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St Paul Smoke Stack Falls by Ann Treacy
June 28, 2008, 3:26 pm
Filed under: St Paul

Today we woke up at 6:30 (on a Saturday!) to see them implode St Paul Smoke Stack. It was so worth it. It was the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while.

The smoke stack is part of the power plant. It was 574 feet tall. Dad worked the math and figured the stack would fall about 900 feet. They had piles of sand to help break the fall – although the tower completely missed them.

I can’t believe my luck I started running the video about 10 seconds before the smoke stack went down. First came the huge boom. Then in super slow motion the tower fell. Then a second boom as it hit the ground. Dust billowed up but blew away before it hit us.

The footage is taken from Superior Street (I think) – down from West Seventh on St Clair anyways – very near to where the TV camera were. We scoped out the perfect place last night. We were so thankful not to be on the high bridge – I think our view was better where we were and I think the high bridgers got the full burst of smoke stack dust. (Imagine washing that out of your wash and lungs!)

My body was shaking and my heart was beating for a while after the big event. My heat still jumps when I watch the video.

Forgot to add, we saw our neighbors the Howards there too. People were super friendly – but a little crazy. We were on the edge of a cliff – some people chose to hop the barriers for a closer look. Then we saw one crazy group on the roof of their house – never mind the houses in that area are about 100 years old. Luckily as far as we know the smoke stack was the only thing that fell.

American Girl Doll by Ann Treacy
June 28, 2008, 3:21 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Uncategorized

The girls, Betsy, Patrick and I planned to hit the town again and visit the American Girl Doll store. Sadly, poor Kate woke up super sick. Maybe it was the filthy dirty water from Millennial Park the day before.

Patrick took the girls into town. They went to the art museum. I was so jealous. Lily seemed to particularly enjoy American Gothic by Grant Woods. They saw In the Park with George too.

Kate and I hung out at Grandpa’s hotel room. The room was 2-3 times the size of the hotel room we had in London. It’s tough to meet America for comfortable hotels – with swimming pools.

Luckily Kate recovered in time for the American Girls (AG) lunch. The AG lunch is really a site to behold. It’s a 4-course deal. They have high chairs at the table for your dolls.

After AG we went to the Lincoln Zoo to meet up with the rest of the crew.

A good time was had by all and we finished the day off with a fun dinner in Greek Town – starring Saganki!

Downtown Chicago by Ann Treacy
June 28, 2008, 3:17 pm
Filed under: Chicago

We had a great day in downtown Chicago. We took the train. The train in Chicago is kind of double-decker – there are vertically 2 rows of seats. We walked past the Sears Tower. You can see the picture below of everyone at the foot of the Sears Tower and then everyone pointing to the top of the Sears Tower.

We headed to Millennium Park. The famous public art there is The Bean – a mirrored structure shaped like a bean that works a little like a fun house mirror. It’s great.

The kids’ favorite thing was the water display. I have a video below. It’s a two-story (that’s a guess) structure that shows changing faces that eventually spit water at everyone. Then water pours over the structure like
a waterfall.

The water has to be filthy dirty – but that didn’t stop Aine from trying to drink it. I thought Patrick was going to tie her to a tree; every time we turned around she was lapping it up like a dog.

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Flick Park by Ann Treacy
June 28, 2008, 3:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Once we got up the energy, we went to Flick Park – near Katie’s house. They have a playground, a swimming pool (I think) and fishing. The fishing was really the big hit with the kids.

The dads were able to able to manage the worm control and fish-throw-backs – thankfully! I think every kid caught a fish, including Bridie, who’s almost 3 years old.

Glenview is Clean by Ann Treacy
June 28, 2008, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Chicago

Last week we flew from Dublin to Chicago. The flight was actually very nice. We went through customs in Dublin – then we sat in a holding pen for 2 hours before our flight. That wasn’t the best but we could buy beer; so it wasn’t the worst either. Many of you know – I am not a good flier.

I have to say the take off was perfect. Twenty minutes in the air Aine asked when we were going to start flying. She didn’t realize we had started moving at all. The best part – we each got a TV/computer in the headrest in front of us. So the kids could watch Dora and I could listen to Led Zeppelin. (Strange rang of options, huh?)

My dad picked us up at O’Hare and we went to Katie’s house to see the cousins. We had Chipotle for dinner – at my request. It was the one food/restaurant I missed most.

We just kind of hung out for the next day or so. The jetlag was very minimal – but it was nice to just hang out. The kids noticed right away how clean Glenview is. I think that’s both a sign of its cleanliness and a side of the Dirty Old Town we didn’t talk about much.

Last night in Dublin by Ann Treacy
June 21, 2008, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Dublin

We spent our last day in Dublin packing and trying to tie up loose ends – not necessarily successfully. Patrick’s mom and I went to Dundram Shopping Center and had a fun and fancy lunch at Harvey Nichols. (I had to meet a client there anyways.) The girls went to school and all came back with nice cards and gifts from their friends. They were so sad. While we’re all looking forward going home it will be a little sad.

