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January 2012 • Unit 38, Northwood Court, Santry, Dublin 9 • Tel: 01 813 8786 • Email: • Web:

Dundrum • Marley • Clonskeagh • Windy Arbour • Goatstown

Battle begins for patronage of new Dundrum Gaelscoil

Flying pig? It's Floyd! Lisa Cannon Xposed

An Foras Pátrúnachta and County Dublin VEC in the running

Gaelscoil in Dundrum has only a few weeks left to submit an application before a Department of Education deadline on 24 February. Since Education Minister Ruairi By Jessie Magee Quinn announced last summer that a new 500-place all-Irish school would open locally by 2014, at Irish school, told the Informer that least two serious contenders are he doesn’t mind which group known to have applied for patron- secures patronage as long as the age. They include An Foras new school is indeed up and runPátrúnachta and County Dublin ning by 2014. “We’re all relieved that at least VEC, both with proud histories of running all-Irish schools in the we’re getting a Gaelscoil. Last September, local all-Irish schools capital and around the country. Coláiste Iosagáin and Coláiste Eoin Public meetings on the Stillorgan Road had to turn Both groups have been holding away 150 pupils because they public meetings in the last few didn’t have space. It is a ridiculous months to outline their vision for situation when you have children the new facility and garner public who attend all-Irish primary support for their proposals, while schools and then have nowhere to County Dublin VEC has already go at second-level to continue their earmarked its existing school education as Gaeilge,” said the premises on Sydenham Road for Fine Gael Councillor. the new Gaelcholáiste. An Foras Pátrúnachta, headed by Local Dundrum area councillor former teacher and native Irish Jim O’Dea, an Irish teacher and speaker Caoimhin o hEaghra, long-time campaigner for an all- already manages almost 60 all-

First Aid Courses for Parents Family Focus Page 22

Irish primary schools and 3 postprimary schools. The County Dublin VEC currently has 1,300 pupils studying in its four Gaelcholáistí in Dublin. The VEC has set up a group called Bunchoiste Scoile Gaelcholáiste Dheisceart Átha Cliath to campaign for patronage of the Dundrum school.


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Advantages and disadvantages

Cllr O’Dea says the VEC facility on Sydenham Road, which is currently being used for adult education, has both advantages and disadvantages as a potential Gaelcholáiste. “It’s within a stone’s throw of the Luas, which is a big attraction. However the problem is that it could only be a temporary, shortterm measure, as it wouldn’t have the capacity for 900 pupils and has no playing fields. Long term, we’ll be looking at a green field site, but that’s up to the Department,” said Cllr O’Dea.

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God and the Environment Opinion - Page 3

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The Informer

The Drift

Q The month in Quotes There’s just such a lack of fairness, in so many ways. Too many people are in a difficult place, and this is an unfair imposition on them. Independent TD Mick Wallace on the Household Charge

The world has lost a golfing legend, we're 1,000,000/1 for any PGA player to beat Kim Jong Il's record round of 38 under. Paddy Power on the death of the 'Dear Leader' who was said to have hit five holes-in-one in his first round of golf. We have the right climate and grain to make it here. Scotch and bourbon can't be as good. You can only produce Irish whiskey in Ireland. Cooley Distillery's Jim Teeling explaining the attractions of Irish whiskey after the distillery was sold for €73m. I am sorry for what I did. I cannot live with myself for doing this. Shane Rogers from Co Monaghan who shot and killed James Hughes in Dundalk in December. He later took his own life in Cloverhill Prison. This is embarrassing to admit but it is the truth. Sean Quinn's wife, Patricia, says she didn't read company documents she signed. I think that we've have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab community, and they had the chance to go many places. Possible next president of the United States displays his grasp of Middle East politics We will be waking up on Saturday, 31st December, 2011, and lose one day in our lives, as there will be no Friday, 30th December, 2011, in the history of Samoa Samoa decides to move west of the International Date Line and lose a day in order to ease trade with the east Pacific Would it be so strange that they've invented technology to spread cancer and we won't know about it for 50 years? Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blames the US for his cancer.

Dublin by Numbers


This is the number of visitors to Dublin Zoo in 2011, the first year that the zoo had more than a million visitors in its 150 year history. It is a remarkable

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The Informer

Comment & Debate


God and the environment By Fiona Murdoch, Eco-Congregation Eco-Congregation aims to help Dublin's religious communities more aware of their environmental responsibilities and opportunities Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI) asks people to reflect on the beauty of the natural world and to consider what practical steps they can take to prevent further damage to the environment. ECI, which has developed since 2005 in co-operation with the Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist churches and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Ireland, hopes to see Christians rediscover the connection between the environment and their faith. It encourages parishes to adopt an eco approach to worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world.A number of parishes in Dublin have availed of the extensive resources on the ECI website – www.ecocongregationireland. com – and last year (2011) three churches received ECI awards in recognition of their environmental endeavours. Dundrum Methodist often includes the environment in wor-

ship, the youth club has organised litter picks and water hippos have been placed in the toilet cisterns to save water. Whitechurch parish has put a bird feeder and a bat box in its grounds and the children helped create a beautiful Lenten/Easter garden by planting crocus and daffodil bulbs in the shape of a cross. Rathfarnham Quaker Meeting often includes earthcare in its Junior Meeting programme for children and teenagers and members have planted fruit and nut trees and a herb garden. Rathfarnham Parish will receive an award later this month (29th January 2012). The parish has held eco awareness evenings and Walk/ Cycle to Church Sundays and has published a Local Food Directory. Last month, ECI held an ecumenical prayer service in the Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Balally, for the UN climate summit in Durban. Dr Dermot Lane, President of the Mater Dei Institute of Education, delivered the homily and environmentalist Gavin Harte gave a reflection on

n Pictured after the Ecumenical Prayer Service for climate justice are (from left): Gillian Armstrong, Religious Society of Friends rep, Dr Dermot Lane, President of the Mater Dei Institute of Education and PP of Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Balally, Robert Cochran, Methodist rep, Sr Catherine Brennan, chairperson of Eco-Congregation Ireland, Gavin Harte, environmentalist, Helen Shiel, Methodist rep on Eco-Congregation Ireland, Rev Lorraine Kennedy-Ritchie, Presbyterian rep, and Fiona Murdoch, communications officer, Eco-Congregation Ireland (photo by Lynn Glanville)

White Christmas Competition Winners Vera Kane, Glenageary, Co. Dublin •••••••••

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Orla Solan, Carrickmines, Dublin 18.

climate change. Over 100 worshippers signed a letter, which was sent to Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, asking him to act in the interests of the world's poor and the earth when he represented Ireland at the UN conference. ECI chairperson, Catherine Brennan SSL, cautiously wel-

comed the outcome of the summit negotiations, describing the Durban Platform as “a step in the right direction”. “It keeps the Kyoto Protocol alive, which is a good thing, but something stronger will be needed in the near future,” she said. “The vast majority of people appear to believe that, in the end,

jobs and economic growth are more important than the environment. When the choice is expressed so starkly, it would take a brave person to say that the environment comes first and that people must suffer. “Of course, this is a fallacy. But as yet environmentalists find it hard to say why protecting the

environment as a response to an ‘issue’ will always leave us with division. Protecting the environment because it makes us more fully human, and without it we are diminished spiritually, economically, physically and mentally, is a far more powerful reason.” For further info see


