Sunday 28 July 2013

Great video of Ireland

Here's a story...
 ....of two Canadians....
....who flew to Ireland....
....and filmed its radiance...


I've been hearing alot about Quinoa lately so I decided to try some.

I cooked it and ate it with smoked salmon, pepper and lemon.  The colours in this photograph do not make it the most attractive looking meal but I found it very tasty.  

If I was to describe quinoa I'd say a "nutty" flavour - I like it.

Shout - Tivoli Theatre, Dublin

Myself, Katie (little sister) and Enid went to a musical in the Tivoli Theatre last night.  It was Katie's treat!  She'd just received her first pay cheque in her first real job and she said she'd like to spend money on something we'd all enjoy.  "I'm a working woman now" :-) 
Thank you Katie!

The storyline of Shout is a little "light" in one sense and convoluted in another.  It tells the story of 5 women in swinging sixties London interloping their stories through the aid of a women's magazine (Shout), and what turns out to be unhelpful and antiquated advice from the magazines resident agony aunt. "A new hairstyle may help you feel different"(!!!!) etc etc

Storyline aside, the songs which we came to hear all delivered.  
A lot of Dusty Springfield.  Which was great - we Bebbington's are BIG Dusty fans! 
The cast were terrific - some fantastic voices for some big numbers.

Tickets were approximately €30 which I think is extremely good value for a Saturday night show in a small theatre.  A big show/musical in the O2 would be at least thrice that.  
However, the theatre was only about 1/3 full...I do wonder how they make any money on it at all though.

Some photos below capture the night I think.

I think the little box office is adorable.

I also enjoy looking at old posters advertising the shows over the years.  While the Tivoli was built in 1934 it was originally a cinema, it was converted and opened as a theatre just in 1988 - read about its interesting history here.

Quick shot in front of the set during the interval

A great cast - terrific singers.

Sneaky shot of Katie on stage before we departed the theatre

Monday 22 July 2013

The atrium, The Westin, Dublin

Enid & I were both off work today so we were pottering around town.  For "tea" we decided to pop into The Westin and check out the cocktail list.

The Mint Bar in the basement was looking a little dead (Monday evening afterall) so we decided to check out the Atrium.

We ended up sharing a cheese plate with a glass of Malbec.

'Twas very good indeed!

Thai red curry

A friend of ours who lives in Thailand stayed with us a few weeks ago.  He left behind some great thai ingredients in our cupboard.

So with all of the above...

...I turned it into all of below

Served with Jasmine rice it was divine!

Strawberry Fair 2013 - Strawberry Beds, Dublin

It was once tradition for the residents of the Strawberry Beds in Dublin to hold a Strawberry Fair every summer to celebrate both the fabulous strawberry fruit and the long history of strawberry farming in the beds.  This festival unfortunately has not been held for some years, but this year as part of the The Gathering celebration, Blanchardstown Area Partnershop decided they would revive the fair.

I happened across the fair on the facebook page where I noted that they were looking for volunteers to assist on the day.  People were needed for general assistance, plus also as tour guides.  One of my favourite things is meeting new people and talking to them about Dublin (nerdy I know!) so I immediately volunteered as a tour guide.

In advance of the day I attended an induction meeting where I was given the low-down on the day and my role as a volunteer.  After this session I was well informed about the day, and I had every confidence it was to be a great event and was going to run smooth as I could see the amount of preparation  and work the Blanchardstown Area Partnership had put into it.

I arrived on the day and met some of the other volunteers, plus staff from the Partnership.  We immediately got to work folding leaflets/programme of events.

Here I am on the day in my lovely pinky/orangey hi-vis :-)  Plus namecard around my neck.

Enid & Bones came along to say hello

There were loads and loads of great items as part of the programme.  

First up were the heritage walking tours which I was involved in.  I took two groups along the route from the Anglers Rest to the Strawberry hall.  It was probably about 2 miles/25 minutes slow stroll with lovely views all along the way.  
While walking along I told them all about the history of the area (the commercial strawberry farming for supplying strawberries to hotels and shops in Dublin and how it was a very popular day trip for Dublin people to come out and buy and eat strawberries and cream while enjoying the countryside of the beds).  

Both groups were lovely!  The first group were more interested in just enjoying the pleasure of walking a route that they normally can only see from a fast car.  While the second group enjoyed that but also were very very interested in all the historical information so we had great conversation about the history of strawberries, plus the Guinness related history of the land in that area.

I enjoyed doing the tours so much!

Other events during the day were: craft stalls, food stalls, zumba displays, Brass Band, dog show and of course loads and loads of strawberries and cream.

Field beside the Strawberry Hall - in the forefront are the Blanchardstown Brass Band packing up to move to the Community field.

Dog Show in the Community field!

I was delighted to meet my friend Siobhan, her husband and two adorable daughters who were all enjoying the day out - when I arrived the two little girls were dancing to the brass band :-)

All in all it was a great event and kudos go to all involved in the organising and running of it.

I leave you with a little fun fact from my tour.  

Imagine you were a Dublin resident around the year 1900 and you came out to the Strawberry Beds on a sunny Sunday afternoon to enjoy a treat of strawberries and cream.  

