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Made In Hollywood Blog

Welcome to the Made In Hollywood Blog, where we share and discuss all things polystyrene from around the world, including cool point of sale implementations, innovative applications of polystyrene foam, and more. Subscribe to our RSS Feed.

April 7, 2010 – 4:19 pm

11Apple iPad following our trend

- Posted in Company News, Competitons, Extended Portfolio, Marketing related, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

The Ipad known as the Ifad

The iFad the gadget that everybody will want.

It has arrived.

The Apple iPad, no, that’s old news now. The media hype surrounding its launch has been disappointing, with many journalists and industry experts commenting that there is nothing really innovative about the device, and that it is just a super-sized version of the iPhone.

Well, we do have something new and innovative, that is set to shake up the industry: The iFad.
We have already created a super-sized iFoam, so we continued to develop the device and are now launching the iFad.
Our giant polystyrene hand-held device shares many of the features available on the iPad: it is lightweight, it makes a big impact no matter where it goes, and it is a great conversation piece. It has many commercial applications that we cannot reveal at this time, except to say that the audio/visual and marketing industries are very excited by the iFad launch.

We are glad to see the design gurus in Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California have followed our lead and broken the computer industry trend of miniaturisation. They must have seen the benefit of our ethos: “if you’re going to make it, make it big”.

Our research and development department is trying to keep pace with the new apps that we have planned for the iFad. We would welcome any suggestions that you may have, so please leave a comment and our R&D team will evaluate it.
However, if you would like to get hold of this mobile device, please sign up to our newsletter and be in with a chance to win this iFad on Friday April 16 2010.

We would like to thank all the people who signed up to our newsletter and to those who entered the iFad comp. We intend to offer a prize with each newsletter so do continue to sign up.
In case you were wondering, the question we asked in the competition was:
What is the height of the iFad? The answer was 996mm (39¼”)

April 4, 2010 – 5:24 pm

4National Chocolate Day

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Marketing related, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

Giant Wonka bar straight from Made in Hollywood's polystyrene factory.

Giant Wonka bar straight from Made in Hollywood's polystyrene factory.

When you take away the religious element of Easter Sunday, you could be forgiven for thinking that the day is devoted to the consumption and worship of all things chocolate.

The major brands, like Nestle, Cadburys and Mars, and the smaller artisan chocolatiers all do their best to get their products onto the shelves so that we can savour their chocolatey wares. They are mainly egg-shaped and wrapped in packaging designed to entice us into a sweet-tooth nirvana, but beware: an over-indulgence may result in your jeans not fitting or extra visits to the dentist.

Supersized selection of Nestle confectionery brands

Supersized selection of Nestle confectionery brands

However, it isn’t all bad news. A recent study conducted by the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Nuthetal found that people who ate six grams of dark chocolate a day lowered their risk of  heart attack and stroke by 39 percent.

Dark chocolate’s health benefits come primarily from two kinds of ingredients: antioxidants and flavenols. Antioxidants are used by our bodies to reduce damage caused by free radicals, and flavenols can make the muscles in blood vessels widen, which reduces blood pressure. Unfortunately, milk chocolate is less beneficial. When milk, fat and sugar are added to the milk chocolate mix, milk binds some of the antioxidants so that they can’t be used by the body, and both the milk and the sugar add calories.

Giant Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate bar

Giant Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate bar

So, with that slightly bad news, our suggestion is to buy a polystyrene bar of chocolate! It will look good, it won’t make a gooey sticky mess when it’s warm like chocolate, and you won’t be able to eat it so you’ll keep your teeth and figure for longer. We will eventually have a National Polystyrene Chocolate Bar Day, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.
Actually, I’m going to have a Dairy Milk bar and prepare to face the consequences.
What is your chocolate bar of choice or  favourite brand and, do you have a magic chocolate moment?
Please comment with your suggestions.

March 21, 2010 – 5:49 pm

Comments OffSt.Patrick meets St.Yrofoam

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

St. Patrick making an impression on a Dublin bike with our sign in the basket.

