September in St. Anne’s Park Rose Garden

rose_garden_dublin Several weeks ago, I realized I had never been to the rose garden in St. Anne’s Park before, so I put it in my calendar to remind me to go before the roses had all gone by. But with last minute work on Delightful Dublin taking up every spare minute, it took me until today to make it over there.

I waited until the sun was just starting to set before I threw my camera in a backpack and cycled over, winding my way through the park to the rose garden. I parked my bike and wandered around the rose garden, and managed to take 100 photos of roses in rapid succession.

And then I promptly came home and asked Michael why the heck haven’t we gone there before?! The roses were just about finished blooming for the season, but I’ve already put another reminder in my calendar for next year. I can’t even imagine what the rose garden would be like in full bloom. The smell of roses today was amazing, with only one out of ten beds still in bloom.

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Isn’t that tower covered in red ivy amazing? Just the beginning of fall here in Dublin.

rose_garden_park_dublin flowers_dublin_ireland_garden dublin_rose_garden Those yellow roses were like butter in the center. I may have taken just one home with me, tucked into the rack on my bicycle. I’m already planning for next year – can you imagine a picnic in the rose garden? Michael won’t even know what hit him! ;)

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A Peek Inside Delightful Dublin

 

Now that Delightful Dublin is live, I thought it would be fun to share a little peek inside! In case you’re on the fence about buying it, which you can do right here, this will give you just a sliver of what the book includes. I hope you enjoy it!

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How to Survive Driving in Dublin

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I wrote this post in my head while I was sitting in traffic last week (and believe me, there were no rainbows in sight!). I almost always manage to avoid rush hour traffic in the city centre, but one day last week I had to pick up a few cumbersome things I couldn’t manage to take on the train. So I drove. And by the time I crawled all the way home in traffic, this post was pretty much written and I was about to abandon the car by the side of the road and walk. So, let’s talk driving in Dublin, shall we?

The first tip for driving in Dublin? Don’t. If you can avoid it, just don’t drive in Dublin.

I’m no driving wimp, and even I avoid driving in the city centre like the plague. I learned to drive when I was fifteen, got my license in a blizzard when I was sixteen, earned my fair share of speeding tickets (I like to consider myself an efficient driver and my mom is definitely rolling her eyes), and at the age of twenty planned motorcades for Senator John Kerry (now Secretary of State) as he ran for President. I’m generally a pretty happy camper behind the wheel. So my distaste for driving in Dublin has nothing to do with my ability or interest.

After moving to Dublin, it took me a few months to get up the nerve to learn to drive a manual car on the left hand side of the road, but once I did, I was back in action. Just so long as I don’t have to go into the city centre between the hours of 7am and 7pm. It’s just not worth it.

So if you can’t follow my first tip and avoid driving in Dublin*, you’d better read the rest of these tips!

Be Aggressive

I have a sneaking suspicion that this tip might get me in trouble, but drivers in Dublin drive pretty aggressively. They’re not wildly aggressive or dangerous (most of the time), but they’re pushy. If you want to turn into traffic and no one is letting you out? Stick your nose out there a little, then take heed of the next tip.

Be Polite

The one redeeming thing about driving in Dublin is that drivers are overall pretty polite. If you let someone in front of you, they’ll often flash their hazards at you to say thank you. And you can do the same thing – sometimes you need to nose your way into a lane you didn’t realize you need to be in to make a turn. So nose your way in, then say thank you by giving your hazard lights a few flashes.

Obey the Speed Limit

Says the girl who was nicknamed speed racer on the campaign trail, but even I obey the speed limit. Those navigation apps should give you the speed limit at any given time, because it can be hard to find marked speed limits. Know that most of the city centre is a 30 kilometer per hour zone. And yes, that’s basically the same speed as fast walking. I used to think it was outrageously slow, but then everybody and their mother got a bicycle and started cycling around the city and breaking every traffic law possible. So now I think the 30km zone is safer for everyone involved.

Watch Out for Bicycles and Motorcycles

They’re everywhere and they sneak up behind you. Watch when you’re opening you car doors and when you’re changing lanes. They do not stop for red lights, so you should really even watch out for them when you’re crossing at cross walks.

Watch Out for People

Dublin is a jay-walking city, and you never know when someone is going to try to squeeze between cars in traffic to get across the road. I’m telling you, that 30km zone is a blessing.