The Informer

Green Scene

By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte

Resolutions for a green new year 2012 I predict that the buzz word this year will be “precycling”. If you think before you buy and don’t get what you don’t need you won’t have to recycle. And the slogan to go with it? “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!” I’m already noticing that the chattering classes have mostly decided to avoid ostentatious spending and are going in for upmarket hiking gear instead of helicopters. A free ride

So the next resolution is to ride a bicycle or walk to work more often – and for that matter get outside more in general. Turn off the tv and other screens and get out in the garden, go for a walk with friends, join a local sports club. If work (or play) is too far away for feet or bike use public transport – apparently the reason prices have gone up is that we’ve been using it less. Well, that’s probably because so many of our young people have had to leave the country to find work and the rest of us can’t afford to take it but at least with the new Leap Card and realtime information appearing on bus stops and train stations it is cheaper and easier to get around ( If more of us used them, particularly at off peak time, they might even put on more buses. And to return to the theme of turning off, remember water meters are on their way. Get into good habits now. Hook up the rain barrel that you bought a year ago. And cut down shower time and turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. Make sure there are no water leaks in and around the house. With water goes plastic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say

it again. Stop buying bottled water. And stop taking the "free" ones from meetings and hotels. Remember bottled water doesn’t always have less chemicals than the stuff from the tap and if you really don’t want to drink tap water use a filter on either a tap or a jug and put it into your own bottle to take to office or meetings. But do make sure you drink more of it. Your system needs lots of it to function well and if you drink more water you may even manage to cut down on some of those expensive takeaway coffees.

solar water heating? Remember there are still grants available - Small changes you can make in your own life that would make a big difference to the planet if we all did them include going paperless – move to online banking, cancel the junk mail - junk_mail.

Independence days

Grow your own fruit or vegetables – or if you don’t want to do that buy locally grown and in season. You will support Irish farmers and cut down on the energy used to transport food from Africa or south America. And learn to cook them from scratch – do you really want to buy ready cut up cabbage in a plastic tray covered with non-recyclable wrap which has been losing its vitamins ever since it left the factory when you can buy a whole fresh one for half the price which will do you twice as many meals can actually be prepared in the time it takes to unwrap all that plastic? I love buying direct from the producer on market stalls – they always have good new recipes. And they usually charge less than supermarkets. My favourites are MacNally family farm at Leopardstown, Dun Laoghaire and Temple Bar, Paddy Byrne in Skerries, and Penny Lange, Deirdre and Norman Kenny and Sonairte at Dublin Food Coop.

Energy you're not using

And turning off again. Have you heard about “vampire power”? Its all those little lights that twinkle at you after you’ve turned off the main ones on your way to bed at night. If you get an energy monitor (and they are often given away free if you change energy provider) you’ll see just how much is being consumed by all those things you leave on standby when you aren’t using them. The only things that should be turned on if you aren’t in the house and awake are the fridge, freezer and burglar alarm. Turn off and watch the bills drop. And think about the oil that can stay in the ground a bit longer and lower fuel prices because of lower demand.

Be good

Easy stuff

Still turning off. You have turned down your thermostat and started wearing a sweater in the house haven’t you? And draft proofed your doors and windows? And insulated the loft? Double glazed the windows? Put in

And you could try moving to cheaper and more eco friendly cleaning products – best known are baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar. They really do get your house just as clean as the toxic chemicals. Soap and hot water are pretty good too. make-your-own-non-toxic-cleaning-kit.

n Family fun for free - Tom and Erin Marsh on Gormanston beach

And finally share more - buy less. Swap books, music, food, help around garden and home. Friends are almost free, good for your happiness and health. Days are already feeling longer as the sun comes back – enjoy them. It won’t cost the earth.



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THE January blues are setting in and all we here is the doom and gloom of further cuts in 2012. With this in mind we tasked ourselves with finding a few easy ways to make savings in 2012. We hope you find these useful. 1. Switch to a cheaper electricity/ gas provider

ESB (now called ESB Electric Ireland) are now able to compete with the likes of Airtricity, Bord Gais and Flogas to offer lower cost electricity and gas. There is really now no excuse for not making savings on your electricity needs. Go online to <http://www.bonkers. ie/> and use their tool to see how much you can save by switching provider Total savings of approx €15 per month 2. Switch to a cheaper Mortgage Protection provider with If you have a Mortgage it is likely you will have Mortgage Protection. Life Assurance unlike car and home insurance rates have come down significantly in the last number of years due to a more competitive marketplace. The cover you took out with the bank at the time of taking out your Mortgage may not be the most competitive available. It is important that you realise that you have a choice, and that you were not under any legal obligation to purchase these types of products from you lender only. The average monthly premium for Mortgage Protection is €60 per month. A saving of 30% would equate to €18 per month. This is over €4,000 on a 20 year policy. In addition also offers 70% off the first twelve months premiums. For someone paying €60 a month this is a minimum saving of €504 in the first twelve months.This saving in the first twelve months could go towards a holiday, savings or paying off your credit card for example. Contact on 01 498 0005 to get a quick quote or go online. It only takes a few minutes. Total saving of €18 per month (additional saving of €504 in the first twelve months with 3. Take advantage of the Group buying sites while the deals are still around It is still open to debate whether the retailers who adver-

tise on group buying sites such as, and get much repeat business from them to justify the big discounts. However for consumers there can be fantastic value to be had by using these sites. If you are someone who likes to eat out you can expect to pay €20 for your meal for two rather than your normal €40. It only takes a few seconds to register and the deals come directly to your email. Keep an eye out for deals on Summer 2012 holidays which may make the holiday budget stretch that bit further. Total saving of €40 per month (assuming two meals per month) 4. Switch to e-mobile With e-mobile customers can enjoy unlimited talk and text from €49 per month. This compares with the Meteor Unlimited Offer of €85 per month. And now you can even get an I Phone or Blackberry for free as well with this contract (subject to conditions. Further comparisons can be made at <> Total saving of €72 per month (€36 per month per adult) 5. Review your tax credits and claim a refund While you can only do this once a year you can also go back up to four years to claim a refund of monies due (medical expenses, bin charges, certain dental costs, tax relief on pension contributions/ income protection). Every situation is different but on average a refund of circa €600 is achieved. There are additional potential savings involved if you are entitled to claim flat rate expenses (Doctors, Nurses and Dentists can claim these) and are not already doing so. Contact David Twomey at www. for further details (Phone 01 2101967).

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Total saving of €50 per month (€600 spread over 12 months) The above gives a total saving of €195 per month to spend as you please without making any significant changes to your lifestyle The above should not be construed as advice and is only the opinion of the author.

