What’s Happening With Me in Ireland

Instead of cluttering up everybody’s inbox’s with huge emails containing pictures I’ve decided to let you decide if you want to see them!

This page will contain updates on a semi-regular basis about my life in Ireland.  An electronic diary I suppose.

[edit: Oh well it was a nice idea at the time :) ]

February 25, 2001

Work

Everything is still going well at work.  It’s looks like I will have to go to the Java One conference in the US and the various Oracle Open World’s when they kick off later in the year.

I’m starting to get my teeth into some of the main tasks that I need to do.  I’m currently writing a business plan and road map for the product that we intend to build.  I’m sure you will all be facinated to read that once I’ve finished it :-).

I’ve been given a mobile phone from work, which is fantastic as my Australian one stopped working in the middle of February when the contract ran out.  I had planned that :-).

Here are some shots of the Oracle buildings close up.  The one of the left is Building 1, which is the main reception area.  The one of the right is Building 2, which is where I work.  It’s just to the left of Building 1.

[edit: Top is Building 1 and bottom is building 2]

Oracle Ireland Building 1

Oracle Ireland Building 1

Oracle Ireland Building 2

Oracle Ireland Building 2

Accommodation

I’m still living at the Oracle provided apartment located off Howth Rd. in Clontarf, just north of Dublin.  However, I have finally found a place to move into and have put a holding deposit down.

It’s a brand new 3 level, 4 bedroom townhouse located in a secure apartment/townhouse complex on St. Alphonsus Rd., Drumcondra.  The builders are still putting the finishing touches on it and it then needs to be furnished.  I had a look at the show house, so don’t think I’m being stupid getting something that I have no idea what the final outcome is.  Some other Oracle people are also in one of the completed houses.  My flatmate at the moment, Chris, is also taking one.

The ground floor has a huge open kitchen/dining area with a sliding door at the rear to a court yard.  The second floor has 3 bedrooms, a single, double and double with ensuite.  A bathroom is also on this level.  Going up the stairs again is a huge double bedroom and ensuite with a study across the hall.  It can also act is a bedroom for emergency sleeping.  I intend on having the top floor for myself, except for sharing the study, if necessary.

Both the city and work are no more than 20 minutes walk away, so it’s convenient, especially when you consider that a you can be waiting for more than an hour for a taxi home on a busy night.

Here is the crunch, the rent is £1600 a month and there might be payments for a cleaning lady on top of that.  I intend to split the rents up along the lines of £500 for the top room and bathroom, £425 for the double with ensuite, £360 for the double, and £315 for the single.  To move in I will need to pay £1600 deposit, £1600 for the first month’s rent and get a number of household goods such as kitchen items (utensils, pots and pans, plates, glasses), bedroom items (sheets, pillow, electric blanket), bathroom items (bin, towels, mats).  I will also need to get a TV, video and stereo.

That’s a lot of money to get together so I will have to try and make sure that I get some flat mates organised as soon as possible.  Chris has already advertised for his flatmates and got a huge response.  He has also given me some contacts of people that are still looking, so that should work out well.  In any case it will not be hard to find people!

Here is an interesting statistic.  The taxi driver on the way home from Friday night out said that Dublin now has 2 women to very man.  He keeps getting women asking him to take them to where the men are.  He was complaining that he had to ask his wife out 6 times before he had any success, now the women are fighting each other for the men!  Knowing taxi drivers I doubt it’s true!

Which brings me to…

My First Night Out

A few of the guys from work wanted to go out into town, so I asked where they were going and decided to join them later.  They all go straight from work, which I can’t understand, as they don’t eat!  I went home, got changed, cooked some food and headed for the bus stop.  I had no idea if the buses where still running at 21:00, but I thought I’d try my luck.  As I got out of the estate a bus went zooming past, dam.  I then looked towards the bus stop to see another one coming immediately behind it.  I ran towards the stop and luckily managed to stop it just after it had started to move off.  I have to work out the bus schedules!

I met some of the people from work at the Temple Bar in Temple Bar.  Now that needs some explaining.  Dublin has an area full of pubs, clubs, restaurants and other touristy type places all put in an old style setting with cobblestone streets etc.  This area is called Temple Bar, but there is also a pub called Temple Bar in Temple Bar.  Got it?

The pub was not really my scene so I decided to go for a walk after an hour or so and see what some of the other places I’ve heard about are like.  I went to Zanzibar, but there was a huge queue and I was not going to stand outside and freeze.  The same for another couple of the better clubs.  I then headed for a supposed dive of a place called Copper Face Jacks.  It’s nickname is Slapper Face Jacks, where ‘slapper’ is Irish slang for sluts.  It certainly reminded me of my uni days at a Brisbane night club called Hogies, where everyone was there to get totally smashed.  It’s seems the Irish man’s way to pick up is to get as drunk as possible and then sway towards the dance floor, pint in hand, with general gyrations directed at the nearest female.  It was certainly entertaining and the music was ok.

