Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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Prevent Wastewater Blockages


The three P’s – pee, poo and paper.


Anything else. This includes medicine, wipes, sanitary products, nappies, cotton pads and buds.


Your plumbing and drains, public sewers, wildlife, our rivers and beaches.

We support An Taisce’s Think Before You Flush campaign to help protect our marine environment and coastlines from sewage related litter.

Think before you pour

Pouring liquid fat, oil or grease down the kitchen drain may seem harmless. That’s until they cool and solidify inside your pipes causing smells and blockages! A significant amount of all sewer flooding is caused by the build up of fat, oil and grease in pipes.




Any excess or left over fat and grease from food preparation or cooking. Here are some ways to get this into your bin.

  • Let it cool first then scrape it into the bin
  • Pour it into a non-recyclable container and throw it in the bin
  • Wipe it with kitchen paper and throw it in the bin
  • Reuse cooking oil by letting it cool and then pouring it into a glass container for storage
  • Even better, if you have a brown compost bin put the fats and grease in there!

Your plumbing and drains, public sewers, and our sewer cleaning and maintenance team.

Never pour motor oil, paint or other waste down your drains. This is because many drains flow into rivers and coastal waters. Dispose of these items as instructed on the container, or by contacting your local recycling centre.
Who is responsible for wastewater issues?
  • Irish Water has sole responsibility for the cleaning and maintenance of the public sewer network
  • Householders / property owners are responsible for their internal plumbing and the private side pipework leading up to the sewer mains
  • If you are connected to a septic tank or a private waste water system we cannot assist you.


Construction activity growth slows


There was a slight drop-off in building activity in June, the monthly Ulster Bank construction purchasing managers’ index shows, as expansion of activity eased from “extremely elevated” levels the previous month. The construction PMI, which is designed to track changes in total construction activity, showed a reading of 58.4 in June, dipping from May’s reading of 61.8. Any number over 50 signals growth in the sector. But despite the June dip, the sector has seen growth for the past 58 months with rising workloads encouraging companies to increase their hiring.

Ulster Bank said the survey continues to show that housing and commercial remain areas of particular strength within the sector, despite some cooling of growth momentum in June from the exceptionally rapid rates recorded in May. But other elements of the survey also painted a very positive picture, with the pace of job creation quickening further while new business also rose at a very rapid rate, barely slower than last month’s one-year high. Ulster Bank’s chief economist Simon Barry said that confidence among firms about their prospects for the year ahead remains very elevated, with 56% of respondents expecting activity to rise. He noted that the favourable outlook for construction was also a prominent theme in figures from the CSO last week. These showed that the rate of new business formation in construction more than doubled from 2010 to 2016, with over 4,600 construction start-ups accounting for almost a quarter of all start-ups across the Irish business sector in 2016.

“Moreover, the start-up rate in construction is now the highest of the business economy’s three main sectors, having – unsurprisingly – been the lowest during the crisis,” Mr Barry said.  “We estimate a 9.1% start-up rate in construction in 2016, significantly ahead of the equivalent rates in industry (7.7%) and in the broad services sector (7.3%) – a clear indication of expectations for recent construction sector outperformance to continue,” he added.

SEAI Heat Pump Grant


One of the requirements for a dwelling to qualify for a heat pump system grant is that the dwelling has low heat loss. This is to ensure your heat pump system performs well and your electricity bills are not too high. You can achieve this by insulating your home and/or by upgrading your windows. Note: SEAI also offers grants for home insulation.

Before applying for a heat pump system grant, you must engage an independent, SEAI Registered Technical Advisor. Your Technical Advisor will carry out a technical assessment of your home, and will advise you on what steps to take to make your home “heat pump ready”, i.e. to reduce the heat loss on your home. They will provide you with independent guidance on measures necessary to ensure that the dwelling fabric heat loss is lowered to an acceptable level for a heat pump system to perform effectively and efficiently. The required heat loss level is expressed as a Heat Loss Indicator of 2 Watts/Kelvin/m2.
The Better Energy Homes programme offers a €200 grant towards the Technical Assessment of your home, with this grant only payable in conjunction with the heat pump system grant. To qualify for this funding you must choose your Technical Advisor from the list of SEAI registered Technical Advisors, and complete the heat pump system and any upgrades required according to the programme rules. Please note that uninsulated homes built more than 30 years ago may require substantial and costly upgrades to qualify for a heat pump system grant.

To qualify:
• The house must be well insulated (or ‘heat pump ready’ as the SEAI refers to it). SEAI insulation grants only apply to homes built before 2006. The SEAI points out that uninsulated homes built more than 30 years ago may require substantial and costly upgrades to qualify for a heat pump system grant.
• Before applying you will need to appoint an SEAI-registered Technical Advisor. The list of Technical Advisors is available here and a €200 grant is available to go towards this cost.
• All homeowners, including landlords, whose homes were built and occupied before 2011 can apply. This is defined as the date your electricity meter was installed. The grant is available from April 16th.

What are the new grant amounts for heat pumps?
Heat pump grants from April 2018
Air to Water Heat Pump € 3,500
Ground to Water Heat Pump (Horizontal) € 3,500
Ground to Water Heat Pump (Vertical) € 3,500
Exhaust Air to Water Heat Pump € 3,500
Water to Water Heat Pump € 3,500
Air to Air Heat Pump € 600
Technical Assessment – payable only with heat pump grant € 200

A contemporary family home in Clontarf


Architect Niall Henry of Dublin Design Studio talks to us about the family home he shares with his wife, Emma and their three young children in Clontarf, County Dublin. Mr Henry lives in a rather contemporary home and he, his wife’s brother and sister live in the same style of house on the same laneway in the Dublin suburb. This familial home was also featured on RTÉ One’s ‘Home of the Year,’ programme. This scheme places three two storey contemporary dwellings onto a vacant plot located at the intersection between the back gardens of some 20 semi-detached and detached dwellings in the established residential community.
This site is approached via a 5.5 metre wide laneway located between two semi-detached dwellings and is hidden from the street.

The site is 70 metres long and just 10 metres wide sharing garden boundaries with seven dwellings to the north and a 4 metre wide laneway to the south. The buildings geometry, orientation and size is dictated by the site constraints, issues of privacy and overshadowing. The core project concept was to maximise the available site area of each house without impacting on the amenity of any of the adjoining dwellings. To achieve this, the footprint of each site including the garden and house was conceived as a single entity.

“The design of our house was dictated by the site conditions and the requirements of three young families. We were expecting our third child and my wife Emma’s brother and sister also had young children. The site fronts onto approximately 20 houses in the surrounding area,” said Niall Henry. “The key was making sure that we really maximised the potential of the site without overlooking or damaging any of the houses around us. The starting point for the design is the ground floor level. We wanted as much glazing and as many openings with the garden as we could because we have a big boundary wall around the site and we were very private and we wanted to make sure that we maximised the use of the floor area also and we knew that a good use of the garden would really open up the house at ground level.

