Banter at Shore Shots (106, Apr 2015)

Shore Shots is a two-day festival of surfing which takes place at the Light House Cinema in Dublin taking place on April 11 and 12. The third outing for the festival will feature the best new films, photography, art and adventures from the world of cold water surfing, as well as talks and entertainment from the finest surfers in Europe.

Banter teams up with Shore Shots this year to run the rule over what’s going on with Irish surfing.

Nature means Ireland is on many agendas when it comes to surfing, with those wild, wild swells out west and along our 3,000km of coastline attracting many surfers keen to take on the biggest cold water challenges and enjoy some true soul surfing. When Discover Ireland take an interest in the sport and pimps the attractions of waters from Donegal to Kerry and even Waterford and Wicklow to surfers, you know that the surf is definitely up.

We’ve invited four stalwarts to come along to Shore Shots to talk about the current state of the sport in Ireland. What do they think of Ireland’s rep as a surfing destination? Is it still something of a best kept secret or is the word out? Is there too much focus on attracting international surfers to the detriment of encouraging more domestic fans to come onboard? What are the issues which the local scene face which need to be addressed? Or is everything hunky-dory?

Our panelists:

Peter Conroy – founder member of the Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club. A paramedic and firefighter by day he is also a regular surfer at Ireland’s most infamous big wave spots. Through his association with the Irish Tow Rescue club, Peter has gone from breaking his neck in huge surf to organising rescue training for Irish big wave surfers and making Mullaghmore a slightly safer place to surf and centre for international best practice in surf rescue.

Ed Temperley – editor of Magic Seaweed, Ed is a regular visitor to Shore Shots and his work is essential reading for anyone hoping to progress as a surfer in this country.

Brian Britton – one of the forefathers of Irish surfing, Brian helped set up the Irish Surf Association way back in 1969. Since then, he has been instrumental in every development in Irish surfing, from major international tournaments to developing young surfers and introducing training standards at surf schools around the country.

Henry Moore - chairman of the Irish Surfing Association

Banter details: Banter on surfing takes place at the Light House Cinema, Dublin on Saturday April 11 at 4pm. Tickets are €7 and are available here.

Over the weekend, Shore Shots will screen such flicks as Behind The LinesOut In The LineupTierra des PatagonesDeath 2 Hipsters and the Shore Shots edit contest

What’s the story with the Irish pub? (105, Apr 2015)

You don’t need us to tell you about changes to the Irish pub over the last few years. Between new arrivals coming in from across the water, competition from off-licences and changes in public behaviour and social trends when it comes to drinking, the Irish pub sector has probably seen more change of late than it’s ever done before.

Banter is linking up with The Locals and Discotekken for a special event about the Irish pub on Easter Sunday, 48 hours after the day when prohibition rules the roost across the country.

Banter’s contribution to the event is a where-we-are-and-where-we’re-going discussion about publand featuring a number of Irish publicans, namely Tony McMahon (owner of Johnnie Fox’s), Trevor O’Shea (Bodytonic, the Bernard Shaw, The Twisted Pepper, MVP, The Back Page and The Yacht), Seáneen Sullivan (L Mulligan Grocer) and Oliver Hughes (CEO the Portherhouse Group and founder of the Dingle Distillery).

Aside from the Banter discussion, the event will also feature a screening of The Irish Pub documentary, produced and directed by Alex Fegan, and a performance from Ensemble Eriu.

It all takes place at the Sugar Club (Lower Leeson St., Dublin 2) on Sunday April 5 from 7pm and tickets are available here.

Banter on mindfulness (104, Mar 2015)

There are some Banter topics which are on the to-do list for a long time and mindfulness is definitely one of them. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed how the practice of mindfulness has began to appear on agendas more and more. It has always been a daily habit for many, but the massive buzz around a wave of apps, courses, workshops and retreats means mindfulness has become an everyday experience for many more to enhance how they live and work.

This Banter discussion panel gathers together some people who use mindfulness practices in their daily life and work to help us examine the benefits of mindfulness when it comes to our attention spans, concentration levels, creativity and emotional well-being. How do you begin? Where do you begin? What do you need to do? Does the fact that practices and habits which have been around for many years and decades are now branded as mindfulness change everything or nothing at all?

The panel:

Ivor Browne – retired psychiatrist, former Chief Psychiatrist of the Eastern Health Board, professor emeritus of psychiatry at University College Dublin and author of Music & Madness (Cork University Press)

Karen Hand – a doctoral researcher who co-curated the National Happiness Experiment and is co-author of Happy Nation? Prospects for Psychological Prosperity in Ireland (Liffey Press)

Colm Mac Con Iomaire – musician and member of The Frames, who will be releasing his new solo album “And Now the Weather/Agus Anois An Aimsir” on April 17

Ruairí McKiernan – social innovator, campaigner, Presidential appointee to Ireland’s Council of State, founder of SpunOut, co-founder of Uplift and a board member of the Soar Foundation and Gaisce.

