Star Wars: A Brief History

Star Wars: The Last Jedi just opened today in Ireland, with that in mind, lets take a quick look back in time…

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away begins an epic journey that lasts until this day. Originally written and directed by George Lucas, the Star Wars franchise captured millions with its portrayal of forbidden love, alternate universes, universal light versus darkness battle and relatable characters leaving a trace in modern cinema until this very day. As Disney releases the new episode, we take a step back to revisit a history of Star Wars. The following contains the Star Wars franchise and the events until this day in chronological order, as we start off with prequels, then move on to the original trilogy released back in 1977 only to finish with the latest Disney installment that still manages to keep our hearts at bay.


Episode I finds us on Naboo, as two members of Jedi order, the master Qui-Gon Jinn and a young Jedi Obi-Wan set off on a mission to save Queen Amidala whose planet Naboo is under the invasion. The damage on their ship makes them land on Tatooine where they meet young Anakin Skywalker, the boy who Qui-Gon Jinn believes to be a huge potential. We follow Jedi soldiers, Queen Amidala and Anakin Skywalker on their journey as they fight Darth Maul, the invader. Qui-Gon dies at the hands of the Darth Maul so eventually Obi-Wan leaves with young Anakin.

Episode II finds us 10 years later as Anakin Skywalker is appointed by the Jedi Order to protect Senator Padme Amidala. While on a mission, Anakin falls in love with Padme, and discovers the dark side of the force along the way. His master Obi-Wan investigates separately, ultimately discovering the clone army that the Galactic Republic supposedly ordered. Count Duku, the Sith’s apprentice, captures Obi-Wan, causing Padme and Anakin to come to his aid. In conclusion, the Jedi Master Yoda saves all three of them, as the civil war emerges causing the Jedi Order to call upon the clone army. Padme secretly weds Anakin, as the scheme by the reemerging Sith goes on as the Clone Wars begin.

Episode III finds during the Clone Wars, as the Councilor Palpatine is captured by Count Dooku and General Grievous. Anakin and Obi-Wan team up to save the councilor. Upon their successful return, Padme reveals her pregnancy, and while Obi-Wan fights Grievous, Anakin is seduced by Palpatine who reveals himself to be a Sith Lord. Eventually, Anakin turns on the Jedi Order to become the Sith Apprentice, Darth Vader, only to be defeated and almost killed by Obi-Wan as his wife dies while giving birth to twins Leah and Luke. The twins are separated and sent away as the Sith’s empire rises on the ashes of the Jedi Order who he eradicates with the clone army, revealing their true nature.


Episode IV finds us 19 years later as Princess Leah, a member of the rebel alliance is captured by Darth Vader, as the Sith Lord tests out his deadly weapon, the Death Star. The weapon itself is flawed and Princess Leah sends out the plans and a message via C2PO and R2D2 to Obi-Wan. Meanwhile, young Luke Skywalker finds a message, discovers a legacy, setting off on a journey with Obi-Wan with the help of Han Solo, the smuggler, and Chewbacca. They eventually save Princess Leah destroying the Death Star while Obi-Wan sacrifices himself.

Episode V finds us as Luke travels to planet Dagobah in his attempt to become a Jedi, training with survivor Yoda. While Luke trains on Dagobah, Princess Leah, Han Solo, and Chewbacca are betrayed by Solo’s friend Lando and captured by Darth Vader. Luke leaves Yoda to save his friends, and while Han is frozen in carbonite and delivered to Jabba the Hutt, Luke confronts Darth Vader that reveals himself as his father. Luke loses his hand in a duel but manages to escape, shocked by the discovery.

Episode VI finds us a year later, along with Leah and Luke on a rescue mission to save Han Solo. Our heroes save their smuggler friend, and Luke goes back to Dagobah only to see Yoda dying as he leaves the fate of the Galaxy in Luke’s hands. The rebels joined by Han Solo and Leah learn of the New Death Star that Palpatine himself supervises, Luke confronts his father, and as he defeats Vader, he tries to fight the Sith as well. He loses but is saved by Darth Vader. Anakin redeems himself by fulfilling the prophecy, killing the Sith. The Death Star is destroyed and balance is restored.


Star Wars Force Awakens finds us as young scavenger Rey finds herself in the middle of the war between the First Order led by Kylo Ren, the estranged son of Han and Leah and the New Republic. Luke hides from the world as we follow new characters as well as the old on their mission to find him. The Death Star lookalike ruins cities, and Han Solo must confront his son, but this results in Solo’s death, as Rey discovers the force within her. R232 droid reveals Luke’s location and Leah sends Rey to Luke, as the movie ends with their meet on the planet Ahch-To.

Year in Search 2017

Google has announced their “Year in Search” for 2017. The list is based on search terms that had a high spike in traffic in 2017 compared to 2016.

For Ireland overall  Conor McGregor and Donald Trump make unsurprising appearances:

Overall Searches
1) Hurricane Ophelia
2) Donald Trump
3) Ireland v Denmark
4) 13 Reasons Why
5) Fidget spinner
6) Hurricane Irma
7) Eireann bus strike
8) McGregor vs Mayweather
9) Eurovision
10) Harvey Weinstein

These lists are also catgorisied into ‘recipes’, general questions – i.e ‘what is’ and ‘what are’ type questions,  and ‘sporting events’ as well as ‘movies’.

Here are the other Google queries:

How To…?
1) How to make slime
2) How to watch McGregor vs Mayweather
3) How to lose weight
4) How to check credit on 3
5) How to make pancake mix
6) How to solve a rubix cube
7) How to open a coconut
8) How to download on netflix
9) How to bleed radiators
10) How to register to vote

1) Dunkirk
2) IT
3) Beauty & the Beast
4) La La Land
5) Justice League
6) Wonder Woman
7) Blade Runner 2049
8) Murder on the Orient Express
9) Logan
10) Baby Driver

1) Spaghetti Bolognese
2) Chilli con carne
3) Beef stroganoff
4) Guacamole
5) Pavlova
6) Banana bread
7) Pancake
8) Scone
9) Banoffee pie
10) Fish pie

Sporting Events
1) Ireland vs Denmark
2) McGregor vs Mayweather
3) Cheltenham
4) Confederations Cup
5) Ireland vs Wales
6) RBS 6 nations
7) Ireland vs South Africa
8) Tour de France
9) All Ireland hurling
10) Galway races

What Is…
1) What is the antikythera mechanism
2) What is a hurricane
3) What is bitcoin
4) What is a pangolin
5) What is a tracker mortgage
6) What is the Confederation Cup
7) What is covfefe
8) What is DACA
9) What is a teleporter
10) What is a fidget spinner

RTE to shut down RTE News Now

According to the Independent Newspaper yesterday, RTE may seek to shut down it’s rolling news channel, the article is reporting the reason for abandoning the channel may be due to “the organisation seeks ways to cut costs amid continuing financial pressure“. It seems the channel is expensive to run, with very little viewership.

From a consumer perspective it’s a real shame RTE cannot make this channel work, at the very least as a public service it’s very useful.

But, it’s not entirely surprising. In terms of content, it seems investment on the station is low, with the news bulletins from RTE 1 on a loop with the odd report from the Irish Government. The channel is also hidden very high up on the SKY channels list, well into the 500s, although it does have a more prominent position on the Virgin Media platform.

Celebrities and Entrepreneurs who quit Alcohol

Cristiano Ronaldo

Here are a few surprising celebrities and entrepreneurs, who you may not have known have quit or reduced their alcohol intake significantly.

Bradley Cooper – Bradley Cooper who has been sober since he was 29 told GQ  “If I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life…The one thing that I’ve learned in life is the best thing I can do is embrace who I am and then do that to the fullest extent, and then, whatever happens, happens,” Cooper continued. “The more steps I do to not do that, the farther I am away from fulfilling any potential I would have.”

Cristiano Ronaldo –  Ronaldo does not drink alcohol because drinking it reminds him of the death of his father. Ronaldo would offer to ask him to go to rehab and address his alcohol addiction, but he always refused.

Singer and record producer Calvin Harris says he quit drinking after a series of incidents: “I gave up drinking because bad things happened. Things that you just think: ‘I really shouldn’t have done that.’ There have been lots of gigs when I’ve looked back and gone: ‘Oh, it was on television, a lot of people saw that, and I was totally inebriated.’ I’ve had the best year of my life not drinking, it’s been great.”

Larry Ellison, Co-founder and CEO of Oracle; No. 5 on Forbes’ list of The World’s Billionaires, says: “I can’t stand anything that clouds my mind. … I have no problem with people drinking; I have no problem with people smoking dope. If that’s what they want to do, God bless them, that’s their business. But I can’t do those things.”

Tyra Banks, Model and Media Mogul says: “I feel like I’ve been very lucky because I don’t really have an addictive personality. I had a little taste of alcohol when I was 12 years old, but that’s about it.”


