Fenechs et al in Ireland: Kerry Days contd

28 04 2011

On our second day in Kerry, we again started our day with a delicious breakfast. Then we made our way to the car as today was the ring of Kerry day. I had often heard about how beautiful this place is, but in all honesty had expected it to be all made up hype. But it was a really enjoyable day. The fact that we had great weather certainly helped. But look at these photos (taken by Michael 🙂 ), and see for yourself. My suggestion to others taking on the Ring of Kerry: go to Valentia Island, go a bit away form the main roads, and you will be rewarded. Our 30min detour turned into at least 1.5hours and it was really great fun:

First up was the Kerry Bog Village Museum, where we got to see the Irish Wolfhound, and enormous specimen of a dog. We also got to see the way that people lived in bygone eras. The museum is not much, but quite interesting nonetheless, especially if you read the information available, as you may be able to understand how these people lived. After that we did not visit any other museum, but just enjoyed the views:

The Vast and Expansive Ferry Terminal for Valentia:

Valentia Island Terminal

Valentia Island Terminal

Views from Valentia Island:

The whole family on Valentia

The whole family on Valentia

Apparently there is a Top Toilet Award…we must say that this toilet is truly deserving. Whilst there Michele noticed that the hand dryer was not working. A lady who was there cleaning said that it was working that morning and that it could not be and that she needs to call somoene to fix it ASAP. Whilst having some snacks outside, i.e. within 10mins, someone in an Electricity Department van came and fixed it. We are truly impressed.

Top Toilet

Top Toilet

On the beach, where we paddled in the Atlantic for the first time (OK wet our feet), I had a surprise message (thanks to Bee 🙂 ) and we saw what we concluded to be (lots of) fish eggs, but we are not so sure are we:

Sand art especially for me

Sand art especially for me

Fish Eggs?

Fish Eggs?

At one of the last towns we had some dinner (lunch was sandwiches and fruit) and then made our way to the B&B where we just freshened up and made our way to church for the Maundy Thursday service at Milltown. After church it was straight to bed. A successful day 🙂

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Sampling the Wonders of Kildare: Day 1

23 03 2011

Last weekend I finally got to see the wonders of Kildare 🙂 Ross, who is one of the people in the lab and one of my closest friends in Dublin, invited me over to his family’s home for the weekend. I immediately agreed, and after some postponing due to other things coming up, we finally made it. So Friday evening, after Uni, we collected our bags and off we went to the tiny village (it is a village cos they have a pub I was told) that he calls home.

His mum had prepared a lovely dinner for us (I guess it is called Irish stew), and I got to sample his mum’s apple pie (she prepared it knowing it is one of my favourite) and rhubarb pie. I had never had any rhubarb pie before, but I must say I liked it. So I am glad I went with the option of having a bit of both for dessert. After that it was off to watch some TV, chat and relax, before going to sleep.

Saturday morning I woke up bright an early (compared to them hihi) and tried to tiptoe out of my room to the living room to read a bit without bothering them. But alas a quiet gal I cannot be 🙂 So Ross woke up, we had breakfast and planned our day. Seeing as it was a beautiful day we decided to go for a walk to Glendalough. I am glad we got to make it there, cos it was beautiful. The walk we took (going up along the path and the slightly more adventurous non-pathway way down, where we crossed over the waterfall/stream and went down the other side) was really good exercise and the views were spectacular.

First up was a visit to the round tower and the graveyard there, and then we made our way to the Upper lake. We walked by its side and then proceeded to go somewhat to the top between two mountains (Wicklow mountains). I was going to give up a number of times, but my competitiveness did not allow me to stop midway up. So up and up we went. Here you can see the beautiful photos from the day.