The details: Banter on mindfulness takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Tuesday March 31. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion gets underway at 6.30pm sharp. Tickets are now available here.

Generation Z (103, Mar 2014)

Meet the new guard. Brands, marketing and advertising may be all about the millenials at present when it comes to flogging their products and selling their wares, but there’s a new generational cast arriving in town and they’ve a far different mindset to the twentysomethings who’ve gone before them. They’re the young men and women who were born since the mid-1990s, a group who’ve been digital natives from the moment they could talk and who weren’t even in secondary school when the Celtic Tiger was in full bloom or, indeed, crashing down.

So, what do they think about this, that and the other? What are their views on life, the universe and everything else? What’s their take on technology, work, politics, privacy, entertainment, social enterprise, Ireland, climate change, culture, the future, the millenials and a whole lot more besides? We’ve decided to ask four of them along to Banter to check their heads.

Banter’s Generation Z panelJessy Rose (singer with Hare Squead), Melissa Kavanagh (poet, Bave New Voices Atlanta 2015), Lia Grogan (SpunOut contributer) and Jordan Casey (programmer and games developer – piece on Jordan here)

Banter on Generation Z takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday March 11. Doors open 6pm and the panel kicks off at 6.30pm. Tickets are available here.

Banter at Quarter Block Party (102, Feb 2015)

Our first outside adventure for the year comes when we visit the Quarter Block Party in Cork on Saturday February 7.

Running from Friday February 6 to Sunday February 8, the Quarter Block Party is a new arts festival shining a light on one of Cork’s oldest quarters and taking over South and North Main Streets for a range of music, theatre, art, discussions and positivity. The aim is to bring crowds to the founding streets of the city during an off-peak time of year and transform the area with creative hubs of artistic activity for everyone in the community to enjoy.


For Banter at Quarter Block Party, we’ve two talks lined up. Inside the Miracle of Sound is an interview with Gavin Dunne, the Cork musician behind the online music project of the same name. What started out as fan-songs for movies and videogames has become a micro-industry where his songs and compositions, all produced in his home studio and covering a vast range of genres, have pulled in over 50 million views across the internet as well as the interest of such industry giants as Ubisoft, Bioware, EA, Epic and Bethesda. His work has been used to promote major titles such as Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed 4 and Watch Dogs and his song “Cries Of A Dead World” is on the soundtrack to Wasteland 2.

We’ll talk to him about getting his start in the business, the power of word of mouth for a musician and composer, the use of social media to create a buzz and what happens when the gaming industry’s big boys come calling.

The second talk is about Alternative Economies and if it’s possible to make a living from doing something you love. For many, the dream is to give up the day job and do something you truly love, but how feasible is it to do this, especially if you have a music, arts or cultural project you want to work on? You may think that there are grants and loans and bursaries which will see you over the line, but the reality is a lot different.

Some folks who’ve found a way to make alternative economics make sense for them – namely James Byrne (Any Other CityVillagers), Eat My Noise ProductionsAoife Potter-Cogan (Cork Community Art Link) and Siobhan Kane (Young Hearts Run Free) – give us their thoughts on going it alone.

It takes place at the Vision Centre at St Peter’s (South Main Street) where doors open at 2.30pm and the talking kicks off at 3pm. Admission is free to Quarter Block Party weekend or day ticket holders and you can get those tickets here.

Banter 101 (101, Feb 2015)

There could only be one topic for Banter 101. Well, actually, that’s not quite true but, in the end, arms were twisted and legs were broken and we are where we are. I’m handing Banter over to my Irish Times colleague (and regular Banter guest) Una Mullally for the night and I’m leaving it to her to explain this one. Over to Una for what the takeover will involve

Over the course of one hundred Banters, Jim Carroll has interviewed countless people, tackled tricky topics, caused several scraps and brought his fast-paced interview style all over the country.

But for Banter 101, we go back to the origins. For this special Banter session, the tables will be turned and questions asked of Jim.



How did he get to where he is now? Are there any truth to the rumours that he once built a working Funktion-One sound system solely out of solicitors’ letters? Was the Choice Music Prize really founded after Jim lost a poker game to Tom Dunne? And what about his murky record label past? Or the fact that he’s from Tipperary?

On Wednesday February 4, the hunter becomes the hunted for Banter 101.

Decidedly uncomfortable with this event, Jim’s reaction when this this topic was suggested initially was “fucking no way. No fucking way. No. Fuck off.” But an incessant bullying/stalking campaign ensued and he finally agreed to give his first ever in-depth interview at Banter as the event goes back to basics: 101.

On the panel are a group of people who know how to wind Jim up.

Molly King, producer of Banter @ Other Voices.

“Me and Jim became an unlikely pair for Other Voices Banter for the last three years. I pretended to know what I was doing and he pretended to know where Benners Hotel was. The first meeting we had, I understood about 50% of what he said. I’m now an excellent JimCarrollinguist, and can translate on cue.”

Derek O’Connor, award-winning writer and filmmaker, co-creator of satirical blog Blogorrah, former director of Darklight Festival and a writer on the BAFTA winning CBBC series Roy.

