Monday, December 13, 2010

SCROOGE GRAND CANAL THEATRE REVIEW


I think I've made my feelings pretty clear on musical on this blog before...I don't particularly like them.

I ignored my gut instinct and was pleasantly surprised when I attended Hairspray in November, so when the girls from the theatre offered me a ticket to see Scrooge I was a little excited. I've always been a bit partial to the Christmas tale of the man who hated Christmas.

Not being a huge fan of the festive season myself and Scrooge have a lot in common. But like him and unlike the weather my feelings on it have thawed in recent times. Speaking of weather, the walk to the theatre from the Grand Canal Hotel was treacherous. Office shoes are not made to walk on ice and snow covered pavements.

I tend to drive everywhere because walking is for people who have too much time on their hands so I hadn't really prepared myself for the conditions. On walking out of the hotel I was immediately in trouble...a bit like Bambi was I. At one point I was hanging onto the side of the railings guiding myself very slowly along the path...that is until I was humbled by the site of a woman casually walking along the ice beside me while talking on the phone. So I manned up and tried to walk unaided. It was difficult but the 8 minute walk did take 25.

On arriving in the Grand Canal Theatre I picked up the tickets said hello to the girls and made myself home at the bar with a lovely glass of red. I have to say my seat couldn't have been better. I shared an isle with Pat Kenny, Gay Byrne and Brian Ormond, all of whom looked enviously on at my central location while they were seated in the wings. Thanks girls.

Air conditioning under the seats if you don't mind!!! I was really at home. The show kicked off with some singing...not sure about that, but I quickly warmed up the Tommy Steel's brilliant performance as Scrooge. I believe the man is in his 70's? Well he certainly uses all his experience in the show. His facial expressions and body movements alone are enough to keep the audience entertained. Funny and entertaining in equal measures Steele certainly knows what he's doing...but after over 1,500 appearances in the West End you'd expect him to.

But there is much more to this musical than Mr Steele. The set is stunning and really does make you feel like you are in the 1800's, not that I know what it feels like it to be from that era but you get the point. I know these guys have probably been performing this show in London for a couple of hundred years but their timing was really on the money, especially considering this was just their third show in Dublin.

I read earlier that day that the special effects guy that worked on Harry Potter is involved in the production so I was interested but a little skeptical to see what he could do on stage. I was blown away. People appearing, disappearing explosions, ghosts and mirrors that were there but not there. Stunning stuff.

Don't ask me to name check any of the songs or the actors because I have an awful memory and I was too cheap to buy the brochure but there were fine performances all round. None more than little Darren Dixon who plays Tiny Tim.

So all in all if you are looking for something to get you into the Christmas spirit...if you excuse the pun, than Scooge is your man. Walking out into the snow covered Grand Canal Square made it all the more apt and enjoyable...that is until I tried to take a step and nearly ended up looking at the stats. Which brings me to my biggest tip for anyone looking to venture down to see Mr Steele...don't wear office shoes.

OMG

Thursday, December 9, 2010

TOURIST GUIDE TO THE BUDGET


Well the Session (Celtic Tiger) is well and truly over and Alka-Seltzar is being administered for the hangover. I’m sure you’ve heard that the Irish government have decided the cure, sorry Budget, needs to be strong.
The effectiveness of the cure, we’re told, has more consequences than just for the Irish people. It is hard to imagine that this small country can hold the faith of the Euro in our hands but if you are believe the media it is true. Europe held its breath as our finance minister, Brian Lenihan, announced the details of the budget to the world.
If your thinking about or actually coming do Dublin in the near or distant future DON’T worry. We're not French or Greek for that matter, so don't believe those images in the international media of riots and protests in Dublin. The reality is that the only thing we have in common with our French cousins is a Gaelic heritage and a strong love for wine (mine's a red thank you). Indeed the only large protest that happened here recently was the senior citizens and despite their best efforts it past off very peacefully.
So what does it mean to the visitor coming to Dublin...this Budget? Well believe it or not it’s all good…for you guys at least. I've taken the time to offer a tourist guide to what the budget and the IMF/EU bailout means to our visitors.
Tax - While the poor souls of the Republic of Ireland have been handed severe tax burdens from the budget our overseas visitors will be delighted to learn that Mr Cowen has actually reduced the travel tax into Ireland from €10 to €3, something that the Chief Executive of Ryanair, Mr Michael O'Leary, will no doubt be encouraged by...any chance of those 5,000 jobs you promised us Michael. So to cut a long story short the cost of flying to our beautiful island is now cheaper.
VAT - there were no VAT increases on food or services in the budget so the continued downward cost of alcohol and eating out is reduced further...we've learned our lesson.
Minimum Wage - again while the unfortunate in society face the prospect of having the minimum wage reduced by €1 and therefore may have to depend on charity from friends and neighbours the traveller will by encouraged by the cost of services being reduced and consequently the cost attractions, restaurants, hotels etc.
More Historical Sites - Tourism Ireland likes to portrait Dublin as a fun loving city, easy to get around with over 1000 years of history. It uses images of Haypenny Bridge, GPO, the Spire, Grafton Street, Guinness etc to help promote it. But what has the recent Celtic Tiger added to Dublin? History will spend a lot of time covering events of these times. There will be chapters in future school history books called "Celtic Tiger" and "Boom to Bust".
The banks billions have given us some fantastic and truly spectacular buildings. I'd even dare say that Dublin has a stunning skyline. The Ulster Bank towers in City Quay, the Convention Centre and it's Red Bull like dome, the O2, the Point Village, the Grand Canal Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Samuel Beckett Bridge and much more. But ironically enough, while these buildings and structures will attract many an admiring glance the historical significance of the recent period lies wedged between the CCD and the O2. Sticking out like the mole on Enrique Inglesias face is an unfinished shell of a building.
This was to be Anglo Irish Banks (yes the bank that could bring down Europe) new head office. Tourist should be brought down past the half empty glass buildings of the Irish Financial Services Centre and toward the Dublin Wheel to see this iconic ghost of the Celtic Tiger. It is essentially a building site with cranes still in place. Looking at it you almost expect the cranes to start moving...but nothing will happen here for a long time. It should be part of the Dublin Bus Tour...indeed it my be.
Meet the Dubliner - One of the sadder (yes I just made up a word) elements of our economic problems has been the exodus of foreign nationals from Dublin. As any visitor to the island in recent times can attest that it was most unusual to come across and Dubliner serving in a restaurant or a hotel for that matter. You had to look hard to find one of those funny talking, wise cracking natives. We have much to thank from our international residence and we do still benefit from the ones that remain. But it is all good for the visitor!!!
They have made our Capital a much more cosmopolitan place to visit, but fear not because on your return you are going to meet the Dubliner, a character so brilliantly captured by James Joyce and Roddy Doyle in their famous novels. Think Colin Farrell (mostly without the looks), think the Commitments, think Colm Meeney, Brendan Gleeson (minus the eye patch), think Coronation Street and Boyzone’s Keith Duffy...you get my drift. Real Dublin is easier to access in debt ridden Ireland.
So there you have it people. While the citizens of Ireland face the music and deal with the hangover from the Celtic Session...sorry Tiger, tourists have a lot to look forward to.
Dublin can now compete with any city in Europe in terms of price competitiveness...just have a look at www.grandcanalhotel.com to see the value. Eating out is cheaper, the booze is cheaper, the flights will be cheaper and it is only going to get even cheaper.
But don't take Ollie McGrath's word for it. Come and visit. Go to any bar, ask any taxi man, talk to the man on the street...everyone has an opinion. The best things about Dubliners is that we love to talk.
Yours Ollie McGrath.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I DON'T LIKE MUSICALS...BUT


Have to admit that i'm not the biggest fan of Musicals. The emergence of Glee has only cemented this opinion so when I was offered two tickets to Hairspray...only the threat of being single again forced my hand.
So what did I think? Well the Grand Canal Theatre is very impressive. I know the guys in the hotel have been raving about it for months but some of them were also raving about Glee...you do the maths. But OMG...what a venue...what an area.
Dublin has undergone a sea change since (don't mention the Celtic Tiger)...well a while ago. But the Grand Canal Square area really is a beautiful addition to the city. Stunning buildings, some of which look like complex logo land structures, surrounded by restaurants. It was a good start as i made my way into the show.
The theatre itself is a fine building, all shapes and corners. One of the things I hate about theatre is the standard of seats that you get...obstructed views...big heads in front of you. There is nothing of that in the Grand Canal Theatre. Spacious, air-conditioned and stunningly red.
To my surprise the rest of the audience looked normal...not that there is a typical musical loving person look but it was a good start nonetheless. Oh and I was on an aisle seat which helped.
So the show. Before I start I have to confirm that I've never seen the movie...any of the movies...for reasons I've already mentioned, so I had no idea what to expect other than the distant memory of Michelle Pfeiffer and John Travolta in the trailer of the 2007 movie adaption.
A cross-dressing Michael Ball (slightly disturbing image) apart, this was a bit of craic. Performances were for the most part excellent, even if vocals are occasionally strained...I'm no Simon Cowell, but in particular the villains who are a little grating on the ear.
Now don't get me wrong I haven't morphed into a Musical junkie, but my eyes have been opened a little. Mamma Mia is coming to the Grand Canal Theatre on the 4th of October next year and I've already got my ticket...I've always been a bit partial to Sweedish pop...Oh! and I'm going to Scrooge.

