Traditional gifts such as bicycles and Lego are back in fashion this Christmas according to new research from Core

One third of children will ‘constantly’ change their minds when it comes to writing their Santa letter

Unicorns are amongst some of the more unusual requests this Christmas


Traditional gifts such as bicycles and Lego will be all the rage this Christmas, according to new research by Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company.

As children across Ireland pen their letters to Santa, and with the The Late Late Toy Show airing this Friday, all of the elves in Core have been working hard to predict the five key trends that will impact Christmas wishlists this festive season.

Using a combination of field research, search trends over the past 12 months and detailed analysis, the team at Core has revealed that:

  1. Traditional gifts are back in fashion

While each Christmas sees newcomers top the list of most-wanted toys, the data shows that some classic staples remain ever-popular with Irish children. Core surveyed Irish parents to ask about their children’s wishlists and bicycles emerged as a firm favourite with Irish children, beating competition from brand new toy types to top the league table.

Following close behind, LEGO remains a favourite brand with children, and this is borne out by search data. While general searches for LEGO are down 25% on last year, search spikes around special LEGO editions themed around Harry Potter are up 1,000%, helping LEGO to remain on track with fans.

  1. Tech remains in vogue

While traditional toys are in demand, tech shows no sign of going out of fashion, with laptops, iPhones and iPads all featuring strongly across wishlists. Gaming is also topping the charts, with Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation among the top ten requests cited by parents surveyed.

Online searches for PlayStation are steady, with a spike around Black Friday, while Nintendo Switch looks set to finish out the year strongly, with searches for the gaming system trending ahead of last year.

  1. L.O.L Surprise Dolls reign

Some gifts never go out of fashion, and this year sees another doll brand emerge as a hit with Irish children. L.O.L Surprise! Dolls feature strongly in the top ten gift options requested by children, coming in at fourth place. The popularity of the dolls should come as no surprise, with searches for the dolls growing steadily since last year.

  1. Re-drafting their Santa letters!

While wishlists may already have been drafted, there’s a strong chance that edits will be made after this Friday’s Late Late Toy Show. The survey of parents revealed that 32% of children “constantly change their mind,” 44% “change it once or twice” with only 25% of children happy with their current draft.

  1. A divided wishlist

While the majority of wishlists throw up the same types of toys, some parents reported diverse requests. Puppies feature on some wishlists, while other children have set their sights on a rarer pet, requesting unicorns this festive season.

More poignantly, some parents surveyed cited more fundamental needs for their family this Christmas, such as a permanent home and budget to cover the festive season.

The full list of Top 10 Christmas Gifts for children this year is:

  1. Bike
  2. Lego
  3. iPhone/iPad
  4. O.L Dolls
  5. Playstation
  6. Laptop/Tablet
  7. Smartphone
  8. Nintendo Switch/Xbox
  9. Paw Patrol
  10. Books

Core is Ireland’s largest marketing communications company. The organisation is a collective of nine practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy.

Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the ninth year running. 

Winners of The An Post Irish Book Awards 2018

Sally Rooney, Liz Nugent, James Kavanagh & William Murray, Emilie Pine, Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen,

Cora Staunton, Sarah Webb, Lynn Ruane, Roger O’Reilly, Diarmuid Johnson and Peter Donnelly among the winners


Exceptionally strong year for female writing with women authors dominating the winners list for first time ever


Thomas Kinsella honoured with Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award, while family of the late Emma Hannigan accept a special award on her behalf


Voting now open for the ‘An Post Book of the Year’


Sally Rooney, Emilie Pine, Emer McLysaght &Sarah Breen and Liz Nugent were just some of the winning authors named at the An Post Irish Book Awards held in Dublin.

Now in its 13th year, the star-studded awards ceremony took place in Dublin’s Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road and was attended by Ireland’s top writers, publishers, booksellers and media personalities.

Renowned Irish poet Thomas Kinsella was announced as the recipient of the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award, while a special award was presented to the family of author Emma Hannigan, who passed away earlier this year.

This year’s ceremony was presented by Keelin Shanley, while each winning author was interviewed by RTÉ’s Evelyn O’ Rourke after they received their award. Full highlights of the An Post Irish Book Awards will be broadcast on RTÉ One at 10.15pm this Thursday, 29th November.

