GPO Witness History

The Easter Rising 1916 centenary trail continues, this time taking in a visit to the GPO Witness History attraction nestled in the basement of the iconic General Post Office building on O’Connell Street.

Billed as a ‘highly immersive and engaging exhibition’ that ‘puts you right inside the GPO on Easter Week in 1916’, this is definitely one of the most comprehensive and imaginative museum exhibitions that I have visited. As the designated headquarters for the rebel leaders during the Rising and one of the only buildings to survive the shelling, the historical and cultural importance of the GPO cannot be overstated and this exhibition certainly does it justice.

The self-guided tour begins with a model of the GPO as it currently stands, reminding visitors of the sheer size and scale of the building in which they are standing.

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In the next room, the exhibition begins in earnest. Space is divided between tall glass display cabinets choc-a-block with memorabilia including an extensive collection of uniforms from both sides.

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A touch screen accompanies each display cabinet, giving a comprehensive overview of the contents of each and a more detailed account of the individual artefacts. Some of the more interesting items I encountered were the signed orders from Dev and Frank Aiken to ‘dump arms’, a Volunteer cap badge, signed letters from Michael Collins and, of course, an original copy of the Proclamation.

The jewel in the crown is the 15 minute audio visual display, shown on an arced screen on a continuous loop. The video begins with the lead up to the Rising; Roger Casement’s arrest on Banna Strand and the scuttling of the Aud, the Castle Document and Eoin MacNeill’s subsequent discovery that it was a forgery and the chaos of orders and counter-orders for the Volunteer movements due to take place on Easter Sunday. Flash forward to Patrick Pearse on the steps of the GPO reading the Proclamation and the viewers are plunged into the heart of the action. The video cleverly uses an old map of Dublin to zoom in and out on the areas of action, bringing the events of the Rising to life on the screen.

Audiovisual booths also run along the length of one wall showing leading academics and scholars debate the success/failure and the consequences of the Rising and are well worth sitting down to watch for a deeper understaing of the Easter Rising.

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Overall, this was a fantastic exhibition and well, well worth a visit.

Tickets: €10 adult, €7.50 student, €5 child. Open daily 9 AM – 5.30 PM.

 

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Choose Life

Before the Repeal the 8th brigade get up in arms I should point out that this article is less to do with rights of the unborn child and more to do with an oft-overlooked weekend dance extravaganza in Mullingar.

Life Festival
May 27th-29th, Belvedere House & Gardens, Co. Westmeath

Set against the picturesque backdrop of Belvedere House and Gardens, Life Festival XI is back with a bang for it’s 11th installment and bang it shall with the absolutely stellar line-up promised. Marc Kinchen, better known by the moniker MK and 2014 Mixmag Best Breakthrough DJ Hannah Wants are the latest names to be added to the bill which already includes some serious electronic heavyweights:

Paul Kalkbrenner 2ManyDjs  Jamie Jones  Laurent Garnier  Jeff Mills Hot Since 82 Cyril Hahn Patrick Topping  Blawan  Joy Orbison Ejeca  Ben Klock ✖ Heidi Wants  Huxley  Bicep Sunil Sharpe  Krystal Klear

After dabbling with some hip hop acts last year (rapper Nas performed his album ‘Illmatic’) thankfully, Life is back to basics for this year’s festival with their best line up yet.

Life veteran Ben Klock is set to return after an unmissable 6 hour set at the Beach Stage last year. If it hadn’t been for the wind chill factor, you would have been forgiven for thinking you were in Ibiza watching the sunset from outside Cafe Mambo.

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Life Festival, 2014. Hammocks at the Beach Stage.

Paul Kalkbrenner, the German genius, makes his early anticipated Life Festival debut on the back of a huge set at last year’s Electric Picnic. Jamie Jones, he of Hot Creations fame and 2012  Resident Advisor #1 DJ will be bringing his pioneering sound to the stage along with powerhouse producer and DJ Laurent Garnier, the founding father of electronic music, the dynamic duo 2ManyDjs and Jeff Mills, the Detroit born techno producer and founder of Underground Resistance; all fantastic additions to the weekend.

Those with an eye on the domestic music scene will be delighted to see names like Mano Le Tough, fresh from the Coachella stage and producer du jour Sunil Sharpe. Promoters Welcome, Toast Dublin, Connection, SMALL TALK, the Building Society and Room 19 have also been invited to contribute their unique sounds to the weekend and Galway is well represented by Meabh O’Connor and Jamie Behan.

