Happy Handel Day!


Posted by wendy | Posted in expat life, travel | Posted on 13-04-2011

Today is Handel’s Day in Dublin! Why April 13th you ask? Well, today is the day when Handel premiered the Messiah in the Musick Hall on Fishamble Street. The Musick Hall is now an apartment block, (sad). I will show a photo of the center of apartment block later in the post.

Anyway, to celebrate this momentous occasion the Temple Bar City Trust throws a party every year. I don’t know if anyone know Handel hung out in Dublin. I myself didn’t know until last year when we visit St. Michans Church. As we were entering the church the Mr jokingly said that Handel practiced organ music there. He thought he was kidding but he was right! It was mentioned in the pamphlet. I guess he is smarter than he think he is! As an aside, if you are ever in Ireland, I highly recommend you check out the St. Michans Church. It’s a Church of Ireland Church full of history (started by Vikings, etc) and it’s got a crypt with mummies! Yes, you heard right crypt with mummies! You can do a tour and the tour guide will let you touch the mummy, who happens to be a Knight from the Crusades, too! I of course didn’t touch it, but Mr and Joe touched it. Click here and here to see more information on the mummies.

We got up early and caught a train to town and met up with the tour at Wolf Tone Park. Since it’s a Wednesday, I didn’t think there were going to be many people. Boy was I wrong! There were about 200 people at the tour. Mostly locals.

This is Pat Liddy, a local historian, and our also tour guide!

Pat Liddy

He also has his own company, and if you are doing a tour of Dublin I highly recommend looking at his company. His tour was a total gas! He’s funny and full little tid bits of the city.

We started at the Mercy Hospital. He gave us a little talk about how Handel end up in Dublin. You can read all about it here.

He took us around town and told us a bit history of the street names. Did you know that Copper Alley Street was called that because a nice lady used to hand out coppers to the homeless? He also took us to the old Dublin City Wall, near Cook Street. In the old times, anything that’s related to Fire such as cooks, blacksmiths, etc were kept outside of the wall. Back then the buildings are made of wood, so in case there’s a fire the city would be protected. How brilliant!

We walked through the market to get to the Debtor’s Prison. The Prison is long gone and in it’s place is no a park for kids. It’s got a nice sad statue!

Debtor's prison

There used to be public execution here as well. It was entertainment back then when there was no TV. Thank god there is TV now.

I didn’t get a chance to take photos of this, but if you walk along the side of the park, you will see these walled off arched windows on the ground floor. Apparently, the debtors used to beg for money through these windows.

Then we went to St Michans. As I mentioned earlier, it’s built by the Vikings and is super old Church. It’s got an awesome stain glass window and the organ Handel practiced on.

St. Michan's Church

Then off we went around the city some more.

A Guinness truck on top of another truck! The beer shall be delivered in any means possible!
Sad sad day


The side of Christ Church you don’t often see:

Christ Church

We ended up in an amphitheater next to Christ Church.


Why did we go to the Hospital and Debtor’s Prison? Well, it’s because the Messiah was written to raise money to get people out of the hospital and debtor’s prison!

Our last stop was the Musick Hall. It’s now an apartment block but Pat has a key to the court yard so we can go check it out!

Music Hall

The very first concert of the Messiah was given at noon, April 13th. Why noon? Well back then Dublin at night was dangerous so made sense to hold it during the day. The Musik Hall was also the biggest hall at the time, seating 600 people! To squeeze as many people in as they could, the ladies were asked to not to wear the hoopiest skirt they had and the gentlemen were asked to leave their swords at home. It must have been quite a sight.

Then we went to the concert. Because we were pretty late getting to the concert hall (outside of the gates of the apartment building) we didn’t really get to see the choir and orchestra. They were good though.

Here’s a lady checking out the concert in her office,
Enjoying the concert!

Later we went to Queen of Tarts for lunch. I was so hungry I ate my Tart without taking a photo. But I did take photo of my Victoria Sponge Cake.

Victorian Sponge Cake

On the way to the train station, I saw this. All my favorite things. Gnome and beer in an old man pub!

Two of my favourite things - Gnomes and Guinness

Dublin Culture Night — Part I


Posted by wendy | Posted in expat life, travel | Posted on 29-09-2010

One thing that is awesome about Dubin is there are events going on all the time. Last week, there was the Author Guinness Day where the pubs gave out free pints 17.59 (because Guinness was founded in 1759). Unfortunately, I didn’t make this one because I was too lazy to trekk the 10 minute to town to get a free pint. Plus Mr is back in the US and drinking alone (even with bunch of strangers) just doesn’t seem that fun to me.

I also was saving up for Dublin Culture Night. On Culture night, all the participating venus are free and opens until late. It’s a neat idea, you get to see ‘behind’ the scene of places. There were also parades and music events.

