Monday, January 30, 2006

January 20th Weekend (North Coast Dublin)

Before I start the blog...... That first photo, of the girl jumping.... it was on a poster on the DART to Howth. Luke saw it and thinks it looks like my face. I kinda have to agree... creepy, eh?

Luke and I had a good week. The regular stuff. I trained the new receptionist/P.A., which went well. She's a great girl so we got along well and she learned alot. The boss was away for most of the week and was away when she was originally hired so she didn't meet him until Friday. I was a little nervous about that as he can be pretty overbearing but she did come back this week so it couldn't have gone that badly.

Last weekend Luke went to his first jam/rehearsal with the band. He had a great time. Apparently the guys are grand and they all get along very well. I think Luke found it a little daunting as these guys are serious. When they get together to practice they aren't there to fuck around, they're there to work. I'm not sure Luke is used to that..... But after they worked hard they chatted for hours over wine and got to know eachother outside the world of music. All in all I think it was a great experience. He's heading out there again this coming weekend.

Anyway, so Luke went to Gorey to meet with the band on Friday after work and I met Tom and Sarah to celebrate Tom's birthday. We met at the Molly Malone statue and went from there. We started with dinner at Pacino's (An Italian restaurant off of Grafton Street) where we all had a great dinner accompanied by a bottle of Italian beer. After dinner we went to a few pubs. Bit of a pub crawl. All in all we had good craic and were home quite late.

I slept in until noon on Saturday as I knew that Luke wouldn't be getting home until mid afternoon (That's right, he spends the night in Gorey on Friday nights). I woke up, realized I had slept quite late and dashed around cleaning up the gaf as Luke and I had left it messy and I had made it even worse since he had left (surprise, surprise). I tidied and sat around in my pj's while I waited for him to come home. I know I could have done something productive but, hell, I just didn't feel like it.

Luke arrived home at about 4pm. We continued the laziness, chatting about his jam, chatting about my night, and watching t.v. Later in the evening we decided to go to Pearse Pub for a few pints but agreed that Luke wanted to be back at the flat for midnight as NASN was playing a Sens game. By the time midnight rolled around Luke and I had had a couple of pints and I was in the middle of a bingo game. Luke opted to leave and I opted to stay for the rest of the game. (I didn't win...). I ended up befriending the regulars, playing pool (And winning! I was then nicknamed 'The Dark Horse') and not having to pay for a single drink. Great night all around. (What's also funny is that I've been to the pub a couple of times since last Saturday and people have been referring to me as the girl they heard kicked butt in pool. I guess everyone has told everyone about it for some reason. The other night some guy said to me that he had heard about a Canadian girl that was really good at pool and had surprised everyone on the weekend and I told him it was ME. Hilarious).

Sunday morning Luke and I got up, had brekkie, coffee and relaxed for a little bit and then hopped on the DART for Howth. The weather was absolutely stunning. Sun shining, warm, spring-like weather.

Howth is a port town on the North end of Dublin that we had heard was lovely. The DART ride was lovely.... no real views of the coast or anything like that but it was nice to see what's on the other side of the city as we've taken the DART South numerous times. When we pulled into the train station in Howth we were thrilled. It is a small fishing/harbour town with picture perfect view of the old fishing boats and there is an island off the coast which you will see in the photos. It was spectacular. The atmosphere of the town was lovely.... quaint and quiet yet bustling with people. We started the day by going into the fish market to have a look around. We opted not to buy anything this time but will definitely do so next time we are there as the live lobster is very inexpensive. (We're going to treat ourselves for my birthday). From the fish market we made our way toward the harbour and the fresh fruit/baked goods/craft market where we bought ourselves some olives and sun dried tomatoes as we always do. The smells emanating from the stands was intoxicating! From the market we walked right to the harbour and were thrilled to see seals playing around. There was a group of people huddling along the edge of the harbour and they were all ooing and aaing over the lovely, playful creatures. At first we could only see 2 or three but then, from out of the murky water another 5 or 6 bobbed up in front of us. It was really incredible. We finally tore ourselves away after a while and headed to take a stroll around town. Howth is not a large town. We walked up the hill and found ourselves looking at a beautiful old cemetary that has the ruins of an old church. It was lovely (see photos). From there we walked to an old tower that sits on the top of the hill where we could see out over the town and to the sea. We then spotted a beach and made our way back down to have a look. The beach was great but the water was freezing! (We were only brave enough to put our hands in). After that we were feeling hungry so we headed to a traditional Irish Pub for lunch. We both had some seafood chowder, of course, and another appetizer. The chowder was great (Not NEARLY as good as my Mom's clam chowder though!). After lunch (About 4pm) we headed back to the harbour and made our way to the DART station as we had booked the laundry room for 6-10pm that evening.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

January 13th Weekend (South Coast Dublin)

Since Jess is training someone new at work and doesn't have time I am on blog duty.