I'll report back.

Yours,
Ollie McGrath (OMG).

Monday, November 22, 2010

A WARM WELCOME TO THE IMF


So the IMF have arrived and our lovely island nation is front page news across the globe with headlines screaming..."humiliation"..."Ireland Bailed Out"...etc.

I don't think that people from outside Ireland realise that we've been reading/listening to recession/depression/bail out/IMF stories for years now. The IMF's coup is like a weight off our shoulders. It's like we've finally come out of the closet. Our little dirty secret.

If I hear anything else about Good Banks/Bad Banks...bond markets...interest rates...I'm going to scream...please SHUT UP. I've made a conscious not to listen to the radio or read the newspaper today because I'm sick of it.

How about a good radio station and a bad radio station...a good newspaper and a bad newspaper. Change the record please. We've had enough of bad news. Dublin is open for business.

The hotel was buzzing on the weekend and we even had George Hook and Brent Pope in entertaining the masses with RTE...George even managed to stay awake this time. The hotel is full for most of the week...granted that could be thanks to the thousands of journalists that are hear to cover our fall from grace.

I could still afford me few pints last night, bought meself the usual cup of tasty coffee from Marta in the Coffee Dock and even arranged to go and see Harry Potter during the week.

I was in London last week and I had people coming up to me commiserating and offering their sorrow...as if I can't feed the kids. It reminds me of the height of the troubles when American visitors to Dublin were genuinely surprised not to see tanks patrolling O'Connell Street.

For people looking to visit Dublin or Ireland in the near future know this...there has never been a better time to come here. Drink, food, entertainment are all cheaper and most importantly we've got our sense of humour back. Being the rich kids of Europe didn't suit us anyway.

So take some advice from Ollie. No more talk of recession/depression etc. Dublin is open for business.

Ollie McGrath (OMG)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

IRELAND MORE POPULAR THAN PARIS


IRELAND has surpassed Paris as the top holiday destination for 2011 in a global poll by a prestigious tourist guide.

Almost a third of readers of Frommer's guide books chose Ireland as their favourite holiday destination for next year -- narrowly beating the City of Lights as the readers' favourite.

Some 7,300 voters chose Ireland over other tourist hotspots including Egypt, Hawaii, Australia, Italy, Greece, Alaska, New Zealand and Germany.

Visitors cited the landscape, ancient attractions and the overall beauty of the Emerald Isle as their main reasons.

"I love being out in the country, rambling around, exploring megalithic sites, having tea in small shops," said a reader.

"Beer, castles, lush landscapes, small enough to explore via bicycle or car," were the reasons given by another reader.

The stronger US dollar and a drastic reduction in the price of food and lodgings last year were also among the reasons cited.

But Ireland didn't make the guide's Top Destinations list for 2011, which is compiled by the guide's writers and editors.

The coastline of Kent in England was top of the 12 chosen destinations for next year, followed by Stockholm, Sweden and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

But the guide lavished praise on many of Ireland's natural attractions.

Frommer's editorial director David Lytle said Ireland should be proud of what the country has to offer visitors.

"Ireland has always been a very popular destination for our readers. There are people who go there again, and again and again," he told the Irish Independent last night.

"It's a storybook destination for people and it's very accessible," he said.

Despite its popularity, Irish tourism suffered one of its worst years in 2009 with an 11.6pc decrease in overseas visits. Figures for 2010 have not yet been released.

Article curtsey's of www.independent.ie.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

DIRTY DANCING COMES TO DUBLIN


Fantastic news theatre lovers...our friends over in the Grand Canal Theatre are brining the world famous smash hit musical to Dublin in 2012.

Seen by millions across the globe Dirty Dancing, tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Dirty Dancing is told by a tremendous cast of 37 and featuring 35 hit songs, including Hungry Eyes, Hey Baby, Do You Love Me? and the heart stopping I've Had The Time Of My Life.

The show kicks off on the 17th of January 2012 and runs right through till the 25th of February.

Now that might seem a distance off but i was talking to the lovely ladies in the box office and they tell me that tickets are ALREADY selling very fast.

But fear not. We have put together a package for people hoping to attend the show. As with all our theatre packages...enjoy a pre-show meal, ticket to the show, night's accommodation and full Irish breakfast the following morning from just €109pps.

Click here to make your booking or for more informatio.

FINANCIAL TIMES KNOWS WHERE VALUE IS


We don't mean to be harping on about value in Dublin, but when a newspaper giant such as the Financial Times picks up on it...then there must be some truth in it.

Check it out....

Many of the costs associated with doing business in Ireland at the tail end of 2010 are now considerably lower for the business traveller than they have been for many years.

According to the latest figures from Hotels.com, the average price of a hotel room in Ireland dropped 21 per cent last year and a further 4 per cent in the first half of this year. Although the decline in prices is slowing, the average room rate of €79 ($110) a night makes Ireland the least expensive destination in western Europe and the fourth-cheapest in the eurozone.

Dublin is now one of the least expensive major city destinations in the world, according to Hotels.com, with an average room rate of €73 a night.

All the big international chains are represented in the capital and around the country, including Marriott, Conrad and the Four Seasons.

There are also quite a few boutique hotels, offering a more individual twist to the “hundred thousand” Irish welcomes.

Hotels

Dublin is sadly short of historic hotels – most of them fell victim to the developers’ wrecking ball in the 1970s. To the south of the river Liffey the Shelbourne Hotel, founded in 1824, has long been the destination of choice for many of the business community.

The Horseshoe Bar, once voted by Time magazine as one of the best in the world, was where Celtic tigers quenched their thirst during the boom years. One disgruntled wag defined it as “a place where women with a past met men with no future”. Those seeking “the relics of old decency” will be well looked after here.

Just a block away, the Merrion offers old world charm in a set of Georgian buildings overlooking the prime minister’s office. The Cellar Bar offers a good lunch for those in a hurry. These atmospheric rooms are the old kitchens and wine cellars of Mornington House, where the Duke of Wellington was born. The hotel also houses the Michelin-starred Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.

The Conrad, on Earlsfort Terrace, is also centrally located. It is favoured by regular business visitors for the high quality of its service and the fact that many of the friendly staff have been there for years. It has also been the home for 12 years of one resident Irish businessman known for his exacting standards. The Conrad has, therefore, been put to the test by some of the most discerning patrons.

Off Grafton Street, the capital’s trendy shopping street, the Westbury offers city-centre luxury in a more modern setting. Its Marble Bar is a discreet first-floor watering hole favoured by early evening tipplers.

Elsewhere in the country, Cork is well served by a wide variety of quality hotels, but Hayfield Manor near the university is by far the most stylish. The hotel is set in the former estate of the Musgraves, one of the city’s leading merchant prince families. The restaurant offers some of the best seafood in Cork. It is a haven of tranquillity yet within walking distance of the city centre.

North of Cork on the west coast, lies Limerick. Its Savoy hotel is centrally located and offers impeccable service in the heart of the business district. A short drive from Limerick, Adare Manor, once the seat of the Earls of Dunraven, offers golfing and spa facilities in a historic setting.

Further up the west coast, Galway, the “City of the Tribes”, has one of the most vibrant cultural scenes in Ireland. A favourite haunt of the racing set and home to the Galway Oyster Festival, the city has the hotel infrastructure to go with all of that. The SAS Radisson is much favoured by the racing set. The Meyrick on Eyre Square is a former grand railway hotel offering Victorian elegance and modern service.

Restaurants

Many Irish restaurants have dropped their prices by as much as 40 per cent in the past year or so. Rather like the absence of old hotels, restaurants with a pedigree are thin on the ground in Dublin. One exception is the Unicorn, which has been going since 1943. Offering primarily Italian cuisine with a modern twist, this is a favourite with politicians and businessmen. It is a good place to spot visiting theatre and film stars who, when working in Dublin, inevitably end up using the Unicorn as their base.

Peploe’s, on St Stephen’s Green, is named after the Scottish painter Samuel John Peploe and has established a firm reputation as one of Dublin’s top dining spots. Converted from an old safety deposit vault, it is atmospheric and has a charming wine bar with its own menu as well as more sustaining choices in the main restaurant. Lunch and dinner usually find Peploe’s full of business diners. For business travellers with an interest in military history, the wonderful menu covers are the art work of Melinda Patton, a descendant of General George Patton.

Town Bar and Grill, on Kildare Street, is a short distance from the national parliament and the museum district. Located in charming old wine cellars, the restaurant has a loyal clientele. It serves superb fresh fish, meat and pasta dishes. At weekends, it has a resident piano player.

