Working on the Railroad with Kitty and Patty

Irish Rail is definitely something to write home about!  Clean, comfortable, reliable, and on time. It accesses all the major cities in Ireland.

If you’re coming to Ireland (for this year’s Gathering perhaps) all you need to do is go online to to book your train tickets. You’ll pick your tickets up when you get to the station by entering your reservation number into a kiosk. The find the train platform and take your seat. There are food, restrooms, and free (but intermittent) wi-fi access on board.

Simple as pie!

Saturday Market in Meeting House Square

We weren’t blessed with the best weather during Patty and Kitty’s visit to Ireland but we did manage to see quite a few sites. We even made it to the Saturday market in downtown Dublin….

Service with a Smile at the Kildare Street Hotel

I always enjoying stopping into see the deskmen at the Kildare Street Hotel, where Dave and I stayed for our first week here on the Fulbright. They were amazingly helpful and they always offered great advice. They still do whenever I pop in to say, “hi!”

I took some photos the day I stopped in to leave them a Christmas gift (a calendar by Dave Chance Photography)….

Kildare Street Hotel deskmen Alec and Peter. Ever helpful and full of advice!

Kildare Street Hotel deskmen Alec and Peter. Ever helpful and full of advice!

Kildare Street Hotel

Kildare Street Hotel


Four Courts by Night

Ireland’s Four Courts building is so photogenic. The River Liffey sparkles with its reflections at night.  How I love this place!

The Look of Irish News

News is a very big deal here in Ireland.  The tiny population of this nation (roughly 4.5 million people) supports a startling number of newspapers (17 daily papers, I’ve heard).

The television news vans often line the streets in front of the Four Courts (the nation’s highest tribunal) and the government buildings shown in the panorama below.  In it, the vans are just starting to pile up… a sure sign something important is happening inside this beautiful building.

Looks like a big news day!

Looks like a big news day!


The Elegant Archeology Museum of Ireland

The Archeology gallery of the National Museum of Ireland is a chock full of fascinating treasures.  The building itself is also remarkable.  I’ve enjoyed visiting this place with both Esther Sterchi and Amanda Bernhard (the famous Fulbright student).  Of particular interest at this museum: numerous bog bodies, “prehistoric” relics, the Viking exhibition, and the unimaginably long wooden boat that was carved from a single tree trunk (see the panorama below).

I love the design of the Museum.  I wish I could see it without the skylight blocked out, though.

I love the design of the Museum. I wish I could see it without the skylight blocked out, though.

A Comfy Seat

I’m sitting here in my favorite Monday-night seat in Hughes Pub. I had hoped to catch up with Gavin before his trip to Portugal where he will investigate flexible spaces for teaching engineers using hands on approaches.

But alas, he’s nowhere to be found. His brother is here, though, playing whistle and uilleann pipes. I congratulated him on graduating a PhD on Saturday (in the area of energy).



Pondering St. Stephen’s Green

Here’s a quick glimpse into St. Stephen’s Green.  The squares and greens in Dublin are separated from the street by dense vegetation and high wrought iron fences.  That technique doesn’t work it the States, where such separations tend to yield dangerous spaces.  But here they seem safe enough (at least for me to occasionally pass through by myself at mid-day).

Due to the separation, the squares and greens are peaceful, quiet, and serene.  They offer respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Like New York’s Central Park, St. Stephen’s walled off Green was designed to be seen, not heard.  The views were designed to be “scenic” in the tradition of English landscape design (i.e., they were carefully composed for the visitor’s viewing pleasure).  St. Stephen’s Green is not a park for playing football/soccer or dodge ball.  Frederick Law Olmsted would probably not be pleased with all the sport that’s been carved into Central Park (it runs counter to his original intentions for serenity, visual perfection, and individual contemplation).

St. Stephen’s Green is often quite still.  And far fewer people go in than if the edges were transparent, “perforated,” or “porous.”

The Green is fine (and at times quite delightful) but I do quite prefer bustling, noisy, stone-paved plazas myself.  Dubliners, too, want urban spaces like that and many hope for the addition of new piazze (Italianate plazas) in the center of town.  They have only three to my recollection: Meeting House Square, Temple Bar Square, and Smithfield Plaza. The first two are quite small and the third is very large. It is, I’ve been told, the largest cobbled plaza in all of Europe.  (Or perhaps, just the longest?)

What Dublin lacks in piazze though, it makes up for in bustling pedestrian-only shopping streets. Dublin clearly has the corner on the market with regard to streets, with some of the finest pedestrian shopping streets to be found in the world (Grafton Street and Henry Street, for instance).

Robot Guts!

The answer is YES!  You just need teammates and awesome teachers to help you find your way.  They’re building simple robots at DIT with sophomore engineering students… and sometimes even with school kids.

No Strangers to Third Space

Jonathan fit the bill.

We all thought Jonathan fit the bill.

I’ve always likes the sign at Third Space that says, “Up here it’s okay to talk to strangers,” but I didn’t know exactly why they’d posted it.

The place was packed when Jonathan, Amanda (another Fulbright), and I ordered breakfast, and Amanda located seats at a large table up top.

It appears that they want to encourage customers to share tables on this raised level. They have two very long, family style tables.

The crowd soon thinned out and we had plenty of space to ourselves.

Thankfully we had Jonathan with us, so we met the criteria for sitting up there!  (We had someone stranger to talk to!!!!)


I explained the philosophy of “third space” in an earlier blog and other adventures I’ve had at Third Space in Smithfield (Dublin 7) as well.

Cafeteria tables on the upper level of Third Space.

Cafeteria tables on the upper level of Third Space.