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OCT - DEC 2011 VOL:1 ISSUE:3

• AIDAN GILLEN ON LOVE/HATE & HOLLYWOOD TV • STUART NEVILLE A TOUCH OF EVIL • LAURA MARLING FOLK’S EXTRAORDINARY SUPERSTAR • MARIO ROSENSTOCK HIS FAVOURITE TRAIN JOURNEY

MIRIAM O’CALLAGHAN’S

IRELAND

• THE DEFINIT I V E G U I D E TO I R I S H W H I S K E Y • Go Rail Cover 01-03.indd 1

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The Bishop’s Palace Experience the elegance of Waterford’s Georgian Past

Waterford, renowned for over two hundred years for the beauty of its cut glass and the magnificence of its architecture, now offers the opportunity to explore the enchanting world of 18th century architecture, craftsmanship and design at the Bishop’s Palace in the heart of the Viking Triangle, Waterford’s historic city centre. Revealing the story of Waterford from 1700 to the 1970s, the Palace contains many items of historical significance, including the only surviving Bonaparte ‘mourning cross’ in the world (only twelve of these crosses were originally made in 1821 on Bonaparte’s death), the Penrose decanter – the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal – which dates back to 1789, as well as the precious Van der Hagen 1736 painting of Waterford city which was commissioned by Waterford Corporation for the princely sum of £20. The Bishop’s Palace is open 7 days a week, 362 days a year. T +353 (0)51 304 500 E waterfordtreasures@waterfordcity.ie www.WaterfordTreasures.com

Hot Press.indd 1

The travel time from Dublin to Waterford is 1 hrs 45 mins on the M9. Cork to Waterford is 1 hrs 30 mins on the N25.

Belfast

Galway

Dublin

Limerick Waterford Cork

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CONTENTS

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graham keogh

OCT - DEC 2011 VOLUME: 1 ISSUE: 3

mark nixon

ruth medjber

30

24 8 GO FOR IT A rundown of what’s hot and happening throughout the country. 18 TAKING STOCK Impressionist and star of the hilarious Gift Grub series MARIO ROSENSTOCK on why he loves to travel by train to Cork. 20 GO NEWS Up-to-date train news from Iarnród Éireann. 24 THE PRIME TIME OF HER LIFE RTÉ personality MIRIAM O'CALLAGHAN talks candidly about work, family, gender politics and what it's like to live life in the limelight. 28 A LAURA UNTO HERSELF As she releases her third studio album, folk singer and Mercury nominee LAURA MARLING reveals what inspires her songwriting.

30 GOING IN FOR THE GILL Irish actor AIDAN GILLEN on what it's like to go from filming epic fantasy drama Game Of Thrones to working on his latest project, the lowbudget Treacle Jr. 32 WELL I NEVILLE Award-winning crime fiction author STUART NEVILLE chats to ANNE SEXTON about his latest offering, Stolen Souls. 34 GO SPORT Poker's 2011 Personality Of The Year KARA SCOTT shows her hand to CRAIG FITZSIMONS ahead of the PKR World Poker Tour Ireland. 38 GO BUSINESS Though whiskey is produced worldwide, it's hard to beat the Irish uisce beatha! Here's our guide to the famous drink, from how it's made to where to go to find the finest samples.

44 44 IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT... MasterChef Ireland hosts DYLAN McGRATH and NICK MUNIER discuss their roles in the fastpaced, kitchen-based RTÉ show. 48 GOLDEN YEARS There's an abundance of Irish travel deals on offer for the over-55s. We take a look at some of the options. 54 WINTER WOOLS Tips on how to stay snug and stylish this winter. 58 OH BABY! Being a new parent is certainly a challenge. Here's our guide to keeping your little one healthy – and happy! 62 REVIEWS Our team of reviewers cast their eye over the latest albums, books and DVDs.

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CREDITS OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2011 VOLUME: 1 ISSUE: 3 MANAGING EDITOR

Máirín Sheehy

COMMISSIONING EDITOR

Roisin Dwyer

CONTRIBUTORS

SONG FOR IRELAND

Stuart Clark Craig Fitzpatrick Craig Fitzsimons Jackie Hayden Maeve Heslin Roe McDermott Adrienne Murphy Colm O’Hare Marie Ryan Anne Sexton Olaf Tyaransen

DESIGN & PRODUCTION

Hot Press 13 Trinity Street Dublin 2

DESIGN

David Keane Andrew Duffy Kelly Gaffney

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Maeve Heslin

STUDIO MANAGER

Graham Keogh

PRINTED BY

Boylan’s Print

ADVERTISING

Trish Murphy Suzanne Dwyer

PUBLISHER

Niall Stokes

xxxxxxx

Trains allow us to experience our own place in a unique way GO RAIL IS PUBLISHED FOR IARNRÓD ÉIREANN BY:

Osnovina Ltd 13 Trinity Street Dublin 2

TELEPHONE

+353 (0)1 2411 500

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EMAIL

gorail@hotpress.ie

LETTERS

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 Éireann. All material © Osnovina 2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction of material without permission of the publishers is strictly prohibited.

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Credits GoR 1.3 1

W

e all love an Indian summer.

The origin of the phrase is unclear. Its first recorded use was in America in 1778 and so the ‘Indian’ reference is to Native Americans and not to anyone from India. One explanation is that it derives from the activities of Indian raiding parties striking during unusually fine weather conditions, to take advantage of the fact that it would be more difficult to track them. In Lithuania they refer to it as “the summer of old ladies”. The Chinese have a similar phrase, meaning “a tiger in autumn”. Whatever its precise origins, the generally accepted meaning is of a ‘false summer’, after which we will feel the inevitable plunge back into colder conditions even more extremely. But while it lasts, wouldn’t we be mad not to make the most of it? August had been such a disappointment. Wet, cold and miserable, it felt more like winter than the end of the summer holidays. It was as if we had skipped autumn entirely. And the beginning of September was no better. And then suddenly, we woke one morning to warm temperatures, blue skies and feeling of lightness. The winds were blowing from the south, bringing a taste of African warmth even to Northern Europe. In the summer it might have become stiflingly hot but in the last week before October the heat didn’t become oppressive. We experienced the hottest September day since they began taking records in Ireland. Even at night it remained uns easonably warm. Not many were complaining. There is something really beautiful about sunshine and

warm temperatures in Ireland, when the backdrop is of falling leaves and those wonderful fall colours: the bronzes, reds and yellows of classic autumnal beauty. Summer dresses were visible on the streets. Men posed in sleeveless T-shirts. Customers sat outside bars and restaurants eating and enjoying the buzz. In Dublin, tourists roamed the pathways, in turn peering into their maps and looking upwards at the steeple and spires. Everything was bathed in an unusual glow. The lower angle of the late September sun produces an extra kind of loveliness in the landscape. It makes you appreciate afresh the special qualities this country has as a place to travel in. We can sometimes take what is close to us for granted. But if we open our eyes and learn to experience things here the way we do when we travel abroad, then Ireland can be seen for what it really is: a place of rugged beauty and great character. The Irish Rail network traverses the country and reaches deep into the hinterland in a way that allows us to experience the attractions of our own place in a unique and uniquely relaxing way. And, as for the visitors who are reading this – well, you will already have your senses finely attuned to the wonders around you. The simple things in life are often the best: tenderness, love, affection, being together and observing the good things around us. They inspire us and fuel our memories. Let us celebrate them. Enjoy your journey.

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© Kildare Village 2011

9/11

www.KildareVillage.com


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A R U N D O W N O F W H AT ’ S H O T & H A P P E N I N G B Y ROE McDERMOTT AND CRAIG FITZPATRICK

Hayseed Dixie

Elvis Costello

LIVING IT UP

IN SLIGO FOR BEST VALUE FARES ON ALL INTERCITY SERVICES CHECK OUT IRISHRAIL.IE

KT Tunstall

Eoin Glackin

This October bank holiday weekend, the Sligo Live festival presents an exciting six-day programme of events, celebrating folk, roots and indie music. Now in its seventh year, the festival will take place in various pubs, clubs, colleges, cafés, and even on the streets of Sligo. Renowned acts like KT Tunstall, Elvis Costello, Eoin Glackin, Hayseed Dixie, the Dublin Laptop Orchestra, The Vibes and many more will be entertaining festival-goers between October 26 and 31. There will also be trad sessions taking place around the town, featuring the likes of accordian player Séamus Begley and Stockton’s Wing fiddler Maurice Lennon, as well as a host of exciting street performers ready to entertain! Weekend festival tickets are available now. Priced just €95, they guarantee entry to all the Sligo Live performances. Of course, while you’re in the town, you can partake in its usual eclectic menu of activities, including walking the Yeats trail or surfing on the coast. With something for everyone, West is definitely best this October!

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LOUD AND

PROUD

Not content with storming Dublin’s O2 on October 3, Rihanna is set to return to the impressive Docklands venue less than two months later – her Loud tour rolls back into town on November 25. Once again, ‘Acceptable In The ‘80s’ star Calvin Harris will be joining her under her umbrella – he is confirmed as the special guest. It will be one of the final shows of 2011 for the Barbadian singer, topping off a fantastic year which saw her become the first female solo artist to have five number one singles in consecutive years, equalling Elvis Presley’s UK chart record. Her new album is due to drop on November 21, so that O2 date should be something of a celebration. Tickets start from €54.80 and are available from ticketmaster.ie.

FOTA WILDLIFE AD

A TOUCH OF GOLD A fine recent addition to the city's already impressive roll call of late night venues, Alchemy is a luxury club located in the heart of Dublin’s cultural quarter, Temple Bar. Bringing a touch of class to town's nightlife, the venue’s Renaissance-inspired interior makes for a unique way to carry you into the early hours. A wholly enjoyable night out whichever day of the week you choose to visit, highlights include the Friday club Forbidden, which boasts drink promotions and all the latest R&B and chart floor-fillers. You can also hit the tiles in style at Vanity, the Saturday night club which brings you the best in commercial dance, chat and club classics from 11pm. Alchemy — pure magic in the capital’s cultural quarter.

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(Above & below) 'Mad Hatters' at the Galway

GOFOR IT

INTO THE WEST The Westport Arts Festival is setting the bar high. With its most jam-packed programme ever, the festival will see over 100 local and international acts descend upon Westport to entertain and enjoy Mayo from October 1 – 9. Highlights include a drive-in movie theatre that will be showing classics such as Casablanca, This Is Spinal Tap and Dirty Dancing (a gold star to anyone who sneaks the phrase

“I carried a watermelon” into random conversation at some stage of the festival.) There will also be a abundance of theatre, comedy shows and readings from poets and writers such as Anne McCabe, Paula Meehan, Tony Curtis and the Westport Writers’ Group. Then of course there’s a wonderful music line-up, featuring the talents of Cathy Davey, Glen Hansard, Ham Sandwich, Vyvienne Long and many more.

Vyvienne Long: All eyes on Westport

THE WEX BEST THING The 60th Wexford Opera Festival gets underway on October 21 and this year looks set to be bigger and better than ever before. Against the beautiful backdrop of the south-eastern seaside town, new life will be breathed into neglected operas and some of the world’s most talented singers will demonstrate just what they can do. With President Mary McAleese as patron, three stunning productions will be held – La Cour De Celimene (1855), Maria (1903) and Gianni Di Parigi (1839) – in the recentlybuilt Wexford Opera House. Apart from that, shorter works, lunchtime recitals and myriad concerts will take place in hotels, bars and churches around town. Go to wexfordopera.com for a full programme.

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HALLOWEEN FAMILY PACKAGES AVAILABLE

See Ireland’s Treasures in a whole new light.

3 DAY CHRISTMAS PACKAGE FROM €250 PER PERSON SHARING

Free admission to the new Treasury Exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland , Kildare Street.

CLAREMORRIS IS SERVED BY DAILY TRAINS FROM DUBLIN

TRANSFERS FROM THE STATION ARRANGED • IDEAL FAMILY HOTEL WITH BIZZIE BEES KIDS CLUB • ENJOY A 2 NIGHT BREAK WITH 1 EVENING MEAL FROM €99PPS McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, Co. Mayo Phone 094 9378000 For special offers visit www.mcwilliampark.ie

Kildare Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. Sunday 2pm to 5pm. Closed: Mondays including Bank Holidays

BUS: 7/10/14/15/37/39/74 LUAS: Green Line Stephens Green stop. For information: T: (01) 6777 444 E: info@museum.ie

www.museum.ie

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AND ALL THAT

JAZZ The Cork Jazz Festival will be entertaining and enthralling audiences from October 28 – 31 in venues all around Cork. Featuring the very best jazz musicians, choirs and groups, there will be stunning performances from The Harlem Gospel Choir, Amiina, Richard Galliano and the Jean-Luc Ponty Quartet that are sure to seduce both jazz aficionados and neophytes alike. There will also be very special guests, such as the hilarious Tim Minchin, who is not only a brilliant comedian, talented jazz musician and the writer of the highly anticipated Matilda: The Musical but the boy also boasts the best eyeliner-applying technique we’ve ever seen. Some people have all the luck. Sax Appeal: Yolanda Brown is playing as part of October's Cork Jazz Festival

ROLL UP, ROLL UP! Having had its humble beginnings as a juggling convention in 2000, the Tralee Circus Festival has grown to encompass all the various strands and skills that you would find in the round top, and is now Ireland’s annual contemporary circus event. The whole thing launches with a festival parade on Friday November 18 in the Kerry town, setting us up for a weekend of clowning around. Over the three days of November 18 – 20, there will be gala shows, circus workshops for the kids and convention in Brandon Hotel & Conference Centre. Saturday will see a matinee and evening Circus Siamsa production at Siamsa Tire Theatre in Tralee’s Town Park, featuring hand-picked performers from Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Sweden and the USA. For a list of events, go to traleecircusfestival.com.

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GOFOR IT

OUR GENERATION Visitors seeking quirky, fun-filled accommodation in Dublin should look no further than the Generator Hostel, a brand new establishment in the city centre. With over 500 beds, Generator is officially Dublin’s largest hostel, and with a prime location on Smithfield Square (off the River Liffey), it’s just a short walk from the city’s main shopping areas, cultural quarter Temple Bar and the historical environs

surroundinng Christ Church. The hostel itself offers an array of fantastic amenities to the discerning traveller, including a bar which stays open ‘til 2am, a chill-out lounge, free wi-fi, and a travel shop, where tickets for various city tours can be purchased. The decor is fresh and funky, and with prices starting at just €15 per night, Generation Hostel is a fantastic base from which to explore the capital city. Generating a warm welcome

CHEERS FOR SPEARS

Currently in the midst of her Femme Fatale world tour, Britney Spears has announced two dates for Ireland. She’ll be bringing her new show to Dublin’s O2 on October 24, before heading for the Odyssey Arena on October 25. It’s all in support of her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale, which was released in March to positive reviews and immediately hit No. 1 in the US, confirming Spears’ continued clout in the world of pop. Her forthcoming Irish gigs will focus on new material from that album and will naturally include a large helping of the decade’s worth of pop magic she has amassed (21 smash hits including two “surprise” songs apparently). Tickets are priced from €54.80/£55 (inclusive of booking fee) and are available from ticketmaster.ie.

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As regular Go Rail readers will know, we’re extremely partial to our speciality brews. So too are the good folk from Beer Club, Ireland’s leading online supplier of quality tipples from all over the world, which will soon be starting tastings for its members in their Kimmage, Dublin 12 headquarters. Along with well and not-so-well-known names from Australia, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Poland, Russia, Britain, the USA, New Zealand and the Czech Republic, The Beer Club has a selection of fine Irish microbrews such as Headless Dog, Dungarvan Copper Red, McGrath’s Irish Red, O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale, Galway Hooker, Porterhouse Hophead, Belfast Blonde, Cathedral Quarter, Eight Degrees, Howling Gale and Curim. You can order by the bottle or the case and look forward to your beer being delivered to your doorstep. Find out more and register for their newsletters at thebeerclub.ie.

MERCHANT OF MIRTH

Known as Ricky Gervais’ partner in crime – or, just as commonly, “the really tall speccy guy’, Stephen Merchant made his mark on the comedy scene by co-writing and co-directing the hit television shows The Office and Extras, as well as co-hosting The Ricky Gervais Show with his best friend. But now Merchant is ready to strike out on his own… well, kind of. His debut standup show is entitled Hello Ladies, and Merchant has claimed that the aim of the show is to find himself a wife – and if he happens to provide the rest of the audience with a hilarious night of comedy, well, that’s just a bonus. Merchant will be performing at Vicar St. in Dublin on November 22 and 23, so head along if you’re looking for some serious laughs – or serious love!

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GOFOR IT

SPIRITED AWAY LET’S DO THE A

TIMEWARP AGAIN

s the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland, the Royal County has always been central to the story of Hallowe’en. Indeed Samhain, the gaelic harvest festival that preceded our more modern holiday, originated in the area over two millennia ago. It is entirely fitting, then, for Meath to play host to a ten-day celebration in honour of Hallowe’en, and Spirits of Meath 2011 promises to offer plenty of fun by day and frights by night. 35 events will take place throughout the area from October 21 – November 6, including night markets, spooky country walks, candlelit tours and street festivals. The main attraction is once again likely to be the torchlit procession from the Fair Green in Athboy to the top of the Hill Of Tiachtga on the evening of October 31. Go to meathtourism.ie for all the details.

