The Week: News Highlights 13th August

News highlights from Ireland, here, and around the world…13th August 2016

Week News Highlights 13th August
Pic Maxwells/Julien Behal

Nelson’s Pillar ‘returns’ to Dublin

50,000 Lego pieces recreate the famous monument

Fifty years after it was bombed down Nelson’s Pillar has returned to O’Connell Street, brick by tiny brick, LEGO bricks to be exact. The monument which dominated Dublin’s skyline for more than 150 years was infamously blown up in 1966 and the famous Spire, almost three times the original monument’s height, now takes up the site.

‘The Pillar’ is part of a LEGO recreation of the GPO and Sackville Street over Easter weekend 1916, now on public display in the GPO main hall. The model comprises 50,000 pieces, carefully built over two years by LEGO modelling enthusiast Paul Derrick. Soldiers, policemen, rebels – including a wounded James Connolly – and the blazing post office all feature in minute detail.

“To see so many customers and visitors of all ages and nationalities enthralled by the scale and detail of the 50,000 piece model is wonderful, in this special year,” said An Post’s Anna McHugh.

Catherine O’Neill brought her eight-year-old granddaughter Katie to visit the new attraction, recalling how she was at a dance in the Old Metropole Theatre, right next door to the GPO, the night that Nelson’s Pillar was blown up.

“We felt the dance-floor shaking but it didn’t stop us dancing,” she said.

The LEGO GPO will be on display in the main Post Office hall seven days a week, for the rest of the schools’ summer holiday.

Threefold rise in syphilis cases in Cork and Kerry

Week News Highlights 13th August

The amount of cases of syphilis in Cork and Kerry has trebled in the past year according to newly released figures from Ireland’s health service (HSE). The HSE also reports that eight in ten of the reported cases were among men who have sex with men.

There were seven cases of the sexually transmitted disease across the two counties between January and June 2015. That figure jumped to 23 cases between July and December of last year, and from January to June 2016 there were a further 21 cases reported.

If syphilis is not treated promptly the infection can cause long-term serious problems, including damage to the heart and brain. The HSE said: “Syphilis has been called the ‘great pretender’ as its symptoms can look like many other diseases. Up to half of people with syphilis may not notice any symptoms; therefore it is vital to get tested.”

It advised all sexually active men who have or had sex with men, and women whose partners have sex with men, to get tested for STIs and always use a condom during sex.

Dublin now ‘more expensive’ than Moscow or Shanghai

Week News Highlights 13th August
 Photo: Sam Boal/

Dublin has been ranked among the most expensive cities in the world, but is still considered a value for money destination for businesses.

Property group Savills released its latest live-work index last week, measuring the annual cost of renting and occupying a home per person alongside the cost of office space per employee across 20 cities. The capital’s live-work accommodation costs came in at $45,147 (£34,614) putting it at 14th place in the table, an increase of 11 per cent when compared to December 2015 meaning Dublin leapfrogged Moscow and Shanghai.

Savills said that the “big bounce in office rents from low post-GFC (global financial crisis) levels, especially in the creative [and] tech sector” was a likely contributor to the city’s rising costs.

The top spot was occupied by New York, where livework accommodation costs were placed at $114,010 (£87,424).

London, which had occupied the summit of the index for the past two and a half years, fell to third as costs fell by 11 per cent. The researchers attributed this to the outcome of the EU referendum as a fall in currency made it “very much more competitive on the world stage” in terms of occupation costs. Hong Kong, Tokyo and Paris completed the top five, in second, fourth and fifth.

C&W’s Garth Brooks wants to beat U2’s live concert record

Week News Highlights 13th August
Garth Brooks. Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Country music star Garth Brooks is using staging that was intended for his cancelled 2014 Croke Park shows as part of his current world tour.

Brooks is currently 20 months into his Man Against Machine tour as he bids to overtake U2 in having sold the most tickets for a single tour. And he is deploying a set dubbed ‘The Irish Ring’, which can accommodate 8,000 fans, on the American leg of his tour. The Oklahoma native has sold 4.5 million tickets so far, which is roughly three million fewer than number taken by U2 on their 360° tour.

“I’d like to beat U2 for country music’s sake,” Brooks told Billboard magazine. “I feel really lucky to be where we’re at right now. If the people keep showing up, so be it. If the people stop showing up, I don’t have anything to bitch about. It’s been a great run.”

The high-profile singer was scheduled to perform in Dublin in July 2014. However, Dublin city council refused to grant a licence for two of the shows, after objections from residents. Brooks said it was a “five shows or none” situation, cancelled the run and saw fans reimbursed for the 400,000 tickets sold.

The Dublin dates were intended to kick off the world tour but, as of yet, he is yet to announce any dates outside of America. Rumpurs persist of a Garth Brooks concert in Ireland sometime next year.


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