Fusion Magazine - Winter 2015

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12 Mike Finn 18 20 22 28 30 36 39 42 44 54 58 64 67 74 80 82

Kelly Fitzgerald

The Dirty 30’s

Keith Duffy

Casual Racism

Anita Kulon


All Tvvins

Check in for winter

Úna Burke


Lorraine Dimond




Little Hours

Online & Technology



EDITOR IN CHIEF / Michelle Costello PHOTOGRAPHER / Tarmo Tulit GRAPHIC DESIGN / Keith Aherne CONTRIBUTORS: Shauna Lindsay Kayleigh Ziolo Sophie Butler

David Cuddihy Mary Kiely

Hazel Ryan Sheehan Evan Considine Rebecca Egan

Yvonne Dallman

Johanna Aaspollu

Cornelia O’Riordan Matilda Mayne

Stephen O’Driscoll Olivia Chau

FUSION MAGAZINE Advertising - advertising@fusionmedia.ie Editorial - hello@fusionmedia.ie Photography - photography@fusionmedia.ie Design - design@fusionmedia.ie Fusion Magazine is published by Fusion Media 74 O’Connell Street, Limerick, Ireland www.fusionmagazine.ie info@fusionmedia.ie

+353 (0) 61 - 597627







MIKE FINN Pinning down this busy, internationally renowned, eternally in demand playwright was always going to be a feat. When it became obvious that physical presence was an impossible ask in light of our respective schedules, it was technology to the rescue. With an apologetic grace that we could not meet in person, Mike Finn was more than delighted as we sat down at our own tables with our own cuppas’ for a phone conference update on his hectic schedule.




So, who is Mike Finn? For the uninitiated, Mike is the man behind the script, the mastermind of words. A founding member of Limericks’ theatre company of days gone by, Island Theatre Company, he is now based mostly in Dublin’s’ fair city but frequents Limerick often, as well as wherever the theatre takes him. You might remember his name from the credits of Killinaskully too. Reflecting on the start of his career in theatre, Mike admits that becoming a playwright was not necessarily part of the plan. “Having founded Island Theatre Company in 1988, I was primarily performing on stage, and I guess like many actors I thought ‘I can do this!’ and I gave it a go.” The process of an idea would evolve into reality when Mike would bounce ideas of Terry Delvin, the artistic director of the company. If an idea seemed to have substance and a quality narrative they would develop it to full fruition. This act of writing and developing scripts captivated Mike from the very beginning, “I just found that I was an actor who started writing, then it came to the point where I was hardly acting anymore… it was a happy accident”. A very happy accident indeed, as Mike is now accredited with many of Irelands’ most wonderful stage pieces of recent decades, including Charlie Chaplin’s Mother was an Irishman, and adaptations of plays such as Shock and Awe and The Crunch. “I was lucky, I didn’t really have difficulty in getting my plays performed because of my role with Island Theatre Company, I already had a home for it, a place to put on the plays from the getgo.” With a tone of deep understanding and appreciation of his journey into the playwriting world, Mike gives a nod of admiration to those who haven’t had such strong bonds with theatre companies awarding access to directors, actors, technicians, reputation and an audience following. “Not everyone has that


access, but persistence and trial and error works too. It was great to have the support and the foundation for new plays I wrote, I know I was lucky.” Humbling as his manner is, Mikes’ success cannot be simply awarded to having the ties he did but many hours of hard grafting, tweaking, altering and rewriting characters, scenes and moments in a play. With a notable Irish wit, Mike laughs as he recognises his career has not followed a 9-5 or anything similar and declares “my family have been great, they never at any point suggested that I get a ‘real job’!” With his down to earth manner, it’s often hard to believe we are talking to the same man was has been awarded the Stewart Parker Award in 2000 for Pigtown. This prestigious Irish award is offered to the best Irish debut play and is no basic accomplishment, this fact being easily proven when we consider other awardees include Enda Walsh, Eugene O’Brien and Nancy Harris. In recent years the award has become funded and joined in partnership with The Arts Council and BBC Northern Ireland as it is open to entries in the 32 counties. Pigtown was originally produced with Island Theatre Company and then travelled to Off-Broadway and San Jose. What made it such a success? “I have a drawer full of ‘unsuccess’, of things that never made to stage, but with Pigtown, I don’t know, everything just seemed to fit together, it all just clicked in such a wonderful way… it really is one of those magic memories that rarely comes around where everything just works out”. Having appeared in over 20 plays with Island Theatre Company, Mike clearly had an abundance of stage experience and learned how characters can develop, move, interact and evoke a reaction: this understanding was paramount to the success of writing a piece as acclaimed and accomplished as Pigtown.

With accolades such as International Writer in residence at University of Iowa and the Burdines Distinguished Visiting Artist at the University of South Florida, Mikes’ skills are recognised near and far. Encompassing many talents, I ask Mike of his experience in directing. Again, his humble nature is touching. Identifying his main skills to be found within acting and writing, he confesses that while he recognises acting notes, directing is not his forte. “I have kind of done some directing by default but I would never call myself a director, I directed a play in Florida in 2001, when I was in residency there. They wanted me to write a new piece and put it on, suggesting I direct it myself. Sure I had said yes before it even registered with me what I was agreeing to! I really enjoyed the experience. I understand how everything is meant to work having acted and written so much over the years, but I wouldn’t consider myself the best theatre director… I’d do a passable job!” Out of all the plays Mike has performed in, the many he has adapted and scripts he has moulded for screen (least of all his co-written work with Pat Shortt on 36 episodes of the infamous IFTA nominated Killinaskully), could he decide on one highlight? “There are so many. I guess the success of Pigtown back in 1999 when I first wrote it really is unforgettable. We did it in summer of 1999, 2000 and 2002 in Limerick, and it was a hit every time! It became bigger than all of us, it just grew into something greater than I could ever have imagined and then we got to bring it to America.” Reflecting again on how the popularity of Pigtown shaped his future Mike continues, “It’s success really helped me drive my career and I had the great opportunity of working with an amazing team - actors and production crew. I got a lot of work out of it, including that residency in Florida, where I wrote and directed, which was a new experience for me at the time. It

was life changing, I still think of it with great fondness.” Mike sounds like he is reliving the wonderment of Pigtown as we chat, electric and vivid in his mind. I ask him, as he still seems to be astounded with joy from the production of Pigtown, has he been involved with anything as special recently? “Pigtown will always have a special place in my heart, but right alongside it, I know The Unlucky Cabin Boy has something magical about it too. These shows only come along every ten to fifteen years if you’re lucky. I knew from it’s inception that there was something unique about The Unlucky Cabin Boy.” This musical production was produced in conjunction with Gúna Nua Theatre Company, originally from Limerick and now based in Dublin, and The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, also of Limerick origin. Based on a true story, the Blake brothers and sister (David, James and Ann) wanted to bring to life for Limerick City of Culture 2014. It wowed many in the Lime Tree Theatre last year, and the story is about to continue, Mike tells me with glee. When we first made contact, Mike was in the middle of a block week preparing for the upcoming show, again eager to share his story he tells me how it all came about. “We all met up and they shared the idea over a coffee and from then it just rocketed off, the BPLO drafted me in essentially. I recognised the story, I had read a version of it in the old Limerick journal in the 80s, and it had been something I wanted to develop but never got around to, it was in my virtual memory!” How does such a large-scale piece with such an unusual story come to fruition? “The members involved in the production live very different lives, we did two blocks of rehearsals the first time around and it worked well so that’s what we are doing before the nationwide tour in November.



We devised it together before, a rare opportunity, which really strengthened the end product.” Evidently a successful method, the performers garnered the opportunity to improvise a suggested take on the tale by Mike, which he would then develop into a more concrete adaptation. Woefully, Mike admits that this is a rare opportunity due to difficulty in attaining funding. How does Mike approach a revision of a play, does he decide to scrap half of it and rebuild it? Would he just leave it untouched? He admits that it is also a rare occurrence to be awarded a second chance at putting on a production. “Nothing is ever completely finished, it can be a tricky one, you don’t want to make it worse by over-thinking. You can destroy something by over-thinking. In the past I have revised plays, made them worse, and had to re-edit to the original draft. With Pigtown, we messed with it and had to undo it again - tinkering isn’t always good! Editing is what we are doing now, I shaved a little bit off it, but the audience won’t really notice, the pacing is better now though.” Paying reverence once again to his fortunes, Mike notes the appreciation of the entire cast and crew to have the opportunity to bring The Unlucky Cabin Boy around again, and to new audiences. “It got such tremendous feedback the last time, we want to hold and even improve that standard.” With the recent humane, cultural and political disasters suffered by millions of people due to the mass immigration of Syria, the story of The Unlucky Cabin Boy has a new resonance with audiences that it did not have when first staged in 2014. The story is about the underdog, the little man, the one with no voice and no power. Mike identified these similarities and openly discusses how the musical really reflects what is happening today with the refugee crisis. “I think everyone will relate to it, thinking of Syria, Hurricane Katrina some years back; the vicitimisation of children in Ireland that has come to light in recent years…” The Unlucky Cabin Boy ignites questions within its audience which Mike and the Blakes made a conscious decision to highlight, “We really want to explore, ‘why does it happen?’


The people in our musical are in an awful situation, dealing with the politics and morality, the boy is suspicious he lost the lottery, it brings light to the theme that life is weighted against the people at the bottom, they get exploited all the time. Whatever crisis happens, it is always the poorest left in the worst situation, at the bottom. Society fails poor children.” Noting the fifteen pantomime scripts Mike penned for Centrestage, a Limerick stage school, and the book and lyrics of the musical Soul Garden for the same, it is clear that a pure honesty lies within his caring words towards the refugees, and particularly the victimised children. If he had a one liner to promote the musical what would it be? (Laughs) “A musical about cannibalism! Who would miss it?! … It shocks non-musical fans, shows that not all musicals are tapping feet, smiles and jazz hands; it has a unique, distinctive storyline without a doubt!” Life is never as simple as having one project on the drawing board at a time. I was wrong to assume that with Mike being so preoccupied with a project of the wonderfully vast scale of The Unlucky Cabin Boy that any other projects would be small and secondary. Mike has once again teamed up with Paul Meade, the director of The Unlucky Cabin Boy and Artistic Director of the award winning Gúna Nua Theatre Company. Unsurprisingly, their new production is also based on Irish history. Mike, again oozing with positivity declares that working with Paul is a match made in heaven. “Really it is! In this business so much happens accidentally.” Precisely what is this big project in the making? “We’re working on a piece based on Homers Odyssey but with an Irish twist of a young lads’ journey from Dublin to Kerry during the 1916 rising. It’s a work in progress at the minute but will be performed in a manner reflective of Shakespearean style, it will toy with elements of the circus as we travel and tour with Fossetts Circus, in the mix will be music from the early 1900s too. The title may change, but for now we are calling it ‘All the Way Home’.”

