Not Lovin’ It…

You’ve all heard of the cheeky, charming, lighthearted recipe-based (but so much more besides) website, Lovin’ Dublin. Right? Probably.

It’s everywhere at the minute. In every company’s lunch time of a Wednesday courtesy of the genius initiative that is Lovin’ Box (which, in fairness, is pretty clever and though I’ve never had one I would love to try one). On your Twitter, on your Facebook newsfeed, on Instagram, the #minireview hashtag is one I love checking out. I love the recipes, for the most part. I love the reviews, for the most part. I love its intention: giving Dublin’s cultural and foodie development the spotlight it deserves, and making sure people are eating in and enjoying Dublin at its very best.

I like it so much, in fact, that I wrote a piece on Dublin’s Best Virgins (cocktails, people. Keep your hats on…) for it and got a grand aul response. As a Dublin girl, I should feel nothing but proud of this beacon of love for my home city.

What is it about the site that has, lately, left a bitter taste in my mouth that even one of the delicious looking recipes can’t rid me of?

The fact that more often than not, I’m offended (either directly or on behalf of someone else) by what Niall Harbison, the site’s creator, writes. 

I’m not easily offended, and I’d never be described as someone who attends every argument they’re invited to. I don’t usually engage in online bickering because in general, I reckon it’s a bit pointless. But I read something earlier that was so pretentious and downright disappointing that I just had to write about it.

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This whole passage about bridge jumping “knackers” just makes me sad. The least clever form of humour is the humour that requires you to tear strips off someone else in order to be funny. I found this post neither funny, nor clever. Likewise, this:


I’m from Dublin. But I’m also from Ireland, and sure, there might be differences between people from different counties but “a complete muck savage bogger up on the train for the day…” is not a sentence I’d ever use on a blog that talks about positivity and growth and development. And for the record, I’m from Dublin and I’m totally SH*TE at using chopsticks. It seems some of the Lovin’ Dublin commenters feel a similar way…

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This sort of stuff isn’t present in every post of his, granted, but in enough to make me want to ignore a post when I see the “By Niall Harbison” bio on a post. With a platform like Lovin’ Dublin, a bit of responsibility should probably be exercised. And whoever is in charge of the editorial integrity of the site needs to stand up to the creator and say ah heyor.

Without getting too ranty about it, I just want to say this. To anyone and everyone. If you claim to love Dublin, don’t set about insulting the people that live there. In fact, an idea might be to stick to positivity and steer clear entirely from the insults – isn’t that the point of the website in the first place?



PS. I’m half expecting that if anyone other than my dad reads this I might get a bit of abuse for writing it. And I’ll be honest, I’m scared of that. I hate wading in with opinions because I’m totally afraid to offend anyone and hate confrontation. But I just feel like I had to say something! So go on. Lambaste.

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21 thoughts on “Not Lovin’ It…

  1. Yaz says:

    I honestly don’t read the blog since last year the same guy wrote horrible remarks about homeless people. He sounds even worse here, seems like a stuck up, selfish, insensitive, spoilt brat who thinks he’s better than others….

  2. shell says:

    Well said Ais, someone needs to tell him where to put his chopsticks

  3. leavytina says:

    Good critique of a very shitty blog, only ever read been on Lovin Dublin because you wrote the piece on “Dublin’s Best Virgin’s” – great piece by the way….he comes across as my Da would say “Gobsh*te”.
    You have a good “grasp of the English language” so maybe he needs good editor who could give him some tips on writing and drawing people to him instead of pushing the reader away with a bad taste in their mouth from reading his “sh*te blog”….. you could give him some good advice & possibly cut him some slack, maybe he was a knacker in another life, so he is comfortable using the term…. & maybe he only bathes’ once a year so is also comfortable making a statement to this effect…. Or maybe he is just a pretentious bigot & needs to be ignored… or maybe a smart marketing ploy to get people to read his blog….. “Gobsh*te or Genius” the things people will do for attention…..
    But you’re still the best blogger…..

  4. Adrian Shanahan says:

    Niall is a bit of a cunt plan and simple, the vapid shite he post on that site is beyond belief.

    As for calling himself the president of fun or being responsible for Dublin revival. .. don’t start me.

  5. clarabelle says:

    Stop reading his blog so…I think he’s doing a great job of reviewing food businesses in Dublin that are up-and-coming. If you do not like his style, once again DO NOT READ IT. Nobody is stopping you from doing a better job than him. Christ it pains me that both you and me are now ranting. You are ranting about an entrepreneur doing well who is encouraging growth in Ireland. Whilst I am ranting about … who are you? And what are you bringing to the table? Exactly.

    • Aisling says:

      Hi Clara. If you had taken the time to read the post properly, you’d have seen that I read and enjoy the site all the time, as well as contributing to it.

      I fully support everything Lovin’ Dublin is trying to achieve when it comes to businesses, growth and development. Again, as I mentioned.

      What I can’t get on board with is the blatant insults that Niall has at times thrown around in quite a pretentious manner, to groups of people that could very well be readers of the blog and future customers of some of the restaurants being reviewed.

      I’m not claiming I could do a better job than him. But I will say I don’t like his style. It’s disrespectful and full of contempt for Irish people. He needs to be responsible with his platform.

      I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but Niall himself issued an apology this morning. Might be worth a read.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. clarabelle says:

    Niall is pretty honest. It’s what Dublin needs, not rainbows, roses and unicorns. It’s to the point Christ do you get sick of listening to yourself? It’s a site promoting good food businesses in Dublin. Create a better blog than his if you don’t like his style. It annoys me that we are both ranting here. You about an entrepreneur and I’m raining about…. who are you again? Oh a blogger! Well done you!

    • Yaz says:

      A blogger? And? Aisling is still entitled to an opinion doesn’t make it less valid, which by the looks of it most agree with. She’s also a human being with a heart oh and the editor of U Magazine.

    • HD says:

      She is a journalist and a blogger – if you dared to read a newspaper or a magazine than trolling online you might read her stuff. Who are you is the question at hand.
      Dublin does not need someone putting down inner city kids or another insulting blog.

  7. HatinDublin says:

    I stopped reading a few years ago when he basically called the north side of Dublin a no go area, implying its full of crooks and knackers and bad food. He’s a horrible man and its a horrible website. I’ll avoid any company that associates itself with his website.

  8. Tri says:

    Here here!! Niall Harbison does himself no favours. When I first read one of his articles I thought it was satire.. What a sad guy

  9. Great post Aisling. I’m a fan of Lovin’ Dublin and certainly don’t offend easily, but the above comments are just in bad taste and completely unnecessary.

  10. Volume&Gloss says:

    Great article Aisling. Articulate and balanced.

  11. Great stuff Aisling. Dublin is for all of us, even the blows-ins from the country like me! :)

    • Aisling says:

      Thank Paul! Dublin welcomes all blow ins! :) sure I blew down to cork for a year and everyone welcomed me. Ireland is a very welcoming place and I wanna make sure we’re portrayed as such online.

  12. Justme says:

    I don’t really disagree with anything you say here, but just to mention that I would actually consider myself to be a muck savage bogger, and I wouldn’t really feel offended at being referred to as such. Then again, I’m pretty good with chopsticks.

  13. Mary says:

    You’re dead right. Niall Harbisson is an absolute tosser. I was so disappointed to see on the Miriam O Callaghan show that this scandal wasn’t brought up and it was just promo for his book. Personally, I’ve unliked anything or anyone connected to Lovin Dublin. I’ve found his opinions to be unforgivable

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