Banter 150: Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh (150, Oct 2016)

We’ve had a right run of legends at Banter over the last seven years or so with a plethora of bold print names joining us from right across the spectrum. We’re as proud as punch to have the legendary sports broadcaster Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh in situ for Banter 150 on Sunday October 23 for a conversation about his time behind the microphone bringing great games to hundreds of thousands home and away.

Mícheál will be our guest at No Idle Day, a festival from the fine people at Young Hearts Run Free which will run at various Dublin venues from Friday October 21 to Sunday October 23. Banter 150 will take place at The Sunday Game at The Yacht in Ringsend and will feature music from Shrug Life and The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, a screening of Risteárd Ó Domhnaill’s powerful film Atlantic, food by Aoife Forkful, DJ sets by Nialler9 and guest and much more. Tickets are available here and all proceeds go to the Simon Community.

Banter at Fantasy 12 (148, Oct 2016)

Fantasy 12 is a forthcoming exhibition where a bunch of artists, designers and record labels answer the question “if you could release a record from any iconic artist (past or present), what would the cover look like?”.


Those taking the challenge to design an iconic sleeve include  Vlad Sepetov (best known for his work with Kendrick Lamar), Stephen Serrato (Flying Lotus’ “You’re Dead”), Cecilia Martinez AKA Teti (creative and art director at Lobster Theremin Records), Nick Gazin (Vice’s art editor and illustrator and who has worked on the Run The Jewels project), Dewey Saunders (Anderson .Paak etc), Paul Diddy (Luaka Bop label art director) and many more. The exhibition of their work will run at Dublin’s Copper House Gallery from October 13 and there will also be live music, DJs, talks, screenings, and record fairs as part of the buzz.

As part of the exhibition, Banter will host a discussion at The Sugar Club on Saturday October 15 with Vlad Sepetov, Nick Gazin and Paul Diddy talking about the ins and outs of designing for music. Tickets for the event are now available here.

A conversation with Tim Moore (149, Oct 2016)

Tim Moore is a writer who is partial to the odd adventure or two. Over the course of his book career to date, he’s gone in search of those Eurovision contestants who’ve came bottom of the class (as detailed in his book Nul Points), journeyed across Spain with a donkey for company (Spanish Steps), cycled the route of the Tour de France on a diet of ProPlus and rose wine (French Revolutions) and got back on a bike for the 3,200km route of the notorious 1914 Giro d’Italia, this time on a century old wooden-wheeled bike (Gironimo!)

The reason for his visit to Banter next month is that he’s got a bike out of the shed again and he’s written another book about it. The bike this time was the MIFA 900, a tiny-wheeled, two-geared East German shopping bike – and Tim’s spin took him along the 9,000km route of the old Iron Curtain.


The Cyclist Who Went Out In the Cold is an adventure yarn about battling Russian hostility, Romanian landslides and a diet of dumplings; sleeping in bank vaults, imperial palaces and unreconstructed Soviet youth hostels and the kindness of reindeer farmers and Serbian rock gods.

Tim will join us at Banter to talk about the book which came out of this three months and 29 countries jaunt and how he became older and wiser – mostly older – from his time spent pedalling along the old Cold War divide.

The details: A Banter Conversation with Tim Moore takes place at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dubin 1) on Monday October 17. Doors open at 6pm and the event starts at 6.30pm. Tickets are now available here.

Living for the City: Generation Rent (151, Oct 2016)

Back in October 2013, we held a discussion about housing in the capital. After the boom and the bust, we thought back then that it was as bad as it could get and the struggle to find an affordable house to rent or buy seemed harder than ever.

Fastforward three years and the situation now is worse than ever before. Last week, figures from the Residential Tenancies Board showed that the cost of renting a home in the capital is now at an all-time high and that the average monthly cost of renting in Dublin in June 2016 was €113 higher than a year ago. Rents are also increasing outside Dublin so there’s no escape. Add in record numbers of homeless families and rough sleepers and you’ve a crisis which doesn’t appear to be getting any better, no matter what the government promise or plan. house-rent

This Banter discussion will focus on the situation which exists in the city right now regarding renting a home, the possible solutions which could be introduced, the perpetual reluctance by the relevant authorities to do anything about this, the unwillingness to tackle the areas of social housing and student housing and how the current intransigence could play out.

