Friday, February 18, 2011


The ad for "Tutankhamen - His Tomb and His Treasures" tells us that "The Pharaoh is Coming", but did he really, I asked myself leaving the RDS in Dublin on the opening day of the exhibition.
At a glance, Dublin 4 hasn't seen this much bling since the height of the Celtic Tiger. But before any serious criminals start planning a Brinks type heist, don't bother, all the merchandise are replica's of the originals.
Don't let that put you off visiting however, all of the 1,000 artefact's have been painstakingly reproduced to scale by expert Egyptian craftsmen.
I'm a bit of a history buff so I was looking forward to visiting the exhibition. Egyptian history is not a subject I can claim to know a huge deal about, but with a little help from the Mummy movie franchise and Karl Pilkinton's Idiot abroad I have at least beginners knowledge of history's longest enduring civilisations.
Tutankhamun is the most famous of all the Egyptian Pharaohs for a number of reasons - not least that his tomb was the first that was found almost fully intact - all others were emptied of their treasures by thieves.
He died at the relatively young age of 18 but like all Pharaoh's he didn't go empty handed. His tomb was littered with stunning pieces of art and enough gold to pay off the debts of modern Irish banks.
Children will definitely enjoy the spectacle. Backed up by a stunning audio and visual display, images of the mummified remains of Tutankhamen and two still born children will no doubt fascinate and revile in equal measure.
This is an impressive exhibition which has seen over 2 million people pay through the doors since its inception in 2008. There are now three touring exhibitions roving the World.
Based on original photos and diary entries from the period, the exhibition tells of Howard Carter's painstaking journey to find the lost Pharoh's remains. After many year's of searching and shedding tons of Lord Carnarvan's dosh, Carter was about to give up on his dream after exhausting the Valley of the Kings.
He was to find the tomb of Tutankhamun in literally the only remaining slither of land that he hadn't searched. The exhibition brilliantly walks you through the moment he found the tomb and following process of detailing, photographing and of course the curse.
The only problem I would have with the exhibition is that there is always the over-riding knowledge that none of what you are looking at is real. That said don't let that stop you really is a stunning presentation of what is a riveting subject.
Tutankhamun his Tomb and Treasures opened on the 17th of February and runs till July. Packages are available at

Ollie McGrath

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival kicks off on the 17th of February with a host of stars and interesting movies visiting Ireland's capital city over the next month.

Established in 2003, The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF) has fast become Ireland’s premiere feature film festival and takes place in Ireland’s capital city over the course of eleven days and nights each February.

JDIFF will show 120 films from the four corners of the globe to the Irish Audience. The festival is a citywide event that takes place in all of the Dublin City Centre Cinemas including Cineworld, The Savoy, Screen, Irish Film Institute and Light House Cinema in Smithfield. The majority of films shown at the film festival are Irish premieres, and for some of the films shown, the festival represents the only public screening that will take place in Ireland.

As I mentioned earlier there are 120 movies to be shown so while I can't really go through them all I'm going to pick out a few that have seduced my interest.

Highly rated directors Brendan Culleton and Irina Maldea - bring us An Irish Affair, a penetrating and poignant study of the Irish-led 1961 UN peacekeeping mission to Katanga, a province that wanted to break-away from the newly independent Congo and the two Irishmen who were key decision makers in the country during that time, Gen. Se├ín McKeown, commander of the UN military force and Irish diplomat, Conor Cruise O’Brien, the UN’s civil representative in Katanga.

Some big international films also make their debut in Dublin including The Adjustment Bureau starring Mat Damon and Emily Blunt. The film is both a knowing examination of contemporary American politics and a witty and stylish thriller. While The Way, starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son Emilio Estevez, is a touching film about the testy yet unbreakable bond between father and son, as well as the supportive, familial connections that can form among strangers.

Others films getting their first airing at the festival include the political thriller Fair Game, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts and Channing Tatum's The Eagle, adapted from Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic novel The Eagle of the Ninth, a breathtaking historical drama, detailing the explosive clash of cultures in the Roman empire.

But the movies that I'm most looking forward to come from two of my favorite directors. Guillermo del Toro has an exceptional eye for new talent and his latest film as producer, Julia’s Eyes, directed by Spanish newcomer Guillem Morales, will terrify audiences, while Ken Loache's Route Irish, the story of the privitisation of the war in Iraq, will no doubt only enhance his excellent reputation for brilliant films.

