Culture Night Dublin 2014

Culture Night Balloons


It’s  the annual autumnal equinox extravaganza: Culture Night Dublin.  This is a chance to ramble around the city as evening closes into night to do things and see things you may be tempted to revisit.

I’ve been going there for several years now. This year I took Teengirl along. She well used to our running forays so there would be no complaints on the rambling front. We only diverge on the little matters of taste and culture. So, yes, that matter would be a little more challenging.

Mansion House 

But she likes houses so we charged up to beat the crowd to see the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House.

Queues outside the mansion house

Mansion House Dublin

Well, it looks like the crowd got there before us.  That put a little dent in our confidence but we stood in line anyway, until the drizzle became a deluge and so we scarpered.

Oh well, maybe next year…

National Library of Ireland

Window NLI

Window National Library of Ireland

Plan B involved diving in somewhere that did not have a queue and the National Library of Ireland fulfilled this requirement perfectly. With face painting, a long-running Yeats’ exhibition, the Joly Café, and the Reading Room open, they were keen to appeal to a wide variety of people.

But it was the genealogical research area that appealed to me. The Find My Past database is freely accessible there and I was itching for some action on sleuthing for long gone ancestors. Teengirl, however, recalled an afternoon languishing under a desk at the National Archives “for hours” when she was three, while her mother indulged this fancy before. This time, she very wisely high tailed it out of the library before my notion took root.

Oh, but I’ll be back.

Instituto Cervantes, Lincoln Street


Tango in the Institute Cervantes, Lincoln Place

But Teengirl loves dance, and Spanish, so the Instituto Cervantes seemed worth a try.

There was a buzz about the place from the second we got there and it was straight to business with the fun. We followed a lady dressed in typical flamenco costume and soon had Tapas(Teen Girl) and wine(me) in hand. Meanwhile, two professional tango dancers were leading some left footed, but eager, volunteers around the dance floor to cheers and laughter from the crowd. There seems to be a lot happening in Instituto Cervantes, with films, concerts, discussions and workshops.

Definitely worth a return visit.

The Science Gallery, Trinity College

Weather Betting

Weather Betting

Film Science Gallery

Film on Tornado Deflecting


Tornado deflector

Tornado Deflector

The Science Gallery has free admission and Culture Night or not, is open on a Friday til 8pm. Situated in a corner of the Trinity College campus, it’s a great place to start exploring the delights of the city centre university.

Ours was a whistle stop tour. Tornado deflectors, weather prediction and global warming are of little interest to a typical fourteen year old girl. But it would be worth returning for the film alone and a guided tour of the exhibits.

Yep, I want to see this again.

Book of Kells queue

Book Of Kells Queue

We rambled around the labyrinthine hotch-potch of Trinity College buildings and followed sounds of babbling voices towards the queue for the old library. This snaked around the green in drizzly rain so we instantly crossed it off our list and soldiered on.

Arena’s Live Concert,Temple Bar

Temple Bar was our final destination. The rain, at least had kept the heaving crowds of previous years in abeyance, so we could ramble along the cobblestones at our ease. And again we followed the sounds, this time to an open air-but sheltered-concert as RTE Radio relayed their arts programme Arena live to the nation.


RTE Radio Concert, Meeting House Square

This was really good fun. It’s always so interesting to see behind the scenes at these broadcasts, from the frantic director hurrying the next acts on and off stage, to the grimaces of the live performers as they tweak their instruments nervously before going live. I didn’t feel time go by as we listened to traditional music, poetry, rap, and an actor’s frenzied monologue. The crowd lapped it up, as thrilled probably by the shelter afforded by Meeting House Square’s giant canopies as they were to be part of the live show.

Thrilled, that is, except for Teengirl. I looked at her bored expression and suddenly noticed that all around me were row on row of grey heads and bald heads, a sea of middle aged people, just like myself. The fact that the RTE concert orchestra was the next act was the final straw for her. And the look on her face was my cue to flee.

Oh well, there’ll be other times.

Ah, Gelato!

