Saturday, May 28, 2011

always something

there's always something to protest on O'Connell Street

Friday, May 27, 2011

trip to carlow

good friend
good laughs

My friend Rachel has been up to Dublin more times than I'd like to admit and this week I finally got around to returning the favor. Carlow is about an hour south of Dublin and there is a cheap bus that took me on a gorgeous, winding trip through all the little towns along the way. We made some nice dinner, got our fill of girl talk, and then headed to a house party and dancing at a club called the Foundry with her friends from class.

We recalled our crazy nights in San Diego and the few months in the summer of 2005 when we were living and working together. I wish I could explain the warm fuzzy feeling I got hearing old nicknames after so many years! I am thankful to have those genuine friends you can talk about anything with. The rare ones who pick up right where you left off. 

this kid said he hated Americans so i made sure to bug him

remains of the killer chocolate birthday cake we shared

dont know her but i liked her dress so this is for shopping posterity

Thursday, May 26, 2011

rathmines

via New York Times' Dublin Travel Guide

pink peppercorn coriander parmesan fries at joburger. 

thai green curry sweet potato burger: drool.

I have to take a 5 minute bus to get down to Rathmines, a neighborhood just south of city centre. I've managed more than a few visits. Except for the class on how to make a proper mojito at the fake Honduran place, every trip has been about eating at Jo'Burger. Aside from the crazy good food, I think I like it because the place reminds me of Minneapolis. There is a DJ pumping indie/dance hits, the walls are covered in street art style murals, and it's positively full of aloof hipsters. Probably a turn-off to most but to me it feels like a little slice of home--a cross between the Triple Rock, Bryant Lake Bowl, and the Acadia. Not too many places in Dublin that give off the dive vibe so I have learned to cherish it.

After eating my delicious veggie burger and more than my fair share of those fries, hubs and I decided it would be best to walk home. Rathmines seems like a hip place to explore and the walk down George/Aungier/Wexford/Camden is probably my favorite stretch of road in the city. File that away for next time I'm bored and have a day to kill.

Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6

Adventuretime with Finn & Jake--wiggly noodle arms and all. anyone?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

get me outta here

Found a shot I took leaving Temple Bar after Obama's speech--people lined up on the southside quay to watch B's motorcade leave town. Talk about contact agoraphobia.

Monday, May 23, 2011

obama block party

hubs + i at b's party. check out aul' sourface there on the left.

this is the closest i got. the star-spangled glitter hat made it OK.

Today I went to see Obama's speech at College Green with 100,000 others. The speech was much like his presidency--incredibly inspiring...and yet a couple of things made me feel uncomfortable. Lots of references to him being 'Irish' and him 'coming home'. Odd, considering he's further removed from his Irish relative than most. On the flip side, lots of credit given to the Irish for American accomplishments. As an American I understand our obsession with heritage but does B give the same credit to every country he visits? Does he speak that way to the Mexican people?

I am obviously a grouch. Overall it was a good speech! B spoke a little Irish, mentioned the pint he drank, made a few adorable jokes, and encouraged everybody to focus on a bright future. Sounds cheesy but coming out of his mouth it was beautiful and it seemed everybody was impressed. Something about that halted speech pattern makes every moment meaningful, am I right?

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny managed to confuse me, inviting people from around the world to 'follow Obama and come home' to Ireland. This, from the man in charge of a government who just denied me a work permit. Dont invite people if you can't support them, please. He also announced that if anyone questioned whether Ireland was important, then today was their answer. If I were Irish, alluding to the idea that Ireland garners its importance through acknowledgement by actually important countries would leave me a bit miffed. Still, he did look handsome and made nice wavy motions with his arm. You done good, Enda, you done good.

looking west on dame street


east towards the speech location

enthusiastic secondary school kids

Even with a 3.5 hour wait to get in, not getting closer and having to watch the whole thing on a large screen half a block away, U2 not showing up, completely missing Jedward whilst in the queue, AND not joining B and Michelle onstage as we had planned, I enjoyed the day. B's speech made me be proud to be an American. Wow, that sounded really redneck.

