ShaneMcDonald.ie http://shanemcdonald.ie Welcome to ShaneMcDonald.ie. This the personal website and blog of Shane McDonald with blog posts, photography, music information & Shane's Queen Site. Mon, 13 Feb 2017 21:10:45 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 https://i2.wp.com/shanemcdonald.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/cropped-smd.jpg?fit=32%2C32 ShaneMcDonald.ie http://shanemcdonald.ie 32 32 108138922 Tips to Improve your Twitter Account http://shanemcdonald.ie/twitter-tips-improve-following-2017-02/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/twitter-tips-improve-following-2017-02/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 20:24:54 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2334 The post Tips to Improve your Twitter Account appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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Easy Twitter Tips to improve your Twitter account

I have been on Twitter quite a while now and over the past 3 years I have come to love the platform. For me Twitter is a source of news, opinion and interesting articles as well as the odd competition which I have won. If you are looking to grow your Twitter audience and influence you are going to have to invest some time on Twitter. These are some Twitter Tips to help in growing your following and presence.

1. Have a good Twitter Profile image

The first Twitter tip is update your profile pic. The Profile Image is the small icon which appears beside each tweet. Your profile picture should be representative of you or your business. Try make the image one which will stand out.

The key here is don’t leave it as the default Twitter Egg! The profile photo of an egg is indicative of an account which is new. So change this and you’ll get an advantage over accounts with Twitter eggs.

 

2. Ensure you include a Header image

At the same time you should upload a good header image. The header image could be a product photo or something which works along with your profile image to strength your accounts visual appeal. You can use systems like Canva to place a nice quote or even your web address.

 

3. Your Twitter Bio

Your Twitter Bio should detail what your account is about. It should also outline the content people will expect if they follow you.For example you could tell people what interests you or what you tweet about.

Feel free to use hashtags or even other accounts. e.g. “I am account manager for @mentioncompanyhere and I like #Travel”.
If you have a website don’t forget to include that. This is one of the key Twitter Tips – so if you do one thing, it’s update your Bio.

 

4. Daily Twitter Activity

Each day, you should log on to Twitter and do some sort of activity. This activity may include;

– Tweeting something even if it is just a comment on the weather. This keeps your feed flowing with recent content.
– Retweeting others tweets. If you find something interesting retweet it.
– Responding to any replies or notifications
– Thanking some of your recent followers.
– If you find content you like the press the ‘Like’ button
– you should follow any Twitter accounts which you are interested in. Normally I follow about 5-10 accounts per day. If I find a Twitter list of Food Bloggers or Travel Writers I may end up following 50 or 60 accounts. By monitoring their content I can then see if I want to keep following. Every so often I clear down the accounts I am following based on their content. One good app for doing a follower check is Crowdfire.

 

5. Tag or include others in your tweets

Every now and again you should mention other accounts using the @account method.
For example “Hi @mrshanemcdonald many thanks for liking my tweet. Delighted you are interested” would send me a nice mention and I may then follow you as a result.

 

How do I know if I am doing well ?

There are a few pointers to show your success in growing your account.

  1. The first is your growth, if it is increasing fast this is one indicator that you are doing well.
    You can track your growth visually on TwitterCounter – take a look here at my Twitter account on TwitterCounter to see how it works.
  2. Secondly is your mention notifications, if you are getting a lot of @mentions, either responses or direct mentions, this shows a well engaged audience.
  3. You can also check your Klout score which takes into consideration all your social/online channels and gives you a number between 0 and 100; The higher the better! If you are over 45 on that score you are progressing well, Over 60 and you are a real contender, and 70+ would be social influencers.
  4. If you are enjoying Twitter and you are Tweeting daily – In a way this is a success of it’s own as many people start on Twitter and just give up!

 

I hope you enjoyed these Twitter Tips and this is what works for me. If you have any other interesting Twitter Tips or hacks please feel free to leave a comment.

 

Follow Me on Twitter

My Twitter account is @mrshanemcdonald so if you like this post why not follow and say hi!

