A seaside day in Dún Laoghaire

Dún Laoghaire is a small suburban seaside town, located just 12 km’s from Dublin by train. Actually, it’s a part of Dublin and it takes about 15 minutes to reach it from the city centre but when you are already there, nothing reminds you the big and busy capital city and you feel yourself like in a real summer resort town. Long and nice promenade takes you along the seaside and calm and well-rested people are walking their dogs, riding their bicycles and strolling along the seashore, sitting on the benches and enjoying their 99 Flake ice-creams. Even the weather seemed to be totally different from the city weather and we had to take off our jackets and put on the sunglasses and of course, buy the 99 flakes at once.

I was wondering why do they still call them 99-s when they don’t cost 99p-s or there doesn’t seem to be any other connection with that number and so I had to google it. And the result was amazing – the ice-cream served in a cone with a Flake 99 is UK-s (and probably Irish) favourite ice-cream and I pretty much have to say that it’s my favourite ice-cream too for now. But calling them 99 has a long historical touch – the majority of ice-cream merchants in the 30-s were Italians and in the days of the monarchy, the Italian King had an elite guard consisting of 99 soldiers. After that everything elite or first class was called 99. That’s how they started to call them so. I also found that the Flake has to be 99 mm-s long and the cones had also cost 99 p-s in the past, but somehow I like the story of Italian elite the most. Now I know that my taste is elite 🙂

The name of the place is very hard for me to remember, especially the pronunciation but I am so used that the Irish names are the tough ones and when you learn it, it’s not difficult any more – /dun lieeri/, it sounds for me, and it means The Fort of Laoghaire. The high king of Ireland, Lóegaire mac Néill, chose this place as his sea base from where to carry out raids in the 5-th century. The town Dún Laoghaire dates from the 1820s and was called Kingstown at first. The two piers were founded in the 19-th century and the harbour is now one of the largest in the country. We picked the East Pier for our walk and after googling it came out to be the most popular and even used in some movies. The long walk ends at the old Lighthouse where you can also find  a small cafe and the ice-cream parlour, selling the Flake 99, of course.  The buildings on the pier reminded me a lot of our Haapsalu promenade, probably all the summer resorts have something in common 🙂

On that day Dún Laoghaire was hosting the Laser Radial Youth and Men’s World Championship and we saw thousands of small boats coming back to the harbour. The amount of them was unbelievable and they still kept arriving when we left.

The piers seemed to be also a favourite place for local guys who practised diving from the quay. That was a bit terrifying to watch, especially that the water didn’t seem to be too warm and not too clean either but this little matter didn’t stop the boys.

I have to say it was one of my most beautiful days here and Dublin still surprises me – you can find so many different sides of it and you never get bored. And seaside places are among my favourites anyway.


Shakespeare in the park

I haven’t seen a lot of Shakespeare’s plays and recently I haven’t seen one for a while. So the idea, that they are playing Shakespeare in the open air seemed very attractive and as the weather had been nice and sunny too, we decided to go to see it.

The play was performed in Casino Marino park. Casino Marino was built at the end of the 18-th century as a home of Charlemont Earl James Caulfield. So the name Casino comes from Italian word “casa”, which means home and there has never been a real casino in this house. From all the four sides the Casino is guarded by stone lions and the view to the Wicklow mountains of the background is breathtaking.

Unfortunately, they haven’t paid too much attention to the windows, which are really very small but probably the view from the balcony is picturesque.  The house is an example of neo-classical architecture, it seems very small outside but has 16 rooms inside but we didn’t come here to enjoy the pearls of architecture because we have come to see the Irish Shakespeare and so we move on to the small meadow at the end of the park.


The .audience is well prepared – some of them had even taken picnic baskets with food and wine with them and everyone, even the small children, were enjoying themselves and “Measure to Measure” by William Shakespeare with a small Irish twist began.


The first Irish twist brings all the story to Dublin where the biggest problems are immorality and cheating. So during the play, we must get to know who is the father of the child of the poor pregnant girl who has been sent to do the laundry for the nuns and if he would be hung for that sin at once or would there be some other way to save his soul. Thank god, they don’t hang him and they all live happily ever after 🙂


I enjoyed the play in spite of some language problems with Shakespeare’s text, local accent, and jokes I didn’t get so perfectly but it didn’t matter at all. It was a nice evening, a new experience and good actors that made it up for me. Now I really want to go to the real theatre in Dublin.

My first home-made pasta

When you have got a pasta machine and it has been lonely for a while and almost forgotten that it’s meant for making pasta, it seems to be the right time to take it out and give it a try. Especially if there’s someone around who has never done it.

