High Tea from a Low Table

Sabrina Dent and Ina extended an invitation to all of Ireland’s women bloggers to join them for tea and cakes (or martinis and olives, if you prefer) for a few hours before the Irish Blog Awards.on 1st March.


I was ready to scream, and throw something heavy at my screen the other day when I read they were suggesting a pre Awards meet-up for Ladies Only.

Ok, ok! I hear you grumble “There goes that old Grannymar again! She has only one interest and we all know what that is! Toyboys, toyboys and more toyboys!

Actually the word bursting from my lips at the time was ‘Clique’ I saw the idea as a break away from the mood and idea of the day. Next up RedMum is organising a meetup of photobloggers and photographers. I suppose in an hour or two it will be the Pints for the Boys meetup.

Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, some fresh and young with the urgency of snowdrops about to push through the ground, while there are others like me weather beaten and creaking like the branches of an old tree bending with the weight of a hundred years. This Bertie Bassett Mix is what the blogosphere is all about. What is so scary about it? We chat and banter with each other every day. There are no strangers there, only friends we have not met yet.

I decided to sit on my hands for a day or two and cool down. I lurked as they say and read the comments on the different blogs. Bock the Robber, never shy, asked the question for me. He wrote:

This blog awards thing is coming up soon and I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of people face to face that I’ve only corresponded with electronically.

Now, suppose I announced that I was organising a meet-up but it was only for men. Suppose I said that women were banned from it, what do you think would happen?

Would people call me a stupid, sexist fucker? Would a whole heap of shite pour down on my head from every woman in Ireland for being an uptight, narrow-minded, anti-woman bigot?


And they’d be right.

The girls were all for the meetup and King Damien gave it his blessing. So as the song goes ‘I think I’ll have to think it out again!’

I go places alone and have no difficulty walking into a room full of strangers. Well, it is either that or live the life of a hermit! So back to the thinking…

  • The girls seem to think it is a good idea; some of the names are familiar to me. But who is that Elly she seems to get her nose in everywhere!
  • The photobloggers might end up clicking their way through the day as it moves to the Big Event and produce a digital flavour for all to enjoy.
  • This only leaves the boys with the whole afternoon to fix their hair and enjoy a pint in peace.

Maybe with the help of hindsight it is not a bad idea after all. If I make it to Dublin and since my chauffeur Elly is already booked in I might come along.

Now where did I put that feather Boa?

25 thoughts on “High Tea from a Low Table

  1. steph

    Grannymar – I’m not into awards ceremonies and would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to attend.

    I agree with your point though about the pre Awards meet-up – the joy of blogging is all about the fact that anyone can join in and therefore I don’t see any need for segregation.

    To make your point and have some fun while you’re at it 😉 you could instead join the boys for a pre-ceremony pint!

  2. Damien Mulley

    I think smaller groups meeting before and after is good. Afterall there might be upwards of 350 at the main event, imagine all of them turning up to have lunch somewhere or roving around taking photos? They might thing there’s another Dublin riot.

    I’ll link to any meetup and encourage more and more of them, though that doesn’t mean I think any should be exclusive but it’s all down to the individual. We should have a bloggers weekend, not just one function on the Saturday night. Debz is now organising a brunch and the only exclusive part is the cap on numbers.

  3. Grannymar Post author

    Perhaps I am getting old!

    Over many years of attending meetings and taking part in organisations here in the North I became aware of the ‘cliques’ slipping in. Before you knew it, you had segregation and the whole basic idea of an organisation was lost.

    Again I had a thought: We have the Irish Blog Awards one weekend in Dublin and CreativeCamp in Kilkenny the next. Not everyone can be away from home for two weekends running. Perhaps for another year the Awards ceremony could add glamour and focus to the Saturday night of one whole tekkie weekend. This way both events would benifit.

  4. elly parker

    Yes, it sounds clique-ish.

    But in all reality it’s not. In other countries in the world there are regular geek girl dinners, girly blogger meet-ups and all manner of non-inclusive events.

    So far in Ireland we have managed to avoid these, but the simple fact is that even though women make up around 20% of the blogging population, we rarely get more than 10% of any given barcamp/conference/event being women.

