Monday 29 March 2010

Dublin St. Patrick's Festival

Ahhh!  It's been a long couple of weeks, but I am finally ready to post some of the photos I took during Dublin's 15th Annual St. Patrick's Festival.  That's right, it's more than just a parade;  it's a whole week of fun!  We only participated in a few of the official activities (and maybe a couple of unofficial ones), but I shot more than 1400 photos during those events alone.  Whew!  My shutter finger felt like it was about to fall off!  Okay, not really, but I wouldn't have been too surprised if it had done.

Our fun began with the St. Patrick's Festival Treasure Hunt.  LoML, The Girl and I set out early on a Saturday morning to join in the fun of a treasure hunt.  We first signed in at Dublin City Hall where we were given a map and a list of destinations.  Each spot was in a different building around town, and held the answer to a clue or question on our list.  The objective was to visit each location, get the clue we were looking for, get a stamp to prove we'd been there (and hadn't just googled the answer), and move on to the next place until we had all the answers we needed and could return to City Hall.  Teams could be groups of no more than four people, which I found odd.  The event was publicized as family event, but surely there are TONS of families with more than four members--particularly in Ireland!  Anyway, the other rules were that participating teams were not allowed to use vehicles to visit the Treasure Hunt locations, and all answer sheets had to be returned to City Hall by 5pm to qualify for one of the great prizes they were offering.

So off we went!   As we made our way to the first stop on our hunt, we saw many interesting old buildings that line the streets in Dublin.  I'm not at all into architecture, but even I can appreciate a beautiful old church or other eye-catching structures.

We saw a few other fantastic sights too.  There were musicians, face painters, street performers and buskers.

We visited the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which is housed in the old Royal Hospital.  It's a beautiful building with a stunning cobblestone courtyard, and is one of my favorite places in the city.

We checked out a bit of art at the museum, then had a little artwork done on our faces...

...and bonded as a family. 

We headed to Heuston Station for our next stop...

 ...crossed the James Joyce Bridge...

...and headed for Smithfield.

From there we went to Parnell Square, and to the National Gallery at Merrion Square before heading back toward the center of town.

Are you exhausted yet?  We sure were!   We wandered around for a while longer, trying to complete our mission, but we had already been walking for six hours (!!), so we called it a day.  We didn't complete the treasure hunt, but we did enjoy a street fair near Merrion Square that evening.  I have to say, while the Treasure Hunt itself was a great idea, and we did have fun, I was surprised at the lack of wheelchair accessibility in all but a few of the locations we were required to visit.  I had to wait out on the street at most of our stops.  I do wish the organizers of this event had taken that into consideration, and while they may not have been able to make all the locations accessible, perhaps they could have at least included a notice in their publicity for the event.  I hope to see this aspect of the event changed for next year. 

I'll post more throughout the week, including some shots from the street fair.  Stay tuned because I have some GREAT shots from the St. Patrick's Day Parade!  You won't want to miss them, so please check back later this week! 


Spiralstyle said...

Looks like a wonderful trip. Great photos. Reminds me of my visit to Dublin last year. My son used to live there.
Great post.

CountessLaurie said...

What great photos... I love the ones of you and your daughter (?) with the facepaint! I so want to visit Ireland! Thanks so much for sharing!!

caite said...

I love the pics! I have been to Ireland many, many time and I do have my doubts that Dublin is really I still love the photos.

Jessica said...

Dublin looks amazing; I am going to have to get there before I kick the bucket.
I find it odd they didn't take more care in planning that treasure hunt. Sometimes I think that unless they have someone involved with similar inaccessibility issues, they just don't get it.
My niece is blind, and I'm constantly amazed that the world hasn't figured out that there are blind people in this world.

Anonymous said...

Heather! I'm glad to finally get in contact with you! It looks like you're really enjoying yourself over there, and I'm glad it's going great! The Dublin pictures look amazing!

endy cooks and eats said...

I love all the photos u took... unique buildings too i can say

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