This past weekend there was a march in Dublin in support of the movement. I didn’t make it as my babe’s feeding schedule and the pouring rain together were an obstacle I couldn’t surmount. But I was there in spirit.
Having a baby has not changed my mind regarding my views on Ireland’s abortion laws. Having survived the twelve weeks of my son’s short life, I can safely say motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It is not for everyone. It is certainly not something to enter into casually. Pregnancy and motherhood should never be forced on a woman. It’s too hard, too all consuming. For the past ten months my body has been completely highjacked; out of my control. Pregnancy is absolutely like something from Alien and I would not wish a quick nine hour top to bottom drug free labor and delivery on my worst enemy.
Yes, pregnancy and motherhood are also magical. They are/were magical for me because I wanted it, I chose it, and I have a lot of support mentally, emotionally and physically. I am so lucky.
I fully support all the women in Ireland who are not so lucky. It is my hope that the Irish government decides to as well. For more information on how to join the movement see these websites:
I was well aware that my life would change dramatically when I had a baby. I was not prepared for how much my view of Dublin would change. Walking around the city with a buggy full of human flesh that could explode in a desire for food or a splash of yellow poo at any moment turns Dublin a new color. Not necessarily yellow poo color, but it’s a completely different city I have to navigate now.
The idea of popping into get a coffee at Clement and Pekoe is a thing of the past. There are five steep stone steps leading up to it. Deciding to go to lunch at the Pepper Pot caused my brain to do a Mission Impossible-style run down of entrance and exits points into Powers Court. Then I realized I didn’t even know where the lifts were in the building.
Lifts. I never would have concerned myself with them in any shop in Dublin. Now they are a number one necessity that decides whether or not I can enter a store.
Did you know Brown Thomas has an incredibly nice changing/breastfeeding room in the men’s swim suit and underwear section? Unclear if the designers of the store thought about what a nursing mother wants to see just before she breast feeds.
Arnotts is another store on the pro-mama, pro-babe, pro-breastfeeding train. Arnotts is not a store I would have frequented in my pre baby days, but I’ve been twice since my Seedling arrived. My mother was the one who pointed out that it’s perfect for mom’s: there are wide aisles for buggies, spacious lifts, easy street access with wide ramps, and always a good sale somewhere in the building. Not to mention a very nice breastfeeding area in the baby section by the café. It comes complete with rocking chairs, sheep skins, and a water dispenser.
I sat there the other day and fed the babe while my mother and her friend walked around and brought me items to look at and decide if I wanted to purchase. I just sat in my rocker and watched the Olympics on my phone.* This is the BEST way to shop. I will never go alone into a department store again.
Being out in a city with a new babe is challenging, but it’s fun to see this whole new side of Dublin uncovered. And my husband might be the recipient of a few new pairs of underwear because of it.
*Shout out to the RTE Olympics App which made this possible.
Meet Me in the Morning is a new café just off Camden Street. It is so new that when I was there decaf coffee wasn’t an option. Neither was herbal tea. I was assured, however, that non-caffeine drinkers will have some options very soon. They’re still getting supplies in.
I was offered, in the most polite way possible, either of the two coffee bean options they do have, complete with a description about why they are distinct and delicious. I myself was too polite to interrupt this monologue knowing I would just order a tea.
The space is light and full of light wood and wild flowers. I loved the wood-topped tables. I want one for my own home. It’s comfortable and minimal. The food looks simple and delicious, and yes, don’t worry, there is avocado on this menu. Eggs too. We are still in Dublin, after all. Salads, soups, etc all make an appearance. All the food is local and prepared on the day.
MMITM is a very nice spot just off the main drag to sit and have a bite or sip some (caffeinated. For now) warm drinks. I’d say it will be worth popping in a few times to see how the menu changes throughout the summer. Not to mention trying all the different delicious coffee beans.
Lunch at Fumbally is an obvious weekday go to not only for me but for most of the people I know in Dublin. Plenty of people I don’t know frequent Fumbally as well. Sometimes there is an Irish celebrity of some form or other. I have never heard anyone say that they were not a fan of Fumbally.
Now Fumbally is serving dinner on Wednesday evenings from 7-9. The menu has two options: meat or vegetarian. The same dish is made two ways. I love the fact that I don’t really have to choose. I also love that I know what will be placed in front of me will more than likely be delicious.
This Wednesday was Korean night. The option was a huge rice bowl filled with kimchi, scallions, spicy peanuts, and either crispy tofu or pork belly. Nothing is more comforting than being handed a big bowl of steaming, spicy, sticky rice when it’s chilly outside. The whole place smelled of pickles and spice.
There were sides available as well. Various pickled vegetables, peas and more spicy peanuts and seeds, and (slightly off theme) burned butter with sourdough bread. We made the very easy choice of ordering one of each.
I opted for the vegetarian option as we were eating late and pork belly seemed a bridge to far if I wanted a relaxed dream land adventure. I had to stop myself from eating to quickly. Luckily the food arrived all at once, which saved me from eating ALL of the burned butter and bread. It is hard to be polite around Fumbally’s homemade burned butter.
There was nothing that arrived to our table that wasn’t a taste sensation. I sipped on the in-house turmeric, ginger and lemon kombucha and there is wine available too.
