Bram Stoker Festival

Bram Stoker Festival 2013

Halloween is a festival enjoyed by millions of people around the world each year, it is spooky and fun, and is good for everyone. Dublin has a number of events that will fall on Halloween weekend, including a fantastic display at the Dublin Wax Museum, and The world famous Bram Stoker Festival.


This world famous Bram Stoker Festival will run from the 26th-28th of October the Bram Stoker Festival celebrates the life and legacy of Dublin-born author and father of the original vampire antihero, Count Dracula, many people now in their 40s will remember the old black and white movies on a Saturday night that would leave you looking in every corner before you got into bed, and then some family member to scare the living life out of you just when you thought you were safe from the vampires and bats.

Halloween Whats On

Halloween is one of Dublin’s favourite times of the year, and this Halloween Dublin will offer its rich, literary history in this one mean festival. The city’s tradition of gothic storytelling and wild imagination is set against the backdrop of the pagan festival Samhain as castles, churches and cinemas play fitting host to the litany of theatrical, literary and cinematic events taking place across the city.

The Bram Stoker Festival, back for its second year this 26th – 28th October, is the time to scrub up on your Drac facts, dress up in your finest gothic costumes and explore the spookier side of Dublin. Here are some recommendations for where to start.

1. Bram Stoker It’s Alive!

Three of Dublin’s finest illustrators will be bringing Dracula back from the dead for ‘Bram’s Triptych’. They don’t come much more creative than Mick Minogue, Kathi Burke and Steve McCarthy, so their ambitious night-long project, which will see them interpret Stoker using salvage yard gems and any other materials they can lay their hands on, promises a unique twist on the author’s legend. The art attack will take place in the always-buzzing Bernard Shaw pub’s back garden at 6pm, and the final work will be revealed in its full glory in the dead of night.


2. Bram Stoker Tour de Drac

Culture webzine with its finger on the pulse, Le Cool, have built up a glowing reputation for their Walking Tours, which serve as an introduction to Dublin’s best kept secrets. Their Bram Stoker special will see that pulse stop dead, as they change attention from their regular program to something a whole lot more macabre. Like all good secrets, they’re keeping the route hush hush: expect some dark alleys and big surprises.

3. Bram Stoker Tales From The Crypt

St Michan’s Crypt was one of Stoker’s biggest inspirations. Probably the most grisly site in Dublin, this tomb of eerily preserved remains offers tours that allow any brave Bram fans to experience the same closeness to the dead that influenced the great author’s gothic horrors. Each dead body tells a story, whether Crusader or Irish revolutionary; this remarkable tour will tell them all.

4. Bram Stoker Speaking of Churches

Christ Church Cathedral also figures on Stoker’s list of influences, which will be reflected in the Stoker Fest program. Both a bloody banquet and a pop-up cinema screening of Addams Family will take over the ancient church on the 27th October. It’s not every day you get to dress up as Morticia in a church.

5. Bram Stoker Gothic Horror

Bram Stoker Festival opens the cover on Dublin’s history of gothic horror, a sub-genre so rich it’s earned its own dedicated journal. Visit Merrion Square, the hub of all things literary, where you can see the house of vampire progentitor Sheridan Le Fanu (now home to the Irish Arts Council) and Oscar Wilde (whose ex-girlfriend ended up as Stoker’s wife).

6. Bram Stoker Photo Opp

We all know vampires don’t have reflections, but thanks to a little post-production trick the team behind Vamportraits will be capturing Dublin’s bloodsuckers on camera. Members of the public will be dressed up as both vampires and victims to be photographed, the results of which will be projected out on to the walls of Meeting House Square in Temple Bar during its outdoor cinema extravaganza.

7. Bram Stoker Damned Lane

In the past few years, the south city centre’s Dame Lane district has become a vibrant weekend hub thanks to its diversity of brunch-time bars and late-night pubs. For Saturday and Sunday (26th – 27th October), the District will be taken over by fortune tellers, ghost tours, cabaret and live music both indoors and out on the street as part of Raise Your Spirits. Here’s a good chance to get some extra juice out of your Halloween costume.

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Christmas Party Temple Bar Dublin 2013

Christmas Party Temple Bar Dublin 2013

The Bad Ass Temple Bar Dublin is the home of Christmas Parties in 2013, Christmas Party season is a time to relax and enjoy a great Partycation in Dublin, don’t worry about having to drive home when you can stay over-night in Dublin for very reasonable money, the Bad Ass Temple Bar offers great value Christmas Party Packages, and extensive menu with a wide selection of beer and wines.


