Planning for 2015

As is customary for marketing heads at this time of year, we’re looking ahead and planning for 2015 to get some idea of what we can expect from the coming year. The good news is that there are lots of positives to take us into the new year and here’s our top 15…

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1. Ireland will continue to be the fastest growing economy in the European Union as Irish and foreign-owned companies start to invest again

2. Business and consumer confidence is set to increase even further than it did in 2014 

3. Retail sales are on a firm upward trend – meet your customer in 2015 (albeit a US one!)…

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4. Private consumption growth (year-on-year) turned positive for the first time since 2012 and this will continue into 2015

5. Unemployment (though still too high) is set to fall to 8% in 2015

6. Sustained growth is set to continue next year at around 3.6%

7. We get to celebrate some cool milestones like the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of our cultural icons, Nobel Laureate W.B. Yeats

8. Our current creatives continue to shine on a world stage, from musicians like Hozier (who played the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show earlier this month) to brilliant Irish designers like Don O’Neill, Simone Rocha and Emma Manley

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9. The Web Summit will be bigger and better… already a massive success this year and that’s without decent broadband. Imagine what it will bring in 2015, when hopefully (and we’re optimistic) the RDS will have sorted out its WIFI issues

10. Ireland is set to become a new technology hub for central and Eastern European firms looking to access the US market – that’s according to PwC

11. It’s set to be a good year for food lovers – 2015 marks the anniversary of the world’s first restaurant, which was opened 250 years ago by Mr. Boulanger in France. We suspect there’ll be lots of restaurants celebrating this milestone in their own unique way…

12. Content marketing remains king – more and more brands will become publishers of useful content that customers will actually thank them for. Writing is where it’s at…

13. Travel becomes more ‘local’ than ever and Ireland is perfectly placed to deliver the kinds of authentic experiences tourists are looking for

14. Our food scene is bustling and set to thrive even more next year

15. Ireland is open for business in 2015 – Are you? Now is the time to get your business ready and we are here to help…

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A Year of Festivals in Ireland

We recently met Mark Graham, a man who makes his living from attending festivals in Ireland, (this must be right up there on the list of ‘dream jobs’, yes?)  Some years ago, Mark opted out of a broken banking system and did something completely different.

Using the deposit he’d been saving for a house he never bought, Mark set out on a quest to attend three festivals a week in Ireland for a year. Tired of hearing that Irish people ‘got carried away’ during the boom, he wanted to explore our towns and villages for himself and meet these people who had allegedly ‘lost the run of themselves’ in better economic times.

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What he discovered was the best of us – a countryside alive with weird and wonderful festivals, organised by people who work hard to make their communities better places to live. Festivals like our own Earagail Arts, or Electric PicnicSwell and The Ballymaloe LitFest of Food and Wine. His experience details the range of entertainment on offer on any given day, from storytelling on Cape Clear, to bog snorkelling in Monaghan and cloud appreciation in Cork. But festivals are only as good as the people that go to them, so it’s up to us to get out there and experience them.

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On the strength of his blog, Mark landed a weekly column with The Ticket in The Irish Times, so you can keep up to date on his adventures there. He’s also written a book and is currently touring the country with ‘Festival Heads’, a photographic exhibition of his travels.

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And while we’re on the topic of festivals, anyone heading to Knockan Stockan this weekend, have a blast! And congratulations to all involved in this year’s Lennon Festival – a great weekend culminated in a spectacular  fireworks display on the quays in Ramelton (as captured by Damien O’Connor in these great photos)…

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Earagail Arts Festival In Full Swing

We had a wonderful first day at Earagail Arts Festival. This morning’s Walking Donegal tour attracted a great crowd as locals joined visitors from Ireland and further afield to explore some beautiful landscape and learn more of our local history. Setting off from Doe Cemetery, walkers made their way across the old Light Gauge Railway walk, guided by local expert Seamus Doohan. Festival Director Paul Brown was among them and it was a beautiful morning for it…

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Then it was off to the Glebe Gallery for the official opening of the centerpiece of the festival’s visual arts programme, ‘Patrick Scott: Image Space Light’. Presented in association with IMMA, this exhibition is the most comprehensive representation of Scott’s 75 year long career and takes place across three Donegal venues: The Regional Cultural CentreAn Gailearai in Gweedore and The Glebe Gallery below…

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Christina Kennedy, Head of Collections at IMMA gave an insightful overview of the late artist’s career and his partner Eric Pearce spoke lovingly of his experiences watching Scott at work. He also gave some wonderful details on Scott’s practice of meditation and the art of Zen, as well as describing the influence that Japanese and Far Eastern culture had on him.

