Saturday, April 30, 2011

day trippin'

dreadlocks in the moonlight

We took a quick ride on the DART to spend the day in Dun Laoghaire and Sandycove. Technically, it was the beach. Hubs, Nathan, and I went to a local market to pick up a loaf of bread, some brie, stuffed olives, and pasta salad for a leisurely picnic. As soon as we found some big, flat rocks we were settled. 

Also, we spent a ridiculous amount of money on a box of strawberries. Seriously, it was €4 for a box of twelve. In fairness, they were the most delicious, tasty strawberries I've ever had. Giant cartoon strawberries--all shiny + sweet + juicy...mmmMMMmmm!

hubs + nathan

presbyterian church

me + 99 flake cone + paddywagon = tom haverford face

forty foot, no fishing - Sandycove

what is a tog?

Friday, April 29, 2011

long walks

a lovely jaunt through Smithfield

I love that having a visitor in town forces me to take long walks and enjoy the sights more than usual. I haven't been keeping up with my random photography around town so having Nathan here is a good excuse to take pictures. For instance, I never thought that Smithfield was especially cute, and yet it was today.

In the meantime, I contemplate my future! Things are in the works...

the obligatory stop at l. mulligan grocer's - Stoneybatter, Dublin 7

pura vida

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Today I went into the Habitat for Humanity Ireland office after they received a response from the DETI office about my employment. Unfortunately, my work permit was denied. That means I will not be working at Habitat for Humanity--not because they dont want me, but because the Irish government wont let me.

Based on the letter, I'd say it was a rubber-stamp situation. They put three separate reasons for the refusal:

  1. They just aren't giving out many permits. At the moment even renewals are being scrutinized.
  2. They wanted the salary to be a bit higher.
  3. I am unqualified for the position.

Reason 1 is legitimate. Reason 2 is nitpicky yet successfully bars me from the appeals process. Reason 3 is an outright lie. If I had no regard for internet etiquette, this next paragraph would appear in ALL CAPS:

You can imagine how ticked off I was to read that I am deemed unqualified by a government bureaucrat when the company has offered me the job, saying that I am, in fact, highly qualified for the job. You can imagine how pissed off it might make me to read that I am 'unqualified' and know there was a 3-page letter from Habitat for Humanity Ireland on my behalf detailing how my experience and abilities matched the requirements for this position perfectly. You can imagine how infuriating it is to spend weeks agonizing over the paperwork, making sure every line is correct, and attaching fifteen supplemental documents, only to see a generic response that demonstrates the application was denied without even a glance at the content of the paperwork.

In the end, I am the one left feeling like an a-hole. Habitat waited through the entire process in hopes that I could begin working for them: a total of 1.5 months. I left my temporary job at the restaurant since I planned to be starting soon. What a complete waste of all our time.

Consolation: My would-be supervisor was upset and extremely apologetic when she showed me the letter. I think she was as shocked as me. They immediately posted the job to the same non-profit job board and began looking because they didn't have a second candidate in mind. In short, MY job is still available because I was the right candidate. It feels better--albeit a little bit--to know that much.


i'm a little teapot 

To cheer up, we decided to check out the Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. I've seen Diego Rivera pieces before and an amazing Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Walker in Minneapolis, but nothing compared to the Jacques & Natasha Gelman Collection at the IMMA.

I'm not a huge fan of Rivera but there was a painting (The Healer? The Exorcism?) that gave me a new appreciation for his darker pieces. Mostly, I loved the variety of media from Ms. Kahlo. There were pen and ink drawings, sketches, anatomical diagrams, tiny oil paintings, and massive painted metal pieces. About half were recognizable to me and the other half were oddities with interesting explanations throughout the exhibit. Nathan made a good point when he said she didn't attempt to make herself more beautiful. As the subject of over 1/3 of her own paintings, she had every opportunity to glamazon herself. For whatever reason she emerged as a master of the perfectly-detailed unibrow instead. Gutsy.

The collection is here through the 26th of June and I will be back, as the museum closed before we could see the photographic series by her British ex-lover. A peek at the lovely gardens behind the IMMA:


frolicking amongst the foliage

enjoying the greenery

maybe a little too much?

geometric flower beds

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

we have a visitor

hubs + nathan - docklands near the Cill Airne

Nathan has arrived! Even though he lives in Spain now, he definitely brought a special american spirit with him. Same as when Ilsa visited back in January--a little slice of home goes a long way in my book! 

A testament to the ease of travel in Europe: We have seen Nathan twice since January and he lives in another country. Compare that with the 2-3 times a year I visited my family in California whilst living in Minnesota and you've got yourself a sad story.

Irish vocab:
MV Cill Airne = a party barge, say Kill Arnie

Sunday, April 24, 2011

going away

extremely attractive photograph; a 9.9 on the scale

Now that I've made a decent amount of friends through the restaurant, it looks like they are all leaving the country. Some destinations are Peru, South Carolina, and Barcelona. South Carolina?...are you sure about that?! Well, it IS the setting for one of my favorite movies of all time called Shag. If Murtle Beach today is anything like 1989's rendition of a 1961 beachside dance party, then you've made a good choice.

