I went to Áras an Uachtaráin: the President’s Resident. Well, rather, we drove through Phoenix Park to Ratra House, where we parked the car and then promptly got into line for the minibuses that would take us back to the President’s residence, which we had already passed by. After waiting for half an hour, we were then led outside, where some of the old Presidential vehicles, and a vintage police motorcycle, were being displayed. We then got into another very long line of people waiting to meet the rather portly President of the Republic of Ireland. In the end, it was extremely anti-climatic. We were announced – the announcer asked my hostess for her name 5 times! – and then we shook hands, the President said “you’re welcome”, I tried to say that it was an honour, and my host tried to say that Sir Rodney Walshe sent his greetings, but he very firmly passed us outside, where we were directed to the refreshment hall. The weather was gorgeous with a light breeze through the beautifully tended garden, and organic apple juice from the An Uachtarain orchards was served. After a while, the President delivered a speech, and a very eclectic selection of musicians played for us. They were really weird – there was an American grassroots band, a man who sang about a chicken’s funeral at an animal cemetery, a woman who sang a very poorly chosen song about the death of James Connelly and the war, and a band named We Banjo Three, comprising of four members and two banjos. And then we went back to Ratra House and home.

It was very anti-climatic.  Also, I keep going on the computer with every intention of doing my Sustainability homework, among other things, except that I don’t, and stay up till past midnight… only to wake up extremely early the next day (my plans for forcing myself into a more vaguely normal sleep cycle failed – I’m waking up early no matter what time I go to sleep. So, rest assured, the midnight thing was planned; it’s just that I was supposed to be doing homework.) Oops? Let’s let inertia take the blame again, shall we…

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Wow, I’ve lost all track of time. I didn’t even realise it was July today. Today I woke up at 5AM, with a nose bleed – but I managed not to get the white sheets all bloody, hurrah! I went to see the Martello Tower in the afternoon – round the other side of Sandycove is the James Joyce Tower, in which there is a little museum that has his works and other artifacts on display. I also went all the way up the tower itself, and the view was gorgeous!

I woke up at 3AM. Bleargh. The bed is going to kill me. It’s large; a double at least, and I’m sure that it’s very extravagant and I’m very lucky to have a room to myself, but it’s also very soft, and my back has been killing me. I lay there in bed contemplating this fact until it was a decent hour to be awake, whereupon I went forth and got ready for the day. I went for a walk along the pier, which was lovely with a gorgeous band rotunda,  and then I wanted to go for a swim because the water looked so inviting, but there isn’t a real beach – it’s all slimy rocks that are covered in seaweed, and I couldn’t get past those without slipping. Had the first day of the ‘make-a-movie’ course…I hate improvs, I’ve realised; I find it incredibly hard to think of things on the spot. I’m okay at adding onto someone’s idea, but even then, sometimes not.
My first day at the fil-im (that’s what it sounds like in an Irish accent; they extend it into two syllables) making course sucked, to be perfectly honest. Half of it was stuff that I already knew, like the 3 course structure (beginning, middle, end) and the other half was stuff that I could have very easily picked up along the way, for example how to use a camera (I learnt what the shots were and different angles in English and Media Studies at school, really). We watched some previous short films, and then did a couple of snippet-improvisations of our own to get the feel of following actors with a camera and how to get the different perspectives.
Then we had to decide on story ideas and pitch them to each other as 3 groups, and of course I couldn’t think of a single one, and so my group presented a half-baked idea on a a kidnapping. It was terrible. The other two groups didn’t have amazing ideas either, and now we’re stuck for the next of the week filming the “Invisibully”.  I tried hinting that I wasn’t enjoying it, and that I’d love doing something else instead, especially since it’s currently a waste of money, but that didn’t go over so well. At least the view is nice.
After that, we went to see The Fault in our Stars, which made me cry (duh. I’m a sap), but we missed the first ten minutes (just like with Chef, I’ll have to find a way to clear that up) unfortunately, so Grace had already met Augustus, and they had just arrived at his house. I really loved how they incorporated the dialogue from the book without making it seem contrived. And of course, the characters were developed and yes, Augustus was Augustus.