* Based on research from Caledonian Life published July 2011 PFP Financial Services (trading as SmartQuotes) is regulated by Central Bank of Ireland


The Informer

All about Dublin 1

A Place in the City

The Customs House is probably the finest building in Dublin. It was built in the 1780s and was designed by James Gandon. Like the original O'Connell Bridge, it has sculpted stone heads on the keystones of the ground floor arches done by Edward Smyth. There are thirteen river gods and the Atlantic Ocean. The Liffey god, naturally enough, has pride of place and is the only one that is female - so I suppose it's a goddess. Many of these gods, though not the Liffey goddess, appeared on the back of the original Sir John Lavery Irish bank notes. Gandon was an Englishman. At the time Dublin was regarded as a rather provincial city, at least in

Edited by Zoz

Customs House artistic circles, and the normal thing for the architect to do would be to commission a London sculptor to decorate his building. But he discovered Edward Smyth, a Meath man working in Dublin, who was a rather menial employee of his stone-cutting contractor. He immediately recognised Smyth's talent and skill and went on to employ him on all his Irish buildings. This made the sculptor's reputation and changed his entire life. An excerpt from 'The Liffey - Portrait of a River,' with paintings by Rosemary Burns and text by Dick Warner. It is published by Cottage Publications and is priced around e22.

The first first citizen... Douglas Hyde (in back of car holding top hat), is pictured in Cork Hill/Dame Street on Saturday, June 25, 1938, with a cavalry escort (Blue Hussars, formed 1932, disbanded 1948) following his inauguration (in Dublin Castle) as Ireland's first president.

This feature was researched with the help of

(The photograph comes from the Independent Newspaper (Ireland) Collection at the National Library of Ireland - many more historic Dublin photographs can be can be found on


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The Informer

All about Dublin 2 First hand History

Last Monday I paid a visit to Newgate [Prison, in present-day St. Michan's Park, Smithfield], having furnished myself with a letter to the keeper, who first conducted me to the chapel. Near this humble place of devotion is the PressRoom, in which can be found the apparatus for executions. The culprit walks to the fatal drop, through an iron window, surrounded by pallisades [fences made of stakes driven into the ground]; the drop consists of two iron traps which meet at the middle of the platform, and which are made to fly asunder by a spring. The rope is fixed round the criminal's neck in the Press-Room; it passes over pulleys through the wall and over the drop. As soon as the culprit stands on the platform, the rope is shortened by turning round the interior pulley; then the drop is suddenly made to give way, when the unhappy being is precipitated with a violent jerk, which soon puts an end to his agony. In one yard, surrounded by a high wall, were the criminals who were allowed the open air. I surveyed them from a window, and was filled with melancholy at the picture of human nature in a state so abject: their actions, their gestures, language and dreadful screams, gave me an idea of the inmates of those regions described in Dante's Inferno. We at length came to the condemned cells, in which there were several prisoners under sentence of death. Very few of them appeared contrite; by the habit of crime, conscience seemed to have lost its sting, In one room, I observed through the twilight of a grated door, a poor creature doomed to death for

Edited by Zoz

Visit to Newport Prison in 1818 short space still allowed her to exist. Imagine the horrid contemplations which precede her ignominious death! The unrefreshing slumbers - the sudden starting from them into the awful reality of her impending fate - the hangman like a spider crawling near her - the hideous anticipations of the pangs preceding her last struggles. An excerpt from "Franklin's letters to his kinsfolk, written during the years 1818," by Franklin James Didier, published in 1821.

News from 1725 some trifling theft. He was sitting on a wretched straw-bed - he turned his face towards me - it expressed the most settled despair. In moving one of his legs, he clanked the chain which abraded his limbs - he sighed deeply - "I saw the iron enter into his soul!" My guide next conducted me to the door of the last cell in the passage. On looking through the grated arch, I saw a young condemned woman sitting on a bench - she leaned with her elbows on the table, and hid with both her hands her streaming face - a large Bible was spread open before her. She sobbed and seemed in the greatest agitation - tears trickled from her fingers and down her bare arms. My imagination was filled with these gloomy reflections, as I turned down the passage. In a few days, this unhappy girl will be launched into eternity! A whole life of wretchedness will rush into the

• Last week, Two Gentlemen of the Gown, with two Seconds, took Coach, drove away to Dee Park, adjacent to the City [Dublin], and there, in one of the Woods, fought a Duel; the Engagement was so smart that one of them received a desperate Wound. They both fought with undaunted Courage. It happened some Gentlemen on Horse passing by, rode up and parted them, or in all Probability, 'tis believed, the encounter would have ended with the Life of one at least, if not both, which was happily prevented. • On Wednesday last, Mr. Richard Nelson (who kept the Cross Keys, in Deanery Lane, leading from Cavan's Street to St. Patrick's Close), an Ale Seller, Cut his Throat. He was generally reputed a Man of tolerable Sense in his own Way, but was lately observed to be melancholy, and somewhat frantick, in which Condition ('tis thought) he committed this

unnatural Fact, and made so unhappy an Exit.

• And Yesterday, one Moll Mooney (God bless us!) a Nymph of the Town, confined in Bridewell, for deluding (as is reported) another Woman's Husband, attempted to put an End to frequent Chastisement, by taking away her Life, in the prevailing manner aforesaid, but was prevented by the want of Courage to go through the Operation, or the Bluntness of the Knife. However, by the Scar from Ear to Ear, and the great quantity of Blood, she has not failed to let us know she was in earnest. Extracts from The Dublin Journal, March 27, 1725.

The more things change... This excerpt from "The Irish Emigrant's Address to his Irish Landlord," (Littel's Living Age, 1852) sung to the tune of "O Susanna, don't you cry for me," could easily be adapted to the present day with banks replacing landlords, and mortgages replacing poor-rates! I'm now going to a country where From poor-rates I'll be free, For poor Ireland's going to the dogs As fast as fast can be; You know you'd like to stop me, So I'll do it on the sly; With me I'll take a half-year's rent, Your Honour - won't you cry!


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Informer Interview

The Informer

Lisa Cannon Xposed Where did you grow up? I grew up in Malahide and then moved to the Southside when I went to secondary school there. How would you describe yourself in three words? Easy-going, thoughtful and cheeky.... in a nice way!! If you were not a TV presenter, what other job do you think you would be working at? I would hope to be working still in TV or film... more likely behind the scenes in production. Do you remember how old you were when you started caring about how you dressed? Yes.... Very early on... 3 or 4 years old! What are your favourite colours? Blue, greens, brown, nudes, creams, silvers and golds but nearly all my wardrobe is black! What is your favorite piece of clothing? My black leather jacket... I've worn it a million times... Need to reinvest! Who do you consider great fashion icons? Elizabeth Taylor was, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, all the old greats! I love Sofia Loren and Raquel Welsh, the old women from yesteryear. So classy and elegant. Today, I think Charleze Theron, Kate Moss, Rachel Bilson, and I do think Kelly Brook dresses well for her curvy shape, although perhaps not for style more for her curves. Describe what you like to wear for casual nights out? Jeans and a nice top. I really don't over glam it anymore Where do you normally shop for clothes? Oasis, All Saints, Topshop, Karen Millen, Zara and Penny's!! Do you to accessorise with jewellery and bling? All the time. I'm the ultimate magpie... Ask the girls! I've a wardrobe full of jewellery.... Terrible really. Your favorite fashion designers and labels? Adore Prada, Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Dior. Oh and Louis Vuitton... I'm a sucker for very expensive stuff and I can't afford it.

