10 Questions About…

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.

Ireland Science Fair by Ann Treacy
January 13, 2008, 10:59 am
Filed under: Dublin

Today we went to the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibit. It’s held at the RDS; the same place we saw the Pogues before Christmas. This time it was all decked out for high school science fair booths. It was great. OK, great might be pushing it – but it was interesting once I got people to shake off the crabbiness.

I think the students do a great job with their science exhibits. It’s a little bit like the 4H building at the State Fair.

As we pointed out with the kids they start with a hypothesis, explain their methods and include their results.

My favorite was exhibit was from St Joseph’s Boys National School in Terenure. They researched Albert Einstein. Two of their students popped up and ask – Do you want to know about Albert Einstein?

They were great at going back and forth giving me facts and Einstein. Then Patrick started to quiz them in his teacher-way and they were able to answer everything. They were just so enthusiastic you had to love them.

Some of our other favorite exhibits:

  • Lefties have a greater chance than right handed folks of have an IQ of more than 140. (Kate’s a lefty.)
  • The best way to study is to is to do a word dump where you read a page, cover it and jot down everything you remember reading. Just reading was the worst way to study.
  • High heel shoes are hardest on your feet; flip flops are best for your feet. (They didn’t test Doc Martens.) Expensive sunglasses are actually better for your eyes than cheapies.
  • People find popup ads on the web frustrating and distracting but they don’t tend to notice or remember the contents of the ads.
  • Also there’s more of a professional science exhibit within the big science fair. We saw giant cockroaches. (Reminded me of the bar where Damian works in NY – also reminded all of us about the challenge on America’s Next Top Model where they had to model with cockroaches.)
  • We learned that my reflexes are much quicker than Patrick’s or Lily’s – Kate and Aine didn’t even bother challenging me.

Two more interesting notes – most of the young scientists were girls. The award winner this year was a 13 year old.

Finally I had a add a picture of us on the bus stop as I finally remembered to take one.

Another Black Taxi Tour by Ann Treacy
January 12, 2008, 12:03 am
Filed under: Belfast

I have to say that the girls should win some kind of award because they were very good natured and pretty well behaved about going on the second black taxi tour. The adults had loved the first tour so much that we called up Jimmy a second time to see what else he could show us – and he didn’t disappoint. (If you’re ever in Belfast you should call Jimmy for a tour: 077 079 49 578.)

I’m going to try to post the pictures and then make comments on each picture or group of pictures. If it goes well I might go back to the earlier post to see if I can add more there too.
These pictures are from St Malachy’s. The ceiling is one of two of its kind in Europe. The other is in Rome. They closed the church on Monday for two years for renovations.


We took a tour of east Belfast, which is a predominantly Protestant area. I think these were the 2 Catholic murals that we saw on our tour.

The following are the Protestant murals that we saw. We heard that the Protestants got ₤5,000 (that’s $10,000) to take down bad mural and put up new ones. I’m not sure how they defined “bad”. There was a serious of 6 or so murals we saw that were created with a ₤100,000 grant.

What I found significant was that many of the Protestant murals that we saw on our previous tour were very pastoral – these were not. These were placed more often in current day and had more urgency to them – much like the Catholic murals that we saw a few days earlier.

I actually took more pictures, which you can see on Flickr.

Here are a couple of sporting murals. One is of George Best (big soccer player who died a couple of years ago) and one commemorates some soccer game win against England.
belfast-sport.jpg belfast-geobest.jpg

The next pictures are of Van Morrison’s house (where he grew up, he now lives in Killiney not too far from Cabinteely) and Ina Paisley’s house – really you can only see the lane, but there it is.

Finally, we have pictures from Stormont, the Parliment Buildings in Belfast.


Deanes Restaurant by Ann Treacy
January 11, 2008, 11:05 am
Filed under: Belfast

After the Ulster Folk Museum, everyone else had a rest and I walked in horribly rainy-sleety weather to the Queen’s Quarter towards Queen’s College. There were a few nice secondhand shops and I enjoyed shopping – but I have to say the weather was ugly. It was fun to get a chance to walk around a bit. Belfast really is a lot more like London to me than like Dublin. The shops are shops I used to see in London, there’s less grass, and it just feels more like London.

Saturday evening we all went to eat at Deanes. It is a very nice restaurant and I have say that the wait staff was really nice about us showing up with 3 kids. In fairness we did phone ahead and we did come in early – 6:00. So we were leaving as most folks were arriving. ALso I have the say that aside from a lot of giggling the girls were very well behaved.

The food was amazing. It was the best fois gras I have ever had. And much to the delight of the girls I tried wood pigeon, which was good. (Not as good as fois gras, however.)

Ulster Folk Museum by Ann Treacy
January 11, 2008, 10:59 am
Filed under: Belfast

Saturday afternoon we headed about 10 miles out of Belfast to Cultra and the Ulster Folk Museum. It was cold. There was still a good amount of snow on the ground outside of the city center. We went through some nice parts of Belfast (Holywood) to get to the Folk Museum.

The Museum is like Fort Snelling back home in that it’s a reenactment of a town from 1900. You walk around the village and can walk through the various homes, businesses, churches, and public buildings. Apparently this place is packed in the summer. I can tell you it’s not packed on a cold, snowy Saturday in January – but we still enjoyed it.

While Patrick’s mom was clearly not a young girl in 1900, the girls were thrilled to hear that she had used many of the things that we saw in the cottages. She had made tea in a fireplace and she had used the lantern-type lamps.

There were chamber pots in the rooms of the poorer cottages and the girls though this was the funniest thing ever. (They took several pictures, which I will add below, for their cousins in Chicago.) The girls were sorely disappointed to hear that their Irish Grandma did not have a chamber pot as a kid.I nearly forgot about our fun conversation with the woman who worked at the shop in the Museum. She thought Dublin was the best place to visit. (Of course we thought Belfast was much more fun – proving that the grass is always greener.)

She grew up in Belfast and it was interesting to hear her talk about growing up in such a turbulent time. She said she was about 15 when the troubles really started (again) and so she had missed doing the stuff that most teenagers do – like going to the mall or dances or just hanging out. It kind of makes you think about the kids all over the world who have stilted childhoods because of turbulent times.

%d bloggers like this: