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Monday, January 14th 2008

We have €1000 to be won today - just answer a simple question between now & 16:20 to make your day so much better! Click here for more details...

About a year ago we spoke to a man called Leven Brown and at the time he was putting together a boat and a crew to row across the Atlantic in an effort to break the Transatlantic Rowing Record.

We got a call from a Ray Carroll from Galway and he thought that might just be the man for the job. As a direct result of those phone calls we are going to talk to Ray by satellite phone from the high seas! Ray is coming to the end of the record attempt. He is 334 miles east of Barbados and coming to the end of the record breaking attempt.Ray spent Christmas and New Years on the boat. Christmas dinner consisted of the usual freeze dried meals and they wore Santa hats.

Ray's family and his girlfriend Emily are already in Barbados and they will be travelling out on boats to meet them.
Ray is raising money for AWARE and so far the Ulster Bank account in Newcastle has over €60,000 in it and Ray has been told by Sharon from AWARE that there is plenty more to come.

For more information about the record attempt and AWARE click here

Ikea in Belfast opened on December 13th 2007 - exactly one month ago yesterday and our researcher Sinead Mooney cleared out the boot and made the journey up yesterday.

IKEA was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden and it is owned by a Dutch-registered foundation controlled by the Kamprad family.It's a phenomenon.410 million people visited Ikea last year and sales reached €14.8 billion from 2004 to 2005.The company motto is: "Affordable Solutions for Better Living" - which almost sounds like a manifesto - instead of the little red or green book, you have the catalogue which is published in 55 editions, in 27 languages for 36 countries.

They actually have a section on their website called 'Ikea Madness' where you're invited to visit the "the brave, the bold, the stubborn and the happy mad men and women who design for Ikea" - which in essence encapsulates the whole experience. In Saudi Arabia, three people were crushed to death in September 2004 when IKEA offered a limited number of free $150 vouchers.

It's a megalith. Its total area is 29,000 sq m and like no store Sinead has ever seen before. It boasts Ireland's largest restaurant - 565 seater restaurant.The marketing people for so many shops and shopping centres seem intent on selling it as an 'experience' - you're not just looking for a bedside locker - you're looking for a life-event, something you'll be talking about in the office on Monday - and look, here we are..! Ikea actually seems to fit that bill. And of course, like all experiences it can leave you feeling good, bad or simply indifferent.

IKEA will be opening a Dublin store soon in Ballymun. Objections were originally based around its size but they seem to have been resolved. However, in June 2007 Ikea got planning permission for opening a store in Ballymum subject to its fulfilment of 30 conditions - including waiting until the completion of the Ballymun interchange.

It looks now as if this won't happen until spring 2009 - at the earliest.

Its official - wine tastes better of it costs more.
That's what a bunch of researchers in California have discovered. We are joined by wine writer, teacher, expert and fan - for she is all of these - Mary Dowey.

In 2004, The Community Foundation for Ireland - a registered charity - established The County Monaghan Fund with the support of a county committee representing local businesses and individuals. The objective of this county committee is to raise funds and to distribute those funds locally to community and voluntary groups in the county. This is the first of a series of county committees which The Foundation plans to establish throughout Ireland to help grow philanthropy and charitable giving.

We spoke to Francis McCarron from the Monaghan Fund as well as Michelle Gilander from Beech Hill College and Bernie McKenna at the Errigal Truagh Special Needs Centre in Killybrone, Co. Monaghan about how the fund has helped them. We also spoke to May Murphy from the Monaghan Philanthropic Fund and Niall O'Sullivan from the Community Foundation in Dublin.

If you would like to find out more about the Monaghan Fund you can contact Sean McDermot on: 047 30912.

And we congratulate Noel Joyce from Tipperary on winning €1000 of Mooney's Money! To find out how you could win €1000 tomorrow, click here...