The Bad Ass Temple Bar: 9-11 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2: Phone: +353 1 675 3005

Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 10.00 am – till Late and Friday to Saturday 8.00 am – till Late: Salsa Dancing Saturday Night from 11pm.

Our TEAM have the knowledge and experience in customer service to make your Christmas Party a memorable and fun event that will offer real value for money. We make your Christmas Party as easy as possible as we have everything tried and tested. We have searched and found the best value for money accommodation, the best food menu and live music.

The Bad Ass Temple Bar can offer exclusive use of our upstairs restaurant for your Christmas Party with a menu to suit all tastes, you tell us what you would like and we will cater for your special event. If someone in your Christmas Party group is celebrating a birthday we will add a FREE birthday cake for groups of 15 or more.

The Bad Ass Temple Bar is renowned for its personal services and customer care, we provide a clean and safe environment that allows party groups to enjoy their party time.

The Bad Ass Temple Bar

The team at The Bad Ass Temple Bar are constantly searching Dublin for the best Party packages, Hotels, Nite Clubs Dublin has to offer. We have managed to get them all here in one place, to make researching and planning for your Christmas Party real easy. All the information you need is right here at the click of the mouse.

Christmas Parties are an absolute must for businesses, college students, friends and family, whatever their size. It’s a great way of saying a big thank you to your staff, friends and family for all the hard work and effort they have put in over that last year and an opportunity to let your hair down and enjoy a night of both-team, family, friends and Christmas spirit.

You can be assured that all our Hotels, Venues and Packages have been carefully chosen to ensure a great day and night at your Christmas Event. Your only concern is to have a great time and we will do everything in our power to make that happen.

To make sure that your Christmas Party goes off without hassle, please contact The Bad Ass Temple Bar now and Book your party slot. Why not set up a fund at work or with friends or family and have everything paid for long before the big event. Set up a Christmas club, put in a few Euro each week, it really makes life so much easier. Sometimes we miss a great night out because we don’t have the money, don’t let that happen, start planning now and party at your leisure.



Large scale Christmas parties made available to small groups to create one giant Christmas party atmosphere.

If you are a small business, a department within an organisation or just wish to enjoy an evening with a group of friends, a shared Christmas party is a great option for you. You book your party within a large scale event giving you the benefits of the fun atmosphere and a variety of other groups that you can mingle with and meet new people, maybe even a little networking if you’re the boss and can’t switch off. Shared Christmas parties guarantee you have an unforgettable Christmas party. At The Bad Ass Temple Bar we encourage groups to mix and make Social Networking a real world experience.

The Bad Ass Temple Bar offers the perfect location for smaller groups wishing to join in the fun. A shared Christmas party can be as simple as enjoying your meal with your own group and then mixing with other groups as the live music kicks in.

Your Christmas Party at the Bad Ass Temple Bar will be a great fun occasion that will be talked about well into the new year.


If you wish to celebrate your Christmas party with your friends and colleagues, as a private function, while still engaging in a friendly festive atmosphere, then an Exclusive Christmas Party is for you.

Our upstairs restaurant area offers an exclusive area away from the main bar and restaurant downstairs. The standard of service is high in both the upstairs and downstairs areas, so if you would like to take your party upstairs that is not a problem, simply tell us what you would like.

The Bad Ass Temple Bar and the hotels/guesthouses that we work with can cater for a variety of Christmas parties consisting guests of five to one-hundred. Our hotels and restaurant can offer an exclusive Christmas party where you can choose your own menu from a wide range of options.

We work with you to generate your ideal Exclusive Christmas party.


This is a wonderful way to celebrate your Christmas party event adding excitement, fun and frolics for you and your guests. A theme party is a night that will be talked about into the New Year and your creation is only limited by your imagination.

Each year there is a variety of Christmas theme parties to choose from. Some of the most popular party ideas are Swinging 60’s, 70’s Disco, Electric 80’s, Casino Royale, Black and White Ball, Masquerade Ball,  Viva Las Vegas, Winter Wonderland, Christmas in the Wild West and many more.

Go on, try something different this Christmas, you dress for fun and we will deliver personal service that will make your party one to be remembered.

Christmas Party Greeting from Temple Bar Dublin

It is the most wonderful time of the year one again. The cities Christmas lights are glowing into life and Jack Frost is ever so slowly creeping into town. Temple Bar is bursting with Christmas spirit as the cobbles shimmer and the lights flicker.


We at the Bad Ass Cafe would like to offer you a host of tremendous deals at joyous prices. With a Christmas atmosphere that envy’s the North Pole, Santa himself will even be making an appearance.  We can cater for groups of all ages and sizes and once you book your Christmas party we can guarantee it will be ‘to all a good night’.