St. Patrick making an impression on a Dublin bike with our sign in the basket. (Image courtesy of Robbie Reynolds)

St. Patricks day has been and gone for another year but St.Yrofoam (the lesser-known patron saint of  extruded polystyrene) was present to help celebrate and decorate the Irish public holiday.
St.Yrofoam, or Styrofoam, as she is known to her followers, is widely used at themed events to make props, signs, masks, floats and costumes. She is lightweight, and easily shaped, sculpted, painted or glued to create objects that catch the eye of an audience or “WOW” the crowds at a parade.
She doesn’t require you to follow rigid doctrines or guidelines, or weekly attendance at a place of worship, and she also doesn’t expect or enforce the practice of rituals. You have free spirit to use Styrofoam as you wish; the only rule she does try to apply is that her followers take care of how they dispose of her after use.

32 piece Jigsaw of Ireland in Styrofoam

32 piece Jigsaw of Ireland in Styrofoam

Enough of this cheesiness: the real idea behind this post was to show you some examples of projects that were created for parades and events around the country.

This map of Ireland was an interactive display, to allow the public to name and place the counties in the correct location. We added a little fun to the event by adding and subtracting pieces at different intervals. We also made it more difficult by painting both sides so, if a piece was placed upside down, it made the task more testing, unless you were very good at geography. logo replicated in 3D for a lightweight sign logo replicated in 3D for a lightweight sign

The sign for was also double-sided, so it could be viewed from both sides of the road at St Patrick’s Day parades in Drogheda and Carrickmacross. is an easy-to-use classified ads website where you can an advertise an item for €3 for 2 months.
The shopping cart logo was easy to reproduce into a lightweight 3D sign which replicates their brand perfectly. It looks very distinctive on top of the VW Beetle, even though there is strong competition from the tractor and horses. That’s what makes rural parades interesting: you don’t know what to expect.

The "Go Dundalk" walking bus at the St. Patrick's Day parade

The "Go Dundalk" walking bus at the St. Patrick's Day parade

A bus with legs isn’t what you’d normally expect but this is what we created for Southern Advertising Agency and their client, Dundalk Town Council. They are promoting “Go Dundalk” which is part of the council’s awareness campaign in a bid to the Dept. of Transports for the Smarter Travel initiative.
The walking bus was carried by local school children along the route of the parade, with stops to change the occupants who, we presume, were giving thanks to St.yrofoam for not being too heavy and to St. Patrick for having the day off school. A perfect combination of the two.

March 15, 2010 – 8:22 pm

Comments OffThe R.O.I.

- Posted in Architectural, Extended Portfolio, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

Expanded polystyrene wall insulation being fitted to a new building

Expanded polystyrene wall insulation being fitted to a new building

The ROI acronym has something to do with  “Return on Investment” and it is based in the “Republic of Ireland”, but the ROI in this blog post is to do with the Role of Insulation. So now that I’ve broken the ice, I will continue, and things will hopefully become a little clearer.
‘Breaking the ice’ is actually a very apt description with the very cold conditions we have been experiencing this winter. When the weather gets cold, we focus on keeping warm both inside and outside; putting on an extra layer is nothing new, but it is when you are putting it on a building.

The SEAI, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (formerly known as the SEI) was set up by the government in 2002 as Ireland’s national energy agency. It provides information and education in sustainable energy use and conservation. It also provides financial assistance in the form of grants, an example being the Home Energy Saving (HES) scheme. This scheme provides grants to homeowners who are interested in improving the energy efficiency of their home by allowing them to upgrade their roof insulation, wall insulation and other energy-saving devices.

Cement boards fitted to a steel framed building before external wall insulation is applied

Cement boards fitted to a steel framed building before external wall insulation is applied

One of the ways people can improve the efficiency of their home and keep them warmer, is by adding a layer of external wall insulation (EWI). Put simply, this is achieved by securing sheets of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) to the outer walls of a building and then applying a plaster finish. An advantage of putting the insulation on the outside means the internal living space is unaffected.
This technique isn’t restricted to existing buildings, it can be used on new buildings too, and not just on houses. Commercial and industrial buildings use a similar technique where EPS insulation sheets are fastened to cement boards that are attached to a steel framework.