Finally watch out for new Irish directing talent in Juanita Wilson. Her first feature, Inside I'm Dancing, starring James McEvoy, gave us a glimpse of what she was capable of. Her latest movie, As If I'm Not There, a hard hitting true story from the Bosnian war, based on Croatian journalist slavenka Drakulic’s book of the same name is causing some serious excitement.

Check out for details on when the show are taking place.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


A very interesting article on sheds some light on the level of the Irish infiltration into the US. Interesting facts from the US Census include that 24% of people in Massachusetts claim Irish ancestry and even more impressively 36.9 million US citizens claim to of Irish decent.

Here are some highlights:

Number of Irish Americans: 36.9 million
This number was more than eight times the population of Ireland itself (4.5 million). Irish was the nation's second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German. If Scots Irish are included the number rises to over 40 million.
Sources: 2009 American Community Survey & Ireland Central Statistics Office

Number of Irish-born in U.S.: 122,000
Number of Irish-born U.S. residents in 2009. Those from Ireland are much older (a median of 60 years old) and have a higher median household income ($56,158) than U.S. residents as a whole (37 years and $50,221, respectively).
Source: 2009 American Community Survey

Largest population of Irish: Massachusetts, 24%
Percent of Massachusetts residents who were of Irish ancestry in 2009. This compares with a rate of 12% for the nation as a whole.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey

Irish American education levels: 32% college graduates
Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor's degree or higher. In addition, 92% of Irish Americans in this age group had at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding rates were 28% and 85% respectively.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey

Annual income: $56,383
Median income for households headed by an Irish American, higher than the $50,221 for all households. In addition, 10% of people of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 14% for all Americans.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey

Numbers of professional Irish: 40% in management
Percentage of employed civilian Irish Americans 16 or older who worked in management, professional and related occupations. Additionally, 27% worked in sales and office occupations; 16% in service occupations; 9% in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 8% in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey

Numbers of Irish owning their own home: 70%
Percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who owned the home in which they live, with the remainder renting. For the nation as a whole, the home ownership rate was 66%.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey

Places called Shamrock : 4
Number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia, and Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 2,623 and 1,828 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Indiana, had 152 residents and Shamrock, Oklahoma, 122. (Statistic for Mount Gay-Shamrock is from the 2000 Census; the other statistics are 2009 estimates.)
Sources: American FactFinder and population estimates

Number of places called Dublin: 9
Number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland's capital, Dublin. Since the 2000 Census, Dublin, California has surpassed Dublin, Ohio, as the most populous of these places (44,541 compared with 39,310, respectively, as of July 1, 2009).

So there you have it. Any chance our cousins in the States can come back and help us with our economy. You'll have a great time...we promise.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


The inaugural Carling Nations Cup takes place in the Aviva Stadium on the 8th of February 2011 and the Grand Canal Hotel are offering fans the chance to win two tickets to the Ireland v Wales game.

The tournament kicks off with the clash of the Republic of Ireland v Wales on Tuesday followed by Northern Ireland v Scotland on Wednesday. Molson Coors Key Account Manager on Trade Leo Brennan and Brand Manager Jordana Busby dropped into the Grand Canal Hotel in advance of the showpiece to show off the new trophy (see picture attached).

We have to admit we were impressed. Shaped not unlike the World Cup, the Carling Nations Cup trophy is certainly going to capture fans imagination.

This brand new competition is designed to add an edge to the friendly season.Indeed Northern Ireland and Scotland will bring more than 10,000 fans for their clash at the impressive new arena.

Carling have very kindly provided us with two tickets to the Ireland v Wales game. Simply visit our Facebook page and tell us the parent company name of Carling to be in with a chance to win the tickets.


As if there was need for anymore proof to show that there is super value in Dublin, the latest Savills and City Occupancy Hotel Index shows that hotel room rates fell 6.3% in 2010.

The report results are based on daily statistics supplied during the year by over 100 hotels, primarily in the urban centres of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

These hotels account for over 14,000 bedrooms, which is around 25% of hotel bedrooms in the Republic of Ireland.

Dublin’s revenue per available room was down 7% year on year which lagged behind the national average. Savills believes this is due to the “hugely competitive” hotel pricing in the capital. Tell us about it!!!

Limerick occupancy increased 2% – the first increase in five years. The city remains last on the list with 53% occupancy however, while Cork is in the lead with 69%.

Five-star hotels were hit the hardest with revenue per available room down 8% in 2010.

Check out for best rates in Dublin City.