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Black Church by Ann Treacy
May 31, 2010, 2:35 pm
Filed under: Dublin

So Patrick is done with his dissertation and he’s finding that it can be a little boring to sit around Cabinteetly all day. So we’ve been going on adventures. (And then I spend all night working to catch up with work.)

One day last week we headed up to the Black Church. The Black Church (actually St Mary’s of Ease) was built in 1830. Legend has it a person walking anti-clockwise with one’s eyes closed, two or three times around the church at midnight, reciting the ‘Hail Mary’ backwards will meet the Devil. We weren’t there at midnight. And somewhere Patrick heard that if you walk around three times clockwise that it’s good luck. We walked it – but so far I’m not feeling the luck.

The church as you can see from the pictures is black. It’s no longer used as a church. It’s now offices – and they’ve painted it very white inside. It looks pretty nice.

On the way to the to the Black Church we stopped by the King’s Inn on Constitution Hill. It’s a very old part of Dublin. In its day it was a very fashionable area – but not it’s all but derelict. You could see the former elegance of the buildings in the detail – when you could see around the boarded up windows. King’s Inn is designed by James Gandon – yes Patrick has dragged me to enough of these buildings that I actually recognize the names of the architects. I think the builds are still a law school.

After the Black Church we went to Trinity to see some dinosaurs. Apparently they’re in the geography building. We didn’t actually see dinosaurs – but we did see a giant moose-type skeleton. And as you can see from the pictures, we found the largest working door.

I nearly forgot our bonus lunch. We went to Cleary’s on O’Connell Street for lunch. Cleary’s is actually a department store but I had heard that the rooftop restaurant was kind of fun. Well as soon as we got there, they were giving away some vegetable slicer. Patrick was thrilled and sat through the whole State Fair-esque pitch. He received a free slicer and juicer for his efforts. And the lunch was pretty good. It was cheap (by Dublin standards, which doesn’t really mean cheap by MN standards) and good.
 

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Sea Point on a Sunny Sunday by Ann Treacy
May 31, 2010, 11:57 am
Filed under: Dublin

Saturday night Patrick’s advisors was kind enough to invite us for dinner. We had a great time. They give some of the best dinner parties ever – but it was a late night so we were glad to have an easy plan for Sunday. And what could be better than relaxing at the beach.

We headed down to Monkstown for lunch and then to the beach at Sea Point. This is very near to where we stayed last summer for a few weeks so the girls know the area well. It’s really a beautiful area – although maybe a little less beautiful when the tide is out, which it was.

When the tide is out the beach is very mucky – but Lily and Aine didn’t seem to mind too much. Even Kate got into the swim eventually.



Dead Animal Zoo by Ann Treacy
May 31, 2010, 11:31 am
Filed under: Dublin

Last weekend we went to the Natural History Museum – aka dead animal zoo. The Natural History Museum has been closed for a few years because (sadly) a staircase collapsed while some teachers were taking a tour. So that was a sign that maybe they should fix up the place a bit.

It’s kind of a funny place. It’s home to a ton of stuffed animals – real taxidermy animals. The first floor is filled with Irish animals – that where I got the great picture of the basking shark. (I have a whole new interest in basking sharks after hearing someone speak about them at the Science Gallery a couple months ago.) Upstairs are animals from all over the world.

I was in the Natural Science Museum years ago – I remember it being very dusty – but I have to say it’s not dusty at all after the big clean up. It’s still kind of a funny place. I’ve tried to include some typical poses. We wanted to include a few of the more gruesome for Grandma and Molly. Its’ definitely the stuff of nightmares!

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Pint and Protest by Ann Treacy
May 31, 2010, 7:48 am
Filed under: Dublin

So there’s a new thing in Dublin – the Tuesday evening protests. It started when I was in Minnesota. Apparently the first one got a lot of publicity because someone got hurt.

The protest is kind of a hodge podge of people who think the government stinks. I think the main theme (if there is one) is the Right to Work. So it’s the labor union types that are attending. They have the protest in front of the Dail (where the legislators meet). The funny thing is that while the Dail has plenty of security, they seem to be resistant to close the gates during the protest. So the first week there was a minor storming of the Dail, which ended up with some woman getting hit – and injured. (She featured prominently in the speaker list of protestors on the day we went.)