From TV Producer to one of the most recognised Irish TV presenters for TV3’s entertainment show Xposé, Queen of showbiz interviews Lisa Cannon (who has interviewed hundreds of the world’s most famous faces including Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie and Beyonce), chats to Kevin O’Brien

How do you plan your outfits for TV appearances? Errrrrr, no. I pick them out in the morning. But luckily the girls in oasis have outfits ready for me. I'm a lucky girl. Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction on stage? Yes. Now that would be telling! What do you look for when trying on clothes? A good fit, shape and fabric. I try to buy one or two good things and less rubbish as I've gotten older Do you shop for what's trendy or what works best for you? A bit of both but really what works for me usually the same, and since I’ve a curvy shape I have to be careful, certain things really can look hideous! What is the best fashion advice you've ever been given? Spanx and a smile. What is the most embarrassing moment in your life? I'll give you the basics. New York, Classy restaurant Tequila, Too much Tequila, Fireman’s lift.... Nuff Said! Describe a typical working day for Lisa Cannon? Meetings, editing, filming, make up,

flights to London, research, eat when you can. More editing, studio, coffee, breaking light to make shoots, editing, research, editing some more then meeting and then home, feed dog, watch TV... Finally eat second meal of the day... Laptop.... Eyes, Matchsticks. Bed. If you knew you were going to be put on a desert island for a month, name three things you would bring with you and why? My phone, so I could talk rubbish to everyone and they could keep me company. Candles, so I could be romantic. Music and movies, so I could make it a home away from home and still get my fix of fab film! Who inspires you? Strong women in society, John Lennon, my 98 year old grandmother and The Rolling Stones... How do you spend your free time? Watching movies, walking the dog, eating good food, drinking good wine and chatting to great friends What type of music do you listen to on your IPOD? The Stones, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Who, Groove Armada, Basement Jaxx, Coldplay, Beyonce, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy... I have a very eclectic mix... I like everything from Motown to Bruce Springsteen. What shows do you like to watch on TV apart from Xpose’? French and Saunders, Graham Norton, Vincent Browne, old re-runs of Sex and the City. I also love Live at the Apollo. Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever interviewed? Mick Jagger. Need I say anymore? Oh and Sir George Martin, the 6th Beatle. If you could have lunch with three people (past or present) who would you choose and why? My mum, because I miss her everyday. She was hilarious, so the best person to have lunch with, full-stop. John Lennon, another one of my heroes and he could sing to me and I'd listen. Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and James Dean combined. To see what the fuss was all about. Where do you see yourself in three years? Content in my life and my decision. Still alive and kicking and surrounded by the ones I love... Oh and a big bank balance would go down a treat too!!

CONTRIBUTOR WRITERS REQUIRED Ireland’s largest Fashion website are now looking for part-time fashion writers to contribute regular fashion related articles for our new website Do you have a keen interest in fashion and have good writing skills? If so we want to hear from you


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Save Euros and Save Energy! Grants: The Home Energy Saving (HES) scheme provides grant funding to homeowners who are interested in improving the energy efficiency of their home in order to reduce energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions. It is a national scheme and is thus open to all owners of existing houses built before 2006. The scheme is administered by Sustainable Energy Ireland and its agents.Assistance will be provided by the payment of fixed grants towards the costs of implementing home improvement measures. The types of measures eligible under this scheme are roof insulation, wall insulation , heating controls and new boiler. There is also a grant for households who choose to get a Building Energy Rating (BER) assessment Before and After the works are completed.

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Buildserv YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED 1. Why should I buy wall insulation? According to independent government figures and ‘Which’ magazine, your heating bills can be reduced by as much as 25% per annum if you install effective wall insulation (this figure rises to 35% with detached houses and bungalows). 2. Can I insulate some of my exposed walls and still receive the HES Grant? Yes. If at the end of the insulation work on your home all the exposed walls are insulated you are eligible for a grant under the HES scheme. 3. Do I require planning permission for External wall insulation? External insulation works to your home under the Home Energy Saving scheme may be exempted from the planning code. However, it should be noted that external insulation of a structure would constitute exempted development under Section 4(1) (h) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 only if it “constituted works which do not materially affect the external appearance of the structure so as to render the appearance inconsistent with the character of the structure or of neighbouring structures”. If there is any doubt about whether or not the particular external insulation proposed for your home will affect the character of the structure as an SEI grant applicant you are advised to contact the planning authority in your area to clarify the matter. Please note also that, in the case of protected structures, proposed protected structures, and buildings within Architectural Conservation Areas, the usual exemptions from the requirements of planning permission may not apply and the advice of the planning authority should always be obtained by you before carrying out any works. 4. How much will cost me External Wall Insulation System? Estimated price for 3 bed bungalow without any extensions is 6000 € incl. material, labour and VAT, That means you will spend only 2000 € on the top of Grant. If you spend approx. 1500 € on your oil or gas per year, you will save 600 € per year. External Insulation System will pay after 3, 5 years and you don’t need to paint your house for minimum decade or longer. Unfortunately every house has to be priced individually as there are too many circumstances that have to be looked up like: location, height of house, thickness of required thermal insulation, facture and colour of render, type of windowsills etc. 5. I am a landlord of an entire apartment block. Can I apply for a grant for all the apartments under the Home Energy Saving scheme? If you are a landlord or a management company considering an entire building upgrade, please contact SEI before applying online for the grant. Grant provisions will be calculated on the basis of the total wall and/or roof areas to be insulated when compared to those of an average home envisaged under the HES scheme. 6. Some of my external walls are already insulated. Can I apply for a grant to insulate the remaining walls? Yes. If at the end of the insulation work on your home all the exposed walls are insulated you are eligible for a grant under the HES scheme. 7. Who can do the work? In accordance with the scheme’s Terms and Conditions, all works must be completed by a contractor from HES Registered List. Please contact us for contractors details recommended and trained by us. We will contact you with nearest contractor to your location. 8. What are the current requirements for attic insulation? Building Regulations require a U-Value of 16 in the attic. This is achieved through installing 270 millimetres of Rockwool RockPrime Blown. 9.Are hollow block walls eligible for a HES grant? Yes hollow block walls are eligible for either the dry-lining grant of €2500 or the external wall insulation grant of €4000. The hollow block wall is not eligible for cavity fill insulation as this is an inefficient method of insulating this type of wall. The majority of heat is lost through the solid sections of the hollow block such as the ends and spine of the block. So dry-lining could be expected to reduce heat loss by 70-80% and blown insulation into a cavity wall would reduce heat loss by 70%, on the other hand blown insulation in a hollow block wall will only reduce heat loss by approximately 25%.


