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Monday, 22 October 2012

Dublin whats on, Irish House Party Review 2012, Traditional Irish Music, Irish dancing, Irish session, Dublin entertainment, Dublin pubs, Dublin restaurants, Dublin Theatre, Tivoli Theatre

The Irish House Party Dublin Ireland Review 2012

Slide Show of Launch Night

Dublin whats on, Irish House Party Review 2012, Traditional Irish Music, Irish dancing, Irish session, Dublin entertainment, Dublin pubs, Dublin restaurants, Dublin Theatre, Tivoli Theatre
For those of us who were reared on the finest of Irish traditional music, dance and folklore there can be nothing more disappointing than the often ‘plastic’ portrayal of those fine traditions by commercially centred enterprises to pander to a less than patriotic version of our traditions and nationhood. However, that is all about to change, and for the good.

Often, as I have reviewed the hospitality industry in Ireland, I have been pained by scratchy CD representations of Irish music, I have been unhappy to watch tired Irish dancers ‘perform’ their third ‘tourist’ show of the day. Finally, there is Celtic light at the end of the dark tunnel of gross commercialism.
On Thursday the 20th of September 2012, The Irish House Party nestled in Francis Street, Christchurch, Dublin and twinned with the Tivoli Theatre, launched the revival of traditional Irish music and dance in all its glory. Gone are the big blasts and fads of the Riverdance era and its substitutes, and returned are the soft furnishings, and cosy surrounds of a Traditional Irish House Party.
The launch of the Irish House Party kicked off with a food and drink reception in the newly refurbished Irish House Party bar and restaurant at No. 19 Francis Street, Christ Church, Dublin 8. Parking is available both at the Tivoli Theatre Car Park in Francis Street, and on-street parking is also available (FREE after 7pm).
The Irish House Party Bar and Restaurant have been renovated to a high standard and presenting guests with an ambiance that is both welcoming and traditional, in the finest sense of the word traditional, the glowing charm of soft tones and traditional furnishings make the Irish House Party Bar and Restaurant a unique home from home experience. The Irish House Party staff are professional, courteous and offer all that is so often lost in our once famous Cead Mile Failte.
Unlike the often stand offish performers one fines at large commercially driven venues, at The Irish House Party, Ireland’s champion musicians and performers casually introduce themselves around the tables and sit for some banter if so invited to do so. The Irish House Party presents as one thing above all else, a labour of love, it is clear that this is a partnership born out of love for all things Irish, a passion to wrestle Irish culture and tradition back from the grasp of brute commercialism.
As dozens of guests filled out the restaurant on the first floor, the air filled with an aroma of traditional Irish food, Dublin Coddle tickled at the nostrils, as beef and Guinness stew titillated the very soul of all gathered. The food was of the highest standard and would have sat easily on the menu of Dublin’s finest Restaurants. While this was a night of all things Irish, the wine connoisseur was not to be disappointed, with Findlater (wine supplier of choice) providing such suburb choices as Tocornal Sauvignon Blanc and Tocornal Cabernet Sauvignon, just to mention two.
And what would an Irish night be without Murphy’s Irish Stout, Murphy’s Red Ale, Beamish Irish Stout and so forth, all of which combined to make a great meal, a world class experience.
Following food, drink and banter in the Irish House Party Bar and Restaurant, it was time for the 8.30pm show in the Tivoli Theatre. Many will know the Tivoli Theatre for its long service to theatre and music in Ireland. As I walked along the tunnel entrance, I was moved by the diligence of the Tivoli owners to maintain nostalgia with what was clearly a ground breaking partnership between the Irish House Party and the Tivoli Theatre. Once inside the Tivoli, the bar area is nicely set out with traditional seating and a home from home atmosphere, again, staff are both helpful and courteous.
The real surprise comes when one steps through the curtain as it where, and enters what at first glance appears to be someone’s sitting room, that has allowed, friends and neighbours to drop in for a session. The stage replicates a traditional Irish sitting room, with pine dresser and couches setting the scene.
The main body of guests are seated directly in front of the stage, the stage meets guests at head height while seated, making the guest feel as though they are part of a traditional Irish session rather than part of a concert audience. The line-up of musicians and dancers is a ‘Who's Who’ list of the best Ireland has to offer. The casual stage setting makes the audience feel relaxed and at home, the banter, folklore and organic conversation between the session musicians and dancers adds an authenticity rarely if ever seen in modern representations of the Irish traditional session.
Soon the Theatre echoed with the haunting sounds of hundreds of years of all that is good about Irish Culture and Tradition, music and song were not only played but explained, instruments were not a mystery but visualisations used to explain their time and place in our long rich history. Three hundred year old tunes, that made Leonardo De Caprio and Kate Winslet famous in the great epic Titanic, captured the hand and foot stamping mood of the guests gathered, Bono and U2 echoed from the traditional instruments as easily as the lyrics written by 1916 Patriot and Irish hero Padraig Pearse. A straw poll was taken before the bazooka and its player told a strange story about a well-meaning rugby player, and this was followed by Gerry telling a story in song, about a yellow haired girl, who may not have been all that she first appeared.
This session with the Irish House Party was as much about music appreciation as it was about concert and performance; time was taken to explain the instruments, the songs, the dance and the music. The dancers stepped up from the couch causally and periodically, to perform what can only be described as dancing Gymnastics, the dancers reminded the audience, that one does not have to be on a big stage with multi-million Euro backing sets to perform and transcend the very essence of Irish Dance.
Following rapturous applause from the guests gathered, many from America, New Zealand, our own Fair City and other parts of the world it was time to return to the Irish House Party Bar where yet more musicians had gathered to beat out a crescendo of tunes that seen even the most restrained, foot-tapping, hand clapping and singing along with the memories stoked by a timeless echo of ancient tradition.
The Irish House Party has returned Irish music, dance and culture to its true home, that is home is built from the passion and the love of the few, to be shared with the many. The Irish House Party, above all else offers guests a truly traditional experience, that experience is captured in the ambiance, the food, the service, the passion, and most importantly a true Cead Mile Failte has been returned to the Irish session by world class musicians and dancers. dasher 2012

