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Climbing Sugar Loaf by Ann Treacy
October 30, 2007, 9:53 am
Filed under: Dublin

Monday we all went to Sugar Loaf – well the O’Donnells hailing from Florida, Australia, and Minnesota climbed the Great Sugar Loaf. It was cold and windy – but we were very tough. The view from the top is amazing. (OK I didn’t quite get to the top as I waiting with Lily and a sleeping Aine near the top) but even what we could see was amazing.

Sugar Loaf is in Wicklow – about 10 miles from Cabinteely so about 20 miles from the City Centre. But from the top of Sugar Loaf you can see clear to Howth – which is the other side of the city.

The pictures kind of speak for themselves – but I thought I’d use the trip as an excuse to try to show some maps of County Dublin to give you guys an idea of our stomping ground:

Here’s a quick map of Dublin (http://www.countydublin.com/dublin_map.htm). We live inland from Killiney. We often go to Dun Laoghaire. Howth is where we saw the Seals. The Sugar Loaf is in Wicklow- which as you can see if sort of off the map. The Powerscourt Ritz Carleton overlooks the Sugar Loaf. (I’ll try to add a picture of the hotel from the mountain if it turned out.)

Here is a quick map of Wicklow (http://www.irishtourist.com/wicklow/maps/road_map/). I don’t find it to be as useful – but there you have it.

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Sunday at the Roches by Ann Treacy
October 30, 2007, 8:59 am
Filed under: Dublin

Sunday night we were invited to a dinner party by Patrick’s advisor Tony Roche and his wife Katy Hayes. They have 2 sons – Merlyn who is 9 and Louie who is 7, I think. He was right about Kate’s age. They also invited Joseph O’Connor and his wife Anne Marie. They have two kids – James who is maybe 5 and Marcus who is 3 – so just the perfect age to play with Aine. And there was another boy named Thomas visiting too.

All of the dinner guests, except me, were writers and very friendly. (Clearly I mean I’m not a writer; I like to think that I’m passably friendly.) Joe and Anne Marie had lived in New York for a while. Tony and Katy are going to visit Minnesota in July. Actually Katy wrote a novel about Charles Lindbergh. There was a lot of talk about writer’s sheds turned offices and we had all seen many of the Dublin Theatre Festival shows.

Katy clearly throws a lot of dinner parties. The kids got pizza and chicken nuggets in one room – what could be better? Following it up with ice cream, which she did. We got a much more adult and delicious meal in the dining room. It started with fried brie – yum!

At the end of the night Tony kindly drove us home – Aine was falling asleep on her feet.

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Sunday at the Crown Plaza by Ann Treacy
October 30, 2007, 8:36 am
Filed under: Dublin

Saturday night 10 O’Donnells (or I guess 9 O’Donnells and I) all slept in Cabinteely. Luckily the house is big enough to easily accommodate us. Sunday morning looked like the Big Chill with kids. The first person woke up around 7am and the last person woke up after noon. Some people had cereal; some had yogurt, some had cake. Some went walking; some went running; some played computer games.

Around 1:00 we met the rest of the O’Donnell contingency (Fearghal, Eamon, Erin, and Mikey) at the Crown Plaza hotel for lunch. They have a nice buffet and the kids weren’t too squirrelly. Afterward we went to Fearghal’s and played in the park near his house. It was cold but the kids enjoyed the little park. Actually the park isn’t so little and it’s really beautiful – the playground was just their size. (I tried to pick pictures today that the kids would pick.)

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Saturday with the O’Donnell’s by Ann Treacy
October 28, 2007, 11:45 am
Filed under: Dublin

Patrick’s brother Michael arrive on Friday with his sons Killian and Aidan. Killian is a year or two older than Lily. Killian is a year younger than Kate – so they are pretty well matched.

Kate and Aidan have had a good time playing on a computer together. It looks as if Kate may be showing Aidan how to play marbles. She might have a pal for life. Killian has been playing chess with Patrick and he almost won this morning!

Shay arrived on Saturday too (escorted to the house by Fearghal)– the uncle from Florida. We were sad that Shay’s daughter Rochelle wasn’t able to join us. Apparently her school has some pretty strict absentee policies.

