Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Volvo Ocean Race Grand Finale

----- Press Release -----

A worldwide audience will turn to Ireland as the Volvo Ocean Race reaches a dramatic conclusion in less than three weeks time when the six teams finish their 39,000 mile race around the planet. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to come to Galway for the finish leading to a multi-million euro boost for the economy.

Since the start in Spain last November, the overall race leader is French entry Groupama 4 skippered by Franck Cammas with a crew of ten that includes veteran sailor Damian Foxall from Kerry. As many as three other teams could still upset the standings in the closest ever conclusion of the race.

The six boats have battled storms, ice threats, freezing temperatures and searing heat as well as a series of challenging equipment problems as their 70 foot state of the art racing yachts are pushed beyond their limits.

Ireland will be the tenth host-country in this edition of the race after Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States of America, Portugal and since Friday (15th June) France. Only Sweden, Germany, Russia and Britain have ever hosted a grand finale in the 39-year history of the race.

Each crew-member has worked almost 20 hours per day, non-stop for up to three weeks at a time living on freeze-dried food with no home comforts while trying to race as hard as possible. Ireland will be the setting for scenes of both joy and heart-break which will be broadcast live to a global audience.

Preliminary research for the race so far indicates a cumulative TV audience of 2.1 million viewers plus 35 million visits to the race website ( Irish fans are the fourth highest Facebook followers accounting for over 13,000 ‘likes’ out of 183,000 people. These figures only account for the first five months of the race that started in Alicante, Spain in November 2011.

The previous race stopped in Galway in 2009 where crowds of 600,000 visitors led to a €55 million boost. Organisers are aiming to repeat this with the finale to this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race and hotels are close to full capacity in the Galway region as fans and crew families are expected from around the world.

The Galway port area is being transformed once again for the arrival of the boats on or after the 2nd July as they sail the final leg of the race from the Breton port of Lorient. An entertainment programme comprising mostly free events has been planned, starting on Saturday 30th June when the fleet prepares to depart France for Ireland.

The Volvo Ocean Race started as the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973 and has had two Irish yachts compete (1989-90 NCB Ireland and 2008-09 Green Dragon) for what is the undisputed top trophy in ocean racing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eason's Predictions For Father’s Day

Sales of sports book soared by 62% in the week of Father’s Day in 2011

With Father’s Day just a few days away, Eason, Ireland’s leading retailer of books, stationery, magazines and more, predicts a significant jump in sales of sports books amid the mania of Euro 2012 and with the Olympics not far behind.

Eason’s top five sporting books – the ideal gift for Father’s Day include:
Green is the colour by Stephen Byrne
La Roja by Jimmy Burns
Joking Apart by Donnacha O’Callaghan
Born to Ride by Stephen Roche
Beautiful Brutality by Adam Smith

Looking back at sales figures from 2011, Eason noted a huge increase in the sales for Sport, DIY/Gardening and History books during the week of Father’s Day in comparison to figures from the previous week. Sporting titles increased by almost 62% compared to the week before Father’s Day while sales in DIY/Gardening books jumped by 52%. History book sales also spiked the week leading up to Father’s Day when compared to previous week, with 37% jump.

Maria Dickenson, Head of Book Purchasing, Eason, commented, “Books make a great gift for Father’s Day and at Eason we have something to suit every dad! Sports books are a front runner with the Euro 2012 but we have plenty of history, crime, DIY and fiction too for that rare non-sporting dad!”

Other Father’s Day book recommendations from Eason include:

D-Day by Anthony Beevor
All Hell Let Loose by Max Hastings
Seal Target Geronimo by Chuck Farrer
The End by Ian Kershaw
Trigger Time by Mick Flynn

DIY & Gardening
Collins Complete DIY Manual by Albert Jackson
DIY Manual by Readers Digest
DIY for Less by Readers Digest
Irish Gardeners Handbook by Michael Brennock
The Complete Gardener by Monty Don

True Crime
Badfellas by Paul Williams
Game Set Murder by Michael Sheridan
Cocaine Diaries by Paul Keany

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the ISPCC's new hard hitting new campaign to combat the emotional abuse of children. Well, the next stage of the campaign is on the way and I think this is going to be something really special.

The campaign is centred around the notion that children believe what they are told, and the terrifying fact that emotional abuse shatters childhoods. In the gallery we have installed a sheet of glass on which is written one of the most resonant phrases of the campaign; ‘You stupid little bitch.’

The ISPCC's 'Break the Glass' installation and event in The Copper House Gallery will see a very large sheet of glass illustrating the campaign's message placed within Barry McCall's Pho20graphy exhibition, which is also supporting the ISPCC. Artist James Earley will be responsible for the artwork.

Members of the public are being asked to support the campaign too by tweeting #ispcc. Through a tweet counter counting down from one thousand to zero that is attached to the glass, the installation will come to life and the glass will shatter, revealing a message of hope behind the glass. This will all happen at a special event hosted this Friday (8th of June). The whole thing will also be filmed and captured in slow motion using a special high speed camera.

Be sure to check it out - this is a really cool campaign IMHO.

View the live feed here:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Calor launches Community Champion 2012

This week, Calor has launched the inaugural Calor Community Champion 2012. This is Calor's search to find the local champions in each of our communities. These are the people who work tirelessly each and every day to improve the lives of the people around them. Calor believe it is time that these people were recognised and celebrated, and to do so they have set aside a prize fund of €10,000.

Leading the search is none other than TV and radio personality, Hector Ó hEochagáin. However, Hector and the team at Calor will be looking for the public's help. They need people around Ireland to enter and nominate their local heroes. And doing so couldn't be easier. All you need to do is ‘like’ the Calor Facebook page and enter your various details through the Community Champion app.

Speaking at the launch, Hector said, “This is a great initiative by Calor and one which I am fully behind. At last a platform to recognise real life community heroes, both young and old. You all know who they are, so give them the recognition they truly deserve. I am looking for nominations to come from every corner and county on the island, so get nominating today!”

Jennifer Fagan, Marketing Executive, Calor Gas said, “At Calor with our close connections and work in our local communities, we understand the work carried out every day by unsung heroes in towns and villages across the island of Ireland. The Calor Community Champion is one way you can recognise those who have made exceptional contributions to your local community. We want as many nominations as possible so that the people who have helped to make our community a better place can get the recognition they truly deserve."

The winner and inaugural Calor Community Champion 2012 will receive €1,500 and a bursary of €7,500 to give to their nominated charity or local organisation. Calor will even throw in €500 for the person or organisation that nominated them. Nominations to crown this year’s champion will close on July 6th. Calor will select the top 32 local champions, one from each county and put them to the public vote from July 16th through our Facebook app. The public will have four weeks to vote for their favourite and the top four local champions and two wildcards will make it through to the final phase. The winner will be chosen by the Judging Panel and announced on September 4th.