With just over a month to kick off, tickets seem to be selling fast. When you look at the inflated prices that Electric Picnic tickets are changing hands for, its easy to see why smaller boutique festivals are really becoming popular, and Life is no exception. With plenty to cater for all tastes from the chilled out Beach Stage to the madness of the psytrance, Life always attracts a great crowd to what is undoubtedly one of the prettiest settings for a music festival. It’s compact and easy to navigate and if we get the sun like the fabled weekend in 2013 it could be one of the best shouts of the summer.

A tier 4 weekend camping pass will set you back €149 + BF.

Choose Life.

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Life Festival, Belvedere House, 2015.

The Remorseful Day

There was very little to be remorseful about on our whistlestop tour of Oxford and it’s actually a cleverly disguised Inspector Morse pun. Clever, aren’t I.

Colin Dexter’s fictional character Chief Inspector Morse is, in fact, one of the city’s most famous exports. John Thaw starred as Inspector Morse alongside Kevin Whateley (Inspector Lewis) in the TV adaptation of the same name. 33 episodes were flmed in and around Oxford city and it’s myriad universities so we took to the streets to visit some of the most famous scenes.

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Here’s Dad at The Trout Inn which appears in “The Wolvercote Tongue” episode.

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The Morse Bar at the Randolph Hotel also appears in the ‘Wolvercote Tongue’ and the cast stayed at the Randolph Hotel during filming in 1987. The Morse Bar also boasts a mouth watering and indeed eye watering (average price per cocktail is £25) cocktail menu.

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Here we are at the University of Oxford Botanical Gardens which appears in ‘The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn’ and is the oldest botanical garden in Britain.

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Magdalen College where we caught evening vespers, features in ‘The Dead of Jerico’.

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We saw an Andy Warhol exhibition in the AShmolean Museum which also features in ‘The Wolvercote Tongue’. On a side note, the Andy Warhol exhibition was fabulous.

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The Bodelain Library  the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With over 12 million items, it is the second biggest library in Britain after the British Library. It features in ‘The Wench is Dead’ and is also home to the Divinity School which is featured in ‘The Setting of the Sun’.

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Now, if you’re not completely nerded out, some further trivia. Both the Bodelain Library and Divinity School feature in the Harry Potter movies. The Bodelain Library is used as the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library and the Diviniy School doubles as the Hospital Wing where a petrified Hermione was taken in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the hall where Minerva McGonagall prepares the students for the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

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Bet you didn’t see that coming.

36 hours in London

While my students were off ‘doing Europe’ for Spring Break, I thought it was high time to take a Spring Break of my own. 36 hours in London with the parents in tow. Let’s do this thing!

Friday

We arrived at the hotel at 9PM on Friday evening, dumped the bags and about turned out the door with food firmly on our minds. It was late and as we cast around desperately for anywhere that wasn’t a kebabaria, we stumbled onto Cabana, a very cool Brasilian Barbeque spot on the Islington High Street. Food was fab, staff were lovely and the decor was very funky; a stroke of luck. 13016604_1580760792236293_683599116_o.jpg

Back to the ‘otel where a slight mix up with the rooms meant we had one double bed between the three of us. Not unaccustomed to roughing it, I gallantly offered to sleep on the floor and all credit to Hilton’s choice of carpet fabric, I slept like a log.

Saturday

Saturday morning was a slow starter, mainly due to the fact I had to go in search of actifed for my ever bothersome sinuses. That and the fact I wanted to make full use of the H&M around the corner. (We don’t have a H&M in Galway so when the opportunity presents itself, I usually pounce)

Saturday was also match day; Arsenal v Watford. You can read all about that here:

https://downtherabbitehole.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/arsenal-v-watford/

After Arsenal’s 4-0 win, we mosey’d to the nearby 12 Pins. As one Yelp review eloquently surmised: ‘This is a grubby dark dingy pub. Not many would venture here on a weekday. But on Arsenal or Premiership games this pub comes alive.Probably the best atmosphere to watch a football match. Even better than going to the stadium in truth. It’s a hardcore Gooner pub with a lot of memories to go with it for most. So for a football pub, especially if you’re an Arsenal fan this is a must gameday.’

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In 2011, I spent a semester on Erasmus in Toulouse in the south of France. By virtue of our native tongues, quite a few of my friends there turned out to be Welsh/English/Irish and, having finished college, several of them had settled in London. Cue messy drunk night out/ catch up/reunion. XOYO in Shoreditch was our chosen venue to see Ben Pearce supporting the inimitable Greg Wilson.

