Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Well here is the fist national review of When Harry Met Sally in the Grand Canal Theatre. While not making one want to rush to the venue to catch the Hollywood film turned theatre, don't fret it is only one man's opinion. Some of the staff attended the show this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Go and see it and make your own conclusions.

WHILE Marcy Kahan's stage adaption of his famous romantic comedy is lively enough, it really would take Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan to animate the vast science-fictional dimensions of the Grand Canal Theatre. The chatty confessionals of the story simply isn't suite to such a large space.
Rupert Hill's Harry is the most effective, his sinewy New Jersey accent and clipped physical mannerisms give this garrulous character a lot of warmth. And, of course, he has most of the best lines.
Sarah Jayne Dunne makes a far less impression as the romantically accident-prone Sally. In the first act, she's just a competent American accent, with nothing to suggest how Harry's cerebral interest could be continually reignited.
It's not until the second act that she becomes slightly weightier complement. All those years on the `Hollyoaks' soap opera come into play as she alternately bubbles with repressed desire and snorts with exasperations at Harry's stubbornly platonic behaviour.
Sally's infamous imitation orgasm in the restaurant could hardly be left out, and it's good enough, but erupts rather than flows our of th heated discussion about women faking it and men being fooled. Like every other scene in Michael Gyngell's production, it feels dutifully slotted in rather than thoughtfully arranged.
There is solid support in Luke Ruterford and Annabelle Browne as Jack and Helen, the two friends who pair off and get married against Harry and Sally's expectations.
But there's no compensation for the one missing crucial character that only the film can supply: New York. Plucked out of that teeing metropolis and dropped on the stage, Harry and Sally's long-term on-off relationship, however witty and representative it can be rendered, seems self indulgent and insignificant.
By John McKeown - Irish Independent.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If a scateboarder jumping through an inferno, men dressed in a shiny tracksuite singing Westlife into a hairdryer or the tale of a Transylvanian mail-order bride who finds herself stranded in Ireland with only her high-risk dance contortion and alligator wrestling skills to rely on is your cup of tea then get yourself down to the The Street Performance World Champsionships in Merrion Square this week.

Svetlana Flamingo, Lord of Strut and The Fire Guy are just some of the acts performing from the 17th - 20th of June. The show, which attracted more than 150,000 spectators when it was held here in 2009, is arguably Ireland's greatest free
festival. 2010 will be the fifth year of the festival in Dublin's Merrion Square.

It really is a fantastic and unusual event. So this June the best contortionists, magicians,breakdancers, comedians and other assorted world-class professional jesters willdescend on Ireland; first on Cork’s Fitzgerald Park and Mardyke Sports Ground, and then on Dublin’s Merrion Square, to battle it out for the most coveted title in street performance, the AIB Street Performance World Champion.

Due to the phenomenal turnout last year, the Cork festival will also expand to Mardyke Sports Ground. Over both weekends, voting booths will be set up at the event sites and the act with the most votes will be crowned the 2010 AIB Street Performance World Champion.

Some of the world-class competitors this year include: Quick Change: We still haven’t worked out how they pull off their act: it is quite simply jaw dropping and possibly one of the most spectacular shows on the planet. An uncountable number of blink-and-you-miss-them costume changes that left the America’s Got Talent judges speechless. Any ideas how they do it!?: Victor Rubilar The man who turned down a place at the World Cup to be with us (well, that’s what he tells us!!) will treat us to some football-inspired antics. Keep your eyes peeled for four time Guinness World Record holder and football free-styler The 2009 title holders, the awesome USA Breakdancers will also return as special
guests in 2010.

If you missed them last year, here’s a taster of what to expect: And this year the festival also has a surprise up its sleeve in the form of a mass participation World Record-Breaking attempt…! Keep Sunday the 20th June free, come along to the Pepper Canister Church round 1.30pm, and if you feel like practicing your Space Hopper skills between now and then, it won’t go astray! All entertainment at the festival is entirely free of charge, with the performers, who have dedicated their lives to this amazing art form, asking for a contribution from their audience at the end of each show.

Check out for more details.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


On our hotel website we list a number of ways to get to the hotel from various access points to the country. There’s car, train, taxi and even walking but we’d never thought of putting directions down by Canoe. Yeah you read that right!

On Wednesday May 26 a remarkable couple arrived at the Grand Canal with a couple of canoes on the roof of their car. The canoes sparked the interest of our Duty Manager, Eoin Byrne, who enquired about the boats. He was more than surprised to find that Lesley and Chris Collins had just completed an eight day canoe journey from Shannon Harbour along the Grand Canal, which is just a stones throw from the hotel.