“In the last century, Jim commissioned me to write music reviews for Eircom’s online hub Rondomondo – we’ve been talking nonsense about stuff ever since.”

Angela Dorgan, founder and director of First Music Contact, which encompasses Hard Working Class Heroes, and Music From Ireland.

“I know Jim as a music journalist whose review of Hard Working Class Heroes once made me cry, and then when I went back to it was full of useful and honest advice”

Ian Wilson. The legend.

More interrogators to be added.

The panel will be moderated by Una.

Before this Banter, we’ll be asking Jim’s colleagues, enemies, friends, and other “revellers” to submit their JIM RAPID-FIRE QUESTION ROUND on Twitter, in order to get the goss, test his knowledge, get under his skin and find out who’s playing Electric Picnic this year.

Banter 101 details: upstairs Twisted Pepper, Wednesday February 4. Doors open 6pm, the hunter gets hunted from 6.30pm. Admission is free (you can reserve a place here), but we’re asking folks to donate some cash at the door and all money raised will be donated to the Peter McVerry Trust.

Banter 100 (100, Jan 2015)

Hands up: I never expected to be writing this. When we started Banter back in July 2009 in the upstairs room of the Twisted Pepper in Dublin, I thought we’d get a few months out of it. Trevor O’Shea from Bodytonic Music wanted “talky stuff” so I came up with a few ideas for discussions and panels. Our first one was about Irish music radio featuring Paul McLoone from Today FM and The Golden Maverick from Power FM. I’d say we’d about 30 people in the room (please say hello if you were there) and we were off and running.

Since then, we’ve done 98 other Banters. The Twisted Pepper remains our spiritual home and Dublin HQ, but we’ve been invited to a ton of festivals and events up and down the country to do our thing. The Earagail Arts Festival was the first one outside the capital to take a leap of faith in Banter and we’ve had a blast in one way or another with every single event we’ve done.

There are many, many Banters which stand out in the memory: the one with Utah Saints on the Derry city walls when a lad dressed as a muskateer fired his gun with no warning, the one in the kitchen in Donegal where there was a Picasso on the wall, all the ones in Foxy John’s in Dingle as part of Other Voices, the one with Nile Rodgers in a packed Galway hotel function room where he slagged me and my questions off and got the crowd chanting along, the one with Paul Morley in a former bomb shelter in London (another Other Voices’ joint), the one with Angela Scanlon and Sonya Lennon talking about fashion and style in Kilkenny in front of a 99 per cent female audience, the one about sustainable farming in a room in the middle of the Burren packed with farmers, the one in Charles Fort in Kinsale with Philip King (which we stupidly didn’t record), the one in the Workman’s Club with Tony Fenton (which we also didn’t record). Yep, loads to remember.

And, of course, we fondly remember a whole rake of Banters in the Pepper, where we’ve done them upstairs, downstairs and especially in the main room. It’s where the Banter thing has been finessed and finetuned, this thing where we either get a bunch of people together to have a lively discussion about something or other or bring in someone for an informal, casual, no-holds-barred one-on-one interview.

It all happens in front of an audience who are there to be entertained, educated, amused, bemused, engaged and very occasionally provoked. There’s a school of thought out there amongst some folks that questions from the audience often bring down the tone of an event, but I have absolutely no truck with that notion. It’s the audience who often give a Banter event its energy and mojo with a well-placed question or observation. After all, without the audience, we’d just be talking to ourselves.

All of which brings us to Banter 100. It takes place on Wednesday January 28 at the Twisted Pepper in Dublin from 6.30pm. There will be three secions in all, plus some very special musical guests, who we’ll be announcing nearer the date.

From the Editor’s Office

We’ve held many Banter talks about media issues over the last five years so we’ve decided to go right to the top for this one. We’ve gathered together a number of editors from various national publications and news outlets to talk about what they do, the pressures and decisions they face and make on an average day, their views on the news management agenda and their opinions on the Irish media landscape.

The panel: Kevin O’Sullivan (editor, The Irish Times), Ian Kehoe (editor, Sunday Business Post), Des Gibson (editor, Irish Daily Star) and Kevin Bakhurst (RTE Managing Director News and Current Affairs and Deputy Director General)

Living for the City: Loving Dublin

Since September 2013, the Living for the City series has delved into many nooks and crannies of living, working and playing in Dublin in the 21st century, from transportmedia and housing to foodimmigration and creativity.

For Banter 100, we’ve invited Aisling Rogerson (The Fumbally Cafe), Lynn Daly (Dublin City Council events and tourism team) and John Mahon (The Locals) to come along to talk about what they think really makes Dublin tick and the things they believe can be done simply and quickly to improve the everyday life of the city.