The perfect venue for all types of Christmas party, be it corporate, friends, family or just a spontaneous trip with a loved one. You will be greeted with a friendly smile and most definitely leave with one. So book now whilst there is time available!

We look forward to seeing each and everyone one of you.

Our Warmest Regards

Management and Staff, Bad Ass Temple Bar


Merry Christmas to all!!

Christmas Party Menu

Christmas Party STARTERS

Soup of the Day

Deep Fried Bre served with a cranberry and red onion relish on a bed of rocket.

Seafood Terrain served with a homemade dill mayo.

Warm chicken salad with baby potatoes, broccoli and sundried tomatoes served with lemon & garlic oil dressing.

Christmas Party MAIN COURSES

Half roasted chicken with chestnut stuffing served with rosemary & thyme gravy.

Traditional Turkey & Ham served with a chestnut stuffing and stock gravy.

8oz Sirloin Steak, with a wild mushroom cream sauce served with Crushed baby potato Salmon en-croute stuffed with sundries tomato & goat’s cheese, basil & Rapped in a puff pastry served with a dill cream sauce

Vegetarian Fajitas served with a homemade badass sizzling sauce.


Christmas pudding with a brandy anglaise.

Chocolate cherry roulade log served with cream.

Homemade Baileys cheesecake served with a whiskey cream.

Christmas Party Price

Lunch price is 27.50 dinner price is 34.50

10% service charge applies for parties of 6 and more


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Irish Greyhound Derby Day Final 2013, Shelbourne Park Dublin

Irish Greyhound Derby Day 2013, Shelbourne Park Dublin

Dublin is going to the Dogs

Win The Greatest Prize Ever: Click on the Image to View

It is official; Dublin is going to the Dogs, on Saturday the 14th of September 2013 Dublin will officially go to the dogs, for what is Irish Greyhound Derby Day at Europe’s Premiere Greyhound racing and Hospitality Stadium, Shelbourne Park in Dublin. The picture below was taken 21st August 2013, and shows how Shelbourne Park Stadium sits neatly behind Aviva Stadium from the Ringsend view, please, click on the picture to get a high definition view.

Shelbourne Park contact:Click Image to BOOK ONLINE:

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Cork in All Ireland Hurling Final 2013 Accommodation

Cork in All Ireland Hurling Final 2013 Accommodation

All Ireland Hurling Final 2013 in Croke Park Dublin if you need Accommodation near Croke Park, Hotels near Croke Park, Bed and Breakfast near Croke Park or guesthouse, some accommodation close to Croke Park is recommended here.


All Ireland Hurling Final 2013 Croke Park

Cork 1-24 Dublin 1-19: Anthony Daly’s side played last 20 minutes with 14 men after Ryan O’Dwyer was sent off. A seemingly inseparable All-Ireland hurling semi-final and in the end the Dublin hurlers are finally stopped from reeling in any more of the years. It was Cork, as hungry and skilful as they ever were in their prime, who booked their place in the All-Ireland final – back there for the first time since 2006, but only after overcoming a massively brave effort from the Leinster champions.

Croke Park Attendance

Croke Park was packed with 62,092 awed spectators, a goal four minutes from the end by Patrick Horgan finally swung it decisively in Cork’s favour – yet aided, it has to be said, by a costly goalkeeping error from Gary Maguire, who fluffed what should have been a handy clearance.

Anthony Nash, goalkeeper took three frees and who also pulled off one massive save, illustrated what it took for Cork to win this, because it was a complete team effort. But in a game that was balancing almost throughout on the edge of a sword, Dublin were forced to play the last 20 minutes with 14 men – Ryan O’Dwyer sent off for a second bookable offence, a shoulder charge to the chest of Lorcan McLoughlin (he was first yellow carded after two minutes).

Cork Hurling Manager

Cork manager Jimmy Barry Murphy admitted, “Yeah the sending off gave us a great break,”, “and so we just about shaded it, because we didn’t play particularly well on the day. Dublin are a super team, and in fairness we got the breaks on the day.”

Dublin Hurling

Dublin were looking to book their place in the All-Ireland final for the first time since 1961, and looking for a first championship win over Cork in 86 years. The effort wasn’t lacking in any way, and for much of the second half – even as Cork pressed in harder for the win – Dublin were within touching distance themselves, leading by two points early in the second half, ironically with O’Dwyer himself providing one of their rallying points.

But after losing a man Dublin were on the back foot. A point from Nash brought Cork level again and, on 52 minutes, Coughlan pushed them in front and they were never trailing Dublin from there until the end.

