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February 5, 2009

A seaside stroll

This walk is so lovely I did it a few times. Bray is a pretty little suburb of Dublin and easily accessible by train. There's an art gallery with a very yummy cafe and some cute shops and other ways of spending too many Euros, but the best part of Bray is the seaside and the long walk to Greystones.

There are two sets of photos in this entry. The first is from a walk I did with Sue-Li waaaaay back on Feb. 21st of 2008. (I wonder how many years its going to take me to finally post all the photos of my 3 years away!)

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Part of the trail had been closed. We couldn't figure out why and so continued along the seaside path. When we saw this, the reason was suddenly quite clear:

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This next set of pictures are from a sunny version of the walk. This time with Monika, Ashley (more of them here) and Peter. Somehow though, I managed to take no photos of people, just scenery.

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Oh... and by the way. I said this was going to be a series about Dublin walks, but I forgot that I'd already posted the other walk way back here.

January 15, 2009

A Hike in the Dublin Hills

See, I told you I was basically lying about no more Dublin photos. This is the first in a mini-series on lovely walks I did just outside of the city. I have Peter (my ex-Dublin housemate) to thank for these photos. I never would've made it into the hills to take these photos if he didn't drive me up here and show me the trail. This is one walk I didn't see in the guidebooks.

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January 3, 2009

The Final Dublin Entry

Well, okay. Maybe the title is a bit of a lie... but not entirely a lie. I do have more photos of Dublin, but they are mainly from side trips just outside of the city.

So, see... I'm not really lying.

This first set are once again from my walks from my home to the city center.

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In early May Monika and Ashley, my friends from Kitchener, came for a long awaited visit. It was a great excuse for me to get out and do some proper tourist sites such as Dublin Castle.

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(Ashley on the left and Monika on the right)

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St. Steven's Green

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And what's a trip to Dublin without a photo-op with Oscar?

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The Liffey

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Jamie Lidell at the Academy

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This place always made me giggle:

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And finally, photos from my very last night in Dublin before I gave up my home and flew away to Italy.

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January 1, 2009

Another New Year...

Happy New Year everyone!

So, I gotta say... I find it a bit strange to still be blogging even though I'm no longer travelling. Is it lame to keep a travel blog while staying in one place? Keeping this blog meant a lot more to me in my travels than I thought it was when I started, and since I wasn't able to keep it updated as much as I'd have liked when I was on the move, I think its finally time go backwards and fill in some gaps. Since I was blogging about Ireland before my 5 month blogging break, I think I might as well start from there again.

This entry is dedicated to Dublin.

This photo was taken in the wee river that ran through the park by my house. Once (a very long time ago) this river was the main source of drinking water for Dublin. Now, its mainly used as a place to toss your rubbish. I think the bike is the most impressive cast off I found in my time in Crumlin.

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What's a blog about Ireland without some pictures of potatoes?

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Due to Dublin's terrible bus service I spent many hours in Dublin walking back a forth along the canal to and from the city center. Luckily, its a pretty walk.

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Various photos of the city center.

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(Yes, that is a bullet hole in her breast)

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(Inside the Globe Bar)

The first time I saw snow while living in Ireland.

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July 26, 2008

The Cliffs of Moher (day 2)

I came back to the Cliffs because there was a beautiful walk along the coast that I just had to do. Should you find yourself out here wanting to do the same trail, look for the big sign that says, "DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT", and then follow the trail that goes behind the sign. You'll know you're on the right track because you'll see a lot of warning signs and suicide hotline notices. You think I'm kidding... I'm not. If you do take this path, do be careful. Loads of people do it safely every day, but every once in a while...

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July 25, 2008

The Cliffs of Moher (day 1)

This set of photos were taken on the same tour that I blogged about yesterday (the Burren tour). I fell so in love with the area that I had to go back again. I'll post photos from the second visit soon.

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(You can just make out The Aran Islands on the horizon)

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To learn more about the Cliffs, have a peak here and here.