The panel: Eithne Shortall (The Sunday Times), Sive Bresnihan (Dublin Tenants Association), Dr Lorcan Sirr (School of Real Estate and Construction Economics at the Dublin Institute of Technology) and Mandy Meredith (Associate Director, Sherry FitzGerald Lettings)

The small print: Banter on Generation Rent will take place at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday October 26. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion gets underway at 6.30pm sharp. Limited tickets can be reserved here.

Trump vs Clinton (147, Sep 2016)

If you’d predicted a year ago that we’d see Donald Trump lining up against Hillary Clinton in the battle for the White House, few would have taken your prediction seriously. But after a bruising primary campaign where the expression “you couldn’t make this up” was overused on a weekly basis, that’s where we’re at: it’s Trump representing the Republican Party and Clinton standing for the Democrats.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tightening their grips on the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

Ahead of the business end of deciding who will get to be the next president of the United States, Banter has brought together some interested observers to discuss the themes which have emerged so far, the issues which will decide this race, the strengths and weaknesses of the two candidates and how the rest of the campaign might well shake out.

Banter’s US Presidential panel: Carole Coleman (RTE reporter and the station’s former Washington correspondent), Dr Karen Devine (International Relations, School of Law & Government, DCU) and TJ Mulloy (Chair of Democrats Abroad Ireland).

The details: this discussion will take place at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Tuesday September 20. Doors open at 6pm and polliing gets underway at 6.30pm followed by an audience Q&A. Tickets can be reserved here.

Banter at Culture Night (146, Sep 2016)

It’s the first time that we’ve put on a Banter event in Dublin as part of Culture Night and it’s all thanks to the good folks at RTÉ Radio One and the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme who’ve invited us along to take part in their event at Dublin Castle.

Presented by RTÉ in partnership with the Ireland 2016 Centenary ProgrammeDublin City Council and the Office of Public Works, the Culture Night with RTÉ programme will see Dublin Castle transformed for one night only with live music, theatre and spoken word events throuhgout its historic rooms and outdoor spaces.

In the case of Banter, we’ll be hosting a discussion in the Conference Centre at 8.10pm on what an Irish revolution would look like in 2016 with Una Mullally (The Irish Times), Lois Kapila (co-founder and managing editor Dublin Inquirer), Blindboy Boatclub (The Rubberbandits) and Dr John Gibney (TCD School of History author, historian and Glasnevin Trust Assistant Professor in Public History and Cultural Heritage). Admission is free and you can register for tickets here.

Banter on Viva (145, Aug 2016)

A story about love and family set against the vibrant and colourful world of the Havana drag scene, Viva goes on release in Ireland on Friday August 19. It was directed by Paddy Breathnach and written by Mark O’Halloran.



The film stars Héctor Medina as Jesus, a hairdresser for a troupe of drag performers in a club in the Cuban city, who dreams of being a performer. When he finally gets to perform onstage, a stranger emerges from the crowd and punches him in the face. The stranger is his father, Angel, a boxer, absent for many years and now in need of a place to live.

Ahead of the release of the film, Banter will talk to O’Halloran and legendary drag queens Veda and Pixie Woo at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dublin) on Wednesday August 17. Doors open 6.30pm, Banter begins at 7pm and tickets can be booked here.

Banter at The Big Grill (144, Aug 2016)

If you’re arbeading to Herbert Park in Dublin this weekend for The Big Grill festival, there will be a lot of stuff grabbing your eyes, ears and tastebuds. Between masterclasses and demos from dons like Neil RankinAndre Lima de Luca and John Relihan to music, kids’ stuff and bingo, there’s something to keep you buzzing all day.


If you’ve still room on your plate, be sure to drop by the Banter stage to check out what’s on offer. We’ve brought together some Big Grill participants and visitors to chew the fat over a range of topics and themes. Here’s what’s in store


7pm: Fire! Charcoal! Meat! 

We kick off Banter at the Big Grill in conversation with our Big Grill pals Matt Williams (Oxford Charcoal Company) and the one and only DJ BBQ to talk fire, charcoal, meat and technique.


7pm: Putting the beer into BBQ 

Susan Boyle (Two Sisters Brewing), Judith Boyle (Two Sisters Brewing), Christina Wade (Ladies Craft Beer Society of Ireland), Emma Devlin (Rascals Brewing) and Caroline Hennessy (journalist, broadcaster and co-author of “Sláinte – The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider”) talk about the beers that go well with what’s on the grill.