for awhile the river was completely blocked off--no access to the southside.

so i walked all the way to fishamble street

and got in this queue

irish + american flags flew side-by-side

lots of shoving from 2pm-5pm. i moved about one block.

they outlawed umbrellas, flags, backpacks, and beverages so stuff was abandoned 

more standstill in front of city hall.

right about here is where i missed jedward

B arrived in his helicopter

had to empty pockets, walk through a metal detector, and get swiped with wands

halfway down dame street there was a large screen. westlife performed?!

right so maybe i'll just watch from here

enda kenny looking handsome in a lime tie, michelle + B in the background

B O'Bama working his magic, kissing ginger kids, taking names

Sunday, May 22, 2011

word on the street

The Irish Times says that B's block party includes a performance by Jedward coming off their Eurovision fame. Also, the newspaper reports that 'with the help of God and a private jet' Bono or all of U2 will make an appearance! Tons of other music and sports stars will show up and there will be a movie-style grand finale at the end with everybody on stage swaying together in perfect harmony.

Co. Offaly is also getting ready by painting every single one of their houses--srsly--and printing 'What's the craic, Barack?' tshirts. How can it get any better?

I dont care how sick I am, I will be at this party. Dearest masses of Dublin, I will try not to breathe on you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

B is coming to town

hello dublin - photo from Obama: The College Years, Time Magazine

As he announced on St. Patrick's Day, B will hang out with his crew here in Dublin then swing by Moneygall, Co. Offaly where his maternal great-great-great grandfather Fullmouth Kearney was raised before leaving Ireland in 1850. Lots of talk on the radio about getting him to drink Guinness, as that would be a historic photograph. Here in Dublin there is supposed to be music and theatre performances from 2pm. B is throwing us a party!

In other news, the White House rejected a speech at Croke Park because it didn't 'look Irish enough' for the cameras. He is going to address me and a couple thousand others in front of the Bank of Ireland in College Green--about 4 blocks from my building. Something I found odd was that he wont visit Northern Ireland because there is a diplomatic rule where heads of state cannot cross the border without first setting foot in Britain.

See you and my girl Michelle on Monday, B!

7,500 arrive daily by the busload for royal + presidential security - Ormond Quay

Friday, May 20, 2011

curry

i can haz curry?

I've always cooked 'ethnic' food at home. Being from California, Mexican tacos and burritos have been on the dinner table since I was a kid. Lasagna, pasta, and pizza are staples in the American diet for sure. In college I tried my hand at home-rolled Japanese sushi. In Minnesota I  bought a giant stone mortar + pestal for som thum Thai and made sweet coconut curries. I made fresh Vietnamese spring rolls with daikon radishes and peanut dipping sauce. Once I even whipped up Polish pirogies with my friend Ilsa--sour cream dough and all. I am no stranger to ethnic cooking but there is always something to learn. 

Every country has its tasty treats and if there is one type of food that I am learning to cook exclusively in Ireland, it is Indian food. On Gordon Ramsey's contest Best Restaurant, G told me that curry holds the title for the UK's favorite food. On Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals he makes an entire meal around lamb rogan josh. Even the chippers (late-night take away restaurants) have curry chips on the menu. I suck at baking I have yet to add homemade naan to my repertoire but so far I've got a pretty mean vegetable curry that I can adjust with seasonal vegetables and my clove-scented rice is on-point.

BTW curry chips + cheese = heaven

Thursday, May 19, 2011

footballers

la muchedumbre

This is what the streets of Dublin look like when a match is on. It doesn't matter what sport--football, hurling, rugby, Gaelic--it usually involves jerseys, neck towels, and lots of shouting. People gather in the pubs to see the games and then spill out into the streets singing team songs and jumping around with each other. 

In this case, both teams in the Europa Leage Finals here at Aviva Stadium were Portuguese: FC Porto and Braga. According to the newspaper some 16,000 fans and 70 charter flights arrived in Dublin just for the day. 