“As we couldn’t overlook the surrounding gardens, we had to be very careful about where we were proposing to put the windows. Generally in a house there are windows at the back and the front of the house but we couldn’t do that with this house or the other houses as the windows would have been overlooking gardens because the laneway runs perpendicular to all of the gardens surrounding us,” added Mr Henry. The garden is an integral part of the overall ground floor plan, a mirror image of the house plan interlocking with the house plan. By ‘introverting,’ the external garden area into the design of the house, the site area is maximised without any impact on the adjoining dwellings. This concept allows for the ground floor to be as open plan as possible and avail of the south west orientation of the site. As such, the laneway facade is designed as a defensive or boundary wall, pierced only by small openings with timber louvre screens.
“The design of the house really comes from a practical response to all the difficulties that are on the site. Internally, we’ve made the most of the space we have because the house has a small enough footprint. We put the stairs into the darkest corner of the house and then we put a roof light above it to make sure that it became quite a bright area,” he explained. “All the remaining space went into our kitchen, dining and living area so that we could really maximise the space we use as a family. Nobody wants to live in one giant room so that’s why when we were putting doors in on the ground floor we decided to put full height sliding doors in and they slide right back into the walls and they are completely hidden,” enthused Niall. “As they are big sliding doors they are only opened once or twice a day. In the evening, when we have put the kids to bed and we can’t face cleaning a bomb-site of a playroom we can just slide that door across and the mess is hidden. It allows us to use the rooms multi-functionally; very few rooms at the ground floor provide just one function for instance, the playroom is also used as a study and that is how you try and get the bang for your buck out of the space that you have,” continued Mr Henry.

On the garden side, in sharp contrast full height glazing three metres high allows maximum penetration of light deep into the plan from the south and west facades. The first floor level is treated in much the same way as the ground floor with all windows focused around a planted sedum roof. This south facing roof garden and full height glazing to the bedrooms allows light to penetrate deep into the bedrooms without the possibility of any direct or indirect overlooking of any adjoining properties. The lroko louvres at the ground floor are extended up to the first floor levels to form a privacy screen to ensure that no oblique overlooking is possible.

“We have a long corridor on the first floor and that overlooks the master bedroom and the other bedrooms. The house has a flat roof on it so we don’t have an attic so the full length of the north facade is cupboards and they are built in so as they look like they are part of the design. When you open up one of those cupboards you will see that it is jammed with stuff! “The open plan layout only works if you have a back kitchen or storage areas to support the space because otherwise your kitchen is just full of stuff. Modern open plans works if you have the storage to support it,” advised Niall. The ‘openness and transparency,’ of the south and west facades at ground level juxtaposes sharply with the ‘closed,’ treatment of the east and north facades. These facades are left as solid brick planes to ensure no overlooking of adjoining gardens.
The first floor brick clad box accentuates the solidity of these inward looking sculptural volumes with architectural glazing carefully placed to avoid any overlooking. The uncompromising outward facade projects a determination to ensure the privacy of those inside and of those in surrounding houses. “Designing our house as well as the houses for my brother and sister in law was a challenge but the only thing that was very helpful was the fact that we were all at the same stage in that we all had children and we all had similar requirements in terms of space.

“The planning department were anxious that the three houses would read as one similar design so as they weren’t looking at three different designs. The planning department worked with us but they were suggesting that the externals of the houses should be similar but the internal of the houses is all very different,” revealed Mr Henry. “On our house my wife, Emma was the client so I designed the house with herself and the family in mind. There were plenty of discussions such as I wanted polished concrete floors and Emma wanted a timber floor because she thought the concrete would be cold and I’m happy because the timber floor looks very well. The colour palette and the finishes were all chosen by Emma and that really helped because it is difficult to design a house for yourself. “There is no doubt that I would do things differently if I was to build the house again only because as an Architect I don’t tend to want to do the same thing again, I’ve a low boredom threshold and I like to try new things and I’m always trying to improve on designs,” he said. “Due to the site being so constrained there is very little additional stuff I could have done in terms of the plan layout but there are things such as construction techniques and how stuff works within the house that I would change.

“Work began on the house in 2014 and it took 12 months from start to finish. The only problem we faced when we were building was site access. In terms of insulation within the house we took the opportunity to make sure that we were going to far exceed the building regulations so we have 125mm of insulation within the cavity and we have another 50mm internal dry-lining insulation throughout the house and there is 200mm of insulation on the flat roof. In terms of insulation we exceed the house quite a bit and it’s a really warm house,” concluded Niall Henry.

Things that you should never put in the Dishwasher!


There is a lot our dishwashers can handle but the hot temperature, powerful water and detergent mean some things should never be put inside it.

Here are some of the things that you should never put into it!