2pm: The Hang Fire Smokehouse story

A conversation with Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn from the Hang Fire Smokehouse about their life on the grill

3pm: The Butchers’ Block

A high level pow-wow about breeds, high quality meat and the art of butchery with Richard Turner (HawksmoorTurner & GeorgeMeatopia etc), Marco Peedeman (Orange Butcher), Peter Hannan (Hannan Meats) and Pat Whelan

4pm: Music and food

Here’s a quote to mull over: “restaurant designers and owners spend millions on marble, sandalwood and unicorns, but ignore the music. For years, you’ve seen ludicrous money spent on bars and then a spotty kitchen porter was sent down to Golden Discs 10 minutes before opening and would come back with “Hits of Trance” and “A Woman’s Heart” (for the lunchtime trade).” We’re joined by Aran McMahon (Cafe Rua, Castlebar), Eoin Cregan (Bodytonic), Aoife McElwain (food writer, events planner, Slow Series operator and Sing Along Social host) and Tom Dunne (NewstalkThe Cookbook Cafe) discuss the subtle art of music and food.


2pm: The ins and outs, ups and downs and swings and roundabouts of food pop-ups 

John Mahon (The Locals) and Gustavo Bottino (Churrascada) on the economics, science and sociology of successful food pop-ups

3pm: A conversation with Neil Rankin

After a busy weekend at The Big Grill, a conversation about a life in food with the chef and low-and-slow chief.

4pm: Attention to detail 

It’s often the small things which make a difference in a restaurant: the writing and spelling on blackboards, the smell of cooking, the choice of flowers, the selection of magazines and books. It’s also often one of the restaurant trade’s blindspots. Our panel discuss what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to those subtle attributes which often make a huge difference.

Big Grill tickets are available here and kids under 12 go free.

BanterYard at The Beatyard (143, July 2016)

Over the last few years, one of the best things about the Banter series has been the opportunity to programme stages at festivals, but we’ve always wanted to involve other crews and collectives and the opportunity arose with The Beatyard. Say hello to BanterYard, a weekend of talks, pow-wows and interviews from Banter, Dublin InquirerNu.EthicalSlow:SeriesThe Makers StoriesThis Greedy Pig and the Psychology Society of Ireland’s SIGMAC group at Dun Laoghaire harbour on Saturday and Sunday July 30 and 31. Here’s the line-up



Saturday July 30

1pm – Human Behaviour

Presented by Claire Howlin, Brendan RooneyDerek Laffan and Nicola Hamilton from the Psychology Society of Ireland’s SIGMAC group. How do we engage and interact with technology, mass media communication, art and fiction? A delve into the psychology of virtual reality, Eurovision and dance.

2pm – The Attention Economy

What does it take to stand out in a world engulfed in a batlle for attention? Slicing and dicing the creative ideas required to deliver digital ideas that engage and resonate with Dave Morrissey (Facebook), Aaron Chalke (Mediaworks) and Cara McAuley (Starcom)

3pm – Ethical Is the New Black

Presented by Nu.Ethical. A discussion about how fashion reflects societal change, the unsustainability of the fast fashion industry, greenwashing, changes in our shopping habits and how to disrupt fast fashion featuring Dominique McMullan (Irish Times fashion writer), Rosie O’Reilly (Creative Director at Re-dress and founder of We Are Islanders), Annique Van Niekerk (sustainable fashion designer), Rebecca Winckworth (founder of White & Green Fairtrade Cotton brand), Yvonne O’Callaghan (SIPTU) and Ali Kelly (Nu.Ethical). Nu.Ethical will also host upcycling workshops all weekend at Banteryard.

4pm – The Creative Block

What happens when a creative hits a wall and can’t work out what comes next? The ins and outs of how to see design from conception to completion with Steve McCarthyDeclan O’DonnellFuchsia Macaree, Rob Mirolo and Roisin Agnew discussing their version of writers’ block and the good and evil of procrastination in the creative process.

5pm – Blindboy Boatclubf9494c363a87b2a39890993499be869f.jpg--anarchy__blind_boy_boat_club_of_the__bandits__who_have_been_signed_up_to_itv__picture__alan_place_fusionshooters_A conversation with a Rubberbandit about art, politics, surreality, Limerick, sex, fish fingers, music, religion, health, fashion and other matters

6pm – I Just Wanna Make Everyone Dance Together



After his performance at The Beatyard, Danny Wang talks music past, present and future

Sunday July 31

12.30pm – Deep Breaths

Presented by The Makers Stories. Ann Lowney talks to Peter Walsh, the Tipperaryman who has been freediving since 2001 and involved in classical voice training since 2003.

Both hobbies demanded huge efficiency and control of the diaphragm so he undertook six years of research into developing a science based educational programme of learning how to breathe efficiently.