Watch for Bus and Taxi Lanes

Most streets in Dublin have bus lanes, and most of the time you’re not allowed in those. There will be signs that say what hours the bus lanes operate, but in the city centre, the bus lane could be 24 hours. During rush hour, a whole stretch around Trinity College is blocked to all traffic except for taxis and buses. Police officers will stop you and redirect you if you try to go through.

Beware of One Way Streets

They’re everywhere. When Michael and I first moved here, we got stuck driving in circles around Stephen’s Green trying to figure out how to get out of the one way system! Last week, I went about a mile out of my way trying to cycle from one side of the city to the other because I couldn’t turn right for block after block. Rely on those navigation apps – they almost always have a good handle on the one way roads. Keep in mind, as if one way streets aren’t frustrating enough, that many streets don’t have street signs – or they might be high up on the side of a building. I’m telling you, sat nav will be your friend!

Beware of Construction

It seems like all of the construction projects that needed to happen in the last five years are happening right this minute throughout the city. As the recession has lifted (or maybe as the streets reached new lows of disrepair), construction has been on the rise. It makes traffic worse and often means closed lanes or even closed roads. Why they can’t manage to do most of this work at night when there’s less traffic, I do not know. What I do know is that the projects mean cyclists and buses and cars are squeezing into fewer lanes than they’re used to and it’s making everyone’s travels more difficult.

Have I fully terrified you with my rant about driving in Dublin? It’s certainly possible, but you’ll want to be on your A-game while you’re behind the wheel! And you might need a stiff drink once you park for the night!

If you’re a local, I’d love to hear your tips – or do you avoid driving in Dublin like I do?

*If you’re planning on renting a car when you come to Ireland, don’t worry. Driving outside the city is way more doable, peaceful and pleasant!

Posted in Dublin, Exploring Ireland, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Happy Friday!

mike and em church flowers and leaves julie and sunset em and marker eabha at angie's class

 

Oh, what a week. Long but fast at the same time, full and sunshiny and exhausting. Finishing and releasing Delightful Dublin to the world was so exciting, and I’m so, so pleased with everyone’s kind words about it (including this review from my friend and fellow writer Rachael, who is biased but still!). It’s been a very good week.

I thought I’d share a few highlights. Left to right, top to bottom.

– Michael and I dressed up for church and taking photos in the alleyway

– Flowers leftover from a video shoot (I’ll be sharing DIY videos soon!) and the leaves are a-changing

– Julie and I on our last day shooting for Delightful Dublin and the sun setting over this delightful city

– Trying out some new lipstick, which I later could not get off. Such karma for taking selfies! And the rooftop of the Marker Hotel, all to ourselves on our Delightful shoot.

– I brought my niece to see her mom (my sister-in-law) at her classroom this afternoon and it was such a fun treat for all of us! Eabha got to meet Angie’s class for the first time – and the kids were beyond excited! Then we got milkshakes and took the train home. Such fun.

I hope you all have a happy, bright and full weekend. I have some fun posts planned next week – driving and dining and probably some flowers! See you back on Monday.

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Dublin City Bridges Tote from Clover Rua

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I had been wanting to take a few photos with my new Dublin Bridges tote from Clover Rua for months now. In fact, I carried it and my camera to church six times, since our church is near the Liffey and I figured it would be easy enough to have Michael snap a few photos before we headed home. Turns out? Not so much. Every single time, something came up. We were hungry (this happens a lot), we forgot we had plans, we were on welcome team and just couldn’t wait to sit down. So, the bag just kept making journeys back and forth – close to the Liffey but never on the Liffey.

Until Friday, when Julie finally snapped a few photos of me and the Dublin Bridges bag on my very favorite bridge, the Samuel Beckett. And lo and behold, we loved one of those images so much, we made it into the cover of Delightful Dublin!

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How sweet is that tote? It’s very sturdy and Anita from Clover Rua assures me it can get dirty because it’s very washable. I’m still a little careful with it!

We’re also going to have to talk about my shoes for just a sec. I don’t own a single other item of clothing this psychedelically bright and yet I love these shoes. And I found them at Gap this summer for $4. $4! They make me way more than $4 of happy.

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The Samuel Beckett Bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava (which is a super fun name to say) and it reminds me of a cable-stayed bridge in Maine. The entire thing turns when a ship needs to come through, which is very cool to witness.

I actually used to be quite scared of bridges, but I think it was actually the height of some of the bridges in Maine that bothered me. I used to crawl down onto the floor of the car when we were going over one! All of the bridges across the Liffey in Dublin are so low to the water, I never get worried. Julie, on the other hand, was a little nervous!