Cork’s gastronomic accolade must go to Jacque’s, now one of the longest established restaurants in the city. It aims to showcase the best of County Cork’s fresh produce in a modern environment and achieves this aim splendidly. It is conveniently located near the Imperial Hotel and the South Mall in the heart of the business district.

Just a short journey down the coast is Kinsale, which is known as Ireland’s gastronomic capital. It offers an extensive selection of seafood restaurants in an idyllic coastal setting.

Bars

James Joyce once set a challenge: to cross the city of Dublin without passing a pub. It is of course a near impossible task. In the city centre it is worth sampling Doheny & Nesbitt’s on Baggot Street. The business traveller will note that this local is credited with having its own school of economics, surely a world first. Nearby on Merrion Row, O’Donoghue’s is famous for live sessions of traditional Irish music.

In Cork, the local brew is Murphy’s Stout and anyone seeking the authentic pub experience must head for Counihan’s of Pembroke Street. Downstairs offers an old Cork pub atmosphere, while upstairs is somewhat trendier.

Culture

The National Museum in Dublin is centrally located and boasts a fabulous collection of Celtic gold artefacts.

The National Library, which always has an interesting literary exhibition, is located just opposite.

Behind these two institutions is the National Gallery, which houses collections of Irish and international art including a relatively recently discovered Caravaggio. The Chester Beatty Library (really a museum) at Dublin Castle is the jewel in the cultural crown, housing one of the world’s greatest collections of Oriental artefacts.

Cork plays host to a major jazz festival every October and an International Film Festival in November. The Crawford Gallery and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery between them cover the fine arts comprehensively.

Limerick’s Hunt Museum holds the nucleus of a private collection from the Neolithic age to the 20th century.

The sporting life is one of Ireland’s treasured activities. Golfing facilities are world class, including Ryder Cup host, the elegant K Club in County Kildare.

Ireland does not have a foxhunting ban and visitors are always made welcome by masters of Irish hunts, where a modest cap fee secures a day’s riding to hounds in the countryside.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DUBLIN HOTEL PRICES STILL DROPPING


Well if ever you needed proof that Dublin is now one of the best cities in Europe in terms of hotel value than have a read of today's article in the Irish Times.

Anyone who's stayed in the Grand Canal Hotel or taken an interest in any of our offers will already tell you that we strive to offer the best rates. Our friends over in Hotels.com like to monitor these things and their latest survey makes good reading for anyone wanting to travel to Ireland's capital.

Dublin now ranks as the tenth cheapest city for hotel prices among major holiday destinations worldwide, according to a new survey.

The latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index shows that the average price per room in the capital fell 7 per cent from €78 in the second quarter of 2009 to €73 for the same three-month period this year. This means that Dublin continues to be the cheapest city for hotels in western Europe.

Monte Carlo, the city which is the playground of the rich and famous, is the world's most expensive city for holidaymakers with prices having risen by 6 per cent over the past year to an average of €180 per night.

Geneva in Switzerland is the second most expensive city for hotel accommodation with prices up 7 per cent year-on-year to €174 per night. Hotel prices in Rio de Janerio rose 22 per cent during the same time period to €166. New York and Moscow, formerly two of the world's most expensive destinations, make up the top five with prices at €153 and €150 respectively.

The most significant rise in hotel costs recorded in the year to the end of June was in Cape Town where prices increased by 35 per cent to €108 per night, due to the World Cup.

Singapore and London also saw substantial rises in room rates with prices up 20 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

The Latvian capital Riga is ranked as the cheapest city for hotel prices wiht costs having fallen by 8 per cent over the year from €63 to €58.

Christchurch, Tallinn, Bangkok and Beijing make up the top five in terms of cheapest hotel prices with all offering accommodation at €66 per night or below on average.

Abu Dhabi was the city which experienced the largest fall in prices in the year to the end of June with room rates down 29 per cent to €136.

The Icelandic capital Reykjavik saw its room rates fall by 22 per cent due to the ash cloud crisis earlier in the year while room rates in Bucharest dropped by 27 per cent on average making it one of the least expensive destinations in the world.

So there you have it. Dublin, value and particularly the Grand Canal Hotel are synonymous. Check out www.grandcanalhotel.com for more info.

Monday, October 11, 2010

DUBLIN APP


Dublin Tourism has launched a fantastic innovative piece of technology that allows tourists visiting the city to discover information on an attraction by just pointing at it...and the Grand Canal Hotel are very impressed.

The app is already proving to be hugely successful and is the number one travel app in Ireland since its launch.

The IPhone app allows tourists to point their cell phone at a range of buildings in the city providing them with a wealth of information including 3D maps, building details, voucher details and audio clips.

An additional one million visitors are expected to descend upon the city to try out the innovative product.

More than 7,000 pages of information have been condensed into the one feature.

Frank Magee, chief executive of Dublin Tourism, said although the application can be accessed abroad it will be very appealing to people from Dublin.

"We are the first people in the world to introduce this but we expect that other cities will follow," he said.

"It's a fascinating piece of equipment.

"We were the first city in the world to introduce iwalks and within the first 18 months, over 600,000 were downloaded."

A 100,000 application downloads are expected in the first year.

"The beauty of it is that once you download the app from the Apple Store or the Google Marketplace, there is little or no charge," Magee added.

"There is the option to accept an entertainment guide and breaking news, which will carry a minimum charge to see."

"So if want to stay at Mrs McGrath's B&B in Balbriggan, you can find out all the sites in the area," Magee explained.

Friday, October 8, 2010

THE RDS


The RDS is one of Dublin's most iconic venues and home to the majority of the large exhibitions which take place in Ireland each year...not to mention the fantastic Failte Ireland Horse Show.
So we've (after coming across some leaflets on the venue) decided to fill you all in on a bit of history on the old venue.
A Short History of the RDS:

IN 1713 fourteen Irishmen came together in Dublin united by a common aim - to improve the poor economic conditions of the country by promoting agriculture, arts, industry and science in Ireland. This objective, they believed, could be achieved by dissemination of knowledge and new ideas.
The Society draws its strength from its independence from impartiality; it relies on its own resources to fund its activities, and on the voluntary input and support of its Members who give their time and expertise to serve on its Council and Comittees.

Some Major Milestones;
In 1750 the Dublin Society set up and managed its own Drawing School. In 1877 this was transferred to government and became the Metropolitan School of Art and Design, later the National College of Art and Design.

The Veterinary College was opened by the Society in 1800 and remained the only body engaged in veterinary education in Ireland until 1895.

From 1815 until 1922 the Society was based in Leinster House, now the home of the Oireachtas, the Irish Parliament. The Society sold its Headquarter to the new Irish government in 1922 and the RDS Lecture Theatre is now the Dáil Chamber.

While based in Leinster House, the SOciety built an art school in 1827 and the Natural History Museum in 1856.

The first Horse Show was held in 1868 on Leinster Lawn, it was moved to the Society's new Showgrounds in Ballsbridge in 1881.

The term "electron" was introduced to the English language in an article published in the Transactions of the Royal Dublin Society, written in 1891 by George Johnstone Stoney (1826-1911), the first recipient of the Society's Boyle Medal.

In 1914 the RDS purchased a stock of radium bromide for medical research purposes and later established the Radium Institute. The Institute was active in treatment of cancer for 38 years; the radium was then transfered to the new Cancer Association of Ireland, now known as St Luke's Hospital.

As early as 1882 the Society accepted a few small commercial bookings from respectable outside bodies.

The commercial arm of the RDS developed from these shows. This now contributes to the funding the Foundation aims in agriculture, arts, science and industry. The Society is therefore largely independent of external funding for its work.

Leinster play Racing Metro in the RDS on Saturday at 1.30. Tickets still available.
The Pregnancy and Baby Fair takes place on the 9th and 10th of October.
The Over 50's Show takes place in the RDS on October 12th - 14th.

Friday, October 1, 2010

CLASH OF THE TITANS


So Saturday is the first chance for Ireland's rugby elite to sample the fantastic new Aviva Stadium.

It will be unusual for the lads in that they are normally sharing the hallowed Dubln 4 turf in green jerseys. Saturday will see Ireland's two most powerful rugby provinces clash in what will be an enthralling battle.

Leinster are in serious need of a victory having lost three of their opening four Magners League games under new coach Joe Schmidt. For their part Munster, well until Cardiff's victory over Connacht last night, are leading the table after a fine start which included two away wins.

The return of many of their elite players last week against Edinburgh didn't exactly have the desired effect, which adds to the pressure in this fixture.

All in all it leads to a facinating game...and we can't wait. Having international and major competitive sport back in the Ballsbridge area has brought a great buzz into the hotel.

Michael Bublé last week threw down the gauntlet to the rugby fans in terms of enjoying themselves. The bar was rammed after the gigs and the crowds lapped up Brendan Keeley's set in Gasworks.

Obviously, being a Dublin City hotel, our allegiance lies with the boys in blue, but that doesn't mean we don't have a soft spot for the lads from Munster. So all are welcome for some good food drink and craic before and after the game.

