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Patrick’s Birthday by Ann Treacy
January 31, 2008, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Dublin, Dun Laoghaire

Patrick’s birthday landed on one of the nicest days in January. We went to Dun Laoghaire – only wearing sweaters. We had lunch at our favorite Asian restaurant – Mao. It was good but as I told Kate, I will be so glad to be at home where they fill up your diet coke throughout the meal. But despite my complaining – we really did have a nice meal.

After the meal we walked down the Dun Laoghaire pier, through the People’s Park and got on the bus back to Cabinteely. Patrick’s mom got a nice cake and we all had a piece.

Sunday night Patrick and I went in to see the Traditional Music Gala Concert at the Olympia (same place we saw I, Keano a couple of nights before). Our seats were excellent, the music was nice – the woman humming long behind us was a little crackers. But we left at the intermission – we were just too tired from a long weekend and both being a little sick.

So, maybe that wouldn’t be my favorite way to spend a birthday, but Patrick seemed to enjoy it.


Saturday at the Traditional Music Fest by Ann Treacy
January 31, 2008, 3:12 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Lily had a birthday party on Saturday. So Kate and I hit the town alone. We shared a hotdog and a chocolate crepe (mostly Kate didn’t share that) at the Meeting House Square market. They have a nice selection of produce, cheese, and food you can eat right away.

Then we scored Kate a place at the free tin whistle mini-lesson, which was part of the Traditional Music Fest! You can see the video of the class below. It was great. The teacher was clearly a musician with tons of patience. At the end of the class Kate did know enough to keep learning new songs. Also – they let her keep the tin whistle.

We walked around for a while and saw some fun things. Then we waited to meet the rest of the crew. We were just in time to see a storyteller, who was part of the festival. He was very good. Again you can see the picture below.

We had a nice Italian restaurant and we found ourselves in the rare occasion of being too early. We had tickets to the pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre. (We saw the more budget version before Christmas.)

The Gaiety production is the big production. It was Beauty and the Beast. The theatre is old and fancy – kind of like the Orpheum or State Theaters back home. It was fun to see both productions. This was a little more high brow. The other used a lot more street humor, which I think the girls preferred. The Gaiety production included two narrator/jokers types and one was a little person. As Aine pointed out, he was little like a kid and that’s why she liked him so much. He was very funny.

At the end of the night (very late given the kids were with us) we took a cab home. It had been a long, cold day – so the cab home may have been the highlight to me.


Friday Night Traditional Music Pub Crawl by Ann Treacy
January 31, 2008, 2:51 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Friday night we’re back out with Sheila! We met us with Mary (who usually lives in MN) and Sheila’s friend from here, Pauline. Our goal was to take part in the free Traditional Music Festival pub crawl. I must admit there was more beer than music.

The idea of the traditional music pub crawl was nice – but in the end there were 2-3 musicians in each pub, which really isn’t enough to be heard very far or to set a tone in the busy Temple Bar locations. We did manage to get to: Purty Kitchen, The Clarence Hotel, and The Auld Dubliner. I have to say that I actually enjoyed the Auld Dubliner, a pub I have walked by 100 times before. We went upstairs and there was a musician. It was kind of hokey – but friendly and enjoyable.

Wednesday Night – I, Keano by Ann Treacy
January 31, 2008, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Wednesday night I met my friend Sheila in own. First we had a nice Indian meal – then we decided to try to get tickets to iKeano. We didn’t realize it but it had been sold out for quite a while.

So we back to the pub to retrench and meet up with Patrick. We decided to try to scalp tickets and were successful. Well, we got two tickets – we were able to score another seat for Patrick who met us after the first half – but it was just me and Sheila for the first half.

I, Keano is a part Roman epic, part musical and entirely focused on the Irish World Cup team of 2002. Here’s a brief description of I, Keano from RTE:

The decision by McCarthy to send Roy Keane home from the 2002 World Cup divided a nation. Those, with only a passing interest in the beautiful game, soon become embroiled in much heated debate as to who was right and wrong. Coming shortly after a mundane General Election campaign, what was to become known as the ‘Saipan affair’ enlivened those rain-lashed days at the end of May 2002.

About 90 percent of the show went right by me – since as most readers will know I have absolutely no interest sports – Irish or American. The part I did get was funny. We were in the upper circle at the Olympia. I did learn that I would never pay big money to sit there again – since you can’t really see the whole stage – but this was a good show to learn that.

After the show we went for a drink at Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street – a pub I had completely forgotten about. It is still a super nice pub!

Monday in Dublin (House of Lords & Christ Church) by Ann Treacy
January 21, 2008, 9:32 pm
Filed under: Dublin

The girls were off school today. We’re not sure why – but that was OK. We don’t get as many random days off here as back home and we miss it. We had planned to go into town on Saturday but that didn’t work out so we decided to do it today.

House of Lords
First we went into the House of Lords. Well it used to be Ireland’s parliament but now it’s a bank. There used to be 2 parliament buildings – but when they were sold to the bank they were under instructions to raze them. I’m not sure why this one wasn’t but the other, larger building was. (The bank guy didn’t know why either.)

Anyways the bank/parliament is across the street from Trinity College. It is a bank but they keep the main room and several other artifacts out for folks to see.