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Loving – Movie Review http://shanemcdonald.ie/loving-movie-review-2017-02/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/loving-movie-review-2017-02/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 23:23:13 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2329 The post Loving – Movie Review appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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Loving is based on a true story of an interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving. They married in 1958 and although interracial marriage was illegal in the state of Virginia they married in Washington DC.  As they tried to make their family home in the law was against them. They were jailed and tried, only avoiding prison by the state banishing them. The Loving family relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington D.C. This film is the story of their struggle against the legal system, and trying to get back to Virginia.

Loving – Review

Obviously this movie is getting a lot of attention with the recent Oscar nominations. As a result I wanted to see it, and I was not disappointed. The film sets up the two characters very well. Richard Loving is played by Joel Edgerton and I don’t know why he was not Oscar nominated. It is a tough role to play and I thought he did a convincing job. Ruth Negga plays Mildred Loving and was nominated.

The movie captures the unfairness of something they felt was hurting no-one. They went and got married and only for they moved back to Virginia they would not have been arrested. Their struggle is long but with the assistance of a civil rights group they are able to get the case heard in court.

There is a real sense in the film that you get to see their life progress, their children grow and their hope sometimes fade. But, they never give up. There are some great performances and my initial view before seeing the film was that it might be rough going – it is not at all. It is simply a good story well told.

There was one section of the movie when the sheriff advises Richard Loving of his opinions on interracial marriage and what he would do to him if he came back. During this sequence I could not understand one word of the sherries dialogue due to a very heavy, mumbled and ow southern accent, but I don’t think I missed much.

This story if it was shown last year would have been a look back at the way things were in America. Racial conflict, division between races etc. However this year, with a so called president in power, all this seems far too real. Sad to see these things raising their heads again.

If you are thinking of going to see this, do, its a really great movie.

Official Trailer – Loving

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The Oscars – My Oscar Picks for the 2017 Oscars http://shanemcdonald.ie/oscars-picks-2017-oscars-2017-01/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/oscars-picks-2017-oscars-2017-01/#respond Tue, 31 Jan 2017 22:23:17 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2315 The post The Oscars – My Oscar Picks for the 2017 Oscars appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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I have seen many of the movies which are nominated for Oscars. So I decided to put together a list of the nominated movies which I think will win in the 2017 Oscars. I have outlined the films I think will win at the Oscars in Red and the ones I would like to see win Oscars in Blue (i.e. my favourites).

BEST PICTURE
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

BEST DIRECTOR
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

BEST ACTRESS
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

BEST FILM EDITING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

BEST SOUND EDITING
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

BEST SOUND MIXING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

It will be interesting to see how my predictions for the Oscars (in red) pan out….

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Bloggers and Influencers must now Tag sponsored posts with #AD and #SP http://shanemcdonald.ie/bloggers-social-media-influencers-must-now-tag-sponsored-posts-2017-01/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/bloggers-social-media-influencers-must-now-tag-sponsored-posts-2017-01/#respond Mon, 30 Jan 2017 17:40:25 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2306 The post Bloggers and Influencers must now Tag sponsored posts with #AD and #SP appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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In an effort to stop consumers from being misled there is a new set of Guidelines for Bloggers and influencers. Online posts must now say if they are being paid to promote a service or product. These guidelines have been set out by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

The ASAI has introduced the guidelines due to the increase in online advertisements on blogs and social media websites. These may come as mentions on Snapchat or Instagram or indeed in Blog Posts. People like the Kardashians make significant money from advertising products in this way. In Ireland in recent years there has been an increase in social media influencers being paid for this sort of marketing.

Influencers and Bloggers must add disclaimers to their posts. These disclaimers should be obvious and visible for consumers to see on the content. The ASAI have said that they will ensure bloggers and influencers adhere to the new guidelines. Declaring a sponsored piece of content will be easy. A simple hashtag can be used to denote a that they are being paid to advertise a product. The suggested tags are #AD and #SP.

I personally have never been paid to advertise a product or service. I have on occasion been asked to review a book or two but that is rare. I think this new set of online guidelines will be good, as it will be easy for the followers or readers of a blog post to know if this is a sponsored post or indeed if the person is really saying something because they want to and because they think a product is actually very good.