For those going to the game here is some useful information:
- Stiles open at 6pm
- Admission to all parts of Aviva Stadium is by ticket only,
- External check points will only admit patrons with the correct colour ticket.
- Patrons are reminded that parking is strictly prohibited in the areas around Aviva Stadium and vehicles parked illegally are liable to be clamped or impounded.
- The Grand Canal Hotel has limited car parking spaces available...get in early to ensure you get a space.
- Check out www.avivastadium.ie for more info.
- Kick Off is at 7.30pm

Gasworks Bar

Facilities include:
Sandwich Counter
From 3.30pm – late (12 midnight)
Sandwiches/Wraps/Pizza/Chips from €5.50
Bar Carvary From 4.15pm – 9pm
Chicken Curry & Rice, All €10
Burgers & Chips, Chicken
Goujons & Chips,
BBQ Beef Rolls & Chips
With salads

Restaurant
Tab menu €20 – 3/3/3 with T/C

Entertainment - Band – 10.30pm – 12.30

Wii in lobby on TV’s

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

THE MUSIC SHOW


The Music Show, which takes place at the RDS on October 2 and 3 is one of the music highlights of the year with a programme of events including a host of exhibitions, workshops, seminars, fun & games.

Last year's show was the largest event of its kind staged in Ireland with 12,000 visitiors attending the Mucis Show...and the country's ultimate music event is set to be bigger and better than ever.

The Live Stage features a host of top bands including Damien Dempsey (one of our favorite artists), The Brilliant Things, the Coronas, Fight Like Apes, Cathy Davey and brilliant new wannabe stars OEmperor.

A host of top producers, musicians and broadcasters from the Irish and International industries such asb Bob Geldof, Steve Lillywhite (U2 producer), Mark Glossopp (Van Morrison and Waterboys producer), Liam O'Maonalai, Justin Greene (MCD), Mundy and Gemma Hayes will be in Dublin over the weekend to give an unique insight into how hit records are made.

Date: Saturday October 02, 2010 - Sunday October 03, 2010

Venue: Hall 1

Opening Hours:
Saturday: 10.00am - 6.30pm
Sunday: 11.00am - 6.00pm

Organiser's Contact Details:
Hot Press
13 Trinity St
Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1 241 1500
Web: http://www.themusicshow.ie

Friday, September 24, 2010

CULTURE NIGHT


Michael Bublé may be hogging the spotlight in Dublin this weekend with two sell out shows in the Aviva Stadium but it aint the biggest show in town by any stretch.

Culture Night in Ireland kicks off today with over 500,000 people expected to attend the various free events across Ireland.

Twenty locations including Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Kilkenny are hosting their own events to celbrate irish culture.

Dublin has some fantastic offers with galleries, libraries, museums, theaters and tourist attractions open to the public for the evening.

Pick of the lot has to be Royal Kilmainham Hospital which is hosting a massive tented street party, offering free food, music and the chance to meet artists in residence. Guinness Storehouse is offering a pint of the black stuff and a free tour between 5pm and 10.

Leinster House will have guided tours of the debating chambers of both the Dail and the Seanad as well as the hallowed halls of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Culture Night, which kicked off in Temple Bar in 2004, has become an All-Ireland event with activities taking part North of the boarder in Belfast and Derry.

So it has been a busy week. Arthur's Day, Michael Bublé and Culture Night and that's not even the full picture. You have to admit...Dublin is Great!!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BUBLÉ IN AVIVA STADIUM


A great night is in store for all the ladies...and some lads who are attending this weekend's highly anticipated Michael Bublé concert in the Aviva Stadium.

As most of you will know the Grand Canal Hotel is just a stone's throw away from the new venue and as a result we have put together some superb food and entertainment for the concert goers.

The highlight for us is the confirmation that Brendan Keeley will be playing in Gasworks Bar after the gig on Saturday night. The "I'll always be lonely" troubadour will entertain all from 10pm.

But that's not all. We'll have great food, drinks promotions and a cocktail bar. Check out the line up:

Friday: Gala buffet dinner served in the Gasworks bar from 4pm. Only €10pp.
Pizza and sandwich bar open from 10pmto midnight. ALll pizzas only €10

Restaurant open from 4.30pm. 3 course dinner only €20

Saturday: Bar menu available form 12pm to 4pm
Gala buffet dinner served in the Gasworks bar from 4pm. Only €10pp
Pizza and sandwich bar open from 10pm to midnight. ALll pizzas only €10

Restaurant open from 4.30pm 3 course dinner only €20

Live music from 10pm. ''Irleand's greatest crooner' - Brendan Keeley

COSMOPOLITANS €6 ALL NIGHT

Remember we have limited car parking spaces so get in early if you are looking to grab one. Also if you are hoping to eat in the restaurant it is advisable to book early as space is already filling up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

THE DUBLIN PASS


One of the beauties about Dublin is that, as cities go, it is rather compact and easy to get around.

For those visitors hoping to get the most out of their visit the Grand Canal Hotel would make the following suggestion. Buy the Dublin Pass and a Dublin Tour ticket. The two combined gives you transport and access to 27 top attractions in the city.

The Dublin Pass is your passport to Dublin that gives you FREE ENTRY to over 27 favourite attractions! Not only does The Dublin Pass offer great value and convenience, it also allows you to be a VIP and skip the queues at Dublin's major attractions.

Travel hassle-free to the city centre by using your Dublin Pass. From the minute you arrive in Dublin Airport, you can avail of this pass by travelling FREE to the city centre with Aircoach. From there, experience the delights Dublin has to offer for a fraction of the cost.

OK those last two paragraphs were Dublin Tourism spin, but it rings true. The Dublin Pass may cost €35(1day), €55 (2 day) and €65 (3 Day) but if you consider the cost of entering attractions such as Dublin Castle (€4.50 for the tour), Dublin Zoo(€15 for adults), Guinness Storehouse (€15 for adults), Kilmainham Gaol (€6 for adults) and the Old Jameson Distillery (€10 per adult) you can save a fortune plus you get discounts on shops and restaurants associated with the pass.

From personal experience the Dublin City Tour buses are well worth the €14 cost. It is the full experience. Similar to their New York counter parts, the drivers are full of chat and humour and give a fantastic local insight into the real Dublin.

Check out www.dublinpass.ie for more details. You can also get discounts when booking online. For information on attractions in Dublin check out www.grandcanalhotel.com.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

GREAT VALUE DUBLIN


Dublin received a timely PR boost today as newspapers across the world picked up on the fact that Dublin is now the 4th cheapest city in Europe in terms of hotel room prices.

This marks a dramatic turn around from the point when our fair capital was seen as one of the most overly expensive cities to visit in the world.

Canada's CBC News points out that there are "substantial savings in hotel rooms in places like Dublin, Istanbul and the Mayan Riviera," while the Sydney Morning Herald said that "notable destinations that have become cheaper for Australian travellers include Abu Dhabi (down 38%); Athens (down 22%); Beijing (down 20%); Chicago (down 20%); Dublin (down 16%) and Los Angeles (down 16%)."

Price reductions in Dublin hotels is not a new thing, indeed the prices have been falling for over two years now, and, certainly in the Grand Canal Hotel, value has become the order of the day.

Check out our website www.grandcanalhotel.com for details on our deals and packages...and sure why not compare them with prices blow!!!

The world's most expensive cities for hotel rooms (ranked by price)

1. New York $268 a night

2. Venice $251 a night

3. London $223 a night

4. Washington $222 a night

5. Paris $222 a night

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

CONVENTION CENTRE DUBLIN OPENS


Taoiseach Brian Cowen will today officially open the fantastic new Convention Centre Dublin in the Docklands.

The Grand Canal Hotel have been lucky enough to get two sneak hard hat previews of the 8,000 capacity venue and we are really excited about seeing the finished product.

We can verify that, even at its early building stage, it is a truly impressive spectacle and will be a superb addition to the city's infrastructure, offering even better views of the city than the nearby Dublin Wheel.

The centre officially open at noon today with travel agents and other potential clients attending a gala dinner and view the facilities the new venue has to offer this evening.

A further 120 top global conference buyers, who have €500m worth of business on their books are also in Dublin as part of a business drive to coincide with the opening of the Docklands-based centre.

Built at a cost of €380m, the futuristic building on the river Liffey, designed by Irish-born architect Kevin Roche, can accommodate up to 8,000 delegates and includes a 2,000-seat auditorium, 4,500sqm of exhibition space and banqueting facilities for up to 5,000 guests.

Over its six floors, there are 22 meeting rooms, as well as an extensive carpeted room, with capacity for more than 3,000 conference delegates or up to 2,000 diners.
Spencer Dock Convention Centre Dublin Ltd (SDCCD), led by Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan of Treasury Holdings and Harry Crosbie of the Point Village, will run the centre for the next 25 years until it reverts to State ownership.

The opening of the Centre is the latest boost to the tourism industry in the city, following on from the opening of the O2, Grand Canal Theatre and the Aviva Stadium in recent years. Our regular guest will tell you that we are well placed if you are attending any of these venues as they are only a short stroll from the door of the Grand Canal Hotel.