We ducked and dived out through the crowd, and scurried along with the ghosts and ghouls of the city down along the quays and over O’Connell bridge, past the GPO and across the street to a little place I had spotted earlier-Suso an Italian ice-cream parlour


Suso-Italian delights

The delights of Culture Night seemed all the richer with an Italian gelato in hand. I thought it best, however, not to ask Teengirl for her analysis of the evening. The creamy richness and flavour of the ice-cream could do that work of blending all the Culture Night’s delights into a very pleasant memory. It’s always better to leave anything with a good taste in one’s mouth.

And, so, perhaps, when I ask her along to Culture Night next year, she may decide to come back.









Beautiful Berries

It was a day for the garden in this neck of the woods. Nothing too strenous, mind. Just plucking pounds and pounds of berries.

Yes, the Chook House garden has the most amazing crop of blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries, this year. The elderflower isn’t such an odd fellow in the whole mix as I tied up a bunch of them in muslin and cooked them up with the blackcurrants.

There’s a mighty good bunch of blooms on the elder tree too, so I’m thinking that this might be the year that I finally get around to making elderberry wine. Teen Son is very keen to help…

Pots of blackcurrant and gooseberry jam are stowed away now, ready to unleash their plump sweetness in the depths of winter. Redcurrant jam or jelly to follow.

Meanwhile, I am high on vitamins having stuffed myself with berries today. And high on a parkrun time which saw me, by dint of clever planning and race strategy, beating last week’s time….by twenty five seconds!

Hmmmm, maybe I should just stick to gardening and jam making….

Juneathon 28 Mileage: 3.2
Juneathon Total:82.02

A Taste of Dublin

I have been having too much fun.

Friday night was bookclub night. It featured strongly of delicious food, great company and Prosecco. I should say literature too, but that wouldn’t be true.

Yes, I managed to squeeze in a three mile run before that. Enough to offset the damage from all those Prosecco bubbles maybe, but maybe not the calorific magnificence of blueberry cheesecake and tiramisu. Sometimes I am more pig than hen.

And the fun rolled on…

Taste opening scene

Yesterday I rambled off into the Taste of Dublin in the city’s delightful Iveagh Gardens.

Twenty five euro(or 17.50 online) gains you entry into this beautiful tented village. Each tent features tasting menus from restaurants all over the city and the idea is that you can sample food from each in exchange for the village currency, florins.


One florin=one euro. Got it?


And there’s the florin bank where you can exchange your hard-won cash for these, well, vouchers. They’re non-refundable by the way, so you’ll have to spend them all in the village. Hmmmm, I am not a big fan of vouchers but at least there are ample opportunities to rid yourself of them…


…if you like queues…


…or Prosecco

So Prosecco

Fortunately, I am more fond of the latter so I soon settled in with a glass or two and a little nibble of, well, I am not sure what…

As this was the last morsel of food it that particular stand, I reluctantly shared it with my pal. Fortunately I managed to resist the urge to eat the bamboo container and, critically, managed to keep the Prosecco all to myself.

It seemed that food was going to be a tad thin on the ground at Taste if we were to take the non-queuing, Prosecco drinking route. We were not alone, however, as lots of other people were laying around enjoying a few drinks and savouring the muggy June heat.

Beer garden

I had expected more of a Bloom type food hall experience. I had a wonderful time at last year’s Bloom festival wandering from stand to stand and getting a real sense of how much Irish food produce there is out there. Silver Hill duck, Rudd’s puddings, Sheridan’s cheese, Danuta chocolates, Clarke’s strawberries, Big Al’s burgers, all featured at Bloom but my experience was nothing like that at Taste. Just queues for the better known restaurants, and teeny tiny morsels of pretty stuff.

Salmon and Mousse


Apart from the queues, the whole thing was very well run. And the pretty, girly theme abounded.

Pretty 3

Pretty 2


Pretty 4



Everything was kept pretty and clean by a super efficient team of college students who bustled about as waiters, guides, janitors and general helpers.