Pasta making has always seemed to me as a lot of mess, a kitchen full of flower and hours of spending doing a hard work and after that ou will get just pasta. But as we both like cooking and I like especially cooking together, then I was quite interested and really wanted to try to make a real home-made pasta. It came out that it wasn’t such a mess at all and it was a great fun to see how these narrow spaghetti came through the holes of the pasta machine and the result was tasty. Even that we put too much lemon into the avocado sauce couldn’t ruin it and our home-made pasta was grand 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From Galway Girl to Molly Malone

In some reason, I have always loved Irish music, long before my feet touched Ireland and long before I even imagined that it could become my second home. I loved the long sad stories of “Molly Malone” and “Danny Boy”, the happy melodies of “Galway Girl”, “Whiskey in the Jar” and “Wild Rover” and the very old “It’s a long way to Tipperary”  and I even didn’t know where Tipperary really was. Somehow these melodies suited me and I wanted to play them in my English lessons when talking about English speaking countries.

Now I have had some nice experiences to be in real Irish pubs with real Irish music and I must say that whenever I hear them playing “Wild Rover”, which seems to be the most played song, and even if I know that it’s the most touristic performance in Temple Bar in the middle of the day, I feel that I want to sit down and stay. But one of my best experiences has been still in a pub in Duncannon, where the musicians just sat around the table and played, sometimes drank beer, and played again, some locals joined them and sang and the whole pub sang with them and they all knew the words. that was amazing.

So on our second Irish Dance evening in Parliament Hotel Pub with our friends from Estonia, I was very happy that besides the dancers there were also musicians singing and playing. And after our trip to Galway, the “Galway Girl” was just the right piece of music to listen to.

The evening ended at the Bank, which is another remarkable pub in Dubin city centre, located in the real old bank and absolutely worth to visit. The interior is luxurious and a bit royal in spite that it is a real pub where you don’t have to order anything else than a pint of beer or cider. So with 2 days we managed to visit three different pubs, definitely much more than usually with three weeks 😀


A trip to Connemara

When you have guests visiting you can behave as a tourist and as there are so many places in Ireland which I still haven’t seen, I was happy to join my friends on a day trip to Connemara. I have always wanted to visit Connemara, probably because of some mysterious romance books, which I even cannot name any more but when they have been taking place in Ireland, then something has definitely happened in Connemara. So for me, it sounded a very romantic place and that’s why I recommended it to my friends.

We started early in the morning at the Molly Malone statue with Irish Day Tours and headed through the mainland towards Galway. Unfortunately, that hot summer, which had touched Ireland for the past 4 days had disappeared and given way to the normal Irish weather and so we were followed by showers, a bit of sunshine and more and more showers. I still kept believing that it could change and tried to watch the cows because there was some old Irish saying if the cows were standing, the weather would be nice, or was it the other way around 🙂 Actually when we were discussing it some days ago on our car trip, even my Irish relatives were not exactly sure, if the poor cows had to lie or stand to predict the good weather, so I tried to concentrate on the landscape and miss the cows.

01-file_000When getting nearer to Connemara, there were already more sheep than cows and none of them was lying. They all looked very colourful, of course, their real colour was white, but their heads were black and they all had painted red or blue stripes on their backs and they all had horns, even the girls 🙂 Estonian sheep never have horns, at least I have never seen them. The painted stripes have different meanings as our guide told us – they can mark the owner or if the sheep is sheared or not and probably something more that only the real sheep owners can understand.

Soon we reached the Killary Fjord to start our 1,5-hour boat trip. The weather was not our friend any more – it was grey, cold and pouring rain and all the picturesque coastline of the Irish only Fjord, that we were supposed to see was hidden behind the fog and it seemed that the real autumn had begun – it felt like somewhere in the middle of November. As the Irish weather is tricky, and I have a lot of experiences already to know it, we didn’t lose our good mood, but stayed outside on the boat and took pictures of the foggy shores.

Very soon the weather started to change again, the rain stopped and the fog faded away and it seemed like the mountains, which lay on both side of us, started to take off their foggy clothes and dress into the green festive dresses. That was really so beautiful and worth waiting.

At the same time, it went warm again and we also could take off our raincoats and warm sweaters and start to feel summery again. Very soon it was already possible to count the sheep on the mountains and then our 1,5-hour boat trip was over and we had to go back on the bus and drive to our lunch place.

We had a short lunch break at Kylemore Abbey, which seemed to be the biggest tourist spot in the area. The Abbey is still used by the nuns, but we didn’t have so much time to go inside and greet them because we had to stand the queues to get some lunch. That’s of course not the greatest thing of taking a day tour – the place was visited by almost 25 buses full of tourists, but it all went quite quickly and there’s nothing to complain about. We even had time for a small walk towards the gorgeous abbey, admire the building and the stunning high mountains behind it, take some quick photos and go back to the bus.