The first major conference, organised by the Construction Industry Federation, entitled The Economics of Ireland's Recovery, gets under way this Friday, while it is believed that there are up to 300 conferences booked, some for as far out as 2021.

Congratulations to all involved in the building and opening of the Convention Centre Dublin.

Friday, September 3, 2010

CHRISTMAS PARTY - WIN TRIP TO NEW YORK


How does the chance to win a trip to New York, a casino, complimentary beer/wine, singing along to a multi platinum selling singer and dancing till 3am sound?

Christmas Party Nights can be hit and miss..and I know this from personal experience but let's face it...in these tough economic times we all need to let our hair down.

Another fact is that unlike previous years the boss probably won't be paying for it so it'll be down to individuals to book it. So with this in mind when we were organising our Christmas Party Night's we decided to try and make it is as much fun for as much value as possible.

Arrive and enjoy a complimentary bottle of beer or a glass of wine at our pre-party reception. Then head into the Epic Restaurant for a fabulous five course meal...Christmas style. But be careful not to eat too much because there is no time to go to the couch for the usual post dinner nap.

There will be plenty to keep you entertained including having the chance to win a trip to New York. Place your bets and spin the wheel without losing the shirt off your back at our casino. Become a paper millionaire or lose a fortune, either way you will have the time of your life. All entrants on the night have the chance to be entered in the draw to win a trip to New York.

Alternatively and simultaneously one of Ireland's biggest stars of the 90's will be plying his trade in the bar. Brendan Keeley, with seven top 10 chart hits including "I'll always be lonely", "Take the Chains Away" and "Heart and Soul", to his name takes up residency for December.

But it won't be over there because DJ Fast Eddie will be taking to the decks to bring the party to the dizzy hour of 3am. Sure if you don't fancy getting the taxi home stay. At €79 per room B&B it will probably cost as much as a taxi anyway.

So there you have it. You have to admit it is a good night. Check out www.yourchristmasparty.com where you can print your own poster to place around the office.

The Party nights will take place on Friday's on Saturday for the first three weeks in December and costs €64 and €59 respectively.
Give us a shout on 01-6461000 to book or get more information.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WEDDING FAIR COMES TO TOWN


The Wedding and Honeymoon Show kick off in the RDS this weekend September 4th and 5th.

Now we at the Grand Canal Hotel know as well as anyone else that it is a very tough time financially for everybody but it is hard to stand in the way of love and believe it or not people are still getting married.

We should know. The hotel recently completed a refurbishment of the Epic Restaurant with hosting weddings as the main concept. This and the fact that we are located just a short stroll from the Registry Office in Dublin 2 means that things have been rather busy for us on the wedding front.

Budget is a big concern for people these days. We have taken this on board and now offer a range of options from just €20 per head right up to the more expensive options.

So while it is easy for us to gauge the health of weddings these days due to the fact that we are a popular venue...don't take our word for it. The Wedding and Honeymoon Show regularly attracts 10s of thousands of people to the RDS and they are not expecting this year to be any different.

Everything is covered on the day from florists, bands, cakes, planners and even salsa dancing while it will be possible to quench your thirst on a cocktail...if it takes your fancy. So why not park up in the Grand Canal Hotel, have a bit of lunch and then stoll down (takes 10 minutes) to the RDS and see if anything can help you on the road to your big day.

Check out our website for information on weddings or give us a shout on 01-6461000. It would be our pleasure to give you a show around.

Monday, August 30, 2010

NEW DUBLIN MAP


Well it is about time, but it finally looks like Dublin is going to get a quintessential transportation map and would you believe it turns out it is a German who designed it.

Graphic Design student, Aris Venetikidis, arrived in Ireland eight years ago and noticed that it is difficult to navigate your way around Dublin City especially if you are not from the city.

So he set about putting together a complete map of all transport links on one map. He used the iconic London Underground map as the template and after initially finding it difficult to get backing has put together, what the Grand Canal Hotel thinks, is the best and most use full map produced.

Essentially, the map Venetikidis designed includes all bus services and stops, as well as existing and proposed Luas stops, existing Dart stations and the proposed Dart Underground link between Inchicore and Docklands, with intervening stations at Heuston, Christ Church, St Stephen’s Green, Pearse (Westland Row) and Spencer Dock.

Everything is colour-coded, and the 10 bus rapid transit lines proposed by Leahy are given names such as Beckett, Larkin, Stoker and Yeats.

These are shown on a large format map of the public transport network as a whole, then in detail on a separate map of the inner city area, so people can see exactly where they are going.

“Every stop is on it, because you can’t assume that every new user has a working knowledge of Dublin’s geography,” Venetikidis told the Irish Times. “So even Dubliners invited to a friend’s party, for example – all they would have to do is to identify the nearest stop on the map, which is not something they can do now, and then work out the route they need to take.”

As the London Underground map had shown, “a successful integrated public transport map is the key to motivating people to leave the car and make the switch to a sustainable transport mode. Couple that with a modern network of rapid transit and you have the solution to congested city centre streets and an absent infrastructure.”

Check out www.aris.ie for a look at the designs.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

IRELAND HOT FILM LOCATION


Ireland has played host to many big Hollywood movies over the years including Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart and ahem...Far and Away. After a quiet number of years where the Celtic Tiger's roar seemed to scare the producers away. So here's the Grand Canal Hotel's lowdown on what is going on with filming in Ireland.

Well now that we are all skint they are coming back in there droves. Sean Penn startled onlookers in Dublin this week after he was spotted wearing a fuzzy wig and lipstick.

But his shocking get-up was all in the name of work, with the actor shooting a new film in the Irish capital.

In This Must Be The Place the Oscar-winner plays a wealthy, retired rocker who sets out to track down the German officer who executed his father.

The 50-year-old wore his familiar serious expression as he sported earrings and full make-up while filming scenes. A friend tells me that they are currently filming in Quinn towers in Blanchardstown.

Another, Knockout, an international thriller, starring Michael Douglas, Antonio Bandaras and Ewan McGregor, is one of the most high-profile Hollywood films to come to Ireland in recent years, mostly because it is directed by Steven Soderbergh who won a best director Oscar for Traffic in 2000.

Soderbergh’s previous films include the Oceans Eleven series, Erin Brockovich and Sex Lies and Videotape.

The multi million euro production of Tudors, starring our own Jonathan Ryes Myers, was filmed on location in Ireland while it's big budget replacement, Camelot, is set to start filming soon.

Saving Private Ryan was filmed in Wexford(1998), Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965) Ryan's Daughter (1970)Sarah Miles, Robert Mitchum, John Mills, Trevor Howard, Leo McKern Quiet Man, The (1952) Princess Bride, The (1987) Moby Dick (1956) Lion in Winter, The (1968) Crying Game, The (1992) Far and Away (1992) and of course Braveheart was filmed in Ireland.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

FAME THE MUSICAL


Ireland's biggest musical production, Fame the Musical, kicks off tonight in the Grand Canal Theatre.
The Show has already been wooing audiences on national television, RTE,. But now Jessica Cervi and Ben Morris are hoping their fans will snap up tickets for the stage version following on from the eight series show, which was broadcast from the Helix Theatre in Dublin.
The two talented singers, who won the competition to star in the show, will take to the stage alongside 19702 soul legend Sheila Ferguson in a tale about a group of students in New York.
The show opens at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin tonight and runs until September 12, before going on a nationwide tour.
The Grand Canal Hotel are offering guests a fantastic chance to see the show. For just €99pps midweek and €109pps on weekends you can see the show, enjoy a pre-show meal stay at the hotel and have a full Irish the following morning. Available between 19th - 31st of August.

Monday, August 16, 2010

DUBLIN VIKING FESTIVAL


The summer...in the holiday sense of the word...is coming to a close, but before we start preparing ourselves for Christmas (yeah i said it), there is still plenty of things to do in Dublin City.

This weekend for instance the Dublin Viking Festival kicks off. Now in its third year the festival is run over two days with numerous events taking place in the city centre.

The fun takes place on Dublin's Wood Quay and Temple Bar from Friday the 21st August until Sunday 22nd August 2010. The Vikings were the first settlers at Dublin and old reminants of their settlement have been found at Wood Quay in Dublin City Centre on the site of Dublin City Council's civic offices.

Dublin Viking Festival Information:

Viking Village
The village folk are dedicated to the accurate and entertaining portrayal of Viking and Medieval times and lifestyles. With a village of tents, locals at work and trained soldiers in combat, you will feel embraced by this time period’s culture. Lectures on weaponry will get you up to speed and you can even try out your hand at Archery. The village area will be equipped with picnic tables, food stands and Viking hat stalls.

Dublinia
A meeting point for the tours of Dublinia and the Viking House will be located in the Amphitheatre/Wood Quay throughout the weekend. Once you attend the festival throughout the weekend you can avail of 2 for the price of 1 tickets to Dublinia.

