Irish Blog Awards 2010: A fine list of finalists

The 2010 Irish Blog Awards take place in Galway next Saturday (27 March), and most of the finalists were announced last week. To my amazement, Sentence first made the cut in the Specialist category, which is sponsored by iQ Content. There are 5–6 finalists in each of 22 categories; the other blogs in the Specialist category are Ronan Lyons, Bicyclistic, Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, Etsy Ireland, and Organic Growing Pains. I’m honoured to be alongside them, and I wish them the best of luck!

Though I’ve never been involved in the IBA before, it seems in the main to be a spirited and informal celebration of Irish blogging in all its diversity and quality — a way to bring the community together and to encourage the exploration of other Irish and Ireland-related blogs. I’ve been browsing the shortlist and the earlier (not-so) shortlist and finding interesting sites of all shapes and subjects, many of which I might otherwise not have encountered. It will be good to meet their creators.

I’m also looking forward to meeting the people behind the blogs I’m more familiar with — writers I’ve been reading and enjoying for months or more. One of these is Irish artist (and co-finalist) Eolaí, who will be exhibiting new paintings on the night and who wrote very kindly about Sentence first. And it will be a chance to meet more of my fellow Culchies. (I contribute film articles to, which is a finalist in the Pop culture category.)

Big thanks to the judges and organisers, especially Damien, who volunteer so much time and effort to make it happen. A good way to support the awards is to spread the word, and to attend if you can. There is more information here, including an option to buy tickets in advance. Other events of interest are: Twestival Galway, which takes place at 19.00 on Thursday (25 March) in support of Concern; and on Saturday there is a Photo Walk at 11.00, a Meetforeal brunch at noon, and a Ladies’ Tea Party at 16.00. Whether or not you’re on Twitter, you can keep track of proceedings via the hashtag #IBA10.

Finally: if you’re at the blog awards, do say hello. I look more or less like my avatar, but with a beard, and in colour.

Update (29 March 2010): Eolaí won! I’m so pleased about this. The other blogs in the Specialist category (see paragraph 1) are all excellent, but Bicyclistic is a deserving winner. It is always a treat to read and look upon, and its creator is a very talented and dedicated artist, whom I finally had the pleasure of meeting. His acceptance speech was humble, heartfelt, and (I think) subtly humorous.

Forms and colours come to life through Eolaí’s brushwork, and he does us an honour by sharing glimpses of the world he sees. Even when he’s taking a break from painting — to walk the dog, watch the birds or make more tea — he keeps painting, or thinking about it. But Bicyclistic offers more than paintings; it is a broad canvas that accommodates many fine photos from Dublin and further afield, along with stories from a life lived in rich appreciation of the endless natural beauty that surrounds us.

Thanks again and very well done to the Irish Blog Awards team. It was a night of fun, good cheer, and wanton abuse of polystyrene props; Rick O’Shea, who presented the event, was a class act; and I got the chance to meet many bloggers I knew and didn’t know, though I missed just as many: when the teenage pop music hit top volume, I escaped upstairs in order to be able to keep talking with people without having to shout into their ears.

The final results are listed here — congrats to the winners and all the participants! A special mention goes to, which won Best Pop Culture blog despite my forays into obscure foreign films and the silent film era. The last word goes to the taxi driver who asked me what was happening in the Radisson Hotel.

“The Irish Blog Awards,” I said.

“The Irish what awards?”



“For internet geeks.”

“Oh, I see.”

Apparently Allan had virtually the same conversation with another driver. If taxi drivers have their fingers on the pulse of a nation, Irish blogging might be in trouble after all. But I don’t think so.

20 Responses to Irish Blog Awards 2010: A fine list of finalists

  1. Sean Jeating says:

    Hey, Stan: Congratulations!
    And luck galore for Sunday.
    I am with Eolaí.

  2. Stan says:

    Many thanks, Sean, and greetings to all in Seanhenge.

  3. Claudia says:

    WOW! All the best et chance en masse Dimanche for both blogs. Do you mean your face is pink, Stan?
    Will visit some of those blogs at leisure.

  4. Stan says:

    Merci beaucoup, mon amie! My face is a blend of pink, cream, and brown, but less striking than that might sound.

  5. wisewebwoman says:

    Great nuacht indeed, my friend. Go break a leg. Well deserved!