So anyways, we hadn’t really planned on attending the protest – but we sort of walked by the scene of the incident just as they were getting ready. We weren’t sure of the time – but I was able to call Lily and she could do an easy search on Twitter to find out that the festivities started at 7:30. So we went into Buswell’s for a pint while we waited. (Buswell’s is a pub right across from the Dail.)

So it was kind of fun. I ran into a woman in the bathroom dressing up as Marie Antoinette. She was one of the speakers. She sat in the pub for a while and kindly let me take her picture. In fact after I asked a hoard of folks got their phones out for photos. (I think that picture was probably a highlight.)

The police were ready for the protest. There was plenty of security – some on horses. But is wasn’t say as outrageous as the Republican National Convention – so machine guns or storm troopers.

So we stayed and watched. It was kind of interesting. There were two woman protesting police brutality – I think they were just trying to stir up trouble (Not that I’m pro police brutality.) but when folks were marching away they tried to get people riled up enough to take some kind of action – like storm the Dail like the week before.



Marino Casino by Ann Treacy
May 31, 2010, 7:39 am
Filed under: Dublin

I think Patrick needed a day off once I got back from Minnesota. So on Tuesday we voyaged out to the North side of Dublin. We went to Marino Casino. (Not a real casino – casino being Italian for little house.) It was designed by William Chambers for James Caulfield. It’s kind of a cool house – but I have to say the best part about it is how much the staff working there seem to love the house. Patrick may have been inherently interested in the house – but it was the enthusiasm of the tour guide and groundskeeper that got me into it.

One of the cool things is that the house is symmetrical. From the outside it looks as if it would be one giant room – but really it’s split up into four floors and there are several rooms on each floor. The original owners would have had a big house not far from here, more in town. So it wasn’t a place to sleep so much as a place for day trips and to show off artifacts he would have collected touring through Europe. The hardwood floors are striking. They aren’t ornate so much as just patterned.

The funny thing about the people was that when we left the groundskeeper was super encouraging about the job situation. I suppose he thought that we were making the most of our unemployment.



Garda Memorial Garden by Ann Treacy
May 30, 2010, 11:17 am
Filed under: Dublin

I went home for a week. Not too much to report from Minnesota. I worked most of the time. Though I had a couple of fun meals and actually went out one night. While I was gone Patrick’s grandfather (John O’Donnell) received a nice memorial. Patrick’s grandfather died when we was about 40 – so clearly Patrick never met him. He was a policeman and died after saving two women from a capsized boat. Sadly after saving them, he hit his head on a rock and drowned.

Anyways flash forward 60 years and the opening of the memorial garden for members of An Garda Síochána killed in the service. Apparently 82 cops were honored. The Taoiseach was at the service. The girls said the service was very nice and they got to at least see some cousins from their dad’s side of the family. Although apparently they didn’t really talk much. It’s one thing that seems very different here. People don’t talk to their family – especially extended family – nearly as much as back home. In fairness, back home we probably talk to family more than most, but still I think there are fewer or at least looser connections here.



Ewe Sculpture Gardens by Ann Treacy
May 21, 2010, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Glengarriff

We spent a fun afternoon at the Ewe Sculpture Gardens just outside Glengarriff. We had read that it was fun for kids – but I have to say we all enjoyed it. It’s difficult to explain. It’s an interactive sculpture garden. There are parts that tie in with poetry some with ecology. Some of very nuanced and some are huge. It seems as if the owners of the property are artists and the garden is a continual work in progress.

They had the whole Calf Path poem (by Sam Walter Foss), which I had been reciting since we started driving on the roads that were cleared paved calf paths. They had the super creepy The Spider and they Fly poem – near a giant spider and web. They had some fun games and lots of other poems. There were milkmaids made of plastic milk jugs.

The garden opens up into a field that slopes up to the mountains and there are sheep up in the mountains – that adds to the effect. There’s a little river or really creek running through the yard, which you can hear from just about the whole garden.

It’s a very calm, very interesting place.

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