Wax Museum
Throughout the festival, the Dublin Wax Museum will be performing scenes from various plays that are relevant to Viking Dublin. There will be 3 shows a day. After the show, why not head to the Viking themed room in the wax museum. It features a wax figure of the Viking King of Dublin and a replica of the Viking Dublin city.
Once you attend the Viking Festival you can avail of Special Discounts for the wax museum if you attend the museum after 5pm. Discount rates are; Children go free with a paying adult (Adult price €10) or a family ticket discount of €25 (normally €30).

Viking Splash
The unique and highly appraised land & water tour of Dublin are offering special discounts throughout the festival weekend. They will also be offering free family passes as prizes throughout the weekend!

Walking Tours
Walking Tours of Viking Dublin will take place on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival. The tour will include historically significant places and areas where everyday life and major events occurred; narrow laneways and hidden streets, Dublin Castle, Christ Church, archaeological discovery sites and much more.

Viking music
To complete the Middle Ages atmosphere, traditional Scandinavian and medieval style music will be played at different intervals throughout the festival by local and professional musicians.

Children’s’ Entertainment
For the kids, there are art zones open from 1-4pm each day of the festival. They will participate in making masks and memorabilia and designing and making their own helmet plaques. There will also be the favourites; face painting and balloon modelling.

Outdoor Viking Movie
There will be outdoor screenings of the 1958 ‘The Vikings’ starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis. A picnic blanket and snacks are recommended to enjoy this screening.

Food and Drink
Available at the festival will be different types of local made and foreign food; including hog roast, breads and Danish pastries. Also, drink stalls with apple cider and mead.

Arts and crafts stalls
The arts and crafts stalls will have genuine Viking tools and memorabilia for sale. Take home with you medieval artefacts and souvenirs and keep the Viking spirit alive.

Shopping
Apart from souvenir stalls, there will also be a selection of stalls selling middle age and medieval inspired jewellery and clothing.

Enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FANCY A HOLIDAY...TEDDY?


A German man has given up a thriving sales career - to become a travel agent to teddy bears.

Ulrike Bohmler says his Teddy-In travel firm has been besieged by hundreds of enquiries from customers.

They pay Mr Bohmler, from Cologne, to take their soft toys on holiday to Britain and other countries.

He takes snapshots of the teddies outside famous landmarks to record their holiday adventures.

"It might sound crazy but people love their soft toys and want to give them the best," explained Mr Bohmler.

"I accompany the toys on their tour and although people might laugh at it, a lot of people genuinely love their teddy bears and want the best for them."

I've sent him a messege to tell him about the great rates at the Grand Canal Hotel in Dubln...we won't even charge for the teddy.

Thanks to www.ananaova.com for the story.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

RYANAIR STYLE HOTELS?


A Malaysian hotel chain are hoping to bring Ryanair type bedroom prices to Britain this year...and maybe Dublin to follow?

The room would cost you as little as €25 but but you'll also be charged for using the hotel's hair-drier (£2), its towels (£1 each) and storing your luggage (£2)? Your ride upstairs in a lift is free, as is the air conditioning, but your budget will need to stretch a further pound to secure your belongings in a safe. Want to get your room cleaned? That's £7.50 a day.

This year, Tune Hotels hopes to take on bloated room rates in London and do for the British hotel market what easyJet and Ryanair have done for aviation. It will offer standard rates of £35 a night for a bed, power shower and central location – with chargeable extras.

The nine Tune Hotels in Malaysia and Indonesia offer deals as rock-bottom as £2 a night. The chain's first British hotel is set to open on London's Westminster Bridge Road on 30 August, with further outposts planned across the country, depending on the popularity of the Waterloo operation.

"It's all about choice," says the company's chief executive, Mark Lankester. "We say consumers should assemble the experience as they see fit. We aim to provide whatever suits the customer in terms of timing, price and the comfort people require. If you want to stay in a five-star hotel, there are plenty of them already in London. But if you are really concerned about price then we are going to be relevant."

Have no fear though people. The Grand Canal Hotel will be sticking to great value rates with no extra charges for what you'd expect in a hotel room. That said I'm sure some of the budget hotels not too far from us are sweating at the thoughts of it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

STRANGE PLACE NAMES


I was listening to he radio earlier and there was a story about strange place names in Ireland and I thought it would make for an interesting Blog. So here is a list of questionable town names in Ireland.

1. Muckanaghederdauhaulia, Co. Galway - the longest place name in Ireland. It’s a small village in the Connemara Gaeltacht between Camus and Carraroe, in County Galway. In Irish, this is Muiceanach idir Dhá Sháile – which literally means “pig-shaped hill between two seas”. It is also thought to be the longest name for a port in the world. The second longest place name in Ireland is Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow, at 19 letters.

2. Newtwopothouse, Mallow, Co.Cork - this is a small village 6 km outside of the Mallow, the Cork town. It's famous for growing the best grass in Ireland.

3. Muff, Co. Donegal - the source of endless crude jokes, especially since the installation of a diving board in this small seaside town. Apparently, the name derives from a mispronunciation of the Irish 'Magh', meaning plain.

4. Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford - a small seaside town in Co. Wexford, just south of another rather morbidly named town, called Gorey.

5. Nobber, Co .Meath - derives from the Irish word “an obair," which means “the work.”

6. Hospital, Co. Limerick - acquired its name from the Knights Hospitaller, a Christian organization in the time of the Crusades. Ironically, the town doesn’t have any medical facilities.

7. Kilbrittain, Co. Cork - you would think that it might be political correct to change this name now that the conflict in Northern Ireland over, but the locals refuse to budge.

8. Cockhill Road, Stamullen, Co. Meath - there are a number of ‘cocks’ in Irish place names: Shercok, a town in Co. Cavan, and Kilcock in Co. Kildare, which is about 40 km of the Dublin suburb, Ballsbridge.

9. Kill, Co. Kildare - perhaps one of the more violently named place names in Ireland, along with Swords and Stoneybatter, both in Dublin.

Thanks to www.irishcentral.com for the above. It saved me a lot of time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

DUBLIN TAXIS RULE - APPARENTLY


We have to say we were not at all surprised at the Grand Canal Hotel to read that Dublin taxi drives are among the friendliest in the world...according a survey on Hotels.com.

Our "friendly" cab drivers have a reputation in their homeland of being lewd, rude and opinionated but the hotels.com survey lauds the Irish drives for their "cead mile failte".

The survey revealed that international travellers find our lads the third most friendliest drivers on the planet. Fiar play to you lads!

London's famous black cabs led the way in the survey with 59% of international travellers saying that English capital's cabs were by far and away the pick of the world's taxis.

But every silver lining and all that...the lads were also voted one of the most expensive on the planet, coming in fourth place on par with New York.

New York also picked up the rudest award along with Parisian drivers while Roman cabbies were voted the worst drivers.

Voted the best city overall, London was also names the most expensive city (19pc) and the safest (20%) when it comes to cabs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

DUBLIN HORSE SHOW


Dublin Horse Show, RDS, 04 August 2010 - 08 August 2010

Apparently Irish people are horsey mad!!! We'll in August we certainly go wild for the horses especially as The Failte Dublin Horse Show kicks off.

From August 4-8 the Dublin Horse Show takes over the entire RDS complex in the heart of Dublin. This year they are celebrating 137 years of the Dublin Horse Show, Ireland’s top equestrian event, which offers a great day out for horse enthusiasts and families alike.

Highlights of the Show include, the drama of the Land Rover Puissance featuring the famous ‘Wall’, the Longines International Grand Prix, the Aga Khan Challenge Trophy, the Longines Press Award for Elegance and over 100 national showing and show jumping classes.

Experience live music, visit the ultimate kids’ and nature zones, marvel at the fashion of Blossom Hill Ladies’ Day, wander through the art and crafts exhibition, and shop at over 300 trade stands! Join us at the RDS this August… there is something for everyone! Tickets for the 2010 Dublin Horse Show are on sale now!

Click here for the full programme of events.

DINNER WITH WHO?


A couple of weeks ago we received a mail from a guest who was coming to stay with us during the summer. The gentleman made an unusual request which has required a bit of research and is now the topic of this particular blog.

Mr Gregory Lesson had recently been on a vacation to Paris and had a unique experience of having dinner at a private residence of someone he had never met before. This experience turned out to be the highlight of his trip…which is saying something because Paris is a truly beautiful city. Anyway, he asked us if we could organize something similar for him and his daughter when they arrived in August.

So, being the lovely hotel that we are, we did a bit of research and it turns out that this is not such an unusual experience. There are a number of organizations in the world that promote such comings together. One organization is Servas.

Gregory and his daughter are staying at the Grand Canal Hotel from August 8th – 10th and anyone interested in having them over for a bit of grub and culture can contact him on gregoryleeson@hotmail.com.

“My unusual request is to ask you how we might find such a welcoming family while in Dublin. Obviously I would be most interested in a family with a daughter near my Jennifer's age. I have a Skype account and would be happy to do a video meeting first. As a second choice, I might be willing to buy dinner at a restaurant for all,” read Gregory’s mail.

