Category Archives: Ireland

Moving into my New House

I’ll save the story for the bottom of the page, so you can see the photos first!

You’ll have to excuse the mess in the shots, but they were taken while unpacking all the stuff I bought and was only the second day I was there!

This is the view of the Kitchen from standing near the entrance from the hall.

Kitchen Left Side

Kitchen Left Side

This is the view of the Kitchen from standing near the entrance from the hall and looking out towards the courtyard (if the curtains were open :-) )

Kitchen Right Side

Kitchen Right Side

This is the lounge with real leather sofas!  Haven’t even taken the tags off yet!  This is looking from the window at the front of the house.  You can see through the doors the light coming from the kitchen.

Lounge from Window

Lounge from Window

This is the view from the entrance of the lounge looking towards the front of the house.  Gas fire place.

Lounge to Window

Lounge to Window

This is my room on the top floor.  The ensuite is to the left and a very small balcony to the right.

My Bedroom

My Bedroom

After being told that the house would be ready to move in no later than March 8, I was told it could be March 5.  On March 5 I was told it would be March 9!

The lady fro the relocation agency, Ingrid, wanted to go over the lease with myself, Chris (Dutch flat mate at work apartment) and his flat mates.  She came out to work and started to go through the document which was essentially a word document with no formal look or feel about it.  A bit different to the standard government contracts for rental agreements in Queensland, which meant we had to go over every point.  We started to note errors such as landlord’s names being different throughout the contract, dates incorrect, names of tenants spelt incorrectly, a cleaner clause was not what we had agreed to etc.

When we arrived at the house to sign the contracts we were told that the houses mentioned on the contracts were not available, as they were still not finished.  The lady then wanted us to sign the contracts without any amendments.  I complained about signing the lease on the grounds that it was a legal document and had too many errors to sign in it’s current form.  I asked that we make the changes to the contract or add another page with the changes to be made and all initial it.  The lady representing the landlord said she didn’t have the authority to do that.

After checking that I could still stay on in my current apartment I refused to sign the lease until a correct copy was ready on Monday.  Chris had been listening to all this and did not want to sign either.  Unfortunately Chris’ flat mates were in a tough situation as they had other people moving into their old rooms.  After a couple of calls it was decided that all we had to do was make the changes to the contract and initial it. :-)

After that we got our keys and started the move.  Ingrid moved both Chris’ and my belongings from our work apartment to Chapel Gate, which was a great help.  I had to go and buy some bedding, which you can see in the photo above, otherwise I would have been sleeping on an empty mattress!

I had to wash the sheets, pillow cases etc. before sleeping on them, so I had to read the washing machine manual.  Front loaders may be better for your clothes and the environment, but they take for bloody ever and you can’t put much in them.  I had to do an empty cycle first as it was brand new.  I turned it on and waited for 10 mins while it was making a whirring sound.  It was not going through the cycle, so I figured something was wrong :-).  I had a look under the sink (the washing machine is in the kitchen!) and saw some pipes and what looked like taps.  Flicked the taps on and then there was life in the washing machine.  The poor pumps had been running dry for 10 mins.  I hope I didn’t do any damage!

Waiting for a washing machine to complete it’s cycle is not very exciting when you don’t have a television or a stereo.  It finally finished at around 10 pm.  I then put the first load in and headed off to work to see how long it would take to walk there and do some chatting and read email.  It takes about 25 mins to walk to work, which is about the same time as from my previous place.  I can get to the top of O’Connell St. in the city in 20 mins walk and there are heaps of buses going past on the Drumcondra Rd. too.  A taxi fare home costs around £4-6 depending on the traffic.

The next day I put another load of washing on (I’m getting good at it by this stage :-) ) and headed out to get some basics, like pots, pans, utensils, cutlery etc..  I had some help from Amanda (Irish lady I met from ICQ), who was my slave for the day, carrying the home starter kit I purchased while I carried the dinner set.

When we got back to the house it was like Christmas had come again.  With packaging, bags and new toys to play with strewn across the kitchen.  After Amanda had left I decided I’d better work out the rest of the appliances.  I put all the new kitchen stuff into the dishwasher and tested that out.  It will take a while for one person to fill that up again!  On to the gas cooker, that didn’t take long :-).  Then I had to clean out the oven and do a ‘burn in.’  Read about the freezer too, but haven’t got around to the fridge yet!

Sunday was not quite as exciting with the purchase of an iron and ironing board.

There a lot of photos here, so please be patient!

