Aug 192010
 

Whale Watch Ireland, Galley Head, Cork Whale Watch Ireland is an annual all-Ireland land-based whale watching event run by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). This year’s watch will take place on Sunday 22 August between 2pm and 5pm at 15 headlands around the Irish coast.

This is a completely free land based watch (no boat-trips involved), and experienced IWDG guides / spotters will be on hand to give you the best chance of spotting some of the 24 cetacean species encountered around the Irish coast.

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator Padraig Whooley showing children a whale jaw-bone at Whale Watch Ireland Some of the species you’re most likely to spot include harbour porpoise, common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, minke whale, if you’re lucky you may see fin whales blowing offshore, and if you’re REALLY lucky perhaps a humpback will put in an appearance.

As with all wildlife related events, there are no guarantees you’ll see anything – but the anticipation and uncertainty all adds to the excitement… and it’s a fabulous, free family outing at some of Ireland’s most spectacular natural locations.

Here’s a list of Whale Watch Ireland 2010 locations from the IWDG site:

Location Meeting Point Watch Leader
Howth Head, Dublin Balscadden Car Park Brian Glanville
Bray Head, Wicklow Pitch & putt car park Dinah Boyne
Hook Head, Wexford Hook Lighthouse Kevin Mc Cormick
Ardmore, Waterford Ram Head signal tower Andrew Malcolm
Galley Head, Cork Lighthouse Pádraig Whooley
Garranes, Beara, Cork Dzogchen Beara Ctr Patrick Lyne
Slea Head, Dingle Penisula, Kerry Slea Head Shrine Nick Massett
Brandon Point, Kerry Car park Mick O’Connell
Loop Head, Clare Lighthouse Aoife Foley
Black Head, Clare Lighthouse Joanne O’Brien
Downpatrick Head, Mayo Car park Conor Ryan
Mullaghmore Head, Sligo Mullaghmore lay by Fiona Farrell
Lough Swilly, Donegal Fort Dunree Dermot Mc Laughlin
Portstewart Head, Derry Harbour Hill Jim Allen
Larne, Antrim Larne Town Park, Glenarm Rd Ian Enlander

So get yourself to a headland near you on Sunday to find out more about the whales and dolphins around Ireland, and hopefully see a few for yourself.

I’ll be at the Galley Head watch in Cork… if you’re in the vicinity come say hello!

Dec 102009
 

Help Portrait Picture framing service / sponsorship needed for Help Portrait Cork… can your business help?

Max 75 frames and mounts, needed – contact Paul O’Mahony for details

Paul O’Mahony, of MarketingWriteNow got in touch earlier today about a fantastic initiative taking place at the Clarion Hotel in Cork on Saturday 12 December from 9:30 to 15:30.

Help portrait is an international movement of photographers and other professional who are donating time, equipment and expertise to give something back to those less fortunate than them this Christmas. Here’s a video explaining the initiative.

The idea is to help boost the self image and self esteem of people who would never normally consider or be able to afford getting a professional photographer to take their portrait. Who’s that, you might ask? Well, according to the Help Portrait site it could include:

Who needs pictures? Anyone who wouldn’t normally have access to or be able to afford professional photography.

We suggest the following groups of people for starters…-

  • the homeless
  • orphans
  • single moms (and their kids)
  • single dads (and their kids)
  • sick children
  • sick parents
  • the elderly
  • army vets
  • underprivileged families
  • your neighbour?

Some of Cork’s leading photographers are already on board for Help Portrait, and they’ll be supported by photography assistants, make-up artists and a host of other volunteers on the day.

But the organisers are still desperately in need of support and sponsorship. If you’re in Cork, and would be willing to contribute time, resources, catering or a donation of cold, hard cash to support the initiative get in touch with Paul via the Marketing Write Now contact page.

And especially if you can donate / would be willing to sponsor photo frames and mounts for the event please talk to Paul before the end of the day tomorrow (Thursday 09/12) to get things sorted.

If your a blogger, twitterer or facebooker please help spread the word about this great event.

UPDATE: Read more about who was involved in Help Portrait Cork on Paul O’Mahony’s blog, and see some great photos of the action on the day over on Roger Overall’s blog

Dec 092009
 

Uncle Frank "enjoying" Cork on Ice It’s official… I still have all of my extremities. I know this because I’ve counted them. Two arms, two legs, eight fingers, two thumbs, and ten toes.

