Supermarket Scramble

Here's our alternative take on supermarket branding, consider it a guide to saving money on your shopping!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and the country was creaking
From the havoc and turmoil the budget was wreaking
When Gilmore and Labour betrayed those who care
And shifted the boundaries of what they call fair.

At this time of year the 'Joy holds no white collars
Whose weapons of treason were Euros and Dollars.
If only those bankers had fiddled in garlic
For the lack of swift justice is making us all sick.

Our emigrants return and their families rejoice
During this brief respite from Noonan's "Lifestyle Choice".
Yet Michael's cuts limit the options before us,
Making "Hell or To Connacht" start to seem generous.

But now let us hope that in this festive season
Our leaders reflect and begin to see reason,
And think of the needy, the poor, the hard-pressed,
Whose burden is mighty, whose lives are distressed.

May they think with their hearts and ignore the strict German,
Who compounds a harsh bailout with sermon, after sermon.
We're tired of being good boys and doing what we're told,
Grow a pair Enda, be courageous, be bold!

Next year the diaspora will come for The Gathering,
Let's hope it is meaningful, that the people are welcoming.
Please Leo stop saying "Give our coffers a boost"
Lest rumours of a scam come home to roost.

But now let's be festive and try to unwind,
Think not of those fools who put us in this bind.
It can't last forever, may the end come in sight,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Vintage Irish Tourism Posters

To view a larger version click here

The Gathering Booklist

It looks as though there will be quite a few people coming to Ireland for The Gathering next year after all. Putting our misgivings about the project to the side for a moment, we thought it might be nice to put together a "required reading" list for members of the diaspora coming here to trace their Irish roots or find out if they belong. 

We're looking for suggestions about books that tackle the themes of Irishness, emigration and belonging. If they hit on all three themes that's great but two out of three ain't bad. We'll start the ball rolling by suggesting two books from one of our favourite authors, Pete McCarthy:

Born in England to an Irish mother, McCarthy spent his childhood summers in West Cork. In these two books he travels around Ireland and the rest of the world exploring the Irish side of his heritage in a bid to find out if Ireland is the country where he belongs.

We'd like to hear about other books that might fit the bill so please get in touch with us:

Email your suggestions to:

Leave a comment on our Facebook page:

Tweet us your suggestion: @ForagingIreland

Winning the Poo - A positive guide to potty training

Although nappies are cosy and catch all your poo
It's high time that you learned how to use the loo
We'll start with the potty to ease you in gently
Then once you've that mastered you're ready for entry
To the glistening tiled kingdom you'll soon inherit
Where flushing and washing are duties of merit
At first you might struggle to go on your own
But before long you'll be a master of the throne.

Rabbitte claims puppy just for Christmas after all

Rabbitte - Puppy was a handful
The Minister for Straight Shooting Pat Rabbitte has launched a stinging attack on the naivety of the Irish people after the Labour Party admitted that it has discarded the puppy that it bought last Christmas. Speaking on RTE's The Week in Politics Mr. Rabbitte defended Labour's failure to look after the puppy and blamed its previous owners for the situation.

"Before we bought the puppy we fully intended to look after it for the rest of its life," said Mr. Rabbitte. "However, what we couldn't have predicted was how badly the puppy had been treated by its previous owners and, considering the emaciated condition in which the dog arrived, we feel that we've actually done a very good job in looking after him for as long as we did."

Mr. Rabbitte was then asked if he understood what kind of message this sends out about the Labour Party and its ability to fulfil its own commitments:

"Now, look here. Everyone wants to believe that a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas, but the stark reality is that once you own the puppy you have to feed it, wash it, clean up after it, take it for walks. Then the puppy grows up and becomes even more of a handful. The Labour Party couldn't have predicted it would have to deal with all these things."

Mr. Rabbitte was then questioned about how the Labour Party had gotten rid of the dog:

Labour Puppy - Moving to Canada
"Well we started to reduce its food in tiny increments until eventually it only had barely enough to survive. Then we started taxing the dog's water. We forced the dog to sleep outside in a cold shed and then we slapped a property tax on the shed too. The dog paid its taxes through its food allowance. We also started to use subliminal messaging to suggest to the dog that it might find a better life elsewhere. Eventually the dog just left us; it was essentially a lifestyle choice."

Christmas in jeopardy as elves stage sit-in protest

[This article first appeared in The Spanner Magazine Christmas Edition]

Thousands of workers at the largest toy manufacturing facility in the North Pole have locked themselves inside the factory in protest at what they consider to be “grossly unfair redundancy packages.” Almost 3,000 elves were let go from the plant last month as part of a swathe of cost-cutting measures being implemented by The Toy Company Ltd.'s receivers KPMG.

KPMG took over the manufacturing section of the company when the owner, Santa Claus, was unable to repay debts on the international property portfolio he had accumulated during the boom years. Mr. Claus still maintains control of the distribution section of the company, although with the production of toys currently at a standstill it is doubtful that there will be any presents to distribute this Christmas.

