Thursday, July 31, 2008
Following my theme of untraditional Irish sightseeing, I took her on the Sinn Fein Rebel Tour of Dublin. Run by the Sinn Fein Shop, a very enthusiastic guide leads a 2 hour tour around the old revolutionary haunts of the city, most of which you would otherwise just walk past without knowing how much history it holds. Although I got a bit lost in the dates it was a really fascinating tour, and the very small group combined with the glint in the eye of the guide really fires up the enthusiasm. We had a journalist stop by to take some snaps, and we were hoping to make it into the national newspaper as participants on a 'Terror Tour' of Dublin. Alas, the paper was rather kind, and I'm hoping that more people are encouraged to take part in the tour, despite the political leanings of Sinn Fein!
It was a rather lazy weekend from that point on, although I threw a Mexican party on Friday evening followed by a trip to the North coast of Dublin on Saturday. Saturday night was dominated by a spontanenous 'Homeless by Night' tour, followed by a rather classy trip to Eddie Rocket's Diner for dessert as everywhere else was closed. Suffice to say, we couldn't find a creme brulee, but the booth jukeboxes were a nice touch.
The weekend went all too quickly, but I think I managed to show Kristin the highlights and lowlights of Dublin. I even made the ultimate life sacfice: I took her to a vegetarian restaurant! Medals welcome.
This weekend I'm hiring a car with a group of friends and heading to the West Coast, home of rugged cliffs, wild waters and Gaelic speaking locals. We'll be staying in a small town called Lisdoovarna, home of Europe's largest matchmaking event! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisdoonvarna
More photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/24491659@N03
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I think they're trying to cover all bases...
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
On Sunday me, my flatmate Gergu and his father hired a car and did some sightseeing.
Next stop was the Neolithic passage graves of Knowth, with hundreds of beautifully decorated stones. Knowth has more than a 3rd of the total number of megalithic art works in the whole of western Europe, and it was well worth seeing, even if it just looks like humps of earth from a distance.
After Knowth we drove through some storybook Irish villages, with coloured houses and, of course, lots of traditional looking pubs and the odd fish and chip shop with nackers slouching outside. We walked through Kells (origin of the book of Kells)- a really pretty town- and drove past some similarly quaint looking places.
We dropped Gergu's father off in the tiny town of Glenlough, right on the Northern Ireland border, where he will work on a farm, and headed back to Dublin.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
It's been awhile since my last entry- I haven't had much time for computers lately.
Despite this, the city has come a long way in just 10 years. It's hard to imagine where I was walking was a literal war zone, with frequent bombs exploding and gun fire from both sides. One interesting, bad side effect of peace from this type of war is that there has been a dramatic rise in suicides since the ceasefire. According to the guide, suicide and hard drugs were virtually unheard of during the conflict, but now they are a very serious problem in Northern Ireland.
I walked back from the tour into the city, hoping there would be a lot going on when the parades finished. Alas, it was like a ghost town. Almost everything was closed, including bars and restaurants and it took me over an hour just to find something to eat in the city centre.
I took the train back to Dublin in the evening. The rest of the weekend was suprisingly sunny, although I wont hold my breath that summer has come!
Otherwise everything's going really well here. Tommorrow I'm going the theatre to see The Rat Pack, a Dean Martin tribute play and there's a festival on this weekend on the coast.