something I just discovered last night

I was in Temple Bar last night when I came on a big bunch of people milling about in Meeting House Square. Turned out they were all there because of a big new event, the Dublin Festival of Photography.

I like to think that my fingers is on the pulse of the city, but this one had completely slipped beneath my radar. And it looks like it's going to be quite a big deal. Here's the website. Because I hadn't known it was on, I only had time to pop really quickly into the photographic archive which had an odd exhibition of little photomontages with a political message that I didn't stay for long enough to decipher. I'll pop in again later.

The reason why I couldn't stay was that I was going to a show in the Project Theatre. It was a depressing little number about heroin addiction, loss, death, and grief but it was very good and I was glad I went. It was a shortish play, so straight afterwards I segued over to the IFI to see a film called "Please Give" which was, well, also a bit depressing, but very good.

I'm pleased to report that I resisted the urge to go for a drink afterwards, although admittedly this was mostly because I'd just forked out the dough to see two shows and couldn't really afford to!! It's just that I'm working so many evenings now I feel like going out and doing stuff on those evenings I have off and to tell the truth the temptation is always there to have a stiff drink or two when I finish in the restaurant, because it's really hard work and I feel a bit tense and need to unwind afterwards.

Anyway, I also found out last night that the IFI runs a "family festival" with really great films for kids. I mean, I would personally like to see a lot of this stuff. It's just a pity it's mostly on when I am working, and that I only have a babysitting job once a week; it looks like a lot of fun.

These summer evenings, the scent of barbecue is on the air, as anyone with as much as a balcony seems intent on eating out of doors. Fingers crossed for the weekend!!

Day off

I'm working this evening but, unusually these days, I wasn't today. I hadn't planned much but then a friend rang and said, "Let's take a vagary!" (this is what she actually said -- I'm assuming it's Hiberno-English of some sort, as I'd never heard the phrase before.

Anyway, as she has a new car (new-ish), she proposed that we take a half-day trip to Wicklow. I love Wicklow, and I love that it's so green and rural and so close to the city, but somehow I had managed to overlook this whole area of the Blessington Lakes. Wow, it certainly is beautiful around there. Completely different to the mountainous part of Wicklow, but just as pretty. We stopped off at a spot near Russborough House, which is a tucked-away stately home with a big art collection. I'm kind of sorry now that we didn't go in, because it's a really famous place with a massive collection of fine art, but it was just so sunny and lovely that we decided to go for a walk on the lakeshore instead. And we weren't disappointed; there were foxgloves, big, old trees, jumping fish, handsome local fishermen and, well, it was all nice. On days like today, I think "Heck, maybe I'll go live in the countryside," but when I think about it more carefully, and especially when it's rainy and cold, I realise that there's nothing to beat the buzz of the big city. But I've said it before, and I'll say it again: one of the great things about Dublin is the fact that it's so easy to escape from it into the green countryside for a couple of hours.

Workwise, I'm having a bit of an awkward situation. The head chef kind of asked me out. I muffed a response and it's all up in the air right now, and my housemate Bepe thinks that I think I can't go out with him because I live with him (Bepe) whereas I actually don't want to but also don't want to piss the guy off because he's above me in work and while he's always perfectly pleasant and I've no reason to think that he's pulling rank or anything it's all a bit... arrrghh... so I think I'll put it about that my Heart is Still Broken after my last Unhappy Relationship. This has the benefit of being at least partly true so I'm hoping it'll fly or I'll have to find another part-time job to keep me going with the other two!!!

Fourth of July?

As a citizen of Canada, we obviously don't celebrate the American Independence Day -- though our own Independence day is just three days earlier. But because most of us live near the border, we're pretty much aware of it as we can pick up US TV just like the Irish can see Uk Channels.

Besides, even if we did want to celebrate it, people are still sleeping off the hangover, right? No, just kidding, nobody drinks too much on Canada Day. It's a family holiday.

This year, on the other hand, I'm going to break with tradition and celebrate the US holidays because A) the nice people in Dublin don't mark Canada day and B) they've decided to celebrate the American holiday with cheap American beer and food and, for some reason, free traditional Irish music in Temple Bar.

I don't know a lot about American beer, but as it's being sold in the Porterhouse, one of the biggest, best pubs in Dublin, and it's going to be cheap, I am prepared to do some research.

Considering how many Americans claim Irish ancestry, I guess it's not really that odd for the Dubliners to celebrate the US national day -- and it's also an excuse for a party, right?

Speaking of Americans, now that summer is here, there seem to be more and more of them in Dublin. I'm getting to meet quite a lot in my meet-n-greet job at Dublin Tourism. Several of them have complimented me on my "cute Irish accent"!! Ha, ha! I am turning into an Irish woman, slowly but surely. Yesterday, I met a bunch of college students who had just come over from Indiana. They had no Irish connections at all, but are all really, seriously into music and felt that Dublin was the place to come to, to hear what's happening on the music scene. They were so earnest and excited about it all, I almost got carried away on their wave of enthusiasm. They invited me to meet up with them tonight so, if I'm not too tired after my shift at the restaurant, I might just do that. Plus, one of them was very cute. A bit too much of a jock for my usual taste, but then I never thought I'd be living in Ireland, or working in a restaurant, so I'm prepared to be open-minded!!

Doing too much

I've been burning the candle at both ends, as my mother says. I'm exhausted. I've been working 3 part-time jobs -- that adds up to one-and-a-half full time jobs -- and I've been going out every night, so now I'm just soooo tired. There's just something about these long summer evenings that makes it really very difficult to go to bed. Yesterday, for instance, I was finished work at seven, and planned to go home, do some very necessary housework and have an early night. But then I got a call on my mobile and was summoned to an evening picnic in Phoenix Park. The park is absolutely enormous (my friend's mom likes to tell me how one million people turned up to see the Pope there in the 1970s, and only took up one small corner) but you could still hear voices all around as lots of people had had the same idea as my friends. Well, we were all in a forested area. On the left, a big group of Filipino doctors and nurses were having a feast, and on the right, a big group of Africans were having a cookout. There were kids in the both groups so after they'd been kicking a football to and fro for a while we decided that we should make these we're-all-here-together business official and sent envoys over to each group to see if they wanted to pool all our resources. We were the "Irish" group (I was an honorary Irish person for the evening).

Well, it was fantastic, even if the menu was a bit odd!!!! We had sweet-and-sour pork on Irish soda bread, African peanut sauce on Denny's sausages and, well, a certain amount of beer was consumed all round. Guinness: the great equaliser. There's nothing like eating out-of-doors and it was so much fun to hang out with a bunch of people and just have fun, even if we never see any of them again. We all staggered home eventually, and now I'm just getting my head together before going to Dublin Tourism to do some meeting and greeting in my job there. It's another beautiful day, and it's looking as though this is going to be one of those mythical, wonderful Irish summers I've heard about, but have never experienced.

Back soon!