Elves - Demanding fair treatment
The elves barricaded themselves inside the factory last month and have vowed to stay there “as long as it takes.” Some of them spoke to reporters through the barricades: “I've worked here for 400 years,” said one elf,” and they're only offering me half of what I'm entitled to through statutory redundancy.” Another elf remarked, “I'm 650 years old next week, I've worked for Mr. Claus all my life. How is someone my age supposed to retrain in the computers or internetwork?”

The local community in the North Pole has given its unconditional backing to the elves and Mr. Claus. A rally is being organised for next week so that local people can show their support for the Claus family, who claim they have been demonised by the Arctic Circle media. “The Clauses built up their business from nothing and created jobs in the North Pole when there was nothing here but snow and misery. They should be left alone,” commented a local reindeer, who refused to be named.

Santa - Feeling the strain
Residents of the wider Arctic Circle have derided the “gombeen antics” of those in the North Pole: “Everyone in the Arctic Circle is paying for what Santa Claus did. He gambled in the property market and now we're all paying for his bailout. He should be ashamed: They should all be ashamed,” said one angry polar bear.

Mr. Claus would not comment on the issue as he continues his boycott of the media but sources close to him have said that he has become withdrawn lately, spending hours alone in his study, drinking hot whiskies and listening to Fairytale of New York on repeat.

Labour look to Mayans for excuse to avoid Budget vote

Mayan apocalypse could be Labour's salvation
Labour backbenchers have put forward a motion in the Dáil to delay the vote on Budget 2013 until after December 21st, to see how the Mayan predictions of an apocalypse play out. They hope that if the world does indeed end on that date they can at least preserve their integrity and avoid displaying their complete lack of backbone.

Eamon 'Frankfurt' Gilmore
Labour TDs have faced a wave of criticism since the budget was announced, with party members forced to defend leader Eamon Gilmore's climbdown from his pre-election stance of "Labour's way or Frankfurt's way." Labour TDs have been quick to point out that Mr. Gilmore hadn't actually indicated at the time which direction he was going to follow, or whether both paths ran parallel to each other and led to the same destination. 

Last week's budget revealed the Labour Party to be just as toothless a lapdog as its predecessor in government The Green Party. It just goes to show that it doesn't matter whether you vote Red or Green; they're all Yellow in the end.

What is the Gathering 2013 all about?

A short compilation of explanations from Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar & Project Director of The Gathering Jim Miley.

The Foraging Ireland Alternative Budget

Seeing as everyone else seems to have put forward an utterly pointless alternative budget we decided to have a go at our own one. Here's what we've come up with:

 Irony Tax  There are so many ironies knocking about these days that we think they could turn a tidy profit if they're taxed. Examples include: Michael O'Leary accusing others of ripping people off; a government inviting the Irish abroad home next year, at a time when emigration is at its highest in decades; a Labour party agreeing to slash social welfare benefits while failing to tax the wealthy (as promised)

 Cliché Tax  We feel that, in light of the current economic climate, resulting from the mistakes of the previous administration, and with our hands tied, depending on Frankfurt, going forward, that a tax on clichés could only be profitable for the exchequer.

 Sacred Cows  There are now so many sacred cows around the country that if they were rabbits we'd be considering the reintroduction of Myxomatosis. Our alternative is to sell our vast stock of sacred cows to a country that would really appreciate them: India. A tasty profit is guaranteed.

 The Table  In the run-up to a budget where there appear to be more topics off the table than on it, we have to call into question the viability of the table itself. A vote will be held on whether to sell the table or chop it up and use it as firewood to help heat the country through the fast-approaching bleak winter months.

 Ireland's Naming Rights  If you haven't already read about the government selling the naming rights of Ireland to Diageo, please do so: Govt sells national naming rights; raises vital funds for exchequer.

Kenny and Merkel at odds over where to spend Christmas

Angela - What's wrong with Hamburg?!
The blossoming relationship between Enda Kenny and Angela Merkel has hit its first speedbump as the two are rumoured to be in disagreement about where to spend Christmas this year. 

Having spent previous Christmases apart with their own families the couple now feel that their relationship is at the stage where they should spend the holiday together. However, a rift has developed between the two as Angela wishes to stay in Hamburg while Enda favours a traditional Castlebar Christmas.
Enda - Come to Castlebar you sexy divil.

Furious negotiations between the two parties have continued over the past few weeks, with Enda said to be unleashing his notorious charm offensive while Angela deploys her infamous cold shoulder tactics.  

Both sides are publicly trying to play down the spat but, with Angela reportedly spending the week at her sister's house and a bestubbled Enda spotted shopping for one in Tesco, this relationship, like the Eurozone that spawned it, looks to be very much on the rocks.