The metropolis of Dublin, which deserves to be represented – along with the rest of Ireland – in the media.

I was spending time with a friend over the weekend when she expressed her dread for the upcoming work week. “But it’s a bank holiday on Monday!” I told her, thinking she’d be pleasantly surprised upon realizing she forgot about the three-day weekend. “Oh that’s not for us, that’s only for the UK,” she replied flatly.

The reason why I thought today was a bank holiday is because for the last week, it’s been mentioned in a lot of television advertisements. One cable channel was running a campaign for the Jennifer Lopez film, Maid in Manhattan, publicizing that it would be played twice “on bank holiday Monday!” A grocery store chain had an ad that promoted specials for “the upcoming bank holiday Monday!” Since these were ads playing in Ireland, I’d just assumed the holiday applied to us. Not so. Quite cruel, if you ask me.

This phenomenon – being grouped in with our sister island country of England – is something I’m still getting used to. Because Ireland is such a small country, most of our media comes from the UK. Our television programming, with the exception of a couple of channels, are produced and made for the British audience. I find it incredibly odd and somewhat frustrating that I cannot purchase a lot of the items advertised on television here, and that the special deals being promoted don’t apply to me at all.

Irish BBQ

These are Irish people, enjoying a BBQ. I want to see these people on the telly doing ads for Irish grocery stores!!

Sainsbury’s, a popular UK-based grocery chain, features popular TV chef Jamie Oliver in its alluring ads; one particular promo has Jamie running around at a picnic, cooking up delectable-looking burgers and proclaiming “Don’t just eat food, taste it!” Jamie, I would LOVE to taste those lovely picnic offerings in your fabulous commercial and also save heaps of money by getting all those amazing special deals Sainsbury’s offers in their ads, but hey – I LIVE IN IRELAND and we don’t even have a single Sainsbury here! Don’t be such a tease, Jamie!

Of course it’s not Jamie Oliver’s fault that we’re subjected to this constant barrage of ads applicable to only UK-based residents. They are relevant to Northern Ireland, as the region is officially the UK, but for those in the Republic of Ireland it’s all useless information. While I understand the reasons for why we’re grouped in with the UK it doesn’t make it any less odd for me. I remember an uproar last year over a fast-food chain in California that ran television commercials promoting its food on channels that broadcasted in LA. Apparently the closest restaurant was 90 miles outside of Los Angeles, so residents of LA complained it was too far away and therefore the ads should stop running in their area. Keep in mind this is all within Southern California! The restaurant ceased advertising on the local LA stations.

As an American, it’s slightly amusing and somewhat weird but I imagine it must be down-right annoying for the Irish. It often feels that Ireland is not well-represented in the media in film, television and even advertisements. Sure we have a couple of Irish stations but they’re barely a blip on the map compared to the vast number of UK broadcasting channels and media companies that are represented on our television screens. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like the red-headed stepchild (literally) of England when all you hear on the telly are British accents.

Irish Steak

Irish Beef Steak with Peppers and Onions
(Serves 2)

1 tablespoon olive oil (purchased from Supervalu, an Irish grocery store!)
2 filet of steak (from Ireland!)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced,  (purchased at my local farmer’s market in Ireland!)
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced (purchased at my local farmer’s market in Ireland!)
2 shallots, sliced (purchased at my local farmer’s market in Ireland!)
6 brown mushrooms, sliced (purchased at my local farmer’s market in Ireland!)
1 red chili, sliced (purchased at my local Asian grocer in Ireland!)
Salt and pepper (purchased from Supervalu, an Irish grocery store!)

Preheat oven to 180 C. In a large sauté pan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. After the pan is very hot, sear the steaks on all sides – about 45 seconds on each side. Remove the steaks, put onto a baking sheet and put in the oven for 6 minutes. While the steak is cooking, add the bell peppers, onions and chili into the same pan used to sear off the steaks. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are nice and caramelized. While the peppers are cooking, remove the steak and cover with tinfoil and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Plate the steaks and top with the pepper/onion/chili/mushroom mixture. Serve!