Rathgall Painters Guild exhibition opens in Rathwood on Saturday 29th September

Rathgall Painters Guild launches their second exhibition of oil paintings in the Shillelagh Room in Rathwood Home and Garden World on Saturday 29th September at 2.30 pm. The artists are mentored by Jacinta Crowley-Long, an internationally known painter who specializes in rural landscapes and equine and canine portraiture.

Rathgall is the site of a Bronze-age Hill Fort which, from the evidence of archeological digs, was home to craftsmen and artisans from at least the Bronze-age period. The Rathgall Painters Guild continues this tradition in the visual arts.


The group, many of whom have been painting for a number of years in the Rathgall Coolkenno area, approached Jacinta in September 2010 with view to attending master-classes in oil painting, to seeking encouragement in facilitating their ambitions in becoming a vibrant and working Arts Society and furthering their careers in the arts.

The painters meet up on a weekly basis for tuition, appraisal of work and group discussions on the visual arts in general. Over two years they have achieved a prodigious output of highly polished works to a professional standard, learnt how to frame their pieces appropriately and promote themselves and their artwork. This year they have also painted en plein air and are further gaining confidence and in technical ability. Dr. Jacinta Crowley-Long will again mentor the group this autumn with exciting new projects in mind.

The exhibition will be officially opened by Jillian Godsil well known author and PR consultant.

Rural areas can prosper online, says Wicklow based author

Rural areas can prosper online thanks to remote and location-independent work, according to Phil Byrne, author of the ebook ‘Head in the Clouds: The Location Independent Office – How to take your business or job online and work remotely from wherever you please!’.

In his book ‘Head in the Clouds’, Byrne outlines the methods, software and online techniques that can enable individuals to turn their work or business totally location-independent.

“The book shows how to take almost every aspect of your business/job online and give you the freedom to perform your tasks from whatever location you choose,” he explains. Byrne believes there are plenty of jobs available online and most jobs today could be done remotely. He also thinks that rural communities, where jobs tend to be scarce, could really prosper if more people move to location-independent work and businesses.


Topics covered in the book include: communications, storage, backup, meetings, agreements, hiring of staff, invoicing and payments – all online using the latest ‘cloud’ based software and web applications. Byrne, who is originally from the UK and now lives in County Wicklow, has tried and tested the techniques he shares in his book, having previously lived in Argentina, the US, Portugal and Spain.

“I’ve learnt so much, met so many people in so many places and most of all, I’ve have been lucky enough to do all of this whilst fully maintaining my working life. I am passionate about remote working and the freedom it can bring into our lives,” he says. “Whether you wish to explore the world, or simply enjoy more quality time in the place you call home, remote working can change all of our lives for the better.”

Head in the Clouds is available from Amazon: http://amzn.to/ToTYmv

For more information on remote working www.liveworkabroad.com

Santa looking for 85 elves

Rathwood Christmas jobs for enthusiastic helpers 

Carlow, Ireland… Santa will be back in Rathwood this winter and he is looking to recruit 85 enthusiastic elves and helpers for the popular Rathwood Santa Train Experience.

New activities are being included in this year’s Rathwood Santa Train which means Santa’s team of elves is expanding from 45 in 2011 to a team of 85 jolly helpers. The new elves and helpers must have a range of talents and skills.

“Santa is looking for helpers who love children and animals, as well as being enthusiastic and outgoing,” explains James Keogh, from Rathwood, who will be carrying out the selection process on Santa’s behalf. “Santa and Mrs Claus will be very busy sorting out presents, meeting children and getting everything ready for Christmas day. They need helpers that are organised, helpful and have a gift for entertainment so they can make the kids’ visit to Rathwood a memorable one.”

Located in the Carlow/Wicklow border, shopping and activity centre Rathwood employs 55 part-time and full-time staff on a permanent basis. For the Christmas season, Rathwood staff members are joined by a growing team of Santa’s helpers and elves. Over 30,000 people visited Santa at his woodland retreat in Rathwood last year, making it one of the most popular Santa visits in the country.