Below is the full list of winners for the ‘An Post Irish Book Awards 2018’: Best Irish Published Book of the Year Winner

  • Lighthouses of Ireland by Roger O’Reilly (Collins Press)


National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

  • The President’s Cat by Peter Donnelly (Gill Books)


National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

  • Blazing a Trail by Sarah Webb and Lauren O’Neill (The O’Brien Press)


Dept 51@ Eason Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year

  • The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)


Eason Book Club Novel of the Year

  • Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)


Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year

  • The Importance of Being Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)


Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

  • Skin Deep by Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)


Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

  • Notes to Self by Emilie Pine (Tramp Press)


Onside Non-Fiction Book of the Year

  • People Like Me by Lynn Ruane (Gill Books)


Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year

  • The Cow Book by John Connell (Granta Books)


EUROSPAR Cookbook of the Year

  • Currabinny Cookbook by James Kavanagh and William Murray (Penguin Ireland)


Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year

  • Game Changer by Cora Staunton with Mary White (PRH Transworld Ireland)


RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award

  • Skin Deep by Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)


Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year

  • “Birthday” by Brian Kirk


Writing,ie Short Story of the Year

  • “How to Build a Space Rocket” by Roisin O’Donnell (From The Broken Spiral ed by RM Clarke)


The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year

  • Tuatha De Denann by Diarmuid Johnson (Leabhar Breac)


Commenting on this year’s winners, Maria Dickenson, Chairperson of the An Post Irish Book Awards, said: This is a really outstanding line-up of winners. It demonstrates the absolute breadth of quality writing we have in Ireland, right across the genre spectrum. It is also great to see so many female writers winning accolades this year. Many of them, including Emilie Pine, Sarah Webb, Lynne Ruane, Cora Staunton and Sally Rooney, are all writing about what it means to be a modern woman in contemporary Ireland and it is striking that these authors used the art of writing to tell their stories in such a truthful and honest way.”

David McRedmond, CEO at An Post, added: “The An Post Irish Book Awards are all about the quality of life, celebrating great writing and ideas. Congratulations to the fine winners, but the real value is across the whole shortlist. I salute all those who encourage new and established writers to persevere in their craft and creativity, enriching our lives and our understanding of each other.”

This year, over 100,000 votes were cast by book lovers to select the winners in each category, a 96% increase on the number of votes cast last year. From tomorrow (28th November 2018), the public can vote for their overall ‘An Post Book of the Year’ by going to

The winner will be announced in January and anyone who votes is in with the chance of winning €100 in National Book Tokens. Previous winners include John Crowley, Donál Ó Drisceoil, Mike Murphy and John Borgonovo for Atlas of the Irish Revolution, Mike Mc Cormack for Solar Bones, Louise O’ Neill for Asking for It, Mary Costello for Academy St, Donal Ryan for The Spinning Heart, Michael Harding for Staring at Lakes, and Belinda McKeon for Solace.


For further information, please log on to the An Post Irish Book Awards website

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Facebook: @AnPostIBAS

Instagram: @anpost_irishbookawards

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Medicinal Cannabis and its effects on users is the latest topic tackled by Tabú, the probing TG4 documentary series

‘Cinneadh Cannabais’ airs on Wednesday 28th November at 9.30pm on TG4 and features range of personal stories of those using Medicinal Cannabis

As Ireland is on the cusp of easing access to medicinal cannabis for the treatment of some illnesses, new TG4 series Tabú asks – Is cannabis really the new wonder-drug?

CBD Oil is the ‘go to’ supplement of 2018, claimed to impact positively on pain, inflammation, anxiety and sleep. Licensed cannabis farms are springing up all over Ireland, from Kerry to Donegal, and, as it’s a crop that thrives in our climate, Ireland could become one of the biggest cannabis growers in Europe.

This episode of Tabú, due to air on Wednesday 28 November, features a range of Irish people are who are turning to medicinal cannabis to improve their quality of life.

Daire Ní Chanáin, a 22 year old student, suffers from anxiety and depression. To face into her final year in college, she’d rather not rely on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. Instead, she wants to find out more about CBD oil, to see if it may help in any way. She leads the path in this detailed exploration of cannabis, to find out if CBD oil is a health food fad or a miracle remedy, and to figure out if cannabis-based medicines are snake oil or a magic bullet for epilepsy and other serious medical conditions.

