Archive for March, 2009

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

March 26th, 2009 by meemmi10

Back in Dublin! Still on holiday break before Trinity term begins, so I had a visit from an HC friend in Galway. Went out to a favorite pub and then took him to his concert at The Button Factory, which is Dublin’s/ Temple Bar’s music hub. A good night and great to catch up and even more funny was running into an old high school friend that was also studying abroad- it really is a small world.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

March 26th, 2009 by meemmi10

Our last full day in Nice, so we decided to take one last day trip that was suggested to us and this was by far one of my favorite places- Eze. Eze Village is an old fortified medieval village that looks over the Mediterranean and the castle ruins (which aren’t really ‘ruined’ at all) are from about 12th century. Also built into the side of this castle/cliff are Exotic Gardens which were truly breathtaking. We climbed up windy stairways in between the beautiful plants and statues and came across a little patio that was a perfect place to rest our feet and see everything that was around us- truly magnificent. And although the sun was shining, the weather very suddenly turned and it was quite interesting to see the affect of the winds and the rain on this castle on the cliff. We decided to take cover in a perfume factory and after a couple of hours of trying different scents, we all came out with new perfumes and learned a lot about the whole process too! We were exhausted from our excursion but it was our last night so we found a nice place for dinner and followed it with an opera! We had been strolling around earlier and saw that we could get student rate tickets to see Lakmé for 5 euro at the Nice opera house! It was a beautiful opera and a really great experience; however, I also learned something very important. Our tickets read ‘placement libre’ which in my head I translated as ‘free/open seating’ but we learned the hard way that it meant ‘free standing.’ So while I did enjoy the opera, it wasn’t too comfy standing in my heels and dress, still, it was an experience. This really was a great trip, but as usual we were ready to go back home to Dublin. Thinking about the opera again, I compared it with the opera I saw in Dublin at the Gaiety theater, I enjoyed both, maybe Lakmé a bit more; yet, I still feel so fortunate to be blessed with so many opportunities.



Monday, March 23, 2009

March 26th, 2009 by meemmi10

Today we explored more of Nice again and went to the Marché aux Fleurs (the Flower Market) where there’s more than just flowers, but fresh fruit and vegetables, candies, crafts- its quite a busy scene. It reminded me very much of the market in Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square on Saturdays and also the market in Howth on Sundays. It was really fun to use my language skills here as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 26th, 2009 by meemmi10


Another lovely day in the South of France so we decided to take a trip to Cannes, home of the summer film festival. It was quite windy that day but once again another beautiful view where in between we took pictures with the movie cutouts. As before, we ended our day with some fresh baguettes and cheese.


Saturday, March 21st, 2009

March 26th, 2009 by meemmi10

We were ready to explore this morning and we started by visiting Monaco and Monte Carlo. It was a magnificent scenic ride along the coast, where we just continued to scale up the cliffs until finally reaching this posh little square of Monaco, right below the Palace of Monaco that overlooks the sea. We climbed the steps that led to the square in front of the palace, quite impressive. Finding some gelato we continued to walk through the little shops and streets surrounding the palace that make up this fortress. We then visited Saint Nicholas Cathedral, also known as Monaco Cathedral, where Grace Kelly was married. Standing on the front steps of the cathedral, which look out onto the sea, was incredible and one can only imagine what a beautiful wedding it must have been (After the Casino, we actually went to Mass here, it was so nice to listen to a Mass in French and maybe a little penance for going to the Casino that day? haha). We walked down from the palace all the way to the port of Monaco, Monte Carlo, had some lunch and then walked to Monte Carlo Casino. It was quite amusing to be walking around the playground of the rich and famous, three students trying to point out which house was Elton John’s or Bono’s, but it was an experience. We saw the famous Monte Carlo Casino, Hôtel de Paris, and the Café, while also spotting some amazing cars which had the drivers’ side either on the left or the right, but I guess its Monte Carlo, so anything’s game. We had a nice quiet bus ride looking at the coast and the sunset that day too.


