond to individuals who buckle under this pressure to look good with fear and with otherness. But, as many of us know, it isn’t just those whose livelihoods depend on their image who succumb to our obsession with what is widely considered to be beautiful. What about those we care about, do they also struggle with this pressure? Are they currently struggling with this pressure? What should we look out for? What do we do to help the ones we love? Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by immoderate food restriction, inappropriate eating habits or rituals, obsession with having a thin figure and an irrational fear of weight gain as well as a distorted body self-perception. Anorexia can often be associated with other types of eating disorders such as bulimia and binge eating. Sometimes people can show symptoms of anorexia and bulimia simultaneously. Eating disorders are becoming more and more prevalent amongst teenagers and young adults with more and more males also falling foul to them. However, those who unfortunately suffer from this type of disorder are often unaware of the real life complications it can cause. Stereotyping With so much cultural focus in magazines on celebrity ‘beach bods’ and fad diets there is immense pressure on teenagers to look
and act a certain way. Many teenagers and young adults feel the need to be a size 8-10 or under to be beautiful. Of course it’s important to look after your body, to exercise and eat healthy but do young people really know the underlying complications of being a size 4? People bandy around the topic of anorexia in speech freely. “Look at her legs, she’s so anorexic.” Or throw around statements such as, “Get yourself a burger.” What these individuals do not realise is that the subject goes beyond that of physical appearance, it’s also a mental health issue. Once anorexia or bulimia develops, it consumes you. It takes over your body and your mind. You become obsessed with food, your weight, your aesthetic, your calorie intake, your food consumption, you carb count. The list goes on. If you have a friend or a family member who has suffered from a food disorder you may have noticed a pattern as it progressed. What started with a simple ‘diet’ and wanting to lose a few pounds, became a whirlwind of food obsession and a distorted perception of one’s appearance. This is often also associated with bulimia. A Dark Secret Bulimia can often be mistaken for anorexia as symptoms can vary between both. However, the more dangerous aspect to bulimia is that it can be kept a secret. Those with the condition continue to eat their meals or a lot of junk food and still maintain their weight. Friends and family can be completely oblivious to what’s taking place. “Bulimia nervosa is characterised by repeated episodes of binge-eating followed
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by behaviour aimed at compensating for the out of control eating. These compensatory behaviours can include fasting, self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives and diuretics or appetite suppressants and excessive exercising. “In many cases, bulimia begins with a diet but the preoccupation with food and weight becomes obsessive and can take over the person’s life. Eventually, they will become locked into a compulsive cycle of bingeing and purging (getting rid of the food) or resorting to other ways of preventing weight gain. Attempts to break the cycle often fail. Bulimics begin to feel more and more out of control. Their self-esteem is very low as it is measured against the ability to control one’s eating, weight, shape and size. On the outside, a person with bulimia may seem very capable, positive, successful and on top of things. However, on the inside, they may be struggling desperately with feelings of guilt, shame, self-loathing and ineffectiveness.”Bodywhys.ie Health Complications Eating disorders can lead to other serious medical illnesses. They can be associated with stress, anxiety, depression or substance abuse. Those afflicted can develop serious physical health problems such as a heart condition or kidney failure. A lack of nutrition can have a major effect on the body. These include hair loss, lanugo hair (light hair growth all over the body such as on the face and neck), light-headedness, anaemia, swollen joints and brittle bones.
Being Beautiful Means to Accept Yourself, You Don’t Need to be Accepted by Others, You Need to Accept Yourself - Thich Nhat Hanm A person with bulimia who uses laxatives or vomits repeatedly can suffer many internal problems. This includes constant stomach related issues, damage to the stomach and kidneys, tooth decay from the exposure to stomach acids and the loss of the mineral potassium which can contribute to heart complaints. Someone whose body weight is at least 15% less than the average for their height may not have enough body fat to keep organs and other body parts functioning correctly. In severe cases, eating disorders can lead to severe malnutrition and even death. Many females with anorexia either never get their period or their periods stop due to extreme weight loss. When a woman’s body fat percentage falls below a certain minimum her body doesn’t produce the levels of hormones necessary to stimulate ovulation. Rapid weight loss and undernourishment can cause a woman’s body to go into a state of emergency and she will not menstruate if she is just barely surviving. Low weight and weight loss is also associated with ovulatory dysfunction and thus infertility. However, roughly 80% of anorexic women who successfully treat their eating disorder will regain their ability to conceive. What to Look Out For - Do they worry more and more about their weight? - Do they binge eat? - Make themselves vomit, use laxatives or other ways to get rid of calories? - Have irregular menstruation? - Feel tired? - Feel guilty? - Stay a normal weight in spite of efforts to diet? - Raid the fridge or buy lots of fatty foods that one would normally avoid?
- Eat substantial amounts quickly, usually in secret? - Get through packets of biscuits, several boxes of chocolates or a number of cakes in just a couple of hours? - Do they take someone else’s food to satisfy the urge to binge? - Does their diet restriction lead them to not feeling satisfied by meals subsequently? Why Don’t They Just Stop? People who become anorexic or bulimic cannot control their relationship with food and their body. Even when someone realises that they are suffering from such a condition they may want to stop but can’t. Others can be completely oblivious to the fact that this individual thinks they are fat, that when they look in the mirror they loathe what they see. They might unnoticeably wear baggy clothes, pick at their food and eat very little. They could often have a very restricted diet, like no carbs or don’t eat after a certain time, but not cause anyone else to find their behaviour unusual. Living with a loved one who is anorexic or bulimic is very difficult because you want to help but you don’t know how. Telling your loved one they are too skinny and need to eat often has the opposite effect. So what can we do to help? Talk to Them Talk to them about the relationship you share. Talk to them about specific times when you were worried about their eating behaviour. Eating disorders are often a cry for help and they may appreciate your concern. But be careful about how you comment on their appearance or weight. Even compliments can reinforce a body image obsession. If they say they are fat or need to FUSION MAGAZINE | 57
lose weight don’t just respond with, “You’re not fat!” Try to address their fears about their weight. You don’t want to criticise them by commenting on their behaviour or try to make them eat. Avoid saying things like, “You should be eating this,” or, “Why aren’t you having this?” They don’t want to be told what to do. Try using phrases such as, “I’m worried about you not having a breakfast,” or, “I get afraid hearing you getting sick.” It’s all about the approach and language you use when trying to address this very serious topic. Avoid offering simple solutions for example, “If you’d just stop then everything would be fine!” Handle with care and respect. Seek Professional Help Apart from offering your support, the most important thing is to encourage treatment. The longer an eating disorder remains undiagnosed and untreated the harder it is to overcome. To be most effective, treatment for an eating disorder must address both the physical and psychological aspects of the problem. The goal is to treat any medical or nutritional needs, promote a healthy relationship with food and teach constructive ways to cope with life and its challenges. Often, a combination of therapy, nutritional counselling and group support can work best. In some cases, residential treatment or hospitalisation may be necessary.
Article by Jennifer Purcell Twitter: @jennifer_purc
M I SC A RR I A GE B RE A K I N G T HE T A B O O Famous for her miracle babies, Grace Slattery has been through the best of times and the worst. She wants to share her experience, because like her, if you are going through the same, you are not alone. This is a personal account of Grace’s thoughts during this time. How I Felt the Day of 1st Miscarriage I remember feeling I wanted to run away and pretend I hadn’t heard what I heard. “I’m sorry, it’s bad news — you’ve lost your baby.” I didn’t lose my baby — you lose keys, you lose socks and you don’t lose babies. My baby died! That was it, from that moment on my life changed. My view on life changed. I felt ashamed, I had failed at something people get right every day, in fact every minute of every day. In that second my priorities shifted, I think I became a grown up then. Something awful was happening and nobody could fix it, nobody could kiss it better or make it right. I felt alone and scared.