The documentary also introduces a number of people who are fighting for the right to access medicinal cannabis in Ireland.

  • Both Vera Twomey and Noreen O’Neill need this treatment for their children, to prevent their life-threatening seizures.
  • Fionnuala Thornton, living with Multiple Sclerosis, is also thriving on cannabis oil.
  • Maria Harper cleared all of her debilitating symptoms of fatigue and weeping skin sores from her chronic immune disorder by using CBD oil.

They all rely on an overpriced unregulated food supplement to self-medicate. Is there a better way?

Do we need to know more about the benefits of cannabis? Are there serious dangers in relaxing access to cannabis? We also meet experts, medical doctors, research scientists, and addiction counsellors who expose the good, the bad and the unknown about cannabis.

Dáire Ní Chanáin, contributor and presenter, says:

“Mar gheall ná féidir leat muinín a chur sna rudaí a léann tú an ar idirlíon, Bheartaigh mé gurbh fhearr scéalta na ndaoine a bhailiú agus mo chinneadh féin a dhéanamh maidir le CBD agus cannabais mar leigheas.” 

“As you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, I decided it was better to hear other people’s stories and make up my own mind about using CBD and cannabis as medicines.

Noreen O’Neill, contributor, says: “The turnaround in my son Michael even within days (of receiving CBD)… he started smiling, I had actually forgotten what it looked like to see him smiling. In the last 4 months, he has done things that I never thought I would see him doing, taking food orally, reaching for his toes…things that you take for granted with a healthy baby .”

Photographs to accompany the series are here

About Tabú:

Tabú is a series of standalone hour-long documentaries which deals with topics from Random Acts of Violence to Online Shaming, from Rural Decline to Domestic Abuse.

Contributors discuss their experiences and explore how these events, beyond their own control, have changed their lives forever. As well as delving into the issues, the contributors attempt to understand what compels people to act in such ways.

These poignant, and often thought-provoking, films encourage the viewer to reflect on the subject matter and consider the effects on our society.

Midas Productions, a leading factual television production company based in Dublin, is dedicated to creating thought-provoking, entertaining, challenging and informative television programming. Past productions have included 13,000,000,000 miles from Birr (RTÉ), Asking For It (RTÉ2), Fir Marú agus Grá (TG4), and The Joy (TV3).

Christmas FM returns to the airwaves this week to sprinkle lots of festive cheer and seasonal goodwill across Ireland in the run up to the Christmas season!

Christmas FM is back on air on 28th November 2018 at 1pm

Radio station will raise awareness and funds for charity partner Temple Street Children’s Hospital

Brian O Driscoll, Ambassador for Temple Street, says funds will help buy new ventilators and incubators for critically sick children


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Break out the Christmas decorations and get in the holiday spirit as Christmas FM is back on air at 1pm this Wednesday – 28 November 2018!

Tune in to sing along to some of your favourite Christmas classics and hear a host of familiar radio voices, who will be volunteering their time to bring you round-the-clock Christmas tunes and sharing special Christmas memories and festive updates. The station will be broadcasting live on the radio and online at

This year, Christmas FM will be raising awareness and funds for Temple Street Children’s Hospital. The radio station’s goal is to raise over €200,000 which will go towards giving the gift of life to over 1,000 critically ill babies and children in Temple Street. Funds raised will be used to purchase new state-of-the-art incubators and ventilators, helping to ensure that sick children have access to the very best paediatric equipment when they need it most. 

Brian O’Driscoll, Temple Street Ambassador, said:

I would like to thank everyone at Christmas FM for choosing Temple Street Children’s Hospital as its beneficiary this year. All funds raised will buy much-needed new ventilators and incubators that will help doctors and nurses care for the young patients at the hospital. I hope that Christmas FM listeners all across the country will get involved this December and help make this vital new equipment a reality for children who need it most at Temple Street.”

Christmas FM also has a number of sister stations which are available globally, helping to sprinkle Christmas cheer right across the globe! 

  • Christmas FM Classical plays ‘Classical and Carols’. The station brings you the best in Classical Christmas music mixed with a wide range of festive carols
  • Christmas FM Classicsplays ‘Classics and Crooners’. It’s a mix of classic, pre-1970s Christmas songs from Bing to Frank and Nat to Eartha
  • Christmas FM North Poleis Santa’s Official Radio Station. Broadcasting from a studio on top of the North Pole State Building (the tallest building in the North Pole), the station brings the magic of Christmas to the world

Christmas FM is funded through sponsorship and run each year by more than 100 volunteers on-air, devoting hundreds of hours of their time.

