The Blog Awards, The Video, The Aftermath

SATURDAY took myself and a few hundred bloggers on a journey across the country to Galway or the fifth annual Irish Blog Awards. We had the motorway up, the scenic route home and in between had a fantastic evening / night / morning in the Radisson Blu in the centre of Galway, the shindig organised by some mighty fine people, assisted by other allstars, and attended by bloggers from all walks of life (more on that below).

I’ve made it to the awards the last four years, enjoyed two great years of it in Dublin, last year in Cork and this year in Galway. Shows like this take a hell of a lot of ingredients, time, money, the patience of saints, sponsors, promotors, advertisers, volunteers and more. Behind the scenes there’s an army of people making contributions from writing up the awards, judging, submitting videos, laying out chairs, providing props, music, food, goodie bags – the whole nine yards – but it has to be said, when it comes to showtime, everything is so smooth, so energy filled and runs so well that by the time you hit the bed after the awards you’ll be planning and booking for next year.

Or at least that’s my take on it anyway and nominated or not, I’m already looking forward to 2011.

Each year brings new faces, new conversations and given the majority of bloggers (I would hazard a guess) are Twitter users in some capacity, the ability to recognise people across the room has gotten a lot easier too. I could namecheck people for the night given how you couldn’t move 20 feet at times without running into someone for a chat but needless to say, it was a great night out in Galway and one that anyone with a remote interest in blogging would really benefit from attending.

The video above is one myself and Ross put together as one of the category introductions for the night. Sneaking in the door at 8pm I gave up my (what I would deem) traditional front-row-ish seats for one right at the back of the room, making it quite easy to duck out the door if the video went horribly wrong. Alas, the laughs were there, the comments and feedback for the 60-second piece were great and I didn’t have to prop up the bar as much as I had anticipated. If there’s an opening for more videos next year you can chalk us down in advance.

In the aftermath of everything, there were agreements to meet up for pints, talk of organising trips up to Belfast or getting people to Kilkenny for a session. Some of those on my “pint list” I didn’t get to link up with but we’ll do something soon.

I found, as I’ve done the past three years, that a trip to the Blog Awards is a great motivator for your own work. Come January of this year I started making more time for the blogs I’ve authored over the past few years. This one alone has seen more posts in the first three months of the year than the last six of 2009, DeviousTheatre.com is going strong and expanding its arts coverage, KilkennyMusic.com has had a recent facelift and online strategy put in place and it’s all coming up blogging here in Kilkenny. With the Irish Web Awards just over six months away we should get a nice, timely kick in the arse to look after our bigger sites as well.

In summary, my thanks to the Blog Awards Army. That includes Damien, Rick, Darragh, Steph, Anto, Brian Greene (whose 90s set could be heard no problem on the garden rooftop after midnight), all those who put together videos, all those who accepted awards, all those who attended, all those I got to chat to, the Radisson Blu hotel (who do an absolutely fantastic breakfast, welcome you off the elevator AND put a Sunday paper in your hand), the new faces and usernames I picked up, the old faces who continue to be great people, Edwina for this most excellent photo and all those who continue to read, write, comment and rate Irish blogs. Yes. All of you, and that lot, are in that army.

Now, it’s back to work.

Gearing Up For The Irish Blog Awards

Irish Blog Awards

A GUARANTEED good night out, solid entertainment, old faces and new and more have been found at the Irish Blog Awards for the last couple of years. Last year saw the first night to be held out of Dublin when hundreds of bloggers descended on Cork’s International Airport Hotel (cracking venue) and at the end of the month, the annual pilgrimage will be made to the Radisson Blu in Galway for the 2010 Irish Blog Awards.

The long lists came out, then the slightly-longer-that-last-year-short-lists came out and we’ll soon be reading the finalists lists before the awards proper on Saturday March 27th where we’ll find out who the blogging public have deemed the creme of 2009/10 in Irish blogging circles.

Sabrina has details on the L’Onglex Ladies Tea Party, there’s a Galway photowalk being organised, another exhibition from Eolai and no doubt a hell of a lot more.

My last visit to Galway was September 2008 with myself and Ross hitting the road for a Strike Anywhere gig in Cuba. Thankfully this time I won’t have to turn around and drive back to Kilkenny at midnight. If the awards have taught me anything over the last few years it’s if you can stay in the awards venue – stay in the awards venue. The drinking, chatting, storytelling, meeting and greeting never seems to end and as a bonus you get to do it all over again at breakfast the following morning.

If you’re planning on heading along on the night, you’ll need to register in advance. Tickets have also gone on sale for €15. A pre-show text message on Wednesday told me I’d be shortlisted under Best Technology blog, something I’m delighted to see. The second round of judging, where the shortlists become the finalists, gets underway from today but nominated in the end or not, you’ll find me in Galway on the 27th.

Wouldn’t miss a night like it…