W

hat better way to prepare for Hallowe’en than getting dressed up in a scarily tight corset, terrifyingly high heels and enjoying the depravity that is the comedy horror cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Celebrating their fifth anniversary in The Sugar Club, Dublin, on October 29, the Rocky Horror crew invite you to join their band of adorably defunct misfits for a night of depravity and decadence. Showing the 1975 film while also acting it out, the actors and dancers won’t be the only ones to get their moment in the saucy spotlight as audience participation isn’t a maybe, it’s a must. Sing and dance along to ‘The TimeWarp’, have a water-fight during the thunderstorms and heckle to your heart’s content in this wildly fun and fabulous night out. Also featuring fireeaters, burlesque dancers, costume competitions and a host of scandalous surprises, it’s the only place to be this Hallowe’en weekend.

CRAFTY CHRISTMAS

I

f you don’t want to spend your Christmas Eve buying all your friends and family value-packs of socks and dodgy novelty jumpers, might we suggest getting yourself to Dalkey Winter Fair on November 12 and 13. This stunning market has become known for its gorgeous collections of arts, crafts and jewelery and its support of local artisans, and is a treasure trove of unique crafts perfect for truly thoughtful and tasteful gifts this Christmas. Taking place in the appropriately beautiful setting of Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre, over 40 talented craftspeople will launch their new collections. Get yourself to Dalkey, buy some creative crafts and enjoy the countless brownie points you’ll earn this Yuletide season!

The horror at The Sugar Club

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THANK YOU FOR THE

Westlife

MUSIC SHOW I

t’s coming… Ireland’s largest ever music exhibition returns to the RDS on November 12 and 13, and promises to reaffirm its position as one of the most important dates on the Irish music calendar. There’s something for everyone at the Music Show, whether you’re a young artist looking to get ahead, a bit of a tech head hoping to try out the latest bit of kit, or a seasoned industry type concerned with where the business is going. There’s plenty for the casual fan and fun for all the family as well, with a whole host of stunning live performances taking place over the weekend. On the main floor, you’ll find stands from the biggest names in the industry, whilst upstairs there will be plenty of seminars and talks. The line-up this year promises to be as illustrious as ever, with Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and the man who helped Bob Geldof make Live Aid a reality, Harvey Goldsmith, both confirmed for the two-day bash. Clannad’s Moya Brennan, The Rubberbandits and footballing legend Paul McGrath are also down to make appearances, with The Coronas, Whipping Boy, The Answer, The Original Rudeboys and a 30th birthday-celebrating Aslan leading the Live Stage charge.

SPREADING A LITTLE

CHEER

A

fter the sterling job he did in 2010, Westlife’s Nicky Byrne returns to host the Cheerio’s Childline Concert in Dublin’s O2 on November 12. Away from his presenting duties, he’ll be sharing a stage with the rest of the Westlife lads for a live performance. Also performing on the night will be new boyband-onthe-block The Wanted – featuring Ireland’s own Siva Kaneswaran – and those ubiquitous peroxide twins from Lucan, Jedward. The 14th year for the fundraiser, it is of course all in aid of a very good cause. Since 1997, Childline has received €3.8 million in donations from the event and it is hoped that this year’s concert will raise €400,000.

Ed O'Brien from Radiohead (middle)

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GOFOR IT

AIN YOUR S P R STEP ING

LEAGUE OF

GENTLEMEN

Not for the sensitively dispositioned or easily offended, the outrageous chatshow turned outrageous musical Jerry Springer: The Musical is set to hit Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre from October 31 – November 5, bringing with it a lot of tunes and some serious tongue-in-cheek. Written by the musicians and comedians Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, this multi-award winning show has gained notoriety for its use of profanity, irreverent treatment of religion and its infamous sequences involving some tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan members (We did warn you it was outrageous.) This musical doesn’t shy away from controversy and will undoubtedly attract as many complaints as accolades, but it you like your humour dark and your satire sensationalist, look no further. Just make sure to look for a babysitter first, this ain’t one to bring the kiddies to.

A

ll eyes may currently be on rugby union and Ireland’s World Cup adventure in New Zealand, but there’s plenty of rugby action to be had closer to home. Nothing beats being at the game live (at a reasonable hour) and that’s where rugby league comes in. For the second match in their Autumn Rugby League Series, the boys in green are set to take on France in Limerick’s Thomond Park Stadium on November 5. Any competitive match in any sport between the two nations is always a fiery affair (ask those still traumatised by a certain T*****y H***y’s handball) and this will prove no exception. For ticket information, check out thomondpark.ie. Rugby's eye view from Thomond Park

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SURF’S UP I

t’s a brave soul indeed that faces the Irish waters at any time of the year. So be sure to lend your support to the surfers looking to glide the chilly waves of October in Rossnowlagh. Held in the Donegal beachside resort – one of Europe’s finest Blue Flag surfing beaches – annually since 1969, the Intercounties Surf Competition is Ireland’s longest-running surfing contest. The ‘All-Ireland of surfing’ is carried out with teams of three or four, and in recent times it has proved a real battle between the coastal counties of Donegal and Wexford. Aside from the sport, there’s a good deal of craic to be had, as the competition turns into quite the social event each evening. Held October 15 – 16, go to isasurf.ie for details.

DOIN’ IT FOR THE KIDS

B

etween October 16 and 23, Galway will become Ireland’s official ‘City of Culture for Kids’. With a jam-packed programme that takes in dance, music, literature storytelling, theatre, puppetry and film, it’s time to celebrate Baboró’s 15th anniversary by treating our children to a little taste of art and culture. Events will take place in 15 venues around the city, including Town Hall Theatre Black Box, Galway City Museum and Eyre Square Centre itself, and it all kicks off with a Mr. Whippy Soundsystem, street games and an art installation from Germany’s Das Papiertheater that is set to animate the streets of Galway in a unique and interactive way. The rest of the week will play host to fine productions from local and international groups, all aiming to bring some creativity and fun to your children’s lives. Head to baboro.ie now to plan out your week.

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GO DESTINATION: CORK

RAILING WITH ROSENSTOCK He’s Ireland’s top impressionist and satirist – and quite the travel enthusiast. Pulling up a stool MARIO ROSENSTOCK discusses his favourite train journeys.

Graham Keogh

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ario Rosenstock, Ireland’s premier impressionist, is a man in a hurry. Aside from his regular slot on The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show (a gig that’s now entered its second decade), there’s been two Special 1 TV series for the BBC, those terrific recent sketches on Tonight With Vincent Browne and now – Gift Grub Live 2. Back onstage at the Olympia this November, Rosenstock’s initial live run in 2009 saw himself and his mate Mr. Dempsey hopping on countless trains and hitting venues throughout Ireland. A bit like a pair of comedy bandits or – as Mario puts it – like a rock band. “Myself and Ian travelled all around the country,” says Mario. “We took in all the routes from Dublin – Cork, Limerick, Killarney… Each was really enjoyable. We had a ball. Some of the guys with us were able to download the newest TV shows from America that had never been shown in Ireland before on their laptops. So we were able to watch all these sitcoms and US shows as we travelled. It really was like being in a band! I even got to do interviews for magazines where they’d go, ‘What’s on your rider?’” A very good question indeed. Does he have a list of demands as long as his arm? “Nah, very few things actually. Fresh nuts, water, towels – for sweating, there’s a lot of sweating onstage – and a cassette or CD player.” Well that’s underwhelmingly level-headed and modest… Nice to hear he’s a man with his feet on the ground but, just for a laugh, couldn’t he go the Prince route and insist that his dressing-room be painted purple? “It is very underwhelming!” he grins. “But in certain places we’d play, if you painted the walls purple, the walls would fall down, they’re literally that flaky!” He may have toured the country and been on every railway route our nation has to offer in recent times, but his heart lies on the line that leads from the capital down to Cork city. It holds a certain sense of nostalgia for him. “I went to boarding school in Cork, so I’ve always loved the Dublin-Cork train. Every time I go to West Cork it brings back a lot of good memories. I’m from Waterford originally, so I love going back there as well.” West Cork, Waterford – he has a clear affinity for a certain province, as well as the coastal regions of the country. “Regular spots I’d head for in Waterford would be Woodstown Beach, Ardmore. And yes, I’m pretty much a Munster man…” Mario pauses. “C’mon ROG, get back on the team!” His enthusiasm for travelling on tracks extends to holidays outside of Ireland. That 17.05 from Heuston to Cork may have sentimental value, but moving at speed through the Swiss Alps certainly has its own unique appeal. “Lake Como to Zurich, through the Swiss Alps, that’s amazing,” says Rosenstock. “It’s a four-hour journey and you feel like you’re in a James Bond movie. Actually, you feel like you’re the baddie in a James Bond movie and that there’s a helicopter going to come flying over the mountain at any minute, with Bond in it ready

to kill you! You’re flying right through these huge glaciers and under tunnels. Fantastic! I’d love to do the Trans-Siberian Express or the Orient Express. My wife would love to as well. And it would be a fantastic experience to take a sleepover from Paris to Rome, something like that. It would take 12 to 14 hours but it would be great leaving Paris and waking up in Rome!” Regardless of where he’s headed, Mario seems to enjoy the journey, especially when he’s traveling in style. “The train is easily my favorite form of transport, for obvious reasons,” the satirist explains. “It’s really smooth, you can

look out the window, you listen to your iPod, read the papers, walk around… And you can eat! That’s the thing about taking the train in Ireland.” He leans in conspiratorially, the voice that launched a thousand Keano and Jose Mourinho impressions dropping to a whisper. “In first class the food is phenomenal – it’s only eight quid or so more and totally worth it. Absolutely brilliant!” Gift grub indeed. Mario Rosenstock presents Gift Grub Live 2 at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, from November 14 – 26.

18 My fav Journey GoR 1.3 1

05/10/2011 16:38:05


SATURDAY 12 TH & SUNDAY 13 TH NOVEMBER 2011

RDS, DUBLIN

T H E U LT I M AT E MUSIC WEEKEND Come on down to TRY AND BUY all of the latest INSTRUMENTS & EQUIPMENT LIVE STAGE featuring Ireland’s top acts INSTRUMENTAL MASTERCLASSES from the leading pros Get close to the artists in PUBLIC INTERVIEWS, SIGNINGS and APPEARANCES

IRELAND’S BIGGEST EVER EXHIBITION OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

THEMUSICSHOW.IE Music Show A4 GR1.3.indd 1

05/10/2011 17:43:28


GONEWS

NEW RAILFREIGHT SPUR

OPENS IN DUBLIN PORT

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar TD; Dick Fearn, Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive; and Derek Darcy, Operations Director of IWT

Investment in a new rail spur in Dublin Port offers major benefits in terms of both competitiveness for Iarnród Éireann customers and environmental improvement.

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he opening of a new rail spur in Dublin Port is set to enhance the competitiveness of rail freight for Dublin Port and Iarnród Éireann customers.

The expansion of the rail spur follows a €1.5 million investment made by Dublin Port Company. The spur is 1.6 kilometres long, and the project took six months to complete. The new rail spur facilitates access for rail freight to ship-side at the Ocean Pier, eliminating the need for loading and unloading on Alexandra Road, and will improve the competitiveness of rail freight to and from Dublin Port. The first customer of the new facility is IWT (International Warehousing and Transport), a privately owned Irish logistics company, and the current IWT service has already increased from 4 to 5 trains per week in each direction as a result of this investment. IWT believe that the service will save up to 5.5million road kilometres every year and will reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 2,750 tonnes. The increased

frequency in the service provides customers with a regular and reliable rail alternative, delivering a superior product that will enhance Ireland’s contribution to the European Union’s modal shift aspirations, from road to rail. The project represents a true public-private partnership between Dublin Port Company, Iarnród Éireann and IWT. It is also open to other Shipping Companies or bulk carriers to avail of this new rail facility in Dublin Port. Iarnród Éireann will seek new rail freight customers for train-load point-topoint business. The Irish Exporters Association have welcomed the new development. Speaking at the opening, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar TD said: “I welcome this important investment by Dublin Port Company in its rail network. It will further enhance the attractiveness of the port as a destination for railbased freight. The project represents a commitment on the part of Dublin Port Company and Iarnród Éireann to customers who want to move goods by rail.”

Iarnród Éireann rail freight customers Boliden/Tara Mines already export 400,000 tonnes of lead and zinc concentrate through Dublin Port annually, with fifteen trains per week operating from the mine to Dublin Port. It is an example of the impressive scale of what is a growing aspect of Irish Rail’s business. Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive Dick Fearn was emphatic in his enthusiasm for the new facility. “The expansion of the Dublin Port Rail Spur is an example of state agencies working together to improve the

competitiveness of rail freight, for the benefit of commercial customers,” he said. ‘“We in Iarnród Éireann will continue to build on the resurgence in rail freight. We aim to attract more freight customers to our services by highlighting the benefits this new spur will bring to the costs and competitiveness of transporting by rail – and also the environmental advantages, which are very significant.” CONTACT IARNROD EIREANN FREIGHT ON TEL: 1850 76 76 76 OR EMAIL IEFREIGHT@IRISHRAIL.IE

20 GO RAIL Train News 1_3 1

05/10/2011 17:29:23


TAXSAVER THE SMART WAY TO COMMUTE!

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he TaxSaver Commuter Ticket scheme is a facility for employees and employers to make massive savings on their tax bill. All employees and company directors are eligible to participate.

BENEFITS

Taxsaver is the smart way for commuters to travel. Leave the traffic jams, rising fuel costs and expensive car parks behind. The best way to travel is by public transport and for those commuting regularly, what better way to pay than by joining the TaxSaver commuter scheme? But don’t just take our word for it – here’s what Paul from Sandymount had to say: “I have looked into it and it works, I’m almost getting the ticket for half price. So it’s excellent like, it’s a huge, huge saving”. Since its launch, the scheme has been a great

The many benefits of the TaxSaver scheme include: • Staff can save up to 52% of travel costs through tax, PRSI and universal social charge savings, • Employers can save up to 10.75% on PRSI, • Convenience of not having to queue for a ticket, • Commuter tickets are significantly cheaper than single or return cash fares, • TaxSaver members’ zone offers discounts on rail travel, car insurance, tourist attractions etc., • Tickets may be purchased from the start of any month throughout the year, • Easy online ordering system for employers,

success, with more than 2,500 companies across a wide variety of sectors now participating in the scheme to avail of the tax savings.

• Customer-focused TaxSaver team to assist with any queries. The TaxSaver scheme is operated by Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann and approved transport providers in conjunction with the Revenue Commissioners. Employees receive tickets either as part of their salary package (salary sacrifice), in lieu of an annual cash bonus, or as a benefit-in-kind. Savings arise because tickets are not subject to tax or PRSI. Employees only have to pay tax and PRSI on the “money” portion of their salary. Employer PRSI is also calculated on the “money” portion of the employee’s salary. You can get more information, and find out how much you can save with our savings calculator, at taxsaver.ie.

21 GoRail TrainTax 1.3 1

05/10/2011 17:30:53


GONEWS

DART AIRPORT LINK

RAILING TO THE AIR

This addition to Iarnród Éireann’s network would provide frequent, regular interval DART services in both directions from 05.00hrs to 01.00hrs, running from the airport to Bray/ Greystones. The journey time from the airport to city centre would be just 25 minutes. Subject to exchequer funding, the line could be opened and full services operating by 2016. The investment would be in the region of €200 million. Utilising the existing DART rolling stock a service could be provided every 15 minutes.

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Commuter services? Iarnród Éireann is currently undertaking a project to re-signal the line from Clongriffin to Grand Canal Dock, which will be completed by 2013. This will increase the maximum number of trains to/from the city centre from 12 trains per hour in each direction to 20 trains per hour in each direction. Therefore, DART trains every 15 minutes in each direction to/from the airport could be accommodated while leaving scope for further expansion on other routes.

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Dublin network with airport link

What route will it take? The main alignment has been identified from Clongriffin to the airport site, as it passes underneath the flightpath. This land has not been developed, and the route could be built without impacting on commercial or residential interests, or other infrastructure. Iarnród Éireann has commenced preliminary discussions with the Dublin Airport Authority to identify preferred alignments within the airport site.

What does this mean for DART Underground? The DART airport link complements the goal of DART Underground to achieve a high frequency connected network. Should the DART airport link be developed, the subsequent development of DART Underground would deliver direct DARTs from the airport to Heuston Station via Spencer Dock, Pearse Station, St. Stephen’s Green and Christchurch, linking Intercity, DART, Commuter and Luas together. (Below) Dublin network with underground and airport link

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How would it connect with other rail services? Connections would be provided as follows: – Direct service to all stations between Clongriffin and Bray/Greystones, serving locations such as the city centre, the Aviva Stadium and the IFSC directly, – Connect to Portmarnock and Malahide, Northern commuter and Belfast Enterprise by changing at Clongriffin,

Where will the station at the airport be? Iarnród Éireann has commenced preliminary discussions with the Dublin Airport Authority to identify preferred alignments and a station location within the airport site. It is intended to ensure that a station location would serve both terminals.

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What are the benefits? The extension to the DART line would deliver for: – Customers travelling from the Greater Dublin area to the airport, – Customers on the Intercity network arriving at Connolly (one change) or at Heuston (connect to Luas to Connolly, then DART to Airport), – Air passengers arriving on flights to Dublin Airport, – Staff at Dublin Airport living on the DART and Commuter network, and those visiting places of business at the airport.