Saturday evening most of us went to Marlay Park for a Halloween party. It was packed! We waited in line for about 45 minute to walk through a haunted house that took 7 minutes to tour. But atmosphere was good so we didn’t mind. (The pictures below include one of the monsters and one of abject fear in Aine’s face after seeing the monsters.)

Then we lined up to see a parade. Like lemming we followed the crown into the woods to realize that we were on parade. We really just walked around the big park – but that was OK too. It passed the time while we waited for the big event – the fireworks at 6:30.

The best thing about fireworks in October is that it’s actually pretty dark and everyone is awake.

We went home and more cousins had joined us (again escorted by Fearghal) – Eamon, Erin, and Mikey from New York had arrived too. Thirteen of us had a very fun spaghetti dinner in Irish Grandma’s big kitchen. It worked out very well.

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Friday Night in Dublin by Ann Treacy
October 28, 2007, 11:36 am
Filed under: Dublin

I just have to add a quick note to say that I talked Patrick into going to one event that was part of the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival (DEAF). We went to The Globe pub where they had some folks paying music.

It wasn’t mush but I enjoyed the music. We ran into someone from Patrick’s class on the way, which is why I’m sure he was OK with staying for more than a pint.



Tuesday at the INS by Ann Treacy
October 26, 2007, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Dublin

On Tuesday the girls took the day off school and we went to register as aliens at the National Immigration Bureau. We got there around 11. It was packed. They told us that we didn’t have a chance of getting anything done today. The numbers had gone out to all of the people who would get to talk to someone today.

We also learned that next time we don’t need to bring the girls but we do need to bring our marriage certificate. So, I’ll be grabbing that when I go home in a week and we’ll be trying again next month.

I thought though I would take this opportunity to mention that Dublin has become very international since I was here last. Thanks to my friends at Wikipedia I can easily give you some details:
The population of Ireland is: 4,234,925
Non-Irish Nationals make up 10 percent of the population
103,495 people are Poles, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Latvians and Estonians
16,533 are Chinese
16,300 are Nigerians

In September there were a lot of stories in the news about kids not getting into schools because they were too full. Many of the schools, OK, most, are run by the church so they were letting the Catholics in first – which left many recent immigrants out in the cold. The started up a few non-Church schools but to me it seems like ghettoizing education a bit. Now I don’t know maybe places in these new schools are highly sought after now, but I don’t think so.

 (Patrick’s mom is kind of a rock star and that’s how we (she) got the kids not only into school but into a Montessori!)

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Sunday at the Ritz by Ann Treacy
October 24, 2007, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Dublin, Dun Laoghaire

We had another busy day on Sunday. We had afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton in Powerscourt. (Powerscourt may sound familiar – we visited the Powerscourt Garden a couple of weeks ago.)

The hotel opened on October1. The big deal about the Ritz is that it is home to a Gordon Ramsay restaurant. (That’s the chef from the Top Chef program – who swears a lot.) We didn’t eat there because it was booked and because we decided we’d wait on that until we could get a babysitter.

Anyways the restaurant was very nice. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we did get full on tiny sandwiches and desserts. The service was very good. Our table, actually all of the tables faced Sugar Loaf, a beautiful mountain. And what was very very fun was that we got a private tour of the hotel while we were there – and Sunday was the last day they were going to offer the tours.

There are 3 restaurants and a ballroom and lots of wonderful gardens. The rooms were really nice. We’ll have to find an excuse to stay there at some point. I’d say that there will be plenty of weddings there since it is so beautiful. I just need to meet a bride!

After the hotel, we went to see the tallest waterfall in Ireland – the Powerscourt waterfall. It too was striking. There were a couple of playgrounds nearby and the girls enjoyed that a lot.

Sunday night Patrick participated in a children’s story slam in Dun Laoghaire. That’s where the readers tell their stories and the judges decide who was the best. Personally I think Patrick was the best but someone who wrote a young adult story actually won.

We enjoyed listening to all of the authors. None were professional but all of them were very good. After Patrick read the judges said – oh you’re a storyteller. They were speechless but though that he should find a way to either work with students to perform the story or otherwise find a way to tell the story to people.

Again pictures should follow – soon I hope

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