Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Carlingford photos...

flickr photo link: <Summer in Carlingford & Dundalk>
Just a few weekend photos. We're off to Ballyshannon this weekend for (hopefully) a good bit of trad music...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Irish Pub of the Week #14

Irish Pub of the Week #14, "P J O'Hare's" in Carlingford, Louth. There's something rather special about Carlingford and P J O'Hare's, with it's Anchor Bar, Oyster Bar & Restaurant is most definitely a favourite for us. Located in a tiny lane in the heart of the village, it's a great spot for a Guinness and a dozen oysters after a good walk up Carlingford Mountain. Clare says she never liked oysters till she came here! And look out for the collection of ‘authentic’ leprechaun bones on display to hoodwink unsuspecting tourists...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Diet Coke of Muggy...

Dublin is muggy right now. Not muggy in the Darwin, or Cairns, or Bangkok kind of way. Not even muggy in the Brisbane kind of way really. Perhaps just a diet coke kind of muggy… 1/2 a calorie of muggy. Mottled sky, trying to rain in a slightly “steamy” kind of way, and when you walk around for a while, you start to feel slightly damp (like when I walk to work). I laugh because the BBC news goes on and on about “uncomfortable” sleeping conditions, as it won’t go “under 14c tonight”. But you have to remember, most Irish people would melt if they went to Bali or Bangkok… they would simply vanish and cease to be. Heat here is limited to around 20c, and if it goes higher than that, the roads start to melt too. But you still see smoke coming from chimneys, and people walking around in coats. Funny old Dublin.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Northern exposure...

flickr photo link: <An Irish weekend, 11-13 Jul 08>
Yet more photos! We promise there is absolutely no association between: steel jaws, Nipper the cat, swans biting Clare and The Queen... We headed north of the border after "The Twelth", when the Protestants take to the streets. Not much to see on the Sunday except for Scarva, where the village was enjoying cups of tea and watching brass bands, but we just wanted pictures of the signs really...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Irish Pub of the Week #13

Irish Pub of the Week #13, "The Gall Bog Bar" in County Down. OK, all politics aside, this pub is in Northern Ireland, but our Irish Pub of the Week is based on interesting pubs rather than borders! Sometimes you see these little pubs in the countryside - they almost look like someones living room... They might have cars parked outside, maybe not. We guess these are pubs for locals only. Anyway, this one in County Down caught our eye as we drove past.

Irish Pub of the Week #12

Irish Pub of the Week #12, "The Bleeding Horse" on Camden St, Dublin. I'm staying in Ranelagh at the moment, and kept seeing this popular city pub with a fascinating name!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dublin & more fog tales...

Boyne River Bridge... Lost in the fog...

Keep your nerve, keep your distance!
(click on the pics for the large version)

I'm hanging out in Dublin at the moment, which is kind of cool as I get to walk to work. I soon realised that I haven't lived in a "city centre" for a long, long time now (maybe Bondi Junction, Sydney back in the 90's?) I'm talking the sort of area where takeaway shops abound, traffic builds up outside the front door in the morning, Starbucks is 100 metres away and homeless people lie in the doorways... Dublin Trams (the LUAS) swirl by every few minutes. There's a real inspiration to being in the city though, and you get some nice evening walks past Dublin mansions with iron railings, neighbourhood parks (like Notting Hill) and all types of people out and about enjoying the summer evenings, although it has been bloody cool (and wet!) Yes, we talk about weather so much here - maybe it's a national pastime. Wednesday morning started in Dublin with pouring rain, buckets of it... eventually fading to blue skies & sunshine by late afternoon - then, driving north out of the city, a thick fog descended around 7pm - an absolute pea souper. This swirled all around Dublin Airport, which was already conked out by a radar failure trapping thousands of people for the night. Certainly made driving on the M1 a challenge too (pictures above).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Little Tern Benefit Concert, Spirit Store Dundalk I

We hope you like these 3 YouTube video clips of the brilliant Irish Trad gig we went to the other night (there are 3 blog updates in a row here). This was The Little Tern Benefit Concert at the Spirit Store, Dundalk on Sunday 06 July 2008. The very best of Irish trad music! The first clip features Patrick Martin (on pipes) & Cathal Johnson (of the French Fiddles).