I digress momentarily at this point to tell you the most stereotypical Paddy abroad story ever. The aul lads were not keen on their pride and joy heading off out into the (wet and miserable) night in London town nursing what transpired to be the beginning of sinusitis and did everything in their power to persuade me not to head out. Undeterred, I zipped up my bright blue Regatta jacket (the height of style) and Dad escorted me to the bus stop. By my calculations, Shoreditch was a 10 minute hop from Islington. 25 minutes later I was still on the bus. 40 minutes later we still hadn’t arrived and I was becoming suspicious, wondering had I somehow missed my stop. By the time it dawned on me to check Google maps, I’d reached the terminus of the bus. Terrified of running out of data (roaming charges are a disaster) and being left at the side of the road in the middle of London, I ran to the front of the bus to ask the driver how to get to Shoreditch. To his credit, he tried to stifle the laughted as he explained I’d got the bus going the wrong direction and would have to stay on the bus for another 50 minutes to get back to more-or-less where I started. I was  literally too embarassed to answer the phone when my friends rang to see why I was so late.

XOYO was absolutely immense on the night. On previous outings when we’ve seen Ben Pearce he’s played mainly Deep House but he rpoved his versatility with the funkiest electro set I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing him play and the entire sweaty, smoky dancefloor were out on their feet groovin’ for two hours straight. Greg Wilson was actually quite disappointing. His set included a lot of more expiremental noise and distorted sounds repeated on a loop. Just as he was about to lose the dancefloor, he pulled it back with the 80s classic Frankie Goes To Hollywood ‘Relax’. Sometimes all the punters want is a song with a few words. The night wound up shortly after and, unwilling to risk another 5 hour round trip on the Nightbus, I got my first Uber.

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Sunday

As is by now an O’Malley family tradition, we spent our last morning in The Breakfast Club, Angel. Although the queue is usually bananas (you could be waiting anywhere up to an hour) it’s worth the wait. Inspired by the iconic 1985 film of the same name, the cafe is littered with memorabilia and stills from the movie and has a huge all-day breakfast menu. Hard to argue with the sugar rush from a giant stack of pancakes after a night on the hooch.

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Flights Aer Lingus : Shannon – Heathrow return

Accom : Double Tree by Hilton, Islington

Easter Rising Commemorations

This weekend marks the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The Rising was one of the defining moments in the struggle for Irish independence which began on Easter Monday, 1916, when Pádraig Pearse read the Proclamation, Poblacht na hÉireann, from the steps of the GPO on O’Connell Street.

After almost a week of heavy fighting between the rebels and the British Army, leaving much of the city centre destroyed, the uprising was quickly supressed and the leaders rounded up. The seven signatories of the Proclamation; Pádraig Pearse , James Connolly, Thomas Clarke, Séan MacDiarmada, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Éamonn Ceannt and Thomas MacDonagh, were all excuted by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol between 3 and 12 May 1916.

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This weekend will see a whole programme of events taking place around the country. Here’s a quick preview of what’s going on in the capital:

  • The Parade will commence at St Stephen’s Green at 10 AM via Cuffe Street, Kevin Street, Patrick Street, Thomas Street, Parliament Street, Dame Street, Westmoreland Street, past the GPO on O’Connell Street, North Frederick Street, Dorset Street and finishing on Bolton Street.
  • At 11.30AM, at the GPO, the parade will pause for a brief ceremony where the Proclamation will be read by a member of the Defence Forces and a wreath will be laid by Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D. Higgins. There will be a minute’s silence for all those who died in the Rising and the National Flag on top of the GPO will then be raised to full mast. The ceremony will conclude with the playing of the National Anthem.
  • A full Defence Forces military parade will then march past the GPO from St Stephen’s Green to Parnell Square. It will include an Aer Corps flypast, and a 21-gun salute.
  • At 1:15pm on Easter Sunday, 1916, the first shots of the Rising were fired. This Easter Sunday, 1:15pm will herald synchronised wreath-laying ceremonies at strategic points around Dublin, starting with Dublin Castle.
  • On Easter Monday, RTE host a large-scale multi-location public event that will take place in Dublin city, including hundreds of talks, walking tours, music, dance, street art, street theatre, and moments of reflection and celebration. This free event will run from 11Am – 6PM.
  • As part of RTE’s Road to the Rising event, Jack L, The High Kings and Sharon Shannon will all be performing throughout the day on O’Connell St.

Full schedule details can be found on the official website

http://www.ireland.ie/easter

And if that wasn’t enough, here’s a picture of Marty Morrissey in full 1916 Volunteer uniform. C’est magnifique!

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For the Record, March 15th.

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Our show today consisted of us mainly talking about  Irish director Lenny Abramhamson and his movie Garage starring Pat Shortt which I’d watched over the weekend.