Well the weekend finally came!

We planned all week to meet up Friday after work for a dinner and some drinks. So I made reservations at this nice little pub down the street from my work.
I got off at 5pm after a really annoying week at work and headed straight to the pub, ordered a Guinness and waited for Jess. We had reservations for 6pm and Jess made it there for about 5:30pm. We decide to just relax at the bar and have a drink and chat before letting them know we were here and get our table.

At 6pm we told them we were here and they told us to go upstairs. We walked upstairs and ended up in a big room with white tablecloths and pretty table settings. It looked like a wedding reception. I made reservations cause I thought they served food in the downstairs part, which was more comfortable and not so posh. I like posh once in a while, but I am sure you all know how much Jess loves it ..... so we left.

We decided to walk toward Temple Bar district and eventually found a nice little pub where we sat down by the window looking out at the street, had a pint and a really good chicken pita. As much as we planned on going out all night and celebrating the weekend we were dead tired and pretty much went home at about 9pm.

I was glad to get the extra hours of sleep.

I woke up on Saturday at about 10:30am (yes Mike we know the day is half over) and made some rasher/sausage/egg breakfast.
The plan for today was to go to the fresh/organic food market and get our usual and really damn good olives and sun-dried tomatoes. We walked thru the Temple Bar area, and I realized that except for the 1st day we arrived here, we haven’t taken any pictures of this area ... so I took a couple. The market is small, but really busy and nice every week. We got our veggies and decided to go to the Northern Ireland tourist centre to get some info on tours. Ty is coming here in April and we all want to go up north see the Giants Causeway, the rope bridge and I will try to be the 1st Polak to join the IRA. I heard the benefits are pretty good and the medical coverage is worth the long hours and weekends.

So we walked toward the travel agent and came up to the Dublin Castle. We figured well we are here, it is a nice day ..... oh ya it was a BEAUTIFUL day, plus 10 and sunny - really sunny so we decided to go in. We didn’t really go IN to the castle, we just walked around the grounds. I am still pretty sick of museums and castles and churches. After, well, anything in Italy, Paris, Czech Rep and Spain its hard to appreciate these little Castles. I want to see the old ruined Irish Castles in the middle of nowhere, but the Dublin one is pretty weak. So we walked around and took some pictures and on the way out stopped at this small French Café right outside the Castle gate for a Cappuccino.

From there we were back on track for the travel agent. But on the way there we walked by my new favourite pub The Stags Head. The pints are really good there. So... we stopped for one.

Long story short, you don’t need to know about everything we walked by or around. We never made it to the travel agent. We stopped at the Dublin Tourism to ask some questions and they told us that the North Ireland Agent was closed on Saturdays. So I decided to just convince Jess we should go to the coast. I wanted to go to Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Donlearry) the town where Jess works. Jess said it there is a nice long pier and it’s a pretty little town. Since it was a nice day I figured why not. We hopped on the DART (I even took a picture of the DART for you all so you know what it looks like. Impressive eh? No not really, I know.) and were in Dun Laoghaire in about 20 minutes. It was about 3:50pm and we were getting worried that it might get dark soon, so we decided to skip the pier (pier is a pier) and started to walk along the boardwalk/coast line. So we walked and walked, took pictures enjoyed the fresh air, drooled over some really nice houses and wouldn’t you know it, we found a pub!

We realized we walked all the way to Dalkey (which is 2 towns away from where we started and is actually pronounced as its written). It was a little over an hour walk, but it went by quickly and it was a really nice time. Dalkey has some nice houses, and it should since all of the members of U2 live there. We didn’t actually walk by their houses, figured we can do that next time. Bono’s house is pretty easy to find, the wall surrounding it has bunch of graffiti on it.

Little bit about Dalkey for those interested:

Very nice town, cute tiny houses with tiny doors, very colourful. Its nice to be that close to the coast and towns like these, it's like we are still tourists.

The pub looked pretty average and small from the out side so I took a picture. Once we walked in we were pretty amazed. It was HUGE. Two floors, high ceilings, very nice décor inside. It never fails. You cannot judge the size of an Irish pub from the outside. The pubs here are really nice, should be made into museums.

We had a nice pint of Guinness (as you can see in the picture) and since by this point it was dark and about 5:30pm we decided to head back to Dublin and have some dinner. We were going to hang out with Tom and Sarah but Tom had to work early on Sunday and after last weekend Tom knows we all can not just have one or two pints and go home early. Every time we hang out buy the time we realize it is closing time and we get home at like 3am.