I was pretty excited! I spent time looking over the map to figure out where I wanted to go. Planning was part of the fun.

Since the time was limited, I budgeted only to go to 2 place. Though I could have gone to more because there were places open everywhere!

I end up picking Christ Church and the Dublin Civil Trust. Civic Trust had an exhibit on Victorian Publican life and I thought that was neat and Christ Church is pretty near to Civic Trust so it made sense to go there after.

On the way to the Civic Trust, I saw a parade! (Actually I saw 2 but only had time to take photo of one)

She must been freezing because I know I was!
Dancing Lady

First stop, the Dublin Civic Trust!


This is the only building that is in its original state from the early 1800’s. All the others on this street were demolished in the 60s. A pity really. It would be a nice place to hang out.

The building looks small from the outside but from the inside it’s huge! It’s 5 stories and there are skylights everywhere. Pretty smart design for letting the light in.


I kind of misunderstood the description of this venue. I thought there would be a replication of an Victorian Public House. But what they really meant was items salvage in the 60’s from a Victorian Pub. It’s weird that people were just going to throw this stuff away! It’s awesome.

If it were to survive, it would have looked like this,


And the sign for the pub would look like this,


It is a real shame that none of these stuff are around anymore. I suppose it makes what we have now just that much more special.

Where The Streets Have No Sign


Posted by wendy | Posted in expat life, travel | Posted on 01-06-2010

Today I decided to go solo to the city centre. I did all my research, figured out which station to get off (Tara Station) and the directions from Google Maps. I was all proud of myself because it’s my first solo trip in the big city! Well, that’s quite true, when I worked here for a few weeks back in the early 2000 I had a lot of fun exploring the city by myself. But that was different, I was here for work and when I say explore I mean walking 5 minute from my hotel to the O2 Irish office. Those were fun and crazy times!

I got off the Tara Station and the Mr (he was there to meet his brother for lunch) pointed out where south is and off I go. I never understood why directions say south, north, or whatever. What happened to good old turn left on the street. How does one know where south is? At least you will always know where left is because you can always look at your left hand!

Anyway, the journey started out pretty badly. I went the wrong way, though it was south it was south on the wrong street. I was able to correct myself and find the right streets.

Dublin should coin itself as where the street have no sign because the street signs are pretty scarce. I guess it’s the American in me where every street corner has a sign that tells you ‘hey you are here!’ like the giant red X on a treasure map.

I was able to successfully navigated myself to the 3rd street (College Street), and I was able to go no further. The street just ends, there is College Greens Street, but no Sutton Street (the 4th Street). I know I could have asked someone, but what fun would that be? That would be admitting that I have failed! I will not let Dublin be my Waterloo!

After a few hours (it seems like a few hours it’s probably like only 40 min or so) I waved my little white flag in defeat and pray that I still remember how to get back to the station.

The lack of street signs threw me off once again, I went in to the wrong entrance. It seem like a legit entrance because it said ‘Entrance to Tara Station.’ But it also said it was closed at certain times, and it should have been open! I read another sign and it said to go to Charles Quay Entrance but it doesn’t tell you how to get there. After some trial and error I found the station and got on the train and headed out of the city centre! I end up taking the train until the end of the line and came back just to see what’s out there.

You might think from reading all that I had a horrible day, but I really enjoyed my day. It was nice to get out of the house and look at the people. Dublin has gotten very diverse since I was first here in 1999. You hear all different type of accent and language being spoken or maybe I still can’t Irish accents.

Anyway, best thing heard on the train today:
High School Girl 1 : .. like War of the Worlds.
High School Girl 2 : What’s that?
High School Girl 1 : You know, the Tom Cruise movie.

Orson Welles probably is rolling in his grave.

Off to See the Shroud!


Posted by wendy | Posted in expat life, travel | Posted on 21-05-2010

We are leaving tonight to Milan and train it to Turin tomorrow to see the Holy Shroud!

Regardless of people’s opinion of authenticity, it is still a piece of great history. It also are not out on display very often. So when I heard it finally came out on display last winter I had to make reservations to go see it! You only get 15 minute to look at the Shroud so I am hoping we don’t miss it!

Booking holiday on line in Ireland is n very difference experience for me. I don’t have a list of my normal on line booking agencies I can use so I have to do some research. I also am bad at geography and don’t know much about European airports and streets. Makes booking the holiday just a bit harder but learning a lot as well. New experiences!

We opted to fly to Milan and use Milan as a ‘home base.’ We’ll train it to Turin on Saturday and spend Saturday there looking at the sights. But the rest of the trip we will be in Milan. I have never train it in Europe before so it should be a treat!