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Earlier, I left the flat to go for a walk, but it was windy with rain threatening so I cut my walk short. On the way home, I picked up a lemon poppy seed donut and a cup of tea. When I saw these people on the Liffey, I felt slightly guilty. Luckily, I was able to brush it aside.
Yesterday it was dull and gray in Dublin, but there are signs of spring. Have a marvelous weekend!
When I moved to Dublin in July I was amazed by how long the days seemed. The sun was up well before I even contemplated getting out of bed and stayed until close to my bedtime.
Now, I’m equally fascinated by the long nights. Luckily it hasn’t been too cold or rainy and I’ve been able to catch some of the holiday lights and festive spirit.
Before I go, I’m off on holiday this week and just in case I don’t get my act together in time, I want to wish all of you a happy holiday.
One of my favorite places in Dublin to explore is St Stephen’s Green. The park has been officially open to the public since the late 1800s. During the Easter Rising of 1916, some insurgents were stationed in the park. According to one of the signs, there was a halt to gunfire to allow the groundsman to feed the birds. Stephen’s Green is near Grafton street, a major shopping area. If you ever have the chance, I recommend taking a stroll.
It’s been ages since I last posted and a lot has happened. The biggest news is I moved to Dublin.
Before moving to The Emerald Isle, everyone who I had told about the upcoming move mentioned one specific thing: The Irish are so friendly. I mean everyone claimed this. And I’m happy to report that this isn’t an exaggeration. Not only are they friendly, but they are extremely helpful. Once, while I was waiting to cross the road, a woman pulled over in her car and asked if I was lost. I wasn’t, but was tired from exploring the city on foot. Luckily I wasn’t far from home.
Recently, we took a week off. Initially our goal was to do some serious sightseeing. However, leading up to our time off, we both came down with nasty colds that lingered. Instead of getting out and about too much, we spent the days leisurely strolling through Phoenix Park and finding pubs. Most days, we were back at the flat before 4 p.m. and we spent the evenings either reading or watching movies. It was a fantastic break.
Phoenix Park, established in 1662, is one of the largest enclosed urban parks in Europe. It’s south of the Liffey and is home a herd of Fallow Deer. Within the park are the residences for the President of Ireland and the ambassador of the United States.
Our favorite pub find was The Hole in the Wall, next to Phoenix Park. The name originates from a tradition of serving drinks through, you guessed it, a hole in the wall. It’s the longest pub in Dublin. When we popped in for a late lunch on a chilly day, there was a fire going. Both of us love pubs with a cozy fire, good beer, and tasty food. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend this one.
Well that’s enough about me. How have you been?
Last week I included a couple of photos of statues of Shaun the Sheep and I mentioned in the comments that I had snapped photos of many of them when they were on display in London. Several asked to see the rest. Before we get to the photos, here’s a bit of background information. During the spring in London, there were 50 of these statues, which was organized by Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation. Currently, there are 70 sculptures in Bristol. All 120 Shauns will return to London September 24-27 and will be displayed in Covent Garden. On October 8th, they’ll go on auction. Proceeds from the London sculptures will benefit Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity supporting children’s hospitals and hospices throughout the UK. For more information, click here. Here are the photos. Please note, these were very popular and it was hard to get a shot without people posing with Shaun. I don’t know any of the people in the photos below and I hope they don’t mind.
Recently we had a chance to attend the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. We had reservations for weeks and to be honest, I completely forgot about it. Thank goodness The Better Half didn’t.
The key ceremony has taken place since the 14th century and it happens every night without fail. Only once, during an air raid in World War II, the Tower doors were locked late. The Officer of the Guard felt so bad about it, he wrote a letter to King George VI apologizing. The King said the officer shouldn’t be punished sine the delay was caused by enemy action.
So what happens during the ceremony? Every night, at 9:53 pm, the Chief Yeoman Warder meets the military escort to secure the main gates of the Tower. The group secures the main gates and when they return down Water Lane, they are halted by the sentry and are ordered to identify themselves:
Sentry: “Halt! Who comes there?”
Chief Warder: “The keys.”
Sentry: “Whose keys?”
Chief Warder: “Queen Elizabeth’s keys.”
Sentry: “Pass Queen Elizabeth’s Keys. All is well.”
After this, the group heads towards the Bloody Tower Archway into the fortress, where they stop at the bottom of the Broadwalk Steps. At the top of the stairs, the Tower Guard present arms and the Chief Warder raises his hat, shouting:
Chief Warder: “God preserve Queen Elizabeth.”
The Chief Warder than takes the keys to the Queen’s house while the Last Post is played by a bugler.
Just in case you are curious, there’s a small side door you have to squeeze through to get out. After all the guests are outside, this door is locked.
Pictures are not allowed during the ceremony unless you want to stay in the Tower permanently. I’m not sure how serious they are about this rule, but I decided to play it safe. I’m sure after the first hour the charm of being a prisoner in such a historic place wears off.
I did snap some photos outside of the Tower while we waited. The Shaun the Sheep statues were part of the promotion for the movie. I think they have been removed, which is a shame since I loved spotting them in London.
I would like to wish a happy Fourth of July to the folks back home. And I hope everyone has a splendid weekend!