This is the view from my balcony.  The house I’m in looks exactly like the three in the centre of the photo.

Sorry about the sun!

View from Balcony

View from Balcony

This is the view to the left of my balcony.

View from Balcony to Houses

View from Balcony to Houses

My ensuite.  There is a cabinet on the left.  The basin and toilet are on the right.

My Ensuite

My Ensuite

Here are the basin and the toilet!  Exciting hey!

My Ensuite Again

My Ensuite Again

My room looking towards the balcony.  Note the low ceilings, that’s the roof!

My Room Looking to the Balcony

My Room Looking to the Balcony

Study from left hand corner.

Study from Door

Study from Door

Study from right hand corner.

Study to Door

Study to Door

Single on the left, then double, bathroom and the double with ensuite is around the corner.

Room Doors from the Stairs

Room Doors from the Stairs

Single room.

Single Bed Room

Single Bed Room

The double room from the door.

Room with Double Bed

Room with Double Bed

Double room from the window.

Double Bed Room Wardrobe

Double Bed Room Wardrobe

This is the main bathroom.

Main Bathroom

Main Bathroom

The double room with ensuite from the bed.

Room with Double Bed and Ensuite

Room with Double Bed and Ensuite

Double room with ensuite from the door.

Room with Double Bed and Ensuite 2

Room with Double Bed and Ensuite

Double room with ensuite, ensuite!

Ensuite of the Double Bed Room

Ensuite of the Double Bed Room

Front door through to kitchen and out to Courtyard.

Front Door to Courtyard

Front Door to Courtyard

The courtyard from the kitchen.

Courtyard

Courtyard

Kitchen from door. (Cleaner now :-) ).

Kitchen From Door

Kitchen From Door

Kitchen from sliding door.

Kitchen From Sliding Door

Kitchen From Sliding Door

Stairs from hallway.

Stairs

Stairs

That’s it folks!



Fire! Fire! Fire!

Fire Engine People

Fire in the Convent!

It was 21:00 on May 19 and I was getting ready to go and see ‘SkyFest’, a fireworks display, which was part of the St. Patrick’s Take 2 celebrations.  To make sure it was warm enough to head out without a jumper or jacket I opened my balcony door and noticed a huge amount of smoke, looked to the right and saw that the old convent in my complex was on fire!

I ran down stairs with my digital camera and told Marian (flatmate) that the convent was burning.  She didn’t quite get what I was saying until she came out and had a look too.

After taking some pictures with the digital camera I decided to go and get my Cannon SLR and tripod to try and get some decent shots.  I think I managed to get some good ones, but I will have to wait and see when I get them back from the photo shop on the weekend.  Most of them are on slide too, so I won’t be able to scan them in here.  Sorry.

Fire Engine Lights

Fire Engine Lights

I took my camera gear back and headed into the city, but the fireworks had already started so I missed the official show.  I think I was the last person allowed back into the courtyard where my house is located, as they evacuated everyone and wouldn’t let Marian back in until after 00:30.

The old convent was being renovated to be turned into apartments.  The builders were in the middle of the process, restoring windows, doing plumbing etc.  I was even talking to the plumber about the building when he came over to look at a water problem (we had none) in my house.  When I asked him what it was like working in there he replied with “It’s a real pain in the arse, as it’s a listed building and we have to work around walls and other obstacles that we can’t change.  It would be easier if we just started again.”  Quite funny!  Maybe it was him!

Fire Day After

Day After the Fire

It took around seven fire trucks to get the blaze under control, but the building’s internals and roof were totally destroyed.  They had one fire truck with a cherry picker which helped with the roof, but the effort was mostly in vain.  Hoses were connected to fire hydrants all over the neighbourhood.  They even ran a hose about 500M to a nearby canal and had a fire truck pumping water from there.

When I arrived home around 01:30 there were still two or three engines there.  The final engine left almost 24 hours after the blaze started, as the fire kept flaring up in different locations.

Nosy People

Nosy People Watched by a Policeman

The police put a permanent guard on duty to protect the site until the investigation team could come and determine the cause of the fire.  At this stage we still don’t know what happened.



My Car in Ireland

Subaru WRX Front

Subaru WRX Front

The car left Australia towards the end of February and arrived in Dublin on April 17, just after Easter.  It took customs until April 25 to clear the car and my personal belongings, so I had to wait longer than I thought :-(.  Anyway, I got the call on the 25th, that all was ok and had to figure how to get to Kill which is about 30-40 km out of Dublin.

