Archive for June, 2008

Music amongst the Mosaics in Timoleague

June 27, 2008

The programme for the annual music festival in Timoleague has been published and includes some very interesting concerts all taking place in the Church of the Ascension in Timoleague. These concerts are always popular and are great value at euro 15 per ticket. Also, remember that Timoleague Castle Gardens are open for ticket holders to picnic from 6pm on concert evenings.

Sunday, 29th June at 8pm Music for a Maharajah. Utsav Lal. Raga pianist with tabla percussion

Sunday, 6th July at 8pm Beyond the Pale. Music of the 17th century including Castello, Corelli, Purcell, Uccellini and others

Sunday, 20th July at 8pm Jenny Robinson ensemble. Programme includes Telemann, Banch and other renaissance composers.

Sunday, 27th July at 8pm Trioca. Programme includes Bax, Hamilton Harty, Telemann and Ravel.

Booking Number 023 46236 or 087 633 1483.


Water rates even for Churches

June 27, 2008

The councils have recently extended water rates to a wide array of businesses including churches. A recent water rates bill for a local church included euro 1.95 for water over a six month period plus a six month fixed administration charge of euro 49.50! Some churches don’t even have loos so the water rates cover the water used to clean the chalice and that’s it. Clearly in the States eyes, tough times call for desperate measures and including churches for water rates is a desperate measure.

Failte Ireland registered Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering Accommodation providers now have to pay water rates but the State forgets that there are endless operators existing without Failte Ireland Approval that escape the net. Moreover, there are now countless owners of apartments who are seeking to rent out their accommodation any way they can yet they don’t fall into the water rate regime as they are not registered. What is the difference between renting out an apartment long term and renting it week to week as self catering? Both are businesses and should be taxed equally.

There isn’t a level playing field for this new tax. Tax us all equally or not at all and for goodness sake, leave out taxing churches. If water is such a scarce commodity, why should I look out my window at people washing down their houses, cars, gardens and who knows what else with free water. Even if an accommodation provider only opens for a short season, we are subject to water rates all year around irrespective of whether we are open or not. So to avoid water rates when closed for the season, we either have to use our own wells or move to a private house elsewhere.

French last in WHICH favourite car poll

June 27, 2008

Six French models were ranked in the bottom 10 of 219 cars surveyed by Which magazine, three being renaults.  Here is the list of the worst 10:-

Renault Espace (2003-)

Renault Laguna (2001-2007)

Mercedes A Class (1998-2004)     Almost bought one of these myself so lucky miss!

Fiat Punto (1999-2005)   Totally agree.  Lousy.  Have one myself.  Otherwise known as Fix it again Tomorrow

Renault Scenic (1997-2003)

Citroen Xsara (1997-2004)

VW Sharan (1995-)   Never heard of this one

Peugeot 307 (2001-)

Peugeot 206 ( 1998-)

Chrysler Voyager (1997-2001)   Seriously considered one of these so another lucky miss by all accounts

Boats Bistro in Graiguenamanagh

June 26, 2008

I nipped up to Graiguenamanagh for the opening of a new restaurant called Boats Bistro which is situated on the banks of the river Barrow.  The restaurant is in a superb location overlooking the river.  Graiguenamanagh is a magical town and well worth a visit if you happen to be visiting Kilkenny.  I love the restaurant that Georgina and Arnie have launched and I wish them every success.

A visit to Ballyogan House Bed and Breakfast in Graiguenamanagh

June 26, 2008

I had a day off from Kilbrogan House to visit some friends in Graiguenamanagh in County Carlow. I spent the night at Ballyogan House, a delightful Country House that offers Bed and Breakfast accommodation a couple of miles outside the town of Graiguenamanagh and just a short drive from Kilkenny. Fran and Robert have been running their guest accommodation for the past 8 years and are doing a brilliant job at it.

My room looked out on a beautiful garden with herbatious borders that were in full bloom. If you are a garden lover, you should definitely stay here. I loved my short visit and would highly recommend Ballyogan House to anybody planning to visit Kilkenny and the surrounding area. My room (The Bluebell Room) was extremely comfortable and breakfast was delicious – even eggs from the hens running around outside. Their website is

Bandon Genealogy

June 24, 2008

For anyone interested in researching their Bandon ancestors, we are making a number of additions to the website We have been researching leases in the 1700s and plan to add family names etc from these leases to the site shortly.

DaVida’s in Bandon

June 24, 2008

For all those interested in Music in Bandon, DaVida’s have an interesting line up of gigs:

Friday, 27th June @ 9.30pm Tom Shaner (sings Ghost songs, waltzes & rock n roll)

Saturday, 28th June @ 9.30pm Vinyl Requiem (Righteous Rock)

Saturday, 5th July @ 9.30pm Emma (acoustic)

Wednesday, 16th July @ 9.30pm Polskadots (Gypsy and world music) Euro 15

Saturday, 26th July @ 9.30pm DJ Ash (Funk soul sensation)

When crude oil reaches euro 1000 a barrel

June 24, 2008

Here is a summary of a great article that appeared in Fortune (Good old Stanley Bing) this month. I have translated it into Ireland’s terms.  Check out Fortune, 30th June for the original!

