Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Scott Campbell Backs Bahrain Storm For Galway Plate

Unless you don’t own a TV or a smartphone you’ll know who Scott Campbell is. Well, Ireland’s new fresh face of weather and frontman to Budweiser’s current campaign - The Ice Cold Index - is down in Galway for the Races. Scott, a wealth of information and insight, has turned his weather foresighting skills to the horses for the day and named Bahrain Storm as his pony to win the Galway Plate race this afternoon at 3pm.

Being the generous man that he is, Scott has promised that all his fans can avail of a free pint of Budweiser Ice Cold if Bahrain Storm finishes in the top three of the Galway Plate. Nifty!

Speaking about his visit to Galway, Budweiser Ice Cold Index weatherman, Scott Campbell, said, “It’s all happening this week in Galway. I’ve been doing my research and I’ve heard great things about Bahrain Storm so I’m really hoping he comes through for me – my Budweiser Ice Cold fans deserve a free pint!”

Scott will be hanging out at the Budweiser tent at the Ballybrit race course to cheer on Bahrain Storm but he’ll also be delivering an update as part of the TV3 evening news weather report live from the Galway Races on Ladies Day tomorrow (Thursday, 28th July).

Scott has also extended an open invitation to join him for a special Galway Races Budweiser Ice Cold Index party in The Skeffington Arms Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway city on Saturday, 30th July from 4-7pm. Rugby star Cian Healy and his DJ partner Gordon Johnston will provide music and acting as MC will be RTE’s Jennifer Maguire.

As part of the party, Scott and his crew will be holding auditions to search for Scott’s co-star. Galway is the second of three heats in the search for Scott’s co-star. Scott will finish his search in Cork next month. Each finalist selected from the three heats will win €1,000 on the night and go through to the final heat to win the overall prize which includes starring alongside Scott on national TV and winning the ultimate holiday to Los Angeles. You can pre-register for auditions on

To check out Scott and keep up-to-date with the search for his co-star, visit the Facebook page where there will also be regular competitions, updates from Scott and invitations to the hottest events throughout the summer. You can also follow Scott on Twitter.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dublin To Paris With The Irish Hospice Foundation

Yesterday saw the start of the annual Irish Hospice Foundation cycle from Dublin to Paris. The gruelling 600km journey by 17 cyclists is the charity’s annual campaign to raise funds to support the development of Children’s Hospice Home Care.

In order to take part in the 5 day event each cyclist raised €3,500, equating to €720,000 over the past two years (2009 and 2010). The cycle takes them from Dublin down to Rosslare, across to Cherbourg, and then on up through the beautiful and historic Normandy countryside to finally arrive in the French capital.

The event has been so successful, both in raising funds and drawing participation, that a second cycle has been organised where 44 riders will cycle from Geneva to Nice from Sunday 24th July. It is hoped that around €220,000 will be raised between the two cycling events this year.

Sharon Foley, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Hospice Foundation, stated: “We hope that the participating cyclists enjoy their experience. To fulfil this feat, they have undertaken many hours of training over several months. Their families have also been fully behind their efforts. We appreciate their support for one of our most important programmes. Their fundraising efforts will be used to support a new service for some of the most vulnerable children in society.”

You can follow all the action on the Irish Hospice Foundation Twitter account and through the hashtag #ihfcycles, or over on their Facebook Page.

Dublin-Paris cycle itinerary
Sunday17th July
Depart from the southside of Dublin and cycle to Arklow -93kms.

Monday 18th July
Cycle from Arklow to Rosslare-85kms.The group will take the 3.30pm overnight Irish Ferries to Cherbourg from Rosslare.

Tuesday 19thJuly
The cyclists arrive in Cherbourg at 11am and cycle from Cherbourg to Bayeux-108kms.

Wednesday 20th July
This is the longest stage of the event a massive 168kms taking the group from Bayeux to Evreux.

Thursday21st July
Last day of cycling: This sees the riders enter Paris -105kms.

Friday22nd July
The cyclists can enjoy the sights of Paris before catching a flight back to Dublin.