Dublin hotels, special offers, Christmas shopping, short break, cheap hotel, city centre hotels, best rates

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Every year, in early November, there are a plethora of studies and surveys published that tell us how much money we’re going to spend before the Christmas tree comes down and the lights get turned off in early January.
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First out of the traps this year were the un-Christmassy accountants at Deloitte who reported that Irish households were going to spend €966. This is down from more than €1,400 that Irish consumers blew at the height of the boom in 2006 but still considerably higher than EU average of €591.
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Deloitte said that Irish households will spend an average of €499 on presents, with €288 earmarked for food and drink and €178 set aside to cover the cost of going out. A separate study from the Irish League of Credit Unions said Irish adults are set to spend an average of €527 on Christmas this year.
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The reality is many Irish households will go through a whole lot more once the 12 costs of Christmas are taken care of.
1 Food: Irish adults are likely to consume around 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone and also put on an average of half a stone over the festive period. The Deloitte survey suggests that the Irish households will spend €288 on food and drink over Christmas. This seems like a wild under-estimation to us.
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We filled a virtual shopping trolley made up of a turkey, ham, biscuits, mince pies, breakfast material, melon, plum pudding and a few other Christmas Day essentials. We did not go mad but even so, the cost of our basket of 25 items, sufficient to feed a family of two adults and three children on the big day, with a few leftovers, came to €227. Add another €100 for food over the period between December 23rd and December 31st and the grocery bill is more than €300. And we haven’t had a drink yet.
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2 Drink: We did not go mad. We limited ourselves to a case of beer, four bottles of fairly cheap red wine, two bottles of ordinary looking champagne, a small bottle of brandy for the lighting of the plum pudding and one bottle of whiskey to make Irish coffees. Despite our comparative temperance, our bill came to €144. To this we added the cost of two adults going to a pub three times over the Christmas period and having four pints each on each occasion – hardly excessive by Irish standards – and the bill for booze hit €264.
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3 The Christmas party: Office parties are less lavish than they might have been during the boom, but many companies still manage to hold some class of do over Christmas. If you decide to go you should probably allow €30 for taxis and €30 more for drinks. As there are two (probably terrible) Christmas parties to go to in our imaginary home, we double it.
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4 The tree: Perhaps you bought yourself a fake plastic tree years ago in which case you can skip to point five (albeit hanging your head in shame). A real tree will set you back €50.
5 Decorations: If you’re not starting completely from scratch and shop for decorations in Penneys or Ikea as opposed to some high-end department store, you should spend no more than €20 on decorations. Some Christmas lights to replace the tangled, broken mess you pull down from your attic will cost another €20.
6 Presents: According to the Irish League of Credit Unions, Santa Claus will spend an average of €177 on presents for children this year. As there are three of them in our made-up family, his outlay will come to €531. We will allow just €50 per adult in the house – and we are assuming you will not be buying parents, siblings, friends or, heaven forbid, colleagues anything – and the total gift cost comes to €631.
7 Santa Claus: A visit to some class of saggy Santa Claus hidden away at the back of some absolutely packed shopping centre; will cost you €15 per child, a total of €45. Throw in one visit to an ice-skating and a pantomime and the cost of Christmassy outings reaches €165.
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8 Christmas cards: If you send 56 cards, it will cost you at least €10, you’ll need to spend another €27.50 on stamps so suddenly another €37.50 is gone.
9 New clothes: Once all the presents have been bought, you might have money left to buy yourself a a gĂșna nua or possible a new shirt for that Office party that you think you won’t enjoy until you find yourself drunkenly swaying and singing along to Fairytale of New York. Spend just €50 each and that’s another €100 you will need to add on to your Christmas bill.
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The children might also be in the market for new clothes – both to sleep in on Christmas Eve and to wear to church services or to the neighbours the following morning – and if you are canny and shop in TK Maxx you should be able to get them sorted for €60 all in, but even with that cuteness your clothes bill is suddenly €160.
10 Transport: If you want to visit relatives, either down the country or in the city, you’ll need to get there. A trip from Dublin to Cork will cost you about €100 in petrol.
11 Power: Increases in energy costs means the average monthly gas and electricity bills are around €100 each. Assuming more gas is spent cooking and heating over the festive period and more oil is burned keeping the Santa on your roof illuminated, we will allow €50 for Christmas-related energy costs.
12 Extras: We add on just €100 to cover the cost of babysitting, charitable donations and the odd selection box over the 12 days of Christmas. And we’re done.
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The Pricewatch total household spend for what looks like a fairly standard Irish Christmas is an eye-wateringly expensive €2,044.50. And we still have to cover the cost of New Year’s Eve.
Top tips for a cheap Christmas  -
* Book your hotel with use e-mail to communicate and don’t waste your money on phone calls
* Book your Stag or Hen Party with for a real experience and best value
* List everyone that you intend to buy for, then budget a reasonable amount that you can afford to spend on each person.
* Avoid shopping last-minute and try to arrange to go shopping when it’s quieter.
* Agree a spending limit with friends and family or try an option like a Secret Santa.
* If you have a present in mind, shop around and compare prices, both in store and online.
* Be realistic with your food shopping. It is easy to buy more than you need.