Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend log

Had a blast at badders on Thursday and back to the traditional curry with a few pints at the Glass House afterward. I'll so miss both of those and all my new friends when I move back home. Friday night went with Paul, Dave, Dave, and Carl to the Oktober Fest in Warrington(the other Paul and Dave couldn't unfortunately make it but maybe simpler that way). It was beer heaven with over 70 real ales, porters, stouts, IPAs, ciders, etc on tap. I can't honestly remember how many I tried but I know my original 9 half pint tokens were well gone (and by half pints it was usually 3/4 pint to be fair) and the lads kept going to buy more :-). Without dinner I'm surprised I managed that but I guess some of those beers were like a meal in and of themselves.

I had planned to go down and check out Cardiff yesterday but recovering from a thick head took most of the morning and then pretty unmotivated to go anywhere with the blah weather and cozy house. Maybe next weekend? I used the time instead to catch up on some mail, finish moving preparations, watch some shows, make some cookies, etc. Also wrote some letters and am shipping off some gifts for some of my friends who have had babies recently.

I'm not a big fan of TV but every so often my friends recommend something and I get hooked. Most recent case of this is Dexter. I've slashed my way through the first two seasons and am getting bang up to date. Quality show that...last one I enjoyed this much was Lost. Its funny how much time can be wasted on Youtube as well :-). I highly recommend searching for the Human Skateboard stop animations, truly hilarious.

As for movies, I don't see too many of those either but randomly watched The Wind That Shakes the Barley a couple weeks before my trip to Dublin which helped put a bit of perspective on things when I went to the Kilmainham Gaol. I give the movie an 8*, thought it was nice.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Spent an excellent weekend in the fine capitol of the Republic of Ireland. Arrived on Friday night and got soaked through from the rain in wandering Parnell street looking for the hostel. Didn't hit it off well with anyone the first night, but that was ok because I was shattered anyhow.

Saturday I set off early and spent about 5 hours in the National Gallery, who's collection really amazed me. This photo is part of the National goes on and on inside eventually merging into a newer galler with some really imposing modern architectural lines. Get to this area and see the Irish artists exibition near the cafe.

Things I liked:

Harry Jones Thaddeus - Market Day
Roderic O'Conor - Farm at Lezaven, Bretonne
Daniel Maclise - Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife
Signac - Lady on the Terrace
Beatrice Lady Glenavy - The Intruder
William Orpen - The Holy Well
John Laverly - The Artists Studio
William John Leech - Convent Garden, Brittany
Pietra Della Vecchia - Timoclea Brought Before Alexander
Also they have a magnificent Caravaggio there called The Taking of Christ that seems like it was recently re-discovered and is on loan through a private collection.

Later I wandered through temple bar...lots of street performers, shops on Grafton street, passed loads of cafes and pubs. Made my way to the James street for a tour of Guinness. This is very touristy but probably for the best considering how many people come to see this place. They've done some nice things with the old parts of the factory and displaying artifacts like all the old bottles or the 9000 year lease for the land. The vantage point from the gravity bar at the top is not to be missed.

Made my way back to the hostel to rest and see where people were going for the night. Struck up a conversation with a couple of guys from Newcastle who invited me to join them. We went to many pubs, my favorites being the Porterhouse (the red porter is top notch there) and Oliver St John Gogarty's with some great live music blasting through the place. From what I recall each had about 3-4 levels of lounges and bars...and some great beers, ales, porters, etc on tap. We also went to O'Sheas and The Brazen head, probably a couple others (gets hazy). We eventually ended up at "the Church" which really seemed creepy similar to Alma de Cuba in Liverpool. But I guess if it takes a nightclub to save a building and get young people back into church then I'm all for it.

These two pubs in Temple Bar are not to be missed:

Oliver St John Gogarty

The Porterhouse

I woke up on Sunday morning, thankfully safe back in my hostel bed with the vast majority of my cash being the the only thing missing (can blame no one but myself there). I stocked up on the great breakfast they include with the accommodation (the Bunkhouse), and set off to see a few more things before flying back to UK. Wandered around Trinity College, National Museum of Archeology, Kilmainham Gaol (very moving), Modern Art gallery, Chester Beatty library, walk around Dublin Castle, and one last stroll through temple bar. There was this terrific puppeteer with his ornery little marionette playing tricks on people, dancing, looking up women's skirts, so funny. Temple Bar is one of those districts you could go back every weekend for 6 months and check out the different shops and pubs, taking in the street performances, sounds trite but ahhh it was so cool!

A couple photos of the jail where many Irish revolutionaries were held and executed early 20th century:

A part of Dublin Castle, taken from nearby Chester Beatty Libary

The restored gate near the jail where you can find the modern art gallery: