Monday, June 27, 2011

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” - Plato

Playing outside the Dromoland Castle

Learning about how people lived "a long long time ago"

Thatched Cottage

Discovering that the water used to be pumped from a well

Ready to Ride

Ricky & Silverado take the boys out

Last weekend was a great weekend away with the boys. Weekends away with just the four of us is one of my favorite things. We spend a few whole days together, discovering new things in a new place.

The highlight of this trip was the pony ride. The kids have been on horses once before with a quick trip up and down a field. The smiles on their faces told me that e should try this again soon. This stable that we found in Clare was amazing. It was clean, the man and his young son were excellent and we were the only ones there. They gave the boys a half hour lesson about how to treat the horses, what the equipment was called and how to turn around in the saddle. The boys were thrilled! And so were we.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Nothing happens until it happens first"- Colum McCann

Ireland Fund Gala Dinner 2011

With my new friend Emer

Chatting with Colm McCann

Last Friday night we attended the Ireland Fund Gala Dinner at the Dromoland Castle in Limerick. The Ireland Fund is a global organization that raises money on behalf of Irish Charities. In learning more about their work I am once again struck by the force of Ireland. The Irish diaspora (and its supporters) is so strong, and the people so passionate and connected that I can't imagine any other country that would compare.

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese was honored at the event. She has been president for 14 years, and was preceded by Mary Robinson. I have often heard them referred to as "the Marys". President McAleese is very popular and has been an amazing ambassador for Ireland. It was wonderful to see her and hear her address. We didn't get to meet her, but we did sit at the table next to her!

Also at our table was a very nice couple, Emer & Basil. Emer and I had a quick laugh on our way from the cocktail to the dinner, and coincidentally were seated right next to each other. I liked her straight away- and hey live very close to us. Basil actually climbed Mt. Everest recently to raise money for the Ireland Funds- Amazing!

Finally, there was a very pleasant surprise. Colum McCann, author of the very critically acclaimed and award-winning Let the Great World Spin, accepted the Ireland Fund's Literary Award at the dinner. I have read and loved Let the Great World Spin, as well as his short stories. In fact, I mentioned him in this blog on February 28, 2010. And here is another strange coincidence: I happened to be in the middle of another book by Colum McCann at the time of the dinner. This Side of Brightness- I totally recommend it! I did get to meet Colm and chat with him a little. He is Irish but lives in New York. What a nice, down to earth guy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Easy reading is damn hard writing." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dalkey Book Festival June 17-19, 2011

Niamh Sharkey reading her books to the kids

Margaret E. Ward interviews Ryan Tubridy

Margaret conducted a fantastic interview!

Tom with the Heineken Cup

Me (pretending not to notice the Heineken Cup)

This weekend was the 2nd annual Dalkey Book Festival. The festival was born when David McWilliams (economist, author, and broadcaster) attended a Dalkey Business Group meeting. In an effort to come up with ideas to boost local business, he thought of using one of the most valuable local resources- writers!

We attended last year, and it was great. This year, however, I discovered that my friend from High School was interviewing Ryan Tubridy about his book on JFK. Margaret is a Garden City girl who has lived in the Dublin area for many years. She is a journalist, has written 2 books and hosts the Newstalk radio show in the mornings. Ryan Tubridy hosts the Late Late Show here, and has his own Radio Show on RTE. His book chronicles JFK's last visit to Ireland.

Margaret is often a guest on Ryan's radio show and they have an excellent Rapport. The interview was interesting and funny, and I was so impressed and proud of her! Oh, and we got to meet Ryan too.

After an afternoon at Finnegan's and dinner with Margaret and her kids, we went to see my friend Tim Pat Coogan talk about his interview with Brian O'Nolan (aka Flann O'Brien). There were so many events that I would love to have attended, if only it lasted a week! Roddy Doyle, Maeve Binchy, Conor McPherson, and Neil Jordan were among those who participated. If my readers are thinking of visiting, this would be a good thing to try and catch!

It was a wonderful day, and at the end we came across the Heineken Cup. Leinster, the Rugby Team from the province that we live in recently won the trophy. We had to take photos of that!

Friday, June 17, 2011

“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”- James Joyce

June 16th- Bloomsday!

"Mr. Joyce" was greeting the people on the streets of Dalkey

A Happy face from 1904

The sidewalks of Sandycove/ Glasthule where Leopold Bloom began his day in 1904

So, maybe not completely authentic, but people went to a lot of effort.

The cars really added to the atmosphere.

How can I describe it better than Wikipedia?

"Bloomsday is a commemoration observed annually on 16 June in Dublin and elsewhere to celebrate the life of Irish writerJames Joyce and relive the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904. Joyce chose the date because his first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle happened on that day, when they walked to the Dublin urban village of Ringsend. The name derives from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses."

No, I have not read Ulysses. Yet. It is on my list of things that I will probably do, just like Yoga. But I don't think that reading the book is required to appreciate the affection that Dublin has for James Joyce and he literary tradition that he helped to create here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Jogging is very beneficial. It's good for your legs and your feet. It's also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed." ~Charles Schulz

Jackie, Me & Emma from Team Angus

Just before the race

Yesterday, I participated in the biggest women's race in the world- the Dublin Flora Women's Mini Marathon (10k). Over 40,000 women, and a few men in wigs ran, jogged, walked and skipped the 10K rout through the streets of Dublin. Everyone was raising money for various causes and mine was for the Hospital that took care of my friend Jackie's nephew Angus.

On 3 June 2010 Angus arrived and began his courageous journey. Angus underwent open heart surgery at just 6 days old and despite a few complications he was soon home and began to thrive. Angus' life was full of love, happiness and cuddles but sadly, it wasn't enough and at the end of September 2010 the angels took him away.

Thank to friends and family we raised 1,670 GBP (That's 2,745 US Dollars!) for Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Hopefully it will help Angus' parents to know that he is remembered near what would have been his first birthday!

I finished in 1 hr 9 minutes and 8 seconds. Better than my last 10K, and yes I ran almost all of it. I am just a slow runner!

Before the race, a radio station had a DJ to pump up the crowd playing songs like "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Shout". I am not really into that crazy crowd stuff, I think that my crazy crowd shennanigans reservoir was depleted during my Club Med Years. But the last song that they played was Molly Malone, and it was really great. In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty...