DEC - FEB 2013 VOL:03 ISSUE:01
KATIE TAYLOR JEWEL OF THE NORTHWEST
MY FAVOURITE TRAIN JOURNEY
CATHERINE FULVIO CELEBRITY TABLE, TV3s
DISCOVERING MEATH &
THE BOYNE VALLEY MEET THE REAL
KATHRYN THOMAS INTERVIEW: CRAIG FITZPATRICK
PLUS: THE SCRIPT + BRYAN CRANSTON + NEIL MORRISSEY Go Rail Cover 3-1.indd 5
Classic Resorts GoRail3_1.indd 1
CONTENTS DEC - FEB 2013 VOLUME: 2 ISSUE: 5 graham keogh
T H E S C R I P T P24
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6 GO FOR IT A rundown of what’s hot and happening throughout the country. 16 GO NEWS Up-to-date train news from Iarnród Éireann. 20 KAT GOT THE CREAM Carlow TV personality KATHRYN THOMAS talks us through her hectic schedule; from working on RTÉ's The Voice, to ﬁlling in for John Murray on primetime radio. 24 STICKING TO THE SCRIPT Following the release of their No. 1 album #3, Dublin trio THE SCRIPT open up to Go Rail about TV shows, break-ups, will.i.am, and boozing with Tom Jones! 28 YES WE CRAN! Roe McDermott catches up with Breaking Bad's BRYAN CRANSTON, who spills the beans on his latest role, in critically-acclaimed blockbuster Argo.
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30 NEIL BEFORE HIM Men Behaving Badly star NEIL MORRISSEY chats about his latest theatre role, as Fagin in Dickens' iconic tale, Oliver! . ��� ��� ��� ����
49 FUL OF JOY TV chef CATHERINE FULVIO shares her favourite train journey with us.
32 GOLDEN GIRL Olympic champ KATIE TAYLOR opens up about her momentous win, and reveals what lies ahead.
50 GO FASHION Winter doesn't have to mean unﬂattering, oversized jumpers! Follow our fashion tips to stay cosy and stylish this festive season.
36 YOU CAN CALL HIM AL Anne Sexton grabs a bite to eat with TV3's ALAN HUGHES, at Dublin eatery, Wuff.
54 BETTER OFF WED Take the stress out of planning your big day with our Wedding Feature.
40 A FLEETING MOMENT We meet PATRICK COTTER, MD of FleetConnect; the award-winning company who installed a WiFi system on the Irish Rail network.
60 OH BABY! During winter, babies can be extra prone to picking up various illnesses. Our tips will help ensure your little one stays in the best of health.
42 INTO THE WEST Sligo native OLIVER P. SWEENEY takes us on a virtual tour of his beautiful hometown.
62 GO REVIEW Our team of reviewers cast their eye over the latest albums, books and DVDs.
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46 MEATH, MYSELF & I Home to the Boyne Valley, Newgrange and the Hill of Tara, there's plenty to see and do in the historical county of Meath. ��� ��� ��� ����
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GO RAIL Contents 1
CREDITS DEC - FEB 2013 VOLUME: 02 ISSUE: 05 MANAGING EDITOR
Emily Adams Stuart Clark Craig Fitzpatrick Maeve Heslin Johnny Keegan Roe McDermott Celina Murphy Colm O'Hare Anne Sexton
DESIGN & PRODUCTION
Hot Press 13 Trinity Street Dublin 2
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Trevor Nolan David Keane
GO RAIL IS PUBLISHED FOR IARNRÓD ÉIREANN BY: Osnovina Ltd 13 Trinity Street Dublin 2
(01) 2411 500
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The Editor, Go Rail Magazine, 13 Trinity St Dublin 2
While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, the publishers cannot accept any responsibilities for errors. The views contained in this magazine are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Iarnród Eireann. All material © Osnovina 2012. All rights reserved. Reproduction of material without permission of the publishers is strictly prohibited.
John Creedon & Miriam O'Callaghan at the launch of the Dublin NYE Countdown Concert in College Green
A GATHERING TIDE
It's a hectic season but here at Go Rail we hope a time of relaxation and a bright new year are fast approaching.
hristmas comes but once a year. Which is just as well! The build-up to the big day is intense, with people typically trying to get through a mountain of work before they break for the holidays. Well, certainly in publishing that’s what we have to do! Everything goes just a little bit haywire. In towns and cities across the country, almost inevitably, traffic starts to grind to a halt. Just getting through the normal routine becomes a chore. A bit of sleet or snow and we’re in real trouble! Not that I’m complaining. It’s great to see shops doing well despite the downturn. Similarly, for pubs, clubs, bars, hotels and restaurants it is a time of year when they hope to create a bit of leeway for the potentially leaner times that lie ahead in the new year. Thankfully, the Irish hospitality industry is going strong right now because, more than ever before, the better class of operators in the sector are offering great quality service at value prices. I stayed recently in Brook Lodge Hotel in Wicklow, and it delivered everything that you might hope for in a short break: a lovely room, great service, brilliant food and a spa and wellness area which added enormously to the relaxing nature of our stay. Located in the beautiful surroundings of the Wicklow mountains, it is an example of the kind of exceptional quality which Ireland can offer visitors, who are so important right now to the economic wellbeing of the country. Speaking of visitors, The Gathering – the special tourism initiative launched by the Government for
2013 – kicks off officially on New Year’s Eve. We can expect big things all over Ireland, but there will be a special kind of celebration in Dublin, culminating in a gig on College Green (starring Imelda May and Bell X1, among others) which should hopefully attract visitors from all over the world. The important thing is to build effectively on that beginning, so that The Gathering fulfills its mission as an event that can make us all feel justifiably proud. It is an initiative in which everyone potentially has a part to play. The number of events which fall within the ambit of The Gathering is huge. They vary from small local initiatives to events that are bigger and bolder in their conception. Overall, if we can get into the spirit of the occasion, we can all contribute to making sure that it really is a good thing for the country and the economy. We do need to be sure that what we are offering is strong and impressive enough to justify all of the international hype that we hope to generate. To a large extent, that is the role of the Government, Fáilte Ireland, and of the The Gathering committee. But one way or another, if we can do our bit to help with what is happening and to get the word out to people we know abroad that this is a fantastic time to visit Ireland, then that can only be positive. Here’s to a great year in 2013 for all the passengers who travel by train. Now, sit back and relax. There’s no need to worry about traffic here... Máirín Sheehy, Editor
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ONCE UPON A TIME
The Broadway sensation and Tony Awardwinning musical, Once, will be gracing Irish shores in February and March. Beginning February 22 and running until March 9, the show will play at the Gaiety Theatre. Once, The Musical is based on John Carney’s
Oscar-winning movie. The storyline is one of love and music. Taking place in Dublin, the play is in some ways returning home. Carney has taken on directing the musical, while the music and lyrics were written by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. The
musical won eight Tony Awards this year and continues to get rave reviews as it heads towards its Dublin debut. Get your tickets to see Once through Ticketmaster, because how often do you find the right person?
Two Door Cinema Club
Like a fairytale from start to finish, Irish indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club have gone from small town to big time faster than you can say their name. The Down natives are returning to Ireland for a show at the O2, Dublin on January 19. The guys, Alex Trimble, Kevin Baird, and Sam Halliday, released their first album Tourist History in 2010, but they’ve been a band far longer than that. They took their unusual name from Halliday’s mispronunciation of the local cinema, Tudor Cinema, in 2007. Once their MySpace following took off, they set their minds to the music. Their newest album Beacon topped charts in Ireland and nearly did the same in the UK. Tickets for their return home in January are on sale now from Ticketmaster.
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NYE IN DUBLIN
As we look ahead to the new year, we begin the annual vicious cycle of New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe this year it’s 10 pounds to lose, or perhaps you just need to be more organised. Whatever it is you have in store for 2013, forget about it for now. This year, how about focusing on how you’re going to have a great New Year’s Eve? With tons on this December 31, you’ll easily find what sounds best to you. The Dublin New Year’s Eve Festival will begin at 6.30pm with the People’s Procession of Light through the city’s streets. At 8pm, the ‘BigBang’ fireworks will begin in St. Stephen’s Green. Music for the Countdown Concert at College Green will start about 8.30pm and will ring in 2013 with tunes until 1am. The concert will feature Imelda May and Bell X1. The festival village will be set up at Foster Place on Dame St. with a full bar and food to suit everyone. As we ring in 2013, we also ring in the start of The Gathering and a year of celebrating all things Irish. So don’t stress about what you need to change for next year this NYE. Instead, get up and dance the night away and celebrate the moment in front of beautiful Trinity College!
Although Dublin’s Jameson Distillery is a firm favourite with whiskey drinkers all year round, there’s something extra special about the Smithfield hot spot at Christmas. The home of the world’s number one whiskey goes into festive overdrive over the holidays, offering delicious Winter warmers like the Jameson Honeycomb or Jameson Hot Chocolate. The gift shop also stocks exclusive branded Jameson goods that make terrific Chirstmas presents. Yuletide best-sellers include branded hipflasks and Jameson rugby shirts and the ever-popular bottle of 12-year personalised Jameson Distillery Reserve, The Distillery is closed December 24, 25 26, and open all other days including New Years Eve. Book online at tours.jamesonwhiskey.com for a discount.
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Danny DeVito has eyes for Dublin
For the 11th year running, the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF) will again grace the city with over 120 films from around the world this February. The venues for the screenings include Cineworld, the Savoy, Screen, Irish Film Institute and Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. Many of the films have never been seen in Ireland and will not be played again, making the JDIFF screening a very exclusive event. Amidst the movies, the organisers of the festival continually set up panel discussions and Q&A events with filmmakers and movie-patrons. Big names such as Daniel Day Lewis, Gabriel Byrne, Jim Sheridan, Colin Firth and Liam Neeson have taken part in the festival over the years. 2013 will bring comedic legend Danny DeVito, famous for rib-tickling roles on screens silver and small, to Dublin to entertain one and all. The JDIFF will run from February 14 – 24. More information on showtimes and tickets is available from Jdiff.com.
BRING THE CARR AROUND Jimmy Carr
HO HO HORSES The hilariously entertaining Jimmy Carr will take the stage for a twonight stint at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, on February 8 and 9. As an experienced entertainer, Carr has performed for more than 1.2 million people and surely got a laugh out of every last one. Hailed by the Guardian as “a comedy hero for our times”, Carr spent all of 2012 on tour with Gagging Order. The two shows at the Olympia will be the last chance for audiences the award-winning comedian perform the act. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.
This holiday season, the Limerick Racecourse will host the annual Irish Independent Four Day Christmas Festival. Beginning Wednesday, December 26, racing will take place from 12.30pm each afternoon ‘til Saturday, December 29. Friday, December 28 has been named Ladies Day, full of glamour and style. Dress to your finest for a chance to win a weekend getaway to Limerick. Saturday is Family Fun Day, with a puppet show, kids’ disco, face painting and balloon animals. Bookings can be made online from the racecourse website.
POP THE CORK
There are certain days that we hope to remember for years to come. One of these comes about once every 365 days – New Year’s Eve. Literally marking the passing of another year, New Year’s Eve is a night with endless possibility. This year, Mick Flannery invites you to share the evening with him at the Cork Opera House. The singer-songwriter’s newest album, Red To Blue, spent three weeks at No. 1 in the Irish Albums Chart, while his two biggest singles ‘Gone Forever’ and ‘No Way To Live’ blew up Irish radio. The Cork Opera House is Flannery’s last scheduled tour date as of now – all the more reason to jump on the chance and make him a part of your holiday.
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ON THE TROT
THE ED TEAM After capturing the heart of every girl in Europe and the US with his song ‘The A Team,’ Ed Sheeran has gone on to collaborate with Taylor Swift on a track for her newest album. The English singer/ songwriter calls his style “acoustic soul” and rightfully so. Before heading out on a seven-month tour with Swift in 2013, Sheeran will wrap up his own tour dates including three shows at the O2,
Leopardstown hosts its highly-anticipated Christmas festival from December 26 – 29. The four-day event will host some of the year’s best racing and fashion. For those who don’t want to endure the dreaded Christmas movie re-runs and flashing lights, Leopardstown is the perfect break away. Featuring throughbred horses from around the globe such as Boston Bob from the US and Germany’s Marito, the racing will be thick and fast this festive season. One of the races of the festival is of course the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, where newly installed favorite Flemenstar squares up against rival Sir Des Champs. With more horses still to be announced, the festival is expected to be buzzing with famous faces and big personalities.
Dublin on January 11, 12, and 13. He’s been promoting his debut album after the overwhelming success that came from his singles ‘The A Team’ and ‘Lego House’. Released a year later in the US than it was in the UK, it sold 42,000 copies the first week. He’s quickly becoming the talk of the globe, not just the town. The tickets for Sheeran’s appearences in Dublin are going fast, so get yours soon.
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For the third Christmas season in a row, the infamous pop-icon duo, Jedward, will be welcome to the Olympia Theatre stage for another seasonal pantomime. The show, entitled Jedward & The Magic Lamp, will feature Linda Martin and Alan Kavanagh with the support of a singing, dancing cast of over 100. Jedward, a product of the sixth season of X-Factor, is comprised of identical twin brothers, John and Edward Grimes. The pair have since released three albums and, among many other performances, starred in the Olympia Theatre’s previous two Christmas Panto shows, Cinderella and Jedward & The Beanstalk. This year, Jedward & The Magic Lamp will run two performances a day from December 19 – January 6. Tickets are going fast and are available from Ticketmaster.
SHORTT & SWEET Ireland’s beloved comedian Pat Shortt is out on the road with his new one-man stand up show, I Am The Band. In his new show, Shortt takes on the role of Dixie Walsh, a rural character whom Shortt introduced previously in You Won’t Get Away With That Here and The Hall. Now, Dixie Walsh’s life story will finally be told first-hand. Walsh will also share his taste in music and tell stories about his rural roots and smalltown life. Pat Shortt’s unique interpretation of Irish rural life will also be told richly through Dixie Walsh’s mother, teacher and town-folk alike. Pat Shortt will be at INEC in Killarney January 25. Tickets are available now.
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TAKE THAT, BARLOW
READY TO RUMBLE Bobby Roode
TNA Impact Wrestling is returning to the UK and Ireland this January, promising the best and most intense fights. They’ll kick off their Road To Lockdown tour in Dublin’s National Stadium on January 21. The impressive list of international wrestling stars for the tour include Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, James Storm, AJ Styles, Mr. Anderson, Rob Van Dam, Velvet Sky and Gail Kim. TNA President, Dixie Carter said, “Our wonderful fans in the UK and Ireland have made us their number one rated wrestling show once again – and this tour is our way of saying thank you. This is the first time that the Lockdown steel cage has ever left US soil. Those matches will really be something special.”
From judging the ever so popular X-Factor, to organising the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace, Gary Barlow truly does it all. With over 20 years of experience in the business, more than 50 million records sold, eight No. 1 albums and six Ivor Novello Awards, Barlow can’t be stopped. As one of Britain’s greatest singer-songwriters, his credentials are nearly as endless as his talent. He’s on tour in Ireland and the UK, celebrating his success and performing songs from throughout his career. He’ll be stopping by at Dublin’s intimate Olympia Theatre on January 7.
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FEVER Justin Bieber
It seems this teen sensation can make a believer out of anyone and his Irish fan base is no exception. 18-year-old global platinum megastar Justin Bieber is bringing his Believe tour to Ireland on February 17 and 18. Headlining at the O2 for two nights, Bieber’s show is guaranteed to be worth the hype. The star has surprised fans by maintaining his fame in the bright limelight and proving to the world that Usher was right to back him. After the initial fame that came from his debut single ‘One Time’, Bieber released his album My World and became the first star to have seven songs from a debut album on the Billboard Hot 100. Now with the release of Believe and the success of the track ‘Boyfriend’ under his wing, Justin Bieber is bigger than ever as he heads for our shores.
After a brief stint of time off to “put everything into perspective,” The Killers are back on their feet and ready to conquer the O2, Dublin on February 22. Starting out as Las Vegas bellhops and turning it all around to find themselves headlining Glastonbury, these four guys decided to take some time off about two years ago. After 10 years spent on the road, travelling constantly within the States and around the world, they needed the down time. Now, The Killers are back with their new album Battle Born and the hottest single Runaways is taking over Irish radio. Tickets to their show are hard to come by, but their night at the O2 is bound to be legendary.
TRADITION CONTINUES The annual Temple Bar Tradfest will be on for the ninth year running this January. The festival is now known as one of the largest traditional Irish music festivals in the country and attracts visitors from around the world each year. This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever as the festival has joined forces with Fáilte Ireland in bringing people of Irish heritage back for The Gathering. What better way to experience your Irish roots than a week of fun-loving music and entertainment in Dublin’s
Temple Bar area. Festivities run from January 22 – 27. Big names returning for the festival include The Dubliners, Clannad, Moya Brennan and Ralph McTell. The venues for the shows will range from clubs and pubs such as the Button Factory to more historical sites such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin City Hall. In the five days and five nights of Tradfest 2013, over 200 performances will take place throughout the city. For a complete list of events, visit TempleBarTrad.com. Maura O'Connell
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DARK SIDE OF SILLY
ULSTER V MUNSTER Ulster look to maintain what at the time of writing is their 100% Pro12 record this season as they take on inter-provincial challengers Munster at Thomond Park on December 29. On the back of 13 straight victories in all competitions, it looks as though it will take something special to deny the high-flying Ulstermen victory. Having already defeated Munster at Ravenhill in September, this rejuvenated Ulster side will again look to Paddy Jackson for inspiration. Jackson, who has converted 23 penalties and conversions this season, will need to have his kicking boots on if he is to punish the Red Army. The pair’s previous encounter was a hotly contested affair, edged by Ulster by only a single point. Kicking will be hugely important factor in determining who prevails in this much-anticipated encounter. Ian Keatley looks set to take responsibility for Munster’s kicking. Keatley has been free-scoring in the League so far notching an impressive 83 points, 73 of which have been from the boot. The Red Army support will be out in force, one suspects, for what looks likely to be a titanic battle.
