WE SPENT MORE than two hours in the Dublin's Children Museum, leaving with two tired kids. That translates to a "win" in many parents' minds.
WE PLAN TO send Christmas cards to our American cousins with little descriptions of The Gathering enclosed. And we're following up with audio and video chats using Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts.
Our big challenge is Mia (in photo) cannot write yet. The schools project announced by the Gathering Ireland 2013 uses letters and emails as its focus. A new schools project encourages school children nationwide to invite friends, family, and loved ones from overseas to come to Ireland for the Gathering Ireland 2013. We're taking our part of the campaign to personal postcards, audio conversations, Instagram photos and video clips.
Our junior infant knows how to do these things and she knows how to ask adults to fill in the text where required.
In a formal announcement made by two Irish government ministers, "children across Ireland are being encouraged to become involved in the Gathering Ireland Primary Schools Letter Writing Initiative. Children will be asked to outline the special activities taking place in their community for the Gathering Ireland and invite friends and family abroad by letter or email to join the celebrations".
IT HAS BEEN 20 YEARS since my last traffic stop and that one happened on the A8 in Germany. The Polizei in their BMW M3 made easy work of me with their fire-breathing chase cars.
I like fire-breathing police chase card like you can find on Bavaria or on some stretches of the California Highway system. Some of the German cars look like the one in the photo. The California chase cars are like 100mph space heaters. Their five liter engines rumble and their cooling systems work hard to keep the engine temperatures below redline.
I think there's something very civic about fire-breathing police cars and wish there were muscle cars in the Garda Traffic Corps.
WE ADOPTED A MICROCACHE located at the foot of the Rock of Cashel and that meant retrieving the strip log in the middle of "persistent and heavy" thunderstorms that have blanketed the sunny southeast of Ireland.
I get little emails from Geocaching.com because I asked to follow Geocache GC3EQP2 before and after we found it. Now Mia and I rediscover it nearly every time we take the Walk of the Dead up the western rise of the Rock. It's fun knowing where the microcache is located and that the muggles nearby have no idea why the back of the Cashel town map intrigues us so much.
If you're thinking about visiting the Rock of Cashel, you might enjoy finding two geocaches located in direct lines of sight of Ireland's most imposing archaeological wonder.
Recommending Geocaching Live for your smart phone. We have it on Windows Phone and iOS.
Bernie Goldbach curates adventures in geocaching.
WE VISITED THE TITANIC EXPERIENCE in Cobh just before the centenary of the Titanic's visit and walked along the promenade to admire the spires of St Colman's. The 49-bell Carillon at bells of St Colman's were installed in 1916, four years after the Titanic left Queenstown (Cobh).
Colman's spire strikes a dramatic pose above the streets of Cobh, rising to a height of 93 meters. If the Titanic was placed on her stern on the pavement next to the cathedral, her bow would rise 269 meters into the air, more than 500 feet higher than the top of the spire on St Colman's.
The centenary of the Titanic's departure from the scenic harbour of County Cork coincides with this blog post. The exhibition in the premises of the old White Star Line pays homage to the grand ship and to the memories of those Irish who boarded Titanic for the eventful voyage west on April 11, 1912.
UPDATED: According to Paddy Cosgrave (using a Twitter account that should be verified), Brian Flanagan has been allowed entry to Ireland.
Shamrock Shakes all around!
Previously on this blog, I wrote a short piece that was viewed by more than 100 people on three continents within an hour of its posting:
I use Seat Guru to help avoid the most cramped spaces aboard flights. And I try to check into trans-Atlantic or trans-continental flights five or more hours prior to takeoff to see if my pre-booked seats can be moved to places on the aircraft where I get more shoulder room. I've discovered that it's the shoulder room that gives me greater comfort, not the width of my seat cushion.
Most of the travel magazines publish their league tables of seat comfort by measuring "pitch" which is the front-to-rear space between rows. Pitch is defined as the distance between any given point on a seat to the identical point on the seat in the next row forward or to the rear. Side-to-side space is generally measured by the width of the seat cushion but that doesn't consider the width of the armrest or the attachment points of the seats to the floor of the aircraft. These are points raised by George Hook on "The Right Hook" during drivetime in Ireland today.
I consistenly got faster than two megabits per second donload service from both of them for most of a suburban rail journey through patches of countryside where I was blacked out several years ago. That's progress in my book. The O2 dongle produced stronger uplink service while the Vodafone signal sometimes delivered twice the download speed of the Huawei Mifi dongle. I like both of these little devices but get longer laptop serivce when using the separate Mifi dongle.
I'm curious to prove that Irish Rail's free wifi runs faster than the Vodafone high-speed stick in my pocket. The Vodafone stick has won the speed test three times on the Dublin-Thurles run this month.
Shot and sent mail2blog by my Nokia E7 phone.
A FEW YEARS AGO I spent a few days in London and got charged EUR 248 for using my mobile phone. Every day I was in London, the fee averaged out to more than $300 a day. This year, O2 spotted my data use after EUR 64 and cut me off. That didn't happen when I visited the States--as the O2 bill shows I failed to shut off data roaming.
AS MUCH AS I appreciate Irish Rail's free wifi service on the mainline Cork-Dublin trains that I use several times a month, I think the generous placement of power points is more welcome.
I carry four mobile technology devices and need to use them hard when in Dublin on assignments. It's handy to know that I can plug them in under main train tables. I also plug into mains power points that are nestled near the back of many carriages too. I often leave my bag unattended and plugged into the Premier Class carriage sidewall. A small power strip inside my bag recharges two or three devices simultaneously. One of the devices is a Huawei Mifi dongle that I run open to all comers via O2-Ireland 3G service. In my experience, O2 is faster than the Fleet Connect wifi service aboard the Cork-Dublin train. I've used the O2-3G connection to run an Online Meeting Room while underway at 60 mph. The O2 connection seems more resilient than the free wifi aboard the train. Moreover, I cannot use my Kindle to download content via the Irish Rail connection because the dumb Kindle won't navigate to the default sign-in screen on the train.