Thursday, 24 December 2009

FOTA WILDLIFE PARK - LAST DAY (hopefully) of freeze

Monday, 14 December 2009



Back to the Opera House on Sunday night to see Mexican duo, Rodrigo y Gabriella, in fast guitar action. Not so fast at the start though. The gig, scheduled for an 8.00pm kick off, didn’t start until 8.30pm. And neither the house announcer nor any of the acts gave any reason for the delay to the paying public. By the end though, after close on two hours high paced playing by the entertaining happy Mexicans, that wasted half-hour was forgotten about.

Irish bundle of energy Wallis Bird, herself no slowcoach on the guitar, opened the show and soon had the audience laughing, clapping and singing along. This dynamic bundle of white topped life loving energy was engaging, funny, irresistible. Besides, she can play and she can sing! Good start.

Rodrigo and Gabriella had played the Savoy on Saturday night to a standing audience and admitted not being used to playing in venues where the audience was largely seated. But the place was packed with their fans. The duo were soon at full tilt, playing numbers from their new (11:11) and previous albums, all at a high speed.

Gabriella is the real speed merchant, her hands blurring as they make the music. Last night those incredibly fast fingers were well captured by the high contrast black and white real time film on the screen behind the duo.

Just a question, out of curiosity. Where is the duo going musically? What will the final destination be? No question, they are fast. But there is more to life than speed. More to music also.

• Mobile phone cameras were hardly in evidence on this occasion but there were quite a few camera flashes, Mickey Mouse guns dying after five or six rows but still annoyingly eye-catching in the dark.

Sunday, 13 December 2009



Paid another visit to Grand Parade hoping for improvement in this market. Sad to report that it is quite mediocre. Well short of the target of fifty stalls and most that are there sell food on the go, some of it quite nice. Very little evidence of "the best of local food and crafts".

Still, the adjacent Bishop Lucey Park is a great place to take the smaller kids.

Thursday, 10 December 2009



Guitar genius Joe Bonamassa turned it on for close on two hours at the Opera House last evening. He is described as a blues player. He is that, but much much more, all demonstrated in a brilliant dazzling stamina sapping performance.

Has been playing since he was a toddler and recalled that his dad used collar him to do music on Saturday afternoons. And on one occasion, the study material included a VHS cassette of Rory Gallagher at the Cork Opera House.

The show was opened by a fresh faced Sandi Thom (I wish I was a punk rocker, 2006) and her band. They weren’t half bad and got a fine reception. But then the adults came out to play. Two non stop hours of WOW!!

Only downside was the amount of people who insisted on using their mobile phones (and, to a lesser degree, cameras) to record bits of the show. The mobiles may not have disturbed the artist but people sitting behind were certainly inconvenienced by the bright screens. Time the Opera House got heavy here – send a bit of beef up and down the aisles. And latecomers shouldn't be so easily accommodated when there is a genius at work on stage.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


see selection of pics at

Enjoyed my latest visit to the Eoin Daly managed Moran Silversprings last night to take part in the Raising Cork Quiz, the hastily but so well organised quiz in aid of the local flood victims. TV and Radio personality George Hook put in a stamina sapping shift and still had enough steam left to snap the final tie with the wisdom and incisiveness of a Pattwell!

It was quite a success, prizes galore, and some €25,000 was raised on the night to be distributed by St Vincent de Paul. Take a bow – all two hundred tables – and especially organisers H&A Marketing who put the impressive show on the road in less than ten days.

Contestant Paschal Doyle reminds George of his roots in Prosperity Square


Wednesday, 2 December 2009



Called into Mick Moriarty, probably better known as the Baldy Barber, in Blackpool today. Shop was busy but I enjoyed the expert haircut and the chat with Mick, who has been operating there for decades.

He has a loyal customer base and told me he has “loads of repeats”. I am not surprised: he keeps his standards up and his prices down. His Christmas wish is that the Government will cut the VAT rate in next week’s budget. It is possible and if it happens Mick will drop his prices.

For contact details and map see:

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

THE BOARDWALK Grand Parade/South Mall


The newly completed Boardwalk at the South Mall end of the Grand Parade is not the biggest in the world but it has its uses.

If the day is fine, you can sit down and have a drink or snack, and enjoy the views. To the left you look down the south channel of the River Lee towards the Holy Trinity Church. In front, you may watch the world go by over the pedestrian bridge and to the right, you have a fine view (photo) of the South Gate Bridge with St Fin Barre's Cathedral looming over it.

The coffee dock is yet to open but that will add to the facility and enhance your break from work, shopping or sightseeing.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009



The Triskel Art Centre is between homes at the moment, waiting for new venue Christchurch (a beautiful 18th century building) to be restored. At present, it is Music at Jury’s and Art in, of all places, the disused Electricity Supply Board substation in Caroline Street.

The current exhibition, by Shane Cullen, in Caroline Street, is pretty appropriate to the industrial location, dealing as it does with the “dehumanizing threat inherent in our increasing dependence on technology and counterpointing this with references to individual examples of struggle and endurance”.

Large scale works such as The Concern of the Warsaw pact (1992) and, very appropriately, Factories Electricity Regulations (1995), are used to make the point.

It is even more “industrial” downstairs. I thought I’d walked into a welding shop but instead the flashes and the noise were coming from four simultaneous video works, all by Adham Faramawy (born 1981), a London based artist of Egyptian descent.

Perhaps, the Triskel should hold on to the electricity sub-station. Not sure the restored Christchurch would really enhance the presentation of the current exhibitions!.

for contact details & map see:



Bringing art to the people is a regular, often empty, slogan. But Paul Mulvany has done it with his Market Gallery, in the English Market, right in the heart of Cork!

When I was in this morning, I had a look at the work of Russian painter Igor Logino. These small format, brightly coloured canvases of familiar Cork City scenes are, I’m told, “a constant favourite with tourists and locals alike. All works on sale at the gallery are accessibly priced”.

Mulvany himself, who also runs the Rave Cave stall in the Market, is the other artist that uses this small space and his work is very different. It can be seen on his website.
for map see: