Walking our engineering landmarks: Parteen Weir

Parteen WeirPeople go walking for lots of reasons. But what about combining a walk with some of our engineering heritage? Its easy to do. Just look up a few interesting engineering landmarks on the net, find them on Google Earth and see if there is a safe walking route nearby. I did this a while ago and visited Parteen weir on the River Shannon.

The Shannon Hydro Electic Scheme. Parteen Weir forms part of the Shannon Hydro Electric Scheme. When constructed in 1924, the Shannon hydro project, was the largest hydro electric project in the World. The electricity generated at the time was sufficient to supply the whole of Ireland. Read more about the scheme here and here.

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Dublin moments. Glimpses of a unique place

Its great to work in Dublin City Centre. It may not have the splendour of Paris, nor the scale of London, or even the simple street grid system of New York. But it is a great, unique and chaotic city. It is hard to define, but a great place to experience. I have tried to give a taste of Dublin’s everyday essence below. You wont find these pictures in the tourist brochures!

Clever Dublin griffi - pacman added to pavement lights

Clever Dublin graffiti – Pacman added to pavement lights

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Confused. When does Summer begin?

DaffodilsThe days are getting longer and warmer. The daffodils have been and gone, briefly acting like a natural form of roadside artwork. It’s the time of the year when the central heating can be turned off and the boiler (and your wallet) given a well earned rest, and perhaps a service.

But is anyone else confused about when the seasons begin and end? Most countries in Europe consider Summer, for instance, to be June, July and August.

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The tin church in Sallins

Sallins churchIn 1924, a local priest, Father Norris, opened the doors of a new chapel, in the village of Sallins, County Kildare. It was built to save the people of Sallins the 7 km (4 mile) round trip to the otherwise nearest church, in Naas. This chapel, which is my local church, is known as a ‘tin church’.

Tin churches. Tin churches date from one hundred years ago. They were pre-fabricated buildings which arrived on site, from the manufacturer, in kit form (IKEA style). They are constructed with timber structural frames and floors. Timber boarding was used to clad the internal walls. While externally, the walls and roof were clad with corrugated iron sheeting, hence the name ‘tin churches’. The buildings are usually supported on brick foundations, separated from the timber frame with slates, to prevent rising damp.

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Eurovision 2014: How to pick a winning song

Eurovision 2014

Eurovision 2014

The 59th  Eurovision final in on tonight in Copenhagen, Denmark. Unfortunately Ireland’s entry, ‘Can-linn‘ (now called can’t win), wont be in the final as they were knocked out at the semi-final stage. Ireland are the most successful country in Eurovision history having won the contest 7 times. However our last win was in 1997. Our best place finish since 2000 has been 8th. We need to improve.

What can we do to increase our changes of getting to the final and winning?

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10 signs that you are mad about AutoCAD

AutoCAD logoAutoCAD, an engineering drafting software programme, will be with us for a while yet. But its dominance is diminishing. It is slowly going the way of the drawing boards it replaced. This is especially the case for larger projects. Newer 3-d drafting and design packages like Revit are proving their usefulness to engineers, architects and clients alike.

But what are 10 signs that you are mad about AutoCAD?

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Fresh or dry. When is firewood easiest to split?

Comparing firewood for choppingI always considered that immediately after it was harvested was the time to split wood. This is for the simple reason that splitting the timber opens up the pores and allows the timber to start drying quickly. Waiting for the timber to dry first before cutting will take the seasoning process longer. But when is it easiest to split firewood?

When is it easiest to chop wood? The honest answer is I am not sure, because I have usually always chopped my firewood as soon as I obtained it (or bought it pre-chopped). But I have tried chopping large wet, green timber and found it hard going at times. If I allowed it to dry out it might have been easier. When timber is seasoned properly and dried, shrinkage cracks open up. These presumably would make the timber in question easier to chop?

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