“The only way to get in contact with Aer Lingus about this issue is through an online feedback form.” Photograph: iStock

Plus: The buyer of a faulty printer is not automatically entitled to a replacement

Conor Pope encounters a Steller’s sea eagle at Tayto Park in Ashbourne, Co Meath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times Conor Pope gets up close and personal with a Steller’s sea eagle at Tayto Park in Ashbourne, Co Meath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A Verreaux’s eagle can bring 700lb of pressure to bear with its talons. And for some reason I’m about to invite Storm, a prime exa(...)

Photograph: iStock

Bottled water sales are growing at a much faster rate than soft drinks. This might be better for your health, but it is terrible f(...)

Grocery retailers reported a 2.6 per cent rise in takings at the tills

Fourth highest quarterly takings in eight years helped by Euro 2016 bounce

From left, Minions Water Bottle; Frozen Sports Bottle; Mega Value Super Grip; Sistema Twist ’n’ Sip

It’s almost back-to-school time – which of these four vessels will last the distance?

Our reader was told that items containing batteries can be posted into Ireland, but couldn’t be posted out of Ireland. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Plus: can debt collectors pursue a late debtor’s offspring?

The Irish: “no friendlier drinkers”. Photograph: Marco Cristofori/Corbis/Getty

Dublin and Galway are both among Condé Nast Traveller’s top cities. Are we not a nation of begrdugers after all?

Just over two-thirds of students work throughout the academic year to fund third-level education, working on average  17 hours weekly for €12 an hour. Photograph: Getty Images

Irish League of Credit Unions data shows 87% will back children financially while in college

Charleston, South Carolina was declared to be the friendliest place in the world while Sydney finished in second spot just ahead of dear old Dublin

Conde Naste have voted Dublin and Galway in the top ten most friendly cities, but who else made the list?

It all started when an Irish man called Kevin Mallon, who works for a UK sports hospitality company called THG Sports, was arrested as the Games began. He was found in possession of around 800 tickets for high-profile sporting events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.  Photograph: Tasso Marcelo/AFP/Getty Images.

Conor Pope’s Q&A on the background to the ongoing row over Irish tickets in Rio

Beautiful vista: sunset in Connemara, September 2014. For its rankings, the Social Progress Index, compiled in conjunction with Deloitte, eschews economic indicators in favour of things it determines matter the most to people, irrespective of personal wealth or the wealth of their country. File photograph: Getty Images

Social Progress Index: Republic scores well on needs such as health, education, equality

Photograph: iStock

Irish parents of two children will have to spend an estimated half a million euro over 25 years as a direct consequence of their(...)

Falling fuel prices at the pump are partly the result of a recent drop in the cost of oil. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Aftermath of Brexit not dimming confidence, claims Smurfit business school monitor

A tangential factor driving spending power is wage increases which added an average of 2.7% to household incomes last year. Photograph: Getty Images

Confidence still strong despite Brexit and certainty concerning sustained recovery

Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Ryanair defends policy by saying it can’t afford to take the risk of a £4,000-per-passenger fine

Recent years have been marked by vulture funds moving into the Irish mortgage market as banks look to offload troubled loan books and clean up their balance sheets. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Plans in train for voluntary body to competefor €150m home loans by next summer

In 2015, the Consumer Protection Commission received over 3,500 contacts from consumers relating to the motor sector. Photograph: Getty Images

Bid rigging and second-hand motor sector to be viewed as area of priority over next year

AA Ireland’s Conor Faughnan: said that motor insurance premiums could be reduced by up to €200. CSO figures show that premiums  have jumped by 38.3 per cent over the past 12 months. Photograph: Eric Luke

AA Ireland’s Conor Faughnan says there is sickness in Irish insurance market

Retailers will defend themselves against keyboard warriors (and journalists like this one) who will rage against early onset Christmas by pointing out they are responding to demand

Delivery of festive shopping booklet marks the beginning of this year’s onslaught

Up to 40 per cent of smokers with life insurance don’t admit to the habit when applying or renewing health insurance and their propensity to lie costs non-smokers money, figures from AA Life Insurance suggest. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters.

