Category Archives: Ireland

Enda Kenny – Empty Promises

I don’t usually blog about politics; but with the country in the economic strife that it’s in I’m guess I’m more keenly aware of what our politicians are up to. If there’s one thing that really gets my gall up is empty rhetoric from politicians and Enda Kenny is the latest to step up to the ‘hot air’ plate.

In his speech to the Fine Gale ardfheis (as reported in the Irish Times) he made a number of far reaching promises:

  • 100,000 new jobs by end 2013
  • finances back to health by 2012
  • state financed health care for all doing away with the private / public system we have now

and all this without raising standard or higher tax rates! What’s he going to do, tax the poor instead?

Nowhere amongst all these promises does Enda Kenny make any sort of a hint as to how they’d finance this recovery. If it’s not through taxes then they’ve either got to borrow the capital or make massive cost savings in the public finances; and that spells yet more job cuts.

Come on Enda; how ya going to do it?

Surf2Heal 2008

In the last week in August we were very fortunate to be offered a place on the first surf camp to be run in Ireland for Children with Autism; Surf2Heal. Our daughter, who’s eight, had only recently been diagnosed with the condition this was the first opportunity for us to meet with other parents of autistic children as well as an opportunity for Roisin to try surfing.

The camp was being run by Garrettstown Surf School near Kinsale, Co. Cork. Somehow they’d amassed an army of volunteers to help out with the weeks activities from autism professionals, speech and language exports and special needs assistants there was a body of trained and dedicated people to help support us and Rosin during the weeks activities.

I was unsure at the start of the week just how things would go. Each child was booked for an hour and a half session in the sea with two instructors. I know Roisin loves the sea; but I wasn’t sure if she’d rebel at putting a wet suit on or just how she’d manage going out into deeper water. My initial fears were soon allayed. The wet suit was no problem (I think because she was prepared for this) and each child was fitted with a buoyancy aid so she felt safe in the sea.

She had a fantastic time and by the third day was able to stand on the surf board. The smile on her face is a memory I shall carry with me for the rest of my life; it was a beautiful thing to see.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the activities; but instead I want to thank the people involved:

  • Jon and Alayne Hynes who own the Garrettstown Surf School for making this event happen. They must have given so much time over the year to put this together as well as making their premises and staff available for the event.
  • Roisin’s instructors in the water, Triona and Keeley. Their enthusiasm and spirit never wavered the entire week despite taking 4 sessions every day and at all times they kept Roisin safe and having fun in the water.
  • All the other volunteers who helped bring the week together and make it such a safe and enjoyable week for the children and parents alike.
  • Portwest Clothing who supplied the wet suits. Each child came away at the end of the week with their own wet suit.
  • MARTINS, the Maritime Training In Safety initiative who supplied a lot of the sponsorship for the event and the National Maritime College Of Ireland through whom the funds were obtained.
  • Ernest J Cantillon & Co Solicitors who sponsored specially commissioned surf boards for the event.

Apologies to anyone or any organization that I’ve left out.

Looking forward the week has opened a whole world of possibilities for all of us and I’m determined to build on the experience for Roisin. So clear the beach, here we come……

Networking West Cork

Much of my business time these days seems to be taken up with discussing networks. Questions like:

Should I use CAT5 or CAT6 cable?

What’s the difference between a LAN and a WAN?

Should I go for Wifi or mobile broadband?

Amongst all this technology small businesses often loose site of one form of network that is essential to their survival, and that is the small business network.

These are opportunities for business people to get together once a month to swap ideas, pass on information, make new contacts and just get out and meet other business people. For entrepreneurs like myself, running their business from home in a rural location, business networking forms a vital part of my marketing.

Here in West Cork we have an excellent networking service provided by the SOHO SOLO organization. I know the name sounds a bit like a dating agency; but the SOHO is an acronym for Small Office Home Office and so applies to anyone running a small business or working from home. Locally the group runs very informal meetings usually in the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery.

So if you’re running a small business or working from home in West Cork why not some along to one of our meetings and start expanding your network of contacts. The next meeting is provisionally booked for Wednesday September 17th and will probably be a lunch meeting. To get more details why not check out the SOHO SOLO website today.

(By the way, if you’re looking for wired or wireless networking services of the computer variety please see my business Computer Troubleshooters – West Cork)

Review: The Brick Oven Restaurant

The Brick Oven is an excellent place to eat serving generous portions of well prepared food with a touch of the unusual.

Review of The Brick Oven Restaurant, Main Street, Bantry, West Cork, Ireland
Rated as 5/5 on Jul 26 2007 by David Hollingworth


I’ve only eaten in The Brick Oven at lunch times so I can’t comment on the evening menu. However if the lunch menu is anything to go by I can’t see there being any problems.

