Newbridge House in Donabate

Newbridge House is the next nice site at Dublin’s neighbourhood where I had never been. It’s a real Georgian Mansion where we had a very private tour, just the three of us. The guide was an old gentleman who was really into the history of this place and of course, he knew every single person on every single painting and was able to tell us lots of stories of all the inhabitants who had lived there.

As there were just only three of us, he let us hold some old vases, which could be expensive as hell and we were asked to step over the barriers to see everything very close. That’s why I like those guided tours here – they are all run by real fanatics in the best way. It’s amazing to see people who love their work so much and whose knowledge is so large and who are able to talk about it so that you really see the life and the people they are talking about.

Museums in Dublin

What’s a good thing about museums in Dublin, is that a lot of them are free and worth to visit. On the last day of my stay, we popped into the Natural History Museum near the Merrion Park and had a look at some animals, birds and fish who have inhabited Ireland during the centuries. I think that I have a long way to go to get to know all of these fish and shellfish, which look pretty similar but still are not.

heli_at_natural_museum2A year ago, on the last day of my stay for the last Christmas and New Year, we visited the other part of the Natural Museum of Ireland – the archaeology part, which is situated in an amazing building that was worth to see by itself. It seems to have become a tradition to start the year with a visit to the museum, not a bad tradition at all.

Now I am trying to remind myself which museums of Dublin I have visited so far. I know that there is still a long way to go, for example, I still haven’t seen the Book of Kells but we have taken it into the plans of summer 2017.

IMG_0604One of the first museums I went to, was Dublinia – a place where you get to know so much about the Vikings and the Medieval Dublin. It is situated near the Christchurch and it gives you a good overlook of history – you can really bump into it, try on some costumes, watch short videos and play games. We enjoyed it in 2014 summer when I was here for the very first time and wanted to get to know everything. We also climbed to the medieval St Michael’s tower and enjoyed the view of the city.

During the first summer, we also visited the Dublin Castle and the Chester Beatty Library – a collection of manuscripts, books, and miniatures which are situated in Dublin Castle. We also spent some hours in Dublin National Art Gallery and in spring of 2016 we went there again to see the exhibition of 10 drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, which was an exhibition – a  choice from the Royal Collection, which was displayed in Dublin for a while. In 2016 summer we also visited the High Lane Gallery, which is very near to our home and we pass it almost every single day. It was a marvellous place, much bigger than you expected and was hiding such as famous artists as Monet, Renoir and Rodan. The Gallery hosts also lots of exhibitions and it’s good to keep your eye on it because there could be something new and interesting on all the time.

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In the modern part of the prison

During my very first summer, we also visited the Kilmainham Gaol – an old prison which acts as a museum right now. This is so much connected with the history of Irish Republic and recently when I was watching a new serial “Rebellion” which talks exactly about the Easter Rising time, it was so interesting to me that I had been there and could get much more out of the serial like that. And I knew that I have been there and seen the place, which makes everything much more interesting.

Besides the museums in Dublin, I have also visited some museums out of Dublin, like the Jameson Whiskey Factory near Cork in summer 2015Cobh Heritage Centre in Cobh, in 2014 summer, and Irish National Heritage Park, which is an open-air history museum and I visited it when I had my week at the seaside with 2 sisters in 2015 and when we also visited the Most Haunted House in Ireland and spent a marvellous week in spite of the cold and rainy weather that was haunting us all through that summer.



Irish night out

The Irish night out that was organized by our nice hosts from Léargas took us to the oldest pub in Dublin – to Brazen Head. I visited it first two years ago but then we just had a drink there and looked around and I took some photos.

This time we were offered a big dinner with a story-teller and Irish music. The story-teller was fabulous and he entertained us with different Irish legends about fairies and leprechauns and what happens to those who don’t take it seriously. So if you want to survive in Ireland you must definitely get on well with fairies and never cut down their trees or steal their pots of gold which usually are hidden somewhere at the end of the rainbow. I have tried to accept these rules so far and I hope that the fairies are on my side. And all that story-telling gave an idea to write a project about different stories and legends of different countries – let’s see if that plan works out but if it does it could be something that I would like to do. The evening ended with our hosts singing us Molly Mallone and everyone who knew the words sang together with them. It was a short Irish night out but it was grand and after that Sean came to meet me and we walked back home.

I must say that the seminar in Dublin was the best of all the contact seminars I have visited and hopefully, I also got some useful contacts to go on with.

Some memories from my first visit to Brazen Head in 2014 summer.

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 😀


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.


You never get too much of it

During summer 2015, I was lucky to travel around a bit. Some places I visited had been on my way before, some places had just been on my list, which is still really long and I hope that it will never get short.


I still haven’t been in Cork, but I have been in lots of places around Cork. This time, I spent a day at marvellous Blarney Castle with all these beautiful gardens and walked all these mysterious paths and hidden grounds around it. It was a bit like a fairy world and I am pretty sure that if somewhere is the place where they live, then one of those has to be the Blarney Castle.




Of course, I couldn’t miss kissing the famous Blarney stone, but I still cannot say if it has made me talk more or not. Maybe you have to be Irish for that. Or maybe I just don’t want to admit that I have started to talk more than usual.




But even if you don’t want to kiss the stone or the procedure makes you a bit dizzy, I will definitely suggest you climb up there and have that gorgeous view of the green Emerald Island that is spread beneath and could be enjoyed as far as your eye reaches.