Why I drink Green Tea (between pints)

Green Tea

(I stopped drinking alcohol in January 2018)

I was out with a few friends recently at a sports bar and we were enjoying a few (responsible) drinks, however when it came to the next round of drinks, a good friend of mine who had just had a pint of Guinness, was getting a pot of Green Tea with lemon.

How strange I thought! And of course, my interest peaked. Why would you do this?

Well, he claims if he has a cup of green tea in between alcohol it reduces the effects of alcohol on his body. – He does not get any hangover! And what I loved about all of this, he did not care what others thought, because this worked for him. But does it actually work?

It seems there may be some method to his madness.”Green tea is not fermented and is produced by steaming fresh leaves at high temperatures. During this process, it is able to maintain important molecules called polyphenols, which seem to be responsible for many of the benefits of green tea.” In fact, a study found that while “alcohol administration caused an increase in the liver and serum lipid peroxidation products, measured as thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances. However, green tea prevents the changes observed after ethanol intoxication. Green tea also protects membrane phospholipids from enhanced peroxidation. These results indicate a beneficial effect of green tea in alcohol intoxication.”

There are a number of other benefits to drinking Green tea. But be warned, if you are used to having milky tea with sugar. Remove that notion from your head, completely. Do not expect this taste. In my experience, expecting a certain flavour from a beverage, only to taste something completely unexpected, will cause you to never try it again.

How do you start with green tea?

  • Never add milk to Green Tea
  • Never add sugar to Green Tea
  • Do add some lemon or ginger.
  • Do take your time, sip slowly and enjoy it’s unique taste


Why you should drink more

I don’t advocate drinking more, but there is one obvious exception. Drink More Water.

The benefits of drinking water have been known for years. More recently, those who are trying to maintain or reduce their body fat have been drinking more water to increase the duration of the next meal – in other words to are trying to eat less.

Of course, excessive water is not good for you either, so be careful there too! But how much, is too much water? How much should the average person drink, that is a question that apparently, varies depending on your needs, and activity level, I suggest you check out this website which has more information on this. Your body is roughly 70% water, your blood and every cell in your body are composed of water. For this reason, you need water to function correctly.

For this reason, I always carry a reusable bottle of water with me, and fill up where I see a water filter or have access to cold water! Below are 4 simple reasons why you should, if you are not already drinking more water on a daily basis

4 Reasons to drink more water

Headaches – If you are not drinking enough water you can get headaches. For example, as I understand it, Alcohol causes your body to produce more urine. In turn, urinating more than usual can lead to dehydration. If you suffer from headaches, make sure you are getting enough water! In fact, a good friend of mine, who runs her own blog claims that she no longer stocks headache tablets because she always ensure’s she has her daily water intake!

Better Skin – Remember we humans are made up of water, It’s the best anti-ageing treatment around!

Mood – You feel fresher and cleaner inside when you have had enough water and of course your mood even improves, you may even find yourself going for a run!

Availability – You should feel thankful that you can easily buy/fill up your cup with clean fresh water, there are many in the world who cannot access clean water easily or at all. Enjoy it – it’s (often) free.

SKY Q adds a favorites function

When early adapters took up the new SKY digital box, aptly named Sky Q, they were impressed.

That is, for the most part, that’s not to say there weren’t teething issues, there were lots! But one glaring omission from the software on the box was the lack of channel favourites.

There is a lot of channels on SKY, and let’s be honest, many of them are purely concentrated shite! There has to be a way to sift through all the channels so you don’t have to remember SKY News is on channel 501, why can’t it be on channel number 5?

Well… last month, SKY launched a software update to SKY Q to allow easy organization of channels.

Assuming you have the lasted SKY Q firmware, you can now program your own channel line up! You can add up to 99 Channels. It works really well. Here is how to set it up!

  • Go to the TV Guide, followed by Favourites and then select Setup favourites.
  • Once you select the Channels you require, you can then recognise them.
  • If you want to change them after you initially set them up you can – Go to your TV Guide, followed by Favourites and then select Manage favourites which are at the end of the list of channels.

One thing we noticed, if you make too many changes the list can become a bit muddled, a restart of the SKY Q box seems to fix this.

Apple reveals 2017’s most popular apps

Apple apps

Apple has today announced the most popular apps of 2017 across their iOS platform. Apple stated “ the introduction of AR (augmented reality) apps and games, the rise of real-time competitive gaming, apps focused on mental health and mindfulness and apps transforming storytelling and reading” were amongst the four breakout trends.

The list of Top Apps of 2017, it has to be said, is somewhat underwhelming, containing mostly the usual suspects.

Never the less we have curated the list of Topp Apps of 2017, below, for your viewing pleasure.

