The lazy weekend hangover

21 02 2011

I usually have one night out of a weekend, but with a weekend in Cardiff for the 6 nations match against Ireland fast approaching I decided to stay off the drink until then.

This morning I’m discovering that you can have a hangover without drinking.

I had lots of plans for the weekend – move my files from my old broken laptop to my new one, sort out my clothes and take some to a charity shop, scrub the bath and sink…and how much did I achieve? Zilch, zero, nada, nothing!

I stayed up late watching films then lay in through my alarm clock. I cooked lunch, decided to go to town to an art gallery and then spent a few hours cooking an elaborative dinner. None of these were on my ‘to do’ list and so I sit here thinking about the long list of things I need to achieve this week.

So much like a drink related hangover I’m left thinking “Why?” and regretting parts of my weekend, but thankfully my bank balance didn’t take its usual weekend hit.


Irish Blog Awards 2011

13 02 2011

Just a quick note to say that this blog has been nominated in the Best Newcomer category at the Irish Blog Awards Judges will be whittling down the finalists so watch this space to see if it made the cut.

Thanks to everyone who nominated the blog, I really appreciate it.


Dim ond nodyn bach i ddweud bod y blog hwn wedi cael ei henwebu yn y categori Blog Newydd Gorau yng Ngwobrau Blog Gwyddelig: Bydd y beirniaid yn dewis yr flogiau fydd yn mynd i’r rownd derfynol, felly dewch yn ôl i weld os fydd yr blog yn llwyddiannus.

Diolch i bawb wnaeth enwebu yr blog.

i comes to Ireland

11 02 2011

I got sent this press release today and decided to post it because I’m interested to see how it will do in a tough market. Given the recent demise of other newspapers in Ireland I can’t see why they would choose to enter the market. I wonder if it will just be the UK’s version sold in Ireland or if it will be an Irish version of the paper.


“i to launch in Ireland due to popular demand”

i, the UK’s first new national newspaper for 25 years, is to launch in Ireland on Monday 14th February, due to popular demand.
Created by The Independent, i is designed for readers who want a concise, quality daily paper for just 30 cents.
Launched in England, Wales and Scotland in October 2010, i has since been inundated by requests to be distributed in Ireland.
The requests reflect the appetite for i, which recently moved into the second part of its launch activity with a UK TV advertising campaign featuring Dom Joly and Jemima Khan.
i is currently sold in England, Wales and Scotland, from Monday to Friday, and from this Monday it will also be available in Ireland.
i is specifically targeted at readers and lapsed readers of quality newspapers, and those of all ages who want a comprehensive digest of the news in printed form. i will now provide an essential daily briefing for those in Ireland, combining intelligence with brevity, and depth with speed of reading.

Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of i, and the Independent said of the new launch:
“At the Independent and i, we pride ourselves on listening to our readers and it has been great to have been inundated with such positive feedback about i since its launch in October.  The demand from Ireland is a testament to the paper’s success so far and we are pleased to be in a position to respond.”

Andrew Mullins, managing director of i, The Independent and the Evening Standard said:

“The latest expansion in Ireland demonstrates the impact that i has had so far. By continuing to exceed expectations, i proves there is a place in the market for a paid-for, concise quality daily.”



What’s in a name?

27 01 2011

When I tell people my name outside Wales they usually respond with “WHAT?!” When I first left Wales as an innocent (“yeah right” some of you may exclaim) 18-year-old I went by the name Harry because the day I moved into our cramped student digs in East Anglia and introduced myself I was told “Well, you’ll have to change that because we can’t say it.” So Harry stuck and there was more than one occasion that I turned up for work through a bar staff temping agency that I was told “Oh, we were expecting a boy!”

These days I go by my full name and it gets butchered by people who haven’t heard my name before. When I moved to Ireland however the tables were turned and names like Aoife, Caoimhe and Caitríona had me flummoxed. I had to get people to say them for me and then I repeated them over in my head before I called any of these people.  So now I do have some sympathy for those poor people who see my name and call me Gdgasdtadiagdqwiwq. (They’re lucky they don’t have to call up and ask for my friend Llinos!)