Fil-im Course

I woke up at 3AM. Bleargh. The bed is going to kill me. It’s large; a double at least, and I’m sure that it’s very extravagant and I’m very lucky to have a room to myself, but it’s also very soft, and my back has been killing me. I lay there in bed contemplating this fact until it was a decent hour to be awake, whereupon I went forth and got ready for the day. I went for a walk along the pier, which was lovely with a gorgeous band rotunda,  and then I wanted to go for a swim because the water looked so inviting, but there isn’t a real beach – it’s all slimy rocks that are covered in seaweed, and I couldn’t get past them without slipping. Had the first day of the ‘make-a-movie’ course…I hate improvs, I’ve realised; I find it incredibly hard to think of things on the spot.I’m okay at adding onto someone’s idea, but even then, sometimes not. My first day at the fil-im (that’s what it sounds like in an Irish accent; they extend it into two syllables) making course sucked, to be perfectly honest. Half of it was stuff that I already knew, like the 3 course structure (beginning, middle, end) and the other half was stuff that I could have very easily picked up along the way, for example how to use a camera (I learnt what the shots were and different angles in English and Media Studies at school, really). We watched some previous short films, and then did a couple of snippet-improvisations of our own to get the feel of following actors with a camera and how to get the different perspectives.
Then we had to decide on story ideas and pitch them to each other as 3 groups, and of course I couldn’t think of a single one, and so my group presented a half-baked idea on a a kidnapping. It was terrible. The other two groups didn’t have amazing ideas either, and now we’re stuck for the next of the week filming the “Invisibully”.
At least the view is nice.
After that, we went to see The Fault in our Stars, which made me cry (duh. I’m a sap), but we missed the first ten minutes (just like with Chef, I’ll have to find a way to clear that up) unfortunately, so Grace had already met Augustus, and they had just arrived at his house. I really loved how they incorporated the dialogue from the book without making it seem contrived. And of course, the characters were developed and yes, Augustus was Augustus.

I landed and found my hosts and their adopted daughter, (who is gorgeous, if tiny (seriously, she is petite. I would have taken her for an 8 year-old, not 12!),with newly dipped red tips in her lustrous black hair). We drove from Dublin, past the two ports – Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, to Glasthule: home,which is a beachfront house next to a delightfully long pier – two-story, large, filled to the brim with artworks and books, as well as two small poodle-like dogs and a few exotic-looking fish. They have a sloping backyard with lots of fragrant flowers; lavender and two types of jasmine, as well as small potted ferns and roses and petunias, among others. There’s also a nanny-flat at the top of the garden for relaxation and ‘quiet time’. They have two barbecues – one a small little cooker, the other a huge silver beast called RedFyre. Along the way, Eileen pointed out the Martello Towers, which are all across the coast of Ireland, in case of Napoleon’s invasion (which never happened).

The scenery, which I later saw more of as we went to walk the dogs in a Killiney Hill Park that had some gorgeous views of Sandycove and Dalkey Island, is very similar to that of New Zealand. Same sort of climate, similar flora and fauna; it almost felt like I wasn’t on the other side of the world! We went to a café for hot chocolate and a muffin, and then straight to Yoga class, which was all about sticking the bum up (the instructor literally said those words almost 10 times a minute… that, and ‘glut’ muscles), and your heart up. It was rather different from the lasses I’ve experienced before. Then – a blissful shower after two days without.

Later, we went grocery shopping, and after that it was back to the house, where I tried really really hard not to fall asleep too early.

The Arrival

I was amazingly lucky to win a month’s trip. To IRELAND. This will be a day-to-day record of what I got up to, just a general/detailed outline of my day (photos included).

I landed, found Nuala and Eileen and Uyen, Eileen’s adopted daughter from Vietnam who is gorgeous, if tiny (seriously, she is petite. I would have taken her for an 8 year-old, not 12!). We drove from Dublin, past the two ports – Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, to Glasthule: home,which is a beachfront house next to a delightfully long pier – two-story, large, filled to the brim with artworks and books, as well as two small poodle-like dogs and a few exotic-looking fish. They have a sloping backyard with lots of fragrant flowers; lavender and two types of jasmine, as well as small potted ferns and roses and petunias, among others. There’s also a nanny-flat at the top of the garden for relaxation and ‘quiet time’. They have two barbecues – one a small little cooker, the other a huge silver beast called RedFyre. Along the way, Eileen pointed out the Martello Towers, which are all across the coast of Ireland, in case of Napolean’s invasion (which never happened).

The scenery, which I later saw more of as we went to walk the dogs in Killiney Hill Park that had some gorgeous views of Sandycove and Dalkey Island, is very similar to that of New Zealand. Same sort of climate, similar flora and fauna; it almost felt like I wasn’t on the other side of the world! We went to a cafe for hot chocolate and a muffin, and then straight to Yoga class, which was all about sticking the bum up (the instructor literally said those words almost 10 times a minute… that, and ‘glut’ muscles), and your heart up. It was rather different from the lasses I’ve experienced before. Then – a blissful shower after two days without. The only thing was, it was a bath/shower, and there was nowhere to clip the shower-head on, leaving me to either sit or risk splashing the entire bathroom… Later, we went grocery shopping, and after that it was back to the house, where I tried really really hard not to fall asleep too early.

The back yard.

The back yard.