After 1st Miscarriage: How People Treated Me I went through all the physical side of what a woman goes through and I gave my body a few weeks and tried again. My heart still ached though, my brain hurt when I thought about it. I was a woman who had a miscarriage. I didn’t want to be that. Every moment I thought about it, I would be this many weeks pregnant now. My bump would be this size now. The shame! I felt people would talk about me, but not to me. I didn’t want people to know, I wanted it to be a secret. Of course I told friends and family. They were as supportive as they could be but nobody fixed it. Nobody came up with a solution, just ‘you can try again’, ‘maybe this was the way it was meant to be’, ‘maybe it’s for the best’. My thoughts were, “I don’t want to try again, this isn’t the way it’s meant to be and it’s not for the best, I just wanted my baby.” Then there are the people who say nothing and
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“Nothing made me happy. My sadness was overpowering. I wanted to scream and shout. I got pregnant 3 times more and lost each baby.” talk about normal stuff and all the time my head is screaming ‘I had a miscarriage, something awful has happened, why can’t we talk openly about this?’ Life just wasn’t the same anymore. I got so familiar with the symptoms and my body I could almost pinpoint within a few days if there was something wrong. I remember repeating over and over in my head “I’m a woman who’s had 4 miscarriages, how can that be? That’s not me,” but it was and I just went downhill emotionally from there.
It Kept Happening All in all I had 4 miscarriages. 4 horrible miscarriages. It’s like moving a mountain to try and find the strength to ‘try’ again. Everything is timed and calculated. It’s studying for a test and you’re terrified you’ll fail. Luckily, I got pregnant fairly quickly each time, but the problem was holding onto the baby. When I was pregnant, every moment would be spent thinking about it, not the nice stuff you’ve to look forward to like cuddles and little smiles and tiny toes, but the symptoms — was I feeling sick today? Every week I’d google what symptoms I should have and compare, did I have them all? I was consumed by it, my brain was baby crazy. Nothing else mattered. After the 4th miscarriage it felt very different for me. This was worse, I was in real trouble now. I started to have to consider my life without biological children. The very thought of this made my heart hurt. I ached, serious full-on pain in my heart; I looked at surrogacy, adoption, fostering, egg donation, etc... All cost so much money and we didn’t have it. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle. I was falling more and more into a depression, I knew I was but I didn’t even have the energy anymore to pull myself out of it, I didn’t care. What was the point if I didn’t have children? This was a big downhill point for me — I’m usually a very upbeat, positive person. I like to have control over a situation or at least have a plan and when you keep miscarrying, you’ve lost control. There is nothing you or anybody can do. It just happens. I’d have days and days where I’d spend in bed and just couldn’t face anyone. I started to put weight on. I just didn’t care about my life anymore. I’d know instantly within seconds of opening my eyes if today was going to be a good day or a bad day. I hated it, I hated that I couldn’t switch it off when I wanted. If it was a bad day, I’d try to get up and go through the physical motions of living
CHARITY AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT AFTER MISCARRIAGE It is estimated that one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Recurrent miscarriage affects around two percent of women. The circumstances and physical pain experienced varies for every woman, but the emotional pain felt is universal. Often the loss felt from miscarriage is barely confronted, and rarely spoke of outside of the immediate family. Sometimes, the parents themselves are struggling to define what they are feeling. Whether the loss occurs at early or later stage, the grieving process is real, and making sense of it just as difficult as any other bereavement. “You can always try again” is an example of a phrase often uttered in a well-meaning manner trying to help the process of moving forward. Yet it does not acknowledge the loss experienced, the plans that were made for that baby. For anyone who is finding it difficult to navigate through the grief, there are people who can help. Counselling may not be for everyone, but it can help to talk to someone outside of your circle, and find comfort with others in a similar situation.
but I really wasn’t there, inside my head I was screaming. If I was alone in my car I was crying. Everything hurt on those bad days and there was a lot of them. It was also after the 4th miscarriage that I realised I was grieving. Miscarriage is so unspoken about and it is underestimated in terms of grief. People say ‘oh at least she didn’t have a bump’ or ‘at least she wasn’t further along’ or ‘at least she had her little one to keep her going’. It doesn’t matter — when you lose your baby or if you have 5 kids already, it hurts. I’d lost contact with friends, I didn’t have an interest in meeting up and talking about other things. It consumed me, my grief. People were surprised when I told them how I felt, they thought I should be over it. Or worse was, when people who had originally been very supportive and very hopeful for me, now didn’t know if it was ever going to happen either, I could see the sympathy in their eyes and I knew they didn’t think I’d ever get there now. Why couldn’t I just have a baby, it looks so easy, people do it every day and here was my body failing at every turn. I couldn’t understand it, I did everything right, ate right, took vitamins. I looked back over my life. Did I do something in the past to deserve this? Was this karma? I had so much hope when I got married, for the future, now it was gone. I had numerous tests done by this point in fertility clinics and only minor issues showed. Nothing concrete to suggest recurrent miscarriages. I had 3 doctors and fertility specialists at this point telling me, “there’s nothing more we can do, the next step is IVF as we can test your eggs.” I didn’t have the money for this. And even if I did there is still no guarantee, women still miscarry with IVF regularly. With my history I just didn’t see much hope. When I fell pregnant for the 5th time I can honestly say I didn’t feel happy about it, I felt scared and nervous. I remember saying to
Pregnancy and Miscarriage Support Pregnancy and Miscarriage Support is a dedicated service based in Limerick, offering face-to-face counselling in Limerick and Clare, and an online counselling service that is available nationwide. Single sessions are €30 and there are discounts when booking more than one session at a time. The website also has a list of resources, including nonprofits and other support networks dedicated to those affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and SIDS. www.pregnancyandmiscarriagesupport.ie
my husband, “this time 4 weeks I could be in hospital having a DNC.” Miraculously, I found out I was pregnant with quadruplets and I carried them to 33 weeks. All are perfect healthy little 10 month olds now and getting up to all sorts. Most people don’t have my fairy tale ending, though. There is still no reason or answers as to why I lost 4 babies and then carried 4 healthy babies. Like most women’s miscarriages, I didn’t get any answers. Miscarriage is such a taboo and unspoken about subject and I never understood why until I had one. It wasn’t until I had my 3rd miscarriage, that I wanted to talk about it with people. After the 1st and 2nd I felt such shame, like I failed. I did something to deserve this. I felt stupid for taking it for granted that I would be a mom. Most little girls are taught to believe they’ll grow up, get married and have children and for most women it just isn’t this simple. Scarily, 1 in every 4 women will have a miscarriage at some point in their lives. It is a subject that needs more awareness. It needs to become easier to talk about it openly. It is happening since the dawn of time and yet we know so little about it. I was so clueless when it first happened to me. I always said that if I came out the other side of this and got my longed for children, I wanted to try to help other woman going through the same thing and break open communication about it. The silence and shame of miscarriages needs to be broken. I want to open the lines of communication between women in Ireland going through the same thing so as to help ease those feeling of isolation and loss of control. Please come join us and share your story or get advice on Facebook “closed private group” Irish Miscarriage & Infertility/Pregnancy Loss support. Article by Grace Slattery Image by Tarmo Tulit - www.tarmotulit.com
The Miscarriage Association of Ireland The Miscarriage Association is a national charity that is there to listen and assist anyone who has lost a baby. The charity is made up of volunteers, both men and women, who themselves have been through miscarriage. The Miscarriage Association believe in sharing and remembrance as part of the healing process. It was founded in 1988 when Hilary Fraser, after leaving hospital “with nothing”, decided to put an advert in the local paper. It was answered by Stephanie Blandford, and together they set up the first support meetings and a telephone helpline. The association continues to provide support by telephone, email and group meetings, as well as providing a range of memorial options such as memorial stones or Remembrance Blessings. They hold an annual Service of Remembrance and parents can enter the name of their baby in a Book of Remembrance. www.miscarriage.ie Article by Kayleigh Ziolo Twitter: @kayleigh_ziolo
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C O M E DY
The Monthly Struggle #1
The month of April is to fools of a would-be professional standing what Christmas is to retailers and Easter is to fanatics of chocolate eggs and cat-burgling lagomorphs, and so we pay homage to the original and best of the April fools, and surely the greatest All Fools Day (As it was then known) pranks, as played by one Jonathon Swift, at the height of his powers.
