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:

Evening on the Royal Mile

I wasn’t going to do this post this year, seeing as I’ve posted before about things to do in Edinburgh during the Fringe and really, who wants to listen to some eejit a few thousand miles west of Dingle who won’t be getting anywhere near Scotland this summer?


And then I saw an acquaintance asking about one of my favorite comedians, and I realized that I couldn’t let the Fringe pass without putting in my two cents on what to see (and where to eat!) if you’re going to Edinburgh in Augustgiving helpful and informative recommendations for travel is one of my favorite things, so how could I resist??


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 have a few days and don’t want to waste a minute? Here’s my top recommendations for comedians that have been excellent any time I’ve seen them before- don’t forget to check the dates!

Comedians I have seen and would book first:

Danny Bhoy- 12 nights, 12 charities

Only on for 12 nights, from July 31st through August 11th, but definitely worth going if you’re in town- consistently funny, charming, and as an added bonus proceeds from these shows go to charity. What are you waiting for?

DAVID O’DOHERTY- “David O’Doherty has Checked Everything”

If you didn’t already have DO’D on your list, shame on you. Professional bringer of whimsy, and consistently excellent. Go.

Matthew Collins- My Favorite Waste of Time

Matthew’s one of my favorite people, and a great comedian to boot. Plus it’s free- why wouldn’t you?

JOSIE LONG- Cara Josephine

I love, love, love Josie Long. She’s funny, she’s clever, and you’ll fall in love too. I promise. If you don’t you have no soul. Never miss an opportunity to see this one.

Brendon Burns- The Brendon Burns Show

I distinctly recall laughing so hard my stomach hurt at more than one of his shows. I thought he wasn’t doing Edinburgh any more, and am delighted to see I was wrong. The only problem is that I can’t go…. But you (yes, YOU) can go instead.

Des Bishop- Made In China

The man went to China, learned enough Mandarin to perform a set in Chinese, and lived to tell the tale. The least you can do is go laugh at his jokes. Seriously though, he’s well known for being great at observational comedy about cultures he’s immersed himself in- I’d love to hear his take on living in China. And don’t worry, it’s in English…!

Nick Helm- Nick Helm’s Two Night Stand in the Grand

I booked a ticket for one of Nick Helm’s shows a couple of years ago on a whim, and it turned out to be one of my favorite shows that festival- extremely funny. He’s only in Edinburgh for 2 nights, so book early- he’s bound to sell out.

Jason Cook- Broken

When I saw his “The Search for Happiness” show in 2011, I mentally filed him in the same group as DO’D and Josie Long- comedians who are consistently funny, self-deprecating and absolutely charming. Don’t miss.

Conor O’Toole- Conor O’Toole’s Manhood

I was first introduced to Conor O’Toole’s comedy through a show he did about fonts, which was both amusing and educational. That should tell you a lot (about whom, I’m not sure…).

Eleanor Tiernan- Help the Frigid

Consistently clever, consistently funny. Go.

Damian Clark- Go Ahead, Make My Damo

I haven’t seen an audience yet that can resist Damian’s energy and infectious goodwill. His jokes aren’t half bad either. 😉

 Jason Byrne- You Name the Show

The words “madcap” and “unpredictable” are so overused in Edinburgh promotional materials as to be almost meaningless, but they do actually apply here. Fun, fun, fun.

If you have time after that list, the tried-and-true guaranteed laughs:

If, after you’ve booked the above shows, you have time in your schedule and are looking for some reliable, consistently funny comedians, you could do much worse than booking shows by Jimeoin, Andrew Maxwell, Glenn Wool, Mark Watson, The Nualas, Axis of Awesome, Tom Stade, Stephen K. Amos, Hamell on Trial, Shappi Khorsandi, and Robin Ince and Michael Legge (who are also doing individual shows, I believe).

People I would take the chance on:

Alex Horne- Both Monsieur Butterfly and The Horne Section: Milk the Tenderness look like fun.

Chris Coltrane – There’s No Heroes Left Except All of Us – I always like to add a little political comedy to spice things up

Mark Cooper-Jones – Geography Teacher – because I’m a map addict and I’d be curious to see how someone could do a show around geography/teaching

Joey Page – This is Not a Circus – I’ve only seen Page once, but I would bet on his show being worth investing the ticket price.

In the “other” category, I’d go see “Austentatious: An improvised Jane Austen Novel“. Given the many theatre shows on at the Fringe, it’d be a shame not to attend at least one- and I’d be interested to see an improvisation of a Jane Austen novel. Also keep an eye out in case Scottish drums and pipe band Clanadonia are playing in Hunter Square- it’s great fun to see them perform, if they are at Edinburgh this year.


Also be sure to check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is also on during the month of August- even just to hang out, have coffee and soak up the atmosphere. There are some pretty impressive authors there, too. Wonderful.

I always liked to fit in proper touristy things while in Edinburgh too, and I’ve made some suggestions in this post from a while ago. Don’t miss eating at Gordon’s Trattoria on the Royal Mile, if you can get in (it gets busy, but it’s totally worth it- delicious food, fantastic atmosphere and excellent service), and the Well Hung and Tender stand in the food court outside next to the Gilded Balloon venues is a good deal (and does free refills on coffee if you use their mugs! Or, at least, they did…). If you have three hours to spare, I highly recommend the bus-and-boat tour to the Firth of Forth. Close-up views of the road and rail bridges, seals, etc…. Well worth it. And of course, I’m always updating my Edinburgh board on Pinterest (now with map option!).

Edinburgh Castle and fountain in Princes Street Gardens 2

Most importantly: have fun!!

I just hope you're having a really nice day sticker in Edinburgh 14 August

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | July 19, 2014


sunset III

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | July 18, 2014

Wish I had thought of that…

Wish I had thought of that

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | July 14, 2014

Not such a bad day…

I was getting a little* upset at someone in the office earlier today, so I decided to play with my camera at lunchtime…


Looking up


Pinecones in sun




And I was “rewarded”, if you will, by the presence of two of my favorite birds: a cardinal, and a blue jay

Blue Jay


Not such a bad day after all…


*understatement. I never will understand people who are nasty to others for no reason whatsoever, or who pretend to be nice to you while doing all they can to make things difficult.

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | January 29, 2014

To the guy who nearly ran me over on Wolf Road yesterday evening

Yes, I saw you check to confirm you had a green arrow signal when you saw me in the middle of the crosswalk, before you revved your SUV through the turn. Your green arrow does not trump my walk signal. New York State law requires you to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, and furthermore your green arrow will not matter one iota when you’re in court because you decided to keep driving when there was a person standing in front of you in the road.

Drive carefully and pay attention, people.

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | August 29, 2013

I <3 Central Avenue

I <3 Central Ave

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | August 28, 2013

You’re welcome

Birthplace of modern electricity

Albany, NY. 🙂

Posted by: chiarraigrrl | August 27, 2013

Roses in the sunshine


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