Category Archives: Uncategorized

santa-is-real-sparkle

Santa is Real!

My Christmas Story

Santa is Real is about remembering back to when I was a child waiting up in bed to catch Santa Claus coming into my room. One Christmas eve I could have sworn he came in and rubbed my sleepy head. Each Christmas eve I’d stay awake to see if he’d come into my room again and I heard noises on ceiling which I presumed was the sleigh thumping off the roof.

Sadly as the years went by, I forgot about Santa and the magic of Christmas and I grew up.

Later I got married and we now have two lovely children and they are so excited about Christmas eve and hope Santa will visit them too. Passing on the legend of Santa to my kids has brought all that Christmas magic back, so much so that I wrote a little song and created this cute little music video (with the help of my kids) to go along with it…

This is my Christmas story. Santa is Real :-)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Waterford Web Design!

Novel Hen Party Idea – Sallyfort Mini Farm

hen party idea waterford ireland sallyfort farmWe recently put together a new site for Dermot O’Brien in Sallyfort Farm, in Stradbally Co. Waterford.

Before I started to build the site I went for a visit to the farm to get a feel for the place.  The view of the Comeraghs was the first thing that struck me.  A magnificent panoramic view of the entire range from east to west.

Dermot then showed me around the farm, the huge indoor area, the farm itself with all the animals, the milking parlour out the back and he took me for a spin around the fields in the tractor.

He then took me for a brilliant spin through the countryside in his Fire Engine….

“Wait, did you say Fire Engine???”

Yes, Dermot took me on what I can only describe as a Safari around Stradbally, listing to music blasting away.  We went along the coast to Ballyvooney and through narrow winding country roads in a Fire Engine with the siren going.  Surreal, but some crack.

So what’s this got to do with Hen Nights?  Well, the main reason Dermot upgraded the site was to add in a service for Hen Parties with a difference.

If you’re organising a Hen Party it might be worth your while visiting the Hen Party ideas page on the Sallyfort Farm website and then talk to Dermot. You can do anything you like on site, organise food, games, drinks, beauty treatments, pet animals, go beserk on bouncy castles, milk cows, dance, take in the breathtaking views and go for a mad spin on a fire engine with Dermot.  You’re in between Waterford City and Dungarvan too so you have options with regards to having a night out on the town also.

Alphabetical List of the 32 Counties of Ireland

Often I have to create web forms with the 32 counties of Ireland listed, or create maps or whatever and I need the 32 counties listed alphabetically. I’m sure others have a requirement for this too, so following are a few lists of the counties presented in various ways.

32 County List of Ireland Alphabetically Sorted, Capitalised

Antrim
Armagh
Carlow
Cavan
Clare
Cork
Derry
Donegal
Down
Dublin
Fermanagh
Galway
Kerry
Kildare
Kilkenny
Laois
Leitrim
Limerick
Longford
Louth
Mayo
Meath
Monaghan
Offaly
Roscommon
Sligo
Tipperary
Tyrone
Waterford
Westmeath
Wexford
Wicklow

32 Counties of Ireland Listed Alphabetically Lowercase

antrim
armagh
carlow
cavan
clare
cork
derry
donegal
down
dublin
fermanagh
galway
kerry
kildare
kilkenny
laois
leitrim
limerick
longford
louth
mayo
meath
monaghan
offaly
roscommon
sligo
tipperary
tyrone
waterford
westmeath
wexford
wicklow

32 Counties of Ireland Numerical List

  1. Antrim
  2. Armagh
  3. Carlow
  4. Cavan
  5. Clare
  6. Cork
  7. Derry
  8. Donegal
  9. Down
  10. Dublin
  11. Fermanagh
  12. Galway
  13. Kerry
  14. Kildare
  15. Kilkenny
  16. Laois
  17. Leitrim
  18. Limerick
  19. Longford
  20. Louth
  21. Mayo
  22. Meath
  23. Monaghan
  24. Offaly
  25. Roscommon
  26. Sligo
  27. Tipperary
  28. Tyrone
  29. Waterford
  30. Westmeath
  31. Wexford
  32. Wicklow