Early 18th-century London was an environment in which the widespread popularity of astrology and divination showed no signs of wavering, despite the imminent onset of the “Age of Reason”. No astrologer was more renowned than John Partridge, a cobbler and quack whose Merlinus Almanac delivered a healthy dose of doom to thousands of discerning readers every year. As was the case with astrologers, Partridge’s predictions tended towards being vague, noncommittal, and wrong. Regardless, his position as a leading astrologer and physician went largely unchallenged. All of that changed January of 1708, when a short almanac under the name Predictions for the Year 1708 was published across the city by a previously-unheard-of astrologer identifying himself as “Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.” The paper was written, the author claimed, “to prevent the people of England from being farther imposed on by vulgar almanack-makers.” Such boastful tirades were nothing new; what made Bickerstaff’s publication unusual was that he seemed to have the results to back it up. Following his opening rant, he moved into a long list of strikingly bold and precise predictions unlike anything seen before, beginning with this: “My first prediction is but a trifle… It relates to Partridge the almanack-maker; I have consulted the stars of his nativity by my own rules, and find he will infallibly die upon the 29th of March next, about eleven at night, of a raging fever; therefore I advise him to consider of it, and settle his affairs in time.” Word of Bickerstaff’s pamphlet quickly spread across London. Although astrologers, Partridge among them, were notorious for predicting the deaths of notable people each year, none dared to name a specific timeframe—or to target one of their own. The almanac reached far enough to be read and burned by the Portuguese Inquisition, while Partridge fanned the flames with a harshly-written reply to Bickerstaff. It read in part: “His whole design was nothing but Deceit, / The End of March will plainly show the Cheat.” Some wondered if the entire commotion was a joke, but the motivation for such a thing was hard to imagine—if he were false, Bickerstaff would be exposed and forgotten about. And incredibly, on the 30th of March, word of Partridge did indeed arrive. A letter written to an unnamed lord and titled “The Accomplishment of the First of Mr. Bickerstaff’s Predictions” began to circulate around the city. In it, an anonymous man “employed in the Revenue” reported sitting at Partridge’s bedside on the evening of March 29. Partridge, he recalled, had fallen ill some three days earlier and was by then beyond hope. In his final hours, he had confessed to being a fraud and named Bickerstaff’s prediction as the selffulfilling prophesy that had put him in this state. Finally, he had succumbed to his fever at 7:05 PM—just four hours off the time predicted by Bickerstaff.
The news left London in a state of shock and wonder. At the same moment it had lost one of its oldest and most respected almanac writers, the city had gained what was surely the first indisputably genuine astrologer in history. It’s likely that no one was as surprised to hear the news as John Partridge. For Partridge, as it happened, was alive and well, having spent the night of March 29 smugly celebrating his victory over the fraud Isaac Bickerstaff. Word of his death became widespread on the morning of April 1, making it apparent that Partridge had been the victim of one of history’s grandest All Fools’ Day pranks. But Partridge’s ordeal was only beginning. It’s reported that he woke up the morning of his death to the sound of the church bell announcing his passing. Before long, he was visited by an undertaker looking to prepare his home, and later by the church sexton seeking orders for the funeral sermon. Throughout the day a string of mourners, funeral workers, and church officials were shooed from the cobbler’s door. It wasn’t difficult to piece together what had happened. The letter announcing Partridge’s death had, of course, been written by Isaac Bickerstaff himself—as he had planned to do from the very start. The hoax plagued Partridge for the rest of his life. As a preface to all of his future public dealings he would invariably need to argue—sometimes unsuccessfully— that he was the real John Partridge and that he wasn’t dead. He spent the rest of his days trying to discover the true identity of Isaac Bickerstaff, but to no avail. It was eventually uncovered that Isaac Bickerstaff was a pseudonym for none other than the legendary author and cleric Jonathan Swift, who counted All Fools’ Day as his favourite holiday, but not before half of Swift’s prophesy came true: John Partridge did eventually die. The precise date fell somewhere around 1715, putting Swift’s prediction off by a mere 62,000 hours or so. Not a fan of charlatan physicians and astrologers to begin with, Swift had taken a special interest in John Partridge over some remarks the fraudulent diviner had made about Swift’s employer, the Church of England. And in the true spirit of a comic, Swift determined that no grand comedy act be complete without the killer closer, by scribing as Bickerstaff only once more to craft the irreverent epitaph for which, despite the heavy shelf of publications he left behind, Partridge would be better remembered: “Here, five Foot deep, lies on his Back, A Cobler, Starmonger, and Quack; Who to the Stars in pure Good–will, Does to his best look upward still.” Article by Donnchadh Tiernan Twitter: @TheFilibusters
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L I M ER I C K L I FE JOHN RIDDELL AND HIS UNIQUE LEGACY John Riddell (1854-1927) and Elizabeth Dewar (1858-1913) married in Glasgow, Scotland in 1874. It was here that they had their first child, Elizabeth “Bessie” (1875-1920). John worked as an engineer in Scotland and over time caught the attention of whiskey producer, Archibald Walker. Walker had opened a distillery in Limerick in 1868 and a few years later asked Riddell to manage this branch of his expanding company. Arriving in Limerick, the family first lived in George’s Street (O’Connell Street) before moving to Island View House in Thomondgate near the distillery. This became their permanent home. Riddell settled into his life in Limerick quickly and had three more children while living here: John Wylie (18761947), Janet Langwill “Jeanie” (1883-1969) and Alexandria Jane “Lexy” (1886-1959). The family were Presbyterian and would attend service regularly in the Trinity Church on Catherine Street. John Jnr. joined the Protestant Young Men’s Association and participated in their football team. While John Jnr. later emigrated to New Zealand, Riddell’s two eldest daughters, Elizabeth and Janet, married two Ludlow brothers and his youngest daughter, Lexy, remained unmarried. The Ludlow brothers were Edmund James (1866-1945) and Christopher (1877-1959). They came from a wealthy Cornish family of shipping agents. Christopher and his new wife Jeanie Riddell (m.1913) lived in Penzance, Cornwall while Edmund Ludlow and Bessie Riddell (m.1901) remained in Limerick at Ardlui House, which still stands today on Clancy Strand. Edmund and Bessie Ludlow had three children, John Edmund (1902-1918), Christopher James (1905) and Sarah Elizabeth (1909). Edmund Ludlow operated a very successful shipping agents out of 24 Glentworth Street. Among others, he was the Limerick agent to the White Star Line in 1912, which meant that he supplied the tickets in Limerick for the ill-fated Titanic. In 1913 John’s wife Elizabeth Riddell passed away. She was fondly remembered in the Limerick Chronicle as a lady “of a generous and kindly nature, and ever ready to lend her