Additional Information
On a national level, an estimated 1,400 children are living with life-limiting conditions in Ireland. There are about 350 child deaths every year – the majority in the first year of life. The Irish Hospice Foundation has committed €2.5 million to the implementation of the national policy Palliative Care for Children with Life-limiting Conditions in Ireland. The Irish Hospice Foundation funds the role of Dr Mary Devins who in June was appointed Ireland’s first Consultant in Children’s Palliative Care. The Irish Hospice Foundation has also agreed to fund five out of eight outreach nurses, who will support families caring for their children at home. Since 2007 the Irish Hospice Foundation has funded courses in children’s palliative care for nurses and healthcare professionals where over 1,500 have been trained.

Leading Irish sustainable products manufacturer Kingspan Group is the overall title sponsor for both of the Kingspan Irish Hospice Foundation Cycle Challenges.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Arthur Guinness Fund: 10 Social Entrepreneurs Awarded €650,000

Ten Irish social entrepreneurs are set to help the unemployed, save lives, improve skills and create a more dynamic, innovative Ireland with the help of a €650,000 investment from the Arthur Guinness Fund. Last Tuesday the ten entrepreneurs were announced as the recipients of the 2011 Arthur Guinness Fund with each of their unique projects receiving financial support and professional business mentoring over the next two years.

The 2011 Arthur Guinness Fund awardees are:
Jamie Regan - Hand on Heart Enterprises: As a former accountant for St Joseph’s Centre for the Blind in Drumcondra, Jamie saw how difficult it is for blind or low vision people to find meaningful work and has developed a model for supportive enterprise that helps them get into the workplace;

John Evoy - Irish Men’s Sheds Association: John and his colleagues are helping to create unique environments all over the country where men, particularly those hit by unemployment, can recover their self-esteem through a unique mix of education, up-skilling and health promotion;

Robin Blandford - Decisions for Heroes: Robin has combined a background in digital media engineering with his work as a volunteer cliff rescuer to create a unique software application that enables rescue workers to spot trends and patterns in accidents and thus target their missions more effectively;

George Boyle - The Fumbally Exchange (FEx): when the news came that her employer’s company had been liquidated, George moved fast to establish FEx, a new design hub in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties in which entrepreneurs, the unemployed, sole traders and small businesses can come together to share not just office space but ideas, energy and innovation.

Michael Hallissy and John Hurley, H2 Learning: building on years of experience in the e-learning field, Michael Hallissy and John Hurley have set up H2 Learning and a new virtual learning platform called AdultMaths, which helps those who may be uncomfortable about returning to traditional adult education to up-skill in this critical field;

Oisin Scollard Turn2Me - driven by the many challenges within the Irish mental health system, and prompted by a personal experience, Oisin founded Turn2Me, an online interactive community comprising of 3,500 people who help and support each other in a peer-to-peer environment.

Stephen Plunkett - U-Casadh: A former prison officer, Stephen established U-Casadh to help former prisoners re-integrate into the workplace. The programme provides sheltered training and employment to build structure, confidence and self-esteem;

Stuart McLaughlin:Fundit – keenly aware of the enormous challenges around employment opportunities in the creative sector, Stuart has developed a new web platform that gives the public an opportunity to ‘fund’ ideas they like in return for creative rewards;

John Kearney - West Cork Rapid Response: by more efficiently using local voluntary resources, John and his colleagues bring to rural areas the same standard of intensive care drugs, monitoring equipment, diagnostics and skills found in the best hospital resuscitation rooms in Europe;

Denis Roche - Vivartes – recognising the problem of anxiety and depression in care facilities, Denis has designed a web platform which enables patients to remain connected with their families, friends and the outside world.

Speaking at the announcement, Tanya Clarke, Marketing Director, Diageo Ireland said, “Arthur Guinness, the original philanthropist, provided the inspiration for the Arthur Guinness Fund and the Guinness brand is delighted to be in a position to continue his philanthropic legacy today through the Arthur Guinness Fund. Through the fund, we have encountered some amazing people who possess a business head and a social heart. In the face of a tough economic environment, they are pushing ahead and playing their part to help bring about positive social change in the communities in which they operate.”