Q. Do you know how this would have been served to you?!
Scroll down for answer

A. On a cabbage leaf!!!!!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

An Oige Hostel, Dublin City (Old St Joseph's Convent)

I recently attended a course in the An Oige youth hostel in Dublin.  It's a funny location for a work course in my opinion.  While the room was perfectly adequate (good size conference room) that it was in a hostel was just not to my liking.

Youth hostels tend to be classed as budget accommodation for a reason - they are rough and ready - perfect for youths, independent travellers and budget conscious travellers.  

This particular hostel is located in the old St Joseph's convent and it very much 
reminded me of my old school!!!!

One thing that I liked was the dining facilities which were in the old church.  

Smart Car Gathering 2013

Smart Car Gathering 2013 was held on Saturday 13th of July in the Phoenix Park.

It was originally scheduled to be held in the Ashtown Castle/Visitors Centre carpark but because of the park concerts (Justin Timberlake, The Killers, Mumford & Sons) venue was changed to Farmleigh carpark.

It was a fantastic day.  We all parked up and checked out each others cars and enjoyed chatting about Smarts.  We then did a parade of Smarts around the park beeping and waving at people - that was fun! And then we headed back to Farmleigh for a final chat with everyone.

Cars were continually arriving for the first hour or two and at the point of heading off on convoy we had 9 cars!  This was pretty good but you can imagine our excitement when 3 additional cars joined the parade.
12 cars in total!  This beats our total from 2011.

A selection of the Smarts on the day.

Myself and Enid - very happy with how the day turned out :-)

Sunday 14 July 2013

Cat Injury!

Last Friday evening a neighbour of ours called over to say that Harry was outside her house, injured with a badly bleeding paw.
When we brought him back to our house and examined his paw I thought initially it might be a pulled out claw, but on close inspection it turned out to be skin torn off his paw.

So we called the local vet who put us in contact with the out of hours vet in an animal hospital about 20 minutes away and we arranged with her that we would call straight out.
I wrapped Harry in a towel and he was soooooo good in the car.  Didn't move a muscle.

And then he was soooo good in the vets.  He got a little bit agitated when the vet was cleaning the paw but all the other times he just sat on the table and let her examine him.
The vet advised best to leave him in the hospital for the night and she would do a small patch up job the next morning - she said she would trim the area rather than switch it and that it would heal up nicely.

Here is Harry in a little cage for the night looking very sorry for himself.  All the other cats were caterwauling like lunatics so I think it was a bit of a shock to his system.

Next day we got a call that everything went well and to come and collect him.  We brought him home wrapped up in a towel - all the vet customers laughed when they saw him lying back like a baby wrapped in the towel.  But again he was soooo good in the car on the way home.

His little paw has a purple bandage on it and he has to wear "the cone of shame" or as the vet calls it an Elizabethan Collar (you learn something new everyday!) for the next week or so.

He also has to stay in for the next week.  As you can see from this photo he is even more sorry for himself than ever - he is sloping around the house and crying at the front door.

We've to bring him back for check up and removal of dressing on Saturday and hopefully we will be able to allow him back out then.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Beech Park - Outdoor exercise machines

Murphy's Law!  
After buying my garden chairs yesterday, obviously there is no sun today.

I had planned on sitting outside and reading a book but because of no sun instead I got up this morning and went for a walk.

Very close to me is a new (Fingal County Council) park. It's got a nice little playground, a small soccer pitch, a small GAA pitch and a small trail with outdoor exercise equipment.

I think the outdoor maintenance exercise machines are great!

This one "rider" feels just like a see-saw when you are on it :-)

I don't know if it does anything great for your except ensuring upper mobility...

"Air Walker"
I like this one the best.

This is a funny one.  You stand on the little platform and using your waist move your lower half of your body like a pendulum.  It takes a bit of getting used to but when you are doing it right it really feels good down the sides of your waist.

I had a really enjoyable walk this morning.  
I'm very lucky as the park is only about 7 minutes walk away from my house.  I shall be back!

Saturday 6 July 2013

Garden furniture - for the Irish "summer" :-)

Some lovely sunny weather has been forecast in Ireland for next week or so - what a treat!

On the basis of this I decided to treat myself to some new (inexpensive) garden furniture.  These chairs are all over Key West - mainly nice wooden versions but the supermarkets also stock the plastic kind. I had seen them in a shop in the Blanchardstown Centre for €29.95 and today I said heck, it's sunny I need them!

They only had two left in the whole shop.  I wasn't mad on either colours intially: I had imagined getting two brown colours.  But now that I have them at home I really like them.  They remind me of Florida - very tropical.  I am going to get cushions for them, maybe stripey white, lime and pink colours which will tie them together.

They are as comfortable as I remember them in Key West.  And Harry likes them too :-)

Abseil & Summer Party

Did you know that what we call abseiling, Americans call "rapelling"??
I learn something new every day!

Yesterday my work company hosted a large charity fundraiser which involved approx 60 staff members abseiling down our building.

As you can see our building is quite tall - by Irish standards anyway.

Here I am before the abseil.

It was a terrifying but enjoyable experience doing the abseil.  The initial "leaning out" over the building is very scary and then the actual abseil is tough on your arms.
But the adrenalin rush on completion is something incredible!

The sheer rush I got, plus THIS down in our plaza made it all worth it!