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Temple Bar Trad Fest by Ann Treacy
January 31, 2010, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Dublin

The Temple Bar Trad Fest has been going on this week; it celebrates traditional music. We haven’t done too much – but we did make it to the parade today and the outdoor ceili. The parade wasn’t too long, but it was very good. It was a little cold so we had front row seats. We were even able to follow the parade for a while. (I took a quick video.)

The super score of the day was that kids ate for free at the Tea Room today. It’s a restaurant in the Clarence Hotel. I think U2 still owns the hotel. It’s very nice. Definitely not the kind of place you expect for kids to eat free on a Sunday. I suppose that’s a reflection on the recession as much as anything else. Anyways we got a much nicer lunch than planned so we’re not complaining.

After lunch we went to the outdoor ceili, which was fun. I took another quick video. It was a little chilly but there were plenty of people watching and dancing. Next we headed on to the North side.

I’ve added a couple pictures of local art – one if just a graffiti mural from Smithfield; the other is a statement with the walls covered with pages from the recent report on the Catholic Church in Ireland and child abuse. We’ll see how long that stays up. (Could be down by next week; could be up a long time.)

Clontarf by Ann Treacy
January 31, 2010, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Dublin

So it gets to a point where the kids feel like they’ve seen *everything* because they have seen an awful lot of Dublin. So I decided we would go to Clontarf, which is really just in North Dublin – but somewhere we wouldn’t normally go. This doesn’t really fit into our day – but Bram Stoker, author of Dracula is from Clontarf.

One fun thing about heading to the North – especially near Dublin Bay is that we spend so much time looking at the Bay from the Southside. It’s fun to see everything in reverse and to see Dun Laoghaire and Bray in the distance. We started our trip at the Clontarf Castel, which is now a hotel. We had lunch. We saw suit of armor. They’ve done a good job making the hotel and restaurant nice and retaining glimpses of the old castle.

After lunch we headed to St Anne’s Park. It’s huge! I bet it’s really beautiful in the spring but if we wait until spring to see everything we’ll be watching a lot of TV. There are a lot of sport fields in the park, a playground, rose garden and some fun animal statues. There’s a market near some stables too – but sadly we weren’t there early enough to check it out. So we’ll have to visit again.

We walked down the coast road on the way home, looking out over Bull’s Island, a long island not far from the coast. You can actually drive to it.

I have to mention that the girls are amazing walkers. I’m sure we walked a few miles today – and no complaints. Really we rarely get complaints when we’re out until we get on the bus home. And my the time we get on the bus home we’re all tired and cold and sometimes hungry. We will love our car when we get home.

Samuel Beckett’s House by Ann Treacy
January 31, 2010, 6:56 pm
Filed under: Dublin

We (Patrick and I) have been on a big kick for walks since Patrick was jealous of my walk to Dun Laoghaire. I don’t know that he could have actually made the walk but he was jealous anyways. So Friday we walked through the Killiney Golf Course (straight up hill) and down to the beach. I don’t think it was really all that far to walk – but it was honestly uphill both ways. Actually it was fun. But you have to know where you’re going or at least be a good guesser. The closer you get to the beach the closer you get to some really, really nice homes. In fact we crossed the Vico Road (where Bono, Enya and others live) going from catwalk to catwalk to get to the beach. Sadly we didn’t have a camera.

I did bring a camera the on Saturday. We walked through Cabinteely Park (well that was out of the way but for folks who have visited us that will at least give you a general direction), through Brennanstown to Foxrock to the house where Sam Beckett grew up. It is a fancy walk. We saw horses, stables, the house where they have a dolmen in the garden, several embassies and some amazing homes. This time I did bring a camera.

In fairness to Patrick – Beckett’s house is not marked. Patrick had looked it up in advance. I took a picture of Patrick in front of the house – although I’m the one who actually read Beckett’s Trilogy. (Just had to fit that in.)

Bray One Acts by Ann Treacy
January 31, 2010, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Bray

On Patrick’s birthday we went to Bray for a nice dinner at Shelby’s and the Bray One Act Festival at the Mermaid. We saw Old Saybrook by Woody Allen. It was kind of funny; I’m not a big Woody Allen fan. The second plan, however was great – Forward to the Right by Lily Ann Green. It was the story of Joan of Arc’s last few days and the friendship she develops with her guard. It was an amazing play and acted very well.

Google Earth by Ann Treacy
January 27, 2010, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Online Adventures

People have often been amazed at how much we do in Ireland. Well here’s a secret, we do a ton over the weekend but we don’t do much during the week. In fact the weeks can get a little long for us – at least for me and the girls. So we’ve decided to spend one night a week learning something new on the computer. Last night we took on Google Earth.

Google Earth is cool! You have to download it, which seemed to take a long time to work but after that it’s easy. You can plug in a location (address, city country) and you’ll be “zoomed” there. So if you’ve been looking at Florida and you decide to move to California, the computer will sort of fly over the country to get there – you’ll see the land below as the computer moves to CA.

What you’re looking at is an aerial map. So you can see geographic and political details depending on how close you’ve zoomed in. You can zoom out enough to follow the Mississippi from start to finish or you can zoom in to see if anyone is parked in from of your house. Well, the pictures aren’t real time but you can definitely see if anyone was parked on the day that Google scanned your area. What’s also very cool is that people can post pictures and information at various places on the map.