Peter has since launched Tri-Logic Rhythms and now teaches breathing efficiency for wellness and performance to athletes, singers, actors and those with performance anxiety or public speaking difficulties.

1.30pm – Slow On the Weekend

Presented by Slow:Series. Thanks to technology and a move away from traditional 9 to 5 careers, the modern worker can potentially work all day, every day. So how can we install boundaries during our downtime?

Aoife McElwain, food writer and host of slow:series will be joined by Ronan Hession(civil servant and musician), Michelle Darmody (owner of Cake Cafe and Slice) and Leisha McGrath (organisational psychologist), who will share their stories of how they’re learning to protect their free-time and slow down on the weekend.

2.30pm Better together: are Irish publications ignoring their readers?


Presented by Dublin Inquirer. Publications are finding new ways to use technologies to work with their readers — through collaborative projects, by asking them what they want journalists to cover, by realising that they can be allies in story-telling. But how well are journalists and publishers in Ireland engaging their readers? How do both sides see the relationship? And could harnessing the opportunities that new technologies offer help to foster a new era of public-interest journalism in Ireland?

A discussion with award-winning investigative journalist Gemma O’Doherty, Dublin Inquirer managing editor Lois Kapila, DCU School of Communications PhD researcher and Institute for Future Media and Journalism member Niamh Kirk and Banter producer and Irish Times writer Jim Carroll

3.30pm – Eddie Otchere

Presented by This Greedy Pig. An interview with storied hip-hop photographer Eddie Otchere, a man with a who’s who portfolio of hip-hop and urban music culture kingpins and queenpins.

4pm – Playback

Presented by This Greedy Pig. An exploration of Irish music videos from conception to production as leading videographers Tony Kearns, Feel Good Lost’s Brendan CartyHugh O’Conor and Dave Tynan talk to Mike Donnelly about the process, importance, and relevance of the music video and preview some of their latest works

5pm – Sell, sell, sell with Mattress Mick

The life and times of the most unique salesman in the business


6pm – By the time you hear the next pop, the funk shall be within you

george-clinton-webAre you ready for George Clinton? Because he’s ready for you. Before he brings the house down at The Beatyard, the Funkadelic and Parliament bandleader drops in with tales of the funk and the far side.

(All times subject to change)

The future of streaming (142, July 2016)

A week does not go by without a plethora of stories on the music business beat about streaming. There’s no doubt that streaming is here to stay and, indeed, it’s fair to say that there are a lot of other developments coming down the tracks in the not too distant future.


To mark Three’s recent partnership with Deezer (the mobile network are offering its Irish customers a six- month free subscription to Deezer Premium), Banter will be hosting a speclal discussion about the future of streaming with Christian Harris(managing director of Deezer UK and Ireland), Eoghan McDermott (2fm DJ) and Angela Dorgan (CEO, First Music Contact).

The details: the venue is the 3Arena and the date is Thursday July 28 (6.30pm). Admission to the event is free and you can register for it here.

A conversation with Danny Fields (141, July 2016)

It’s not possible to talk about Danny Fields without dropping a lot of names around the place. He’s the colourful dude of whom the New York Times said “you could make a convincing case that without Danny Fields, punk rock would not have happened.” He’s the man who was signed and managed Iggy and the Stooges, signed The MC5, managed The Ramones and worked in various roles with Jim Morrisonthe Velvet Underground and the Modern Lovers. And that’s just the bands: there are also connections with Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, his time as a writer (books on Warhol actress Cyrinda Foxe and Linda McCartney) and radio DJ on New Jersey’s WFMU.


He’s the subject of the rather brilliant Danny Says, a documentary by Brendan Toller on Fields’ life and times which was one of the hits at SXSW Film last year.

Fields recently published “My Ramones – Danny Fields”, a book about the band he managed from 1975 to 1980. Containing over 250 photos of the band as well as commentary by Fields, the book is published by First Third Books in a strictly limited hard back edition of 1300 copies.

The details: Banter’s conversation with Danny Fields takes place at The Chelsea Drugstore, (South Great Georges St., Dublin 2) on Wednesday July 13. Doors open at 6pm and limited tickets are available here.

Does Dublin need a night mayor? (140, July 2016)

The issue of a night mayor for major cities is something which has come up again and again this year. It was the subject for a fascinating panel at SXSW earlier this year and it’s also something which is finding its ways into discourse leftright and centre.