Friday, March 20th, 2009

March 26th, 2009 by meemmi10

We were very lucky to meet such nice people where we were staying that we got some great tips on what to see in Nice. Our first stop was to stroll around Vieux Nice (the Old Town) where there are lovely little shops and some great traditional Niçoise food. We continued walking along and came across another beautiful view of the sea not too far from a lighthouse. We took our time on this trip and the funny thing is we saw everything that any guidebook would suggest to see. It was interesting to compare the pace of life here too with Ireland. It really was calm and quiet and relaxing, Dublin in comparison does ‘move’ at a faster pace but at the same time is still relaxed; its funny to recognize this in different cities because in the States I think we’re always ‘moving’ and at a fast rate at that. Following the Promenade des Anglais, we reached the Turret, the Castel in Nice. We climbed the steps of this beautiful fort/castle which had its own waterfall in the middle of it, gardens, and of course more great views of the Mediterranean. Later that night we found a great place to go out in Vieux Nice.


Thursday, March 19th, 2009

March 19th, 2009 by meemmi10

Going to Nice, France today! After celebrating our Irish heritage and being that we were still on holidays, friends and I decided to book a trip and see the beautiful Côte d’Azur. It was amazing, I now understand why its called Azur- the water is a beautiful sparkling blue. Our first day, we walked along the Promenade des Anglais which is a ‘promenade’ that looks out into the Mediterranean; its also great for people watching! It was a beautiful sunny day, we were so happy to have bright sun shining on our faces too. After strolling about we looked for a nice boulangerie so we could snack on some baguettes. 


March 17, 2009

March 17th, 2009 by meemmi10


So, when it comes to that lovely, that special day, March 17th, often, many of us think of that very special country, the one I am loving to be in right now- IRELAND!

Indeed, Dublin was quite active the weekend leading up to today, tourists were rushing into town, and more stands were filling the streets selling green beads, green hats, green face paint- you name it. But here is my special surprise story about this special day in full detail.

It begins with an email from my dad on St. Patrick’s Day Eve. One of our favorite radio stations back home, Q104.3 FM with Jim Kerr and Shelli Sonstein, have their live broadcast at an Irish pub in NYC every year. The last 5 years my dad attended their show and this year informed me that Jim and Shelli would be doing the broadcast live from Dubin!!!!!!!!!! At Jameson’s Distillery, about a 20/25 minute walk from my apartment! Why not join the fun? With that in mind, I emailed Jim and Shelli, explaining my excitement that they were here, about my dad, and maybe would they want to meet some American Trinity students. Well, I really must be lucky because I received an email back from their producer saying to come on by, ask for this one woman, who would be expecting me and I could come and join the show for the morning! Cool, awesome, other words can’t even describe how great of an opportunity this was.

So I started my Saint Patrick’s Day by waking up at 7.45 am, dressing in my green gear, naturally an Irish rugby jersey, and I met with two of my HC friends that were willing to wake up and be ready at 9am to see what the radio show and Jameson on this Paddy’s Day would be like. It was a different scene outside Trinity in that stands and railings were set up for the Parade that would be passing in front of Trinity. We walked to O’Connell Street and took the Red Luas to Smithfield where the Jameson Distillery is located.

We walked in, and after talking to the right people, I met with the woman in charge who the producer told me to find. I couldn’t believe this was happening, I had woken up this morning, not knowing what to expect, after all, I just sent a quick email and now, we were being lead through the hallway of Jameson Distillery like VIPs. What a great sight!

The entrance room at the Distillery was filled with small tables with radio station crews from around the world and the USA! I saw stations from Chicago, Colorado, Tokyo, Baltimore, Tel Aviv, Spain, Texas- to name a few. I was then greeted by the producer of the Jim Kerr and Shelli Sonstein Rock & Roll Morning show and was told that I would be chatting with Jim and Shelli on the radio and get to give a shout out back to my family at home! Obviously, next thing I did was to call home ASAP, wake up my mom and say listen to the radio for the next 20 minutes!

We were told to relax, grab some muffins and coffee and stand by the bar and enjoy the business of several radio shows broadcasting live from Dublin! Near where we were standing was a stage where live traditional Irish music was being played by some great performers and we were also treated to some step dancing by a professional Irish troupe. Next thing I know, I am being called to come and sit with Jim and Shelli and experience first-hand what broadcasting is like.

