I don't know how I missed this one, but (fairly) hot on the heels of the Gay Theatre Festival, there's another "gay" festival, this time of film. I guess one day there'll be no need for there to be separate "gay" events -- although my experience of the ones in Dublin has been that they've been such fun it'd be a real shame to see them wrapped up.

Anyway, this festival is on in the lighthouse, which is just near where I live, and is my favourite cinema in Dublin, being a little slice of Manhattan in a very Irish, slightly scruffy, end of town. I'm hoping that it will be possible for me to go. Always work permitting of course!

I'm down from two to three jobs now. The restaurant is giving me more hours, so I've had to quit the few hours I was doing in Dublin Tourism. I don't really mind. I enjoyed meeting and greeting but it's good to have a vote of confidence from the restaurant. I may even have to quit the babysitting job if they want me to come in on Saturdays in the daytime.

I never thought I'd be so pleased with myself for chopping vegetables. I actually really enjoy lining 'em up and getting out the big knives. Seriously; it's fun. And it's good, at the end of a shift, to be actually physically tired. So different to when you're studying and you just get mentally exhausted. I'm not saying I want to do this for the rest of my life but... well, I'm thinking of doing a part-time cooking course in Liberties College. I haven't looked into the details, but someone told me they do a cooking course there and I'm thinking, why the heck not?

Another funny thing: since I started working in the restaurant, I've actually lost weight! You'd think with all that food around, that'd be the last thing that would happen but seriously... we run around like headless chickens in there, and I'm probably getting more exercise than I have for months!!

I may be having some visitors soon, so hoping for a little time off and open for suggestions for things to do, in Ireland or out of it!

Small things

I was in Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street today, and checked out an exhibition they've got on right now. It's so cool, for a start, that the cafe has a theatre. I've been to some lunch time shows there, and it's a fantastic venue.

Right now, though, there's an art exhibition of miniatures called Small World. But it's only on until the end of the month, so hurry over!!! They're not just ordinary little scupltures, either, but very witty.

I'm going to get another fix of culture later on, too. There's a new show in the Chester Beatty. It's called Murqqa, of old Indian illustrations, and it looks just great. Then it'll back to the office or, in my case, back to a sweaty, steamy basement kitchen and work! I'm working really hard to save some money, and one of the perks of work, it turns out, is that we staff get to eat when it's all over in the evening. So long as you can hold out until midnight or so, there's a meal on the house for the employees. Sadly, we usually undo the savings involved by buying wine to go along with it but I'm planning to NOT do that this week and really try to put aside some money. Something's going wrong; I'm working really hard and still reach the end of the week without any dough left. Hence all the exhibitions I'm going to: they're free, unlike the cinema and definitely unlike the pub!!

Thought-provoking theatre

I wasn't working last night and it was just as well, as around seven my friend Saoirse rang me up to ask if I wanted to go to the theatre, because she was supposed to be going with her Dad and he couldn't go at the last minute. Never one to turn down a free night out, I said yes, of course, and dashed up the road to the Abbey Theatre -- fortunately, it's just about 5 minutes away from where I live.
The Abbey is an exceptionally ugly building (think World War Two bunker), on a rather scruffy street. Despite the appearance, though, it's one of the most important buildings in Ireland, because it's the National Theatre in a country that's renowned for theatre. Last night, I went to see the Plough and the Stars. I didn't know the slightest thing about the play but today, thanks to Google and Wikipedia, I do. The Plough and the Stars was first put on in Dublin in 1926, just ten years after the Easter Rising, which put Ireland on course to become an independent country. But it's not what you'd think -- it's not a "patriotic" piece or anything. It's a really sad examination of what violence does to ordinary people and I think it could probably be staged anywhere and audiences would get it. I won't spoil the ending, but if you go, take a handkerchief. Sniff. Irish theatre certainly does live up to its reputation.

Anyway, let's cheer things up. Here are some pics I took at the Festival of World Cultures at the weekend. They're not great shots, but maybe they give some idea of how much fun it all is!

Soft days

I've just finished the busiest week of my life and I feel great!! After working extra-double-hours most of last week, I basically had the weekend off, and was able to spend almost all of it at the Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures. On Saturday, I had the kids I watch with me, but that didn't hurt, as all I had to do was not lose them. I don't know how many people were there, but it felt like a good half-million or so! What to say? It was absolutely wonderful. Who cares about Oxygen and big-name rock stars when you can go and hear music and see things from literally all over the world?

Amazing. I guess the only complaint I can make is that it overlaps with the Carlsberg Comedy Festival, making it difficult to attend both.

Back at home, my flatmate and I are both a bit short of money, so we've set each other a challenge, which involves cooking something with an ingredient neither of us has ever seen before every night. This is easier than you might think, as we live in the middle of a very international grocery-shopping neighbourhood. I should say, it's easier to find unknown ingredients than you think. What's difficult is figuring out what to do with 'em. Today, it's my turn, and I have already bought the mystery ingredient: it's a long thing that looks a bit like a zucchini but with a pointy end. I bought it in a store promising "everything you need for cooking anything from Asia.". I asked the guy behind the counter what to do with the mysterious vegetable, but he just looked blank and said that when his wife isn't there, all he knows how to make is chips and fried eggs. So thanks, Asian guy. I'm thinking I'll just chop it and push it around a frying pan until it goes soft. I may be working in a restaurant now, but I'll still far from a gourmet chef.

Speaking of food, I note with interest that two new ice cream shops have opened up in Dublin's city centre. I say two, but they are both the same company, Murphy's. As there are so many Italian gelaterie around, I like the idea of an Irish ice cream parlour. (Not that there's anything wrong with Italian gelato, of course). If dinner doesn't work out tonight, and I'd say that that's reasonably likely, I'll treat us both to an ice cream to make it up.

Also, good news: I'm picking up some waitressing work at the Dublin Horse Show in August. And this means I'll have enough money for a little holiday, maybe in September. Right now, I'm not sure whether to stay in Ireland or hop on a Ryanair flight to someplace else. I love the way Ireland is so close to the rest of Europe. Amsterdam, maybe? Or perhaps I'll check out Donegal. I've never been there, and I hear it's really beautiful. I've never been to a horseshow. I wonder if it involves gambling? Hm, and I wonder if I could maybe multiply my tips that way?!?