My Blog Awards thank you speech

I finally made it to the Blog Awards. After years of trying but never managing to avoid the clash with An Tóstal or my own birthday plans I finally made it. I’m hoping that the fact that I trekked from Dublin to Cork will make me seem less of a blogger wannabe.

I also took a more active role this year even though I had previously offered to help judge the Irish Language category in particular. This year, after a gruelling vetting process (ahem!) I was accepted as a judge of the 2009 Irish Blog Awards. Maybe there should be a gruelling vetting process because it’s a gruelling judging process. I think I’m too nice to be a judge. I was inclined to think, “Ah sure you made the effort.” Okay I was inclined to think that for the first five. Then I turned into a vicious bitch and by blog number 18 I was thinking, “Call that blogging? Yer ma!” and then I went back and recalculated the first five in that mood. And that was just round 1 and I abstained from judging two blogs because I do not speaky the soccer. However the second round was, in a way, easier because I had two categories so I was able to focus more. Overall however I was very impressed with the quality of the blogs and enjoyed discovering new blogs that I don’t already read. One of the criteria for judging the blogs is community which I judged based on the interaction with commenters. As a result I have decided that I am going to email all my family and friends and have at them for not following and commenting on this blog which I create with them in mind. Why else would I include the “subscribe by email” option except for that bunch of luddites? (See my cunning tactic there?)

Off I tripped to Cork on the 7pm train to stay with my good friend the Corkonian Architect in her beautiful home (pictured right). Big thanks to her for putting me up and for coming along for the best Saturday night out I’ve had in a long time. (The MBA zombie and two snot nosed brats aren’t much competition to be fair.) As mentioned in the previous post we went for a walk and then back home to get ready for the Ladies Cocktail Party at the bizarrely yet attractively appointed Cork International Airport Hotel. A big thank you to the hostess with the mostest, Sabrina Dent for the lovely afternoon in the genteel company of some lovely ladies. (What happens at the tea party and all that…). Big ups to the chaps in Curious Wines who I subsequently had very interesting chats with – thanks guys: if I was babbling it was because you gave Sabrina too much wine. It would have been rude not to drink it. However there was plenty to eat as well and I shnarfed a couple of divine muffins from Píosa Cake (I particularly like these creations although they were surprisingly not present on Saturday…) Thanks also to Ciara from for the cool “I refuse to participate in a recesssion” badge!

Then onto the main event which was, put simply, a really fun night. I was even asked to pose by the photographer from the Evening Echo. However I lessened the likelihood of imminent Cork celebrity (even though I had a real Corkonian beside me) by bickering with the photographer about the total demerits of my leaning against the car to have my photo taken. (I mentioned the bizarre interior, didn’t I?) He didn’t understand my issue (what kind of a photographer man has never seen a Pirelli calendar?) but demurred and moved us elsewhere.

The thing I loved the most about the Blog Awards was the diversity of people in attendance: young, old, from all walks of life and areas of interest. This is a reflection of the diversity of the blogs out there and I would imagine over the coming few months, as people are laid off or their hours are cut down, we could see an explosion of blogs. I like to think that the sense of community that these people will gain from this hobby will sustain them and possibly spawn plenty of new ways of living.

We got goodies on the night too including polystyrene speech bubbles from Made In Hollywood and an invitation to enter a competition. Here’s my attempt to win EUR150. I promise I’ll give the child a tenner if I win.

My entry for the Made in Hollywood competition
My entry for the Made in Hollywood competition

And lastly thanks to Damien and all his crew for all the hard work they put in – not least in the intros to each award.

And of course you know who I forgot in my thank you speech? My darling husband, Himself, for doing the single dad thing for the weekend.

Croc na gCearc

In the forest on the way to the top of Carrigmaclear, Co. TipperaryEnglish below

Bhí deireadh seachtaine den chéad scoth agam i measc mo dhlúthchairde le déanaí. Bhí grúpa de haonar déag taghtha le chéile chun seanchara linn a seoladh i dtreo a pósadh a bheidh ar siúl i mí Lúnasa. D’eagraigh a péire bridesmaids agus na mná ar fad craic, ceoil, bia agus deoch do chách agus bhain na circ ar fad an-taitneamh go deo as an deireadh seachtaine ar fad. Bhí bia úr, blasta agus galánta againn déanta don chuid is mó ag Bittersweet Food Company: Seafood Bouillabaisse followed by Cress, Pear and Pecan salad and finished off with Karen’s signature chocolate fondant with creme fraiche and mixed berries. I hate to admit it but her chocolate fondant is better than my chocolate fudge cake. Agus neart cocktails déanta ag na Cocktail Queens!