Jim began by saying that it was a first for Q104.3 FM to be in Ireland for Paddy’s Day and away from the friends back home, but as fate has a way of working out, he said, we have one of our listener’s with us. He had me introduce myself, talk a little bit about what I’m doing in Dublin and Trinity, and what my plans were for the rest of the day. Lastly, I got to give a little tribute to my dad (who gave me the idea to check out the fun anyway), my brother, and my mom. I couldn’t believe I was in Dublin, talking on the radio that was being broadcasted back home, pretty much greeting my family and starting off their St. Patrick’s Day morning. I think this will always be my favorite St. Patrick’s Day; I was celebrating with friends in the best place to celebrate this day while also reaching out to my family!

After my little shout-out, I got to take pictures with Jim and Shelli and we were invited to stay the rest of the time as well. So, we had some Irish coffee, met with the photographer at Jameson, who took our picture (who doesn’t love American girls?), and enjoyed live music and dancing. Then, another woman took us upstairs to see the live radio cooking show where we were treated to some Irish soda bread. We were then called back downstairs to the radio broadcast area to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Jim Kerr’s broadcasting career, where Jim was treated to 35 kisses from the radio personnel there and the three of us girls as well. It was quite funny and still I couldn’t believe all the special treatment we were getting; everyone seemed really happy to have us and were so nice!

We got to speak with Jim and the producer a little more as well, glad to know I’m on a first name basis with them now…haha. Right before we left, we were also treated to burgers and chips (again, fries) and have some great conversations with the other radio personnel. Sadly, we had to leave, but I so appreciated the morning we had at Jameson and made sure to express my gratitude to those we met and whom took care of us.

Our next stop was to find our friends who were watching the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Boy, were the streets of Dublin packed, but it was so enjoyable because it was so lively, music filled, and nice and sunny!!!!! Well, we couldn’t find our friends in the crowd, but we would all be meeting up at Gill’s pub, with our cultural advisor, Silvia before going to see the matches at Croke Park. So, we took a very long route to get to the pub where we saw the floats in the Parade and zig-zagged through the crowds. Finding our friends at Gill’s, we enjoyed a pint and walked over to Croke Park.

The matches were great, but we were a little chilly under the overhang…least of our worries though. We were so fortunate to get tickets for the AIB (Allied Irish Bank) GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) All Ireland Senior Club Championship. The first match was a hurling match- one of the fastest games- between De La Salle (Waterford) and Portumna (Galway). It was a really exciting match to watch. The intermission between the first match involved a match between a kid’s league and there was a traditional band playing on the middle of the field as well. The second match was football, Gaelic football, that is, between Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) and Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin). Before this match there was a show, kinda like half-time at the Superbowl, with all these floats and people running on the field with HUGE hurley sticks, and music playing. It was quite a hilarious and entertaining scene.

After the matches, a bunch of us Holy Cross kids and friends headed over to O’Connell Street for some fish and chips for dinner. The city quieted down a bit since the parade was over. We went back to our places and reconvened at our favorite pub, The Ginger Man, where we had a pint and jigged and danced to some of the U2 and Riverdance music they were playing. Maybe a bit too cliché, or stereotypical, or touristy, but we all had a blast. We ended our night checking out the scene in Temple Bar and listening to some more live music.

The day was amazing and one I will always be thankful for and one I will always remember. I think regardless of what happened the rest of the day, my morning at the Jameson Distillery on the radio show followed by the matches at Croke Park was perfect enough.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so lucky in one day to have all these great things happened, so I am really grateful. I guess it was being in Ireland and having the Luck of the Irish that made today so great.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


PS- If you’d like to see a few pictures of inside the Jameson Distillery and me there on the radio show, here’s the link:
Look for Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, Live from Dublin.

Also, here’s the link for the interview: kerr_031709

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February 24-March 12, 2009

March 12th, 2009 by meemmi10

February 24th, 2009:
Mardi Gras! Or as its called here in Ireland, Shrove Tuesday and also Pancake Tuesday (but we call it that at home too). We had a pretty relaxed evening celebrating with friends.

March 2nd, 2009:
It’s March already and the last week of classes within Hilary Term. I can’t believe we are finished with our second term already! Nothing too exciting this week as a bunch of us are finishing papers for classes and also getting ready and excited for St. Patrick’s Day!
Really looking forward to having my best friend from home, Jess, come and visit me for a few days!