We ordered the dessert because didn’t want to be the people who left one untasted item on the menu. It’s not a big menu! Might as well try it all! So we did. We were delighted with ourselves and our incredible peanut butter mousse, chocolate soil and a dark chocolate crisp. Fluffy, nutty, rich, chocolaty goodness that no Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup could hold a flame to.
Fumbally’s vast interior dresses up in coziness for the evening quite successfully. Lots of candles, low lighting and all the mismatched furniture make it feel like you are at a friend’s house. The service is a bit like that too: attentive but not at all fussy.
There are some fantastic places to dine in Dublin and Fumbally is certainly at the top of that list. For day or night.
Rustic Stone got a re-vamp last year and along with new décor a new restaurant was placed above the original. The new restaurant is Taste, a Dylan McGrath fusion experience. The menu tells you which taste sensation to be ready for: sweet, salty, sour, etc with each dish. That’s the gimmick, I guess, but I don’t remember paying attention to those “taste menus” at all as we ordered. Taste is highly influenced by Japanese cuisine, but there are elements from South America and other Asian locations as well we’re told. These days focusing on one cuisine seems amateur to most celebrity chefs. “Fusion” sits across the room batting her eyelashes, and you’d better start mixing your materials.
I went to Taste the other night with my godmother, her partner, my husband and my appetite. We climbed up and up (passing a hip bar with young, attractive, pre Patrick’s Day revelers getting into their cocktails) to the L-shaped restaurant. There is a sushi bar along one wall, then seats and tables along the others. It’s a nice space; exposed brick, naked light bulbs, plenty of copper. It glows.
We all opted to order dishes from the “small dishes” and “small warm dishes” item lists as well as a few rolls of sushi to share. Though it was unintentional, we enjoyed a full pescatarian dinner. Eating as either a pescatarian or a vegetarian would be both simple and delicious here.
The dishes came out like little works of art in pretty bowls or arranged nicely on little plates. The artichoke hearts arrived over smoking hot coals. This is fun if entirely unnecessary. It also takes up a lot of elbow room.
We especially enjoyed the “blowtorched” scallops (which we ordered only because the word blowtorched was in the title) and the sweet chili prawns with a tempura crunch. The highlight was certainly the king crab sushi roll. It was warm, salty, sweet and sticky. There was a siracha mayo for dipping and some fresh ginger for palate cleansing. We ordered another one of those (one just wasn’t enough) and one of the shrimp rolls as well. The shrimp was almost as good as the crab. Almost. I didn’t even reach for my camera for these guys. You’ll have to just go meet them for yourselves.
I would go back just for the king crab sushi roll, but the other taste treats were delightful. The service let the side down. Yet again, Dublin restaurant service puts the overall experience the wrong side of extraordinary. We arrived very early and had the full attention of about three servers for about fifteen minutes. As more tables arrived, we were less and less important to anyone. It took far too long to order a second glasses of wine and to ask for the bill. You’d think they would be on it because two of the staff members running the show had blue tooth ear pieces in. It looked impressive, but maybe they weren’t on?
The food, the ambience, the wine, etc, is all great at Taste. If the service had also been great, it would have been a truly excellent dinner.
Today, this famous Irish national holiday, I will be going for a walk in beautiful Glendalough. We will walk for up to two hours over hills, around a lake, and up to look-outs. The weather is perfect, spring is springing, the sun is shining and I’ve packed a picnic.
The best thing about our walk today is that I won’t have to worry about coming across a snake.
Snakes are my biggest natural fear. I would rather stumble on a nest of spiders than one solitary snake minding his own business. The fact that there are no snakes in Ireland is one of my favorite things about living in Ireland. Some days it is my favorite thing. Like today.
I don’t know much about St. Patrick, but the fact that he supposedly ridded Ireland of snakes is enough for me to unabashedly celebrate this day but getting out in this snake free nature.
Well, Christmas is officially over for another year. Our tree is down, I clipped up the Christmas cards into next year’s Christmas tags, and found one little handful of pecans that missed the cookies.
The 6th of January is celebrated throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal as the big Christmas celebration. The Epiphany. The Three Kings have arrived at the Christ Child’s stable and all is right with the world.
In Ireland, it’s Nollaig na mBam, or Women’s Little Christmas. Traditionally it was a day when women, who would have worked double time over Christmas and New Years to ensure their (generally) large families had food, gifts and fun, got a full day off. Men were expected to do the housework and look after the kids so the women could head down to the pub for some proper girl time.
I’ve lived in Ireland for six years and have never heard the expression before. Nollaig na mBan is more traditionally celebrated in the West and South-West of the country and often in Irish speaking communities. However, after the huge success of the Waking The Feminists movement here in Ireland, this year seemed ripe to re-imagine the day as a celebration for, by and about the talents of women. It seems right to re-claim a day that was begun long before any feminist movement hit these shores.
Back then, and last night at Smock Alley Theatre, women gathered with cakes, treats, stories to tell, songs to sing and good cheer all around. The Dublin event, You’re Only mBan, was a night of stand-up comedy, live music, story-telling and singing. It was a celebration of the huge talent in our community and a coming together to close out the Christmas celebrations.
Men were involved and represented as well. Of course! That’s what feminism is: equality for all sexes.
My podcast, Trivial Cahoots was there to record it all and collect some funny stories from the audience members not performing. Click on the link to hear the event in total and for some extra fun and chats.
It’s always wonderful to see old traditions re-purposed for a new time. And 2016 is going to be a pretty wild and wonderful time for the women of Ireland.