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Day 365: NYE Dublin

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 ;)

Day 364: Sales now on!

Half the fun of Christmas break is feasting on delicious treats that various members of my family whip up over the few days that I’m around (have I mentioned there are numerous chefs in my family?) and the other half would be to take the opportunity to laze about. Or as my cousin quipped, bummin’ around.

The bonus then, would be hunting for bargain finds during post-Christmas sales. It is a lot more fun to shop when I don’t have to pay as much as I would, say, a week ago. While I didn’t grab this dinky serving tray, I have scored myself a good few items at incredibly low prices, including shoes, blouse, skirts and even a casual but cute dress. The trouble now would be trying to fit everything into my luggage that is not terribly big to start with and bring everything back with me to Paris!

Day 363: Bride Street Church

Yesterday I touched briefly on the twin churches of Wexford. Since I was walking past the church on Bride Street this morning, I figured it would make a nice photo of the day to show at least one half of the “twin” a little more up close and personal. Plus, once you’ve seen the exterior of one, then you’ve effectively seen the other too, isn’t it? Two for the price of one ;)

I must admit to have never step foot into either churches. It’s strange considering I traipse in and out of various churches and cathedrals whenever I travel. Perhaps there’s something in us that tells us not to treat something local as mere visitor’s attractions? As a result, unless you’re a person of the faith and attend services held, the interior would remain somewhat of an unknown…

Day 362: Wexford town

After blogging of different facets of Wexford through Project 365, I realised I have not yet share a picture of the town itself. Of how it looks like from a vantage viewing point. So here is one, of the good ol’ Wexford town, formerly a Viking stronghold, today home to about 20K inhabitants. It is really quite picturesque, with a compact town centre surrounded by mainly residential areas.

Dominating the skyline are two large 69-meter spires of the “twin churches” (they are identical, with foundations laid on the same day and built at the same time – pretty smart way of budgeting by making use of one architect and one plan for two churches if you ask me) of Bride St (Church of the Assumption, in the foreground) and Rowe St (Church of the Immaculate Conception, in the background). These churches are neo-Gothic in style and were opened in 1858, making them currently 153 years old. Pretty neat stuff.

Day 361: Modern Viking Ad-man

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.

Day 360: Morrison Chambers

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.

Day 359: Not a very Christmassy photo

Merry Christmas everyone!

A few things you should know which would explain the lack of a more Christmassy photo-of-the-day. First of all, my motivation is waning in light of the lack of snow like last year, which gives the whole place a feel of winter cheers. Terrible excuse, I know. Secondly, not only we have no snow, it has also been a rather wet and blustery day, so I’m in no mood to go wondering about. Still a terrible excuse but improving? Thirdly, we’re no longer in a large city so it’s great to escape all the glittering lights for a change. How’s that? And finally, I’ve been busy helping out in the kitchen and even busier eating that it cuts into photography time. Acceptable now? ;)

Still, a countryside scene of smoking chimneys does have a certain sense of simplicity, which is what I like about coming home. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, keeping things on the down low and not having to fuss too much over anything at all. I like standing here and looking out to this view, and I am so very lucky that I have such a view to enjoy anytime that I’m back in this home. I have been asked on a number of occasions where home is for me nowadays. Well, anywhere my heart belongs. It doesn’t have to be only one place at a time. Love is very accommodating that way.

Day 358: (Not quite) Winter Wonderland

This time last year, much of Europe was blanketed in snow. I barely made it back from London after 14 hours of train and ferry travel following the cancellation of my flight from Heathrow, and every land journey got allocated twice the amount of time to reach the eventual destination. Nonetheless, for all the inconveniences, it really felt like Christmas as how it has been sold to us in books and movies, which was quite wonderful.

However, with temperature hovering at a mild 10-12 °C, there’s nary a hope for white Christmas this year. Winter wonderland would not be quite as it claims, and the poor merchants who have been stocking up gears for icy winter are going to find themselves with a surplus of stocks of snow boots, de-icers, and whats not – Ireland is not exactly a country of extreme weather in the first place. OK, last year was a bit off the chart crazy with lows of -18 to -20 but that’s exception rather than the norm. Perhaps the colder weather is yet to come this season. We’ll see.

Day 357: Last minute, Grafton Street

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!

Day 356: À l’année prochaine, Paris

What a sunny wintry day today had been (a bit nippy though) while I ran around this afternoon to grab a couple of things, finished up packing and headed for the airport to catch my flight out to spend winter holidays with my family and to see my friends again. My worry on delays due to airport security staff strike was duly misplaced, as the terminal I was in was unaffected and if anything, our flight even left a little ahead of schedule. Chrismas magic indeed.

This shot is also my final photo for Paris in terms of Project 365, as I won’t be back again till New Year’s Day. How apt that this beautiful belle was giving me a chance to shoot her under conditions how I love her best – sunny, with quaintness for such a large cosmopolitan city, and the feeling of never-changing charm. Despite having passed by this area countless of times throughout the year, it just never get old and I am still seduced by the sights before my eyes. I’ll see you again next year, my dear.

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