Thursday, April 28, 2011

Good times at Busaras

We're headed up to Belfast* in a few days as Wes is running in the marathon. I stopped in at Busaras (aka the bus station) to see about getting tickets. The 13 year old boy wearing his dad's suit who was working at the ticket counter pointed me in the direction of the ticket machines since I wanted to use my debit card. I went to the ticket machine and bought advance tickets to Belfast, easy peasy. The tickets say, 'Belfast 801A'. I decide, hey, I should pick up a timetable so we know when to go! I'm looking through the rack of timetables and I don't see 801A. Then I realize that I should just look for Dublin-Belfast because the numbers don't match up. Found it! The bus goes hourly. Cool! But wait! The timetable says the service numbers are 200, 240, and 001. Our tickets says 801A. No problem, I'll ask at information to get this cleared up.

Me: Hi. I just bought these tickets to Belfast. The service number on the ticket says 801A, but that doesn't match the service numbers on the timetable.

Him: Oh, sure, that's okay. The service numbers don't mean anything. You can get on any of the Belfast routes.

Me (in my mind): That is so Irish.

*Here is a public service announcement for people interested in travelling from Dublin to Belfast: the train takes the same amount of time as the coach bus and it is double the price. Just get the bus!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trim Castle and the Hill of Tara

We have been having a really gorgeous spring here in Ireland. I mean, ridiculously gorgeous. I'm really going to miss the weather when we leave. My husband has no idea what he's in for when it comes to heat and humidity. My in laws were in town for the Easter weekend, so we did a bus tour to Trim Castle and the Hill of Tara, both in Co. Meath. Fortunately, the weather was stellar because I imagine these places would be the pits on a cold, rainy day.

Trim Castle was the first stop. The OPW does a great 45 minute tour of the Keep and I would highly recommend it.You go all the way to the top and the views are really amazing.

These dry moat-like structures, surrounding the Keep (shown below), were actually a defense against attackers. They would have been wearing helmets, obstructing their vision, so they'd come running in and fall into these ditches because they couldn't see them. I'm fairly certain these would have caught me up, helmet or no helmet!

The next two pictures are from inside the Keep (shown above). The stones are green because they're mossy (there isn't a permanent roof on the structure), not because it's some special Irish stone. The building is made of limestone.

After Trim Castle we had time to get a coffee before heading off to the Hill of Tara. The Hill of Tara is most impressive viewed from above, so click on the link I provided at the top of the post to see aerial pictures. The Hill of Tara is known as the ancient seat of the kings of Ireland. It's older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge. It is believed that Saint Patrick came to Tara to talk to the Pagan kings about Christianity. They believe the reason the Hill of Tara was chosen to be the home of the kings was because on a clear day you can see 29 of the 32 counties in Ireland. We could see the mountains in Donegal, Wicklow, Galway, and Armagh. Pretty amazing!

 There was a prayer tree near the top, so I offered up a tissue for my prayer. Wes left a LUAS ticket!

It's believed the outer circle was constructed to keep the evil spirits out and the inner circle made to keep the good spirits in.
 My FIL hugged the Lia Fail (the ancient coronation stone) to see if he is the next king of Ireland. The ground would have rumbled and we would have heard roaring. All we heard was traffic from the M3.

These graves are from a churchyard next to the site. They're not ancient!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Well, kind of. We don't have the boxes yet, so I've been washing clothes and anything else that fits in the washing machine. My computer backpack is in there right now. We'll see how that turns out! I've made a pile of books that I'll attempt to sell back to the book store. I found some of my favorite all-time pens (Pentel RSVPs), my beloved Sharpie that had disappeared, and a Deutsche mark. I have no idea where that came from, but it looks like a quarter, so I imagine it was slipped to me accidentally at some point! I've been going through a lot of paperwork I've collected, mainly over the years in the UK - pay stubs, bank statements, etc. Most of what I've gone through is the paperwork I filed from when I moved to the UK almost 5 years ago. I found my student visa application, acceptance letter from Bath Spa, and all the accompanying loan information. I had a big file of stuff for the house and of course the cat's paperwork. It made me sad seeing all of Obie's info and knowing he's not going back.

Except for the cat, it has been fun remembering back to that time when I was wrapping things up and getting ready to start my new adventures in the UK. My plan was to stay for two years and it ended up being almost 5 years that I've been out of the US. It's going to be weird living there again. A lot has changed, but the biggest changes have probably been to me. In some ways I'm scared of myself and how I will adapt to life in the US again. It's different for my husband since it will all be new to him. I can't wait until he complains about light switches, faucets, and grocery shopping in a new country! In my previous post, Fran asked if I will be blogging once I leave Ireland. I'm planning on it as I'm sure I'll have lots to say about repatriating! The best part about this new adventure is I get to do it all with my partner in crime!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Just livin' life!

