Monday, March 30, 2009

All-singing, all-dancing...

Saturday morning, Fionn telling us it's definitely time for breakfast.

Video in two parts, mindful of everyone's bandwidth :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You take your car to work

I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to the sea. I guess it runs in the family: the brother takes epic oceanic photos (here); and the grandfather wrote a book about his love for traditional boats (here). My heartrate goes up and I get mild goosebumps whenever I see a ship entering or especially leaving port - even if it's just the decrepit old rust-bucket that is the MV Celtic Star, which I know is only heading for Liverpool, and carrying nothing more exotic than a bunch of underpaid Romanian sailors.

I feel lucky that my daily commute to the office (whether by DART or the car) takes me past some of the most captivating views Dublin has to offer. From the car on Strand Rd, or the DART south of Sydney Parade, I'm afforded glimpses of sometimes breathtaking scenery, from the hills of Howth to Killiney, and every grain of sand and drop of water in between.

But it's the mystery and potential of the port that really captivates my imagination - it's a border, a point of transition, the place where the controlled chaos of human civilisation meets Nature untamed. Every time I cross the East Link bridge the scene has changed: different ships come and go - the Jeanie Johnston and Róisín to the West, the Jonathan Swift and Ulysses to the East - and the water has a different look: when I last crossed it on Friday it was fiercely blue, flecked white by the driving wind and sunshine.

It's my favourite view in Dublin, looking down the final few kilometres of the Liffey and seeing the open horizon framed by the docks on each side. I couldn't find any decent photos of it on Flickr, so I'll just have to take a leaf from Paudie's book and go shoot some myself :)

In the meantime, here's a pretty amazing picture of a pretty amazing boat, which was another good reason to appreciate the view from the East Link for a few months there:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The future is bright, the future is nut-free

On Saturday Sinéad and I went along to a parents support group meeting organised by the Irish Anaphylaxis Campaign. No kids allowed, so Fionn spent his time entertaining his more than willing baby-sitters (Roisin & Brion) by climbing up a flight of stairs three times. Good man Fionn.

The meet-up was excellent, with about 20 people attending, some couples but mostly parents attending by themselves. The stories we heard were very varied: the ages of the children with anaphylaxis ranged from Fionn at nine months of age up to at least 17 years old; and the allergens included everything from peanuts to potatoes. It was a really informative few hours, especially for myself and Sinéad, as we're obviously still very new to this, and we got some good practical information like names of experts in Ireland, and the kind of supports that were available (not much).

We also got to listen to peoples' own personal struggles, to hear about the kind of everyday stuff they had to cope with, and that we have yet to face: kid's parties; eating out in restaurants; transitioning to new schools. Parents sat there discussing the vital neccessity of having adrenaline shots (anapens/epipens) pretty much everywhere - in the home, at school, having the child carry two themselves - as well as making sure that as many friends and relatives were familiar with how the anapens work by asking them to practice with a training "pen". It all seemed a bit daunting, and one lady (who also quite recently found out that her son has anaphylaxis, although he's much older than Fionn) seemed to sum up my feelings quite well, saying that before she found out about the diagnosis she had never given much thought to allergies and allergic reactions; now that she knew, she felt that she had crossed some great divide, and that we were somehow separated from the general public, in that it is now all that we can think about, that we now have this huge extra responsibilty to remain vigilant on behalf of our children about what they eat and what they are exposed to.

This may seem like a doom and gloom post, but it's not. I came away from the meeting feeling quite motivated by the level of support from the others present - they've made it this far, and their success (in some cases in spite of much greater challenges than we face) is inspiring. The Irish Anaphylaxis Campaign is doing a great job of raising awareness in this country, and I'll be giving some of my time to empower the community by helping out with the website, as well as doing what I can to help with the drive to have the campaign become a recognised charitable organisation. I'd like to thank Claire and Fiona for organising the meet-up, as well as the other parents we met on the day, and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Oh, and by the way, Declan Kidney for Taoiseach.

Monday, March 9, 2009

BizCamp multimedia hoard

BizCamp was a fantastic success this weekend, and I'll post some other time about all the great people I met there, but just wanted to do a quick post to try and pull together the various media coverage from the day.

RTE news segment:

Campbell Scott, IGOPeople:

Caelan King, RevaHealth:

Keith Bohanna, dbTwang:

Fred at also has some photos from Saturday over at Flickr. Paul May of Front Design also has a set up.

I'm hoping to have the radio interviews up here shortly as well, stay tuned.

Update: 09-03-09 21:19

Slides from Paul Browne & John Magill's presentation on EI funding:

Aidan Kenny, who gave a great presentation on adding services to your existing business, has posted his slides here.

Update: 10-03-09 10:42

SiliconRepublic have a piece covering the event.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nuts to you

We finally got the results back from Fionn's allergy tests yesterday, and, to our disappointment, we found out that he has a serious adverse reaction to peanuts. It's not so bad that he can't be in the same room as them (he's happily played on my lap as I devour peanut-butter and toast), but it's clearly bad enough that he had to be brought to hospital back in December suffering from angiodema.

It will make some aspects of our life more difficult, and he will certainly face challenges of his own when he's older as a result of it, but I have absolutely no doubt that we will successfully manage this as a family, that we can give him the structures he needs now and the support he will need in the future. Ever the optimist :)

Fionn is of course happily oblivious to all of this, and long may it last. To lift the sombre mood of this my 80th post, check out the man in question and his oh-so-proud father on the swings in the park this afternoon.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


So my wife and child are ill. It's Fionn's first cold, and he has my heart broken trying to teach him how to blow his nose. He seems happy enough when he's awake just to sit and blow snot bubbles (nice...) but he's been quite upset at night as he's finding it quite difficult to breathe :( Poor chap. Well, one sickness in eight months is a pretty good return, I'm thankful we've gotten off so lightly.

Sinead's suffering with a head cold as well, compounded by lack of sleep (see above), so I took Fionn out for a walk (well wrapped up, for any Grannies reading this!!) to Dun Laoighre. I think I must have offended some Rain God somewhere, because the only cloud in an otherwise unblemished blue sky dumped it's load on us as we were sitting eating rusks on the West Pier - interrupting what was an otherwise idyllic father-son bonding experience... Although we do now have the shared experience of sitting looking like a pair of drowned rats on the DART home :)

Anyway, enough talk I hear you say, give me some media! First up, the obligatory clip of the nude child in the bath:

And the highlight of the show: Fionn crawls! It isn't the most graceful thing you'll ever see, and certainly puts one in mind of drunken elephants, but you can't fault him for determination :)