So we had a nice dinner and the plan was to go to the Polish Club/Restaurant for a pint, and to the Kitchen (the U2 owned pub). We stopped at our local Pearse Pub to have a pint and make our way towards downtown. We hit another pub near our house, which I always want to go into, and then got a message from my cousins (Tarja from Amsterdam) friend Clair, whom I met in Amsterdam last March. We meant to meet up all this time and never did. She was in a pub just a couple of blocks away so we met her there.
We chatted for a bit, had a pint and she and her boyfriend had to leave so we started to make our way towards the next watering hole.

Jess wanted to stop at the Q, nice looking bar, but there was a cover charge, and well, there is no point in paying a cover charge in Dublin, it's not like they only have a few pubs. So we went next door. Had a pint there and moved on.

We pretty much hopped pubs every pint. We even managed to go into this Russian pub/bar called Pravda (meaning truth) just cause the had the Polish Zywiec. But to our surprise we didn’t like the Zywiec. So we left.

At the end of the night we ended up with 5 Polish guys, whom Jess met while having a smoke out side (by the way I pretty much quit, haven’t had one in almost 2 weeks and don’t crave them) so Jess met them outside. They were hitting on her, until I came out. They didn’t believe me that I was Polish and I thought they would start being assholes, so I just told them all off in Polish and we were best friends after that. One guy was from Warszawa as well, pretty funny guys. Little older than us, and WAY freaken bigger then me, but nice.

We all decided to walk to Temple Bar for a last pint. When we got there the idiot bouncer wouldn’t let Jess in cause he said she didn’t look 21. But let in 3 girls in mini skirts that looked 18 right in front of us. So since most of you know me well, you can assume what came next. I got little upset. I even showed him my ID and said “Dude I am 28 do you think I would marry a 20 year old?” he didn’t really care and told me to “Go home and get her ID and come back.” To which I replied “Why don’t you just stop being a p£*&%? You didn’t ask any of us for ID’s and I showed you my ID, I’m 28 and didn’t marry a 20yr old. I am glad she looks young, I’m sure you would like your wife to look this young too (I had no clue if he was even married)” Which didn’t go over all that well.

So all the Polish guys were in the bar and Jess and I decide to just leave but just to be a little more of a pain (since I had my ID) I just walked right past him into the bar and told the Polish guys we were leaving cause Jess couldn’t get in. So they all came out of the bar as well. We started walking away and then I noticed a side door to the pub that was not guarded by anyone, so I grabbed Jess’ hand and snuck her in that door.

Well I guess he expected me to do that cause I saw him coming around the bar looking for me. At this point I figured, well this is the end of the night and it’s the last bar open, why not have little fun? So I just hid behind people and ducked down just for fun. Eventually I went back to Jess who was standing right by the door and somehow he didn’t notice her and said let's just go.

He found us and told us to get out, and well that was it.

Not a big deal, he was just doing his job, but man he was just a typical, steroid bouncer. So I think this weekend we should go back there and see if he asks Jess for ID. And then he probably will say its fake cause Jess still looks 15.

Actually I will never go to that bar again. Temple Bar is pretty much a rip off and way too touristy. Unless some one visits us we’ll never go to bars there.


HOCKEY MORNING IN IRELAND! Oh yes! 2nd week in a row we get a Sens game.
I got up at 10:30 am and started the coffee and breakfast and watched the game. It's actually pretty nice to get up have a good breakfast, chill out in your pj’s and watch hockey. And its even better when the Sens win.
We get 11 Sens games till the playoffs and hopefully some Olympic Hockey coverage as well. It’s not a bad channel to have, but way too much American crap sports like football and college basketball.

Sunday was a really crappy day out side so we pretty much just relaxed all day and didn’t do that much.

Today is the 18th and I am at work. Obviously working hard ;).

This weekend I have to go out to Gorey where the singer lives for band practice. It’s about 2 hrs away on the bus so I will leave after work on Friday, get there about 9pm, and stay over till Saturday and get a ride back in around 2-3pm.

This will be the 1st full band rehearsal, up until now the singer/piano player/main song writer (a really talented lad) has been getting together with the bass and drums to get the parts out and learn the songs. Now I get to come in and add my parts in. Should be fun, the guys are really nice. We’ll see how we get on in the months to come. We had a jam space in the bassist's house but his roof leaked so now he has a big hole in this roof and the whole PA was sitting in about a foot of water. So until we get that fixed we will jam in Gorey.

I am sure Jess could use a night to herself and away from me - no she can’t she’ll be miserable without me. :)

Then Sunday (let’s hope the weather is good) we are planning to go to Howth. Howth is on the north side of Dublin. We always go south along the coast so we figured we’d change it up and go north this time. We've been told there are some nice seafood restaurants and pubs and, well, the scenery! We’ll take some pictures and you can see it too.

Until then, take care.