The point being made again and again is that if a city is serious about making the most of its nightlife, it stands to reason that they should also be serious about making sure there’s someone there to implement and oversee a proper strategy. Given that Paris, Zurich, Toulouse, Groningen, Amsterdam and Nijmegen already have a night mayor, is it time for Dublin to join them?

dublin-night-time-scenes-2-752x501As part of the ongoing Event Talks series from Banter and Eventbrite, we will be examining if Dublin needs a rep at city council level to represent night-time activity, how a night mayor might work, what it might mean for events organisers, the popularity of the concept amongst local policy makers and how it could be made happen. Our panel for this event is Richard Guiney (CEO DublinTown, Dublin City’s Business Improvement District), Niall Byrne (Nialler9) and Roisin McVeigh (Cheap TrickFrock Advisor and Totally Dublin).

The small print: Event Talks on Dublin’s night mayor will take place at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin 2 on Tuesday July 12. Doors open at 6pm and the event commences at 6.30pm. Admission is free and tickets can be booked here.

This is the third in the Event Talks series of event-related talks and conversations from Banter and Eventbrite to be held in the city over the coming months. You’ll find the video from the Event Talks event on festival trends and the reports which provided the talking points for the science of events discussion here.

Banter at Castlepalooza (139, July 2016)

We’re off to Castlepalooza in Tullamore, Co Offaly on Saturday for our debut appearance at the festival.



You’ll find Banter in the Big Blue tent behind the castle from 5pm to 8pm and our line-up is as follows:

5pm: A conversation with Tommy Tiernan

Tommy talks about this, that and the other. We listen. As simple as that.

7pm: A round with Steve Davis

You’ll know Steve Davis first and foremost as the most successful professional snooker player of the 1980s, winning a total of 28 major ranking events, including six World Championships. You’ll know him these days as a DJ and leftfield music champion, which is what brings him to Castlepalooza this weekend. We’ll talk snooker and music with Steve.

Tickets for Castlepalooza are available here.

Banter at Make A Move (138, July 2016)

A trip to Make A Move has become one of Banter’s favourite summer trips. Over the last few years, we’ve put on a range of talks and interviews at Limerick’s hip-hop and community arts festival including a 2012 discussion on the state of Irish hip-hopa 2014 pow-wow on the challenges around Limerick’s year in the spotlight as City of Culture and a superb aul’ chat with Kevin Barry last year (podcast here).

This year, we’re back in situ at the Shannow Rowing Club on Friday evening (July 1) for what we’re calling a music makers’ reality check – a series of insights and outsights from those deep in the game for those who want to get in the game but who don’t want to lose their heads. Our wise heads are John Lillis (Rusangano Family), Ciarán Ryan(Out On a Limb Records, radio documentary maker) and Nessa McGann (programme controller, Spin South West). Admission is free and we’ll kick off proceedings at 6pm. More information on what else is going on at Make A Move 2016 below


Event Talks: the science of events (137, June 2016)

Did you know that the colour pink can have a soothing effect on the people who go to your events, that blue has been shown to be calming and red can help make a crowd go wild? Or that it takes about 600 tweets to trend in Ireland?



As part of the ongoing Event Talks series, Banter and Eventbrite be looking at how science can help organisers to put on their events. Expect such issues as event design, the psychology of networking and bonding, the use of behavourial economics to make events zing, the science behind online engagement at an event and how emotional marketing contributes to an event experience to come up on the night.

The science of events panel: Dr. Shaun O’Boyle (research co-ordinator at Science Gallery and co-founder of Dublin Maker and Maurice & Shaun), Amanda Webb (Spider Working) and Dr Kenneth McKenzie (Strategic Planning Director with Target McConnells)

The small print: Event Talks on the science of events will take place at Science Gallery, Dublin 2 on Wednesday June 29. Doors open at 6pm and the event commences at 6.30pm. Admission is free and tickets can be booked here (this event is now sold out).

This is the second in the Event Talks series of event-related talks and conversations from Banter and Eventbrite to be held in the city over the coming months.

Punk rock wine (136, June 2016)

Is it time for wine to have a revolution? Over the last number of years, we’ve seen seismic changes and disruptions in the drinks world with craft beers, artisan cocktails, new-school whiskey distilleries and the gin revival. Wine may well be next.

Indeed, that revolution is already underway with the growth in availability and popularity of natural wines, as wine-makers seek to promote DIY practices, preach the importance of terroir and pitch the economics of smaller batches. We may even see the revolution extend to how wine is perceived with some of the more snobbish tendencies which tend to put off newcomers put to one side and downplayed in favour of people enjoying a great drink instead.