Magicial, mentalist, hypnotist and activist for the elderly, Keith Barry is a long-standing Irish entertainer who never fails to captivate his audience. On January 1, Barry will kick off his new tour, The Dark Side. Promising the ever-astonishing and extraordinary tales, twists and tricks that he is so well known for, Barry will start the tour at the INEC in Killarney. Keith Barry has been doing magic since he was just a little boy and has now starred in more than 40 international TV shows and performed across the globe. Barry began his activism in 2009, after his grandfather was attacked by burglars and died later from the injuries. Not only is he a funny man with a magical essence, but he’s a man with a purpose and a voice. Get your tickets for The Dark Side from Ticketmaster.
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ALL FUN & GAMES March 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of Games Fleadh, an exciting two-day event taking place in LIT Tipperary. Originally called ‘RoboCode’, the Fleadh is the brainchild of Philip Bourke, a lecturer of Games Design & Development at the college, and welcomes artists, programmers, and designers together to create games, which the public can then come in and play. “I needed something to challenge the really good programmers, while I worked with the ones that needed a little bit of help”, explains Philip. “It’s a great way of engaging them and making sure they have something to get their teeth into.”
Each year the fleadh has a theme, and though Philip can’t give away too much at this stage, he can reveal that this year’s theme will to be tankbased. “The tank theme ties in nicely with the RoboCode anniversary,” he says, “as RoboCode is an AI tank battling challenge. The guys write tanks, and we put them into battle. Whoever wins goes forward in the league we’ve set up”. One of the newer events taking place at the 2013 fleadh is based on special effects. “Last year we had a new event called the Direct X Challenge”, says Philip. “This meant people wrote special effects for games. We had people
like Double Negative Visual Effects judging last year – they do effects for big-budget films like the latest Bond movie”. The fleadh then is a fantastic opportunity for participants to find work in the thriving games industry. As Philip explains, “A lot of the guys will get internships or grad placements, or even first jobs out of the fleadh. It’s a bit like a Rose of Tralee for game developers!” The Games Fleadh takes place on March 13 and 14, 2013, with the public invited on Day 2 to have a go at the games! See gamesfleadh.ie for details.
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The Brook Lodge Hotel
ARE YOU READY TO GO
FOOD FORAGING? The Brook Lodge Hotel, in Macreddin Village in Wicklow, is one of Ireland’s finest hotels. It is a very special place, which combines an 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Paul McGinley (Macreddin Golf Club), with all the attractions of a modern country housestyle hotel. But its ultimate USP is the fact that it is Ireland’s only certified organic hotel or restaurant – a fine distinction indeed. The food in Brook Lodge is absolutely superb. The Strawberry Tree restaurant is famous for the quality of what is produced night after night in the kitchen, under the guiding hand of the head chef Tim Daly. But the breakfast is legendary too: in short the taste of the food in Brook Lodge and the
commitment to naturally healthy ingredients make it very special. Well, now is your opportunity to get an even better feel for what Brook Lodge is all about. They will be running a special Food Foraging Challenge in the spring, in which contestants will be invited to go foraging for food in the area around Macreddin to see who can come back with the biggest and the best selection of natural booty! Groups from six to 20 can apply to be part of what will be a fascinating exercise in contemporary food philosophy in action. People pay €40 a head to be involved. They are supplied with a leaflet with images and descriptions of likely foods to be found in the
region. And they have 60 minutes to see what they can harvest! There are prizes for those who produce the best foraging results. The dates for the Food Foraging Challenge have yet to be decided. “It’s the million dollar question,” a spokesperson told Go Rail. “Due to the Irish weather, it is unpredictable when the wild foods will appear, but in general we start foraging in March, right through to October.” To book a place on this fascinating food odyssey, call Suzanne Tallon on (0403) 36444, or email email@example.com. You can also check out the Brook Lodge Hotel website for all of their special offers for the Christmas and New Year period. It is a place that is more than well worth visiting...
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WITH IARNRÓD ÉIREANN Some good news for train users – through 2013 there will be faster trains on all Heuston Intercity routes.
Iarnród Éireann is part of the national Winter Ready campaign, designed to make sure that we are all ready to face extreme winter conditions should they arise.
lanned timetable changes for 2013 to Heuston and regional routes have been revealed. Changes to services proposed, which are subject to the approval of the National Transport Authority, include:
• Journey Time Improvements: Faster journey times on all Intercity routes to and from Heuston (Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Galway, Mayo, Waterford) averaging 10-15 minutes, but by up to 25 minutes in some cases. • Additional Trains: Additional trains are proposed for a number of routes and stations, including Dublin/Galway, Dublin/Westport, and a major increase in frequency for commuters between Dublin and Monasterevin, Portarlington and Portlaoise. • Service Cancellations: While the vast majority of services are protected, some trains are proposed to be cancelled due to low demand. These include one train each way on the Dublin/Waterford route; a service from Limerick via Nenagh to Dublin; one Ballybrophy to Limerick via Nenagh service each way; one Limerick to Galway train each way; one Limerick Junction to Waterford service each way; an afternoon Dublin to Limerick service; and a small number of off-peak commuter services •Improved Connections: There will be improved connections between Galway and Cork/Kerry, with the extension of
some Galway to Limerick trains to Limerick Junction. • Departure Time Changes: While all departure times should be checked, major changes include the change to most departure times from Cork to Dublin to 20 past the hour, and a number of changes on Galway and Westport routes. The review of schedules has prioritised faster journey times, maintaining service levels to customers as far as possible, while reducing operating costs, and identifying opportunities for increased service levels. Journey time improvements are being achieved through low-cost and no-cost focus on targeted track maintenance works, and the elimination of speed restrictions. Draft schedules for Connolly routes were published earlier this autumn. A spokesperson for Iarnród Éireann said: “Our draft schedules for 2013 show significant Intercity journey time improvements for customers, which coupled with modern and comfortable trains, low online fares and free Wi-Fi on board Intercity services ensures a better travel option than ever for customers considering rail in 2013. We have reviewed frequency on all routes, and while some minor service reductions are proposed due to reduced demand, we have also proposed additional services on a number of routes where we have identified existing demand may not be served at present.”
here’s loads of helpful info and links at the winterready.ie website, covering everything from what you can do yourself in snow or icy conditions, to services from a range of providers around the country.
During the Big Freeze of late 2010, over 98% of trains continued to operate, when the road network was severely curtailed. Iarnród Éireann has been working to ensure that the rail service is even better equipped if we get hit by prolonged Arctic conditions again. There’s been investment in insulating equipment for train engines and depots. And this year, it has begun the installation of points heaters at key locations around the network, with busy high priority locations now equipped with the new facilities. At times of snow or extremely cold weather, points on the track that permit trains to move from one track to another may freeze up and cause delays to services, as staff will have to manually defrost and move points. The new point heaters are placed on the points and can be activated when the temperature drops below a certain level ensuring that the points won’t freeze. The investment is funded by the railway safety programme. The first areas covered are Howth, Howth Junction, Clonsilla and Maynooth, with the next phase planned at Kildare, Cherryville Junction, Tullamore and Portarlington, before a more extensive nationwide rollout.
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COMMUTE FOR LESS TAKE THE TRAIN A new survey of rail and car commuting costs shows that commuters can save thousands of Euro every year by taking the train.
ith prices at the petrol pumps at all-time highs, rail customers can now save on fuel, parking and toll charges, as well as availing of Taxsaver tax relief. Customers who buy monthly or annual tickets through their employer save up to 52% on the price of an annual rail ticket, resulting in travel costs which are amongst the lowest in Western Europe.
Sample commuting costs include:
Annual Rail Ticket Cost
Annual Rail Cost with Taxsaver Tax Relief (52%)
Annual Car Fuel Costs
Annual Car Tolls
Annual City Centre Car Parking Charges
Total Car Costs
Max Saving by Rail
Drogheda – Dublin
Tullamore – Dublin
Portlaoise – Dublin
Newbridge – Dublin
The costs are based on fuel costs on the AA Routeplanner website as of November 2012, and parking costs are assumed at €6.00 per day, and it is assumed that commuters travel 250 days per year. Even for those travelling by road who have free parking at work, the savings range from €2,930 to €7,790 per annum. Taxsaver annual and monthly commuter tickets generate savings for employees and employers alike, with companies saving up to 10.75% on PRSI also. If your company hasn’t registered for Taxsaver yet, make sure you get them to check out taxsaver.ie so everyone can start saving!
17 Train News 2-5 2
COMMUTERS Iarnród Éireann helps to raise invaluable funds for a good cause this Christmas – and you can help too
arnród Éireann’s Carols for Commuters Campaign which aims to raise essential funds for St. Michael’s House was launched on December 1 in Heuston Station, where former Miss Ireland Holly Carpenter officially lit up the tree along with staff, families and friends of St. Michael’s House.
St. Michael’s House is a community-based voluntary organisation founded by parents in 1955. The organisation has grown to become one of the largest providers of services to people with an intellectual disability in Ireland. Today, St. Michael’s House provides a range of specialised services to over 1,450 children and adults with a learning disability and their families through 160 community based centres
in the greater Dublin area. Bringing Christmas Cheer to Heuston, Niamh Thornton, aged 11 from Clonshaugh, along with friends Alex Byrne, aged 11 and Laura Furlong, aged 8, all helped Holly to switch on the Christmas tree lights. Niamh said, “I am so happy to turn on the Christmas tree lights. Happy Christmas to everyone” Niamh is currently a pupil at Scoil Caitriona, Artane and receives support from the St. Michael’s House STEMS team through speech and language therapy. Niamh keeps her mum Brigit busy with all her many activities, including bowling, Irish dancing and gymnastics. Niamh recently dumped Harry from One Direction and has now claimed Justin Beiber as her boyfriend! Barbara Wiseman, Head of Fundraising, St.
Michael’s House commented: “We are delighted that Iarnród Éireann has chosen us as their charity for 2012/2013. It is great to have the support of a national organisation like Iarnród Éireann. Christmas Carols for Commuters raised €14,000 in funds for St. Michael’s House in 2011; we hope the campaign is just as successful in 2012 with the support of Iarnród Éireann.” Professional choirs, schools and musicians are performing in aid of St. Michael’s House in both Heuston and Connolly stations right up until December 23. Iarnród Éireann is delighted to support St. Michael’s House as its chosen charity of the year, and hopes customers can support St. Michael’s House by donating their spare change to the money collection points at Heuston and Connolly or through the St. Michael’s House website at smh.ie.
18 Train News 2-5 3
FORWARD WITH FREIGHT
Iarnród Éireann has had an extremely busy year with its freight service – and the future is only going to get brighter, thanks to ambitious infrastructure upgrades
t’s a busy time at Iarnród Éireann Freight. Having seen growth in volumes in 2011, infrastructure work has taken place in 2012 further improving the scope and attractiveness of rail freight.
The company’s strategy of targeting market opportunities which are suited to rail freight, with guaranteed flows, low-handling costs, and direct port access, continues. In particular, the container business continues to grow year on year: customers, as well as using rail freight as a cost effective means of transporting goods, are concerned about their carbon footprint and recognise that utilising rail to transport their goods enables them to significantly reduce their CO2 emissions. Track works between the Port of Dublin and Cork means the line has now been cleared
for the carriage of 9’6” hi-cube containers on standard floor wagons, thus allowing a dramatic increase in possible payloads on trains. The ability to use these wagons further increases both the flexibility and the viability of using rail and now makes it possible to save nearly 9,000 road journeys per year. One of the company’s major freight customers, IWT, were shortlisted in the recent Export Industry Awards for Sustainable Exporter of the Year. IWT has enjoyed significant double-digit growth which is demonstrated in sales revenue figures. This growth has been achieved through success in growing export and import business and promoting new innovative services such as the dedicated container rail service which operates daily to and from the West of Ireland via Ireland’s premier port of Dublin.
IWT identified an opportunity in the market and after three years of research and development launched a dedicated container rail service Dublin to Ballina to Dublin. This has grown from a twice weekly service to a daily service each way carrying all intermodal equipment types. In 2011 IWT submitted a business plan to Dublin Port detailing the merit for a rail spur to extend the rail track from Alexandra Road to shipside at the common user terminal. Dublin Port completed the rail spur in 2011 at an investment cost of €1.5 million, which was a further vote of confidence in IWT and the integrity of the rail freight service. This innovative new service has proven to be a winning combination, demonstrating a successful project based on public/private partnership.
19 Train News 2-5 4
20 Kathryn Thomas GoR 2.5 1
The national broadcaster’s golden girl, Kathryn Thomas talks to Craig Fitzpatrick about The Voice, her hectic schedule and why the public’s interest in her private life is just par for the course.
hese days, it would appear that Kathryn Thomas conducts most of her business on the move. The former No Frontiers and Winning Streak presenter has never been in such demand – a mainstay on TV screens as the host of The Voice and Operation Transformation, and popping up on the wireless for Radio One’s regular OT feature and to guest host The John Murray Show. Your Go Rail correspondent catches her on a bright winter morning in transit, a full day’s work by anyone else’s standards already behind her. Now the 33-year-old is ensconced in a taxi and bound for the set of The Voice, with series two currently underway. “I’m juggling plenty of balls at the moment,” she acknowledges, sounding impressively chipper given her schedule. “I was in voiceovers this morning. Then I had a meeting with the radio team, because I’m filling in for John Murray next week. I ran home, walked the dogs, did a couple of interviews, now I’m on my way to the Helix, where I’ll be for the next couple of days. Rehearsals, script meetings... Half seven in the morning. And half past 11 is when we’ll get home!” It would seem the canines are getting neglected. “Hahaha, are the dogs suffering?! Nah, I get their walk in every day! Put it this way, I’ve got great friends and family around, and great neighbours. There are kids left and right of me, so whenever I can’t walk the dogs, they’re happy to do it. I need that – I’ve very little routine, y’know? It’s bursts of work. October to December is pretty full-on.” She’s throwing herself into her career at the moment, and if there are any noticeable side
effects, it’s only that she’s been coming over a little bit teary. “I’ve already been bawling on The Voice like some sort of... I don’t know what!” she laughs. “And I don’t know what it was. Maybe I’m just overtired, overworked... and overstressed! I often think one of the most emotive parts of The Voice is the blind auditions though because people are very nervous. For some it’s the very first time they’ve been on television, let alone singing on stage in front of the likes of Sharon Corr and Kian Egan, so tensions are very high. Emotions are very high. For some reason – and I don’t know why – it’s been a little more emotionally charged this year. But it’s kind of the part of the show that I enjoy the most.” There we have it. Kathryn Thomas likes watching people suffer. “No, no!” shouts the Carlow star. “But I do like being able to connect with people. Hosting Operation Transformation is basically that, too. To be a support for people who put themselves in situations they’re not comfortable in. It’s a real privilege that I’m working on two of RTÉ’s biggest shows and I’m very thankful for that.” Is she always a fan of the musical choices on The Voice though? A quick inspection of her Twitter page shows that, when she’s not working, she enjoys “AC/DC with a fine wine and good cheese”. You don’t get too much ‘Thunderstruck’ on the Helix stage. “Yeah I’m a rock chick at heart! I’m into folk music as well, I’ve just got my tickets ordered for Mumford & Sons so I’m delighted about that. I wouldn’t be very up on the pop ‘world’ or ‘scene’ right now. I wouldn’t have the chart stations on, I’ll always have the talk stations on. Bressie is always giving me out to me, saying that I need to keep up-to-date with what’s going on and who’s in the charts. Last year he was talking about Ed
Sheeran and I was like ‘Ed Who?’!” Bressie seems like a lovely bloke, but you get the feeling the former Blizzards singer slips into ‘lecture’ mode quite easily. “Jesus, in fairness the four of them can go on when they want to! That’s what’s funny this year. With Jamelia there, it’s changed the dynamic. I do miss Brian (Kennedy) on the show but the dynamic’s very different, having two women and two men. Brian and Bressie used to be the ones giving each other stick, but they’re all fighting their corner now. I always slag Bressie that he likes to talk a lot, he bangs on a little too much when he’s giving opinions. The reason being, of course, that he’s so musically knowledgeable. It’s everything to him, it’s all about the technique and it really is about the vocal. You generally find it’s been constructive criticism, which they seem to take on board.” Pat Byrne, the show’s inaugural winner, came in for some criticism last August for taking a full three months to record his debut album. Was she surprised that the press were suggesting his moment had passed? “When it was only a few months after the show I was like, ‘Ah lads, c’mon, it needs time’. I was expecting that though. People don’t have the patience, people don’t understand. Even for myself, learning what goes into an album, the process for getting it out, making sure you’re working with the right people. I just got his album the other day and it’s absolutely brilliant. He’s done it the right way.” Thomas certainly understands the contestants’ desire to perform. She’s previously stated that she wanted to be an actress from an early age and “never the wallflower in the corner”. She’s that perculiar breed that is not only comfortable in front of the camera, but utterly relishes the lights, cameras and action. “That’s all I ever really wanted to do, I’ve always loved performing. Even as a child, when everyone wanted to go to the cinema, I wanted to go to the theatre to see live people perform. Acting was my passion first and foremost. Put me on a stage or put me in front of a camera and I was
21 Kathryn Thomas GoR 2.5 2
Kathryn Thomas: loves her work
the happiest little thing in the world. So when I first got the audition to stand in front of a camera, it didn’t seem to phase me. Even now, I can stand and talk down a camera lens to 700,000 people much easier than I can give a small talk to a room of 70 people.” Lately, however, Kathryn’s been learning that she often prefers to listen. As a stand-in for John Murray on Radio One, she’s had the opportunity to tackle the issues of the day and ‘human interest’ stories, go a little bit deeper and get more personal with the audience. Fronting a show that brings real life into the studio hasn’t daunted her. “No, I love it. And I think what I love about a show like that is the diversity of subject matter you’re presented with every day. While some of the subject matter is quite light, a lot of it is quite heavy. You could be someone that’s suffering from depression, someone that’s lost a son or daughter. Then you’re talking to somebody about when to plant hyacinths. It’s so varied and you just have to be prepared for that. I rely heavily on my research team and know my stuff. Making sure in my own head that I know exactly where I am, and where the interview could go. I’ve never been afraid of putting in the homework, that really stands to you. You could have done all the research in the world but it’s actually more about just listening to someone’s story. Listening to them like you’re just in the kitchen having a cup of tea with them,
asking them what you would ask them generally. I love that intimacy and immediacy. I thought I was more of a talker but in fact I think I’m more of a listener now. My friends would have said that anyway of me but I’ve learnt myself that I do like to listen more than I like to talk, believe it or not!” She does, indeed, keep relatively shtum. In November, it was revealed that Thomas had split from her partner of five years, Garda Enda Waters, over the summer. Understandably, she hadn’t made any big announcement and the news had flown under the radar for four months. Suddenly, however, she was in the spotlight. Does the interest in her personal life ever grate or does she accept that it merely comes with the territory? “I accept that it goes with the job,” she says. “I’ve travelled enough and seen enough to know that Irish people – although we’re a bit nosey and like to know what’s going on – do leave you alone and it’s not a massively tabloid-y society that we live in yet, where every time you walk out the door you’re hassled. Not that I’m in any way interesting enough for that to happen to me! People just accept that they know you off the telly so when they see you in the frozen food department in the supermarket, they’ll give you a look but they won’t bother you. Certainly, your private life is your private life and you try and keep it private as much as you can. But the Irish aren’t too invasive. Sure, Bono was able to busk on Grafton St. last Christmas!”