Cork v Dublin Hurling

A game that started on the B of the Bang! – the fastest ball game in the world getting faster all the time – it seemed Cork, briefly, might have a little more legs than Dublin. With quite ravenous appetite, they began devouring the Dublin defence, not so much attacking in packs but with wild singular unpredictability – McLoughlin leading the way with three points from midfield within the first 15 minutes alone, and Seamus Harnedy, Conor Lehane, Pa Cronin and Daniel Kearney adding to the spectacular range of scores.

Somehow Dublin matched it point-for-point; Danny Sutcliffe, Joey Boland, David Treacy all scoring brilliantly points, plus Conal Keaney, and placed-ball expert Paul Ryan. Dublin did live a little dangerously at times in defence, however, as Cork fluffed a few clear chances.

Cork Hurling All Ireland Place

The points just kept coming, at both ends – so much so the teams were level 10 times in the first half alone. The only fleeting moment of dominance in the opening half was David Treacy’s goal on 30 minutes, deftly set-up by Ryan, and booted right-footed into the net by Treacy – the first time all summer Cork goalkeeper Nash was beaten.

That edged it 1-9 to 0-11 in Dublin’s favour, but inevitably Cork were level again, Patrick Horgan swinging over his third free of the half. Still, they exchanged scores twice again before the break, before Kearney – Cork’s dart-like midfielder – shot once more, giving them the slightest advantage over the Leinster championships at the break, 1-11 to 0-15.

It’s impossible to know how much closer Dublin would have been at the had they not lost Ryan, but 2013 should and will be a summer to remember.

Cork Hurling Team 2013

CORK: A Nash (0-3, all frees); S McDonnell, S O’Neill, C O’Sullivan; T Kenny, C Joyce, W Egan; L McLoughlin (0-3), D Kearney (0-1); S Harnedy (0-2), J Coughlan (0-1), P Cronin (0-1); L O’Farrell (0-2), P Horgan (1-7), C Lehane (0-3). Subs: S White for Kenny (45 mins), C Naughton for Coughlan (64 mins), S Moylan (0-1) for Lehane (68 mins).

Dublin Hurling Team 2013

DUBLIN: G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Kelly, P Schutte; S Hiney, L Rushe, M Carton; J McCaffrey (0-1), J Boland (0-1); C Keaney (0-2), R O’Dwyer (0-1), D Sutcliffe (0-4); D O’Callaghan (0-2), P Ryan (0-5), D Treacy (1-1). Subs: S Durkin (0-1) for Hiney (22 mins), M Schutte for Treacy (51 mins), S Lambert for Carton (51 mins), E Dillon for O’Callaghan (60 mins), R Trainor for P Schutte (70 mins) Referee: James Owens (Wexford).

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All Ireland GAA Quarter Final 2013

All Ireland GAA Final 2013


Croke Park will continue to play host to Ireland’s All Ireland GAA hopefuls right up to the All-Ireland GAA Final on Sunday 22nd September 2013, who the finalists will be remains a mystery, however, the Sam Maguire Cup will be the silver they will be seeking to take back to their respective county. Continue reading

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Leinster GAA Final 2013

Leinster GAA Final 2013, Dublin GAA, Meath GAA, Croke Park, Accommodation near Croke Park

Leinster Final 2013

GAA Supporters attending Sunday’s Leinster Senior Football final 2013 meeting of Dublin and Meath are reminded that the senior game has a 2.00pm throw-in, arrive early, park safely, enjoy the game.

Meath GAA

Jim Gavin is tangled up in Meath GAA and this has not happened so much since 1995. The difference now is the Dublin GAA Manager is trying to sell the old rivalry ahead of Sunday’s Leinster football final 2013, unlike the final Gavin played in eighteen years ago, when all that kind of talk took care of itself.

Dublin GAA come to Croke Park having won three of their last four championship meetings with the Royals, including last year’s provincial final, and the bookmakers agree they only have to show up to claim their eighth title in nine seasons.

Ned Keenan’s Traditional Irish Pub close to Croke Park €4 per-pint of Guinness

Ned Keenan’s Pub, Dublin pub Ireland

Reservations: Phone: +353 1 855 5442


Gavin said, “Well I still think that tradition is there,” “Yes, it might have been stronger in the 1990s, but anytime we have come across Meath in recent times there has been a cut to the game”.

Form: “Both teams have good form, league and championship, both of us have got big scores in their opening games, and similar enough styles of play, physical defences and competitive midfield and very good forwards – so both sides will feel they have a chance to win.


Gavin goes on to say, “With the whole social demographic situation as well, there is a big Dublin community that has moved across the border into Meath, so I think there is still that sense of a local derby between Meath and Dublin.”