The revival and popularity of new-age circus performers and aerial dance performances is rife in recent times with Fidget Feet blossoming before our eyes and No Fit State Circus welcoming multitudes when they visited last year, to name but a few. Bearing this in mind and imagining the boundless possibilities that may result in All the Way Home when infused with the historical memories from only a short 100 years ago, this will be one to watch. Success in the theatre industry is no simple accomplishment, and with a smooth journey never being a reality, surrounding oneself with the right people who will love, care, guide and encourage you along your way are pertinent to fuel a career as stealthy as Mike’s. Mike verbally hugs those dear to him with these words; “My friends and family have always been supportive, and that means so much. I’ve never been forced down a path but supported along my way.” I ask if he had any words of advice for upcoming playwrights, or those who have considered but not taken the leap of lifting the pen just yet as they focus on anything else in fear. With a nervous laugh he admits that there is a disadvantage to having another career, that by having a fall back profession, you let yourself fall back; that it can stop you from following what you really want to do. With a warmth in his laughter he announces “At this point, there is no going back for me, this is what I do, it’s what I know.” With an insistent note to his voice he has a simple message: “I would say, just write! Keep writing, don’t take no for an answer! There is no magic formula, you need to find your own style but don’t waste time talking about your idea. I do that but it is such a waste of time and you lose energy, so I try to focus on getting it to paper. It’s not the most exciting process, I prefer to be working with people - writing can be lonely, but it is worth it.”

Words - Rebecca Egan Images by - Tarmo Tulit







PART Y GIRL Recovering from an addiction is not an easy thing to do. However, the results are always worth it as this American blogger shows us. Kelly Fitzgerald is the Philadelphia-born woman behind the blog ‘Sober Señorita’ in which she documents her now sober lifestyle. She initially set up her blog in January 2014 to write about her life in Mexico. Soon after, she gave up her party lifestyle in Cancun and her blog post ‘One Year Without Alcohol’ went viral. She has been featured on numerous sober living websites as well as The Huffington Post, Glamour magazine and most recently, the September issue of Fusion magazine. When Kelly first gave up alcohol she found that she didn’t fit in at AA meetings and they didn’t help her very much. Instead she turned to books, articles and blogs to help her in her recovery. Now she runs one of those sober living blogs that she read when she first got sober. In fact, she runs a very successful blog that helps thousands of people around the world. How long have you been sober for now? I’ve been sober since May 7, 2013, a little over two years. You’ve said before that you were a sociable party girl - how did when you know had gone from just being a party girl to being an alcoholic? It took me a long time to figure out my habits had transitioned from fun party girl to alcoholic. I looked at my life and realized I was 27 years old and still binge drinking the same way I did in college. I realized that anything bad that had happened to me was the result of alcohol. Along the way I had lost relationships, broke bones, and lost sight of who I was as a person. That’s when I knew that I was no longer the fun party girl, I was an alcoholic.


What made you want to give up alcohol?

How did your blog first get noticed?

I decided to give up alcohol after attending a bachelorette party with my childhood best friends. My boyfriend didn’t want me to go on the trip because he knew how I was when I drank. He was scared I would black out and hurt myself or be taken advantage of, or worse. I told him I had it under control and that I could regulate my drinking. I went on the trip and on the 2nd day there I blacked out. He was angry and done with me. On the way back home I decided in the airport [while] hungover and miserable that I had to try something else. I was tired of feeling like complete crap physically and emotionally. I decided then that I would quit drugs and alcohol and I’ve stuck to it.

When I wrote my ‘One Year Without Alcohol’ blog it went completely viral. The Huffington Post emailed me and asked if they could republish it on their site and of course I said yes. Ever since then it’s been all over the internet and that’s helped a lot with the popularity of my blog. What motivates you to stay sober? What motivates me to stay sober is just how amazing my life has become since I made the decision to quit drinking. I feel better than I ever have in my life. I finally feel connected to life. How has your life changed since you’ve given up alcohol?

What do you think helped you the most when I could write a lot about this topic, but my you first started to give up alcohol? life has changed in every way possible since What helped me the most in early sobriety giving up alcohol. I am finally becoming the was the internet. I literally googled “living person I was always meant to be. I am finally sober” “giving up alcohol” “alcoholism” etc. a good daughter, sister, friend, and girlfriend. I found a lot of books, blogs, and recovery I am happy and grateful every day when I websites that I read endlessly. It was good to wake up. I’ve been given writing and work know that I wasn’t alone and living a sober life opportunities I would have never gotten if I wasn’t sober. I have been able to share my was possible. message of sobriety with the world. Why did you decide to make a blog about your What advice would you give to those fighting sobriety? with addiction? My blog actually started out as a blog about my life living in Mexico. I got sober while I My advice to those people that are still out was living in Cancun. I knew a lot of other there struggling is that sobriety and recovery expats living there who wrote their own blogs are possible. I have never once regretted and they encouraged me to start my own. getting sober, only that I didn’t try it sooner. I started it and I picked the name ‘Sober The pain will end and happiness can begin, if Señorita’ (my sister came up with the name) only you take the first step. because I wanted to incorporate the fact that I was sober. For the first few months of the blog I didn’t write about being sober. I wrote about living in Mexico. Then my one year of sobriety came around and I wrote my first full blog dedicated to sobriety. It got a great response and because of that I continued to write about Words: Sophie Butler sobriety.



30’s Up to a few years ago, “style” was always a woman’s thing. Us poor men didn’t need to bother with all the fuss and to be honest we were happy not to. A shirt and jeans was the staple in our wardrobes. You were allowed to have a collection of a maximum of five shirts before people started talking about you and accused you of having notions about yourself. These shirts were inevitably check shirts as patterns were almost unheard of in men’s fashion back in the noughties. Patterns were just way “too gay”. You were in procession of two to three pairs of jeans; one for daily wear, one for good wear and one for special occasions. The jeans came in one style; straight legged and no messing, unless you were into the oversized X works trend but let’s not discuss the shame attached to those. Men’s grooming products were not even referred to as “grooming products” but were more commonly known as “gel and Lynx”. Moisturiser was “women’s stuff ” and we stayed away from it for fear that we would be overcome by oestrogen and grow breasts. We took our style from what our peers were wearing which inevitably meant we all looked the same. A trip to the hairdressers was a chore and only done out of necessity and the only haircut available to us was the short back and sides. Men weren’t meant to have style. Things were simpler for us back then; men didn’t have emotions, men didn’t have style and above all men didn’t have insecurities because we just didn’t care to be honest. Oh how things have changed over the last few years!


Here’s a question for you: When was the last time you looked in the mirror and felt completely happy with who was looking back at you? Did you stand there thinking who is that handsome divil blowing kisses and winking at me; or are you like me and spend your time wishing you were a bit better looking, a bit skinnier and a bit less dishevelled?. Are you like me, and a night out involves a few drinks to make you feel better about yourself and what you’re wearing or are you one of those people who looks “casually” amazing all the time with minimum effort? If you are that handsome, rugged, cut out of stone, perfectly groomed modern man, I both hate you and want to be you in equal measures. I’m really envious of the fact your hair falls perfectly into place and you don’t have to be mindful of your gut hanging over your jeans on a night out. I’m jealous of the fact that you can walk into any clothes shop and not struggle to find the right size. The curse of male insecurities has well and truly got a hold of me - yes ladies, it’s not just a female thing, us fellas want to be a part of the action.

skinny jeans. I certainly don’t have those taut man boobs and that perfect V shape that we all envy, so anything less than a large is out of the question for me. Ultimately I’m starting to feel a bit left out of this modern man craze. Surely I can’t be the only one feeling left out? Surely I can’t be the only one who likes the good old fashioned jeans (that fit) and t-shirt combo. Is the “old normal” man a dying breed as more and more of the male population becomes consumed by modern “style”? Boot cut, straight leg, wide leg, skinny leg, tapered leg, loose fit, slim fit, slouch fit, extra slouch fit. All these trends and tighter, skinnier clothes have me worn out: for the love of God just give me pair of jeans - any jeans that fit and make me look amazing. Look around: Irish men are becoming more and more adventurous in the style stakes and we appear to be in the middle of a fashion revolution, but when will enough be enough? Maybe when we have the first skinny jeans related tragedy on our hands, people will start to rethink where exactly men’s fashion is really heading. For now I think I’m going to plod along as I have been doing, ignoring what I am told is fashionable and making my own choices. As my mother used to always say “shur no one will be looking at ya anyway!”

Everywhere I seem to turn these days I’m met with the new standards of the modern man, but I’m taking a bit of an issue with it because I don’t seem to fit into this image. I don’t have the most perfectly groomed beard; to be quite honest beards itch so I’ll just stick to the unkept stubble look, it’s less hassle. I couldn’t even dare to attempt to fit into a pair of skinny jeans; in fact I was once told I had child bearing hips and nobody wants to see that in Words - Dave Cuddihy





Treading the boards of the theatre, the cobbles of Corrie, his work with Irish Autism Action which led to him being Philanthropist of the Year 2013 - life certainly hasn’t been quiet since the heady heydays of Boyzone, though Keith Duffy’s world certainly turns to A Different Beat (sorry). Between family life, building a successful acting and presenting career and working tirelessly to improve the lives of families affected by autism, Fusion finds Keith indulging in something resembling light relief, as he returns to Limerick to star in the University Concert Hall pantomime Sleeping Beauty, after a well-received stint in Jack and the Beanstalk in 2014.




When we first meet he is jovial, working the Captain’s Room of The Hunt Museum at the launch event in full panto garb – purple silk, gold crown and all. When we eventually sit down with him for a chat, his attire has taken a darker turn more reminiscent of his boyband heartthrob status. However, the mood stays light as he chats away happily and relaxed, responding to compliments on his smile with jokes about the cost of his dental work. There is the sense that Keith really relishes every aspect of what he does - he is a total pro in front of the camera, testament to his years of experience in the spotlight, yet his enthusiasm for all that’s part and parcel of that still seems fresh and genuine, as he talks to waiting press and selfie seekers with genuine warmth and interest. Of course, as a (temporarily) retired boyband member and someone who is known for being funny and not taking himself too seriously, it’s unsurprising that Keith had been asked to do panto many times before, both in the UK and here in Ireland. However, with a busy schedule and family life, it just didn’t suit him, and apart from a taste of the experience in a production of The Wizard of Oz at Weymouth Pavillion Theatre many years ago, he has always turned down the offers. “Whenever I was asked they would always get in touch around March. With all the different things I have going on and acting work being the way it is, you don’t have a long-term schedule planned out, so it’s impossible to commit to something that far in advance. So I always said no.” Why in particular did he decide to take to the panto plunge again with Jack and The Beanstalk at University Concert Hall Limerick in 2014, and then return to Limerick again for Sleeping Beauty this year? “Well, initially it was because the director only contacted me at the beginning of November last year, so then I was able to say yes, let’s give it a go. I liked 24

it so much when I was asked to return this year, I decided you know what, that was really enjoyable, this time I made sure to make space in my diary for it.”