32 Counties of Ireland Comma Separated

Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Derry, Donegal, Down, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow

32 Counties of Ireland Semicolon Delimited

antrim;armagh;carlow;cavan;clare;cork;derry;donegal;down;dublin;fermanagh;galway;kerry;kildare;kilkenny;laois;leitrim;limerick;longford;louth;mayo;meath;monaghan;offaly;roscommon;sligo;tipperary;tyrone;waterford;westmeath;wexford;wicklow;

32 Counties of Ireland, Strings, comma separated e.g. for array initialisation

‘antrim’,’armagh’,’carlow’,’cavan’,’clare’,’cork’,’derry’,’donegal’,’down’,’dublin’,’fermanagh’,’galway’,’kerry’,’kildare’,’kilkenny’,’laois’,’leitrim’,’limerick’,’longford’,’louth’,’mayo’,’meath’,’monaghan’,’offaly’,’roscommon’,’sligo’,’tipperary’,’tyrone’,’waterford’,’westmeath’,’wexford’,’wicklow’

32 Counties of Ireland Code for HTML Form

<select name="county">
    <option value="antrim">Antrim</option>
    <option value="armagh">Armagh</option>
    <option value="carlow">Carlow</option>
    <option value="cavan">Cavan</option>
    <option value="clare">Clare</option>
    <option value="cork">Cork</option>
    <option value="derry">Derry</option>
    <option value="donegal">Donegal</option>
    <option value="down">Down</option>
    <option value="dublin">Dublin</option>
    <option value="fermanagh">Fermanagh</option>
    <option value="galway">Galway</option>
    <option value="kerry">Kerry</option>
    <option value="kildare">Kildare</option>
    <option value="kilkenny">Kilkenny</option>
    <option value="laois">Laois</option>
    <option value="leitrim">Leitrim</option>
    <option value="limerick">Limerick</option>
    <option value="longford">Longford</option>
    <option value="louth">Louth</option>
    <option value="mayo">Mayo</option>
    <option value="meath">Meath</option>
    <option value="monaghan">Monaghan</option>
    <option value="offaly">Offaly</option>
    <option value="roscommon">Roscommon</option>
    <option value="sligo">Sligo</option>
    <option value="tipperary">Tipperary</option>
    <option value="tyrone">Tyrone</option>
    <option value="waterford">Waterford</option>
    <option value="westmeath">Westmeath</option>
    <option value="wexford">Wexford</option>
    <option value="wicklow">Wicklow</option>
</select>

Code in action

Sleep Paralysis Song – and Setting Goals

I’m a firm believer in setting goals and sticking to them.  Without them, targets are missed and you become messy and anxious when it comes to getting the job done.  This year I’ve set myself the goal of getting 12 original songs onto youtube. The first is a Sleep Paralysis Song.

In the past I’ve set goals for lots of different kinds of things.  A few years ago it was getting Slang books published through UpTheDeise.com and then Slang.ie, then it was getting the 1848 Tricolour Festival off the ground with my friends, more recently, getting into good shape through sensible diet, climbing that bastard of a hill, Coumshingaun, and competing at national and international Kettlebell events, which it feels great to be doing at almost 40.

This year I plan on continuing the kettlebell training as it has had such a positive impact on my life, but I have some business goals and musical goals that I also plan to achieve this year.

Most people don’t know this about me but I am a classically trained Tuba player (LOL), yes it’s not much good to me these days except it has made me an expert birthday candle ‘blower outer’ and may even have given me a bit of an extra bellow capacity for the Kettlebells, who knows.  All those days marching with the damned thing around my neck on St. Patrick’s day for example.  I got to grade 7 standard and competed in competition with the big yoke. I played in the Mount Sion Silver Band for about 10 years, which made me a lot of life long friends..  I also played it for my leaving cert, which gave me an edge that the fiddle, and piano players didn’t have.  I remember the look on the evaluators face when I came in with my Tuba.  Their eyes would brighten up as it was unusual, and it wasn’t another fiddle or piano LOL. I’d bang a solo out on the E flat Bass like it was a Euphonium, thanks to the instruction of Liam Walsh, and my Dad for really encouraging me to keep it up when I felt the pressure.