July 24, 2008

A bus tour of County Galway and Burren

I did this tour way way back on the 15th of May.

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tick tock ... tick tock

My goodness... It is so so so so very strange to think that I now have less than two months left before I move back home. At this point I've been travelling 2 years, 6 months and 17 days. Much much longer than I originally thought when I started planing my time away. I think my original estimation was a year to a year and a half. I have so many mixed feeling when I think about coming home. Firstly, I feel very excited. I'm so looking forward to being close to my family and so many of my friends. Very simple things like stocking up on groceries and having more than one pair of jeans also seems quite thrilling. Not having to think about where I'll be sleeping next month, next week, the next day... How relaxing that sounds! Of course it won't be all that relaxing to be home since I've decided to go back to school and retrain in a completely new field. And of course that's when the next emotion comes into play. Nerves. What if I don't like school? What if I get bored of staying in one place? What if I decide that moving back to Canada was a mistake? Of course, I'm more excited than anxious, but I can't pretend that I'm 100% confident about my decision. Oh, and there's that other nagging emotion, sadness. There is going to be so many things in Europe that I won't have had time to see. Even though I've been here for a little over a year, finances and the time I've spent working has interfered with my desire to see everything I possibly can. But Europe will still be here, right? I can come back another time to visit some of the places I've missed, revisit some that I would like to see again, and of course see the wonderful friends that I've got over here that will be sorely missed.

Sigh...

I am very very lucky to have lead the life that I lead. I wouldn't trade any of it for anything.

K.
So...

Its been a bit since I've blogged, so I best do a little re-cap. When I last posted photos, they were of Galway and the Aran Islands (Inishmór actually). After that it was back to Dublin, up to Belfast and then a flight from Dublin to Rome. May 29th to June 18 were spent in Italy. I managed to visit Rome (of course), Naples, Pompeii, Florence, Bologna, Venice, Pisa and Cinque Terre (photos to follow ...
someday ...). After Italy I flew into Liverpool and spent the weekend with new friends, then to London to visit old friends. Glastonbury provided the perfect setting to celebrate my birthday and the two-and-a-half year anniversary of my first flight to this tour. After cleaning Glastonbury's mud off me back in London I hopped over to Stratford-Upon-Avon, Bristol and Bath.

Strangely enough, I am back in Galway again. As I am always in need of more Euros and with a month left on my work visa Irish work visa, returning to Ireland was a necessary choice. Spending a month in another city seemed a little less boring than going back to the same old thing. Galway is at its busiest in July. The Arts Festival is in full swing and the last week of July is horse racing time. There are thousands of tourists coming to town and plenty of work as well, so here I am.

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Now its July 24th. The top part of the entry was written 10 days ago. I kept meaning to sit down and finish this entry, but I was distracted by friends, the arts festival and work. Ah well... I'm in Killarney today and have about an hour to kill before my bus back to Galway, and so I will get this posted now.

I was posting about Galway and Inishmore and I still have some photos of my day trip to the Islands to be posted... And so...

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Dún Aengus. Built in 1000 B.C. or earlier and has been called, "the most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe." Need I say more? If so read on here.

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May 28, 2008

A Day trip from Galway (The Aran Islands)

There are three islands off the coast of Galway Bay, the most popular, the largest, and the one I choose is Inishmore. I got on the ferry somewhat early in the morning, rented a bike upon arrival and set out to explore the island for the day.

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(coming in on the ferry)

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Above is where 90% of people rent their bike, so I walked the extra 5 min to the next shop. As a result, my bike had better tires and was easier to pick out in a crowded bike park.

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(The ruins of an old church)

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The remains of the Seven Churches. Don't be fooled by the name, there were never seven churches standing here. Seven in a powerful number in the old Irish pagan beliefs. There are several old churches around Ireland named Seven.

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(When I found this cute guy on someone's front lawn I suddenly became sad that I never had a pet donkey.)

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Above is a beehive hut. These were built by monks as a private retreat and look much like an igloo from the outside.