– Connect to Red Line Luas and Heuston Station by changing at Connolly, – Connect to Intercity services to Sligo and Rosslare by changing at Connolly.

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ARTs to the airport could soon become a reality. Iarnród Éireann is proposing a seven kilometre spur from the DART line at Clongriffin to the airport, delivering direct airport to city centre DART services.

What does this mean for existing DART and

22 Train News Dart GR1_3 1

05/10/2011 17:27:50


GOFEATURE

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M I R I A M ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST SUCCESSFUL CURRENT AFFAIRS BROADCASTERS, RTÉ’S MIRIAM O’CALLAGHAN HAS ALSO BEEN VOTED THE WOMAN WITH THE SEXIEST LEGS IN IRELAND. HERE, SHE TALKS TO OLAF TYARANSEN ABOUT HER RURAL BACKGROUND, HER FAMILY, THE QUEEN’S VISIT - AND HER LACK OF DESIGNER HANDBAGS!

portraits

M A R K N I XO N

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iriam O’Callaghan might be one of Ireland’s most serious, successful and respected broadcasters, but to many she’s also something of a sex symbol. The still-beautiful, twice-married RTÉ star knows it, too. Thankfully O’Callaghan – who also sits atop the tabloid-bestowed title of ‘Ireland’s Sexiest Legs’ – insists that she is not at all bothered by the constant media attention paid to her physical allure. “Those things don’t mean anything, really,” she shrugs, sipping a mineral water. “They’re not harmful at all.” In fairness, she probably knows that she has very little to prove. A Prime Time anchor for many years, she has demonstrated herself to be a formidable interviewer, time and time again. Where circumstances demanded it, politicians, pimps, publicans, republicans and various others have felt the heat of her onscreen wrath. She adopts a rather less hardbitten approach for her prime time Saturday night TV celebrity chat show or Sunday morning radio slots – but nobody really has any doubt that she’s the antithesis of the stereotypical

dumb blonde. The nature of O’Callaghan’s occupation as a current affairs broadcaster ensures that any political allegiances she may hold have remained steadfastly private. “As a current affairs anchor, you have to be apolitical. My grandfather used to fight for Michael Collins in the West Limerick Brigade, and was honoured as such, so I have a multi-party family. My brother’s a Fianna Fail councillor. My mother’s side of the family are die-hard Fine Gaelers. I have never been approached by any political party to stand for any office – and I don’t want them to approach me either. I have no interest. I like my job.” O’Callaghan caused a minor kerfuffle a few years ago when she explained that she always votes for the best female candidate at election time, rather than the best candidate. “I go in and vote for the best woman. It’s very sexist! Unapologetically sexist. I’m an unreconstructed feminist and will always be. Unashamedly. I don’t know about the idea of quotas for female TDs; I remember studying it because I had to do a couple of debates on it, and I don’t know if it does

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work. There are pros and cons. It’s complex, the whole quota system. All I know is I’m an unreconstructed feminist. I don’t know what that means, other than that women under the age of 23 think that’s terrifying (laughs). It’s not. It just means you believe that you can do whatever you want to do and just go for it. Happily, she’s also keen to point out that: “I’ve never experienced discrimination. My father was from a small farm in Kerry, just outside Castleisland, and he was ahead of his time and he was an unreconstructed feminist. He had four daughters and one son, and he always believed that we should do whatever we want, and actually that stuck to me. My mother always worked. She was a national school principal. She has probably become more of a feminist in her old age, actually. She used to be quite conservative. And now she’s gone wild and radical.”

For all O’Callaghan’s undoubted substance as a serious broadcaster, plenty of observations have also been voiced about her physical appearance, as the unofficial title of ‘Ireland’s Sexiest Legs’ might suggest. She takes these accolades with a pinch of salt and dosen’t find them offensive in the least: “It’s better than someone saying that Miriam O’Callaghan has the worst legs in Ireland. Have you actually seen my legs? Who votes on these things? But I would totally reject the idea that the way I look has been advantageous to my career: in fact, I think it might be a disadvantage. When I started off in television, I came from doing a Law degree in UCD, where I was the most boring person in Ireland. Then I went to Britain and I became a researcher and, if you genuinely do not look like the back of a bus and you can talk, they want to put you on screen. Current affairs was a bastion of men, and it still is slightly. It’s largely men who are in current affairs. It is a male bastion so I don’t want to go swanning around looking like I’m glamorous.” Any tabloid gossip-mongers looking for juicy scandal on O’Callaghan’s life, past or present, are barking up the wrong tree. O’Callaghan has four daughters with her former partner, journalist Tom McGurk, from whom she separated in 1995 (their eldest daughter, 23, has just been called to the Bar). She also has four sons with her second husband, Belfast-born Steve Carson, a senior manager at the national broadcaster. In short: “My relationships have only really consisted of two men. There is not much else. But I wouldn’t want it any differently, I don’t have a desire to have 150,000 previous boyfriends. They won’t come out of the woodwork because they don’t exist. There won’t be any scandal if I ever run for the Presidency.” David McWilliams had to make a grovelling apology when he wrote that O’Callaghan flirted with her guests before shows. “I suppose I was initially slightly peeved because I thought... (pauses). What did I think? I thought that you wouldn’t say that about a man. That’s all. I really don’t want to go back over it because I know he had a very bad time about it, and he didn’t mean it. He meant it as a joke. I don’t flirt with my guests. I’m not flirting with you. I’m actually not a flirt. I’ve never been a flirt. The notion that my guests sit down and I’m going, “Woooo!” I don’t! I’m actually always trying to relax people, saying, “don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” So I was marginally annoyed, but then the press took it over, and people were annoyed on my behalf. “Isn’t that outrageous!” people would be saying to me (laughs). Poor David. I really like him. And I do like lip gloss, as he said. I’m not trying to get him into my lair, my spider’s den.” Recent highlights of O’Callaghan’s media duties have included covering the State visits of US President Barack Obama and British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, momentous occasions which will not be forgotten in a hurry. O’Callaghan recalls: “To be honest, I thought I would have been more impressed by Obama – you know super cool journalist here – but I was more impressed with the Queen. I was blown away by her. I think it’s partly because I’m married to a Northern Presbyterian, and we kinda covered Northern Irish politics for years – that’s where I started in 1990 with Newsnight. And I felt very emotionally attached to the Northern Irish story. So to see the Queen here, in the Republic of Ireland, I found her trip incredibly moving. I think people warmed to her. She did well. And Mary McAleese was brilliant.” While the O’Callaghan of today is a visibly happy and well-balanced individual, her life hasn’t always been one great big happy bouncy castle. 1995 was an extremely traumatic year which witnessed plenty of personal heartache. “It was my bad year: my father died, my sister

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died, my marriage broke up, all in a three-month period. I’m not going to talk about the break-up, it’s like 18 years ago. He’s moved on, he’s very happy, he’s married. I was very young. At the end of the day people move on, and every time you talk about something you upset somebody else. I always think I’ve remained on incredibly good terms with Tom, my ex-husband. We have children together: the most important thing is that, it sounds like a cliché, but that your kids are happy. Also, I don’t feel any animosity. The most important thing in life is that you’re decent to people, and you do what’s right insofar as you can do what’s right. But I am conscious that every time you talk about something like that, you upset somebody else. Whether it’s their wife or their kids or whatever. So I’ve nothing more to say about it other than it worked out good in the end and everyone’s happy. And I say that to people. There is life after a break-up, a good life. I think it’s all relative. I’ve just VO’d a documentary on the hospital in Dun Laoghaire, the rehab, where these young guys are paralysed. It’s all relative. Because my younger sister Anne died – she was a year younger than me – nothing else really was that bad. Does that sound awful? Marriage breakups are terrible, but they’re relative. Once my kids are healthy, and I’m healthy, and people aren’t terminally ill, really everything else is fixable.” Between the demands of work and her eight children, O’Callaghan doesn’t have a great deal of free time to socialise. Not that this upsets her unduly: “My close friends aren’t in broadcasting. They go back to college and school. We don’t go out that much, though, we’re probably a bit... we like each other’s company. I work on Tuesday and Thursday for Prime Time so I’m conscious of being at home the other nights. Except on Saturday we always go out. It could be chaotic, because as a friend of mine said yesterday, my house is like Heuston Station, people coming in like my 13-year-old son with seven other 13year-olds and (adopts deep voice) their voices have just dropped. But it works. They’re happy. It’s ridiculous to have eight kids, I didn’t set out to have eight kids, but they’re all happy. It’s like, people say, “Would you write a book about mothering top-tips?” Ugh! I’d prefer to drink arsenic. No, no, no. I just hobble along and just try and do my best, which isn’t always very good.” She pauses to reflect: “I’m quite sound with my kids, I think. I give them quite a lot of freedom. I’m lucky, I have a very good job. As does my husband. If you ask my bank manager, she’d say I’m always in trouble, but I have two people who mind my kids and I’ve had them for 13 years. They work different shifts, because obviously I work. The earliest I can get home from Prime Time, if I drive really fast, is 10.35pm. So an awful lot of my income goes out to enable me to go to work. We drive one battered car, and Steve cycles to work. We don’t have holiday homes, I’ve never owned a bank share. I only live in one home. I don’t wear designer clothes. I am really lucky, I’m conscious of that, that there are so many people who have no money. I don’t have disposable income at all, because I made the mistake of having eight kids! I have never bought a handbag that cost more than ¤29. I really don’t do that thing. I’m not pretending. I really don’t have a stash of designer clothes in my wardrobe. I’ve just never done that.” O’Callaghan sums up her motto thus: “I sound like Miss World here, saying I just want everyone to be happy, but I mean it. I really, really mean it. If you’re really good to people, they’ll be good to you back. Tell everybody who you love because otherwise – I stood at my sister’s grave, and I had told her I loved her, but I realised that life can be snuffed out very quickly. So don’t waste your time. There isn’t loads of time. And I do tell my kids that I love them and they go “Yeah, I know”. That’s why I tell Steve I love him all the time, in case he forgets.”

O ’ C A L L AG H A N ’ S

COUNTRY

With her hectic career in broadcasting and role as mother to a large brood of kids to juggle, Miriam O’Callaghan likes nothing more than to get away from it all. If she can bypass the hassle of travel, all the better, and there’s no better way than by train. Born and bred in Foxrock, O’Callaghan has long been considered the quintessential Dubliner but her country roots are strong. Her father is a Kerryman and she still has close ties to the Kingdom. Only in July, papers were reporting on the 90th birthday for her uncle Jack O’Callaghan, a Farranfore native. It was a milestone he celebrated with 85 nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and friends. Unsurprisingly then, when Miriam talks of her favourite Irish destinations, Kerry dominates the conversation. “My uncle lives down in Tralee,” she says. “So I have the cousins, their family farm and everything to visit. There’s a whole load of O’Callaghans down there, it‘s a very big family!” It’s easy to stay in contact in Ireland. As Miriam points out “nowhere is really that far a journey” and, for her, the train is the perfect way to do so. “I find getting on a plane and flying away with a number of young kids is just hassle, hassle, hassle. So getting a train, heading down the country and having a great time really appeals. I go by train a lot because I much prefer to get some work done while I’m travelling. The fact I do charity events around the country means the train really comes in handy. The two things for me is that the train is really comfortable and you can work!” Of course, everyone needs the occasional break from work. When O’Callaghan takes some much needed downtime with the kids, there’s one place in particular that she heads for. Naturally, it’s in the south-west. “Dingle would be that special place for me and the family. We’re heading down for the New Year, we were there this summer, for Easter… we’re constantly going down. The kids love Dingle. They have a little club for five yearolds called the Fungi Club that my son just loves because he adores Fungi the dolphin.”

Has Miriam herself got up-close-and-personal with the legendary marine mammal? “Quite a few times!” she laughs. “As somebody said, ‘Can it really be the same dolphin?’, but I think it is! The fishermen vouch that it’s the same dolphin because he’s got the same markings. He’s amazing because he always comes up and performs. All these boat trips go out every hour and without fail he’s there performing! My little kids never tire of Fungi. “Aside from that, I have to say I love all the pubs and restaurants around the Dingle area, the standards are very high. As for my particular favourite, well, I think I’d like to keep that a secret for myself!” Understandably, when you’re in the public eye you want to keep certain things under wraps. When she’s travelling around the country, does O’Callaghan find people approach her differently? Does she get more or less attention when she’s away from the capital? “I find people come up the whole time regardless of where you are in Ireland,” she admits. “But it’s never a hassle. I’d probably be very disappointed if they didn’t come up to me! Some celebrities might talk about how exhausted they are with it all but I don’t share that attitude. I find people are really nice and they only ever come up and say nice things to you. There used to be the notion that when you’d go down to rural Ireland it’d be, ‘Oh my god, it’s someone off the box!’. But those were in the days when there were only two channels that people could watch. It was before my time! Now, everybody’s on the telly, there’s about 255 million channels out there. It’s the same everywhere, although when I leave Dublin people seem to like the fact that I have rural roots. I’m big on Kerry and I always talk about it. People like to think you’re not totally Dublin through and through!” That warm welcome from all in sundry is just a small part of the appeal of holidaying at home. “I just adore Ireland,” Miriam concludes. “And when the sun shines it is heaven! There’s nowhere better in the world. I’m a bit of a homebird and I love it.”

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GOFEATURE

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She’s the glamorous new face of folk music with a slew of awards nominations to her credit and a devoted fanbase. In an exclusive interview LAURA MARLING talks about overcoming her notorious shyness, dealing with hype and the heartbreak that informs her songwriting.

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t just 21 years old, Laura Marling has achieved more in the last few years than many musicians do in a life time: a Mercury Prize nomination apiece for each of her previous two albums, a pair of Brit and NME awards and a host of glowing reviews.

Yet the reviews, she says, are not something she dwells on “for self-preservation purposes”. Marling is certainly prolific. Just 18 months separate her third album, A Creature I Don’t Know, from her last; and if things had gone according to plan she would have released another album late last year, mere months after I Speak Because I Can. “When we got to the studio I realised that those songs were essentially leftovers from I Speak Because I Can and they just weren’t very good. So I scrapped it and started again,” she says. “Songwriting is what I do and I don’t do much else. It looks like a short amount of time from the outside, but from the inside I’ve had a lot of time. It hasn’t felt that way to me.” A Creature I Don’t Know is thus a different ‘creature’ from the one she had been planning, one inspired by “a fascination with people and their strange ways.” The title, the cover art and many of the songs, particularly ‘The Beast’ suggest that this is an album about both wrestling and embracing one’s demons. “It’s the idea of being tempted by melodrama, the temptation of destruction as a way of proving one’s own limits and I think that does crop up through the album. It is kind of a show of how a person is as capable of goodness as they are of darkness. Even with the best intentions at heart, we manage to make some pretty horrific decisions,” says Marling. A Creature I Don’t Know is given over to brooding introspection, destructive impulses and dark desires. This, says Marling, is a result of how and when she writes songs. “It tends to be that when I’m most likely to write a song, I’m at my most tired which tends to be at dark times. Happy people generally have better things to do than sit down and write songs,” she laughs ruefully. “Songwriting captures one side of me I suppose.” Much has been made of the maturity of Marling’s work in view of her tender years. Does she reckon there is a bit of ageism going on there? “I’ve never felt any age in particular. Some days I wake up and feel 12 years old and some days I feel I could be 60. I’ve never been able to appropriate age I suppose. It’s just another

way of bracketing things and I suppose it gives people a reference point in some way, but it’s all about experience really.” Although Marling has stringently denied that her songs are confessional, the emotional intensity of A Creature I Don’t Know cannot help but make one wonder if she is being disingenuous. This denial seems to be merely a ploy to keep nosey journalists from asking questions about her private life in general, and about her former partners Charlie Fink of Noah And The Whale or Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons, in particular. If the songs are not confessional, would she see them as a kind of exorcism perhaps? “They are a kind of therapy as much as they are my expression. I don’t know what I’d do without them. But they are also quite isolating, like having a very horrible, naked mirror held up to you.” “I can only write what I know so everything starts with experience. Then it’s a kind of extended reality I suppose, a kind of fabrication based on knowledge,” she says. Along with several references to beasts, one recurring theme is the idea of motherhood. ‘The Muse’, ‘The Beast’ and ‘All My Rage’ all position the singer as a mother. This is less to do with brooding, and more an exploration of the various aspects of female experience, Marling explains. “For a long time I’ve been fascinated by what the idea of femininity is – what the idea of womanhood is. I guess that’s where my age comes into it, being the age I am and being the sex I am. I’m just fascinated by how many things a woman can, or is supposed to, or would like to be. I think they are all wonderfully conflicting and very confusing and frustrating – and wonderful at the same time.” Her fascination with female experience is not feminist as such, Marling points out. “I try and drive a line between the idea of femininity and feminism because I think that’s where it gets very confusing. My fascination with femininity is not the same thing as a fascination with feminism. I think that’s the problem, that the two become incredibly blurred very easily.” “I read a quote recently which sums it up perfectly, that femininity has become political. Feminism is political, but femininity is far too precious and important a subject for politics. I wouldn’t want to bracket myself into being politically interested in femininity so I wouldn’t call myself a feminist.” Marling has been touring the new album