The Informer

Garden Growing

Planning now for the year to come First of all a very happy and healthy new year to all Informer readers. Hopefully the economy might get a small bit stronger in 2012 as I really hope that we don’t have to put up with another year of financial uncertainty and stress. One thing is for certain though, the shortest day of the year is well behind us now and even though it will be a few more weeks before we really notice the difference, the days are starting to get longer and it won’t be too long before we’ll be getting ready to plan and plant up for the year ahead. I mentioned in a recent article that I always cover my small veg plot with plastic during the win-

Tip of the month If you have enough gardening books already, get yourself a gardener’s diary. They are a great way to keep records of what did well and why.

ter for a number of reasons. The soil has a chance to stay a bit warmer during frost, plus let's face, it there isn’t anything to do until February except plan the year ahead.

into the autumn. In addition, next month is the start of the potatoe growing season when ‘chitting’ your new seed potatoes is done. I’ll elaborate on this in next month's article.

Read all about it

Speaking of planning ahead, if any readers still haven’t used book tokens that you may have been given for Christmas may I strongly recommend (again) a wonderful book called ‘Vegetables for the Irish Garden’ by Ireland’s foremost authority on organic veg growing, Klaus Laitenberger. Another great book, particularly for newcomers to veg growing is ‘The Vegetable and Herb Expert’ by Dr. D.G. Hessayon. A time for seed

January is the time to think about getting your seeds for the coming year. These days there are many great suppliers and we all have our favourites. For newcomers, here is a short list. The

You say...

n A variety of tomatoes that I will definitely be growing again this year is called ‘Iidi’ Organic Centre in Co.Leitrim; Mr. Middelton in Mary Street and Seed Savers in Scariff, Co.Clare. Their catalogues are available now. Check them out online. While looking through the catalogues, only plant veg that you and your family like and don’t

over-do the planting, especially if like me you have limited space. Always try to grow with the seasons - in other words lots of lettuces and herbs to start off with and continue through the summer and then veg such as Courgettes, Beetroot and Tomatoes for late summer and

A variety of tomatoes that I will definitely be growing again this year is called ‘Iidi’. They are small yellow tomatoes which are very sweet and require little or no maintenance as there is very little side shooting and one plant will produce masses of fruit. They are fine in containers or grow bags. One small tip if growing in a grow bag is, after loosening the compost, cut the grow bag into two even halves with a saw or large knife and stand the two half on their ends. By doing this not only do you get two containers for the price of one, but the depth of soil is far greater than using a normal grow bag which is always a problem with grow bags.


Gerry Norton Finally folks, if you need any information on gardening or if you have any tips or suggestions which I can pass on, please send them to me at I would be delighted to quote for any/all of your garden requirements from set-up organic vegetable plots to restoration of neglected gardens, design, planting and maintenance. No charge for initial visit and I will travel within reason.

Gerry Norton, Living Landescapes, 97 Church Avenue, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 Tel: 087-2462724 or email

Recession busting PC repairs on your doorstep IN these recessionary times we all have to find ways of cutting our costs without compromising our lifestyles too much. This often means, making do with what we already have, like our televisions, cars and pc’s. But don’t despair! At Repair My PC we have the power, we have technology, we can make it better again. Repair My PC, based in Dublin, was established 6 years ago. Over this relatively short time we have built up a strong and loyal customer base who

come back time after time to avail of our excellent and varied services. We are proud of our reputation and the excellent aftercare service we offer all our customers. Whatever I.T. need you have, we are confident that we can provide the solution. At Repair My PC one of the most important services we can offer you is our 100% success rate of virus removal without any data loss. We can call to your home or office to collect your computer and return it to you when the repair is completed, so you have no wasted time travelling miles to and from a repair centre. We have the quickest repair times in Dublin today. Other services that we offer are Computer Sales, Upgrades, Web Design, Home Office Networks Set up and installed. Fixing of broken laptop screens and power jacks. New Home Computer low cost maintenance contracts are also available now. All our work is guaranteed and VAT Registered For more information on Repair My PC you can view our website www. or you can contact me, Mick Campbell directly on my mobile 085 7285354 or office (01) 8200739 or email me at

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Informer Education

The Informer

Welcome for potential Leaving Cert changes The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has welcomed elements of the HEA/NCCA report on transition from second to third level. “We would welcome a broad based introductory year at third level as it would facilitate more informed and mature decision making from students in terms of specialisation in second year and beyond,” said TUI General Secretary Designate John MacGabhann. “It would also potentially clear the deck of much of the clutter and confusion in relation to the CAO process for Leaving Certificate students. "Specifically, there is a feeling that students are being forced to choose too early from a spectrum that has become increasingly wide and more arcane in recent years. "This measure should have the effect of relieving some of the more extreme pressures that the current points system gives rise to, particu-

larly in relation to high demand courses.” “Meanwhile, a move to a broader based system of grading for Leaving Certificate should relieve some of the pressures that many students and parents around the country feel in putting themselves at the mercy of the grinds school industry with its limited focus on maximising points. "If implemented correctly, it could help counter criticism of elements of the examination’s integrity - specifically that it promotes rote learning or a limited approach solely focussed on the CAO system.” “Finally, it must always be remembered that the Leaving Certificate is not a selection process for third level. It is a State affirmation of attainment at the end of second level education. Therefore it must continue to serve the purposes of all students, not just those who intend pursuing a third level education.”

Framework for Success

A new national body is being set up to administer education awards in Ireland and responsibe for operating the National Framework of Qualifications shown above The new body amalgamates

FETAC, HETAC, Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) and National Qualification Authority of Ireland (NQAI), creating a single new agency. Dr Padraig Walsh was appointed as Chief Executive Designate of the

authority and currently serves as CEO of all four agencies. It is anticipated that the authority will be established in early 2012. An interim website is available at www.

to seeing you on



Looking forward

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Treating Coughs, Colds and Flu the natural way


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During the Autumn & Winter season, children and parents, fall prey to a host of viruses such as sore throats, coughs, colds and flu. Homeopathy can be very effective at treating these acute illnesses, while at the same time strengthening your overall health and immunity. This Spring we will be running 'Get Started in Homeopathy' workshops in Dublin, Cork and Galway. For less than the cost of a GP visit learn how to take control of your family's health which is also indirectly cost saving to the household. During the workshop, participants will be taught how to prescribe for common acute complaints (sudden and short term conditions) such as coughs, colds, flu, and first aid remedies in a natural way. Homeopathy is also very effective in treating chronic or long-term conditions such recurrent respiratory infections, eczema, asthma, migraines, and much more. Chronic complaints should be treated by a registered Homeopath.