I do worry that there maybe some difficulty in tracking and checking if someone was actually paid for a post. I cannot see how someone will be able to prove this. Also on the flip side, how can someone prove if they product they mentioned was one they actually like.

Time will tell !

 

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La La Land – Movie Review of La La Land (2017) http://shanemcdonald.ie/la-la-land-movie-review-2017-2017-01/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/la-la-land-movie-review-2017-2017-01/#respond Tue, 24 Jan 2017 21:50:05 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2299 The post La La Land – Movie Review of La La Land (2017) appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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La La Land is getting a lot of attention and is hotly tipped to win big at this year’s Oscars. It has been nominated in a number of categories at today’s Oscars announcement. I wasn’t sure what to expect from La La Land as I am not a fan of musicals as a Movie Genre. La La Land is not the blockbuster you can compare to last years Revenant but it sure packs a punch on a few different levels.

La La Land starts with a musical number, quite predictably, setting up what will be a romantic relationship. The film seems to have a very familiar feel about it, shot in a style which is quite different to other movies out this year. It is bright and I get the feeling that the saturation and vibrance of colours was increased during filming/post-production. This gives an almost 1950’s or Technicolour feel about the film.

La La Land is set in modern day Los Angeles yet we can see nods to the glory days of Hollywood. The movie opens with an amazing highway scene with thousands of cars and dancers…. Worth a good portion of your admission fee to see that! (If you saw the opening sequence to the Golden Globes you will get an idea). Sebastian played by Ryan Gosling is a budding jazz musician and wants to open his own club o this terms. He meets Mia played by the wonderful Emma Stone which is an actress who just can’t catch a break.  They initially meet on the highway for a brief moment. They also almost meet in a piano bar but Sebastian brushes past her. When Sebastian and Mia meet properly, we see song and dance numbers reflecting on movies such as ‘Singing in the Rain’.

The rest of the story (in order to avoid spoilers) is set with them trying to help each other achieve their dreams. There is much song and dance in between with some great scenes including one in a Planetarium which is impressive visually and also as a musical number. This scene is actually one further nod to the golden days of Hollywood. The scene is set at the Griffith Observatory, and it is visited by Sebastian and Mia after watching the classic movie “Rebel Without a Cause.”

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling really do work well and certainly have an on screen bond which makes their performance so believable and captivating.  Eventually both get a shot at their dreams and with guest performances from John Legend and J.K Simmons the movie really has a good cast. I’m not going to spoil anything, but you should enjoy the movie as it is a treat for the eyes and the ears.

The only negative thing is that the movie takes a bit of time to get going. However, I felt but once it is moving you are pulled along with it … Not screaming, rather singing and dancing with it.

You will like La La Land and it is certainly a ‘feel good’ pick-me-up. If you had a bad day, go see this movie. Enjoy!

 

Official Trailer of La La Land

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople – DVD/Download Review http://shanemcdonald.ie/hunt-for-the-wilderpeople-dvddownload-review-2017-01/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/hunt-for-the-wilderpeople-dvddownload-review-2017-01/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2017 22:30:16 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2282 Hunt for the Wilderpeople was out in the cinemas earlier in 2016 but I never made it. I was delighted to see that it was on Netflix and recently Watched it. The title of the film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, is quite unusual and comes from a section of the film where the boy is reading about Wildebeest.

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople was out in the cinemas earlier in 2016 but I never made it. I was delighted to see that it was on Netflix and recently Watched it. The title of the film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, is quite unusual and comes from a section of the film where the boy is reading about Wildebeest.

From the outset it is a very easy to watch film about a boy, played by Julian Dennison, moved from foster-home to foster-home. He has a history of “kicking things, spitting, setting fire to things, loitering….” etc (trust me it’s a good line in the film.) He ends up on a farm and although he rebels once again he quickly feels that this is home.

Due to circumstances he hears that the authorities are coming back to remove him. He knows that he will go to Juvenile prison so he decides to venture into the bush and go on the run. His trek takes a turn after he gets lost and his uncle, played by Sam Neil, finds him. From this point the trek takes a further turn for the worse, and they become outlaws of a kind.

