Tuesday, January 25, 2011


We are well into 2011 and New Year's Day seems like months ago. I've been thinking that maybe I should start some resolutions for 2011 but then I'm useless at keeping them. So I've decided to articulate my hopes and resolutions for the rest of the year. Stay tuned as i'm going of offer my 10 predictions for 2011 later this week.

1. Start Smoking - the smoking ban is one of the best laws enacted in the history of the Irish state. The smoking ban had been in effect in the Republic of a number of year's when on a trip across the border into Northern Ireland I walking into the Merchant Hotel in Belfast. The Merchant had only recently been converted from a bank into one of the most stunning hotel's in Belfast but when I walked into the bar it looked like someone had set the place on fire. The smoke was everywhere. That is my abiding memory of the place...not the stunning decor. My problem with the smoking ban is that, particularly during the summer, the smoking area is the social hub of any pub and as a non-smoker with so many cigarette puffing friends...the bar can be a lonely place.

2. Ban the Recession - talk of the bust has been haunting the print and airwaves in Ireland for four year's now. In that time I've been married, had children, a knee operation, got a degree and gone very grey...enough said. We're all recessioned out. It may be fresh news to the international media but although people have slightly less money, a walk around Dublin even on a Monday would dispel the myth that Ireland is dead. So the word Recession is now retired from OMG's vocab.

3. Change Hotel Ranking System - I read over the weekend that the British authorities were considering doing away with the traditional 1 - 5 star hotel ranking system...great idea. I've been saying it for years. The star system does not do the Irish hotels any favours. Three star hotel's in Dublin are far superior to their British and European counterparts. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been left disappointed with the facilities. Why is complimentary Wi-Fi such a big ask. It is the norm in Dublin. An ironing bord please!!!

4. Get Tourism Ireland to come clean - Our tourism promoters have traditionally done a decent job in promoting Ireland abroad...sure look at the success we've had in attracting tourists over the last decade. Things have quietened down recently and there are a number of reason's for that such as world reccess...oops not allowed use that word, but one of the biggest obstacles to getting visitors to Ireland is to get over the perception that it is a very expensive destination. Breaking news...we are not. Hotel prices are down up to 50% and alcohol and food deals are a plenty. Now that said, if you go to Temple Bar expect to still pay dearly for the privileged. So here's an idea. Why don't we hold our hands up and say "we were wrong". Yes we did get a little greedy, some more than others, but we've learned our lesson. Ireland is still the place to come for a break, cead mile failte and scenery.

5. Visit the Dublin Wheel - Opened in the summer of 2010 down in the Point Village. I had all good intentions of dropping down to see it but ain't made it yet. I'll be honest I get sick going around a roundabout so it is something that I've sort of put off but I'm going to make it over the next few weeks. I'll post pictures. The view should be stunning.

6. Wear a Tie - The suit tie is a relic of the class system. Yep that is just my opinion but this opinion is acted out by the thousands of young business people all over Europe. I'm told that a proper business man wears a tie and that presentation is king. Well let me tell you people you can be dressed like a king but if you have nothing to back it up the suit is as useless as a coat for a dog. It is all about product and personalities. If you don't have either it doesn't matter what you are wearing...as long as it is not a tracksuit. Wear a tie...i think not.

7. Buy some skis - If there is one very important thing that I learned in 2010, it was that suit shoes and ice are not compatible...indeed rather lethal. The snow and ice that crippled the country in November/December almost crippled me aswell. Twice I bounced off the hard concrete and countless times resembled Bambi and that was only going from the office/house to the car. That is two years in a row that we've been hit with those weather conditions so for 2011 I'm going to buy a pair of skis to get around.

8. Be more Cultured - i made a couple of forays into the dramatic world last year when I went to see Hairspray and then Scrooge in the Grand Canal Theatre. Both were very enjoyable. If you've been reading my blogs then you'll know that I particularly enjoyed Tommy Steel in Scrooge. So this year I'm going to make a big effort. There is plenty to chose from with Calendar Girls (and not just for the ladies), Mamma Mia, Peter Pan, Grease and Jekyll and Hyde to name just a few of the show's visiting the Grand Canal Theatre this year. Keep your eye out for reviews.

9. Learn French or Spanish or Polish or Irish. Irish people have to be one of the worst nations in the world for learning languages. Maybe it is because we were forced to learn Irish in school, a language which had not daily use. Maybe it was the way it was taught. Either way, I think we were left with a strong dislike for learning another tongue. But things are slowly changing. Irish is once again a very popular language. People have rediscovered their love for our native tongue. So over the next year I'm going to learn a foreign language. Which one I haven't decided. Any suggestions?

10. Visit the O2 - Our O2 Package has taken on a life its own over the last year. The package offers pre-show meal, return transfer to The O2, Night's Accommodation and Full Irish breakfast. When you consider that you get all that for €79pps with complimentary car parking then it is easy to see why it has gone so well. But I've a confession to make. I've not been to the O2 since it was re-built. I believe it is a superb venue, or so the reviews say. I'd been a regular to its former incarnation...the Point but I either have had no interest in the gigs there or if I did want to go tickets were like gold dust.

Click back for 2011 Predictions.

Lots of love,

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