}

and debuted a number of new songs over the summer festival season. “I’m not sure what the reaction has been,” she laughs. “I’m quite conscious of not playing too many new songs live because if I was going to a gig, I sometimes find it a bit boring. But people have been very kind and clapped whether they liked them or not.” “I love touring. Playing live is a welcome challenge – it gets my nerves going. Playing music is what I love, whether there is an audience there or not.” Given her stated shyness, how did she ever find the courage to get up on a stage in the first place? “It’s still a bit of mystery to me. I guess I do what I do because in some way I want to be understood and because I want people to hear it. Playing live is like having a pain in your tooth that’s actually quite nice. So I do get some satisfaction out of it. Which is handy!” she laughs. This desire to be understood suggests the songs are far more confessional than she claims, but Marling is not about to be drawn. “I think everybody wants to be understood. That’s a universally nice feeling – to feel that someone understands you. That’s what I like in music, you know. The records that I love, I feel that they are saying something I would have said or would have liked to have said,” she says. A Creature I Don’t Know is distinctly Marling, but offers a more mature and layered sound than her earlier work. It seems a more selfassured work, as if the songwriter has come into her own. From the jazz-inflected ‘The Muse’ to the quiet fury of ‘Night After Night’, A Creature I Don’t Know is full of surprises, both lyrically and musically. “I’m not necessarily confident but I feel more settled in what I do and my ability to do it,” says Marling. “This has allowed me the ability to explore a slightly more varied musical side to this album.” This newfound comfort as an artist is matched with less certainty, or rather an ability to see the world in shades of grey. “When I was a teenager, when I started playing music, I was so sure of so many things,” she laughs. “I mean I knew I was naïve and I knew I was young, but I was so sure I had so many things I wanted to get out there. As time goes on, things keep unravelling, but it’s all for the better. The older I get, the less I know!” A Creature I Don’t Know is out now

28 Laura Marling GoR 1.3 1

05/10/2011 17:35:48


29 Laura Marling GoR 1.3 2

05/10/2011 17:35:51


GOFEATURE

30 Aidan GillenB GoR 1.3 2

05/10/2011 18:03:10


CHILLIN’

WITH GILLEN

AIDAN GILLEN has a reputation for being a reluctant interviewee, but the Wire star couldn’t be more forthcoming as he sits down in a Dublin 2 hotel with STUART CLARK to discuss the new £30,000 independent film he stars in alongside Van Helsing and The Illusionist man Tom Fisher and supremely talented big screen newcomer Riann Steele. PHOTO Graham Keogh

N

o, I haven’t missed a few zeroes off that figure. Treacle Jr. really was made for less than Jennifer Aniston’s annual hairdressing budget.

production values are just as high. I’m looking forward to the next few series, presuming it’s renewed, because my character Petr Baelish becomes more and more central to the story. At the moment he’s quite peripheral. Having been on The Wire I know how long-form drama works though and am in no rush to be the big star.” Talking of the greatest TV show in the world… ever! did Aidan know that Tommy Carcetti would over the course of five seasons go from being a complete shit to a person with redeeming qualities? “No and neither did the writers themselves,” he reveals. “As carefully mapped out as the storylines were, there was always wriggle room in terms of how the characters evolved. I’d only discover what Tommy was up to a day or two before we started shooting when I got the script. “The first conversation I had about The Wire was with Rob Colesberry, the executive producer who cast me and also played Ray Cole. He came to see me in New York where I was doing a play at the time, and said, ‘We have this character who may go this way or that way. The only thing I can say for certain is that he’ll be getting his hands nice and dirty.’ I liked Tommy going from being a twat to, well, slightly less of a twat! That’s probably what would happen to a guy like that who’s come in to politics through family and doesn’t think about his motivations until s**t starts happening.” Complete workaholic that he is, Aidan has also found time to star alongside Robert Sheehan, Ruth Bradley, Brian Gleeson and Ruth Negga in a second series of RTÉ’s Dublin gangland drama, Love/Hate. “I don’t just want to be doing the one thing, and John Boy is a lot of fun to play. I always used to be the youngest cast member, but in Love/Hate I’m the oldest by almost 20 years. I’d be saying stuff and they wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about. It was nice getting to use my own accent for a change.”

“The writer and director, Jamie Thraves, re-mortgaged his house to fund Treacle Jr. knowing that it’ll do well to break even,” Dublin actor Aiden Gillen reflects. “It was a three-week shoot, which is incredibly quick. We’ve had great reviews and reactions, but this isn’t the new Once. We’re not going to have Steven Spielberg saying he loves it or Aidan and Riann’s characters appearing in The Simpsons! None of us were in it to strike gold. The goal was to make the film we wanted to make and hope that enough people like it in order for Jamie to hang on to his house!” Set in inner-city London, Gillen plays a man with learning difficulties who’s cruelly exploited by his supposed girlfriend, but thanks to the unlikeliest of friendships manages to send her packing and starts fulfilling his dreams. Treacle Jr. couldn’t be any more diametrically opposed to Game Of Thrones, the big budget HBO fantasy series, which resumed shooting last week in a by all accounts godforsaken quarry outside Belfast. “That’s why they went to Hollywood to finish it off – they needed some sunshine after all that freezing wind and rain!” he laughs. “I’m going back up there tomorrow and will probably be on set until late October. It would’ve been great for the industry here if we could have got them to film in Ardmore – we took a big hit here with Camelot not being renewed. A lot of the people working on The Tudors moved over to that – but Belfast’s a part of Ireland too. I don’t think anybody 20 years ago could have imagined what a vibrant city it is now – I don’t know if it’s in any way connected to Game Of Thrones being shot there, but there are loads of American and Japanese tourists walking round the place. “There’s not as much time as you’d get on a big budget movie – I think it’s something like eight or nine days per episode – but the overall

Treacle Jr. is out now on DVD. Love/Hate returns to RTÉ Two during the Autumn, and Game Of Thrones to Sky Atlantic in the new year.

31 Aidan GillenB GoR 1.3 3

05/10/2011 18:03:13


GOBOOKS

SOULMAN 32 Stuart Neville GoR1.3 1

05/10/2011 17:38:22


He’s the dean of Northern Ireland crime writing and his new book, Stolen Souls, might just be his best yet. STUART NEVILLE talks about a life spent contemplating the evil that men (and women) do.

L

et’s say you are the author of three wellreceived and popular books; an author who has received a slew of glowing reviews from the press in Ireland, the UK and America; one who can count a number of big name novelists amongst your fans, and has picked up a prestigious award for your efforts. In such a case, it is unsurprising that journalists may be eager to hear all about your latest work but it doesn’t mean the family pet will show you the respect you deserve. Stuart Neville, the awardwinning crime fiction author of The Twelve, Collusion and Stolen Souls is trying to chat to Go Rail, but domestic life is getting in the way. “The dog’s jumping all over me,” laughs Neville. “Hold on a second.” The dog may get in the way of interviews, but Stuart seems to be working at a quick pace nonetheless – it’s been just over a year since Collusion hit the shelves. “I wish that were true!” he laughs. “Stolen Souls should have been in a few months earlier. In genre fiction, like crime fiction, you are kind of expected to do a book per year. I’d like to get them out a bit quicker if I could.” “If you ask most writers they will tell you that ideas aren’t the issue, it’s getting the time to actually implement them. If I had the time I’d write several books a year, but there aren’t enough hours in the day and probably not enough slots on the bookshelves to get them sold!” While Neville’s previous novels mined the fallout from Northern Ireland’s war-torn past to great effect, Stolen Souls deals with modern, international gangs and specifically the theme of women trafficked across Europe as sex slaves. “I started thinking that story through about three years ago. I can’t remember exactly, but I read an article about this idea of modern slavery. I knew it existed, I knew it was there but I hadn’t realised to what extent, and that it was so close to home. I think quite a few writers have taken this as a subject over the last few years, so I’m certainly not alone in tackling it, but it did seem a rich field to tap into.” Sex trafficking in Northern Ireland has been in the news recently. This August, police rescued six victims of trafficking in Belfast. This is not an isolated incident – a total of 23 women were rescued in 2010. Stolen Souls is a very topical novel, dealing with what appears to be a hidden, but widespread problem. “The Republic of Ireland has emerged as a major channel for trafficking people into the UK simply because it is so easy to cross the land border. Once someone is in Northern Ireland they can travel freely to the rest of the United Kingdom,” says Neville. Neville’s books avoid clichéd good guys and baddies. Instead Stolen Souls has a host of venal characters – it is merely the degree of corruption that differs in a morally compromised world and in some ways the police are as bad, if not worse, than the criminals they chase.

Although we root for Neville’s Detective Inspector Jack Lennon, as heroes go, he is an imperfect one. Neville wanted Lennon to have real flaws, not the “flaws-by-numbers which you see in crime fiction” and was determined to avoid alcoholism and the typical sort of dysfunctional behaviours so common to the genre. One of Lennon’s weaknesses is sex, and the detective has not been above using prostitutes in the past. This is a habit that means he is friendlier than he should be with some of Belfast’s gangsters. When Lennon’s investigation leads him into the world of sex trafficking and he meets Galya, a young Ukrainian woman on the run from her captors, he is forced to confront his own behaviour. Given the amount of stories about sex trafficking in the news, was the author trying to make people consider the implications of using sex workers? “It wasn’t a conscious effort but I was trying to put myself into his shoes. He can’t blank out all the unsavoury aspects of what he is doing. He may kid himself that it is a victimless crime and he doesn’t want to think about the actual human cost, but after meeting Galya he has to. It was a bit of projection on my part.” Stolen Souls alternates between Lennon and Galya, giving the book incredible pace and momentum, particularly since despite the fact that Galya is a victim, she is also a fighter. “It was important to me in this book for her not to be a damsel-in-distress. It was a plot device I’ve used twice in each of the previous books and I was very worried about using her as a passive victim that needed to be rescued.” Violence against women in fiction is an issue the author has been considering for some time. “It is something I’ve been conscious of for a while and, at the risk of slagging off another author, what I didn’t like about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was the character of Lisbeth Salander was set up as a feminist figure but somehow manages to set herself up to be raped in the course of the book. That bothered me.” “Violence against women is a very popular topic, even amongst women, but they are simply relegated to being victims, to being passive, sort of vessels for male aggression or waiting around to be saved by the white knight. That was the kind of thing I wanted to avoid. I wanted Galya to be the one fighting for her own survival, not waiting for someone else to do it for her.” Women of all sorts have been forcing Lennon to reassess his life. Since the end of Neville’s last book, Collusion, Lennon has needed to be a real father to his young daughter Ellen. “That in itself has changed his view of the world,” says Neville, and it is something the author himself can relate to. “I had a daughter myself a few weeks back – it certainly puts a different slant on the world!”

33 Stuart Neville GoR1.3 2

05/10/2011 17:38:25


GOSPORT

34 Sport GoR 1.3 1

05/10/2011 18:09:35


PLAYING HER CARDS

RIGHT CRAIG FITZSIMONS meets KARA SCOTT, poker’s 2011 Personality Of The Year who’ll be in the thick of the high-stakes action next year when PKR WPT Ireland takes place between January 5 – 8 in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel. PHOTO GRAHAM KEOGH

T

he wonderful, dangerous, frightening and glamorous world of poker is booming like never before, with thousands of devoted enthusiasts from all corners of the globe engaging in online combat at any given minute. Of the many websites catering for this massive demand, PartyPoker has of late become one of the most successful, a development not entirely unconnected to the presence of Kara Scott as host for shows such as Premier League Poker and The Big Game. A media natural, Kara was recently named 'Poker Personality of the Year' at the 2011 British Poker Awards, and 'Top Media Personality' at the 2011 Maven Awards in the USA. In addition to media duties, she’s also a highly accomplished player, whose best career result to date was a heady 2nd place in the 2009 Irish Open, a triumph which banked her a cool €312,600. As we sit down at the table for a chat in the fine surroundings of The Westin Hotel, Kara is keen to play down her status. "Pro is a fairly extreme word for what I do. I’m basically an enthusiast and a media person, and my main job is working in front of the camera, commentating and hosting. That gets me snuck into tournaments, which is frankly amazing, and it’s a really great way to do it. But I work with

some amazing pros, so I still wouldn’t feel quite right describing myself as a pro." In truth, Kara has gathered attention for more than merely her poker prowess. Ridiculously good-looking with a sunny, bubbly personality to match, she’s lately become the face of PartyPoker and the subject of several admiring views on YouTube from numerous colleagues of mine who shall remain nameless out of respect to their WOGs (wives or girlfriends). Given Kara’s pin-up image, does she feel she has the complete respect of her rivals as a serious player? "Well, poker’s a funny thing – nobody ever has complete respect. It’s such a competitive world that if someone drops even a little bit – like they’ve been having a great year and they drop down a little – you hear people saying, ‘Oh I knew it was just a fluke, he can’t play really.’ We’re kind of a funny bunch in that way. But most of my friends are pros, we all hang out together and go to tournaments together and we talk about hands together – in as much as poker players ever give each other respect, I’d say yeah." As with all forms of gambling, one’s own sound judgement is only part of the battle – you’re always at the mercy of the fates, and anything can happen. Does Kara beat herself up a lot

about things she might have done differently? "A lot. Some players are terrible for that, some aren’t so bad. The thing about poker is that there’s definitely the element of chance. It’s not like chess which is a matter of pure skill, hence you’d never play a chess master for money because you know you’d lose. With poker there’s a bit of chance thrown in, so you can rock up and play against the big guys and sometimes it goes in your favour. Or it can go the other way too, and you’ve got to be prepared and keep your eyes open for that. And that’s what makes it so exciting, that little shot of adrenalin." Did she think carefully before going for it? "No, not really! I just went for it and haven’t looked back. My life is pretty random anyway – I like things that are exciting, and I like things that take me to lots of different places. It just really grabbed me – I was a sports journalist, I was covering a lot of really male-dominated fight sports. I started working on a poker show, and I loved the game instantly. And I didn’t want to look stupid, I’m not the kind of person who’s happy to just stand in front of a camera and ask dumb, meaningless questions. I wanted to learn all about it, so I asked a friend of mine who’s a really good player, and I just spent so much time working on my game, and it just came so naturally, I thought – ‘This is what I want to

35 Sport GoR 1.3 2

05/10/2011 18:09:38


GOSPORT spend my time doing.’" Why does Kara think the world of poker is so male-dominated? "There are a lot of different opinions about this. One is that it can be really intimidating for females to sit down with a table of guys at a live game. It’s funny, it’s not so male-dominated online – or at least people tend not to put their gender in their online accounts. But I think for a lot of women, it is intimidating, you’re sitting down at a table full of men and sometimes they do try to push you around. The good thing about that is, you can use it to your advantage. As long as you can spot it, if you see who’s thinking certain things about you because of your gender, you know what they’re likely to do against you, and react accordingly." Would she expect men to play more aggressively against a female than they ordinarily would? "Depends on the player. Sometimes, if they’re really young guys, I notice that they treat it on its merits. They’ll just look at the cards, they look for whether I’m three-betting a lot or how often I’m opening from which positions, they’re not really looking at the fact that I’m a girl. Whereas sometimes with older players, there’s this sense of being a gentleman that comes into it. Sometimes guys feel a little bit bad about putting me out of a tournament, and as a result they’ll play a little bit softer against me than they might against other people. Which, for me, is fantastic." For anyone who’s intrigued about poker but isn’t sure how to go about getting started, what’s the best way to get up-and-running? "I would always preach caution. Even though my life is a bit crazy, and I work in poker and play it now almost for a living, I always say

you shouldn't play for money first. Do not put your money down on the table. A lot of these websites, like ours, you can go in and you get play chips. You’re not spending money, you just download the software and as soon as your chips are gone you push the button and you get more. It’s like figuring out what you’re doing before you sit down with real money. Because we really don’t want people to go broke over this. "And also, when you do decide you want to go in for real, you have to set a loss limit in your head and stick to it, decide how much money you’re going to risk on poker in any given year or week or whatever. Whether that’s ¤50 or ¤200, I don’t know. But whatever you decide that limit is, make sure that you’re never sitting down with more than 5% of your bank at any one time, so whatever happens, you’re not going to go broke. You’re not going to have this big poker binge and wake up with a sore head thinking, ‘What happened to all my money?'" Kara had a magnificent run at 2009’s Irish Open, which she still recalls fondly: "That was incredible. It was one of the first big tournaments I played, and it was the first time I’d been to Ireland, and I was here playing one of the biggest tournaments on the European circuit, and one of the most respected. The Irish Open is well-known as one of the old standards on the circuit, it’s been around for a really long time and a lot of great players have won it. It was a little bit surreal. At one point halfway through the tournament, I made this huge bluff that went horribly wrong. I got called on it, the guy agonised and agonised over it, and he finally called it and it was clear that I had nothing, it was a massive bluff. I was left with very few chips – I had two big blinds which is nothing in poker

terms, and the next hand I got pocket tens which is pretty nice, and I tripled up against a couple of other people and realised ‘I’m not out of this yet’, and from then, I went to the final table and I came second, and at that point it felt a bit like a fairytale. The final table was great, I was playing against a lot of fantastic players and I felt like I held my own. And the guy who eventually won, Christophe Johanssen, was definitely a better player than me, he’s a hugely established pro. It was a little bit painful not taking the top spot, but to be honest he deserved it. No regrets. I mean I’d play the last hand differently, but who wouldn’t? No regrets." By far the highlight of the international poker calendar is the annual World Series, taking place in Las Vegas and uniting enthusiasts from all over the world. Kara is a confirmed devotee: "Las Vegas during the World Series is like summer camp. We play like we’re kids in a candy store, there’s all this great food and there’s all these great clubs and all these great people, and the poker is amazing and you want to talk about your hands and there’s so many people there you can do that with and so many stories to swap." That sounds a little dangerous. "It is! The hard part in Vegas is knowing when to call it a night and go home – I’ve seen people lose their summer in Vegas. It’s a really weirdly intense place to go, it’s so hot, it’s like 104-105 every single day and it’s so dry – it’s 100 degrees at midnight and I’m a Canadian, I just don’t know what to do with myself in that heat. There’s all these extremes over the summer, extreme amounts of money, and then there’s the heat and there’s this food where you feel like you might never eat again cause every meal you’ve had has been like 17 courses and so rich. But it’s super fun, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world."

