Google maps!

There's great excitement in Ireland right now -- or at least in my apartment right now -- because Google maps has launched, and now you can see all the streetscenes around the country just as though you were walking down the road. I have to say, this is loads of fun! I found my window on the facade of the apartment building where I live and can distinctly see my sneakers on the window ledge. I can even see that they could have done with a bit of a wash.

Anyway, you can take it from me, it's really fun browsing Dublin on your computer. You can walk all around the main squares, and even see into the parks. What's more, the nice people at Google kindly took all their pictures of Dublin in the late spring, when all the leaves were on the trees, which is SO much nicer than January when there's still plenty to do, but things are looking greyer. Go on - it's fun, kind of like peeping into a dolls' house.

Last year, I went to the Irish Botanic Gardens to see the Sculpture in Context exhibition. It was absolutely wonderful. It's on again this October, so if you're coming to, or live in Dublin, you've just got to go. I love the Botanic Gardens - but because they are a little way out of the centre, I think they sometimes get overlooked. The exhibition is a great time to go because it's fantastic, and it's not just about the plants.

Well, I'm a very happy girl right now because not only is my oldest friend coming over, but I'm about to start a week off. Tonight's my last night and work and ... woohoooo!!! Just try to stop me. And I feel that we've really lucked out with the timing of her visit as the question is really going to be what not to do because there's so much on. Like this, for example.


I'm counting down the days ... my friend Vicki arrives on Sunday night, and I'll be off for a week. I've been Googling like crazy, finding out what's on next week. Something she's just going to really enjoy is the Oktoberfest.

Apparently, this was on last year too, but somehow it managed to slip me by. I can't imagine how or why, but it looks like load of fun. As you can no doubt guess from the name, Oktoberfest is a celebration of German culture involving lots of German beer, music and food.

Well, that sounds good. And while I've knocked back a few German beers in my time, I'm pretty sure I've never actually had any real German food. Too bad Vicki is going to miss it, but there's plenty on next week to keep us occupied. I'm a bit nervous about introducing her to Saoirse, my best friend in Ireland. What if they don't hit it off?

I've done it before, but will definitely take her on one of those Wild Wicklow tours, because I think a trip to Dublin just isn't complete without seeing it from the mountains. I'm actually really looking forward to that, and hoping for one of these bright, golden fall days that we're having two or three times a week as opposed to the grey, overcast days we have the reset of the time...

Getting the Dublin look

Dublin's actually a very stylish city. OK, not everyone is super-stylish (including yours truly, alas) but the ones who are, really are. There's an edgy look on the streets of Dublin that seems to involve mixing high-street brands with charity shop and fleamarket finds with designer gear. Personally, I don't like the head-to-toe in branded items look so I appreciate the diversity in Dublin.

Anyways, the point is, Dublin Fashion Week is coming up soon.  And it's fabulous timing, darlings, because although I'm not particularly a fashionista, my best galpal Vicki is, and she's arriving JUST ON TIME! And I am taking NEXT WEEK OFF! Well, it's all just great. She's always been a bit of a girlie-girl. Our friendship is one of those "opposites attract" relationships. But for sake of my great affection for her, I'll be tuning into my girlie side next week. Between that and soaking in the culture at the theatre, that is.

I'm hoping she'll get along OK with my flatmate. Bepe's such a guy. Personally, I can cope with the socks on the bathroom floor and the dirty dishes in the sink, because while I'm tidier than he is, I know he's keeping mum about all the blonde hairs clogging up the shower. But Vicki, well, I'm hoping for the best.

Right now, I'm getting fond of a funky little venue near St Patrick's Cathedral. I've joined their Facebook page. They've an event coming up involving, if I've understood it corrently, making art out of odds 'n' ends Very zeitgeisty of them. I'll definitely be checking that out!