Joining us at Banter to discuss what’s next for wine and the wine business are Eric Narioo (founder Les Caves de Pyrene), Pascal Rossignol (owner, Le Caveau Wine Merchants), Julie Dupouy (sommelier, third place Association de la Sommellerie Internationale world championships), John Wilson (The Irish Times) and Shane Murphy (La Rousse Wines). There will also be a sampling of natural wines on the night

Label information: Banter on punk rock wines takes place at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday June 8. Doors open at 6pm, the event begins at 6.30pm and tickets can be booked here.

Banter at Bloom 2016 (135, June 2016)

This whole Banter shebang has taken me to some fascinating spots over the last six or seven years and last year’s run of talks, interviews and discussions at the Bloom festival in Dublin’s Phoenix Park was easily one of the highlights to date. It’s a huge family-friendly festival, pulling in around 100,000 people over the course of the June bank holiday weekend, and they’re there for a bit of everything, from show gardens and flower exhibitions to trade shows and what-have-you. Banter, it’s safe to say, is firmly in the what-have-you category.


Here’s the full rundown of who we’ll we talking to at Bloom this year and what we’ll be talking about – as you can see, it runs the waterfront from food, farming, gardens and wildlife to social issues, technology, health, history and retail. You’ll find the Banter tent located in the middle of Food Village at the festival (it’s number 27 on this map).


11am – The weatherman 

Head of Forecasting at Met Eireann Gerald Fleming on weather patterns from storms to sunshine

Noon – The A to Z of community shops 

The story of how to set up and run a community shop and café as told by Mary Fogarty and Maeve O’Hair from The Cottage, Loughmore, Co Tipperary

1.30pm – Bloom Fringe

Bloom is about more than just about what’s happening in the Phoenix Park. Marion Keogh and Róisín de Buitléar talk about Bloom Fringe and its workshops, talks, installations, pop-ups, art and demos on the streets of the capital.

2.30pm – Big Week On the Farm

In April, 1.5 million people tuned into RTE’s Big Week On the Farm show. We talk to John Fagan, the man whose Co Westmeath farm became the all-action site for the show, about what was involved.

3.30pm – Operation Transformation

Dr Eddie Murphy from the hugely popular TV series Operation Transformation talks health and fitness

4.30pm – Inside the Farmers Journal

Farmers Journal editor Justin McCarthy joins us at Banter to talk about his work at the paper and how to keep its readers happy in a challenging and changing world.


Noon – Meet the food buyers

How do food stores decide which artisan or new producers they’ll stock? We’ve brought together a number of food buyers from major outlets – Aoife Ryan from Retail In Motion, Diarmuid Murphy and James Watson from Dunnes Stores and Derek Murphy from Topaz – to talk about what they look for when they decide to put a new product on their shelves or menus.

1.30pm – The Ploughing

The biggest event to be held in Ireland every year, the National Ploughing Championships is an annual highlight for many. We hear from organiser Anna Marie McHugh about what’s required to keep 281,000 people happy and what’s in store for 2016

2.30pm – Chef profile: Mark Moriarty

Over the last few years, young Dublin chef Mark Moriarty has been picking up awards left, right and centre. He talks to us at Banter about what’s involved in staying at the top of the game

3.30pm – Meet the Commish

Niamh Bushnell is the first ever Dublin Commissioner for Startups. We’ll hear about her role and why Dublin and Ireland are proving to be a healthy breeding ground for new technology companies of all kinds.

4.30pm – What’s next for the food service sector?

When it comes to eating out, Irish diners are big fans of fast food, fast casual and healthy and fresh outlets. Bord Bia’s Maureen Gahan talks about the trends to watch when it comes to cafes and restaurants in Ireland


11am – Farming 1916

There has been a lot of talk this year about 1916, but what was happening on the Irish farm back then? Dr Arlene Crampsie from UCD’s School of Geography talks about the state of the land 100 years ago and the difficulties and challenges which Irish farmers faced

Noon – Mindfulness for gardening

We’re delighted to be joined by Banter at Bloom favourite Fiann Ó Nualláin. This time around, the garden designer, author and broadcaster talks about the role mindfulness and meditation has played in his new garden The Tao Of Now

1.30pm – the Café Rua story

Up to a decade ago, Aran McMahon was best known as a brilliant DJ and club promoter. These days, he’s running things at the award-winning Café Rua in Castlebar. He talks about what was involved in the career swap and the lessons he’s learned about running an Irish food business

2.30pm – Chef profile: The Happy Pear

They’re back! David and Stephen Flynn from The Happy Pear return to the Banter at Bloom tent to talk about their new book The World of the Happy Pear and their mission when it comes to food.

