28 January 2008

Trad Story-Telling in Temple Bar

On Saturday, my family and I ventured in to the city centre to see a friend from Prague. While we were there, we caught some of the traditional story-telling that was happening in conjunction with the Irish Trad Festival. It was interesting, but not really much more than your typical street performer. In fact, there was a busker in Temple Bar Square doing observational / improvisational humour in between the story-tellers and he was actually far more entertaining. With that said, it worked well for the trad festival and seemed to be a hit with the kids.



After having a chat with our friend in The Joy of Coffee, we headed West to the edge of Temple Bar for Dublin's finest kebab at Zaytoon's (arguably also Dublin's dearest kebab - a tenner and some change for a meal combo.) After dinner, in my pre-fatherhood days, it would've been straight across to The Porterhouse for a pint and some Irish trad. But alas, a 4-month-old can only take so much action in the city.

(Note to parents: Bit of a rough ride taking a pram through Temple Bar, unless it's got big wheels and state-of-the-art suspension.)

26 January 2008

Trad in Black & White

Saw this brilliant picture on Flickr the other day. Really captures the atmosphere of an Irish trad session. I'm usually impressed by the group of musicians in a given pub session, but it's when I really focus my attention in on one musician that I'm blown away. (Granted, it's not usually the bodhran person.) Really wish this pic was offered in higher resolution!

Off to hear some traditional story telling in Temple Bar after lunch. Hopefully the Little Miss will allow us to stick around long enough to catch some music as well.

23 January 2008

Temple Bar Irish Trad Festival

One of my favourite bits of Irish culture is the Irish traditional music session where typically you'll have up to 10 extremely talented musicians sitting in the pub with their drink of choice, jamming together to a host of traditional Irish music. Instruments range from the bodhran, fiddle, banjo, guitar, and a small accordian-like instrument called a concertina, among others. My favourite spots in South Dublin for such craic are Johnnie Foxes pub (a well-known tourist stop), which features a whole range of Irish trad, including the folk singing and Irish dancing, and The Wishing Well in Blackrock (Monday nights).

This evening, the Temple Bar Irish Trad Festival kicks off with a host of concerts, workshops, children’s activities, and other events. For some of the shows, you must book tickets, but a good number of the pubs in Temple Bar (more than usual, anyway) will be hosting trad sessions at no charge. Festival goers will also have opportunity to meet the various musicians and performers each night at 11pm in the Project Arts Centre for conversation and craic.

My family and I are also looking forward to the action out on the street where there’ll be bagpipes and traditional storytelling. Hopefully the Dublin weather forecast will stay favourable!

Here's some rough footage of a trad session at a pub called The Celt here in Dublin:

16 January 2008

Irish Baby Adventures

Having our first child here in Ireland was a great experience, as I mentioned several months ago. One of the best parts about it was that it was FREE! In the States, medical insurance would have paid for much of the expense, but certainly not the whole thing. There still would have been a big chunk o' cash coming out of our own pocket.

But then there's the cost of living in Dublin . . .

We received a gift voucher from Mama's & Papa's, a British maternity and babywear shop. It's a very nice, high-end shop with clothes and baby "equipment" at costs much higher than we would ever be willing to pay. Last night, my wife stopped by the Mama's & Papa's shop at the top of Dundrum Shopping Centre and was shocked to see a cashmere cardigan priced at 78EUR. SEVENTY EIGHT EURO! For something that will get spit up on and only used for three months anyway! I won't even bother to translate that number into American dollars.

Fortunately, we have lots of friends and family around us who've given us enough baby clothing for a small army of babies. That is, a small army of babies that don't spit up and explode beyond the reach of their nappies. Otherwise, it's only enough clothing for a small army of ONE baby. (I believe Caitlyn's personal record is 4 different outfits in one day.)