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The event included a special performance by The Japanese Kocarina Group – a fitting tribute to Scott, whose use of the recurring circular motif in his works was inspired by the Japanese flag. Here is a pic of the ladies getting ready for their performance…

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Next stop was the Regional Cultural Centre, where Municipal Mayor, Councillor Michael McBride officially opened the exhibition. He spoke of the importance of supporting events like Earagail Arts Festival and expressed the Council’s ongoing commitment to Arts and Culture in the county. We couldn’t agree more, afterall…

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As the event in the Regional Cultural Centre was coming to a close, things were hotting up in An Grianan Theatre. The crowds were gathering for ‘Fiesta’, a brand new play which tells the story of the dancers and chancers of one of the finest dancehalls in Ireland. The demand for this show is such that it sold out on its first night and an extra night was added for Tuesday, 15 July. Tickets are selling fast and booking is strongly advised – 074 91 20777 or via www.eaf.ie

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It was a great day all round in what promises to be a wonderful festival. If you missed out today, don’t worry because there are still 15 more jam packed days left. Get your copy of the programme and start planning your Earagail Arts Festival of summer. There are so many highlights ahead, like theatre production ‘I Do’ and outdoor spectacle ‘Imaginarium’. Here’s a taster of what’s still to come…

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Ten Reasons to Visit Donegal this Summer

Having worked in Dublin for years, we’re now spending a lot of our time in the northwest and it has occurred to us that a lot of people never consider Donegal as a place to visit. After a quick over-the-phone survey of our ‘down-the-country’ friends, the general consensus is that we’re very far away. But that argument should have gone out the window with the Slane, Ardee and Monaghan bypasses. They shortened the journey from Dublin to approx three hours, which is pretty much on par with other destinations on the western seaboard.

Here’s our top ten reasons to head northwest this summer (it’s worth pointing out that some of those included in this list are clients, while others are featured because we admire what they do)…

1. Wild Atlantic Way – get away from it all with breathtaking views, rugged beaches and stunning scenery. We have it all, and more…

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2. Earagail Arts Festival – there’s no doubt that these two weeks in July (12 – 26) are a brilliant time to visit the county. It’s a two week celebration of music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus and carnival. It’s also one of the flagship Donegal events along the Wild Atlantic Way and there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.

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3. Donegal is one of the best places in the world to experience the traditional authentic Irish pub. We’re absolutely spoilt for choice from Conways in Ramelton to Nora’s in Kilmacrennan and The Traveller’s Inn in Milford. Sip a pint by the fireside, meet the local characters and listen to traditional music sessions you’ll never forget

4. Sample our home brew – Kinnegar Brewing produces a delicious range of farmhouse beers, including Baxters 1867, which is exclusive to The Traveller’s Inn, Milford. Visit the brewery to get the inside track on the brewing process and sample some of the range

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5. We have accommodation to suit all styles at really affordable rates, from period homes like Rathmullan HouseCastle Grove and  Frewin (pictured below), to alternatives like the wonderfully luxurious Donegal Glamping in Portsalon

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6. We live outdoors so come and enjoy our beautiful landscape. Go hill walking or surfing, climb our mountains and swim in our lakes. We’re also reliably told that Donegal has some of the best golf links courses in the country – Rosapenna, Portsalon and Ballyliffin 

7. Cliffs of Moher eat your heart out, because we have the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League. Take a boat trip to appreciate the sheer size of the cliff face.

8. We’re brimming with creative types, from artists to designers and everything in between – you never know what or whom you might discover… like Ramelton artist Zara McDaid, who recently won the opportunity to have this piece displayed in Times Square

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 9. Visit our islands – when’s the last time you had an island picnic off the west coast of Ireland? What’s stopping you? Check out the ferry timetables and make it happen. And why not schedule your visit to coincide with Arranmore’s inaugural Swell Festival?

10. Finally, don’t just take our word for it, take a leaf out of Hollywood star Paul Rudd’s little black book – after all, (to paraphrase his Anchorman character) ‘60% of the time, he’s right every time!’. Here he is telling David Letterman about his recent trip to Donegal…

Enjoy your summer, wherever it takes you and feel free to send us your suggestions for future posts… email mary@therightangle.ie 

Irish Law Awards at The Four Seasons

Wishing all the finalists of the Irish Law Awards the best of luck in advance of tomorrow’s event in The Four Seasons. The awards commend excellence in Irish law and recognise the outstanding achievements and exemplary practices of leading law firms, legal practitioners and in-house legal teams across the country.

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Our host Miriam O’Callaghan will present the awards across 25 categories, including a Special Merit Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award. This year saw a 20% increase in the number of nominations and you can check out the full list of finalists here

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From Rock Bottom to Top of the World

We’re just back from a wonderfully inspiring evening in the company of Donegal businessman and Everest conquerer Jason Black. Recounting the details of his expedition to Everest last May, Jason kept the packed house at An Grianan Theatre captivated for  close to three hours.

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We’re big fans of the stage production Tom Crean Antartic Explorer and Jason’s event tonight reminded us of a modern day version of that story. His ability to bring his experiences on the mountain to life and relate them back to everyday life was  impressive. His passion for his homeland, hometown and home county shone through and you could feel his energy lift the spirits in the room.

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Like every life that’s fully lived, Jason’s tale is not without heartache. However, he is determined to use the trauma of bullying in childhood, losing his mother to cancer and the tragic death of his brother as a driving and guiding force in his life. He talks about ‘everyone having their own Everest to climb’, whether that’s suicide, depression, unemployment or financial worries. But his message is simple… ‘there is nothing that cannot be achieved’. It was a really worthwhile night.

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