This photo was taken just over a year ago – on the 3rd December. Dublin was at a standstill thanks to heavy snows. This particular corner we watched as cars and trucks came down from the slightly higher bridge and slid straight into the bollards – generally at slow speed. Cyclists gave up, pedestrians were landing on their backsides all around us. The Guinness trucks seemed to fair better than the cars, nail biting stuff!
When I first arrived in Ireland I knew nothing about the place except for what I’d seen on the news or in twee tourist shows. I didn’t understand most of what was being said to me (and that was in Dublin – imagine the fun of my first encounter with Cork!) Sure, there were bombs being defused every week but I got used to that, the grass was *always* green, the rivers *always* had water in them and the pubs all served Guinness. Eventually I even managed to even get used to the spelling, but let’s not talk about your addresses…
Ireland is a fabulous and beautiful and totally crazy place. There’s castles everywhere (although the advertised two castles in one street in Dalkey didn’t quite live up to my early, naive expectations), lots of cows and sheep with cute black faces. I’ve been given directions that included the line “if you think you’ve gone too far you’re not there yet”. I’ve driven miles and miles through winding country roads behind herds of cattle or sheep, met a lady who was the last surviving occupant of a ruin I’d just been climbing over in a deserted village, had afternoon tea at Father Ted’s House (a show I didn’t understand until I’d been here for a while). I’ve walked over rope bridges, explored neolithic ruins tombs, sat under the capstones of dolmens and drunk whisky at the source. I think it’s fairly safe to claim that I’ve seen more of the place than many of the locals have.
But what the tourist shows and the news don’t show you is just how wonderful the people here are. I’ve been made to feel completely welcome here from the moment I stepped off the plane back in 2005 and heard “I Come From The Land Downunder” playing on the taxi radio.
I’m going to miss all of the great people that I’ve met – from all of those I’ve lived and worked with through to the amazingly resourceful and eclectic fibre artists who have truly inspired me. But at least Edinburgh isn’t too far away, so I’ll be able to come and visit from time to time.
Held in Damer Hall next to St Stephen’s Green the event comprised tons of craft classes (€10 per class with all materials provided in everything from knitting and crochet to needle tatting, felting, embroidery, spinning and jewellery and card making), market stalls of handmade crafts, yarn, books and cakes (tea and coffee supplied by the wonderful Accents) as well as ”knit working” a.k.a. stitch n bitch.
I got down there early to see if I could help in any way, but the place was positively humming and so I started by purchasing a few skeins of yarn (all in a good cause) and settling in for some good crafty time. In no time at all the hall was full, all the morning craft classes were in full swing, and the stalls were 3 people deep! By lunch time there was no room left. Amazing turnout.
In the afternoon I held a needle tatting course, had to turn people away because it was full. I’m delighted to say that my students were very clever and picked up the basics in about half the time I expected 🙂
The result of a most excellently enjoyable day? €4500 raised with 100% of the money going to the Oxfam appeal for the famine. I’m so proud of everyone who took part and of everyone who came along for making it such a success. People are already talking about next year – I do hope that it happens again.
A lot has been going on behind the scenes the last month and now at last I’m able to let you all in on the secret – I’m moving house. And not just moving house, but moving country – again. After 6 years in Ireland pretty much to the day I’m going to be heading off to Scotland and to Edinburgh to live. No job lined up, I’m just going to head over there and see what happens.
As a result of that I’ve handed in my notice at work, and I’ve started packing. It’s not so easy to pack for an international move. You need to book a mover in advance, none of this hiring a van type of ease – I have no choice but to get a man (not so easy, most of them don’t bother answering quote requests). And that means that I need to know exactly how much stuff I’m moving in order to book them. I’m not so good at that side of things! I’m trying to sell off a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t think is worth moving – like a heavy salt lamp and a printer, tv and dvd player. It’s not an easy task that’s for sure. Still, I’ve managed to get about 10 boxes packed so far.
Naturally now is the perfect time to be filling up my social calendar, so Saturday I’m teaching a needle tatting course for charity. And of course I’ve packed the book I want to use for it!
It’s certainly been an eventful week for me!
It started with a slight scratch in my throat last Thursday, right before I flew to Edinburgh for the weekend. I had a good rest on Friday and spent a lovely day with Christian so I figured that it probably wouldn’t be too bad, but alas by Saturday my nose was running. Grr… especially annoying since we were seeing Anton and Gavin whom we hadn’t seen in far too long. The cold, however, seemed to be reasonable and so we had a great time catching up and it was so brilliant to see the guys. I figured that was the worst of it but how wrong was I! By Sunday afternoon the migraine had set in.
