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Blanchardstown Shopping Center by Ann Treacy
December 29, 2007, 12:55 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Well we found a piece of Americana in Dublin – a huge shopping mall on the North Side called Blanchardstown Shopping Center. It’s pretty much like Rosedale without the thought towards parking logistics. We tried to eat at a TGI Fridays but there was a 30 minute wait.

We went with Patrick’s mom and brother. They were nice enough to let us tag along. Everyone got something new. I wanted to go out there to check it out at some point and really – it’s the kind of place you need to drive so it all worked out well.

That being said I don’t think we’re going back next week. There is a children’s theater so I suspect we’ll be back at again – just maybe not to shop.



Dun Laoghaire Pier by Ann Treacy
December 28, 2007, 12:55 pm
Filed under: Dun Laoghaire

On Thursday we went to Dun Laoghaire. Most of the shops were still closed but we had lunch at a great Asian restaurant – Café Mao. We hadn’t had food like that in a long time so it was very good. The fried rice was actually like the fiend rice we’re used to from home.

We went into the few shops that were opened and enjoyed a walk down Dun Laoghaire pier – it’s about a 30 minute walk to the end and back. The sea seemed very calm. There was a banjo playing busker at the end of the pier – so that was kind of fun. The pier sort of gradually dips into the sea – but as Aine walked on the side of the pier I got a glimpse of how quickly the sea becomes deep and pretty cold looking. She wasn’t allowed to walk on her own for very long.

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St Stephen’s Day by Ann Treacy
December 28, 2007, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Bray

St Stephen’s Day is the day after Christmas. Everything is closed on Stephen’s Day. I realized this when I walked down to the grocery store to get Diet Coke and they were closed. Very sad.

We spent most of the day relaxing but eventually we all piled into Fearghal’s car for a trip to Bray. It’s about a 10 minute drive from Patrick’s mom’s place.

There’s a nice walkway on the beach in Bray. The weather was pretty warm. So we had a very nice walk. The girls and I enjoyed skipping stones. Patrick was sick so we went to get something for him to eat. Fortunately or unfortunately the best place we could find was an arcade. So the girls got to play games while we waited for the food.

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Christmas in Ireland by Ann Treacy
December 28, 2007, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Here’s our Christmas agenda. I know several of you have been curious about what we were doing here:

We went to Mass on Christmas Eve. Lily asked Irish Grandma on the way home if we’d have to go on Christmas Day too. We were both relived to hear that the answer was no. The funny thing about Mass was that it was so full that some people (the late people like us) got their communion outside with the smokers and cell phone users.

Then we came home and just relaxed. We could have gone to the pub but we had our big night at the Pogues last night so we weren’t too desperate to get out.

Kate was the first one awake in the morning at 8:00. But she held on until 9:00 when we woke up everyone else. Aine got up around 8:30 but she kind of forgot it was Christmas and so she didn’t mind hanging out in the room.

At 9:00 we opened presents – tons of them. The girls made out like bandits with an electronic, doll stroller and handheld electronic games kind of leading the pack. Patrick and I took a walk around the park after the present opening. It wasn’t really cold at all.

We had Christmas dinner around 1:00. We started with an appetizer of salmon – wild salmon. Then we had turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and more. Everything was wonderful. For dessert, we started with plum pudding, which I have to say I liked. The girls did not. But there was ice cream and after ice cream a chocolate cake appeared – and somehow Aine found biscuits later. I forgot to mention that we got crackers. For those who don’t know crackers, they are toys wrapped up like pieces of candy. Two people share it. One person grabs each end and it pops when you pull each end.

Then we just hung out. The girls played with their toys. Nemo was on TV. Patrick and Fearghal had a nap. And we phoned home.

So it was a quiet but very nice day.

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Christmas at the GPO by Ann Treacy
December 25, 2007, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Dublin

While we were in town one day we went to see the Christmas decorations at the General Post Office in Dublin: 

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The Pogues at Christmas by Ann Treacy
December 25, 2007, 11:50 am
Filed under: Dublin

The Pogues played at a big arena (the RDS) on December 23. I should have ordered tickets online but I was too slow. They were sold out. Then the day before the concert I heard a rumor that a special guest star was going to sing the Fairy Tale of New York. So I was super bummed.

So on the day of the concert I talked Patrick into heading to the RDS to see if we could scalp tickets. Naturally we left late – we left at 8:00; the show was advertised for 8:00. We sat on the bus stop and I was giving up hope. But then (our first miracle of the night) an 84 bus came. I didn’t even think the 84 ran on Sunday. The 84 was the quickest bus that would take us nearly to the door of the RDS.

So we jumped on. Then the next stop up there was some scuttle with a bunch of kids who were trying to get on the bus for being 16 and were clearly carrying several cans of beer. The drinking age in Ireland is young – but not 15. But the hassle was cleared up pretty quickly when the boys sacrificed one friend to stay on the bus stop with the beer and they all stayed on the bus.

So we were again on our way to the show. We arrived and the place was packed. The first thing we heard was someone else asking for spare tickets; not very promising! So we paced near the front gate a bit. We were just decided if we should go home or go into town to see another show when a woman appeared at my elbow and asked if we needed tickets. I quickly said “yes – two” and nearly everyone else around us tried to jump oin her for the tickets – but it was too late. We got ‘em!

We were over the moon. I couldn’t believe it. I held my breath through the various gates and checkpoint until we actually were in the hall.

The RDS is huge. I was there for the Horse Show a long time ago but hadn’t been there to see a show. There were no seat – all standing room. There were two sections – the front and then a set of barriers before the masses. The bar was in another room. There are no giant screens with close-ups or light shows, which was OK with me. The place was packed – of people of all ages but everyone having a great time.

So we had a beer and went in just in time to see (well, hear – we couldn’t see that much) Shane McGowan hit the stage. He was slurring but really no one can sing like Shane McGowan. Either the crowd or maybe Shane McGowan seemed a beat ahead or behind each other for most of the concert – but that was OK. It’s not like we were there to see Pavarotti.

Everyone was dancing – or slamming as the case may be. Poor Patrick was wearing a sweater and a coat so he was sweating. We were dancing around and Patrick didn’t even mind when he got a boot in the face. Someone way up front had foolishly thrown there shoe into the crowd. We didn’t care if he went home barefoot after Patrick got hit.

The finales started and my rumor was right. Sinead O’Connor came out in a Santa suit to sing the Fairy Tale of New York. It was a great show!



Snow White Pantomime by Ann Treacy
December 25, 2007, 11:49 am
Filed under: Dublin

On Tuesday we let the kids skip school and we went to see a Christmas pantomime – Snow White at Liberty Hall. The show was at 11:30 and we were the only non-school group but that was OK.

The pantomime is an over the top fairy tale with lots of audience participation. Most of the kids know when to shout “don’t eat the apple” or they argue with the characters to say – “oh no you won’t” “oh yes I will”. The used a lot of music that the girls recognized from Hairspray and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Aine hid her face each time the evil queen appeared – but then she’d slowly uncover her eyes to watch the action. Even the big girls were kind of dancing with the cast at the end of the show.

Christmas Panto




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