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A Day in Dublin: the Science Gallery Fail Better exhibit by Ann Treacy
March 12, 2014, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Dublin

The girls and I finally had a day in Dublin to do anything we wanted. (OK anything I wanted.) We started with the Fail Better exhibit at the Science Gallery. It was a collection of failed experiments. Here are explanations from my favorite two failed experiments…

  1. In 1965, George and Charlotte Blonsky, a married couple living in New York City, were granted US patent #3216423 for an “Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force”. When a woman is ready to deliver her child, she lies on her back on a circular table. She is strapped down. The table is then rotated at high speed. The baby comes flying out. This is intended to “assist the under-equipped woman by creating a gentle, evenly distributed, properly directed, precision-controlled force, that acts in unison with and supplements her own efforts”.
  2. It was trumpeted as “the building with more up top”, a swollen pint glass of a tower that bulges out as it rises to pack in more offices at the lucrative higher levels—all topped with a Babylonian sky-garden. What the developer of 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London had not bargained for was, that like every Bond baddie lair, the Walkie-Talkie building would also come with its own lethal death ray. In the summer of 2013, the concave south-facing facade of the 34-storey tower was found to channel the rays of the sun into a concentrated beam down on to the street below, so hot it melted the bumper of a car, scorched shop carpets and bubbled their paintwork. One passer-by even managed to fry an egg in its heat.

After that we trekked around town visit lots of shops and checking out favorite places like George’s Market. Aine and I checked out the Maker Shop, where she got to solder a homemade flashlight and we got a few minutes with the National Gallery. The older girls got in a little shopping – or maybe just hung out at a coffee shop, we’re not really sure. But everyone had a nice break from bubble wrap and each other!

Short trips around Dublin while I plan to break all of the plates at home by Ann Treacy
March 11, 2014, 10:30 am
Filed under: Doon, Wicklow

So after the funeral we spent a lot of time packing up Patrick’s mom’s house with the Australian contingency. We threw out things like a broken crib in the attic that had to be 40 years old and bubble wrapped about 1000 plates and knick knacks. So my plan when I get home is to break all of the plates I own and we’ll be eating off paper for the rest of my days. To be fair, I’m not really one for knick knacks anyways but man bubble wrapping will curb any saver tendencies. The girls can just fight over the mostly modern art on the walls and the backlog of laptops from days gone by.

Between the packing we did get in a few walking trips and visits.

We went into town for the markets and cupcakes, we went to Howth to see the seals, we went to Dun Laoghaire to walk the pier, Aine and I walked from Bray to Greystones and finally we found ourselves in Powerscourt and Glendalough – where the terrible St Kevin pushed the beautiful Kathleen into the lake. Uncle Michael had a car – a car for us in Dublin is a very rare treat. It was fun to be able to get to places so easily.

Return to Dublin for Irish Grandma’s funeral by Ann Treacy
March 11, 2014, 9:48 am
Filed under: Dublin

Irish Grandma died quite suddenly. The good news is that Patrick and most of his brothers were home for Christmas. We got the call mid-February saying she was sick. She died February 20. The girls had never really been to a full funeral before. I hadn’t been to one in Ireland. The greatest difference is in the removal the night before the funeral. We went to the funeral home where we went to see the body in the open casket. The crowd is kept to pretty immediate family. Everyone prays a little and then they cover the casket (some of us left the room) and move the body from the funeral home to the church.

Then there was a nice service at the church and a small dinner, again for immediate family at a local restaurant. We rode up to the events in the limo – not the most comfortable place to be although the driver was very nice. (The limo was comfortable, just the idea of it was uncomfortable.)

The following day was the funeral. Patrick gave the eulogy. Kate and Aine brought up the gifts. Lily and I each did a prayer of the faithful. It was funny to see Patrick and his brothers squish into the front pew. Let’s just say they may have fit into one pew back in the day – they’re a little big for it now.

The burial was different from home too. First the coffin is pared down – not the huge not-coffin-shaped coffins we have back home. Second, it is lowered down (more by hand than machine like at home) during the burial. It seems a lot closer. The girls did a good job holding it together for the whole event.

After the burial was a very nice luncheon at a local hotel – no church lady hot dish deal. This was fancy. And after lunch the crowd shifted to the bar. We were there (with kids) until about 11 pm. It was the first time I had met any of Patrick’s family outside of his brothers and their families. I’m including the pictures from the luncheon so that the family can access them.