It is only three years since Meath GAA stunned Dublin GAA in the Leinster semi-final, winning 5-9 to Dublin’s 0-13 – and Gavin was also at the receiving end of a Meath defeat when in charge of the Dublin under-21s, in 2011. Sunday marks their 60th championship meeting; Dublin winning 32 to Meath’s 19, with eight draws.

Dublin v Meath GAA Leinster Final 2013

“To me, the Dublin-Meath games have always been competitive in the championship, and 2010 is an example of that. Games are still very unpredictable. But as a manager, and, as players, we’re not looking back at what happened in the past. That is completely outside of our control. All we’ve been doing is preparing for this Meath team.”

Gavin, however, can’t completely avoid the past: Dublin fairly destroyed Meath in the 1995 final, 1-18 to 1-8, Gavin playing at left-half forward, Paul Clarke providing the goal, and a 19-year-old named Jason Sherlock a new hero for Hill 16, and maintained that momentum to win the All-Ireland. It still ranks as one of Dublin’s best Leinster final performances against their old rivals.

“It was a good performance,” Gavin conceded, “but then the next year they beat us, and went on to win the All-Ireland final.”

Meath actually have the edge in recent Leinster finals, winning three (2001, 1999, and 1996) of the last five, Dublin’s win over Meath last year their first final win since 1995.

That 2012 final was a lot closer than expected, too, as Meath closed it to down to a goal, after outscoring Dublin 1-6 to 0-2 in the final quarter.

Dublin GAA Strong

Still all current form points strongly towards Dublin, even if their 16-point wins over both Westmeath and then Kildare suggest they haven’t yet been properly tested.

“Well, I think if you asked any of the Dublin players at half-time against Kildare they would have said they were (tested). I think it was a big test. And if you were in both dressing-rooms afterwards, both sets of players were fatigued from a big game given from both sides.

“I think if you let either of those teams play football, and they had shown potential what they could do, both Westmeath and Kildare, they could have got a run at us, and it would have been a completely different score at the end of the game. The players had a job to do and they did it well so we move on to the next game.

“I think the players showed good application in both games but there still is room for improvement, and that’s not to be glib about it. It’s just a fact from the players’ perspective. We still haven’t been consistent for the full 70 minutes. And this team haven’t won anything yet.”

Meath GAA Supporters

Meath supporters attending Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Leinster Senior Football final against

Dublin are advised to arrive early as the senior game has a 2.00pm throw-in and watch out for the Tayto Park bus for your free snack.

Those attending are advised to purchase tickets before arriving at the stadium to avoid queues on the day of the match.

Tickets can be purchased at a variety of outlets

1. online at

2. Leinster Council’s offices in Portlaoise.

3. The GAA Ticket Office in Dorset St.

4. Centra and SuperValu stores.

Patrons are also urged to arrive in time with the largest attendance of the championship season to date anticipated.

For the first time this year Croke Park’s Family Fun Zone will be open from 11.0 until 1.30 on Sunday.

This facility is free and offers interactive activities for children, pre-match analysis with former players, music, face painting, food outlets and other family fun.

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Croke Park fixtures

Croke Park fixtures, All Ireland 2013, GAA Fixtures, Leinster Final 2013, Dublin, Meath

This outstripped my worst forebodings for Kildare by so much that you have to ask the question: are Dublin a super-team or have Kildare fallen seriously off the pace at this level of the game?


It’s probably a bit of both in that Kieran McGeeney’s trying to rebuild in Kildare while Dublin have a renewed focus this year under new management.

The big picture is impressive. They’ve a high work rate, and at a pace most teams aren’t familiar with and they’re also playing for each other, as they come out of defence and go forward. It’s a formidable combination.

Kildare though showed naivete in the way they set up, trying to play Dublin man to man and they’d no answer to the counter-attacking runs from Jack McCaffrey and James McCarthy down both flanks. Opposing half forwards have to mark the Dublin half backs because the pressure on the Kildare half backs was enormous and they’d no answer to the pace and the direct running coming from down the pitch.

Dublin also had a very mobile half forward line in which Ciarán Kilkenny was outstanding, always available for the outlet pass and covering a lot of ground.

It looked impossible to defend against but if Kildare are to take any positive out of it, I though their full-back line worked hard. Peter Kelly did well on Bernard Brogan and overall it was a manful effort but it was like keeping out the tide.

I also feel Kildare place too much emphasis on what to do with the ball as opposed to what to do when the other team has it. Their half backs weren’t close enough to their men – even before they got overwhelmed by the players hurtling past them from deeper positions.