Me at Glendalough

Me at Glendalough

 

Climbing up to the top

Climbing up to the top

 

At the top of the waterfall

At the top of the waterfall

 

Spectacular view before starting the way down

Spectacular view before starting the way down

 

On the way down we saw a number of cute mountain goats, and on the way back the presence of sheep was certainly not missing. By this time we had been walking for around 2.5hours or so. So we were quite tired and hungry (though Ross took the walk slowly enough for me to keep up 🙂 ). So back to Ross’s house we went through the beautiful scenery of the Wicklow mountains for some well-deserved lunch.

After lunch, we went for another short walk with Abby the dog to the Curragh. Unfortunately no photos were taken here 😦 However you can find a photo I found on the Internet. But the area is even more beautiful than that.

 

Sheep on the Curragh

Sheep on the Curragh

 

It is a green area, with quite flat land where the sheep roam free. They have priority and can get onto the road whenever they want to. Motorists beware 🙂

By then we were well-tired. So off home we went for some dinner. After that we plonked ourselves in front of the TV. I found out I know most (or all probably) of the top songs that we are embarrassed to say we like. We chatted in front of the TV till it was time to say goodnight and plonk ourselves to sleep.

 





St Patrick’s Day

18 03 2011

One thing that everyone everywhere surely associates with Ireland is undoubtedly St Patrick’s Day, so that was certainly one if the items on my list of things to do once in Ireland. However I was pretty disappointed ever since I arrived here, to hear most Irish people saying that it is not at all exciting or interesting. Nevertheless, it was on my list, and to St Patrick’s Day I definitely wanted to go.

Therefore I made plans to go with some other people I know. We made a merry group of 5: Zahra, Ross, Monika, Ali and myself. Zahra, Ross and I work in the same lab. Zahra, Monika and I are funded by the same ATWARM programme, whilst Ali is Zahra’s husband. It was our first Irish Paddy’s Day ever, except for Ross who is Irish. We all knew each other and 5 is a good number for such an activity. Not too few, such that it gets boring, but not too many that it gets too much to agree on what to do.

We knew the day will be hectic and so headed out early enough to City Centre. We bought (or OK me and Zahra…Monika already had hers) our Paddy’s Day garb and went to get a place along the route of the parade.

 

The girls in our Paddy's Day Glory

The girls in our Paddy's Day Glory

 

We found our spot, just in front of the GPO, looking over the grand stand where the President was staying, and waited for the parade to start. It was and hour’s wait, but time flew by quite quickly. The parade started. This year the theme of the parade was a book by Roddy Doyle called Brilliant!. So the parade was all in the theme of the book. I did not read the book before (it is a children’s book: you can read it here), so missed out most of it, but it was nice and colourful.

 

One of the floats

One of the floats

 

There were bands and baton twirlers and dancers and floats. Overall it was quite nice and impressive. But I must say nothing compared to the Maltese Carnival floats and so on. No mechanized floats could be seen, and they were quite smaller in size. But impressive nevertheless.

The parade took 2 hours to pass from in front of us. By then it was 2pm, and we were definitely hungry. Zahra and Ali suggested a Persian food shop, and we agreed. We made our way to Temple Bar, and found Zaytoon, a self-service Persian style restaurant. It was quite busy but we managed to put our order through and find some places to sit. When the food came, it was quite delicious. I had the lamb doner kebab. (Quite good value for money too. I paid €10:50 and got chips, a kebab – a full plate mind you with the doner bread, salad, lots of meat and a drink…did not even have to cook dinner yesterday evening. Which is extremely good value especially for Dublin and even more for Temple Bar).

Zaytoon food

Zaytoon food

After eating, we made our way to a bar in temple Bar, for some live music, drinking (to fill the little space remaining after our big lunch), some ‘dancing’, and an overall good time.

 

The Paddy's Day gang

The Paddy's Day gang

By this time the evening had come, and we decided to make our way back home. It was a tiring but extremely fun day. Thank you Zahra, Monika, Ross and Ali for making this day so special. Paddy’s Day 2012…here we come 🙂

 





Zumba

12 01 2011

This is a week of new activities in Dublin…after softball and swimming, today was my turn to try Zumba…this is a new class showing up in the DCU gym group schedule. Unlike all other classes, members would have to pay €5 for the class. However today was a free starter class so I obviously signed up to go and try it.