Cadbury, Coca Cola and Dunnes Stores are premier FM sponsors. The station will broadcast from the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin who has kindly given the studio space for free. 

Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM, says: We are delighted to bring Christmas FM back on-air for our eleventh year. We are beyond delighted to have reached this point and want to thank each and every one of our listeners who have supported us on our journey and in turn, supported each of our chosen charities. We would like to thank Dunnes Stores, Coca Cola and Cadbury who have come on board as sponsors for 2018. We’re really looking forward to getting on air and beginning our fundraising so we can help provide the very best medical equipment this Christmas to many deserving children.”  

Denise Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Temple Street Foundation says: “Christmas is such a special time in Temple Street and it is so important to us that sick children who will spend the festive season in our wards experience that joy and magic. That’s why we’re thrilled to have been chosen to be Christmas FM’s charity partner this year. Not only will the station help to bring festive cheer to our little patients and their families at a difficult time, but the funds raised will allow us to purchase vital life-saving ventilators and essential incubators that seriously sick children in our critical care wards rely on. We hope that you will listen in and support this very special fundraiser. By donating, you will become part of the extraordinary circle of care that surrounds each sick child in Temple Street.  We are hugely grateful to our wonderful Ambassador Brian O’Driscoll for his support and for joining us to celebrate this year’s launch. From everyone in our hospital – we wish all Christmas FM listeners a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

The main radio frequencies for Christmas FM are Dublin City and County 105.2FM, Cork 106.7FM, Galway 87.7FM, Kildare 88.1FM, Sligo 95FM, Kilkenny 104.3, Letterkenny 105.7, Limerick 105.5FM, Midlands North 101.6FM, North East 99.4FM, South East 103.8FM, Tralee / Killarney 105FM, Wicklow North 99.5FM, Wicklow South 106.6FM, and Ennis/Clare 105.2FM.

Christmas FM will also broadcast on Virgin Media Channel 900. 

Christmas FM is also available online at and you can follow the station on Facebook at


Christmas FM – Bringing You The Magic Of Christmas


Guaranteed Irish unveils campaign encouraging shoppers to #BuyGI this Christmas

Natural beauty products, scented candles, Irish fashion, greeting cards, home furnishings, luxury chocolate, artisan jams –

there’s a Guaranteed Irish member to fit the bill

 The ‘Guaranteed Irish Village’ returns to Gifted Fair at the RDS this December


Christmas is fast approaching and the shopping season is in full flow, so when you’re deciding on what gifts to buy this festive season, make sure to look out for the Guaranteed Irish symbol to make an #AllTogetherBetter choice for communities across Ireland.

Guaranteed Irish, the organisation that champions homegrown and international businesses in Ireland, has over 500 members, many of whom have a range of perfect Christmas gifts on sale this year. By purchasing a gift from a Guaranteed Irish company, not only are you supporting Irish craft and design, but you’re helping to support businesses in Ireland which create sustainable jobs, give back to, and engage meaningfully with, their local communities and are committed to Irish provenance.

Whether it’s natural beauty products, scented candles, Irish fashion, greeting cards, home furnishings, luxury chocolate or artisan jams, there is a Guaranteed Irish member to fit the bill.

As part of their Christmas campaign, Guaranteed Irish will also return to Gifted: The Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, from 5th-9th December, at the RDS, Dublin. This spectacular event is one of the biggest gift markets in Ireland, featuring hundreds of makers and craftspeople showcasing thousands of unique gifts customers won’t find anywhere else. The event will also feature a networking event for Guaranteed Irish members and supporters.

The specially curated ‘Guaranteed Irish Village’ at the Fair will feature a number of the organisation’s members in the gift industry including:

  • Foxford Woollen Mills: Producers of high-quality woollen throws, scarves and bed linen from Co. Mayo, Ireland.
  • Emma’s So Naturals: Manufacturers of eco-soy candles, handmade in Ireland and fragranced with only pure essential oils.
  • Original Irish Hotels: The largest collection of luxury, boutique, manor house and owner-run hotels in Ireland.
  • Elephant: A designer brand specialising in bean bags, cushions and throws, founded by a father and son team based in Co. Mayo, Ireland.
  • Watermark Cards: Distributor and publisher of Irish greeting cards
  • Jo Browne: Natural and sustainably-packed solid perfumes and facial cleansing balm
  • Donegal Socks: Traditional tweed wool socks, made with pride in Ireland.