Three weeks ago it had seemed like such a good idea. My wife was browsing the Cork on Ice website and asked if I’d be up for going ice skating with the gang. Sitting at home in a warm living room saying yes had been easy. Now the day had arrived though I was feeling a bit less assertive.

Me, blades and a large expanse of cold, wet slippery stuff… not a good combination.

I’ve been ice skating maybe three times in my life. The first was as a child, when we were taken to a huge Ice rink in North Wales on a school trip. As with most unpleasant experiences, my mind has obscured most of the details. All I remember is clinging, white-knuckled, to the edge of the rink, making my way inch by painful inch around the perimeter. In my mind’s eye all I could see was images of bloody skate-blades and severed fingers. From the moment I stepped onto the ice I remember praying for the experience to end.

The next time was a friend’s birthday party. When I found out we were going ice-skating it was all that my parents could do to convince me to go. This time I was a little braver, and actually let go of the side. Big mistake… I spent more time spread-eagled on the ice than I did actually skating. Cold, wet and miserable I vowed never to set foot on an ice rink again.

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Nov 022009
 
creative minds

Image by lism. via Flickr

Only four days to go before Understanding Digital: CREATIVE, when Damian Ryan and I will be hosting four leading speakers in the online creative space at the National College of Ireland in Dublin.

The event is on Thursday 05 November at 4pm.

On the agenda we have:

  • Dave Birss, former creative head of Poke London, now Head of Digital with OgilvyOne in London.
  • Nick Suckley, Managing Partner of Agenda21 Digital.
  • Matt Butterworth, former Managing Partner, Founder and Digital Strategist with Folk Creative.
  • Robin Grant, Founder of We Are Social.
  • … and of course the co-authors of Understanding Digital Marketing: me and Damian!

That’s four award-winning digital creative thought-leaders and a couple of widely acclaimed online marketing authors ready to share the secrets of creative online marketing with YOU!

But that’s not all… there’s also a drinks reception afterwards courtesy of Design Week sponsors Bombay Sapphire!

The cost to tap into this extraordinary pool of digital marketing insight, including drinks and a valuable opportunity to network: just €50!

That has to be a bargain in anybody’s book….

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Understanding Digital: CREATIVE site now to secure your place at what promises to be an amazing digital marketing event! And don’t forget to come over and say “hi” :-).

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Oct 102009
 

05 November 2009, National College of Ireland, Dublin @ 4pm, €50

Speakers at the Understanding Digital: CREATIVE event

Speakers at the Understanding Digital: CREATIVE event

Disclosure: Shameless self promotion to follow 😉

As most of you reading this probably know, last year, together with my co-author Damian Ryan, I had a book called “Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation” published.

The book is doing well… and we signed contracts with our publisher, Kogan Page, last month for a follow-up book. This one will highlight the world’s best examples of online marketing. We’re very excited about it… but more about that nearer the time.

Creative online marketing is the key to better ROI

There’s no getting around it, online marketing is the key to maximising the return on investment from your marketing spend, but to do it effectively you have to get creative. Try new things, analyse the results, experiment, and use the unique measurability of online media to inform your decisions.

Do more of what works, stop doing what doesn’t, and never stop innovating.

Get creative with your online marketing… think outside the digital box… and you’ll reap the rewards. But where do you start?

Well, you could join us at the National College of Ireland in Dublin of the evening of the 5th of November for Understanding Digital: CREATIVE. We’re bringing four of the brightest creative minds in online marketing together to share their expertise with you as part of Design Week 2009, in association with ICAD and Results International Group.

Check out the event micro-site for more details and to book your place… see you there!

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Feb 172009
 
Irish Blog awards longlistThe finalists of the Irish Blog Awards have been announced!

Unfortunately neither this blog nor the SOHO Solo West Cork blog made the cut — but I can’t say I’m surprised. The shortlisted blogs are superb, and I’ve been neglecting mine a bit of late. I was plenty stoked just to make it to the long-list :-).

Anyway, this is just a quick post to congratulate all those who made it through, and to wish them all the very best on Saturday night in Cork.

If you haven’t already, check out the blogs that made the cut… they’re well worth a look.

Feb 102009
 

Yay! This blog, and the SOHO Solo West Cork blog that I look after, have both made it to the Irish Blog Awards longlist.
 