Expanded polystyrene mouldings used on the exterior of the Citywest Convention Centre

Expanded polystyrene mouldings used on the exterior of the Citywest Convention Centre

The Citywest Convention Centre used this construction method in their new events facility. Not only was polystyrene used to insulate the exterior of the building, it was used to create architectural profiles and mouldings. The bands, window surrounds and eave detail were all created with our CNC hotwire machines and were attached to the building and plastered in the same way the insulation was finished. You can see more example of the work we carried out on the building in our portfolio section.

So the Role of Insulation, in this case, Polystyrene, was a dual role. It was used to insulate the external walls of the building and to provide a lightweight design detail to this impressive exhibition venue.
It will hopefully make a good Return on Investment for the owners and will be one of the most popular conference centres in the Republic of Ireland, but not in the other ROI, which is an airport code for Roi ET, which is in Thailand.

February 26, 2010 – 11:42 pm

7Polystyrene Politicians

- Posted in Competitons, Marketing related, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

Minister Eamon Ryan & Colm Lyon CEO Realex promote Media 2020 conference. (image

Minister Eamon Ryan & Colm Lyon CEO Realex promote Media 2020 conference. (image

The original idea behind this post was to show you examples of signs that made we created from expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), and which feature government ministers.
I thought it would be topical, particularly with media talk of a cabinet reshuffle and the recent resignations of Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea and the Green Party’s Trevor Sargent.
The title was a little lame, “Polystyrene signs & Politicians”, so I started running through some alternatives and “Polystyrene Politicians” came into my head. I then started to think how the two might compare.

Here is a list of some of the properties and characteristics that apply to expanded polystyrene foam (EPS). I have my own ideas on how they would compare, but I would like you to add a comment below to see how you think they compare to our current crop of politicians.

Minister Batt O'Keefe at the 'F1 in Schools' press launch (image

Minister Batt O'Keefe at the 'F1 in Schools' press launch (image

Moulded into large blocks, but they don’t require heavy lifting equipment to move them as it is 95% air. It is used to fill large areas on civil engineering projects where ground conditions prevent traditional material being used; on multi story buildings to replicate stone features, and mixed with sand and cement to produce a lightweight concrete.

It can be used in various locations, both internal and external. Applications include: EWI (external wall insulation) for homes and commercial building; in foundations to prevent thermal cold-bridging, and in moulded boxes to ship food stuffs that are temperature sensitive.

Minister Mary Coughlan at the Qikroam launch (image via Cubic Telecom)

Minister Mary Coughlan at the Qikroam launch (image via Cubic Telecom)

It is often moulded to match the shape of the product and protects it from damage whilst it is being transported. Polystyrene’s  shock absorption properties make it suitable for packing delicate items. Blocks can also be cut into custom shapes or can be used as loose fill, known as packing peanuts.

Expanded Polystyrene foam, also known as Styrofoam, is widely recycled from businesses in commercial and retail sectors. It can be reused, but when it enters the waste recovery stream, it can reprocessed to make new blocks of EPS; melted down and  converted into other plastic products, or recovered as a fuel, due to it’s high calorific value.

Ministr John Gormley at the RIAI launch of the Register of Architects

Ministr John Gormley at the RIAI launch of the Register of Architects

For those of you that leave a comment we won’t promise you your own politician: we will do better than that. We will select the best comment and let you choose an item that is useful to you, e.g. an air guitar, your name, an outline of Ireland or some other prop.
So, point out a property of polystyrene present in a politician to possibly be picked for a polystyrene prize.

January 9, 2010 – 9:21 pm

Comments OffIt’s all New: The year, decade, ideas and optimism.