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uary 20 deadline: 1st Febr CAO application Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland t: (01) 239 4000 e:

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eauty Notes


with Kathleen Rowley

New beginnings... It's official. Christmas is over, shortly the tree will come down and the orange and strawberry flavour Roses languishing at the bottom of the tin will grudgingly be eaten. Many of us will have made draconian resolutions for 2012, give-up smoking, lose three stone in one month, etc, etc, but experts suggest the key to success for the new year is so commit to adding something to your life as oppose to depriving yourself. So if you are aiming to take better care of yourself why not resolve to apply a moisturising skin mask once a week or to save up to purchase a little bit of luxury as a reward for all the gym sessions and raw vegetables! Bring skin back to optimum moisture level with The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask (€19.95). This mask has received oodles of praise from runway makeup artists who use it to boost dull complexions. It is light enough to moisturise without being greasy and absorbs nicely into skin, another bonus for me is the gorgeous ladylike fragrance. Use it as a ten minute mask and

Arts Angle

The Informer

With LA Speedwing

The Private worlds of Catherine Donohue

gently tissue off or apply before make-up if you have dry skin. On the more expensive side but utterly divine is Shiseido’s Ultimate Regenerating Serum (€270), this product promises everything you could possibly wish for. It is a luxurious serum, which through extensive research, counteracts all signs of aging, boosts radiance and minimises pores. I have been using it for two months and have found I need much less foundation, blusher and bronzer to look presentable as it appears to have given my skin a radiance of its own. Pricey but worth it. TIP: If you have received unwanted cosmetics this Christmas, i.e. a perfumes that you would only pass on to someone you didn’t like or a face cream that would cause your skin to take the form of a pizza then fear not. The website has come up with Swap Siopa; a swapping forum where you can pedal your unwanted product for something you might actually use.

Find a place where you can dream. That's a statement which anybody can understand and is looking for. Well do not look for this place anymore. It's right here at the Draíocht, in the First Floor until the 25th of February 2012. Artist Caroline Donoghue’s work explores notions of spectacle, our need to collect and contain objects of desire, reminiscent of the "philosophy of having". She works mainly in the mediums of print, assemblage and photography and the result is effective: the inside of a theatre with blue velvety curtains opening on a full moon; a hundred empty frames hanging on a stripy wall paper; etchings where you find yourself pausing, getting lost and wondering of the need we have to look in and look out. Those uncanny interiors contain more than a poetic possibility and a promise of escape, you are actually falling into a daydream

world while your eyes remain open. Caroline Donohue graduated with a first class honours Degree in Fine Art Print at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2005. Donohue has exhibited in numerous group shows around Ireland including. 'Precaution' at IMMA 2005, On Reflection, Cows Lane, Dublin, 2007, 'Graduate show' and 'Where boarders meet' at the Graphic Studio Gallery 2009, and more recently has exhibited in Poland and France. Caroline says: “I find this contradiction of living in a world of decadence and opulence yet at the same time oppressive and contained, fascinating.” There’s a definite sense of voyeurism in those cosy yet suffocating private worlds of hers but not private enough that you can’t come and see it for yourself. Caroline Donohue 'Selected Works to Date', until Sat 25 Feb 2012. First floor gallery. Free.

LA Speedwing pens a weekly blog about writing, arts and other randomness at

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Graham Connor's Movie Advice Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol HHHHH

Directed by Brad Bird; Starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton & Simon Pegg Ethan Hunt is given his most daring mission yet - break into the Kremlin. When the mission goes awry, Hunt and his team find themselves disavowed and in a race to stop all out nuclear war. Brad Bird, a director who made his name with Pixar’s The Incredible’s, tackles this latest Mission Impossible instalment. As expected of any Mission Impossible film, it features fast cars, jaw dropping stunts and several glamorous women and locations. It is certainly enjoyable but not spectacular, in fact it is a little slow in places. This is because there is very little new here, nothing that we haven’t seen in the previous three films. This familiarity seems intentional, as if to fill in the gaps between the action sequences and hoping no one would notice. It just about works, mainly because Tom Cruise is back on top form as Hunt and Renner’s character of Bryant adds a certain sense of mystery. This film is good fun but lacks any sense of urgency and so fails to captivate the audience like parts 1 & 3 did.

Advice: You could do a lot worse.




The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo HHHHH

Directed by David Fincher. Starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard & Christopher Plummer. Journalist Michael Blomkvist is hired to discover what happened to a woman who disappeared 40 years ago. He is aided by Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker, and soon finds that they have uncovered a far greater issue than just a missing person case. For the first time in a long time, Hollywood gets it right. If any director could have been hired to remake a hugely popular film, itself based on a phenomenally successful series of books; David Fincher would have been the man. Taking the gloom of Se7en and the exactness of Zodiac, two of his finest films, Fincher has made a beautifully grim film that the viewer will find hard to enjoy but amazingly compelling. You cannot tear your eyes from the screen even through two very graphic and violent scenes that border on needless gratuity. Fincher does just enough to pull it back from the brink and inject a little heart into the film. Daniel Craig is solid, if not spectacular, as Blomkvist but Mara is truly amazing as Salander. Brooding, heavy and gritty, you will need to take a shower after watching this film and that is what makes it brilliant.

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Advice: Not a first date movie but utterly compelling.

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The Informer

Family Focus

First aid courses for parents In recent years a few companies in Ireland have started to run first aid courses for parents of babies and small children – it takes just one day and leaves parents with the skills to deal with an emergency. Liza Crotty is owner manager of one such company, Claphandies who run PlayLabs classes for infants, toddlers and pre-school children (www.claphandies. com/firstaid.php). “A general fear most parents have is whether they should go into the hospital or not,” she says, “and they learn this on the course.” The course director is Alice Walsh of Responder Training, a registered general nurse, midwife and intensive care nurse. “Mostly, parents come for the training because they know someone who had to deal with an accident,” explains Alice. “The whole idea behind the training is to make parents more confident when dealing with crisis situations. They learn how to use a thermometer, how to recognise a normal and abnormal pulse, how you can prevent a situation from getting worse by acting immediately, and get on the floor and do CPR on adult and baby mannequins.” Siobhan Butler is an Occupational First Aid instructor at First Aid For Everyone

who also run first aid courses for parents ( “It is better to know First Aid and not need it than to need and not know it!" she says. “We believe that the best way to learn First Aid is hands-on and our courses involve role play and class participation. Our focus is to make parents confident that they can handle a First Aid situation. “The first and most important piece of advice is to stay calm, even though your instinct in an emergency situation is to panic, otherwise the situation can further escalate as you might not be able to treat the child appropriately,” says Siobhan. “Check if the scene of the accident is safe before you run to the child,” she advises. “Talk calmly to the child and play down any injury. Reassure her/him that everything will be okay. Ask friends, neighbours or by-passers for help. There is no point in trying to be the hero parent if you feel you can't handle the situation. All parents should talk to their children about potential emergency situations and what to do. It is important that even very young children at least know the emergency numbers and what to say if they have to use them.” One day paediatric first aid courses generally cost from e100 per person.