Tá gach seans ann go mbeadh muid tar éis taitnimh a bhaint as an deireadh seachtaine cuma cá háit a rabhamar ach níl aon ceist faoin rud gur chuir an teach a roghnaigh na bridesmaids go mór mór leis an deireadh seachtaine. Croc an Óir i Mullinahone, Tiobráid Árainn a bhí ann agus má tá slua ban ann a bhfuil taithí acu ar “self-catering accomodation” (Bear with me I’ve an Irish Language spell checker that i not as bilingual as I am) is muidinne iad. Is dócha go bhfuil saoire caite againn in iostais féinfhreastail ar a laghad i ngach cúige in Éireann agus gach seans i ngach contae chósta in iarthair na tíre agus níl ann amhras go b’é seo an áit is deise. B’fhéidir nach bhfuil sé díreach chomh pictiúrtha ach cinnte tá siad níos saoire ná títhe Landmark ach leis an áiseanna céanna. Miasniteoir (great word!), meaisín níocháin agus triomadóir. Bhí sciana géara ann (annamh go leor in iostais féinfhreastail), bhí seomra codlata le en suite a bhí oiriúnach do chathaoir rotha agus dhá seomra folctha eile. Bhí spás a dhóthain do aonar déag agus bhí a teaichín beag féin ag bean amháin. Agus do na ceoltóirí atá ag léamh: tá seomra ceoil ann freisin. Chuamar ar siúlóid álainn ar an Sathairn agus lean roinnt dúinn ar aghaidh chomh fada le barr Carraig mo chliar. Bhí an radharc anseo gleoite ar fad.

Is léir go ndeachaigh muidinne i bhfeidhm ar úinéir an tí freisin mar dúirt sé an méad seo i r-phost le ceann de na bridesmaids:

“Many thanks for your kind words in the guest book. My Mother met the bus driver’s wife yesterday and she told her how impressed he was by you all. His previous experiences with hen parties had not been so positive. Tell the girls they left a good impression in Tipperary.”

Makes us sound kinda boring… he did call us girls though. Hooya! And I didn’t need his invitation to know I’ll be going back to Croc an Óir.

The view from CarrigmaclearHad the best weekend last weekend when 11 of my friends got together to send off one of our best friends before she gets married in August. Her two bridesmaids organised with a little help from her friends a great weekend of music, fun, food and cocktails. Amazing, tasty, fresh and elegant food from the Bittersweet Food Company: Seafood Bouillabaisse followed by Cress, Pear and Pecan salad and finished off with Karen’s signature chocolate fondant with creme fraiche and mixed berries. I hate to admit it but her chocolate fondant is better than my chocolate fudge cake. And plentiful cocktails from the Cocktail Queens!

Chances are we would have enjoyed ourselves no matter where we were but there’s no question that the accommodation that the bridesmaids chose definitely added to the weekend. We stayed in Croc an Óir in Mullinahone, Tipperary and if there was ever a group of women who know their self-catering accommodation we are them. We must have stayed in holiday homes in certainly every province of Ireland and quite probably every coastal county in the West. Maybe not as picturesque as Landmark houses but definitely cheaper and with all the same facilities: a dishwasher, a washing machine AND tumble dryer. One bedroom had an ensuite that was wheelchair accessible. (Actually the only negative thing I’d say is that this room also had an unneccesary skylight with no shade so we were woken at the crack of dawn. Definitely not good after all those cocktails.) There were two other bathrooms and one of the ladies had a little house all to herself. And for the musicians reading this: there’s even a music room. We went for a fun walk on Saturday and some of us carried on right to the very top of Carrigmaclear where we were awarded with stunning views and history.

As the quote above testifies we obviously made an impression on the owner as well!

Citizens do journalists out of jobs?

(Dammit just lost this post when my browser crashed. Trying to piece it together)
Josh Catone writes on ReadWriteWeb in the aftermath of Wednesday’s earthquake in Britain that

“citizen journalism tools being used by people who were on the ground in those areas [are] scooping the mainstream press.”

In his piece about this he refers to BreakingNewsOn a site that uses Twitter to report breaking news. I decided to have a look at BreakingNewsOn. Six of the top ten stories at the time I looked at it referred to traditional news agencies (CNN, ABC, New York Times etc.) as sources with no links. I think both have their place and Twitter and other micro-blogs are increasingly going to be the site of breaking news. However I think the majority of media consumers will for some time continue to visit sites such as RTÉ and BBC as their main news sources. Similarly I think we will see an increased use of Web 2.0 on traditional media sites. Having worked on a corporate-style news site I agree with the commenter who says “For the MSM to print unmediated chatter is expecting too much, surely?” although I imagine traditional news agencies will have to allow their reporters to do this more and more. The question “Who edits the news?” will generate even more interesting answers.

With the arrival of mobile video streaming from the likes of Qik (do those people know that we can see them all too?) we are also going to see more live video of planned and unexpected events. I think all these “citizen journalism tools” are brilliant especially if you can’t attend an event yourself.

Like the way I won’t be attending the BlogAwards tomorrow. The babysitter was sorted, Himself was roped in (if only in a let’s all go the circus frame of mind) but luckily I hadn’t reached the outfit planning stage when I was struck down with a nasty throat infection. Temperature of 40+ last night. Aches and pains all over. So it’s as well I wasn’t nominated. Really.