Thursday, September 30, 2010


"I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book."  James Joyce 

On my last visit to Dublin, with Steve, we suddenly found ourselves at the Wax Museum in Dublin.   After visiting Trinity College to view the Book of Kells, and having an enormous lunch at O'Neills,
(only in Ireland do you get potatoes with your potatoes!) we had time to use before we could check into Barnacles, so we used our discount from the Dublin Hop on Hop Off bus to check out the wax museum.
It was very entertaining.  They start you out in the Writer's Room, where sat James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Peter Kavanaugh, Samuel Beckett and Brendan Behan.
Some of the figures appeared strangely real.  
Now I have been fascinated with Irish writers for awhile.  I picked up Ulysses at the library, but didn't have any time to actually sit down with it and read.  In college we touched on the subject of Joyce and Ulysses.  I have always wanted to actually read the book.   So while walking along a street in Galway, I drug Steve into a bookstore.   I found a paperback of Ulysses for 3 Eruos  and while perusing the store I also bought a biography of a journalist (man) who spent a year living on the Aran Island of Inis Mor.  Now after visting that island, i just had to purchase this book also.  Am I the only person who goes to Ireland  and brings back books?

Our last day in Dublin we were signed up for the Literary Pub Crawl.  Now I am here to say this is well worth the effort.  We stopped in at Davey Byrnes pub for supper and a drink before we checked in at The Duke to begin the pub crawl.   I was going to order a Gorgonzola sandwich, but they were out, so I had a bowl of soup and brown bread.   Now the pub crawl also ends at Davey Byrnes pub (after a stop at O'Neills and the Strand) and we learned that James Joyce frequented  Davey Byrnes, while writing Ulysses, eating a gorgonzola sandwich, he set a scene in Davey Byrnes pub.  

So now I really need to sit down and read the book.  I believe I will have time this fall, when I can sit in front of a fire in the fireplace with a cup of tea and read.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's Hockey Night in Urbana!

"Always keep your composure. You can't score from the penalty box; and you need to score to win." Bobby Hull

Wow!  I a can barely believe the Illini Ice Hockey season starts today!  I stopped in at the ice arena and picked up tickets for Friday's game.

The team will be quite different this year, both goalies graduated, and they were awesome.  A lot of players are new.   I am excited to be in the ice arena again, hear the roar of the crowd and see the Illini skate.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thanks to the full moon

Backing out of the drive way this morning I was struck with how beautifully the sun was rising.  The sun was peeking out of the bottom of a cloud and was quite lovely.   Then I headed west and was awestruck.  The full moon was enormous and bright in the western sky.  Living on the prairie has some advantages, such as seeing a large portion of sky. I am fairly certain the autumnal equinox is one of my favorite times of the year.

So, I just returned from a week in Ireland.  A magical, transformative week, and I have been longing to be there still. Having to return to work and get back to normal, not to mention I came home to an empty house, which was terribly difficult, has been a struggle.  The glow from the week in Ireland has been keeping me going.   So when I saw the sun and the moon this morning( I wish the weather had cooperated and stayed cool instead of being terribly warm) I felt very good about being here in Illinois.

It was an amazing week in Dublin, Wicklow, Glendalough, Galway, The Burren ( including a delightful lunch in the town of Doolin) the Cliffs of Moher, and Inis Mor one of the Aran Islands.  The people are delightful, and full of stories, the pubs are amazing, one could spend a lot of nighttime in just about any pub and be perfectly happy.

The beauty of the countryside was truly awesome.  I really could have stayed for several days in each place we visited.

Dublin, while being a big city is fair indeed, like the song says. There is so much to do and see and historic pubs to visit. You can sit in a pub where James Joyce sat eating Gorgonzola sandwhiches and having a few pints (which i did actually) and visit a pub where Michael Collins held meetings. It is just amazing.  Really!

Here is a bit of a tribute to Dublin:

In Dublin's fair city,
where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"
"Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh",
Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".
She was a fishmonger,
But sure 'twas no wonder,
For so were her father and mother before,
And they each wheeled their barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"
She died of a fever,
And no one could save her,
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.
Now her ghost wheels her barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh

This statue of  the fictional Molly Malone is at the corner of Sussex and Grafton Street and near Trinity College.   The locals call her the "tart with the cart" or the "trollop with the scallop". They love to sing the song to tourist and there is ALWAYS a female tourist getting her photo made with Molly.  It is truly delightful.