After I left school I kind of rejected music a bit because I guess it became a bit too much like work and I lost the love for it.  Also, I was good but I was never really that good a musician so I wasn’t that confident in my abilities and so I focussed on other things in my life.

What I got from my time playing the tuba was an ability to read music and an understanding of how music works, bass lines, working with instruments in the different ranges and keys etc.

Even though I was a good tuba player, I’ve always been more of a closet singer.  I sang a couple of main parts as a kid in plays like Joseph and always enjoyed that.  Though never really took it anywhere beyond that, which has bugged me.  I was always singing though at home, with guitar and writing songs from a young age, but I let that part of me die for 15 years.

Anyway, to cut a long story short.  I’ve been toying around with the idea of writing songs and getting them out there for years and recently I’ve gotten a few out there.  Over the years I did some spoofy stuff for UpTheDeise.com like ‘The Secret Ball by Paul Flynn’ to the Tune of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and The Deise Boys up in the Ardree to the tune of Stayin Alive by the BeeGees.

Always a great craic and they did really well locally as most people in Waterford have seen them, but they’re just cover versions and a bit of a laugh.

I started putting some more original stuff out there last year like ‘Hey Mind Yerself’, a song about the big storms in Ireland in 2013/2014 that caused havok, and then an a-capella song ‘Arnies 6 Rules to Success.’

On Christmas eve, I brought out a song called Santa is Real for my kids and this year I’ve promised myself that I’ll release 12 songs, one a month for a year and January’s work is called Sleep Paralysis…

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep Paralysis is a condition that almost 10% of the world suffer from.  When it happens you wake up and cannot move a muscle, you can’t even speak.  It feels very sinister, like you are under attack and you panic and can’t move, not even scream for your loved ones.  It is awful and terrifying to even the toughest individual.  The only way out of it is to wait, and to wait calmly is the best way.

Science explains Sleep Paralysis it as your mind waking up before your body does and studies have shown that it is more likely to happen to people under mental stress.

However, religious and spiritual people believe it to be some sort of demonic/spiritual attack, intending to draw fear from the victim either as an energy source for them or that your panic is a source of entertainment for them.   The jury is out as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s an article on the demonic side of Sleep Paralysis, the testimonies are particular interesting in the comments sections.

In any case, as a frequnt sufferer, I wrote a song about it… it may resonate with some of you…

Tour of the Hasbro Factory in Waterford!

Daddy in his elementWhen I was driving my daughter home from school last week she told me that she had won an anti-littering art competition and that her artwork would feature on a local calendar. I was a very proud dad. When she further explained that a part of her prize was to get a tour of the Hasbro factory in Waterford I was even more thrilled for her. When she said she could bring a friend and 1 adult I felt a wave of excitement flow through my body. Maybe it might be me she would pick. When she told me I was the one she was going to bring I shouted…

“WHOOOOPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

Hasbro get involved with the community

Hasbro get involved with the community

I am 38 years old and have passed the Hasbro Factory every single day wondering what goes in that mysterious building that produces the board games that we all know and love like Monopoly, Operation, Kerplunk and so many more favourites. Now that I was going to find out first hand I felt that bit of excitement you feel as a little kind when you find out you’re going on a school tour. I felt like Grandpa Joe out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and I sang “I’ve got a golden ticket all the way home in the car!”

Sian and Daniel with their Calendars

Sian and Daniel with their Calendars with brilliant tour guide Francie Conroy, Jenny Butler and John Lennon

We had to wait over a week before going, the days went really slow. Slowest few days EVER… but eventually it came around. We (my Daughter, her brother and I) arrived at security with 10 minutes to spare and went into reception and waited with the other parents. We put on our safety goggles and made our way up to the induction room, with our guide Francie, who was very friendly and great fun.