The Elf positions include:

-Santa’s personal helpers: assisting Santa in his Christmas duties.

-Mrs Claus personal assistant: helping Mrs Claus in her Christmas duties and storytelling.

-Woodlands elves: interacting with parents and children. The must know the way to Santa’s cabin.

-Teacher elves: they will help children with Elf School and must know well their elfabet!

-Postman elves: they will organise all the letters to Santa.

Requirements and Elf Skills:

-Good with kids and animals

-Theatrical/Entertainment/Storytelling skills

-Enthusiastic/Outgoing/Upbeat personality

-Ability to work as part of a team in a busy Christmassy environment

-Must love Christmas

-Reporting directly to Santa and Mrs Claus

*All the elves will be on hand to assist visitors – and will all be trained in ‘elf and safety.

Deadline for applications is Sunday 30th September.

Elves and Helpers will start working as part of the Santa’s Christmas team at Rathwood in late October.

Tickets for the Rathwood Santa Train go on sale on Thursday 1st September at www.santatrain.ie

Rathwood’s Santa Train tickets cost €8 per adult and €15 per child.

More Information on Rathwood’s Christmas Jobs

More Information on Rathwood’s Santa Train and tickets

For more information on tickets or how to be part of Santa’s team at Rathwood:

santa@rathwood.com  (mention: Santa Helper Job in the subject line if applying for a job with Santa).

The Olympic euphoria of London 2012 could be about to rekindle this week, as the Paralympic games start on 29th August. If the Paralympic games are half as popular and excite the public as much as the Olympic games remains to be seen. At the Practice PR office we enjoyed the games very much (particularly the Katie Taylor win) but we can’t help feeling a bit confused by the closing ceremony and all its finality and symbolism.

The Olympic cauldron was put out, dismantled and each petal given to one of the competing nations. Beautiful, indeed, if it wasn’t because the games aren’t really finished yet… or are they?

The closing ceremony does what it says on the tin: it puts an end to the celebrations. The party is over. The flame moves on. We got a few samba moves and a taste of Brazil to show us we are already en-route to Rio 2016.

But what about the Paralympics? Personally, we think the closing ceremony should have taken place after the Paralympics are finished, to celebrate the effort and quality of all athletes, equally. It would send a message that both events are an equally important part of London 2012. It would also maintain the momentum and help keep the public’s Olympic enthusiasm alive and ready for the Paralympics.

For many people, it will be hard to get back to the original excitement two whole weeks after the closing ceremony but we hope we all rekindle the Olympic flame to support and cheer as enthusiastically for our Paralympic athletes – or as the brilliant Channel 4 ad calls them, the ‘Superhumans’. They deserve it.

*A group of Irish musicians has released a track to raise funds for Ireland’s Paralympians

A charity walk in memory of Glen Hatton from Loggan, Gorey, Co. Wexford, takes place on Sunday 9th September. Glen Hatton sadly died three years ago from cancer while only 26 years of age. What marks Glen out as such a remarkable young man was his incredible courage and fortitude in his short illness; he himself planned to undertake charitable work but the speed of his illness confounded this hope. For his third anniversary, his family and friends have gathered together to organise this walk, with the intention of purchasing  a piece of medical equipment for St Vincent’s Hospital, where he received excellent care in his final days.

Glen was the embodiment of the very essence of a young man; tall, handsome and intelligent, he was thoroughly engaged with farming, studying first in Kilkenny College and then Kildalton with a view to returning to farm at home. Arable farming was his passion, combined with a fascination of farm machinery. His love of both led him to study under leading cereal farmer James Leech in Wexford. He returned home and planned a serious expansion at the family farm. His natural intelligence and inquisitive mind also earned him a place on the television programme Ear to Ground discussing the merits of bio solids, this debate he successfully argued. He was active in the local community also, playing Gaelic Football with Coolboy GAA and rugby with Gorey RFC.

