I'm actually positively looking forward to my Saturday job this week. For one thing, it will be great to get away from endlessly editing my dissertation and to get my head out of a book. For another, rather than just watching the kids, I'm going to be taking them to not one but two puppet shows in the national Irish puppet festival!

Dublin actually has its own dedicated puppet theatre but this festival is on all over the place and the venues I'm attending are in the city centre.

Speaking of the city centre, last night I went for a drink in a new place I had never heard of. And it's not surprising because this is a bar with no name, no sign and no light outside. There's just an enigmatic snail hanging up. Apparently, this joint is known as "the bar with no name". So you go up some rather grubby stairs, wondering vaguely if you're going to end up in someone's apartment or maybe an opium den or something and then, presto! You're in a New York-ish loft sort of a place with scuffed sofas and handsome waiters serving chilled drinks and it's like, "What the..."

I've told several people about this place, and they've all said, "What you'd never been there before! I don't beliiieeeve it."

Apparently, it opened last year and is now officially one of the coolest places in town. I guess I didn't hear about it because I'm just not cool enough.

Anyway, I'm not going out tonight; staying in with my flatmate, a DVD and a bottle of wine. He's chosen the DVD and I've gotta say it's an odd choice for a boy; Bride Wars.

Dead zoo

It's a beautiful spring day here in Dublin's fair city, and it might seem a little macabre under the circumstances to talk about anything dead but I was reading the paper and I found out that Dublin's very famous "dead zoo", which has been closed for three years, is about to open!

What's that? Well, it's a Museum of Natural History, and loads and loads of people have told me that I have to go and see it, but I haven't been able to because it's been closed for renovations for a few years. Apparently, it's very beloved by all Dubliners and as Dubliners like to give everything a nickname, it goes by the name "The Dead Zoo." It's going to open back up on April 29th.

As usual, my local greengrocer has been a fount of information. He tells me that he used to take his kids there, that he credits this as the reason why his daughter the milliner chose her profession (the exotic birds' plumage, you see) and that the museum is justifiably famous for not having been updated for something like 150 years. He says, "Sure they never did it up because in them days there was no money in the country and for once it was the right thing to do, because when you walk through the doors you're stepping back in time."

As it all sounds more than suitable for a lover of all things to do with the ninenteenth century, I'll be checking it out, for sure.

If I've been writing less about bars and going out than usual, there's a good reason for that; the end of the academic year is fast approaching, and with it the deadline I've given myself for telling the folks back home that I've decided to chance my luck in Dublin for another little while. Against all odds, I might even have a little good news on the job front - but I don't want to say too much in case nothing comes of it. Anyway, wish me luck, OK?

Malahide Castle

The Mom I work for on Saturdays asked me to meet her in the city centre, because it was a nice day on Saturday, and she had already made a plan for the kids for the weekend. She drove us all out to Malahide Castle, left us at the gate and said she'd be back in 6 hours. That sounded like an awfully long time to me, but it was such a lovely day the time went pretty fast. We went and played in the playground. In other words, I read a book and occasionally looked up and "Wow! You're really fast!" or "How'd you get so high anyway?" while they did their thing. Then we went and watched some people fly a kite. Then we ate the garlicky sandwiches the Mom had made for us. Then we went and spent the money she'd given me for the purpose and checked out the Museum of Childhood. In the end, the time went quite fast and it was a nice day, even though I was working, technically speaking! There were lots and lots of people there, and a few flashpoints that were pretty crowded, but the grounds are enormous and so it was easy to escape the crowd now and again. I like people watching. It's mid-season now; often warm and sunny and then suddenly chilly again. People were dealing with this by wearing slightly odd outfits like a summer dress under a heavy cardigan, or shorts with opaque tights, or in the case of a few of the gentlemen, socks with sandals (never a good look, boys).

I've started looking for work to begin this summer. I know, it's not a good time. There's a global financial crisis. But I'm not fussy. It's time I got my hands dirty and I'm prepared to do most things. I really need a year or two away from the books to get some perspective while I'm still young enough to justify my aimlessness -- and I do realise that the time left for being "young enough" is running out. Also, and I know that this probably sounds impossibly idealistic and ambitious, I'd love to try my hand at screenplay writing, and where better than Dublin?