Monday, December 2, 2013

"I'm On A Break!" Follow @dublinduchess

As the Christmas season nears and work pressure mounts I'm taking a break.

Expecting to return late in the New Year but Twitter feeds on Dublin happenings and foodie news to continue @dublinduchess

The Circus of Perseverance- Gonzo Theatre Co. at Smock Alley Theatre

A small number is gathering in a very large space for a little reception but there is no doubting the beauty of the upstairs space in the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin's Temple Bar. We're here tonight to see the preview of Philip Doherty's play The Circus of Perseverance which premiered in the Dublin Fringe in 2012 and is resurrected here for a short run.

The Gonzo Theatre was founded by Cavan born Doherty in 2009 and since that time he has written, directed or produced twenty plays.

Running from the 25th of November , tonight (30th) is the last night. It's a find-your-own seat theatre of the hard wooden bench variety but its warmth and friendly environment and smaller size makes it a perfect venue for these smaller runs.

Thirty-something arty-farties abound, no doubt friends of the playwright here to support him on the preview night. These are the country's up-and-coming arty crew and they are bonkers! Soon the rest of the audience is assembling, a mix of characters on a Tuesday work night.

The concept of the play is a ringmaster as narrator with seven interwoven stories "in a mesmerising disco of scenes." Roll on The Circus of Perseverance ..."where life is more absurd than art." The stage is set with a drum set, draped curtaining like a big top and red lights, the ring of the circus delineated by curved blocks and cut traffic cones.

It's a play that highlights today's battles-some of them new, some of them ever present; bills, unprotected sex, emigration, D4ers, junkies, the rugby crowd, tourists, Dublin taxi drivers, religion, bunking the fare on the Dart, hipsters, negative equity, investment apartments in Bulgaria. You get the picture. Is it a play? It's certainly a series of vignettes that start to come together as the first half starts to come to a close. Characters start to cross over into the others story. It's not a new idea but it does deal with today's issues.
 Philip Doherty

It is always exciting to see theatre from young writers. This is writing from someone still polishing his craft- it has high points of humour but does not quite keep the level high enough to maintain attention.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Breifne Early Sole Irish Entrant in 2014 World Cycle Race Raising Awareness for Suicide Prevention

Just received press release for this most worthy of cause which I ask you to recirculate, retweet or just plain tell others about!

Irish man to pedal the planet to promote suicide prevention.

Breifne Earley (32) is aiming to break the world record for cycling around the world by being the sole Irish entrant in the World Cycle Race 2014 hoping to help raise awareness of suicide prevention, depression and mental health and has launched a crowd sourcing campaign at to allow members of the public to help him spread the message that "It's alright not to feel okay".

Having experienced depression himself during his mid to late twenties, tipping the scales at twenty stone, single, unhappy in work and life in general. He created a blog which followed his progress with his ten personal challenges to turn his life around which included losing five stone weight, completing a marathon, 50 blind dates, learning to swim and cook amongst other challenges.

His next challenge is to complete the World Cycle Race starting in Greenwich Park, London on 1st March and passing through twenty five countries on six continents to beat the current record of 107 days, the equivalent of cycling from Dublin to Tralee every day for three and a half months.

Speaking on the launch of this campaign Breifne Earley said "After telling people that I was undertaking this challenge during the summer, I was inundated by offers of support and so this morning I have launched a campaign to allow my friends, family and members of the public to become part of this story, own their own little part of this challenge and most importantly help to spread the message that 'It's alright not to feel okay and it's absolutely okay to ask for help'.

"I've been lucky enough to be able to turn my life around over the last three years, but too many people take another option. I've witnessed the devastation this causes to families, communities and the circle of friends. Suicide should never be an option. There is always support there for people if they would just ask someone, anyone for help. I hope that by setting a good example for others who live with depression and mental health issues I can help them see light at the end of the tunnel."
The CEO of Cycle Against Suicide Maghnus Collins stated "I first met Breifne a number of months back during the Cycle Against Suicide and was immediately taken by his focus and drive towards achieving the mammoth goals he sets himself. He is a real life example of someone who has faced their mental health issues head on and has come through to achieve incredible things. On behalf of Cycle Against Suicide we are humbled and grateful to be associated with this project and we hope it will encourage people to take that first step and ask for help"

Vicki Notaro, editor of FIT magazine said, "Breifne's cause really struck a chord with me, as well as his incredible personal motivation. The Irish Independent on the whole is dedicated to promoting positive mental health, and I believe Breifne's challenge will inspire and motivate the readers of FIT magazine. We love to highlight elite athletes, but also regular people who set their own goals and go about achieving them not only for their own personal gain, but to benefit others."

Philippe Brodeur, director of Aertv said, “The Aertv team were inspired by Breifne Earley and wanted to play a role in his journey. Sport has that unique ability to transcend barriers and Breifne is leveraging that power by promoting a great cause. This venture shows innovation, creativity, ambition and real social goodness; all values that Aertv stands for. We passionately support this wonderful effort and are thrilled to be able to provide an Irish sports video platform for all to follow his path both home and abroad. 