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36 Sport GoR 1.3 3

05/10/2011 18:09:40


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GOBUSINESS

Writer Anne Sexton with a glass of Ireland's finest

38 Whisky GoR 1.3 1

05/10/2011 20:51:31


It may be the best in the world, but for a long time Irish whiskey was in the doldrums. Now, however, it is riding the crest of an international wave with huge growth in sales forecast over the next five years. REPORT ANNE SEXTON PHOTO GRAHAM KEOGH

•OUR GUIDE TO IRISH WHISKEY•

EXTRAORDINARY

THE

I

t is widely acknowledged that Irish whiskey is the best in the world – ask anyone in Ireland! Of course, it is not just the Irish who think so – countless connoisseurs from across the globe agree that while very good whiskey is made in Europe, in the US and even in places as far flung as Japan, the original is still the best. After all, the word whiskey is an Anglicisation of uisce beatha – Gaelic for the “water of life.” Far back in the day, whiskey was termed the water of life not for its taste, but for its medicinal properties – in the days before medicine it was used to cure all manner of ills. Although the drink is an Irish invention, what is perhaps less widely known is that the art of distillation is believed to have come from Mesopotamia and was brought to Europe by Irish monks who had travelled there. Although our neighbours – and rivals – the Scottish have been distilling whiskey since around the end of the 15th century, commercial Irish distilleries had been in operation for at least 300 years before the Scottish got in on the act. For most of its history, Irish whiskey was believed to be the superior product – and as the Irish will confidently assert, it still is. If shipping records are to be believed, it appears that Queen Elizabeth I was fond of our national drink and that Irish whiskey was the tipple of choice at her court. There are interesting twists to the story, which indicate just how much currently untapped potential there is in distilling whiskey in its original home. Ireland’s whiskey industry is currently tiny compared to the €4.5 billion Scotch currently notches up in sales annually, but it wasn’t always so. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Irish whiskey was popular throughout Britain, Europe and America. Given that popularity, it seems incredible that these days Irish whiskey only counts for small percentage of the whiskey drunk around the world. One of the things the story of Irish whiskey confirms is that it is a mistake to attempt to stand in the way of technological progress. The distillers of Ireland were a traditional lot, so when an Irish inventor Aeneas Coffey perfected his continuous still, patented in 1831, they were too slow to respond, preferring to stick with their pot stills. Coffey took his innovative still design to the canny Scottish, who realised an opportunity when they saw one. Using Coffey’s still, the Scottish were able to produce whiskey (or, as they have it, whisky) in significantly greater quantities than the Irish. Of course, what was really needed was to proceed on both fronts: pot still whiskey is as important as ever now, possibly even more so. But an advantage had been handed to the Scots and they exploited it successfully. In the early part of the 20th Century, further damage was caused to the Irish whiskey business by the combined effects of American prohibition, and the aftershock of Irish independence. The Irish whiskey trade virtually collapsed after alcohol was banned Stateside and the UK government slapped prohibitive taxes on imports of the drink from a rebellious Ireland. By the time prohibition was lifted, Irish distillers could no longer produce the quantities needed to meet the demand, leaving others to clean up. The impact of a new kind of piety in the Free State, and the work of the Pioneer Association may have played a part in the decline of whiskey too. By the ‘60s, Irish whiskey exports were at a low ebb, numerous distilleries had closed and even the local market was under threat from foreign imports.

SUCCESS STORY OF N

IRISH WHISKEY

ot before its time, the fight-back began and it is now being conducted across all fronts, with Ireland’s foremost whiskey brand, Jameson, leading the field. The past five years has been a period of continuous growth for Jameson globally, with a leap in sales of 12% in the year 2009-2010 – followed by a further substantial increase in sales during the first three months of the year 2010-2011. That is part of a wider international picture that is hugely encouraging. With the strength of the French parent company Pernod Ricard behind the brand, Jameson has been doing extraordinarily well in the United States, achieving double-digit growth in sales in all 50 states. The average growth in the US was a remarkable 27%, with over one-million cases being sold there for the first time in 2009-2010. Other strong markets for Jameson include Russia, the Ukraine and Canada, as well as France and other European countries. The scope for further development is immense, however, with a breakthrough in India being a long-term target for all Irish whiskey producers. India, surprisingly, is by some distance the biggest market for whisk(e)y in the world, but it is served almost totally by domestic brands. With increasing prosperity there will also come an interest in alternatives – with Irish whiskey a prime contender to take a significant share of the market.

In India every year 52 million cases are sold, against 43 million in the US and 29 million in Thailand (the world’s Numbers 1, 2 and 3 markets). Sales are growing hugely also in South Korea, in Vietnam and in China. Against that background, the International Wine and Spirit Record recently forecast an increase in global sales for Irish whiskey of 100 million cases over the next five years. It is some potential upside. Irish Distillers has already applied for planning permission to extend its distillery in Dungourney, Co. Cork, with a view to doubling its output. While Jameson is clearly King, they are being joined in the battle to claim further market share for Irish whiskey by the likes of Cooley Distillery and at a more specialised level by the new premium, single malt whiskey, Inish Turk Beg. It seems that Irish whiskey’s dark days are well behind us. Exports in total were up an impressive 30 percent in 2010. And even in the domestic market, Jameson and John Power achieved double-digit growth, despite the effects of the recession. In difficult times, people struggle to find positive stories to write. But the re-emergence of Irish whiskey as a global force is one of the great success stories of the beverage trade internationally in recent times. And the beauty of it is, the growth is only starting. Let us celebrate – with an Irish whiskey of course. Sláinte.

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GOBUSINESS Gift Pack (€99) makes a great gift – worth remembering on the run-in to Christmas. The pack has three 200ml bottles – Jameson Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve, Jameson Gold Reserve and Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve – with tasting notes for each. You can also get Jameson 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve in special personalised bottles, with the name of the recipient printed on both the bottle and the canister labels, a great gift at €52.

POWER’S WHISKEY

The Old Kilbeggan Distillery Experience

GREEN SPOT WHISKEY

TERMINOLOGY

Green Spot was originally made for the Mitchell & Son wine merchants in Dublin. Distilled by Irish Distillers in their Midleton Distillery, these days Green Spot is made from seven and eight year-old pot still whiskey, a quarter of which is matured in sherry casks giving it a unique taste. It’s virtually impossible to get Green Spot outside of Ireland, which is a pity for our international friends as this is a highly-rated whiskey, scoring 94.5 points in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible in 2011.

SINGLE MALT

A single malt whiskey is made from the mash of one particular grain, generally barley.

DOUBLE & TRIPLE DISTILLATION Irish whiskey is generally triple distilled, whereas Scotch is distilled twice. Triple distillation is thought to give the drink a smoother character. There are distillers who disagree but the smoothness of a great Irish whiskey makes the debate redundant.

INISH TURK BEG

IRISH WHISKEYS AT A GLANCE

Inish Turk Beg is a fine new Irish whiskey, aimed at the premium end of the market. It comes in a brilliantly conceived asymmetrical bottle, designed in the shape of a mooring buoy. What has been dubbed the Maiden Voyage of Inish Turk Beg’s single-malt Irish whiskey is a limited release of 2,888 unique, hand-blown Mooring Buoy bottles. Finished in Poitín barrels, the whiskey – a ten year-old, which is medium to full-bodied, fresh and fruity – is intended to “speak of the island spirit.” It has a strong music connection through the band The Inish Turk Beggars…

BUSHMILL’S Situated in Co. Antrim, Bushmills has been making whiskey since 1608 when James I granted the distillery its licence. Bushmills Original is a blend of triple distilled malt and grain whiskey with a crisp finish. Bushmill’s performed very well at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, taking home double gold for their Black Bush and 1608 blends.

COOLEY JAMESON

The newest of Ireland’s distilleries and the only one that isn’t owned by a multi-national beverages company, Cooley produces Kilbeggan blended whiskey, Tyrconnell single malt, Connemara peated single malt, Locke’s Whiskey and Greenore single grain whiskey among others. Since Cooley set up in 1987, the distillery has won over 300 medals, including the International Wine and Spirit Competition’s ‘World Distiller of the Year’ in 2008.

The best-known Irish whiskey, and by far the most successful globally, Jameson & Sons have been distilling whiskey since 1780. Made using both malted and unmalted barley, Jameson’s is known for its smooth taste and long, warm and spicy finish. It is a brand that combines accessibility and premium quality. Jameson’s 12 Year Old is the proud recipient of the gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2007 and 2009. The Jameson Reserves

Power’s have been making whiskey since 1791. Power’s is made from barley, triple distilled and matured in oak barrels for around seven years. In 2009 Power’s Gold Label won the gold medal at International Spirits Challenge and the silver at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. One of Ireland’s most renowned whiskeys, Power’s has a rich, round pot still character, with honeyed spicy notes and a long finish. Through subtle marketing, the perception of John Power has been changing, and it is increasingly seen as a more glamorous drink with strong associations with contemporary Irish life and leisure activities

TULLAMORE DEW Tracing its origins back to 1829, Tullamore Dew is a premium Irish whiskey, triple distilled using a blend of all three types of Irish whiskey – pot still, malt and grain whiskey – to produce a complex yet approachable. smooth character. Sold in more than 80 international markets, Tullamore Dew is one of the world’s most awarded Irish whiskeys. It has won 29 medals in the last 10 years, most recently winning five awards at 2011’s International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), including ‘Gold Best in Class’ for its highly acclaimed Tullamore 10 Year Old Reserve. Other whiskeys produced by Irish Distillers in Midleton include Midleton Whiskey, Paddy Whiskey and Redbreast Whiskey.

HOW TO DRINK, MIX & ENJOY

M

any a purist will tell you that a fine whiskey should be enjoyed as it is – no ice, no water and no fizzy mixers! However, master distillers will often tell you differently – that a whiskey only completely comes into its own with the addition of an appropriate modicum of water, the amount varying depending on the whiskey. The best conclusion undoubtedly is that there are no rules and to experiment with a variety of different ways of drinking whiskey. Increasingly, especially among first-time whiskey drinkers, people have been mixing whiskey with

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fruit juices and other mixers, with Jameson pioneering the concept of ‘mixology’. Here is a selection of different approaches and mixers – and how to use them best with Irish whiskey.

HIGHBALLS A highball is any alcohol served with a carbonated drink. A classic whiskey highball is one part whiskey to two parts ginger ale. For most whiskey drinks, one part whiskey to two parts mixer is the standard recipe. You can replace the ginger ale with soda water, cranberry juice, apple juice or coke – or pretty much anything that takes your fancy.

WHISKEY COCKTAIL You don’t need a degree in mixology to make a good whiskey cocktail. Here’s a simple recipe. Mix 50ml of whiskey with half a teaspoon each of Triple Sec and Anisette, a quarter teaspoon of Maraschino and a dash of bitters. Stir and serve over cracked ice.

IRISH COFFEE Power’s Irish Whiskey can claim the unique distinction of inventing the Irish Coffee. According to legend, Power’s Irish Coffee was created around 65 years ago to cheer up a group of cranky American tourists stuck at Foynes airbase in Limerick. The Irish had

been adding whiskey to tea for years but the head chef at Foynes decided to brew coffee for the Americans. He added Powers and sugar to the coffee and topped it off with whipped cream. The newly invented Irish Coffee was a great success and it has been enjoyed around the world ever since. To make an Irish Coffee according to the original recipe, pour 35.5ml of Power’s Irish Whiskey and two teaspoons of brown sugar into a pre-warmed Irish Coffee glass. Place a metal spoon in the glass and fill with hot, black coffee. Gently pour lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon so that the cream floats on the coffee. It can also, of course, be made without sugar.

HOT WHISKEY Nothing beats a hot whiskey on a cold winter night. To make it in the Hot Powers style, using John Powers, add a 35.5ml measure of whiskey to a pre-warmed glass. Add two teaspoons of honey and a slice of lemon studded with cloves. Leave a metal teaspoon in the glass to stop the glass from cracking and add hot water (not too much!). Stir until the honey has dissolved.

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LUNCH: ����������������������������� ������������������������� BARFOOD ������������������������ ����������������������� �������������������������� �������������������������

BOOK YOUR BIRTHDAY/GRADUATION/ ANY CELEBRATION DINNER & RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY GLASS OF PROSECCO, BEER OR COCKTAIL PLUS A COMPLIMENTARY PERSONALISED CAKE. COCKTAILS FROM €5.00 • GREAT SELECTION OF IRISH CRAFT BEERS IN STOCK

CELEBRATING 125 YEARS! ��������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������

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GOBUSINESS The Jameson Distillery & tasting in the distillery

WHISKEY TRAIL If you want to really learn about Irish whiskey then you have to do some field research! It’s a hard task, she said with a smile, but someone has to do it!

THE OLD JAMESON DISTILLERY 7 Bow Street, Dublin 7. Tel: +353 (0)1 807 2355 The Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield is a good starting point for any exploration of the Iirish whiskey-making tradition, offering as it does a very informative and highly entertaining guide to the essentials of whiskey-making,

THE JAMESON EXPERIENCE

while also introducing visitors to one of the world’s great whiskeys. The Jameson Distillery is one of Ireland’s leading visitor attractions, with 107,000 visitors in the first six months of 2011 – a 17% growth on the attendance figures in the same period in 2010. “We believe there is something very special about the Old Jameson Distillery which is appreciated by tourists and locals alike,” the MD John Callally said. “In terms of the current year, our aim is to continue to attract new visitors to the Old Jameson Distillery, home of the world’s number one Irish whiskey brand.”

Old Distillery Walk, Midleton, Co. Cork. Tel: +353 (0)21 461 3594 The tour tells the story of Jameson Irish Whiskey. Visitors are invited to sample a wee drop of the triple distilled stuff – on the house, naturally. There’s also the opportunity to take part in a whiskey tasting and generally to immerse yourself in whiskey lore…

LOCKE’S DISTILLERY MUSEUM Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath. Tel: +353 (0)57 933 2134 Locke’s Distillery is the last remaining example of a small pot still whiskey distillery in Ireland. It was licensed in 1757 and whiskey production continued for 200 years until 1957, when the distillery closed its doors. In 1982, the local people began restoring the old distillery and today it is open to the public as a museum. Guided tours are available, which take takes about 40 minutes and shows the ancient process of whiskey-making from the mill stones, to the mash tuns, underbacks, fermentation vats and pot stills to the casking of the final product. Locke’s Distillery Museum recently welcomed its one millionth visitor.

If you’re looking for further information, The Ireland Whiskey Trail is a very interesting “text book”. An award-winning free touring guide to Ireland’s distilleries, best whiskey pubs and shops, it is all personally researched by the whiskey expert, Heidi Donelon. The Ireland Whiskey Trail includes a downloadable map as well as discounts and special offer vouchers. See irelandwhiskeytrail.com.

WHISKEY BARS BOWES 31 Fleet Street, Dublin 2. Located just around the corner from the Westin Hotel, Bowes is an almost hidden gem – a cosy and charming pub with friendly and knowledgeable staff and over one hundred whiskeys (including the invading Scotches and Bourbons!) to try, as well as a selection of tasting trays.

COURTNEY’S Plunkett Steet, Killarney. Best known for its wide selection of Irish and international beers, Courtney’s also has a very good whiskey menu with over 30 varieties to chose from and a tasting menu so that you can compare Irish whiskey to Scotch and Bourbon.

THE PALACE BAR 21 Fleet Street, Dublin 2. In August 2011, the Palace Bar became the first pub in Ireland to have a whiskey bottled specifically for them – a nice year-old Single Cask Single Malt by the Cooley Distillery. If you don’t fancy trying this, the Palace Bar has over 100 different Irish whiskeys to chose from.

RYAN’S Parkgate Street, Dublin 8. Ryan’s has an impressive selection of whisk(e)y – with 28 different types of Irish whiskey, 33 types of Scotch and 17 Bourbons. Ryan’s also offers whiskey tasting trays, including whiskey from Jameson and Bushmills or a master tasting tray.

Proud member of the Irish Whiskey Trail 21 Fleet Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01- 6717388 www.thepalacebardublin.com

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“Dublin in the rare auld times”

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Bowe’s Bar 31 Fleet Street A little bit of Dublin that has never changed.