Back in Dublin for a few days: old friends and sunshine by Ann Treacy
March 8, 2014, 11:40 am
Filed under: Dublin

Mary and I spent the final days of her holiday in Dublin. We met up with some of my old friends. And over the next week or so I visited lots of places by myself. I’m just going to include all of the pictures here. The weather was great. It was so much fun to spend time with old friends. I got a ton of walking in, which always makes me happy.

Ladies Day in Dublin: Mini Maker Faire by Ann Treacy
August 13, 2012, 1:34 am
Filed under: Dublin

On Saturday Patrick went with his mom to London to visit his brother – so the girls and I hit the town. We went to the Science Gallery to the Mini Maker Faire. The focus is on learning how to make things – especially for kids. It sort of echoed a main theme from the TED conference – the whole idea of being able to make things, to invent, to innovate is very strong. It’s always fun to meet folks who do make things – because to me making something is so far out of my field of scope. I’m much better at writing about things getting made.

The coolest thing we learned about was a product called Sugru – it’s like play dough that hardens like plastic. So it’s amazing for fixing or improving thing. So for example you could easily attach a video camera to a helmet with Sugru.

We also saw tons of masks and crafts and musical inventions. And we learned about some of the sessions the Science Gallery has been having where interested residents can talk about, plan and implement ideas to make the city better. One idea I loved was the idea of co-cooking. Taking cooking stations to different communities to teach people how to cook healthy meals. How smart!

We also walked all over the city. Lily took loads of pictures. We ate at some fancy-ish place where Lily ordered a super foods salad. It had to be really good for you because it tasted disgusting. The truffle chips on the other hand were quite good.

Swimming at 40 Foot by Ann Treacy
August 6, 2012, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Dun Laoghaire

Just to make sure that everyone is appropriately impressed, here’s a little background on the Forty Foot from Wikipedia…

The Forty Foot is a promontory on the southern tip of Dublin Bay at Sandycove, County Dublin, Ireland, from which people have been swimming in the Irish Sea all year round for some 250 years. … The opening section of Joyce’s Ulysses is set here, with the characters Stephen Dedalus and Buck Mulligan being partly based on Joyce himself and Gogarty, respectively. [

So today the girls and I set out with our friend (from my MA program years ago) Taura to swim at 40 Foot. It used to be that 40 Foot was a place for naked men – only. Now swim suits are required and women are allowed. It’s cold – really cold – both the water and the air outside the water. And for a special treat there are jelly fish in the water. The bluish purple ones are OK. The brown ones are dangerous. Going in I saw a blue jelly fish. On the way out I saw a big brown jelly fish. We heard a story of someone getting stung last week – and we saw several apparently seasoned swimmers turn back due to jelly fish scare.

Taura, Aine and I made it into the water. To be fair, Taura was the only one who really swam. And I don’t know how as I lost feeling in my arms after about 2 minutes. I will say that I went completely into the water, which is something I rarely do in Dublin.

We capped off the expedition with a fun dinner in Glasthule. We went to a pub with Indian food. Yum!

Tour of the Liberties by Ann Treacy
August 3, 2012, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Dublin

We did the free walking tour of The Liberties. Pat Liddy gave the tour – his a tour guide of some note. There were more than 100 people on the tour – all Irish and all with blue hair. It was an interesting route. Well Patrick and I found it interesting. The girls not so much. And I think it was made less interesting with bad weather about every 15 minutes it would absolutely pour. One really nice thing was that the Viking Splash tour people saw us in the rain and gave out free rain ponchos for free. So that was really nice.

So here are snippets from the tour –

The Liberties are a series of areas in Dublin that in the 12 century were made regulation-free area. Or at least there were left to create their own regulation and structure and were absolved from regular Dublin regulation and taxes. Subsequently the areas and people from the areas are generally considered to be pretty independent, take care of it ourselves kind of people. The liberty we walked was West of St Patrick’s Cathedral – near Kevin St, Thomas St and Newmarket. It was an area of weavers. And has always had an industry focus.

We also stopped by The Coombe – former location of a big hospital. There is a memorial of sorts from the hospital – the old front stairs I think. The stairs now contain etched names of the characters from the day – such as Stab the Rasher, Bang Bang and others. Many people on the tour remembered the characters named.

Famous people from the area: Brenda Flicker and Imelda May. I think Patrick was very sad that we didn’t run into Imelda May on the tour.

We lived sort of near this area near Christchurch 20 years ago and have a couple of friends in the area. It is a very Dublin area.

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