  • Bitmoji
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream
  • Messenger
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Google Maps – GPS Navigation
  • Netflix
  • Spotify Music
  • Uber
  • Gmail – Email by Google
  • Pandora Music
  • Amazon – Shopping made easy
  • WhatsApp Messenger
  • Wish – Shopping Made Fun
  • Twitter
  • SoundCloud – Music & Audio
  • Google Chrome
  • Waze Navigation & Live Traffic
  • Lyft

The Luas Cross City becomes fully operational today

Luas Cross City

It seems like forever ago that work on the Luas Cross City began. Coming in under budget and at a cost of 368 million euro, today it will become fully operational taking passengers from the north to the south.

Connecting from Stephens Green and going over the Liffey. Operators of the Luas have warned that

There will be 13 new stops with this extension of the Luas, with more than half of those in the city center. The entire journey is expected to take about 24 minutes.

Malaysian Holiday during Hari Raya (Ramadan) – quick trip update

Malaysia is a wonderful country to visit, and as I have good friends there, I have been there many times. I have been inspired by Matt Dan who went to visit Malaysia and never left, learning the language (in local dialect – so he sounds like a native) and embracing the culture.

I won’t be going that far, but I will try a little bit of each area on this visit.

As I was visiting during the time of fasting and just before Hari Raya, Kuala Lumpur (KL) was a buzz with activity. Our first stop was a market to buy my traditional Malay outfit, and have a night-time (breakfast meal). I was very tired after the trip, but excited to be there!

Kelantan Trip.jpg
Early Morning drive to Kelantan

The next day we drove to Kelantan –  a rural state in the northeast of Peninsular. It may be rural, but it was not quiet. What would normally take four hours to drive from KL took us 13 hours. The next day was Hari Raya, which I was invited to celebrate with my Malaysian friends. So I decided to check-in to my local hotel and get a good night’s sleep.

Locals don’t’ see too many ‘orang asing’ (foreigner) in this area so I had a few people staring at me, and they don’t mind staring too! Granted –  I was probably a sight – An Irish guy, in traditional Malay clothes, carrying a Malaysian child (my friend’s daughter – who stuck to me like glue for the entire visit). But I felt very welcome, and soon forgot how awkward I felt.

Saya nama John

The Malays have many wonderful traditions on Hari Raya, and one of them was to cook massive amounts of wonderful foods and desserts and invite all their friends and neighbours to dine with them. In fact, neighbours and guests got to eat first, in the house I visited. Some neighbours were not Muslim, but they too were invited in for a meal and a chat.

I’m glad I’ve been to Malaysia before because I had learned the basics and learned to respect and not forgot them. The first is always take off your shoes before entering a household, and sometimes even a local shop. The second is not to shake a woman’s(unrelated by blood) hand unless of course, she offers it first. I think this is also an Islamic custom.

The first time I visited Malaysia I was not aware of this last one. I shook a ladies hand, she accepted it but covered her own hand with her garment. Live and learn!

Being Irish, it’s very refreshing to see people having a great time with family and friends staying up late, and not a drop of alcohol was touched! It can be done, folks.

Sleeping Budda.jpg
Sleeping Buddha

Over the next few days, I was driven around in an envoy of three packed cars (families are massive in Malaysia) to see all the local sites. They even drove me three hours to see some Buddhist statues, despite the fact they did not want to see it themselves.

I really appreciated what these people were willing to do to keep me entertained but maintain their beliefs! They took me to see the ‘Sleeping Buddha’ temple in Kelantan which is a 40-metre statue of a sleeping Buddha, which is the longest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Malay Restaurant.jpg
Local Restaurant

The food in Malaysia is amazing, but I have to say I wish I was more adventurous with what I ate. Some foods and desserts look and taste amazing and are so inexpensive in comparison to Dublin, it makes you wonder what else are you missing out on in this world!

The next few days were a blur, but we drove across Malaysia and down the west coast, stopping at some very packed, but very scenic resorts along the way until we arrived back in Kuala Lumpur. There we spent two days shopping and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Next a trip to Penang Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located.

Penang Hill johnmrryan.jpg
Penang Hill – View

We did not have long to explore Penang Island which was a shame, but the drive there across the longest bridge I have ever seen was an experience in itself.

On Penang Island, there seem to be much more Chinese people than Malay people, so I noticed in particular much more pubs and entertainment venues, as well as people wearing slightly less modest clothing! (not that I was looking or anything).

Anyway, If you visit Penang, make sure to visit Penang Hill, where you can get a train up the to the top of the hill for a breathtaking view!