When we got to the room we were told about how the games were produced at different times and how if games were needed in Smyths in Waterford they had to be first shipped to the UK and then shipped back because they don’t manage the distribution across Europe, just the supply.   We got a baaaieeg of Tayto each and a mineral (Waterford style), and the adults got a cuppa tay and a bicky. The kids where shown the lovely calendars and some lovely words of encouragement were said to them and there was a photo op and then we were ready to take the tour of the facility.

 

Making Mousetrap

First we went through the plastic moulding section. We saw pieces of the connect four frame being moulded and separated and get automatically put on conveyor belt with the help of robot arms. Across the aisle was the plastic base of operation being made and a worker inserting the board with the unfortunate man whose organs are pulled out by kids all over the continent. We saw a man assembling the pieces of the Kerplunk game into the box, the spiral, the marbles, the straws, all there.

 

Yeah it happened!Then we went on to an area where boards were being printed for monopoly and other games before we went to see the automated store room where a fork lift on tracks retrieved items 70 feet in the air. The we went on to the cool money printing facility. The place where the famous monopoly money is made. The kids all got a fist full of dollars, and I stood there doing randomly doing Clint Eastwood impressions that nobody got.

Overlooking the floorThen we went further down the production line to see a full view of the factory, which was not as busy as usual because this is the quiet time of the year for Hasbro seeing as Santa has just been and gone. Even still there were games being made left right and centre. We saw the final stages of the operation being packed. The box having the label stuck on and glazed, the plastic boards we saw earlier being put into the box with the instructions and the boxes being stacked.

Free games YAY!

Free games YAY!

Finally, we went upstairs again, back to the induction room and the kids awere thrilled to be given three games each. Daniel got Battleship, Guess who and Taboo and Sian got Monopoly, Frozen Frustration and Taboo also. They were delighted with themselves and I was too.

Thanks a million to Hasbro for doing this for the kids of the city. It’s a lovely calendar and hopefully people will pick it up and help spread the message and keep our beautiful city tidy in 2015.  Here’s a short video of parts of the tour…

Copper Coast not Wild Enough for Failte Ireland

boastrand-cliff

The copper coast, not wild enough to be included in Failte Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Most days there are facepalm moments, but some days facepalming really really hurts.  I just listened to an radio interview/debate on the Derek Mooney show between Paul Flynn (owner and chef at the award winning, Tannery Restaurant, Dungarvan) and Paul Keely (Director of Enterprise Development, Failte Ireland).

At 14.45 in the following radio interview my hand began to move towards my face inevitably like the cylindrical space ship in Star Trek The Voyage Home heading towards Earth because the whales are extinct and won’t answer the ominous querying monolith.  Then at 15.01 Mr. Keely says the following about the Copper Coast (designated a European Geopark), “but it’s not wild… from our perspective” and bang I fell off the chair with the incredible force of the palm hitting my face.  “Our perspective,” in this instance, is the perspective of Failte Ireland, the national tourism development authority of Ireland.

Fáilte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority – See more at: http://www.failteireland.ie/Utility/What-We-Do.aspx#sthash.AFnHURPY.dpu

Well Mr. Keely, I beg to differ.  The following YouTube video was taken in Tramore bay last winter.

I believe this fulfills your definition of wild in full and therefore I expect to see Waterford included on the Wild Atlantic Way early next week.

Thanking you.

My Appliance Repair Website Just Launched

My Appliance Repair - Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Tumble Dryer & Oven Repair in Waterford, Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, WexfordUTD Web Design is delighted to announce the launch of My Appliance Repair.  My Appliance Repair is a South East Business that specialises in domestic appliance repair in the region.

