August 21, 2012 | Leave a Comment

Orla on Portstewart Strand
Click here for photos from our irish trip….
Orla and I headed to Ireland at the end of June for about 10 days. We had a fabulous time and Orla enjoyed meeting her cousins so much that she was depressed to return to the US!
We flew over on Wednesday 27th, and had a long day of it, what with rushing to catch our train, heading in to the city, then out to JFK, and waiting for our flight. This was the first time in aeons I flew on Delta, and it will most definitely be the last if I can help it. We were glad when we finally arrived in Dublin, where we were met by Niall. Our first port of call was his house, where Orla got to meet some of the cousins again, over a late breakfast. She also got to visit my old primary school, Belgrove, where Sean and Roisin go now, before we headed to Clontarf Castle where we managed a quick snooze. That night we got to hang out with Eimear and Cliodhna, as indeed we did the next night, too, before their departure on Saturday for Spain.
Orla liked the food in Clontarf, but she really liked the Irish breakfast she had in Bewley’s. She couldn’t believe that Irish butter is a creamy yellow, and not white, and loved her yoghurt with honey.
We went to see the Dublin Wax Museum, which freaked her out a little, St. Patrick’s Cathedral (one time home of Jonathan Swift), stopped for some refreshment in the Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest bar which dates back to 1198, and also got to see the crypts in St. Michan’s Church which dates back to 1095, and where we got to shake hands with the Crusader, who’s been dead about 650 years. After all that touristy stuff it was off to St. Anne’s park, where we had a picnic with Leanne and Ronan, who was back home on his holliers from Seattle.
I wanted to take Orla for some Irish music, so with Donal we went to dinner at the Abbey Tavern, in Howth. This, though, was not so hot – next time we’ll go to a session in Johnny Foxes, instead… Howth, though, is always worth a trip, and so we went on a cliff walk with Ann, managing not to kill ourselves, although Orla kept complaining about how tough the walk was!
We stuck around Dublin for a few more days, and got to see Dave and Nicola for a barbecue in Dun Laoghaire, and Orla got to hang out with Solenn, whom she had met on a previous trip. On another trip with Donal we stopped in to see the Casino in Marino and, with Fr. Eoghan and Maria and the rest of the kids we headed down to the National Stud, where Orla once again got to see Arkle’s skeleton.
We headed north for a couple of days so that Orla could see some of Derry and Antrim. On our way we met Anne-Marie in Hillsborough, where the British Secretary of State has his official residence, before we continued on to Bushmills. We visited the Giant’s Causeway and also Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, which didn’t faze Orla at all – although it is a lot more secure now than in the old days… The big hit of the trip for Orla (apart from Morelli’s and Mullin’s icecream) was Portstewart Strand, where we spent an unbelievably gorgeous afternoon just lazing around and looking for shells, and where, coincidentally, we bumped into Anne-Marie’s sister Vonnie.
Dinner at the Bushmills Inn was excellent, after which we read by a turf fire. The next morning we visted Swatragh (where Orla got to meet her great-great aunt Martha), Kilrea (for some more icecream at Mullin’s), and Maghera, where she stood on the famous stone, before lunch and our trip back to Dublin.
It was a great, memorable trip, and we’re already planning an extended trip for next summer.
Click here for photos from our irish trip….



Click here for photos from our get-together….
Those who knew me back in my UCD computer science days in the early 1980’s no doubt remember the terminal room G31, where we made use( dare I say that it was unauthorized?) of the college’s DEC-20 and VAX-11/780 systems. Dave, Kierman and I roamed the world using a free Eirpac (X.25 network) account that brought us to, among other places, the Marshall Space Flight Center, to Australia, and to Sweden. It was by connecting to a DEC-2065, AIDA, in Uppsala that we became friends with Bjorn Victor, KPJ, and others in Update, the college computer club, who opened our eyes to what a truly collaborative institution a college could be when it was run by open-minded administrators.
With what we learnt from those guys we had a lot of fun, and several close shaves with the UCD Computer Centre staff, before we finally graduated, providing us with lots of stories from those days that we rehash over pints. Unfortunately we never did get to meet many of the folks there at the time, but we did manage to meet KPJ several years later when we came to UCD to work as a consultant for EuroKom (now, an electronic mail server for EU projects.
Fast forward 28 or so years. I saw from a Facebook posting that Bjorn Victor was coming to New York on vacation, and immediately decided that it would be great to finally meet up in person. With Ian back in town, we met for barbecue at . We had a fun time with Bjorn and his daughter Ellen over ribs, before heading out to several Irish bars, where we chatted about the past over a few pints.
You can see some pictures here.