We're less than two months from leaving! At this point we're just wrapping things up. We have a shipping company (our stuff will be delivered a few days after we arrive), the cat had her rabies vaccine, and we transferred money to our US account. We had a one year birthday party to go to last weekend. The in laws are coming this weekend. I did my taxes. Finally had my birthday facial and massage. See? Just livin' life!

One thing that's fun is I started taking classes with Outdoor Yoga. I got a Groupon voucher for four weeks of unlimited classes. I am deeply in love with Groupon/ I am so excited that Baltimore will be able to further feed my addiction of getting these deals! Anyway, I started yoga last evening. The weather in Dublin has been GORGEOUS this week, so I definitely didn't have to drag myself there. I used to do yoga regularly, but when I was in England I switched to pilates which I actually enjoy more. Now in Dublin, I'm unemployed so yoga and pilates were out of my price range (yes, I do it at home, but it's not the same). Since I quit the gym last month and found this excellent deal on Groupon, I'm able to do a month of yoga. I have to say, it felt really great. I was surprised at my fitness level, even though it's been so long since I've truly practiced yoga. At one point the instructor said, 'Look up. I don't think I've ever seen a nicer ceiling in a yoga studio'. He was right. The bright green leaves with the bright blue sky behind it was really inspiring. When we were in savasana at the end of the class he told us to close our eyes, but I just wanted to stare at the leaves!

It's been a nice couple of weeks. With the spa pampering and yoga I feel like I'm regaining a bit of 'Kim'. Now if I could just become 'Employed Kim' life would be grand sure!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You Capture - Smile

Hey, where is that guy with my ice cream!?
There he is!
My hero! First 99 of the season!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Poor Smiffy....

It gets such a bad rap!

There is an article in the Irish Times today about plans to save Smithfield.square. I hope it works. Smithfield has an interesting history and none of it is showcased. I've talked a bit about it in the past. It is a bummer walking through the square and seeing all the empty retail spaces. I mean, they just closed Subway for goodness sake!

The plans they had for 2007 were certainly grandiose! I'm not sure how the residents of the apartment buildings would have appreciated rock concerts being performed on their doorsteps! And the horse fair, well, I'm not a fan. (I wrote about it on my old blog, which I just discovered no longer exists). Sorry I can't link to the post, but believe me, I love tradition and all that, but the horse fair is not nice. I walked away from it in tears due to the way the horses were being treated. The local grocery shop closes the back half of their shop down on that day because so much stuff was getting nicked. The state of the square after a fair is disgusting.

All that being said, there are some nice things about the square. The Lighthouse Cinema is ace! The Jameson Distillery! The Cobblestone pub! And all of this underground art stuff that's so underground I've never heard of it! Smithfield is close to the National Museum, great restaurants in Stoneybatter, and is a nice stroll from, my favorite, the Phoenix Park. There's a LUAS stop here and there are decent bus close by. Sure there are knackers here, but that's a Dublin problem, not exclusively a Smithfield problem.

Out of the whole article, I think the truest statement is this: "When rents comes down, and we get rid of upward-only rent reviews, we’ll begin to see a lot of progress." High rents have been the demise of all the good things in Dublin. I guess landlords here would rather have empty space, then give breaks on the rent.


Friday, April 8, 2011

A repatriating no no

Four months before you move, don't become addicted to a product you can only get in your current country.

Club Orange is the greatest orange soda ever made. It has real bits in it. REAL BITS! Interestingly, it's the first fruit juice soda ever produced and it's been around since just before World War II, then taken off the market due to rationing, and reintroduced in 1945. I don't really have anything to say about it, except that I love it and in two months I won't be able to get it anymore. I'm partial to the diet version, but the regular is nice too. If you ever visit Ireland you should try it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

(My) Monday...on the late side

Monday was our 2nd anniversary and I got this card for Wes. The sentiment was perfect but the picture was feet. Not only is it feet, it looks like two pairs of guy feet. Weird.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Celebrity Sighting! Well, kind of.

Of ALL the football presenters in the world, we had to walk past Setanta's Pat Dolan yesterday.

Wes: 'That's Fat Pat.'
Me: 'Who?'
Wes: 'Fat Pat!'
Me: 'Who?'
Wes: 'He's a football presenter.'
Me (I'm now at a complete stop, staring at him from about 20 ft away): 'Oh yeah! He's the one that talks a lot of crap against Liverpool, right?'
Wes: 'That's the one!'

Man! Why couldn't it have been Alan Hansen from BBC's Match of the Day!??

He's McDreamy!!! Apparently I would have had to wait my turn to have a picture with him. Wes would have elbowed me out of the way - Alan Hansen is one of the greatest Liverpool players of all time.

And he has gorgeous eyes.