His answer is a great rebuttal to anyone who may have looked down upon panto as a performance medium. Acting, as Keith identifies, is an intense and utterly unpredictable career path, surely they are as entitled to some light relief as much as the rest of us? There is a reason that pantomime has been part of the festive season since as far back as the fourteenth century. For us as the audience, pantomime is a wonderfully inclusive experience, and is often a child’s first introduction to the world of theatre and live performance. Slapstick, audience participation, local actors and well known personalities brought together in the most unlikeliest of scenarios, what’s not to like? Christmas clearly cries out for a panto, and I make my sincere promises to Keith to attend this year with the family in tow.

What was his experience of Limerick while he was here? “Over the years I never spent much time in Limerick. We would have played at the Theatre Royale with Boyzone back in the day, but of course wouldn’t have spent much time experiencing the city. Obviously doing panto last year here and staying for five weeks, I got to do more here, and I just fell in love with the place. Everybody was so hospitable, the restaurants, hotels and bars, they just looked after us so well, and of course University Concert Hall Limerick and the fantastic audience who really let their hair down and got into it. I really enjoyed the company of the other guys in the panto, we socialised every night. And not being from around here it was Keith is no stranger to regular theatre either. a bit of freedom as well, it was work but like He first appeared on the stage at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre in 2005 alongside Pauline a break.” McLynn in a play called Dandelions. When It was at this point I confessed to Keith I Boyzone reformed in 2007 he had to turn haven’t actually been to a pantomime, at least down a West End role. After their reunion not since I was a very small child, with little tour ended he was to tour with an Irish play, other than very fuzzy memories of people My First Time, but this never came to be in shouting ‘he’s behind you!’ What, for Keith, the saddest of circumstances, as his much loved bandmate and friend Stephen Gately is the whole appeal of the panto experience? “It’s just so much fun, I had a great time, passed away. He returned to the stage in 2011 audience participation is what really makes with a touring production of John B Keane’s it, it’s a really good boost for all the actors. comedy Big Maggie, playing Teddy Heelin, a I had just finished six months of serious role he will be reprising in March 2016. What theatre when I came down last year, and that brought about the return? can be tough, you know? Panto as an acting experience is a tonic, it really is. Acting on “The first time around Big Maggie toured set and in theatre can be quite intense, you round Ireland and sold out everywhere, it have to stay in character and go into a lot of was amazing. Then the director contacted me emotions. Panto gives you the chance to come couple of years ago, as Big Maggie was going out of character and mess around with the to become part of the national curriculum this audience a bit. And you will love this one, it term he wanted to put it on again, though it won’t be touring this time, it will be more really is laugh out stuff.” commercial. Again, I enjoyed the experience





so much last time around I immediately said yes. Rehearsals start pretty much straight away after Sleeping Beauty ends, and we’ll be hopefully looking to do a big charity event through The Keith Duffy Foundation here in Limerick in February.”

for someone who declares he always “likes to be busy”, but for the most part it was the drive to improve the situation for other parents and children facing the same circumstances. He realised the need for early intervention, which is proven to drastically improve prospects and quality of life for children with autism, and for improvements in public healthcare services and general awareness of the condition. He began by organising fundraising events, before becoming patron of Irish Autism Action.

The Keith Duffy Foundation comes off the back of his work with numerous Autism charities, most notably Irish Autism Action, where he became patron. His charitable work has earned him the title of Irish Philanthropist of the Year 2013, and an honorary fellowship Keith’s approach to the role was typically for autism work from the Royal College of hands on. “People don’t realise that as patron I have been very involved in all aspects, when Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). you see celebrities put their name to a cause Of course, those who know about Keith’s life you think that’s all it is, a name, but it’s not. will know that this passionate determination I’ve done all sorts, meeting with people, to improve the lives of children and young finding out what is needed, phone calls etc. It’s adults with learning difficulties stems from not as if I know it all either, it’s about getting a his experience with his own daughter, Mia. feel for what people really need, the only way In 2005, when Mia was 18 months old, and to do that is to talk to them directly, it’s a lot of Keith had just finished his first stint as Ciaran work and it can be stressful but you do what’s McCarthy on Coronation Street, she was necessary.” diagnosed with autism. And as the charity themselves stated when Keith has previously spoken open and honestly Keith announced he was to step down in about how he felt and came to terms with February 2015, the extent of his work cannot the diagnosis, sharing the fears and mixture be overstated. Forging corporate partnerships, of emotions that many parents in similar helping to secure state recognition for 12 early circumstances can relate to. In an interview intervention schools in Ireland, plus numerous with The Daily Mail in 2009, he admitted fundraising events and bringing the issues that it nearly tore the family apart, saying he into the public conscious through interviews struggled to hold himself together, and was and campaign awareness are just some of the fearful about what the future held for Mia. The examples of the work he has put in over the realisation that they had so little knowledge years. But such passionate dedication doesn’t about the condition, that public health services just stop, and he now plans to set up his own were enormously overstretched when it came charity. to getting an official diagnosis (Keith and his wife Lisa were told it could take between 18 “Absolutely. I wanted to concentrate on my and 24 months), plus the lack of support that family and career for a while, which is what I was available when they did get the answer have done and will continue to do, but part of they had so desperately sought, led to Keith that is setting up my own foundation, which I taking action. He had to, in his own words, have been working on in the background for grow up fast. He threw himself into charity the past year.” He will be moving onto a new work, in part as a personal coping mechanism stage of improving the lives of young adults

with autism and special learning requirements with The Keith Duffy Foundation. “I’ve actually had a lot of help with The Keith Duffy Foundation from Richard Lynch, of ILoveLimerick.com, we’ve been working very hard. He has a been big support in this, he introduced me to a lot of people last year. With Mia and Irish Autism Action I was mostly looking at diagnosis early years education, now we’re focusing on secondary learning supports and adult learning centres for people coming through the process that we set up for them initially. A lot of the kids are coming of age and there’s nothing in place for them now to go to – it’s going to be a hard battle and a long slog to try and put appropriate learning facilities in place. We’ll be launching with a big black tie ball charity night at Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa on 5th December. From there I will be looking to do events all round Ireland, the idea is that all money raised in each county will stay in that county, as we identify what is needed in each place and makes sure the money goes exactly where it is needed.” Keith certainly wasn’t kidding about keeping busy – his passion for life is infectious and he is so open about his experiences and motivations. There’s little doubt that The Keith Duffy Foundation is set to make a real difference in the lives of young adults, with such a dedicated and hardworking individual at the helm.

Words: Kayleigh Ziolo Images by: Leanne Aherne 27



the comedy tent laughed. I didn’t. I turned to my friend and we both said, that was pretty racist right? Why I even posed the question, when I knew for sure, that, yes a white Irish Male who is impersonating a person of Asian descent is racist. When I first moved back to Ireland, having lived in America for four years, I was working in a clothing store. I was helping a lady and her daughter, she asked me for something and then said “Do you understand English?”. I was taken aback and just said yes, very well actually. What can you say to someone who clearly doesn’t realise they’re being racist? Not so long ago, I was helping another lady, who for some reason thought I was actually English, (I don’t know why). She was asking me to help her find movies or documentaries from “olden times”. I was trying to help but then she asked if she could talk to someone Irish because they would know better about “olden times” Irish movies and documentaries. I didn’t know being English would hinder my ability to know what stock we had or help her find something suitable. This last instance, is pretty laughable I know but I didn’t know how to react to her, I just laughed and walked away. I was also disgusted when, after Japan won a match in rugby that most people were on social media, saying “GO ON THE JAPS!” Again this is highly offensive to Japanese people. This term came from World War II and should be left there. Now, some of you will read this and say, oh you’re just being too sensitive or lighten up, it’s just a bit of fun. Well to those people I say: you haven’t had to grow up in a country where you’ve been called derogatory names because of the colour of your skin or the country you’re from. It’s easy to blame people from other countries for the problems that a country is having or for the many other problems in your life. So before you decide to use racism to make yourself feel better, realise that person probably came to Ireland to have a better life just like yours, and they want to be safe, just like you want to be, and they also have feelings, just like you do.

If you didn’t know me, would you think I was Irish? This is a question I pose to everyone I know. My hope is that most if not all of you would say, “Of course you’re Irish!!” However this has not been the case for me growing up in a predominately white country. I am of course Irish, I was born in Limerick, Ireland, I went to school here and I learned Irish (even though I don’t remember any of it). Oh and, I’m also half Chinese. I have heard all the slurs; CHINK, CHING CHONG CHINA MAN (I’m a woman by the way, just in case you missed it.), GOOK, and the not so bad but still offensive ‘oriental’. Oriental describes a thing and not a person for anyone who thought otherwise. Having grown up in Ireland most of my life, casual racism was always something that was just there. It was accepted, and I just accepted that people were going to call me these names. I knew they were offensive and they hurt my feelings but being a typical Irish person, I just laughed it off. I’ve heard all the slurs and I’ve seen people many, many times pull their eyes back as they imitate a Chinese or Japanese person. It wasn’t until I went to school in America that I realised people shouldn’t be judged for the colour of their skin or be subjected to racial slurs. I grew up in 1980s and 1990s Ireland, so I can forgive the ignorance that has come before. What I can’t forgive is the casual racism that still exists in Ireland, because, guess what? There’s nothing casual about racism. Discrimination is a person prejudging another person by the colour of their skin or the country that they are from. In a country where for years and years we were put under scrutiny by the rest of the world by first being immigrants, running from famine and oppression, to be then all targeted as terrorists the world over, you would think that in 2015 we would be one of the most understanding countries. I’ll give you an example that happened just last year at a big festival here in Ireland. I was in the comedy tent, waiting for an act to come on. I just caught the tail end of another improv act and one of them started impersonating what I can only assume was a Chinese person or a person of Asian descent. Everyone in Words – Olivia Chau




Occupation – Photographer Tell us a bit about yourself? I’m a photographer born in Poland, working in Dublin for 10 years. After getting a degree in photography and graphic design I developed my passions and decided to become a photographer. I like to think about photography as a means of presenting the world in an unusual way. What I adore most about being a photographer is being able to create a mood and present extreme emotions through my images. When did you first discover your passion for photography? I was 19, I was studying the history of art. I was in the process of studying for my exams in Wrocław, I then discovered that there was a photography course on offer and I decided to take it. At the start, I worked with a very old Russian camera - Zenit that belonged to my father. The camera was in very poor condition so I had to learn how to make it work, which caused many funny situations. The technical side of analogue photography appealed to me although I now work primarily in digital. I worked briefly as a model but it was not long before I discovered that I preferred being on the other side of the camera! Having experience of both sides has been invaluable in my work giving me a unique insight into the process.