assistance any charitable objective”. This was followed by the death of his 16 year old grandson John Ludlow in 1918 and a very short time later, his daughter Bessie Ludlow in 1919. It was then that John Riddell left Limerick for the final time to live with his daughter Jeanie in Cornwall. John Riddell died 25 November 1927 in Penzance, Cornwall. In his will (4 Feb 1928) he left his effects amounting to £1382 13s 8d to his unmarried daughter, Alexandra Jane Riddell. Very little remains of the Riddell/Ludlow lives in Limerick today. Walker’s distillery and Island View House have long since been demolished. Since 1945 no Ludlow has lived in Ardlui and the Glenworth Street office looks like every other Georgian building in the New-Town-Pery area. Even the family grave in St. Munchin’s Church of Ireland graveyard remains unmarked near the rear of the church. Yet the legacy of John Riddell has once again returned to the city after an absence of almost 90 years. In 2012, one of John Riddell’s descendants in England, David Ludlow, contacted the Limerick’s Life website and an enormous collection of rare images taken by John Riddell began to slowly emerge. These photographs show a changing time in Limerick when steamships sat comfortably next to sail ships in the docks, where children wearing capes skated through lanes as their bundles of books lay on the ground and a banner with the phrase “God Save the King” hung from a city centre building. Riddell’s photographs were taken to be shared with his family and not with the general public, so they illustrate the frivolity of the city in a way that would otherwise not have been recorded. He took his camera everywhere for a few short years at the turn of the last century and captured everything from princes to paupers. A selection of these photographs have been put on display by Limerick Museum and Archives and can be seen in City Hall, Merchant’s Quay until the end of April. Article by Sharon Slater Twitter: @limerickslife
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M e e t B r e tt N e w s ki Is Brett Newski one of the hardest working guys in music? He might very well be! He tours over 200 days out of the year, while travelling the world and has gigged in every continent bar Antarctica! In 2011 he spent six months travelling alone, where he completed his first solo album. Get yourself to one of his gigs, he will be touring in a town near you, this April. Name:Brett Newski From:Milwaukee, WI. USA Age:28 Guitar of choice: Any guitar not from Wal-Mart. What is the very first song you remember hearing and loving? “I Know I Got Skillz” by Shaquille O’Neal. First album you ever bought with your own money? “The Sign” by Ace of Base when I was 13. I tell people it was “Dookie” by Green Day but it wasn’t. I didn’t grow a ballsack until about the age of 18. Who are you major influences? I listened to loads of Weezer and Green Day growing up. Lately more folk/punk like Frank Turner, Violent Femmes, Jake Bugg. Mighty Stef from Dublin is also pretty rad. Band name of the year: “Punch Face Champions” from Dublin. Fox Jaw are also a killer band. Tell me about your time in Vietnam and what led to you travelling there? Well, you can get Pig Ear Soup for about €1, which was a major selling point. Also, Buffalo testicles are pretty delicious. They hide them inside the soup and you just think you’re eating chicken. It’s a great deal. Cost-of-living is pretty low and it is nice for artists who aren’t making briefcases of money. Saigon, Vietnam is just an all-around amazing city with absurd energy. It also feels like time-traveling into the 60’s which is really neat. I heard you wrote jingles for tampon commercials in Asia? I went in to Saatchi and Saatchi
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and asked the creative director for a copy writing job. He said “mate, we don’t need any copywriters, but I stumbled upon your music website and would like you to make some jingles for this national tampon ad campaign.” My tampon jingles were playing before James Bond in the movies for over a year. Would you consider yourself a bit of nomad? I am a professional hobo. You describe your sound as Indie Rock/Folk Armageddon…? There are two people who described my music as “Folk Armageddon”, which is the name of the new record. It’s mostly indie rock. High energy tunes that are high quality but not perfect. I don’t have a polished American Idol voice, but I have been told I look like Phillip Phillips (Winner of American Idol – Season 11). You’re going to be in Ireland for some tour dates, where and when can we catch you? 23rd April - Cobblestone Joe’s LIMERICK 24th April - Pine Lodge - CORK 25th April - Backstage at Monroe’s - GALWAY 26th April - Debarras CLONAKILTY 29th April - Spirit Store DUNDALK 30th April - Sweeneys Ground Floor - DUBLIN
Facebook: /BrettNewski Twitter: @BrettNewski Article by Olivia Chau Twitter: @olliechau
Traditional Music in Limerick Irish culture has spread its wings all over the globe throughout the years and Irish music and dance is without doubt one of its main factors. It’s rare to visit any city in the world without spotting an Irish bar and where there is an Irish bar there is usually a session! A trad session can be described as an informal gathering of musicians playing Irish music in a relaxed environment. Usually such gatherings are open to any musicians while the main body of music is kept going by the senior or most experienced players. This allows musicians of all standards to join in while improving their style of playing and of course their confidence. Limerick certainly lives up to its City of Culture reputation in the trad session stakes. The city offers a night of music and craic in a different venue every night of the week. Most sessions start at 9.30pm or whenever a group of musicians have gathered and often continue into the early hours! From Dolan’s warehouse to Nancy Blake’s you’re sure to find a bar stool to perch yourself on whether you are playing a tune or just happily listening. For those passing through Limerick, what better way to experience the city’s true culture than immersing yourself in jigs, reels, slides and hornpipes. However there is a “session etiquette” that must be adhered to, some are more sensitive than others and I must admit I have once fallen victim to angry hushing for chatting too much! So just bear in mind that if you are with a group of friends enjoying the atmosphere, perhaps don’t sit right beside the musicians as they need to be able to hear themselves! If you are a student who plays an instrument, college is a wonderful place to get playing in sessions and meeting new people. Whether you are a regular session-goer or someone who has become a little rusty since the days of Mom pushing you out the door to lessons, joining a trad society at your college can open a whole new world. Often, there are sessions organised by the trad society in a pup nearby. Once you make the first move, there might be no stopping you! As soon as the days get warmer and the evenings get longer, trad sessions can evolve from a cozy fireside affair to an outdoor gettogether. If the open-air vibe is more to your taste, then the ‘Fleadh by the Feale’ is a weekend not to be missed (Thursday 30th April –Monday 4th May). Aside from the daytime competitions, there will be plenty of live music to fill the streets of Abbyfeale catering for all ages.
