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Lily sings in French by Ann Treacy
June 22, 2010, 7:15 am
Filed under: Dublin

One of my favorite things about the girls school here is the impromptu events. The principal went to hear Lily’s class sing in French She enjoyed it so much she decided the parents should be invited to invited to a concert the following week.

Nothing beats a 20 minute concert that features your kid in every song!!

Dalkey Book Festival by Ann Treacy
June 22, 2010, 7:13 am
Filed under: Dublin

Patrick went to a bunch of events at the Dalkey Book Festival – such is the life of the full time student. I managed to get to a one talk. It was fun – and we met up with some friends of Patrick after the event. SO that was definitely fun. Also we went on Sunday morning to the general events. We even got a painting.

On the way to the event we walked through a hotel with a host of Angels – which accounts for most of the pictures.

Street Performer Festival by Ann Treacy
June 22, 2010, 7:07 am
Filed under: Dublin

One of our favorite things in Dublin is the Street Performer Festival – and the weather this weekend was amazing. We went to the Festival both days. Our highlights were the break dancers and the quick change artists, which we had seen on American’s Got Talent. The were kind of fun on TV – but amazing live. We were very close – as you can see from the video and I still don’t know how they could change so quickly. It was great.

There was a big world record set during the festival – the 1550 people on hippity hops. Sadly we were not a part of it. Patrick’s brothers are heading to town so I sort of knew we would have a difficult time getting there on time – but that was OK. It was packed so it was probably more relaxing to not be bouncing.

Instead of the hippity hops, we went to the Garden of Lights, which was a big structure almost like a bouncy castle but with tons of light coming through. The pictures from in there were very fun. If the girls become rock star we’re ready with their album covers. There structure was created by 5 French architects; there are a handful of similar structures touring for the summer. This was the smallest. It’s funny how relaxing it felt inside.

We did some of the art projects and played a ton of the wooden games, which was fun too. The best thing about the festival is the size. There are 11 stage areas, a giant whale, the Garden of Lights all centered around Merrion Square.

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Shakespeare, Thailand and Taste in Dublin by Ann Treacy
June 21, 2010, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Dublin

 Last weekend we had a fun and eclectic day. It started with Shakespeare in the Park – well it was light on Shakespeare but it was a perfect day for a picnic. After the picnic we headed to Thailand Day at the Chester Beatty behind the Dublin Castle. The dancing was very impressive and they were giving out free food – ribs and sticky rice. What could be better!

That night Patrick and I went to the Taste of Dublin in the Iveagh Gardens (in other words, outside). It was a ton of fun. It was expensive but loads of good food and wine. It was a glimpse of a demographic that has not been hit by the recession – or at least had chosen to forget it for the night. Lots of champagne and strawberries – or mojitos.

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Wexford for June Bank Holiday by Ann Treacy
June 21, 2010, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Wexford

After a weekend of rain, we went to Wexford for a night mostly just to have something to do. It was actually pretty painless to take the bus down to Wexford. The town seems pretty nice – but it was the poll in the hotel that drew us to Wexford and I think the pool was the real draw and I have to admit it was pretty good.

The weather was nice in Wexford so we got a chance to walk around and see the sites. You can see the pictures below…

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Raining again? Summer is here by Ann Treacy
June 8, 2010, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Dublin

We’re on day number three of rain. Sadly we’re also on day number four of the girls six-day vacation. (We’re also on the bus to Wexford to stay at a hotel with a pool so we no longer care about the weather.)

We went into town yesterday and it was a complete bust. I rarely write about our bad luck here so I thought I’d give a glimpse of the other side. We went into town for the Shakespeare Festival. They were doing readings on the hour in Stephen’s Green, which seemed kind of funny because Monday was also a big mini-marathon on town. I think they said 40,000 participated and it ended near the Green. SO it seemed like a strange place for a Shakespeare reading – but we had a brochure that we had picked up on Saturday.

Well it turns out that they had moved the Shakespeare events but the Festival people didn’t post signs or try in any other way to let the potential audience know. We figured we were just late for the first reading – and the specific directions given were, well not so specific – “central area, Stephen’s Green”. So we blamed ourselves for missing the first reading. The next reading was at the Yeats memorial – which is actually specific. So we were kind of annoyed when we got there and found only about 6 other people waiting for the show and one funny couple making out. We were annoyed enough to call he number of the brochure and they told us (in the pouring rain) that the events had been moved. Arragh. We tried to ease the pain with hot chocolates at Cafe En Seine. (Sad that hot chocolate would hit the spot in June!)

So we did kind of soak up the mini-marathon atmosphere, which was fun. Until we realized that we couldn’t get the bus home from the regular stop because it would have the bus going through the runners. So we followed the instructions for the alternate stop – but after 45 minutes (in the pouring rain) we realized that maybe the bus wasn’t coming. So we went to another alternate location – same thing. Eventually after walking about 30 more minutes (in the pouring rain) we got a taxi. The tricky part about getting a taxi we’re a group of five and most taxies can’t fit us in.

So that’s kind of why we decided to get the heck out of Dublin and we’re on the bus to Wexford.

Bloom & Maritime by Ann Treacy
June 8, 2010, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Dublin

This weekend is the Bank Holiday weekend in Ireland. Luckily we made the most of Friday because it rained the rest of the long weekend. But Saturday was beautiful.