22 Kathryn Thomas GoR 2.5 3
24 The Script GoR 2.5 1
TheScript Sticking to
With their #3 album riding high on both sides of the Atlantic, Irish pop sensations THE SCRIPT talk will.i.am, Tom Jones and significant exes to STUART CLARK. PHOTO Graham Keogh
he Script have just incurred the wrath of the Irish Federation of Chambermaids by ending their Go Rail photo-shoot with a paper, food and phone fight. As a result, the previously pristine Morrison Hotel penthouse is now littered with ripped-up press releases, halfeaten sarnies and blinking telecommunications equipment. It’s not exactly Keith Moon driving a Rolls Royce into a swimming-pool, but shows how giddily excited Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power are about their new #3 album, which has conquered the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Among its bounteous delights is ‘Hall Of Fame’, the monster lead single, which features Danny’s fellow The Voice UK judge will.i.am. “I still can’t believe will.i.am is on our record!” Danny beams with that Ultrabrite smile of his. “Towards the end of The Voice I played him three or four songs we’d been mixing and when it got to ‘Hall Of Fame’ he was like, ‘Play it again!’ So I did and at the end he said, ‘Can I have that song?’ I was like, ‘What do you mean? To play to other people?’ ‘No, I want it for myself.” The polite answer, I presume, being, “No, write your own insanely catchy pop/hip hop crossover tune!” “Yeah, exactly, ‘Bog off, Will!’ No, I was there in the Irish polite way going, ‘Yeah, we’ll think about it.’ As soon as he left I called Mark and said, ‘We can’t give him the song, but let’s get him on it.’ will.i.am was cool with that so we got the drinks in and arranged studio time and, bang, he stood us up! I’m like, ‘What a bugger!’ The next day I asked him, ‘What happened last night?’ and he was like, ‘I was at this dinner.’ ‘You blew me off for a dinner?’ ‘Yeah, with Bill Clinton.’ So, I went, ‘Okay, fair enough. Just this once…’ It kind of turned into the will.i.won’t.show!” Boom and indeed boom! How did The Script finally get their man? “Will calls me up and says, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ and I go, ‘Here’s what you’re doing tonight – I’m coming round to collect you in a taxi and you’re recording the song!’” So they stalked him? “Basically, yeah,” Danny laughs. “He was one step away from taking out a barring order! We’re nobodies compared to will.i.am who another night was off seeing Eva Mendes. Hollywood actresses, the President of the United States… trying to prioritise recording a duet with us in amongst all that stuff was quite difficult. It ended
up being recorded in his hotel room where he had a whole studio laid out!” Danny sharing TV talent show mentoring duties with will.i.am, Jessie J and Tom Jones – more of whom anon! – meant that a lot of the #3 heavy lifting was done by his bandmates. “We were three or four songs in when Danny got the offer to do The Voice,” Glen reflects. “It was a massive decision – we’ve only ever been together all the time in the studio. We write and produce absolutely everything and deliver the record to the label. We’d brought a miniproduction case with us on the Science + Faith tour and were lashing ideas down the whole time. And suddenly it worked out that Dan was with the BBC most days, and then double-jobbing by coming in to us at night.” How long was it before Danny stopped going, “Ohmygawd, I’m sat next to will.i.am!”? “Eh, I’m still doing it! I really am. I can’t get over how cool the guy is, ‘cos a lot of your heroes you really shouldn’t meet. Nothing else matters to him but music. We were sparring every day on lyrics. I’d sing Will a chorus and he’d go, ‘That’s dope man, that’s dope’ and come back with a rhyme. We’re both very similar in that we both write and produce; only he’s a tad more successful than me!” Danny has also got to spend some quality downtime with Sir Tom. “The coaches all went out and had a few drinks when we first met. Jessie and Will left first, about 11 o’clock. But me and Tom were sitting there till the wee hours. I was just listening to all his stories. You can’t go in as deep as he does when you’re sitting around a table having a few drinks. You’re just: ‘This is my window to the past. My window to the era I love, what I grew up listening to’.” The Welsh legend clearly made a big impression on him, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “I made a fatal mistake,” Danny recalls. “My da loved Roy Orbison and he used to tell me about the boys and that you never leave the table before finishing a bottle. And what did I do? Sham here gets up in the middle of it and walks off! Tom just clicks his fingers and is like, ‘Down. You never leave before we finish the bottle’. He said it in that old-school way too. ‘Sit down, it’s still showtime’. One of those moments when you realise you do have a lot to learn.” One of #3’s many standouts – I’m not just being nice here, it’s an absolute humdinger of a pop
record – is the song dealing with Danny’s split last year from long-time model girlfriend, Irma Mali. In another previous Go Rail interview, Danny had told me, “She’s an amazing person who, no matter what, is there for me. Since the start of The Script, she’s been in my life, so I don’t know any different. I can imagine if you weren’t so anchored that you could end up going off the rails.” So, has he been derailed? “Can I plead the fifth amendment?” “Let’s just say he’s having loads of fun!” Glen laughs. “And being married I’m living vicariously through both of them!” Mark laughs mischievously. Frippery aside, the break-up from both Irma and her nine-year-old son who Danny doted on must hurt. “It’s hard,” he nods, “but I’m kind of finding my feet now.” The loss of Danny and Mark’s dads is the inspiration for #3 weepie ‘If You Could See Me Now’. “That’s the album’s whiskey song!” Mark laughs. “We’d been through so many bottles of wine on this album that I thought I’d change it and bring some whiskey in. After a few we were looking at each other going, ‘Right, we’re ready for this song.’ But we did have to go off to opposite sides of the room. He did a verse, I did a verse. It was super-honest. It’s so emotionally-charged that I don’t know whether it’s a good song or not.” The last time I met the chaps they were psyching themselves up for their July 2011 homecoming bash in the Aviva, a celebratory affair that attracted 50,000 rabid fans who clapped, sung, cheered, and squealed their way through the show. “When we left the hotel I was bricking it,” Danny confesses, “but it was one of those gigs where everything came together. Walking out I didn’t want to look up because I was too scared. It’s quite a thing when that many people have come to see you. “The best part of that day was that we caught it on DVD. We had only one shot to get it right but the stars aligned – the weather was great, the audience was up for it and we all played well. There’s a point in the show – it gets me every time – when you can see me mouthing at the lads, ‘Take it all in!’ You have to savour those moments because they may never happen again.”
25 The Script GoR 2.5 2
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Shoot to Thrill GoR 2-5 1
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Shoot to Thrill GoR 2-5 2
28 Bryan Cranston GoR 2.5 1
Currently starring in the fantastic thriller Argo, BRYAN CRANSTON tells ROE McDERMOTT about fame and his hit show Breaking Bad
here’s something a little different about the Breaking Bad viewer,” says the show’s star, Bryan Cranston. “People who like Breaking Bad, let’s just say we’re special and unique snowflakes! It’ll never be for the masses. People who like Law & Order like something they can count on, something that will end up nice and neat. Which is fine. But those people will look at Breaking Bad and get uncomfortable.” The role of Walter White, a high-school teacher who turns to a life of crime when he’s diagnosed with lung cancer, has become the defining role of Cranston’s career – a far cry from his previous most high-profile role as hapless Hal in Malcolm In The Middle. His performance, which is a complex layering of menace, doom and a skewed morality has deservedly earned the actor three consecutive Emmy awards. It’s a level of fame and recognition most young actors could only dream of. Cranston is grateful that he’s enjoying this success in middle-age. He admits that had he become a household name in his twenties, his life and ego would have been irrevocably different. “Oh yeah. Absolutely. And fame itself is so different now, I think becoming famous now is such a crazy, daunting uncontrollable thing. I just made Total Recall with Colin Farrell, and you know, he’s had his fun – he’s had several people’s fun! But he’s come out of it the other side, and I just have so much respect for him. He’s such a good man, and treats everyone well and with honesty, and I just think, ‘Good for you, man.’ His exploits were all over the papers, he had his day, but I think it was because he was young. You’re not mature enough to handle that kind of
attention and that level of fame. And you don’t know what to do with it and you’re scared it’ll end so you misuse it. “For me, I’m 56 years old, happily married, I have a child – I just want to work. I love the work. But at the end of the day I want to go home. And that reality helps me, because it means I feel safe going crazy in my professional life. I can do Breaking Bad and it doesn’t seep in, it doesn’t change who I am because I have a healthy grounding in normality.” While fans of Breaking Bad are already in mourning that it has entered its final season, Cranston is more philosophical about bidding farewell to the show. “I’ll be sad and I’ll miss it, but there’ll be more pride there. We created one hell of a ride. But I’ve other things I want to work on, I’ve written a murder mystery script that I’m going to direct, so my ride will continue – just in a different direction.“ For now, he has boundless enthusiasm for his latest project, the funny and nail-bitingly tense thriller Argo. Directed by Ben Affleck, the plot is centred on the true, completely outlandish mission to rescue six Americans at the height of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Playing a conflicted CIA officer torn between his gut and his orders, Cranston admits he was drawn to the emotional impact of this bizarre story. “I love this project. It not only proves that truth is stranger than fiction, but it shows what human beings are capable of when they do something for the right reasons. The story gets people. And that’s why I do this job. My drug is being able to affect emotion. When people stand and cheer at the end of Argo, we’ve got ‘em. When people scream in fear or hate me in Breaking Bad, I’ve got ‘em. Being able to bring others to emotional
heights or lows is a powerful thing.” While his incredible work on Breaking Bad has won him many awards as well as international acclaim, one film Cranston worked on was very controversially snubbed by the Academy Awards. Nicolas Winding Refn’s neo-noir thriller Drive topped every Best Film list of 2011, and so there was widespread condemnation of the Oscar’s decision not to grace it with even a nomination for Best Picture. Co-star Albert Brooks expressed his displeasure at the snub, but a philosophical Cranston took the decision in his stride. “For those of us who are lucky enough to do what we do for a living, you have to stay focused on creating. Those things, those people who decide who gets what award, it’s out of our control, and I don’t pay any attention to it. But,” he says mischievously, ”I’ve won three Emmys for Breaking Bad. And each one has been a lovely, surprising tap on the shoulder, saying, ‘We want to honour you.’ But I don’t look for it. You’re setting yourself up to be disappointed, and it alters the focus of your performance. You’ll never be a good actor unless you do it for good reason, and the random validation of unseen award panels isn’t a good reason for me.” Though Walter White may not be in Cranston’s future for very much longer, the actor isn’t planning to rest on his laurels. Currently working on a screenplay that he’s hoping to direct, Cranston says he’s looking forward to making the jump into the director’s chair and bringing his passion project to life. “It’s getting some traction now, and some people are interested so I’m very grateful for that. It’s a murder mystery, a very cool story. I’m a perfectionist so I’m constantly going in and tightening and reshaping it, but I’m excited.”
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30 Neil Morrissey GoR 2-5 1
SHADES OF NEIL
Badly behaved man, singing builder, stage thesp and craft brewer, Neil Morrissey has led quite the life. Coming to his ancestral home to play Fagin in Oliver!, he talks to Craig Fitzpatrick about contentment at 50 and a career in renaissance after facing near financial ruin.
e may have reached the half century mark this summer, but someone still loves Neil Morrissey. Though it likely passed you by amidst the Glastos and Electric Picnics, July was a month-long Festival Of Neil. The man who came to prominence playing loveable lad Tony Smart in Men Behaving Badly chuckles warmly at the memory. “My partner Emma really treated me well. We had the party and then there was lots of other little surprises along the way. It wasn’t all ‘glamour’, I wasn’t staying at the Ritz or anything, but she’d organised for people who I’d known throughout my life to just turn up in various odd places. In Paris, in Barcelona...” Like This Is Your Life on tour. Pretty humbling, I’ve never had a month-long Festival Of Craig... “Well when you turn 50, that’s it,” he consoles me in chummy Midlands tones. “You only get it once in your life. For my 60th I’m getting a pizza and a movie!” Did the festival culminate in a crowd burning a 70 foot straw version of yourself in a field? It would have been a nice way to wrap it up. “It would have!” he laughs. “With a dark céilí band playing in the corner, burning a large effigy of myself with everyone praising it on high. That would be hilarious!” I find Morrissey in his Leeds digs, sipping a cup of Barry’s tea, another birthday gift. “Me and Martin Clunes were friends for years before Men Behaving Badly and he introduced me to Barry’s. He bought me 50 boxes of it because I haven’t been able to find it in London.” He’ll have a chance to stock up further over the festive period when he comes to Dublin. Morrissey is resuming his recent, well-received role in Oliver! as Fagin, with a run in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. But it might be the harder stuff garnering his attention. A big fan of Dublin but unaware of its new range of craft pubs, he’s delighted by the news. Not that he wants to drink the city dry. He’s a home brewer himself, launching a Morrissey Fox range of real ale several years ago. “Whenever I’ve been there before, I’ve only concentrated on the Guinness, which is probably my mistake. Craft brewers really interest me, so I’ll be going around checking them out.” What prompted him to get into
brewing himself? “I just think it’s from year and years of drinking! The first brew we did was in my mate’s kitchen, with converted eskie to keep the water hot. Kettles boiling, a giant stock pot, and then another eskie where we fermented it all.” Sampling by day, treading the boards by night. How are the musical numbers going? “I put a bit of extra emphasis on the gravel for the character so it’s quite tough on the voice but I’m not destroying it. It just takes a bit of time to warm up during the day.” Of course, Morrissey has plenty of experience singing in character. As the voice of Bob The Builder, he had a Christmas No. 1 with ‘Can We Fix It?’ in 2000. Nice to have on the CV. “I went to the Ivor Novellos, which is quite a prestigious thing. I was sat between Annie Lennox and Stevie Wonder when the ‘Single of the Year’ came up and they brought me on stage to collect the award. I mean, we sold 1.6 million copies.” Did he or the writers ever think of taking Obama to task over him nicking ‘Yes We Can’? “Shoulda done, shouldn’t we? I’m still waiting for the postcard BARACK!” Arch versions of ‘You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two’ aside, this is Dickens. The gritty undercurrent, inherent realism and social commentary in the source material can’t be denied. “You start from the root of how it was written,” he agrees. “What was Fagin meant to be? This evil groomer of children, for his own benefit.” Morrissey’s own tough upbringing has been well-documented. Embarking on multiple burglaries with his brother as a child in Stafford, the pair were legally separated from their Irishborn parents at a young age and placed in separate care homes. It seems like he initially had the role of the Artful Dodger more in mind than Fagin. “I probably would have been able to do a really good job when I was 10! Obviously there are similarities – art imitating life and vice versa. Dickens was a great social reformer. He was actually in debtors prison himself with his parents when he was young. So he had great experience of being that underprivileged person. When he became so very famous he tried to put a lot of that stuff right.”
With his family torn asunder in his formative years, does Neil still identify himself as Irish? “I’ve always felt a connection to the place,” he asserts. “North and south. Mum from Armagh and dad from Kilkenny. Hopefully it’s not getting lost in my son, having been born and brought up in England, and me not being fully Irish. But I am by blood. From various familial break-ups, we don’t really keep up with most of the family. But I know that my uncle Mick and my auntie May will be coming down with all the kids to see the show.” They’ll surely be thinking ‘the boy done good’. The prodigal son is in a positive place now but there have been dark days. In 2009, his property firm collapsed. Rather than declare bankruptcy, however, the resilient and assured actor vowed to repay his debts. It meant several years of hard work and bare bones living, but he’s been as good as his word. “In myself I’ve always been kinda happy with the way things are. But it’s nice to get everything sorted and get some high-profile work and do some really good things.” Not only did it get his house in order, but it benefited his acting. This year alone found Morrissey taking on two roles – one dramatic, one comedic – that made him a talked-about face on our TV screens once again. His terrific turn in BBC crime thriller Line Of Duty showed his range. “Oh, man, it was total rock ‘n’ roll, that was. It’s nice to be trusted to do something like that.” Meanwhile, he’s on more familiar ground in new sitcom Me & Mrs Jones, featuring our own Robert Sheehan. “He’s destined for great things is Robert,” he notes. “I said to him, ‘look, in the future, you’re going to need a father in Hollywood. They’re going to cast you and there’ll be a dad. Now think of me when you’re there!’” From Men Behaving Badly to middle-age, does he worry about being typecast in shows? Does he heck. “I know I’d rather be doing that than nothing!” he pipes cheerily. Still here, still unflappable after all these years. A decade ago, he was telling Hot Press that he only felt as grown-up as a man in Neil Morrissey’s body could be. “I don’t know what the numbers mean. Except, the difference between 40 and 50 is that I’ve got achy hips now. I’m definitely not going to bungee jump. I don’t want that in my life. But seriously, that’s exactly how I still feel.” Neil Morrissey plays Fagin in Oliver! which runs in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin until January 12. www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
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Katie wears black/pink adidas essentials 3 stripe track top, RRP 造40 Life Style Sports
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Ireland’s golden girl KATIE TAYLOR opens up to CELINA MURPHY about her Olympic triumph and life after London 2012.
othing’s impossible, they tell us. But there’s a big difference between hearing that old chestnut spouted by a friendly, animated doorknob in Disney’s Alice In Wonderland and seeing the impossible happen on your telly screens one Thursday afternoon.