March 9th, 2009:
Jess arrives! She’s only here for 3 days, so I am packing the best of Dublin in. Lucky for us, today was a bright and sunshine filled day so we toured around the South Side of Dublin where I gave a tour of Trinity, Grafton St., and we had a nice chat and stroll in St. Stephen’s Green. After that, I showed my best friend from the States my favorite Irish paintings by Lavery and O’Conor.  A nice tea time break and we strolled through St. George’s Aracde and walked through Wicklow Street. We also visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral and took pictures at Dublin Castle and City Hall. It was then time for dinner and a pint with some friends in The Ginger Man pub.

March 10th, 2009:
Another sunny day! Perfect for our tour of Wicklow countryside and Glendalough! We started our morning at 9.30 am at the Tourist Office, which is an old cathedral, and we drove just 25 minutes outside city centre and were welcomed by a beautiful view of Dublin. We could even see Customs House. Our guide gave us a quick history lesson reminding us of the Celts and St. Patrick. We then drove through the mountains and saw the purple heather and even spotted some Irish red deer. We took a break by Bray lake- the scene was breathtaking. Continuing on our tour we drove through the part of the mountains where the famous movie, P.S. I Love You, was filmed. Naturally, all of us girls enjoyed that. We took another stop with a view of Guinness Lake and saw the family estate right near it- quite impressive and the lake almost looks like the color of Guinness!

Our next stop was a nice pub for lunch- Lynam’s of Laragh- where we warmed up with some Guinness stew. Following lunch we visited St. Kevin’s Monastery and learned about the tower that the monks built which still stands; the door was built a few stories up, not at ground level, so the monks used a ladder to get into the tower, but it still stands today because it has a strong base- there’s no doorway at the bottom, so there’s an even distribution of the weight of the tower. We saw the cross at the entrance of the monastery where if one placed his hands on it and claimed sanctuary, he would have 40 days of safety with the monks, and after he could choose to live as the monks did or return to his fate in the outside. After viewing St. Kevin’s cross, the priests’ house, the cathedral, and the rest of the grounds, we ventured into Glendalough Park. Glendalough actually means “valley between two lakes” in Irish and we followed a beautiful trail where we saw the first and smaller lake and then took pictures of the sunny scene at the second bigger lake. We really lucked out with such nice weather! Our last stop before heading home was to take some more scenic pictures of a waterfall just outside of the park, where we also saw a sign for a small village called- Hollywood. That was pretty funny to see, but our tour guide informed us that in addition to the movie P.S. I Love You, a lot of other films, one including Braveheart, have been filmed in this Irish countryside and  can see why- its marvelous (hope you enjoy the pictures!)!

Again, met up with friends and took Jess around the famous Temple Bar, where we stopped for a pint of Guinness in Temple Bar and listened to some traditional Irish tunes.

March 11th, 2009:
I took Jess to see inside the Museum Building at Trinity- a hidden beauty- and then took her to see the Book of Kells and the Old Library, always a fun place to show off. Again, it was nice sunny day, so we took the DART south and visited Bray. We walked along the beach and climbed a hill and had another beautiful view of the Irish Sea and Bray. After a tea break, we went home and explored the North Side and Henry Street, finishing our day off with some chips (meaning fries) from Leo Burdock’s- the famous chipper here in Dublin. We spent the night with friends at O’Neils and had a goodbye pint. It was a quick three days, but we packed in Dublin and the countryside of Ireland. Another great thing about living and studying here is that I can be in the city, go to class, take a stroll to a café, and then whenever I want I can go relax and be in the quiet, beautiful countryside.

March 12th, 2009 –March 16th, 2009:
After saying goodbye to Jess, it was time for a rest for a few days and to finish some papers for classes. It was also an exciting time in Dublin because from today until Paddy’s day there would be events taking place all around Dublin: a special screening of Darby O’Gill and the Little People, at the Irish Film Institute, specials concerts at the Concert Hall, and even a treasure hunt for kids, to name a few things. St. Patrick’s Day would indeed by an experience and we were all looking forward to viewing the Parade and Matches at Croke Park. Little did I know I would have a great surprise that day as well.
Can’t wait to share that experience!