The menu is fairly standard for a bistro restaurant with a range of pizzas, in two sizes, plus hot baguettes, salads and some pasta and fish dishes. The most unusual item is the Quesilladas which is a tortilla that’s been heated, the ingredients (cheese, smoked chicken etc) placed on top and then folded to seal it all in. Finally it’s turned over to cook on the other side; delicious! The pizzas too are very good having been prepared on a nice thin base and then, like everything else, cooked in the brick oven. You can watch the chef preparing the food from the eating area and the logs burning at the back of the oven make a nice feature.

The Brick Oven restaurant is situated at the Cork end of the main square in Bantry just next to the Garda Sation and is an excellent place to eat.

LouderVoice Review Tags: , , , , , ,
Rate this review at LouderVoice

Reviewed: The Ballymun Plaza Hotel

The Ballymun Plaza – just one more tenement building that should be knocked down!

Review of Ballymun Plaza Hotel, Ballymun, Dublin, Ireland
Rated as 1/5 on Jul 26 2007 by David Hollingworth


I would not normally have chosen to stay in the Ballymun Plaza; but a combination of a conference at Dublin Airport and a weekend break deal from Supervalu swayed me in the direction of this hotel.

Initial impressions were far from encouraging; the ground floor retail units weren’t completed giving the hotel a half finished look; but these were not as discouraging as the completely run down surroundings the hotel has been built in. Ballymun was renowned for its poor social housing and whilst the tower blocks have been demolished the hotel is surrounded by large tenement blocks, some of which are still occupied and some boarded up; and the whole area speaks of decline and deprivation.

Having seen the area then only thing that persuaded me not to look for somewhere else was the provision of a secure underground car park.

Check in was very slow, despite having emailed the hotel a few weeks before to ensure we’d have a family room we still had to wait in reception while the house keeper searched empty rooms for one with a single and double bed. The room itself was clean; but very basic. There were complimentary tea / coffee facilities in the room; but the kettle was mounted half way up a wall in a very inconvenient position to use. The furnishings in the room had to have been the most basic of any hotel I’ve been in.

We’d booked a table for dinner when we checked in; but when we went down to the restaurant we were asked to take dinner in the bar – something that I refused to do as I didn’t want my seven year old daughter in the bar that that hour of the evening. Having insisted on a table in the restaurant we were shown to a table for two (there’s three of us in case you’d forgotten), perhaps the waiter couldn’t count. Anyway there were plenty of tables for four available so I selected one and we sat down to eat.

The food was quite reasonable, and if anything this was the one redeeming feature of the hotel. Nothing exciting, I ordered Chicken Supreme and got Chicken Kiev; but it was well cooked and nicely presented. The breakfasts too where very tasty.

Noise at night was also a problem. Being a hotel I always expect some noise with guests coming and going. However both nights we stayed were punctuated by both guests and staff yelling up and down the corridors and guests repeatedly slamming doors. Desperate.

One final thing; I wondered why the fire alarm sensor in our room was covered in a plastic bag thus rendering it useless.

LouderVoice Review Tags: , ,
Rate this review at LouderVoice


One of my pet hates is litter.

Litter seems to be an endemic problem in Ireland. I live in a rural environment; but if I walk up the lane outside our house I find it littered with plastic bottles, drink cans, crisp packets and all manner of rubbish.

I live near Clonakilty in West Cork. A picturesque town that has recently won awards for being Ireland’s tidiest town as well as an international ward for its floral displays. Yet its streets are littered with dog excrement!

Two events really prompted me to post this,

  1. I was driving home one evening from work when a crisp packet was thrown out of the window of the car in front.
  2. Mrs. H. and I were sitting in our car in the car park at a local beach. The car park backs onto a small grassy area at the edge of a wetland reserve. Another car pulled in and child (aged about ten) got out, threw an empty coke can onto the grass and got back into the car. They left a few minutes later, no one else got out of the car.

What does this blatant disregard say for the Irish respect for their environment? OK, I know I shouldn’t generalize; but the level of litter in general makes me think this is a general problem.

Now I’m going to extrapolate. I believe that respect for the environment is a reflection of respect for the self. If I don’t respect myself then I’m not going to respect my environment and if I’m not respecting my environment it’s because I’m not respecting my self.

So what does all this littering say about the way the Irish respect themselves?

Those Bertie Posters

There’s been a fair bit of comment online recently about the Fianna Fail posters of our esteemed Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Personally I was furious about the posters! I mean they are so obviously falsified; do they think the electorate is so thick that they’d fall for such amateur photo editing?

Come on guys this is Ireland in the 21st Century. You simply can’t pull the wool over the voter’s eyes and expect to get away with it anymore. Will you ever cop on to the fact that your electorate is now a sophisticated and savvy group that know when it’s being sold short.

We’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see if the election prospectus is also a patched together bunch of falsehoods.

Finally there is a lighter side to this story over on The Snackbox Diaries.