Christmas Train

December 21, 2011 | 1 Comment

Jenn managed to kill two birds with one stone this weekend. She managed to combing satisfying Conall’s obsession with trains with a visit to Santa, by bringing all three kids to ride on the Santa Train  at the Catskill Mountain Railway. Jenn and I had taken the kids on this railway before, on their route in the Catskill mountains, but this was the first time that any of us were on the Kingston line. Everyone was very excited, and even Grandma had a great time, riding in the caboose and chatting with Santy, while Conall was in his element. From the moment they pulled into the parking lot he was frantic to get on board, and was almost overwhelmed with excitement. In fact, he had so much fun that they had to do it again the next day!




December 16, 2011 | Leave a Comment

This past weekend I took Orla and Eoghan to see “The Nutcracker” at the Bardavonin Poughkeepsie. It is one of our Christmas traditions, with Orla and I having seen it several times over the years at Lincoln Center in New York, where it was performed by the New York City Ballet. This year, however, we chose to see it locally, as it was being performed by the New Paltz Ballet. As it turned out, however, two guest stars from the NYC Ballet had joined the locals, one of them, Teresa Reichlen, being Orla’s favorite from previous years when she played Arabian Coffee. This year she was playing the Sugar Plum Fairy and was, as usual, excellent. We enjoyed the production immensely, and it was actually pretty good, with the costumes in particular being much better than I expected. Of course, not being Lincoln Center, the music was pre-recorded rather than being provided by an orchestra but all in all the show was very enjoyable.

We were able to scoot behind the curtain when the show was over and the kids had their photos taken with the two stars.

The Nutcracker

The kids and I got to meet the two NYCB performers starring in The Nutcracker at The Bardavon




December 1, 2011 | Leave a Comment

I scooted over to Ireland over the Thanksgiving break. I had intended to go at Christmas, but as it happened almost the entire workforce of Lake Communications, a company that I had worked for about 5 years when living in Ireland, had been made redundant and there was to be a farewell get together on Friday, Nov 25th. So I decided to head over and meet up with some of the lads I used to work with about 20 years ago.

The plane was completely full – obviously, a lot of other folks had decided, like me, that Thanksgiving Day was a good day to travel. The flight was uneventful, although the landing was probably the worst I’ve had as their seemed to be a severe crosswind. I was met at the airport by Ann, who took me to Moloughney’s restaurant in Clontarf. It was great to be back in Dublin and have a real Irish breakfast and enjoy the ambience. Niall and Maria joined us, and we hung out for several hours. After lunch I headed in to the city, and had a quick snooze for an hour or two in the Stephen’s Green Club, where I was staying for the weekend. Located right on St. Stephen’s Green, it’s a fantastic place to stay and was the perfect base for me.

I caught up with Grace for a couple of pints in Neary’s, one of my old watering holes, and we ended up going for dinner as well.Among other things she introduced me to the bicycle rental service in Dublin which is pretty darn handy. Next time I’m coming over I’ll have to make sure I join up…

After that it was off to Dicey Reilly’s to meet the Lake crew. It was a great night, with a lot of faces that I hadn’t seen in years – Lorcan O’Neill, Sean O’Connor, Lorcan Burke, etc. We had a great chinwag, as Paddy Whelan would say, and recounted numerous yarns about the good old days. It was so much fun, in fact, that we didn’t notice the time passing; it was about 3:30AM when the last of us left the place. Fortunately for me it was only a stroll of a few hundred yards back to the Club for the night.

Saturday morning saw me, amazingly, up in time for (a late) breakfast. I pottered around for  a while and then moseyed across the Ha’penny Bridge to the Winding Stair Bookshop where I caught up with Carmel, Anne-Marie and Vonnie. This is a great place to check out, and the food was great – real winter fare, which hit the spot. After a lazy lunch I sauntered back through town to the club, where I met Donal, Leanne and Anthony and, as usual we solved the problems of the world over dinner.

On Sunday morning the weather was glorious again, and so I strolled up to the Hugh Lane Gallery where I got to see the Francis Bacon exhibition,as well as some others that were, to my mind, completely devoid of artistic merit… The rest of the day was spent in Clontarf, where I met up with Ann and Tom and Caitriona, and then to Niall and Maria’s for dinner.

Monday was a busy day – starting with meeting Miriam for coffee in the science center in Trinity, before heading our to the RDS to meet Tom, Paddy, Richard and John. Although we’d met on Friday night, meeting again for lunch was a good way to catch up in a more relaxed fashion and as usual we shared some humorous anecdotes about the Lake days. Then it was off around the corner to meet Fiona for a quick chat over coffee, which ended up being about 3 hours, before rushing back into town. One of the silver lining of the cloud that is the current recession is that traffic in Dublin is back at about late 1990’s levels, so that it was a very quick taxi ride back in to Neary’s to meet Brendan. We had a quick pint before heading around to The Horseshoe Bar to meet Dave and his daughter Nadia. A few aperitifs there and then Dave and I headed back to the club for dinner, where Peter and Cathal tracked us down for a few pints afterwards.

Come Tuesday morning it was out to the airport and back to NY. All in all, a great, packed, weekend.