A Parents’ toolkit

Naomi Richards is the UK's leading kids coach and has been working with children and their parents for nearly eight years. Just as adults can develop with a life coach or a mentor at work, she believes children can too. They can really benefit from parents coaching them to handle challenges, such as making and keeping friends, dealing with peer pressure or bullying, sibling rivalry, getting homework done or dealing with a major change, such as moving schools or parents separating. In her new book The Parents' Toolkit Naomi shares the key life tools she uses in her work so that you can help your child successfully navigate childhood problems and grow up into a happy, confident and resilient young adult. As coaching is a collaborative process her tools include teaching your child positive self-talk, simple problem-solving techniques, and specific advice for you as a parent to hone your own listening and coaching skills. This excellent book is aimed at parents with children aged six plus. The Parents' Toolkit
Simple and Effective Ways to Help Your Child Be Their Best by Naomi Richards is published by Vermilion on 2nd February 2012

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The Informer

Animal Tracks

The sky over Dublin

with Miriam Kerins, DSPCA

with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

Why do our dogs bark? It never ceases to amaze me the amount of queries I receive concerning nuisance barking. People often ask me: “Why does my dog bark?” The answer is straightforward; dogs bark because barking is their way of communicating. However, there are different types of barking, for example, there’s the normal, expected barking to alert you there’s an intruder in the house; then there’s the behavioural problem (nuisance) barking that usually signals boredom, loneliness or miscommunication between owner and pet. If it’s the former, your dog is simply doing his job; he’s alerting you to possible danger. If it’s the latter, ‘nuisance barking,’ then you need to recognise the triggers. • When does it occur? • Is the dog left alone for long periods of time? • Is he getting enough exercise? • Is he anxious about something he hears or sees? (Neighbour has a new lawn mower and the noise is scaring him, neighbour’s child is tormenting him, etc.,) In order to address this, you will require plenty of patience and training with a specialist dog trainer for both you and your dog. This will help you understand ‘doggy’ language, and then you can correctly express what it is

you wish to communicate to your pet. Many training techniques are based upon the dog receiving a reward for the desired action. In this case for example, it would be “stop barking”. When your dog barks and you wish to make him stop, hold his muzzle or squirt him with a water gun filled only with clean water; this will startle him and make him stop barking. When he stops, use the word “quiet.” Immediately after saying “quiet,” if the dog remains quiet, reward him. When he starts barking again, repeat the process. Eventually he will learn to associate “quiet,” with a reward. Eventually your dog will stop barking without the need for the water gun and only the use of the word “quiet”, will be sufficient. It sounds easy doesn’t it? However, it requires lots of patience; but it’s well worth it because if you train your dog properly you’re embarking on a lifetime’s investment for you and your pet. For more information log onto or email me at © Miriam Kerins, Education Officer, Dublin SPCA.


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Venus rising 'star'

may notice it half lit up, almost full, or a very thin crescent, depending on the time of year. Later on in the night you will see Mars rise in the east. Early risers may have spotted the Red Planet before sunrise over the last while, but you will be able to spot it due to its orange tinge. As the months go on, Mars will rise earlier and earlier, but at this time of year you should be able to spot it from 11pm. A larger telescope will reveal its polar ice-caps; vast sheets of ice made of frozen carbon dioxide. Wishing you a Happy New Year and clear skies!

Winter brings with it some clear skies at night, and this time round we now have three planets visible in the evening sky. You've probably already spotted Jupiter over the last couple of months, blazing brightly in the south, visible as soon as it gets dark. But a more recent addition to the sky is Venus, and if you've been watching sunsets over Christmas you may have seen it hover quietly above the western horizon. This is why it's sometimes known as the Evening Star – it's so bright that it is often the first “star” that appears in the sky once the Sun disappears. Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth, so it will always appear somewhat close to the Sun. Venus is often described as Earth's twin, as it is roughly the same size. However, it's anything but a twin! The planet has suffered from a runaway greenhouse effect, and its thick clouds and acidic rain make it the hottest planet in the Solar System. It is these toxic clouds that reflect sunlight and make it appear so bright to us. If you have a telescope, you will notice that Venus experiences phases, much like the Moon: you n Venus experiences phases, much like the Moon

Sizzling Summer Holidays at Sunset Beach Club! WITH the Irish winter in full force, now is the perfect time to book up your Summer holiday! Not only will you have plenty of time to look forward to your well deserved break, but by reserving early you will also be taking advantage of cheaper flight prices, which can tend to escalate as Summer approaches. The popular 4* Sunset Beach Club Hotel offers

great value accommodation, boasts a stunning location on the seafront of Benalmadena Costa, and is easily accessible at just 20 minutes from Málaga airport (approx. €25 taxi). This popular resort boasts too many facilities to list, and provides excellent Summer entertainment for all ages, ensuring a great holiday experience for the whole family!

THEIR one bedroom apartments are elegantly furnished and ideal for families, with a twin bedroom, lounge/diner with double sofa bed, bathroom, terrace and fully equipped kitchen. Sunset Beach Club combines the convenience of

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The Informer

Dublin Let the games begin! GAA

Outside of the boot with Mick Hanley

GAA Sportsdesk on


Dublin City fm Wednesdays @ 7pm

Firstly, a very happy New Year to you all and great to see that the GAA season has begun again in earnest. The annual Evening Herald / Dublin Bus Dub Stars tournament was hosted in the Thomas Davis club this year on New Year’s Day. This year was extra special with so many of the All-Ireland winning footballers and the league winning hurlers on show. What did we learn? Well, that despite the success last year both the footballers and hurlers are determined to build on that success in 2012. Pat Gilroy staying on as football manager is welcome although his trusty trainer Mickey Whelan has announced that he is dropping out of the management team. Mickey has given tremendous service to Dublin both as a player and coach over the last 50 years. Yes, 50 years. He was a member of the Dublin All-Ireland winning team in 1963. Although success evaded him during his tenure as Dublin manager, he bounced back to manage St.Vincents to the All-Ireland club title in the 2007-2008 season. The Dubs start their campaign at home to Kerry on February 4th. For Anthony Daly 2012 will be an important year to continue the hurling revolution. Not content with league success and a championship semi-final berth from 2011, they will be striving to go one better this year. The league campaign will see them travel to Galway for the first game on February 26th and follow that up with a pairing against a Cork team under new manager, the legendary Jimmy

Barry Murphy. A good start to the league will be the key to success for the hurlers. Conal Keaney, Tomas Brady and Stephen Hiney are still recuperating and will not see any league action. However Dublin have a good strong panel of players with last year’s under 21’s coming through. The Dublin ladies footballers and camogie stars were out in action in their Dub Stars tournament on December 27th hosted by the St. Brigids club. For new Ladies football manager Peter Clarke this was a chance to see at first hand the talent at his disposal. Dublin were unfortunate to lose out to Cork in last year’s championship quarter final by a point, with the Rebels going on to claim the Brendan Martin Cup. Dublin camogie manager Denis Murphy will be hoping that the experience his squad gained last year at senior level will stand to them this season. Denis took the brave move last year to blood new players during a tough league and championship campaign. Although defeated in many games, Dublin’s displays gave hope for the future. Following All-Ireland Junior success in the last decade, Dublin have found senior level a difficult road to conquer. However there is sterling work being done at juvenile level with many young girls coming through the ranks. The O’Byrne Cup and Walsh Cup are underway. 2011 was a good year for Dublin GAA, let us make 2012 an even better one.

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with Aideen Rogers

Bring Your Putter into the House

Visit an indoor golf simulator

Get your putter out of the boot of the car, garage, or closet and spend ten minutes per day working on your putting stroke. If you have a floor that’s suitable for putting i.e. the carpet or a putting mat.

If you are financially capable. Set up your golf ball like you typically would at a real golf course. Hit the ball toward the screen and watch the technology of the screen carry the ball through the virtual golf course, similar to a video game. This can be great fun in large groups and the weather is always good in this case.

