Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Ok its been a while since i have had anything at all to say on this blog. Call it a mental block or laziness I don't really care as bugger all people look at this thing anyway.

What I am writing about this evening is the matter of smoking in Ireland.

I am a great believer in freedom of choice whether that be the right to choose to smoke, drink, eat fatty foods or the more important choices like who to put in positions of power, who to bank with, where to head in your career.

I have felt left with little choice in the matter of smoking. Today it was announced that the sale of ten packs of cigarettes is to be banned and that we are to expect a hike in the cost of 20 packs with the next budget. There have been complaints that there have been no price increases in the past three years. Bollox. Either these people are living in lala land or I have been transported to a different dimension......

Firstly there have been consistent increases in the cost of smoking, A 20 pack now sits on €6.35 which is pretty steep in comparison to some of our neighbours. Each time they increase the price people keep buying...Why? Because they choose to. If it means cutting down on the amount of chocolate you buy fair enough.

But consistent increases in price is not the only thing they have done. They introduced the smoking ban. Personally it does not bother me but it is still the government stopping people from making a choice. If it had been left at a division between smoking pubs and non smoking pubs both would have done as well as the other. I have no problem sitting for a while in a non smoking area and my non smoking freinds would have no problem sitting for a time in a smoking area. So instead they have changed the feel of the Irish pub. Now its the stink of toilets, puke and sour beer that permeates around the pub instead of the smoky haziness that was part and parcel of a night out. This ban has also affected peoples ability to carry out full conversations! Half way through chats you now have individuals invariably walking outside to have a puff of a fag. This has lead to a new kind of "Outside the front of the pub" smoking culture. Why did we not fight this ban, because we are to bloody lazy and too bloody laid back for our own good.

So now we have to deal with what we have and make the best of it. I would like to thank the HUGE number of pubs that have introduced special smoking areas, they are heated, spacious and comfortable areas where large groups can sit and pretend that they are inside. Secondly I would like to thank the internet for introducing people to the delights of buying cigarettes online. I myself would of course never go down that road but thankfully I like to travel and so can keep my own stocks up. Instead of increasing prices why don't the government look at introducing cheaper aids for people to give up. Like your nicotine gum and patches etc, they cost a bloody fortune!

Never say that I can not see the good in things. I believe that banning the sale of 10 packs of cigarettes will act as an excellent detterent to the young people out there who are starting to smoke and feeling the pressure of having to smoke. Its a fecking disgusting habit. However please leave those of us without the inclination or will power alone and stop making life difficult for us, if anything reach out a helping hand and spend some of our tax money on eradicating the addiction as opposed to the item that led to it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Zurich trip!

Ok I am just back from a great trip to Zurich. I have a Friend called Ste living there the past 3 years or so and just haven't bothered my arse going before now. So it was just a brief 4 day visit but as it was so short we tried to fit everything in. 3 of us went over on Thursday and 2 more joined on the Friday so it was a decent crowd. Add to that all the head cases that Ste has met over the past few years it made for a great group of like minded people.

When I say we tried to fit everything in that would be fitting in as much drinking time as possible and as many different kinds of drinking venue as possible. It was probably the worst sightseeing trip I have ever been on but was made up for by 4 excellent nights out.

Advise for anyone who is thinking of ever going....

Don't start drinking too early as the pubs and clubs stay open till 4 or 5 in the morning which leads to long sleep ins the next day hence the lack of sight seeing. We kept forgetting this so kept sleeping late.

A good point is that beer contains little or no chemicals and so you don't seem to suffer as much the next day.

Take a train to Alpamare.

This is an excellent resort with some great water slides, iodine pool, saunas etc etc.

In a previous post i talked about the state of the internal infrastructure of Dublin and I tell you what I have never been more impressed with a public transport system that what I saw in Zurich. When you arrive to the airport just go downstairs to the train station and buy a 3 day tourist ticket. It works on all the innumerable trains, buses trams around the city and is excellent for getting around.

Another bonus is that everyone we met or talked had excellent english so don't worry too much about language barriers. The people themselves are friendly and very willing to help you out. With all the banking over there there is great mix of nationalities and the work culture over there is excellent, staff are treated well so everyone is always pretty happy.

Take a care when drinking in the nightclubs as prices are pretty expensive, but then if you look at Ireland at the moment there is not a huge difference.

All in all an excellent trip and I will be going back as soon as my bank allows me too.......