The concession of scores turned into a haemorrhage and that was even though their ’keeper Shane Connolly made some fine saves. Dublin could have been more clinical, which is a frightening prospect when you consider they’ve just beaten Division One league semi-finalists by 16 points.

Pace is only part of the problem. Dublin’s skill level is good and they’re moving the ball well. I thought Michael Darragh Macauley, who at times has a tendency to take too much out of the ball, improved yesterday and moved quicker ball.

That’s in keeping with Jim Gavin’s whole philosophy of high tempo, attacking football. Look at them play and see how few lateral passes they execute and the workrate of players coming off the shoulder onto quick offloads.

There’s constant movement and good diagonal balls. It makes huge demands on energy because it’s relentless and Gavin can introduce players, who can maintain that tempo and quality off the bench.I was also impressed with all of the players’ contribution. The team used to have a major overreliance on Bernard Brogan and to an extent Diarmuid Connolly but they’re now part of a far more collective effort.

The emphasis is now on the player making the run and quick, snappy passing and I hadn’t seen such intensity in the tackle before from Dublin’s forwards – not pulling and dragging but nicking the ball away which was great to see. But Kildare’s resistance was poor. Maybe tactically McGeeney could have deployed a familiar tactic from his playing days when Armagh protected the centre by playing a supplementary defender. Instead, Kildare were overrun.

The level of expectation will be through the roof and the challenge is going to be to keep players’ feet on the ground but Gavin knows so many of them from the successful under-21 campaigns that he’ll be confident of managing the sort of hype that has in the past negatively affected Dublin teams.

Comparing the two Leinster semi-finals there was an obvious difference in tempo and that will most likely be Meath’s downfall.

They went about their business clinically after a poor first half and showed patience before taking over the match. They have quality footballers in the likes of Stephen Bray, Graham Reilly and Donal Keoghan but they’re not sharp or quick enough in the middle to stay with the pace Dublin showed today.

Wexford were instrumental in their own downfall and didn’t look fit enough for the full 70 minutes. When you run out of steam, you run out of discipline, and in doing that they gave up the frees that ultimately killed them.

A quick word on Saturday’s Ulster semi-final. I think Cavan will be disappointed that they got so close to reaching the final. But it will be a good learning experience for them. In the end the old heads of Monaghan proved a bit smarter but Cavan could go well with the right draw in the qualifiers.

Their attacking game is at times a little gung-ho and a better team than Monaghan might exploit that space.

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Childrens Theatre

Childrens Theatre, Dublin Theatre, Irish Theatre, Smock Alley Theatre, Theatre summer specials, school holidays whats on

Children’s Theatre, Family Fun, for Everyone

Children’s Theatre is as old as time itself, throughout the ages theatre was the medium most easily understood by the majority of people, however, in the modern day when all things appear to happen in cyber space, the reality is that children and adults continue to be enthralled by the love of theatre.

Bad Ass Cafe

Bad Ass Temple Bar perfect for a meal before or after Theatre

Theatre companies are achieving crossover successes by tapping into the nostalgia and escapism that attract adults and children to Pixar movies and Harry Potter.

“A nostalgic generation,” as Collapsing Horse Theatre Company director Dan Colley put it to the cast of their hit show Monster/Clock last year. He was referring to the fact that the majority of the audience who came to see Monster/Clock, a theatre piece for all ages using puppetry and music, were in fact their peers.

This group of theatre-makers, in their early 20s, were evidently tapping into some zeitgeist and whetting the same appetite that brings adults out to Pixar movies such as Up and Toy Story, or has them reading popular fiction aimed at younger audiences, such as tales of a famous boy wizard.

Every generation has nostalgia for elements of their childhood – and in theatre, some of the most talked-about shows in recent years have been designed for all the family: this might be children’s theatre, but it’s in mainstream venues and with no expectation that an adult should necessarily bring a child.

James Thiérrée’s show Raoul, which played at the Abbey Theatre in 2011, was spectacular, while Theatre Lovett’s The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly and The House that Jack Filled were hits with children and adults. The latter show had a majority of adult attendees at the last Dublin Theatre Festival.

Engaging everyone

“We do work really hard at developing work that engages absolutely everyone,” says Muireann Ahern, Theatre Lovett’s artistic director, along with her husband Louis Lovett, who performs in their shows. “Louis calls it a win-win-win situation.”

Lovett explains this as a “triangle of energy between performer, adult and child. It is unique to play to all ages; in many cases, one or other parties is left out. We’re like the US marines – no one gets left behind.” The pair have just returned from a US tour funded by Culture Ireland. It was the first time Irish theatre for young audiences was represented Stateside on such a scale and Theatre Lovett was the first Irish company to play at New York’s New Victory Theatre.