Try putting two tees on the carpet with a gap the width of the hole on the golf course and try to putt through also being aware of your pace. (The tees should not be seen to fly through the air!)

Remember that your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders and your eyes over the ball.

Or, Search for a heated or indoor driving range. This will allow you to practice just as you would on an outdoor driving range in the summer, but they keep you protected from the cold and snow of winter. There are plenty of special offers available on golf balls depending on where you go, for instance Portmarnock Driving range offer you 2 hours of unlimited balls for €10

Take imaginary golf swings

Strivers Golf Academy

It may sound daft, but going through gentle swing motions on a regular basis can help in maintaining muscle 'memory'.

Aideen has set up The Strivers Golf Academy, located at Portmarnock Driving Range (Beside the Race Track).

It keeps the golf swing muscles working so that you don't 'suffer' first time out. Do not swing fast, swing with 'fluidity'.

This is a perfect base for all society members to come for group sessions, practice sessions and Beginners classes. Lessons may be booked by calling 0879906738

Try working on. Set up right in front of a wall and use it to ensure that you take the putter back and through with a square putter face.

Make it look good. Imagine you are on the course, visualize the shot, try to make a perfect swing. It's amazing how much this can help.

Courtesy of

The motto is: Learn-Improve-Advance with the strivers golf academy. • Mobile 087-9906738

Your Friend the Cigarette? By Tom Ryan IMAGINE a friend who always accompanies you and makes everyone uncomfortable by being consistently offensive and vulgar. Your friend’s stench accompanies you everywhere and controlling your life completely. He says jump and you say “How high?” He forces you out to the shop in terrible weather. You would give your partner, spouse or other friends hell if they did that to you but with this friend you daren’t argue.

(Normally `85) Valid Jan & Feb 2012

Golf tips

At the pub or restaurant he demands you accompany him outside in the driving rain. He calls the shots and out you go. Your friend doesn't like your clothing and instead of hinting this he stinks them up and burns holes in them. He does the same with your furniture. He may decide that your whole house must go. His has an expensive knack of property destruction. He is a very expensive liability demanding your complete financial support. He costs a fortune in maintenance over your lifetime. He will never thank you or offer you anything in return. When others are involved in sports and are having fun he won't let you join in. He hates physical activity. According to him, you are unfit for active fun. He clogs your chest and inhibits your breathing. You won't play when you can't breathe. Your friend does not believe in health. He

is repulsed by the idea of a long healthy and productive life. So he takes every opportunity to make you sick. He creatively exposes you to colds, infections and flu. He consistently sucks thousands of poisons into your lungs wiping out vital cilia that prevent these diseases. He prefers chronic crippling diseases like emphysema. He loves this disease. Once hooked, you give up all other friends, family, career goals, activities - everything. You will then sit at home telling him what a great friend he is while he painfully suffocates you. Eventually your friend no longer desires your company. In anticipation of this he has been plotting your death since you first met. He is constantly exposing you to the world’s top killers to ensure that you get one of them. He poisons and overworks your heart and lungs, clogged your arteries, your brain and all parts of your body. He constantly exposed you to cancer and is determined to get you sooner or later. This is “Your friend the cigarette”. Is this the behaviour of a true friend? Do you have any worse enemy? Cigarettes are expensive, habit forming, socially unacceptable, and deadly. For further information go to


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APPEARING AT THE O2 A brand new show celebrating the amazing musical legacy of Pink Floyd. Having performed to over 50,000 fans in the UK in 2011, BRIT FLOYD - The World's Greatest Pink Floyd Show, is proud to announce that it will come to Dublin for one night only on Friday May 4th to perform its brand new show, 'A Foot In The Door' and we have two tickets to give away. To be in with a chance to win just answer this question. What is Brit Floyd's new show called? Answers by e-mail only to

Please include your contact number

Closing date for entries 14th February 2012.

Dundrum In Brief...

with Kim O'Donnell

New year, new course in adult education at Dundrum

Anyone interested in starting an education course with a view to changing career or simply pursuing a new interest should sign up for classes beginning at the end of January. Dundrum Adult Training Education is a local voluntary committee working with the South Dublin Adult Education Service to provide over sixty classes each term. Subjects available include Art, Classical Studies, Computers, Calligraphy, Writers Groups, Crafts, History of Art, Gardening, Music Appreciation, Philosophy, Politics, English Literature, Tai Chi, Yoga and a range of languages. Enrolling for Spring Term 2012 will take place in the DATE centre, in Dundrum Town Centre 5th Floor (over Tesco) from Monday 16th January to Friday 20th January, between 10am and 12 noon. Most of the courses also take place here, although some are held in Dom Marmion Hall. All courses are fee paying but there are special rates for senior citizens on production of a travel pass. Information on courses is available from the DATE brochure in local libraries or at the DATE Centre. The next set of classes will take commence during the week beginning 30th January 2012. For further Information contact: Michelle Kelly, Dundrum Adult Training and Education, 5th Floor, Dundrum Town Centre, Dundrum, Dublin 14, Telephone: 01 2964322. Email:

Local actors to star in Marina Carr play at The Mill

Rehearsals are getting underway for an upcoming performance of ‘The Mai’, by renowned Irish playwright Marina Carr, to be staged in The Mill Theatre in Dundrum this spring. The production will be directed by Jean Monahan and Oran O’Rua, and performed by the Balally Players, from 27th to 31st March. Auditions were held last autumn and roles have been cast. First staged in 1994, ‘The Mai’ is set in the Irish midlands in 1979/1980. It explores the hopes and disappointments of four generations of women. The work stages the memories of Millie, the title character’s daughter, who reconstructs the summer of 1979 when The Mai’s estranged husband returns after a five-year absence, and the summer of 1980, when their relationship has disintegrated again. The family is presided over by the 100-year old matriarch Grandmother Fraochlán, an opium-smoking, selfish, opinionated harridan. Her obsession with her long-departed husband is the root cause of her family’s insecurities. As she says in typically outspoken fashion, “I would gladly a hurlt all seven a ye down tha slopes a hell for wan nigh’ more wud tha nine-fingered fisherman an’ may I roh eternally for such northerly feelin’.”

Cheap parking continues til mid-January

Sale shoppers in Dundrum are being encouraged to avail of the Christmas Parking Promotion operated by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council which runs to 15th January 2012 inclusive. The deal gives shoppers one-hour free parking, seven days a week in the €2.00 on-street parking areas of Dundrum, Blackrock and Dún Laoghaire. These retail areas have a 3 hour maximum time limit to encourage turnover in parking spaces. Council Chairman Cllr John Bailey, welcomed the news and commented that the promotion will not only benefit shoppers in Dundrum but should also give a boost in trade for local businesses. The promotion works as follows - motorists pay for one hour parking, and no enforcement action is taken until 60 minutes after their ticket expires. In effect the promotion allows two hours parking for the price of an hour. The same principle applies if motorists pay for a twohour parking session, in that no enforcement action will be taken until an hour after the initial ticket expires.

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