Guinness Amplify

Guinness Amplify

I’m coming to this one quite late in that Guinness Amplify is about to kick off the live events. Irish musicians submitted their applications earlier this year and an expert panel has chosen acts to both perform live around the country and receive studio time, mentoring, workshops etc. The chosen acts will get the opportunity to perform in hundreds of pubs all over Ireland (along with a few surprises!) from Thursday through to Sunday across 5 weekends, kicking off on the 11th September in Leinster and will rotating around the country, focusing on a different region each week over the course of the five weekends.

Those surprise acts include: Hozier, London Grammar, Rudimental, Duke Dumont, Kodaline, Ellie Goulding, George Ezra, Dan Croll, Daithi, Bastille, Disclosure, Walking On Cars and Jess Glynne. Of course the pubs in which they’ll be playing will be kept secret but that’s an amazing lineup in my opinion. I’ve been listening to the artists chosen by the panel this evening on the Amplify web site and the standard is really high. You can log on to the web site to see when and where gigs are taking place. I’ll definitely be attempting to catch a couple of these gigs when they roll into Dublin from the 9th to the 11th of October.

Turlough Hill and Glendalough

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Turlough Hill, Ireland’s only pumped hydro-electric storage system, turned 40 this year and the ESB are celebrating by offering free tours. I’d been on such a tour in primary school so was interested to see it with adult eyes. It’s still an impressive facility capable of generating 292MW of electricity during peak demand periods. Water is released from its upper reservoir allowing it to flow through four turbines into a lower reservoir. The water is then pumped to the top lake during periods of low demand. Our guide explained how provisions and sleeping quarters are built into the station as crews can be trapped for periods due to inclement weather (8 days in his case).

Afterwards myself and the da took a walk down to Glendalough and the Poulanass waterfall. Always time well spent. Closed the day out by watching the International Space Station pass over Dublin accompanied by a supply ship which will dock it tomorrow. As Sundays go…

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Minimizing the Ticketmaster charge

Longitude

No-one likes paying extortionate booking charges and unfortunately, with Ticketmaster’s almost monopoly, you have to put up with some pretty hefty ones when getting gig tickets. In the past year or so I’ve been trying to find the best way to minimise these charges as they are simply unjustifiable. As an example, I wanted to get tickets to Ballyturk which is running in the Olympia Theatre at the moment. If you buy tickets online at ticketmaster.ie, you’ll pay a whopping €5.95 *per ticket* for a Circle seat. If that was a once off transaction cost, it would still be expensive but if you’re looking to buy for a group, it can be prohibitively so. Ticketmaster state:

Service Charge is 12.5% of the ticket face value with a minimum of €1.50 (Republic Of Ireland) or £1.00 (Northern Ireland) up to a maximum of €6.85 (Republic Of Ireland) or £5.50 (Northern Ireland) including VAT.

The solution in most cases is to go to the actual box office of the venue. There will charge little or no booking fee and I avoided €23.80 in fees when I went to the Olympia directly for Ballyturk. Some venues don’t have box offices (like the o2, festivals etc) so in that case you’re better off going to a Ticketmaster kiosk. The fees are generally significantly less than online. The last time I used the one in Jervis St, I paid €2.05 booking fee for the entire transaction (3 tickets). I can’t seem to find definitive figures on kiosk booking charges so it’s worth asking in person at a particular one.

UPDATE: As Ken points out below, use a debit card if you can when purchasing as credit cards will incur higher fees.