Skirting the Liberties

The Liberties area of Dublin includes Francis Street loaded with antique shops and galleries, the Tailors Hall (1707), Dublin’s oldest surviving guildhall,  St James Church, John Lane’s church, St. Audoen’s Church, The  St. James’ Gate Brewery ,and Guinness. And a block from me, the organic food coop.

St. Audoen’s is a medieval church that was founded by the Normans in 1190.  It’s thought to be the oldest surviving church in Dublin, and lasted through Cromwell, although of course, it got banged up.   They have an interesting tour,  It was divided in half at one time, and then in thirds. The  Guilds part of the church became the  real moneymaker.  The still ringing bells play a major starring role here. IMG_4552.jpgIMG_4554.jpg

The bells still ring on Sundays.


This fellow was likely a bishop, pre-Coromwell. It’s been quite bashed up in a way that makes experts think it likely that it got bashed up during Cromwell.



This baptistery disappeared and reappeared a few times.  It was hidden during the times of Cromwell and then found during church reconstruction. Notice the scallop shell design?   They are just down the road from where people began the pilgrimage ‘ El Camino to Spain.  Passports to begin the pilgrimage were gotten up the road a couple blocks at St. James Church.


The couple above were the owners,or the man was of the smaller third portion of the church.  The was the money man, and had his own private chapel.

Church of SS Augustine and John the Baptist

Right up high street another block is the Church of SS Augustine and John the Baptist, or John’s Lane Church.  Why come here?  To enjoy the wonderful Stained Glass windows if nothing else, or because thus far it’s been Church of Ireland, and I had a wish to balance things out. This church was built in 1862 on the site of an old hospital (1080).  The Augustinian friars have been in town since 1280, so they are old-timers.  During the tricky times, they continued their work in hiding. Italians have  been coming to Ireland a lot longer than I knew.  This gives me pause.  I would have thought my Nan would have been more familiar with spaghetti, but she was down in Cork, and perhaps there weren’t Italian priests down there.


This is another lovely Gothic revival church.  James Pearse, the father of  patriots Padraig and William Pearse carved the saints around the spire.  The eight bells here in this tower were cast locally on Thomas Street, just down the road.  One can imagine Sundays are quite the treat between these bells and St. Audoen’s ringing.  The most exquisite part of this church are the windows.  It’s worth going out of your way to see them.  Back a few blogs ago I mentioned Harry Clarke  who designed stained glass windows. My pilgrimage has been one to view his stained glass rather than religious.  I’ve seen his windows at the Hugh Lane Gallery,  the National Art Museum, at Bewley’s Tea shop on Grafton Street and now here  Look Clarke up. My photos can’t do justice to the faces and grace of his subjects Sfrom saints to fairy touched beings.




Posted in Poems | Leave a comment

Iveagh Gardens

Continue reading

Posted in Poems | Leave a comment

Short and Small: The Wall


This is a photo of the wall, or what’s left of the wall around Dublin’s old city.  There’s a few chunks like this here and there.  Not much, huh. I remember how the Berlin Wall came happily down,  and  how towns that  I  visited in Italy  outgrew their walls and pour up, around and out of them.


Sutri Italy inside the wall


Old wall in Lazio Italy

This seems to be the way of walls. They fall down in time.  Why bother ?



Posted in Poems | Leave a comment

Good News today for Sleepyheads


Many thanks to Tamara at Sleepytime Cental, a magazine devoted to good sleep hygene.. They’ve gone live today and included one of my poems, along with a wonderful painting.  This is a lovely magazine to take a look at.IMG_4642.jpg
Here’s the link via ISSUU:
Thanks to Tamara at Sleepytime Cental, a magazine devoted to good sleep. They’ve gone live today and included one of my poems.
Posted in Poems | 2 Comments

A quiet reflection garden to honor

August 17

Between the Dublin Castle and Chester Beatty museum there is a large circular garden with benches that people from all around the world enjoy walking through, sitting, and enjoying the flowers.  They stop and take photographs of each other, their kids stretchout and rest or play a bit.  This reflections garden is in a corner of the  outer square that frames the circle garden.  People of all ages notice it, stop a bit, and reflect.  I’ve heard many languages spoken here.




The Garden draws visitors from all around the world for a few moments of quiet reflection.  It’s a place of beauty and sacredness.


There are manyplantings with names  inscribed in the garden.


IMG_4489 2.jpg

IMG_4488 2.jpg


This is one of several Garden of Peace and of Rememberence I’ve found  in various corners of the city.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to reflect, remember, and appreciate, and I notice that many feel welcomed to enter, to sit, and reflect  both here and up on Parnell Street. I notice that I can’t think of anyothing comparable at home.

I wonder if other people have a spot like this, a public  honoring and reflection spot?  What do you think about the idea?


