Irish Troops placed on alert

One day after 180 Irish troops arrived at Goz Beida in Eastern Chad, the United Nations put the town on high alert and severely restricted humanitarian movements having received reports that an armed group from Sudan was due to arrive imminently. The Sudanese-backed Chadian rebels aim to take control of Chad by attacking the capital, and very nearly succeeded earlier in 2008. Goz Beida was under constant nighttime aircraft surveillance the week that the Irish troops arrived.

Efterklang @ The Button Factory


The old Temple Bar Music Centre sign still hangs on the side of the building, but the Button Factory is a new venue. Gone is the dank cellar of the past, entered through a narrow, steep staircase, past the long benches at the back where zombies wandered. Now we have carpets, mood lighting and soft wood, and a wide expanse of stage visible from the bar at the back of the venue. The slight air of yuppiefication is acceptable in the context of what we had in the past. Worth a visit, if you have not yet been.

La Zona @ IFI

The Campo Viejo Spanish Film Festival recently came to a close in the IFI with a screening of Robert Pia's La Zona, a movie set in a Mexico that most movie goers would not recognise. The Zone is an area of Mexico City that has been given a large amount of autonomy by the authorities, through a suspicious deal with a judge. It is populated by the rich who can afford to pay to live in such security. Behind a wall and guarded by their own well-armed police, they are under camera surveillance, ostensibly for their own security.


Billionaires Row

Forbes Magazine names 6 Irish citizens in its Top 400 wealthiest people in the world. By Tom Rowe

Out with the old

Stateside coverage of the Iraq War drops down the news agenda, while Ireland bids a sad farewell to two of the country's quirkiest magazines. By Tom Rowe

Baby Dee at Whelans

The fact that most of the crowd was listening intently to her music did not seem to lift the spirits of Carly Blackman, known to us as Carly Sings. She has herself described her sound as ‘like Leonard Cohen if he was a girl', so a certain amount of darkness is to be expected, but her performance and body language towards the audience in Whelans on Saturday 22 March was verging on hostile. That said, she does look pretty when she's angry.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

The bane of many Dublin gigs was in evidence in Whelans on Sunday 9 March – too many people who seemingly wandered into the gig by accident. With no interest in the music, they were there to talk loudly around the bar. One music-loving punter even took it upon himself to scream ‘Shut the f**k up! in their general direction, but to no avail. He escaped to the balcony, and the crowd eventually settled down enough to make support act Ugly Megan audible.

Fire and Spice on Dawson

In a 300 year old building attached to The Mansion House, and located on Dawson Street in the centre of Dublin city, Fire certainly warms the cockles. The Mansion House is still the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, but Fire is also from a different era. The high-ceilinged room in which the restaurant is situated is furnished with wooden walls and floors resembling an old-style ballroom. In the past it was used for Irish dancing, banquets and as a gallery.

RTE steps quietly into the unknown

Vague inklings of digital radio may have passed through your consciousness recently. RTÉ announcers occasionally quietly mention that listeners in the greater Dublin area and the North East can now tune into their favourite shows on their digital radios, or make low-key announcements to the press about trial runs of new digital radio channels. 

MSF in Somalia

As one of the few NGO's working in Somalia, a country classified as a ‘failed state' by some commentators, Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) are uniquely placed to report on the true situation in the war torn country where they have worked for over 16 years. Village spoke to Colin McIllreavy, an Irishman working for MSF as Head of Mission in Somalia.