- Posted in Company News, Extended Portfolio, Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

2010 sign in 3D polystyrene foam

A twenty ten sign for 2010 in 3D foam

A little late maybe, but a Happy New Year to you and I hope it is a healthy and happy one for you. This is the first post of the year and of the decade. Hopefully we will be here for the next decade and a few more after it.
Christmas and New Year was a quiet family time, like so many others. This gave us the opportunity to look forward to the coming year and work on some new ideas, having just updated our portfolio with images from previous projects. One of the smaller ideas being to design and cut a sign to bring in the new decade. This made me think: What is it going to be: “Two Thousand and Ten” or “Twenty-Ten”. The decision was quick, as “Twenty-Ten” flows so much better than the alternative (hence the sign). There was some interesting commentary about it by NAGG (National Association of Good Grammar), a name that insists that it will be correct, on Krishna De’s blog.

Our @madeinhollywood Twitter bird and off spring

Our @madeinhollywood Twitter bird and off spring

Another sign that we created was a large 3D twitter bird sign with our address. We use twitter, a social media micro-blogging service, to interact with clients and friends about new projects or anything interesting to do with polystyrene or motorsport (there are a few petrol heads around here). If you use twitter you can follow us @madeinhollywood.
We are also going to communicate with existing clients and customers using a Newsletter that we intend to launch in the coming month. If you haven’t subscribed, please use the sign-up box (on the right-hand side), as we will be offering a prize in the first issue. We will be keeping you posted on new projects, competitions, offers, and  occasionally giving away free stuff. Yes, free stuff! It does happen from time to time! Polystyrene snowflakes were our last give-away, you can read all about it from SimplyZesty.

3D layered "Good News Friday" polystyrene sign

3D layered "Good News Friday" polystyrene sign with Jack Murray from

Some of our other thinking was about keeping positive in the cold winter days, when all we seem to hear is bad or depressing news. So we were delighted when Jack Murray from Mediacontact, who are Ireland’s leading publishers of media contact information, asked us to design and create a sign for Mediaexpress, which is part of the group. The sign was used for a press launch of  “Good News Friday” which is an idea to harness the power of positive thinking to counteract the current gloom. With the country in the midst of a recession, many positive news stories are completely ignored because there is so much bad news about. So for one day only, Friday 22nd January, are going to distribute thousands of news releases for free from Irish businesses, organisations and charities, with just one catch: all the releases must be about something positive.
This is an excellent initiative by Jack and his staff and we wish them the best of luck with the “Good News Friday” promotion. You will also see the sign we made in the video below and you can follow the campaign on twitter by following Mediacontact or use #gnf.

December 13, 2009 – 11:44 pm

20Santa’s 7 seasonal secrets

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

Giant 7 used for the Windows 7 launch in Ireland

Santa's & a Giant 7? No, just a prop used for the Windows 7 launch.

Believe it or not, we at Made In Hollywood are privy to the inner workings of Santa Claus in his North Pole hideaway. We are asked to create snowflakes, igloos and snowmen to help Santa out before his busiest day of the year. Polystyrene is the perfect material for creating those wintry wonderlands as well as keeping Santa warm in his workshop. We asked him: How can you visit so many homes across the world? Being extremely generous and organised, he gave us a list, but not the one he’s checking twice to see who has been naughty or nice.

1. Training: An important element in the running of an organisation where timing is of the utmost importance. You would think that there are months of inactivity but elf and Santa training schools help to ensure that every one of his helpers are prepared, and that the presents are ready for delivery on Christmas Eve. That is when the magic begins: where all that practice and preparation are put into practice.

Santa making use of an Apple Iphone

Santa making use of an Apple Iphone

2. Translation: Whether you use Father Christmas, Babbo Natale, Père Noël, Ded Moroz, or Lan Khoong, Santa can always read your letters and street names when he’s flying close to the ground no matter what language they are in.

3.Time Management: Possibly the most crucial aspect when gifts that have to arrive on time. Santa did try and explain some kind of “Time Warping” magic, but it went straight over our heads, a bit like his sleigh on Christmas Eve. He did say that he went to occasional day seminars, to up-skill in planning and delegation techniques. Other than that, he has the experience to cope.

4. Technology: From the information gathered from the International Space Station, the use of the iPhone mobile phone and Windows 7 operating system. Santa Claus has technology at his beck and call. It should be pointed out that some elves and all of the reindeer prefer Apple Macs. (They just prefer apples because they are not into computers but do like looking out of Windows).