Posted in Poems | 2 Comments

Dublin Castle

August 17.  I acknowledged what a difficult reminder of past political difficulties Dublin Castle has been for me, and resolved it was time for letting go. Didn’t Michael Collins visit there himself in January 1922?  That’s when England handed the place over to him for Ireland. Here’s himself walking out of the door, photo compliments of the National Library of Ireland.


Micheal Collins with the keys to the castle

And so, today we take the tour.  The guided tour is well worth the time and cost, seventy  minutes of discovering the castle from beginning Viking settlement times to now. There is only one remaining tower from the four original towers. Our guide began by taking us below ground level to where the original Viking foundations were.  Underground we were able to see how even today the waters from the River Poddle seep in.  We stood in the moat area.  Back then the Poddle and Liffey joined. The Liffey  was more tidal, not contained on the sides by walls, and it came up closer to this area. When the Vikings chose this area for their settlement, they were able to park their boat close by easily.


This is some of the original foundation from Viking times. There’s been a settlement here for more than 1000 years.  When Henry gave the land to King John. (Many of us know him from the Robin Hood Tales.  He was here , too!) Well, John decided a castle would be build here in 1204.IMG_4430.jpgIMG_4432.jpg

Today Dublin Castle is used to entertain heads of state and important dignitaries, and I’m sure other things that I’ve forgotten. One of the coolest things we saw was the THRONE Room. The throne itself is the size of a chair for a giant. It was made for King Henry,  I think the fourth, and he was very rotund.  When Queen Elizabeth came in, she needed a stool to use the throne. She apparently enjoyed visiting.


Saint Patrick’s Hall is getting a cleaning.


My first time in a Throne Room.  This photo doesn’t do the chair justice.  It’s a chair large enough for a giant. It was  made for King Henry of Wide Girth,  the Fourth Henry in 1821. Now when Queen Victoria sat  in it, she needed a high stool. This is where the visiting monarch received the local subjects and courtiers,  Viceroys were inaugurated, and debutantes presented.


This room is where the British royalty had dinners  Some dinners were extravagant, with up to 16 courses, serving items like the splendid rate pineapple, peacocks, swans, and who knows, maybe spuds.


Currently the Waterford chandeliers are being dusted and cleaned, as is the whole ballroom, in order to entertain  the Pope, who will visit Ireland in a of couple of weeks. The last stop is the chapel.

IMG_4448.jpgIMG_4446.jpgEach viceroy that served has their names above in the photograph.   The last viceroy left after signing papers and handing over the keys to Micheal Collins, a patriot from Cork County.


Posted in Poems | 3 Comments

Saint Saviors Church Dublin

August 16


Davey, a new friend from my new writing group suggested that I may like to visit this church. He considers it a special place, and Davy knows a lot of hidden corners of Dublin. The Dominicans came to Dublin in 1224. According to their website, the cost of the spot they were given on the north side of the Liffey was one candle a year. As with a lot of other things in Ireland, they were squashed by Henry the 4th. (15th century). They went underground like many priests in Ireland, and finally got this fine gothic church in the 1860’s, outwitting and outlasting Henry.

St. Saviors welcomed me. Outside light streamed in through the stained glass windows. The statues were standing ready to greet like old friends.  The energy of grace was palatable. to me. The mass is said in Polish, Slovak, Spanish as well as English here. We walked quite though the church, and I was surprised that on a weekday afternoon there were so many people coming in to pray, to light candles and stop a few minutes, to pick up a prayer-book, and more.  John, a volunteer at the church seemed to radiate light himself quite unknowingly. He offered me the opportunity to hold the relics ( Tiny bits of bone) of several saints to bless myself with, and I had the good sense to be thankful.

The last time I held a relic I was quite young,  I would  take it out to rub it up and down  my mother’s useless legs and pray over her while she slept.  I had forgotten about that,  and  John, when he handed me the relics, brough that memory back to me.  IMG_4393

May all being be safe

Blessed Be,


Posted in Poems | Leave a comment

Ode to Brown Bread


August 14.  Today is about my  family culture & food. My parents met as immigrants in Boston where both families landed.  Both families needed to leave their homelands for survival reasons. My Dad was a  young teen when they arrived from Cork. The family moved into Cambridge with people from the old Cork neighborhood. You know the story, all the males shared a bed in one room, all the females in the other room shared a bed. and then there was the kitchen & parlor. There was simple food, and always a jar of pickled pig’s feet in the refrigerator. When my parents were in their 20’s my godmother Sally O’Brien from Sneem Kerry introduced them. They fell in loved and plotted marriage.

My godmother  told me the first time the families met each other was at the wedding shower, given in my mother’s Armenian house.  Sally told me when the Irish contingency showed up they were nervous.  The language was strange, the food was stranger.  It was all very fancy Armenian food. The paklava, bourma, kofta, burek, karma, dolma would have been laid out like splendid jewels.  And the Irish group hadn’t ever seen such foods. They were not comfortable eating  it. Sally said  none of them touched any of the food, and there was a communication gap—they didn’t speak to each other. And so, there ended up being the Armenian/Middle Eastern camp in the kitchen with the food and that language, and the Irish took over the parlor, and stayed with the drink. The food was incomprehensible.