Our last stop was Galway and even if I knew that I am going to like it and will be sad to have such a short time here, I couldn’t imagine that I liked it so much. Now it’s my favourite town in Ireland, without any question. Galway is the home of a Claddagh Ring and a lot of signs and adverts here and there reminded you that.

Of course, we wanted to find the sculpture of two Wildes, or to be precise, a sculpture of two writers – the Irish writer Oscar Wilde and the Estonian writer Eduard Vilde. The sculpture is mad by Estonian sculpture Tiiu Kirsipuu,  and was given to Galway as a present by its sister town Tartu, where the second copy of the sculpture is located. The writers are from the same generation, but have never met, it’s just the imagination of the artist who saw them in a nice chat on the same bench discussing the life and literature.

Even our guide didn’t know who is this man sitting beside their famous writer, now he knows, I hope that he will tell it to the other groups as well because when entering the busiest street with hustle and bustle, musicians and jogglers, these two guys are the first ones you will notice.

Galway is a place where you need to sit down, forget your hurry, take a beer and enjoy life, then perhaps take a little shopping tour and buy some unuseful, but cute souvenirs, a Claddagh ring to your loved one and some woolen Irish jumper just in case because after enjoying the sun and the music, it might get cold again but you still don’t want to leave.

Now I have a plan for the next summer and it’s always good to have one – we will come back and stay here for some days and do all these things together.


Irish Dancing

Everyone who comes to Ireland wants to see Irish Dancing, which probably became really famous after Riverdance performed on Eurovision in 1994. That’s why my friends who visited us in July asked us for taking them to see Irish Dance. So we carried out a big online search to see which different places are offering Irish Dance evenings and which of them are not so awfully touristic and expensive. As the Church is in our neighbourhood and despite being a real touristic place is still worth to see, we suggested them two options – the Church and the Parliament Hotel and they picked both of them 🙂

So on a nice warm summer evening, when our friends had just come from a Viking Splash Tour, which they loved a lot, and we had just arrived from our Cork visit, we ended up at the Church and enjoyed some good Irish dancing with a nice dinner, just like any other tourists, and as the other tourists, I also made a video and uploaded it on my Facebook page, where the Curch had also liked it.

Cork at last

I have been visiting the places around Cork for three years already, but still haven’t had an  opportunity to see the town, if not to consider the railway station, where I have been for some times. This year I had a straight wish to visit Cork as well and it matched our plans, and now I can say, that I have been to Cork as well.

We left in the morning and not on an ordinary morning, but on a shiny warm and perfect summer morning, which is not so common here in Ireland. This day was a real summer day to wear your summer dress and flip-flops and enjoy the hustle and bustle of Cork.


River Lee divides the town into two parts

As almost all the towns here, Cork is also located on the banks of a river, the river Lee, which flows through the town and divides it into two parts. At first, we had a small walk in the shopping streets and then headed to the English Market, which is a roofed food market where the trading have taken place since 1788. Nowadays you can find more goods than food from there and it’s also possible to have a lunch on the balcony, inside the market. The most impressive for me were the big seafood stalls with all this fresh fish and seafood. For lunch, we had sandwiches again and the more I eat them, the more I start to love the way, how you can create your own sandwich of almost everything you fancy.


The big bell tower of the Church of St Anne is called the Four Faced Liar and that’s because all the four clocks are telling the different time ad you can never trust them. We also had a quick look into the church but left the tower to the next time. I am pretty sure that I would like to climb the tower and have that picturesque view over the city but that time I must probably come just with Sean because we two are good climbers, walkers, and explorers, and never get tired of that. But I  don’t mind that I always leave things for the next time because then I have something to wait for, and so the next time it will be the tower, the shops, and the harbour – Cork is a seaside town but this time I didn’t have time to see  it.

We also passed the Butter Museum and had a look through the door, I am sure that I have never seen a butter museum anywhere else in the world. But I am not surprised because of the Irish dairy products including the butter, are really the best in the world.