Where do you find inspiration for your unique photography pieces? Inspiration for my photography comes from everywhere. From paintings, works of other photographers, films, books and other people, models that I work with etc.. Some models are a very strong part my creative process, by coming with ideas or adding their own unique style. Some of my works require extending beyond the comfort zone. I really appreciate working with models who can connect on an emotional level. Just a little spark can start a fire. Talk us through the process of creating an image. I love seeing the works of other photographers. I spend a lot of time looking for magazines or albums of photography icons, new talents and those whose works inspire me. Reading about the photography and history of photography allows for more of an understanding of the creative process. Even watching programs like America’s Next Top Model helps to see both of the sides – photographer and models and have respect to all people working on taking photos. I am involved in every stage of the photographic process, from the initial conception of an idea, to finding models, dressing, staging and lighting the set, right through to the final editing process. I don’t make notes or drawings, I just have an idea of what I want to create in my head! My work is quite intuitive and I allow the process to guide the eventual outcome of the work. I never know where photography will take me.

“MY WORK DOES NOT FALL INTO A PARTICUL AR CATEGORY; IT IS NOT PURE FASHION AND IT IS NOT PURE ART” What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about the photography industry? Having a camera does not make a photographer. With so much access to making photographs, every phone even has a camera as well as so many online platforms to display them, we are awash with images. This does not mean that they are quality images. Photography is an expression of how you see the world, and a skilled eye is required. I don’t think that this can be taught. Photography is about expression rather than perfection and a trained eye can see beauty where others might overlook it. Perfection is boring. On the other What do you find most difficult about your hand there is no bad photos, only photos which are not interesting enough. interesting approach to photography? My work does not fall into a particular category; it is not pure fashion and it is not Finally, where can we find more of your work? pure art so it can be challenging to find a My web site: www.anitakulon.com market for it. It embraces a dark beauty and finds this beauty in imperfection which can run contrary to what can be seen in more Words – Cornelia O’Riordan Images by – Anita Kulon mainstream magazines. How would you describe your style of work? Weird! It reveals my own unique aesthetic -weird, dark and expressive. I try to create images that are androgynous and timeless; that evoke pure emotion - both light and dark. Behind each photograph is a story that I am trying to bring to light. Consciously I am refusing to use the advanced technique for the transmission contents, emotions and impressions of the image. In my opinion, taking photographs is a matter of the temperament, personality and next is the matter of techniques.




MENS FA S H I O N What would Santa wear on his day off?

Timberland of course! If you cast your mind back a couple of decades and really think of winter fashion, I’m sure the main piece of everybody’s outfit was the shoes - year after year again and again the Timberland boot was number one. How is it that…such a simple boot would become one of the world’s most recognized brands around the world?

wasn’t until the early 1980s when Timberland struck a retail deal with Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City that Timberland began to be accounted for in the fashion world. While business boomed in New York it was still a tiny market in Europe, Timberland wasn’t known for its “yellow boot”, it was known for their hand sewn boat shoes. This wasn’t good enough, the boot had to be the biggest seller. By the mid-1980s the boot was all anybody wanted to know about: distributors and manufacturers from the Timberland team would attend show and fashion shows across Europe, there was something about this boot that was so special. It was unique and distinctive and stood out a mile on a catwalk. By the time Timberland were finished in mainland Europe the boot could be found all over, in every top sports store, department stores and every man’s fashion outlet throughout Italy, Greece, UK and Germany. This still didn’t seem to be enough for the Timberland empire, they wanted world domination and everybody in their boots.

It all started back in 1952 when Nathan Swartz teamed up in Boston with the Abington Shoe Company. Testing and making different models of the boot all the time, Swartz enlisted the help of his two sons Sidney and Herman just a short few years later. It wasn’t until a short few years later when they decided to relocate the company to Newmarket in New Hampshire that things started to change and take off. In 1973 everything changed, the first waterproof leather boots were introduced and were an instant hit. With their luxurious full grain nubuck leather, thick rubber soles and flawless craftsmanship the first boot of its kind took off and they named it “Timberland”. It seemed anything Timberland touched turned to gold, who would have thought that So what makes these boots so much more a simple work boot would become a fashion special than the rest? They have become icon in such a short period of time? But as the iconic, but why? They have stood the test of saying goes “never hurt anyone on the way up, time and continue to sell year after year and because they won’t be there on the way down” never manage to go out of style but the truth and true to the saying that’s what happened, is they were never for “fashion” purposes at suddenly Timberland wasn’t cool anymore, all. Originally Timberland didn’t strive to people were over the craze and moved on. It be a new fashion icon. The boot was created seemed Timberland had its day and would for hard work and designed for the men become a moment in time forever. While sales who worked endless hours in New England. kept ticking away from the years they had This was the original idea, of course, but to built up, time moved on and trends became keep their business alive they had to branch bigger and in 1993 the world’s biggest boot out and offer the boot to a wider market, it was back and was looking for blood.





The Timberland revival of the 1990s was one of the biggest comebacks the fashion world had ever seen. The trend of acid wash denim was top priority on everybody’s agenda, a trend that swept the globe but was missing something, so when the Hip Hop world matched the yellow boot with their swag denim the Timberland boot was revived and sales went through the roof again. The Hip Hop scene in the mid-90s was the biggest craze of that decade. From Biggy Smalls to Jay-Z and even Tu-Pac, everyone was wearing Timberlands. The brand started to grow again, promotion trips were organised with the world’s biggest stars as the face of the brand. The Timberland craze of the 90’s lasted the whole way through, catwalks and magazines all around the world got involved and truly made this brand a force to be reckoned with. While Timberland basked in their greatness they were also laughing all the way to the bank. Timberland were clever thinkers and launched a whole range of men and women’s apparel. By the time 2005 came around Timberland re launched the boot. Was this necessary? Maybe, yes, but it didn’t do much for the fashion world. The boot was sold in an array of different colours from pink and reds to black and whites, and yes, the boot was back but it suddenly became tacky when big American socialites jumped on board and began teaming the colours with their juicy couture velour tracksuits. That trend would tarnish the brand and was a step away from the original and unique idea that took over the catwalks a decade previous. Thankfully this trend started to die off quickly, just as fast as some of those socialites careers, Timberland stripped it back and brought it back to plain fashion and ideas.

It seems like ever since the launch of the multi coloured boots Timberland have been very safe with their ideas and who they have as clientele. These days, music stars and TV stars all seem to have a love for the original yellow boot; it seems to work more effortlessly now. Stars like Kanye West, Rihanna, Beyonce and still Jay-Z all rep for the boot and this is all thanks to the runways of Paris, London and New York. Season after season the runways of YSL, Gucci and Dior all have their own interpretation of the original Timberland boot and this keeps the brand alive - people are more inclined to purchase the original Timberland instead of the designers take on it, because you can’t recreate a classic. The most recent use of the Timberland boot was used by an amazing designer Shaun Samson for his A/W 15 collection. He cleverly placed Timberland boots under his amazing collection of suits with check print, and turned the traditional suit into a street style event. The Timberland boot has had its ups and downs over the years but consecutively since 2012 it has truly stood its ground in the fashion world. Every winter its back and is a key piece for woman and men of all ages. The revival of the Timberland boot has remarkably turned itself around and become “cool” again. This seasons must have is a kaki green parka or shirt teamed with some skinny or Dylan jeans all tied off with a classic pair of Timberland originals. My top tip for the original Timberland classic is: look after them, they are timeless, and if you mind them chances are you will get this year and probably the next four out of them as well.

Words - Evan Considine Image by – Tarmo Tulit Stylist & MUA – Matilda Mayne Models - Hanna Ryan & Kevin Sheehan Clothing - Timberland



it’s one of the best decisions they’ve made in recent years. After forming around two years ago, they’ve played countless gigs and festivals across Europe and their newest single, ‘Darkest Ocean’ has recently made in onto the Fifa 16 soundtrack - and they don’t even have However, with The Cast of Cheers on hiatus an album out yet. We got to sit down and talk and with the recent break up of Adebisi to the band while they were on tour to ask Shank, they decided to form a new pop band them all about starting over with a new band and upcoming debut album. called All Tvvins and from the looks of it, From the remains of two successful Irish indie band comes All Tvvins. Conor Adams and Lar Kaye have been popular amongst the Irish music scene since the mid-2000s with their bands The Cast of Cheers and Adebisi Shank.




You’ve both known each other since you were teenagers. Why did it take you so long to work together? Conor: We were both in different bands, that’s how we kind of knew each other. A few years ago was the first time we really had a chance to play together because we were always really busy. Everyone up in Dublin in our circle of friends, they’re all in like five bands at any given time so we’re like that as well.

Like the way we write is not the way I’ve ever written before, as in with somebody. In the last band me and my brother Neil did a few songs together but with this band it’s very much the two of us messing around with ideas really.

With both of your previous bands you played more indie music. Why did you decide to do something so different with this band? Conor: I don’t think it was intentional. When we got together that was just what happened. After coming from two successful bands, do It wouldn’t really make sense to make another you feel any pressure to make sure that All band that was the exact same. Tvvins are as successful? Lar: No, me and Conor first met up to see if Lar: Well it became intentional. When we something was actually going to work, like it first started jamming it was really guitar heavy wouldn’t have left my bedroom if we thought stuff. it sucked. There wasn’t any expectation to be better or to do more. It was just to make a Conor: Over time we definitely kind of new band. realised what the band was. We definitely wanted to mess around with a bit more pop Conor: It was just out of curiosity and just but then the more we did of that the more we to jam with each other because we both like missed rock so now we’re kind of somewhere each other’s music and then it turned out we in between. Some sort of weird electronic pop liked it a lot. So there was no pressure. It’s a rock thing. different band and it’s a different trajectory we aim to kind of do more, probably? Lar: I don’t Is there anything else that you plan to do think so. Conor: You do. I thought you were differently with All Tvvins that you didn’t do with me on this? with your previous bands? Does it feel weird to start over again with another band? Lar: It’s grand. I think me and Conor were lucky because we kind of got to skip a lot of stuff with this band because we had done bits before, I guess. Everything just kind of went very quick. I suppose because of the previous bands we had a little bit of a name so we could use that. When we put our first music out we had a handful of people going “oh I know them,” so it didn’t even feel like starting again. Is it easier to work together now with just two members in the band?

Conor: Reggae. Lar: We got a ska song.