Something unique to Europe is that fans can afford to travel and see their team's play in other countries. A few weeks ago when Leinster Rugby were playing a match, the DART was a mixture of different accents and races of people from all over Europe who came to root on their favorite team. I'm not into sports entertainment and following stats, but it's charming to see people connect on that level. I especially like the singing. 

the guards chatting amongst themselves

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

her royal highness

checkpoints a, b, c, + d behind my building - Jervis Street, Dublin 1

So I got up extremely decently early for a morning meeting. Unfortunately for me, the whole of city centre is shut down for the visit of Queen Elizabeth. Dublin is a happenin' place: the Dalai Lama visited a few weeks ago, Her Majesty the Queen of England this week, President Barack Obama next week, and of course moi...I have been here since September. 

There are conflicting views about the queen's visit, as it is the first time a reigning monarch has visited the Republic since Ireland gained independence from British rule in 1922. Some people have it in their heads that an 85-year old woman in a color-blocked suit dress is going to re-take the country. Along with the guards door-knocking to thwart evil plots, it's a security nightmare. A north Dublin pub that posted an anti-queen banner awhile back got raided and they found weapons. Oh and they found a bomb made by the IRA on a Dublin bus headed towards the city yesterday. So that's scary exciting, right? 

As for me, the queen's visit made me 45 minutes late to my meeting. O'Connell Street where I catch my bus was completely closed to traffic. I had to walk ten minutes south before I could pick up a bus. I have never seen so many Guardai (police) in the streets, the road barriers from St. Patrick's Day are back up, and helicopters are circling constantly. Here are some quick photos I snapped on my morning stroll. As I type this (3.15pm) I can see a helicopter out the window flying in a straight line along the river and there is a bunch of noise. Pretty sure Her Majesty just drove past. Holla atcha girl Queenie!

Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1

Bachelor's Walk, Dublin 1

O'Connell Street, Dublin 1

protest sticker - College Green, Dublin 2

i had to get searched + they even rifled through my bag. oops did i say 'rifle'?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

my hood

 A lovely article about how gross Dublin is these days; Wolf Tone Park is my hood.

Drugs, drink, and the stench of urine are alive, alive oh

The graffiti on the front of my building was recently painted. In related news, the guards knocked on the door last week to interview hubs + I. They wanted to ensure we weren't plotting to kill Queen Elizabeth or Barack Obama during their May trips to Ireland. Big brother is watching---probably on CCTV!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

in the works

Thanks to the DETI, I am scrapping my plans to obtain a work permit.

The job I attempted was well within the guidelines of their department and I was still denied. I seriously doubt if the Irish government is issuing work permits to anybody at this point. It took me 7 months to find a company willing to fill out the application! I may still look casually, and certainly will limit my search to multinational corporations for better chances. I also seriously doubt my stamina to complete another work permit application only to be denied. Especially if it's outside of the non-profit sector. It's a lot of work for something that I am not passionate about...

...no...it seems that if I am going to remain in Ireland past next May, I must become a student. I guess part of the adventure is when life decisions are made for you? I have always planned on getting my Masters here in Ireland--just not this soon. Moving that plan up by a year is going to take some extra work. In the meantime, I've jumped into action and will find out more along the way.

I have already spoken with deans of post-grad programs at All Hallows College, UCD, and DCU. I have one more meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning. Deadlines for applications are the end of May. I haven't figured out the details yet but I am going to put my applications in before it is too late and make the big decisions after that. What whirlwind!

Thanks to my work with a microfinance institution in the US, I am looking at Social Justice and Public Policy programs here in Ireland. My hope is to end up in the public transportation field but nothing I've seen is very specific. Still, every program requires a dissertation. Maybe I can base my research around transport and work it into my education that way? So many things to iron out at this point: A little scared. A little excited. A little unsure.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

back to reality

weeeeee!

As our final act of showing off Irish life, we took Nathan on a mini pub crawl up Camden Street. We hit Hell for dinner and drinks, then old-man standby Devitts for quite a few pints of Smithwicks, and finally to the Library Bar for a night cap. The grand finale was a trip to the chipper on Parnell Street for cod + chops and then home. Could you ask for more? Adios, nos vemos pronto!