“No matter where you go in the world, children are still children. They want to be brought on a cracking good story; adults too,” says Lovett.

The couple arrived home to find bundles of envelopes, letters and pictures from those they had met on tour. “Doing shows for children is the closest I’ve come to being a rock star,” he laughs.

Collapsing Horse Theatre Company is opening its new show, Human Child, at Smock Alley Theatre tonight. Bloomsday Review

“The children’s theatre I’ve been really excited by recently has done away with a lot of the formality we associate with theatre, which hides everyone from the making of it. Instead, it was present and sincere,” says its writer/director Dan Colley.

Eoghan Quinn, who wrote Monster/Clock and is dramaturge for Human Child, points out that the term “children’s theatre” is almost an oxymoron in that it’s created by adults.

So how do theatre-makers access that part of themselves necessary to make work for children of all ages?

“Well, we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” says Jack Gleeson. He is one of the founding members of Collapsing Horse, previously starred in Monster/Clock, and is best-known to audiences here as Joffrey in HBO’s Game of Thrones television series.

“We started by telling stories we were told as children, but we also did things like build a blanket fort,” says Colley.

Aaron Heffernan (23) is an actor and puppet-master on Human Child (his next major role is in TV series Love/Hate).

Heffernan says he sometimes “forgets what people expect from adulthood”, before embarking on an impromptu riff about his childhood teddy bear Simon, a polar bear – “I’ve never slept a night in my own bed without Simon” – and how visitors to his apartment often found him “cutting up teddy bears, with a big stag’s horn made from piping on the wall, as if I’d caught it . . . They were just wondering what was going on with me . . . in life,” he says. (He was making puppets.)

“But I do adulty things as well, like, I, eh . . .” he stops. “You pay taxes,” offers Jack. “Yeah,” says Heffernan, laughing. “But I am very serious about it,” he says, before showing the scars on his arms from hot glue. “This one looks like Guatemala.”

Heffernan lists the raw materials that go into his puppets: “Coat-hangers, chopsticks, towels, bike handles, tyres, cuttings of teddy bears (it’s a very high-quality fur), taxidermy, human hair, umbrellas, chair legs . . .”

“Would you ever cut Simon up?” I ask, thinking of his Arctic friend.


Aaron: “I can’t even think about that.”

Jack: “That’s disgusting.”

Both: “What’s wrong with you?”

Playful, not infantile

“Do we stop playing because we grow old or do we grow old because we stop playing?” asks Louis Lovett, who stresses the importance of play in what he and Ahern do, while pointing out the difference between being infantile and being able to play.

“We’re very lucky, neither of us have stopped playing. I’ll never confuse myself with being a child. Play shouldn’t be phoney. It’s not about getting on hands and knees to a child’s level. Theatre Lovett take play very seriously.”

Another quality to which both companies attribute part of their appeal is basic theatricality. Collapsing Horse and Theatre Lovett use physical theatre, storytelling, puppetry, comedy and music.

“It’s full-on theatricality,” says Lovett. “Children’s theatre directs everything to the audience.”

“It’s about bestowing enjoyment upon the audience,” says Gleeson. “Some adult theatre might be about the piece itself. For me, it’s 90 per cent what the audience will enjoy.” “If we want to shower the stage with beautiful stars we can. You can get away with being spectacular,” Colley adds.

Degree of escapism

Both agree that there is a degree of escapism at play in their work.

“It’s about that confusion, pain and fear – true of being a child and of being an adult – we draw on being able to alleviate it for a moment. It might be a cliche, but to leave yourself in theatre, fantasy or wherever, allows you to come back to yourself with fresh eyes.

“Human Child is inspired by the Yeats poem Stolen Child and it says it all really,” says Colley. “Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild./With a faery, hand in hand . . .”

For Quinn, a “sense of loss is always latent in children’s fantasy; we are trying to create for an audience of which we are no longer a part”.

Human Child is at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, until July 6th.

Riverdance in the Gaiety

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Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin, Book of Kells,Trinity College Dublin Rugby, Irish Rugby, Tony Smeeth

Trinity College director of rugby Tony Smeeth explains why US Eagles are set to spread their wings

Les Kiss this week credited the leap in American rugby as an attacking entity to the influence of Trinity College director of rugby Tony Smeeth.

Well known in Leinster schools and club circles, he also coached both versions of Blackrock, last summer the Englishman renewed a 20 year on/off working relationship with Eddie O’Sullivan’s successor as America’s head coach, Mike Tolkin.

“Without a doubt, style wise, we’ve changed since the world cup,” Smeeth at the US training camp in Denver, Colorado.

