Monday, August 29, 2011

Is leor don dreoilín a nead

 Translation: The nest is enough for a wren. 
Meaning: Home is where the heart is.
Welcome to our home sweet home!

When you enter our bright red door and come down the entryway you pass the guest bedroom on the left then enter the sitting/living/dining/everything room that looks into the kitchen!
The kitchen is filled with light coming in the window over the sink and the backdoor that opens to our little (think 4ft by 5ft) gravel step-out with the clothesline. 
Back in the living room you can see our very steep/narrow staircase with our sofa underneath, and we continue on upstairs.
View of the living room from the stairs...
The first door on the right upstairs is moms room. 
She has great built-in storage on one wall..
And an AMAZING view of the River Shannon from bed! Really, this picture does not do it justice. 
Then the next door is my little bedroom!
 Less storage with just the armoire but we got the little white storage cube at Ikea and this cozy little room is perfect sized for me!
And my view (although half a car-park) isn't too bad itself! 
Then at the end of our "hall" (I say this because it is really about 3 feet long...) is our tiiiny strange electric bathroom!
Really, this is the shower! Very low pressure, but it gets the job done!
And that's it for the tour of our home! I am excited to find cute little things to add to our nest from all of our travels and experiences!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kittys and Swans, Our Pets

We have un-officially adopted this sweet little orange kitty who lounges around the car-park outside our house. I wish we could get a real little house kitty, but I will just set milk out for this sweetie and hope he hangs around with me most days!
Walking back from the market today we saw another little alley cat soaking up the sun. Chances are he will be my good friend too.
 Then while enjoying the beautiful weather this afternoon just behind our house on the River Shannon, we saw a cute little family feeding the ducks and SWANS! 
 I will also have to come sit out here and watch the elegant beauties swimming around!
Our sweet "pets" complete our home!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Guinness Is Good For You

It totally is.
Mom and I enjoyed a few half pints at Gertie Brownes pub just up the hill from us. 
Cold, smooth, delicious. 
Like nothing you would expect, but everything you would hope for. 


My dance intensive with Irish Modern Dance Theatre wrapped up on Friday with a final showing of some of the material we worked on throughout the week. It was sort of thrown together, but there was a lot there, it ended up being around 18 minutes! It was an exhausting week, but jam packed with tons of creative sessions, technique classes, and a great working artistic environment that I had been missing for so long!
After exchanging emails and facebooks and saying goodbye to all my new Irish (and French) dancer friends, Mom and I headed out to find her colleagues who were waiting to take us to Ikea!

We spent hours upon hours getting sucked into Ikea-land touring the showrooms then deciding what all we needed for our little home. This part was a little hard for me because I hadn't seen our place yet, but I put faith in Mom's ideas of what we needed.

The "house" (I say "house" because that is what it's called here since it has its own front door, upstairs and downstairs, but in the US it would be a tiny town home or an apartment) is furnished but minimally, so we needed some homey touches. Moms colleagues are helping us out a lot though lending duvets, a drying rack for laundry, some towels, and other things that could have cost us a fortune. But we got to pick out our own bed linens and some lamps and such. 

By the time we loaded up all our goods and drove to Athlone, then switched cars, and unloaded at our house it was nearly 11pm and we were exhausted! But it was so exciting to see our little "house" for the first time. We are less than a block from the River Shannon, and we are in one of the oldest parts of town. These are our keys...
Did I mention the OLDEST PART OF TOWN! How cool!

 This morning we took it slow, working on Irish time as the locals say. I finally had a great nights sleep and woke up refreshed! It is so nice to be in such a cool-different-new place, but not be rushing around to see everything. Every time I have been away from home I feel like I constantly want to see the next big sight, or pack my days full because I will only be there a week this that and the other. But I am starting to really feel like we live here, it's weird! 

Mom's colleague and her husband came over in the morning and helped us figure out all the weird electrical things here (electric shower anyone?!) and then we went to the grocery store just down the street and they helped us tote our bags back in their car. 

