A visit to Cork

10 04 2011

Last week, I made my first 3-day visit to Cork, as part of the ENVIRON 2011 colloquium organised by ESAI (Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland). You can find more details about the conference itself on my research blog, but this is a short account of what we got up to. On Wednesday Ann-Marie came to pick myself and David up to start our 3.5hour (or so) trek to Cork. Zahra and Ali (Zahra’s husband who was joining us for the trip but not the conference) were coming down with Ross later on in the day.

The drive down was beautiful. I got to see the Curragh again and loads and loads of sheep, cows and even horses grazing to their life’s content on the side of the road. We stopped for some tea/brunch on the way and then continued on our way to Cork. We made it to UCC and found our way to where the workshop was going to be held. After that we met with Ross et al and made our way to our hotel: The River Lee Hotel. Let’s say we were impressed 🙂 We settled into our room (after some musical chairs…cos Zahra and Ali’s booking did not go through it seems, but all was sorted out eventually).

View from the Hotel Lift

View from the Hotel Lift

Then it was back to UCC for a wine reception (I had more cheese etc than wine, cos I only had a sandwich all day that day) and the opening talk. However we were still famished and so back at the hotel we found the last restaurant open and had dinner. I had a Chicken Ciabatta, for which my expectations were not that high…but alas, I was  mistaken MMMMMMM 🙂 By now it was getting late so off to sleep we went.

Cork University...a taster

Cork University...a taster

The next morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. I am so glad I asked for hot chocolate rather than coffee and tea as was being offerred, as I got the most delicious hot chocolate with marshmallows 🙂 We went up to UCC to start the day of presentations. I also had to give a 1 minute presentation on my poster, which I think went well enough. It also generated quite some interest during the poster sessions. After the long day at presentations, we went back to the hotel and decided to go for a swim at the hotel pool. Swimming is an overstatement, but we did enjoy the sauna, jacuzzi etc 🙂 We then quickly changed and proceeded down to the Wine reception and conference dinner, which were being held within the same hotel.

Dinner was really delicious. We had a choice of 2 options for each course, and although everything was good, I believe I made the right choice everytime. I had duck starter, lamb main and the most delicious chocolate brownie for dessert. I simply could not move afterwards, but alas off we had to go. The organisers had organised a Casino night for us. It was set up in one of the meeting rooms at the hotel, and we all got chips and we got to play blackjack and roulette. It was really interesting and fun to start with, however due my attention span being that of a fly I quickly got bored and therefore I wandered around a bit and chatted. However I really liked the idea and got chatting to some people I would not have gotten to otherwise.

Casino Night

Casino Night

After the casino night we had a DJ playing songs in the same place. Most people made their way out at this point, but our lab and another group of people held the fort up. Included in this group was a guy I thought was Italian, and Ross thought was Greek (and on retrospect he looked more Greek than Italian). But it was not to be. When we asked him…he was from Galway…Galway!!!!!???!!! Oh well, we had a good laugh over it. We were the last people on the dancefloor until the basically stopped the music (I also got the Venga boys as a song, when I requested a classic 90s song haha – can still remember the words weeee). By this time we were knackered, and went up to sleep.

The next morning, no particularly relevant sessions were being held in the morning, so after breakfast Ross and I went for a short walk around Cork city. It looks interesting enough, but the fact that I was really really tired and most places were still closed, I feel I should go back to see Cork again 🙂 We went back to the conference after our walk and attended some other presentations until lunch, when the closing session was held and then started our drive back to Dublin.

The ever gracious Ann-Marie offered to stop at the Rock of Cashel on the way back, and it was magnificent. We went through the complex and watched a short movie on the place. It is located in a site with breathtaking views and the enormity of the building is really amazing.

View from the Rock of Cashel

View from the Rock of Cashel

Walking up to the Rock of Cashel

Walking up to the Rock of Cashel

The Ruins

The Ruins

Finally, we were back in Dublin, and whilst I was sad that ENVIRON 2011 was over, I was glad to be home and get a good night’s sleep 🙂 Environ 2012 will be in Dublin, so no fancy hotels 😦





I Won :)

29 03 2011

I Won 🙂 My first competition. Finally. I have always been a bit jealous of my sister who always seems to manage to bag free tickets, competitions etc etc in London. Finally I got my first competition win in Ireland. This morning I received a call from Dublin Events saying that I had won the competition I had entered on their website. I could not really remember entering this particular competition, but knew I had gone through their website before, since it is quite informative about things to do in Ireland, events etc etc.

So what did I win? I got a dinner for 2 and a bottle of House Wine at the Rolys Bistro in Dublin. I am still deciding on who to take with me. I will probably go when my mum and Bernard will be spending some time in Dublin before embarking on our Easter family trip. So shall I take both, or one? And if one who? Suggestions welcome 🙂 I will tell you how things went and who I decided to go with when I get to go.





Lab Christmas Dinner

15 12 2010

A few weeks ago our supervisors asked whether we would be up with going out to dinner as a lab outing. We obviously had no problems with that and a date was set for yesterday (since from then on the lab members will start dwindling with 3 of us having left the country by the end of the week). The location was set to the Mona Lisa Restaurant at the centre of town and the reservation was at 6. However a couple of us decided to head to town earlier and go to a pub (as you do just before dinner).

So Ross, Annmarie, Zahra, Basha and myself left the lab to head to town where we met with Mark (a student who finished his MSc earlier on in the year) at Fitzgerald’s Bar just across the O’Connell Bridge. I had only met him briefly before at the BRS Pub Crawl, but did not get to chat with him much. He is really nice and you could easily chat on and on with him. We had a couple of drinks, then headed to the restaurant. Kieran (one of the supervisors) was there, and we were soon joined by Anne and John (2 other supervisors) and David (a PhD student who stayed longer at the lab since he had his PhD transfer today).

We all decided on the Christmas menu, where we had a starter, main course and dessert for €19.95. I opted for Garlic Ciabatta, Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Port Sauce and Apple Pie to close. The food was quite good, and the company was even better. Although we did get to discuss some subjects which might not be the best idea to discuss (religion and politics). But everything went well and no one got offended or anything. The discussions did not waver for one minute and I quite enjoyed myself, even though I was sitting just opposite one of the supervisors and I would have thought it would have been a bit more awkward. But oh well, I can generally talk to anyone, and I do not think I said anything I should not have.

After dinner, what do you do? Go to another pub. Mulligans it was. David, Zahra and Basha headed off but the rest of us trooped on.  This pub looks really traditional and they even had an open fire. The discussions went on (whilst the guys drank more Guinness) until first Annmarie had to leave since her bf had come up to give her a lift back home. At around 10:45pm Ross and myself also headed off to catch one of the last buses back home (thus preventing the need for a taxi), leaving the others behind.

Overall an enjoyable evening…when shall we go next??