Here are a few sessions in Limerick to check out: Fridays Mondays Dolan’s Nancy Blake’s Hanratty’s Dolans Tuesdays Dolans Locke Bar
Wednesdays Scolars Club, UL Nancy Blake’s Dolan’s
Sundays Flannery’s Pub, Shannon St. 6:30pm till 9pm. The Still House Dolan’s Pub
Thursdays Bobby Byrne’s Pub Dolan’s Hanratty’s
Article by Gemma Musgrave
Mickey Martins Food 1 Augustinian Lane
Friends (& Beer obviously)
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Simon M c Gui r e The 6th Annual Limerick Film Festival. I entered LIT’s Millennium Theatre tacitly on the day of my interview with Simon McGuire, the co-founder and director of Limerick Film Festival. The last time I’d been on these steps was the day the theatre opened, more than a decade ago. I descended the steps with Simon to find a quiet corner by the stage. I could not help but marvel at the impressive lighting set-up, the deep, high-ceilinged stage and most of all the busy sense of purpose stirring about the air. Though my latter of observation might be put down to the wind-down from LIT music week the sentiment remains intact - in that my first breaths in the structure acted as a sure-fire reminder of the many magnificent gems of potential that awaits the public in this city, and that this particular altar would soon play host once more to one of the up-and-coming diamonds of the Limerick cultural crown – The 6th Annual Limerick Film Festival. Simon McGuire has been a cinephile, first in terms of consumption and later production, for as long as he can remember. “The CBS got some of the first facilities in the country for media production,” he recalls. “We got a full editing suite and they succeeded in bringing it onto the Inter-cert. I’d spend literally hours of every day after school down there until some evenings my parents would have to venture down and say ‘Sorry, can we have our child back’. Even then I knew I wanted to edit films.” It takes a few minutes to get into serious chat, primarily because, as a film-fan myself I’d a number of things to discuss, namely how he thought the Oscars should have gone down this year. Once we’d settled that (Simon would have rather seen Grand Budapest Hotel take Birdman’s statue) we settled down into a discussion that ranged from what he looks for in a film, to the direction he’d fancy for the festival’s future and we discussed the promo video for this year’s festival. “The way that came about was one of our 4th Year students, Steve Hall, who would be very prolific in the Limerick film scene, said he wanted to contribute to the festival in some way. I quoted the tagline at him and said ‘Use your imagination’. Steve has entered the festival every year and so he knew what we’re trying to get across with the promo is that ‘If you have an idea, we’ll use it, regardless of genre.’ The only genre that doesn’t appear in the promo is documentary, which of course we do accept.” The promo video I’m referring too can on viewed on the front page of the film’s website, limerickfilmfestival.net - where one can also peruse entry forms, and inspect previous winners and last year’s award show, which was filmed by Simon’s LIT students, a
streamlining effort that harkens back to one of the original inspirations in Simon founding the festival. “Before 2010 there wasn’t anything available for our students to promote and exhibit so I scratched my head and thought could we set up an exhibition, but then I realised that simply wouldn’t be big enough. I thought back to when I entered my first film festival at the tender age of 15. I came 3rd and I got a little award for it. I was a secondary student and I was up against Third-Level colleges. I remember it was such a buzz that I knew instantly that this was what I wanted to do. Taking that ethos I tried to create the same thing here, not just to award them but to give them a channel of appreciation for their work and also to invite professionals so that they’re up against professionals.” “Normally we get approximately 130 entries and out of those two or three might get through from the course of study at LIT. Going through the shortlist maybe one might make it to the final selection, which is huge, especially considering the judges are not LIT people but industry people who I invite in to select independently.” The LIT festival boasts a larger string of technical categories than most film festivals, where acting more commonly receives the greater percentile of appreciation. Simon prefers to heap praise on more regularly underplayed categories, such as lighting and his own particular forte being editing. “Making little shorts about my dog and entering that first film festival I began to recognise that it was the process more so than the end result that I enjoyed. Now whether I got it right or wrong I didn’t really care, I loved the process. I worked my way up doing freelance jobs and I discovered
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editing was my thing, more so than working the camera. Working on shorts, programmes like Killinaskully, Mattie, RTE’s Nationwide I began to see different genres in television.” Quoting Quentin Tarantino at him, “I didn’t go to film school, I went to films”, I pry into the value Simon places into courses like the Video & Sound Technology he teaches in LIT. “I think in courses like this, and there are so many now, the value of them can be put down to the constant growth of the mediaindustry, even during recession times. You can trace it especially with film production in terms of genre, because when people are struggling with a recession they attach ideas to certain frameworks of storytelling that relates to their own experience and before they know it they’re out casting people to put in a short film that relates to something of their own struggle.” Speaking particularly about genre, brings to mind something I perceived as unique about Simon’s promotion of the film festival, as well as some of the previous winners - in that not only is the genre of drama seen as the core epicentre of quality, but genre filmmaking is outright encouraged, an aspect to the festival I deemed “Feck-the-Begrudgers”, an admirable facet to be able to honestly attribute to a festival occurring in a circuit increasingly renowned for its snobbery. “We went out with the ‘Feck-the-Begrudgers’ approach in mind. Last year I worked with Kevin Liddy, who won the Galway Film Fleadh twice, who’s a name anyone working within the Irish film industry at the moment will know, and who, with the project we worked on together most recently, opened my eyes to a more poetic form of short-film editing that I’d not seen before. My approach to that film is exactly the same as my approach to this
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festival, in that I feel that if a student or a professional says ‘I wanna do a zombie film’, which is very cliché at the moment, or if they want to do a gangster film which is what a lot of them are going for at the moment, trying to capture that Love/Hate feel, I say fine and if they do a fantastic job of it they deserve to be acknowledged. There is a certain amount of snobbery in the circuit and I think every genre being made deserves to have space. One genre I would like to see done more in short film is comedy, but it is very difficult.” At the mention of the word snobbery, I cannot help but bring up the remarks made by John Michael McDonagh, writer-director of The Guard and Calvary, both funded by Bord Scannán na hÉireann, on the state of Irish film by denying both his own films the label of “Irish films” and dismissing much of the industries output as “technically unaccomplished”, remarks which I believe have been taken greatly out of context but which have served as a broad lynchpin to coax dichotomies on the state of the Irish film Industry from even the most casual observer. “I remember that, I was in the car when I heard the comment read back to me, and I didn’t react and I’ll tell you why. From dealing with students who don’t know what they want to do I’ve found you have to remain positive, and while Michael McDonagh is entitled to his opinion I would have to say that the Irish film industry is bigger than the opinions of one man. To Michael McDonagh I would point to, most recently, Patrick’s Day, which is a fantastic film released last year. You might think that young students who are beginning our course might hear his remarks and think ‘Right I’ll do this course and then I’m emigrating to England’ but then
throughout the run of the course they will meet so many people, guest speakers etc., who would demonstrate to them the amount of exponential growth happening in the Irish film industry today. Pat Shortt (formerly of the Fusion interview chair), who’s now writing a feature film, has been a guest speaker with us in the past and now a ton of his current employees are former students of this course. So I would hope to be able to say that the remarks of one Irish film-maker will go right over these students’ heads.” Its apparent through speaking to a Simon for even a moment that consuming film takes up as much of his time as producing it and so as a fellow cinephile there are a couple of questions I couldn’t let slip through my grasp: 1) Favourite film of last year? “The Grand Budapest Hotel, without a doubt and on every scale: writing, shooting, effects, comedy. What that film did was brought back imagination. It crucially wasn’t a film that was worried about all the frailties of human life. It’s just a pure story that you could be immersed in as a child and equally as an adult. It was the delivery. It was witty and cut well and shot well; everything being so perpendicular. It’s just a brilliant, brilliant film, and since it’s come out I’ve not seen anything to rival it.” 2) Favourite film of all time? “The Great Escape. I love the idea that the film has tons of different characters and doesn’t bog you down with just the same protagonist and antagonist the whole time. In it you’ve got one guy who’s a leader, one guy who’s a tunneler, one guy who builds things. I always FUSION MAGAZINE | 66
