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Check out my brother, the movie star, in his first documentary of a road trip to Texas researching authentic American BBQ in order to open a pop-up BBQ restaurant in Vienna, Austria. He never does things by halves – throwing his heart and soul into everything he does. The result is always fabulous. Big Smoke Bar & BBQ will open on Monday 12th of May 2014 bringing you authentic, no shortcuts taken BBQ infused with the spirit of Texas. If anyone is in Vienna or heading there this summer, be sure to check them out down by the Donaukanal.

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For all you foodies out there, there’s a new blog on the block – check out Charlie P’s new blog for inspiration, new recipes and to learn about new Irish food heroes. Charlie P’s is an Irish Gastropub based in Vienna, Austria. It opened its doors in 1997 and in February 2010, it expanded to include the Dining Room bringing quality, up-market Irish food to the pub environment. As part of this and to share the team’s enthusiasm and passion for food and beer, they have recently launched a blog. It was officially launched on April 11th with a five-course food and beer matching night.

If in Vienna, it’s certainly worth a visit or if in Ireland, it’s certainly worth following the blog.


This time last week I was in sunny Vienna attending my second FM4 Frequency music festival in St. Polten, a beautiful city about an hour outside Vienna. It’s become like our annual pilgrimage with some excellent sibling bonding time!! Good thing we all love music. The festival itself is held from a Thursday to a Saturday and takes place in an industrial estate. The line-up this year was excellent with lots of well-known bands. It’s different going to a festival where the sunshine is the norm! We did the festival in style staying in a beautiful hotel in the city centre, Cityhotel D&C, which only opened in May this year and is the height of luxury. It’s the way to do it, great music during the day knowing that you have a bed to go back to and a hot shower!!!

Getting there was a bit of a trek – a bit like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” if you subbed buses for automobiles – as it was an early morning flight from Dublin followed by a bus from the airport to the train station and then a train to St.Polten but with the great transport system it makes it a lot easier. We got to the festival in time for my favourite band, The National, who were most certainly a highlight. For me, it was the perfect start to the festival. One thing I noticed with Frequency is the sound system is second to none which makes a huge difference. Also I love the fact it is so easy to get up to the front.

Afterwards I ventured to the Green stage to see Hurts and wasn’t disappointed being rewarded by an excellent performance by the guys throwing white roses into the audience. I wasn’t sure how they would cope with an open-air venue as the last time I had seen them in a small venue where it was perfect but I think they coped just fine. Next up were Kaiser Chiefs. By then we were beginning to wilt so after one last check of the smaller stage and catching My Jersalem, an indie folk band from Austin, Texas [reminded me of The Avett Brothers or The National at times].

We woke to hear the sad news about Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival and the stage collapsing due to a freak storm and killing five people. The line-up on day two wasn’t my particular favourite so we took our time heading down. It was overcast and there were a few showers but by the afternoon the skies had cleared. We caught the shuttle bus from the train station. We sat in the sunshine enjoying 3 Feet Smaller, an Austrian punk-rock band whose home-town audience clearly loved them. I was looking forward to seeing Elbow as last time I saw them it was raining so heavily we had to make a run for it. We made it down to the pit to see them – up front and central but the clouds were gathering and even with Elbow’s Cloud song, the thunder and lighting started and the heavens opened. I’ve heard that Cloud song before – poor Elbow the weather is not always on their side but they know how to make the best of it. The whole crowd made a run for it and even Elbow left the stage. After quite a heavy downpour, they came back on and finished their set and in Guy Garvey’s words ‘it was biblical’! We ended the day with Kasabian before grabbing the largest preztel in the world [what is it about Europe and their love for giant preztels?] and going on a hunt for a missing iPhone which thankfully we found [think sis wouldn’t be able to cope without her beloved phone]!!!

We woke to sunshine and clear, blue skies for our last day. We had a lovely Greek lunch in the Rathausplatz and a wander round St. Polten before heading down in time to see Panic at the Disco, a pop rock band from America [think 30 Seconds from Mars].

Afterwards leaving the sis to Jimmy Eat World, I ran over to the other stage for Friendly Fires, who with excellent mad dancing, great sounds and sunshine were another highlight of the festival for me. The festival was closed by Foo Fighters, an excellent live band. So none of the back stage antics of last year – our ring leader was MIA; this year was all about the music. All in all, a pretty excellent weekend filled with great music, sunshine and good company – all thanks to our fabulous bro. Till next year!!!


Am back and feeling rather jet-lagged!!!! What a mental week we had but great fun and lots of high jinks!!! It was as the Austrians say SUPER! Am surprised I survived as normally I have all the stamina of a new born kitten but thankfully with the aid of Spritzers [my new friend] I was more like the energiser bunny!!!


Fun in Fuschl am See
First part of the week we spent in Fuschl Am See, a little Austrian town near Salzburg. We stayed in a typical Austrian house on a hill overlooking a beautiful lake – think Heidi and you have got it in one. It was positively idyllic.

The hills are alive


Fuschl am See Lake

Enjoyed spending time with my two lovely nieces and the bro and his very hospitable friends. There was lots of swimming, enjoying food cooked by a Michelin starred chef, a trip to Mondsee [another picturesque little Austrian village] and trampolining table tennis.

