Olympic Torch Relay

The torch for the 2012 Olympic Games passed through Dublin last week, on its way to London.  The kids and I decided to take a trip downtown to watch it pass by.  The torch coming to Dublin was of special significance this year.  In previous years, the torch passed through many countries on its way to the host city.  However, due to the protests that occurred during the 2008 torch relay, the rules have been changed.  Now the torch relay only takes place in the host country.  Obviously, Ireland is not hosting the Olympics.  Since several of the athletes from the Irish Olympic team are from Northern Ireland, the Olympic committee granted an exception, and allowed the torch to pass through Ireland.  I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see the torch in person.  Also, the likelihood that we’ll be in Russia, or Brazil (host countries for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics) is quite small.

We got a great spectator location at Merrion Square across from National Maternity Hospital.  When we got there, we were basically the only ones at the corner, except for a few Gardaí (policemen, pronounced “gar-dee”). Of course, the kids were really excited to see the Gardaí.

Gardai at torch relay
Waiting for the torch

A kind tourist volunteered to take our picture.  This was the best one he took.

Everyone at the torch relay

The television crew came by, and we were filmed for the news (along with the rest of the small crowd that had gathered.)  Too bad we don’t have a TV – I don’t know if we made the cut!

RTE Van (RTE - Ireland's BBC equivalent)
RTE Cameraman

Liesl got bored, and amused the crowd by climbing all over the stroller.

Liesl and the stroller (yes, my coffee is wedged in the visor)

Finally, the “pre-torch” parade came by.  There were several large buses.  One was carrying the relay runners.  There was this strange Coca-Cola bus, and people were handing out bottles of Coke.  I love the look on the face of the Coca-Cola girl as she ran along.  She was WAY too excited about Coke.

Coca-Cola bus!

Samsung had a bus with some singer/rapper on top.  Too bad my pop culture knowledge was failing me, because I had no idea who he was.  He kept saying, “Only 5 more minutes!”  Everyone in the crowd was somewhat annoyed.

Samsung Bus. (The building behind the bus is the National Maternity Hospital, where Patrick was born.)

We were all ready for the torch to arrive, when this guy came around the corner.  The crowd thought he had the torch, and everyone began to cheer.  This guy really hammed it up, and it was amusing.

Torch Relay Cyclist

Finally the torch arrived.  The torch bearer for our portion of the route was Joan Freeman, the founder of Pieta House, a suicide-prevention organization.  In the pictures, you see people dressed in blue t-shirts.  They were the staff of the Pieta House who had come to cheer her on.

Olympic Torch!
Closeup of the torch! She passed right in front of us.
The guys in gray are the security detail, to protect both the torch and the torch bearer.

The last bus in the convoy had celebrities for the final celebration at St. Stephen’s Green.  This guy is a part of Jedward, a twin-brother teen-pop duo.  Apparently they are huge here in Ireland.  Of course, someone had to tell me who it was because I had no idea.

Jedward? Very weird hair

And just like that, the torch was gone and the crowds dispersed.  I promised that after the relay, we would go into Merrion Square park, and have a snack.

Isaac and Liesl holding hands on the way to Merrion Square.
Conversation on the park bench, over an almond croissant...you know...the usual thing here

Since I’m taking a photography class, I also took a photo of this statue in Merrion Square, while the kids were snacking.  I love subjects that don’t move!

Statue in Merrion Square

I am really glad that we decided to watch the relay.  I’m sure the kids won’t remember, but it was still really cool.


The Irish are not known for their culinary prowess.  (More potatoes, anyone?  Anyone?)  Unfortunately, the selection of foods in grocery stores is limited, and a bit dull.   This lack of selection extends to pickles.  If you are lucky, you might be able to find some French Cornichons – which are small, pricey gerkins.  They come in a tiny jar and are very tasty, but usually 5 or 6€ per jar.  Dill pickles or more US-based varieties, such as bread and butter pickles are non-existent.

However, last week I ran across pickling cucumbers at Fallon & Byrne.  This is a great shop in Dublin where I have been able to find some unique, hard to source foods/condiments.

And then I found this recipe for refrigerator bread and butter pickles.  I love bread and butter pickles, and thankfully, these did not require any scary canning.  We actually had most of the spices that the recipe required, except apple cider vinegar, (and I wasn’t going back out, in the rain, to attempt to find apple cider vinegar!)  I’m not sure what it says about my cooking hobby if I have, on-hand, most of the spices needed to make pickles.

The end result:

These pickles are incredibly tasty.  The brine is a bit more yellow than I would like, probably as a result of me “eyeballing” the amount of turmeric I put in the jar, rather than actually measuring.  I’m almost convinced they are better than bread and butter pickles I can find in the US.  They are almost as good as the ones we would get from our CSA farmer in Austin.  Maybe I should just start my own food business for people looking to escape the mounds and mounds of potatoes.

Hmmm…two masters degrees, and I just blogged about making pickles.  This cannot be a good sign.

Our new home

We have a new home in Dublin – on Riverwood Glebe.  Glebe is such an Irish word. :)

Our home in Dublin

Since we were first married, we have moved three times – and each time to a smaller place.  I wanted to reverse that trend with this move.  We were living in 900 sf in Austin, and I REALLY did not want to go any smaller than that.  I am happy to report that our home in Dublin is actually bigger than our home in Austin!  I haven’t measured it yet, but it’s probably about 1300-1500 sf.  It is semi-detached, or part of a duplex.  We hadn’t planned on getting four bedrooms, but this way, we were able to get two full baths.

The duplex

We are at the end of a cul-de-sac, and our house faces a small park, a “green”.  It has a small backyard with a patio, and thankfully, a fully grown sage bush and rosemary plant!  Whoever lived here before us enjoyed cooking as well.  Our neighborhood is very quiet, and well served by the bus system, which is handy since we don’t have a car.  Brad can bike to work – also helpful!  We have met several of our neighbors as well.

The green across from our home
View of back of house
Sage and Rosemary

Downstairs has living room, dining room, kitchen with breakfast nook, and half bath (water closet).  Upstairs has the 4 bedrooms, one with an en-suite bath, and a full bath.  The bedrooms are small, basically just for sleeping.  The movers came on Monday, and we have never been so excited to see our stuff!  Although the house was furnished, we needed our household items to make the place more livable.  Our container arrived early in the morning, but the movers didn’t show up until 9:00.

Our worldly possessions

Liesl was very excited.  Isaac and Brad – eh, not really.  Isaac is fascinated right now with a 1971 Ford Pinto hotwheels car.  Not sure why, but he preferred playing with it, instead of watching the movers.

Liesl waiting for the movers
Isaac and Brad waiting for the movers

I’m not posting any more pictures of the interior until we get everything put away.  I’m hoping for dramatic “before” and “after” pictures.  If you want our full address, send me an email at rheagan <dot> coffey <at> gmail <dot> com.  I didn’t want to put in on the internet for the world to see.