As I grew up, my palate and plate seesawed between the two, and they didn’t meet in the middle.  My consciousness also was impacted.  If it was an Irish meal, I’d be upset if my food touched each other on the plate; It was truly upsetting as it impacted the taste and texture.   However, if it was an Armenian meal, say a stew of split peas or lentils with whole wheat berries, greens and onions, for example, that food was supposed to be mixed & it was made that way.  Well, that was perfectly acceptable. There was a good sized divide between the two ways of eating. And  we were learning to eat more American foods as well.

Each time I’ve come into Ireland, Dublin in particular, I’ve found more  Middle Eastern food. It’s quite good, too.  I first found Zaytoon, years ago, and then found the Silk Road Cafe.  Now there are so many Japanese, Korean, Indian, Chinese, Thai, and more restaurant that it would probably take a few years of daily eating to try all the ones you’d fancy. Today I had the finest bowl of Ramen I’ve eaten anywhere.


moussaka, pita with vegetables, stuffed peppers.



heaps of paklava


ramen with chinese dumplings & green tea at Wagamama


My disappointment?  At home I’ve been striving to make a good loaf of  brown bread, and simple scones like the ones in Ireland.  Upon my return this time I find its difficult to find a good loaf of brown bread or simple scones. The scones have become American.  I used to just find brown bread in any Tesco or bakery… it was everywhere. Anytime you’d go into a B&B the first thing they’d do is drop a couple small scones, or slathered sliced of brown bread onto a plate with a cuppa. No more.

No more.  It’s become difficult to find here in Dublin. The bread is whiter, more pillowy. It’s Naan, its flatbread, it’s puffy Italian bread, it’s french loaves. Its lovely. but it’s not brown bread.   I used to cut a few slices, butter them up, and toss in some  cheese or a slice of ham  but no more.

Happily, I’ve found some lovely brown bread at Noshingtons, on So. Circular Road, and I was able to buy a few slices to take home with me. I even found some gluten-free brown bread at Tesco. I’m going to see if  Brother Hubbard might have some also.  I  hear the the Riddlers up near Christ Church has their own brown bread  I’m sure there are bastions of brown bread out there, maybe in the suburbs..

It’s funny this: I can happily enjoy a wonderful middle eastern meal, a variety of Asian cuisines, as well as lots of Italian quite easily. But it’s now more difficult to find the old-fashioned cup of soup and simple brown bread in the city.

Do you have a favorite food or foods that are particular to a certain area?






Posted in Poems | 2 Comments

Around Town Reading Today


IMG_4255 2.jpg

The Guinness end of town begins here as well as The Camino.

IMG_4257.jpgLast night & today I took photos of environmental print that caught my eye. I’d love to know if any of these catch your eye, and what it may evoke, if you’d like to share in the comments section.  It’s interesting to notice what captures attention in our environment.



St James Church shares the corner with the brewery,


Posters along the way help you plan your entertainment

I began late afternoon walking  towards the Guinness area, where my  cousin Dan’s  great grandparents got married and lived, right around the corner from Guinness at St. James Church.  On the way I passed a cookie shop that captured  my attention.  I used to enjoy baking cookies with my daughter Jenny.



When I got up this morning, I followed a new friend’s advice and hopped onto the DART to enjoy a coastal ridge where the train tracks hug the coastline.IMG_4287.jpgIMG_4288.jpg


These posters are in train station

I snapped these next photos from the train window  going to Greystones, a small town an hour train ride south of Dublin.  We ravel on some ocean side cliffs but I couldn’t take photos there as I closed my eyes.IMG_4292.jpgIMG_4297.jpg


Upon return to Dublin I walked past this shop that I stumbled upon years ago. Dublin has grown sophisticated around this shop that remains true to its late 1880’s beginning.

IMG_4298.jpgFinally as I got close to home, taking another route, I passed this bit of info carved on the stone. It’s only around the corner , but a corner I hadn’t yet turned.

IMG_4281 2.jpg

I’m told that  the phrase on tenterhooks began here.  And now  I’m on tenterhooks, wondering if any of these photos resonate with you and why that may be, or if you have a favorite photo of our own that  includes environmental print.

Good Night to all,



Posted in Ireland travel, Poems | Leave a comment

How I Got 403 Comments on One Blog Post

I’m really liking this blog about blogging as I try to learn to e a better bloggaah!

The Art of Blogging

Legend says that bloggers can even survive on comments if nothing else is available…

But what to do when no one cares enough to leave even a simple comment? What if the feedback is non-existent?

Would you like to know how to get the readers talking? How to turn this somewhat interesting notion of traffic into what looks and feels like actual people giving a damn about your blog?

If yes, then read on, for all will be explained.

View original post 900 more words

Posted in Poems | Leave a comment