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Zombie hotties stagger thru Dublin.

Some rather hot, blood-smeared zombies staggered thru Dublin at the weekend, as part of the Dublin Zombie Walk.
I am so sorry I missed as Zombie films are one of my secret pleasures.

Liz Windsor (aka 'The Queen') gets in the Irish mood by wearing shamrock hat.

Someone told me that Liz Windsor (aka 'The Queen') is coming to Ireland soon for a long weekend.
I hear she is already getting in the Irish mood & taken to wearing a shamrock hat at public engagements.
Gawd bless ya ma'am!

Each county page on now proudly displays its coat-of-arms. Niiice!

Irish people LOVE their counties (at least each September during the GAA All Ireland finals).
So now each county page now proudly displays its county coat-of-arms. Niiice!
See some examples...

Joycean scholars hit their stride early on Bloomsday today.

An early photo from today's BLOOMSDAY shenanigans. Some C19-type chaps (in bowler hat and straw boater's hat) enjoying the sun outside Sweny's Pharmacy on Lincoln Place.
This pharmacy features in the novel Ulysses (see below) where Leopold buys a cake of Lemon soap. I only noticed recently that it had closed. It must have shut its doors within the last year or so.
I myself once went in there to buy some (more prosaic) aspirin - but the auld-dear behind the counter had none.
It is now a bookshop. Kinda appropriate.
As an afterthought - I wonder what Jim Joyce would make of Dublin City in 2009? It scores just 3.3-out-of-5 on this website as a place to live (from 28 entries). Not great.
Arch-rival Cork City scores higher than that, (4.0-out-of-5) with a similar number of entries.
According to our raters, the Cost of Living is the worst thing about Dublin - but the quality of Local Services is the best.
We're a capital couple are Bloom and I;
He brightens the earth, I polish the sky.
(The freckled face of Sweny, the druggist, appeals in the disc of the soapsun.)
SWENY Three and a penny, please.
BLOOM Yes. For my wife, Mrs Marion. Special recipe.

National Bike Week ... Great idea. Great website. Great logos. Awful cycle lanes!

This week is NATIONAL BIKE WEEK. A nice idea.
Looking at the number of sponsors shown on the website, you could be forgiven for thinking cycling was Ireland's #1 means of transport.
Sadly not.
Many people want to cycle to work or to the shops - but the roads are planned & engineered for cars, not cyclists. If cycle lanes got 1% of 1% of the national roads budget - imagine what would be possible.

Video of the best rock climbing in Ireland on Fair Head, Co.Antrim.

Fair Head in Antrim (near Ballycastle) is a Mecca for Irish rock climbers. As a novice clamberer, I went to take a look.
The climbing is spectacular. Really high cliffs with wonderful views over to Scotland and Rathlin Island.
The day I was there, some type of bank holiday weekend 'Big Meet' was in progress. A fair number of climbers were out and doing their stuff.
Sadly I couldn't climb that day - so consoled myself by standing on the edge of a precarious rock and looking down.
Stupid? But of course.

Ireland's unluckiest bird heard on Cruit Island, Co.Donegal.

Ireland's unluckiest bird (after the eagle) is the Corncrake.
Its sad decline has been well publicised for many years. Only a few sanctuaries remain ... and yet over the recent June bank holiday (2010) my uncle and I heard one in full voice on Oileán Cruit in West Donegal. (Listen to what we heard in the video below.)
I have been visiting there for over 30 years and never heard one before - nor has my uncle or anyone in his family.
However, there are 6 or 7 nesting on nearby Oileán Uaigh - so the bird we heard may be part of a new vanguard. He squawked his heart out for days.
Cruit seems well suited to him - lots of long grass. I just hope he manages to find a mate and survive.

Gasp! Are cross-country cycle routes being made in Ireland?

I have noticed cycling signs like this in Wexford and Westport of late.
Does this mean there is some type of network of cycle routes emerging?!? Or are they just local initiatives doomed to neglect and becoming moribund as soon as the first sign if knocked over?
During my recent holiday in Wales I was green in envy (& admiration) of the cycling facilities they have there. They are part of the Sustrans system. Entire cross-country cycle routes through gorgeous scenery with clearly signed and waymarked routes.
PS - I just discovered this PDF of a supposed "National Cycle Network, Ireland" (PDF). That explains the signs I have seen - but I am still skeptical. So many initiatives like this fail thru lack of proper maintenance & care that I wait to be convinced.

A brilliant idea to connect you with your neighbours:

A brilliant idea to connect you with your neighbours:
I was at 2 similar things last year in Stoneybatter and Ranelagh.
See some video at "The Sitric Picnic" & "Block Party Ranelagh".

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