Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tour of our neighbo(u)rhood

Editor's Note: This post is probably long overdue.  We took this walk and these photos shortly after moving here.

Family and friends!  Curious about our specific neighbourhood of Dublin?  General-interest readers probably don't care, but our loved ones might want to see what the view is out of our window.  We took a walk around the area and took some photos of notable sights near our home for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Up first, a look just outside the gate of our apartment complex.  We are (in)conveniently located right on one of the busiest main roads in town.  This gives us easy access to buses going North into the City Centre and South into the suburbs and mountains.  This also gives us easy access to lots of traffic noise at busy times of day.  Notice the "BUS LANE" markings in the Irish language and the cars driving on the left side, even on this multi-lane divided highway.

Looking at a busy highway in Dublin, Ireland
Looking South from our gate
Just up the on ramp (called a 'slip road' here) in the photo and to the right is University College Dublin, Sara's employer.  The campus is compact on one large parcel of land- unlike the Big Ten universities of the Midwest that sprawl over whole towns and require an extensive bus system to transport students from residences to classes.

Notice the welcome sign has the Irish and English names for the University.  Irish on top, because Irish is the "first" official language of this country, despite the ever-shrinking minority of Irish speakers here.

Welcome sign in Irish and English to UCD, Dublin, Ireland
UCD Welcome Sign
Crossing the same busy highway above from campus, we enter a quiet residential neighborhood.  A pleasant ten-minute walk down these winding streets brings us to a small commercial building- just one large building with several store fronts.  There is a small post office, a Domino's Pizza (yep...) a SPAR convenience store, a hair salon, and Winnie's Wool Wagon.  Winnie's is Sara's go-to yarn and needle shop, and it also houses a coffee shop/cafe.  This cafe is a popular stop for the neighborhood, and can be quite busy on weekend mornings.

Winnie's Wool Wagon yarn store and Craft Cafe in Dublin, Ireland
Winnie's Wool Wagon and Craft Cafe
Continuing our rather circular tour of the area, we stopped by the market where we buy most of our groceries.  Tesco is a large UK chain of markets of varying sizes.  This suburban market is the closest large market to our home and always has everything we need.  Not seen in the photo is the rest of the shopping centre in which Tesco sits.  The centre also has a newsagent (like a convenience store/newsstand), hardware store, photo shop, two pharmacies, barber shop, salon, health food store, and custom butcher shop.

Merrion Shopping Centre Tesco in Dublin, Ireland
Merrion Shopping Centre Tesco

On our way home from Tesco, we go by the secret fortress of Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE.)  This Irish-government-run radio and television service predates modern private radio/TV stations and international cable and satellite channels.  It broadcasts four different television stations and four different radio stations, one of each is broadcast in Irish.  RTE 1 radio and RTE 1 TV are very popular among the citizens here, but they face ever-stiffer competition as private stations and international channels (even the evil BBC!) grow in popularity and influence.  The RTE does shine in their coverage of all things specifically Irish, like the Gaelic Sports of Hurling and Gaelic Football.  Recently, RTE TV has had a major hit in the crime drama Love/Hate. The large antenna can be seen clearly out of our living room window.

RTE Gate and Tower in Donnybrook, Dublin, Ireland
RTE Gate and Tower
In a nutshell, that's the neighborhood.  For reader perspective, we walked generally in a half-mile radius quarter-circle going Northeast from our place.  The UCD campus takes up a big piece of land going South and West, so we saw most of what there is to see in our general area.  We did not include pictures of private residences out of respect for their owners, but the residential streets are very pretty here, with short stone and stucco garden walls shielding the close-set homes from the street noise.

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