BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life according to Claire

As Claire was our first visitor since we've settled into normal Maynooth life, she was the best person to give her impressions of our life. In short:
- we don't have accents... Nikolai might... hard to tell through all the toddler speak
- Maynooth is much nicer then she imagined (it was Party Central 'round town as it was the start-of-term AND the Sidney circus came to town -- but though their posters featured kangaroos, they only seemed to have ponies and alpacas)
- our house was much nicer then she imagined (I think the thought of living next to a cemetery may have given our place a pallor, but the nuns are actually quite friendly).

But most of all Claire especially loved anything and everything to do with the OPW (Office of the Public Works). And it's not because she's secretly into utilities, or municipal politics... but because the OPW runs a huge number of historical sites. And they do a very good job of it!

So what did we do? Well, we picked up Claire at the airport, packed her jet-lagged, only-2-hours-of-sleep self into the rental car, and drove across Dublin, through the Wicklow mountains, and to Powerscourt. There, we dragged her into the Avoca cafe for some lunch and shopping. Then we traipsed around the golf course (despite all the no children signage). And her only complaint was that it was freezing cold. 'Eye that it was. Then we all got packed up in the car again, for a more scenic and heroic drive through the mountains (heroic in that the roads are barely one car wide, really windy and windy... yes I mean to use both pronunciations). I got car sick, and Claire won the trooper of the year award.

The second day of car driving adventures involved a trip to Trim, where Claire purchased her OPW card, and Nikolai practiced his patience on a tour of the tower castle (which we'd skipped during our first visit).

The next few days were spent touring about Dublin, with Nikolai in tow. We did a big red bus tour (got tickets through a City Deals offer), the Irish National Museum at Collins Barracks (featured historical clothing, furniture and artifacts with a very patient Nikolai) and a general show of the whole city. On her own, Claire went to the Kilmainham Gaol (OPW site, and very recommended) and Dublinia (not very recommended). We also went to Castletown, an OPW site in neighbouring Celbridge (highly recommended). The house was barely altered over time; it once was in the ownership of the Guinness family, and also hosted Mick Jagger, so it's definitely a site for everyone... whether your interest lies in 17th century architecture, beer, or 1960's rock. Nikolai, apparently, is not much of a fan of 17th century architecture, or any of the ilk. And his performance on the tour is best exemplified by the reactions of a couple that we met on that tour, who subsequently ignored us when we ran into them on a subsequent tour.

I think we'll leave it here for now... but stay tuned for Claire's rockin' St. Arthur's Day night out and our trip to the south coast.

The picture above is of the throngs of students at Trinity College during first week. As it turns out, Claire and I are both rather poor photographers... and I debated posting one of our many bad photos... but decided that the cross faces might not accurately depict our joyous mood... thank goodness Brad was around to wield the power of the pink camera during our trip to Cork. Well, actually... I've decided to include the ultimate bad photo that Claire took of our poor, struggling family as we braced ourselves against the winds and try to make our way to safety. I just hope you find it as funny as I do.

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