This week’s photos come to you from Ireland, where we are on holiday for just over a week. Visiting family and seeing friends aside, we’ve also gone on an impromptu – and looong (as in the distance) – roadtrip as well as stretching our legs for a few hours via walking excursions. All in all, it has been a great week and even the weather has been pretty kind to us. Couldn’t ask for more!
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13 May: Our flight was delayed so we arrived in Dublin about an hour later than expected. At Terminal 2 (we flew with Aer Lingus), a familiar sight which greeted us was the sculpture of Turning Point by Isabel Nolan. A yellow, abstract-y object, I used to think this was a representation of some sort of an atom, with the charges flying around the core, you know. Anyway, it felt good to be back to familiar territory, even if the immigration officer only gave me a visa valid exactly till the day of my scheduled return to Paris. (Why so strict? If I had wanted to overstay, I would have never left in the first place!)
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My social media feeds have been flooded with various St Patrick’s Day-related photos, videos, well-wishes, articles and more. They are making me very nostalgic for the good ol’ days when I celebrated the festival with much gusto, as well as certain level of silliness, with my friends.
Today, I found a folder of photos from St Patrick’s celebration back in 2008 on my computer. These photos are precious to me. I have not been in Dublin for Paddy’s Day since 2009 (I was elsewhere, then I moved to France) so this was more or less the last time I properly celebrated the big day with the whole shebang: parade, céilí, pub crawl! (Previous years I even hosted parties at home – fun, but a lot of work!)
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This is it, another day, another year done. I’m ringing in the new year in Dublin with my friends (we’re heading out for dinner at my favourite restaurant in town – One Pico) but will be back in Paris in the morning on new year’s day. Such is the life of a wannabe-jetsetter, you know ;)
With the curtain call to 2011, it also marks the end of the current Project 365. How fun it has been, with occasional days of frustration when I didn’t think I had a good enough shot, or the days when I was feeling a tad tired or too bummed out to go on a photowalk (usually due to awful weather outside); overall though, I had loved this project. It certainly encouraged me to be more of an explorer of places, and I find myself trained to notice little things here and there.
I will miss this project, but I’ve decided in 2012, I’m going to blog differently. Or maybe not. Just more like regular blogging instead of pushing for daily posts. I have a few things to consider yet, on the direction this blog should take. Regardless, I hope you have enjoyed the journey together with me, and I thank you for your support, which in turn motivates me to try to do better each time.
Happy New Year – Bonne Année – and see you on the other side ;)
Ah marketing gimmicks of today – presenting: a modern Viking!
I was vaguely curious when I first saw a man in a huge drape-like cloth over him. “Was he wearing a snuggie?” Apparently not. It wasn’t exactly a doublet, nor a gambeson, so I reckon it to be a bliaut. Mind, I’m not exactly conversant in historical clothing items. He then proceeded to put on a gilet, and out came the Viking hat. Alllllllriiiiiightio.
His job was to stand outside (in the cold) with a sign panel, an advertising strategy that seems to be very popular in Dublin since the last couple of years. Not an easy job by any mean, especially in winter (you try standing out there for a couple of hours – even 12°C would seem like 3-4°C), so hat tip to these sign holders. I tried to then papparazzi-shot him but as you can see, I think I’ve been busted.
The business premises that were once Eason at the junction of Nassau Street and Dawson Street have been taken over by Costa Coffee. I didn’t notice this change the last couple of times I was back in Dublin, although admittedly I don’t think I have passed by the area either both trips. So imagine my surprise today upon seeing this change. I wasn’t the only one. My friends who were with me (ok, we all live away from Dublin now) had similar reactions.
Housed within Morrison Chambers, a building that was once built for North British & Mercantile Insurance Co, this café is lucky to have also bagged the beautiful entrance beneath the dome. It still features the coat of arms from the four provinces of Ireland (the harp for Leinster, the half-eagle and upright sword for Connacht, three antique crowns for Munster and the red hand over Cross Gules for Ulster) over the immediate entrance from the exterior, as well as a coat of arm representing Ireland over the side of the inner door (not seen, but just beyond the left hand motif curve in the above photo). All in all, a grand entrance to a coffee shop that’s part of a chain. More importantly though, the heritage beauty is being maintained.
Just how packed can Grafton Street be? A couple of days before Christmas? Very. Super duper. Crazy actually. I took one look and decided this is probably not the place for me to be today. Even escaping to Hodges Figgis didn’t help, but within 20 minutes, I emerged with about 8 new books so at least I was kept happy with my bargain hunting.
Of course, to be in Dublin and not take a look at the windows of Brown Thomas would not be right, so I went over quickly to see what they have whipped up for this year. They are fantastically busy with a touch of twilight fairytale and at the same time retro in certain styling. A bit of a fashion mayhem if you ask me. Then again, what do I know about style and fashion? Except Karen Millen currently have a coat to die for and one look at its price tag, I dare not even try it for fear it would haunt me!