An interview with Timo

Chances are if you’re a Dublin-based music fan, you’ve been to a couple of memorable shows over the last two decades promoted by the man called Timo. Under the U:mack banner (and Ultramack before that), Timo has been responsible for hundreds – maybe thousands – of events by bands, DJs and live electronic acts in the city, from Aphex Twin, Fugazi, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Battles, Autechre, Shellac, Caribou and Moderat to 100% Dynamite, Rocket from the Crypt, Konono No 1, Jello Biafra, The Ex, Atari Teenage Riot, Andy Weatherall, Plaid, Squarepusher and zillions more.

2015 marks U:mack’s 21st birthday so we thought it would be a good idea to kick off the year of Timo (#um21) with an interview with the man himself about his life and times. Trust us, you will not want to miss this.

Tickets for Banter 100 are now on sale (please note the event is now sold out). By the way, when we did Banter 50 back in May 2013, Trevor O’Shea, the geezer who set the whole thing in motion originally when he went looking for talky stuff, promised loads of cake when we hit 100. We’re going to hold him to that.

Banter on sports at First Fortnight (099, Jan 2015)

One of the most fascinating Banter panels in 2014 occured at the First Fortnight festival last January when we spoke to Richie SadlierDavid Gillick and Liam Moggan about how sportspeople deal with the mental pressures to perform and compete in public. Afterwards, Susan Clarke wrote a good summary of some of the topics and points raised here.

We’ve been asked back by the festival and we’ve assembled a very strong panel to talk about how sports teams and individual sportsmen deal with the issue of mental health and especially mental stress and strain.


Given that sportsmen and women are exposed to win-at-all-costs pressure from a young age, there is a growing need for all codes to address how mental health issues are responded to and whether the culture around sport is conducive to promoting a tolerant response to those experiencing difficulty. Over the Bar will look at the many issues around mental health in sport and what teams, clubs, organisations and managers should be doing to help, both during and after a player’s career.

The Banter panel for Over the BarConor Cusack (Gaelic Players Association mental health ambassador and former Cork hurler), Nora Stapleton (Women’s and Girls Rugby Development Executive with the IRFU, member of the Ireland XVs squad and Donegal Ladies Gaelic football) and David Corkery (former Ireland, Munster, Cork Cons and Bristol rugby player)

The details: Banter presents Over the Bar at First Fortnight will take place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Tuesday January 6. Doors open at 6pm and the panel kicks off at 6.30pm. Tickets available here.

Banter at Other Voices (098, Dec 2014)

For the third year in a row, the Banter bandwagon heads southwest to Dingle and takes up residence in Foxy John’s pub and hardware shop for this year’s Other Voices’ event. As always, it’s a pleasure to head to Dingle so big thanks as always to the Other Voices’ team for the invite.


On Saturday and Sunday December 13 and 14, we’ll be hosting a rake of one-on-one interviews with some fascinating folks from the worlds of sport, media, technology, music, art, film, design and literature.

Our guests for 2014 are as follows:

Paul Galvin – believe it or not, this is the first visit from a Lixnaw man to Banter. Paul Galvin surely needs no introduction to the Foxy John’s faithful, a colourful player of great passion and skill who won a rake of All-Irelands for his county. We’ll talk about his recently published book In My Own Words, his life on the pitch, fashion, hip-hop and much more besides.

Paddy Cosgrave – the founder of the Web Summit talks about what it takes to grow an event from zero to 22,000 in a few years and what comes next for the Summit. Before anyone starts, please note that there is no wi-fi in Foxy’s.

Bill Malone – meet Mr RTE2. Bill Malone is the channel controller, the man charged with ensuring that the TV channel kicks ass, broadcasts shows with bite and appeal and continues to keep Irish 15-24 year olds tuning in. We’ll talk to Bill about his life in TV, his role at the top of the RTE2 tree and what’s next from the station which has provided a home for Damo & Ivor, Connected, Drunk, Republic of Telly and, yes, Other Voices.

Joe Caslin – if you’ve seen the large-scale murals of young men on the walls of various towns and cities around the country this year, you’ve seen the work of Joe Caslin. He will talk about how Our Nation’s Sons brings marginalised young men in from the shadows to remind us of their existence

Nóirín Hegarty – formerly the editor of and The Sunday Tribune, Nóirín is now managing destination editor at Lonely Planet in London. As well as retracing her steps and retelling her adventures in the Irish media ecosystem, she’ll talk about Lonely Planet and what’s ahead for travel writing

Gavin Sheridan – the Cork journalist and blogger has done much to promote the idea of using existing laws and regulations to shed light on how power is used in this country. Co-founder of and and formerly the director of innovation at Storyful, he’ll talk at Banter about the tenacity and patience required to bring transparency to how our government operate.

Delorentos – what’s it like to be in a band in 2014 and what does it take to ensure that band keeps on keeping on? Kieran McGuinness and Nial Conlan from the Choice Music Prize-winning Delorentos join us to talk about the highs and lows of keeping a band on the road and the ins and outs of getting four albums released.

Rob Doyle – author of Here Are The Young Men, Dublin Rob Doyle comes to Dingle to talk about the influences and inspirations behind his debut novel. A tale of four youngsters in the months between Leaving Cert exams and results, Here Are The Young Men is a fascinating, enthralling and moving read about Irish youth and Irish ways.

