Over 915 million ways to combine just 6 LEGO bricks

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about my favourite toy, LEGO, so I thought I’d correct that with a crazy LEGO fact that stuck in my mind this weekend while watching National Geographic’s special MegaFactories: LEGO. So here it is:

The number of unique ways you can combine 6 classic (2×4 stud) LEGO bricks of the same colour is an incredible 915,103,765

That’s over 915 million different ways! So, if like me, you had to find out how they came up with this number, there’s a great story behind it here, along with some great numbers regarding combining of larger numbers of bricks.

Other great facts from this same programme were:

  • Over 50% of LEGO’s entire annual sales take place in the 2 months before Christmas each year
  • The LEGO factory in Billund, Denmark is technically the largest manufacturer of tyres in the world (great table quiz question!)
  • Worldwide, 7 LEGO products are sold every second

1848 Tricolor Celebration in Waterford, Ireland

Some friends of mine are part of a group that are organising a formal celebration of the history and origin of Ireland’s national flag – more commonly known as the Tricolor – in the city where it was first unveiled – Waterford.

Jonathan Brazil has also written an excellent piece that introduces the planned celebrations far more eloquently than I ever could, so feel free to read his post too.

For more information check out http://www.1848tricolour.com and join in the festivities.

Elizabeth “Lily” Mernin and Michael Collins

I’m often quizzed about a lady called Lily Mernin who features in many historical journals relating to the Irish Easter Rising of 1916 and to Irish independence generally. It seems that she worked as a spy for Michael Collins back in the early 1920’s (perhaps earlier).

The Irish Times printed another article about her recently, which is actually a repeat of a similar article from 1996 (around the time that Neil Jordan’s movie of the same name was released).

In terms of her relationship to the current generation of Mernins (based out of Villierstown, Co. Waterford), it seems that she was a first cousin of my Grandfather, Edmund (Neddie) Mernin. She (and her heroic exploits) is often cited when the nationalism of my family name comes into question (mostly in jest, I should add). And indeed while Mernin isn’t generally considered a very Irish name, Lily certainly was.


I’m often quizzed about a “Lily Mernin” who worked as a spy for Michael Collins. This article is a repeat of a similar one from around the the Neil Jordan’s movie of the same name was released some years ago.

Of course my family’s patriotism is also often question (Mernin isn’t a very Irish name) but this article puts paid to that theory I think!

Dublin to Waterford Motorway now open

Today, Thursday 9th September 2010 marks a very significant day for anyone living in the Waterford (or South Kilkenny area) of Ireland. Finally, after more years than I care to remember, we can celebrate the reality of a fully uninterrupted motorway from Waterford to Dublin.

It may seem trivial (and even archaic) to some readers, but take it from me, this is a really big deal in this part of the country and so very long overdue. At long last, the Sunny South East will be a perfectly manageable (and comfortable) distance from our capital city, and should make day-trips, holidays and visiting friends and family and much less stressful experience.

Source: RTÉ News

Irish Times Crossword Compiler dies ages 92

I have always been an admirer of the Crosaire Crossword in The Irish Times but very rarely deciphered more than a handful of the clues, and mostly opted for the Simplex version instead. I was saddened to learn of the recent death of the man behind the Crosaire, Derek Crozier, who had been compiling it since 1943. He died on Saturday last (3 April 2010) at his some in Zimbabwe, at an impressive age of 92. May he rest in peace.

Source: RTÉ News

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!

Mount Sion Silver Band Reunion 2009

Mount Sion Silver Band is the name of a brass-instrument band that I was fortunate enough to be a member of for a sizeable portion of my schooling life (11 years in total). The band was part of Mount Sion C.B.S. in Waterford City and was formed in 1967 by a number of retired Christian Brothers, with the support of the school Past Pupils Union.

During its lifetime, the band won several regional and national titles, made a number of television appearances (most notably, the Late Late Toy Show in 1986) and represented Ireland at the World Youth Band Championships in 1985. A number of former members have also gone on to become professional musicians, playing with the likes of Van Morrison, Neil Sedaka, Pavarotti and U2 to name but a few.

Sadly, the is sadly no longer in existence today but myself and a few other former members are organising a reunion and would like to invite all former members, family and friend of the band to attend. A dedicated website for the band has also been created at http://www.mountsionsilverband.org where full details of the reunion are available, along with lots of other information about the life and times of the band.

2009 Reunion in short

Inaugural reunion to include book and website launch, photography exhibition, mass, social events and performances by past members.
To celebrate the life and times of the band, among friends
23-25 October 2009
Waterford City, Ireland
All past members and friends of Mount Sion Silver Band

Click here to find out more…

Happy Birthday Guinness

Today, Thursday 24th September 2009, marks the 250th anniversary of the signing of the infamous 9,000 year lease by Arthur Guinness, for a four-acre site at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, on which the Guinness brewery is now located.

As a Guinness drinker (for more years than I care to admit to my parents), I’ve enjoyed many a pint of the black stuff, and have enjoyed some of my favourite pints in the following pubs:

  1. Martha Power’s Bar, Queen Street, Tramore, Co. Waterford
  2. Kavanagh’s (The Gravediggers), Glasnevin, Dublin 9
  3. Downes Bar, Thomas Steet, Waterford City
  4. Jack Quinn’s, Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, USA
  5. Geoff’s Bar, Michael Street, Waterford City
  6. The Spaniard Bar, Kinsale, Co. Cork
  7. The Cornerstone Bar, Lahinch, Co. Clare
  8. An Crúiscín Lán, Villierstown, Co. Waterford
  9. Benny Andersons, Ardee, Co. Louth
  10. The Shannon, Taipei, Taiwan

Where have you enjoyed your best pints of Guinness, and why?

Hubble’s Amazing Ultra Deep Field Journey

Even if you have no interest in astronomy, this video is worth viewing. It describes (and shows in 3D) an incredible series of photographic experiments by the team behind the Hubble Telescope that reveal over 10,000 galaxies in the deepest area of space ever photographed, an area they are now calling the “Hubble Ultra Deep Field”. It makes for truly fascinating, and yet extremely humbling viewing.

Source: Gizmodo via Life, is grand