Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final days in Athlone

 The last few days in Athlone flew by. So many people to see and say goodbye to, Christmas festivities, wrapping up with Athlone Art and Heritage, finishing up the screen dance project with Lesley, and packing up our sweet little home on Strand St. Lots to do, but I couldn't have asked for a better final few days.
Mom and I went out to dinner at Left Bank Bistro with the Mac Gilloa Ri gang which is always a fun time. Great craic for sure, I love this family! 
 More packing and preparing for our move home, but interspersed with fun times! On our final full day in Athlone, we had a Christmas brunch at Sue's house with Denise and the kids in attendance. It was such a grand celebration, and the kids loved their Christmas crowns Misheala and I crafted for them!
 Cheers Aela! 
 Adorable kiddos! Miss them already
 After our fantastic Christmas brunch and tearful goodbyes with Sue, Denise and the kids, we headed to Abbey Road Artist Studios. Lesley and I finished a rough draft of our dance film and decided to have a small showing of the painting series she had started and the film itself. It was quite impromptu, but we had a good turnout of family and friends and it was wonderful to feel some sort of completion on the project before I headed back to the states! 
 Lesley and I - love this wonderful woman!
 Showing the film
 Good craic with our guests!
 Lesley, Catherine, and I. These women are brilliant artists who I have had the pleasure to get to know and work with while in Athlone. 

The sun began to set on our final day in Athlone after the film showing, so Mom and I decided to make one last trip out to the river to feed our beautiful swan family and say goodbye to one of my favorite places in Ireland. 
Although I only lived here for four months, Athlone is somewhere I know I will always call home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Misheala Visits!

So Misheala and I have a funny history. We are both lived in Oklahoma (she went to OU) and have quite a few mutual friends, but we never met until I was visiting Baxter in London (where she is now attending LSE) We instantly became great friends and I am so glad that she was able to come visit me in Ireland! Misheala is such a good sport, she stepped right off the bus and came to help out with our dress rehearsal of The Present assisting with music and lights like a pro! The Present is a little show that Mom decided to put on as our way of giving back to the Athlone community before we headed back to the states. Mom read some of her poetry, Sue (one of Mom's colleagues from AIT) sang a few songs, I danced a very improvised solo (we didn't realize that the already tiny stage at The Passionfruit Theatre would still have a set up from a play that weekend, so I had to get creative...) and the final and best part of the show was Paul's storytelling (he is incredible at captivating an audience, especially kids!) We also had a raffle to raise some money for the theatre which included not one but two bottles of whisky, a bit different from the raffles we have in the States! Sibdh had a great time pulling out the tickets though!

 The performers
 Me with the greatest impromptu stage manager - Misheala! 
 Of course we had to celebrate the show and Misheala's first night in Athlone with a pint down the street at Gertie Brownes!

The next day Misheala and I braved the cold wet windy day and hopped a bus to Galway.
The weather was pretty ridiculous... 
 But we had a good time eating at Ard Bia and walking around the soggy Christmas market in the square :)

 Back in Athlone, Misheala helped me craft some Christmas crowns for the Mac Giolla Ri kids!
 Custom crowns for Sibdh, Cuan, Aela, and a faery wand for baby Cassie!
 Other activities with Misheala included a grand night out at Seans Bar, and a hungover brunch at the Tea Room the next day, and some lovely walks all around Athlone! It was too short, but I am so glad we got to spend some more time hanging out, it was nice to have a partner in crime my own age for once!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Water Project

I am very lucky that my last few weeks in Ireland really have started to pick up with dance. I have been doing some workshops at the Athlone Artists' Studios, finished editing my screen dance Eala, and now will tell you about The Water Project! I contacted Melissa Hall Roy after she put out a call for dancers and was so pleased she could use me in her benefit concert to raise money for clean water in Cambodia. 

The whole concept of the show was really neat. There were 6 soloists dancing in a studio separated by curtains and we each had movement by Melissa that was inspired by different music and meaningful pictures of water. The "audience" walked through the studio into our different spaces as if they were walking through an art gallery to view the pieces. My solo was inspired by a picture of the River Jordan.
The project was such a wonderful success, and I am so glad I was able to work with Melissa and the other dancers. There were also a ton of adorable kids who came out, which is always nice! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I love how inexpensive it is to travel within Europe. It makes weekend trips to see old friends possible! Right after our excursion in Northern Ireland with Ron, I hopped a flight to see my good friend Taylor and her husband in Germany. Taylor's husband is in the military so the night I got in we headed right to a hail and farewell party to honor incoming and outgoing families from the area. It was a new experience for me, but very enjoyable, nice to spend an evening meeting meeting so many nice people!
 The next morning we headed out to explore their adorable town, Ladenburg. 
 I revert right back to being a high schooler with Taylor... (well let's be honest, I never really grew up haha)
 Later that afternoon we headed to Weinheim and met up with a few of Taylor's friends to wander around Christmas markets!
 That evening, the husbands joined us and we all went to more Christmas markets!
 The lights were so beautiful at night!
 The next day we headed over to Heidelberg.
 After some breakfast we hiked up to the Heidelberg Castle
The view from the castle is just amazing, I love the cute houses lining the river - so very German looking!
 Inside the castle there are all sorts of things to explore, starting with a few GIANT wine barrels :)
Also inside the castle is the German Pharmacy Museum. It was so interesting to see the old bottles, beakers and everything!
 It was a bit of a misty day, but nothing Ireland hadn't prepared me for haha so we enjoyed looking around
 There was even a Christmas market inside the castle grounds!
 After shopping around a bit we walked across to another beautiful view of the river and the castle again
Taylor, Chris, and I in front of the Heidelberg Castle
We headed down from the castle to shop around some more at, you guessed it, CHRISTMAS MARKETS!
 I love that even though it was a misty rainy day, there were still tons of people out and about enjoying the markets and warming up with gluvine!
I loved looking around Heidelberg, such a lovely town!
The next morning brought a beautiful sunshiny day so Taylor and I headed over to Speyer. 
 Another cute little German town, we had a lovely breakfast then wandered in and out of shops and around markets most of the day! 
 We went to check out the amazing Cathedral 
 Such a huge beautiful church! Less ornate than most of the Irish and English cathedrals I have recently been in, but still a massive grand building! 
We didn't spend too long in the cathedral since it was such a beautiful day we wanted to walk around outside enjoying it!
It was so wonderful to get to experience Germany and visit with Taylor and Chris and all of their friends! I only wish I had more time, I will just have to plan a trip back one of these days!