Banter kicks off each day at 2pm sharp and will run until 6pm-ish. There will also be very special musical guests each day (really special) as well as ticket giveaways. We’ll see you there.

In the Name of Love (097, Dec 2014)

One of the big Irish stories of 2015 is set to be the marriage equality referendum, due to be held sometime in the coming months. It’s another indicator of the huge social change which has occured in Ireland in recent years.

Written by Una Mullally and published by The History Press, In the Name of Love is a new oral history which traces the history of the movement for marriage equality in Ireland narrated by those who took a stand, including politicians, activists, artists, drag queens, lobbyists, feminists and those who rocked the boat.

From the dawn of Irish LGBT activism to an organised protest movement, from the legislative battles fought to the personal stories that paved the way for visibility, In the Name Of Love is the story of how we got from the decriminalising of homosexuality 22 years ago to today’s new brave world.


On Wednesday December 10, some of those who contributed to the book will join us at Banter to talk at length about the story so far, what’s to be learned from the various victories and setbacks so far in the path to marriage equality and what lies ahead in the referendum campaign in 2015.

The panel: Ailbhe SmythJohn Lyons TDTonie Walsh and the book’s author Una Mullally. The discussion will be chaired by Banter producer Jim Carroll, there will be an audience Q&A afterwards and the book will also be on sale.

Event details: Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1; Wednesday December 10; doors open at 6pm and the discussion begins at 6.30pm; tickets available here

Review of the Year (096, Dec 2014)

It’s nearly the end of 2014 as we know it and that means the annual Banter Review of the Year.

You know the story as we’ve done this in 2009201020112012 and 2013. We bring together a panel of folks – some of them who’ve made the news in 2014 and some of them who’ve reported the news in 2014 – to run the rule over the stories of the last 12 months, to nominate the winners and losers of the year and to bring some semblance of sense to the events of 2014 in an hour or less. It’s always one of the highlights of the Banter year, chiefly because we keep remembering stuff which happened which we’d forgotten all about.

2014, the year of water protests, loom bands, Garth Brooks, Alan Shatter, GSOC bugs, Star Wars on Skellig Michael, Ukraine, Pantigate, the World Cup, ISIS, Malaysian planes, Kanye and Kim’s honeymoon, crazy summer seagulls, Gaza and a million other things besides (including perhaps Fr Padraig O’Baoill and Jessica Lauren, though not together).

One of the stories of the year? Me?

One of the stories of the year? Me?

Our panel who will be reeling in the last 12 months: Mick Wallace TDRory “Panti” O’Neill2fm’s Louise McSharry and journalist and author Ann Marie Hourihane.

Banter’s Review of the Year takes place on Monday December 8 at the Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1. Doors open 6pm, the rewinding starts at 6.30pm and tickets are available here.

Pretty Honest: Sali Hughes in conversation with Marian Keyes (095, Dec 2014)

We’re very pleased to welcome Sali Hughes to Banter. She’s one of the leading beauty writers in the business, a woman who started out as a makeup artist to George Michael, Pet Shop Boys and Belinda Carlisle before turning to writing, commentating and broadcasting about the beauty world for such publications as ELLEgirl, The Face, Red, Grazia, Elle, Cosmopolitan, The Observer, The Guardian, Glamour, Stylist and Shortlist. She has been The Guardian Weekend’s beauty columnist since January 2011.

Sali Hughes

Sali Hughes


Her new book is Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion. It sets out to disprove the notion that beauty books have to be “product review-heavy volumes which become almost instantly outdated, or tracts of holistic mumbo jumbo, like how to make an unproven face pack from organic molasses and rough-hewn porridge oats”.

Instead, she draws on over 20 years of wisdom, advice and expertise to show cover everything from teenage skin to mature beauty, botox to bridal make-up, sickness to good health. It’s a work that is both instruction manual and love letter to makeup, all written in a style that combines beauty editor, feminist and painfully funny best friend.


For this Banter, we are delighted to also welcome novelist Marian Keyes to Banter who will be hosting the conversation with Sali. Marian’s latest book The Woman Who Stole My Life has just been published.

Banter guest host Marian Keyes

Banter guest host Marian Keyes

The details: Banter presents Sali Hughes in conversation with Marian Keyes takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Thursday December 4. Doors open 6pm, the event begins at 6.30pm promptly and there will a book signing afterwards. Ticket details are here (the event is now sold out).

Banter’s Cocktail Happy Hour (094, Nov 2014)

It’s time to shake it like a polaroid picture as Banter goes to Tippletown, the citywide festival which aims to raise a glass to all things cocktails and spirits.

We will be bringing together some of the city’s finest cocktail craftsmen and women to talk about what goes into the making of a great cocktail.

We’ll explore the city’s new fascination with elaborate drinks of all hues, muse about how it all started, ponder about what goes into a great drink (and what shouldn’t) and do some glass-half-full thinking out loud about where cocktails and the city go from here.