“From talking to the players, under Eddie they played a restrictive game plan because obviously the thinking was they would get more success through that.

“I think we scored the least amount of tries at the last world cup.

“We looked at the profile of the team, the back three is made up of Heineken Cup players [Chris Wyles of Saracens, the sensational Biarritz winger Takudzwa Ngwenya although Wasps’ Paul Emerick just had an operation on his Achilles tendon] and some very good backrowers, like Todd Clever who has played Super 15, so it didn’t make sense to play a restrictive type game.”

Tolkin released a squad yesterday that confirmed the imminent return of Wyles and Ngwenya along with Biarritz lock Scott LaValla and Northampton forwards Samu Manoa and Chris Bills.

Big, powerful men who have the common trait of being on the end of Leinster or Munster hidings in recent times.

For them, this must be a revenge mission.

Ngwenya and Manoa are playing for the Barbarians against the British and Irish Lions in Hong Kong tomorrow.

There is also a strong Irish contingent in Tolkin’s squad with Dolphin flanker John Quill and Young Munster number eight Liam Óg Murphy fighting to be the backrow cover against in Houston tomorrow week.

Former Connacht scrumhalf Robbie Shaw will provide cover behind Mike Petri as he did behind Tomás O’Leary at the 2004 under-21 world cup in Scotland when Ireland lost to New Zealand in the final.

The problem, Smeeth knows, is the number of amateur players filling the gaps in America’s test side.

“Domestic rugby here is not the strongest. Johnny Quill went back to Dolphin last season to get a greater quality of rugby. You see, that’s the issue. AIL division one would be way better than anything here.

“We have players playing at wildly contrasting levels, like AIL division three with Trinity, and then LaValla, Clever, Wyles, Ngwenya and Manoa playing at the top level.”

Yesterday’s news that Ulster’s 20 year old centre Stuart Olding’s ankle got through a fitness test, meaning James Downey will not tour, was seen by Smeeth as bad news for the USA.

“Olding is class. Trinity lost to Belfast Harlequins this season because of him. He cut us apart.

“I think he is the great white hope at inside centre and may even pass out Luke Marshall but he is a good enough footballer to play right across this area, be it at outhalf or outside centre. He’s a runner.”

Smeeth is also interested in seeing who Less Kiss will pick at outhalf having said that Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan will both get game time in their primary position over the two tests (Canada follows on June 15th).

“I coached Ian Madigan in school so it will be interesting to coach against him, a fine player, and whether they play him at out-half or 12 beside Paddy.”

Before nestling in for a morning watching recent Ireland games on his lap top, he paused to serenade the incoming Irish coaching team.

“To me, Joe Schmidt and Les Kiss is the dream ticket. How Les is not doing the Lions defence is a mystery to me. He is the best defence coach out there. I know the fact he was doing attack with Ireland probably hurt his Lions chance.

“If they get the right forwards coach that is some ticket. I can’t think of anywhere in the world that would be better.”

Meanwhile, Mike Ross also trained fully yesterday and will definitely depart with the squad tomorrow while both camps have confirmed their teams will be announced next Thursday.

Finally, as a means to coping with the 25 degree heat for the 7.30pm kick off in Houston, and 85 percent humidity, the Irish squad have been training with plastic underneath their gear.

US Eagles squad v Ireland: Chris Biller, Todd Clever (capt), Peter Dahl, Cameron Dolan, Brian Doyle, Zach Fenoglio, Eric Fry, Graham Harriman, Will Holder, Luke Hume, Seamus Kelly, Scott Lavalla, Toby L’Estrange, Samu Manoa, Liam Og Murphy, Takudzwa Ngwenya, James Paterson, Mike Petri, Shawn Pittman, John Quill, Blaine Scully, Robbie Shaw, Adam Siddall, Louis Stanfill, Andrew Suniula, Phil Thiel, Nick Wallace, Chris Wyles.

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Croke Park, Accommodation near Croke Park

Croke Park, Accommodation near Croke Park, Pubs near Croke Park, Ned Keenans Pub Gardiner Street, GAA Fixtures

June arrives and bang on schedule, Croke Park enters the GAA championship. This evening on Jones’s Road, the supporters of Offaly, Kildare, Westmeath and Dublin will make their way to a Leinster football quarter-finals double bill.


If the sight of the native Dub hastening to the stadium as the referee gets ready to throw in the ball is timeless, there is also a radical departure on view today, as the GAA sends the score detection system Hawk-Eye into action for the first time to adjudicate where necessary on the bona fides of scoring efforts from Offaly and Kildare, who start at 5.0. Continue reading

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