3.45pm – Decoding the ingredients

We hear and see a lot of information about healthy eating, good food and nutrition, but do we really know what all of this information actually means? Eatwell dietician Sarah Keogh helps us to decipher what’s on the back of packet

4.30pm – The Hurley Maker’s Son

You won’t read a better memoir all year than Patrick Deeley’s account of growing up on a farm in east Galway where his father was a skilled carpenter and the hurley maker of the title. We’ll talk to the author about what went into the book and how he swapped the sawmills for the schoolroom and a career as a teacher.


11am – A garden for Syria

Award-winning designer Brian Burke talks about War & Peace, his garden for GOALwhich will be showing at Bloom 2016 and has been inspired by the Syrian conflict.

Noon – A meeting with a Dragon

Folks will know Alison Cowzer as one of the people running the rule over pitches on Dragons’ Den. We talk to Alison about her own work in the food sector and some of the investments she wishes she had made in her career.

1.30pm – Chef profile: Catherine Fulvio

The cook from Ballyknocken House & Cookery School in Co Wicklow Catherine Fulvioon the ins and outs of keeping an Irish food enterprise on the road

2.30pm – Ear to the Ground

Ear to the Ground is the go-to TV show for anyone interested in rural and farming affairs. The show’s presenter Darragh McCullough, who is also deputy editor of the Irish Independent’s Farming supplement and runs a mixed farm in Co Meath, talks about what goes into the show and how it covers its beat.

3.30pm – What Are You Eating?

Rashers, sausages, dairy products, pork chops, bread, fruit and veg: these were just some of the food stuffs which presenter Philip Boucher-Hayes and producer Suzanne Campbell investigated for their RTE series What Are You Eating? earlier this year. They tell us about what we’re really eating – and if we really want to know.

4.30pm – Tech on the farm 

New technology is helping Irish farmers get the job done quicker and better than ever before. We hear from Steve Lock from Grassometer and John Larkin from Moocallabout their products, the reaction from the farming community and their plans for the future.


11am – Saving the bees

One third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction because we have reduced where they can nest and the amount of food our landscape provides for them. Erin Tiedeken from the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan talks about the efforts being made to ensure bees can survive and thrive.

Noon – Fiann’s Clinic

Do you know what your garden can provide in terms of beauty treatments, natural cures and first aid? Meet the natural doctor, Fiann Ó Nualláin

2.30pm – Peter McVerry

Peter McVerry has been working with the young homeless of this city for more than 30 years. He joins us to talk about his work and what he makes of the government plans and actions to help those in need.

3.30pm – The coffee break

In 2008, Colin Harmon decided he was going to give up his career in investment funds and dedicate himself to coffee. His move from high finance to caffeine has been a good one and he’s at Bloom to tell the story of 3FE, his award-winning coffee and café business

4.30pm – Social farming

Social farming is the growing practice of offering activity on family farms as a form of social support for people to improve their health, well-being and self-esteem. Co Cavan farmer and gardener Barry Kavanagh is one of those involved in social farming and he tells us about what’s involved.

Tickets for Bloom 2016 are on sale here.

Event Talks: Festival trends (134, May 2016)

You don’t need us to tell you that the festival season is about to get in full swing. Every single promoter who’s booked a field or a tent for some upcoming shindig will be hoping that (a) people buy tickets and (b) the weather will be grand.


Festivals, though, are changing, evolving and growing. Across Ireland, more and more people are coming together to celebrate unique sounds, interests, and passions – from underground hip-hop to health and wellness to multi-day outdoor festivals – thanks to the huge array of well targeted, niche events.

There’s no such thing anymore as one-size-fits-all in the festival sector. Organisers and promoters are finding new ways to tailor packages and offer exclusive passes that cater to their audience’s growing appetite for customisation and greater choice. Some organisers are even adding new categories to their events (think beer tastings and art exhibits at a music festival), to excite more people and boost attendance.

Technology is also reshaping the industry. Advances in data analytics and wireless technology vastly improve how festivals are planned and managed. Social networks have helped event marketing and promotions, as fans build communities of like-minded friends and share their excitement (and sometimes disappointments). All of these trends are driving significant growth in festivals and events around Ireland, and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon.

