Monday, 22 February 2010

Websites, Another Job, No U2 in Ireland and a Short Trip to Dublin

I've been neglecting my blog these last few weeks, I will update it more regularly from now on, this hiatus has just been a blip.   

I've been really busy with various things, one being working on a Cumbrian genealogy website that hopefully will see light of day soon.  I'm very much into genealogy, it can lead you on a fantastic and surprising journey as, like a detective, you delve into your past as you follow the clues and twists and turns of your family history.

I've got another job!  Not in place of my present little job, but in addition to it - after all it is only ten hours a week.  On Thursdays I've been working as a volunteer with Age Concern at one of their day groups for the elderly.  I really enjoy it and now am going to go on the organisation's paid staff as a bank carer - I'll fill in when regular caring staff are unavailable.

U2.com finally laid rest to all the speculation about Dublin shows by saying all the European shows for 2010 have now been announced.  I have a feeling that the band may finish the 360 Tour in Dublin next year, no one is saying the Rome show is the last gig of the tour, just of Europe in 2010.  Maybe they will get to Australasia and south America in 2011 too.  I've decided I'll just go to the two German shows I've got tickets for this year, then see what happens next year.

My friend Debbi and I have been on a short trip to Dublin recently.  I got the train to Manchester Airport and as I walked into the station I saw wallpaper on walls, armchairs, settees, lots of lights, laminate flooring.... then I remembered that I'd heard they were making an ad for Homebase at the railway station.  It really cheered the Victorian station up, they should have it like that all the time, easy chairs would be nice to relax in as you wait for your train.  The ad must be getting screened in the summer as the extras were in light clothing, some of the women were shivering in their short sleeves as they waited and waited for the next take on this icy February morning. 

I met up with Deb in Manchester and soon were were on our way to our hotel in Dublin, Bewley's.  After settling in we went out to the nearby shops and bought some wine and nibbles.  Wine is generally horrendously expensive in Ireland and there was one on special offer we fancied but it had a cork and we had no corkscrew.  The helpful shop manager offered to open it for us and I walked back with an opened bottle of red wine in a brown paper bag LOL!

We got our gladrags on and got a taxi to The Clarence Hotel where we were having a meal in the Tea Room.  Prices in that restaurant have tumbled dramatically and it is now really good value for money.  Our meal was fabulous, the chocolate fondant was to die for!  After the meal we had a cocktail in The Study (now open to anyone, not just residents) and chatted for ages.  We wanted to have one more Cosmo cocktail to share and the very helpful waiter made us two glasses topped up with the cranberry juice to make it go further.  Seems the hotel has now got a longer drinking licence letting people drink later as we left at 12.30am and usually the place is closed to non-residents from not long after 11pm. 

On the Friday we checked out Hanover Quay, but there was no sign of U2, I was quite glad we could move on as the wind was piercingly cold.   I love the name of this road close to U2's studios (photo above).  I thought it was just a weird name, but  when I Googled it I found out it was named after Bindon Blood Stoney (1828 – 1909) a civil engineer during the late 19th century. Bindon Blood Stoney was the main engineer working on Dublin Port and Docks in the second half of the 19th century.

Every time we go away now we treat ourselves to a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne (our tastes have got expensive as we've got older).  We meant to get a bottle at Manchester airport but, because we were flying Ryanair carrying only one piece of hand luggage to save money, we had no room for it.  It took us a while to find it, but eventually there it was, in the Eurospar in Barrow St.  So this time when I returned to Bewley's I was carrying champagne in a purple paper bag!

The Meteor Awards, in which U2 were nominated for three awards, were taking place that night at the RDS Simmonscourt, which was minutes from our hotel and we could see the building from our room.  Seeing U2 were nominated we thought that if they were in town they might go so we decided to wander round.  Unlike The Brits last year there was nowhere that fans could stand to watch stars arrive and we just wandered aimlessly for a while.  The ticketholders were arriving and they were very young, so much so that I felt very out of place!  After a short while we decided to go back to Bewley's and have a meal and then opened our champagne. 

Later that evening the Meteors finished and it seemed the VIP cars left on a road right outside our window.  We sat there having a great laugh (whilst supping our Veuve), at some very boisterous young girls hanging onto and running after various cars!  We later found out that Adam had been at the event to present the Industry Award to Lord Henry Mount Charles.  U2 won none of the awards they were up for though they were hotly tipped to take home all three!  Is Ireland's secret love affair with U2 over?

On our last full day Debbi and I did our own thing for a few hours during the day.  I went through to Dun Laoghaire to visit friends Ken and Elizabeth and had a lovely visit and it was nice to catch up on their news.

That evening we went to The Town Bar and Grill in central Dublin for our meal.  We've been there a few times now and it is always fabulous, it is expensive, but we save money every month for our trips and so it doesn't hit the pocket as hard as it could!  I decided to be adventurous and had a starter I'd never had before, wood pidgeon and chestnut lasagne.  The wood pigeon was lovely, but I now know I don't care for chestnuts!  I had tiramisu for dessert and it was the nicest I've ever had, absolutely delicious. 

It was a great way to end our short trip to Dublin.  Over the years we've seen all the sights etc, so a big part of our trips now is to eat really well and wash it down with lovely wine, something we both love doing.  Along with the company of a good friend it's a great way to spend time in Dublin!

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