*Don’t put your garlic press in the dishwasher

*Wash your knives by hand

*Don’t put copper in the dishwasher

*Plastic containers and dishes aren’t always dishwasher safe. Before putting them in the dishwasher, ensure that they are okay to be put through the dishwasher to avoid these items melting!

*Don’t put your wooden chopping board and utensils in the dishwasher as these items should be kept as dry as possible

*Don’t put your pet bowl in the dishwasher as that is asking for trouble!

*Putting your cast iron pans in the dishwasher is a bad idea as it will destroy the coating on them

*Don’t put filthy pans in the dishwasher as dishwashers struggle to shift some dirt!

*The dishwasher will ruin your non-stick pans

*Aluminum will not fare well in this appliance

*Don’t put repaired crockery in the dishwasher


Average cost of rent increasing nationwide


The average cost of renting has surged past €1,000 a month nationally.

New figures show rental inflation hit 7% in the first three months of 2018 compared with the previous quarter.

The data from the State’s Residential Tenancy Board show that the cost of renting jumped by €70 a month in March compared with a year earlier.

This meant the average cost nationwide is now €1,060. It now costs €1,500 a month for accommodation in Dublin, up more than €100 from a year ago.

If you are renting outside of Dublin and its surrounding areas, the cost of renting is €791. The capital city and surrounding commuter counties are pushing up the cost of renting nationally, according to the Residential Tenancy Board rental index.

In Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Meath, Cork and Galway, the cost of renting a property has surpassed €1,000 per month.



Grant is driving the Industry


With over forty years’ experience in championing innovation, reliability and efficiency, leading heating manufacturer Grant is a firm favourite for many householders and installers in Ireland. Driving the industry with its forward-thinking approach, Grant has successfully launches and developed 15 heating appliances to the market all designed with quality, versatility, efficiency and great value for money in mind.
In addition to providing its range of award-winning Vortex condensing oil boilers, Grant also recognised the need for more environmentally-friendly heating solutions with a significant investment into the research and design of the innovative VortexAir Hybrid and range efficient Aerona3 inverter driven air source heat pumps.

With a core focus on providing efficient and eco-friendly heating solutions, Grant helps homeowners tackle the rising energy costs and CO2 emissions, helping to provide a greener future for generations to come.
For more information visit

Source: Grant

Trustee Safe Company


Trustee Safe Company is a family run business and our family have been trading in the safe business for the past 37 years.

We offer a delivery and installation service nationwide on our complete range of insurance approved safes both free standing and underfloor.

In today’s climate we feel confidentiality is vital in terms of safe installations and to that end we are strictly a family business.

Trustee Safe Company are very well known both in Ireland and UK and we exhibit at all the leading shows in both countries.

We exhibit at National Ploughing Championships for the past 35 years, Ideal Homes both in Ireland and London, Self Build Shows, Balmoral Show, Royal Welsh Show, Royal Highlands Show in Scotland and all the leading Agricultural Shows across Ireland.

We always strive to give a fast and efficient service and offer all clients a free site survey before installation if needed.

We supply throughout Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

Trustee Safes are sellers of Chubb Safes, SMP Security, Guardian Safes and Securikey.

Source: Trustee Safes

What A Catch! Sustainable Seafood Garden Hooks Overall Prize at Bloom 2018

NEWS 31052018 NO FEE FOR REPRODUCTION Designer Andrew Christopher Dunne, The Sustainable Seafood Garden, Gold Medal Winner and Overall Show Garden Winner at Bord Bia's Bloom 2018. Following a rigorous two-day judging process with an independent panel of expert judges, the award was announced as Bord Bia opened the gates on the 12th annual Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. The Sustainable Seafood Garden tells the story of the journey from tide to table, of the fish and seafood that surround and inhabit this island. It boasts a large water feature with shimmering fish sculptures and an ‘upcycled’ fishing boat which doubles as a kitchen. Throughout the weekend, the boat will host cookery demonstrations featuring sustainably sourced seafood. Bord Bia's Bloom takes place in the Phoenix Park from May 31st to June 4th. Photo Johnny Bambury / Fennell Photography

Garden designer Andrew Christopher Dunne from the coastal fishing village of Clogherhead in County Louth has been named as the overall Show Garden winner at Bord Bia’s Bloom 2018 for his ‘Sustainable Seafood Garden,’ in association with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

Following a rigorous two-day judging process with an independent panel of expert judges, the award was announced as Bord Bia opened the gates on the 12th annual Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.