The class was held by two girls from Zumba Ireland and it really was a class of calorie burning fun. I really enjoyed myself and at the end of the day it is a really good workout. However I am glad there were no people there that I know, cos there were some moves I will certainly never repeat out of the confines of a Zumba class. Here is an idea of a class and you could understand better why:

Overall what is my verdict?…A really great class…Will I be back?…Seriously doubt it…the DCU gym group schedule is packed with interesting classes, which are free…so why pay €5 a week to go to this class? They do not even have an option of say €20 for 5 classes or so. I seriously doubt they succeed…but hey I am in Ireland…so what do I know?





Doctor Visits

5 11 2010

For the past few days I have not been feeling all that well. Earlier on in the week I therefore started taking some off the counter medicines which Dr Brincat ordered, and also went to figure out how to attend the health clinic at University. Well, the nurse saw me and gave me a quick check up. She told me that I had an inflamed throat but nothing seems so bad. So she registered me with the clinic and told me to come back if I keep feeling sick.

Yesterday the guy sitting next to me in the lab (Ross) left after a doctor’s visit (another doctor, not the Uni one cos he has said that it takes up to a week to get an appointment apparently). Last night I was feeling a bit worse, and in fact after Uni I just went into bed and watched Grey’s anatomy episodes (no complaints).

However, especially since the weekend is coming, I did not know if I would have to wait for a week for an appointment etc, this morning I went to the health clinic at Uni, and asked for an appointment. The receptionist asked if I was willing to see the doctor then, and I said sure. 10 minutes later I was next to the doctor (faster than in Malta 🙂 so no complaints).

Apparently I have a viral infection. The doctor said that it takes around 7-10 days to clear and days 4-5 are the worst. So it seems that I am in the worst part. She also prescribed antibiotics just in case things get worse during the weekend, however I have not started taking them yet. Sticking with Dr Brincat’s prescription for now :). The doctor was really quite nice. We had a chat about my research as well and she sounded interested in what I am doing.

The nice thing at the end? The doctor’s consultation is free. This is what I found strange. Irish residents need to pay Eur 10 for a consultation at the Uni clinic for students or around Eur 60 for other GPs. However since I have a European Health ID Card it is free for me (although not for Irish with an EHIC). I am not complaining…not at all…but I found it a bit strange.

Well I am still on Dr Brincat’s prescription, but not doing too bad. Will see how it goes 🙂

The doctor was nice...so I send her this card as well :)

The doctor was nice...so I send her this card as well 🙂





Autumn!

1 11 2010

Autumn is here (and nearly over) here in Ireland. In Malta we do not really get this season, at least in the traditional sense…we do not have many trees which shed their leaves. Therefore the image of autumn of browning leaves and leaf fall are just something which happened to everyone else, but not something we experience.

In Ireland this is certainly not the case. Ever since I arrived here, a bit more than 1 month ago (aaaa yes a month already), the leaves on the trees have been changing colour slowly. By now most of the leaves are shed. I loved the way the colours changed. The road in front of my residence has trees all along it, so I have been monitoring the change. They are not yet completely bare…but I guess they will soon be 😦

I love this feeling of autumn…what I do not like about autumn here? Well the tree leaves fall, and the rain falls and the ground turns into a squidgy mess I must walk through every morning and every night…no other complaints though…at least for now 🙂





Happy Ceci Feci

20 08 2010

WEE…found out a few days ago, but remembered to blog now haha…Well you know I will be leaving Malta to go to Dublin in the end of September. The plan is that me and my boyfriend will meet once a month. He has bought his tickets to come from the 23-26 October i.e. Sat-Tue…I have now noticed that the 25th (Monday) is a public holiday in Ireland…so weeeeeeeeeeeee…I could spend more time with him…WIPPIE!