Banter’s Cocktail Happy Hour mixologistsAlan Kavanagh (Edward Dillons Spirit Portfolio Ambassador and owner of Total Cocktail Solutions), Paul Lambert (Upstairs @ Kinara Kitchen and The Blind Pig), Joanne Cronin (Stitch & Bear food and drink blog) and Stephen Teeling (former head at Kilbeggan Whiskey and now part owner at Teeling Whiskey, the first distillery to be built in Dublin in over 125 years).

The ingredients: Banter Uptown at Tippletown takes place at MVP (Clanbrassil St. Dublin 8 ) on Wednesday November 26. Doors open at 6pm and we start at 6.30pm. Tickets can be obtained here.

Connected (093, Nov 2014)

Connected has proven to be one of the big ol’ hits of RTE’s autumn season. Setting out to deliver a snapshot of what life is like in Ireland in 2014 for six women, the show has gathered rave reviews and dedicated audiences as the series has progressed.

What has had many glued to the screen is how the series has flipped many reality TV conventions. At this stage of the game, we know reality TV’s tropes and tricks insideout and back to front and we’re a mite fed up of them, as the ratings for many shows demonstrate.

But Connected puts control of the cameras in the hands of the participants. Each of the six women decide what and when to film, meaning they direct their own scenes. Instead of scenes which are contrived for the cameras, we get searing honesty and real worlds.

The Connected cast: Alanna Diggin, Nicole McQuillan, Elayne Harrington, Venetia Quick, Anna Ryan and Kate McGrew

The Connected cast: Alanna Diggin, Nicole McQuillan, Elayne Harrington, Venetia Quick, Anna Ryan and Kate McGrew

At Banter, we’ll look at the success of the show from the point of view of some of those who took part, the people who commissioned the show at RTE and TV veterans who have become fans of the show.

Were peope enthusiastic or reserved about the first approach? What did they expect? What did they think of reality TV shows before? What are the plans for the show now? What’s been the participants’ reaction to the critical praise? And what nexts for the participants and the show?

The Connected panelVenetia Quick (Connected), Kate McGrew (Connected), Bill Malone (Channel Controller, RTE 2) and Anna Nolan (TV presenter and journalist)

Banter on Connected: Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1; Tuesday November 25; doors open 6pm and Bantering begins 6.30pm sharp. Ticket details are here.

A conversation with Fintan Drury (092, Nov 2014)

Brite Space Dublin is a week-long series of discussions and activities from Eventbrite that will explore the future of events and Banter will join the party on Monday November 17 for a conversation with sports agent and Platinum One boss, Fintan Drury.

Formerly a news and current affairs journalist at RTE, Fintan moved into PR and sports managements in the early 1990s. Platinum One has a formidable client list, especially when it comes to football and rugby representing the likes of Johnny Sexton, Gordon D’Arcy, Sean O’Brien and over 70 professional footballers in Britain. It’s also the agency of choice for some of the world’s biggest sports clubs when it comes to tours, training camps and friendly matches, has huge experience in the management of golf events (such as the 2006 Ryder Cup) and is deeply involved in many aspects of Gaelic games.

Platinum One's Fintan Drury

Platinum One’s Fintan Drury

We’ll talk to Fintan about his role as an agent, his observations on the changing face of professional sport, his views on how the expectations of sportsmen and women have changed as more money comes into play, the places where he sees untapped potential, how he and his fellow agents deal with would-be partners and his thoughts on Ireland’s relationship with professional sports events and sports tourism.

Banter’s conversation with Fintan Drury takes place on Monday November 17 at 6.30pm at 42 Dawson St., Dublin 2. Admission is free but tickets needs to be reserved in advance here. Complimentary beer will be provided by McGargles Irish Family Brewers and there will also be complimentary non-alcoholic options.

Meet the Commish (091, Nov 2014)

Did you know that Dublin now has a commissioner for start ups? Her name is Niamh Bushnell and her gig is to sell the city as the place to be to start, develop and grow tech and innovative businesses.

Dublin's new commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell

Dublin’s new commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell

So, how she’s going to do this? What exactly does Dublin have to offer domestic and foreign start ups that they won’t get anywhere else? Is it all about tax and jobs and allowing Enda and the suits press shiny buttons and make big announcements? What’s the real effect on the city’s rep as a start up hub of gatherings like the Web Summit? Has the Commish got pots of cash to offer the would-bes, newbies and tyros?

Join us for the very first Banter Uptown at the lovely MVP pub (29 Upper Clanbrassil Street) on Tuesday November 4 as we hear from the commissioner about her plans and aims. Doors open 6pm, the Bantering starts at 6.30pm, admission is free and you can book tickets here.

We’ll be doing more Banter Uptown events at the MVP in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned for that.