The Christmas lights in Dublin being turned on by Miriam O'Callaghan and her son

The Christmas lights in Dublin being turned on by Miriam O'Callaghan and her son

5. Transport: This is where tradition and cutting-edge engineering merge to create a vehicle that is capable of carrying millions of toys to hundreds of countries. Santa’s sleigh is produced using parts made from the latest carbon-fibre composites with fixtures made from sumptuous red velvet with antique brass buttons. Christmas lights in cities around the world help Santa find his way.

6. Toys: For both young and old, the excitement of opening gifts on Christmas Day should never be lost. The elves occasionally get it wrong, but this is down to Santa’s handwriting. From the high-tech console to the low-spec packing box, the imagination can work wonders. It’s not all about the toys either – it’s the joy and happiness that is had at Christmas and during the year too.

Scrooges and Doubters to be cut from Santa list. You can bet on it

Scrooges and Doubters to be cut from Santa's list. You can bet on it

7.Thomas: This is for the doubters, non-believers and scrooge-type characters that try and spoil the fun for all the rest of us. Be it Hollywood film stars or Government ministers who do their best to kill the festive spirit. But Santa will not be beaten, he will cut them off his list and all they will get will be lumps of dirty wet coal. A very appropriate present for green party ministers who have recently introduced a carbon tax on this type of fuel here in Ireland.

For those who still believe, and who want to keep track of Santa’s progress around the world this Christmas Eve, check out Norad (North American Aerospace Defense Command) or view the video below.
The story of why they track Santa is truly in the Christmas spirit:
“The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa, misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.” (via NORAD)

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, shown by Colonel Harry Shoup, we will send a pack polystyrene snowflakes to the first 5 people who leave a comment about their Christmas.

(image credit Windows 7 Slattery Communications)
(image credit The Big Switch & Pembroke Communications)

December 6, 2009 – 2:38 pm

4Snowman vs. Foam-man?

- Posted in Art & Sculpture, Extended Portfolio, Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

Snow covered Cooley Mountains ( image via Anthony Murphy

Snow covered Cooley Mountains (image by Anthony Murphy)

We might be lucky to get snow this year here in Ireland. I did see a slight dusting recently on one cold morning, on the Cooley mountains. Our workshop has a view of the mountains and when covered in snow they can look very picturesque, but it is still very early in the year to have real snow, and I’m not taking bets on whether we are going to have a White Christmas or whether our political leaders can agree on a strategy for the global warming crisis at the Copenhagen summit.
But I do have a question: Will we ever get enough snow to make real snowmen this year, and how long will they last?
Going by recent years, if you did get to build a snowman, you would have be lucky to have it more than a couple of days before it would melt away.
Does this mean we are going to lose our snowball-firing and snowman-building skills, or are they built into our DNA?
I like to think that it’s in our DNA: that when it snows, we wrap up and go out and roll a small ball into the an odd-shaped body with an equally peculiar shaped ball for a head, adding stones, twigs and a carrot for eyes, arms and a nose. Most of us don’t mind the cold hands and toes with red noses and cheeks, as it’s always good fun, especially getting warm and dry again.

Snowy the snowman CNC cut from a block of styrofoam

Snowy the snowman CNC cut from a block of styrofoam

There is an alternative, almost a complete polar opposite to the traditional snowman, however. That is a polystyrene snowman.
This snowman is best created indoors, he is warm to touch, he is made by cutting pieces away and he will last a long, long time. A hot day won’t be the end of him, but a windy day might!
But like their watery counterparts, it does require skill to shape them. The polystyrene beads can get everywhere, and they are a lot of fun to make, with the added advantage of not getting cold or wet. Each one is individual, unless they are machine-cut versions like Snowy here, on the right.
Below, we have a video showing the process of creating a unique giant snowman. It was sculpted from solid blocks of foam 8′ x 4′ x 4′ for Arnotts, a Dublin-based department store. The process created many off-cuts, which were bagged and sent away to be recycled to make other blocks of foam. These blocks could be turned into insulation to help keep your home warm on the snow-filled days that may happen this coming winter. If we do get snow, I’ll be the first out to build a snowman or improve my aim with a snowball, as we can make a Foam-man any day of the week, and Styrofoam snowballs don’t fly particularly well.