For 26-year-old Bray native Katie Taylor, the impossible was always the same; to have the sport she loves and excels at, women’s amateur boxing, recognised by the Olympic Games. “I’ve always dreamed of becoming an Olympic champion,” she says. “I just knew that there was an Olympic Champion inside of me. I think that was just a dream or a design that God put in me heart, really, so I was just trying to work hard throughout me whole life.” The 5’ 5” powerhouse is famously sweet and softly-spoken outside the ring, preferring to let her boxing do the talking, but today, she’s certainly not mincing words. “There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t think about becoming an Olympic Champion, throughout my whole childhood. It’s really what got me out of bed and inspired me every single day.” This is the chapter of Katie’s story that’s usually skimmed over, the boring part. For 15 years, the confident sportswoman did everything in her power to make the impossible happen, training six days a week, 52 weeks a year, to hone her skills, and campaigning to convince Olympic bigwigs that female boxers should be allowed to compete. “I was getting fitter and stronger all the time,” she reflects, “that was so important for me.
Nobody trained harder than me.” Somewhere along the way, Katie became a national celebrity and poster girl for the sport, winning everyone over with her flawless looks and shy charm. But if humble Katie is a promoter’s dream – who wouldn’t pay to see the gorgeous girl-next-door who can knock you out with a single hit? – she insists that it’s not due to any efforts on her part. “I just try to be myself,” she shrugs. “I don’t really go with what the stereotypes are saying. I don’t get influenced by any of that and I’ve never been influenced by what society wants. When I was growing up, everyone was against women’s boxing. Obviously, every time you go out you just want to look your best, that’s just natural, so I try to look my best any time I go out to an awards ceremony or anytime I go for a night out. Not because the cameras are there but because you want to feel that way.” The good news finally came through in 2009; the International Olympic Committee had added women’s boxing to the agenda for London 2012. And we all know what happened next, because we were watching, with quickening heart rates, through our fingers. “It’s just great hearing all the stories from people, telling you where they were when they saw the fights, telling you what they were doing and how everyone went crazy,” Taylor beams, two months on from her 10-8 victory over Russia’s Sofya Ochigava, “It’s so encouraging listening to their stories and everyone seems to be so happy for me. The support that I got from people, young to old, in the last few weeks has just been incredible. You’d only get something like this in Ireland, I think.” The Irish easily proved that we have the most powerful lungs; the decibel level during Taylor’s August 7 fight with Natasha Jonas hit 113.7, the highest recorded at London 2012, a noise not far
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Katie wears black/white adidas cool train track top, ¤60 Life Style Sports
I think we’re on this planet to leave a mark on this generation of people and that’s what we all should be looking for...
off that of a jet engine. “It’s deadly!” she laughs. “With or without drink we’re exceptionally loud! It was just unbelievable, and that was when we were boxing against the English girl! I thought, ‘The English are going to have so much support here’ but it was just incredible. I couldn’t believe it, like. When I walked out, I thought, ‘What is going on?’ We have the best fans in the world!” It’s been suggested that the Irish public are that much louder because we’ve had things that much tougher over the past few years. Is that something that Katie considered when Taylormania was in full swing? “Yeah, it definitely is. I know quite a few families going through a hard time, people losing jobs and stuff like that. I live on a council estate, and there are so many families even in that estate that are going through hard times. It’s great just to give them something to cheer them up so that they can forget their problems, even for a few minutes.”
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But the impact of Katie’s triumph didn’t stop on August 9. Taylor’s inaugural gold medal win has had an immeasurable effect on the Irish people, many of whom felt personally motivated by her story, even if they’ve never set foot inside a boxing ring. “It’s amazing, you know, feeling that we’ve inspired people. I think we’re on this planet to leave a mark on this generation of people and that’s what we all should be looking for. It’s great to be a world-changer, to be a history-maker, it’s amazing to think that you’re inspiring young people, even some of the young boxers, and there are so many girls getting into it now, they’re all getting a great start. I’m hoping they can stick at it and we’ll make some great stars for the future.” For now, though, it’s back to business for everyone, including Katie. The young champion has five European and four world titles to defend, not to mention a date with Rio in 2016, so you’ll mostly find her at Bray Boxing Club, six days
a week, 52 weeks a year. For the rest of us, it’s Budget 2013 and snow forecasts and scrimping for Christmas. But at least, thanks to a truly magical summer, we can tackle it with a spring in our step. “During the Olympic Games, for me and all the lads who brought home silver medals, the Paralympians as well,” Taylor muses, “it was just great for the whole country to give them that bit of hope. We are all destined for greatness, really. We all have greatness inside of us. “I think I am really a testament that if there are dreams that you have got in your heart, they can be fulfilled. I just want everyone to know that any dreams that they have in their heart are worth making happen, if you just continue to drive on and work for them. Nothing’s impossible.” Adidas ambassador Katie was speaking at Lifestyle Sports in the Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin.
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HUGHES DARES �ns He’s a TV presenter and, without quite having intended it, a posterboy for gay partnerships in Ireland. Over dinner at Dublin's Wuff eaterie, Alan Hughes talks love, life and why he’s doing panto. WORDS: Anne Sexton PHOTOS: Anna Kerslake
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t’s a nippy Thursday evening when I meet television star Alan Hughes and his husband, composer and writer Karl Broderick, at Wuff, a charming and buzzy bistro in Benburb Street, Dublin 7
for lunch!” Tucking into our food with relish, I ask about the pantomime. While Alan is one of the stars, Karl is responsible for the script. “This is my seventeenth year doing panto so Christmas to me is the theatre, it revolves around that,” Karl says. “It becomes a very special occasion because the people you work with, you work so intensely over such a special time. It’s a panto family.” Karl shows me photos of Alan in previous incarnations of Sammy Sausages, a role he’s reprising this year because of popular demand. “People kept phoning up year after year asking ‘Is Sammy Sausages coming back?’” Alan resumes. “Sammy is a bit like the Buttons character in Cinderella, a fun adult child. If people see me on Ireland AM or Family Fortunes, it’s pretty much the same character! It’s me, just being silly!” The pantomime is a lavish production with lots of care and attention paid to the sets and costumes. Not a cheap show to stage, I venture. “It costs the guts of €200,000,” says Alan. “A bit more than that,” Karl adds. “I’ve done the budget!” “If you skimp it shows and people see it,” Alan continues. “Even though it’s a small theatre we’re trying to pretend we’re in the O2. We pack out every year and the bookings are way ahead this year, so we’ll be packed to the rafters. Even with the recession I think people just want to have a laugh and bring the family out. Karl writes this real double-entendre script so there are parts where the kids don’t get it but the adults are laughing their heads off.” Although the panto is hard work it has one benefit that someone with Alan’s schedule is sure to relish. “You don’t have to get up at quarter past five in the morning. I take time off from TV3 over Christmas and even though you are doing two shows a day you can lie in until 12 o’clock and be in the theatre for two. It does help to have a lie in over Christmas.” Doing theatre is very different to television, and he
Alan is a regular on TV3, both mornings and evenings, as the presenter of the Saturday night primetime quiz show, Family Fortunes, as well as being something of an institution on Ireland AM. “It’s been 12 years of early starts and going home early. I don’t work on Fridays so I can go out on a Thursday, which helps, but if I crash after a glass of wine, you’ll know why,” he laughs. For someone who has been on the go since early in the morning, Alan is full of energy. To get to the studio in time for the breakfast television show Alan rises at the rather frightening hour of 5.15am. “I’m often going to bed at that time,” laughs Karl. You would think that between Family Fortunes and Ireland AM and those pesky early mornings Alan wouldn’t have much energy left over for anything else, but currently he is also preparing for the Christmas panto, Snow White & The Adventures Of Sammy Sausages, taking place at the Tivoli Theatre from December 12 – January 12. Getting ready for the role involves a certain amount of culinary sacrifice. “I’m on a carb-free diet,” Alan tells me when the waitress arrives to take our order. I feel sorry for him until he says he’s lost 10 pounds. “I do love carbs, bread, potatoes, pasta but it works. You can drink, but no carbs.” Wuff’s menu is a great mix of classic and more unusual dishes. Alan orders the crab cake to begin; Karl has the beetroot, apple and Clonakilty black pudding salad; and I opt for the wood pigeon. The diet doesn’t seem too restrictive as Alan decides on slow roasted pork belly for his main course – not exactly a low-calorie option! Pork belly is a particular favourite of mine, so I have the same while Karl’s choice is pan-fried sea bass. While all the portions are on the large side, Karl’s salad starter is huge. “That’s massive!” exclaims Alan. “I’d have that
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NICE TO MEATH YOU
STUART CLARK brings you the latest foodie news
enjoys the contrast between the two. “I love the buzz of hundreds of kids screaming at you. Every show is different. It’s not like doing a straight play. If things go wrong you ad lib. Kids are shouting, adults are shouting at you.” The audience interaction can have unexpected joyous moments, notes Karl. “Last year one of the characters was flirting with Alan and Alan had to act all shy and somebody shouted, ‘He’s married!’ and the whole audience lost it, screaming with laughter and it got a big round of applause.” “Another lovely thing happened last year. A family of about seventeen people who go to the panto every year, came up to me to say ‘hello’. There were kids and grandkids and grandparents and one of the kids said, ‘Do you know who that is? That’s Sammy Sausages’ husband!’” reminisces Karl. “Isn’t that lovely? It’s so progressive for this day and age,” says Alan. Alan and Karl have no desire to be the poster-boys for gay marriage, but as Ireland’s most high-profile gay couple and with civil partnership still relatively new, they understand why the media has used them this way. Although sometimes the connection is rather tenuous. “There was a thing in the Mail recently about this area being full of gay couples and there was a photograph of our wedding. We don’t live here!” laughs Alan. They may not live here, but with dinner ended, they decide that it’s worth returning to the area, as Wuff deserves a second visit. “That was lovely,” says Alan. “We’ll definitely have to come back.” I suspect that will be without a journalist in tow, but I can’t blame them for that.
The Damage Wuff, 23 Benburb Street, Dublin 7 Alan began with the crab cake with mango and apple salad (€7.95). Karl had the salad of beetroot, apple & Clonakilty black pudding with crushed walnuts and blue cheese (€7.95); I had the breast of wood pigeon on puy lentils with a blueberry sauce (€8.45). For the main course, Alan and I had the slow roasted pork belly with celeriac wedges and an apple-beetroot puree while Karl had the pan-fried sea bass served with sweet potato mash and a chunky Romesco sauce (all (€18.95). To torture Alan, I ordered a side of creamy mash (€3.95). All the portions were generous. Those large portions meant Alan was unable to have dessert, although I struggled through a warm pear and almond tart with whipped cream (€6.50) but it was a case of the eyes being bigger than the belly. To accompany the meal we ordered a bottle of Vicar’s Choice Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (€26). For those on a tight budget, the house wines are priced at a very reasonable €18. The quality and quantity of the food make Wuff excellent value so it is no surprise that the restaurant was completely packed. If you are planning a visit, you’d be wise to book beforehand.
Rock Lobster and (below) Tattersalls
TOP OF THE POP-UPS The pop-up dining revolution continues with Nick Munier’s Pichet chef partner Stephen Gibson and David Rice, formerly of the Michelin-starred Chapter One, joining forces for one night only on February 9 in Tattersalls Country House, Ratoath, Co. Meath. The duo will be conjuring up a seven-course tasting menu, which guests will be able to wash down with their own BYOB wine. Along with the food and the vino, there’s also the palatial manor and its grounds to savour. A hundred tickets priced €70 are available from (01) 886 4300 and email@example.com. ROCK STAR Difficult economic climate or not, nary a week passes without a new addition to Dublin’s already thriving restaurant scene. Go Rail has taken a big gastronomic shine to Rock Lobster, a steak, seafood ‘n’ cocktail joint perched above the famous Kiley’s of Donnybrook. Along with the monster 36oz, 55-day aged Porterhouse for two (€55), we recommend the
tapas-style piggy puffs with ginger puree and posh fish & chips (€3.50 each) and the spiced venison carpaccio, horseradish & watercress (€6.50) and fried duck egg with flaked lobster & sea greens (€8.90). Mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01) 202 8585 for bookings. Adding to Donnybrook’s growing reputation as a foodie enclave is The Black Pig, a Spanish deli and wine shop residing at 95B Morehampton road (blackpig.ie). Top of the ‘must try’ list is their melt-in-themouth Salchichón Ibérico DO Guijuelo ham. FALLS GOLD Go Rail’s quest to assemble the ultimate Irish cheeseboard continues, with Bluebells Falls Cygnus, a tangy soft goats’ cheese handmade by the Keane family on their Ballynacally, County Clare farm. See bluebellfalls.ie for a list of stockists or order online – a 500g Cygnus log is €12.50 and perfect for freezing. THE REAL DEAL Carton House has launched a new series of online cookery lessons – the Seafood Chowder looks especially yum – conducted by their Executive Chef Cathal Kavanagh who also has a winning way with fish goujons and peppered steak (cartonhouse. com/cookery-video-gallery.html). Kavanagh had lots of hungry footballing mouths to feed a couple of years ago when the Real Madrid squad stayed at the Kildare country pile.
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Immersed in Irish heritage, Hennessy has evolved to become one of Ireland’s most well-known and best loved cognac brands. Founded by Corkonian Richard Hennessy in 1765, Hennessy has stood the test of time and today draws upon 200 years of knowledge, talent, expertise and passion. Although the Hennessy brand has evolved, the true art form of its traditions and methods remain timeless. Hennessy’s collection of cognacs are the ideal blend of tradition and heritage, making Hennessy ideal for enjoying at home, sharing with friends or as a gift for the festive season.
Hennessy V.S Gift Box This Christmas, Hennessy is delighted to present the Hennessy V.S Gift Box, which encases the iconic Hennessy V.S bottle in an eyecatching limited edition box emblazoned with gold patterns and stars. Illustrating the consistency of the Hennessy style for more than a century, Hennessy V.S is the benchmark for cognac the world over; its fine balance between power and elegance has ensured its popularity with millions of connoisseurs. Create the perfect unique moment this season with Hennessy V.S Gift Box: savour it neat, on ice or with a mixer and reveal the liveliness of its character. RRP ¤28.99
Hennessy V.S.O.P Inspired by a cognac created in 1817, in response to a request from the future king of England George IV, Hennessy V.S.O.P has built its reputation over two centuries. Hennessy V.S.O.P is renowned for its
harmonious and well-structured blend, much-loved aromas, balance and long lasting finish. Now established as the world’s favourite cognac, Hennessy V.S.O.P easily matches every tasting occasion, whether enjoyed on the rocks, as a long drink or in a more creative mix. Hennessy’s new V.S.O.P bottle, expertly crafted by Chris Bangle the first American Chief Designer of BMW, encompasses all the fine attributes of Hennessey cognac. Contemporary and elegant with a taller, thinner silhouette, iridescent premium labels and an elevated glass base, Chris brought his daring design and far-reaching influence to this new bottle. RRP ¤47.89
Hennessy X.O Flask
The Hennessy X.O Flask gift set is the perfect choice for someone special this Christmas. Presented in a festively designed luxury gift box with shiny copper-gold hot stamping, the gift set contains a bottle of Hennessy X.O, along with a copper gold metalized glass flask and branded funnel to ease flask fulfillment. Intense with a deep amber colour, which signifies its strength, Hennessy X.O has flavours of candied fruit, with a subtle and lightly spiced nose which creates a complete harmony. The smooth, full sensation taste of Hennessy X.O gives a simultaneously powerful and soft tonality with a hint of cocoa and a warm fruit. A cognac that can be tasted neat or on the rocks, Hennessy X.O is the mainstay of the prestige range, making this gift set an ideal present for lovers of luxury in your life. RRP ¤120.00
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LET'S GET CONNECTED... PATRICK COTTER, the founder of on-the-go web provider FLEETCONNECT, talks to COLM O'HARE about rolling out wi-fi access to Iarnród Éireann passengers. PHOTOS ANNA KERSLAKE
nyone who has travelled on the Iarnród Éireann network recently will no doubt be aware that they can now enjoy a full Wi-Fi service – that is, free internet access for the duration of their journey. Full wireless connectivity on the move is now available to all mainline passengers, whether they use laptops, smartphones, tablets, browsers or any other Wi-Fi enabled device. The service, which began on the Dublin-Cork route in late 2011, was rolled out over the rest of the mainline network during 2012 and is now fully complete. The Wi-Fi system on the Iarnród Éireann fleet was designed and installed by award-winning Dublin company FleetConnect, a leading Irish provider of wireless communications products and services, with a specific focus on passenger transport. The Blanchardstown-based mobile broadband provider which was set up in 2008 has also installed Wi-Fi services on Bus Eireann’s Express routes as well as on private operator services including, JJ Kavanagh & Sons, Aircoach and Matthews Coaches. As FleetConnect founder and MD Patrick Cotter explains, the Iarnród Éireann project was four years in the planning, designing and implementation. “It was a huge undertaking both for us and for Iarnród Éireann and it involved a challenging timeline,” he explains. “Thanks to great teamwork between ourselves and Iarnród Éireann, we’re delighted to see its completion. It makes Ireland the only European country with complete Wi-Fi coverage on the mainline rail network, something that we take particular pride in.” The use of laptops on trains has long been a feature of rail travel both here and elsewhere mainly down to the business community. However, it’s the recent growth of smartphone usage that has greatly expanded the demand for Wi-Fi services on the move. According to statistics collected by Iarnród Éireann, smartphones typically now outnumber laptops by a factor of two to one. For example, in the last week of October 2012, 15,800 phones were detected using the service as compared to 7,619 laptops and 1,908 tablets. In the same week, iPhone and Androidpowered devices were in the lead with 9,802 and 8,210 respectively. The next most popular OS was Windows 7 (5,699 uses). There were slightly more iPods than iPads (2,826 vs 2,236). RIM’s BlackBerry, which was not so long ago the coveted mobile device, recorded just 628 uses over that week! FleetConnect’s service uses Icomera
equipment, which takes a feed from three of the four mobile networks, O2, Three and Vodafone, at any one time to ensure speeds are as consistent as possible. Iarnród Éireann’s free Wi-Fi service uses multiple 3G+ mobile broadband networks to deliver a faster, higher availability connection while the Icomera X6 also includes a powerful onboard server and hosting environment for content storage and connected applications. “It’s about giving the customers the best passenger experience possible,” says Patrick Cotter. “And while the service is free, we are actively managing the performance of the users. We can give everybody using our services on the trains a consistent downloading and uploading speed but we’ve introduced a fair usage policy for all users. Iarnród Éireann and ourselves are blocking a lot of downloading and streaming sites and any other sites that take up a lot of bandwidth. Most people simply want to access the web and to check their email as well as to socialise via Twitter or Facebook and this won’t
be affected by this policy.” To say that the Wi-Fi service on Iarnród Éireann has been a rip-roaring success would be an understatement. The statistics speak for themselves; between June and July this year, the number of monthly users more than doubled, from around 40,715 to 103,683. There was a dip in numbers during August to 72,413 – possibly explained by people being away on holidays – and then an increase to 140,541 in September and again to 160,961 in October. Average session times hovered around 49 minutes between September and early November. The Iarnród Éireann Wi-Fi service has passed one million unique sessions. Patrick Cotter: “We now have half a million Wi-Fi users a month with 35% of those being repeat users. Average time online for a onehour journey is 46 minutes. We’re committed to making the service as good as it can be. Obviously, things break down from time to time but we’re doing very well and disruption so far has been minimal.”
