The Mayo-born founder of foe will fill you in on Dublin’s hidden gems if you promise to keep it a secret and maybe buy him a whiskey
Aaron Chalke is founder of foe, a Dublin based independent company specialising in brand activations and content production. foe prides itself on its ability to collaborate with all sorts of partners, working with brands, media owners and agencies, developing activations that solve business problems. foe had its first anniversary this year, and so far has worked with brands like Liberty Insurance, Lidl, McDonald’s and Irish Life Health.
By his own admission Aaron is an ad-aholic, but he’s inspired by the stuff normal people like too, like the beauty of Ireland’s Atlantic coast and dreams of swinging from building to building like Spider-Man.
o Place of birth: Ballintubber in Mayo, West of Ireland. Anyone who knows a Mayo person will know how seriously they take being from here, especially when it comes to Gaelic football, our national sport.
o Hometown: Dublin is home for now. While it has its drawbacks, the energy and momentum in bars, restaurants and the arts make it a magic place to live.
o Staycation: The Kerry coast along the Wild Atlantic Way. Great people, music and breathtaking views, as you can see…
o Vacation: Anywhere that has shade and doesn’t go above 24 degrees, the point where I officially begin to melt.
o Pet: None yet, but I don’t think I’ll be able to hold back on the demand for a French Bulldog for too much longer…
o Place of work: foe, a brand activations and production house. Our office is in an old-school industrial estate and I love it, the grubbier the better.
o Place of workout: The gym below our apartment would be handy, if I ever used it! Tried being a Crossfit bunny for a while. It wasn’t pretty.
o Side project: “I swear, this is the year I’ll make that short” is usually my never-achieved side project.
o Mode of transport: If I’m not in the car, I’m a walker. Can’t handle the battleground that is Dublin roads on a bicycle.
o Bonus travel essential: Headphones. They are my go-to money pit. Apple Airpods are the current flavour of the month.
o Artist: While my knowledge is limited, I do like what people like Maser are doing to brighten up the city.
o Musician: The Gloaming led by Martin Hayes have brought Irish music to a new level. An experience like no other live.
o Commercials / music video director: While we have yet to work with him, Lorcan Hynes’ pieces are great. Phenomenally moving pieces at times:
o Film director: The quirky dialogue from the likes of Martin McDonagh is hard to not fall in love with. McDonagh’s mastery of music with pivotal scenes is unrivalled – that staircase scene from In Bruges had me bawling.
o Film: John Ford’s ‘The Quiet Man’. John Wayne at his finest.
o Series: Band of Brothers. Best series ever made I feel.
o Commercial: Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign. Might be typical but it’s a cracker of an advert.
o Video game: Just finished Spider-Man on PlayStation and that was a tonne of fun. I’m scared to start Red Dead Redemption 2, as I may not leave the house for a week straight!
o Book: ‘An Unsung Hero’ by Tom Crean is by far my favourite book. It is extremely hard to both put down and also to believe it’s all true.
o Podcast: ‘The Blindboy Podcast’. Funny, educational and helpful. An essential weekly listen.
o Newspaper (off or online): The Irish Times
o Bonus culture essential: For weekly laughs, subscribe to ‘Foil Arms and Hog’ comedy trio on YouTube, as well as gorging on a mix of ‘Honest Trailers’ and ‘How it Should Have Ended’ YouTube shorts.
Food and Drink
o Breakfast: Coffee, straight into the veins…
o Restaurant: Asador, Trocadero, Luna and Chapter One in Dublin are all bad for my wallet and waistline, but great every time.
o Cheap bite: Wings in Canal Bank café or Elephant and Castle – the best in the city.
o Working lunch: Burritos from Pablo Picante via Deliveroo
o Favourite dish: Fillet of Irish Beef, with creamy mash
o Signature dish: Toasted ham and Cheese sambos, on the double (with a side of Tayto Cheese and Onion of course)
o Guilty pleasure: A shameful Chinese takeaway, dripping in curry sauce. So bold but so good.
o Bar: The Library Bar on Exchequer Street. But don’t tell anyone, it’s a hidden gem.
o Booze: At the risk of sounding like a complete stereotype, Guinness and whiskey.
o Not booze: Coffee and sparkling water
o Bonus food: Woodfired Pizza. Some great new places including Basil on Ringsend Road
o Bonus beverage: A cheeky little French red wine or a G&T
o Phone: iPhone
o Computer: Macbook Pro (Anything Apple, I have to own)
o TV: Samsung
o Headphones: Airpods or Bose QC35s
o Camera: Canon
o Soundsystem: KRK RoKit 6 Studio Speakers, hacked with a Bluetooth receiver for the home.
o Pen / pencil: Recently started using a fountain pen so que all my shirts getting destroyed.
o Where you document an idea: Bumbles around in my head for weeks until I start writing it physically.
o Casual clothing: Long sleeve tees and All Saints jeans.
o Smart clothing: Blazer and waistcoat
o Footwear: Brogues or Converse
o Watch: Larsen & Eriksen
o Website: YouTube
o Work program: Keynote is my saviour
o Analogue work tool: Pen and paper, it’s what keeps me sane, even if it is mostly illegible scribbles.
o Morning grooming / makeup essential: American Crew when the hair is still damp.
o Bonus kit essential: Peak Design backpack has been a godsend for movement, organisation and accessibility of a lot of kit in one small bag.