Canoeing along a canal may not seem alien to some of our international friends but to people in Ireland it is very unusual. The canals have only in recent times been dredged and re-opened (although the Royal Canal is not due to open for a number of months). So the thought of anyone taking this mode of transport to the hotel is a novel one…to say the least.

Chris explains why they decided to give it a go. “Believe it or not we’ve just recently taken to canoeing. We live in North Kerry and liked to take the canoes out on the canal. We took two weeks off and decided to head to Dublin along the canal. We'd canoe five hours each day and it took us eight days to get to the Grand Canal Hotel.

Passing through stops Shannon Harbour, Pollagh, Tullamore, An Daingon, Edenderry, Robertstown, Sallins and the Clondalkin along the way Chris says it was a surreal experience and noted that they very much felt that they were one of the few people to use the canal. “It was very strange at times seeing these places. The canal is not utilized enough and a is without a shadow of a doubt one of Ireland’s hidden secrets. There was no commercial or pleasure crafts."

Chris believes that there is plenty of potential for the canal and that the authorities still have a bit of work to do. “Certain places were a bit run down. For instance, Edenderry has its own basin but there was only one other barge there and they had some American’s on it. They could do so much with it.”

Not that Chris is knocking the canal. “I would recommend it to anyone. It goes right through the middle of Ireland and there is a lot to see on the way. Although it was a bit of a challenge it was well worth it,” said Chris.

Chris and Lesley’s only concern was coming into Dublin and says that his friends were horrified at the thought of them canoeing through parts of Dublin and were genuinely worried for their safety. “They thought we’d be murdered. So we got up at 6am to avoid the gurriers. When we got to Clondalkin there were a group of kids on a bridge and we had a bit of friendly banter with them. They wanted to get into the canoe so we let them in. They even helped us carry the canoe across the last three lochs…for a small fee of course,” he added. “But we had no trouble at all and arrived at the hotel at 10.30 this morning.”

Next on the list for the active couple is the soon to be opened Royal Canal on the other side of Dublin. “We are hoping to take on the Royal Dublin Canal next. We’ll probably do it for charity and raise some money. We are really looking forward to it.”

Fair play to you Chris and Lesley. If anyone out there would like to contribute to their charity canoe you can contact Chris here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


While i was putting together they things to do post for last weekend I realised just how much Ireland really is a festival mecca. From dancing, writing, singing, film, boats, food...whatever takes your fancy the chances are that there is a festival going on in Ireland somewhere that meets your needs.

So the guys in Discover Ireland have very kindly put together a list of festivals for 2011 which means we don't have to spend hours putting it together.

Friday, June 4, 2010


It is not very often that Dublin can boast a Bank Holiday weekend that brings with it spades of sun...then again the sun is not that regular a visitor full stop...but that is not why people love the it? Of course not!!!

So what are you going to get up to this fantastic June Bank Holiday weekend. Well here is our guide to what is "hot" in the city over the next three days.

1. Night At The Dogs, Shelbourne Park, Saturday June 5th - Let's be honText's a great night out. Come over to the hotel, have bit of grub, head down to Shelbourne Park, have a bet and a pint on us and then stay the night with a Full Irish Breakfast in the morning. All for just €85pps. If there are no rooms left...and that is very possible because everyone loves staying with us (even if we do say that ourselves) head down to the dogs anyway. Great night is a given.

2. Westlife, Croke Park, Saturday June 5th - Have to admit that I'm a bit partial to the Sligo/Dublin quartet and lets face it 80,000 people can't be that wrong. The "Flying Without Wings" lads have a large catalouge of hits and the sun is sure to make it a great day.

3. Neil Hannon, Liberty Hall, Dublin, 8pm Friday June 4 - In the second part of two special events on the art of songwriting as part of the Dublin Writers Festival, Divine Comedy main man Neil "i love cricket" Hannon eplores his crat trhough a conversation with RTE broadcaster and writer John Kelly, with a sprinkle of live performances of course.

4. One Night in Istanbul, Grand Canal Theatre, Friday and Saturday - This show has been in town since Wednesday and it has had a sensational response from the guests who've attended it. A brilliant comedy based on Liverpool Football Club's heroic recovery from a 3-0 deficit in the Champions League Final to lift the title in Istanbul. A must for not only Liverpool fans...but god knows those poor beleagured fans neeed something to shout about...Rafa's gone anybody.

5. Maritime Festival, Dublin Docklands, June 4th - 7th - Everything you can want on a sun soaked weekend...water, boats, outdoor markets, food, music, entertainment and loads of fun. Check out the DDDA website for full listings.