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THE NORTH-WESTS UNDISCOVERED TREASURE With a vibrant arts scene, fantastic restaurants and loads of activities, Sligo has something for everyone – and more besides! OLIVER P. SWEENEY takes us on a tour of his hometown.
he ‘Gateway to the North-West’, Sligo is a bustling historic town with a character and flavour all its own. On the banks of the Garavogue River, it is the most important commercial port on the west coast of Ireland and home to more than 20,000 souls. Well served by rail links, en route from Dublin one can take the train from Connolly, landing in MacDiarmada Station – named after the 1916 Irish patriot Seán MacDiarmada. The station is elevated and provides a great vantage point from which to see some of the landmark buildings in the town, including the Town Hall, the Court House and the Cathederal. There’s lots to do both in the town itself and in the beautiful surrounding countryside. Sligo hosts regular festivals and cultural events to satisfy all appetites. You can also follow your nose, in search of those special signposts that underline the importance of Sligo to modern Irish history. About five miles north of Sligo on the N15 is situated the village of Drumcliffe, sitting on a curve of Sligo Bay. The local churchyard is where the great WB Yeats – a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and one of the most important English language poets of the past 150 years – was laid to rest, in the shadow of his beloved Benbulben. His tombstone carries the wonderfully resonant legend: “Horsemen pass by...” Close by is Lissadell House, now owned by Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy, but best known as the ancestral seat of the Gore-Booth family, who feature in some of Yeats’ poems, quoted by Leonard Cohen when he played two memorable concerts there in 2010. The seaside villages of Rosses Point – the West of Ireland Golf Championship is held on the famous, eponymous links course every year
– and Strandhill, across the bay, are well worth a visit, where various forms of aquatic sports, from swimming to surfing are the lifeblood of the region. The surfing in Strandhill is especially good. Away from the town itself, one can also find the megalithic tombs of Carrowmore (in Irish, the great quarter or area) – one of four major passage tomb cemeteries in Ireland. There are around 30 tombs in all, still standing. Meanwhile, near the small town of Ballymote in the south of the county on Keshcorran Hill are situated the
Caves of Keash. When the caves were explored in 1901 and again in 1929, bones of reindeer, boar, wolf and arctic lemming were found, along with the remains of a large variety of birds, and the caves were also reputed to be home to brown bears for a long time. There are libraries and museums to whet both literary and historical tastes in the town of Sligo, while 15 miles away in Gurteen is the Coleman Centre, so named in honour of Michael Coleman, the emigrant fiddler who is widely regarded as having been the most important influence on the development of latter day traditional Irish music. If culture is a crucial reason for heading to Sligo, that’s because there’s lots and lots to enjoy. Stretching back several decades, both Feis Shligigh and Feis Ceoil have been lynchpins of the arts calendar. Past prizewinners include the well known actors Brenda Fricker and Biddy White-Lennon. Classical music has a strong presence in the region too and organisations such as Con Brio organise events in local theatres on a regular basis. In my own youth, growing up in Sligo, the Sligo Town Orchestra featured Seamus McGuire (of Buttons and Bows and the West Ocean String Quartet) and my then 10-year-old younger brother Paul. It has, regrettably, fallen by the wayside in recent times. For people who know and love literature, the Yeats Festival is a fixture every July, and features lectures and symposia involving literary and academic heavyweights – including, a couple of years ago, Larry Kirwan (himself originally from Wexford), of New York’s brilliant Irish-influenced rock outfit Black 47!
A NOBEL PURSUIT Next year marks the centenary of one of WB Yeats’ finest works, ‘September 1913’. Set against the backdrop of labour agitation and a controversy concerning the importance of art, it is a powerful work that delivered some the most memorable lines in Irish literary history. “Romantic Ireland is dead and gone,” Yeats lamented, “It’s with O’Leary in the grave.” In the year of The Gathering, that landmark poem will form a core theme at the 54th Annual Yeats International Summer School, with an illustrious cast from the world of letters gathering in Sligo for two weeks of readings, workshops – and fun! The country’s pioneering summer school will take place from July 28 to August 9, with lecturers including Helen Vendler (Harvard University), George Bornstein (University of Michigan) and Susan Wolfson (Princeton University). Sam McCready will lead a drama workshop and Paula Meehan a poetry workshop. Special events include a reading by Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, a themed day on 1913 and Labour History, and a workshop, titled Yeats: A Vision. For more info on this celebration of Ireland’s Nobel Prize winning poet, go to www.yeats-sligo.com.
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Hargadons Pub, a ﬁre breather at the Velvet Rooms and Astral Pearl by Martina Hamilton from The Cat & The Moon
On the music front, Sligo Live, held over the extended October Bank Holiday weekend, has become one of the most important events in the Irish music calendar. Now in its eighth year, with something of the order of 80% of its performances being free, it is well worth attending. Its plans for 2013 are the most ambitious yet, with a major focus on The Gathering, and, in addition, the expansion of its social media elements. With headliners in 2012 of the calibre of Van Morrison, Bell X1, and Joan Armatrading, future visitors to the festival can be assured of similar quality. On a more localised basis, the South Sligo Traditional Music Week, held each July in Tubbercurry, features the best of our native music, and attracts a wide visitor base from Europe and beyond. If more informal entertainment is what is sought, then Sligo has its share of venues and bands to accommodate every taste, from Sharon Conway and Ruby Ridge to Waterboy Steve Wickham, a long-time resident. The Model, formerly a school, has been transformed in recent times into a multi-discipline arts centre which has played host to such luminaries as Wallis Bird, The Undertones, and Pokey La Farge, while since its inception the Hawkswell Theatre has established itself as one of the region’s premier venues for music and drama. Elsewhere, venues such as McGarrigle’s, Furey’s Bar, the Garavogue, and Shoot The Crows regularly play host to the likes of Sharon Shannon, various Conway sisters, local bands on the up and visiting acts alike. The Source, which is also a restaurant and cookery school, regularly features musical guests from right across the
spectrum. In other words, music is never far away in this part of the world! If retail therapy is your thing, then Sligo will not be found wanting. On the contrary! Several shopping centres, both within and without the city’s environs are capable of satisfying any urge or budget. Johnson’s Court houses every kind of outlet from the Sony Shop to H. Samuel Jewellers, not to mention my personal favourite, Hargadon’s Wine Shop. Meanwhile, hmv has as comprehensive a selection of CDs and DVDs as its counterparts in the capital. The rest of the retail spectrum is just as well catered for, with flagship stores such as Elvery’s Sports, Meteor and 3 Mobile communications occupying positions of prominence in the centre, which boasts a strong footfall. If those feet need a rest, mind, there is a Costa Coffee outlet to hand, and a juice bar to restore the most jaded palate. Just a short walk away is Quayside, where instantly recognisable high street brands – Monsoon, where my wife bought two fabulous dresses a couple of weeks ago, Next and Paco among them – sit alongside others like TK Maxx, Specsavers, and River Island. Coffee shops and various eateries in this location – Bagel Bar, Café Mezzanine among them – mean that one can enjoy a latte afterwards. A favourite niece of mine swears that the chocolate cake on offer at Yum Yum’s is to die for. Having seen the look of ecstasy on her face post snack, I wouldn’t dare disagree! Added to all of this – and a huge boon for harassed parents – is a children’s play area. Multi-storey parking is conveniently situated there also. I can offer personal testimony to the excellence
A N G E L A’ S C L A S S E S A constituent college of NUI Galway, St. Angela’s began life as a training college for teachers of Home Economics. In recent years, it has broadened its educational base considerably and now provides courses in three major areas, namely Education, Nursing Health Science and Disability Studies, and Home Economics itself. Since it began, there has always been a conscious effort on behalf of college authorities to reflect the constantly changing face of education, and many of the programmes offered are now delivered via blended learning, responding to the varietal needs of the student body, which now stands at over 1,000. Two new programmes – the BA in Textiles, Fashion & Design, and the Diploma in Applied Science in Food & Business Management, reflect the college’s desire to remain at the cutting edge of innovation. Of equal significance is the provision and development of an Access Programme for school leavers and mature students who wish to engage in a third-level study programme. Successful participants will be able to apply directly to St. Angela’s, Sligo, or NUIG for their chosen course of study.
on offer in The Cat & The Moon Jewellers, having not only replaced our wedding rings – one stolen, one damaged – with two handmade Celtic bands some four years ago, but also from using it as a staple for birthdays and anniversaries for both my wife, adult daughter, and sister-in-law. This is distinctive, designer jewellery from the redoubtable Martina Hamilton, at very affordable prices. As if that weren’t enough, the upstairs space plays host to an art gallery, where the endeavours of some of the country’s best artistic talent is on show, for sale, and in exhibitions. Make no mistake, letting one’s hair down is a venerable Sligo tradition. If it’s a stag or hen party you’re after, or corporate event, the Velvet Rooms, with its gorgeous river front location, is a great spot to go, where you will be looked after in fine style. How do I know this? The manager is a good friend of mine! Sligo’s reputation as a gourmand’s delight is also well merited, with a wide range of tastes and prices catering to every palate. Montmartre, which offers superb French cuisine, is the place to go for that very special occasion. Elsewhere, the very excellent Coach Lane @ Donaghy’s addresses the wider palate in both its upstairs restaurant and in the bar. A stroll down O’Connell St. will bring you past Hargadon’s Pub, one of the town’s oldest businesses. Its food is out of this world, where simplicity meets wild imaginings. Try its spicy prawns in linguine if you don’t believe me! Regional delicacies – in this case Sardinian food – are the order of the day on the menu card in Limoncello. Good food, great prices, and a desire to please make this an excellent place to visit. Most – if not all – of the above have been mentioned in various tour guides by the likes of Georgina Campbell and those nice people from Bridgestone, with Coach Lane and Hargadon’s in particular winning premier gongs, not once, but several times. Sligo has always prided itself on being a family friendly location, a combination of the fabulous natural amenities and the imaginative marketing of the various local hotels offering a cornucopia of activities – from horse riding and pony trekking to theatre visits, and internally devised entertainment programmes designed to give Mum and Da a break too! If one is a sporting fan, there is much on offer, including – in season of course – a visit to the Showgrounds on match day to see the mighty Sligo Rovers in action. Not to labour the point, but the club are the current Airtricity League champions, having been within touching distance over the last three years! So there you have it. A visit to Sligo is a unique and brilliantly friendly experience, one which will live in the memory for a long time to come. Catch a train and come see us soon, okay?
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University Learning in a Unique College Environment Undergraduate Programmes include: Bachelor of Arts (Textiles, Fashion Design with Business Management) - new for 2013 Diploma of Applied Science with Food and Business Management – new for 2013 Bachelor of Education - Home Economics with Biology - Home Economics with Religious Education - Home Economics with Irish - Home Economics with Economics Bachelor of Applied Science with Food and Business Management Bachelor of Nursing Science (General Nursing) Bachelor of Nursing Science (Intellectual Disability Nursing) Bachelor of Arts (Health and Disability Studies) Bachelor of Arts (Youth and Family Studies)
St. Angela’s College, Sligo also offers a range of programmes at Postgraduate Level, Adult and Continuing Education Programmes, Professional Development Modules as well as an Access/Foundation Course.
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Lough Gill, Co Sligo, Ireland T: +353 (0)71 91 43580 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stangelas.nuigalway.ie
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MEATH The Boyne Valley A PLACE WHERE HISTORY WAS MADE
It’s on the capital’s doorstep and boasts a plethora of attractions of huge national – and international – importance. Here’s all you need to know about one of Ireland’s most historic regions...
he Meath and Louth region is one of Ireland’s lessdiscovered treasures. It has some of the country’s great historical landmarks, a rich outdoor and sporting tradition and, at the heart of it is the Boyne Valley, a world UNESCO heritage site of landmark importance.
A river feeds and nourishes the places through which it runs. Follow the course of any important river and you’ll discover the towns and villages that tend to piece themselves together astride the watery trail. Historically, rivers provided a route along which goods could be transported, making it easier to get the materials that were required to build houses, shops, bars and schools across the country. Most towns started as trading posts and grew from there, with people from the hinterland travelling in to pick up the essentials for survival and to eat, drink and carouse in the hosteleries and bars that sprang up. Rivers also provide water and a source of irrigation for the surrounding countryside. And they evoke atmosphere and a scenic opportunity to create more interesting and attractive places to live. The Boyne Valley provides a rich example of that slow-burning, long-term dynamic in action. The valley, which travels from the source of the river near the hill of Carbury in Kildare to where it runs into the sea at Mornington, Co.Meath, is a great starting point
for anyone who wants to get to know the special appeal of the area. The landscape inland is lush and wooded, providing numerous great places for outdoor purdsuits of different kinds. Towards the sea, an area wonderfully evoked in Neil Jordan’s beautifully written novel Shade, it is home to wintering birds and wildlife of different kinds, including seals, as well as to a wonderful variety of fish and crustaceans. To cater for those who come to discover the rich heritage of the Boyne, the valley now has everything that holidaymakers could ask for. There are hotels, pubs and restaurants in abundance, where you can rest up and enjoy life to the full after a day’s adventuring. Of course, a visit to the Boyne Valley is all about experiencing the outdoors. Whether it’s golfing, angling, horse riding, horse racing or visiting monuments of international renown, the region has enough to keep even the most active visitor busy for the duration. Perhaps your best place to begin the journey is Trim (the gaelic name translates as ‘the town at the ford of the elderflowers’), which was one of the most important Hiberno-Norman settlements during the middle ages and home to Trim Castle, a ringwork structure designed as a defensive bastion by Hugh de Lacy, begun in 1176 and finally completed in 1224. One look at the impressive stoney remains of what was the largest
Norman castle in Ireland and the dramatic surrounding landscape and it’s obvious why the makers of Braveheart chose the area as a main shooting location. From there you travel along the river to the palindromic Navan, a bustling commercial centre, which is the fifth largest town in Ireland. The childhood home of actor Pierce Brosnan, it is also the location of Tara Mines, a lead and zinc mine that has been vital to the local economy. Slane Village, situated further east towards Drogheda, is best known today as a venue for rock and pop concerts, with Bon Jovi and Eminem due to play at Slane Castle in 2013. However, the area is also steeped in history. The Hill of Slane – atop which sit the ruins of 15th Centure Slane Abbey – is where St. Patrick is said to have lit the first paschal fire, in defiance of the pagan kings and druids at nearby Tara, making it one of the most important places in Irish ecclesiastical history. A walk up the 158-metre hill is rewarded with breathtaking views. Every year, on either December 21 or 22 (the date varies from year to year), the Boyne Valley region, and in particular the stretch of land along the river known as Brú na Boinne (palace of the Boyne), bursts into life as people come together to celebrate the winter solstice. Newgrange, site of a 3,200 year old Neolithic Passage Tomb – older than both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt – is just a
kilometre north of the river and is a place of pilgrimage that opens a window, for those who visit it, into the extraordinary sophistication that existed here over 5,000 years ago in both science and astronomy. In addition to its role as a Passage Tomb, Newgrange is also understood to have been a place of astrological, spiritual and ceremonial importance. The tomb consists of a 19-metre long passage that leads into a cruciform burial chamber. At the winter solstice, when the sun reaches it’s southern-most point, it penetrates the chamber through an opening located above the entrance known as the roof-box. The sun shines through the passage and into the burial chamber illuminating the chamber in the most extraordinary and beautiful way, offering an aweinspiring glimpse into the sense of natural magic that entranced those who created the tomb so many years ago. This event lasts for roughly 17 minutes and begins at around 9am. People still gather at the ancient tomb, as they did 5,000 years ago, to celebrate the solstice. Such is the demand to be allowed inside the chamber during the illumination, a free annual lottery has been set up to select the lucky few. In 2013, on December 21, at precisely 11.11am, the sun will be almost perfectly aligned with the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy – something that happens only once every 26,000 years, So remember where you were!
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Treat someone to a memorable evening at
Solstice Arts Centre!