We went to see the Hollywood sign, our house on Fairmount Ave (no snow in the picture!), Italy, Spain, Antarctica, you name it we went there. We went to Hawaii and the girls saw pictures of volcanoes erupting. We went to Glengarriff – where we are going to stay with my parents when they visit in May. We are super excited to go there now! We trekked to see how far the boat trip is from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead (Wales), which is a trip we’ve been thinking about taking.

So Google Earth gets 4 thumbs from us!

And speaking of maps … I walked to Dun Laoghaire today. According to Google Maps, that’s 15 km. (As I said, the week gets a little long.)

Feeding the Ducks in Kilbogget Park by Ann Treacy
January 26, 2010, 11:35 am
Filed under: Dublin

One of the things that always amazes me is how much work they do on the parks here. They have been working on the park across the street forever. The last time we were here they put in benches and built up a new soccer/rugby pitch.

Since we’ve been gone they’ve really been working on the steam that runs through the park. It used to be overgrown with brambles and litter – but they’ve cleaned it all up. It’s really quite pretty.

Aine and I feed the ducks there sometimes. Well, we try to feed the ducks but the seagulls are a lot faster and scrappier. Let’s just say we feed our feathered friends.

There are times when I wish I was a better photographer because all around the park you can see the Wicklow and Dublin Mountains. We can see Bray Head, baby Sugar Loaf, big Sugar Loaf (aka Poop Loaf – and if you’ve ever climbed it you know why) and others. Patrick tries to get the girls to remember the names whenever we’re waiting for a bus on the other side of the park.

Kick Start Festival in Dun Laoghaire by Ann Treacy
January 26, 2010, 11:24 am
Filed under: Dun Laoghaire

What do I love more than scavenger hunts? Not much. So I was super thrilled to see the there was a scavenger hunt at the Kick Start festival in Dun Laoghaire today.

The Kick Start festival is supposed to celebrate the darkest Sunday of the year. There are bouncy castles, face painters and crafts along with the usual market – and a scavenger hunt.

The scavenger hunt involved a trek around the pier and half of Dun Laoghaire – but that was OK we had planned a hike anyways. So we answered all of the questions. We had a wonderful lunch at Olivetti’s. The pizza chef gave the kids some dough to play with and make their own mini pizzas. That was a good idea and kept everyone happy.

We got our scavenger results in just in time to be eligible for the prize drawing. We won free passes to the local gym. The best news is you have to be over 16 – so I won a bunch of free passes. The sad news is that it’s at least a 30 minute walk to the gym.

Speaking of which – Kate asked if we could just rent a car for her birthday but at least she’s moved off the idea of us flying her home for the weekend!

Friday night at L’Gueuleton – Saturday shopping by Ann Treacy
January 26, 2010, 10:58 am
Filed under: Dublin

On Friday night Patrick and I ate our favorite French restaurant, L’Gueuleton. It was great. Then we had a drink at Grogan’s. Not much of a story to tell – but great food.

Saturday we went into town with Irish Grandma and went shopping. We got a ton of walking in. Patrick got some nice clothes. The girls and I checked out Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. I had some great seafood chowder. Again – not a great story but a good day.

Dun Laoghaire with the Jordans by Ann Treacy
January 26, 2010, 8:42 am
Filed under: Dun Laoghaire

OK I’m already falling behind but I will try to catch up today. Last Sunday we We went to Dun Laoghaire with the Jordans. Patrick went to school with Paul Jordan. The Jordan kids are just a little bit younger than ours. We have visited with them in Dromahair.

We had a great walk down the pier and a fun lunch at Café MAO. The nice aspect of a busy restaurant was that the kids sat at a different table, which was about the only way they were going to start talking – without parental prodding. But as you can see from the one picture taken in the restaurant – it worked.

After lunch we went to the Balckrock Market. I was up for walking but some of the wimpier members of the crew insisted on the bus. I ended up getting two dresses. Lily got an old penny from 1900. Also I know have plans to come back to get old pictures of Dublin for the house back home. The big debate is big or little pictures.

Young Scientists Exhibit by Ann Treacy
January 23, 2010, 12:29 pm
Filed under: Dublin

On Saturday the whole crew went to the RDS to see the Young Scientists show. It’s like a big high school science fair. I like what a big deal it is here. The winners are on the news and loads of local shows. In fact Aine recognized several of the exhibits because they had been on some TV program the night before. If it’s on TV, she knows it!

The winner created a smoke-free stove for use in third world countries. We also saw something on the science of playing the saw. We learned about microchips from the Intel booth. Aine learned about to perform some kind of CPR on a baby – so that’s helpful. We got to be in a clean room, which was fun because later in the week I had to do research on clean rooms for a client. Oh how science imitates life!

After the science fair we went into town. Due to colds and the cold the girls hadn’t been into Dublin yet. They were very happy to going into town. (We were not really born to suburban life.) We went to our favorite Market and had chocolate crepes. We saw some buskers as we raced through Temple Bar. We saw the Spire as we raced through the North side. The girls got jeggings (mix of jeans and leggings), which are a big trend here. I have to admit they looked better on than I thought they would.

We had lunch at Luigi’s Malones. I had heard that it was good for kids and it turns out that it is. They give American-size Diet Cokes. Also in their lower level you can see part of the original Dublin City Wall. The wall was part of a friary dating to 1260. Apparently two murders were committed in 1379 within the precincts of the Friary. We didn’t hear any ghosts, but we weren’t very quiet either.

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