Despite the fact that we had about 200 things to do – we went to the Abbey to see Three Sisters. Originally by Anton Chekhov, this version was adapted by Brian Friel, who kind of ties into Patrick’s research. The play was long and OK. The big thrill was sitting by Colm Meaney; he was the dad on The Commitments and I like him!

One Step Beyond! by Ann Treacy
June 18, 2008, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Last night we saw Madness!!! We met up with our old friend John Newcombe. We had dinner at the Bleeding Horse pub. (The Bleeding Horse got its name because it’s a place where people from the country would stop with their overheating horses. To cool them off they bled them.)

Anyways – the show was great. I caught loads of it on video.

My dream concert would be Madness, The Who, Southern Culture on the Skids – and maybe El Vez. Of that group, I had never seen Madness so this was a big deal for me to go to the show.

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Girls hit Dun Laoghaire by Ann Treacy
June 18, 2008, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Dun Laoghaire

Monday the girls and I went to Dun Laoghaire. We had a nice walk down the other pier, we did some shopping and we had a tasty dinner at Café Mao.

We thought we might see some Bloomsday characters – but if there were any around Dun Laoghaire, I figure they were probably there in the morning as any remotely Dun Laoghaire scenes in Ulysses happen early on in the book. I took a couple of snaps…

Hunter’s Hotel and Avoca by Ann Treacy
June 18, 2008, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Wicklow

On Sunday we had out final outing with Fearghal. Patrick ditched us to see some archive of letters near Kilkenny. If he wants people to know more, he’ll have to start his own darned blog.

The rest of us went to lunch at Hunter’s Hotel in Rathnew, Wicklow. It is an old hotel. I think Lily put it best when she described it to Patrick “It’s old like Shakespeare – no more like Yeats.” Yeats was closer. I think it was built in the 1700s and has been run by the same family since 1820.

The gardens around the place were beautiful. The restaurant was very, very formal and old school. I felt like I was in school when the waitress came to take our order. I didn’t seem to do it quite right – but it was funny. The food was very good.

The best part of the dinner was when a bird flew into the restaurant. The staff was incredibly calm. One hostess calmly and quickly grabbed the bird with her bare hands but he got away. So then another staff member – the official bird catcher we assume – caught it and set it free outside.

After dinner we went to Avoca, the real life setting of Ballykissangel – a TV show that airs occasionally on PBS. What’s fun is that I’ve always wanted to visit Avoca. Fearghal has a knack for picking just the right place to visit. He’s good that way. We are going to miss Fearghal a lot when we go home. He’s been so generous to us while we’ve been here. In fact, the weekend we were in Dromahair, Aine asked her grandma if Fearghal missed us.

Last Saturday in Dublin by Ann Treacy
June 18, 2008, 3:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Saturday morning the girls and I went to the Book Fair in Cabinteely, which is the big park near the house. They got their faces painted. Lily was especially excited to see some of the children’s authors. I got to hear Cathy Kelly, Martina Devlin, and Pauline McLynn. The big thrill was Pauline McLynn. She is the housekeeper from Father Ted, we saw her (loved her) earlier this year in Taming of the Shrew, and I didn’t realize it but I had read one of her books – The Woman on the Bus, where the main character is named Treacy.

So I was like a semi- stalker trying to take pictures of her while lamely looking as if I was taking pictures of a kid (one of my kids again so as not to look like the stalker I was). Hopefully one of them turned out and I’ll paste it below.

We also got to peek into the big house in the park. The Cabinteely House was owned by the Walsh family, which ran the Irish sweepstakes. We didn’t tour the house but it looks as if it is partially restored and furnished. The guide told us that it is mostly used for movies now. He couldn’t be specific about which movies, because I think his movie knowledge was about on par with my own.

In the afternoon and evening Ailbhe’s family took all of the girls bowling and to play. The kids had a great time. It’s funny how the sort of thing we might do at home have become a super big treat here. Ailbhe’s family has a car, which is now almost a novelty to us!

While the kids were off, Patrick and I went into town. We left in the afternoon and stayed past the last bus. We saw the Street Performance World Championship, which was great fun! The acts were amazing and/or funny – sometimes both. I have a ton of video so I’ll add that below.

After that we walked around town. The weather cool but dry – which is Irish for amazing weather – especially after last summer of 40+ days of rain in a row. We had dinner at our very favorite French restaurant. Sadly they changed my favorite item, which just took me back to 1989 when they took the barbeque pits off the menu at Baker’s Square – but I’ve learned to move on and the dinner was wonderful despite the poor decision making of the chef.

Later we met Conor and Sophie (classmates of Patrick) in town and visited a couple of pubs. It wasn’t a big rousing night but it was fun. It was amazing how light it was at 10:30 at night. It felt like 7:00, which is maybe why we ended out so long.

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