We started by going to the Bloom Festival in Phoenix Park. It’s a collection of flowers, landscaping stuff and Irish food. The best part of course was the food. We got free samples of everything – from chocolate covered marshmallows to soup. It was a little bit like a mini State Fair. There were a ton of people.

After Bloom we went to the Maritime Festival on the other side of the city center. Luckily I had scored us free LUAS (metro-train) tickets for the weekend. SO we only had to walk about 30 minutes to get to the LUAS and then hope on to get to the docklands.

The Maritime Festival is much larger – happening on both side of the quays. So it didn’t seem as crowded. We walked by tons of booths. We tried brats and mini-donuts and Chinese food and the girls had ice cream. We went on board the Jeanne Johnson Famine Boat (aka coffin ship). It is a replica (or maybe refurbished original) boat just like the boat folks would have taken to America during the famine. You could see how cramped and terrible it must have been. It almost made flying seem more bearable.

There was a very cool looking naval ship – but I was the only one interested in waiting in the long queue to tour it. We took a side tour around the Grand Canal Docks, which is an area that’s been built up over the last couple of years. It’s a nice area that I hope will thrive despite the recession.

From the Gradn Canal Dock we hiked up to get the bus in Ballsbridge. I mention that only for the few folks who would be impressed with the length of that walk.

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Grand Canal Walk by Ann Treacy
June 8, 2010, 5:39 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Patrick still has some time on his hands these days. Last week we took a big walk around the Grand Canal. We started in Ballsbridge and ended up (accidentally) in Ballyfermot. I tried to take some pictures along the way.

We know the canal around Ballsbridge fairly well since I used to live in Ballsbridge. It’s a very high brow part of town. If I were ever thinking about moving to Dublin I would start by looking aorudn the canal, not necessarily in Ballsbridge but nearby. Being much more accustomed to the Mississippi, I like how narrow and calm the canal is.

We walked past the statue of Patrick Kavanagh and had to snap a picture. I took the same picture when we first met, maybe 18 years ago so it will be fun to see the differences. We walked by the birthplace of George Bernard Shaw. We walked through Baggot Street, Leeson Street, through Harold’s Cross to Dolphin’s Barn. Some neighborhoods are nice, some are mixed.

Patrick’s plan was to walk down the canal to the Kilmainham Hospital (Irish Museum of Modern Art) – but we missed the turn. Or rather he missed the turn and I foolishly followed him. We went farther than we should have and ended up in Ballyfermot, which is a rougher part of town. I kind of wish I had taken a picture, but it seemed like pretty bad form.

We’ve walked by load of council flats in the past and while I’m glad I don’t live in them they never really struck me. The flats in Ballyfermot struck. To start there’s a terrible eyesore that looks like a burned out apartment building – except people are still clearly living in there. Then the rest are better – but the area is so bleak.

Written in graffiti across several of the walls was “This is the Promised Land” in big, black letters.

It was midmorning when we walked through so I wasn’t actually scared or even very nervous – mostly I just felt terrible for anyone who had to live in that area every day.

We did run into a very funny pair. One guy walked into a wall and immediately blamed his friend for not giving him the heads up. He wasn’t holding anything, blind or busy – just walking. And the wall wasn’t hidden, it was attached to the just of the apartment building.

So after Ballfermot we did make our way to the Art Museum. I love that place. They had a new exhibit called something like “Not Waiting for Godot” that consisted of a gravelly ground, two sleeping bags with iPods; both with sounds of the beach and a woman talking. The speech is kind of Beckettian – but I don’t think it was actual quotes or anything – although I hardly know the play or Trilogy by heart.

Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory by Ann Treacy
June 8, 2010, 5:37 pm
Filed under: Dublin, Dun Laoghaire

Last week was the big production of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory by Johnstown Girl School’s fourth grade – featuring Kate O’Donnell as Oompa Looompa…

That night we celebrated the big performance with a walk down Dun Laoghaire Pier. They have opened the area near the lighthouse – so that was kind of a thrill!

Point Village & Samuel Beckett Bridge by Ann Treacy
June 3, 2010, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Last Saturday it rained, which was OK since we planned to spend the day at the mall anyways. Aine was invited to a party at Dundrum shopping center so we all joined her. Dundrum is a nice mall – but it sort of looks like any mall anywhere in the world. That being said, Aine had a great time at Build-a-Bear, and the rest of us got some clothes.

On Sunday we ventured out to the Point Village. There’s a new market there on the weekends. The Point Village a ways from the city center but the walk there is along the quays so we didn’t mind. On a sunny day it’s beautiful. Also we got to see the Samuel Beckett Bridge in action. The bridge is new; it crosses the Liffey – so any bridge crossing the Liffey has to be able to let ships pass. This bridge does that in the most unusual way – it moves. Not up or down, it rotates to a 90 degree angle so that it eventually is perpendicular to the original direction. I tried to get it on video. I did not move much while recording the video – keep that in mind for the first 30 seconds. The movement is the bridge, not me.

We read the next day that this was the first time the bridge had opened. It was just completed in December 2009.

Next we hopped down to the market. It’s pretty good actually. There were bands playing as part of the Dublin Soul Festival. (Side note, Patrick and I saw a few bands playing at Meeting House Square for the Dublin Soul Festival too after amazing appetizers at the Port House.) There was plenty of food and various other stands.

Eventually we made our way to a wonderful dinner at the Winding Stairs.

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