Mention to just about anyone in Dublin “the arch entrance of St Stephen’s Green” and they’ll know just what you’re talking about. However, if you ask for the name of the arch itself, that may be trickier to come by. Even I didn’t know it for a very long time, and learned about it after a friend came visiting. The things we do to impress our friends ;)
Modelled after the Arch of Titus in Rome, it commemorates the 212 soldiers of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who were killed fighting for the British in the Boer War (1899–1902). For that reason, the arch was also previously called the Traitors’ Gate by strong nationalists, who believe that Irish should not be fighting a British war but to demand for independent Irish states. Today, history largely forgotten by many, it serves as one of the main meeting points of the city, quite likely before a walk down Grafton Street for a shopping spree.
I don’t often go out to Sandymount but on a friend’s request to play photographer for an hour or so for shots to be used on his website – honestly, I was nervous and didn’t know if I’d do a decent job of it – I took a leisurely stroll over from Ballsbridge. And on the way, I passed by a deserted Sandymount DART station.
It was rather odd and seeing there weren’t any train coming, I stood smack in the middle of the track and snapped a couple of quick pictures for today (spot the glassy Aviva stadium in the background). Only later, when I spoke to my friends that I got to know that the rail service at that stretch is down. Part of the track collapsed after the massive flood last week and it’s still in reparation process.
How beautiful the sight of such blue open sea against the small cliffs of green. This is the kind of scenery that makes Ireland attractive to visitors, even if the threat of ever-present rainy weather lurks closely in everyone’s mind. Then again, without the natural watering system, would the country remains so green? In any case, there’s always a pub here and there that one can dashes in for shelter, chips and pints.
I took this shot as I sat in the DART (the suburban rail system) while it runs along the Dublin coastline. This is the stretch between Killiney and Shankill. What you don’t see is at the foot of these soft cliffs are secluded beaches, which on a sunny day, are filled with families and friends on picnics and swimming outings. Sure the water would be freezing, but I haven’t seen it stop anyone just yet. Not if you’re Irish ;)
It’s weekend in the Irish capital. That means a lot of fashion observations to be had, and how different it is here in comparison to Paris. There are certainly more colours (French wardrobes have more neutral colours and good ol’ reliable black), a lot of more skin (some of the right amount, others rather questionable…) and a variety of trendy pieces and accessories.
The wearer of this pair of sparkly shoes practically skipped along the street before halting in front of the bus stop. She must had had a good dancing night out. I know I certainly have, and it felt sooooo good. It has been a while since I danced and I miss it lots. I’m waiting for September to come round so I can start with dance classes in Paris. Salsa, tango, what else?
It’s officially summer I guess, even in Dublin. Sure the sky is grey-ish but it’s set to improve over the weekend. Have I brought the lovely sunny Parisian sun back with me? Maybe. Not that I am complaining. It’s always nice to bask in the warmth of the sun. (Sure sign I’ve been living in Europe for too long.)
Perhaps it’s just not quite warm enough to have some ice cream. Trade was slow for this vendor that in the few minutes that I was standing here (waiting for someone) he had always been on the phone, chatting away. Then again, it could well be because he was on the phone so much that people were not approaching him?
I woke up this morning and there are plenty work still to be completed, but I had no choice but to halt all activities and concentrate on one task and one task only – finish up packing. With flight to Paris but a few hours away, tough choices were made, on what to bring and what to store away in boxes. In the end, I departed with a suitcase of 23kg (slightly overweight, ops) and a hand luggage.
We took off as the sun was setting, but unfortunately I was sitting on the wrong side of the plane and missed out on photographing what was a spectacular and vivid evening sky. However, it did afford me the view of Dublin Bay. I think the pier at the corner of this photo was that of Dun Laoghaire. I can’t be completely sure though, as the view from above was completely obstructed by cloud for a couple of minutes following take off.
Au revoir, Dublin.
More signs of springtime! Blooming magnolia down the road from our house, at Pembroke Park, and crisp clear day of blue sky and light breeze. Perfect for a walk, but not to be stuck indoor with work (still plenty to do) and the looming urgency to pack (I admit, I have been putting off packing forever but with flight only some 25 hours away, I’m running out of time).
I retrieved my passport back from the French embassy yesterday, complete with my temporary visa affixed within and therefore I am finally good to go. Right now, the key is for me not to forget any important original documentations and accidentally put them away in one of the many boxes I’m leaving in storage here. Wish me luck!
All these “city eye” can be a bit of a gimmick, from London to Sharjah to Singapore, and quite recently, Dublin too. However, fair play to the other cities, the locations are quite spot on for wonderful bird’s eye view of the cities and their environs. For Dublin though, I’m not sure if the same can be said, which is a real shame.