On Wednesday 5th December, there is a special 10% discount on all purchases at the event. 

Other Guaranteed Irish members in the gift industry include Magee 1866, Modern Botany, Rathbornes 1488, Celtic Tweeds, O’Neills, Holos Skincare, Jando Design, TanOrganic, The Handmade Soap Company, Brooke and Shoals, and ForeGolf. 

Guaranteed Irish considers three core criteria when assessing an applicant for membership – jobs, community and provenance. Only member companies are allowed to display the iconic Guaranteed Irish symbol, and it is worn as a badge of honour by homegrown and international businesses in Ireland across multiple sectors.


You can find a full list of members at

#BuyGI this Christmas


Follow the #BuyGI campaign online:


Irish poet Thomas Kinsella to be honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2018

The An Post Irish Book Awards is delighted to announce that Irish poet Thomas Kinsella is the recipient of this year’s ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award’. The award will be announced at the annual Awards dinner in the Clayton Hotel in Dublin on November 27th in the presence of the Irish literary industry.

Thomas Kinsella will join the An Post Irish Book Award’s Hall of Fame, which features John McGahern, John Montague, J.P. Donleavy, Paul Durcan, John Banville, Seamus Heaney, Maeve Binchy, Edna O’Brien, William Trevor and Eavan Boland, all of whom have previously received the ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.’

Thomas Kinsella was born and educated in Inchicore in Dublin. In 1946, he entered University College Dublin to study science but later joined the civil service in the Department of Finance, studying at night, having switched subjects to humanities and arts.  In 1952 his first book, The Starlit Eye, was published by Liam Miller’s Dolmen Press followed by several other collections. Originally regarded as a natural descendant of Auden and Larkin, Kinsella adopted a modernist approach to poetry after his move to the USA in 1965, using language that permitted a deeper exploration of self and society.

Having turned his attention to the translation of early Irish texts, Kinsella produced two volumes which made a substantial impact; first, The Táin, (Dolmen 1969), illustrated by Louis le Brocquy and an anthology of Irish poetry An Duanaire: 1600-1900, Poems of the Dispossessed (1981), translated by Kinsella and edited by Seán Ó Tuama. In 1972, he launched Peppercanister Press to publish his own work. Running to some thirty booklets, the Peppercanister project constitutes one of the great bodies of work in all of Irish poetry.

Sometimes regarded as a poet whose work intersects the mainstream of Irish poetry at a tangent, Kinsella is now recognized at home and abroad as one of the greats of his generation. In his 90th year, nearly four decades after his debut collection of poems, the Board of the An Post Irish Book Awards are proud to honour him as the recipient of the 2018 ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.’

Thomas Kinsella says: “I’m happy to accept this Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of a career exceptional with the poetry of a lifetime, with the Tain, and the presentation of Ireland’s dual tradition – experiencing the loss of a language – in poetry.”

The An Post Irish Book Awards are dedicated to honouring Irish writers across the entire publishing spectrum. This year’s shortlist features a diverse array of acclaimed authors and well-known Irish personalities, including literary heavyweights.

The categories include:

  • Easons Book Club Novel of the Year
  • Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year
  • RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award
  • Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
  • Best Irish-Published Book of the Year
  • Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year
  • Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
  • Onside Non-Fiction Book of the Year
  • EUROSPAR Cookbook of the Year
  • Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year
  • National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year – Junior
  • National Book Tokens Children’s Book of Year – Senior
  • Dept 51 @ Eason Teen & Young Adult Book of the Year
  • Short Story of the Year Award
  • Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year
  • Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year


RTÉ Television will be broadcasting highlights of the An Post Irish Book Awards on RTÉ One at 10.15pm on Thursday, 29th November. This programme will showcase one of the biggest celebrations of Irish writing, with many of Ireland’s most celebrated and loved authors in attendance.

