ireland: dublin

A Dose of Dublin Culture

culture night

Culture Night

Even though the sun was out, the air remained crisp and you can immediately sense that fall is now hitting Dublin like a freight train.  Think what you want but I truly believe it’s no fluke that September is also the month that’s jammed packed with several high quality events happening all around town at every turn.  After all, maybe a distraction from the fact that winter’s almost upon us is exactly what the doctor ordered.  And right on schedule, this past Friday night marked Culture Night in Dublin (and around all of Ireland to be 100% truthful).  For one night and one night only, museums, galleries, churches, historic houses and such all have their doors open later than usual for a free night of really cool events.

As it’s an event on a Friday night and I’m nothing more than your typical worker bee, I had to pick a neighborhood and attempt to see as much as humanly possible as time wasn’t on my side.  The majority of the events closed their doors at 9pm with only a few that catered to night-owls by staying open slightly longer.  After some furious texting back and forth – the Aussies and I decided that the one must-do of the night was to tap the The Old Jameson Distillery.  Armed with my mitts, scarf, and Harajuku Lovers hoodie, I managed to make it to Monster Truck Gallery and Studios, The Old Jameson Distillery, Block T, and The Church before it was time to call it a night.

blue balls, smithfield

Blue Balls in Smithfield

The first three events of the Monster Truck Gallery and Studios, The Old Jameson Distillery, and Block T all exceeded my expectations.  The fact that Jameson was handing out a tasty beverages to the touring public upon arrival was a nice surprise but Block T with their wines (unfortunately there was none for latecomers such as ourselves), stellar nibbles, and free postcards of the work being displayed made the experience even better than the three of us had bargained for.  Unfortunately, our lucky streak of awesome experiences ended when we hit the Church.  The Church is the building where Arthur Guinness got married that was built in the 1700s and despite the fact that it’s been turned into a restaurant/bar – the beauty of it still shines through.  This was enough to get us to take a break from all the culture soaking and get a bottle of vino and a few nibbles to give us strength to truck on.  Instead we got a grumpy server who brought us a bottle of wine, had absolutely no clue about specials or the menu itself, and served it all with a side dish of sour face with a sprinkle of skunk eye.

My one regret of the night is that we took that break at The Church as the customer service was appalling and it turned into a total time suck that prevented us from seeing any more of the events.  Regardless of this one rather unfortunate experience, Culture Night was a total craic as the three of us had a blast along with plenty of laughs exploring the venues.  The cherry on the cake was that the spirit continued on the streets well after the doors of Culture Night closed and we found ourselves within friendly mobs of people during the wee hours of the morning as random music filled the streets of Dublin.  All and all, a great night and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year.

The Church, Dublin

In the tower at The Church

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Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cultural Differences Kicking My Ass!

THE BOX

By TheBOX featured Travel writer Sharen Ram

Ever since I began this traveling and working abroad mission of mine, I’ve taken on career-related work while being overseas.  Not only does this afford me with a reasonable income to do as I please but I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by locals day in and day out.  Interestingly enough, this has turned out to be both a blessing and a curse as being the foreign entity amongst a  swarm of Irish lends itself well to some interesting discoveries about the culture that I’ve forcefully implanted myself into.  The big adjustment for me when starting my latest gig wasn’t the tasks at hand as much as it was adjusting to the environment around me.

For starters, when I was introduced to my coworkers, the names seemed easy enough to remember but then the emails started flooding in and it became a whole…

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Dating Dilemmas In A World Full of Douchebags

A replica of my meal that evening at the Chophouse

Between mouthfuls of steak to sober up my intoxicated body, I had a few Irish girls feeding me juicy tidbits about the culture differences that exist in the realm of dating between the rest of the world and Ireland.  Like everything else in life, you have to take things with a grain of salt but the moment they opened up and spewed out tales of NYC – I was SOLD!  It all started out with the notion that these foreign men were totally and utterly insane with the potential of being serial killers.  After all, what man in his right mind would approach a lady stone-cold sober in the middle of the day and ask if she would like to have dinner.  Dim Sum…are you CRAZY?  That obviously translates to my head’s going to wind up in a freezer!  As a group of young lassies from Ireland, they checked with each other to confirm that these men were weird.  Coffee?  Who asks you to have coffee?  And why would a guy ever talk to you when he was sober?

As we continued to talk, the conversation became the highlight of the evening and that’s saying a lot as the food was to die for!  I was quickly informed that my standards would need to be lowered to date Irish men but don’t blame them for that as they really don’t know how to interact with women or anything about being a gent as that’s something the British do.  They also lack the confidence that men from other countries possess so liquid courage is required before they can stumble their way towards you and slur something to register their interest.  From experience, it’s usually along the lines of “I like you” followed by uncomfortable staring and attempts to face-rape. UGH!  If this wasn’t bad enough, I was further informed that I couldn’t judge a guy’s interest by the date because dating never involves dinner or any kind of forethought, always involves alcohol, and if he pays…well, that’s the equivalent of finding a pot of gold and this doesn’t even touch on the fact that they all want someone exotic and different, refuse to label relationships, and would jump at the chance to be a player if opportunity presented itself.

