Last post ever...

I've given it a lot of thought and, much as I've enjoyed writing this blog, I think it's time to call it a day. When I first arrived in Dublin in 2009 I was very much a country mouse discovering what I still believe to be one of the most exciting cities in the world. But over the last year and a half, I feel that I've become if not a native, then somehow a citizen! I belong here now. And that's not all. Yesterday, my boyfriend and I got engaged to be married! Everything is different, and I think that would-be visitors to Dublin would benefit more from a fresh view. I hope you've enjoyed reading. And do come to Dublin. It's a wonderful place to visit, and it's so easy to feel at home here. There's always lots to do and a warm welcome.

And if you don't believe me, come and see for yourselves :-)

Oh, the weather outside ....

It's been snowing! It's a bright sunny day in Dublin today and it snowed over the weekend, so the parks are looking very pretty and even the streets have that bright wintry look. Kids all over the city rushed into every park to make snowmen, so wherever you go you're overseen by chubby guys with sticks for noses and eyes made of whatever could be found at the time -- bottle caps, etc.

This weekend I braved the weather and made it town to the Kildare Village Shopping outlet. Well, there's certainly plenty of shopping down there :-) I picked up some Xmas presents and quite enjoyed the bus ride down, which took just under an hour. In the winter, it can be too easy to stay in the city and it's good to be reminded that there's a great big green countryside just down the road (well, a lot of it is white right now, but you get the idea). County Kildare is famous for its horses and racing, and you can totally see it when you drive through the landscape. There are stud farms all over the place.

I went to see my favourite Dublin band, Jimmy Cake playing in Whelan's and brought along Bepe. We're so loved up right now. Anyway, funny thing is that I was actually introduced to this band by an ex-boyfriend who turned out to be really bad news. And he was there. So we met. Honestly, I don't know what I ever saw in that guy. He's married now, but he said, "It's not going well -- we're just not having fun any more."

What a total loser.

There's a fantastic festival coming up in Dundrum, the One Act Festival. Check it out! I'm going to try to reorganise my schedule at work so's to go see as much as possible!

Bright winter

It's just been the most beautiful day. Short, of course, because winter days get dark early, and definitely cold, but just gorgeous - sunny, bright and blue-skied, without a cloud in sight. I ventured out of the apartment without gloves this morning, picked up a pair for ONE EURO in Penneys (how do they do that?) and went about my day. I'm being careful with money because I want to have enough to do the Christmas shopping at the markets that they are putting on all over the city.  The lights are not just up now, but have been switched on and everything is looking oh-so-pretty. There was a frost last night and for this Newfoundlander, the sight of the ice on the pavements was a very welcome reminder of home.

One thing though -- I wonder why the Irish haven't cottoned on to roast chestnuts? There are lots of other winter treats (I love the hot spiced apple juice with brandy in the Saturday market in Meeting House Square) but this weather does sort of suggest chestnuts!

So... today's the 25th, so it's a one-month countdown to Xmas. Here's hoping for some snow. Just a little, to make things pretty, not enough to make a nuisance of itself like all the snow we had last January!

Afro Celt Sound System

Wow! My ears are still ringing. I was at a concert last night and it was just fabulous. I can't believe I hadn't heard of those guys before.

The Afro-Celt Sound System was playing the National Concert Hall and I got to go at the last minute, because a friend-of-a-friend was ill and there was a spare ticket on the loose. Amazing.  There really is an incredible synergy between Irish and African music. The NCH is a very dignified sort of a place, so it was strange to see everyone standing and dancing among the seats. They got a standing ovation!!!

I so love the way Irish traditional music isn't just alive and well but growing and evolving all the time.I wish I was musical; I would love to play the uillean pipes. They have a much sweeter sound than the Scottish bagpipes.

In Dublin, Christmas shopping is very much underway. There's a new shop in town, Forever 21, and every second girl you see on the street is toting a bag around from there. I haven't been in, but I guess I might check it out -- although with all these concerts I've been going to, I'll more likely find some things I can afford at Penneys. Everything is looking super-Christmassy these days, with lights in the streets -- it's getting dark by 4.30 so they are very welcome -- shop windows all dressed up and people dressed for the cold. I've been told by the best of authorities (local greengrocer) that anyone who hand home-made Christmas pudding should be making it now, so I was thinking of giving it a shot. Recipe, anyone??


One of the many good things about winter is the fact the clothes are heavier, which in turn means that the odd extra kilo or three is less noticeable. In other words, you can eat more, and it doesn't matter so much. There's always the spring for getting in shape.

So: good news for those of us relaxing into our winter clothes is the fact that there's a massive chocolate festival in Temple Bar in the preChristmas season. I'm trying to persuade my boss to pay for me to go to some of the non-free events as part of my cooking education, but so far he hasn't been won over. But I'm gonna keep trying!

In other news, I'm wearing my boyfriend's clothes :-) One of the great perks of being in a couple, or at least being the female part of the couple, is that your wardrobe effectively doubles. I'm tall, so all his sweaters and shirts fit me quite well and in this chilly weather there's nothing like man-clothes to warm you up!

Yum, yum

I've picked up some extra work at the Taste of Christmas do at the Dublin convention centre next week! This is great because A) it will give me the chance to earn a little extra money for Christmas and B) otherwise I probably wouldn't go and this way I'll get to enjoy it without having to pay the entrance fee.

So, it looks like a lot of fun. There are going to be lots of famous chefs showing people how to cook and, I fondly suppose, loads and loads of things to taste. I hope so, because this gal likes to eat!! I can't believe I used to see food as just something to get me through the day. Since I started working at the restaurant -- and living with an Italian chef! -- I've really learned a lot about how to enjoy it.

This Christmas, we (funny to be part of a "we" after all this time) have been thinking of having a few friends around for dinner and are planning an elaborate feast. I was thinking, maybe stuffing with chestnuts would be nice ... or maybe something exotic and not-traditional-christmassy. There are so many really cool foreign grocery stores in my neighbourhood. Maybe something piquant and African? Or Asian? Well, I guess there are still five weeks to work on the menu.


I've been told by the best of authorities -- my friendly local greengrocer -- that one of the things to do in Ireland in the winter season is to see a pantomime. Now, I've never seen one but I've consulted a few friends and everyone has concurred that it's definitely something to do at least once, and that the pantomimes in Dublin are the best in the business.

So, I was thinking I might go to this one in the Gaiety Theatre. I believe pantomimes involve a lot of in-jokes about Irish politics and culture and goodness knows there must be a lot to make fun of :-) I wonder how old pantomimes are, as an art form? There's something very folklorish about the whole thing.

Anyways, I was planning to take my beloved (blush) out after work tomorrow for a glass of wine and am thinking of this place. I need to sweeten him up, because I've got some alarming news for him: my Mom and Dad found cheap tickets and are planning a visit in the New Year. And I think they want to stay -- and as I haven't gotten around to telling them about the new living arrangements, it's going to be, ahem, interesting!!!