Thursday, 29 November 2001

Im in Paris! and the keyboards qre french so I zont be writting ,uch: Full report later;

I am staying in the Montmatre area right near Sacre Coere which is one of my fav places, especially at night. Paris never ceases to impress me, from the magnificent monuments and buildings to the whole French lifestyle of Coffee and bagettes;

More later...


Tuesday, 20 November 2001

2 of my waitlisted flights have come through! Only the Singapore-Sydney leg to go. Go Trish from Traveland!!

Been unemployed again for a bit. Actually I am not really interested in working at the moment. The money will hold out for a bit longer - goodbye life savings...

Actually I tell a lie, I did have work yesterday. I got a call in the morning to do a weeks general admin work with an insurance company. I had told my agency after my last filing job that I didn't want to file again. When I arrived at this job they stuck me in the filing room and that's where I stayed all day. My being the fussy bitch that I am I resigned! Got to be a record - 4.5 hours I lasted! The really bad thing about this was that another agency called after the first one with a better paying role putting together a powerpoint presentation for 3 days. Had to turn it down.

Going to Birmingham this weekend to visit Katie. Probably going to doss around the UK for a few weeks after. Then back to Ireland for the Jamiroquai concert. Hopefully I will make it over to Spain for a bit to visit my old flatmate, then...HOME!! Start preparing the fatted calfs!


Saturday, 10 November 2001

Well, no Pierce Brosnan encounters, maybe I could make something up....

Ireland had it’s first snow yesterday. Very exciting (and cold)! I am FREEZING!

No work for next week yet. Might start planning some travel to blow my remaining money and become really poor.

Feeling a bit more cheery this week after making the decision to come home and knowing that my ticket is booked.


Wednesday, 7 November 2001

Not much new over here. It is officially freezing over here now – winter is about a month late but has now kicked in. By my calculations I have about a week to wait before my winter coat arrives from Australia – Thanks Mum!

Another week with Gerry Lundberg PR filling in for Sinead who is in Spain - that means NO MORE FILING! Tonight is the opening of 12 Angry Men – a court room drama about 1 juror talking around 11 others that the boy charged with murder is not guilty. Probably the most exciting PR that we are doing is for Pierce Brosnan’s new film Evelyn. There is a small possibility that I could meet James Bond and also Aiden Quinn who is also in the movie....mmmm

I go to see the plastic surgeon tomorrow to find out if my supermodel career is over. I guess the scar is a little better but I am still worried about my smile.

Actually been getting out and about a bit more recently. I went to see a band called The Frames who are like the Hunters and Collectors of Dublin. They were really good, I am sure if I knew the music a bit better it would have been fantastic. Can you believe though that I saw someone throw a glass (luckily plastic) at someone there! Went out on Saturday night to celebrate Derval’s birthday to a club called life.


Friday, 2 November 2001

The latest news...drum roll please...I just got a bank account! Only took 5 months but I have finally got one. Just in time for me to leave. That is the other news, I have decided to come home probably in January for Feburary next year if not before. I am not happy over here any more and I always said that how long I spent would depend on how I liked it.

Despite my low mood I decided I couldn't leave Ireland without seeing the north, so I booked myself on a 3 day Paddywaggon tour.

Day 1 - Dublin to Belfast
The day started out with a very stressful trip into town with a public holiday, no buses and non-existant taxi's plus the Dublin marathon causing all the streets to be closed. Finally made it to the bus though and we were on our way. On the way to Belfast we stopped at Slane Castle (not quite the same without the crowds) and a cathedral in Drogheda containing a preserved head. We arrived in Belfast for lunch.

That afternoon we went on a walking tour of Belfast and through a Catholic area. The centre of town could have been any Brittish shopping town, plenty of people, a nice town hall and a Marks and Sparks. There are a few telltale signs of the troubles though. Police vehicals here are fully armoured and equiped with riot gear. There is also a gate system in the shopping street where before the Good Friday agreement all vehicals had to be inspected for bombs. Walking out of the city centre there is an abundance of barbed wire and high fencing. The police station is surrounded by an 18 inch thick metal wall and has a watch tower equipped with the latest in surveilance equiptment. They can hear everything that is said in the city.

Our guide Shaun (who happened to be a Catholic - I hate to think that this matters but unfortunatly in Belfast it does) took us into an inner city Catholic area. Children from this area would have been some of the children walking to the Holy Cross school. Shaun showed us murals commemorating events in the history of the community and the troubles. Massive council flats that were only recently crowned by British army watchposts using the Catholic occupants as human shields now bear monument to the hunger strikers that died in 1971 making a stand for POW status. We ended the tour at a local Catholic bar next to our hostel. The last remaining bar in Dublin with a security cage - they keep it up to commemorate the 3 men who were shot through the door.

Day 2 Belfast - Ballintoy

The next day we went on a Black taxi tour which took us to the loyalist areas on Shankill Rd and the Catholic areas on the Falls Rd. Quite safe now, these areas are home to most of the prominant figures in the UFF, UVF and IRA. The UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighter) area was the most interesting, the younger and more militant loyalist group responsible for characters such as Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair and Billy "King Rat" Wright who is famous for saying on national television that "The only good Catholic is a dead Catholic". Murals bearing their faces amonst other "martres" and symbols of the loyalist idealology adorn the houses. Flags bearing the red hand of Ulster and red-white-and-blue footpaths.

We moved on down the Shankill Rd to the Peace wall - a massive wall seperating the two communities that has now become a symbol for the peace process. When this comes down there really is peace. On the other side of the wall we saw a few Catholic murals - there are not as many though. On this side the Irish flag is flown. We were dropped off at the offices of Sinn Fein to browse through the gift shop - Sinn Fein and the IRA are the group everyone knows about as they are experts at propaganda. Our taxi driver was amazing, giving us a fairly unbiased and factual explanation of it all. A protestant, he represented 95% of the Belfast community who just want to live in peace. I must admit though that even though I know the story now I don't think I am any closer to understanding it.

After the tour we headed North to Dunluce castle and then another highlight - The Giants Causway. The Giants causway was very impressive - but most of all puzzling! Just how did these symetrical hexagonal rocks come into being. Took losts of pictures to examine and figure out later. Back to Balintoy, a tiny village on the coast, for the night. This community is virtually trouble free and is an example of a successful mix of Catholic and Protestant. Had a great pub meal and listened to diddly till the wee hours.

Day 3 Ballintoy - Dublin

Back to Dublin today. First stop was Derry though for a tour of the walls. Our guide explained the troubles in Derry and the perhaps the most famous incident in the war - Bloody Sunday. The walls of the city look over an area known as the bogside which is home to a poor Catholic community. Saw some great murals here and the Free Derry wall. Also within the walls we saw the Apprentice Boys Hall - the Apprentice Boys of Derry marches are the ones that cause so many troubles each July.

Not much else to see on the way back to Dublin.

I am so glad I have been up there. Things are obviosly changing but it is going to take a long time to change attitudes of hatred that still exist.


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