  6. Tim says:

    Hey, congratulations, Stan. This blog deserves to be a finalist in those awards. You often have very interesting things to bring to our attention. Best of luck for the 27th!

  7. Stan says:

    WWW: Thanks very much! I will try to break a leg without becoming bockety altogether.

    Tim: Thank you! I don’t know that it deserves the placing, but you’re kind to say so. I’m only glad that some of the things that interest me also interest other people.

  8. JBBC says:

    Hi Stan – well done on being a finalist in the Irish Blog Awards. The Awards are a great way to find new and interesting Irish blogs and I too am looking forward to meeting some old and new faces this Saturday :-) It promises to be a great night!

  9. Stan says:

    Hi JBBC, thank you very much, and congratulations to you too! I agree wholeheartedly with you: the IBAs offer an excellent opportunity to discover all kinds of new blogs. I hope you have a great evening (or weekend) in Galway!

  10. We cracked up when we got home and saw your text. I’d imagine it was a conversation repeated several times over the course of the night!

  11. Stan says:

    It probably was, Allan! I’d love to have heard the drivers’ own conversations about it. To the uninitiated, bloggers must seem a mysterious and motley bunch.

  12. Ana says:

    It seems “What?” must have made it easy to spot the web-virgins out there. Congratulations on your nomination. YOUR blog rOcKs!

  13. Stan says:

    Thanks very much, Ana. I think you’re right about the “What” factor!

  14. Claudia says:

    There’s a loooooong discussion going on at Bock’s place, on the Awards. Of course, I put my two-cent-worth (comments 63-67-69)… Any blog which taught me to use galore and metagrobolize is Number One, win or not. And Mr.Bock’s ribs recipe deserves an International Award! Cheers!

  15. Eolai says:

    In the noise and my bewilderment following the award I forgot I had intended to apologise to you for capitalising the f in first.

    One night seems too brief, and too fast, though I hardly helped myself my missing out on hours of possible conversation just before the official beginning of the night due to disorganisation in setting up.

    Thanks for those words. The non-category that is the Specialist Blog category throws up a great selection and being part of it was more than enough for me. When my winning was announced I was disappointed that I couldn’t let out the cheer I had ready for Sentence first, and also disappointed I couldn’t run to the toilets.

    Great to meet you. Thanks for tracking me down.

  16. Stan says:

    Claudia: Thank you — it was kind of you to mention this blog. Variations of the discussion at Bock’s are also taking place on several other blogs, on Twitter, and offline! I don’t expect I’ll be getting involved, except to say that it’s easy to overlook or forget the fundamental impossibility of comparing blogs so diverse.

    The judges work hard to make as fair and systematic an assessment as they can, but the results oughtn’t to be considered a definitive measure of worth, let alone an indictment of Irish society. That is, they shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The IBAs afford a valuable and welcome opportunity for bloggers to meet, find out about other blogs, have some fun, and celebrate whatever they want to celebrate — including some of the country’s best blogs, whatever their subject matter.

    Eolaí: Welcome, and thank you for your generous words. The evening in Galway fairly flew by, so I was delighted to have had the chance to enjoy a couple of chats with you. I don’t think I mentioned this before, but when you went head to head with the Late Late Show, I was tuned in to your Dublin studio on Ustream. (Not that I’d have been watching the LLS, but anyway…)

    Considering that you’d put in some 48-hour painting sessions in the run-up to the weekend, getting the exhibition organised as you did was an achievement in itself. I’m sorry to have disappointed you by losing, but on the upside: I got to cheer your win instead! There’s no need to apologise about the blog name, by the way — sometimes I capitalise the F too, for clarity’s sake. I consider both forms standard and perfectly acceptable.

  17. CherryPie says:

    Congratulations for making it to the finals.

    The conversation with the taxi driver makes me smile. I suppose they don’t have much time on their hands to be able to use the internet.

  18. Stan says:

    Thank you, CherryPie. There are blogging taxi drivers in Ireland, as elsewhere, but you’re probably right that for the most part they don’t have much time to be online.

  19. Taxi drivers are blogging for up to 16 hours to make as little as ten euro.

  20. […] event, like the Irish Blog Awards, is a fun and handy way to discover new reading material, and (unlike the IBA) to find fresh ways […]

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