The Arthur Guinness Fund received 450 applicants from social entrepreneurs all over Ireland. The thorough assessment process was conducted by Diageo employees, a representative from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and a panel of external judges from the Irish social enterprise and business sectors.

Sean Coughlan, Chief Executive, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland commented: “The quality and diversity of applicants is a testament to the value of the initiative and also an indication of the strong will that is out there to come up with innovative, impactful and sustainable initiatives that the benefit communities right across Ireland.”

For further information see here or visit or

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kildare Village Summer Festival

For anyone yet to experience the Kildare Village Summer Festival, I’d suggest that you look to this weekend as the perfect time to get down there. The four-week long festival brings together entertainment, shopping and Irish artisan food all within the comfortable and relaxed setting of Kildare Village. The festival, which launched on July 1st with the arrival of star guest Whitney Port, designer of Whitney Eve, may be nearly two weeks in but it isn’t losing any momentum and in my opinion is getting better and better with each passing day.

One of this years highlights for me is taking place this Friday from a specially constructed stage in the piazza. As part of the festival and to celebrate Kildare Village’s fifth anniversary there will be a free gig from Choice Music Prize nominee Cathy Davy. The free gig is on at 8pm and all you need to do is register on the site and become a VIP member of Kildare Village. Easy peasy!

Another part of the festival that I think is particularly cool is something from their star guest, Whitney Eve. Whitney has created an exclusive canvas bag for Barretstown, which is exclusively available in Kildare Village for the duration of Summertime Festival, priced at €15. Best of all, all profits go to Barretstown.

Whitney Port commented, ‘I am so excited to be the face of the Summertime Festival @ Kildare Village especially as I get to take part in my two favourite pastimes shopping and designing. I’ve created the perfect summer bag which will be sold at Kildare Village to raise money for Barretstown children’s charity. This will be my first visit to Ireland and The Summertime Festival makes Kildare Village the perfect stop for me to enjoy performances, food and entertainment this July. ‘

Dee Ahearn, CEO of Barretstown commented, 'We are delighted Kildare Village has chosen to support Barretstown in their Summertime Festival campaign with the launch of the canvas bag by Whitney Port. This year as Kildare Village celebrates their fifth anniversary, Barretstown will pass the milestone of welcoming 20,000 children and their families from Ireland and across Europe since being founded in 1994. Childhood cancer affects so many families in Ireland each year, and through the support of Kildare Village, we can continue to welcome as many campers as possible each year.’

This is really just a snapshot of everything going on and I would strongly recommend that you pop over to for full details.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Get Your Giggle on for

Having been lucky enough to work with the good people at before this is something a little close to my heart. On 26th July 2011 is hosting a comedy night at The Sugar Club. Basically this is an awesome opportunity to help raise money for and have an excellent evening of comedy.

The MC for the evening is an old friend of mine and an absolutely hilarious gent, the magnificent Fred Cooke. Fred is joined by Jack Wise, Eric Lalor and Shazwanda.

Fresh from his performance at this year’s Street Performance World Championship, Jack Wise is sure to mesmerise the audience with his speciality cocktail of comedy and magic all served up with a solid slice of sarcasm. Meanwhile, the warm and energetic Lalor will leave the audience with a warm fuzzy feeling that only a belly laugh can, showing why he goes down such a treat with comedy gig goers across the land.

Keeping the boys in check with her razor sharp North Dublin wit is the disarmingly demure Shazwanda. With hair extensions and high heels galore, Shazwanda is a shining example of why the Dublin sense of humour is so side splittingly special.

For those of you not familiar with I'd urge you to click through to their site and check them out. They're a service dedicated to taking the mystery out of mental health, removing the taboos and bringing mental health issues out into the open. With this event all proceeds from the sales of tickets will go to helping deliver the best service it can to young people with something on their minds.

This event is kindly supported by the Macquarie Group Foundation and its Dublin staff.