Christmas Gift Vouchers available
Drama, Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Literature Solstice Arts Centre, Railway Street, Navan, Co. Meath Box Oﬃce: +353 46 909 2300 Website: www.solsticeartscentre.com
The reason it takes so long for a cosmic event of this magnitude to come around is because the procession of the equinoxes goes in a complete circle, moving at 0.01 degrees each year. It therefore takes 26,000 years to complete a full 360degree cycle. It is an extraordinary thought... Brú na Boinne is in fact the largest, and one of the most important, prehistoric sites in Europe, if not the world. The site covers 780 hectares and consists of a complex of Neolithic mounds, chamber tombs, standing stones and other prehistoric enclosures, the best known of which – in addition to Newgrange – are Knowth and Dowth. Dowth is the second oldest passage tomb, dating from around 2,500 BC. It shares a special solar celebration with Newgrange. During the winter solstice, the sunlight moves along the left side of the passage and down into the circular chamber, where it illuminates three large stones. Knowth is the largest of the three passage tombs. It consist of one large mound and 17 smaller satellite tombs, and dates back to between 2,500 and 2,000 BC. The main tomb consists of two passages, both independent of each other, that lead to cruciform burial chambers. Knowth differs from Newgrange and Dowth, in that most of the passage stones and kerbstones have been engraved and decorated. In fact, over 45% of all the engraved
megalithic stones in Ireland can be found inside Knowth. Visitors should note that Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth can only be visited by joining formal tours, which leave from the Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre, located on the south bank of the river, close to the village of Donore. The Boyne continues its course east, meandering across County Meath, and into County Louth where it runs through the medieval town of Drogheda, before entering the Irish Sea between Mornington (Meath) and Baltray (Louth). Drogheda – a fascinating historic town in itself – is celebrating its 600th anniversary this year. Up until 1412 two separate towns were located north and south of the Boyne. In that year, Robert Ball took a submission to King Henry IV. The King agreed, and Ball returned with a new charter unifying the two towns as Drogheda. The Battle of the Boyne was one of the most important in Irish history. Celebrated – erroneously in terms of timing many believe – by Ulster uionists on July 12th, the battle took place – between the forces of rinal claimants to the English, Scottish and Irish thrones, the Protestant King William of Orange and the Catholic King James – to the west of Drogheda. There is now a visitor centre at Oldbridge around which most of the fighting took place and various walking trails that take you to positions of note in a cathartic battle that in so many ways shaped subsequent Irish history.
Highlanes Gallery, Laurence Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland
T. + 353 (0)41 980 3311 W. www.highlanes.ie E.email@example.com
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GOPLACES Jerry Fish for Drogheda Arts Centre
Dunboyne Castle Hotel
WHERE TO STAY five independent works, composed to function as a whole. It screens daily until January 26. The gallery is also hosting the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection until January 5. The exhibition is programmed to mark the 600th anniversary of the unification of Drogheda. The earliest works featured are the two panoramic views of Drogheda by Gabrielle Ricciardelli dating from c. 1750, and are accompanied by works from artists including John Cassidy, Roper Curzon and Laurence Fagan. The Solstice Arts Centre in Navan, Meath is another a haven for the arts. It houses a 320-seat theatre, gallery and studio space. This Christmas, the centre will host leading schools from around the country as they perform a collection of Christmas carols. If dance is your thing, Ballet Ireland will present The Nutcracker, December 21 and 22. On January 30, the centre will host a screening of Private Peaceful, the latest film from Irish director Pat O’Connor, whose previous works include Dancing At Lughnasa and Circle Of Friends. January 26 will see one of Europe’s most successful string quartets, The RTÉ Vanburgh Quartet, take the stage for an evening of quality classical music. From February 9 – April 6 the centre will run Out Of The Marvellous: an exhibition that traces connections and shared sources of inspiration between poetry and visual art in Ireland. On February 27, Irish music hero Phil Coulter, and special guest Geraldine Branagan, will appear at the centre for an evening of song to help celebrate Phil Coulter’s 45 years in music.
There is a multitude of excellent hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs in the Boyne Valley region. The Station House Hotel is located on 12 glorious acres of landscaped gardens – alongside a beautiful wooded area – in Kilmessan, just a short drive from Trim, Navan and Dunshaughlin. A converted railway station dating back to 1862, the family-run establishment has an old-world charm and incredibly welcoming atmosphere. It has hosted over 1,000 weddings on its premises and was the winner of both Leinster Wedding Venue Of The Year and Best Customer Service in 2012. Go to stationhousehotel.ie to learn more. Dunboyne Castle, located in an idyllic setting in the Meath countryside, offers the ultimate in relaxation with its Seoíd spa, which is a gorgeous sanctuary of calm within the walls of the castle. Indeed Dunboyne Castle, which is located just 11miles from Dublin city centre and 14 miles from the airport, is one of the most luxurious spa hotels in Ireland. You can enjoy a variety of treatments including specialized massage, rasual chambers, flotation, balneotherapy and a hydrotherapy pool. Add in great food and all the luxuries of life and you have an experience to be cherished. Slane Farm Hostel and Cottages, run by Joanne and Paddy Macken, which is next door to Slane Castle, just 2km outside the Co.Meath village, offers a brilliant, easy-going alternative to visitors. Situated on a working farm in the heart of the Boyne Valley, guests can pick their own vegetables and collect freshly laid eggs. They have a choice of private rooms, dormitories or the 4-star self-catering cottages, with the emphasis on simple comforts.
WHERE TO EAT The Ivy Brasserie is a superb restaurant, located in the 4-star Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa. The restaurant showcases innovative modern Irish cuisine, using quality local produce. Set against views across the castle landscape, it is a favourite with locals as well as tourists and visitors. You can choose from an array of traditional dishes – including braised pork belly with cabbage and black pudding – from the early bird or a la carte evening menus. The Stations House Hotel’s Signal Restaurant in Kilmessan is a spacious, high quality eatery, renowned for the excellent and wide array of options on the menu. Executive Head Chef David Mulvihil, oversees the operation with great care and has won awards for his craft. The Forge Restaurant, situated in an 18th century old stone-cut building, in Carnaross, on the Meath/Cavan border, four miles north of the town of , is run by Irene and Pauric White. Their enduring philosophy of using superb, fresh local produce to create traditional dishes with a modern, innovative twist has seen them go from strength to strength since opening in 2000. The Forge was named Best Restaurant in Meath in 2012. The Forge Restaurant also run a cookery school throughout the year, with a five week course beginning in mid-January.
THE ARTS Drogheda Arts Centre is above the library on Stockwell St., Drogheda, Louth. It boasts a 169-seat auditorium that hosts conferences, performances and film screenings, and a café bar that can cater for up to 50 people. The Lourdes Brass Band and the B-Town Dance Studios festive display feature in a packed pre-Christmas schedule. In the new year the centre curates an exhibition of work by local artists as Drogheda celebrates its 600th anniversary as a unified town. On January 18, Jerry Fish brings his genre-bending live music show to the Stockwell Street venue. The weekend of February 8 – 10 will see the centre host The Singing Gathering, a celebration of song and heritage. For theatre lovers, meanwhile, the centre will host the Aisteori Na Boinne-produced The Two Loves of Gabriel Foley, from February 19 – 23. Highlane’s Gallery, also in Drogheda, is a visual arts exhibition centre that opened its doors in 2006. Currently showing in the gallery is Bill Viola: The Reflecting Pool – Collected Work 1977-80. This is a videotape collection of
Presenting an annual programme of theatre, music, cinema Stockwell Street, Drogheda, Co Louth Tel: +353 41 9833946 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.droichead.com
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GO DESTINATION: DUBLIN
FULVIO OF LIFE
Whether it’s doing the student thing in Germany or bringing her kids to Santa’s grotto, TV chef CATHERINE FULVIO likes to travel on tracks. But nothing beats DARTing up from Ballyknocken to Howth for the day....
cclaimed both at home and abroad for her skills in the kitchen, it’s perhaps no surprise that TV chef and Ballyknocken House proprietor Catherine Fulvio knows almost as much about travel as she does matters culinary. Something of a globetrotter, and married to an Italian, her experiences over the years have all gone into her cooking, giving her a broad range that can go from Mediterranean cuisine to localproduced fare. That knowledge, and her congenial manner, have made her a star of the small screen, appearing on NBC’s Today Show and presenting several RTÉ shows. She’s also an award-winning cookery writer. Her early travels, striking out alone as a young adult, included a memorable trip to Germany, where she used the excellent train networks to get a real feel for her new home. “I lived there for a year and I had a travel pass, which I found absolutely vital to get around the country,” Catherine recalls. “I used to use whole weekends to see the whole of Germany. I’d go down to the Allgäu region often. In fact, the most magical journey I made was down to Allgäu to see the castle of Neuschwanstein. It’s that famous fairy castle in Bavaria, an enchanting place. “You come along on the train and, as you approach, this princess castle emerges from the trees. So gorgeous! And at the time it was snowing as well. So cold, but such a memorable journey to make.” Fulvio is clearly the type that ascribes to the ‘train as fantastic social setting’ theory. “Another really memorable journey happened when I was coming back from a university town near France. I went along the Neckar Valley route. The train runs alongside the Neckar river. Now, I didn’t realise it, but the area is famous for wine-making. There was me, a little Irish girl halfway through university, on her year off, learning German, thinking, ‘well that was grand, I’ll just go back to my day job’. “And the next thing, half the wine producers in the area get on the train. There was a big wine festival on! So what do they have with them? Loads of wine! Next thing – ‘Oh, are you from Ireland? Have a taste of this’. ‘No, this. Mine’s better than his!’ and so on. I didn’t drink much then as I was quite young, so I literally stumbled off the train when I got to Munich!” Nowadays, with a young family to raise, she does most of her traveling in Ireland and there’s understandably far less time to sample the grape. Her most recent trip in a carriage was a quite different one, but is definitely in keeping with the seasonal cheer this time of year. “I love the Santa Train in Rathwood. I’m getting a bit old for it now, I had a great excuse when the children were younger!” she laughs. “I could go on that train very happily and feel justified because I had little children with me. But now I have a nine and 10-year-old and I stand out like a sore thumb. We used to go every single
year. It’s gorgeous. The trick is to go when dusk is just descending. You go into this room and then Mrs. Claus reads a Christmas story. Then the train arrives, you get on the little choo-choo and do this lap of honour around the grounds of Rathwood. You come to a halt at the entrance to a lovely walkway to Santa’s grotto and the elf meets you. You go in to the grotto, as a family, and see Santa. I guess once the kids are too old, I’ll be the sad thing on my own, pretending. ‘It’s just market research! Go Rail sent me to do a story!’” Thankfully, there’s another, Irish Rail trip she can still take. It also happens to be one of her most frequent and most loved.
“I take the kids quite a bit on the DART from Greystones to Howth,” she says. “Sometimes I stop along the way and we go into the city centre. It’s really lovely heading in through Dalkey. A really good friend of mine lives in Howth so I’ve a reason to make the journey and I’m glad I do. It’s the most relaxing thing. Different types of people getting on and off – I do enjoy the ‘people watching’ you can indulge in on trains. And for the kids too, it’s really relaxing. You can gaze out the window and point out the different places along the way. Now, some of it, I would exaggerate – ‘Oh look, there’s Bono’s house!’ I usually get, ‘Who’s Bono?’ Back again to showing my age!”
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There’s more to winter sartorial wowing than Christmas jumpers and novelty Santa Hats. Let Go Rail be your guide to looking a million dollars over the festive season, and into 2013...
WRAPPING UP We do realise that pretty much every season in Ireland is coat season, but now is the time to invest – or scan those sale racks for a bargain! Faux fur is always a festive favourite, with one-tone short jackets your best bet to avoid embodying Cruella DeVille – or worse, Vera Duckworth! For a unique take on some winterwear, we’re also rejoicing the return of the cape. Interesting, quirky and just a little bit dramatic, look for short, nicely tailored pieces so your figure isn’t swamped. And you can never go wrong with a trench-coat for classic, full-on sophistication. Muted colours keep this look from veering into Russian spy territory, and you can even update and accessorise it by nipping the waist in with a belt. GLITZ & GLAMOUR Who says that Christmas trees and New Year’s fireworks have the monopoly on bling and sparkle this winter? The name of the game is opulence, and we couldn’t think of a better time of year to spoil yourself by indulging! With all the festive parties going on, it’s time to get dolled up in a show-stopping frock, and there are some great styles to choose from. To embody Russian court extravagance, look for luxurious metallic and embroidery, but keep hemlines short so the effect isn’t overwhelming. Or for a more Grecian look, go for a column dress in gorgeous jewel tones to flatter curves. Or for a new update on a old classic, look for
little black dresses with unique derailing, such as high-low hems and peek-a-boo cut away detailing. Teasingly flirty, festive and fabulous! HOT & HEAVY After all the festive parties are over, we will eventually have to return to the real world, where breakfast doesn’t consist of Quality Street and we can’t get away with wearing tinsel as a boa. But fear not, because there are so many great options to brighten up your winter work wear wardrobe. Obviously the key here is looking hot while keeping warm, so keep an eye out for sturdy, heavier fabrics like houndstooth and tweed. But for a sexy twist, mix these sensible fabrics with a seriously seductive silhouette. Body con dresses and pencil skirts are amazing for flattering curves, while the below-the-knee hemline keeps them from looking too raunchy. These dresses can be accessorised with belts to further emphasise your waist – and as ever, don’t forget your killer heels! HATS AND GLOVES AND BAGS, OH MY! It’s all about accessories – and no, we’re not talking about the reindeer socks and Christmas tree earrings that your gran gave you! In these chilly months you have the perfect excuse to splash out on cosy scarves, hats and gloves, and these tiny touches can really make an outfit pop. For all those glitz and glamour-filled parties, a statement clutch is essential, so look
for some with a bit of bling. Though chunky woolly hats are cosy, they’re not the only option, so look out for interesting fedoras and even bowler hats for a more fashion-forward way of keeping your head warm – and you hair under wraps! (But remember to keep a comb in your purse to combat hat hair!) For a touch of pure feminine sophistication, you can’t go wrong with a pair of luxurious leather gloves. Give them a flirty twist by looking for cut-away styles with floral detailing, bringing some classic chic to your casual cosies. MALE ORDER Boys, pay attention, because this one’s for you. Now that it’s after Christmas, we don’t doubt that your wardrobe is now overflowing with cheerful Christmas cartoon underwear and dodgy Yuletide jumpers bestowed upon you by well-meaning but ill-advised relatives. Now you could attend all the seasonal parties wearing the afore-mentioned attire (hopefully with some form of pant or other modestypreserving garment), but we’re not sure that’s the best way to kick-start your year of good fashion. So instead, take subtle elements of this season’s trends and treat yourself to some new fancy duds. Sleek, tailored coats and classic messenger bags never go out of style and are a great investment, and of course you can always go for that Don Draper look in a stylish suit. (Though as a New Year’s resolution, we suggest you can leave the alcoholic womanising ways
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Peekaboo Shine Maxi 造90, A|Wear
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Cosmo Dress ¤199, Fran & Jane
Silver Glitter Textured Clutch ¤20, A|Wear
Tailored Maxi Coat ¤250, Warehouse
Black Studded Heart Clutch ¤25, A|Wear
Elle dress ¤229, Fran & Jane
Alexa Faux Fur Coat ¤180, Monsoon
Cut Out Dress ¤65, A|Wear
10. Jaguar Coat ¤130, Blackthorn Trousers ¤70, both Monsoon
Rosette Cut Away Glove ¤34, Accessorize
Messenger bag ¤51, Next
12. Mardi Cape ¤229, Fran & Jane
Wine Cut Out Detail Maxi ¤70, A|Wear
STOCKISTS ACCESSORIZE/MONSOON 23D Jervis Shopping Centre, Mary St., Dublin 1 10-12 Williamsgate St., Co. Galway Unit 30, Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Co. Cork Unit 26 Garryowen Mall, Crescent Shopping Centre, Dooradoyle, Co. Limerick
A|WEAR 26 Grafton St., Dublin 2 Henry St., Dublin 1 Edward Square, Barrack Lane, Co. Galway 110 St. Patrick St., Co. Cork 69 -71 William St., Co. Limerick
WAREHOUSE Clery’s, Lower O’Connell St., Dublin 1 Arnotts, Henry St., Dublin 1 Debenhams, 12 St. Patrick’s St., Co. Cork
FRAN & JANE Dundrum Town Centre Dublin 16 Westbury Mall Clarendon St Dublin 1 22 Oliver Plunkett St., Co, Cork
Brown Thomas Limerick, 14-16 O’Connell St., Co. Limerick NEXT Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 16 The Jervis Centre, Henry St., Dublin 1 Unit 4 And 5, Cork Opera Lane, Co. Cork Units 7 & 8 Edward Square, Barrack Lane, Co.Galway
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Ma k e y o u r W e d d i n g a Roy al Aff a i r . . . 19th Century Victorian South Dublin Hotel set in an eclectic mix of Old World Charm and New World Contemporary Elegance & Luxury
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Roya l Mar i ne H o t e l
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Sunday 3rd February 2013
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4 Star Deluxe Hotel, Spa & Health Club
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Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin
Tel: +353 1 2300030 / Web: www.royalmarine.ie For more information Email: email@example.com
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GO RAIL SPECIAL WEDDING FEATURE
In order to take some of the stress out of organising your perfect wedding day, we take a look at some of the most romantic, luxurious and scenic wedding venues in Ireland – and the best honeymoon packages abroad.
hey say finding your soul mate is the hardest search you’ll ever have – and the most rewarding! So once you’ve found that special someone, you don’t want to worry and stress about tracking down that perfect wedding venue! Luckily, here at Go Rail we’ve done our research, looking nationwide for the most beautiful, scenic, luxurious and romantic venues in which to celebrate your special day.