Top image via

December 3, 2009 – 7:12 pm

Comments OffDriving on solid… styrofoam?

- Posted in Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

You take it for granted that, while you are travelling along a road, you are on solid ground. In most cases, you are, but what do the road engineers do when they have to build a road on soft or boggy ground?
In years gone by, they may have attempted to dig out the soft ground and replace it with a heavy stone filling, and then tarmacadam the surface, only for the road to subside again.
Civil engineers, surveyors and architects do have a number of options when faced with this type of problem. One of them is to use expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), also known as Styrofoam. EPS is a lightweight and stable fill replacement material that can be used in road embankments, under runways and railways, and for creating inclines for seating in cinemas and grandstands. It is easy to transport, quick to install, and is inexpensive when compared to traditional foundation or fill materials.
The video below shows how they have used high density styrofoam to solve a number of engineering issues during the construction of a new road. This is the same Styrofoam that may insulate the walls of your home, or hold your coffee on your way to work, or protect your new LCD television when it is being shipped to you.

Nobody can ever say that polystyrene foam isn’t anything but versatile; to see examples how we have used it, please have a look at our portfolio.
Maybe it is just as well that we don’t drive directly on the polystyrene, as the squeaking noise would send us round the bend.
Video via

November 26, 2009 – 10:51 pm

5Rising above the flood waters

- Posted in Architectural, Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

Ireland is renowned for green countryside with it’s ‘forty shades of green’. This is because we get a lot of precipitation. Whether it be a ‘soft day’ or ‘raining stair rods’, we get every type of rain.

The streets of Cork flooded (courtesy to Eric Dunne Magner)

The streets of Cork city centre flooded November 09 (picture courtesy Eric Dunne Magner)

However, November 2009 has been one of the wettest on record, with unprecedented rainfall levels which has resulted in swollen rivers bursting their banks flooding many homes, businesses and public buildings. Blame is being placed with government and local authorities for inadequate infrastructure and bad planning decisions. This may well be true but some of these problems could be historical or have been caused by unforeseen changes in our weather patterns.
We should look to others who have suffered similar disasters and learn how they have rebuilt their devastated communities. This could also be a time to look at new solutions to mitigate the impact of any future flooding.

One such solution could be to build homes that float upwards as the flood waters rise, in areas of high risk.
The destruction that followed in the wake of hurricane Katrina, in 2005, left many areas of America, including Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, virtually flattened from storm surges and flooding. New Orleans was particularly badly hit.  Architects from Morphosis have designed and built the first floating house permitted in the United States, for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation. The Make It Right Foundation was launched by the actor in December, 2007 to help residents of the Lower 9th Ward, in New Orleans, rebuild their lives and community in the wake of the hurricane.

Float House designed to rise above any flood waters

Float House designed to rise above any flood waters

The FLOAT House is a prototype model of prefabricated, affordable and sustainable housing, that can be adapted to the needs of flood zones worldwide. It is designed to float securely when water levels rise, on a chassis of expanded polystyrene foam coated in glass fibre reinforced concrete. This innovative base integrates all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sustainable systems and is designed to support a variety of house layouts.

Another solution could be to embrace the idea of living on water with measures that are aimed at controlling it. There is no better place to examine this than in the Netherlands, where 27% of its area and 60% of its population is located below sea level. House boats are a familiar sight around the canals of Amsterdam but many new homes are built on a base of  concrete encased in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) also known as Styrofoam. This process is tried and trusted and many floating homes have been constructed using this technique.

The video below shows how expanded polystyrene foam is used to good effect, providing a buoyant and durable base for the floating homes in Maasbommell.

Polystyrene foam is keeping the homes of many people around the world above the water in everyday and extreme weather circumstances but, at this time, here in Ireland, it is more important to try to help and support the people affected by the flooding. This can be done by making a donation to the Irish Red Cross or to the St. Vincent de Paul to help keep their spirits higher than dreaded flood waters.