Many do not reveal their habit when seeking or renewing polices pushing up costs for others

Fade Street Social was served with a closure order by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland in the middle of July.  Photograph :Collins Courts

Restaurant shut for one day last month over ‘minor plumbing issue’

Photograph: iStock

Plus: Beware the extended warranty

Old El Paso

Four easily available options put to the test

Illustration: iStock

Rent is the big one, but there are several fiscal advantages to being in a couple

Auditing firm DeloitteIt determined there had been problems with the installation of banking software used in direct debit collections

Software glitch exposed donor accounts to hugely inflated monthly withdrawals

Fergus Finlay, chief executive of Barnardos. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Charity says parents ‘at the end of their tether trying to grapple with’ school costs

Chief executive of the Irish Life Group, David Harney: “Through the acquisition of these two very strong existing businesses...we will create a significant new force in the Irish health insurance market.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Acquisition of Aviva Health and GloHealth will give new brand 21% share of the market

According to the latest supermarket figures from Kantar Worldpanel, in the 12 weeks to July 17th, Irish supermarkets saw a sales bounce of over 3 per cent compared with the same period last year

Irish market records a 3% sales bounce during football tournament as Supervalu retains its lead

Ireland is the second most expensive country in Europe in which to buy potatoes, according to an EU study.

State is also the most expensive country in EU for alcohol, according to Eurostat study

An employee arranges a display on a Christmas tree during the opening day of the Christmas shop in the Selfridges, London,  Monday. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Selfridges opens its seasonal shop in response to ‘overseas’ demand

The National Gallery of Ireland (above left) and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin (above right) top visitor attractions in Ireland, according to rankings compiled by Fáilte Ireland. File photographs: The Irish Times

Cliffs of Moher and IMMA among best performers, Fáilte Ireland figures show

Minster for Education Richard Bruton. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Since free education was introduced in the 1960s, Irish parents have spent more than €20 billion putting their children through sc(...)

Reader feels Ryanair has not responded adequately. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

Plus: Knock-on effects of Low Cost Holidays going bust

File photograph taken in 2014 of Oliver Hughes. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Co-founder of the Porterhouse group and owner of Lillies Bordello taken ill on Saturday night

Ireland’s bankruptcy laws, unchanged for more than a century, have been radically overhauled in less than three years. Photographs: Getty Images

First group set to restart lives without the onerous ‘burden of unsustainable debt’

Conor Pope, seconds after taking the notorious Carolina Reaper chilli pepper.

Conor Pope takes on the notorious Carolina Reaper chilli - and lives to tell the tale

The Center Parcs village will be the biggest private tourism development in the State.

There will be over 500 lodges and apartments and a glass-roofed swimming complex

The It Makes Sense loan scheme have been available in 30 credit unions, on a pilot basis. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Since the scheme was launched, more than 1,200 loans have been drawn down

The EU announces cuts to roaming rates. Photograph: Getty

Plus: High praise for Amazon’s helpdesk

DIY option

Three shop-bought jars and a DIY option: which is the tastiest?

Conor Pope gets the hang of it

At Rock Farm on the estate of the Mount Charles family, you can hang from trees, take the ultimate lazy cycle or cook your own woo(...)

Interactive map lets diners find restaurants around Ireland that focus on local artisans and producers

Holidaymakers play in the surf and relax on the beach in Benidorm, Spain last week. As many as 15,000 Irish holidaymakers have been hit by the sudden collapse of online travel agent Lowcostholidays on Friday evening. Photograph: Bloomberg

Holidaymakers can seek refund for packages booked with collapsed company

At least 100 people were scammed into buying fake tickets for Ed Sheeran’s concerts in Croke Park last year summer. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Don’t be fooled into buying fake tickets online. Here’s what to watch out for

Reader had “an unnecessarily stressful end to an otherwise really enjoyable holiday”

Plus: never pay off-site for accommodation listed on Airbnb

Prepacked supermarket prawns put to the test

Holidaymakers sit beneath parasols and play in the surf on the beachfront in Benidorm, Spain Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Popular online travel agent folded without warning on Friday evening

Handout photo issued by Alec and Jo Bates of the scene in Nice, France, the day after the terror attack which claimed the lives of at least 84 people. Photograph: Alec and Jo Bates/PA Wire

‘If we cancelled, terrorism wins. Who wants that?’ Irish react to Bastille Day attack

His Pokeballs at the ready and eggs in incubation, Conor Pope becomes the Pokemon hunter

Conor Pope cooks al fresco at Playa Montroig

Despite taking flak for his (ironic) Local Celebrity T-shirt, Conor Pope has a blast at the high-end Playa Montroig campsite in Sp(...)