It is hoped local families and communities will support the Glen Hatton Charity walk and help fundraise in his memory. The walk will begin from 3 – 5 at Loggan, his home place courtesy of David and Frances Hatton. It consists of a loop of some 6km returning back to the farm where a BBQ and light refreshment are planned. Sponsorship cards are available from The Glen Hatton Facebook page or Frances Hatton (087-2480627). Donations can be made via any Bank of Ireland branch quoting The Glen Hatton Charity, sort code 90-30-16 and account number 1220 7041.

Donations may also be made via cheque to The Glen Hatton Charity’ c/o Frances Hatton, Loggan, Gorey, Co Wexford.

What: Cute Honey Business Training for Mumpreneurs

Where: The Training Centre, Unit 2B, Centre Point Business Park, Oak Rd, Dublin 12

When: Tuesday 11th September 2012

Time: 9.30-12.20pm

Price: €57 per person


Cute Honey is hosting a 3-hour business training session in Dublin for Mum entrepreneurs (mumpreneurs) and Mums looking to set up their own business on Tuesday 11th September.

The Cute Honey session delivers practical business training organised in nine steps covering from basic concepts when setting up a business to time management, testing effectiveness and other tactics and techniques.

Cute Honey is run by mother of three and entrepreneur Mairéad Kelly. “The Cute Honey sessions and workshops offer training, coaching and mentoring for Mumpreneurs who want to grow their business and mothers who would like to start their own business,” she explains. “The workshops will give them useful tools to get their business up and running.”

The Cute Honey training workshop can also be hosted at private homes. “If a Mum wants to host a training session in her own home, she can gather 10 attendees and her place is free,” adds Kelly.

Food ‘Oscars’ reward best produce in the UK and Ireland

Great Taste jam by Julie from The Store Cupboard at RathwoodThe raspberry jam produced by Julie Moore of The Store Cupboard at Rathwood has received a gold star from the Great Taste Awards 2012.

Considered the ‘Oscars’ of the food world, the Great Taste Awards reward the best food produce in Britain and Ireland, while the Great Taste stamp has become a symbol of quality and fine food.

Over 8,800 products were entered for the Great Taste Awards this year from 2500 companies. The products were blind tasted by a panel of over 350 judges that included chefs, writers, critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.

A keen foodie from an early age, local Clonmore woman Julie More opened her delicatessen and fine food shop in Rathwood only last November, and she is delighted with the recognition. “It is a great honour to get a Great Taste gold star when the shop has been opened only a few months. It is an amazing opportunity,” she says.

When she is not in her shop at Rathwood, Julie spends her time cooking: “Most of my produce is best made in small batches, as little as 12 pots a time, to maintain the true flavour,” she explains.

Julie’s first career took her into legal studies before travelling and working in Australia for a year. When she returned to Ireland she knew that she did not want a legal career but to create her own food products. She enrolled in an intensive course at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School and, after finishing her training, she started making jams at home for country markets and an increasing list of customers.

In addition to her own produce, Julie also sources fine foods from around Ireland and abroad for The Store Cupboard.



Mairéad Kelly of Cute Honey, business training dedicated to mum entrepreneurs, has launched a home study course aimed at mum entrepreneurs and mums who would like to start their own business.

The home study course includes nine modules, each one dedicated to one aspect of business training and covering areas such as business planning, time management, goal setting and confidence building.

“The Cute Honey Lite home study course is based in proven techniques that I use in my workshops and training sessions,” explains Kelly. “But it is designed to help mumpreneurs who can’t physically attend the sessions or who would prefer to train at home.”

Kelly, a business woman and mother of three, launched Cute Honey to help women who want to combine motherhood and business or who need help taking their business to the next level. She offers various training programmes, including regular group sessions and one-to-one mentoring and business coaching.

“Cute Honey is dedicated to mumpreneurs and we have created training programmes that are flexible so they can adapt to their busy schedule. I try to offer a service that is as personalised as possible,” she adds.

