Donncha When-in-Ireland

What to do this weekend?

This weekend will be a busy one in Cork but I think we’re going to try to take it easy and not stress ourselves too much trying to enjoy it too much!

This weekend a Capoeira festival will be held in the city. On Saturday morning there will be a demonstration at 10:30 in front of Brown Thomas on St. Patrick Street, followed by workshops in Blackrock GAA club. Looks like a latin party on Saturday night and a BBQ will follow the workshop on Sunday! Not sure if I can make it but I’ll try to be there. I must dig up some more of my Capoeira photos next week.

In Blackpool The Festival of the Bulls will be held from 12pm to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday. There’s more info on the Whazon website but I’ll copy it here because they don’t have any archives unfortunately.

THE FESTIVAL OF the BULLS – Community Carnival

Saturday and Sunday 12pm – 6pm

Be Your Own Banana Company, That Man, Amani Acrobats, The Svetlana show, Bui Bolg, Mr.Cro, The Incredible Bull Circus and Cork Circus

The spectacular Burundi Drummers, Filipino dancers and drummers chorus, The 40 piece Youghal Ceile House band with dancers, Southern Brigade Army Brass band, The Mayfield Brass band, The Cork City String Quartet The Clubmen Swing band , The award winning Polyphonic Barbershop Chorus, The Christ Restoration Life Ministries Gospel Choir, Traditional musicians doing walkabouts, Blackpool Youth Club song and dance show, Isis Youth band

Duck races , Blackpool Treasure hunt, Pub Quiz
Food Market, Arts & Crafts Stalls, Massage area, Balloon modellers, Face painters, Penalty Shoot outs Community Art exhibition, Programme of local film documentaries, Programme of Award winning Irish films , Exhibition of original drawings by Seamus Murphy, Amateur Photography exhibition, Re-dedication of the Grotto, Dublin Hill, Planet gym health club demonstration and Children’s games

The Bulls Mart
The market will feature over 40 local producers and slow food promoting traders along with local craft and jewelry stalls.

Sunday 3rd June at 4.30pm
The climax of the festival will be the inaugural Blackpoll Bull Run. Although the bulls have long since left the streets of Blackpool the Carnival bulls will be out in force, creating havoc, making noise, inciting madness and generating excitement. It will be a riot of Brazilian carnival, freaky metallic bull bikes and puppet bulls, along with dancers, drummers, butchers, witchdoctors and warriors. All of them painted head to toe, shouting, singing and dancing crazy.

The public will be invited to participate in the event which promises to be an incredible sight and a fitting remembrance of what once was, of what built this city, this area, this people and this culture.

Sunday 3rd June
Bull puppet workshops
Dowtcha puppets will be holding puppet making workshops

VENUE: Blackpool Retail Park

I have a feeling you’ll find us at the beach if the weather is nice or even mildly ok. It’s been a while, before Adam was born even, and the pull of the ocean is strong!


If the mountain won't come to Google

While posting yesterday’s photo I used Google Maps to find the name of the quay where it was taken. Unfortunately, the map wasn’t exactly correct.


Google Maps put Patrick’s Hill down by the River Lee where Camden Place should be. Also, since when did Merchants Quay go across Christy Ring Bridge? Yahoo Maps have it right however so it’s best to double check before you plan your journeys!


The Weekend section of the Irish Examiner has a lengthy piece on blogging. Unfortunately it starts out interviewing Perez Hilton but the second part concerns itself with Irish bloggers. The usual suspects are represented there plus a few you may not have heard of. Good read!

In the news When-in-Ireland

I voted today in the Irish election

Thanks Celine for taking care of Adam while we went and voted! I can’t remember who I gave all my votes to but the first two went to:

  • John McCarthy, an independent standing on health issues, including mental health. (yes, that is a pony tail!)
  • Noel O’Flynn, a Fianna Fail politician. He helped us a few weeks ago, although in hindsight there was little he could do. I’ll be blogging about that once an appeal is done.

I didn’t vote for the Worker’s Party, Socialist Party (same thing?), Sinn Fein or the Greens.

Around the Irish blogosphere:

  • Mel listed who he voted for.
  • Claire voted for the first time.
  • The Swearing Lady ponders the paradox that the Irish government wanted Sinn Fein to be part of the administration in the North, but nobody will touch them with a barge pole down south.
  • Adam thinks Rock the Vote was a complete failure. As I only became aware of that movement through blogs talking about it and taking the piss out of it I’d have to agree.
  • More coverage from, Irish Election, and of course Damien has plenty to say on the election. I rather enjoyed the grey tigers video he posted!

Can you vote on the 24th?

My dad texted me to ask if I was registered to vote in Blarney because he checked the electoral register and neither Jacinta or I were found there. I know we’re registered because we filled in and sent off the forms months ago and we’re receiving junk mail from politicians to prove it! Nevertheless I went to to check the electoral lists and sure enough we’re there. You have to scroll down quite a bit because the list of place names similar to our address is quite long. It’s still got an awful interface btw.

Like Michele, both of us can vote in two places. So much for the famous cleanup of the lists last year. They obviously weren’t that careful checking. Would I be commiting a crime if I voted twice? I wonder what the penalty for doing so is? What about a spoiled vote? Does that count?

Humour In the news When-in-Ireland

Take a hint Mary Harney!

I’ve previously written at length about Mary Harney and my distaste for what she’s doing to the health service in Ireland so this image posted to Blogorrah made me smile.


There’s a general election on May 24th but I thought Harney would be retiring after her disgraceful stint as Minister for Health. It came as a shock that she’s actually standing in the election!

To see more of Mary Harney be sure to check out the cartoons on Langerland!


Missing your National Geographic?