I did find one particular organisation who promote cultural tourism. Servas is an international network for making contact with people from all over the world, set up over 60 years ago. The idea is for people to meet and talk to each other, which can be a good way to help promote peace and international understanding. It's for travellers who want to understand how other people live, work and think, and who want to find out about the places they visit from the people who live there.

So I’ll pass this information on to our guest. But that said if anyone out there is interested in welcoming a lovely family, father and daughter, into their house for dinner let us know.

Check out the Servas website for more information http://www.servasbritain.org or contact ireland@servas.org for the Irish part of the organisation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

THE WHEEL OF DUBLiN


London and Belfast have one so I suppose it was only a matter of time before our beloved capital got one as well. This Saturday the Wheel of Dublin opens up at the Point Village giving visitors the chance to get a unique view of the city.

Not that we at the Grand Canal Hotel can verify but apparently The Wheel of Dublin offers unparalleled views across the city as far the Dublin Mountains and Howth Head. The capsule pods that will carry the passengers will be fitted later this week...so we'll sneak look this weekend and confirm it for you all.

So how does our wheel compare to its more illustrious cousin in London. Well at 197 feet it is less than half the size of the 443 feet tall London Eye and can hold almost half passengers at 336 compared to the Eye's 8000 and surprisingly enough the ride time takes slightly less than half its London equivalent at 13 to 30 minutes respectively. And just to be consistent the cost is also...you guessed it half the cost at €9 compared to £18.

We at the Grand Canal Hotel are delighted to welcome the latest edition to the Dublin skyline. The last 10 years have seen some impressive new structures added to the horizon, including Grand Canal Theatre, Aviva Stadium and the Convention Centre Dublin but it will be hard to distract from the natural beauty of the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains and the Eastern Coast.

As a matter of interest...I wonder if the Wheel offers views inside the Aviva Stadium. It could come in handy for the November Rugby Series where tickets are going to be at a premium.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

INTERSTING TRAIN OF THOUGHT


In these difficult times we at the Grand Canal Hotel are always looking for new ways to try and encourage people to come and stay with us. We think we are pretty good at it actually but a hotel in Tokyo has pushed the boundaries to new levels and has created its very own special model railway room for guests to sleep in.

The new room includes a grand model of Akihabara town that comes complete with its own fully functioning railroads. Train enthusiasts can bring their own model trains or, alternatively, the hotel is more than happy to provide some, reports Rex Features.

Using the dual set of controls, guests can navigate their miniature trains round the cityscape - past highrise buildings and even through a tunnel under a mountain. The unique room costs around 23,000 yen (£170) a night and is the only one in the Akihabara Washington Hotel.

Note to all train enthusiasts out there...we won't be following their example. That said don't be too disappointed. The Grand Canal Hotel offers views of the busiest train line in Ireland from some of its bedrooms...well when we say view we mean you can sort of make out overhead wires from the Grand Canal Train Station located just across the road from the hotel.

Thanks to www.annanova.com for the above.

Monday, July 26, 2010

BUSY COUPLE OF WEEKS AHEAD


Hello all!!! Just thought we'd give you an update on what is going on around the country over the next couple of weeks...and it is a busy time with the opening of the Aviva Stadium being the stand out event for us at the Grand Canal Hotel.

After four years of waiting, the 31st of July sees the first game take place at the 50,000 seater stadium. A litttle bridie informed us that the Aviva Stadium is the most modern of its kind in the world. A third generation stadium we believe it is called. The opening match might only be a dry run for bigger days but for €10 it is possible to be one of the first in through the turnstiles. Ulster/Leinster play Munster/Connacht on July 31st.

It's only taken almost 4 years since Derry City beat St Patrick's Athletic in the final game played at the old stadium...and we felt every second. Rugby and Soccer left us for that period, plying their trade across the city in the impressive Croke Park. As much as we loved visiting the Croker we are delighted to see the sports return to their official home. The first games kicks off this Saturday. As we said it may only be a clash of potential young stars but at €10 entry it is well worth the visit...sure a tour of the Aviva Stadium would cost nearly the same. The game kicks off at 2.30 on Saturday July 31st. The Grand Canal Hotel are offering overnight packages with ticket, dinner and breakfast for just €89pps.

For music fans, Rod Steward returns to Dublin for the second time this year when he takes to The O2 on the 31st of July. We are a bit partial to "Wake Up Maggie" Scottish star who obviously shares our love for Dublin considering the amount of times he performs in the capital. The Grand Canal Hotel are offering pre-show meal, return O2 shuttle, night's accommodation and full Irish Breakfast for just €79pps. Rod plays The O2 this Saturday.

We have to admit that we've never been huge fans of heavy metal but we can appreciate that there is a market for it. The big indicator for us is the amount of people booked on our O2 Package for this Friday's Iron Maiden show in The O2. Forgive our ignorance on the genre but apparently these lads have sold over 12 million albums...not to be sniffed at.

We have to give a mention to legendary Dublin soccer club Shamrock Rovers who welcome the mighty Juventus to their Tallaght Stadium this Thursday for their Europa League clash. History, budgets, bookies and pundits may all point towards a handy victory for the Italian giants but we at the Grand Canal Hotel are going to take a romantic view and dream for a Rovers victory. The game has already sold out but you can see it on RTE 2, kick off 7.45pm.

Gaze - Dublin Lesbian and Gay Festival kicks off this Friday for a five day cinematic showcase of Irish and international. The Lesbian and Gay Film Festival offers an exciting programme, packed with premiers, new independent features, documentaries, shorts award winners and experimental films over the August bank holiday weekend.

It may not be kicking off for another week but the ultra popular Failte Ireland Horse Show takes place from the 4th - the 8th of August in the nearby RDS. The Dublin Horse Show is a Dublin Institution. A celebration of Ireland's affinity with the horse, from the best show horses to the best international show jumpers. It is one of Ireland's largest events, a highlight of the summer, each year welcoming close to 80,000 people from Ireland and all over the world. The Grand Canal Hotel are offering 2 day packages including dinner and breakfast from just €189pps. Check out www.grandcanalhotel.com.

And finally, the Grand Canal Theatre have announced that the Westend musical Scrooge is coming to Dublin for Christmas. Now not too long ago the guys at the Theatre put a poll out to their Facebook fans wondering what show they would like to see play at the venue. Well we punted for Scrooge...so it looks like our wish has come through. And of course we are going to be offering packages to the show. Keep an eye on www.grandcanalhotel.com for details. The show will run from December 7th - January 2nd.

So there it is. I'm sure we missed out on one or two events but this at least gives you a taster of what is going on.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CHITTY FAR FROM SHITTY


Well the early reviews are in and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang offers plenty of Bang Bang for the cash spent on the tickets. We canvassed a few guests on their return from the Grand Canal Theatre and to a man they were raving about the Westend spectacular.

The "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" musical landed in Dublin last night, ahead of a four week run at the Grand Canal Hotel.

With a cast and crew of over 100 (including 10 dogs), sensational sets, a full orchestra and stunning special effects this action-packed adventure is the story of the magical car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, and his two children Jemima and Jeremy alongside Truly Scrumptious and Grandpa Potts, all try and outwit the dastardly Baron and the evil Child Catcher. The production which costs €3million to bring to Dublin for the four week run is the first major show to arrive at the Grand Canal Theatre.

The huge Westend hit really gave the Theatre a chance to show its worth and nobody was disappointed. We even asked one of the children on their return what they thought and the said “the Child Catcher was cool" which suggests they need to make him little more evil because the thought of the one in the movie still scares us.

Tickets are priced from €31 - €55 and the Grand Canal Hotel are offering an overnight package with dinner, ticket and breakfast from just €109pps. Check out www.grandcanalhotel.com.

It will be interesting to see the reviews from the national newspapers. But judging from our early poll they can only be positive. Congratulations to all down at the Grand Canal Theatre. We know they have put a lot of work in since the opening.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

RUGBY SQUADS ANNOUNCED FOR OPENER


The squads for the opening game at the fantastic new Aviva Stadium between Munster-Connacht and Leinster-Ulster have been announced.

Over 40,000 tickets have already been sold for the match despite the fact that no fully-contracted players will be appearing due to the time of year. The four provences are all on a well earned break preparing for the new season.

We've been lucky enough to get a tour of the stadium and i can tell you it is worth the visit and at €10 a go for a ticket you'd be mad not to.

The Grand Canal Hotel are offering ticket, meal, accommodation and full Irish breakfast for just €89pps. If interested give us a shout on 01-6461000 or check out www.grandcanalhotel.com.