Christ Church
Then we went to Christ Church. We used to live very near to Christ Church but I don’t think I had ever been there before. It’s very large and was built around 1030. The stained glass is amazing, the size of it is amazing – but the most amazing thing is the crypt under the church.

The crypt is a super old, open basement. Apparently in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was a pub. There is even a stockade in it. The girls thought it was very creepy. I thought it was cool.

Sunday at Johnnie Fox’s by Ann Treacy
January 21, 2008, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Sunday afternoon we headed to Johnnie Fox’s in Glencullen. It’s the highest licensed pub in Ireland; it’s about a 20 minute drive from the house. It was established in 1798. It’s huge.

We didn’t realize when we decided to head there that we’d be seeing live music over lunch – but it was fun. The food was good – even the girls ate their whole meals.

Sunday in Dun Laoghaire by Ann Treacy
January 21, 2008, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Dun Laoghaire

Sunday we went to the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire. They usually have a market on Sundays but on Sunday they had a winter festival – the recharge festival. It’s held on the gloomiest day to try to perk up everyone’s mood. It was a good idea and a good little festival.

There were bouncy castle types of equipment for Aine. We had a sad benchmark when Lily looked at the bouncy castle slide and said, I think I’m too old for those rides. Fortunately she wasn’t too old for the laser tag. Or the face painting or the craft projects where they made T-shirts.

Saturday in Greystones by Ann Treacy
January 21, 2008, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Wicklow

Sadly Patrick went to a funeral on Saturday. It was for the mother of a friend of his.

At the funeral Patrick ran into friends of his who have not actually immigrated or who have returned from immigrating. Subsequently we went out Saturday night with his friends in Greystones, which is an outer ring beachside suburb of Dublin – although it might be in Wicklow.

So we met up with David & Andrea Kelly and Paul Jordan. I remembered Paul and David from years back – Andrea is David’s wife, from Checkoslovakia. It was fun to talk to them. We had a great night.

Paul picked us up, we met friends at the pub, it was kind of like being at home.


Next to Skin is Way too Close by Ann Treacy
January 19, 2008, 10:26 am
Filed under: Dublin

So I decided that our New Year’s resolution was to get out and do different things. No more just going to the pub, unless we were meeting someone. So that is what inspired me to get us tickets to a dance performance – Next to Skin.

Here’s the description from the web site that got me interested…

Constructing structures with bodies – marking time with movement – discovering space with each other ‘Beckett meets Python’ – this whirlwind of breathtaking leaps, sensual partnering and comic joy should not be missed.

Here’s the line from the program that was a little red flag…

…The cast of different body types, levels of training, skin colour, race, melt together as one.

Different colors and race – clearly no problem. Different body types and levels of training – whoa there. I don’t know very much about dance but I must say one rule of thumb is that I’d like the people on stage to be fitter and better dancers than I am. My new rules include – I don’t want spoken word or screaming to be part of the dance.

The good news: it was only an hour and people remained clothed the whole time. There were a few very good dancers and it was fun to watch them do certain moves. But I have to admit that to me, the dance spectator novice, the comparison to Beckett and Python may have been exaggerated.

After the dance we headed to Neary’s Pub off Grafton Street. I had completely forgotten what a nice pub it is. Patrick saw two actors that we have seen on stage but he didn’t point them out until they were gone. I guess that was retribution for my dance performance selection.

I’m legal so we look at art by Ann Treacy
January 18, 2008, 11:38 am
Filed under: Dublin

On Thursday we left Patrick’s mom to bring the kids to school and we went into the Immigration Office. I would play menacing music here if I could. Our last trip was not very successful.

I was crabby – as you are when you have to waste time with something like this. It was pouring rain. We were much later than I wanted to be – but I have to say I was very impressed. We were out and I had my new immigrant card with a super hideous picture of me in 30 minutes.

We got outside and it was sunny! Actually it was one of those – 2 hours of sun, half hour of pouring rain kind of days.

Anyways Patrick and I snuck off to the National Gallery. We have been wanting to see the Paintings from Poland exhibit. There is a huge Polish population in Dublin – huge. So I think it’s so mart that the help to introduce the rest of the Irish population to Poland in this small way. Also I think it’s a smart way to get the Polish immigrants into the National Gallery. (The Gallery is free, by the way, which we also like.)

I won’t go on too much but the paintings were all done from 1900-1930, I think. The colors were really vibrant and symbolism was big. As we all know, Poland was liberated in 1918 (clearly news to me) and then the Germans invaded in 1939 (I might have gotten that one) and that is when a lot of this art was done. Jesters seem to be a big symbol and quite a few of the artists seem to either use the perspective of children or children’s stories as themes.

We also saw the Turner watercolors, which are only shown in January. They are pretty amazing if you think about someone actually making a good painting using watercolors – and I only mean that because watercolors are so smearing and bleeding that I could never make a recognizable picture.

The cool thing about the watercolors, if you could paint, is that you can capture landscapes like I’d like to capture them in photos except the photo is too small. One picture showed a town on the side of a mountain with a sun set. I’d be lucky to get just the mountain or the town or the sunset in a photo.

So it was fun to spend the day doing something the kids probably wouldn’t love. They do like the National Gallery – we just go through the art much quicker.

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