Banter has joined forces with Eventbrite to bring together some interested parties to look at the area of trends when it comes to festivals and events. Join Hugh Scully (festival director at Interlude, owner Coppa &amp and RFID and event technology representative) and Johnny Boyle (Strategic Director at Modern Green) at the Wood Quay Venue (Dublin City Council, Fishamble St, Dublin 2) on Tuesday May 31. Doors open at 6pm and the Bantering begins at 6.30pm. Admission is free and tickets can be booked here.

This is the first in the Event Talks series from Banter and Eventbrite which we’ll be rolling out over the next few months.

Banter at Ballymaloe Litfest (133, May 2016)

Banter is going back to the country’s premier food and drink festival. After a successful debut at the Ballymaloe LitFest of Food & Wine in 2015 when we did what we were supposed to and didn’t annoy too many people, the festival team have invited Banter back for another round of conversations, discussions, talks and interviews in the Garden Tent as part of this year’s festival from May 20 to 22. Here’s the a la carte menu for the weekend

The Banter interview: Yotam Ottolenghi (Saturday, 4pm)


Inbetween juggling cookbooks, TV shows, colourful newspaper columns, shops and restuarants, our favourite Middle Eastern cuisine champion takes time to join us at Banter to discuss taste, dishes, vegetables and spices.

The next big trend (Sunday, 11am)

One for the early noshers in the audience. We ask noted food watchers Seamus Sheridan (Sheridans Cheesemongers), Hilary Quinn (Dublin Doughnut Co) and Sally McKenna (John & Sally McKenna’s Guides) what comes next after kale, chorizo and doughnuts.

So you want to open your own restaurant? (Sunday, 2pm)

All you ever wanted to know about the art, business, blood, sweat, tears and occasional cheers of running a restaurant in Ireland in 2016, but didn’t know who to ask. Jess Murphy (Kai, Galway) and John Farrell (Dillingers, The Butchers Grill, Super Miss Sue, Luna, 777 etc, Dublin) The most rock’n’roll discussion you will hear this year about what it really takes to run a successful food gaff.

Fire and smoke (Saturday, 10am)

Forget about the 1916 rising, the real revolution is the one involving copious amounts of fire, smoke and meat. Grilling connoisseurs Fingal Ferguson (farmer, charcutier, cheese maker, butcher and knife maker), Francis Mallmann (1884, Argentina), John Relihan(Duagh BBQ Festival and Holy Smoke, Cork) and Andy Noonan (Big Grill festival) tell us what gets them hot under the collar above slow and low.

Buzzing (Saturday, 1pm)

Do you have a caffeine habit yet? You may well do after this panel. Steve Leighton(Hasbean Coffee, London), Colin Harmon (3FE, Dublin), Joanna Alm (Drop Coffee, Stockholm) and Mark Kingston (Golden Bean, Ballymaloe) discuss the fine art of coffee, the recent innovations, the operators they like and what will be arriving into your cup in the coming years.

Banter will share the Garden Tent space with Joe McNamee’s Rants, Raves and Ruaille BuailleJohn Bowman’s Questions & Answers’ food specialCaroline Hennessy’s Cookbook ChroniclesIrish Food Writers GuildKathy Whyte of Change for HealthApril Danannthe Lalala Choir and a real bread workshop. You’ll find the full schedule for the Garden Tent and the full programme for the LitFest here. Admission to the Garden Tent and all the Fringe Festival events is €5 per day (kids under 12 go free)

The news agenda (132, April 2016)

One of the questions which comes up again and again at different Banter discussions is to do with who sets the news agenda. Be it the general election or Syria, people are curious about why certain stories make the mix, the filters which are used to make those decisions and the stories which don’t make the cut as a result.

Journalists work in the main newsroom area of the new Al Jazeera America television broadcast studio on West 34th Street August 16, 2013 in New York. Al Jazeera America, which will launch on August 20, will have its headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

Journalists work in the main newsroom area of the new Al Jazeera America television broadcast studio on West 34th Street August 16, 2013 in New York. Al Jazeera America, which will launch on August 20, will have its headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

This Banter discussion brings together a number of editors and producers to talk about their work, the decisions they make, the factors which inform those decisions and other issues around the editorial process. No doubt the question “is this news?” will be asked at least once on the night.

Banter news agenda panelSusan Daly (editor, The Journal), Richie Oakley (editor, The Times Ireland edition) and Vincent Murphy (editor, Morning Ireland, RTE Radio One)

The small print: Banter on the news agenda takes place at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday April 27. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion begins at 6.30pm sharp. Tickets can be reserved here.