Before driving the car I had to make sure that I had insurance for obvious reasons!  I shopped around and expected the worst, as car insurance in Ireland is VERY expensive.  Most companies refused to insure me as they didn’t ‘deal with that type of car’, or ‘2.0L is to big an engine, sorry.’  They really had me laughing my head off when I put the phone down.  There was also the ‘Oh I’m sorry they are all on lunch at the moment, someone will be here after 2 p.m.’  and that was with the majority of firms, not just small ones!

Once I began to get some quotes, I was ready to ask for a pay rise.  The quotes were £5,400, £3,200, £2,300 (unconfirmed) and £1570.  Needless to say, you can guess which one I went for!  Insuring a car without number plates proved to be a problem and I had to pay a fraction more for that privilege, but it’s all settled now.

Getting out to Kill proved interesting as it was a bad time of day with the taxi companies getting busy, so it cost me £54 to get out to there, which is an absolute rip off.  They don’t use their meters when they go out of county Dublin, even when it’s not that far.  If I’d waited till the morning I could have got out there for around £30, but the timing was good for work so I headed off to get it.

The taxi took around 1 hour in the wonderful Dublin traffic and to top it off the driver didn’t believe me when I said we had passed the exit we needed to take.  Turning around on he N7 was an interesting exercise even with traffic lights.  Imagine trying to cross a four lane highway at an intersection where they don’t have signals for turning right or left.  It’s just a free for all.  Then you have to wait ages for the lights to change again!

Anyway I got to the moving company, which was quite a big complex in the middle of no where.  They were very helpful and gave me a jump start ot get the car going.  It had already been on for a while, as the engine was warm, so they had either been for a spin, or tried to run it to charge the battery. :-)

After putting all my belongings in the car (it was packed full) I headed off back towards the highway.  It was about 5:30 pm by the time I got back to the N7, so the traffic was very thick.  There was no way I was going to get across 4 lanes of traffic, so I headed left, intending to turn around at the next set of lights.  When I planted my foot I got a hell of a shock as the car took off, even with all my belongings in it.  You tend to forget these things when you have been in slow, little Irish cars!  Then it put a smile on my face after I had recovered from the fact that I was now going faster than the traffic in a few seconds. :-)

I managed to find my way back home without a map and didn’t get pulled over by any police asking where my number plates where or my road tax information was, so I was pretty pleased.

The next step was to wait for the seven days before I could get my Irish number plates.  The paper work had to be sent from the customs office to the Vehicle Registration Office (VRO).  I gave them a call a week later to check that the paper work had arrived and made an appointment with them to get the registration sorted out.

I arrived dead on the 2:15 p.m. appointment time and was served straight away.  The man who I had the appointment with soon came to see me and started asking all the normal questions.  I had to provide some more information for their paper work.  He then went way and tried to put the information in the system.  This is when the whole process turned out to be a pain in the backside.  You see they had never seen an Australian Subaru Impreza WRX and didn’t have the correct code for the car in the computer system.  That meant he had to get someone at the office where they make these codes to put one in before he could continue.  He called the person who specializes in the code making business, to find that he wasn’t there.  When he found someone else who could do the same thing we had to go back out to the car and get some more information from the manual and compliance plates etc.  We had to do that a couple of times too!

Finally the code was entered and I was registered!  During this time I had found out that I don’t get the number plates from the VRO, but from any car garage or car parts shop.  All I needed to do was take the registration information into such a place and they would provide me with the plates.  I also found out that I had to pay the road tax at the local council and not at the VRO, but couldn’t do that until I had received the official registration information, which was to be posted out in three days time.

I asked for some directions on the nearest place to get the number plates.  Would you believe that he didn’t really know!  I extracted enough information to work out that I should head for the local shopping centre and go to a garage next to it or a car parts store inside it.  I noticed a tyre, brakes, etc. place and wandered in there to find that they didn’t do them.  They suggested I went to the garage.  I headed over there, but they said they would have to order them in.  Back to the shopping centre and into the store to find that they give you plates with no holes to attach them to the car.  Once I got the plates I headed back to the garage to see if they could put them on.  They agreed and asked me to come around the back, which would have been great, except a delivery van was blocking the dam driveway.

The plates cost me £15 and £5 for putting them on.  I left work at 1:45 p.m. and returned at 5:30 p.m.  When I apologized and explained what had happened, everyone was just accepting saying it sounded normal. :-)

I went on my first decent drive on the long weekend just gone to Newtownards, east of Belfast, where I stayed with a friend.

Subaru WRX Side

Subaru WRX Side