    The reason I signed up to attend this event, which will hopefully be well attended is two-fold:
    1) I want a chance to catch up with some people before the main event. Last year’s blog awards was packed and there were several bloggers that I hoped to meet and didn’t get a chance to. This way I will see some of them beforehand and it will mean I’ll get more time to circulate at the main event.
    2) I want to get a chance to talk to the female bloggers 1on1 and try to find out why they are not going to barcamp/creativecamp events – perhaps it’s simply because the agendas don’t interest them, but I want to ensure that the perception of these being ‘really geeky’ is broken. CreativeCamp Kilkenny is the weekend directly after the blog awards, perhaps we might even get a bigger percentage of females there if I can succeed in persuading them that it really is an inclusive event.

    And let’s be honest, if a guy turns up to this event, we’re hardly likely to throw him out, are we? It’s an event DIRECTED at women, but we aren’t going to have security guards at the door checking chromosomes…

    The lads are quite welcome to organise their own event – the photobloggers have theirs (will they bar people that don’t own cameras?) and the foodies have a brunch the next day (can anorexics attend?) and no doubt other events may well get organised.

    In situations like this I tend to think that the people who are complaining the most loudly are the most prejudiced – if Sabrina and Ina had organised ” A tea party” instead of a “A ladies’ tea party” do you really think Bock would have attended?

  5. Joy

    I’m not in love with these kind of ceremonies Grannymar…but they can turn out to be more fun than anticipated. I hope you go and really have a good time. If there are a lot of people you already know…you probably will.

  6. Grannymar Post author

    Elly ~ I take your point. I see you as one of the lads/geeks and not as a girl 😉 Sorry George, that is a dreadful thing for a mother to say, but you both know what I mean. Elly is always in there in the thick of things, doing rather than watching, yet encouraging others to take part. Did I say that? Without a bribe!!

    As I said in my post with reflection or hindsight I see the benefit of the groups. You must remember I grew up in an Ireland where Men RULED and women were supposed to stay in the kitchen. I am glad that things have changed and women have their rightful place. Let’s not exclude men after all life would be very dull without them

    Joy ~ I was a finalist last year and had a whale of a time meeting so many other Bloggers. I since attended Podcamp and was greeted like an old friend. I would like to travel down if possible just to have the opportunity to catch up with these friends again and meet some wonderful new talent.

  7. Baino

    Is Ireland unique? .. . I mean I’ve never known a country that nominates so many people for so many awards, has barcamps, meetups and ceramonies for blogging. Let alone bloggers who are keen to mix with their fellow Irish bloggers on a regular basis. I’m hard pressed to find Aussie bloggers let alone work out if there are any awards down here. Although it’s always been an intention to meet the commenters on my blog eventually but I’ll probably end up doing it one by one. I think meeting them all in one place might lead to tears before bed time!

    Actually I don’t like ladies lunches at the best of times but at least it’s a good day out?

  8. K8

    I’m scared to go. If I go you’ll all find out that I’m a 52 year old builder called Norf. Not that I am. I’m not. I just don’t want you all to know that I’m not.

    My dad’s trying to drag me along. I’m scared.

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Bock ~ you raised the question I was burning to ask.

    Baino ~ Living in Ireland deserves an award! 😉 Seriously there are far to many different award events. The ones where you buy your way in are the ones I dislike.

    K8 ~ we could always swop clothes and I’ll give you my wig. I need to keep the wooden leg, now do you have shoes that would fit a wooden leg?

  10. Claire

    For me the Blog Awards have very little to do with the awards, it’s just a great excuse to meet people who I wouldn’t get to meet otherwise and have a laugh. The first year was quite small, only about a hundred people I think so it was easy enough to circulate and chat, last year was a little bit more difficult, there were loads of bloggers I never got to talk to because it was harder for a wallflower like myself to launch into the crowds. This year looks to be even bigger so I welcome whatever meet ups are going that break it up a bit.

    I think it matters little what way things get broken up…food bloggers, lady bloggers, photobloggers…maybe even ginger bloggers?!