Mondsee

The second half of the week when we dropped the girls off was music, music, music and we partied like rock stars!!!!

The National @ Arena

Saw the National in the Arena on Wednesday night – fab venue in the heart of Vienna that used to be an Abbatoir [although it smelled strangely of fish] and fab band [my new favourites and High Violet definitely contender for album of 2010 for me].

The marathon that was the Frequency Festival

On Thursday we headed to St. Polten for the Frequency festival, only about an hour outside Vienna, the festival was held in an industrial estate. The bro had got us VIP passes and you could actually see the Race Stage without having to leave which was excellent. The sun shone for the three days – the good thing about going to a festival abroad – not a welly in sight. It was a mental few days which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Would totally recommend Frequency.

Marina and the Diamonds


The music was awesome – especially Thursday with Marina and the Diamonds and The Drums, who, both played indoors in the plingg & Weekender Stage, rocked!!!!! Last time I saw the Drums I think I was a bit harsh on them and they are definitely a grower – the atmosphere was electric for those two bands. Unfortunately we didn’t make it down on time for my favourites Mumford and Sons as they were on quite early but we caught the Shout Out Louds, an indie rock band from Stockholm, Sweden, who I especially liked. Then it was up front and centre for White Lies who were excellent. Skunk Anansie (that lady has energy to burn) gave it loads even walking on the crowd and crowd surfing and Muse were an excellent way to round off the night. We lost the sis at the end of the night – Dad calls her ‘Amazing Grace’ [I once was lost but now am found] as she does have a tendency to go missing! Once found we headed to the car where we ended up sleeping for the night!!!

We started Friday in style by breakfasting in St.Polten in a lovely square in the centre of the village – very civilised and then we went apartment hunting, a lovely place with a private lake where we were staying for the night before we headed back to Vienna for some R’N’R [that’s rest and relaxation not rock and roll]! I did manage to lock myself in the toilet for an hour and a half and had to be rescued – thanks to the bro’s friend, let’s call him German, my hero! Didn’t get back to St. Polten till late picking up another one of the bro’s friends [am beginning to think he knows everyone in Austria], let’s call him Mission Possible, enroute.

Friday was a bit of a blur after LCD Soundsystem and Massive Attack, we ended up backstage and then rounded off the night in the nightpark dancing like a demon before I fell quite spectacularly outside the apartment – didn’t feel the pain though till yesterday though!!!! I have bruises in places I didn’t even know I had places!


Saturday the sis ensured we all were front and centre for Blue October and even recruited some new fans along the way – she is something akin to an evangelist for Blue October. They were good but was way too early and the crowd were thin on the ground but they gave it socks!!! We actually left the confines of VIP and ventured out to explore passing the Green Stage along the way and wandered through the campsite which on the last day resembled a shanty town. Made it back to the Race Stage for 30 Seconds to Mars – ah Jared I missed the Mohawk.

30 Seconds to Mars


I even navigated my way back to Vienna on the train without getting lost – if you knew me that is a major accomplishment! Must have better sense of direction when am tired and slightly drunk – who knew?

A very fun week but now it’s back to reality until the next festival. Ah I do worship at the altar of music!!!!


Flyday the 13th – don’t let that scare ya……any day that’s a flyday is a good day in my book! Superstitions are silly although NEVER EVER walk under ladders and of course black cats crossing your path are ALWAYS lucky but every other superstition is but silly nonsense so fear not and shake off that duvet and put down that rabbit’s foot and face your flyday with a big smile. It’s going to be great. So am off on my holidays to Vienna this weekend hence this post being all things Viennese. Famous for Mozart, its cafe culture and sophistication – sure I’ll fit in perfectly! Will spend my days hanging out with my two favourite nieces and my bro who live over there and also am fitting in a music festival and hopefully lots of culture. So will be taking a wee blogging break for the next week. I know you’ll miss me – how will you fill your days but alas fear not we’ll have loads to talk about when I return. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and remember stick on some Mozart, have a coffee and it’ll be like you’re there!

Happy Flyday.

“For almost thirty years I repeatedly saw one and the same dream: I would arrive in Vienna at long last. I would feel really happy, for I was returning to my serene childhood.” [Alfred Schnittke]

“If I speak of Vienna it must be in the past tense, as a man speaks of a woman he has loved and who is dead.” [Erich von Stroheim]

“Mozart is sweet sunshine.” [Antonin Dvorak]

“Vienna is the gate to Eastern Europe.” [Niki Lauda]

“If you start to take Vienna – take Vienna” [Napoleon Bonaparte]

“When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?” [Billy Joel – Vienna]

“So this is your maverick, This is Vienna” [The Fray – Vienna]

“The feeling has gone only you and I, It means nothing to me, This means nothing to me, Oh, Vienna.” [Ultravox – Vienna]

“Dear Vienna, are you singing? Dear Vienna, are you swinging? Dear Vienna, we were happy like the shades of May when we got carried away.” [Owl City – Dear Vienna]

“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” [Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart]


If you’re in Vienna, stop by at Charlie P’s. Ain’t this such a cute poster? Happy Hour never seemed so alluring…

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