Facebook: @AnPostIBAS

Instagram: @anpost_irishbookawards

Twitter: @AnPostIBAS

News Ireland scoops six gongs including ‘Political Story of the year’ and ‘Showbiz Story of the year’ at Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Awards 2018

News Ireland, publisher of The Times, Ireland Edition, The Sunday Times and The Irish Sun, has won six awards at the Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Awards 2018.

Journalists from the three titles had been nominated in a wide range of categories, spanning news, business, political and crime reporting, as well as digital and investigative journalism.

High-profile winners on the day included:

1          Crime Journalist of the year:

  • Stephen Breen, The Irish Sun

2          Features (Popular):

  • Aoife Finneran, The Irish Sun

3          Critic of the year:

  • Richard Pine, The Sunday Times

4          News Reporter of the year:

  • Mark Tighe, The Sunday Times

5          Political Story of the year:

  • Ellen Coyne, The Times, Ireland Edition

6          Showbiz Story of the year:

  • Jennifer O’Brien and Catherine Sanz, The Times, Ireland Edition


Ellen Coyne, Senior Reporter with the Times, Ireland Edition was nominated for both the Political Journalist and Young Journalist of the Year Awards, while her work with Aaron Rogan on policy changes introduced by Google and other companies during the referendum on the Eighth Amendment was also recognised in the Investigative Journalism category.

A host of journalists from The Irish Sun also received nominations, including Ken Sweeney for both Showbiz Journalist and Story of the Year, Neil O’Riordan for Popular Sports Writer and both Aoife Bannon and Rebecca Barker in the Popular Columnist category.

The Irish Sun’s ‘Show Some Heart’ campaign, promoting the installation of more automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, was also nominated for a Campaigning Journalism award.

The Sunday Times also had two nominees in Larissa Nolan and Justine McCarthy in the Broadsheet Columnist of the Year category, as well as dominating the Critic of the Year category with four nominees in Fiona Charleton, Liam Fay, Cristin Leach and Richard Pine.

The Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Awards are sponsored by the National Lottery.

Richard Bogie, Managing Director of News Ireland, said: “Irish journalism is in particularly rude health at the moment, so we’re all the more delighted to have achieved such success. I’d like to congratulate all our journalists who were awarded and nominated, and their recognition on the national stage is a testament to the high-quality journalism on offer from all three titles.”

Open Source leader Danese Cooper joins NearForm as VP of Special Initiatives

NearForm, a world leader in developing, releasing and maintaining Open Source software, has appointed renowned Open Source leader Danese Cooper as VP of Special Initiatives.

A technologist, strategist, evangelist and recognised leader in the Open Source community, Ms Cooper has had a long career working as an advocate for open source software in many enterprises across the globe. In her new role with NearForm, she will develop effective Open Source business and licensing strategies for NearForm and its clients, serve as Senior Advisor and liaison to Silicon Valley and will act as spokesperson for the business’ work in Open Source and InnerSource.

She will also be responsible for evaluating client project and engineering methodologies for InnerSource potential, assisting with Agile implementations, and advising customers in their interactions with Open Source Foundations and communities.

Danese joins NearForm from PayPal, where she was Head of Open Source, was the Inaugural Chairperson of the Node.js Foundation, and founded Prior to that, she was the first Chief Open Source Evangelist for Sun Microsystems and the first female Chief Technology Officer of Wikimedia Foundation. She specialises in healthy Open Source communities and has served on the Boards of the Drupal Association, the Open Source Initiative, the Open Hardware Association and has advised Mozilla and the Apache Software Foundation. She has also run a successful Open Source consultancy which counts the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SETI Foundation, Harris Corporation and Numenta as clients.

NearForm is an Irish-owned technology company recognised internationally for its contributions to Node.js as a key development framework for digital transformation. Using a highly developed remote working model, the company hires the best talent from all over the world to offer clients outstanding software solutions and apply digital technology to modernise and reshape their businesses. NearForm offers particular expertise in delivering software applications using open source software and methodologies to ensure clients future-proof their digital transformation initiatives, spend less, become more efficient and have the ability to implement their ideas quickly.

Clients include EY, Conde Nast, ADP, the New York Times,, Moody’s, DPD, The London School of Marketing, Net-a-Porter, Samsung and Bosch.