Due to my ongoing problems with An Post, the postal service in Ireland, I wasn’t overly worried when this month’s copy of National Geographic didn’t materialise on time. It rarely does.

However, it’s getting on a bit, it’s the 17th of the month so I rang their Dutch offices(the only number I had for them) and found out that a shipment of magazines destined for Germany and Belgium went astray. Susan, the very nice woman on the other end of the phone verified my account details and told me that a few customers in Ireland were affected too. She promised that a copy of the missing magazine would be sent out to me from their American office immediately and I should expect it within 2 weeks.

So, if you’re missing this month’s copy of NGM, visit where you can type in your customer number and find out where it’s gone.


Vote for the person or the party?

I’ve had cause to get in touch with my local TD, Noel O’Flynn, recently over an urgent matter and he has been very responsive and helpful. Some will say that it’s an election year and our elected officials will be extra careful to keep their constituents happy but even in past correspondence he responded promptly. I’m not normally a Fianna Fail voter but this year that may change.

So, will you vote for the person or the party? Do party policies matter more than the active local politician who represents you?

Donncha When-in-Ireland

More fun at the hospital

We spent over 2 hours this morning at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH). Little had changed since last week. Appointments were still impossible to make so Jacinta was told to come in early and wait.

It was crowded last week, but if anything, it was worse today. Most seats were taken but it’s a funny thing about some people – even when there are seats to sit on they’ll continue to stand. Even heavily pregnant mothers. I can’t figure it out. Martyrs?

This last week has seen Ireland sweltering under a blistering warm sun and conditions in the hospital were as stuffy as before. I stood near a radiator in the corridor and was shocked to find it was lukewarm. Expectant mothers looked on in disbelief when I mentioned this!

You’ll meet all sorts in the hospital. All races and creeds are represented in those hallways and unfortunately Irish racism is alive and kicking. A man at the end of the corridor was heard to say, “I should learn a foreign language and get an interpreter. We’d be seen sooner.” Shortly afterwards, his partner commented on the pronouciation of a foreign doctor saying that it was hard to understand him.

Good news however, I’ll be a dad within the next 7 to 8 days (hopefully). Due date is tomorrow but if nothing happens, Jacinta will be induced by the end of next week.

In related matters, Justin provides a transcript and commentary on Green Party candidate Patricia McKenna’s assertion on national radio that there’s a link between MMR and autism. That link has been discredited and I’m following this closely, but all it takes is one comment from the parent of an autistic child to make me doubt my convictions. Conor has more to say on the matter too.

He also reported a few weeks back that children in a Cork creche were found to have Tuberculosis (TB). Munster, the southern region of Ireland, does not have a programme in place to vacinate babies and children, but after the recent outbreaks, the HSE will introduce it later in the year. The vaccine is called BCG and has been administered in all other parts of the country. The Wikipedia page on Tuberculosis has a lot more information on the disease.

More and more bloggers I read are becoming parents. Maybe I’ve become more aware of the announcements, or maybe it’s simply that they are at that stage in life when they’re starting or expanding families. Remember when you and all your friends were celebrating your 21st birthdays?

Health In the news When-in-Ireland

Harney forces Cork midwives to resign


The Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has a lot to answer for. Nurses, midwives, consultants and other staff in the newly opened Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) are stretched to the limit coping with the pressure of expectant mothers and babies from the original three maternity hospitals in the city.

Cork University Maternity Hospital

We spent over two hours in a stuffy, crowded and very warm waiting area to be seen by a midwife and a consultant this morning. It was in stark contrast to the empty hallways and calm of the hospital just two weeks ago when we were given a tour of the facilities and offered a glimpse of a gleaming high-tech maternity environment. Pregnant women, partners and children waited in the sweltering heat while staff were run off their feet. The waiting area was unfortunately too small, there weren’t enough seats, and pregnant women had to make do by leaning against the walls of the corridors while waiting to be seen.

Despite the pressure, staff were as nice as always. Midwives were considerate, helpful and professional, but when asked about how things were going I heard that 2 had resigned and 4 had taken sick leave. As well as being short staffed to begin with, the remaining staff are even worse off now. Some workers are pulling 11 hour days.

Did I forget to mention that this 75 million Euro hospital doesn’t have air conditioning? Can you imagine the heat and mood in a small area where the only air comes from 2 slightly ajar windows and from internal corridors? It wasn’t nice. At least the two expensive flat screen LCD screens on the walls kept us occupied with day time TV courtesy of TV3. Oh yeah, that’s what we need.

Thanks to Mary Harney’s bullying tactics last week the hospital opened a week late on Saturday last. She had threatened to find a different use for the building if midwives didn’t accept her terms and move to the new hospital. Midwives and consultants protested that staffing levels weren’t high enough and I bore witness to that shortage this morning. Even the computer system there is broken and not expected to be working until this evening. No appointments could be made so women had to come on a first-come-first-served basis to the morning clinic. One woman we met there had been there since 8.30am. We arrived at 11am. Apparently it was even worse on Monday.

Teething problems with a new hospital? Perhaps, but if Mary Harney wanted the hospital opened a week previously shouldn’t those problems have been sorted out then?

Truly, healthcare is a vocation. I couldn’t do it. The midwives and staff deserve all the support they can get.


Office space for the single worker

Do you work from home? Do you wish you could share the cost of an office space with like minded individuals? was launched a few days ago by Jason Roe and whose goal is to, “promote coworking in ireland, to provide a community space for coworkers to team up and to serve as a guide to people who are looking to go out on their own.” I love the notion of a “community of cafe-like collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents”.

It’s a great idea and I for one will be subscribed to the blog and keeping an eye on developments. I’m not the only one: James and Justin have both expressed an interest in the venture.

This wiki page has more details on what coworking is with a long list of posts on the subject and links to coworking initiatives all over the world!