Familial fare in County Mayo

Flanney's Bistro markets itself well — almost everything about it is enticing: the bright, attractive fascade on Ballinrobe's village square, the hearty menu by the entrance, the charming front bar that greets patrons upon entry, the warm, homely interior.

Mellifont Abbey

(Melli-fons, Honey Fountain) 

Ireland's first Cistercian Abbey, Mellifont Abbey was founded by St Malachy, Bishop of Armagh, in 1142. He brought the order to Ireland having  visited the Cistercian monastery run by St Bernard at Clairvaux. The order prospered,  becoming the head house of 20 monasteries and governing thousands of acres in Meath and Louth until its dissolution in 1539.

"Hazardous" advertising signage erected in Dublin

Bloggers at the website Jazzbiscuit.com have recorded a video documenting the hazards of new roadside advertising hoarding erected by Dublin City Council and JC Decaux. According to the footage, the Dublin Transportation Office has called the advertising a "traffic hazard". The advertising was erected on pedestrian walkways and traffic islands in several locations around Dublin. As the video shows, some of the advertising structures obscure traffic lights and crossing pedestrians from the view of oncoming traffic.

Mobile broadband that works

Before long, the download speeds attainable over mobile broadband devices could increase massively. The mobile operator Vodafone, in conjunction with another communications company, is hoping to develop a new technology that will “bundle” broadband channels to give faster speeds.

Pimp my sound system

Bob Dylan strumming in the bedroom, Oasis thrashing through the kitchen and Tom Waits melodising the living room. No, not the ultimate house party, but a neat innovation by Sonos that allows digital music (eg MP3 files) from a single library to be played in multiple rooms at once.

Globalising home computers

In the age of digital photo albums, libraries of MP3s, radio podcasts and movie downloads, a standard PC is hard pushed to keep up with storage demands. Most computers and laptops come with 80GB of disk space, around 50GB of which may be used to stores personal files. A single movie requires upward of 1GB in space. Hence the popularity of external disk drives while have huge storage capacities, allowing important files to be backed up and older files to be archived rather than deleted with each spring clean.

Selective welcomes

Media Focus (see page 21) casts some doubt over Ireland's reputation as the figurative “land of a thousand welcomes”, but 2,249 welcomes are posted on the website couchsurfing.com. Members of the website agree to offer their couch to one another should they be visiting another member's country.

Media propounds negative perceptions of immigrants

The Irish mass media is primarily responsible for propounding widely held negative attitudes to immigrants and asylum seekers. This is a key finding of a recent study into immigration undertaken by sociologists from the University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College. Only two media outlets in Ireland reported on the study, Drivetime (on RTE Radio 1) and the Irish Times, and neither piece dealt with the issue of the media informing attitudes on immigration.

The grass of the sea

The satellite image below shows a large aquamarine-coloured phytoplankton bloom stretching across the west coast of Ireland. Plankton, the most abundant type of life found in the ocean, are microscopic marine plants that drift on or near the surface of the sea. Just like plants on land they employ green-pigmented chlorophyll for photosynthesis — the process of turning sunlight into chemical energy.

Bookmakers advocate slot machines

The organisation representing most Irish bookmakers has advocated to government the introduction of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), or slot machines to betting shops. The Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA), which represents 750 of Ireland's 1,100 betting shops, made the recommendation in its 2007 budget submission to the Department of Finance (obtained under the Freedom of Information Act).