The film is done as chapters, e.g Chapter 9, WAR etc, so you get a feeling of what is to come. The characters are all really good, especially the sassy and sharp (sometimes not as sharp) boy in the movie.

Shot in New Zealand, I had an extra reason to see this movie. The scenery, dialogue and story are all really strong and this would be suitable for all the family (with the exception of a scene with a large wild boar and the 2 dogs). It is a very warm and enjoyable film with lots of great lines and well played roles. This is a real sit back and enjoy the popcorn move – Enjoy!

 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Official Trailer

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Passengers – Movie Review / Film Review http://shanemcdonald.ie/passengers-movie-review-film-review-2017-01/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/passengers-movie-review-film-review-2017-01/#respond Mon, 09 Jan 2017 21:09:43 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2272 The post Passengers – Movie Review / Film Review appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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Jim Preston is one of 5,000 passengers on board the spaceship, Starship Avalon. The ship is on a 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet “Homestead 2”. After a malfunction in Jim Preston’s hibernation pod, Jim (played by Chris Pratt) is the only one awake. Now he is stranded on the spaceship, still 90 years from his destination.

Passengers – Movie Review

If you watch the trailer of Passengers you may get a sense of what is happening. My initial interpretation of the Passengers trailer was different. I thought both were all awoken by mistake. I also thought perhaps there was a conspiracy to sabotage the starships journey. I even tought that perhaps these were all AI lifeforms which were being banished from earth. All of my personal assumptions about the movie were incorrect.

The movie starts with Jim being prematurely woken from his hypersleep. He doesn’t know what is happening and tries everything to gain control of the situation. Jim tried everything from trying to gain access to the bridge, to trying to get back into the hypersleep chamber. You get to see how one man lives for over a year without anyone else to talk to. He has an android barman, named Arthur, but he longs for human companionship. Jim tries all the amenities on the ship but nothing makes him feel any better about his predicament. You see him disintegrate into a man who feels that all is lost.

It is at this point he meets Aurora (no spoilers here, so apologies for a key section skipped). Although Aurora is alarmed to have been woken but Jim does his best to reassure her. Aurora and himself get on very well and eventually for a romantic relationship. However after Arthur, the barman (played by Michael Sheen), tells Aurora some background information she breaksdown. All seems lost, but a bigger problem is looming. The ship systems are failing and the ship is on the brink of destruction. The ship will have to be repaired, but how can it be done in time? Can they go back to hypersleep? Are they doomed to live out their lives on a sleeping starship? ….

Overview

Overall Passengers is a really enjoyable movie and is certainly worth seeing on the big screen. There are points in the movie where I felt a small bit bored, as it was a bit like Groundhog Day. However, it is obvious that these scenes are required to convey the monotony of life on your own in such a confined space. I saw this in 2D but I feel you might get more from this in 3D. There are stunning sweepinh scenes of nebluae, space walks and transit through space. There are a few small-plot twists in this which add to the drama. The conclusion of the film was very well done and I feel the ending was well written. There are often films which have poor endings but this is not one of them.

Passengers – Official Trailer

Passengers – Overall Review Score

  • Overall Score 87%

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Flashback – Feile 92 Recovered Photos http://shanemcdonald.ie/flashback-feile-92-recovered-photos-2017-01/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/flashback-feile-92-recovered-photos-2017-01/#respond Fri, 06 Jan 2017 18:47:39 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2252 The post Flashback – Feile 92 Recovered Photos appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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Feile 92 Photos

In 1992 I was at Feile in Thurles after I won a competition on 98 FM. I recently found a collection of old photos which were taken with a Fuji disposable camera which I bought at Feile. The camera was very poor, as you would expect from a disposable camera from 24 years ago.

Below is a select gallery of images from that day. If you spot yourself please leave a comment !

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2016 , My Year in Review http://shanemcdonald.ie/2016-year-review-2017-01/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/2016-year-review-2017-01/#respond Sun, 01 Jan 2017 14:44:49 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2238 The post 2016 , My Year in Review appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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2016 will probably be remembered as a year full of untimely celebrity deaths, terrorist incidents and countries voting against the establishment. It was the year of Brexit and Trump. 2016 was also the year we said goodbye to Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen and many more.  This is just a look back at my year and a look forward to 2017.