 A credit union survey found the average cost of sending a child to a non-fee-paying primary school in the coming year will be just under €1,000, while the cost of a “free” education in any of the State’s secondary schools will climb to almost €1,500. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Credit union survey finds 25% of parents likely to struggle with bills in coming months

Bang! And the stain is gone,’was Scott’s cathphrase but it is him and not the stain that is gone now. Image: Youtube/CillitBang

The TV name for Cillit Bang has been replaced by a younger model

Photograph: iStock

A reader in Dublin 8 was lied to by a pushy man claiming to be from a gutter-cleaning service

Customs outside Newry, Co Down, in 1981. Photograph: Pacemaker

Cheaper British imports and tumbling pension values are among potential repercussions

 Pearse Doherty of Sinn Féin: “We are talking about a process that is almost entirely automated . . .  yet the higher costs associated with the tax when paid in two or four instalments instead of one are at the same level as they were 50 years ago.” Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Sinn Féin finance spokesman says cost of paying in instalments is too high

 Jessica and Rebecca Kelly, and Lucy Roberts looking for fairy at Bord na Móna’s Lough Boora Discovery Park  Fairy Fun Day in Co Offaly. Photograph: Jeff Harvey

A fun day at Lough Boora Discovery Park raises funds for the children’s charity

Danny Erskine, son of Anita Reeves, and Julian Erskine, her husband, carry her coffin into the Mansion House in Dublin for her funeral on Saturday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

Hundreds gather at Mansion House on Saturday morning for humanist ceremony

A file image of concert goers at Marlay Park in Dublin. Residents of Ballinteer, Rathfarnham and Dundrum have repeated their concerns about the level of disruption they face as a result of the three-day Longitude Festival taking place in the park next weekend. Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

Locals fear drunkenness and disruption due to the three-day Longitude Festival at Marlay Park next weekend

Loitering within tent: Conor Pope in a bell tent at Pod Umna Village in Portumna, Co Galway

Conor Pope experiences how much camping has come on since soggy 1970s summers

ERSI study found a “high cost loan” warning was found to reduce the chances that consumers opted for loans with above average interest rates. Photograph: Alan Betson

Research also shows confusion leads to mistakes in choosing the best value financial product which can end up costing thousand(...)

The interim chief executive of Console, David Hall, has already said the charity cannot survive without the support of the HSE. But he said: “The service will be kept open, whatever has to happen.”

The charity’s good work must be taken on by others, says sources in sector

None of the three options Vodafone gave to our reader were acceptable to her. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Plus: Ryanair reveals its softer side. Again


Three processed products and the DIY option are put to the test

Conor Pope with his children Molly (9) and Juliette (7), with Alfredo Dona of Gino’s Gelato at Bloom earlier this month. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

On a day out with Gino’s Gelato at Bloom, we learn not to confuse fat-laden, air-filled ice cream with the lighter, softer Italian(...)

Photograph: Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

Plus: Mortgage matters for potential buyers

Trespass four-man, two-room tunnel tent €176.99

We’ve got these tents pegged. So which is best?

Four brands put to the taste test

Readers say Greyhound is changing contracts to pay by weight with a “very expensive” weekly service fee

Company claims that under the new pay-by-weight system, ‘the majority of people who embrace recycling will pay less’

For a while, Daniel McConnell from Airfield seemed to the happiest person in the Living Room pub. Photograph: Conor Pope

Boisterous pre-match mood gives way to disappointing reality for the Irish

Waste management companies have been warned that the Government will not tolerate significant increases in bin collection charges. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times.

Coveney meets private waste operators as consumer body starts inquiry into refuse costs

The simple reason travel insurance is a good idea is because it doesn’t cost the earth and could save you a small fortune. Photograph: iStockphoto

Conor Pope give us the dos, don’ts and reasons why you should have travel insurance

Irish soccer fans  watch Ireland playing Sweden in the Living Room bar on Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

In Ireland v Sweden game, it was a case of what might have been – or should have been

Rather than paying interest, prize bonds offer the chance to win cash prizes that are tax-free in Ireland. Photograph: iStock

Chances of winning big have never been worse, so why are prize bonds growing in popularity?