Cian Ó Maidín, CEO of NearForm welcomed Danese to the team saying: “Danese is a fantastic addition to our world-renowned Open Source team and our commitment to bringing the best from our Node.js community to the enterprise. She brings 30 years of experience in helping businesses develop open, collaborative environments to drive performance, which will greatly enhance the software solutions service we currently provide to our customers. We’re really excited to have her on board and look forward to having her talent and reputation as a foremost open source technologist and InnerSource evangelist to help us contribute more to both our customers and our community”.

Danese Cooper says: “I have been following NearForm for a few years and there’s so much that I like about the team, the company philosophy and their execution. I’m really excited to be bringing my knowledge of Open Source and InnerSource to help NearForm and its customers.”



Major shift in Irish housing construction needed to safeguard future sustainability of the sector says Guaranteed IrishMajor shift in Irish housing construction needed to safeguard future sustainability of the sector says Guaranteed Irish

Recommendations include immediate audit of vacant derelict buildings, greater investment in rapid house construction, more support for smaller building suppliers and a reduction in the timeframe of apprenticeships by one year

A major shift in Irish construction practices is urgently required to safeguard the sustainability of the sector into the future, according to Guaranteed Irish, the not-for-profit business membership organisation championing 500+ homegrown and international businesses in Ireland.

Guaranteed Irish recently hosted a roundtable discussion with members and other key decision-makers in the Irish construction, manufacturing, hardware and DIY sectors to identify sustainable solutions to Ireland’s current housing demand and how smaller building suppliers can play their part in this activity.

The talks also focused on the best way to promote skills, apprenticeships and careers within the Irish construction industry, and the best way to reward businesses that demonstrate a commitment to reducing Ireland’s carbon footprint.

A range of specific recommendations emerged from the event, including:

  • An immediate audit of old housing stock and vacant derelict buildings and how these can be re-occupied, to be carried out by local authorities
  • A reduction in red tape to incentivise small builders
  • Greater investment in rapid house construction training for local authority staff
  • A reduction in the timeframe of apprenticeships by one year – to attract greater numbers of apprentices and tradespeople to the construction sector
  • Government to incentivise construction companies to recycle properly, thus reducing the volume of waste going into landfill, and lowering emissions
  • Return national tree-planting targets to a minimum of 10,000 hectares per annum

Damien English TD, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, attended the round-table discussion, while panellists included Jim Gannon, CEO of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Conal Mac Coille, Chief Economist at Davy, Aoife Brennan, Director of Research at Lisney and Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation.

The outcomes of the meeting have been developed into a submission paper for Government and Guaranteed Irish will now work with political representatives to explore the potential for collaboration in formulating solutions. The full submission paper can be found here:

Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish, said: “At a time when there is an urgent need for solutions to the current housing crisis, Irish society also has a duty to ensure those solutions are sustainable into the future – by developing good-quality housing stock that benefits local communities. Our members are sector leaders across the construction and manufacturing industries, and bringing them and other stakeholders together led to some very productive discussion and a series of detailed recommendations that will help achieve that goal.” 

Guaranteed Irish now has over 500 members – indigenous and international – who make a significant contribution to the Irish economy every year, both in terms of turnover and employment, as well as contribution to their local communities. Guaranteed Irish members employ nearly 50,000 people in Ireland, generating a turnover of €11bn.

Members of Guaranteed Irish in the construction, manufacturing, hardware and DIY sectors include Irish Cement, Tegral Building Products, Wavin, Kingspan Insulation, Saint-Gobain, Combilift, Celuplast, Dulux, Kilsaran, Roadstone, Irish Fencing Services, Clogrennane Lime, Fleetwood Paints, and Camfil.

Membership of the Guaranteed Irish organisation spans all sectors including pharmaceutical; healthcare; technology; construction; energy; professional services; manufacturing; tourism; food and drink; craft and design; retail; and lifestyle. The organisation considers three core criteria when assessing an applicant for membership – jobs, community and provenance.

In order to meet these criteria, applicants must comply with all labour legislation, and provide fair working conditions to support and care for all of their employees. They must also demonstrate constructive and ongoing engagement with the communities in which the business is based. Lastly, applicants must have their origins in Ireland or be an international business that has embedded itself in Ireland. They must also have a substantial on-the-ground presence in Ireland, with many supporting indigenous spin-off companies.