It’s hidden all the way down by The O2 (formerly The Point), an area not known for casual visitors but busy when there’s a (sold out) gig/show being played/ performed. Not only that, its location and size (it’s only half the height of London Eye) also means many landmarks of Dublin are not easily seen, given we don’t have many tall buildings and with most road being relatively narrow, from a distant, all the buildings easily blurred into continuous rows.
Passing by to have a look at it carves a rather dejected sight. Not all the pods were lit and the carousel was not even in operation. Granted, it’s Monday today and I was there after its closing time. However, last week, when I was around the area on a Friday evening, it was the same. And according to the website, it should still be open until 11pm. It makes me wonder – is Wheel of Dublin even in operation anymore?
There’s a new theatre in the city – the Grand Canal Theatre – situated adjacent to some office blocks but on the lovely site of Grand Canal Square.The theatre has opened for about a year now, and still I haven’t a chance to attend any event there. Unsurprising, given how often I was away last year, and I haven’t seen something that caught my eyes in particular to pay the theatre a visit.
I didn’t realise that the Grand Canal area also falls under the Dublin Docklands initiative. Silly me. I should have though. The colourful set up is one of the hallmarks around the quay area. But for tonight though, I tried to play away with just single chosen colour. Pretty interesting effect but I’m not entirely convinced that it shows off the Grand Canal Square properly as it should…
There are two Moroccan restaurants in Dublin city centre – perhaps the whole of Dublin, or Ireland even? – and since we had a farewell party in mind, we went to Dada on South William St. I’ve been to El Bahia on Wicklow St once a few years back and it just wasn’t too spacious. Our group was initially meant for 12, then 14 plus a baby, add another, minus another (sort of). And the baby was a real angel all through the evening.
We started with a selection of appetisers to share, which included grilled merguez (I <3 merguez) among the 6-7 items on the plate. For my main, I chose the lamb tagine which was generous in portion and I couldn’t quite finished. With a bit resting time, I was then ready again for dessert, when which we were served a selection of sweet pastries and ice cream, complemented with Moroccan mint tea.
A big massive thank you to all my friends who made it out for the evening for my going-away do (and the lovely presents). It does make it so hard to imagine leaving them in mere few days from now.
Venetian Carnevale fever hits Temple Bar currently, and as interesting as it may be, this image was taken outside an adult entertainment premises. Sure, they are as colourful as some of those paraded in Italy coming up to Mardi Gras, but they also come with interesting price tags.
I must admit, I miss the real Venetian Carnevale. A city full of revellers, and mysterious figures strolling the alleys and canalways of Venice in controlled steps, pausing every so often to be photographed and idolised. Caught in the moment, I once even had my face painted with semi-mask in blue. Unfortunately, those were the days when there wasn’t any Avatar to make bright blue a popular face colour, and I had to catch a train from Venice to Milan looking whichever way I did. For the few hours, I was attracting wrong attention – plenty of stares and even a stalking guy, hmmmm.
Ireland was certainly busy building during the boom time, and one of the nicest thing that came out from it is the Dublin Convention Centre, a world class conference venue that can accommodate even up to 3,000 people in a hall at a time. No surprises then SMBE Annual Conference for 2012 will be taking place here.
It has been a while since I walk by the docklands area, and they’re certainly coming along nicely. During the day, it may all seems a tad nondescript but once the sky is dark though, the colours displayed are just so lovely. I saw a few more photo ops around here, so I guess I’ll just have to come back another couple of evenings to take those shots.
This sign was spotted by Herbert Park. Someone has been getting creative while tampering with the sign, and what was meant to be the disc machine (for parking discs) is now a disco machine. Might the effect be better had the “o” also came in the size as all other letters rather than being the stuck-in-the-middle-red-ring?
However, this sign is not quite as amusing and clever as another I saw a couple of years back at Wellington Place nearby. Someone has transformed the “children crossing” sign to a grim reaper leading a child across the road, by adding a pointy hoody and a scythe. And it was nearly Halloween then. How apt :D
Roly’s is a place pretty close to my heart. Situated in Ballsbridge, it was here where many a celebration have take place, from first day of college to birthday parties to no-excuse-needed “just because” meals with family and friends. However, since the departure of the Chef Patron Colin O’Daly, I haven’t been to the restaurant. With my imminent leaving on the card, why not a going-away meal there?
I was mildly surprised at the changes the place have undergone. There’s now a more informal cafe on the ground floor, with table service as well takeaway option of ready-made meals. The space upstairs remains reserved for restaurant service, with menu that hasn’t changed too much over time. The prices also remained of good value.
The food portion at Roly’s has always been on the generous side – methinks this is one of the winning factors for many customers – but this visit, I found it simply too much for me and my dining companions. However, the tragedy, in our opinion, came in the form of desserts. If you know me, you know I love my sweet course. Does this make me hard to please? Maybe. This is what we found. The Pavlova pillow was saccharine beyond words, the Paris-Brest heavy, and the pear and almont tart barely got a couple of bites out before being abandoned. Ooops…