Thursday, November 15, 2012

Living the life of Riley on the Liffey

I've been staying in an apartment right on Dublin's River Liffey, overlooking Ha'penny Bridge.

Dublin ticks a lot of boxes for me: the city centre is compact and very walkable; there is some beautiful architecture; the food is great; it's got cheap and cheerful public transport; there is running support; and it's got a fabulous arthouse movie theatre. The Museum of Contemporary Art is closed for renovations (though they currently have an exhibition of Sidney Nolan's "Ned Kelly" series in a small ancillary building), and I didn't manage to get to the National Museum this visit, but I wandered through Trinity College and saw The Book of Kells and the fabulous Long Room of the library.

Trinity College Library

I'm now a member of the Dublin Running Meetup Group. I had two runs around the huge urban Phoenix Park with Shane and Nicole and a few others, one at night in the drizzle and the other mid-morning on the weekend. Both runs were around 10K.

Deer and the Papal Cross, Phoenix Park

The Irish Film Institute is just a few cobbled streets away on the other side of the river. I've seen three films: "Room 237" (various theories on symbolism in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining"), which was a waste of time; and two new French films: "Rust and Bone" and "Sister", both of which I really enjoyed.

Tom Canton as Dorian Gray

I couldn't visit Dublin and not go to the theatre, and I was incredibly lucky to be able to see a stunning production of James Joyce's "Ulysses" at Project Arts Centre and, at the Abbey, Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray". Both were fabulous treats.

Grant Smeaton in "Ulysses"

I've had a little breather this past week before another really busy work period starts, so I was able to take a few days off and go down to Cork and over to Limerick. In Cork I ran a 25K race called the Great Railway Run from Cork to Carrigaline. I didn't spot a railway line anywhere along the route, which hugged the shoreline for about half the distance and was very scenic. I was pleased with my time for the first 20K (1 hr 53 mins), but I flagged a bit in the home stretch. As I was the only woman in my age group I scored first prize: a basket of cosmetics.

Cork is a nice-looking small city on the River Lee and estuary

From Cork I took the train to Limerick where I caught up for the afternoon and evening with Marc, a friend made in Santiago a year ago. We had a fun few hours driving over to the Cliffs of Moher, from where on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands and five counties. It was windy and misty, so we couldn't see much at all, but you could still get a sense of the grandeur of the cliffs.

We couldn't see any of this, except for glimpses through the heavy mist

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