Tag Archive: Dublin


Hoping to learn a bit of Irish history today, Aongus and I hiked over to Dublin’s Collins Barracks after brunch. A former military station, Collins Barracks is now used as a museum with decorative arts, WWI and II memorabilia, and even a gun-running ship that was pulled up from the sea floor. It’s also where Aongus did his service in the Irish military once upon a time.

To our dismay (and that of five other groups of visitors who arrived at 1 PM) the museum at Collins Barracks opens only 2-5 pm on Sundays. We left disappointed and took the back way out of the Barracks, exiting at Arbor Hill Prison.

Finding the Arbor Hill cemetery, next to the prison, open, we decided to venture in. There, we discovered tomb stones of British soldier and their families who served as occupying forces during the 1800s.

We also found a memorial to the Irish who lost their lives in the 1916 uprising. The leaders of the Rising were executed in Kilmainham Gaol, across the Liffey river, and then buried in a mass grave here.

Following 1916 the Irish continued to struggle against colonial rule, and they gained independence from British in 1922. Later this memorial was built to memorialize their effort. The monument includes the text of the 1916 Proclamation, in Irish on the left and English on the right.

Today this memorial park was full of dogs, and dog lovers, from the adjacent Stoneybatter neighborhood. Upon exiting the cemetery on the northern side and into the neighborhood, we discovered a well-preserved WWII tank kept up by a citizen group and had a bit of fun.

But after a busy week filled with cold, wet weather, we’d had our fill of exploring. We turned to head for home.

We’d driven from work on Friday straight down to Bunclody for RoboSlam workshops and not returned to Dublin until late Saturday night. All this activity caught up with us on Sunday, but the comfort of a warm blanket and a hot tea helped us recuperate for the coming week.

The first year students have arrived at DIT and are getting orientation this week. Today, the whole group of incoming engineering students were at our Kevin Street campus to learn about electrical and electronics aspects of their first year curriculum. Dr. Ted Burke led the introduction.

I really enjoy the chance to teach in various programs and on multiple campuses of DIT. I’ve posted images from my morning walk from DIT Bolton Street to DIT Kevin Street.

Culture Night Dublin 2105 1Dublin Culture Night happens once a year, offering a glimpse into many cultural treasures this city has to offer. This year, I got to attend the event with my friends Amanda Wagstaff and Frank Daly.

Amanda recently moved to Dublin as a Fulbright student for the 2015-16 academic year. She and I actually graduated from the College of William and Mary on the very same day in 2010–she with a Bachelor of Arts and I with a PhD in Higher Ed. Amanda is a studio artist who is using the archives at the Chester Beatty Library to generate inspiration for her own contemporary artwork. You can see Amanda’s past work on her website, Traipse.

Frank’s art and photography is viable on his website and his many Google+ photo albums.

The there of us kicked off our Culture Night explorations at Christchurch Cathedral, not far from my Smithfield residence, and then proceeded eastward to see several more sights. We took in dinner at the Queen of Tarts, Dublin’s stately Customs House, and a guitar concert at the Unitarian Church on St. Stephen’s Green.

Culture Night is just one of many ways to learn history in Dublin. I’ve included photos in the gallery below of several cultural events that happened around the same time:

  • a lecture on the Irish Civil War (hosted by the Smithfield-Stoneybatter People’s History club and held at in the backroom of the Cobblestone Pub)
  • a man in Smithfield preparing his horses and carriage for the All Ireland football match
  • the best places I know to sit and read about history (my friends seem to enjoy reading in these places, too!)

These days, wild, crazy fun among architects involves Pecha Kucha style presentations.  This is a high-speed format for sharing images and ideas.  With Pecha Kucha, each presenter selects/provides 20 images.  At the Pecha Kucha event, the slides are projected on a large screen in sequence for 20 seconds each.  The presenter talks, and the slides move on wether or not the speaker is ready.  It’s entertaining — in part because it’s actually quite difficult for the speaker to stick to the 20 second window.