admired Attenburrough’s performance in the film, or the tunnel kings. I mean, the tunnel kings? They’re like a character in themselves. And the fifty getting shot used get me every time. I always stick it on every time I want to get reminded of how good a film can be.” Like many great stalwarts on the Limerick calendar, this festival comes from humble beginnings and little funding, and like so many the gritty determination is key and inspiring. “We started it out 6 years ago on €500 and have looked at all the other festivals in Ireland who get Arts Council Funding, whereas we don’t - Though I haven’t really looked at it as a stumbling block. If I had no money tomorrow this festival it would still go ahead. It might be a little bit smaller and a little bit scaled back but it would happen. It’s run on heart, and that’s the only way to run these things.” For more information on The 6th Annual Limerick Film Festival visit www.limerickfilmfestival.net
Article by Donnachadh Teirney Twitter: @thefilibusters Images by Tarmo Tulit - www.tarmotulit.com
Limerick Jazz Society- The Paul Dunlea Group Wednesday 8th April Dolans Pub & Warehouse, Dock Road, Limerick Have you been waiting for a chance to let this wonderful genre seeped in history and so full of rich, luxurious, velvety sounds to feed your soul? Here it is! Limerick Jazz Society present to you - The Paul Dunlea Group, comprised of talented improvising musicians who produce melodic and groove fusing influences of Jazz harmony, pop, funk and R&B. Paul Dunlea has earned fantastic tributes to his original compositions and his performing style. The Cork native graduated from Cork School of Music in 2013 already having composed pieces from wellacclaimed bands in many corners of the globe. Dunlea formed this group in 2011 as a means to hear his compositions come to fruition. Their debut album bi-polAr is now available on iTunes. The Irish Independent noted Dunlea as “a thoughtful and sensitive composer, with a gift for blending instruments to paint pictures in sound”, it promises to be a fabulous night! Check it out on: www.pauldunleamusic.com Bobby Byrnes Annual Charity Golf Classic in aid of Milford Hospice Friday April 24th 2015 Venue: Limerick Golf Club Team of 4 €300 Entry includes: Goodie bag on arrival, Bacon Butties & Beer at the Wee Tee (10th hole), Meal afterwards in the Clubhouse, Great Prizes. Not a golfer not to worry!!! We have Tee Box Sponsorship for €100. This is a day of great craic, great golf with all proceeds going to the wonderful Milford Hospice. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 061316949
Éigse Michael Hartnett, Poetry, Arts and Literary Festival. Thursday April 16th- Saturday April 18th Newcastle West Éigse Micahel Hartnett returns with a colourful programme bursting at its’ seams! It has such a broad variety of work in so many disciplines that there is a flavour for any taste. The works can be described as luminous, searching, profound, and soulful; if that doesn’t captivate you what will? The event I am most excited for across the two day festival is Pat Kinevane and Fishamble’s new solo play Underneath. Of all theatre piece I have seen in the past few months, this is one of the most eye-opening, staggering, tragic exposé of a secret life where emotional upheaval and acting finesse are all experienced. It is quite simply one not to be missed. Other events over the two-day festival include the launch of Niall Hartnett’s photographic exhibition on Irish writers. Niall, son of Michael, proudly shows these pieces outside the United States for the first time. Martin Hayes, the esteemed musician, will join with David Power to perform in the beautiful and archaic location of the 15th century Desmond Banqueting Hall. The Michael Hartnett Poetry Award for 2015 will be presented on the opening night. The Éigse Michael Hartnett Committee will welcome you with open arms and warm hearts for this delightful mini-fest. Details on: www.eigsemichaelhartnett.ie The Assassination of Brian Boru by Lauren Shannon Jones Wednesday April 29th, 8pm Friar’s Gate Kilmallock This historical tale explores the warrior lifestyle of two brothers with conflicting ideals, who sail to Éire to defeat Brian Boru - who himself had fought his way to carry the crown. On their journey to Ireland they part ways, as enemies, to meet later on the battlefield. Telling omens, warned Ospack to fight on the side of the good King but Brodir is ruthlessly focused on his thirst for power and victory. Brian Boru was assassinated at the battle of Clontarf 1014. A story of brotherhood, blood, ravens on the battle-field and the death of a great king. Check it out on: www.friarsgate.ie Article by Rebecca Egan Twitter: @beccae20
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Arts and Culture with Rebecca Egan
A R T S & C U L T U RE
DJ P R O F IL E
Name: Olivia Chau Profession: DJ/Music PR/Writer Tell us a little about yourself? Well I live in Limerick, although I did live in the States for a short time. Over the last few years, I have worked in music, one way or another. If not on the door taking cash, working for Cobblestone Joe’s booking bands, organising DIE, a student night in Dolan’s each month or DJing around Limerick in various venues, such as The Blind Pig, The Red Hen, Dolans and Mickeys (a couple of times) and of course interviewing them for various publications. I love music and going to gigs and tea. I grew up with a love of music, thanks to my Mum’s unreal record collection or Wham, Michael Jackson and The Doors. I’m ever so slightly obsessed with my dog, Bacon. If you look at my instagram, he’s featured quite a lot. College life? I went to UL and studied New Media and English. I actually didn’t participate that much because I was a lot older than most of the people in my class. I still had a great time though, but I never want to see the inside of the UL Library ever again. How did you get involved in Djing? Shane (my boyfriend) was asked to DJ in Baker Place quite a few years ago and I just loved the idea, that you play music and people dance to your song choices. He showed me the ropes and then I played my first ever set in Baker’s which was awesome. I played with my laptop, a big no no, now I see. Now that I am with DIE, I have a controller or use CDJ’s which makes for a better set and you don’t look like you’re just checking your Facebook while working. What type of music do you love? Where do I start? I guess I love bands. I’m always at gigs, however lately I’ve been getting into Disco. The thing is, before I
would never have thought about other music but as I get older my musical tastes have changed. I can appreciate Country music (only the older stuff mind) now but before I hated it. The easiest thing to do is look on my phone and you’ll see that it’s a lucky dip of bands, Dance music, Hip-hop, RnB, Pop. You started an online TV station Flip It TV. How did that come about? Ali Daly (my partner in crime) approached me after she saw an article I had written in a magazine called Crude and we had mutual friends in common. She asked me if I wanted to start something with her. The idea being, we interview bands that come to Limerick and then put them up on YouTube. At the start it was just the 2 of us but it quickly took off. At one point we had 4 interviewers Ali, Liam O’Connor and Ruth Madida and myself as well as 3 different camera men, Shane Serrano, Tall John and Garry Carroll. It was a great experience and we kept it going to 2 years. I got to interview some of my favourite bands and we even got to a couple of festivals as well. Any plans to revive it? Unfortunately not. Ali is away in South America, travelling. It was a lot of hard work and we just couldn’t give it the time and attention that’s needed for it now. We have talked about reviving it a few times. I would if I didn’t have to be on camera. I’m not very comfortable watching the videos back. I’m like, do I really sound like that? And what’s going on with my hands? What’s your biggest achievement so far? I wouldn’t say I have a big achievement yet but lots of small wins. Like college was one - I was the first in my family to graduate college. Then, starting Flip It TV and getting to interview And So I Watch You
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From Afar and Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip. Becoming a DJ, something that I never thought would happen - DJing has become something that I love to do and I feel like every time I get to play, it’s a win. Even with DIE, it has become one of the biggest students nights in Munster and I am very proud to be a part of it. I always get a buzz every month from throwing one of the biggest parties around. It’s tough work but very rewarding in its own way. I love writing for Fusion as well, coming up with new artists to introduce to the world. What’s your favourite part of your job? Meeting new people and getting to be a part of the music scene. I actually think it’s one of the best things. I’m not stuck at a desk all day. I make my own hours and get to hang out with some amazing people. I know that sounds cheesy but even with writing, I’m a strong advocate of bands and DJ’s who work so hard but maybe don’t get the recognition they deserve. People don’t realise all the time and effort that goes in to putting on a gig. So helping out anyway I can, is a great feeling. What would you like to do next? I’ve booked the bands, I’ve interviewed them even, I’ve tried radio, I’ve even worked in a music store but DJing seems to be my go to, so I’m focusing on that right now and also my writing. Contact Information Email: email@example.com Twitter: olliechau Facebook: DKTBwithOliviaChau Instagram: olliechau Image by Tarmo Tulit www.tarmotulit.com
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Killing Joe on Catherine Street