€20k communications platform allows connectivity and cost management

Frank Keane Holdings newest car dealership, Frank Keane Volkswagen on the Long Mile Road in Dublin, has invested €20,000 in a state-of-the-art unified communications platform, provided by Abacus Systems, that allows full connectivity for staff and cost management.

The new Frank Keane Volkswagen dealership is in a busy prime location and the business is divided in two separate sites: workshop and showroom. The main goal of the IT project carried out by Abacus was to connect both locations with a seamless unified communications platform.

“The solution had to be compatible with Volkswagen’s high tech specifications,” explains Eoghan Johnson, from Abacus. “Connectivity on and between the two buildings was achieved using fibre optic, copper and wireless communication.”

Another major goal of the new IT infrastructure was enabling mobility for staff.

“Frank Keane Volkswagen sales and engineering staff is constantly on the move so the company needed a system that would allow them constant contact,” says Johnson. “Call cost analysis also had to be taken into account, to allow the company to minimize costs using modern technologies.”

The new Volkswagen dealership now enjoys fully unified communication for mobile, land line and e-mail at all times, across both sites. The system also gives the company full visibility of costs so they can be analysed and minimized.

“From both an IT and telephony perspective we needed to implement a seamless infrastructure for the dealership as a whole. The solution provided included wireless (radio) link between premises carrying both voice and data traffic,” says Paul Ancker, Group IT Manager for Frank Keane Holdings. “The unified system is delivering the business efficiencies we had required and envisaged.”

The new IT infrastructure includes wireless point to point connectivity between showroom and workshop; wired and wireless telephony in showroom and workshop, as well as WiFi for guest access. The IT project was completed in the space of a week, for minimum disruption, including cabling, connectivity and set up of the telephone system.

“In addition, the system is managed from a centralised IT function at the head office. Because there is no onsite IT expertise, we needed to implement a system that was easy in terms of administration and easy to use for staff on site,” adds Johnson.

Abacus Systems won the tender based on track record with Frank Keane and the Cisco platform offered a single, end to end solution covering all elements of the project.

Abacus Systems has been working with the Frank Keane Group on different projects for nearly 15 years, including Frank Keane BMW, Frank Keane Volkswagen and Mitsubishi Motors.

The dealership on Long Mile Road is the newest addition to the Volkswagen Dublin Dealer network and will see Frank Keane Volkswagen create 50 new jobs over the next few months at the showroom.

The dealership retails Volkswagen cars and commercial vehicles and offers Volkswagen Service through a dedicated service department with the very latest in diagnostic equipment and highly trained Volkswagen technicians. The dealership also features Dublin’s first indoor commercial vehicle showroom with a dedicated commercial vehicle specialist.

From controversial fast food sponsors to ambush marketing ‘counter-attacks’, Olympic sponsorship seems to be one of the toughest games at play in London 2012. We have seen it coming in past editions but in London, questions about sponsorship have hit the headlines regularly and a couple of important points that can’t be ignored have been raised:

The first one is the suitability of the brands associated with the Games: Is fast and ‘junk food’ sponsorship the right fit for Olympic events? Is it in line with the idea behind the games in the first place? Is the image of the games being compromised by selling out to the highest bidder?

The second one is the mayhem created by the exclusivity of ‘official’ sponsors of the games and clashes with ‘unofficial’ sponsors – but sponsors nonetheless.  Many athletes and teams have individual sponsorship deals in place, and this seems to clash with Olympic sponsorship rules.

Athletes from Team USA for example, have taken to Twitter to protest against what they see as strict sponsorship rules at London 2012. The problem? The rules forbid athletes promoting their own un-official sponsors while the Games are on (that includes Twitter or Facebook profile) even if the US athletes depend on their un-official sponsors to make it to London in the first place!

We reckon a whole review of these two factors is due and Olympic bosses must put their big thinking hats ahead of the next Games in Brazil. What do you think?