Here are the artist bio's:
Patrick Martin is a full-time musician specialising in Highland Bagpipes and Irish Uilleann Pipes. Having studied both these instruments for most of 28 years, he can offer live music of the highest calibre. Patrick is also in demand for recording work by a number of bands and singers desiring some pipe or whistle music on their arrangements. His business is called Ground Bass Music which refers to the sound of pipe drones. Also of Riverdance fame, he is prize winner in the European and 6th in the World Championships in 2006. He is also involved in the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland who undertake a series of concerts each year both in Ireland and overseas. Their soul-stirring performances have been described as 'inspriational', 'astounding' and 'ranking at the very top of orchestral brilliance'.
The name French Fiddles is derived from Louth local dialect meaning mouth organ/harmonica. The band started up about 2 years ago in 2006. Since then the band has developed a steady organically grown set that has evolved and continues to evolve along it's journey. Cathal Johnson on vocals, guitar and harmonica, Isabel Nic Chuireann on guitar and piano accordion, Jacque Faure on clarinet and sax and Andrew Grafton from Eurostar fame on guitar and vocals are the main members. But the band tends to expand or contract at times adding the likes of Eamon Doyle on bluegrass style fiddle. Their influences range from traditional music from around the world to contemporary, to local styles from around Ireland. French Fiddles play original music augmented with essentially traditional Irish, country folk, blues and jazz, old-timey, contemporary and bluegrass styles. An eclectic bunch who are in the process of making a commercial CD and hope to have it finished soon.

Little Tern Benefit Concert, Spirit Store Dundalk II

French Fiddles playing at the Spirit Store, Dundalk on Sunday 06 July, 2008.

Hope you like it...

Little Tern Benefit Concert, Spirit Store Dundalk III

French Fiddles playing at the Spirit Store, Dundalk on Sunday 06 July, 2008. Sorry, this trad piece is cut off after 3 mins, 5 secs. I need more memory cards!

Bye for now...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

North Stradbroke Island, QLD, Australia

flickr photo link: <Brisbane, Jun 08>
13 Jun 08 EI34 BFS/LHR 1255/1415
13 Jun 08 BA15 LHR/SYD 2135/0515+2 (777 via SIN)
15 Jun 08 QF508 SYD/BNE 0805/0935
28 Jun 08 QF529 BNE/SYD 1315/1445
28 Jun 08 BA10 SYD/LHR 1635/0620+1 (747 via BKK)
29 Jun 08 EI33 LHR/BFS 1050/1210
So we're back in Ireland after a very nice 2 weeks in Brisbane. I've started putting some photos from our trip on flickr, although perhaps that goes against the spirit of "Adventures in Dundalk", so our Australian content should be kept to a bare minimum! Heathrow behaved itself this time with no light dustings of snow or lost baggage. Just the normal level of construction & sticky carpets (come to think of it, which airport in the world isn't under construction?) Anyway, it's been raining A LOT in Ireland while we were away. In fact, we didn't get too far from Belfast Airport before it started coming down again as we walked across the carpark into the giant Sainsburys at Sprucefield. Got some shopping, and immediately compared the cost against OZ (Coles/Woolies). Our consensus was... there isn't a whole lot of difference. We got quite a few bags of stuff for £44 (OZ $88), so there you are.
Our Annagassan Viking Festival is getting closer (09/10 August), my office moves out to Leixlip around the end of August, and I'm staying quite a few nights in Dublin over the coming month and a half too. So, back into the mist/pouring rain/fog tonight for the next installment. Take your choice.