Culture Night

Well, it's just over a month to go to the night that people-who-work-all-day-long look forward to all year round: Culture Night. All the museums and places with any association to "culture" no matter how vague that association stay open late to host exhibitions, shows, readings, and lots more, all or almost all completely free. I love it. It's on all over the city, as the map I just filched from their site shows:

Last year was my first, of course, and I still remember the inner city steel drum band giving it all they'd got outside the Bad Art Gallery on Francis Street. They have their own website and it really looks fantastic. A couple of my friends are volunteering on the grounds that there's a good chance they'll meet a smouldering Irish artist or two. Seriously, I would totally recommend these. You go to places you usually wouldn't think of visiting, just for the novelty of being able to do it late at night. I think they have nights like this in other cities, too. Such a cool idea. Let's hope the rain stays away. Although, note to self, someone could probably make a killing hawking cheap umbrellas if it does rain...

Speaking of smouldering Irish artists, it's been so long since I had a man on my arm. I'm getting really fed up. Sure, I meet guys at work, but seeing someone sweating over a sink of greasy dishes doesn't really predispose me to romance. Plus, I'm hanging out with my flatmate so much these days people probably think we're joined at the hip, which hardly encourages anyone who might  like me. 

Huh. So maybe I'll volunteer for Culture Night too. As they say in Ireland, you never know your luck!  

Back to school

Back to school: that's the sign in all the shop windows at the moment. The kids of Dublin all head back to their classes soon, so their moms and dads are out in force getting new school bags and uniforms for them. This will be the first fall when I'm not "back to school" -- as in, I'm out of university now. I have to say, much as I enjoyed studying back home and in Trinity College, I'm really glad it's over. Sure, the work I'm doing is not really a "career" -- although I've learned a lot in the kitchen already -- but I do feel ready and willing to take on more than just studying!

I guess for a lot of people this is a melancholy time of year, what with going back to school and the days starting get shorter, and all the rest of it, but here in Dublin fall is actually perhaps the nicest season. The unpredictable weather ceases to tease you because it's fall, and it's supposed to be like that, and because there's so much on. In September and October alone, there's the Fringe Festival and the Theatre Festival followed by Hallow'een, which was, of course invented by the Irish in the first place. Going out every night is beyond my budget, and not possible as I'll be working a lot of the time anyway, but there are free things on too, so with a little organisation, it's possible to join in the fun even without spending a lot of money.

Another great pleasure of the coming fall in the city is the fact that the pubs start to go into winter mode. And personally, I prefer them like that. The old-style pubs have real fires in the grates, and hot whiskey or that great decadent treat, hot port-and-whiskey replace mojitos and chilled beer. I love hot whiskey, but you'd feel silly drinking it in the summer. 

I have a major treat coming up that will bring my back to my love of Irish writing: My best-friend-in-Ireland's Mom has bought tickets for the three of us to go see a Night with Seamus Heaney at the National Theatre, the Abbey. Seamus Heaney, as you probably know, is Ireland's most famous living poet, and a holder of the Nobel prize for literature. It's exciting to think of seeing him in the relatively intimate setting of the Abbey. Something I love so much about Dublin, and still haven't gotten used to, is how accessible the great and glorious are here. You can go to a concert, and the odds are good the famous guy on the stage will be having a quiet drink in the bar afterwards, and people won't disturb him because it's not cool, or they don't want  him to get a big head. Seriously -- I saw Neil Jordan at the Museum of Modern Art a few months ago, and everyone just ignored him studiously as he drank his coffee downstairs.


It'll come as no surprise to you that the Irish really like beer. Since I move here, I've gotten to realise that Guinness is absolutely part of Dublin culture and life. On days like today, when the clouds are low and it's not too windy, you can smell the factory, brewing away. Now, personally I prefer something like the stuff they have in the Porterhouse, but you can't deny the fact that Guinness is everywhere, and in more ways than one.

The good people at Guinness as also real champions of very inventive advertising. I remember last year, the Guinness corporation whipped up a festival in the form of "Arthur's day" when the birthday of the Guinness factory is celebrated. Swear to God, there were people all over the city actually raising their glasses and wishing him the best of birthdays. It's advertising, alright, but not as we know it. And if it's fun, why the heck not? Guinness sponsors the best billboard ads in the city, so in their own commercial way, they are helping Irish artists, I guess...

I'm pretty much bushed after an extremely busy weekend of babysitting all day Saturday, working Saturday night and then Sunday from noon until midnight. Tiring stuff. I took the children to Dublin Zoo. I don't have a lot of experience of zoos, but this one seems pretty enormous to me. We managed to spend a good twenty minutes or so peering at the hippo and wondering how they breathe. Man, walking around that place is exercise!! My flatmate Bepe was flying his remote control plane in Phoenix Park afterwards so we hooked up with him. The kids think he's great. Hilariously, one of them seems to think he's my boyfriend, while the other is convinced he's my brother, despite the fact that he's Italian and I'm a Newfoundlander! Childhood must be a wonderful place. When you're a kid, there's no need to let reality stand in the way of a good story!

I just can't believe summer's nearly over and autumn's on the way, but you can feel it in their. It's not cold yet or anything, but it just feels different, and the leaves on the trees in the parks have darkened and will start to turn. Still, there's one good thing: I just love kicking the leaves about on Dublin's residential streets on windy days in October!