On one hand I will miss my new buddies. On the other hand, we will never truly be apart since our short-term friendships can become long-distance stalking. Thanks, Facebook. In the very least, the mass exodus from Ireland is making for some memorable farewell parties.

this one is more like a 6.5--eyes closed, hideous background, awkward crouching, etc.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

good friday

no booze for you

Today is Good Friday, one of two days in the calendar year including Christmas when you cannot purchase alcohol in Ireland. Anywhere. Pubs are closed, restaurants wont serve a drop, and the local Tesco has barricaded the liquor aisle to prevent wild booze-hounds from pilfering bottles on such a sacred day. 

I heard whispers of so-called 'crucifixion parties' where people buy drinks the day before and hold house parties on Good Friday. I even read about one being held by Urban Outfitters--I guess a few years back they started holding a Good Friday Bash with a DJ in the clothing shop. Since nobody is allowed to sell alcohol, they gave it away and offered special discounts on all merchandise to the people who showed up. Hubs and I went to investigate and although there was none of the rumored booze, everything was 20% off so I bought a shirt. Basically the score on that outing is UO: 1 Alison: 0.

In other news, despite my own fashion advice and the best possible judgement, I also purchased clothing at a grocery store today. It's a Tesco brand leather pleather plastic jacket aaaaaaand at €17.50 I am in love. Feel free to judge me. Heck, I judge myself.

staying classy

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

around town

one of many 'portraits' near lower camden

sweet car. dad--a little help?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


cake cafe - pleasant place, dublin 8

Sunday, April 17, 2011


celtic whiskey shop & wines on the green - dawson st, dublin 2

I'm not a fan of whiskey but hubs and I were near Stephen's Green for brunch today and decided to check out the Celtic Whiskey Shop. The shop guy was helpful, explaining the different whiskeys to people. He even offered us a taste of Connemara he had out on a barrel. I dont plan on buying whiskey anytime soon, but if I did, it would be here rather than from those snoots over on Grafton Street. So there.


more whiskey

Saturday, April 16, 2011

dublin eye

a couple dublin bikes + the custom house

 Is it called the Dublin Eye or the Dublin Wheel? Either way, I won tickets for 2 on the giant ferris wheel near the ocean on the east side of the city. It was the perfect excuse to take a leisurely 40 minute walk and enjoy the Docklands in the evening. I can't believe the gorgeous weather lately! 

I also won a trip on the Wheel in a private compartment for up to 6 people so I am saving that for when the fam visits this June. As hubs and I rode the Wheel, there was commentary with attractions to look at. I dont know if it was the dark or that I forgot my glasses, but it was just a huge blur of lights. Next time we'll go in the daytime.

anglo irish bank hq + butt bridge in the background. yes, for isaac butt.

the moon

convention centre dublin - n wall quay

giant glitter box, what are you for? can i go inside please?

dublin general warehousing near the 02 arena

pod loading dock

terror. did i mention that ferris wheels scare the bejeezus out of me?

calm + collected

so beautiful. do you think that cable is thick enough to hold us?

yes it's gorgeous. did you feel that? what is that noise?

safe back on the ground

some hot pink flower tree on the way home

Thursday, April 14, 2011


[insert weed joke] the mercantile - dame street, dublin 2

I get a kick out of oddly-worded signs. Judge away. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


octagon bar-clarence hotel, wellington quay, dublin 2

Cocktails are a bit of a treat in Dublin. I mentioned before that I've been mixing my own drink since arriving. Most pubs dont mix cocktails and most bartenders don't know the names of standard drinks. As an American, I was shocked since my bartender friends in the US went to mixology schools. One friend had a stack of 200 flashcards with recipes that we quizzed him with as he prepared to apply for jobs.

Here, it seems, bartenders are more concerned with pulling a proper pint. To me a pint is a pint is a pint; I don't have the palate to taste the difference between beers of the same brand on draught. I'm told by those 'in the know' that there is an art to it including temperature, process, clean tubes, etc.

Even with the focus on beer, Dublin does have 'cocktail bars' where you can expect an excellent drink menu and house-made recipes worth trying. The Octagon Bar is one of those places and it's famously located at the Clarence Hotel, owned by Bono and The Edge of U2. I thought it was the coziest little space; perfect for a nice chat with my friends from the restaurant. Most impressive is the octagonal in shape of the room and the bar--how very apropos.

a manhattan in honor of stan the man

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

360 degrees

informative write-up and photo of the Grattan Bridge

Enjoy 360° of sunshine in the middle of Dublin city centre. These were taken from the Grattan Bridge, which joins Parliament Street on the southside with Capel Street on the northside. Just one bridge west of my hood.


south; essex + wellington quays w/ city hall dome on the horizon

east; millenium + ha'penny bridges

south; upper + lower ormond quays

ireland census

full page of the Ireland Census 2011

You can click on the pictures to see larger versions. I just thought those of you outside of Ireland might be interested in a peek at the census. It was meant to be filled out last night Sunday 10 April. Compared to the US census I filled out last year, I found the Irish version a little intrusive. Detailed health questions? What time I leave the house in the morning? How long I walk to work? I guess that's important for government provided services.

I was also rather amused by the options available for religion and ethnicity. I did some creative fill-in answers. I wonder how they will tabulate me? 

Irish vocab:                               "tick" = check, as in tick the box

ethnicity options

religion options

how very precise

evaluating my own health, i ticked 'vg' like the rest of the nation.

whoa stalkers

taking the 14.9% unemployment rate into consideration

do not include babies born after midnight. thanks.