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(The beehive from the inside.)

May 27, 2008

Adventures in Galway (part 2!)

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(graffiti artist at work)

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(Galway's much lauded Spanish Arch)

May 26, 2008

Adventures in Galway!!!

Man... I wish I would've gone sooner, but I'm awfully glad I made it over to Galway before running off to Rome. For those of you who don't know, I'm leaving for Roma in two days, (Thurs. May 29th). I've given up my Dublin home and will be following my nose for awhile.

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(Oscar Wilde, not quite as nice as this Wilde)

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(Eyre Square)

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(River Corrib)

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(Galway Cathedral)

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(Quay Bar)

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(Myself and my new friend Abbey)

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(Her friend Adam)

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(The toilet in SuperMacs... maybe there are better places in Galway to drink???)

May 24, 2008

Howth

To the north of Dublin and along the Dart route you'll find this lovely beach. There's also (apparently) and beautiful hike that time and weather did not permit me to do.

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April 28, 2008

Cork - more from the land of pretty

Well, it took me about three weeks to get back to this, but I am finally finishing my Cork entries. I got sidetracked by a trip to Ottawa, Toronto and Los Angeles. Photos (hopefully) to follow.

So... to continue where I left off... These photos were taken on the walk between the university and Cork's City Goal.

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The journey to Cork's City Goal wasn't nearly as simple as Moa (Did I mention that I went to Cork with my Swedish friend Moa? Didn't? How very rude of me!) and I anticipated. Firstly, the Goal is a much longer walk than it would appear to be on the map. Secondly, if you are feeling a bit turned around on your journey to the Goal and endeavor to ask any of Cork's residents about the best way to the Goal, or how much longer you have to walk they will all look at you in a very confused manner and claim that they've never heard of any Goal. Luckily, they have heard of the Old Jail which you will discover to be the same thing. Thirdly, as well as the journey being long, it is also uphill, (as are many destinations in Cork) so be sure to be wearing comfortable shoes.

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(That's Moa in the distance)
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They have refurbished the old cells completely with furniture wax figures of sickly inmates and sullen guards to ensure you get the full sense of the 19th century Goal experience.
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This next set was taken in the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery. I was especially impressed with the Sculpture Galleries.

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(Samuel Beckett in Paris)
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(The view from the Lee South Channel)

St. Finnbarre's Cathedral

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April 1, 2008

Cork - the land of pretty

I went to Cork on Easter Weekend and had a lovely time. Unusually, I took absolutely no photos. Luckily I also went the weekend of February 15th and took a zillion photos.

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(Cork and the Lee North Channel)
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(One of Cork's many cozy lanes packed with cafes, restaurants and local shops)
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The next two photos are from Shandon neighbourhood, home of St. Anne's Church, more commonly known at the 'Four-Faced Liar'. This is the area I stayed both times I was in Cork and houses the most active church bells I've ever hear. I've even heard them playing at 4am. A slightly surreal experience. Never mind what I was doing awake at 4 am...

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I was amazed by the lush beauty of University College Cork. University College Dublin may have a more prestigious history, but Cork wins by a long shot for its gardens and peaceful ambiance.

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Looking back towards the city and Lee North Channel)
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March 18, 2008

Paddy's Day, 2005

And while I'm on the subject of Paddy's Day, I thought I'd share some photos from my very first visit here. These were taken back in 2005. A slightly crazier year for all concerned. The first set are taken along O'Connell St.

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(we had hats!!)
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This year Tony and I did manage to find some scaffolding we could scale and got a better view of the things.

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(Tony and I having photo wars)
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(the aftermath)
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Paddy's Day!

Well, despite the intentions of the Pope, who asked for St. Patrick's Day to be moved to the 14th, Dublin and I believe the rest of Ireland, celebrated on the 17th just like every other year. Should you ever find yourself in Dublin for Paddy's Day, don't do as I did and wait until the last minute to show up and find a spot to watch the parade, because you won't see much of anything. Although, it just as interesting most of the time to check out the crowd.

