Archive for November, 2009

Starbucks stuck in some costly Irish leases

November 24, 2009

Starbucks signed 20 year leases for premises in Ranelagh, Dalkey and Tallaght but it is now having second thoughts about running coffee outlets in these locations.  Oh dear, even Starbucks got sucked into the dizzy Irish property market and is now licking its wounds.

In Dalkey the rent per year is euro 110,000.  That’s euro 300 per day for 365 days, ie a heck of a lot of coffees just to pay the lease.  Ranelagh is euro 131,622 and Tallagh Cross East is euro 155,000 per year.   That’s not including rates which vary between euro 15,300 per year in Dalkey to euro 23,905 in Tallaght.   As they say ‘wrong trousers, grommit’!!  Somebody didn’t run the numbers!

Of course Starbucks hastens to assure us that it is committed to the Irish market.  Good luck Starbucks!  As the marketing experts say, you need a mix of office workers, students and shoppers to make these outlets work and somehow I don’t think they’ll find these en masse in Dalkey whatever about the other locations.


Flooding in Bandon – Was it the fault of the planners?

November 24, 2009

Little did any of us realize how severe the flooding would be.  The planners allowed the Supervalu Shopping Centre and Lidl to be built on what was formerly a flood plain. (Even my map of 1845 show this plain in bold letters).  In the past this plain would have taken the bulk of the water but given the massive bank defenses that the supermarkets erected for themselves, the water had no place to go but down the main street wiping out the little guys that make this town so attractive.

We have a unique town full of all sorts of quirky stores.  Barely one of these stores was left unscathed.  I really hope they re-open but I fear the worst.  These businesses differentiated us from other places.  Lets hope we are not left with goliaths offering mass produced items from China etc.  Even the garlic in Lidl comes from China – How sad is that!!  By doing all our shopping in these huge stores, we are harming ourselves.  We need to become protectionist if we are to save livelihoods.  Support the little guys!!

The Cluid housing for the elderly was built on the weir on the site of a former mill so needless to say, it also suffered massive flood damage.  Residents have only been in this new building a few weeks.  These people aren’t so nimble that they can quickly leg it up the stairs at a moments notice.  Did the planners think of this?

McSweeney Quay in Bandon

Even the pavement was uprooted

Filling Sandbags

The community turns out to fill sandbags

The old Flood Plain with the high bank defenses

The old Flood Plain

South Main Street, Bandon

A sorry sight in South Main Street, Bandon

Nymans Gardens

November 23, 2009

A visit to Nymans Gardens is a real treat!  Nymans is a National Trust property in stunning setting overlooking the Weald close to Haywards Heath.  Ludwig Messel purchased the 600 acre estate in 1890 and began planting shortly thereafter. His son Leonard succeeded him in 1915.  The house was substantially damaged by fire in 1947 but the gardens survived.  Leonard’s daughter Anne and her second husband, Michael Parsons 6th Earl of Rosse (of Birr Castle) partially rebuilt the house and lived there.  In 1953 Leonard died and left the gardens to the National Trust.

The gardens are laid out in a series of outdoor rooms packed with superb annuals, perennials and shrubbery.  Visitors can also wander around the house.  There are stunning views from the various walks throughout the gardens.

Nymans Gardens

Nymans Gardens

Nymans Annual Bed



A trail through Nymans

Bandon Flooding

November 19, 2009

The exceptional amount of rain has turned the Bandon river into a full scale torrent flooding parts of South Main Street causing businesses to close.

Bandon South Main Street

Flooding in South Main Street in Bandon

The Bandon River in full flow

The Bandon River in full flow

Bridge Street in Bandon under water

Bridge Street, Bandon under water

Bandon Playground under water

Bandon Playground under water

How to remove sticky linseed oil from a fireplace

November 14, 2009

I was a bit over enthusiastic when applying a coat of linseed oil to my slate fire place.  I had seen the installer apply the oil to make the slate shine and when I tried to replicate his efforts some months later, I ended up with a sticky mess that I couldn’t remove.

The best way to remove the gooey mess is with a combination of cellulose thinner and nail varnish remover!  Actually nail varnish remover would probably have worked on its own but would have needed a bit more elbow grease as well.