Tickets cost €20, available through The event starts at 8pm and is strictly over 18s.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guinness - The Power To Lift Us All

Today, Monday 11th July, Guinness launched a new advertising campaign in support of its GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship sponsorship. Entitled “The Power to Lift Us All” the campaign brings to life the way the game of hurling and its players inspire and thrill a nation through the unique place the game holds in our hearts. For many Irish people Hurling is more than a sport. It instils a sense of cultural and national pride.

The campaign was created by Irish International and photographed by Kevin Griffin, with photographic retouching by Taylor James.

Speaking about the campaign, Guinness Brand Manager, Barry Fitzpatrick said, “With this campaign, we wanted to recognize Hurling as a uniquely Irish icon and an inspiration for people across the country. The 2010 Hurling Final drew the biggest audience for RTE of any sporting event last year, highlighting just how highly regarded it is as the national game. Hurling is a part of what we are and has a unique ability to inspire, not only fans of the game, or of a winning county, but the whole country.”

The overall campaign will also include PR and digital activity, and a media partnership with Newtalk, which includes the Guinness Hurling Greats series of recordings with players, managers, referees and fans that bring to life iconic and game changing moments in the sport.

Stay tuned and as soon as I have more details on these additional elements I'll get them straight up, of course in the mean time make sure to check out the above graphic in it's full glory.

Monday, July 4, 2011

PhotoIreland VAI Professional Development Programme

Following an extremely successful 2010, PhotoIreland Festival is back for 2011. On top of a great lineup of exhibitions there are loads of workshops and seminars on, and the most interesting in my opinion is the PhotoIreland VAI Professional Development Programme. Visual Artists Ireland (VAI) in partnership with PhotoIreland Festival are running a limited series of professional development seminars aimed at emerging and established photographers to help in four key business areas: Professional Practice, Money Matters, Negotiation and Experience.

The four sessions take place over the closing weekend of PhotoIreland Festival on 23rd and 24th of July in La Catedral Studios off Thomas Street. While this is primarily aimed at Photographers it may be of interest to all artistic practices but places are limited so advance booking is essential. Prices are €20 for non-members and €15 for VAI members or €60 for all 4 sessions.

Professional Practice: Online marketing with Mary Carty
23/07/11 10:00 – 13:00
This session will teach you how to grow your profile, build your network and promote your work online. By using social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr effectively, you can grow your audience and position yourself as an expert in your field. I will use case studies and practical walk throughs to help you get the most from your time online.

Money Matters: Preparing Proposals & Grant Applications with Eilis Lavelle & Sarah Searson
23/07/11 14:00 – 17:00
This session will look at the proposal and application preparation process in detail exploring the strategic skills required to ensure that you submission is seriously considered. The session will include information on writing and preparing, documentation or visual packages, application forms etc. It is aimed at artists who wish to apply for resources and opportunities such as: funding; residencies; exhibitions and commissions.

Negotiation: Dealing with Public/ Private Galleries with Jerome O’ Drisceoil & Karen Downey
24/07/11 10:00 – 13:00
This training session is designed to give artists the confidence and knowledge to build strong relationships with curators and to get the most out of their experience when working with a private or public gallery. It will look at: Do’s and don’ts in approaching or presenting work to galleries. Being clear on why you want to exhibit; clarity of the artist’s intention for the artwork; clarity of ambition and expected outcomes for an exhibition. It will also examine roles and responsibilities for both the artists and the gallery. Understanding element of planning an exhibition, time-line, budget and production value. The expectations and motivations for an exhibition from both the gallery’s and artist’s perspectives.

Experience: Career Options with Anthony Luvera; Dragana Jurisic; Liam Campbell & Stephanie Joy
24/07/11 14:00 – 17:00
This session is aimed at emerging photographers and is designed to show them the variety of career options available to them. Our panelists have a variety of careers and availed of numerous and varied opportunities all within the umbrella of photography. From commercial photography to book publishing and from teaching to collaborating, each of our panelists will explain how they came to be in their current position and the opportunities and decisions that accompany them.

For more information and booking go to or contact Donna on +353 (0)86 3505 722 or