Rock of Ages – April 2016

January to March was fairly uneventful; I finished a Digital Marketing diploma in February which passed the time during the winter months. With a quite winter behind me, in April all that changed. I got a phone call one Thursday morning asking if I would play keyboards for the stage-show of Rock of Ages. Normally I would jump at this, but the only issue was that it started in 3 days. I had to learn 268 pages of the sheet music during this time. Dress rehearsal would be in 3 days and the show started in 5 days.

Shane McDonald in Rock of Ages at Garter Lane Waterford

Cast of Rock of Ages at Garter Lane Waterford, April 2016 – I’m on keyboards in the background!

In the end I did it, learned the music and did 4 days in Garter Lane in Waterford. It was one of the most enjoyable things I had done. The thrill of playing 2 hours of songs like Don’t Stop Believin’, The Final countdown, Sister Christian and Here I Go Again live on stage was a dream come true. (At some point I would love to be asked to play keys for the Queen show We Will Rock You, since I already know the music it would be a great one to do).

After the 4 performances I really missed the thrill of being on stage. Hopefully there might be more opportunities like this in the future.

Glastonbury – June  2016

We booked Glastonbury in October 2015 and was not expecting the weather to be as bad as it was. In the days leading up to it videos of floods on the site showed torrents of water over 2 feet deep in places. I was not looking forward to it. As it turned out it was not as bad as I expected. It was very muddy and very wet  which meant rain gear was required quite a lot. It also meant lying down on the grass to watch bands, as we did in 2013 and 2015 , was not an option.

A very muddy Glastonbury 2016

A very muddy Glastonbury 2016

I was not playing at the 2016 festival, but I did find a few abandoned pianos to enjoy. At one point a large crowd gathered and sung Bohemian Rhapsody which was very enjoyable. The highlight of the festival was Coldplay on the Sunday evening – I have never seen such a crowd at Glastonbury.

Coldplay at Glastonbury 2016 - Michael Eavis joins on stage for this one

Coldplay at Glastonbury 2016 – Michael Eavis joins on stage for this one

ShaneMcDonald.ie – Summer 2016

In May 2016 I started work in moving content from shanemcdonald.org to shanemcdonald.ie. The .org site had not been updated in a while and was for the main part not mobile friendly. With Google penalising non mobile friendly sites SEO efforts, this was one aim. Also I felt the dot i.e. address reflected an Irish site better than the dot org I registered in 2001.

Since the transition in May, the site has had about 120,000 page views, which is not bad. However it is far short of the 12million page views the site got at its peak in 2008. 1.2 million of those age views came in April 2008 when an April Fools Joke went viral, resulting in my hosting company at the time closing down the site. (I’m not going to mention the company but they are US Based and I have been with Blacknight since)

Since then I have also moved My Queen site to the i.e. domain and in 2017 I will just do some final tweaks to the site architecture so that it is future proofed.

Winter 2016

Since the summer the few months have flown, and really I have just been spending a lot of time organising my photos and looking at doing more photography in 2017. I will be posting my shots on my photoblog at www.shanemcdonald.me and I hope to have the first few blog posts online by early Jan.

Hope you have a very Happy 2017

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Happy Christmas http://shanemcdonald.ie/happy-christmas-2-2016-12/ http://shanemcdonald.ie/happy-christmas-2-2016-12/#respond Sun, 25 Dec 2016 00:06:24 +0000 http://shanemcdonald.ie/?p=2224 The post Happy Christmas appeared first on ShaneMcDonald.ie.

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I just wanted to wish all the visitors and readers of my blog a Very Happy Christmas.

The site has come a long way in 2016. May saw the majority of the site move form shanemcdonald.org to www.shanemcdonald.ie and December saw my Queen Site move across to the shanemcdonald.ie domain also. The site has had 125,000 page views since the site move in May and 78,000 of those came in the last 4 months.

I hope to add some new features and improve current ones on the site in 2017.

For now, thanks for visiting and have a safe, happy and peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2017,

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