Sadly, everything that these girls were saying rang true as I’ve experienced some their pain first hand but unlike them, I still expect better which has led to rather awkward 1st date conversations that begin with I don’t mean to be a diva but REALLY!  As we swapped horror stories and filled the restaurant with laughter – it was noted that this is just the average experience but as with all things in life  there are exceptions.  With all this information firmly implanted in my brain, I’m not holding my breath to meet the exception but am a little confused as to why Irish men in particular like to constantly teased me about how I’ll meet a nice bloke in Ireland and never leave.  With all the cultures differences in play, fingers crossed that they’re not just hinting that I’m about to get kidnapped and locked in some dude’s basement for the rest of my life!

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Gut – Don’t Fail Me Now!

I’m the girl who made the brilliant decision to move to a country in recession in hopes of securing a career related position that would allow me to keep gallivanting around the world.  “Why Ireland?”, is still ringing in my ears but I ignored all the warning about what a colossal mistake I was about to make and how there’s no jobs so to quit a job to go be jobless in my local of choice was absolute insanity.  What people seem to forget about me is that I tend to leap blindly and fearlessly into things that tickle my fancy.  I have a stead-fast believe that things will always work out and in part that might prevent me from stressing and over analyzing my gut decision the way normal people do.

That said, I’m not an idiot that was expecting rainbows and unicorns the moment I landed in Dublin.  I’m fully aware that I have an impressive CV but I was still anticipating a struggle to secure work that didn’t make me want to blow my brains out in boredom.  Getting a job would be easy but getting the job I wanted…not so much but that’s the holy grail I was after.  What I wasn’t expecting was to be interviewing like a woman on crack (sometimes as many as 3 a day) during the slowest time of the year in a recession and have several offers on the table that would make the average backpacker piss their pants.  What I’ll wholeheartedly admit is that I’m not your average backpacker as I’m older with massive amounts of work experience and skills that are in short supply (worldwide – not just Ireland).  I feel the need to mention this as the average person coming to Ireland to live and work still struggles but this isn’t what my first world problems are all about.

My problems all began when the offers started rolling in fast and furiously and it wasn’t about which offer to take as much as dealing with the companies that couldn’t handle the fact that I didn’t pick them.  Trying to explain to them that the offer I picked was based on a gut decision failed tremendously as they challenged me every step of the way.  Is it appropriate to use its me not you in this situation?  There was a blatant disregard to the fact that I was in London and technically on holidays as my mobile was ringing off the hook.  I quickly learned that ignoring it meant that the calls wouldn’t stop and so I gave in and booked call times that wouldn’t change my mind but would incur heaps (yes, my kiwi throwback!) of roaming charges.

At the end of the day, these other companies didn’t get what they wanted from me and thus, there is no doubt in my mind that those bridges are burnt.  I remained professional under all circumstances and explained my reasoning to the best of my ability but how is approaching me with, “Do you not know who we are!?!”, an acceptable rationalization?  I will be the first to say that I hate bullies, power struggles, and the need to play office politics – especially when getting hit with this triple threat even before the job starts!  If that’s not a warning sign than I really don’t know what is.  After 3 days of all of this, I have never been more certain that I made the right choice.  Fingers crossed that going with the smallest company of the bunch with no international offices won’t be my first blind leap of faith that I come to regret.

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Just 10% Is Enough To Go That Extra Mile

Another house guest essentially means another trip to the Guinness Storehouse.  Unfortunately for me, the Storehouse doesn’t sell a season pass and the best I can do is get a 10% discount by purchasing online.  Something is better than nothing so my new routine is to jump online and get tickets as soon as I receive a booking for the air mattress at Hotel La Shazza.  If anyone has a better idea of how to make my year at the Guinness Storehouse a little more affordable (come on, still trying my hand at the whole thrifty thing!) then hit me up with advice or suggestions as I’m all ears.

If my shameless “help me” plug isn’t entertaining enough then you’d be happy to know that nothing much has changed at the Storehouse since my last visit several weeks ago.  The major difference that stood out between the two trips was that during this round, everything was timed so I could take advantage of the Special Voucher Offer (something which you receive when booking online) which gave me a 10% discount on a meal at Brewer’s Dining Hall at Guinness.  Keep in mind that the discount only applies to main meals and thus, their tasty soup of the day was excluded but Guinness Stew wasn’t as lucky and was had by yours truly for a bargain price!

Brewer’s Dining Hall can be found on the 5th floor of the Storehouse where all the eating options are located.  As the name hints at , this is reminiscent of university dining.  There’s a counter displaying everything being offered to eat with a cash register located conveniently after a long line of tempting desserts and Guinness.  As for seating, there are long tables that are meant to be shared with strangers but as luck would have it, the English Rose and I were able to nab a cozy little pod with cushy seats and black and white photographers lining the inner wall.  Just to clarify, when I say reminiscent of university dining, I strictly mean in layout and not quality of food or amount of grunge classified as furniture.  Speaking of quality of food, my Guinness Stew hit the spot.  It was well done hearty comfort food and I couldn’t have asked for anything else to brighten up a dreary day in Dublin.

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