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I'm tired today and would like to be planning an evening in, because I was at a gig last night. I guess it was kind of a date with my Boyfriend but as he's a massive fan of the band, we hardly talked. He was up at the front getting down to the music. And I've gotta say, it was very interesting stuff, not like anything that I'd ever heard before.

The band is "The Jimmy Cake." Check them out. I am always amazed not just by how good the music is in Dublin in general, but by how much of it there is -- and every type too. It's everywhere. I love it. I'm not a musical person myself, but I like to listen and, honestly, you could go out any day of the week. There's an Opera Season starting at the end of the month. Bet you didn't know Dublin had the opera too!

Anyways, as I said, I'm tired. But there aren't going to be any early nights here. No sirree. My Uncle Joey arrived this afternoon and too a taxi to the B&B I booked for him in Phibsboro and although by rights he should be exhausted from his flight, well, this is Uncle Joey we're talking about. He's coming here soon because he wants to see the apartment and then I think it's going to be the pub crawl of all pub crawls as he wanders about town befriending bemused bar staff and inviting them to take him fishing at the weekend. I'm gonna take him to eat at the Brazen Head. That was one of the very first places I went to when I arrived in Dublin, and I think it's a good place to start. Plus, it claims to be Ireland's oldest pub, making it about the same age as the Viking Settlement in Newfoundland. That's gonna impress any North American.

And the beer's not bad either.

January's hidden treasures

Sure, the weather is awful, but why complain? It's January. It's supposed to be awful. And when it is cold and rainy and we have to wear bulky clothes, well, there's no reason not to relax, eat a little too much, have one hot whiskey too many and wait until it warms up to worry about things. While I'm glad it's not January all year long, I'm happy to go with the flow.

After being a bit caught up in a minor personal melodrama, I've decided that my New Year's resolution is to take each day as it comes, work hard, enjoy life and start trying to make a plan for what I'll do when my course is finished. I started this weekend. Sunday dawned grey and slushy and very wintery, but I rang around and arranged to go to the Hugh Lane Gallery with Saoirse and my Boyfriend to see the massive Francis Bacon exhibition. I've been to that gallery before, and I like it because it's free, it's not too big and it seems to be a little different to the rest. From outside, the building looks like a standard Georgian townhouse, but inside, it's pretty fancy. The exhibition was not just about Bacon's art, but about his life and times, and there lots of bits and pieces. Photos, crumpled magazine pages, an old article about a 27-year-old George Michael. I hadn't even realised that Francis Bacon was Irish, but he was born right here in Dublin and grew up not far away. Poor man, the love of his life, George Dyer (Bacon was gay)died tragically. I can't imagine.

Anyway, getting away from gloomy thoughts, I've decided (part of the more general New Year's Resolution) not to waste Sundays anymore. There is always something to do.

My Uncle Joey arrives on Friday and will be gracing Dublin with his presence for five days before he goes down to Kilmore Quay to look up an old sailor buddy of his and maybe try to find the ancestral patch of land, which he believes to be down there. I had to go into Dublin Tourism on Monday, and as well as making vague promises to source me tickets to some of the festivals running in the city this year, they were actually really helpful. I think I've had enough family staying in my tiny apartment for now and as Bepe is here, it's not ideal anyway. But I don't want Uncle Joey in a hotel, because he's not a hotel sort of guy. He's from a small community, he's very friendly, and if he was staying in a hotel, I just know he'd hover round reception trying to show them his family photos and take them out for beers. Apparently, there are some bed and breakfasts near Phibsboro that might be better for someone like him. I'm thinking maybe this one. I think someone like Uncle Joey will be better off in a normal family house where they'll look at his family pictures and maybe even listen to his stories! I've heard that there's a very good pub for traditional music in the Phibsboro area, but as the best person to ask about that is my Boyfriend's dad and I'm too nervous to meet him, I'll have to ask trusty ol' Google instead. What I really want, though, is a place where people can come and sing spontaneously. My uncle is a great singer - traditional and other stuff -- and there's a big overlap between Newfoundland trad and Irish trad and I'm sure it'll be hard to STOP him from singing, so the sort of place where that's welcome would be perfect.

Anyways, I'm off home. Definitely a soup day and today I am thinking maybe tomato and basil...and some bread...

Oh but before I forget, the good people at Dublin Tourism asked me in particular to mention that there are loads of festivals on this year and that many of them are listed here. Folks, I've been here since April, and it's actually true. Festivals are back-to-back in Dublin, even in the dark-and-gloomy months. It might sound silly, but that's one of the reasons the thought of maybe leaving in June upsets me. Not that I don't love where I'm from, but I've kind of gotten used to the big city.

melting snow

I'm feeling a lot better. Cosy night in last night, difficult topics undiscussed...

Today feels odd. More snow is forecast, but right not it seems to be melting. Kinda slushy underfoot, as I discovered on my foray outside for warm pastries. A perfect day for museum-visiting, so I'm gonna check out the temporary exhibitions, and hopefully come up with a plan while He is in the shower. There's almost always something good, so even if we have to freeze our toes off on the way's worth it for culture :-)