Several factors are going to be key in selecting your ideal wedding venue. The first thing to take into account is that there are likely to be two parts of your wedding to organise – the wedding ceremony and then the reception. As regards the ceremony, a church wedding is still the favourite choice for many couples, and most have a particular church in mind. In this case, the reception must be planned around the wedding ceremony location. You’ll have to consider ease of transportation from the service to the reception, and organise flowers and any decorating for both locations. If, on the other hand, you want a civil ceremony, you have the option of choosing a venue that will host both your wedding ceremony and reception. In this instance, you will need to choose a venue that is licensed for marriage ceremonies. This may come with a higher price tag than non-licensed wedding venues, but not having to move locations between the ceremony is a huge convenience. Of course when it comes to choosing your reception venue you’ll also have to consider if there’s adequate seating for all your guests, if you like the menu, what entertainment facilities are available, whether the venue has a designated Wedding Co-ordinator to help you plan for the big day – and of course how the venue will look in those all-important pictures! If this all sounds a bit daunting – fear not! Here at Go Rail we’ve taken it upon ourselves to act like a pseudo-bridesmaid, scouring the
country for wedding venues to suit all needs. From historical landmarks to beach weddings, ballrooms with chandeliers to civil ceremony hosts, these unique venues all offer stunning settings and superb service to ensure your wedding day is perfect. We also have some tips for idyllic honeymoon packages, to ensure that you get some rest, relaxation and romance after your big day!
Dunboyne Castle, Co. Meath
For those brides-to-be who grew up reading Jane Austen and dreaming of marrying their own Mr. Darcy on a magnificent estate like Pemberley, look no further! With such an idyllic setting, Dunboyne Castle Wedding Hotel in Meath offers a magnificent backdrop against which to set an exclusive wedding reception. With a sweeping tree lined approach, the Castle stands majestically over its 21 acre demesne of
mature formal gardens, making any arrival an unforgettable one. And the scenery isn’t the only thing that will make Dunboyne an ideal setting for a wedding. Their unique and personal approach to your nuptials will do everything to facilitate your specific requirements to help you entertain and share your special day. Dunboyne Castle offers a dedicated Wedding Co-ordinator to work with you from the outset, to plan your schedule of events, offer advice on table plans, wine and music and liaise together with you and the Executive Chef to personally assist with the menu selection. Their ‘one wedding per day’ policy will ensure that you have wedding exclusivity and the full, undivided attention of their expert team. And to ensure that the run-up to your wedding is as fun and stress-free as possible, Dunboyne Castle also offers some fantastic pre-wedding services. They have engagement packages and
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Tankardstown House & Orangery
even organise Hen Parties, so the bride and her friends can relax before the big day by enjoying some luxurious spa treatments, fun treasure hunts and sessions with stylists, make-up artists and even psychics! Further adding to their wedding expertise credentials, Dunboyne Castle also plays host to one of the most anticipated Wedding Fairs of the year, which takes place on February 24 from 1-5pm. Go along and be inspired! T: +353 (0)1 801 3500 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.dunboynecastlehotel.com
Tankardstown House & Orangery, Slane, Co. Meath
If you’re looking for an idyllic, picturesque wedding venue close to Dublin, Tankardstown in Meath offers a stunning and exclusive option for all you love birds. Exuding elegance and luxury, Tankardstown is truly a special place for your special day. Romantically situated in the heart of the Boyne Valley less than an hour from Dublin, Tankardstown House & Orangery stands as the focal point of a charming 80-acre estate, comprising picturesque parkland, wonderful woodlands and beautiful walled gardens; an ideal backdrop for amazing wedding photographs. Tankardstown House & Orangery offers you, your family and friends a unique opportunity to experience hospitality in a beautiful privately owned home. Available on an exclusive basis, guests are welcomed to a relaxed pre-dinner reception of drinks and canapés in beautifully appointed parlours, then proceed down the winding staircase to the magnificent Orangery where fine dining, worthy of its surroundings, is served with great care and attention to detail. From an intimate family affair to a larger partystyle event for up to 250 guests, Tankardstown endeavours to facilitate weddings of all sizes. Civil Ceremonies and Civil Partnerships can be held within the house and, when the weather permits, in the gorgeous gardens. The lovely and luxurious accommodation exudes comfort, class and elegance, and would make for a lovely relaxed retreat after your big day. T: +353 (0)41 982 4621 E: email@example.com W: www.tankardstown.ie
The Waterside Hotel
The Waterside Hotel, Co. Dublin
The Waterside Hotel in Donabate offers a beautifully picturesque setting to host unique waterside nuptials. While some venues offer beach locations for weddings, they cannot provide direct access on to the beach. But this hidden gem on North County Dublin’s coastline sits right in the sand, allowing you private access to Donabate Beach. From the outdoor Sea View Terrace you and your wedding party can take in breathtaking panoramics of Ireland’s Eye, Howth Head, Lambay Island and the Irish Sea. On your wedding day you can host your ceremony on the Sea View Terrace, or even get married on the beach – tide permitting! The stunning views provide an incredibly romantic setting, and will leave you with the most incredible backdrop to your wedding ceremony photography! The hotel also boasts Bliss Spa, which offers luxurious facials, massages and beauty treatments – perfect to prepare you for your big day or relax after it! The Waterside Hotel also hosts civil ceremonies for brides- and grooms-to-be looking for a stunning setting for their ceremony. The lovely and intimate Lambay Room converts into the Lambay Chapel. This private and idyllic room allows small intimate ceremonies. For larger ceremonies The Martello Ballroom offers a bright and homely
option. All tastes provided for! T: +353 (0)1 843 6153 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.watersidehousehotel.ie
Royal Marine Hotel, Co. Dublin
Steeped in history, and a favourite with the locals, the landmark Royal Marine Hotel has been an impressive sight on the Dun Laoghaire skyline since 1828. This luxury wedding venue is regarded as one of the finest 4-star hotels in Dublin and has hosted many Heads of State, monarchs and celebrities including Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra, Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin, to name a few. The British Queen Victoria visited Ireland via Dun Laoghaire and had a 16-course breakfast when she arrived off the boat. The Irish freedom fighter Michael Collins is believed to have hidden out in Room 210 with his partner Kitty Kiernan. This sense of history and grandeur can be felt in the stunning architecture. With high ceilings, wide corridors, intricate detail on the cornicing, Victorian staircases, large sash windows welcoming the natural light of the bay, the Royal Marine truly stands above its peers in the hotel industry. There is a tremendous sense of history and character found in all the nooks and crannies of this Victorian building. The splendour
The Station House Hotel
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GO RAIL SPECIAL WEDDING FEATURE
The Midlands Premier Wedding Venue Book your wedding day with us on selected dates between January 1st 2013 and December 23rd 2013 and you will receive over €1,200 of extras FREE! ����������������������������������������� Wedding Fair on January 13th from 2 – 6 p.m�� ��������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� �����������������
One hour from Galway and less than 2 hours from Dublin Carvery & Bar Food served 7 days. Family run business A simply unique setting for the celebration of a lifetime... Abbey Hotel Conference & Leisure Centre, Galway Road, Roscommon
Go_Rail_85.5x124_Layout 1 03/12/2012 10:44 Page 1
Make your dream wedding your reality from only €57 per person*
Kilronan Castle Estate and Spa
Your Fairytale Winter Wedding at Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa
All-inclusive winter wedding package: � � �
“We understand that every wedding & every couple is unique. Our team prides themselves on excellent service & will really go the extra mile to tailor make your day."
� � � � � �
Elisabet Diaz, General Manager.
Tea, coffee, mince pies and mulled wine on arrival for all guests Hearty 5 course meal to be selected from the Garden Menu Half a bottle of our specially selected wine per person with meal Sparkling wine toast drink Choice of two dishes for the evening buffet The Tenison Bridal Suite complimentary the night of the wedding Two additional suites complimentary for the night of the wedding Superb accommodation rates of €149 B&B per room Complimentary overnight stay the night of your menu tasting and complimentary use of Thermal Suite 10% discount of all pre-booked spa treatments for your guests * Available on selected dates
To make an appointment to view the venue, please contact our Events Team * Terms & Conditions Apply
Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa, Dunboyne, Co. Meath. Tel: +353 1 801 3500 Fax: +353 1 436 6801 Email: email@example.com www.dunboynecastlehotel.com
For more information 071 96 18000 www.kilronancastle.ie
€75 pp (weekend) €65 pp (mid-week)
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Royal Marine Hotel
of the hotel and its waterside location provide a sophisticated, characterful setting for a wedding. The hotel also has wonderful wedding packages. The bridal party will be welcomed with a champagne reception; the happy couple can stay in the romantic Bridal Suite, and be treated to a three-month membership at the state-of-the-art Pier Health Club and gym. You can even return to enjoy dinner in the Dún Restaurant and bed & breakfast to celebrate your first anniversary. Now that’s the personal touch! T: +353 1 23000 30 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.royalmarine.ie
Lough Rynn Castle, Co. Leitrim
If you’re looking for luxury and romance on magnificent stately grounds, then look no further than Lough Rynn Castle in Leitrim. Lough Rynn is one of the most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland, the ancestral home of the Clements family and the legendary Lord Leitrim. The entire estate comprises over 300 acres which are idyllic, rich in history and charmed with natural beauty. This secluded castle is on the shore of Lough Rynn, boasting breathtaking scenery, lush green pastures, ancient forests and historical points of interest – all of which provide not only an idyllic atmosphere, but beautiful settings against which to set your wedding photography. The hotel also provides all the wedding services you could ever dream of, including
Lough Rynn Castle
bands, DJs, carriage hire, fireworks, florists, jewellers, stylists, photographers – even ice sculpture! Lough Rynn is dedicated to providing you with everything you could possibly want or need to ensure your wedding day is perfect. Blending old-world elegance with contemporary luxuries, Lough Rynn Castle delivers impeccable, unobtrusive service that is never compromised. The hotel also offers a whole host of activities, making it the ideal place to have an Irish honeymoon. There’s golf, fishing, horse-riding and of course The Dock; Leitrim’s first integrated centre for the arts, providing a unique, enriching experience for couples wanting to start married life by indulging in culture and class. T: +353 (0) 71 9632700 E: email@example.com W: www.loughrynn.ie
Kilronan Castle, Co. Roscommon
Kilronan Castle in Roscommon is a stunning venue for your luxury wedding celebration. The romantic setting and breath-taking views are matched by creative menus and impeccable service. This will truly be the luxury castle wedding day you have dreamed of. Every bride wants her wedding to be as memorable and magical as it can be and at Kilronan Castle the setting couldn’t be more perfect! Tucked away from the rest of the world, the 200-year-old building is in an entirely unique location on the shores of Lough Meelagh, situated between the
beautiful villages of Keadue and Ballyfarnon in County Roscommon. Your day can be as relaxed as you want it to be, with the entire castle estate at your fingertips. You can wander across our open lawns, and woodland pathways around Lough Meelagh to find the perfect backdrop against which to set your timeless pictures. The lawns provide a breathtaking setting for a champagne or drinks reception on a summer’s day – and the Castle’s backdrop is equally spectacular for a winter wedding. Perfect for a grand affair, The Grand Ballroom in Kilronan Castle can cater for 320 people while providing exquisite décor that sets a tone of opulence underneath magnificent chandeliers. And to relax before your big day, you can take advantage of the state-of-the-art service provided in the hotel’s leisure centre and spa, or treat the bridal party to specially organised getaways. T: +353 (0) 71 9618000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.kilronancastle.ie
Abbey Hotel Roscommon, Co. Roscommon
The 4-star Abbey Hotel Roscommon is a charming 18th Century manor house castle hotel, set idyllically on its own private grounds and gardens. The ambience is one of casual elegance in a timeless relaxed atmosphere, and affords
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GO RAIL SPECIAL WEDDING FEATURE
wedding couples and their guests a unique setting with a breathtaking backdrop for their wedding day, with the majestic ruins of the old abbey in close proximity. The hotel is offering some superb packages if you happen to be planning to book an early spring 2013 wedding on select dates from January to May 2013. For the Abbey Spring Bride Package, you can avail of five complimentary meals for every one hundred guests booked. Your bridal party can enjoy a sparkling red carpet wine reception on arrival with a superb five-course meal, two servings of house red and white wine and the delightful Abbey supper will be served during the entertainment interlude. Complimentary chair covers and coloured sashes, table arrangements and night candles will adorn all tables. There is also a complimentary Bridal Suite and champagne breakfast for the lucky bride and groom. A member of the Grealy family together with a designated Abbey Hotel Wedding Co–Ordinator will be on hand to ensure that every aspect of your special day runs smoothly. If you need further inspiration, the hotel’s eagerly anticipated Wedding Fair takes place on January 13 with free admission and refreshments served on the day. T: +353 (0) 90 66 26240 E: email@example.com W: www.abbeyhotel.ie
The Station House Hotel, Co. Meath
If you’re looking for a venue that’s charming, quiet and private, you won’t do better than the delightful award-winning Stationhouse Wedding Venue. Located in the heart of Co. Meath, centred between Navan, Dunshaughlin and Trim and only 20 minutes from Dublin, the Station House Hotel offers the very best in luxury accommodation and fine dining in the award-winning Signal Restaurant. Once a train station connecting Dublin to Kingscourt, plenty of the original buildings and reminders of a forgotten time are still present, lending a gorgeous period feel to the venue, with plenty of stunning spots to take those wedding pictures that will last a lifetime. In the pursuit of excellence, the lovely Stationhouse has hosted over one thousand weddings, honing their skills as a superb service provider and winning the Leinster Wedding Venue of the Year Award in 2012. Equipped to host gorgeous wedding receptions, hold civil ceremonies and even arrange beautiful outdoor wedding ceremonies in the beautiful landscaped gardens, the Stationhouse can accommodate all your wedding needs. The fully trained staff can help you arrange wedding décor, chauffeurdriven Rolls Royce cars, arrival receptions, photographers, bands, flowers and much more – and of course delicious meals from their multi-award winning Signal restaurant. At the moment they’re boasting an incredible all-inclusive wedding package for 100 guests for only €6,925, so we’re guessing their 2013 booking are going to fill up pretty fast! If you’d like to unwind after the big day by staying at the Stationhouse, the luxurious accommodation is perfect for some R&R, while their lauded cookery school and organised golf and heritage breaks will provide some fun entertainment. T: +353 (0) 46 902 5239 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.stationhousehotel.ie
Barceló Bavaro Beach Resort, one of the sunkissed honeymoon destinations offered by Classic Resorts
Honeymoons Classic Resorts Honeymoon
Your honeymoon will be the most memorable holiday of your life – and after all the wedding planning, possibly the most needed! So make sure you pick a destination that suits all your needs, to make it a trip you’ll never forget – for all the right reasons! After you’ve experienced your life-changing wedding day, it’s time to celebrate, relax and spend some luxurious quality time with your new beloved – and Classic Resorts have some amazing and unique honeymoon packages. Mexico and the Dominican Republic offer great value for honeymoons. Relax, unwind and enjoy the beautiful white sandy beaches, swim in the turquoise seas and experience the local cultures. Classic Resorts and Barceló Resorts have teamed up to offer you fantastic value in all-inclusive resorts; plus, they have up to $3,000 Resort Credit to give you to spend on room upgrades, spa treatments, romantic
dining and much more! Classic Resorts have two resorts in the Dominican Republic: the 5-star Barceló Palace Resort and 4-star Barceló Bavaro Beach Resort. These two hotels are next to each other on a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach fringed with palm trees. With nine restaurants and bars, nightly entertainment, land and water sports, spa and a casino to offer guests, you’ll never be bored! A sevennight stay starts from €1,499p.p. on an allinclusive basis. The Maya Palace Deluxe is on the Riviera Maya in Mexico and is a great choice for both couples and families. Seven-night prices start from €1,489p.p. Prices are based on two sharing and travelling in May, book before March 23. T: +353 1 874 5000 E: E: email@example.com W: www.classicresorts.ie
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IT’S COLD OUTSIDE
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When it’s chilly outside and everyone seems to have a cold, it can be hard to know how best to look after your little one. MARIE RYAN offers some tips on keeping your baby happy and healthy this winter.
inter can present challenges to keeping your baby healthy. New mothers, in particular, may feel the urge to wrap up their young ones and not venture outdoors for months. Luckily that’s not necessary – and what’s more, it’s not the healthiest decision either. It is impossible to always prevent a baby from picking up a bug or cold. Many winter viruses are airborne, making them easy to catch. What’s more, a person infected with a bug may be contagious even before their symptoms start to show. That’s the bad news; the good news is that there are steps you can take to really reduce the likelihood of your baby becoming ill. First and foremost, you need to make sure your baby’s vaccinations are up to date. Immunising your child will protect them from common and potentially fatal respiratory diseases. As well as rotavirus, a stomach bug is common over the winter months. Don’t fall for the fallacy that MMR vaccines cause Autism. That has been very definitely debunked. If your baby is six months or older, speak to your doctor about flu shots. Babies are more likely to get ill after six months because the immunity you gave them at birth has begun to wear off. But there is a way to cope with that – breast milk contains leucocytes, a white blood cell that targets bacteria. If someone else in the family gets ill, your body will begin producing antibodies and these will be passed to your baby through breast milk. If you can breastfeed and if it is possible for you to continue nursing after your baby is more than six months old, especially if this falls into the winter, doing so is an excellent way of boosting his/her immune system. Washing your hands regularly is the simplest and most effective way to get rid of cold and flu germs. Almost all mothers wash their hands after nappy changing or before preparing food, but remember to do so after you wipe a runny nose as well or handle dish cloths, which often harbour germs. Wash your baby’s hands regularly too, especially before eating and when he/she comes homes from an outing. If you have other children at home, make sure they wash their hands too. If one child gets ill, it tends to spread to all of them. Hand sanitisers are a help when you’re out and about, but nothing beats good old soap and water. Regular soap is fine. It kills cold and flu germs perfectly well. If your child is attending crèche, find out what steps they take to prevent illnesses spreading. Do they make sure the children wash their hands regularly? Is there a sick child policy? If you think your crèche is less than satisfactory in this regard, suggest a change. Don’t lecture the staff – it will be more effective to point out that these steps protect their health as well as their charges. Winter air can be harsh on your baby’s skin, so
it’s important to protect it. Babies can be prone to eczema and other skin irritations, so be sure to use cream or lotion after a bath. Avoid scented lotions as these can inflame sensitive skin. Fresh air is good for your child, so as long as it’s not completely freezing outside, dress him/her warmly and head out. Being cooped up inside all day is not healthy and actually may increase the risk of exposure to germs. What’s more, there’s a greater chance of your child picking up germs at an indoor play area than outside. Babies’ fingers and toes should always be well wrapped up as these are the most susceptible to frostbite. Vitamin D is also important. Studies have suggested that low levels of it in the winter are one reason we are most likely to get sick when it’s cold. Unfortunately your skin needs direct exposure to sunlight to get it, and that’s not always possible over the winter months. Many formulas contain vitamin D, but breast milk tends to be low in it – often because mothers are not getting enough themselves. It is possible to increase your baby’s vitamin D levels through supplements, but talk to your paediatrician about how best to do this. It is important not to dress your child so he/she overheats. If you dress your baby for the outside temperature and then head into a heated shopping centre, remember to remove a layer of clothing or their temperature may rise to an uncomfortable level. If you are too warm inside, chances are your baby is too. When you put your baby to bed at night, don’t overdo the layers. A sleeper and sleep sack should keep your bundle of joy perfectly snug. Most winter illnesses are caused by viruses, which means antibiotics have no effect on them. Avoid antibiotics unless your baby has a bacterial infection and needs them. If your child is ill, ask your paediatrician about effective ways to treat the infection without antibiotics. That doesn’t mean that antibiotics are never necessary. It is quite common for babies to develop a secondary bacterial infection after fighting a viral infection, in which case antibiotics may be the best course of action. If your baby needs to see the doctor, don’t hesitate. However, unsurprisingly a doctor’s surgery is often full of sick people – and their filthy germs – over the winter months. Speak to the nurse on duty. It may be possible to wait somewhere other than the general waiting-room and avoid exposing your baby to illnesses. Finally, make sure your household surfaces are clean. Viruses and bugs can live on surfaces for hours, and sometimes weeks depending on what they are. There is no need to hover over your child with disinfectant. You need to be smart, not a germaphobe! Think about the objects and toys your child is most likely to touch and concentrate your efforts there, cleaning them often during the cold and flu season.