Nobody knows where oil prices are going to end up. So here are some implications, not all negative:-

1. Air travel will end except for the super rich who will get fabulous treatment at a price.

2. Volume on trains and buses will increase exponentially with people hanging out of windows and riding on bumpers like in India, Mexico etc. Only a few hybrid cars will exist and these will be for the wealthier among us.

3. Motorways will be quiet as people will only be able to afford to drive locally. Cork, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford will become individual republics as they become dependant on their own economies.

4. No food will be available other than that grown or bred locally so the local areas will become overrun with poultry etc.

5. Unable to travel, people will communicate by mobile and email eventually crashing the internet so we’ll have to resort back to mid 20th century means of communication.

6. Barter will come back into its own again and the Financial worlds will concentrate on barter and the trading of chickens etc.

7. Banks, international companies etc and what remains of the government will accept a tender offer from Saudi Arabia to acquire us for a low price and offer us all the oil we want.

So goodbye to all those long distance holidays not to mention holiday homes abroad and of course goodbye to all those SUVs now in abundance!!

Bandon to introduce pay parking

June 22, 2008

If the town could have convinced business and construction employees who work in the centre of Bandon to park on the outskirts of the town, the introduction of pay parking might have been avoided. I am not a fan of pay parking and certainly many tourists who visit Kilbrogan House tell me that they are put off by the pay parking in Kinsale. At times it is very difficult to get a parking spot in Bandon. Even entering the bank car parks is a challenge as the endless 4x4s seem to take up more than one space. I turn into the bank car parks and then have to try to turn around in a confined space to find parking on the street.

The businesses on the main street may suffer but time will tell. Pedestrianisation of the main street is urgently needed. Look at the places where this has been introduced and how successful it has become. Pedestrianisation attracts shoppers. Just think of Galway, Grafton Street in Dublin and McCurtain Street in Cork. Somehow the shop keepers have to be convinced that this is the way forward.

Guests tell me that they love shopping in Bandon. We have a wide variety of useful shops rather than endless craft shops which populate the tourist towns in the country. Visitors from England are pleasantly surprised at how so many individual enterprises have continued to exist on the Bandon high street as their towns are full of chain stores – Starbucks, WH Smith, endless mobile phone enterprises, Boots etc etc. Sometimes the only difference between towns in the UK is the architecture. Lets not kill off the town centre. Lets seriously consider pedestrianisation!!

Bandon Tidy Towns Planting Continues

June 21, 2008

We (The Bandon Tidy Towns Group) have been busy planting for the summer. For the first time we have put up hanging baskets along MacSweeney Quay, a few on the new poles leading to St Patricks Quay and on the new poles on Kilbrogan Hill. A big thank you to our new mayor Liz who waters all these baskets for us!!

FAS are helping us out with the painting of the very sad looking railings around the shambles. We recently painted the pump at the bottom of Kilbrogan Hill yellow so that our new plant box in front of the pump will stand out.

This evening we were out planting under the trees on Kilbrogan Hill. A chap stopped and gave Bandon Tidy Towns a euro 20 donation for our efforts so that will go towards some more plants. On behalf of Bandon Tidy Towns, a big thank you to that very generous person!!

The bed on the Dunmanway Road/Ball Alley Lane has been planted with perennial geraniums so it will take a year before these spread out and look really good. This is a very large bed and somewhat in the shade so perennial planting makes more sense than annuals.

The Bandon Chamber of Commerce has let the now defunct Bandon Tourist Office ‘go to seed’. We cleared out the weeds from all the gutters last week and started to wash them but torrential rain stopped play. Hopefully we’ll have better weather on Tuesday when we can finish it off. This building is particularly visible when approaching the town centre so it’s quite sad that it is being let get into a bad state.

A big thank you to the Rosminians and St Patricks Upton who have helped Bandon Tidy Towns enormously. On our annual spring clean day in April, Ash and his team cleared the railway line walk and car park of piles of litter on a really wet day. Donal and his team at St Patricks planted up all the hanging baskets along the quay. They were also responsible for growing all the plants in the hanging baskets and for the agaranthenums on the New Road. Well done to all of them for all their hard work! Incidentally Ash and his team from the Rosminian centre keep many of the boxes within the new developments along MacSweeney Quay and also in the courtyard outside their own building which is behind Da Vida’s. Take a peak in there sometime to see how well the plants look.

Clonakilty may be miles ahead of us in the Tidy Town competition but watch out Clonakilty, it may take us a while but we in Bandon are getting into gear!!