My OE - Ireland                                           
APRIL 2004
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Botanic Gardens, Dublin
Old Jameson Distillery
Howth / Ireland's Eye
Dun Laoghaire / Sandy Cove
Dalkey / Dalkey Island
'Day of Welcomes' Fireworks

Mon 3-Apr 04	Dublin

I visited the National Botanic Gardens (in Dublin) again today, to take a few photos now that the leaves were back on the trees and bulbs etc in flower (we originally visited during Jan or Feb '04).  It was a nice day to begin with, but then with some weather that Auckland would be proud off it absolutely poured for about 20mins and then cleared up again! (I sheltered in the Victorian glass house).  After the rain had stopped, lots of squirrels came out of hiding and ran around the lawns and trees. 

Dublin Botanic Gardens

Tulips, Dublin Botanic Gardens

After taking lots of photos I decided to wander back to the Royal Canal for a quick nosey before walking back into town and seeing a good traditional music show at the Arlington Hotel / Knightsbridge Bar - unfortunately for some unknown reason there was no Irish dancing tonight as there usually is.  It is certainly nice in a smoke-free pub - the smoking ban started on March 29th!

Tue 4-Apr 04	Dublin

Late this afternoon I finally got around to visiting the Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield, Dublin, for a tour.  The tour itself was just okay - it is more of just a museum really as no Whiskey is distilled here any longer, unlike the much better Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland (which we'd visited 12 months ago!).  However, I was once again picked as a volunteer to participate in the Whiskey tasting/comparisons and got another 'Official Whiskey Taster' certificate, which was fun!  The others picked were a guy from France, a German girl and an American guy who lives in Germany and had only been in Ireland a couple of hours - they were quite a funny bunch and we chatted away for over an hour or so finishing the Whiskey samples and then starting on homemade French Schnapps (it had a special name but I forget!).  Everyone else on the tour had long since disappeared.  Went to 'The Temple Bar' in Temple Bar for a few pints afterwards with the American guy.

Barrels at Old Jameson Distillery, Dublin

Jason's Official Certificate!

Thu 8-Apr 04	Dublin

Today I wandered back out to the Grand Canal Docks again to visit the Waterways Vistors Centre with interesting models, history and video footage of the Irish canals/waterways/locks etc.

Met up with friend Dan whom I had worked with at ClientLogic in Swords and went to the Messrs Maguires pub (on Burgh Quay, near O'Connell bridge, Dublin) for the first time - it is my favourite already!  An awesome old wooden pub with it's own microbrewery.  Their 'Rusty' Irish Red beer is the best!  And I certainly like this new smoking ban!

Sat 10-Apr 04	Dublin  - visited Howth

It was a reasonably sunny day in Dublin this morning so I headed out to Howth (north County Dublin) to try to visit the island 'Ireland's Eye'.  The tide was too low to go ashore, but I had a nice cruise around the island, with good views of Howth, Portmarnock etc.  Back at Howth I wandered around the town, East Pier and up to the Martello Tower on the hill overlooking the town and marina. 


Ireland's Eye

Had a tasty lunch and pint of cider at the 'Pier House' before seeing a small (and somewhat cheesy) parade/marching-band commemorating the gun-runners that had smuggled weapons in from the continent for use in the 1916 Easter up-rising.

Fri 16-Apr 04	Dublin

This evening I felt wide awake, and so despite having to working 24 hours over the next two days (6am-6pm Sat/Sun), and therefore against my better judgement, I decided to go out somewhere!  I ended up at The Bankers on Trinity Street, for Improv @ The Bankers - a very funny comedy improvisation show, in a very small, crowded (and hot) basement venue!  Very good!

Mon 19-Apr 04	Dublin

This afternoon I saw the movie 'Bloom' based on the James Joyce book Ulysses - Okay, but quite strange and nothing much really happened!  Almost saw our apartment building in a scene in and around Castle Lane / The Castle Steps!

Tue 20-Apr 04	Dublin

I went to see Battle of the Axe open mic comedy/music show tonight at The Ha'penny Bridge Inn, Temple Bar.  It was okay, but not really much more than that unfortunately.

Thu 22-Apr 04	Dublin

I had an(other) early shift this morning and on the way saw the new Dublin Elevation light show that started in O'Connell street today, running until 3rd May as part of the celebrations surrounding ten new countries entering the EU on May Day (Monday 1st May).  A video of the display in Dublin can be seen here (12MB Quicktime Movie).


Dublin Elevation
(photos from

Sat 24-Apr 04	Dublin  - visited Dun Laoghaire & Dalkey

This afternoon I caught a bus out to Dun Laoghaire for a general wander around - went out on East Pier (1.3km long!) for some good views of Dublin Bay, Sandycove Bay, Howth Head etc.

I also popped out to Dalkey with the intention of catching a boat across to Dalkey Island, but was a bit late for today - I will be back tomorrow!

East Pier, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

Sandycove & Joyce Tower, Dun Laoghaire

Sun 25-Apr 04	Dublin  - visited Dalkey & Dalkey Island

This morning I headed back out South Co. Dublin to Dalkey to catch a boat over to small Dalkey Island.  It was a really fine clear day today and certainly didn't feel like Ireland in Spring.  After a leisurely stroll around the island with amazing views of Dalkey, Colliemore Harbour and surrounding area, I sat down and read for a while and got sunburnt, before heading back to shore.

The General Post Office (GPO), Dublin

Dalkey Pier & Dalkey Island

Dalkey Island, Dalkey

Dalkey and Colliemore Harbour, as seen from Dalkey Island

Church ruin on Dalkey Island

Arty shot on Dalkey Island

On the way from Dalkey back into Dublin I stopped briefly in Dun Laoghaire and visited People's Park.  In Dublin I went into Temple bar for a couple of pints at Oliver St. John Gogarty's bar and to listen to the live traditional Irish band playing there.  I'm certainly going to miss the traditional Irish music, the quaint pubs and Smithwick's beer!

Tulips in People's Park, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

Live band in Oliver St. John Gogarty Bar, Temple Bar, Dublin

Fri 30-Apr 04	Dublin

As part of the Day of Welcomes celebrations to welcome ten new states into the EU on May Day (Mon. 1st) there was a large fireworks display on Sandymount Strand (beach) this evening.  I caught the DART train from town to Sandymount, along with hundreds of other people - The beach was crowded!  Although not as long as I was expecting, this was an absolutely amazing fireworks display - Probably the biggest I have ever seen (other than on TV).

Supposedly there were 4000 Gardai (Police) and 2500 soldiers in town, water cannons borrowed from Northern Ireland and Navy patrolling the harbour this weekend due to a fear of riots during the EU celebrations.

The Dublin Elevation lights on O'Connell street were pretty good tonight too - could see them from quite a distance.


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