Here is mom in front of our house before we headed out!
 And here is River Shannon (you can see from moms bedroom window, and is less than a block from house!) This was on our way to the shopping centre, our house is right behind the yellow building on the right! 
When we got back from shopping we had ourselves a little afternoon "cuppa" with some Baileys just to be festive...
 Then mom started cooking us some vegetable stew 
 while I started assembling some Ikea furniture to complete our home! 
 We enjoyed dinner in our little dining/living/everything room, then I braved the electric shower (it takes determination to get clean over here!) In a minute we are headed out to the pub down the street to check it out and get a beer or two before spending the second night in our new home! 
More pictures to come of our home when we are more settled! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Differences in Dublin

Its funny the things you start to notice that are different in Ireland. Its hard sometimes for me to keep track of what is different just for the Irish, because I am staying in a hostel with people from all over the place. But some things I have learned so far:

America        Ireland
     chips     -     crisps
    fries       -     chips
elevator    -       lift
restroom      -      toilets
comforter    -     dummy
   jacket       -     jumper

There are so many more, but for now thats what I can think of. Then of course there is the driving. I still get weirded out when I see a car moving but don't see anyone on the  "drivers side" And there are these funny little signs in the street reminding visitors to look for oncoming traffic in case you forget they drive on the other side of the road!

I walked over Liffey again today to go explore Trinity College a bit. 

 This part of Dublin reminds me of NYC. So many people trying to cross the street, people are set up on the bridge trying to sell tourists postcards and Ireland gear. 

 Trinity has a beautiful campus. Here is the front entrance.  
When you walk through the entrance you come onto a quad area. 

 It had started to rain a bit when I was there, but the sun came out shortly and I saw the most beautiful rainbow! Very Irish. 

Leaving the front entrance again, you have a beautiful view of the The Irish Houses of Parliament which is now the Bank of Ireland. Apparently they replaced beautiful stained glass windows with cement because glass used to be taxed so it was too expensive!

Walking back home I noticed just how many statues there are around Dublin of people who have done great things. 

Like these two along O'Connell St. The first one is James (or Jim) Larkin, a founder of the Irish Labor Party. The other is Daniel O'Connell who fought for Catholic Emancipation. 

Then there is this fun one of James Joyce down Talbot St. And these are just a few, there are tons around town, most of people I have never heard, but hopefully I will know soon! 

On to my last day of the intensive tomorrow! This week has flown by. I am excited to see Mom tomorrow and meet the faculty she has been staying with. We will explore Ikea in Dublin for some things to make our little apartment feel more like home, then head to Athlone! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DanceHouse and Sights in Dublin

Class with the Irish Modern Dance Theatre so far has been great. It feels so good to be back in my body (even if it is incredibly sore at the moment) and be dancing again. It is so interesting taking class here because Cheryl Therrien who leads morning class is from the US so when no one else is talking and we are just moving bodies in a studio its like I am back home. I love that dance is so universal. Even though these dancer sound different and have different ways of saying things (ex: "Ooooh Claudine, please tell me your bum is as stiff as mine, I had to take the lift this mornin'!" or asking me "You're in queue then, yeah?" meaning "Are you in line?") we are all experiencing the same things in movement.  

During the last hour of class on Monday, you know the time when your attention starts to fade and eyes wander out the windows, I saw beautiful tops of buildings in the distance and lush greenery from the second floor of DanceHouse and got really excited to go and wander about Dublin.

Luckily when I returned to my hostel and was looking over maps, unsure where to start in a city that has so many sights to see, my bunkmate Monique (who just happens to be an Irish history buff) offered to take me around!
As we walked down Talbot St it turned into a pedestrian market with tons of little shops and places to eat. The large spiky looking thing at the end is called the Spire. It was constructed in 2002 in place of Nelson's Pillar which was destroyed in a bombing by former IRA members in 1966. 

At the Spire, we turned onto O'Connell St. the main st. in Dublin.

Straight ahead on O'Connell was the GPO (General Post Office). It was headquarters to the Easter Rising leaders in 1916. You can look up in the columns and see bullet holes all over.

We continued down O'Connell St and passed loads more shops including Penney's which I fell in love with when I went back to look around today. It's like a huge Forever21, but its more of a department store so theres much more and its all pretty reasonable! 

We crossed over River Liffey and headed to look around the beautiful Dublin Castle, which Monique argues is not actually a castle, but a grand house rather.
Looks pretty castle-like to me! But she informs me I will see much grander! 

When we came back across the river we crossed the Ha'penny Bridge. Named because you used to have to pay half a penny to cross! 

Monique and I on the Ha'penny Bridge.

One final sight to see on our way back down Talbot St.
Bonavox. Yes that's a hearing aids store. Bono got his name from a hearing aids store. But Bonavox is a Latin phrase that translates to "good voice" so it makes sense! I can just see Bono walking through Dublin and stopping in front of this store thinking "I think Ill call myself that." 

Ah so that was it for our short walking tour of Dublin!  I went back out today for a bit and window shopped some more, but I am sore and exhausted so I didn't stay out as long as Monday! Ready for more dance tomorrow and hopefully seeing more sights and learning more interesting facts!