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And on a somewhat unrelated note, I am having a love-hate relationship with my new haircut. It just has a mind of its own and only responds to air-drying, which still takes so long even though it’s shorter. It looks pretty okay in photos but in person I think it looks wild and crazy. Anyone have a long bob of wild and crazy hair? What do we do with it?!

Delightful Dublin Cover And here’s that cover again! I’m so excited about the positive response Delightful Dublin has been getting. It’s been a very fun few days!

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Welcome to Delightful Dublin

Delightful Dublin Cover

Well, today is the day, friends! The Delightful Dublin guidebook is live and ready for the world!

Julie and I have worked hard to make sure it is useful and beautiful, inspiring and informative. It is packed with beautiful photographs and peppered with personal stories. It is 250+ pages of the best Dublin has to offer, in my humble opinion.

To get your copy, you can head over to the Delightful Dublin website. I hope you love it, and I hope you find Dublin to be just as delightful as I do.

Posted in Dublin, Exploring Ireland, One Day in Dublin, Styled in Ireland, Truly Irish | 6 Comments

Nearly Nearly

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Friends, on this Tuesday evening, my brain is mush. For the last five days straight, Julie and I have breathed, slept and thought Delightful Dublin constantly. We are fixing the very last typos as I write this and it will soon be ready to go out into the world. You will, very likely, see it tomorrow. It is a giant labor of love and you will have to forgive me tomorrow when I gush and gush about it.

Lately I have been wondering why long, thoughtful, storytelling posts on FCV haven’t come as naturally. Today I realized this is because I have been using all of my storytelling on the pages of Delightful Dublin. I realized, as I was re-reading a section for the millionth time, scrutinizing every single word and phrase, that I have told so many stories in these pages, and all the while trying to keep all the other balls I’m responsible for up in the air.

My brain is mush and I can’t wait to share with you the reason I can barely string a few paragraphs together tonight. Stay tuned tomorrow, it’s a big day, friends!

In the meantime, just a few things I enjoyed reading before Delightful Dublin camped out in my brain. Until tomorrow….

Fashion at the U.S. Open

A history of school lunches

Searching for Anne of Green Gables

 The Great Kale Shortage of 2014

And now, good night!

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Truly Irish / Bog Standard Candles

handmade_irish_souvenir_moss_candle I was on the lookout for a friend’s birthday present (happy birthday, Rachael!) and I was so pleased when I happened upon these sweet candles while I was giving a tour the other day. Their lovely packaging with those floral illustrations caught my eye, and then I was captivated by the beautiful, subtle scents. And then to top it all off, they’re Irish!

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They’re made by a Northern Irish company called Bog Standard, and I have a feeling they’ll be a new go-to when it comes to presents. They would make the loveliest souvenirs to bring home from a trip to Ireland – Irish but not too shamrock-y!    irish_candle_scent_moss_bog_standard  They make soap and hand lotion and scented sachets as well. I found these candles in the Kilkenny Shop, which has a slightly overpowering tourist vibe but does have some really great Irish-made things that are just perfect for souvenirs or gifts.

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In Season / August Blooms

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I’m a little late to the game to be sharing August blooms with you, but here we are with just a little peek at what’s in bloom around our Dublin neighborhood. Autumn is surely upon us, but I love knowing that even as the weather gets colder, we’ll still have at least a few things blooming to remind us that spring will eventually return. And I always love these wanders around our neighborhood. Whenever I take my camera, I walk slowly and peek into people’s gardens, imagining what their lives might be like. It’s a great time out for my brain.

So, here’s what’s blooming in our neck of the woods!  morning glories lantern flowers strawberry blooms sedum ivy

I’m getting so excited about this wall – pretty soon it will be all red! hydrangeas

The hydrangeas are starting to go by, but I kind of like when they turn a little crispy. I’ve picked a few from our garden to dry inside the house.  hanging berries butterfly

This guy stopped just long enough for a photo before a bee wanted his spot on that flower.

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A Poem for Monday

Atlas poem

 

A poem for a grey Monday morning, given to me by a friend a few years ago that I had tucked into a notebook. It slid out this morning as I was looking for blank pages to fill.

Sometimes I can’t believe that marriage (and grown up life in general) has just so much maintenance involved. But thinking of those daily chores we do for each other as part of upholding the permanent structure of living, that they keep my suspect edifice upright in the air, as Atlas did the sky makes it all sound much more noble.

Happy Monday, friends.

 

 

 

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