Indeed, most of it seemed to be well run, including, from what I could see of it, the business side of things. There were certainly a lot of sponsors represented in this year’s show. With ticket prices on the steep side and not guaranteeing a taste of anything much, someone, somewhere was happily totting up the cash.

We pooled the last of our florins and joined a queue for very decent cappuchino and very very dry cake…

Cappuchino and Cake

…Before abandoning Taste altogether and running around the city for a proper, non pretty but filling dinner.

Sufficiently fuelled, I enjoyed great music on Grafton Street…

Buskers Grafton St


a four mile city ramble…


..and a long slow run this morning, as my penance for all that fun.

Juneathon Day 13: Three miles
Juneathon Day 14: Four miles(city strolling)
Juneathon Day 15: Seven mile long slow run.
Juneathon Total:52.14 miles


Saint Patrick’s Day

Patrick`s Day Window

Lá Fhéile Pádraigh Dhaoibh go léir! Happy St Patrick`s Day to you all!

And I celebrated…
…with a run, of course!

St. Patrick’s Day means a day off work for many of us here in Ireland. It may be true that some people still spend that day in the pub. Others are certainly out and about at parades. Then there’s the traditional sort who spent Patrick’s Day just as we did growing up: Mass in the morning, shamrock pinned to our good coats, dinner at 1 pm and a gaelic match of some description in the afternoon.

Of course, being the contrary sort, I did none of these things today. Instead I decided the time had come to take on Killer Hill.

Killer Hill is 5km of winding, rising, undulating hell. I haven’t run it this year at all. I depend on decent daylight for that and, even though the weekend would surely afford me that, I prefer to spend those runs on grass. So, it was time to woman up and take it on.

I took the camera along too. Just so I might snap a little shamrock for you all. But Mother Nature was not so benevolent in her shamrock dispersals this side of the country. In fact, I only encountered two bunches. And both of them were being worn my an elderly couple.

Mind you, they made an interesting sight. They harked back to another era. She, with her neatly pressed dark red wool jacket, skirt and tan tights while he was in a lightly pin stripped suit: their Sunday best. They could’ve come straight out of the Ireland of the Seventies.

There were lots of people about too, of course, and plenty of traffic too. The weather seemed to suit everyone, with little wind, some sunshine and temperatures hovering happily around the 12 degree mark.

And it all helped to take the pain out of my uphill struggle.

Downhill was a breeze of course. Luckily I realised that I’ve rather a bad habit of switching the brakes on when heading downwards. This time I just gave into the hill and enjoyed the sensation of actual running as opposed to my normal shuffly jog mode.

Oh, and I’ve been running this past week. Don’t mistake my Dalkey blogpost or my beetle-like meanderings as a sign of me slacking off. I am happily out of the illness and injury mode and I’ve run four times in the past week.

But I am definitely running inside my comfort zone a lot of the time. No change of pace, no intervals, no hills just comfortable four mile jogs. And that’s something that will have to change.

Anyway, 6.3 miles done today and Killer Hill conquered. Hopefully, this marks an improvement in my training habits.

St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally a time for sowing the spuds, or giving the lawn its first cut after the winter months. Maybe it will prove the time for me to implement improved training patterns.

Back at the Chook House, the Teens had no interest in attending the local parades. So we celebrated with food instead. No, not bacon and cabbage or corned beef.

But Spiced Root Vegetables with Lime and Mint. It’s from the wonderful Domini Kemp,you’ll find the recipe here and it’s both easy and delicious.

Spiced Root Vegetables with Lime and Mint

Spiced Root Vegetables with Lime and Mint

And can’t you see the Irish flag lurking in there? We had it with boiled potatoes, of course, and steak (yes, Irish beef steak)

Happy St Pats

And for dessert, we bagged this perfect little St. Patrick’s Day cake from our local bakery.

I’m off all sweet stuff for Lent, but it’s a Patrick’s Day tradition that we can break Lent for that one day.

Some traditions are worth holding on to. And sometimes, it’s worth starting new ones.