Monday I worked from home, I was exhausted, my shoulders ached, I was feverish and my head was still sore – I treated the migraine yet again. (It’s not totally uncommon to treat for three days of migraine for me) I could barely keep my eyes open and was sound asleep by about 9:30 that night.
Tuesday I had to get up at 5:30 to get my flight back to Dublin. Not sure how I made it, my head felt heavy, I felt weak and soooo tired. I slept for most of the flight, and most of the bus trip to the office. Once in the office I started to feel positively ill and feverish again, and the migraine was back. After lunch I went home – no idea how I got there, it’s not a long walk but every step was so painful. Definitely a bad attack.
Wednesday I couldn’t go to work, I stayed in bed with fever and sore head and drinking water like we were about to enter a drought. I staggered downstairs to the pharmacy at one point for rehydration salts – the pharmacy was teaming with people looking for cold remedies, this is not a nice one! By late afternoon the migraine had stopped responding to drugs – not a good sign, it had also crossed hemispheres and I was still feeling ill. I realised I hadn’t eaten more than a few mouthfuls since lunch on Sunday. Not a good sign, so it was off to the doctor.
Doctor gave me some drugs to knock me out and a referral to the ER in case when I woke it was still bad, I figured this would be it – I’d wake up and all would be right with the world. So I went home happy in the knowledge that I would soon sleep well. I did. But I also woke up with the migraine still bad and still there. And so at midnight I found myself checking in to the ER and trying to answer the questions from the triage nurse.
I spent the next 8 hours in ER. It was a quiet night so I was able to get some sleep on the horrible wooden seats in the waiting room before they called me in. Took nearly two hours, mainly because of an ambulance arrival and then the Guards brought in two people who had clearly been in some kind of altercation. I was in a lot of pain, but I know enough to know that the triage nurse would have bumped me down the list into the long wait category. Finally it was my turn. I was given at least 4 rounds of various drugs and had my blood tested. They tested my for viral meningitis (I always thought one of the symptoms was a rash but apparently not) and most likely various other possible causes. The conclusion was that I was suffering from a dehydration induced migraine (after a previous migraine from other causes), a standard rhinovirus (cold) plus a rotavirus (stomach flu) that had knocked out my gastrointestinal system so that the normal migraine drugs weren’t being effectively absorbed, I’d have to look at upping my doses for a while and so they sent me home.
I spent Thursday mainly in bed, missed the This is Knit Yarniversary party (I was looking forward to that). The headache came back again Thursday night so I hit it hard and slept like a log apart from the strange incident at 3am where someone started shouting hysterically at “Michael”. Today I’m resting as well. Still no appetite, it’s been 5 days since I had a proper meal now. But the good news is that I feel like I’m on the mend. Have even started a new knitting project 🙂
“A Uachtaráin agus a chairde”
With these words, followed by the Irish President’s gasped “Wow!” and the 170 odd guest’s applause, Queen Elizabeth did more for Peace in Ireland than can ever be imagined. The speech that followed set the perfect tone and was, quite frankly, a masterpiece. The tone was of mutual admiration, understanding and desire to move forward. The focus was not on politics but on families and relationships – the things that really matter. In her own words, all involved were “able to bow to the past, but not be bound by it”.
At the time I was a few blocks away, yes – in a pub. With much of the city centre closed at various times during the visit it has been a strange feeling – you certainly cannot ignore that there’s something going on. And despite the full contingent of Gardai, the miles and miles of barriers and the strangely sealed post boxes and manholes, the feeling has been boyant and positive. Yes, a bomb was found on a bus and a few hoaxes discovered since, but the feared protests have been so pathetically small that they have helped to highlight to the world that peace can prevail.
I remember as a kid thinking that Ireland was just a place where everyone bombed everyone else. All I saw of it was the bombs on the news. When I arrived, I had a sence of trepedation – not knowing what I would find. And I’ve heard so many stories since coming here of people crossing the border and having guns in their faces, of being singled out for special security searches and the like.
We’ve come an awfully long way – and no doubt we still have a way to go. But the light at the end of the tunnel is nolonger a pinprick, it is bright enough that we can see the door.
Oh and my gosh she looked fabulous!
A few useful links I’ve come across for weather related stuff in Dublin.
Irish Met Office is a reasonable site.
The HIRLAM model is very accurate at predicting where and when snow will fall within a 24 hr period. Click on ‘Nedbor’
Watch passenger planes depart from/arrive at Dublin airport here. Excellent radar featuring flight info.
Numerous cancellations and delays at Dublin Airport. Listen in to the air traffic control tower.
Irish Weather Online with a live chat board