Keep up-to-date on Guaranteed Irish news here:



Boyne Brewhouse launches ‘Winter Warmers’ limited edition craft beer range

Boyne Brewhouse craft beers are brewed with passion in the heart of the Boyne Valley at Drogheda’s Boyne Brewhouse and Boann Distillery

Boyne Brewhouse, the craft brewery based in Drogheda, have launched a limited edition ‘Winter Warmers’ three bottle Irish craft beer range to enjoy as the days draw shorter and the festive season approaches.

Stout season beckons and two new beers have been brewed as companions to the multi award winning Imperial Stout, named “Best Beer in Ireland” at the 2018 Alltech Craft Beer Awards. The brewing team at the Boyne Brewhouse looked to the brewing traditions of Belgium and England respectively for the beer styles and all three beers embody the spirit of Winter, cold nights, celebrations, good company and fireside conversation.

The 330ml bottle ‘Winter Warmers’ collection consists of:

  • Imperial Stout 10.8% – multi award-winning barrel aged stout. Complex, dark and rich, the aroma offers some roast coffee and cocoa nib with a hint of both sherry and whiskey notes
  • Belgian Dubbel 8% – Malty, rich, caramel. Rich deep brown coloured beer with ruby overtones and a malty aroma complemented by a delicate bouquet of dark fruits, chocolate and caramel
  • Winter Ale 8% – Rich, dark, warming. Luxurious caramel tones with lots of chocolate and coffee notes

*Full tasting notes are below

Richard Hamilton, Boyne Brewhouse Head Brewer, says: “We take great pride in ensuring that we use only the best ingredients and our own Boyne Valley spring water in brewing all our craft beers. A lot of time has been taken to experiment and perfect our recipes and the interesting limited edition styles we have released are testament to the quality of these ingredients, brewing styles and inspirations.” 

Boyne Brewhouse Winter Warmers Collection – Tasting Notes:

  • Imperial Stout 10.8% RRP €4.60 – Limited Edition

Complex, dark, rich. Deep black with a tan coloured head. The aroma offers some roast coffee and cocoa nib with a hint of both sherry and whiskey notes.

A rich mellow taste on the palate with coffee and bitter chocolate from the dark roasted malt. The high alcohol content is balanced by the malt and intense sherry barrel flavours.

The rich full body finishes with the slightest hint of dry Oloroso Sherry fruit.

Aging for four months in Oloroso Sherry Casks which has held “The Whistler” range of Single Malt whiskeys for 2+ years has extracted complex vanilla and spice notes to this special edition Imperial Stout.


  • Best Beer in Ireland Alltech Craft Beer Awards 2018
  • Gold Medal Alltech Craft Beers Awards 2018
  • Ireland Winner World Beer Awards 2018
  • Best Barrel Aged Craft Beer Irish Whiskey Awards 2017
  • Gold Medal Dublin Alltech Craft Beer Awards 2017
  • 1 star Great Taste Award 2017
  • Belgian Dubbel 8% RRP €4.25 – New Limited Edition
    Malty, Rich, Caramel. This abbey style ale is a rich deep brown coloured beer with ruby overtone.

A deliciously malty aroma is complemented by a delicate bouquet of dark fruits, chocolate and caramel. A slight pepperiness finishes the palate of this special brew dark beer.

  • Winter Ale 8% RRP €4.25 – New Limited Edition
    Rich, dark, warming. This malt forward winter warmer has luxurious caramel tones from the use of both light and dark crystal malt. The beautiful creamy mouthfeel is exceptionally balanced due to the use of traditional English hops in the recipe.

Lots of chocolate and coffee notes help round out the fresh and clean palate of this winter solstice brew.

Join the Conversation Facebook/Twitter/Instagram – @BoyneBrewhouse 

The Boyne Brewhouse range is available on draught in selected pubs and stocked in 500ml bottle, 330ml bottle and 330ml can in O Briens Fine Wines, Molloys, Mortons, Drinkstore of Stoneybatter, Baggot Street wines, Redmonds of Ranelagh, Wines on the Green,Savages of Swords, Joyces Supermarkets Galway, Next Door and Carry Out Off Licences nationwide, O’Donovans Cork, Tesco, Super Valu and Centra Stores, Lidl, Spar, Mace, Eurospar and Londis stores nationwide.