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From the Good Drying Index to trackable seagulls: TheJournal.ie's April Fools greatest hits

In case you haven’t been keeping track, today is 1 April.

TheJournal.ie editor Sinead O'Carroll flouting superstitions in 2014.
TheJournal.ie editor Sinead O'Carroll flouting superstitions in 2014.

WHETHER YOU’RE WORKING from home or not, being confined to your four walls for all but essential trips outside makes it more and more difficult to tell one day from the next. 

So in case you haven’t been keeping track today is 1 April, or April Fool’s Day. 

Now there’s already a lot of dubious stories around these days (just take a look at our Debunked section), so we won’t be adding to it today with any joke stories. 

But April Fool’s Day has been kind of a big deal for us in the past, so we decided to take a look at some of the greatest hits, given the day that’s in it. 

Fit to print

Way back in April 2012, when TheJournal.ie was 18 months old, we made the totally real decision to start printing a daily newspaper

The move was revolutionary at the time and promised readers there would be mobile printing stations all around the country so they could print the latest news as it happened. 


“TheJournal.ie #PRINT is about taking our web content to the next level – into the actual, physical world. You’ll literally be able to touch it,” actual person and vice-chairman Eric Fallon said at the time. 

Hmm, wonder what happened to that one?

Cats and frogs

Two years later, we introduced what was probably one of our most popular products that never was. Seriously, we had so many begging emails asking us to do it we probably should have kept it up. 

This was of course TheJournal.ie’s daily morning weather liveblog, compete with the Good Drying Index and our amphibious Corkonian Clive the Frog ™. 

The liveblog ran for four wonderful hours and featured some lovely sunshine across the country with some specks of rain in Wexford, much to the annoyance of Model Man Nicky Ryan. 

PastedImage-44255 Source: TheJournal.ie

“I’m a bit disappointed that this is only an April Fool’s joke…We need up to the minute weather news all day every day,” Goggles McGlasses said in the comments. 

If only Goggles, if only.

Feeling gullible?

You can’t keep a bad bird locked down. No, while we’ve been staring out our windows at some beautiful blue skies of late, those treetop tormentors the seagulls have been practically laughing at is.  

It really is a pity then that TheJournal.ie’s SeeMyGull never, eh, took off

In a pioneering partnership with the Fund For Urban Protection Of Flighted and Feathered (FFUPOFF) and the Department of the Environment, the widget allowed users to warn each other about suspicious looking gulls around the country. 

gull 2

SeeMyGull even provided users with a ranking of gull activity, from simple lurking to all out attack. 

“This is not about targeting seagulls – it’s about respecting their right to the city as well,” FFUPOFF’s Riggan Thompson said charitably at the time.

This is news how?

commeter A sample Gold and Bold membership card.

Five years ago today, TheJournal.ie toyed with the idea of charging people to comment on the site.

The so-called ‘saywall’ wanted to keep our comment section as vibrant as it always has been while also introducing a three-tiered membership: Bronze Broadcast, Speculation Silver and Gold and Bold. 

With the water charges debate only a recent memory at the time, perhaps asking paid up commenters for PPS number was a step too far. 

Tpcl jrnl.

What else is there?

We’re nothing if not fair to our colleagues elsewhere in the fourth estate here at TheJournal.ie, and some of them have even come up with some good japes over the years. 

One of the most convincing was RTÉ’s report from 2015 that claimed the Spire was to be removed from Dublin’s O’Connell Street for for the 1916 celebrations. That one did the rounds several times and caught many’s a fool out. 

Then there was Tipp FM announcing details of a very exciting new addition to its line-up with Mattie McGrath TD AKA Ice-Tae, starting his own dancing music show. The deputy even did his best to sound convincing in knowing his DJ Sammys from his DJ Shadows.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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