And here are some places which don’t exist in this world 🙂

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The trouble with Irish names

I thought that I can speak English without big problems, at least understand it quite well. Yes, that was before I went to Dublin and started to be a part of a big, loud, joyful and continuously talking Irish Family. It’s not just their accent, that I have already started to figure out, it’s more because they are always speaking about someone who met someone who had talked to someone whose granny had been in some unpronounceable place with someone who she met when she was travelling from one unpronounceable place to another, where she met her twelve cousins, whose names don’t make any sense at all, who are now living in several other unpronounceable places with their wives and children whose names are also not quite understandable for me. It doesn’t help too much if you look these place names up on the map, because even if you could remember their pronunciation, you never find them because they are written totally differently and without any sense.

That’s why I like to look up all these pronunciations and names and read the stories behind them. The best illustration for that is Lee Mack talking about Irish names.

And now please tell me once more if you write your name Niamh, why do you tell that you are Niiv and if you really are, why don’t you write just one v into your name. 

Until I don’t get it I keep reading one of my favourite web-pages about the names and their stories IRISH BABY NAMES.


The Statues and their Nicknames

Before my trip to Dublin when I started my blog I did a lot of research on the Internet to get myself into the right mood and of course to be better prepared for the coming weeks. As a language teacher and a bit of a language freak who is awfully attracted to sculptures, I got really impressed when I found that web page about the statues of Dublin and their Notorious Nicknames. At first, I bookmarked it and then added it to my blog info bar to be sure that I don’t lose it. Walking around, discovering these statues in the real life  and taking photos of them gave me an idea to take a picture with all these mentioned statues and here they are. I have to admit that I forgot the Ace with a Base, still passed it several times, but didn’t take a picture. I will definitely do it on Christmas time, probably Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzie is still standing on Grafton street and waiting for me.


A statue for the ordinary women in Dublin, with a nickname” Hags with the Bags”, one of the bags was snatched a little while after the statue was placed there, but fortunately, it was returned afterwards.


The Spire of Light, over one hundred and twenty meters long, located at O’Connell Street and placed there to celebrate the Millenium. A good landmark if you are new in Dublin. But it seemed that the locals don’t like it as much as the tourists do 🙂 Also known as Needle or just Spire.


Molly Mallone, still wheeling her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow, crying cockles and mussels alive a-live alive a-live O! Also known as “The Dolly with the Trolley”, “The Flirt in the Skirt” or “The Tart with the Cart”.


The statue of Anna Livia, who appears in James Joyce’s novel Finnegan’s Wake and which Dubliners use to call “The Floozy in the Jacuzzi”


Me and James Joyce, the most famous writer, in the middle of the night somewhere in Dublin, actually at Earl Street North, just turn right from the Spire. Also known as The Prick with a Stick.


Oscar Wilde, very imposing statue, it shows so well the importance of enjoying yourself. And how is he called? My favourite page says that The Queer with the Leer or The Fag on the Crag 🙂 Knowing now the sense of humour of the Dubliners I am not a bit surprised at all. It doesn’t show that they don’t love him, oh, they do 🙂


On the corner of the park, there’s a statue to commemorate the Irish Famine. These pillars surround a statue of the 18th-century father of Irish republican, Theodore Wolfe Tone and although it represents one of the darkest periods of Irish history the Dubliners have given it a relevant nickname and call it the Tone-Henge, like Stonehenge – look at the shape of the pillars:)


The Chariot of Life – Abbey Street, known locally as “The Mad Milkman”

Our neighbourhood


When I want to go to the main street, to the shops, to the Spire or where ever I need to go, I have to pass the Garden of Remembrance, which is situated at Parnell Square. That nice little park is dedicated to all those who have given their lives for Irish Freedom.



At the very end, you can see the sculpture which is called “The Children of Lir“. There’s a beautiful legend connected with that statue – about the children of King Lir who were turned into swans. As in all fairy tales and legends, there was again one Evil Queen, in this one, she was from the race of Druids, who had to become a step-mother for four little ones – Finola, Aodh, Fiarce and Conn. And when she was tired of pretending to be nice, she just turned the children into beautiful swans, who could still speak with human voices and please the people who came to the lake to listen to their songs. But the Evil Queen was turned into a bat and had to stay like that forever.

I also looked up the pronunciation of the Irish names of the children, you never know it without checking 🙂 and even then you’ll find several ways how to do that.

The story itself could be read from here – Children of Lir.


At Parnell square, I also have to pass the Abbey Presbyterian Church, but till now I have just passed, but never looked inside. It seems that they have been renovating it a bit, but it never seems like working.

But I like how it looks  – a nice Gothic building with tall narrow spires. It has been also called as Findlater’s church after a Dublin merchant who paid for the construction of the building.

Wedding in an Irish way

The purpose, why I went back to Dublin was because I was invited to a wedding and that means, that I am a part of the family as I have been told 🙂 What is good of course, I cannot say that I wasn’t afraid how it all goes, especially if you are not in a usual age to become a part of a family and I am talking of a huge family. Mine is a teeny-tiny one.

The Wedding wasn’t so awfully different. The most different  part was the church part, and it was very nice, warm and even funny. The priest was a young man and made some jokes and everybody seemed to feel really good and it wasn’t as official as I thought. Here the ceremonies are more official, at least it feels like that. Maybe it’s because going to the church isn’t a part of our everyday culture, but here in Ireland, it is, even if they keep telling that it’s not.

The party was quite similar to ours, even better. The better part was that everybody started to be in a right mood just from the very beginning and the Mexican musicians did their best to achieve it. After eating and drinking a lot, everyone just went dancing and enjoyed themselves in all different ways. For me, it was a really good experience, I met a lot of new people and they get to know me, so I am not some mysterious girlfriend from a strange country any more and of course I enjoyed the party a lot.