Google Street View launched in Ireland

Google have finally launched their Google Maps Street View service in Ireland. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it is the ability to zoom/pan down to ground level on a Google Map. I have used it once or twice but only really for US-based cities. However, it’s a wholly different (and addictive) experience using it to look at my own town, county and country.

The only down-side is that the simply isn’t obvious enough how to jump from a map view to the street view. To do this, you need to navigate to your location on the map view and then click and drag the small, yellow person icon (located above the zoom controls to the left of the map area) to the location on the map that you want to view the street view of.


Realtime Aircraft Traffic from RadarVirtuel

A work colleagues sent me a link to Radar Virtuel recently and I was fascinated by the very existence of a website that shows flights in the air in real time. Each aeroplane symbol in the frame below is a real flight in the air, right now. Clicking on it allows you to see where it came from, where it is going and which airline it is.

You might need to dismiss the help overlay (blue X button in top right corner) to see the map more clearly. The grey overlay (circa 16 April 2010) shows the Volcanic Ash from the volcano in Iceland, and as was mentioned today, it is so rare to see the entire northern section of England and all of Ireland completely barren of any flights.

The site is more impressive during the day when there are more flights in the air.

Rocky Mills

Rocky Mills hails from Tramore, Co. Waterford in Ireland and has been an Elvis impersonator for over 50 years. One of his many claims to fame is that he has been singing Elvis songs longer than Elvis himself!

Rocky was honoured by his native Tramore in 2010 when he was asked to be the grand marshal of the Tramore St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Rocky Mills, Tramore Grand Marshal 2010

Whilst walking by the starting point of parade on the day in question, I was fortunate enough to overhear the following priceless conversation between a young girl and her father, who was obviously a fan, which went as follows:

Girl: “Look Dad, it’s Elvis”
Dad: “Why, that’s not Elvis …… that’s Rocky Mills!”

You can watch a full documentary made about Rocky Mills in 2006 on YouTube.

Average Car Mileage in Ireland

I have often wondered where people get their figures from when quoting average mileage on cars. Personally, I’ve had a figure of 10,000 miles per year floating around in my head for as long as I can remember, and think I originally got this figure from my father.

However, whilst perusing through the second hand car market recently, the issue of average mileage came up again but this time in relation to Petrol versus Diesel cars. To be honest, I’d never really given much thought to the fact that the average figure might different depending on the fuel type. However, according a Private Motoring Energy Usage report by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in 2005, there is indeed a difference (of around 50%) between the two:

  • Average annual mileage of all cars: 16,894 kilometres (10,498 miles)
  • Average annual mileage of Petrol cars: 15,969 kilometres (9,923 miles)
  • Average annual mileage of Diesel cars: 23,817 kilometres (14,799 miles)

Whilst the report is now 5 years old, I can’t image the relative figures for 2010 are that different. It also looks like my father was not too far off the mark either!

Scoil Bhúan do Ghaelscoil Philib Barún

Gaelscoil Philib Barún is the name of an Irish-language school in my home  town of Tramore, Ireland. The term Gaelscoil comes from the Irish word “Gaeilge”, meaning Irish and the word “Scoil”, meanin school. Philib Barún is the Irish translation of Philip Barron, after whom the school was name (see below).

Anyway, the school will be launching a new campaign over the coming weeks to highlight the fact that, since its creation in 1985, the school has been without a permanent home (that’s 24 years to you and me). The title of this article means, “A Permanent School for Gaelscoil Philib Barún”, and this is the official tag-line for the new building campaign.

Since my daughter is attending this school, I have volunteered some of my time to help out with the campaign. Thus far, my main contribution has been in the form of redesigning the school website – – in an effort to provide improved communications to both parents and the wider digital community. This has proved to be a rather interesting journey.

The website was built using WordPress which enables it to have its own blog and RSS feed, allowing readers to comment on the various articles on the site as well as enabling them to subscribe to the website from the likes of Google Reader (or any other feed reader). Also, thanks to a marvelous WordPress plugin called xLanguage, the site is available to view in either English or Irish (Gaeilge to be more precise). I’ve used a number of other WordPress plugins on the site and will be posting a separate article on my experiences with those at a later date.

As mentioned above, the school itself was named after a local man called Philip Barron, who was a pioneer of Irish nationalism from the 1800’s. His life story is documented on the school website and makes for fascinating reading if you have a few spare minutes.

Unimpressive CDWOW experience

I recently purchased 3 CDs from the CDWOW website and have to say I’m pretty unimpressed with the experience. I placed my order on Sunday, 26th July 2009 and it’s now two-and-a-half weeks later (Wednesday, 12th August), I still have not received all of them. It look 10 days for the first one to arrive (with a smashed jewel case), then another 3 for the second one and still no sign of the final one.

They’re not special editions or anything like that, and so should have been in stock. Also disappointing was the fact that I deliberately decided to go with CDs (don’t buy too many of them any more) because they were a present for my daughter’s birthday, but alas CDWOW let me down as the more important ones did not arrive on time.

I think I’ll stick to Amazon in future.

Energy Efficiency Grant Scheme for Homes launched

The long-awaited grant scheme to help home owners make their homes more energy efficient will start accepting applications from today. The scheme is for improvements in home insulation and central heating systems and apparently has €50m in the pot.

To find out more, visit the Home Energy Savings Scheme section of the Sustainable Energy Ireland website, where you will also find a very good Homeowners FAQ section.

Source : RTE News

Irish place names website

Have you ever wondered what the official Irish name for your home town or city is? Well, a new website,, has just been launched that should provide the answers you are looking for.

The usability is a little strange at first. You are presented with a map of Ireland, segmented by county name. However, when I clicked on my home county (Waterford), I expected to see another (more detailed) map showing all of the towns and/or regions in that county. However, I did not.

It turns out that there is quite a lot of information available from this site, it just isn’t as easy to find it as I first expected. That said, there is a Search box on the site which works just fine, so maybe its just me.

Source: RTE News