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Home to over 100 world whiskeys Great selection of craſt beers available

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Telephone: +353 1 6714038 Address: 31 Fleet Street, Dublin City Centre, Dublin 2

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GOEAT

Nick Munier and Dylan McGrath

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PLATE

EXPECTATIONS As MasterChef Ireland reaches its thrilling conclusion, OLAF TYARANSEN meets the two men, DYLAN McGRATH and NICK MUNIER, who give the RTÉ ratings-grabber its unique flavour. PHOTOS Ruth Medjber

D

ylan McGrath and Nick Munier, esteemed judges of the new RTÉ version of hit cookery competition show MasterChef, were both born on August 4. Although there’s a ten-year age gap betweeen the two Leos, the fiery Irish chef and the suave English maitre d’ have much more than just a birthday in common. Aside from the facts that they’re obviously incredibly passionate about food and service, and run their own establishments around the corner from each other in Dublin city centre, both restaurateurs are also already relatively famous through previous TV work – McGrath for his controversial appearances on RTE’s Guerilla Gourmet (where he famously served a meal in the dark) and fly-on-the-wall doc The Pressure Cooker; Munier for his show-stealing turns on Marco Pierre White’s ITV series Hell’s Kitchen. While they come from quite different backgrounds, they’ve both been in the business for practically all of their adult lives, building impressive CVs mostly through working at very high-end establishments. Did they know each other before they were asked to do MasterChef? “We did, yeah, we very nearly worked together before, didn’t we?” reveals Munier. “So we were very much on the same wavelength and had huge respect for each other. And we met obviously through other connections, and hit it off. I’d say we’ve known each other for the last four or five years now?” “Nick worked in London at a very high-end

restaurant for a long time,” his partner in crime takes over, “and then I suppose I had done the same at a very high gastronomic, Michelin level. So Nick doing front of house and me doing what I do in the kitchen, it was a kind of a natural marriage that we would quickly became friends, or at least understand each other to that degree. We met for dinner a few times, had a few drinks, talked about a few propositions. Obviously once Ireland went bang, with it went our dream, and everyone’s life changed. Nick went off in a different direction. He’s worked everywhere decent in Ireland, whereas I just did Mint in my years, and obviously then I had to close that. Nick reinvented and I reinvented – and here we are.” How did they approach the making of MasterChef Ireland? “I don’t really think of it as a TV show, it’s more of a cooking competition being shown on TV,” Munier proffers. “The talent we saw was very good, we weren’t expecting to see such talent considering we’re up against the format of the English, Australian and New Zealand versions. We did have that element of we didn’t want to contrive it, we wanted it to have a natural progression of its own. Obviously we’re in Ireland, we have to showcase Irish produce, and the talent we saw was very, very good. Dylan always said that it’s all about the influence, so it was very important for us to find that influence, so that people can take a journey and see what they can improve. Everyone can cook at some stage,

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GOEAT Crab tasting in Matt’s & (below) the Pieminister cookbook

Her series has spawned its own spin-off Ching’s Fast Food cookbook (Harper Collins), which includes cold sesame prawns with cucumber, steamed lobster with ginger soy sauce, and chilli bean braised beef with coriander among its must-tries. Ching-He has also produced her own houseware range, which she launched recently in Brown Thomas’ flagship Grafton Street store. Lest we be accused of ignoring our own, Go Rail has also been drooling over Rachel Allen’s EasyMeals (Collins), a 350-page monster that includes a sweet potato and gruyére tortilla recipe to die for.

but it’s about going to the next level. We had to teach them that, so it was very important for us to find the right restaurants in Ireland that could help these amateurs succeed to a certain level or to reach the final. That was the most important part of the process for us.” Did any of the contestants get upset when they were given their marching orders? “There was one particular guy who thought his food was brilliant but there was no telling him,” Dylan laughs. “It’s funny, I always find, and it’s the same with chefs and with people in all professions, really, that people who congratulate themselves too much and pat themselves on the back and feel they have very little to learn – they don’t develop. It’s kind of insecure, but those who dare to judge themselves, who point the finger and go, ‘It’s not good enough’, who’re kind of humble and always trying to better themselves, they’re the people that really develop in any profession, and it was the same for this show.” The final episode of MasterChef Ireland airs on October 13.

As a result, Pieminister is not only a familiar sight at events all over the country, it can also be found in such fine food emporia as Fallon & Byrne, Fresh, the South William Bar, The Gourmet Bank, Café En Seine, Liston’s and MYO (Dublin); Rob Roy (Cork City); Joe’s Café (Lahinch); all Avoca outlets and Superquinn nationwide. If you’ve yet to break your pie duck, may we recommend the Moo (steak, real ale, fresh herbs and rich gravy), Heidi (goat’s cheese, sweet potato, spinach, red onion and garlic), and Matador (steak, chorizo, olives, tomato, sherry and butter beans) pies, which needless to say should be accompanied by mushy peas and lashings and lashings of gravy. The other extremely good news is that you can also go the DIY route courtesy of A Pie For All Seasons (Bantam Press), Jon and Tristan’s new cookbook, which is available from Eason’s and other bookshops nationwide and reveals all their secrets. Well, most of them! There’s even a simple recipe for making that other essential pie accompaniment – cider!

A MATTER OF

TASTE

STUART CLARK investigates the delights of Pieminister and some other culinary treasures. YES, PIEMINISTER! Forget Pulp, Arcade Fire and the Chemical Brothers. The real reason over 30,000 people attended September’s Electric Picnic was to get their festival fix of Pieminister. The brainchild of Jon Simon and Tristan Hogg, a former ‘chef to the stars’ who toured with the likes of Robbie Williams and The Rolling Stones, Pieminister launched its first shop eight years ago in Bristol and subsequently developed into a multi-million euro operation, which in 2009 set up its own Irish division.

FOR THOSE ABOUT TO WOK There was much celebrating in foodie circles last month when the Food Network finally arrived in Ireland on UPC channel 508. Already a huge hit in the UK, its star performers include the Barefoot Contessa, Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson and Ching-He Huang, a Taiwanese-born, South African-raised and Londondomiciled domestic goddess who frankly makes Nigella look frumpy!

PUT ‘EM UNDER THRESHER The champagne corks popped in 2010 when Matt The Thresher (Birdhill, Co. Tipperary. Tel. +353 (0) 61 379 227, mattthethresher.ie) picked up a thoroughly deserved ‘Gastropub of the Year’ award. There was more cause for celebration before Christmas with Matt’s opening a sister operation in the capital (31 Pembroke Street, Dublin 2. Tel. +353 (0)1 676 2980), which we’re delighted to report is a chip off the old block. As fabulous as their 28-day dry aged beef and other carnivorous fare is, it’s the restaurant’s seafood bar which keeps us coming back for more. The super-fresh standouts include Dublin Bay prawns in beer batter, Carlingford Lough rock oysters, Ted Browne’s Dingle smoked salmon, grilled haddock, steamed West Cork mussels and chef Stephen Caviston’s homemade seafood chowder with equally homemade brown bread. A fishmonger by trade, Stephen also presides over Wednesday night’s crab-dressing masterclass where you’re taught how to select, cook and prepare your own dinner. A deliciously different night out, it costs just €20 a head for four to six people, which includes a very cheeky glass of house white or red. Booking is essential.

THAT’S NUTS! Finally, this issue’s “Really? I’d Never Have Known That!” award goes to Tesco for warning us on the packet that their pine nuts “cannot be guaranteed nut free.”

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Untitled-1 1

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GOPLACES

COURTESY OF Fテ!LTE IRELAND

Hikers in Cork's mountain walk, Priest's Leap

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IF YOU’RE OVER

IRELAND IS YOUR OYSTER OVER 55s: A SPECIAL GO RAIL PROMOTION Ireland is a beautiful country rich in attractions. Now, there are special offers and packages which give over-55s a unique opportunity to take full advantage of what the country has to offer. WORDS JACKIE HAYDEN

T

hey say that a change is as good as a rest, so it’s hardly surprising that the over-55s are now taking full advantage of Ireland’s extensive rail network to explore the country. It doesn’t matter what age you are, there are so many great things to see and do in Ireland. It’s just that people who hit the two fives often have a lot more time to indulge themselves… Many hotels are now tailoring exciting discount offers especially for this age group, placing a wide variety of attractive activities at your fingertips – from walking along beautiful beaches, lakes and rivers and through wonderful forested landscapes, to shopping, art exhibitions and garden centres. The holidays and breaks are there in abundance. As to what to go for, the choice, as they say, is yours. So what do you like? Ireland is replete with cities and towns of great character. Some are attractive for their noble literary and musical connections. Others boast a host of sporting attractions, from golf to fishing, hurling, football, horse racing and rugby, whether for the active participant or the enthusiastic spectator. Others offer both in more or less equal measure. The important thing is that there is such a rich palette of choices. The Irish hotel, catering and accommodation industry has improved beyond all recognition over the past 20 years. There is a level of professionalism and service that is of world-beating standard. Not only this: a huge amount time, effort and investment has gone into creating the kind of unique places that make

the visitor feel special. There are spas aplenty, hotels offering the highest levels of comfort, great food in wonderful, convivial restaurants. Or if a more rugged kind of break is what you’re after, those options are there too. Whatever your particular choice, there are now countless places all over Ireland waiting to give the over-55s a special welcome. Here is a small but choice selection…

KILKENNY Kilkenny is always a delight to visit. A wonderful historic city, it contains a multiplicity of attractions many of them deriving from its medieval heritage, impressive castle and surrounding parkland. Places like Butler House and Gardens and the National Craft Gallery are well worth visiting. It’s even easier now with the special offers available from the boutique Pembroke Hotel situated on Patrick Street in the heart of the old city quarter. With its spacious bedrooms, the Pembroke Hotel has a peaceful, welcoming charm and a quiet sense of luxury. For art lovers, the Pembroke showcases a selection from the renowned Butler Gallery collection, and its quiet location practically guarantees you a restful sleep too. Their midweek offer for the over-55s comes in at €120 and includes accommodation for two for two nights, dinner for two in the acclaimed Statham’s Bar and Restaurant on one evening, a welcome drink with dinner, full Irish breakfast each morning and a tour of Kilkenny Castle, which, incidentally, was built for the Earl of Pembroke

from whom the hotel borrows its name!

CORK The five-star Fota Island Resort in Cork is one of the county’s finest places of respite. It combines a world class golf facility with three courses, beautiful hotel, superb spa and different kinds of accommodation – catering for the full spectrum of those who love to get away from it all. The hotel has 123 stylish ensuite rooms and 8 private penthouse suites with warmly inviting interiors. There is also luxury self-catering accommodation. The Spa features a full fitness suite with Life Fitness equipment, an indoor heated swimming pool and a superb hydrotherapy suite, home to Ireland’s only walking river, which is renowned for its assistance in healing sports and fatigue related injuries. Fota offers a tempting selection of bars and restaurants as well as fine food and drink aplenty. Cork is home to the Jameson Experience in nearby Midleton, and whiskey lovers are catered for in the relaxing Amber Lounge, with its selection of over 75 fine whiskeys, including those from the nearby Midleton Distillery (open daily). Fota Island Resort has a wonderfullyattractive special offer for the over-55s in which you can enjoy overnight accommodation in Fota Island Hotel with a full Irish breakfast each morning and a delicious three course meal in Fota Restaurant from €125 per room. Now that’s value!

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GOPLACES The Dingle Peninsula & (below) golfing in Cork

COURTESY OF FÁILTE IRELAND

of Killarney at your doorstep. The Ring of Kerry attracts visitors from all over the world, and a trip around the magnificent MacGillycuddy Reeks is bound to lift the spirits too. The Killarney Royal Hotel will add to the pleasure with some of its special offers. For example, a night’s stay with dinner includes a three-course evening meal, in either The Royal Restaurant or in The Royal Bistro (you choose!), plus a full Irish breakfast, all for around €139 per person sharing. The hotel welcomes children and there are triple rooms available too.

DÚN LAOGHAIRE

KERRY Killarney is one of the most beautiful spots in a county that is one of Ireland’s most renowned places for holidaying and visiting, the Kingdom of Kerry. There are numerous opportunities for golf, angling, walking and cycling in and around Killarney, not to mention sight-seeing around

the lakes and adjacent mountains. Add to these attractions its convenient location close to the INEC and Fitzgerald Stadium, and you have a whole host of reasons to visit the Killarney Royal Hotel. Owned and managed by the Scally Family for three generations, this superb hotel offers a genuinely cosy retreat, with the majestic beauty

Dún Laoghaire is almost like a world unto itself. Just a DART ride away from the centre of Dublin city it nonetheless has its own unique charm and atmosphere. There are lovely walks, great restaurants and great shopping. In particular, The Royal Marine Hotel has the benefits of being located with the broad sweep of the nearby harbour and the Irish Sea visible from its front. If it’s a short rail trip away from Dublin city centre in one direction, in the other it acts as a gateway to the rich vistas of Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland including the towns of Bray, Greystones and Arklow as well as attractions like Powerscourt Waterfall, Glendalough and the Blessington Lakes. The hotel is only a short walk away from Dún Laoghaire’s ferry terminal that links us to Holyhead in Wales, and is redolent of

In the heart of Galway

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Amazing Autumn Midweek Offer

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3 Nights Bed & Breakfast with 2 Dinners Plus Tickets to Kylemore Abbey from €159pps

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Come join us in the heart of Galway City where you can be assured of a warm welcome, with fresh tea & scones on arrival .

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5 Minutes Walk to the Train Station

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Bookings & Enquiries: T: 091 894800 E: stay@harbour.ie

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College Street, Killarney, Co. Kerry

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HOTEL SPA GOLF CLUB GOLF ACADEMY LODGES Fota Island Resort, Fota Island, Cork, Ireland. Find us on www.fotaisland.ie

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COURTESY OF FÁILTE IRELAND

GOPLACES Horse riding in Kerry's Rossbeigh Strand & (left) Galway Lough

history, having been a noted landmark dating back to 1828. Among the Royal Marine Hotel’s many special offers are their three-Night Golden Years package and their three-Night Older and Wiser package. Call the hotel on +353 (0)1 230 0030 for current availability and offer prices.

GALWAY Galway is one of Ireland’s great party towns! There’s always something going on there to interest people of all ages, including the over55s – whether it’s the Galway Races, Galway Arts Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, Galway Oyster Festival, Baboro International Festival for children, inter-county GAA matches or Heineken Cup Rugby. So where better to access them all than the Pillo Hotel and Spa in Galway? Located at Headford Point, it’s within walking distance of Galway city centre and, it also gives you a convenient launching point from where to explore the delights of Connemara, Achill or the Aran Islands. The Pillo Hotel is the real luxury comfort deal – but at affordable prices. It boasts large wellappointed guest rooms with plush bedding for added comfort. There’s a fitness suite, a relaxing health spa, an exclusive range of spa treatments and an impressive thermal suite. For the Over-55s they have a three-night special offer that includes a hot buffet breakfast each morning and table d’hote Dinner each evening for a very attractive €169. Rambling through the cultured streets of Galway city, with its art galleries, theatres, markets, museums and fun-filled bars, is always a pleasure. The Harbour Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the city, just five minutes from the train station, so the famously vibrant atmosphere of the city is a mere stroll away. Each room features pillow-topped mattresses, fluffy duvets and crisp, white linen. The lovely Krusoe’s at Harbour Hotel offers fine dining facilities too, and all residents have complimentary use of the gym, fitness studio, jacuzzi and steam room, and Haven Beauty offers a full range of facial, body and massage therapies. The Harbour Hotel’s Autumn Three Night Packages run from €159pps, and include complimentary passes to Kylemore Abbey, built by Mitchell Henry in 1867 as a romantic gift for his beloved wife (the lucky woman!). Located just an hour’s drive from Galway city and surrounded by stunning Connemara scenery, this 1000-acre estate has much to offer visitors all year round. The above is a mere sample of the range of activities and facilities that are available to the over-55s these days throughout Ireland. All of them can be reached conveniently by rail, thereby avoiding the fuss and bother of flying, and the stress of driving on our increasingly busy roads. The options are there, so your only real problem is going to be choosing one from the many on offer!

IRELAND THE SCENIC GUIDE TEN MUST-SEE IRISH LANDMARKS SELECTED BY JACKIE HAYDEN

W

e sometimes forget the brilliance and beauty of what is close to us. Irrespective of your age, it makes sense to open your eyes, look around you, and begin to see the attractions of the beautiful country we live in – and appreciate them fully. As Snow Patrol sang: “Tell me that you’ll open your eyes..”

THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY, KERRY The Lakes of Killarney is one of Ireland’s most revered scenic attractions with people of all ages. There are three lakes, Lough Leane, Muckross Lake (also known as Middle Lake) and Upper Lake. Ladies View is a popular resting spot between Killarney and Kenmare that affords glorious views of the lakes and valleys. GALWAY BAY, GALWAY Galway Bay stretches between Co. Galway and the Burren in Co. Clare with Galway city on the northeast side. The Aran Islands lie to the west and there many small islands around the bay. There are so many delightful views along the bay that several trips will be needed to take it all in. THE MILK MARKET, LIMERICK The Milk Market has been transformed into an all-weather venue with daily market shops and stalls open every day of the week as well as a monthly Artisans Craft Fair. There’s a wide range of produce on offer, including arts and crafts, bakery and confectionary, eateries and food to go, fish and seafood, fruit, veg and salads, health and beauty, wines and much more... CROAGH PATRICK, MAYO Although primarily known as the site of the annual pilgrimage, Croagh Patrick is also noted for the magnificent vistas it provides over Clew Bay and its myriad islands. A mere five miles from Westport, a trip there will take you from a modern Irish town back through the mists of Irish history. MEETING OF THE WATERS, WICKLOW One of the pleasures of the Dublin-Rosslare railway journey is the section through the Vale of Avoca in Wicklow. At the Meeting of the Waters, the Avonmore and Avonbeg

rivers join to form the Avoca River. It was here that Thomas Moore penned his worldrenowned Irish melody ‘The Meeting of the Waters’. DUBLIN CITY CENTRE Like the very finest capital cities, Dublin offers innumerable attractions for the visitor. Take your pick from the busy shopping area around Grafton Street, the rejuvenated quarter of Temple Bar, the Garden of Remembrance, St. Stephen’s Green, the Book of Kells in Trinity College, the National Museum and many more. THE VIKING QUARTER, WATERFORD CITY This recently-developed section of Waterford opens a door on a thousand years of history, from the Vikings to the Victorians, all apparently viewable in a thousand paces. You can walk from the world-famous Waterford Crystal showrooms, and visit such historic locations as Reginalds Tower, and the memorial to Thomas Meagher, creator of the Irish tricolour. ENGLISH MARKET, CORK Recently visited by none other than Queen Elizabeth II, the English Market in Cork has been around since 1788 and has survived the Famine, revolutions, fire and economic recessions. In line with our heightened emphasis on nutrition, the market is now a cornucopia of exotic fruits, vegetables, meats, tastes and flavours. THE RIVER SHANNON The Shannon is Ireland’s longest river, popular with those who love to take in pleasant scenes, enjoy the wildlife and enthusiasts for river activities such as fishing and boating. Athlone and Carrick are just two of the many vibrant towns located on its banks. ROCK OF CASHEL, CO. TIPPERARY The imposing Rock of Cashel was the seat of the kings of Munster for hundreds of years before the Norman invasion. Parts of the early building survives, but much of what’s left dates from the 1300s and 1400s. The picturesque site includes one of the most admired collection of Celtic art and medieval architecture in Europe.

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GOFASHION

YO U ' V E G OT T H E

LOOK ROE McDERMOTT CASTS HER EYE OVER THIS SEASON’S LATEST TRENDS

JUMP HEADFIRST INTO STYLE Jumpsuits and playsuits have been huge this year, but have usually been confined to the wardrobes of young, hipster festival attendees. However, fashion designers have one-upped the one-piece and so formal jumpsuits were leaping from catwalks recently. And why not? Teaming the easy, fail-safe recipe of a one-piece outfit that makes dresses so handy with a definite air of trendiness (not to mention a little bit of nostalgia for the exoticism of ‘70s style palazzo pants) we’re jumping all over this trend. Make sure your figure is defined by adding a waistcinching belt and team with killer high heels so that your legs look long and lean. BARE-FACED CHEEKED Ladies, time to get brave and dare to bare. This season, nude colours and sheer fabrics yet again graced the catwalks, but never fear – it’s thankfully more modest (and warm!) than it sounds. Neutral colours ooze sophistication, are easy to match and can be made as classic or as individual as you like with the help of some wellchosen accessories. Go for Katherine Hepburn crisp in clean separates and ballet pumps, or give your look a harder edge with statement heels and studded accessories. Or if you’re feeling particularly brave, look for silks and sheer fabrics. Maxi skirts are huge this season, and for once our windy weather is working in our favour as the light fabrics flow and move in a wonderfully feminine, romantic way. Just make

sure the length is long or the slip is strong, otherwise your ultra-romantic fashions could soon turn X-rated! KNITTED OUT Woe betide anyone who thinks seasonal knits are always bedecked with a cheerful Rudolph and are only to be worn on Christmas to appease your Aunt Mildred. This season, knits are huge – and we mean that literally as well as figuratively. Oversized chunky weaves are being given a glamorous twist, as designers have been pairing them with sequined, formal skirts, or even leather trousers for an outfit that can make even Aran jumpers seem sexy. Of course, you could just eschew separates altogether and opt for a sweater dress, which manages to be cosy and comfortable while still emulating that effortlessly enticing just-rolled-out-of-bed look. Team with tights, thigh-high socks and boots, as well as a skinny belt to nip in your waist, and you’re all set to weather the weather in style. LEATHER AND LACE Always a favourite on the catwalks and in our closets, lace and leather are back, putting the chic into biker chick. Pardon the pun, but if you’re going for lace this season, go hell for leather and don’t be afraid to clash big, bold designs and play around with different textures. There are tons of lace tights and gloves in the stores and layering them under statement dresses brings a bold modern edge

to this classic trend. And don’t feel bound by monochrome. Coloured lace can be incredibly striking and modern, and will ensure you stand out in a sea of drab and dreary winter hues. Just be sure to spend a little bit extra, as cheap, coloured lace will always betray a budget price tag. As for leather, skin-tight trousers instantly boost sex appeal, but if you prefer sexy secretary to Sandra Dee, tone down a leather pencil skirt with a smart shirt and jacket for a look that’ll keep everyone in the office ogling. PRINTS AND PATTERNS Spot the polka-dots and you’ll spot a fashionista who’s up on her trends! Sailor stripes are out and delightful dots are in, bringing a fun and flirty ‘50s feel to your winter wardrobe. Or if you prefer to go a bit wild in winter, animal prints are a great way to make a statement. But to be sure that statement is more chic and designer than Cruella DeVille, stay away from leopard or zebra print coats and dresses that can often look more drag than fab. Instead use these prints in your accessories – leopard print heels will liven up any little black dress, without making you look like Vera Duckworth. Likewise, python and lizard prints are exotic and enticing while also being unusual, and bags and belts in this print look divine when teamed with smart neutrals. And if you’re still in need of some bling, metallic are huge this season, so look for gold and bronze shoes to keep you looking like a million dollars.

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Military Knitted Dress 造42.00, Littlewoods Ireland

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GOFASHION

01.

02.

03.

04.

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05.

06.

01. Faux leather trousers £38/ ¤50,

NEXT

02. Black Sequin Maxi Skirt, £45/¤52, MARKS AND SPENCERS 03. Polka Dot Clutch £18/¤25, NEXT 04. Autograph Dress £65/¤73, Shoes £49/¤55, Tights £6/¤7, MARKS AND SPENCERS 05. Camel cashmere jumpsuit £142/¤165, Chunky animal print cardigan £295/¤345, Red snood £25/¤40, Grey socks £12/¤14, all HOUSE OF FRASER 06. Hat £19.50/¤23, Limited Collection Jacket £120/¤138, M&S Woman Skirt £99/¤115, Shoes £49/¤58,

MARKS AND SPENCERS

07. Whitmore jumpsuit £50.00/¤65; Turquoise feather earrings £12.99/¤15, RIVER ISLAND

07.

STOCKISTS DUNNES STORES St. Stephen’s Green SC, Grafton Street, Dublin 2. William Street, Co. Galway. North Main Street, Co. Cork. Parkway SC, Dublin Road, Co. Limerick. HOUSE OF FRASER Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 16. LITTLEWOODS www.littlewoodsireland.ie

MARKS AND SPENCER 15 – 20 Grafton Street, Dublin 2. 24 – 29 Mary Street, Dublin 1. 1 – 4 Eyre Street, Co. Galway. Merchants Quay SC, Co. Cork. Anchor Dooradoyle Precinct, Dooradoyle, Co. Limerick. RIVER ISLAND 102 – 103 Grafton Street, Dublin 2. Unit C1 – C7, Ilac Shopping

Centre, Henry Street, Dublin 1. 14 – 15 Shop Street, Co. Galway. 39 Patrick Street, Co. Cork. 9 Cruise’s Street, Co. Limerick. WAREHOUSE Clery’s, Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin 1. Arnotts, Henry Street, Dublin 1. Debenhams, 12 St. Patrick’s Street, Co. Cork.

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GOHEALTH SPONSORED BY

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prevents & treats nappy rash

BABYSTEPS So the sweet, innocent little bundle of joy you brought home from the hospital has started teething and is now squawking all night long in a harsh, grating E-sharp? MARIE RYAN offers some tips on dealing with common — yet still frightening — baby health problems. Treatment of nappy rash: Cleanse and dry the affected area, smooth on Caldesene after each nappy change or as a directed by the physician. For topical use only. Medical product not subject to prescription. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. Contains Calcium Undecylenate 10% w/w. Clonmel healthcare Ltd.

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eeping a baby happy and healthy is no easy job. With adverts telling you that unless you kill 99.9% of germs on your work surfaces your kitchen is a death trap, and family members telling you not to overreact, it can be hard to know how to protect your babies without mollycoddling them. This September, the Irish Medicines Board recommended that parents don’t give cough syrup to children under the age of six. While some parents were surprised that anyone would do this, others claim that this means they will now be forced to visit, and pay for, a doctor to get a prescription to deal with a cough. This month we have a look at some common baby health problems and offer some guidelines to put your mind at ease.

Some of the typical signs of teething can be hard to spot. Dribbling, grumpiness, disrupted sleep are all possible signs, but are also fairly standard baby behaviour. Look out for flushed cheeks and, of course, red, swollen gums. Give your baby a teething ring if he or she is old enough. Cool drinks or food may also help alleviate discomfort. Massaging the gums with your finger can help too. If you are using a teething gel, massage before you apply. Teething gel is a local anaesthetic, but remember to check the pack. Some have a minimum age limit and others have a maximum dose. You may need to use pain relief medicine. If so, chose something formulated for babies. Never ever use aspirin or rub alcohol on baby’s gums. If your baby is still very distressed, visit your doctor. Better safe than sorry!

TEETHING Babies start teething from around three to 12 months. It can take a few weeks for a tooth to appear, so even if you don’t see any teeth, your baby could still be teething. Contrary to the old wives’ tale, teething cannot cause convulsions, vomiting, fever, diarrhoea or a host of other illnesses. Every year a small number of Ireland’s babies are hospitalised because their parents ignored symptoms they thought were caused by teething.

COLIC Around one in three Irish babies suffer from colic. Colic is not a happy experience for either parents or babies – the crying associated with it can last for several hours. Colic can begin around two weeks of age and is generally gone by three to four months. Even the healthiest, happiest babies can be colicky. Colic may be caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase. This means babies are unable to break down

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SPONSORED BY

CLONMEDICA

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The surprising thing is not how effective it is,but how cost effective it is. lactose, leading to digestive discomfort. Try Lactease Infant Drops. These work by breaking down lactose and making it more easily digestible. There are some other things you can do to ease colic. Don’t overfeed and stick to a regular feeding schedule. If you suspect that certain foods are irritating your baby, avoid them. Try and burp your baby often or rub his/her stomach. Taking the baby for a walk in the pram or stroller may help calm him/ her down and it will certainly help a stressed parent as well.

NAPPY RASH A number of factors can cause nappy rash – urine and faeces in damp nappies, friction of the nappy against sensitive skin, traces of soap on the nappy or skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Nappy rash can range from a slight redness to an outbreak of blisters. Almost every baby experiences mild nappy rash, but you can help prevent a serious case of it. Clean your baby’s bottom carefully at each change and use a barrier cream before putting on the fresh nappy. You could also try Caldesene Powder to prevent and treat nappy rash, which is medicated and forms a barrier against wetness on your baby's skin. Change nappies frequently and if possible, leave your baby nappy-free for a few hours every day, placing nappies around the playpen. If you use terry towelling, sterilise and rinse the nappies carefully to get rid of all traces of detergent. Plastic pants can exacerbate the problem as they trap moisture so avoid them when you can. Tie-on pants are not the best for preventing leaks, but they do lessen the chances of severe nappy rash. If you use disposables, buy good quality nappies with a one-way layer and plastic backing. Elasticised legs prevent leaks at night, but should be avoided if the baby has nappy rash. If your baby does develop nappy rash, leave them lying on a nappy, rather than in one for as much of the day as possible. Change nappies as soon as they are soiled and clean the infected area with baby oil. If there are sores or spots, consult your GP.

become constipated as their digestion is still getting used to solid or semi-solid foods. Once babies start on solids they need some fibre-rich food in their diet such as vegetable or fruit purée or cereals. Constipation can also be caused by dehydration. Boiled, cooled water can be used to increase a baby’s fluid intake. You can try stimulating a bowel movement by putting pressure on the intestine. Try laying the baby on his/her back, moving the legs in a gentle cycling motion. Alternatively, massage the tummy with a little baby oil in a clockwise motion. A warm bath may help ease tension in the bowels. For babies under six months, a doctor can prescribe constipation remedies if necessary.

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WIND As the name suggests, wind is air trapped in the baby’s stomach, which happens during feeding. The best way to get rid of wind is burping. Pat or rub the baby’s back. There are three different positions you can use – over your shoulder, sitting up or face down on your lap. Experiment to see which works best for your baby. Some babies have trouble bringing up wind because of their immature digestive systems. Try some good back-patting and changing positions. If your baby has real problems with wind, try gripe water or talk to your doctor. There are medicines available for severe cases.

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CONSTIPATION Breast-fed babies are less likely to suffer from constipation than those fed on formula because breast milk is easier to digest. Older babies can

59 Mother and Babies GR3 2

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GOHEALTH

S W E N H T L A E H

Health

Naturally

FLU JAB FROM PHARMACISTS

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A new flu vaccine scheme will be in effect this winter after the Minister for Health, James Reilly, relaxed regulations to allow pharmacists administer the jab. Over 1,000 pharmacists have already signed up to a training course to prepare them to deliver flu vaccines. This will see the cost of getting the jab fall significantly, as pharmacists’ fees will be lower than those charged by GPs. This should make it easier for people on low incomes to access the vaccine. Minister Reilly estimated this could save the State between €5 and €13 million a year as there would be a greater uptake in people getting the vaccine and a reduction in the number of people admitted to hospital over the winter months. While this scheme is new, it is not without precedent in Ireland. Last year, the Boots pharmaceutical chain offered the flu vaccine for €30 which included the administration of the injection and the cost of the vaccine itself.

4. While the whole “eight glasses of water a day” idea is a myth, drinking water will help if your skin is severely dehydrated. 5. Hot baths are lovely but are bad for your skin. A lukewarm bath, particularly if you add oatmeal or baking soda, can help relieve dry itchy skin. 6. Soap can be very drying so switch to a moisturising body wash. 7. Exfoliate on a weekly basis. You can make a simple body scrub by mixing two parts sugar to one part oil. Baby oil, coconut and even olive oil works well. 8. Chose an oil-based body moisturiser to protect the skin. 9. Hands are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. Wear good warm gloves when out and use hand cream – yes, even the boys! 10. Change wet socks. Wet socks are uncomfortable and they can irritate your skin causing itching and cracking. Carry a pair of fresh dry socks if necessary.

in sustainable cultivation. Vogel knew that products

WINTER SKIN

GENERIC MEDICINES

The cold weather plays havoc with your skin, but there are some simple things you can do to fight the effects. Go Rail has ten easy tips to follow. 1. Wear sunscreen. The summer sun may have vanished but your skin is vulnerable to sun damage all year round. If you go skiing or we have a repeat of last year’s weather, sunscreen is of extra importance as the glare off snow is as harsh on your skin as the summer sun. 2. A humidifier in your home and office can help offset the effects of the dry air from central heating systems. 3. Don’t turn up the temperature. Central heating is one of the worst culprits for drying out skin and you should try putting on an extra jumper before reaching for the thermostat. This is better for your skin, the environment and your heating bills.

Next time your doctor gives you a prescription or you pop into the pharmacist for an over-the-counter treatment, ask if there is a generic medicine you can take instead. Brand name medicines may be well known, but its generic equivalent is pretty similar – it has the same active ingredients and must meet exactly the same standards of quality and safety as the original medicine. One company supplying generic medicines to Ireland is Rowex Ltd. They are based in Bantry, Co. Cork. They have a range of over the counter generic medicines such as Pantup Relief Gastro-Resistant tablets for the treatment of reflux symptoms as well as a number of prescription drugs. The big difference with generics is the price so it is well worth your while investigating the alternatively to expensive brands.

with Jan De Vries

Sore Throat? Cough? At this time of year we are all anxiously avoiding anyone with a suspicious-sounding huskiness to their voice. No one wants to be landed with a sore throat or hacking cough. So it is reassuring to know that naturopaths through the ages have seen such ailments as a natural part of the body’s methods ��������������������������������������������������� way rather than suppressed. Use the tools of the natural world to allow your voice to ring out this winter. One excellent method is Echinacea Throat ��������������������������������������������������

made from freshly harvested herbs contain higher levels of active ingredients and hence are more effective. In-vitro research showed that A.Vogel Echinacea Throat Spray provided effective levels of antibac������������������������������������������������������ ���������������������������������������������������� Echinacea Throat Spray was proven to be as effective as a synthetic throat spray. Also fewer people taking A.Vogel Echinacea Throat Spray used painkilling medication than those taking the conventional throat spray and over 94% of those taking the Echinacea Throat Spray said they would use it again. Directing the tincture through the special nozzle onto the back of the throat ensures that the spray ���������������������������������������������������� within seconds by getting them into the bloodstream extremely fast. This will improve the activ������������������������������������������������� resolution of the infection.

Available from Healthfoods Stores and selected Pharmacies nationwide. For your local stockist check out

www.wholefoods.ie

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ONCE!