My Appiance repair specialises in the repair of the following common kitchen appliances:

  • Washing Machine Repair
  • Dishwasher Repair
  • Tumble Dryer Repair
  • Cooker Repair
  • Oven Repair

And services counties Kilkenny, Waterford, Carlow, Tipperary and Wexford.

The website itself is inspired by kitchen appliances so has rounded buttons and a white gradient background for the main body text.  It is straightforward to navigate and allows visitors get to the section they are looking for quickly.  Our goal is simplicity for both our clients and customers of our clients so the site is also responsive and works on mobiles and desktops and runs on the wordpress platform.

Best of luck to Gerry and co. with their new site.

Petition for the Inclusion of Waterford on the Wild Altlantic Way Driving Route

waterford-task-forceThe following petition is a result of a discussion on the Waterford Task Force Group Page on Facebook after the issue was highlighted on local media. 

Here is the proposed Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route, which excludes almost 100 miles of the atlantic coast, mostly Co. Waterford.

After approval from the members of the WTF group we have released the following petition text and are asking for people’s signatures.  Thank you for taking the time to visit this link.

Dear Failte Ireland,

It was disappointing to find out that the Wild Atlantic Way Driving route has failed to include the Atlantic coastline beyond West Cork. From East Cork to East Waterford there are some fantastic driving routes that take in some stunning views of the Atlantic coast. From Cobh to Youghal there are some excellent things for tourists to enjoy, The Titanic Experience in Cobh, a pitstop in Cork City, a visit to Fota Wildlife park or enjoy the sandy beaches of Youghal. In West Waterford, there’s the Gaeltacht in An Rinn, the beautiful town of Ardmore, with stunning beaches, round tower and rugged coastal walks. There are many beautiful beaches between Ardmore and Dungarvan, which itself has beautiful coastal views on the descent taking you through a magnificently kept town, and there are beaches such as Clonea and Stradbally close by. Then as you take the coastal road to the copper coast, a European Geopark, there are stunning views from Bonmahon all the way to Tramore, including Kilmurrin, Annestown, Boatstrand, Garrarus, Kilfarrassey and many others; the views here along the coast road here would rival anywhere in Europe. This will take you through Fenor, which is a gorgeous little village with a wild bog that is extremely accessible and one of the best playgrounds in the country is available to families passing through. On then to Tramore, which again has amazing views from Newtown head to Brownstown head with a fantastic and safe strand that goes on for miles. Tramore is a bustling town, which is being renewed with infrastructure, roads and is a huge tourist attraction in the region with surf clubs, coffee shops, amusement park and much more. If you continue along the coast there are more beaches too, the wild saleen sand dunes, a nature reserve, which follows along to some smaller coves and on to Dunmore East, another stunning village, with fabulous restaurants. There’s even more as you head along to Woodstown, which is where the Suir leaves the estuary with the Nore and Barrow, and has beautiful light soft sand. These are some of the jewels along this almost 100 mile stretch of the Wild Atlantic coast that will not be highlighted to tourists if this part of the country isn’t highlighted.

By branding the entire coastline from Derry to Kinsale as the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and excluding East Cork and Waterford, Failte Ireland have made it very difficult for the region to promote it’s Atlantic coastline and put us at a major disadvantage in terms of attracting tourism into the future. With traditional employment in the area under severe pressure, it would be very helpful if a national body such as Failte Ireland allowed us to compete fairly for tourists wishing to experience the atlantic coastline.

We the undersigned ask Failte Ireland, Government Officials, Politicians and others to ensure that East Cork and Waterford are included on the final route. By doing so it will significantly add to the tourist offering of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland as a whole.

[emailpetition id=”1″]

Biz4Biz – A New Company Search / Business Directory for Irish Businesses

biz4bizBiz4Biz is a new business directory in Ireland specifically created for the knowledge economy.  It was built by UTD Web Design for the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly and is being run and maintained by SEBIC (The South East Business Innovation Centre).

Biz4Biz is an output from an EU project known as AtlantKIS, and the goal is to encourage online interaction of knowledge based businesses online.