  11. red mum

    I don’t have a problem with all the various things happening at all. I think people are mistaking getting together with exclusiveness which they I don’t believe they are. The Ladies tea party I think is a great idea, getting the women together. I think the cries of ‘sexist’ are a little bit knee-jerk, (I’m not criticising there I just feel that).

    I’m sure some of the elders of the blogging world can tell us about times where there were no women involved, not because they weren’t in the business, they were just not as visible for whatever reasons. So events that give people confidence in what they are doing is positive, and not to mention great craic too.

    During the previous blog awards a couple of us have done the women head count and anything to encourage more women that they are part of this weekend too gets the thumbs up from me.

    The photomeet is about bringing people into photography together, there are already Flickr meets/Boards.ie meets/camera club meets and this is just another way to bring people who wouldn’t ordinarily get together for some fun, photos and occasionally pints! And it is the more the merrier, from those who fancy the idea of learning more about photography to those who are making a living from it. Hopefully there will be lots of new faces and great pics 🙂

    So don’t think of them as exclusive, more as an excuse to meet lots of lovely people.

    By the way Gingerpixel, when is the ginger meet 🙂

  12. Deborah

    Hi Grannymar – I hope you will come, I’d really love to meet you! One of the reasons I’m going is like Elly said to meet people I might not otherwise in the thick of the awards itself. Maybe you’d consider the foodie brunch the next day too? It’s pretty much open to anyone who likes food! 😉

  13. Grannymar Post author

    Claire ~ the Blog Awards are a great social occasion in the true Irish sense. No red carpet rubbish but a get together, a drink, a chat, plenty of laughter and the opportunity to acknowledge the talent of some amazing people. I am realising the benefit of the groups with particular interests, meeting at different stages of the weekend.

    Conortje ~ Come on over and organise a gay ex-pat bloggers meetup. The turnout might surprise you!

    Red Mum ~ a clique was my worry. I am sure some folk met up last year before and after the event. Now a ‘ginger meet’, alas I no longer qualify for that one since the grey has overtaken my auburn tresses.

    Deborah ~ I would like to go down for the craic, but all my arrangements have an ‘if’ and it is: if my health behaves.

  14. Will

    Are there enough “interested” bloggers to organise a bloggers spa weekend. Pamper blog meet might sound like an idea which, in theory, you don’t have to female to go for it.

    If there is enough hair colouring, it could end up as a ginger meet 🙂

  15. Sabrina Dent

    Hi Grannymar. I don’t think we’ve crossed paths yet so I’m sorry your introduction to my blog put you off. I can understand where you and Bock are coming from, but (and I speak only for myself here) my thinking fell more in line with Elly and RedMum’s. Women are under-represented in most tech and blogging events here, and I thought it would be nice to roll out the welcome wagon (maybe if you’re meeting a small group before, you’ll be more likely to go this year?) and to have a chance to talk to other women bloggers about some of the issues Elly articulated and maybe ganging up with her to push some people forward a little more!

    Not that I’m bossy. Or anything…

  16. Grannymar Post author

    Sabrina, Hello and welcome. Gannymar is an un-tekkie blogger and that is perhaps why we have not met yet. I have lurked on your blog for some time before putting my big size sevens in about the tea party. At the time it hit me as being exclusive rather than inclusive. I hate to see divisions creeping in. Following all the input by way of comments here I can now see the point. my personal thoughts are that all these events should be part of a weekend celebration culminating in the Blog Awards. Think CreativeCamp with Irish Blog Awards all in the one weekend.

    If it was organised for the same weekend each year then it would become fixed in everyone’s mind (think Horseshow) and perhaps grow into a four day event!

    I hope the tea party is well attended and a great success.

  17. Grannymar Post author

    See what happens when you go away? You become someone else in the comments box! 😆

    Elly was minding the house and a good job she did too. The last comment was from me.

    Annmarie ~ The Ladies Tea party will hopefully become an annual event. It was fantastic. A great big Thank you to Ina and Sabrina for organising it and to Martha at Microsoft for the Loaves and fishes!

    Now http://www.irelandgirlgeekdinners.com/ might be just the ticket for you.


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