Mum you can cancel that email you are writing now, asking if I went home alone.  I did!

On Saturday I went into the city to meet a Swedish lady, Jackie, that I met on ICQ (Internet chat program) before I left Australia.  She was very helpful with hints and tips about living in Dublin.  She took me window shopping for all the things that I will need for decking out the new house.  She’s a great person and will probably become a good friend.

In the afternoon I went to Dun Laorghie on the south side of Dublin, again to meet someone from ICQ.  It’s a coastal community and with the sun shining (it was still cold) everyone was out to enjoy the scenery and weather.  Siobhan picked me up from the train station and took me around a some of the surrounding areas.

By the time I got home around 5:00, I was worried about the super market being closed, as I was completely out of fresh food.  It’s open to 20:00 on a Saturday, which is handy to know.  With the move to the new house being at least three weeks away I decided to have a big shop and get some decent food.

Shopping in Dublin

Shopping is definitely different in Dublin with small suburban shops still the place to go for the weekly shop.  Shopping centres are making inroads in the outer suburbs (I haven’t seen them yet), but they certainly, don’t have an Indooroopilly Shopping Town across the road from me :-(.  Now that is something I miss!

About 5 minutes walk from where I live now there is a news agent, bottle store, dry cleaners and supermarket set-up at physically different stores, but owned by the same group.  There is also a couple of takeaway places, bank pharmacy, mobile phone store etc.  It’s really the supermarket that stands out as not quite the normal thing you would expect.  The supermarkets are not that big either, with a resulting drop in the selection of goods to purchase.  You still get everything you need, but not quite the selection you want.  One interesting thing is that the supermarket sells Lenard’s (Australian company) chicken, pre-packaged on the shelf.

Heading into the city is a different story with all the different types of stores you would expect to find.  There are two main shopping areas which are pedestrian only areas, but don’t have a mall feel as the pedestrian areas are just streets with cobblestones or concrete instead of road.  One area, Grafton St., is located on the south side of the river and the other, Henry St., is on the north side.  The south side has the traditional snobby values associated with it, so you will find the expensive stores there and it also has a cleaner and friendlier appearance.

There are a lot of different department stores in the city compared with Australia, but like all retail stores in the world, it’s the same stuff to sell with a different name on the shop front.  That’s a bit of an over simplification, but fundamentally true.

Look at All the Aliens!

Immigration Line

Immigration Line

I had to go to the Irish Immigration Registration Office to make my work permit all official and give the government my contact details etc.  I was told that it might be difficult to get served and to expect to wait a while, with the best time to go being late in the evening.  I decided to go around 14:00 and check where it was and whether I would be able to get served.  Unfortunately there was no chance.

The way the system works you have to get a ticket, like the ones at the supermarket deli.  If you get a ticket that’s great, you then have to wait until your number is called.  If you happen to have gone for a walk and your number is called then you don’t get served and you have to come back another day.  If you come in and there are no tickets left, you have to come back another day.

When I arrived at 14:00 there were no tickets left, so I decided that I would have to arrive before opening (08:00) and brave the cold by lining up outside the entrance.  As you can see from the photo a number other people had a similar idea :-(.  I arrived at 07:50 and couldn’t believe the line.  The person just behind me was, would you believe, also from Indooroopilly!  She was a law student taking a break before heading back to start her articles.  She was only here for around seven weeks.

When we eventually got let into the complex I managed to get ticket number 81.  That sounds bad enough, but they were still on the 80’s from the day before, so there were around 100 people before me.  I ended up taking walks around Dublin for most of the day and then coming back to see how they numbers were going.  In my travels I saw some normal Dublin people going about their business and thought you might be interested :-).

Normal Dublin People Crop

Normal Dublin People Crop

Eventually I managed to get served around 14:00 and made it to work soon after.  I was so sore from walking around Dublin all that time, but I did get to see quite a lot and learn where things are.

Dublin City

To help describe what the city is like I will need some photos, so I don’t have to write as much :-).  Stay tuned for the next update!

The Weather

To be honest while it has been cold there it hasn’t really been that bad, I’ve only had to use my umbrella about three or four times (thanks Dad!).  The weekends have been fantastic with sunny days which make it great for getting out and about.  When it rains it’s more like drizzle than real rain.  One morning I took a pic of the frost on the cars and lawn outside the apartment block where I’m living now.  Here it is.

Ashbrook Frost on Car

Ashbrook Frost on Car

When you look at it in its orignal size you will be able to see the girl on the left pouring hot water over the windows of the car.

You can already see the days getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.  People are saying that it’s been quite mild since I arrived, but I’m not complaining.



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