After coming back it was still so warm, that we just sat in the garden and read the books 🙂

A sunny day at the seaside

To get a sunny day at the seaside is not something that you can take as granted when spending your summer in Ireland. Oh, yes, there is a lot of sunshine, but usually, the sun just goes and comes and you can never be sure how long does this magical moment last and unfortunately it never lasts as long as you wish. But this day started with the blue clear sky and ended the same way so I feel that it’s something that needs to be written down and remembered 🙂

Our plans took us to the Camden Fort Meagher, the next fortress, this time, a Maritime Fortress, situated in Crosshaven, just above the sea. Camden Fort Meagher is a coastal defence fortification, one of the best remaining example of that kind of fortification. It was built to defend the mouth of Cork Harbour and the first fortifications date back to 1500. 65% of all the fort is built underground in the tunnels and chambers, but as the weather was so beautiful, we didn’t spend too much time underground but paid more attention to everything that was on the ground, especially the marvellous views over the Cork Harbour and all these small and bigger boats who were enjoying the nice sailing weather.

This time, I didn’t forget to take my selfie stick and therefore I had a lot of fun to practice how to use it properly. It’s not only good for taking selfies but also for all nice views over the sea and that’s why I have so many photos of myself and the sea 🙂

Of course, there was a band 🙂 it’s almost everywhere where they expect tourists and it gives the day a perfect Irish taste. I know, that I sound like tourist now but I am still not tired of hearing them playing Land Rover over and over. The fort is taken care by the local volunteers who really do care about the history and the buildings and give you a good overview of the place and also chat with pleasure like all the Irish like to do.

After walking around we found a nice cafe above the sea and had a cup of coffee before we went home to cook the dinner. On our way home we stopped also in Crosshaven, where all the local pubs were busy and people were enjoying the weather and being outside with their friends and families. I would really be happy to get more such kind of weathers here because it’s so unbelievably beautiful here, so beautiful, that very often you just forget about the weather. And I have to say, that this summer has really been nice and warm – I can prove it by going through my photos of the last summer where I was wearing a coat on almost all of them 😀

Rock of Cashel

Every year we have made a trip to Crosshaven, which is located near Cork. This year we went by car and came back by train and on our way made a short stop in Cashel, a town, situated in County Tipperary and on our way we passed six different counties of Ireland starting from County Dublin, then to County Kildare, County Laois, County  Tipperary, County Limerick and our last stop County Cork.

Cashel is a small town with the main tourist attraction the Rock of Cashel, which is also known as Cashel of the Kings and St Patrick’s Rock. Of course, here it’s not possible to get past St Patrick anywhere and it is said that in the past days it was a mountain, called Devil’s Bit, where the Devil lived and St Patrick banished him from the cave and after that, the mountain landed 30 miles from its original location and became a site of the conversion of the King of Munster.

As everywhere else, where there is a tourist attraction, you can also find a small wool shop selling local handicraft. Here they have been really smart because the sheep were eating just beside the house, so whenever they will run out of wool, they can just step out of the door and gather some more.

Before we went to the fortress we were looking around for a nice place to have lunch and we couldn’t have made a better choice than O’Neill’s Restaurant, which seemed more like a cozy little cafe, run by a family. It looked so appealing from outside and we didn’t get disappointed when entering because it was the perfect little place to have your lunch. It had a bit old looking atmosphere, exactly what you are looking in a small town like Cashel and the food was tasty and the hosts friendly.

1-File_001(7)I cannot leave out the fact that after our lunch we were given the free vouchers for the Castle tour and were welcomed back any time. The O’Neill’s has also lots of good reviews on Trip Advisor and the Trip Advisor’s sign on the window. We ordered the sandwiches, which is a very popular lunch dish here and in spite of being a real sandwich lover, I really like Irish sandwiches and can suggest them to everyone. I especially like these places where you can pick all the ingredients on your own but I a sure that in every place they follow your wishes and please you with the tastiest sandwich you can imagine. And it’s big enough to share if you are not so very hungry at the moment but just cannot pass the lovely moment at the cafe with your sandwich 🙂

And of course, wherever I go, I am admiring the nice little colourful shops and pubs which have so lovely decorations and therefore look so cute, that you just cannot leave without entering or at least taking a photo.


Dublin City Gallery – the Hugh Lane Gallery

One part of the Dublin City Gallery is located so near to us that it has taken us three years to visit it. This part is called the High Lane Gallery and when you look the building from outside you can never imagine how big it really is. So I was prepared to go to a small art exhibition, but already in the first room, I faced so famous artists as Monet, Renoir, and Rodan.

We had visited the Dublin National Gallery before, but this one was probably too near to us and as it happens, that these places which are so near, that you can go there any time you want, just come out to be the last ones you really visit. Just because you can go there any time 🙂 It was a nice collection to see, not only because of these famous names but also all the Irish artists that were exposed were good. And I think that we spent a good two hours there walking around and enjoying the paintings. There were also lots of little rooms where they showed the movies, but the building was a bit cold and it wasn’t so comfortable to sit and watch like that.