A friend of mine just rang to invite me to a show in Tallaght, which is a big, sprawling suburb on the outskirts of the city where I rarely go, just because I live in the city centre and everything is on my doorstep. But Tallaght is at the foot of the Dublin mountains, and it must be nice to be able to get into your car and be in the countryside in moments.

Anyway, the show is on in a place out there called the Civic Theatre. It looks interesting from the write-up --- but is is something that a non-Irish person will really understand? I guess I'm feeling closer and closer to being Irish myself, so maybe I should go!

Gosh, when you live in the city centre it's easy to forget how big Dublin is. Apparently, they've got everything out in Tallaght -- colleges, hospitals, shopping centre, theatres.

I see now why people tell students they don't know how lucky they are. I thought I was busy last year with my MA, but I had SO MUCH TIME to do things compared to now, when I'm working 3 part-time jobs. Not that I resent the work at all -- I just wish I'd appreciated how much time I had when I did have it!!

But I'm absolutely working as much overtime as possible right now because I want to be free for the Festival of World Cultures in a couple of weeks: Best. Festival. Ever.

OMG!! The Colleen Bawn!

The Project Theatre, one of my favourites, is actually putting on a play called the Colleen Bawn soon.

The reason for all my excitement is that I went and Googled it (I love the Project and often try to go to their shows) and found out that the story is a true story based on the tragic death of a young girl in the early 19th century.

The funny thing is that this is a story that my grandmother used to tell me and, according to her, we are actually relatives of the original Colleen Bawn!!! It's a very sad story about a very young girl from a humble family who married a member of the aristocracy who later got bored of her and had her killed :-(

Thanks to Google, I know now that it is also a play that was first performed in New York in 1860.

This is so weird. You might think that a murder story would be too gruesome to tell children, but my grandmother actually used to tell me that story all the time when I was a kid. I'm not sure exactly what the relationship was supposed to be, but apparently, one of our ancestors was originally from County Clare. He married someone from Wexford and moved there and then they both emigrated to Newfoundland.

Well, I will definitely be going to the Project to see that one!

In other news, I've been told that I'm in for some free tickets to see as yet unspecified shows in the Carlsberg Comedy Festival. I just hope that I will actually have enough time to go, as a couple of the people in the restaurant where I work are off on holiday and I've picked up some extra hours. This is great, because I really need the money, but it does mean there won't be a lot of time for me to go out. Still, not complaining - not at all!

Although I'm on my feet all the time at work, I've gained weight (restaurant work -- one of the perks is that they feed us in the evening, and I'm too fond of pizza for my own good). So I've made a resolution to use a Dublin Bike every day, rain or shine, to get a bit more exercise. It's just not right to get heavier in the summer!

Loving my Saturday job

Motherhood seems to make people feel guilty. And I should probably feel guilty too, because I benefit a lot from the guilt of the Mom I work for on Saturdays. Because she's busy in her boutique, I have to watch her kids, and because she feels bad about not spending Saturdays with them, she generally arranges for my to do fun things with them, and now that I've kind of got the knack of keeping them reasonably well behaved, I enjoy those fun things too!

This weekend, for instance, I'll be taking them to the The Ark to attend a sort of artist-in-residence thing which sounds like I'll likely enjoy it even more than they will! I love that place. Everyone is always so over-excited there, and that's just the grown-ups.

Now, I can't draw a straight line, but I've been getting a lot more into art lately. Since finishing up my MA, I find it hard to read. For one thing, I'm very, very busy all the time. For another, I feel like I overdosed on books in the last year. I don't even want to read newspapers or magazines these days. So I've been looking at art more, and living downtown as I do, it's easy to pop into one of the big or small galleries just to see what's going on. My favourite big gallery is also the one that's closest to my place, the Hugh Lane. It's free, so I can just pop in for 10/15 minutes, which is usually enough for me. It's a very peaceful place; I love it. And last time I was there I got all excited about this amazing-sounding workship they have going on soon, before I realised that it was, ahem, for ages 6-10!!!

Anyway, I let it slip to the kids that I watch that my MA was about gothic literature and when they asked further, told them a bit about Bram Stoker's Dracula. Well, I went right up in their estimation! They know consider me a vampire expert extraordinaire!!!

Speaking of literature, one of my favourite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, will be speaking at the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoighire, and I won't be able to go because I'll be working! It's really not fair. Here's hoping I just bump into her in the street, or she comes to the restaurant where I work.

Going to volunteer!

Between my three part-time jobs, I'm busy, busy, busy, so it might seem crazy but I'm thinking of volunteering to help out at the Dun Laoighire Festival of World Cultures which is on in two weeks' time. I went to this last year and it was truly amazing. They have performers from literally all over the world, mostly free, and it's really a tremendous buzz. A friend of mine told me that they're looking for volunteers to help coordinate things and I'm thinking that that might be a load of fun, and you never know, I might get to meet some of the performers. I'd definitely be interested in meeting, oh, I don't know, Brazilian dancers or something!

After a few days of rain, we're bathed in sunshine here in Dublin again, which is lovely. So all is forgiven. And the rain just washed away some of the dust that accumulated during the long dry spell and refreshed the parks, so everything is looking sparkly-clean. There are lots of tourists in Dublin at the moment. Here's another little story from my meet 'n' greet job, a couple I met yesterday:

This was a middle aged couple from somewhere in the UK. I'm not sure where, but they had a very strong regional accent of some sort. I asked them if they had any Irish connection, but they didn't. They've just been obsesseed with Ireland since they went to see the Riverdance show a few years ago. They said they'd never even thought about Ireland much before, still less considered coming to visit, because mostly they like going on holidays to the sun. But, after seeing Riverdance, they got really into Irish music. About three years ago, they came on their first trip and now they come over every three or four months to get their fix of singing and dancing. Such a nice little story. I guess I'm pretty nosy because I like to ask people why they've come. For some people it's just a holiday and to see another part of Europe, but other have interesting reasons for coming to Ireland.

Speaking of reasons to come to Ireland, I should mention that there will be a big comedy festival on soon, the Carlsberg Comedy festival. Check it out.