Banter at Savour Kilkenny (090, Oct 2014)

The Banter bandwagon is hitting the road again this month and the Marble City is where we’re going. Savour Kilkenny is now in its eighth year and will be providing cooking demonstrations from chefs like Rory O’ConnellBrian McDermott and Kevin Dundon, tastings, fine dining events and various other sideshows (we like the sound of the Spud & Hurl race) in the city from October 24 to 27.


We’re hosting four panels over the weekend, all in the National Craft Gallery where we hosted a Banter session about Irish fashion at last year’s Arts Festival. You’ll find a bunch of food writers and commentators talking and musing about a whole range of topics.

Saturday October 25

Writing about Food (12.30pm)

Being able to put together a great recipe is one thing, writing it in a way which makes the reader want to reach for their spices and larder staples is quite another. While we all can’t be Nigel Slater, there is a definite upswing for people who can combine good writing with great food. An A to Z guide from Dee Laffan and Catherine Cleary about what it takes to turn a great dish into a great read.

What will we be eating this time next year? (2.30pm)

Description: A decade ago, you’d have been hard pressed to find ripe avocados or padron peppers in the aisles of your local supermarket. Go back even further in time and the list of foods which we now take for granted would be completely absent from the weekly shop. Chalk it down to more sophisticated palattes and widespread travel and the influence of such foodies as Yotam Ottolenghi and Thomasina Myers, but we’re far more savvy eaters in 2014. As we reach peak burrito time, we ask Yvonne CartyAoife Ryan and Marie Claire Digby to tell us what comes next for our palattes.


Sunday October 26

War Stories from the Kitchen (12.30pm)

Are the people who start cafes and restaurants mad, driven, crazy, otherwise unemployable or all of the above? Meet some of the people who’ve already gone through all of those sleepless nights, stressful months and successful times to find out what drove them to open their doors to the public – and the restaurant reviewers who reveal what attracts them to a restaurant, what they like and what they dislike. The panel: Denise McBrien (Pichet, Dublin), John Healy (RTE The Restaurant), Paul O’Connor and Blathnaid Bergin (School of Restaurant & Kitchen Management).

What’s on your plate? (2.30pm)

It’s a question which more and more people are asking as issues of food miles, provenance and health become more commonplace. But in an age when huge reductions in the price of food mean we’ve never had to pay less for the basics, do we actually give any thought to why those sweet potatoes or that chicken cost so little? Fiona Dillon and  Yvonne Carty will discuss and dissect these points.

Admission to all the Banter panels at Savour Kilkenny are free of charge. You’ll find the full programme for the weekend here. Big thanks to Marian Flannery, Paul O’Connor, Rose Mulvey and the Savour team for the invite and their help with this.

Banter at The Beatyard: has Dublin really lost its creative edge? (089, Oct 2014)

Over the course of the last year, Banter’s ongoing Living for the City series has delved into many nooks and crannies of living, working and playing in Dublin in the 21st century, from transportmedia and housing to food and immigration. We’ve had really strong turn-outs for all of these events, with the audience keen to get stuck in and have their say (as was also the case with last night’s discussion around privacy).

One of the topics which has bubbled to the surface a few times in many of the discussion panels has been the state of creativity in the city. There are many who will agree with Una Mullally’s recent opinion column that the capital is becoming “a twee, beige place, devoid of spontaneity and creative risk”, thanks to the departure of young Dubliners for other cities and a reduction in spaces in which to be adventurous.

But there are many others who would point to the fact that there’s a hell of a lot going on in Dublin right now right across the artistic, cultural and entertainment boards and, as has always been the case, you just need to go look for it. Just as the city has always had its “Dublin is dead” proponents (1990s’ band Puppy Love Bomb even had a t-shirt bearing that slogan), it has also always had its share of people doing stuff, be it underground ventures of old or the pop-up events of today. And yes, the latter coterie of do-ers includes plenty of twentysomethings.

Smithfield, Dublin, July 2014. Photo: Giuseppe Milo

Smithfield, Dublin, July 2014. Photo: Giuseppe Milo

As part of the The Beatyard citywide festival, Banter presents an evening for poking and prodding to see if Dublin still has a creative edge – or if it ever had one to begin with – what’s going on beneath the surface in arts and culture, where the bottlenecks are and what’s on the way.

Banter panel: Una Mullally (The Irish Times, TG4’s Ceol Ar An Imeall), Sinead Kelly (Hunt & Gather), Dave Smith (Mabos) and Richard Seabrooke (creative director Thinkhouse, founder Offset). Contributions from the audience are, as always, welcome

Date, time and venue: Wednesday October 22, Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1), doors open 6pm, Bantering begins 6.30pm. Limited invite list and tickets here.

Who cares about privacy in 2014? (088, Oct 2014)

Privacy has become the new generation gap. Some don’t really care or think too much about what’s out there about them. They’ve come of age in an always online world where they know those photos from those mad nights in the Shaw or Pepper or MVP are out there along with so many other discarded digital snapshots. That’s life, that’s their life.

