Kilkenny Arts Festival Launches

ONE OF the highlights of my calendar year (and that of Kilkenny) is the Kilkenny Arts Festival. Now in its 36th year, this year’s festival runs from August 6th to 15th and is packed to the hilt with the best in music, theatre and dance, visual arts, literature, children’s events and more. A long time spectator, last year was the first year I’ve volunteered on the festival and I’m back (along with John Morton) in the same role last year in producing the online content for the festival duration (and blogging the festival via the KAF blog).

That started yesterday with the launch in Dublin where Fergus Shiel put a group of professional singers through their paces to announce the KAF programme for 2010 through a choral performance. The same will be repeated in Kilkenny on August 14th where Fergus will lead a group of around 200 singers through a performance in St. Canice’s Catherdral where works will include Rossini’s Sabat Mater and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.

Check out the video above, or watch the Qik clip of the launch yesterday as it happened.

Train Service Gets Connected, Wifi with Airappz

DART Station at Tara Street
Creative Commons License photo credit: Let Ideas Compete

FIRST THEY upgraded the trains. Then there was the new seats and the power points (offset possibly by the increase in food and ticket prices for the trains themselves). Now it looks like Irish Rail users on the Dublin – Cork – Dublin service will be able to available of wireless internet access, free of charge, courtesy of Irish Rail and Airappz.

Sure enough, they won’t be the first to offer wifi access on public transport with several coach operators around the country, including Kavanagh’s here in Kilkenny, offering on-board wifi but the development is something that has been long hoped for and though trialling for six months will hopefully stick around and get rolled out across the new fleet.

The trail installation will be for a complete trainset for the duration of the trail. After these 6 months Irish Rail will (together with Airappz) evaluate the usage & performance data and based on this they will decide whether or not to put the provision of a fleet-wide wifi service out to public tender.

I’ve never been one to take long journeys on the bus and up until I started driving I would almost always look to take the train, or a connection of trains to reach my destination. Though the cost of tickets has gone through the roof (I was shocked to pay €32 earlier in the week for a return to Dublin from Kilkenny, let alone the cost of a return from Cork to Dublin – €78.50 monthly return at time of writing), the train is still relied on by thousands of business commuters around the country, particularly those living outside of but working in Dublin.

Watching tweets over the last few months and years from those testing out mobile broadband dongles on the train to much joy / sorrow depending on what mobile operator you’re with and /or where on the map you’re passing through, I could only hope that the wifi service that will be rolled out on the Cork – Dublin line will be strong, consistent and ultimately be taken up by passengers and Irish Rail alike, paving the way for rollouts on other lines.

When I’m not driving, and Dublin bound (like this weekend gone), the train is still preferred. And if I could get a solid connection to work from without having to rely on mobile signal, I’d certainly be a happy traveller.

Congratulations to Evert Bopp, more good news for an Irish company.

The Doors Are Open For BizCamp This March

The doors (read registration) are now open for BizCamp taking place after FOWA in Dublin this March. With FOWA taking place on Friday March 6th, BizCamp will make for a great followup as it takes place in Dublin on Saturday March 7th.

Feck the recession? That’s what they’re saying…

It’s based on the fact that each of us as entrepreneurs have loads to learn from our peers. And we have a lot to share with them as well. There are a lot of great things happening in the Irish Economy – especially in small and medium businesses and this day will be a celebration of those. And a great place to come for people who have lost their jobs and are actively looking at starting up

A nice addition to the signup form (which I think should be used for all BarCamp type events) is the ‘You can talk to me about…’ field, which maps over to the attendees list. If you’re going in the hope of meeting someone who can you can ask about content management systems, email marketing, gardening, the use of technology to help emergency services save more lives by making better decisions (Robin), now you’ll know in advance who you might be able to turn to or introduce yourself to.

While it’s likely that I won’t make FOWA, I’m hoping to make the trip to Dublin for the 7th. Registration can be found here.

Update: Registration link updated – thanks Dave

Last Call For TeenCamp Ireland

Don’t forget that TeenCamp Ireland takes place tomorrow at Filmbase in Temple Bar in Dublin.

