We began our day by brunching at Juice, a vegetarian restaurant with vegan options (note: I think their website may be slightly outdated) so Mark and I could both eat comfortably. From there we sauntered over to the Cow's Lane Market and had a gander at the stalls. Some interesting stuff, but nothing that blew my socks off. The problem with handmade goods is that to make money off it, you need to charge more, obviously, because it takes more time than a factory item. But for people to want to pay more, it has to be unique and well-made. I didn't feel that all of the vendors had the kind of quality that matched the prices they were asking. There has to be something about the item that makes the customer willing to pay more, it's that simple. My mind got to thinking...I am eager to get my sewing machine next week. But there were some cute things there, for sure!
Boy there sure are a lot of people walking around town in those ridiculous green hats. More than in Boston I'd guess, if you can imagine. It's all so undignified. I suppose I still resent St. Patrick's day for overshadowing my birthday, the much cooler, nerdier, and under-appreciated Pi day. I'm really not much for crowds, and I'm really really not much for drunken crowds, so St. Patrick's Day is definitely not one of my preferred holidays. Now, in case you are wondering, yes, I am in fact of Irish descent: my great-grandfather was from Limerick. But I'm just not all rah-rah about it. I'm also, for the record, not rah-rah about my Italian or French-Canadian, or American heritage either. I just don't fly flags, period. (And no jokes about any "freak flags" from the peanut gallery!)
Anyhoo, from there we headed to St. Stephen's Green, (a park at the top of Grafton Street, one of the big shopping areas, so I guess you could liken it to Boston Common, but much smaller and much more manicured) because I had yet to visit it. It wasn't much to write home about, but I took a couple of photos nevertheless:
A bust of Constance Markievicz:
A gift from the Germans to the Irish people after WWII:
A sculpture evoking the famine:
We decided to head over to the park over at Merrion Square, and there just happened to be a little carnival going on there! It was sort of an odd sight, and not very well attended at all. The Ferris Wheel was actually impressively large, but since it was an extremely windy day, there was no way either of us were going to get on it!
I'm not sure what this ride was, but the picture is worth a thousand words...
Ride Hollywood with all your favorite movie stars!
The park itself is nice for walking or sitting around for a picnic -- it kind of reminds me of the sculpture park in Washington, DC but less open, so the pathways make you feel like you're almost in the woods at some points. If you remember from a couple of months ago, this is the same park where I took the photo of the pyramid with the flame and the soldiers inside. On that day, I was too cold to explore. Yesterday was a fine day for checking out the sculptures and flora...or the both! We had a laugh when we came upon this bust of Michael Collins that someone had stuffed with a daffodil:
Then there was a not-so-great statue of Oscar Wilde. It made him look like a jerk, I thought:
And this sculpture, which is actually quite small but may look large in the photo. The woman looks about four months pregnant, and is about three quarters of the size of my arm:
We headed over to the Docklands, and walked around a bit before it was time to go into the Grand Canal area where we had two tickets to the free show for a performance piece called "Spheres." As we were walking, we came upon this sign in a window from someone being evicted from their house. A true "sign of the times" indeed:
We wandered back up to where the show was happening, and caught the show. It was cute. Of course we enjoyed critiquing it once it was over, as is our way. But visually, you can see they did some interesting stuff with not a lot of technical mumbojumbo:
We popped into a pub whose name escapes me now for a pint. Mark said it was in Dubliners. We enjoyed the place but decided we'd best move on if we were to keep to schedule.
And then finally we walked all the way back up to the edge of St. Stephen's Green and ate at Wagamama, and then headed over to a bar called The Lower Deck to catch a friend's band play.
The bands were all decent, actually, and I was relieved that my friend's band was the best, so I don't have to lie when I give him a compliment. Here's a photo I took of a kid's jacket. He was comically drunk, and then not so comically drunk.
When it was over we bought some snacks, walked for a bit, and then finally decided to spring for a cab home.
All in all, a very fun-filled, pleasant birthday indeed.