Without spoiling too much of either the show or the movie, it tells the story of Josie, played by Pat Shortt, a lonely petrol station attendant in a small town in rural Ireland and how he slowly begins to come out of his shell when he befriends his 15 year old co-worker David, played by Conor Ryan.

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Lenny Abrahamson is the director behind other Irish films like Adam and Paul, What Richard Did and Frank as well as the recent Oscar-nominated Room featuring Saoirse Ronan.

Tune in to hear our verdict on the movie plus some more festival gossip as well as a preview of the return of First Dates to Channel 4.

And, for your listening pleasure, here’s the full show tracklist:

  1. Fast Car – Jonas Blues
  2. Gives You Hell – All American Rejects
  3. Dead Ringer for Love – Meatloaf
  4. Stand and Deliver – Adam and the Ants
  5. Anna Sun – Walk the Moon
  6. Two Door Cinema Club – Sun
  7. Arctic Monkeys – Jeweller’s Hand
  8. Whistle for the Choir – Fratellis
  9. Just like Heaven – The Cure
  10. Love Will Tear us Apart – Joy Division
  11. Too Late – Delerentos

Wyvern Lingo live session at Flirt FM 101.3

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So I think it’s fair to say that Ian and I have been RAVING about Wyvern Lingo on our show (For the Record, Tuesdays at 11) for the past 2 months.. (serious fangirl stuff!)

The talented trio, Karen, Caoimhe and Saoirse all hail from Bray, Co. Wicklow and have previously supported Hozier on the UK leg of his tour. These self professed alt-pop tunesters are destined for very big things indeed in our humble opinion!

Anyway, last Friday the girls dropped into Flirty Towers ahead of their gig in the Roisin Dubh and treated us all to a live rendition of “Letter for Willow”. If you haven’t heard any of their stuff, do yourself a favour and check out the Youtube link below.

The official Letter to Willow EP launch will be taking place on April 1st at the Button Factory in Dublin where the girls will be supported by none other than the stunning Sinead White, another gem I discovered at Knockanstockan last year. Tickets are a steal at €16 and available from all Ticketmaster outlets or via the girls’ website http://www.wyvernlingo.com/tour/

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Oscars 2016 : Top 10 Best Dressed

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The 88th annual Oscars Ceremony took place last night in Hollywood marking the end of the awards season. Here’s a brief look at some of the style from the red carpet on the night.

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Jennifer Lawrence in a dramatic feathered Dior gown.

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HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 28: Actress Saoirse Ronan attends the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein.

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Reese Witherspoon in a dark blue fit-and-flare Oscar de la Renta.

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Cate Blanchett in a floral Armani Prive creation.

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Olivia Wilde in a deeply plunging Valentino haute couture dress.

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Dorith Mous in a dramatic Dennis Diem gown.

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Lady Gaga in an unusually demure jumpsuit.

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Charlize Theron in a plunging red Dior dress.

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A heavily pregnant Chrissy Tiegan wowed in this sheer bump-hugging red lace gown by Marchesa.

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And last, but by no means least, Rachel McAdams in a backless jade-colored August Getty Atelier halterneck dress.

Oscars 2016

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The big news of the 88th Academy Awards was Leonardo DiCaprio’s first win, 23 years after he was first nominated.

Here’s a list of the other big winners on the night:

Best Picture : Spotlight

Best Actress : Brie Larson (Room)

Best Supporting Actress : Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

Best Supporting Actor : Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)

Best Director : Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)

Best Original Song : Sam Smith

Best Documentary : Amy

Best Animation : Inside Out

And, of course,

Best Actor : Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)

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Kate Winslet’s reaction sums it up perfectly #justiceforLeo

It was also an important night for the Irish with a record 7 nominations. Irish short film Stutterer took home the Oscar for Best Short Film.

Benjamin Cleary, who wrote, directed and edited the film, was joined onstage to accept the award by producers Serena Armitage and Shan Christopher Ogilvie, and director of photography Michael Paleodimos.

President Michael D Higgins has hailed the strength of the country’s film industry on a night when home-grown talent was strongly represented at the Oscars. He said the strong line-up of Irish actors and film-makers was a “tribute to the Irish film industry”.

Although she narrowly missed out on the Best Actress gong to Brie Larson (Room) Saoirse Ronan had a great time nonetheless. The Carlow native donned a beautiful emerald green custom Calvin Klein dress with a plunging neckline and velvet straps and made it onto the Vanity Fair Best Dressed List. Cate Blanchett and Lady Gaga also made it onto the list wearing.

And finally, here’s Saoirse Ronan doing her thang on the red carpet with Ryan Seacrest…