CEO of NADA Martin Kennedy was delighted to help support Breifne in any way possible when he heard about his journey to date and his plans for 2014. "When I heard Breifne's story I was immediately impressed by his strength of character and his ambition to make positive and inspiring changes in his own life but also in the lives of others. NADA's tagline is Enjoy Your Journey and I felt that Breifne was a perfect example of someone striving to live by that ethos. We are privileged to be working with and supporting Breifne and will do everything in our power to ensure he is as ready as possible to take on every one of those 18,000 miles - the most challenging and exciting journey of his life!"

Maria Connaughton of Spin11 said: "From the minute Breifne came through the door of our showroom his positivity, enthusiasm and good vibrations shone through. His touching life story and the incredible happy direction his life has taken in recent years prove that Breifne is a great example of a winner, particularly to people who find it hard to face life, their own fears or their unhappiness. Using the vehicle of sport, particularly cycling, to effect this change is so inspiring to everyone involved in the sport and will no doubt encourage others to follow suit. Spin11 are delighted to support initiatives such as Challenge Ten and are delighted to make technical custom cycling clothing for Breifne for his world cycle."
 Breifne Early

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book reviews: Kevin McCarthy 'Irregulars' and A.W.Timmons 'Here In No Place.'

Two authors I have discovered recently are Kevin McCarthy and A.W. Timmons.

Kevin McCarthy's Irregulars was published in May. It follows on from his first novel Peelers and tells the story of Sean O'Keefe a demobbed RIC-man. Set in the year 1922 in the Civil War we follow the events of Dublin City with its Free Staters and Republicans. But behind the history is a great absorbing story of a Dublin brothel owner searching for her young son who has got himself involved in the fight. The character of O'Keefe is well drawn and we see his human weaknesses as he tries to find a new identity. McCarthy cleverly pairs him in his search with the heavy man of the brothel, Albert. A man who knows how to use his strength, he also has his soft side as the orphan taken in off the streets by the Madame to whom he s now dedicated. The other interesting character is Nora Flynn, an undercover agent who becomes part of O'Keefe's story.

I will be honest and admit that I picked this book up and started it and then put it down for a while. Picking it up later I really got into the story and enjoyed the historical detail as well as the descriptions of 1920s inner city Dublin.

A.W.Timmons's Here In No Place is a much more muted tale. Set in the fictional village of Kiltuam, this is the story of a lost soul. Murt Doran has a past that haunts him and his life has not gone how he planned it. Now living in a guest house, we learn of the death of his wife eighteen years before and how this impacted on his future, his daughter brought up by his sister-in-law and her husband and Murt's drift between odd jobs.

Finally addressing his issues he makes an effort to contact his daughter and we learn of the complications in both her adoptive families past and how this has affected her. Secrets rise to the surface and past hurts are seen to be still tender. Under cutting this story is the close relationship Murt has with his uncle, Quinn and also the patience of his personality symbolised by the renovation he undertakes of an old lamp. There are other interesting characters, such as the other lodger at the guest house and the landlady's alcoholic daughter who each add to the depth of the story.

Moving along in a measured and delicate manner, the story Timmons tells is no less affecting and moving in its final reveal. This is A.W.Timmons's first novel and I look forward to seeing more from him.

Irregulars by Kevin McCarthy and Here In No Place by A.W.Timmons are both published by New Island.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Veggie in Dublin- Part Two

Enthused by the interest in my previous post on the subject of restaurants in Dublin that catered for vegetarians I thought I'd add a few more to the list.

*1. 777 Mexican Restaurant, 7 South Gt Georges St D2
3 starters/small bites + just one main but 4 nice sides

**2. Jaipur Indian, Georges Street D2
3 starters + 8 curry mains with veg option
777                                Jaipur

***3. Zaragosa Tapas, South William St
This new tapas bar has 11 vegetable tapas- worth a visit for that fact alone!

***4.Science Gallery Cafe, Pearse St D2
Only open until 5pm but worth a mention for the great value food which I have heard good reports of recently.
2 veg pizzas, 2 salads, 2 platters plus other daily mains and very nice veggie fillings in panini, foccace and bruschette.
Zaragosa                                                   Science Gallery Cafe

*5. Eden Bar and Grill, South William Street
Crept in by way of 3 starters (1 as main course option) as only 1 main (also as starter portion option)

***6. Las Tapas de Lola, Wexford St
Tapas is a good choice - this restaurant has 5 salads and 9 vegetable tapas.
Eden Bar and Grill                                        Las Tapas de Lola

***7. Musashi Noodles and Sushi Bar, Capel Street
Keep hearing good things about this place and due a visit very soon. Opening soon in the IFSC.
Tofu, avocado, cucumber and asparagus sushi plus avocado and cucumber rolls.

Hope you enjoy exploring these menus and let me know if there are any others I've missed.