Conor: We’re nearly done with the album and there’s gonna be 10 songs on it and they’re all completely different. There’s gonna be obvious pop ones, and there’s gonna be heavy ones. I know I joked about reggae but there’s gonna be police reggae, that kind of style. We can do anything [with this band], that’s the beauty of it. With our last bands we were more exclusively rock but now we can do whatever the hell we want with it. We don’t really care Conor: Yeah, it’s way easier. what people think anymore. It’s not like we’re pinned down. Whatever songs we want to do, Lar: Decision making is so much easier now. if we like them then that’s good enough. It’s We can ask each other “do you like that?” and not pandering to anyone. if it’s a no from either one of us it’s kind of like okay well let’s move on. Occasionally we’ll stick at one thing and just convince the other Lar you were previously in a band called Adebsi person but yeah it’s dead easy. It’s yes or no Shank, why did you decide to end that when really. you did?

cheesy but it’s true. We did like three albums and it was a pretty weird band so it felt like, let’s just call it a day and move on. Conor, do you have any plans for The Cast of Cheers or are you just focussed on All Tvvins for now? Conor: Just focused on All Tvvins. We signed to a label there a year ago and we’re just so focused on this. We really want to get an album and we just want to tour like mad so it leaves us no free time to be honest. So it’s All Tvvins, all the time, every time. When can we expect an album from you? Lar: The start of next year, hopefully. That’s what we’d like. Conor: Ideally, yeah. We still have a couple of songs to record for it and we have been recording for a long time now. We just have to get the mixes right and all that thing and they can take a while. It’s gotta be right. But they all have to sit together on the album nicely as well and that can be nearly a harder thing to balance then the recording, the mixing and getting them all to sound like one thing, like an album. It’s like a big baguette for breakfast – if the sausages are undercooked it’s not gonna be a nice baguette. What are your plans for the rest of the year with All Tvvins? Lar: Yeah we’re gonna finish off the record and we’ve got more shows. We’ve just got a new studio as well so we’re in the middle of setting that place up. This is me and Conor’s job now so it’s just All Tvvins. Conor: It’s All Tvvins world. Lar: There’s just constantly stuff to do for the band and stuff to organise. Conor: Yeah we’ve got a lot of shows up to Christmas. Then we’re going around Germany and Belgium. Between now and Christmas it’s finish the album, tour and then hopefully release the album and tour more. We don’t like our houses so we just leave them. Lar: I mean playing live is kind of why we started the band because it’s the best thing to do ever really.

Conor: It’s not like three against one or Conor: Yeah Lar, why did you bloody end anything. Conor: It’s the best thing ever and you’re only your band? as good as your last gig. You have to be good Conor, in The Cast of Cheers you’re the main Lar: With that band we just really felt that live to be in a band. songwriter. Is it the same in this band or is the we reached the point where it was cool to just song writing process more equal? stop doing this. We did a lot of stuff in that band. It was kind of like a family decision, like Conor: Oh yeah, with this the two of us get a really nice break up. We’re still really close, Words - Sophie Butler in a room and bring our ideas to the table. talk to each other, support each other. That’s




If you look back on the year so far, January through to August offered the men of the fashion world two options, block colour and digital prints. Yes all year the newest print and the stand alone coloured shirts have been flying off rails and runways all around the country. However as we enter into that time of the year where it’s not exactly freezing but that last bit of warmth remains the style of a check design is going to carry you through the season remarkably well. The check design has firmly placed itself upon us this year. This season subtle checks are going to be your best friend and heck you are probably going to love it, a traditional British fashion trend has finally found its way back onto the runways of today, whether it’s trousers, shirts, coats even hats it’s going to be a winter to remember.

world recognised that it had been done right. Hackett layered check tailoring for a standout head-to-toe effect. It is quite hard to find fault in the collection, the colour palette beautifully compliments the amazing wool suits which are paired with flawless silk items. The driving force behind this collection was quite an unusual process for the Hackett London team, the combination of mixing the different sized checks and piecing the different sized patterns, made up every piece of the rich and sophisticated item that the collection has to offer. While all this is revolutionary for the fashion industry, the company didn’t want to alienate it’s following which is why the classics such as the three piece suit is highlighted in an array of various check prints. The once “too boring” print is back for 2015 and Hackett London has grabbed the bull by the horns, from the casual pieces to the statement pieces - the oh so simple print has been giving a new lease of life and Hackett London have done it perfectly.

Designers all around the world have been dropping the check bomb, Hilfiger, Bagoza, YSL and many more have set their designs upon us but no one has quite done it like Hackett London - A fashion designer from London along with his partner Ashley Lloyd-Jennings first appeared in 1979 on a market stall in London’s Portobello Road. Fast Forward 36 years and it’s a different ball game. Back in January when Hackett London propelled an attack on London Fashion Week, the world stepped up and took notice, Words – Evan Considine why? Because a trend was set and the fashion Image by - Tarmo Tulit




Currently one of the most successful Irish fashion designers right now, Úna Burke is taking the fashion industry by storm. In her five years of being a fashion designer her pieces have already been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Madonna, Rihanna, Daphne Guinness and the cast of Taylor Swift’s music video Bad Blood. She has also designed for the two latest Hunger Games films, Catching Fire and Mockingjay: Part 1. We talk to her about her latest collection, the fashion industry in Ireland and life as a student.





What made you want to become a fashion other things. When I was studying we didn’t designer? really know there was all those options and we just thought, “if we’re not good at being My mam made me aware of clothing when I a fashion designer then I’m actually a failure” was a kid because she would always make our and it’s really upsetting. So that put an awful clothes for us, but it was when I was probably lot of pressure on me personally, but once I around twelve or thirteen when I realised I left and I started working in admin, the admin was actually really good at sewing. Then when side of the fashion business is really enjoyable I was about fourteen or fifteen I was doing my and it’s very satisfying. So that’s another route Junior Cert and I was doing really well in my that a lot of people have gone but we weren’t art class and - y’know that time when you’re really aware of at the time. half-asleep half-awake when you’re trying to sleep? I always think of it as kind of Twilight Ireland has produced so many great fashion - I would start seeing models walking up and designers such as yourself. Why do you think so down the catwalk and I could zoom in on many of them leave to study or live in England? their clothes. It wasn’t anything I had seen in There hasn’t been the recognition and support magazines because you know Ireland in the here but things are getting a little bit better 80s and 90s - there certainly wasn’t a lot of now. Fingers crossed the next generation fashion inspiration around. It was within me. won’t need to leave. I was really proud to be It was my subconscious trying to tell me what a part of the Irish Showcase that’s happened I was meant to do, which was great because in New York in September. That’s part of ID I felt really lucky knowing what I wanted to 2015 and that’s a sign that the government do. At that age, it’s a tough stage where you’re bodies are going, “okay, this is worth investing very young and you’re expected to figure out in.” I was sitting beside Jimmy Deenihan, the what you want to do for the rest of your life. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht So that was the start of it, I started putting at Kerry Fashion Week a year and a half ago together a portfolio to go to art college, then and I was chatting to him and then he went I applied to loads of art colleges and I chose up and made an announcement saying that he Limerick School of Art & Design in the end. was going to start supporting Irish designers and that there would be more support. He wanted to organise things in London and What did you think of your time in college and New York and both of them are happening the course? this season so that’s really good. That will help future generations and there are some really That’s always a tough one because in my good Irish designers that are based in Ireland time there I was quite unsettled. It was my and hopefully that will grow in the future. first time living out of home so obviously everything was very new. The experience of In the UK there’s great support. There’s UK the teaching was good for me but I know that trading investment and UK fashion and it was tough for other people. I don’t think I textiles – they’re both government bodies. excelled. I did some good work but I think Then there’s the British Fashion Council because I was personally a little bit unsettled and the Craft Council. All of those support and it affected my work, which is why I went fashion designers, makers and people working on to specialise in another area of fashion. At within this area. If there’s more creative the time there was not as many options as I people around you can have more creative think they have now. Going into fashion and collaborations and pursue even more exciting thinking, “if I’m not a good fashion designer work. This is already happening in Ireland, there is no future for me” is really tough it’s only going to be positive down the line because that is what a lot of people feel like. and I’m just glad to see that finally there is Whereas now there is an awareness of things government support and that this thing is like fashion styling, fashion photography, happening in New York. I’m assuming, and I fashion journalism. There’s so many branches, will be very disappointed if it doesn’t, that this if you’re good at one aspect of the fashion will continue every season and that they will course you can now go on and specialise in have events for Irish designers.



What do you think could be done to improve What was your inspiration for your most recent the fashion industry in Ireland to make more of collection? At the moment I’m looking at military its designers want to stay? medals. I’m ten seasons in now so I’m kind One of the things that I always talk about is of going back to my roots. I’m pulling out the funding to help designers export. It helps to nude collection because I’m going back to the go overseas so that people from Europe buy an colour ways that I started with in my most Irish product and therefore European money well-known collection, which is my graduate comes into Ireland. I know that at the moment collection. The colours are really muted tones the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland have of cream, peach, pink and nude. It’s a really some funding for that, people say “oh, there’s sophisticated colour palette. Then we have one no money in Ireland”, and there’s loads of strong colour, which is a plum colour. money across the rest of the world and we just need to go get it. It’s really important to have My work is always military-related about support financially for people to bring money strength and about irony as well so we’ve got military medals, shapes and forms into into the country and it only adds up. Support for setting up studios would help as kind of floral detailing and the irony of the well. Design & Crafts Ireland are doing the association of flowers with military and war best job of getting mentoring and advice and and death and that type of thing. Again there’s that kind of thing for young designers but a strength and an irony but a delicacy as well. as well as the skills that are within Ireland, it’s important to engage in European and What made you want to specialise in designing international mentor programmes. leather pieces specifically? After graduating, you worked with another I have a lot of respect for the material. It’s Irish designer, Philip Treacy. How do you think so strong and it’s so strong in nature. I love he influenced your work at such an early stage? working in a hands-on sort of way, it’s the kind of person that I am and the upbringing I wanted to work with Philip because I was I had and my parents influence and my interested in how he applied culture forms to respect for heritage and craftsmanship. When the body. I kind of knew I didn’t want to be a you’re working with leather there’s a physical milliner. I wasn’t interested in millinery despite connection, there’s no denying it, there’s no way the amount of milliners in Ireland. I was really around having a physical connection with the interested in his running of the studio which work that you produce and the final product. I is a bit of a weird reason to do an internship really detest the fast fashion disposability and I guess, most people would want to do it for lack of respect ways of the fashion industry design reasons! But it was the fact that he had can be especially with the high street. It’s in-house production on such a small scale for working in a way that’s opposite of that and such a world renowned company. I have taken creating pieces that in design and material a lot of his business set up and applied it to my are very much long lasting pieces. They’re not own business. Everything is made in-house trend safe, they’re just pieces – they are what here. We have just a small little team but it’s they are. an efficient little operation. So those were My great grandfather was a shoemaker. the things that were of interest to me when I Obviously I never met him but it’s funny, it’s the values that are handed down through worked with him. families that is key to what craftsmanship is about. Even though my father never worked with leather my father’s respect for heritage and antiques and that kind of thing are things that are really important to me as well.