This format keeps the speaker from droning on too long and it leaves time for more people to present.  It’s pot luck: everyone brings something to share and you can almost always find something you hadn’t expected but quite enjoy.

An architect from Williamsburg, Dale Weiss, organized a Pecha Kucha event at ArchExchange East last November and he has uploaded the representations to his (very elegant) website.

You can view my Pecha Kucha presentation, of urban reflections from Ireland, by clicking here.

On my last night in Dublin, my friends came together at the Cobblestone for my “American wake”.

Sheila Whelan (Fergus’ wife) originally suggested the idea.  She told me that when someone leaves Ireland for the US, the Irish traditionally hold a wake for them. In older days when people, like my great-grand mother, set sail for the States, a wake was held since the person wasn’t expected to return. Thankfully, flying has made the return trip much easier!

When I explained I wanted to return, Sheila said, “no worries!”  Evidently, my return  will give us a reason for a welcome back party!  I’m hoping for one of those on my November visit.

The Cobblestone pub in broad daylight.

The Cobblestone pub in broad daylight.

Irish wakes are typically held when someone dies, and they celebrate the deceased person’s life. There’s lots of drinking, craic/merry-making, and music. They are similar to America wakes, which are held for the living. As explained on Wikipedia, the term American wake:

refers to a gathering in an Irish home the night before a family member emigrated to America, in which friends and family would say goodbye to the emigrant for what was probably the last time.

In addition:

American Wake is the first full-length solo album by Patrick Clifford, released in 2010.

Thanks to my many friends who came to the wake, and to others who sent well-wishes from their summer vacation destinations.

There’s always something new and imaginative going on in Dublin.

Just before I left for Rome, I had a meeting at the Irish University Association building on Merrion Square.  Walking through the park after my meeting, I got to see workers setting up for weekend events for kids.

The the menagerie wire animals and the tree covered in a giant sheet fascinated me.

It’s vacation time of year here in Dublin, and friends are making a point of catching up with me before they go on holidays and I return to the States . It’s been such fun catching up with people I enjoy… like Eileen, Joe, Nancy, and Tom.

Fulbright helped me connect with such interesting folks… teachers, scholars, engineers, linguists, musicians, and technology gurus… and that was just yesterday!

Photo downloaded from Flikr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/7335188220/

Photo downloaded from Flikr.

There’s a  beautiful Capuchin Friary  right near my apartment in Dublin. The wooden ceiling is spectacular.  The photos I have on hand right now don’t do the place justice, so I’ve included two that I found on line as well.

Photo downloaded from WikiMedia. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dublin_Capuchin_Friary_at_Church_Street_2012_09_28.jpg

Photo downloaded from WikiMedia.

Dun Laoghaire harbor

Dun Laoghaire harbor

It’s overcast in Dublin today, so I’m pulling out some images from a recent sunny Sunday in nearby Dún Laoghaire, a  town in the suburbs of Dublin.

Dún Laoghaire is accessible from Dublin city center by train and bus, and it makes a lovely day trip. On the weekend, “Peoples Park” is full of market stalls and vendors with prepared food, raw ingredients for purchase, crafts, and other quality goods. The water front, with its harbor and beach, provides a relaxing place to stroll.

The town’s official website explains:

Dún Laoghaire is a town on the east coast of Ireland, about seven miles (11km) south of the capital Dublin. Its focal point is a splendid harbour and the town is surrounded by spectacular rolling hills.

…Historically Dún Laoghaire has always been a ‘Gateway to Ireland’, Dún Laoghaire gets its name from the Irish translation Fort (Dún) of Laoghaire. It was once the seat of King Laoghaire, the ancient High King of Ireland before the Vikings sailed from Scandinavia and established themselves in Dublin.

Dun Laoghaire beach

Dun Laoghaire beach with a view over to Howth (the peninsula on the left of the image, past the end of the pier).

They’re expanding the Guinness factory here in Dublin and it’s growing by leaps and bounds.  It has been fun watching it spring up out of  the ground. A good friend of  mine sent this photo of a construction worker taking a break mid air….

Guinness construction.

Guinness construction.

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