The Republic of Ireland’s first Euro 16 match against Sweden kicks off at 5pm when thousands of Irish employees will still be at work. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Call goes out for bosses and employees to co-operate to ensure staff and firms get result

Four summer sizzlers put to the test

Michael Moran and Josephine O’Connell on “Molly Bloom’s bed” at the Bloomsday brunch and Street Party in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan

More than 120,000 people answer the annual call for those tasty events to celebrate Ulysses

Fianna Fáil’s  Dara Calleary. File Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Latest figures show rents up by 8.5 per cent over the past year

House rental: the average monthly rental for a house in Dublin in the first quarter of 2016 was €1,454, according to the latest rent index published by the Residential Tenancies Board. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Average monthly rental for a house in Dublin is €1,454, according to figures

Cars in Dublin’s city centre: The big insurers in the Irish market have pushed up prices dramatically over the past two years, with premiums rising by some 25 per cent last year and further again this year. Photograph:  Dara Mac Donaill

Insurers deny lack of transparency and blame legal costs for spiralling premiums

Households are spending €50 extra on groceries this year, a total of €89 million extra

This time last year, the Phoenix Project charity had about 1,600 live cases of borrowers in danger of losing family homes, of which 20 per cent or 320 were in the ABC1 category. File photograph: Getty Images

Number of distressed property investors doubles in year, says Phoenix Project

 VHI Women’s Mini Marathon:  Eileen Drumgool and Anne Marie Shevlin from Monaghan after finishing.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Laughter - and black and white pudding - gets 35,000 women off to a good start

Competitors from  Drumshambo, Denise Mc Weeney, Mary Mc Keon, Claire Fee, Sinead Gillard, Sheila Moran and Catherine Mc Gowan preparing for the VHI womens mini marathon in Dublin.Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times.

Road closures in place in capital on Monday for event

Dublin Zoo offers endless entertainment, so consider an annual membership. Photograph: Patrick Bolger

Take a picnic rather than visiting a restaurant, make use of free attractions and museums

Mark O’Meara  got €30,000 from Gavin Duffy, Barry O’Sullivan and Eleanor McEvoy and the moral support of all five dragons for an idea he hopes will help homeless people get food, clothes and a bed.

NCAD student Mark O’Meara aims to make secure cashless currency available to the homeless

Find out which of four products we were nuttiest about

KBC took €10 from our reader’s account. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Plus: Homebase has experts on all things fairy

Women’s mini-marathon in 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Wendy Flynn, who had lost the ability to walk due to a brain injury, will run 10km after rehabilitation

People enjoying the good weather at Forty foot in Sandycove, Co Dublin. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Met Éireann issues an ‘orange alert’ weather warning for parts of Ireland

A new price survey from Revenue indicates the cost of alcohol and tobacco has climbed in the Republic over the past 12 months while the price of identical products in Northern Ireland has fallen. File photograph: Getty Images

Survey shows alcohol, tobacco costs climbed in Republic in past year while NI prices fell

Image: Irish Council for Civil Liberties website

Irish Council for Civil Liberties’s document provides resources to ‘empower’ older people

Hollie Swift and member of staff in the DSPCA applies sun cream to Fergi the saddleback pig in this picture from 2013. File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times.

Ancient Greeks used olive oil to protect themselves from the worst ravages of the sun

Illustration: iStock

Pricewatch has joined forces with TV3 to uncover unscrupulous practices

“A large percentage of people say their bills are difficult to check for accuracy, which puts them in a vulnerable position.” Photograph: iStock

New research shows that people are bad at discerning value when presented with a number of factors – but it is a mistake to trust (...)

Four boxes of fruity frozen lollies put to the test

Anna Flynn  with her children Isobel and Tommy at their home in Meadowgate, Gorey, Co Wexford. Photograph: Mary Browne

Vulture fund that bought mother-of-four's mortgage told her to pay off arrears or leave

Dónal Clancy, managing director of Laya Healthcare. File photograph: Jason Clarke Photography

Company claims public hospital bed charges are responsible for the increase in costs

Photograph: iStock

Energy regulator finds growing numbers of consumers are negotiating better deals with existing providers

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