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REVIEW A L B U M S .
M O V I E S .
B O O K S
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THERE ARE POSITIVELY ZILLIONS OF MUSICAL TREASURES FOR YOU TO LUXURIATE IN THIS WINTER, WITH NEW ISSUES FROM EX-STEELY DAN MAINMAN DONALD FAGEN, ULTRA-TALENTED GALWAY CHANTEUSE JULIE FEENEY AND POP SENSATIONS ONE DIRECTION...
WHETHER IT’S VICIOUS BLOOD-SUCKING ALIENS OR BEAUTIFULLYCOSTUMED ROMANTIC MELODRAMA THAT TICKLES YOUR FANCY, WE HAVE IT. GRABBERS, THE IMPOSTER, LOOPER AND ANNA KARENINA ARE AMONG THE FILMS OFFERED UP FOR YOUR DELECTATION...
GOREAD. TOM WOLFE AND KATE MOSSE (NO, NOT THAT ONE) HAVE PENNED NEW TOMES THAT NO SELFRESPECTING LOVER OF LITERATURE WILL WANT TO MISS OUT ON: ADD A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS FROM JULIAN BARNES, AND YOU’RE ALL READY TO ROLL FOR A PAGETURNING WINTER...
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GOLISTEN. SOUNDS TO SIZZLE YOUR EARS THIS SEASON
THE GO RAIL TEAM PICKS THREE RECORDS TO SATISFY THE WHOLE FAMILY.
ver a busy time for the music industry, as artists rush to get their latest meisterwerks under every discerning music fan’s Christmas tree or soundtrack the start of your New Year, it’s easy to get lost in the aural rush. Which is where Go Listen comes in. We’ve found three picks of the bunch for you this issue, selecting artists that cover quite distinct bases – the American rock veteran, the acclaimed Irish songbird, and possibly the biggest pop stars on the planet. Something for everyone, then. First up, an album perfect for those seeking a luxuriant listen. Donald Fagen returns to the musical fold after six years away and his inimitable jazz-funk style is as strong and unique as ever. Following on from 2006’s Morph The Cat, Sunken Condos is the former Steely Dan leader’s fourth solo album and one of his most accomplished. Comprised of eight originals and a sublime cover of Isaac Hayes’ ‘Out Of The Ghetto’, it is a record that reveals itself after many spins, with the deceptive easy listening veneer giving way to great depth and emotional power. Co-produced with Michael Leonhart, it is an autobiographical work with a literary bent, touching at times on the issues of the day. ‘Weather in my Head’, for example deals with global warming with a light touch – ‘They may fix the weather in the world/ Just like Mr. Gore said/ But tell me what’s to be done, Lord/ ‘bout the weather in my head.’ It goes without saying that the playing is
immaculate. Guitars, gentle piano and carefully placed horns conjure up jazzy grooves that slink and slide throughout, with Steely Dan players called upon to lend their craft to proceedings. In truth, Sunken Condos doesn’t push any envelopes, rather it is the sound of an august musician at the top of his game, exploring and mastering the musical motifs that have popped up time and again over the course of his 40-plus year career. We move on to an LP with a real sense of the season. Julie Feeney’s Clocks has a distinctly wintery feel to it, its lush, warm sound the perfect antidote to the cold outside. The Galway girl is renowned for her technical ability and continues her self-contained approach here, writing, arranging, conducting and singing everything on this self-released third effort. It has been said she’s something of a onewoman orchestra and that’s a fair assessment. Ruminative current single ‘Cold Water’ carries a winning melody that could continue the commercial joy located with ‘Impossibly Beautiful’, the radio hit from previous album Pages. ‘Julie’ is a touching ode to a grandmother lifted with a widescreen orchestral accompaniment, while ‘Just A Few Hours’ recalls ABBA’s pop classicism and ‘Galway Boy’ might garner an Enya comparison or two. Recorded in Kylemore Abbey, there are countless highlights and delights to be found on Clocks. In a word, exquisite. From gothic churches, we go back to the pop
playground. And it arguably gets no bigger right now than One Direction (though a dancing Korean gentleman might argue the case). It’s been a mere two years since this freshfaced boyband were put together on The XFactor and ended up coming third, and since then their career has gone interstellar. And global. With a massive teen following in America that’s caused scenes similar to Beatlemania this year, the English-Irish bunch (19-year-old Niall Horan hails from Mullingar) saw their recent single ‘Live While We’re Young’ get the highest opening week sales for a song by a non-US artist ever. The album it’s taken from, second record Take Me Home (hint, hint), is in for a similarly successful time. Simon Cowell has assembled a crack team of songwriters to ensure just that, and it pays dividends. Sure, lyrically it’s your typical saccharine, puppy love fare but there are potential hits galore over the course of its 42 minutes. Acoustic contributions from Ed Sheeran ‘Over Again’ and ‘Little Things’ are particularly strong, with the latter sounding like their best ballad yet. Meanwhile ‘Heart Attack’ should get Bieber quaking in his Supra Vaiders, proving they can up the tempo and break out the bubblegum when the mood strikes. It follows a blueprint that will seem cynical to many, but is certain to make girls of a certain age swoon. A good choice for the pop lover in your life too.
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GOWATCH. WHAT TO WATCH THIS CHRISTMAS
YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST DVDS FOR FIRESIDE VIEWING.
Grabbers has a very simple premise: a group of quickly multiplying, blood sucking aliens are fatally allergic to blood infected by alcohol. In other words: for the small community of the remote “Erin Island” to survive the invasion, everyone has to get feckin’ locked. The hilarious plot proves ripe for comedy and fun performances. There is also a nicely self-referential nod to the absurdity of horror clichés. Despite the low budget, the CGI monsters prove really effective, but wisely keeping them hidden until absolutely necessary, Grabbers pays homage to Jaws, as well as horror classics like Aliens and Gremlins. And thanks to Jon Wright’s pacey direction, Grabbers is imbued with enough exciting action and slithering, squirming slime to keep horror fans happy. But it’s the witty writing and utterly charming performances from Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley that elevate this film into something seriously fun and enjoyable. The two leads share tons of believably biting banter and natural chemistry, while Bradley proves the single most adorable drunk ever to be committed to film. Slight, light, but outrageously fun, get ready to be grabbed. In contrast to Grabbers, The Imposter is a true story – but it’s no less outrageous, as director Bart Layton proves that real life is far stranger than fiction. In 1994, 13-yearold Nicholas Barclay went missing from San Antonio, Texas. Three years later, his family were told that he had been found alive in Spain. But when the family were reunited with their son, they were faced not with their 16-year old blue-eyed boy, but a 23-year-old man with badly dyed blonde hair, brown eyes, and a French accent. They unquestioningly accepted him back into their family with open arms. Everybody say “Whaaaaaa?!” A story not only about how people deceive each other, but themselves, this tale of conman Frederic Bourdin’s stunt is a fascinating examination of the subjective nature of truth and memory. Layton uses not only interviews with the Barclay family and Bourdin himself – the most manipulative and often charming unreliable narrator in history – but create stylized re-imaginings of key events. Uniquely, Layton doesn’t commentate or judge, merely presenting interpretations of the differing testimonies and allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions. As twisted motivations, shocking accusations and unanswerable questions arise, Layton’s film remains a
consuming, compelling and mind-melting experience. To ring our January with a bang, the end of the month sees the release of Looper; an intellectual, time-travelling twister with brilliant performances, complex characters, realistic romances and a nicely managed dose of black humour. In the not-too-distant future, mobsters defy time-travel regulations to send their enemies back 30 years in time, where trained “loopers” are waiting to execute them. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a cynical looper who, when faced with the task of killing his older self (Bruce Willis), uncharacteristically hesitates just long enough for Willis to escape. What follows is an intriguing, brilliantly conceived chase. As the tension-filled plot slowly and beautifully unfurls, Johnson’s script brilliantly balances accessible action schlock with lofty intellectualism, hitting just the right level of both. The existentialist theme is rendered even darker with some magnificently macabre details, such as scar tissue appearing on Willis’ body any time Levitt is injured. This idea is used to terrifying effect when the older version of another looper (Paul Dano)
watches his limbs disappear as his younger self is sadistically tortured off-screen. Meanwhile, a realistic but chemistry-fuelled romance between Gordon-Levitt and the magnificent Emily Blunt. A superb existential conundrum that unfolds with intelligence, wit and emotion. It’s only fitting that Joe Wright’s romantic epic Anna Karenina is released in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day. “ In Wright’s unique, beautifully costumed adaptation of Tolstoy’s romantic melodrama, he emphasizes the theme of gesture, social ritual and – above all – keeping up appearances. Set in 19th century Russia, Keira Knightley plays the eponymous lead character; the beautiful, admired and respected wife to Alexei (Jude Law.) But when she embarks on an affair with the enigmatic Count Vronsky (Aaron Johnson,) she dramatically falls from grace and becomes an ostracized and reviled social outcast. Visually, the film is spectacular. The corsets are tight, the jewels sparkling, the dresses silk and the furnishings sinfully luxurious. Architecture and design becomes a vital part of this production as Wright attempts to capture the claustrophobia of the spectacle-loving fishbowl that is the Russian court, setting all major emotional moments in a theatre. The performances across the board prove impressive, and Keira Knightley has never looked more like a bona fide, goddess movie star, while Domhnall Gleeson steals the show as the honest, simple farm-owner Levin. His understated, elegant performance is incredibly moving, and his sweet, shy love story with young Kitty (Alicia Vikander) proves utterly endearing. Though occasionally a bit too theatrical, this lush adaptation is a mustsee for romantics (and fashion lovers.) Other great films to look out for in the new year include The Queen Of Versailles, an intriguing documentary about the excesses of wealth and consumerism. Also check out also Shadow Dancer, a brilliant and thrilling drama about a young Republican woman in prePeace Process Belfast. Finally, the charming indie drama The Perks Of Being A Wallflower addresses the trials and tribulations of a group of outsider teens. But to keep your New Year’s Resolutions of only watching great films, don’t waste your time on the dull, original action thriller The Sweeney, mind-numbingly dull boxing film Man Inside or the tragic remake Total Recall – not even our own Colin Farrell can save that one.
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GOREAD. TOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
THERE HAVE BEEN ENOUGH BIG RELEASES IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS TO KEEP YOU PAGE TURNING WELL INTO 2013. PLUS, BOOKS MAKE EXCELLENT GIFTS! BUT ARE FAMOUS NAMES THE BEST BET WHEN CHOOSING A BOOK FOR YOURSELF OR A LOVED ONE?
ou may be tempted by Tom Wolfe’s latest novel, Back To Blood, but if you were hoping for a novel as enjoyable and a pertinent as his 1987 bestseller Bonfire Of The Vanities chances are you’ll be disappointed. Here Wolfe is aiming for the same epic scale, exploring the racial tensions of Miami, the only city in the world where half the population has immigrated within the last 50 years. You’ll remember that fact, because Wolfe drops this snippet of information more than once. He also has a tendency to repeat the same jokes, phrases and stylistic devices ad nauseum, which weakens their force considerably. Worse still, for a novel exploring racial tension, is Wolfe’s use of racial stereotypes. His characters include a pumped up, body building Cuban cop, a rich Russian mobster, a pervy pornography doctor and a sexy Latina who spends a lot of her page time admiring herself. The various characters weave in and out of each other’s stories and the book contains a number of subplots, the most interesting of which is the forgery of a number of paintings and a murder. Just when the various subplots seem to be coming to a head, the novel ends, as if Wolfe ran out of steam and couldn’t
be bothered. Since the release of her novel Labyrinth Kate Mosse has become one of the world’s bestselling fantasy authors. Citadel is the final book in her Languedoc trilogy and, like Labyrinth and Sepulchre, this is a time slip novel. Here Mosse draws connections between France in the Second World War and fourth century Gaul. In both eras an invading force threatens the land, and a mysterious text, known as the Codex, may have the power to raise an army of the dead to repel the invaders. The novel concentrates mostly on the twentieth century and revolves around the lives of female fighters in the French Resistance. Although this may disappoint fantasy fans, it works in the novel’s favour giving a sense of urgency to the story. When the 18-year-old Sandrine becomes involved in the Resistance she learns about the Codex. Unfortunately, the Resistance are not the only people searching for the text – the Nazis are too. Citadel is an adventure story and although part of a trilogy, it works as a stand-alone book. This is a pageturner of a novel and sure to please Mosse’s many fans. Lovers of literature will appreciate Julian
Barnes’ Through The Window. This is a collection of essays and one short story exploring the craft of other writers. The title recalls George Orwell’s dictum that “Good prose is like a windowpane” and taking this as a starting point, Barnes examines the prose styles of various authors. These include Orwell, Lorrie Moore; John Updike; and Ford Maddox Ford, to whom Barnes dedicated three of the seventeen essays. Highlights include an excellent exploration of the difficulties in translating, using Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary as an example and a keen critique of the theme of despair in Michel Houellebeque’s novels Atomised and Platform. While you do need familiarity with the authors under discussion Through The Window is not academic as such. Barnes is certainly erudite, but he employs a light hand and an almost chatty style. Nor is he above including gossipy gems, such as whether or not Orwell shot an elephant as he had claimed, and examining Houellebeque’s ‘bad boy’ behaviour including his shambolic appearance when awarded the Prix Novembre literary prize, and his intoxicated flirtations with a journalist while being profiled for The Observer.
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G O F I G U R E
GO RAIL'S BRAIN TEASERS
WIN A WONDERFUL WEEKEND AWAY AT THE LAKE HOTEL, KILLARNEY! As a special Christmas gift, this issue we’re offering a brilliant prize for the winner of the Go Figure Brain Teasers quiz. It’s short and easy – well reasonably easy! And we’ve got runners-up prizes too, so get weaving! THE PRIZES: The winner, along with a friend/partner, will spend two nights in a lake-view room at this wonderful, family-run hotel, with breakfast each morning, and dinner on one evening. Getting there is taken care of too, with a pair of Intercity tickets included in the prize! What’s more, four runners-up will each receive a pair of Intercity tickets. To enter, simply email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your contact details, and let us know on which train route or at which station you picked up your copy of Go Rail. Good luck!
THE FIVE COUNTRIES WITH THE MOST GOLD MEDALS AT THE 2012 OLYMPICS ARE:
THE FIVE RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD 2012 ARE:
THE TOP 5 CITIES IN IRELAND RANKED BY POPULATION ARE:
1. United States 2. China 3. Great Britain 4. Russia 5. Republic of Korea
1. Carlos Slim 2. Bill Gates 3. Armacio Ortega 4. Warren Buffett 5. Ingvar Kamprad
1. Dublin 2. Belfast 3. Cork 4. Derry 5. Galway
What country is sixth?
Who is the sixth?
What is the sixth largest?
Lake Shore, Muckross Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland Telephone: +353 (0) 64 663 1035
email@example.com • www.lakehotel.com
Terms & Conditions: The prize is valid for one year, and subject to availability. No cash alternatives will be offered. Entrants must be aged 18+.
CROSSWORD ACROSS 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 18 20 22 23 24 25
Continent (6) Mechanical or electrical devices (8) Contaminated (8) Make up (6) Decorate (8) Gained (6) Festivity (11) Formed by freezing dripping water (6) Went up (8) Miscellaneous things for sale (3-3) Quote (8) Incursion (8) Gentry brought down? (6)
1 2 3 4 5 6 8 14 15 16 17 19 21
Arsenal (7) Temperate chair? (8) Resolve bench (6) Mishap (8) Long John (6) From Heaven (7) Inland sea (13) Picnic or Ladyland (8) Salve turns no mitten (8) Reverberating (7) Hell for hide (7) Kilkenny town or British TV spy (6) Beef or dairy (6)
CROSSWORD SOLUTION Down: 1 Gunners, 2 Moderate, 3 Settle, 4 Accident, 5 Silver, 6 Pennies, 8 Mediterranean, 14 Electric, 15 Ointment, 16 Echoing, 17 Leather, 19 Callan, 21 Cattle. Across: 7 Europe, 8 Machines, 9 Infected, 10 Invent, 11 Ornament, 12 Earned, 13 Celebration, 18 Icicle, 20 Ascended, 22 Job-lot, 23 Estimate, 24 Invasion, 25 Landed.
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TURN TO PARALIEF FOR PAIN RELIEF
TOUGH ON PAIN Easy on your pocket
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