I’m after buying some new machinery – I bought two new machines and they’re like my new babies. One of them is from the early 20th Century, it’s not even working right now but the smell of the old machine is just so beautiful and the clicky noise when you rotate the handle. I also got another machine which was a prototype so it’s a one-off and it’s really old as well. Those kind of age-old ways of working are important. Is making wearable pieces a priority for you or do you prefer making figurative art pieces?

Your work has also been worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Madonna and the cast of Taylor Swift’s music video ‘Bad Blood’. How does it feel when you see such well known people wearing your pieces? For the last couple of years things have been so pressurised that I just think of them as other people but it’s really good because the rest of the world is in awe of them. They’re fantastic and they’re amazing at what they do but to me I was just hand-to-mouth trying to get stuff done so I didn’t have time to stop and think about it but lately I’ve been thinking more about it and just going, “this is actually really big and I better wake up and appreciate this right now because it’s my only life”. When you just kind of get on with it and you’re so busy with things it just comes and goes. But when I stop and think about it or when somebody else says it to me and lists out names I think, “wow, who is that person?”.

I love creating the figurative art pieces to be quite honest but then I equally love creating pieces that I know somebody will wear and feel really empowered by wearing. It’s really honestly a gift. It’s an honour to create something and know that you’re making somebody else feel strong and proud. Through my work, it’s great to feel like you make somebody feel really good about themselves What advice would you give to those looking to and that’s really important. start a career in fashion design? Your work was recently used in both Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Hunger Games: Mocking jay Part 1. How did you first find out that your pieces were going to be used in such huge films?

First and foremost you’ve got to be prepared for a lot of hard work. It’s very glamorous to the outside world but when you’re the person doing it it’s really hard work. You have to be prepared to be passionate about it and give it your all. That’s the main thing but don’t be afraid to do something different and be brave. It’s easy, especially in Ireland, to be told that you should do this and that and it becomes more commercials but you can do some commercial stuff but also make some really creative stuff. You have to feed your soul. You have to feed your stomach and your soul. So if you can manage to do a bit of both then you will be happy in the end because you won’t feel like you’re selling out but you can put bread and butter on the table.

We were contacted by the stylist and we had a short deadline, of course you always do despite the budget. We had about two or three weeks to produce the pieces and for some of the time I had to be at home in Dublin with my mum who was having an ear replacement operation so some of it had to be done by Skype. They were in LA and we were in London and some of the time I was in Dublin but we managed to work between us and Emmett, my partner, was in the studio here and Soifra [Burke] who was working here at the time so there was a lot of to-and-fro and quick flights over and back. Words- Sophie Butler Images by - Elena Pirogova & Madame It was a bit mad really. Peripetie







Images by - Tarmo Tulit & Keith Aherne Stylist - Shauna Lindsay & Matilda Mayne MUA - Matilda Mayne Hair - Rachel Flanagan Models - Cara Chu - Shauna Lindsay - Jade Kelly - Yesunia Appiakorang


What type of clothes do you design? My garments and accessories are designed with a unisex aesthetic, combining ethically sourced fabrics with pure merino knitwear. Mainly monochromatic with an injection of colour, humour, and a strong emphasis on geometric pattern and prints. Describe your designs in three words.

What has been your biggest achievement to date? Career wise I was delighted when Knitwear pieces I worked on with the Menswear Brand Ada + Nik were shown in June at London Collection Men SS16 and at New York Fashion Week in September. What has been your favourite collection so far?

I tend to have favourite garments, one being the graphic knitwear hoodie from my graduate collection, it has received an amazing response How did you start your career? and continues to excite me every time it is My studies began in GTI Galway with courses worn by a new person in a fresh context. in Fashion and Visual Inquiry, I then gained a BA in Fashion Design from Limerick School What advice would you give to someone looking of Art and Design - during this time I interned to follow in your footsteps? with Barbara I Gongini in Copenhagen with my knitwear showpieces shown at CFW To consider the social and environmental and Cologne SS13. Since graduating I have impact of the materials and processes you designed knitwear accessories which are sold choose. Sustainable design is possible without on my online store. I have also recently moved compromising on your creativity and style. Also cherish your sleep. to London. Graphic, fun and snug.

www.lorrainedimond.com Words - Sophie Butler Images by - Tarmo Tulit Model - Danielle Sheehan Stylist & Hair - Stephen O’Driscoll MUA - Mary Kiely





Gooooddd Morning Vietnam! (Dien Bien Phu & Hanoi, Vietnam) I thought Vietnam would never come! Of all the countries on the “hit list”, Vietnam was the one that I was most looking forward to. The bus journey… not so much: 24 hours from Luang Prabang in Laos to Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. As the bus crossed the Laos/Vietnam border, the landscape seemed to change instantaneously. The mountains of Laos faded into the background and lush, green paddy fields took their place. They call Ireland the Emerald Isle, but I have to say, I think that Vietnam trumps it. The views from the border to Dien Bien Phu were absolutely stunning. Dien Bien Phu was my pit stop for the night to break the long journey to Hanoi. This provincial capital is famed as the place where the Vietnamese defeated the French in 1954 and put an end to France’s colonisation of Southern Vietnam. There are now thousands of French soldiers buried beneath the paddy fields. There’s a few sites in the town commemorating this, but as it was a short stay for me here, I didn’t stick around long enough to visit any of them.


After sampling my first “pho” (a delicious, fragrant Vietnamese noodle broth) and a quick sleep, I left the next morning for Hanoi. I arrived in Hanoi at about 8pm and took a taxi to my hostel in Ma May, a bustling street in the Old Quarter of the city. The hostel, Hanoi Backpackers 2, was buzzing and is one of the most popular in Hanoi. That night, it was straight out on a hostel-lead pub crawl to experience the Vietnamese nightlife. Early the next morning, the hostel had organised a free city walking tour. The tour took us around the nearby market where stall holders sat and chopped heads off various (live) animals, before deftly slicing them open to remove their organs. Really gruesome and it would nearly convert you to vegetarianism! The tour took in some temples in the city and finished at one of the many cafes in Hanoi, where we tried the surprisingly delicious “cà phê trứng” (egg coffee). This sounds awful but tasted amazing, almost dessert-like. Hanoi is craziness compared to the docile Luang Prabang. Crossing the road is an adventure in itself and the streets are thronged with thousands of motorbikes- apparently there are 4 million in Hanoi alone. As long as you honk your horn, anything goes, there are no rules. Street sellers are also a lot more “enterprising” (for want of a better word!) and

you can’t walk a block without being offered street food or souvenirs or tours. Hint: here is the place to get your cheap North Face gear. And most importantly, food is delicious and cheap. I could have lived off the “banh mi”a crusty baguette stuffed with meat, salad and dressing. The “pho” and fresh spring rolls are also a very staple part of my diet here! Typically, you pull up a plastic chair on the side of the street and order. Watch out for “thit cho” though, aka dog meat. The bill is never more than 3 euro and you leave stuffed. Washed down with a “bia hoi” (fresh draught beer) for 20 cent and you’re set for the night! A good way to get orientated with the food, is to do a street food tour where you join a group for 3 or 4 hours and visit the smaller streets, sampling the fare. Yum! From Hanoi, I booked a two day/one night tour to Halong Bay - an area just off the east coast, in the Gulf of Tonkin. It is home to thousands of little islands and is said to be breathtakingly beautiful. There were several tour options to get there, many in my hostel going for the “Castaway Tour”. This is essentially a booze cruise around the bay. I decided to bypass this one and go for a more peaceful trip with Ellen, another girl from the hostel. Being in our late 20s, we both decided that we were too old for all that madness!

Tip: There are dozens of museums in Hanoi and to get to them all would take forever, so a shortlist was made: - The Vietnamese Women’s Museum - my favourite. Three floors showcasing the role of women in Vietnamese society. The second floor was the most interesting, demonstrating the contribution that women made in the Vietnam war, some girls as young as 14, who then went on to face execution for their role. - Hoa Lo Prison Museum - dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton”. Originally built to house the Vietnamese who fought against the French in the first half of the 20th century. In the 1970s its use was to detain American prisoners of war, ex-Us presidential candidate being one such prisoner. A really interesting few hours was spent there. - The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - the complex where the body of Ho Chi Minh lies. When we arrived, there were thousands of people lining up to view him but the queue moved with such efficiency that within 20 minutes, we had seen the corpse of independent Vietnam’s founding father. A little morbid, but worth going to see - just don’t go from October to December when Ho Chi Minh gets moved to Russia to undergo “essential maintenance”. Also, get there early, as admission stops at 10.15am. The museum

next door was a huge insight into the respect and adoration the Vietnamese people have for this founding father of independence. - The Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university founded in 1076. Not much to see here but pretty courtyards to walk through and well preserved architecture. Descending Dragons (Halong Bay, Vietnam) Halong Bay is a collection of 2,000 islands off the north-eastern coast of Vietnam. Legend has it that a dragon descended to earth and on the way, its tail smashed the land it passed into 2,000 pieces. Water then flowed among these pieces, forming Halong Bay. Lucky the dragon did this, as now the area is a UNESCO world heritage site that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Ellen and I set off from Hanoi with our guide, Noy, from the company Monkey Island Resort Tours. We couldn’t have asked for a better guide- Noy was so knowledgeable and on the three hour journey, filled us in on the history of Halong Bay and the surrounding areas (credit for the first paragraph has to go to him!)



After checking in at the port, we boarded the boat that would take us around the bay. Aboard, we met the rest of our group - four 30-something year old Australians and two middle aged couples. The boat itself exceeded my expectations. I had heard so many horror stories about Halong Bay boat trips - rats on board, boats that were falling apart, inedible food. I was expecting the worst! Fortunately, our boat was great. Ellen and I shared a small cabin that was simple but clean and bright. The dining area was set with crisp, white tablecloths and the top deck had a collection of sunbeds to relax and chill out on. That first afternoon was quite misty and so views were limited, but it didn’t detract from the beauty of Halong Bay. Just before it turned dark, we disembarked the boat and climbed into kayaks - this was such a peaceful way to get around the tall, karst, limestone formations of the bay. We returned to the boat to hot showers and a feast of delicious food prepared by the boat’s chefs. The night was spent playing card games with our little group and watching as the crew did some squid fishing from the deck. The water was illuminated by a single light to attract the squid and mist shrouded the boat. We were surrounded by silence. It felt like we were in space.

are taken, you guessed it... by surprise(!) at the size of it. The second, my favourite, was the “Hospital Cave” on Cat Ba Island. This 17 room, 3 storey-cave was constructed over a three year period (1963-1965) as the Vietnamese fought the Americans. It was completely self-contained with wards, an operating theatre - there was even a hydrotherapy pool! Not only did it house the war wounded out of sight of the Americans, it acted as a safe house for the local community when bombing started. Such an impressive site to visit. For me, a two day/one night tour of Halong Bay was just about right. There were other, longer tours available which involved a night in a resort on one of the islands. In my opinion, this doesn’t add much to the Halong Bay experience - you could stay enclosed in a resort anywhere. There were also shorter, one day tours available but I think that by the time you get to/from Halong Bay (usually from Hanoi, a 7 hour round trip) and see the sights, it’s too rushed. Besides, a night on a boat in the bay is a unique experience.