NOW, THAT’S ALL IT TAKES E1FF0EC0T% IVE TO TREAT HEAD LICE! KILLS HE AD LICE & EGGS

A new clinical trial has shown that Hedrin® Once Gel can kill 100% of lice and eggs in one 15 minute treatment. No pesticides. No laborious combing. So now, there’s really only one.1

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USE YOUR HEAD USE YOUR HEDRIN Distributed by ClonMedica, the OTC Division of Clonmel Healthcare Ltd, Waterford Road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Manufactured by Thornton & Ross Ltd. Linthwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5QH, UK 1: http://www.icp4.org/Presentations/55.Burgess.Designing_a_treatment.pdf Presented at the Fourth International Conference on Phthiraptera (ICP4) June 13-18 2010, Urgup, Cappadocia, Turkey.


GO

REVIEW A L B U M S .

M O V I E S .

B O O K S

R I O P64

GOLISTEN. IT’S CRANK UP THE iPOD TIME AS OUR RESIDENT AUDIOPHILE CRAIG FITZPATRICK CHECKS OUT NEW ALBUMS BY LISA HANNIGAN, WILCO AND LAD ROCKERS DU JOUR KASABIAN WHO ARE DUBLIN-BOUND IN NOVEMBER.

GOWATCH. CUDDLY CARTOON PARROTS, FORMULA 1 LEGENDS, BEAVER PUPPETS AND NIGHTMARE WEDDINGS ARE ALL ON THE MENU AS ROE McDERMOTT PUTS IN SOME SERIOUS SOFA TIME.

GOREAD. AS AUTUMN KICKS IN, ANNE SEXTON CURLS UP WITH NEW BOOKS BY IRISH NOVELISTS STUART NEVILLE AND BELINDA McKEON, AND ALSO CASTS A CRITICAL EYE OVER A NEW INVESTIGATION INTO THE 9/11 ATTACKS.

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05/10/2011 17:45:57


GOLISTEN. LEICESTER ROCKERS DELIVER THE GOODS WITH ALBUM NUMBER FOUR That traditional summer slump for new releases is over, and now it’s time for the biggies to start hitting the shelves (or, y’know, iTunes) in the run up to the festive winter period. Three early choices for the Christmas stocking – and possible contenders for album of the year – are now with us. First up, we have the fourth LP from Leicester lads KASABIAN. Bounding along with a cartoonish title and replete with monster tunes, Velociraptor! (Sony) also serves as notice that, no, this isn’t just some lad-rock band and, yes, they remain very much in touch with their experimental side. When frontman Tom Meighan, songwriter-come-guitarist Serge Pizzarno and their band of merry Midlands men first hit the scene in 2004, they arrived as heirs to Oasis’ throne. Or so the media would have it. Sure, there was their love of Liamy G, their ‘let’s ‘ave it!’ boorishness and a ready-made lager-swilling fanbase to boot, but the flourishes of electronic they added to the analogue and eclectic array of influences pointed to an exciting future. That West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum – their third album – garnered such critical acclaim showed they were on the right track. Velociraptor! is the sound of Serge & Co. consolidating their position as Britain’s most ambitious new stadium band (move over Muse), trying out every idea that pops into their heads and, vitally, making sure the songs are strong. So we have ‘Let’s Roll Like We Used To’ opening like some Morriconescored Western (Serge called his newborn ‘Ennio’, natch), ‘Re-Wired’ doing white-boy funk surprisingly well and Middle Eastern Led Zep vibes on ‘Acid Turkish Bath’. And if you still long for a bit of lairy adreno-rock, they provide that too, in the razor blade title track (which is almost as much fun to listen to as it sounds like it was to record) and ‘Switchblade Smiles’ which simply thunders along. Not quite as accomplished, revelatory and downright odd as its West Pauper predecessor, nevertheless, Velociraptor! is a fine piece of work that confirms Kasabian’s rightful place – heirs to the throne of baggy, following a lineage of ‘mad for it’, gonzo Brit psychedlics. In doing so, they now stand alongside the likes

Lisa Hannigan

of The Happy Mondays, Primal Scream and The Stone Roses. Not bad company, eh? Slightly less eager to rock the boat – but still making important waves – we have our own Lisa Hannigan. Her debut album Sea Sew came in the wake of her professional and personal break from Damien Rice, and saw Hannigan putting a brave, contented face on everything she sang. Still, as a tentative first solo step, it did the business. Three years on, Passenger (Hoop) is a more confident effort that sounds like the Meath singer has found her place in the scene and is ready to reveal her true self. Turns out that means a soft approach, understated and aurally gentle. Passenger reinvents no musical wheels and takes some time to creep up on you, but when it does, it can enchant. Chiefly comprised of forlorn, meditative ballads and folky wisps of songs, there is a lack of diversity and experimentation. When viewed as a whole, however, Passenger’s beauty reveals itself. Key to this is Ms. Hannigan’s creamy, breathy vocals and the evocative nature of her lyrics. It’s a relationships (plural) kind of record, the standout and centerpiece being ‘Paper House’, which invokes an old relationship unfolding in the Irish countryside. It’s Hannigan at her best – engaging, oozing empathy and note-perfect class. It also sums Passenger up – a quiet, unassuming sophomore release that will retain its legs in the long-run. This talk of being in it for the long haul, of music with depth, subtlety and nuance leads us perfectly towards a Illinois band now on album number eight. The Whole Love (dBpm) is WILCO’s first on their own, self-run label but that is the only argument you could put forward for calling this a maiden voyage. Beginning life as flag-bearers for a new kind of Americana

(the alt. country movement), a few left-field turns – coupled with substance and record label problems – resulted in Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and marked Wilco out as ‘the American Radiohead’. They’ve been running away from that tag ever since, more intent on maturing and refining their songwriting and established sound than leaping off into the unknown. Their country roots and philosophy remain. The Whole Love can be viewed as a career overview of sorts, which is no bad thing when you’ve had a career like that of Jeff Tweedy & Co. The invigorating post-punk of Standing O’, the twinkling country shimmer of ‘Black Moon’, the sophisticated pop of lead single ‘I Might’ – each genre and style this band have turned their hand to over the years is accounted for in tremendous fashion. The wigouts and detours of old are absent, but they’ve shed the predictability that’s characterised their music for half a decade. Whether it’s the freedom of ‘doing it for themselves’ with dBpm, it certainly suits this maverick band of sonic cowboys. Still firing on all cylinders.

63 Pop Culture GoR 1-3 2

The Bistro: night comes to Castle Market

05/10/2011 17:46:02


GOWATCH. UNDENIABLY LOVELY VISUALS BRING THE ANIMATED RIO TO LIFE With the cold weather fast approaching, what better way to spend an evening than cozied up in front of the fire with a good DVD? And luckily, there’s something for everyone in the coming months – whether it’s animation for the kids, with Rio, starring will.i.am and Jamie Foxx, racing documentaries for dads in the form of Senna, or good girls-night-in fodder Bridesmaids. This Winter, you can even see Mel Gibson talking to a puppet. With that in mind, here are Roe McDermott’s recommendations for making the most of your night in. And, most importantly, the ones to avoid...

Bridesmaids

O

ne for the kids, the makers of Ice Age bring you Rio, featuring the birdwho-can’t-do-what-he’s-supposed-to conceit from Happy Feet and the domesticatedcreatures-unwillingly-released-back-into-the-wild plot of Madagascar. But despite a certain lack of originality, its bright and breezy tone makes this a nice little flight of fancy. Pampered suburbiadwelling macaw parrot Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) is taken out of his comfort zone when it’s revealed his species is under threat of extinction, and he’s flown to Rio where it’s hoped he’ll breed with the sassy Jewel (Anne Hathaway). When the macaws are kidnapped by poachers, they must work together to escape, which would be a lot easier if the domesticated Blu had ever learned how to fly. Eisenberg provides a pitch-perfect vocal performance as the neurotic and eager-toplease Blu, while will.i.am and Jamie Foxx keep the laughs coming as the wise-cracking, sambaloving sidekicks. Though likeable, the ensemble never reach the loveable status of Pixar’s favourites, instead settling for being broadly inoffensive. The visuals, however, are undeniably lovely. Aerial views of Rio and kaleidoscopically colourful scenes of the Brazilian Carnival celebrations are stunning, heightened by the urban samba soundtrack. While the kids are watching Rio, the dads amongst us might be tempted to retire to the back room to watch Asif Kapadia’s documentary about Brazilian racing prodigy Aryton Senna. But the rest of the family shouldn’t shy away, as this wonderfully unique documentary manages to be completely engrossing even to racing neophytes. Constructed from over 15,000 hours of archived footage, including some heartstopping shots from inside Aryton’s car, Senna has a pacey, intimate and thoroughly engrossing narrative that flows as effortlessly as Aryton does around the racetrack. Just as the racing purist kept his focus purely on the asphalt in front of him, Kapadia focuses on Senna the

driver, not the man. Aryton’s much-publicised rivalry with his McLaren teammate Alain Prost is given due coverage here, as Proust becomes the pantomime villain for the audience to root against, along with Jean-Marie Balestre, the president of FISA, whose hypocritical rulings reveal just how corrupt the machinations of driving politics could be. An engrossing, nervewracking and beautifully crafted examination of a sporting hero, Kapadia’s documentary is a must-see. For something a bit edgier this October, controversial star Mel Gibson’s film The Beaver will undoubtedly be a conversation starter. In a career best, Gibson plays Walter Black, a depressive alcoholic who uses a puppet to create a psychological barrier between him and the world, and his performance doesn’t just push the envelope – it burns down the entire post office. The beaver doesn’t become a natural extension of Walter, but its own separate entity as a cockney voice and infectious energy imbues this lifeless puppet with a blend of charisma and volatility. However, Gibson’s face retains the slightly deadened look of a man lost to himself, and if you manage to tear your attention away from the domineering beaver, you’ll see the tormented complexity he’s simultaneously bringing to Walter. It’s heartbreaking, considered and wonderful. The film as a whole, however, is not. The Beaver never manages to tie together its threads of dark humour and tragedy, and director Jodie Foster clumsily defers to maudlin family melodrama. It’s an adequate, unconventional drama where an incredible and fascinating dark comedy should have been, but Gibson’s performance makes it worthwhile. If Gibson is a bit too controversial for you (you’re not alone there), the hilarious and long overdue female-driven comedy Bridesmaids will keep you laughing all evening. Kristen Wiig plays Annie, a woman whose career and love life are slowly circling the drain, and whose mood isn’t helped when best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces her engagement. Smiling through jealously gritted teeth, Annie’s stretched even further to the limit when the irritatingly perfect Helen (Rose Byrne) threatens to usurp her role as Lillian’s best friend and maid of honour. A two-hour exercise in humiliation, Annie’s increasingly cringeworthy faux-pas range from a cringeworthy war of the speeches between herself and Lillian to getting food poisoning during a dress fitting. As emotional words and excrement flow for longer than conceivably possible, Bridesmaids becomes the kind of

squirmingly funny comedy that only works if you truly care about the characters. And you do. Gross-out humour aside, Wiig’s writing is filled with brilliantly perceptive touches that show the insecurities plaguing women’s relationships with both their buddies and boyfriends, bringing the smarts along with the sass. A wedding party worth crashing.

B E S T // W O R S T BOUQUETS TO Also worth a look is the fantastic X-Men First Class, starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, the fun and frothy teen rom-com Chalet Girl, which features cameos from Bill Nighy and Bill Bailey and Iranian director Ashgar Farhadi’s A Separation, a brilliant and emotionally engaging family drama.

AND BRICKBATS But if you’re the last one to the DVD store and pickings are slim, make sure you don’t get lured into renting John Carpenter’s goddawful horror movie The Ward, Pixar’s disappointing and humourless sequel Cars 2 or Ryan Reynolds snooze-inducing superhero flick The Green Lantern. You’d be better off watching Come Dine With Me re-runs instead.

64 Pop Culture GoR 1-3 3

05/10/2011 17:46:03


GOREAD. PAGE TURNERS AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES AS THE DAYS GET DARKER

Autumn is definitely upon us. The nights are drawing in and the weather is getting colder, but if you need a silver lining, it’s that there are few things more satisfying than curling up on the couch with a good book and a mug of hot tea while the wind whistles outside.

9/11 investigators Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan

You would be wise not to start on Stuart Neville’s Stolen Souls unless you have plenty of time to spare. Ireland has produced a number of talented crime writers and Neville is certainly one of the most exciting. Inspector Jack Lennon is back, and since we left him at the end of Collusion, his life has been turned upside-down. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have read Neville’s previous books, as Stolen Souls is a standalone tale and the author fills in the background. With his ex-partner dead, Lennon is now a single father. He’s trying to be a good one, as well as a better man and a full-time cop. This is no easy task, especially when the body count begins to pile up and it seems that Northern Ireland is in the middle of a gang war. The truth, however, leads Lennon into the shady world of international sex traffickers, forcing him to question the morality of his past behaviour. The chapters switch between Lennon and a young Ukrainian woman Galya. Galya, having been trafficked into Northern Ireland as a sex slave, is on the run after killing one of her captors, and you’ll want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to her. Stolen Souls is a highly readable, fast-paced and topical crime novel. Keeping with Irish authors, our next recommendation is Belinda McKeon’s Solace. You may not have heard of her yet, but her assured debut novel is sure to change that. Mark Casey has hit a rut working on his PhD on Maria Edgeworth. His supervisor is unhappy with him, as is his father who cannot understand Mark’s career choice or why he refuses to come back and work on the family farm in rural Longford. To make matters worse, Mark begins a relationship

with Joanne, a trainee solicitor and daughter of his father’s nemesis. The difficult father-son relationship is further tested when unforeseen circumstances and tragedy affect the Casey family. Solace is a novel about relationships, about what it means to be a father, son, mother, daughter or a partner, about the paradoxical and incompatible desires to be independent and intimate, and the difficulty in expressing our emotions to those we love most. If you love authors like Anne Enright or Anne Tyler, you’ll enjoy Belinda McKeon. Solace is a brilliant first novel and McKeon is an impressive new talent. Released just in time for the tenth anniversary, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan’s The Eleventh Day: The Ultimate Account of 9/11 examines the facts, half-truths and downright lies that have defined 9/11 since the beginning. Of particular interest to many readers will be their examination of the various conspiracy theories that suggest that the tragedy was orchestrated or allowed to happen by the American government. What may disappoint is that Summers and Swann can find no credible evidence for this. However, what they do find is certainly chilling – an official cover-up that sought to protect the reputations of government employees and which seems to have gone all the way to the highest levels of American officialdom. They also examine the possible role of Saudi officials in giving material support to the hijackers and why the American political system sought to dismiss the evidence for this, instead focusing retribution on Afghanistan and Iraq. The Eleventh Day is a remarkable piece of investigative journalism and possibly the best book written about 9/11 to date.

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05/10/2011 17:46:05


G O F I G U R E

GO RAILS BRAIN TEASERS

QUIZ (A) The five most densely populated countries in the world are: 1. Monaco 2. Singapore 3. Malta 4. Maldives 5. Bahrain

(B) The five biggest American cities are: 1. New York City, New York 2. Los Angeles, California 3. Chicago, Illinois 4. Houston, Texas 5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(C) The five biggest lakes in the world are: 1. Caspian Sea, Asia-Europe 2. Lake Superior, North America 3. Lake Victoria, Africa 4. Lake Huron, North America 5. Lake Michigan, North America

Can you name the sixth?

Can you name the sixth?

Can you name the sixth?

CROSSWORD ACROSS

1 5 9 10 11 13 14 17 18 20 23 24 25 26

DOWN

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 12 15 16 19 21 22

Put the phone down (4-2) Joker (8) Easy to pick (3-5) Coffin carrier (6) Beaming peripheral (5,7) Nameless, shortly (4) Mausoleum at Agra (3,5) Blade runner (3,5) Mr Acker (4) She raises another’s child (6-6) Health facility (6) Songs of Faith and - (Depeche Mode) (8) Pedagogue (8) Complain about microblogger (6)

Alphabetic distance (1,2,1) Coastal course (4,5) Prudish (6) Smoking tube (9,6) Indian king (8) Empty liquid (5) Easy to be liable? (10) Lacking in education (10) Where trees are cultivated (9) Portable baby bed (8) Hassle (6) 100 + 99 = Water + Quinine (5) The Eternal City (4)

CROSSWORD SOLUTION

QUIZ ANSWERS

DOWN:2 A TO Z, 3 GOLF LINKS, 4 PRISSY, 5 CIGARETTE HOLDER, 6 MAHARAJA, 7 DRAIN, 8 ANSWERABLE, 12 UNSCHOOLED, 15 ARBORETUM, 16 CARRYCOT, 19 CHIVVY, 21 TONIC, 22 ROME.

(C) LakeGg anyika in Africa (A) Bangladesh (B) Phoenix, Arizona

ACROSS:1 HANG-UP, 5 COMEDIAN, 9 LOW-LYING, 10 HEARSE, 11 LASER PRINTER, 13 ANON, 14 TAJ MAHAL, 17 ICE SKATE, 18 BILK, 20 FOSTER-MOTHER, 23 CLINIC, 24 DEVOTION, 25 EDUCATOR, 26 YAMMER.

66 Quiz GoR 1-3 1

05/10/2011 17:38:54


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13/07/2011 16:37:09


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