Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Dublin the fifth

Last day, first stop - one quarter of the national museum. It's spread over four sites - this particular one is history and decorative arts.

This quadrangle don't mess around.

Neither do the Irish when it comes to fightin', as I learned.

These were art inspired by, alas, not liquorice allsorts. Military ribbons.

This was my favourite thing - they've turned the mechanism for the quad's clock into an exhibit. 

Next I went to the Irish Modern Art Museum, which itself respectably quadrangled, and was worth the visit, although not quite on the level of its Scottish equivalent.

View from the museum. There is no denying the hugeness of that obelisk.

I made my way back central to finish of the last bits of shopping, via a cathedral, a cathedral, a castle and a college. This is St Patricks Cathedral.

And this is St Patrick's Square.

Now, I'm off to farewell people at the train station. Everyone's going home for Christmas. Farewell Dublin, you three-flaming-castled bastard!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Dublin the fourth

What kind of idiot was I when decided I'd do my Christmas shopping in Dublin? The. Worst.

The rest of the day was fun though! It included a random trip to Red Cow, because Red Cow sounds cute, and I had a day pass for the tram. Yeah, it turns out Red Cow is just a carpark. But Simon's reaction when I told him I'd been to Red Cow was pretty good, so it was kind of worth it.

Other things I saw:

These things, outside the arena. Who knows. Fortunately, art doesn't need to be explained, Warren.

This thing, along the riverside. It's about the size of a shipping container and I thought it might have been a super-exclusive nightclub. Turns out it's an art to disguise some utility pipes. Well played, Bord Gáis.

This bridge.

A grand canal, to be sure. This is the tech hub area of Dublin. I saw a Google!

I went and hung out with Oscar again, because what's not to love about quilted cuffs.

Followed by a stroll through St Stephen's Green.

It was most charming, and I saw some swans get their comeuppance in the fierce wind. Take that, you smug bastards.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Dublin the third

This morning we went to Kilmainham Gaol, which was excellent and sobering. We had an amazing guide who did more for Irish history in half an hour than an entire term of the same subject in fifth form. It was brilliant context for the bullet holes Cormac showed me in the facade of the General Post Office yesterday.

It took me ages to get this photo while standing in line in the gaol courtyard. The flag was not cooperating, or, as I put it, "being a real Amy".

The cells in the horrifying west wing, which dates from the 1700s.

The panopticon in the Victorian-era wing.

This was gorgeous - painting by Grace Gifford, who was imprisoned early in the 1920s; she was also married in the gaol, in 1916, hours before her husband was executed for his part in the Easter Rising.

Wellington Monument, the largest obelisk in Europe, located in Phoenix Park, the...actually, I don't know...Cormac called it the largest urban park in the...something, but it seems to be way down the list. Largest urban park in Dublin though, certainly =P

In the afternoon we went to Howth, an adorable seaside outer suburb of Dublin, full of fish and chipperies, basking seals and a pier upon which we promenaded.

Real lovely, as I kept saying in a terrible and for-no-reason Yorkshire accent.

We made our way homeward via Dublin's main Christmas market, wherein festive beverages were consumed. Jingle!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Dublin the second

Oh my. So full of beer. At least I had to work for some of it. Guinness University, from which I now hold a qualification (including actual certificate) in everything beer.

Leprechauns roll in hops and barley, then dive into the sacred pool, which is drained into cans and kegs for distribution.

...after the addition of one final secret ingredient.

I poured this pint! Not pictured: The Surge.

Similar to how storks deliver babies, Guinness arrives by toucan.

Artist's representation of Guinness. I feel like "May contain traces of horse" should be written pretty prominently on the label.

Dublin's spire needle pointy thingy has been turned into a Christmas lightsaber, just like the one wielded by Baby Jesus.

Merry Nollaig to you!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Dublin the first

Not much to report. Spent most of today in transit, which I would be ticked off about, but oh wait. Full of beer - don't care!

First, a final early-morning walk around Edinburgh, where I got a formal farewell on behalf of the Gulls of Scotland (note: may not actually be a thing).

Then to Dublin (the third time I've been here! In the past week!) where I surprised a church.

Also, this hairbrush package. Isn't it the most English thing you've ever seen?

Friday, 18 December 2015

Edinburgh the fourth

I shall sum up today with the help of my friend Roy Lichtenstein:

But first...

Christmas trees of the day. A maze of them. This is the view from the gorgeous National Gallery cafe, where I had second breakfast, because, as a character in one of my favourite books says, "Great art requires stamina" (although originally he said it through a mouthful of food and the protagonist heard "Grey tart requires stamina") BUT I DIGRESS.

First up, the main gallery, where I saw The Honourable Mrs Graham, who I have decided in the Rococo Cordelia Chase. "Hey Gainsborough, look how this ruby brings out my breasts. You know you were thinking it!"

The Murder of David Rizzio! I was just there! 

Onward to the Modern Gallery, where this bleak message in the sculpture garden welcomes you to Modern Two.

The news at Modern One is slightly more optimistic.

So is the landscaping, which is also the art.

Oh, I do like it when an artist looks at all of the colours and says "those will do nicely".

This is pretty much the reason I am in Edinburgh. Not exactly to see the piece itself (although it is cool), but because when it was in Auckland a couple of years ago and I saw it was on loan from the Modern Scottish Gallery, I thought "Wow, they must have an awesome collection. I want to go to there." And so I did and verily it was awesome. They also have my favourite Dali, Exploding Raphaelesque Head, which I didn't even realise was here! And even a Billy Apple! By the end of it I was deep in the overstimulated brain art swoon.

I revived with a walk back along the Water of Leith Walkway, which was uncrowded and pleasant, if a touch unnerving in places where the signage was lacking.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Edinburgh the third

Haha, I spent most of this morning wandering around with a fork that I borrowed from a restaurant last night when I got takeaway, and promised to return.

Sunrise on St Giles Cathedral. That's right, sun! The cathedral is beautiful inside, especially the Scottishly blue vaulted ceiling with white beams.

The Elephant House cafe, where JK Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter. As bragged about right there on the window. Come on Elephant House, be cool about it.

Greyfriars Bobby. I did not look into why Bobby is famous, because dogs that get memorialised inevitably have a tragic backstory.

Portrait of a Squirrel

Greyfriars Kirkyard.

National Museum of Scotland. Very good museum, gorgeous building.


Waka, recently modernly restored (acrylic stern!) by George Nuku. 

My new daguerreotype boyfriend. Don't be jealous.

I do not understand the topography of Edinburgh at all. My hotel is almost level with the castle, and without any discernible downhill suddenly I'm this far below it.

Albert Memorial in Charlotte Square. I had to visit to pay my regards, one Charlotte Street resident to another.

I found another Christmas market! Or an annex of the main market! Not that it matters. Bring it on! All of the Christmas!