May 8, 2011

Royal Canal and Glasnevin Cemetery

The Northside of Dublin has some under-appreciated attractions.  The Royal Canal is just as lovely as it's Southside counterpart, the Grand Canal.  A statue of Brendan Behan, one of Ireland's most renowned and tragic authors is immortalized along the canal near Drumcondra Road.  Behan wrote works such as Borstal Boy and The Quare Fellow but the drink did him in and he died in his early forties of alcohol poisoning.
We took a spin through Drumcondra and tried the sweets at Thunders Home Bakery.  The treats were indeed sweet but the service was a bit surly.
We passed a few lawns going back to the wild.  Dandelions seem to love the Dublin soil and are everywhere in the spring.
Walking along the Royal Canal, I noticed this sign "Be Quiet, Be Tidy" right underneath the directions to the Botanic Gardens.  I thought this set of instructions was sensible if not a bit odd.
We soon arrived at our target destination for the day, Glasnevin Cemetery.
Glasnevin is a wonderful spot for a crash course on Irish history.  They created a museum on the premises about a year ago along with a cafe and other facilities.  It's tastefully done and separated from the cemetery proper by a black privacy wall.  We took the tour and were regaled with stories from the time of Daniel O'Connell "The Liberator" through the 20th century.  O'Connell commissioned and funded the cemetery as a non-denominational resting place.  His tomb sits beneath a tall tower.
A bomb was set off in the 1970s which charred the inside of the tower and blew out the wooden staircase.  The Glasnevin Trust is working to fund a restoration but it hasn't materialized just yet.
We passed the original, unassuming gate that marked the entrance to the cemetery.
The cemetery was done in the garden-park style and was lined with trees and other foliage.
We found Brendan Behan's final resting place.  On the anniversary of his death, it is said that his headstone is covered with pints of Guinness from respectful fans.
We learned quite a bit about Irish Independence and the Pro- and Anti-Treaty factions of the IRA.  Some of the principle antagonists are buried within 50 feet of each other in Glasnevin Cemetery.  Thanks to Niall for an informative tour.

May 6, 2011

Commute Chronicles - Art of Coffee

I recently re-discovered the Art of Coffee near Grand Canal Dock in Dublin.  I recalled the place being rather posh and expensive but was pleasantly surprised to find I could get a large latte for 2.50 euro.  The price is definitely competitive given the amazing quality.  
Now I'm hooked on the foam art and Ruslan, the owner, makes me a different pattern each time I visit.  The bunny and teddy bear have been my favorites so far.  
If you've never been, I suggest you give Art of Coffee a try before work or on the weekend.  You won't be disappointed.

May 4, 2011

Lazy Sunday in Dublin

We recently took a walk around Dublin 2 on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  We stopped at Taste Food for a latte and a scone.  The interior was warm, homey, and inviting -- definitely worth a stop on a cold day.
Walking around the streets of the City Centre, we saw this bit of graffiti -- Waitin' Wishing Hoping with a vulture circling.  The mood of the street art around here has gotten a bit dark over the past few months.

May 2, 2011

Dublin - Dosas and Carp

On Dublin's Northside, you can always find an eclectic mix of experiences.  For us, it was a one-two punch.  Dosas at Madina (Yum!)...
...and frozen carp at Polonez, the Polish grocery store down the street (Eww!)

April 30, 2011

Be Kind to One Another

I saw this message painted along the Grand Canal near Upper Baggot Street in Ballsbridge, Dublin.  

"Be kind to one another because most of us are fighting a hard battle".  
I liked the sentiment given what Ireland is going through right now.

April 29, 2011

Commute Chronicles - Spring in Dublin

I love when the gray of winter gives way to spring.  This yellow bush really popped against the dark brick.  Gorgeous.

April 28, 2011

Commute Chronicles - New York - Retro Thumbs-up

I saw this guy stenciled on a phone booth in Chelsea.  Is he deranged? welcoming? looking for a date?  It's hard to tell.  I'm getting a bit of a 'hey baby' vibe.

April 26, 2011

New York Cuisine

We love the restaurants in New York and made a couple of nice finds during our most recent trip.  First up was Punch in the Flatiron district.  We were tucked into a corner table with great views of the cartoons on the wall.  We tried the wild mushroom ravioli and turkey burger.  Yum.
Next up was Tre Dici on 26th Street near 7th Ave.  The highlight here was the cocoa gnocchi with duck and vanilla.  I was so intrigued by the menu description that I just had to try it.  It was amazing -- the sweet flavors weren't overpowering and complemented the duck well.  I definitely recommend Tre Dici -- the food and service were excellent.

April 25, 2011

Sunday in New York

We arrived in New York with one thing on our mind -- bagels!  We walked from Penn Station to the East Side to Ess-a-Bagel, my 'go-to' place whenever I'm in town.  Filled with warm bread and butter, we headed south and passed this lovely display of flowers.
We popped into The Bean for a caffeine jolt.  We were encouraged because the place was extremely busy but we soon realized that they were mostly there for the free Wi-fi.  The espresso drinks weren't that great.  Still, the place had fun atmosphere.
Continuing toward the Lower East Side, we passed Economy Candy which was a gummi candy lovers dream.
We also peeked into Essex Street Market which featured fish, groceries, and other sundries.
One of our favorite finds of the morning was the Roasting Plant.  To order, you select raw coffee beans which are then roasted on the spot in an individual portion and brewed into your personal cup of joe.
A complex engineering diagram gives a sense of how it all works.
Heading across town, we chanced upon the Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Greenwich Village.
It was great to sit down after our long walk but the cupcakes were just so-so.
We soaked in the scene including multi-story walk-ups and weekend markets outside a local church.
I liked this building with two real windows and many, many more painted on.
We stopped for a rest at a lovely oasis near Bleecker and 6th Ave.
We stopped for a heavenly foldable slice of pizza at Joe's on Carmine St.
Passing into the West Village we saw this lovely textured door knocker.
I liked this composition that included a greenery covered wall, townhome, and surrey/bicycle.
Flowers, flowers, everywhere!
...and vines climbing on every possible surface.
We strolled the Highline from end-to-end (I captured pictures in a previous post here).
On our walk back to our accommodation, we discovered the Limelight Marketplace built into an old church.
Inside we found a wealth of designer and gourmet treats.
I really liked this fondant-based confection at the Butterfly Bakeshop.
I love how I always discover something new whenever I visit New York!