Friday, 26 August 2011

Kilmainham Goal Dublin

Kilmainham Goal, built in 1796, had seen countless men, women and even children incarcerated over the centuries. Children caught for stealing a loaf of bread were imprisoned for up to four days, drunks overnight whilst murderers languished with free board and lodging for their crimes. This Irish monument has housed close to every significant Irish nationalist leader through time.

In those days, film processing was expensive, hence the use of a mirror for the profile image for the complete mug shot. Clever huh?
Conditions were horrendous; overcrowding, no segregation of sexes, men slept on iron bedsteads while women lay on straw on flagstones.

In the 50's the Restoration Society strongly opposed demolition of this monument and after winning over support, a group of 60 volunteers began the work of clearing debris and vegetation from the site. The restored Kilmainham Goal is now second most visited place of interest after the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
The main facility is sturdily built and designed such that every cell is visible from all vantage points. You may recall scenes from the movies Michael Collins and The Italian Job (ori version) were filmed here.
Imagine living in a 28 sq meter cell with four or five inmates who could possibly be man, woman or child with a single candle to last 2 weeks. One could understand why scratching the walls would be a welcome outlet during daily role call.

The peep hole was designed to provide a wide-angled view of cell activities. Another clever idea.
The spiral staircase was installed for crowd control. Simple but effective.
The last look at the sky, trees and possibly birds as one proceeds to . . .

. . . the chapel . . .
. . . before heading to the courtyard to face the firing squad.
The fortunate ones remained under lock and key until deported to Australia.

Street wise Dublin

Streets of Dublin Circa 1917
Loyalty to Royalty?!?
Riverdance at the Gaiety Theater
Favourite mode of transport at Trinity College
Wall of Fame - permanent tribute to Ireland music greats -
U2, Sinead O'Connor, Van Morrison etc
Citizens social statement
An evening stroll
There's one here too
Street art - literally
Pay and cycle in Dublin
(no vandalism, no theft - perfect!)
Irish source of life - Guinness
Street mime - rushing to work
(neck tie wired to fly, gelled hair, flapping raincoat)
Castrol oil tin guitar - and it works!
A proud graffiti artist

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Columns of Dublin

Trinity College Dublin with rain spots
Gold Leaf columns in Dublin Castle Ballroom
Gothic columns in Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle
Cafe with a romantic aura
Arches of the Irish Museum of Modern Art,
formerly Royal Kilmainham Hospital
Guinness Storehouse, a converted brewing factory, now a museum.
Sturdy steel girders
Open air art gallery between the columns

Where it all began - Dublin GPO

Restaurants, cafes & pubs in Dublin

Walk down any street in Dublin or any town in Ireland for that matter, and you will find a public house, more affectionately known as a pub, with Guinness on tap, pub grub and even traditional Irish music.

Temple Bar is teeming with pubs and people watchers.

Formerly the Belfast Bank (circa 1892), The Bank Bar & Restaurant on College Green serves a hearty Irish breakfast by day and draws in the crowds by night. One of the jewels of Victorian architecture, it remains intact with stain-glass ceilings and subterranean vaults.

For a swish evening out, Cafe en Seine on Dawson Street is a must-do. The decadent Art Deco style and flamboyant lighting most certainly gives a romantic and whimsical vibe. To top it off, Sunday brunch is with Dublin's best live Jazz bands.

Bewley's Oriental Cafe on Grafton Street is yet another gem.

The Bewley's were tea traders and by shipping tea directly from China to Dublin, managed to break the British East India Tea Company's monopoly.

The cafe opened in 1927, the interior decor drawing inspiration from European cafes of Paris and Vienna and exotic oriental tearooms.

The stain-glass center piece was commissioned to Harry Clarke, a leading Irish stain-glass artist trained in the Art Nouveau style.

Another impressive restaurant somewhere in downtown Dublin.

Buswell's Hotel on Molesworth Street being well appointed near Stephens Green, ten minutes from Trinity College and the main shopping street on Grafton, is an excellent place to stay. Truman's Restaurant offers elegant contemporary Irish cuisine especially appreciated after a 20-hour flight.

Then there's Toddy's on O'Connell Street . . .

As pretty as a picture, O'Neill's, the corner neighbourhood pub.

The piece de resistance, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill on Dawson Street, just round the corner from Buswell's. Yes the Hell's Kitchen Chef!