Something interesting came up this week which led to me thinking – should a name be pronounced the correct way or the way the bearer of the name sees fit? A perfect example is Llywelyn: more often than not it’s pronounced Loo-El-un when the correct Welsh pronunciation is Llyw- el-in (Ll as in Llanelli). This week I heard of someone called Siân saying their name as Si-ann (si as in Simon). I was all ready for the “That’s not how you say it” rant, but then I thought, If she wants to say it that way then it’s her choice, isn’t it? I know more than one Irish person who grits their teeth when they hear the American singer Ciara say her name like it’s a large family car made by Ford, but should someone go up to her and say “Come on love, now that’s not how you say your name, so stop it!”

What do you think – would a rose pronounced any other way smell as sweet?

Leaving an age of apathy

30 11 2010

History is my blood, in truth it’s a part of all of us, but since the day I began borrowing books from my small local library in north Wales the majority of them have been history ones. This love continued and I went on to study history at university. However, unlike a lot of my class I would doodle and daydream when the teacher talked of kings and queens. I didn’t care for royalty or the famous, I loved to hear about the lives of the ordinary folk, I was always wondering what would I be doing if I was born 100 years before.

I grew up watching footage of events in programmes chronicling the 20th Century and remember scenes of people standing up for themselves and making change – whether it was the civil rights movement in the United States, the Vietnam war protests or the students protesting in France in May 1968. I wanted to be there, I wanted to be a part of history, a part of change, change for the better.

My first opportunity came at 16 when a group of about seven of us protested the cut in courses in our college. The next was a protest against the building of holiday homes in my area which were to be built on a site of special scientific Interest. However, none of these really changed much – the college decided not to cut the courses anyway and planning permission was never given for the houses.

University is full of protesting potential, but not in my case. It seems I was there at the wrong time. While we were the first students to pay tuition fees nobody kicked up a huge fuss. We were given easy credit –banks filled the fresher’s fair hall and they gave us as many credit cards as we wanted (with a free gift of course). So we spent, and spent, and spent. By the end of the first year we were comparing how in the red our bank balances were while eating in restaurants we paid for on our cards.

I craved action and signed up for classes on the Spanish Civil War, the civil rights movement, even one on  The Great Cat Massacre (not ideal for a lifelong cat lover). I became head of the history society and organised talks by veterans of the international brigade, but while I soaked up the stories of the people involved in change my own generation was apathetic and could hardly muster enough energy to vote.

The only opportunity to be a part of something big came on February 15th 2008 when I marched on the streets of London against the Iraq War, but as most of my contemporaries said “It won’t change anything.”

So this is why I have to admire the students who are making their voices heard, wherever they may be. I know people who let a little bit of snow at the weekend stop them showing their anger about one of the biggest events to shape Irish history. This is my generation

So, I’m happy to see a new generation coming through who won’t sit quietly and do as they’re told.  Perhaps we’re finally leaving an age of apathy and entering one where the people shape history.

Why I took to the streets of Dublin

29 11 2010

I love Ireland. It’s a part of my heritage (my mother is Irish) and I spent much of my childhood in Dublin going to school in Walkinstown for a year and spending my summers with my grandparents.

Since my first journey on the ferry from Holyhead I took as a baby I have seen Ireland change: the years when women sold lighters on Henry Street “four for a pound”, the opening of the new shopping centre in Tallaght, the switch to the Euro and later the boom years.

I moved to Dublin in 2007 to further my education. The city was doing well, but had lost much of the identity I remembered from my childhood. The women selling items from prams were gone, some of the Irish shops we used to frequent were replaced by big name retailers selling clothes at higher prices than the UK and the small corner shop with the family name was boarded up.

But in the years since I arrived things have turned again and you can see the changes all around you, from the closed shops to the increase in homeless people on the streets.

When I finished my course in 2008 I got a minimum wage job and tried to make ends meet. I could just pay my rent, but had little money for nights out or for trips back to Wales.  I got another job so I could have extra cash and ended up working from 9am to 11pm and arriving home at midnight. I have never been so tired in my whole life.

So when I heard the government plans to cut the minimum wage I was disappointed.  I can understand that there are people who are already struggling to make ends meet and now they’ll have to cut back even further.  I am angry that the Irish government’s methods of saving money attacks the people who can least afford it and doesn’t take enough from the overpaid fat cats who partied during the good times and don’t want to pick up the bar tab.

That is one of the reasons why I was one of those who took to the streets on Saturday to make sure the government know and the rest of the world can see that the people think that this is not acceptable.