Despite the misty weather, we really enjoyed our trip to Halong Bay. Two tips though bring warm clothes and don’t be a cheapskate when buying your cruise or you’ll have a rat as Part of the tour also included a visit to two a roommate! caves on islands within the bay, the first being the huge Surprise Cave on Bo Hon Island, so called because as visitors step inside, they Words & Photography – Yvonne Dallman






1. With a sharp knife cut a cross on the flat side of each chestnut. Simmer, covered 2 cups butter with water, in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Drain. While hot, remove the shells and 2 cups minced onion inner brown skins. Cover with fresh 2 cups minced celery water. Boil for 20 to 30 minutes until 10 cups dried bread crumbs tender. Drain. Chop coarsely. 2. To prepare the stuffing, melt the butter 1 teaspoon dried thyme in a medium saucepan over medium 1 teaspoon dried marjoram heat. Stir in onions and celery, and cook 1 teaspoon dried savoury until tender. Thoroughly mix in bread crumbs and chestnuts. Season with 1 teaspoon dried rosemary thyme, marjoram, savoury, and rosemary. 12 pounds whole turkey, neck and giblets 3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 removed degrees C). Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 4. Wash turkey with cold water, and pat 2 pounds chestnuts

dry. Rub salt and pepper into body cavities. Loosely spoon stuffing into body cavities. Close skin with skewers or kitchen twine, and tie drumsticks together. Place turkey on a rack in a medium roasting pan. 5. Roast turkey 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours in the preheated oven, until internal temperature of thigh reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C) and stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). A foil tent may be placed over the turkey during the last half of roasting time to avoid over browning. Remove from oven, place on platter, and allow the turkey to stand for 20 minutes before carving. 6. Carve and enjoy!



CHOCOLATE CARAMEL APPLE CAKE This cake is derived from pure nostalgia. Throwbacks to a more innocent time, where the biggest problem in my world was whether or not I got a caramel apple. The cake alone is a tried and tested keeper. A dark, dense multi-layer chocolate cake, filled with a sweet, nutty peanut butter frosting. The salted caramel sauce, cuts through the sweetness of the cake and frosting adding another layer of flavour. The soft, moist texture of the cake is enhanced by the smooth peanut butter frosting, which in turn is enriched by the gooey consistency of the caramel. This one takes a bit of time, but be patient. Your efforts will be worth every second. This cake is perfect for the messy bakers among us - it won’t slice cleanly and the caramel sauce will get everywhere! But licking your fingers, the spoon, the bowl, that’s the best part…









100g of good plain chocolate (TIP: Try at 500g granulated sugar least 70% cocoa)

200g of smooth peanut butter

100g cocoa powder

180g unsalted butter, at room temperature 440g of icing sugar and cut into pieces DIRECTIONS 250ml double cream, at room temperature

1 teaspoon salt


225g of caster sugar

300g self-raising flour 1 teaspoons baking powder 2 eggs

50ml hot and strong coffee 125ml of vegetable oil 125ml of buttermilk 1 teaspoons vanilla


1 tablespoon sea salt

pan and watch your caramel; swirling the pan occasionally. As soon as the sugar turns amber in colour add your butter and whisk vigorously. It will bubble up but just keep whisking until all the butter has melted.

3. Cream the sugar and the eggs until light 4. Whisk until all the cream is incorporated and then whisk in the sea salt. Set the and fluffy. sauce aside to cool for 15 minutes but 4. Dry mix all your dry ingredients together make sure the caramel does not become too stiff. If it stiffens too much you will and slowly add them to the sugar/egg not be able to dip the apples. combination. 6. Finally, fold in the coffee/chocolate combination. 7. Pour between your prepared pans and

bake for 35-30 minutes until the top has a spring in it and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clear.

8. Allow to cool in the pans for about ten minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

2. Add in your peanut butter and beat again until smooth.

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the sugar 3. Sift in the icing sugar, a half at a time over medium-high heat. Try not to stir it, to avoid a dust storm, and beat until just let it be and swirl the pan frequently. smooth. 2. Once all the sugar has melted stay by the

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 3. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream while continuing to 2. Line two 8 inch cake pans with whisk vigorously. The caramel is going to parchment. Melt the chocolate into the bubble up again, so be careful with over coffee and when melted add the vanilla. spilling. Just try to keep it on the heat.

5. Add the buttermilk and the oil and mix.

1. Beat the butter until pale and smooth.

5. While the sauce cools, push the wooden

sticks or straws into the top of the apples.


1. When the cake has cooled, sandwich together the layers and frost the entire cake with the peanut butter frosting. 2. Pour about half the caramel over the

top of the cake and allow it to fall down the sides in a molten mess.

3. Dip the apples into the remaining

caramel and then place them in the centre of cake. Pop the cake in to the fridge until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Words – Hazel Ryan Sheehan Images by – Tarmo Tulit


4. Allow the cake to sit 15 minutes at room temp before serving.



BAKED DONUTS Did you know that there was such a thing as Donut Day? Nope! Well me neither, but guess what, I am telling you now and that means you will be super prepared for it by the time it rolls around again next year. This also means that; on that day I expect you to forego any nutritional necessity and instead seek out that which is round. Baked or fried, dipped, sugared or glazed, donuts can be your best friend if you let them. But for those of you who don’t care to wait that long then look no further. I have got you covered with the recipe below. Baked donuts are a cinch to make; pans are easy to come by, (having noticed them in one or two of the bigger supermarkets baking accessories aisles) and with a multitude of flavour concoctions out there to satisfy whatever tickles your fancy, they really are baking no brainer!

01 02 03 THE DONUT






525g self-raising flour

50ml milk

90g chocolate chips

1 tsp baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 tablespoons double cream

150g sugar

¼ teaspoon nutmeg 2 large eggs

1 ½ tsp of vanilla

250g icing sugar

sprinkles, for topping


Rainbow sprinkles


1. In a medium sized pot, over a medium heat, whisk together the milk, icing 55ml vegetable oil sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth 250ml buttermilk and heated slightly. 2. Dip the top of each donut into the bowl DIRECTIONS of glaze, and sprinkle with coloured sprinkles immediately after glazing. 1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F or Gas 3. Let glaze set for 5-10 minutes before Mark 4. Liberally grease two 6-cavity serving. donut pans with cooking spray and set to one side. Or one 12… or a cupcake tin… whatever you have. 2. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and nutmeg together until combined. 3. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy, and then stir in the vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and begin stirring to combine. 4. Add the melted butter and the oil and fold through until just incorporated. Now add the buttermilk and mix through until smooth. The batter is runny so it’s easier to... 5. Scrape the batter into a piping bag and snip open the tip. Pipe the donut batter into whatever pan you are using, until they are about 2/3 full. 6. Gently tap the pan on the counter to dislodge any bubbles. 7. Bake for approximately 9-11 minutes. Allow the donuts to sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before gently removing. Turn the pan upside down and gently shake it until they pop out. Allow to cool fully before dipping. 55g butter (melted)

250g icing sugar

DIRECTIONS 1. Put the chocolate chips, icing sugar and cream in a medium bowl. 2. Melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each time, until completely melted and smooth. 3. Dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and then cover with sprinkles.

Words – Hazel Ryan Sheehan Images by – Tarmo Tulit







Hamsandwich are having a pretty amazing year so far. Their third album, ‘Stories from the Surface’ went to number one in Ireland earlier this year and more recently they played the main stage at Electric Picnic and headlined the Saturday of Indiependence. It may have been Ash who were originally billed to headline that night but we won’t talk about that. They credit Lemsip, Jeremy Beadle and Buckfast as their main influences, but who doesn’t? We talk to two of the band’s members, Niamh and Podge about their number one album, the music industry in Ireland and problems that all new bands seem to face… Your newest album, ‘Stories from the Surface’ Niamh: He’s like family. He knows our recently went to number one. How did it feel to different personalities and he knows the finally have a number one album? interactions between us and he listens to everybody moaning about one another Niamh: Surreal. individually. Podge: Teary

Podge: He’s always honest with you. That’s one of his biggest skills - any good producer’s Niamh: Yeah Podge cried biggest skill is to be honest. He’s always been like that so he’s comfortable. It’s so weird, if Podge: I was like, “damn, I wanted to be we have an idea on the spot I think he can tell number two!” (laughs) even before we come out with the idea if it’s going to be good or not. Sometimes you barely Niamh: But yeah it was great. We wanted even get the idea out and he’s like “no, sorry”. top five and we were watching the charts and we were like, “if we get top five we’ll be Niamh: He’s super honest and he’s good craic delighted”. The charts come out at 12 o’clock as well. He knows when we need a bit of a pep on a Friday and I saw one of our friends put up talk and a bit of lightening up. He’s very good on Facebook, “congratulations, Hamsandwich at making everyone relaxed. He’s part of the got number one” and I was like, “what?! I’ve Hamsandwich clan now at this stage. been refreshing this website all day, how do you know?” but he gets an email before it goes Podge: Some bands would have like mainly up. one songwriter and they’d cover everything, and all they really need is an engineer who Podge: I was more excited about the fact that doesn’t have much input and just makes their Hozier would be like, “who are Hamsandwich?” ideas sound as good as possible. But Karl would even add the odd little idea, he’s not just All of your albums have been produced by Karl a guy pressing buttons. Odlum. What is it about him that makes you want to work with him again and again? Niamh: He’s a big messer. He’s brilliant. Podge: It’s literally like meeting the councillor brother you’ve never had. He’s a bit of a wiz with sounds and stuff.