Over on the TeenCamp Ireland blog they’ve posted the essentials of TeenCamp.

If you’re in the area tomorrow, do head along. While it’s a teen focused event, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind some of the older / more experienced / veteran barcamp-type eventgoers turning up!

Kickoff is set for 1pm with the day running until 7pm. Alan Costello and Enda Crowley are behind the running of the event and you can follow TeenCamp on Twitter, a stream which will hopefully get a few updates during the day tomorrow.

TeenCamp For Dublin Next Saturday

TeenCamp, Ireland’s first barcamp-esque event for teenagers takes place next Saturday, January 17th, in Filmbase . You’ll find Filmbase on Curved Street in Temple Bar in Dublin.

As they say themselves

TeenCamp Ireland is a gathering of the techies/bloggers/fanboys age 13+ of Ireland to give talks, meet others, share ideas and have a laugh.

TeenCamp’s are organised/planned/run by teens for other teens.

They’re still registering for numbers so if you’re intending on going along on the 17th, let them know in advance so they can figure out how many pizzas to order up. Better still, if you’re in a position to help sponsor some pizza, projectors, drinks, hardware, software, goodies – anything at all – be sure and contact them and help get Teencamp off the ground.

The day itself will run from 1pm to 7pm with a break for lunch around 3pm.

See TeenCampIreland.com for more.

Back From Dubai, And It’s Cold

Well, i’m back from Dubai and at time of writing there’s a 31 degree difference in temperature from this morning to this evening. Gone is the sun, replaced instead with cold, fog and freezing conditions.

I’ve made it back alive, my wallet virtually empty, sand in my phone, sand in my bags a light colour on my arms but it’s been an unreal time. Seeing the likes of the Burj Dubai, the Burj Al-Arab, the various malls, restaurants, souks, old areas, new building projects… a real eye opener.

I’ve another stack of photos to upload yet from the N95 and thats even before I touch the camera.

Got caught in a sand storm too this morning on the way to Abu Dahbi but I reckon if we can get through that, the fog on the m50 won’t stop me getting to Killenny and getting a pint in.

By the way, I’d recommend Etihad Airways to anyone. Two fantastic flights, great in-flight entertainment and great food.

For now though, it’s off for another drink refill here in the airport, a sleep on the bus, and a pint on the other end. It’s been a long day…

The Business Of Beauty, Gaming And Music

The Business of Beauty, Gaming and Music

The UCD Quinn School of Business are running three evening talks from next week looking at the business of beauty, gaming and music, giving transitition year, fifth year and leaving cert students “a real insight” into viable career options in the three industries.

These are more than just a talk. They are real business people sharing their vast experience in today’s exciting world of business and the possibilities that can arise from a degree in business.

The Business of Beauty talk will be given by L’Oreal’s Eoghan O’Sullvan and Sarah Keating next Tuesday at UCD from 6:30pm to 10pm.

With a focus on specific ventures, Eoghan and Sarah will highlight the commercial, marketing, finance, supply chain management and human resource aspects to their business while you enjoy funky canapés, mocktails and goody bags on offer at the event

The Business of Gaming talk will run on Thursday October 9th with XBOX Ireland’s Orla Sheridan and Microsoft Game Studio’s Michel Buch Andersen taking to the floor to provide an insight to the current gaming marketplace, “retail distribution channels, profitability models” and more, something being pushed (by the looks of things) towards those studying business, economics or accounting.

However, the one that got my attention is the Business of Music talk being given by Universal’s Freddie Middleton (Marketing Director) and Gill Dooley (Digital Campaign Manager), the talk taking place on Thursday October 23rd. The Business of Music should offer an insight to the role of a record company in the music industry, from a traditional background through to digital media distribution. You think they’ll get a debate going on where record companies are going and how they’ll continue in 5, 10, 20 years?

Students going to the talks also have a chance to win a shadow-day at either Universal Music, L’Oreal or Xbox Ireland. Why weren’t they doing this kind of thing when I was in transition year? Were these events even open to third-level students in recent years?

If you are a second-level student with an interesting in any of the above, then head along. I know I would be anyway if the door was open to me.