Posted by: chiarraigrrl | September 27, 2015

A few thoughts about birthdays

I had a conversation this week with an old acquaintance who expressed the opinion that “grown adults didn’t celebrate birthdays”. That seemed like a pretty unhappy way to go through life. Birthdays are a great opportunity to recognize a friend- to say “I see you, and I’m glad to know you, and I’m grateful you’re here”. It’s a good opportunity to let people know that they matter, and wish them happiness.

As for celebrating my own birthday- it’s the one day every year I absolutely take time off. I like to spend time with my mother, to thank her for all her kindness, and to do something nice I might not otherwise make time for- like day trips to Howth and to Newgrange and Mellifont Abbey and GLendalough in Ireland, or to the Erie Canal in upstate New York. It’s a chance to give thanks. And that matters.

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | July 13, 2015

Just another day on the Erie canal….

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | July 8, 2015

The annual Edinburgh-in-August recommendations

My recommendations for Edinburgh in August this year are up over on helptraveling…

Help traveling-

Evening on the Royal Mile

Going to Edinburgh in August? Every year for the past 5 years or so, I write up a post with my recommendations from the thousands of shows available in Edinburgh during the month of August, between the Edinburgh International Festival, the Festival Fringe, and the International Book Festival– so once again putting pen (or keypad strikes) to paper, I submit to you, dear reader, my recommendations for Edinburgh in August 2015. I tend to focus on the Fringe and the Book Festival, never having quite made it to the actual Festival myself- but I hear the lineup this year is terrific.

The Fringe

If you’ve ever been to Edinburgh in August, you know the drill- there’s a million shows on every single day, all of them are touted to be “genius” and “laugh-out-loud funny”, and it can be hard to sift the wheat from the chaff. Only…

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Sent from my mobile.


Posted by: chiarraigrrl | April 4, 2015

So pretty :)

Sent from my mobile.


Posted by: chiarraigrrl | March 17, 2015

This is important

marginh/t @masey_b

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | February 3, 2015

Make some art



Much better 🙂

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | January 14, 2015

A photo a day…

Good morning

Keeps the creative blues away. At least, that’s what I hope. I’m back on the photo-a-day regimen- link is here, for those interested:

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | September 22, 2014

Off the top of my head- a handful of things to do in Dublin…

City Centre

Trinity College/Book of Kells (I also love the Long Room, part of the Book of Kells tour-

Kilmainham Gaol



Viking Dublin

House of Lords @ Bank of Ireland College Green (, interesting info here: Bank of Ireland College Green at night 10 March

Dublin Castle

Chester Beatty Library (don’t let the name put you off- one of my favorite hidden gems, described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Ireland, but one of the best in Europe):

Museum of Decorative Arts & History @ Collins Barracks (particularly excellent)

Museum of Archaeology

National Gallery of Ireland

St. Stephen’s Green

Grand Canal and the Grand Canal Way: and

Powerscourt townhouse

Georges Street arcade

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Dublin City Hall:

Casino in Marino:

Shrine (and remains) of St. Valentine:

The Waterways Ireland visitors centre in Grand Canal Dock:

National Wax Museum:

There’s even great information on the unique bridges of Dublin (which each have their own story, as you might expect):

National Concert Hall

Olympia Theatre

Vicar Street

Abbey Theatre

Gate Theatre


Brazen Head (oldest pub in Ireland)

Grand Canal Theatre:

Gravedigger ghost bus tour:

Further out:

Glasnevin Cemetary

National Botanic Gardens:

Phoenix Park

James Joyce Tower and Museum, Sandycove

Padraig Pearse museum, St. Enda’s Park, Rathfarnham

Rathfarnham Castle (and Rathfarnham Castle park)

If parks are your thing, Bushy Park is nice for a walk (,_Dublin) and of course there’s always Marlay Park ( or And for the fearless, there’s the Hellfire Club ( and

Howth Castle:

Malahide Castle and Gardens: (Dublin bus do a wonderful day tour to Howth & Malahide Castle)

National Maritime Museum of Ireland in Dun Laoghaire (and while there, the promenade is not bad, either)

compiled in reaction to having seen this tweet with photo of an article by Damien O’Reilly of RTE’s “Countrywide” in the Farmer’s Journal: Yeah, Dublin has nothing to offer visitors… (with thanks to friends who have made suggestions after seeing what I had so far)

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | August 1, 2014

Things to do in Boston…

View from the Rose Kennedy Greenway Boston

For simplicity for visitors arriving for a few days, I recommend getting seven-day LinkPasses for the T- it’s $19 for unlimited travel on subway and local bus services, and makes it much easier to go through the turnstiles than buying a ticket each time you go. Info on passes is here: You can buy passes from the machines at any T station. If you really need a cab, I strongly recommend Boston Metro Cab (and they didn’t even pay me anything)-

Boston Harbor Cruises and the whale watches go from Long Wharf: (historic sightseeing cruises are here:

Everyone forgets about the Harbor Islands, which are a wonderful day out and have something for everyone, from historic forts to good hiking trails and activities for all ages. Info on the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area (and ferries out to the islands) is here:

The New England Aquarium is always a good day out:

Many of the hop-on hop-off tour buses stop at Aquarium Station. I personally recommend the Upper Deck Trolley tours, because I felt they were the best value- the two-day ticket includes an extra loop up around Harvard/MIT/Cambridge, and also a trip on a Harbor Splash duck tour and potentially a free Charles Riverboat Cruise  It’s also not far to Faneuil Hall (another excellent offering from the National Parks Service: and and the shops of Quincy Market (N Market St. and S. Market St.- and

Dinner at Legal Seafoods is a must: (Legal Harborside has gorgeous views across the harbor, and is easily accessible from the T- the Silver Line (make sure to get SL1, not one of the other Silver Line routes) goes from the airport and would drop you off a couple of blocks from Legal- just ask the driver to give you a shout, they’re usually pretty helpful.

For window shopping don’t miss Newbury Street- or

The Mapparium is amazing: a three-story stained-glass globe of the world that you can walk through:

And at the Public Gardens (beautiful in their own right), of course, there’s the Swan Boats:

The Museum of Science is excellent, if that’s of interest: (and accessible from the T- check their directions here).

There’s also the Museum of Fine Arts (, which is on the Green Line (Green line E train to the Museum of Fine Arts stop):

And of course the Cheers bar is on Beacon Street: (Green line T from Government Center to Arlington stop, walk through the Public Gardens to Beacon Street):

The Sam Adams brewery tour is always popular, too, if a little awkward to get to- I do think the hop-on hop-off tour may stop nearby, though:

If you decide to go to a bunch of attractions, the GoBoston card looks like a good discount card option to investigate:

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