Everything about making the album seems Podge: We used to drink a lot on the first they released a really good album and it didn’t really great so far, were there any problems album as well and we were like, “this is the best really go anywhere while recording? craic ever”. This time: more tea, less drinking. There was another band called Princess and I thought they were unbelievable, I couldn’t Podge: Loads. Loads. If you could change one thing about the music wait to see what they were gonna do and then they split up. They reminded me of a young industry in Ireland, what would it be? Niamh: It just took a lot longer than we Ash but more exciting, they were amazing. It thought it was going to take because we were Podge: I could change a lot. could have been a fall out but most likely it being very fussy. was no radio play. Niamh: No one should play free gigs. Unless What advice would you give to those looking to Podge: A lot of it was kind of planned though you’re playing for charity. start a career in music? because we had the liberty to write the songs and let them sit where we never did before. If Podge: Or unless you’re terrible. Podge: Start right because then you can allow you don’t hear a song back more than twenty for pitfalls along the way. Try to get as much times, you’re not going to know whether it’s Niamh: But if you’re going to a gig and right at the start even if it means hiding out the kind of song that will wreck your head or somebody is paying into that gig to see a band, for six months to come out with some really not. There was a chance of being over-fussy why aren’t you getting paid? It happens so good stuff. The Hives were completely under but I think we just got it right, we went fairly much with this pay to play stuff where people wraps for three years and then when they close to that. have to buy tickets and then sell those tickets. arrived on the scene and it was like, “who are There were babies involved as well. Our It’s kind of stopping now, thankfully. There are you? How are you so good?”. producer had a child so he obviously needed still these bands out there that want to go and Also try not to be too dull. Honestly, if you’re his paternity leave. play these festivals but even if you just get your dull try and fix that. Or if you’re dull make it expenses and a case of beer, that’s all you want. your own thing and be interestingly dull. Just Niamh: It’s worth it in the end when you do It’s not too much to ask to get something use your strengths. something and you’re proud of it and all those rather than settle for nothing. fights and arguments mean nothing anymore. Words - Sophie Butler Podge: I’m not trying to be a big Bob Geldof Images by – Dara Munnis Podge: There wasn’t that many fights. The about it but I think all Irish radio stations fights were pretty full on but there were only a should spend a little bit more time on digging few. I could have lit a fire with my anger. into the underground of Irish music - there’s no excuse, there’s so many good bands getting Niamh: They were all in a WhatsApp chat. missed out on because they’re not researching enough. They think they are but they’re clearly What did you do differently with this album not. I think there should nearly be a legal that you didn’t do with the rest? set percentage of Irish music that has to be played. There is so much quality out there and Podge: I think with the last two albums we’d if they researched it and took the chance and have our songs nearly written and just leave played these bands that nobody knows then it but with this, say if we came up with a people will recognise a good song no matter lyrical piece to go along with whatever music what it is. If you promote something people we had, we’d always try to improve on the will latch on. original idea that we might have normally been really happy with. Usually when we tried As you said, there’s so many Irish bands that we actually improved on it and then we’d go don’t get enough recognition, are there any you again. Sometimes you just have to keep on want to mention? pushing yourself. Podge: We’ve seen so much of it and it really Niamh: With the other albums we kind of kind of sickens me that there’s so many bands just went in and we had all the songs there with huge potential that quit early because and went and recorded - this was more of a they’re not getting enough money and not working progress. We were always working on enough recognition. There was a band called it and improving stuff. New Amusement, they were really good and




“I’m standing in a changing room in Topman doing an interview, can you believe that?” is what Little Hours member Ryan McCloskey laughs about. Since the duo formed Little Hours in March 2014 they’ve been going from strength to strength - from performing live for the very first time at Electric Picnic in 2014, to getting signed to Sony and to supporting huge acts such as Kodaline and James Bay.


How did you two first meet and start the band? We started around early last year. We were both kind of writing ourselves, doing solo projects, then we came together because we had similar tastes in music and we started writing our own stuff. It was only in March we recorded our first two singles, ‘Tired’ and ‘It’s Still Love’, at Attica [Audio Recording] with Tommy McLaughlin from Villagers. It’s actually weird that we done Electric Picnic this year, because our first gig ever was at Electric Picnic the previous year. When we started and it came to Electric Picnic we didn’t really think anything of the band yet. We were just kind of doing it because we loved to write music and we loved playing. It was also around that time that our manager picked us up and saw something in the music that we were doing. Then when we did Electric Picnic we thought that we should start doing this properly. So it was after that that we got PR on board and we signed with Sony. It’s just been a crazy year since then. How long had you been playing music before Little Hours? Were you in any other bands? We were both playing in different cover bands for years. I played electric guitar in loads of weird cover bands doing pop stuff and some wedding bands. John originally played bass but basically only took up piano for Little Hours. It was mainly acoustic gigs to get by when he was in secondary school and I was in college. I was playing gigs at the weekend basically to make a bit of money on the side. How has your live performance changed since the first time you played at Electric Picnic? Oh god (laughs). As I said that was literally the first gig we ever did. I remember I was practicing in Dublin before we were at the gig and we weren’t that nervous to be honest but when we stood in front of the crowd we were kind of like, “aw, crap…”. The live performance has come on leaps and bounds. Things like John becoming so much better on the piano has been such a help and

then confidence wise, even talking over the mic. At the start – John will kill me for saying this – John could not talk to the crowd and we still joke about it now but I’d be the one to be yapping away and he’d be sitting there quiet. He’s the lead singer obviously so you’d expect him to be the one that’s talking but he’s come out of his shell and starts talking at gigs now so hopefully we’ll get a few more words out of him. Over the past two years you’ve performed at massive festivals and venues like Kilmainham. Do you prefer performing at larger venues or smaller, more intimate gigs? I’m gonna say we prefer our own wee intimate gigs. It’s great to get the support with Kodaline and Walking on Cars and that’s unbelievable and it creates such a good platform for us for creating a fan base. When it’s an acoustic and a piano and that’s it, it’s hard to beat The Pepper Canister where it’s just you and the crowd opposed to Kilmainham. Kilmainham was amazing, it was so cool to support the lads, they’re so nice but it was a huge outdoor venue and it’s hard to do that as an acoustic two-piece. It went down really well but I find it harder to interact with the crowd on a personal level than when you’re sitting out in a chill venue. We did Indiependence a few months ago and we filled the whole tent. It was crazy. We were standing beside the stage and there was nobody there, I mean about ten minutes before we went on, and I was just sitting there like “aw, come on”. Everyone was like “ah, don’t worry about it” but really they were pulling faces like, “this isn’t good”. Out of nowhere it just filled up before we played our first song, it was just rammed.

Sony. We released the EP off our own backs. We just threw it up online and were like “let’s see what happens” but then Sony took it up and were like, “let’s relook at this, let’s send this out again”. So we’ll probably rerelease ‘It’s Still Love’ again - ‘Tired’ has been rereleased with a video and that’s pretty cool. What is your favourite track off the EP? The EP is actually split in half. John wrote ‘It’s Still Love’ and ‘Tired’ and I wrote ‘Crossfire’ and ‘Ember’. Last year if you asked me I would have said my favourite song was ‘Tired’. Now my favourite song is probably ‘Crossfire’. It’s just kind of how the band has kind of changed, different fans react to different songs as well. We thought that ‘It’s Still Love’ is a pop song so everyone is going to love it but it’s nice to see every have different favourites. I absolutely love the whole EP. Little Hours were only formed about a year and a half ago. How does it feel to be so successful in such a short amount of time? It doesn’t even feel like anything has changed, we’re just country boys from Donegal having a great time. It’s unbelievable. Sometimes you’ve got to be reminded of all that’s happened. I remember doing a gig with James Bay back in November, this was before he exploded, and I was seeing this girl at the time and she got me tickets to go see the gig and then the next thing I got a call and I was told I was supporting him. We were just like, “what?”. It was the weirdest thing. To keep a level head you just have to remember that we’re two eejits and keep doing what you’re doing instead of getting caught up in the whole thing. Some people get too big for their own boots and I hate to see that happen.

Your debut EP was released a few months ago. How did it feel to finally release some of your own music? I know why you would think that but the EP was released last November but we only Interview - Sophie Butler properly released ‘Tired’ after signing up to Photography – Dara Munnis



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received an email that out of the £103 sent only £97 had landed in their account, I got annoyed and then furious when I learned that their bank had charged me an additional £6 for the international transfer. I had no experience with the acronyms SHA (shared fees), BEN (receiver pays fees) and OUR (sender pays all fees – the default selection which my bank had hidden from view during the transaction and about which I only learned of after). I was expected to transfer that £6 again plus another £6 transaction fee plus my own bank’s fee of €15. So, the total amount of €32 that would have left my account was 533% fees. Sad, right? I decided not to fall for that and after a quick search found TransferWise, a secure money transfer solution with no subscription payment, no long-term commitments, huge transfer fees or agonising delays due to “clearing” of amounts. Although it was a € to £ transfer, it was received the following day and it only cost me €1 (full disclosure: I am not endorsing this company, this is simply an account of my own experience).

The economic climate is slowly recovering, and the country is desperately looking for new start-ups to emerge and find that niche area to offer their solutions to. More companies equals more revenue and the government is happy to give a leg up to anyone with a viable business idea. With these fresh enterprises coming out with increasingly novel ideas, a new area of innovative financial solutions has surfaced, which everyone including the new enterprises can benefit from – fintech. Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with the Finns - it is a contraction of two words: finance + technology. Since emerging ventures’ budgets are always tight, it is obvious that alternative arrangements need to be considered instead of relying on the banks’ systems and range of fees (which, the thought of already brings a frown on one’s face). Here is where fintech comes in - to offer easier, faster, more comfortable ways to manage finances on both corporate and consumer levels. It includes all technological solutions for financial operations; from managing loans and subscriptions to quick Incubating innovation 1-click payments. Money is moving faster than ever. To encourage start-ups and to give them guidance, a number of incubation labs are The current most recognisable names in fintech dotted around the country. These centres BitCoin, Mint, TransferWise and Limerick’s hold regular accelerator programmes that own Collison brothers’ Stripe. These business include workshops and panel discussions on ventures are usually small startups focusing critical topics, direct feedback from industry on a single action/transaction, and then professionals, market insight, hands-on expanding by combining new solutions with coaching, incl. strategy and pitch coaching the existing one, or when a larger company – everything a new association would need offers to use that idea as part of their own to build their company from scratch. In system, like ApplePay has done with Stripe. Dublin, there are a number of these to choose My own encounter with alternative financial from, e.g. FinTech Innovation Lab and thr solutions occurred when I was ordering government set-up The Digital Hub campus; materials from a company in England. The in Cork there’s Rubicon centre and graduatebusiness was used to dealing with international oriented Ignite, and in Limerick the Nexus transactions, however, I was not. So when I Innovation Centre. Local County Councils


and Enterprise Ireland (with Startup Ireland) are among other sources for information on how to get started. To most of us, fintech is invisible and that is its nature – to allow us get things done without the hassle normally associated with anything money-related.. It is rewarding to be curious and there are clever workarounds everywhere we look, it is only a matter of personal habits and what one finds annoying. If you think currency exchange rates are something to avoid paying, then try CurrencyCloud, if you are losing patience waiting for the farmer’s cheque to clear, try Square’s pocket size portable card reader. Banks no longer run the world since nearly every action has an alternative solution that’s simpler, faster, more secure and consumer-friendly. To find them, just hit “Search”. Words: Johanna Aaspollu


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