I’m delighted… although a little curious that I’m in the “journalist” category. I’ve been accused of journalism (very) occasionally, but have never really considered myself a journalist, as such. I write about stuff that interests me… and I’m very lucky that sometimes people pay me ;-)… but you won’t find me actively hunting down the latest scoop, or unearthing some nefarious government scheme.

This post is very much a case of “Better Late than never”. I meant to post about it last week when the longlists were announced, but decided to migrate to a new operating system (I ditched Microsoft Windows Vista in favour of the Kubuntu variant of the Ubuntu Linux Distribution — but more on that in another post) which took more time than anticipated.

So I’m rushing this out just before the shortlists are announced. Whatever happens I’m over the moon to have made the longlist… twice.

Sep 122008
 

profile I’m working with CorkBIC at the moment to help revitalise the West Cork chapter of the small business networking group SOHO Solo.

Networking is a vital part of running any small business, and over the years I’ve found belonging to SOHO Solo invaluable in all sorts of ways. Yes, I’ve gained business directly from other members, and referrals, but for me the true value of the network goes far beyond attracting new business.

The true value of small business networking

When you’re working from home you’re often working alone. As I writer I spend much of my working week sitting in my office tapping away at my keyboard, as I’m doing right now. While I’m in constant contact with lots of people through online social media, e-mail and even the telephone (hey… call me old fashioned!), sometimes it’s important to get some “face time” with other people.

Meeting other people in person helps to keep you sane, and to realise that actually, there are other people out there facing similar challenges to you. Perhaps more importantly, you also find that there are people who’ve already overcome those challenges successfully, and are more than willing to share their experiences.

Attending a meeting is a break from the routine of the home-office, and is as much about human social interaction as it is about business, for me at least.

I find that SOHO Solo is a gateway to new connections, interesting perspectives and a vein of untapped expertise and potential. An exercise we conducted a couple of years ago unearthed a staggering wealth of experience in the SOHO Solos in west Cork.

We unearthed a former shipping executive running a wedding card business, a Swiss banker running an organic wine importation business, a marine biologist/Mexican taco vendor/IT Project Manager now running a freelance writing consultancy and wedding invitation business (that would be me :-)) and a whole host of other histories spanning an eclectic mix of industries and disciplines. The point is, SOHO Solo’s – or independent entrepreneurs as I like to call them – weren’t always “solo”, and bring a whole host of skills and expertise to networking events that aren’t necessarily related to what they’re doing now.

And the great  thing is that they’re only too willing to offer their help advice and support. They say a problem shared is a problem halved… but more often than not, with SOHO Solo I find that a problem shared is a problem solved.

Come and join the party

On Wednesday 17th September in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery I’ll be facilitating an open discussion on how SOHO enterprises can harness the power of social media to help their business. From market research to networking with peers to gauging opinion, online PR and consumer engagement, social media offers a suite of tools and opportunities for smaller businesses. Let’s explore some of them together….

Jun 032008
 

My wife is mad about Prince – and she’s been so supportive and understanding while I’ve been immersed in this Digital Marketing book project, that on the spur of the moment I decided to see if I could snag a couple of tickets for his upcoming concert in Croke Park.

Off I went to Google.ie to search for Prince Ireland. The first entry in the results page that was for Prince concert tickets was this one, from a crowd in the Netherlands called worldticketshop.com. All of the right bells and whistles were there… verified by Verisign, SSL secure server, etc. – but the cheapest tickets on offer were for €265, which seemed a bit on the steep side.

Worldticketshop

This was going to be more expensive than I’d anticipated… or was it?

I went to Ticketmaster.ie, which of course is where I should have gone in the first place, and bought two tickets for €66.50 each (and before I’m labelled a cheapskate let me just say that I looked for the the €89 category, but it had sold out, and the higher priced tickets seemed a bit on the extravagant side – so we’ll be a little way from the action, but hey, we’re there for the music, right?). Total cost for two tickets including Ticketmaster’s do f**k all fee handling fee (who are they trying to kid on an automated website with e-mail ticket delivery?) €145.70. Or about €120 cheaper than one ticket from Worldticketshop.com. Sorted.

Ticketmaster

What this really illustrates is that you need to be careful what you search for on Google, and shop around before you buy. Searching for Prince Ireland returned a few results for books from Amazon.com, followed by the rip-off worldticketshop.com site. Had I searched for Prince Tickets instead, two of the first three organic results returned would have been for Ticketmaster.ie.

So buyer beware – and remember that Google’s results are only as good as the queries you throw at it.