Biz4Biz Ireland's Knowledge Business Directory

Biz4Biz Ireland’s Knowledge Business Directory

There are 3 key features to Biz4Biz:

  1. It is a business directory for knowledge based businesses:  Businesses can login, register and submit a profile which is displayed on the Biz4Biz site.  Businesses enter keywords which can then be searched on by the general public or other businesses.
  2. Get a quote for professional services:  If you need graphic design, a website, accountancy, legal assistance or whatever, use the get a quote facility to get quotes from businesses registered in your area on the site.
  3. View and tender for Business Leads: Using the view leads section, registered businesses can respond to other businesses quote requests with a few clicks.

The site is currently launched in Beta and is receiving registrations daily.  I would recommend that all knowledge businesses register with the system as at the very least they will receive a quality, manually approved, back link to their website.

When businesses register they are given the option to create a search engine friendly url and input data that is displayed on an attractive one page profile that can be viewed equally as well on mobile and desktop browsers. The profile displays the business logo, description, linked keywords that the business registered with, contact details and social media connectivity along with a contact form.

UTD Web Design on Biz4Biz Company Search Screen

UTD Web Design on Biz4Biz Company Search Screen

Technology Used

Biz4Biz was designed from the ground up using current web design standards such as HTML5, CSS3, PHP, MySql, and Javscript including Ajax for better user experience.  It uses a responsive design so the same content is viewed slightly differently on smaller screens.  The key was simplicity, it had to be both easy to use on various browsers, but yet fully featured and search engine friendly.

Please visit Biz4Biz.ie and register your business today.

 

Look Down it’s OK!

I saw a video on YouTube called ‘Look Up’.  Some guy reciting a poem about how we should stop looking down at the screen or we’ll miss all the great moments in life.

I don’t think we will.

Yes, the message to look up every now and again is a good one but most people have sense enough to instinctively know this.  Especially crossing the road or while eating in someone’s company etc. However, if you’re on a subway or eating lunch while on a business trip, feel free to check out your facebook feed or your newspaper, or buy something on ebay.  If you’re relaxing in the evening, play a game instead of watching a tv programme, that’s fine too, check out a cool video on youtube or solve a puzzle.  Why not.  But don’t do it while you’re bouncing on your trampoline or out on your bike, or doing chin ups, or visiting grandma and eating her tarts.

Not a good idea.

If you’re waiting for your mates to come into a pub or want to show them a picture of you acting the maggot, look down, if you are dancing and eyeing up a member of the opposite sex, look up. If you are in a parking lot, searching for an address, look down, if you are driving, look the f*ck up. Simples.

My point is, most of us have a bit of common sense and aren’t complete morons, and we don’t need to be pontificated to by a gobshite who wants a bit of attention.  It’s worse than that though, through this video, 35 million people have looked down.  Does anyone see the irony here.  35 million people wasted 5 minutes looking down.  That equates to 332 years of lost time.  I mean you could have used this time give some babe the puppy eyes, you could be in the hospital hugging your dying grandma, or how aboout throwing a stick for a couped up dog or even giving de missus a belt of the old relic.

Oh, and it wasn’t so great in the old days either.  People used to ignore people in other ways, like a huge big broadsheet newspaper, or up in the toilet with a well used copy of playboy, knitting, playing cards or watching Bosco on RTE1.    Kids were bored a lot more often and use to play with small metal cars in dirt or getting stung by nettles catching ladybirds and bees.  Boy would I have loved an ipad back then.  I might not have gotten those warts on my hands.

So my advice is turn off videos like this after 10 seconds before you waste any more time listening to drivel, but if you’re entertained by something or learn something, or challenge your mind or are communicating with a friend 6000 miles away, or chatting up someone, go for it. You see sometimes it’s good to look down, for work, rest or play. Do your own thing, use your own concience to guide you and listen to it.  If it guides you in the wrong direction, or you don’t listen to it…

… Darwin will take care of the rest.

Ps. If you stopped reading this halfway through, good on ya!