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Day 49: Rayburst

Blue sky.
Budding daffodils.
Grass cutting.
Small slice of cake.
Chirp chirp.
A deep breathe.

I need very little to put a smile on my face lately. Just the simple things. Of being outside. Of taking things slow. Of savouring every bite. Clichéd as it sounds, knowing that my time in Dublin is limited seems to heighten the senses.

You may notice I am photographing mostly around my neighbourhood at the moment. For one, I have quite a lot of work to wrap up, so I don’t have much time to get away too far from where I am. Secondly, it helps preserving my memory of this part of Dublin that I’ve seem to take for granted. Until now.

Day 48: National Museum

Do you know, many of the museums in Dublin are free to enter? My favourite among all is the Chester Beatty Library at the back of Dublin Castle, of which currently there is an excellent exhibition of the lores of Shahnama and a number of related events have also been organised. Last week, I was at a showing of Azur and Azmar and I’m looking forward to a public lecture next week on The Shahnama and the Iranian Identity. Should be very interesting.

This photo above though was that of the entrance to the National Musuem of Ireland-Archaelogy on Kildare St, which houses a large number of artifacts and bog bodies. To its back is the Natural History Museum which recently reopened after a spell of structural repair works. A triumvirate of national museums is formed through inclusion of the National Gallery nearby, whereby these museums surround the Leinster House, current seat of Irish Parliament. There is no admission charge to any of these museums mentioned above.

Day 47: Red, red shoes

Grafton St is the equivalent of High St in Dublin, and quite the spot to go shopping in the city centre. (Alternatively, for more shopping option, head over to Henry Street.) Among the shops lining this pedestrianised thoroughfare, Marks and Spencer is probably the one I spent the most time – and money – in. Usually for food though.

I have never ever considered purchasing red shoes before (let’s face it, I’m no fashionista and I am incredibly boring that I usually buy something in black or brown) but this pair of M&S kitten heel pumps is just so cute. If only you can hear the inner debate I’m having with myself right now. On one hand, it would be good for me to step out of the fashion box and try something bold. On the other hand, I really shouldn’t be buying more things just before I move. Gah, I’m torn…

Day 46: Tower

I took a long-ish walk today, southward, past River Dodder. Then, right before my eyes, the Church of Sacred Heart of Donnybrook, with its imposing square tower (only one) that could pass for tower of a castle, neo-gothic architecture, and incorporation of various wings of the church in a rather peculiar configuration.

I’ve only seen the interior of the church once, years ago, and try as I might, I can’t recall what the interior was like. I remember it being tall and spacious, with an impressive set of organs and also a beautiful rose window. Other details – everything’s just hazy. I considered sneaking in for a visit, but chickened out.

Day 45: Giant meringues

I have been eyeing these giant meringues for a while now. Each time I pass the window of The Butler’s Pantry in Donnybrook, that is. The pink ones are supposed to be raspberry meringue, the white one traditional, and the baby blue ones, errrm, I don’t know what’s the flavour actually. Should I drop in and ask?

If you are wondering how big are these giant meringues, just compare against the tarts on the display dish right next to the meringue plate. I am also curious as to the amount of time it requires to bake these monstrous treats so each stays dry and airy on the inside while crispy yet not burnt on the outside. To be honest, I have never quite perfected the art of meringue baking, so I won’t attempt to whip up a batch of giant meringues just yet.

Day 44: Night light

It has been a long day. Between Castle, work, rugby (strictly as spectator), coffee with a friend, champagne reception and movie premiere, I am more than ready to be home than continuing the evening festivities with post-movie drinks and Q&A with the director. But not before taking this photo at College Green on the way home. ;)

What you don’t see in this photo is that this tree stands between two building with symbolisms from two different administrations of the country. On one side, the first purpose-built parliament house in Europe by the British, now a branch of Bank of Ireland, which still bears British royal coat of arms; across the road, the former Habitat Building which I cannot recall its initial purpose right now, bears a sculpture of Irish significance, having a proud face-off against the English stone carving. I should do a wee bit more research into this at some stage. It’s certainly interesting and worth knowing history of the city.

Day 43: Election creativity

There are election posters everywhere. Faces which some evoke a sense of trustworthiness, others a sense of trepidation. In between them, there are a good few creative non-election posters put up by UpStart, a non-profit arts collective. This poster can be spotted on Kildare Street. They are not just all photographs. I have also seen a number of posters featuring word extracts (from poems? quotations? I don’t know), doodles and paintings around the city, and I’m assuming they’re not exclusive to Dublin but also displayed nationwide.

In about 2 weeks time, the Irish general election would be held. However, unless you’re a citizen living in the country, you’re not eligible to vote. Postal vote is not available. There are some 70-80 million Irish worldwide and only about 5 million living on the island. Many of the Irish are descendants who claimed citizenship but have never step foot into the country. It’s hardly feasible to allow the “outsiders” to decide the politics that affect the residents. However, if you still would like to have a say, you can do so unofficially online at BallotBox.ie until 25 February.

Day 42: Paddling happily

Does taking photos from the same canal but along three different stretches count as different street photo locations? Well, I couldn’t help it. It’s one of my favourite spots around here. The ducks also seem to love paddling here. ;)

Well, canal stroll and duck watching aside, I think I have found a new favourite thing. Sila has been talking about Castle for a while, so I decided to give it a try today. And now I am hooked. I can see myself spending the entire weekend watching it (maybe, except Sunday, as Ireland is playing France in a 6 Nations match) and I would probably not stop until I catch everything up. The 48 episodes of the 3 seasons shown so far!

Day 41: Grill baby, grill

Woohoo, proper blue sky for once!

It was near one in the afternoon when I realised I was famished. I have quite lost track of the number of hours I’ve put in since morning too. Good thing my body is great at telling me when it wants to be fed. Recalling there is a lunchtime food market at Mespil Road on Thursdays, I changed from my comfy clothes (read: something that may be mistaken as pajamas but I assure you it’s not) to something of smart casual variety, and went out the door.

Even before I got there, the enticing aroma of food wafted in the air. I quickened my steps and the clearing opened to a handful of stalls – about 15 if I recall correctly, but in the state of hunger, I can’t be entirely certain. Bratwursts! Paella! Roasted chicken! Hummus and pitta! BBQ! Oh the BBQ…

In the mean time, professionals in smart suits from offices nearby were queueing for their grubs before marching to one of the many benches along the Grand Canal for a spot of impromptu picnic. I love the spirit of conviviality all around me, where nothing in life is hurried or pressed. I also firmly believe people who love food are happier folks. ;)

Day 40: February sky

It has been raining more or less for a week now, bar for the odd hour or two in the last couple of days. It’s wonderful to get that break from monotonous grey sky, to which I took great pleasure in sneaking out for a walk. Work has started piling up suddenly (I really shouldn’t have complained to my friend about the excess of free time – I’ve jinxed it!) and I’m practically attached to my laptop at all time. To be out for some fresh air, that’s luxury.

However, the grey clouds are omnipresent and seemingly menacing, threatening to swallow up the sun and whatever small patches of blue sky there is. Sure enough, shortly after this photo was taken, little drops started to fall from above, sending me packing and power-walked home as quickly as I can.

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