Munster-Connacht: Ronan Barry (Munster), Callum Boland (Connacht), Shane Buckley (Munster), Shane Leydon (Connacht), Luke Cahill (Munster), Aaron Conneely (Connacht), Jack Costigan (Munster), Mark Dolan (Connacht), Johnny Holland (Munster), Daniel Horgan (Munster), Lucas Kunz (Munster), Tadhg Leader Connacht), Eoin McKeon (Connacht), Ian Mullarkey (Munster), Paul Mullen (Munster), Rob O'Herlihy (Munster), Danny Qualter(Connacht), Gareth Quinn-McDonogh (Munster), James Rael (Munster), Ben Sargent (Munster), Aaron Spring (Connacht), Kieran Stokes (Munster), Sean Wooton (Connacht)

Leinster- Ulster: Andrew Boyle (Leinster), Conor Carey (Ulster), Paddy Carroll (Leinster), Sam Coughlan Murray (Leinster), Peter du Toit (Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Ian Henderson (Ulster), Robert Hynes (Leinster), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Alex Kelly (Leinster), Stephen Lecky (Ulster), Paddy Marks (Ulster), Cathal Marsh (Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Michael McAuley (Ulster), Mark McGroarty (Leinster), David McGuigan (Ulster), Emmet McMahon (Leinster), Martin Moore (Leinster), Jonny Murphy (Ulster), Conor Spence (Ulster), James Tracy (Leinster)

GREAT CANAL PLANS


There are exciting times ahead for the beautiful Grand Canal, and by association the Grand Canal Hotel, with a new floating stage and new berths for an Amsterdam-style houseboat community all on the way...well that is if Waterways Ireland are to have their say in its future.

A study carried out by consultant firm Scott Wilson revealed a master plan for Dublin's Royal and Grand canals was launched this week at the re-opening of the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre just down the road from us.

After its modern renovation the ‘Box on the Docks’ reopens its doors. Whether you want to learn about the heritage of Irelands waterways or find out what to do on them , this is your one stop shop. This architecturally unique space is also available for meetings, launches, exhibitions and more.

For further information on the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre or the canals contact: Waterways Ireland Visitors Centre, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin 2, Tel: +353(0)1 677 7510; +353 (0)1 677 7510; Mob: +353 (0)87 122 6258; +353 (0)87 122 6258; Email: info@waterwaysireland.org.

But we at the Grand Canal Hotel, while delighted about the reopening of the Visitor Centre are particularly interested in the plans for the Grand Canal. What we would give to see U2 or the Script play a floating stage on the canal.

Congratulations guys. The visitor centre looks great. You can also ask at reception at the Grand Canal Hotel for details and we'll do our best to point you in the right direction.

Friday, July 16, 2010

DUBLIN - 10 INTERESTING FACTS


Dublin is the best city in the world...and if you don't believe us just ask us. We decided to compile some interesting details on our lovely capital to show you just how...well interesting it is. Here we go:

1. Dublin has two completely different names in the Irish Language! Dubh Linn and Baile Átha Cliath. The literal meaning of Átha Cliath is "Ford of the Reed Hurdles" – and the name Dublin is derived from the Old Irish Gaelic Dubh Linn, which has its literal meaning "Black Pool". Historically the native Irish favored Áth Cliath, Dubh Linn by the settled Vikings and Anglo-Normans. The Dubh Linn was a lake used by the Vikings to moor their tradeships and was connected to the Liffey by the River Poddle. The Norse settlements in Dublin were around the Christchurch and Wood Quay Areas of Dublin.

2. The First Citizen of Dublin is the Lord Mayor, who is surpassed only in authority by the President, since the first Lord Mayor Sir Daniel Bellingham was appointed in 1665. However, the title of First Citizen of the city has been in place since 1229. The Lord Mayor is elected at Dublin City Council on a yearly basis. The current Dublin Lord Mayor is Fianna Fáil Councillor Eibhlin Byrne.


3. The city of Dublin covers a land area of 115 square kilometers. The city population is just under 1 million. The average temperature in January is 5°C and the July Average is 17°C. The city has a vibrant nightlife and it is estimated that 50% of the city’s residents are under 25 years of age.

4. Arguably Ireland’s National treasure and masterpiece the Book of Kells, a sacred manuscript created by Celtic Monks featuring the Four Gospels of the New Testament and decorated with stunning artwork (created about 800 AD) is on viewing display and located at the Long Room Library in Trinity College (Just 10 minutes walk from The Grand Canal Hotel), Dublin.

5. Dublin is twinned to cities Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain, Liverpool in the United Kingdom and San Jose, in California, USA.

6. Dublin's O'Connell Bridge that covers the famed River Liffey is reckoned to be the only bridge in the European continent that has the same width as its length.

7. Dublin has a renowned history in the Literary and Movie World with celebrated native names such George Bernard Shaw (dramatist, critic & Nobel Prize winner), James Joyce (writer and poet and writer of Ulysses), Oscar Wilde (playwright, poet, essayist & novelist) and Dracula creator Bram Stoker to name but a few all hailing from Dublin. Prominent Hollywood Actors hailing from the city include Maureen O’Hara, Brendan Gleeson, Gabriel Byrne and Colin Farrell.

8. The "Oldest Pub in Ireland" is reputed to be located in Dublin; this pub is called the Brazen Head. There has been a pub on this site since 1198.

9. Handel’s classic "Messiah" was premiered for the first time in 1742 in Dublin at the New Music Hall in Fishamble Street, with 26 boys and 5 men from the St Patrick’s and Christchurch choir cathedrals taking part in the production. Find out more about the Dublin Handel Festival.

10. Dublin is home to many of Ireland’s most famous musicians, from the Dubliners and Thin Lizzy to Sinead O’Connor and U2. Many of U2’s back catalogue of albums were recorded in their home city. Windmill Lane Studios was the place where U2 recorded their early work and first three albums; subsequently much of their latest work was created and recorded at Hanover Quay Studios also in the city. The site at Windmill Lane Studios is covered in graffiti from fans who have paid pilgrimage from all over the world and is known as the "U2 Wall" (Only 5 minutes walk from Grand Canal Hotel).

11. The Grand Canal Hotel was voted the best hotel in the world ever in the largest survey ever done...ok we made this one up. But we think we're great. Come stay with us an we'll prove it. Checkout our new site www.grandcanalhotel.com. Tell us what you think.

Thanks to Goireland for the above.

THE WEEK AHEAD


So any plans for the weekend or indeed next week? Well we at the Grand Canal Hotel are going to kindly help you make your mind up if you haven’t already. As always in brilliant Dublin city there is plenty going on. So here is seven things to do over the next week or so.

Cirque du Soleil - The O2 - Friday July 16 - Following the critically acclaimed tour of Qudiam , Cirque Du Soleil is to return to the UK and Ireland with an arena tour of its vibrant signature production SALTIMBANCO, created by Franco Dragone. This timeless Cirque opus hits Ireland for the first time with a series of exclusive shows in The O2. Saltimbanco is Cirque du Soleil’s longest running major touring show which has toured the world since 1992 to wide-spread acclaim and has enjoyed sell-out success across the world in Europe, North and South America, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand performing to over 11 million fans. The O2 Package is available at the hotel for just €79pps which includes return transfer to The O2, Pre-show meal, night's accommodation at the Grand Canal Hotel and Full Irish Breakfast.

Ray Manzar - Grand Canal Theatre - Saturday July 17 - Ray Manzarek was the architect of The Doors intoxicating sound. His evocative keyboard playing fused rock, blues, jazz, classical and an array of other styles into something utterly, dazzlingly new and his restless artistic explorations have continued unabated ever since. His memoir ‘Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors’ was published in 1998. He has also published two novels ‘The Poet in Exile’ and ‘Snake Moon’. He also wrote and directed the 2000 thriller movie ‘Love Her Madly’. The musician joined forces with is old bandmate to form the Manzarek-Krieger Band (formerly Riders on the Storm - Fuel singer Brett Scallions replacing Cult lead singer Ian Astbury on vocals). Theater packages for just €79pps including pre-show dinner, night's accommodation and full Irish breafast.

Riverdance - Gaiety Theatre - Monday July 19 - The worldwide smash hit muscial returns to the Gaiety Theatre for an extended run. If you haven't seen it...make a night of it with out Riverdance Package which includes ticket, pre-show meal, night's accommodation at the Grand Canal Hotel and full Irish breakfast next morning from just €99pps.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Grand Canal Theatre - Wednesday July 21 - Finally it is here. After four magical years at the London Palladium, flights to Broadway and Singapore and three sensational years touring large scale venues all over the UK, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is back and coming to Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin from 21st July – 14th August for her Irish Premiere! This box office smash hit has been re-vamped, updated and technologically advanced since her London days. Directed by Adrian Noble this feel good family favourite will be a sure fire way to beat the blues. With a cast and crew of over 100 (including 10 dogs, see below), sensational sets, a full orchestra and stunning special effects this action-packed adventure is the story of the magical car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, and his two children Jemima and Jeremy alongside Truly Scrumptious and Grandpa Potts, all try and outwit the dastardly Baron and the evil Child Catcher. Packages for the show are still available from €109pps including pre-show dinner, ticket, night's accommodation and full Irish Breakfast.

So there you have it. Plenty to do over the next week. Remember if you are heading out in Dubin give us a shout and we can put something together for you.