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(Look familiar? Yes you did meet this creature before, back in Edinburgh)
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Irish Dancing in the Street

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(Rachael and Michaela)
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(Tony and Michaela)
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(me)
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The Fair along Marion Square
- For some odd reason there is about 6 rides for the 1000's of people in town for the celebrations.

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later that night...

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March 8, 2008

pubs, pints and parks

Yes, yes. Its true. I'm not in Hong Kong (sorry if I fooled any of you), but wrapped back up in my little Irish life in Dublin. You may be wondering what I've been doing with myself here in Dublin since my return in late January (the 25th actually). Well, I've been temping at various offices around the city, thinking about how to spend the rest of my time in Europe and trying to have a bit of fun here and there. I've had a couple of visitors to entertain me. The first was my lovely and sophisticated ex New York housemate, Elisabeth.

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She flew in from Norway with some friends and we got to spend a day pubbing, shopping, eating and then pubbing again. You really can't pub too often in Dublin.

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The next visitor was my New Zealand friend (and sometimes travelling companion), Sue-Li:

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She took the ferry over from England and hung out with me for about 5 days, luckily during the Jameson Film Festival, so we were able to take in some films together. Which was quite appropriate, since we became friends after running into each other at the Auckland film festival.

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The above photo is from the hilarious Czech film. I Served the King of England. We were a little underwhelmed when the festival spokesperson that the version with the subtitles had been left behind in Czechoslovakia. Grudgingly, we decided to watch the film anyway, as we didn't really have anything better to do. Luckily, we quickly realized that you didn't need to speak the language to enjoy this gorgeously playful film.

Like every good tourist does, we decided it would be a good idea to spend some quality time with Oscar Wilde:

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(enjoy more Wilde photos here on Sue-Li's blog)

And since I've been in a bit of a live music mood lately, we went to the famous Dublin club, Tripod, to see Band of Horses:
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I've also recently seen the sultry Sons and Daughters at the historic Whelan's.
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and the immensely entertaining Canadian twins, Tegan and Sara at the Button Factory.
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I've had some time to hang out with the housemate as well. Not long after my return, Peter took me up to one of his old teenage stomping grounds, Deer Park. Named after the multitudes of deer that used to roam the area.

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(Yes, that's Peter hugging the tree)
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After hearing so much about all the snow in Eastern Canada, I thought this would be a grand time to rub in the fact that I saw the first sign of Spring in early February in St. Stephen's Green Park.

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(and this is the very cute Michaela. Daughter of Rachael and Tony Robinson. Dear old friends from Canada, currently residing in Dublin)
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Mount Argus, which isn't a mount at all, but the grounds of a church near my house.
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Marion Square (home of the famous Oscar Wilde pictured above)
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... and finally, one random photo I couldn't resist posting.
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January 27, 2008

Happy anniversary to me!!!

Two years ago today, my lovely friend James drove me to to the airport and to see me off on an adventure that would start in Hong Kong and end... well... who knows where. Today I sit in my room in Dublin a little bit amazed at all I've seen and done in the last two years. I am still very happy with my decision to run away. And sometime in the mid to end of the upcoming summer, I'll be just as happy to set up shop once again on Canadian soil.

I have a whole bunch of back-logged photos of Australia sitting on my hard drive and so I might as well continue with the Australia momentum and post more Oz photos now. (Sorry about the randomness of my postings.) The first set were taken on the last day of our bus tour before reaching Exmouth.

After checking into our hostel, which turned out to be a relatively nice trailer park we drove across the peninsula to this very beautiful beach which I can't remember the name of:

And we did some snorkeling:

That night we had a little party and said goodbye. Most of the travellers headed back south, but a couple of us stayed on to do some diving. I had heard wonderful things about the Ningaloo Reef and although it wasn't as spectacular as the Great Barrier Reef, I wasn't disappointed either.