Smile! Photo: Michell Zappa

Smile! Photo: Michell Zappa

But others wonder about how much private information they are giving away and why. They stop for a nanosecond to ask yourself why does this or that company want this or that piece of private data. Irish Water want your PPS number – really? Sure, even the guards stopping you for not having a light on your bike wouldn’t ask you for that (yet). To say nothing of U2 invading our iTunes libraries like a gang of Nigerian spammers or the companies with familiar avatars making out like bandits with our private data…

Our panel look at changing perceptions about and attitudes to privacy. Are we happy about what happens to what we say, do and share online? Is it too late to do anything about what we’ve given away? What’s the effect of the erosion on privacy on our mental health? Is talking about privacy just another middle-class liberal preoccupation? Should we all just shut up and learn how to love the algorithm?

The privacy panelFiona Hyde (The Daily Edge/The Journal), Dearbhail McDonald(Associate Editor & Legal Editor The Irish Independent), Mark Smyth (senior clinical psychologist and member of Psychological Society of Ireland) and Rick O’Shea (2fm).

The small print: Banter on privacy takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday October 8. Doors open at 6pm and the Bantering gets underway at 6.30pm sharp. Limited invite list and ticket information here.

Banter at Kinsale Arts Festival (087, Sep 2014)

After two visits to the town in 2013, the Banter series of talks and interviews returns to the Co Cork town for the Kinsale Arts Festival in September. We’ve sessions covering food, music, gardening and film-making and cracking guests for you to meet on Saturday and Sunday 27 and 28 September.

Here’s the line-up

Rory O’Connell (Saturday 1pm Lord Kingsale)

Rory-o-connell-fullMaster chef at work. Rory O’Connell has spent over 20 years cooking in the world’s finest kitchens alongside leading chefs and cooking advocates, including Nico Ladenis at Chez Nico, London, Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons in Oxford, Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, California and Mrytle Allen at Ballmaloe House. Rory co-founded the Ballymaloe Cookery School with his sister, Darina Allen, and is also festival director of the Ballymaloe Literary Festival. His first book, “Master It: How to Cook Today” won the Andre Simon Award for Best Cook Book 2013.

Mary Reynolds (Saturday 2.30pm Lord Kingsale)


Meet the gardener. Mary Reynolds, who won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2002 for her Celtic Sanctuary Irish wildflower garden, is a designer who seeks to create landscapes which are expressions of each individual place. A film about Mary’s story called Wild – which was written and directed by Vivienne de Courcy, stars Emma Greenwell amd Tom Hughes and was partly shot in west Cork – is due for release in 2015.

Iarla Ó Lionáird (Saturday 4pm St Multose Church)


Cúil Aodha calling. Iarla Ó Lionáird is a singer, songwriter and musician with an unique voice and approach. Whether as a member of the Afro Celt Sound System and, more recently, the wonderful Irish-American band The Gloaming or as part of a plethora of other projects and collaborations from Ghost Trio and Crash Ensemble to work alongside Nico Muhly, Gavin Bryars, Dan Trueman and David Lang as well as film credits for Hotel Rwanda, Calavary and others, Iarla has long exhibited highly individual artistic ambitions when it comes to Irish music.

Pat Collins (Sunday noon The Black Pig)


Pat Collins is a Cork-born filmmaker who has directed over two dozen acclaimed documentaries since leaving the work of criticism (he edited Film West magazine) and film festivals (Galway Film Fleadh programmer). He has won multiple awards for work which includes Michael Hartnett: A Necklace of Wrens, Oileán Thoraí, Marooned, Gabriel Byrne – Stories From Home and Pilgrim. In 2012, he released his first feature drama, Silence, about a sound recordist returning to Ireland for the first time in 15 years to take up a job recording landscapes free from man-made sound. His most recent work is Living In A Coded Land, a superb vivid look at the people and places of the Irish Midlands

Selling Irish food to the masses (Sunday 1.30pm The Black Pig)

A conversation with Sully (Cully & Sully) and Kieran Murphy (Murphy’s Ice Cream) about the business of food. How do you get a new food brand off the ground? What kind of work and research is involved in moving beyond just local sales and reach? What are the ups and downs on turning your food into a brand? What lessons are to be learned from scaling up?

Nuala O’Connor (Sunday 3pm The Black Pig)

Nuala O’Connor is the Dingle-based writer and producer behind some of the most compelling Irish documentary films in recent years. She worked as a producer and writer on such TV shows as Bringing It All Back Home (and won an Emmy Award for it), River of Sound (the seven-part series on Irish traditional music presented by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin), The Raw Bar and The Limits of Liberty, a three part television history of 20th Century Ireland presented by Diarmaid Ferriter. In the last 12 months, she has worked on both Moment to Moment, the acclaimed documentary about The Gloaming, and Céiliúradh, the celebration of Irish music and culture at London’s Royal Albert Hall during the visit of President Michael D Higgins to the UK in April. She was also a traditional music reviewer for the Irish Times for many years.

Full information on all sessions and everything else going on at the festival from September 19 to 28 here. Big thanks to Marie McParlin and all at the festival for the return invitation to the town and their help in putting this on.