Tuesday, April 26, 2011


You’ll step right back in time into the Viking World as soon as you cross the door at Dublin’s Dublinia exhibition. From the Viking ship that greets you just inside the doorway and the costumed actors roaming each room of the exhibition, you’ll feel like you’ve time travelled back into the 900’s.

Gertrude who works on the till at the entrance enlightened the whole experience and each staff member knows their stuff, from the horrid details on the Black Death to the intricacies of how really old ‘lavatories’ (if you could call them that) worked.
Daily life of Vikings in Dublin and the history of how they arrived & stayed in Ireland are also explained in great detail.

The exhibition features some of the National Museum of Ireland's collection of artefacts from the Wood Quay excavations as well as a new interactive archaeology room which explores the work of archaeologists.

The Dublinia building, the former Synod Hall of the Church of Ireland, links a bridge straight into the Christ Church Cathedral, a stunning & striking part of Dublin history.
All in all, Dublinia is a very cultural and educational exhibition, with a bit of fun thrown in…..everyone roar Dubhlinn!!! Grrrrr…..

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The thing I always loved most about the Sound of Music was Dick Van Dike...he was a genius. The quintessential children’s comedy clown, Van Dike was the genuine article.
So it was with trepidation that I trotted along to the Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre to catch the latest Westend production. Jason Donovan...hmm i thought as I collected my tickets in the box office and headed for a quick glass of vino in the bar.
It did not take me long before I realised that this was not Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or indeed Mary Poppins, and that, of course, Van Dike was in fact Christopher Plummer playing an unyielding Austrian patriot. But still Jason Donovan!!!
The story of the von Trapp family and their escape from Nazi occupation was made famous by the movie staring Julie Andrews and ahem Plummer, however the show actually debuted on stage.
Of course I’ve seen the movie many times and my memory quickly comes back to me. As Maria, Verity Rushworth, is stunning. From the outset, helped in no small part by a chorus of singing nuns she owns the stage.
Familiar songs such as Climb Every Mountain, I am Sixteen and Do a Deer and are well received. But as suspected the one bum note on the night is Mr Donovan. He simply does not have the vocal range for the part. The part of Mr von Trapp is that of a wooden Austrian but Donovan takes the wooden to the extreme.
To their credit the children temper Donovan’s failings and in the grand scale of the musical it is still worth the price of the tickets.
The overall theme of the Sound of Music is a depressing one as the von Trapp family flee from Nazi occupation and i for one left the Grand Canal Theatre a little more depressed than when entering.

Monday, April 11, 2011


There is a belief in Ireland that when we are on our knees and suffering that our artistic and sporting achievements come to the fore.
Following a thrilling weekend of sport it is not hard fall in behind this belief. Rory McIlroy, Ulster, Munster and of course Leinster all gave us something to believe in over the last number of days...but they are not the only ones flying the flag for Irish sport.
Rory is a young man who seems fazed by nothing. Even after his collapse at the Masters on Sunday he still held his head high, tweeting yesterday that "this day will make me stronger in the end."
He may not have won but the country was gripped by his efforts from Thursday on. It was just a shame that he didn't follow Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell to lift a major title.
It was also a massive rugby weekend with Munster kicking off proceedings on Saturday afternoon. The men in red had been written off earlier this season following their exit from the Heineken Cup but they could end up with both the Amlin and the Magners League trophies in their cabinet by start of the summer. Not a bad return for a team who it was said were finished.
Undoubtedly the game of the weekend was Leinster v Leiceter just a few hundred yards down the road from here. What a fantastic game and the best team won. Even Sky Sports, who can be notoriously biased toward the English clubs, admitted that Leinster had deserved their win.
Rob Kearney, Lions and Leinster's injured full back, tweeted that he thought it was the best atmosphere at a Leinster game he'd seen. And who'd disagree. Ulster tried valiantly in the other quarter final but just came up short. In fairness to the lads from the North, it has been a great year for them. Next season they should be challenging for the title.
So back to my point. Our economic difficulties really seem to be lifting our sporting achievements to new levels. Certain commentators highlight the Jack Charlton era as the real spark for the Celtic Tiger.
Step forward the Irish Cricket Team, Katie Taylor, Brian O'Dricsoll, Conor Niland or, fingers crossed, Trap's national soccer team. It is a good time for sport in Ireland, ironically when there is less money being pumped in.
So here's lookin forward to the 30th of April when Leinster battle Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium and give us a welcomed break from depressing economic headlines.