Kids in Merrion Square

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.

Day-tripping to Glendalough

Glendalough 13

Glendalough boasts a beautiful natural landscape and a religious site constructed during medieval times.  It provides an ideal day trip from Dublin.

The Wikipedia site is full of interesting information about the place.  It starts by explaining:

Glendalough or Glendaloch (/ˌɡlɛndəˈlɒx/ glen-də-lokhIrish: Gleann Dá Loch, meaning “glen of two lakes”) is a glacial valley in County WicklowIreland. It is renowned for its Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin, a hermit priest, and partly destroyed in 1398 by English troops.

The Magic Lens of Glen McClure

Photo of Glen McClure when he was featured in Insider's Passport. (Photo by Marshall McClure, downloaded from Insider's Passport.)

Photo of Glen McClure when he was featured in Insider’s Passport. (Photo by Marshall McClure, downloaded from Insider’s Passport.)

Alt Daily has just published a feature on Glen McClure and his spell binding photography — including images from Ireland, Italy, and Virginia. The feature includes over a dozen photos — just click “next” under the first photo to sequence through the photos and the article about Glen.

As for myself, the most meaningful of the set is the image of “Carl Alston-2100 Colonial Avenue.” That’s because I helped at the shoot where the photo was taken. It was Glen’s first street shoot, a genre in which he has excelled. I was the person who asked Mr. Alston if Glen could take his picture — and thankfully, Mr. Alston said yes. He was carrying a braille newspaper.

Dave and I were also with Glen this past September when he captured “Vortex-Letterkeen Wood-County Mayo Ireland.”

I especially love “Liquid Sky Inch Strand-County Mayo Ireland.” In fact, I purchased a copy of this image for Dave for Christmas a couple of years ago. Today, it’s proudly displayed in our dining room.

There’s also “Achill Island Ireland-ST Pattys Day Parade” that I’ve shown you before. And some treats I haven’t shared before:

The Joy of Youth-Venice Italy” and

Silver Strand-County Mayo Ireland” and

Sheffrey Hills Light-County Mayo Ireland.”

Full Tilt Sun Arriving at a Place Near You!

My friends Jonathan and Amanda are staying at my apartment in Dublin for a few days.  Their flight from Dublin to Germany leaves tomorrow morning.  Today, Jonathan posted this image on Facebook, to remind me of my second home.

In just three days, the sun will rise at its lowest position in the sky.  In other words, the closer we get to the winter solstice (which happens on December 21), the farther south of east the sun will rise.  This is true for all places in the northern hemisphere.

My balcony faces due south (although Jonathan took this picture facing southeast). So, normally, the sun rises behind the building that is pictured to the left in his photo.  Near December 21, the sun peeks up between the buildings in this view.

He framed the sun for me on at this significant time of year.

Sunrise at my Dublin abode, December 18, 2012.

Sunrise at my Dublin abode, December 18, 2012.  (Photo by Jonathan Kennedy.)

Fresh Off the Plane

Dave met me at the gate when I arrived into Norfolk “International” Airport. We grabbed my bags and he whisked me off to a dinner party at the McClure’s.  He had made-from-scratch two beautiful lasagnas that were to be the centerpiece of our meal.

We arrived at Glen and Marshall’s home just in time to view the sunset off their back desk and take a quick peek into their lovely garden. Even mid-December, the flowers are abloom in their back yard. For Marshall this seemed like nothing special; this type of flower always blooms this time of year, she said. Hampton Roads (our region, comprised of seven different cities in close proximity) is awash in pink blooms right now.

But the sight of fresh winter blooms left me in awe….

I notice that the flowers looked a lot fresher than I did (sporting my glamorous just-off-the plane aura)!

As the sun dipped below the tree line, we headed in to the McClures’ cozy living room.  We sat around, petting the animals and chatting for a while.

Then, low and behold, Jamie and Mark Lewis showed up at the front door — with party balloons and Christmas gifts in tow.  Mark is a conservator who works at the Chrysler Museum of Art.  We initially met at an art gallery, where he told me he is job is to “clean dirty pictures with Q-tips and spit.”

What a catchy line pick up line!?!

It’s one that worked.  Mark, his wife Jamie, and I have been fast friends from that moment forward.

I’ve so many fond memories of dinners around the McClures’ dinner table(s).

Dinner time!

Dinner time!

As I mentioned, Dave had assembled two delicious lasagnas — one red and one white.  He made them completely from scratch, noodles and all!  The McClures rounded out the selection with a crisp salad and ice cream.

Everyone chipped in bottles of wine they’d socked aways for special occasions.  Dave brought one from Dolceaqua (a Ligurian town we visited this past summer). Marshall contributed some of the finest from her brother’s Virginia winery. And Jamie, knowing Marshall’s preference for pale wines, shared a delightful bottle of white.

I have to say:  this was the perfect way to spend my first evening back in the States.  Seeing people I love gave my heart such a lift!

Sadly, the Sun also Sets

The sun also sets (at 4:30 pm).

The sun also sets (at 4:30 pm).

Here’s a view from my window at 4:30 pm.

Throughout history, there have always been big solstice parties in Ireland.  I mean always.  And I mean big.

Seems pretty clear why that is!

I will miss the celebrations here, which is sad, but thankfully I will be home celebrating the light of my life!

Dublin Sunrise

Here’s a photo of this morning’s amazing Dublin sky.

The best part?

The sky is this beautiful nearly every day!

Dublin sunrise reflection

Thanksgivings Long, Long Ago

Here’s to memories of giving Thanks long, long ago.

In the photo below my dad, my younger/only sister Heather, and I were admiring the glory of a wise, old, wild turkey.  Heather couldn’t bear to eat fellows like him, and became vegetarian by the age of 15.  See the genuine respect she has for him?  Remarkable, really!

She posted this photo on Facebook last night — to celebrate Thanksgiving — and I thought I’d pass it along so you can see a fall day in Virginia in the late 70s with two young kids in awe of the natural world.

Shannon and Don and Heather Massie admiring a fine wild turkey.

Blue Moon Today

The Post Office was holding a package for me and I was thankful for the opportunity to get out in the sunshine and walk.  I’ve sequestered myself in an attempt to get some work done on this research project.  I’m up to my eyeballs in coding and making good, but slow, progress.

The sky was glorious and the neighborhood interesting to see.  I’m posting a reflection just exactly as my camera saw it.

Blue Moon in Phibsborough. Copyright Shannon Chance 2012.