“If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Jimmy Dugan Any number of clichés can and have been applied to the production of great art, for about as many centuries as great art has been produced. Almost all of these, including the above, have prescribed artistic endeavour the status of task as oppose to opportunity. In many cases this proves important as a label, both to the artist in question and the target audience, in that regardless of scale - art must convince us of its raison d’être as absolutely essential. This particular brand of art aspires to stand in stark contrast to the cheap thrills found in circuses and scare houses in order to achieve its ends of existential pondering, and while this is, by no stretch, the wrong way to produce art, it often overcrowds and drowns out the public perception of the other means and goals. My own particular brand of catharsis entails giving the public what they want, especially if they don’t even know it yet. Unfortunately, the blockades thrown up to thwart mine, the more inexperienced and enthused end of the would-be entertainment industry, ironically amount to nothing more than a quotation back at us of the experience we’re sorely lacking in. What I’ve been discovering recently, in my continuing quest to bring Tracy Letts’ 1993, off-Broadway smash, Killer Joe, to the Limerick stage, is that this city is swelling with citizens as talented as they are eager to entertain and that if you veer ever-so-slightly outside the routes of traditional production and amp up your willingness to take a chance the inverse of the old cliché is true: it is easy and everyone should do it. “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” Bob Dylan When I say I’m easy at implying a number of things unique to my own situation while not stating them aloud. I come off the back of an unsuccessful theatrical venture that featured a number of stellar performances by talented people working with terrific original material. Why then consider it unsuccessful, you might ask? Because, when operating within the usual parameters expected of a performance arts show, productions of little or no budget, regardless of a large presence of talent, often end up drowning in financial holes with the will to entertain which might have once glued a collective crumbling amidst bad debt; the usual parameters I refer to are a company format dependent on capital to
secure invariables, such as venue, set and equipment, and optimism regarding ticket sales to secure everything else. The drive to provide quality entertainment becomes tainted by profit motivation through no fault of its own. I decided I’d require a left-wing approach whereby the slot formerly filled by capital would be filled by talent, enthusiasm and good-will, which I found aplenty. When I say easy, I refer to how it becomes when you surround yourself with talent. “If you build it, they will come.” Shoeless Joe Jackson Tracy Letts was 26 when he wrote Killer Joe and 28 by the time it made it to the stage, first in Chicago and later in an offBroadway venue in New York. It is fitting then that my own quest to take it to the Limerick stage has taken roughly the same amount of time and that my own incarnation will not only take place off-O’Connell Street (surely the Broadway of Limerick) but off stage altogether. The venue which will house Limerick’s most violent, sexy, daring and funny theatrical exploit does not necessarily refer to itself as a theatre, and yet neither does it refer to itself as a garden centre, nor a furniture shop, nor an art gallery, nor a vintage store, nor the structural inspiration for this production. It simply happens to be all five and more besides. Lucky Lane, aka 9 Catherine Street, is an indoor market with a difference that is the brainchild of Mark Sheehan and David Irwin. The space itself serves the public, at a base level, as a fully-functioning illustration of the potential of such earnest collaboration when you view your locality as an endless series of blank canvases. Finding myself gnawing my cheek in frustration at my seeming inability to secure a venue to house the production I’d secured the rights to, I fell upon a space that claimed to be nothing in particular and yet anything you could imagine (except perhaps, as early rehearsals thought me, warm in winter) when you put your mind to it; theatre by its very definition. “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.” Ringo Starr Set in the murkier bowels of Texan society (which in my own version has been adapted to Limerick, colloquialisms and all), Killer Joe tells the story of the less-than-moral Smith
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family who invite a Gollum into their lives by hiring a corrupt policeman to commit a murder on their behalf. There is sex, sexual violence, flagrant swearing and some oddities that will stay for you longer than it takes to put together a cast, and let me tell you that is quite some time. But I found them: Abigail Jean Hibbert of Lancashire, Stephen Ryan of Castleconnell, Phillip Coffey of Limerick and Courtney McKeon and Adam Moylan of Corbally. As actors, some are more experienced than others. One toured professionally with numerous plays around Britain, before winding up in the Treaty County, to my own great fortune. Another has seen national exposure in an ad for a health insurance company, who shall remain nameless unless they feel it’s their interest to purchase space. Another yet will lead a science fiction feature to see release in the next year, which was shot in Connemara over a month last summer. I have commissioned local artist LUAS, whose work is available for purchase in Lucky Lane, to design posters in the style of graffiti prints for the show. LSAD student and working artist Celeste Cubero is in the process of designing a 12 X 2m backdrop for the production. The team assembled might grow yet but as it stands it readily demonstrates the kind of energy one would have hoped to see sustained in the city in the year following the City of Culture. If we’ve done our work this energy will prove as transferable and sustainable to anyone in attendance on either night or the next opportunity will be theirs. “My motto is if you want to win the lottery you’ve got to make the money to buy a ticket.” Lou Bloom Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe will play in Lucky Lane, Catherine Street, courtesy of Samuel French on April 17th and 18th at 9pm. Tickets are €13 and are available from Mickey Martin’s Pub & Lucky Lane.
Article by Donnchadh Tiernan Twitter: @thefilibusters Image by Tarmo Tulit – www.tarmotulit.com
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CELIA HOLMAN LEE: LIMERICK STYLE ICON Throughout April The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street Limerick.
LIMERICK JAZZ SOCIETY - PAUL DUNLEA GROUP Wednesday 8th April @ 8.45pm Dolans Pub & Warehouse, Dock Road, Limerick
LITTLE GEM Wednesday 1st - Tuesday 2nd April @ 8pm Lime Tree Theatre, Mary Immaculate College, Courtbrack Avenue, Limerick
TAKE YOU THERE Thursday 9th April @ 1.15pm Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, University of Limerick, Limerick
TWELVE: EXHIBITION BY LIMERICK PRINTMAKER: DAVID LILBURN From 1st April The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street Limerick.
DIVINE DESSERTS WORKSHOP Thursday 9th April @ 7pm - 9.30pm Hook and Ladder, 7 Sarsfield Street, Limerick
CONTENT IN THE HUM Thursday 2nd April @ 7.30pm & rest of Month Friars Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
THE BIG CHRIS BARBER BAND Thursday 9th April @ 8pm University Concert Hall, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Limerick
WE BANJO 3 Saturday 4th April @ 8pm Dolans Pub & Warehouse, Dock Road, Limerick
DOLANS PRESENT PAUL BRADY Friday 10th April @ 8pm Lime Tree Theatre, Mary Immaculate College, Courtbrack Avenue, Limerick
THEMED EASTER TREASURE HUNT Available on request from Saturday 4th April The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street Limerick.
IRISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA Friday 10th April University Concert Hall, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Limerick
SUNDAY NIGHT DANCING - THE INDIANS Sunday 5th April @ 8.30pm Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel, Knockanes, Adare, Co. Limerick
SLOW ART DAY AT THE HUNT MUSEUM Saturday 11th April The Hunt Museum, Custom House, Rutland Street, Limerick City
KIDS’ ARTS AND CRAFTS CLUB Sunday 5th April, 2.30-4pm The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street Limerick.
JURASSIC ADVENTURES Saturday 11th April @ 12pm & 4pm University Concert Hall, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Limerick
‘OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW’: J. G. MULVANY’S PAINTINGS OF CO. LIMERICK, 1825-1835 Tuesday 7th April @ 1pm The Hunt Museum, Custom House, Rutland Street, Limerick City
DÓNAL CLANCY IN CONCERT Saturday 11th April @ 8pm Friars Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
‘ON THE NAIL’ LITERARY GATHERING Tuesday 7th April @ 8pm The Loft Venue, The Locke Bar, 3 George’s Quay, Limerick
NEGATIVE CREEPS - THE DEFINITIVE IRISH NIRVANA TRIBUTE Saturday 11th April @ 9pm Dolans Pub & Warehouse, Dock Road, Limerick SLOW ART DAY Saturday 11th April, Guided Sessions @ 11am and 2pm. The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street Limerick
BUSINESS CALENDAR Marketing & Sales for Beginners: April 2nd @9.30am at Croom Enterprise Centre
HR Workshop - Recruitment: April 14th @9.30am at Dunraven Arms Hotel Adare
Business After Hours: Thursday 8th April @6pm in the Limerick Craft Hub. (Sponsored by Limerick Craft Hub)
HR Workshop - Contract & Policies: April 14th @2pm at Dunraven Arms Hotel Adare
Kemmy Business School Business Breakfast: Friday 10th April @7.30am in the Kemmy Business School, UL. (Sponsored by the Kemmy Business School)
Succession Planning & Capital Raising Business Breakfast: Wednesday 15th April @ 7.45am in the Savoy Hotel. (Sponsored by Key Capital)
Stress Management: April 14th @9.30am at Woodlands House Hotel Adare
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Book Keeping: April 21st @9.30am at KiIlmurry Lodge Hotel Spring Business Lunch: Thursday 30th April @12.30pm in the Castletroy Park Hotel. (Sponsored by Bank Of Ireland)
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STUDENT RACEDAY Wednesday 15th & Thursday 16th April Limerick Racecourse, Greenmount Park, Patrickswell
LSAD 18th ANNUAL SHOW From 16th April The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street Limerick.