The water snake in the photo below is meant to be one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Apparently when I was diving is not the season when it is on the attack, but I still snapped my photo and swam away as quick as I could.

The dive trips were in the morning, leaving the afternoons and evenings free to explore.

The next two pictures are of the grounds around my little Exmouth home. I loved this place because after the rest of my group left, I had whole trailer all to myself with double bed, loads of cupboard space and a decently stocked kitchen in my cabin.

But don't let the above photos fool you. Despite some nice scenery, I came to the conclusion that Exmouth is the most boring place in the world. (Or at least as much of the world as I've seen.) I guess there's only so much of never ending stretches of red sand that any one person can take. They were in the middle of building up a whole new section of the town, so who knows... perhaps its a little more interesting now. At any rate, I was quite happy when the time came to hop on a plane back to Perth.

P.S. I added a some more photos of Perth to an earlier entry. If you'd like to take a look, you'll find the entry here.

November 14, 2007

Various Dublin

St. Anne's Street

Grafton Street

Sunset on the Liffey. Taken on O'Connell bridge.

Swans swimming in the canal at night

The Bank of Ireland

Having a pint in the oldest pub in Dublin

Outside St. Stephen's Green

On Sunday Peter was kind enough to take me on a drive into the hills around Dublin.

A ghostly image of Peter.


November 8, 2007

The luck of the Irish

It feels so nice to be settled again. Suitcase unpacked. Clothes on hangers. Brand new sheets, duvet and pillows.

Home.

I was quite concerned about finding a place to live. I heard all these horror stories when I first arrived in Dublin about being stuck living in a hostel for 4 months while looking for a place to live. Finding a job in Dublin is easy, finding a home... not so easy. I told people I had been traveling too long to look for any longer than 2 weeks, if it took me any longer than that, I would move on. They would look at me a bit incredulously and then say, "Well, Cork in nice". And I'm sure it would've been, but I was lucky. Very very lucky. I waited 5 days to start looking for a home. Within a week I was no longer homeless.

I arrived in Dublin on the evening of Thursday, October 25th. Leslie, Charlie and friends were in town to run the Dublin marathon on Monday, so my first days in were taken up with spending time with them. The first day I had to myself I headed to my favourite cafe with free wireless and started looking online for rooms. I picked out two places to look at that night. Both home owners renting out the extra room, both about the same price. I liked both and both liked me. One was humming and hawing a bit too much because they liked me best, but were worried that I couldn't commit to a year (I was only willing to commit to 6 months) and so I took the other. I now live in a cute two bedroom home with the owner, Peter.

On the Friday, I ran in and out of my new home very quickly to drop off my bags and then finally crawled the the door on Sat at 5:30 am. I stayed up dancing and drinking with Leslie & co. until her early morning flight to England. So I guess I officially moved in Saturday morning. When I woke up in the late morning I had a long look around my new room and decided I didn't much care for it. So I told my new housemate/landlord that we were going to renovate my room. He told me in a faltering voice that he "hadn't really planned on..." but I explained to him all the things that were wrong with the present ugly ripped wallpaper and before he knew it he was driving me to the hardware store to buy supplies and pick out paint. He even bought me breakfast and helped out with the project. Luckily for me Peter is very generous and has a great sense of humour. Poor guy. He was looking for a nice unassuming easy going flatmate and he got me instead! I tricked him in the interview :) But I think we are both happy with the arrangement. He seems quite pleased with the transformation and will be able to charge then next tenant more when I move out.

So now I'm settled. Anyone who wants my new address and phone number, drop me a line and I'll get it to you as soon as I can.

This is the first photo I took when I arrived in Dublin:

St. Stephen's Green


Charlie, Carrie, Louise, Leslie, and myself drinking up before our Literary Pub Crawl. An excellent tour, should you find yourself in the Dub...

theGang.jpg

Blurry photos of Trinity College taken while we were on our tour:

One last group photo... (Oh, Charlie. You're such a ham!)

Les and I on her last night in town.