Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Home is...

The Dublin Artisan Dwelling Company was established in 1876 by a group of investors who wanted to build good quality housing at reasonable rents. It was not a charity but was aimed at providing accomodation for labourers and professionals. Arthur Guinness, grandson of the original Arthur who founded the famous brewing company was a sponsor and maybe for that reason many Guinness workers got housing in the artisans dwellings. The houses were transferred to a company called Folio Homes in the 1950's and many of the tenants subsequently bought out their homes.
Though modest, the houses are well built and much sought after because of their proximity to the city centre and to the Phoenix Park. They originally had the luxury (for the time) of an outside toilet in a walled back yard. Most owners have now modernized their houses and extended them by building a modern kitchen (and) or extra bedroom in the back yard. They only had 2 bedrooms originally and it's quiet a mystery how they managed to rear up to 10 or 12 children in these cottages! The Artisan Company also built what were known as "two up two down" houses in the Oxmantown area which I will feature later.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

National Botanic Gardens

Or - here is one I made earlier.
I visited the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland in Glasnevin earlier this year but never got around to posting the photos I took. But you can probably tell that it's not November - in fact it was a beautiful Spring day in April. Now it's a not so beautiful November and there is hardly enough light in the day to bother taking my camera out. The Botanic gardens are just amazing, well worth a visit, and actually I think I will revisit soon to see what they look like in Winter.
p.s. My thanks to Sheila for reminding me!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday

I was humming along with the new love in my life Juliette Gréco and dreaming about being on the Champs-Élysées... And then it dawned on me - it's Friday again so it's time to revisit Marie, The French Factrice who hosts Postcard Friendship Friday.
At PFF you will find postcards and interesting posts on a postal theme from around the world, so why not drop in and say Bonjour.
I was driving through the little town of Fermoy in County Cork in the south of Ireland recently when I saw this unusual Post/Mail box built into a shop wall. If you enlarge the photo you will clearly see the letters V and R with a crown in the middle. This monogram is the royal cypher of Queen Victoria, which indicates that this box has been here for over 100 years (Victoria died January 1901).
It is certainly very different from the normal Irish Pillar-type postbox (top left of my collage) that I photographed in Grangegorman in Dublin. This one has the letters P7T which stands for Posts & Telegraphs, which used to be the Irish government department responsible for mail collection. (The "7" is the Irish(Gaeilge) version of"&").
Happy PFF everyone

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Austin A35

I spotted this stunning little car in Bray, County Wicklow recently. It was parked along the seafront and everybody passing by stopped to admire it.
It was produced by Austin of England from the early 50's until the late 60's, first as the A30 and then as the A35. This one is beautifully restored and brightly painted and it's hard to believe that it's half a century old.
As regular readers will know I have a bit of an obsession about old cars, especially from this particular era and actually went to the Cinema last night to see the movie An Education because it was set in 1960's London. I was hoping to see some old cars and I was not disappointed - I even spotted an Austin A40.
p.s. It was actually a very good movie as well with an excellent performance from young English actress Carey Mulligan
p.p.s. I have just discovered the music of French singer Juliette Gréco whose songs featured in the movie
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Sunday, 15 November 2009


Today I visited Malahide, a small affluent coastal village in north County Dublin, about 30 minutes drive from the city. There has been a settlement at Malahide (Mullach Íde in Gaeilge meaning the Hill of the Hydes) since ancient times. The Vikings landed in 795AD and the Danes settled here in 897AD. In 1185 the Normans were in control of Dublin and from the 12 th century the castle at Malahide was developed by the Talbot family who remained in residence until the 1970's. The village developed in the early 19th century and the small harbour was used to import coal and timber. Flax was grown locally and the stain it left on walls as it was being dried gave the name to the area of the town still known as "Yellow Walls". The Grand Hotel was built in 1835 in anticipation of the arrival of the railway which started service in 1844. This, along with the development of the Malahide Sea Baths, put Malahide on the map for visitors from Dublin and beyond.
Malahide is famous for it's vitality. A village stroll will reveal a great choice of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The town is also a winner of the national Tidy Towns competition.
In my photo montage, from top left clockwise are: Malahide Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, the train station and catholic church, the entrance to the village from the Dublin side(and yes the lady on the bicycle really IS carrying a dog), maritime themed monument in the park (with typical teenager having fun((while impressing his "Mott"- Dublinese for girlfriend)), street view and The Grand Hotel.

Bray, County Wicklow

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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Saturday, 7 November 2009


My Chinese friends Sammy and YuYu brought me a wonderful tea pot from China AND told me about a little tea shop they had discovered in Berkeley Street called Organic Flower Power. Yesterday I called in to have a look and discovered a little mecca, with 140 different varieties of tea from around the world.
"Tea is one of life's great pleasures; it is low in caffeine, has no calories, improves your mood, disposition and blood circulation. Above all its a quick and relaxing escape from the hectic pace of modern life..."
So I purchased a loose green flavored tea from China called Milky Way which I will enjoy over the next few days. And no doubt I will be back there to sample more of the many delights on offer.

Friday, 6 November 2009