THE CHRONICLES OF OGGLE Wednesday 15th April @ 8pm Friars Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
SMELLS LIKE NIRVANA WITH PARADOX AND SCREENREADER Friday 17th April @ 9pm Little Ellen Street, Limerick
LSAD 18TH ANNUAL EXHIBITION Thursday 16th April - Sunday 10th May, Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2-5pm The Hunt Museum, Custom House, Rutland Street, Limerick City
CENTRESTAGE THEATRE SCHOOL SHOWCASE 2015 Sunday 19th April @ 7pm Lime Tree Theatre, Mary Immaculate College, Courtbrack Avenue, Limerick
THE CALLINO QUARTET AND AILISH TYNAN Thursday 16th April @ 8pm Lime Tree Theatre, Mary Immaculate College, Courtbrack Avenue, Limerick
A HISTORICAL LIMERICK JOURNEY THROUGH POSTCARDS Tuesday 21st April @ 1pm The Hunt Museum, Custom House, Rutland Street, Limerick City
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LIMERICK JAZZ SOCIETY – TOMMY HALFERTY TRIO Wednesday 22nd April @ 8.45pm Dolans Pub & Warehouse, Dock Road, Limerick 6TH ANNUAL LIMERICK FILM FESTIVAL 2015 Thursday 23rd - Saturday 25th April Millennium Theatre, LIT, Moylish Park, Limerick NEXUS: IN THE DEEP HEART’S CORE Thursday 23rd April @ 1.15pm Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, University of Limerick, Limerick 3RD YEAR SCULPTURE LSAD Opening Thursday April 23rd @7pm, 24th28th of April 12pm-6pm Limerick City Gallery, Limerick
A HISTORICAL LIMERICK JOURNEY THROUGH POSTCARDS Tuesday 21st April @ 1pm The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street Limerick
RED HURLEY IN CONCERT Saturday 18th April @ 8pm Friars Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
MA FESTIVE ARTS Thursday 16th April @ 1.15pm Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, University of Limerick, Limerick
MR. TURNER Wednesday 22nd April @ 8pm Friars Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
SEASONAL SURF & TURF Tuesday 21st April @ 7pm - 9.30 pm Hook and Ladder, 7 Sarsfield Street, Limerick
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RTÉ CONTEMPO QUARTET PRESENTS ‘FATHER & SONS’ CONCERT SERIES Friday 24th April @ 1pm Limerick City Library, The Granary, Michael Street, Limerick TAPAS NIGHT Friday 24th April @ 7pm - 9.30pm Hook and Ladder, 7 Sarsfield Street, Limerick GOD BLESS THE CHILD Friday 24th - Saturday 25th April @ 8pm Lime Tree Theatre, Mary Immaculate College, Courtbrack Avenue, Limerick RACEDAY Saturday 25th April @ 12.30pm Limerick Racecourse, Greenmount Patrickswell
THE WHOLE CHICKEN Tuesday 28th April @ 7pm Hook and Ladder, 7 Sarsfield Street, Limerick THE ASSASSINATION OF BRIAN BORU Wednesday 29th April @ 8pm Friars Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA PRESENTS MUSICA VIVIT Thursday 30th April @ 7.30pm University Concert Hall, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Limerick DAMIEN DEMPSEY LIVE 2015 Thursday 30th April @ 8pm Dolans Pub & Warehouse, Dock Road, Limerick
HAM SANDWICH ALBUM LAUNCH Saturday 25th April @ 8pm Dolans Pub & Warehouse, Dock Road, Limerick
Startup Weekend Limerick UP Global Friday, April 10, 2015 at 6:30 PM - Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 9:00 PM Limerick, Ireland Blue Chief Social are bringing an event to Limerick any entrepreneur would be crazy to miss from the 10th-12th of April called Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where developers, designers and business development folks come together to pitch an idea and turn that idea into a concept all in one weekend. It is a great opportunity to test startup ideas, meet potential co-founders, build the community in Limerick and launch your next startup! Startup Weekend is returning to Limerick because Blue Chief believes the proven opportunities and successes that stem from Startup Weekend will propel Limericks start-up community in the right direction. With Limerick recently listed in the top ten places to invest in Europe they strongly believe that building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem will lead to an increase in jobs & a bigger, healthier business and entrepreneurial community.
Startup Weekend is a non-profit, community-building event that brings together entrepreneurs of different backgrounds, including software developers, marketers, designers, and other enthusiasts. They gather to too pitch ideas, form teams and start companies in just 54 hours. The participants that attend have 60 seconds to make a pitch (optional), the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams are form around the ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects. Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors. Tickets - €30 - www.eventbrite.com
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It’s Apples and Androids in your fruit bowl. Smart fridge – great. Smart TV – not overly complicated. Smart heating system installed throughout the house… Even better!…but who and what controls them? The battle over which platform gets to run your home electronics has been a long and quite intense one. Which to choose – Apple or Android? They seem to do the same thing, but often make it complicated since the user cannot apply both at the same time – one has to make a significant decision about which to go for since changing over further down the line doesn’t seem to be an option. All the consumer wants is for everything to run smoothly without committing to one platform or the other – both support great gadgets and clever innovations, so the choice has intentionally been made difficult due to the everlasting race between the two platforms. Hyperconnectivity is the name of this trend of person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication in networked environments – social and organisational. Fusion has previously listed some gadgets which a user can control with an app, but this system of interaction between electronics themselves is a whole different line of innovations altogether. Many companies are battling over who gets to act as the master of all your domestic gear, each attempting to out-clever the others. Instead of having separate apps for your garage door, home heating, window curtains, pet feeder and coffee machine, there are systems available that regulate each action without the need of direct intervention from the user each time. Image this – you sit into your car after a long day of phone calls, emails, stories of your boss’s dog and automatically a signal is sent home to brew the coffee, open the garage door, let in the cat (and feed it), open the curtains and light the fire, so that all you need to do is sit down with your drink and pet Tigger while you wait for your favourite take-away to arrive a minute later. There is a demand from the consumer to take the work out of networking and several companies have managed to do so by offering different solutions of this connected home. One of the leading companies so far is Nest Labs of Palo Alto, California. They have managed to attract impressive brands like Whirlpool, Mercedez-Benz and fitness tracking company Jawbone to integrate Nest Lab’s systems into their products. The potential of this company attracted Google to buy it in 2014. Apple, again, proves to be serious competition by developing their own home-automation system, called HomeKit. This system works by encouraging app developers to submit the solutions themselves, instead of attempting to innovate everything on its own which might prove limited if it is kept to one company alone.
And finally, besides the apples and oranges, there is HyperCAT – a hypermedia catalogue format designed to work with all kinds of platforms, exposing the simple data of different devices and managing the dialog between them. So that your washing machine could tell your wrist watch when the load has finished. All these systems are fairly new and it will take a little time for everything to find its place and rhythm, but it is definitely moving in the right direction with the consumer comfort in mind. The IoT (Internet of Things) is developing fast and only the best solutions survive this race of developers trying to embed themselves into every aspect of our lives. IoT is forecasted to reach 26 billion connected devices by 2020 (Cloudtimes.org) and that doesn’t just include laptops, phones and tablets; it is looking at systems in sectors such as medical, industrial and automation. Connectivity will become the major feature of every solution – hardware and software – and the consumer will benefit from it all; if only everything could fall into place sooner without us having to test it out first…
Article by Johanna Aaspollu Twitter: @ceel88
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Every single person has insecurities be it physical or mental. You are not perfect, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not perfect, what is perfection? And who the hell is perfect? Is it the media that defines perfection? Is it the people around you or is it yourself? We have a stigma around ourselves as human beings? Why? That is all we are is human! Maybe we can change it one little bit at a time by opening up and communicatingâ&#x20AC;Ś - Editor: Michelle Costello
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