The Sustainable Seafood Garden tells the story of the journey from tide to table, of the fish and seafood that surround and inhabit this island. It boasts a large water feature with shimmering fish sculptures and an ‘up-cycled’ fishing boat which doubles as a kitchen. Throughout the weekend, the boat will host cookery demonstrations featuring sustainable sourced seafood.

“The sheer scale of endeavor involved in the delivery of this exceptional garden is something which the judges were all agreed upon,” said Bloom Show Manager for Bord Bia, Gary Graham.

“This was a hugely ambitious design featuring complex construction and intricate planting schemes in order to create an authentic seaside coastal inlet pier.

“With clever design features such as a custom-built fishing boat , made from up-cycled materials and the wall and pier made from reclaimed sandstone and karst limestone, this garden brings elements to Bloom which we have never seen before,” added Mr Graham.

The judging panels for Bloom 2018 comprised of 14 Irish and international horticultural experts, who today announced a raft of 113 awards for show garden designers, nurseries, floral artists and amateur garden designers including 35 Gold, 22 Silver Gilt, 19 Silver, 24 Bronze and 13 certificates of commendation.

Show Garden Winners

A total of 10 Gold Medals were awarded to the Show Gardens which are the central feature at Bloom 2018. In addition to the overall large garden category winner, the overall medium sized garden award went to garden designer Linda McKeown for The Enable Ireland Beyond Boundaries Garden in association with Solus Bulbs, while the overall small sized garden medal was awarded to Peter O’Brien for his Enchanted Wood Garden sponsored by Plan Eden.

The Best Concept Garden award went to Tünde Szentesi for her Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again garden sponsored by Universal Pictures International Ireland and Best Planting was awarded to Alan Rudden for his Life is Rosé by Santa Rita ‘Living la Vida 120’ garden.

Nursery and Floral Art Winners

Fresh from his Chelsea Flower Show medal win, Billy Alexander from Kells Bay Gardens in Kerry received a Gold Medal and ‘Best in Show’ in the Nursery and Floral Pavillion. In the AOIFA Floral Art competition Adrienne Flood from Sutton Floral Art Club received the overall prize for her ‘In Homage To…’ display while Shevan Doherty from Sandyford in Dublin received a Gold medal and Best in Category for her Botanical Art piece.

Postcard Gardens

Sponsored by FBD Insurance, Bloom also hosts thirteen small but perfectly formed postcard gardens which were also judged. In this amateur postcard garden category, pupils from Villierstown National School in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford received ‘Best in Show’ for their garden which tells the story of a hurling game temporarily stopped to allow players to look for a sliotar somewhere in the futuristic Dromana Gate Garden.

Source: Bord Bia/Bloom 2018


Grant Efficient Heating Solutions


GRANT has achieved an enviable reputation within the heating industry for its high-efficiency approach to new concepts. As the leading boiler manufacturer in Ireland, recognised with awards for it’s innovative products and contribution to the industry, we are aware that although most homes will continue to be heated by gas, oil or electricity, there is a growing awareness that we all need to do more to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. We focus on achieving environmentally friendly solutions that benefit not only this generation but future ones.

Leading Boiler Manufacturer in Ireland

With an established history of over 35 years designing, manufacturing and supplying a wide range of highly efficient and reliable heating products, Grant has become a firm favourite for many householders and installers in Ireland.

Source: Grant