The Dark Knight

So often, something you’ve been anticipating for so long leaves you a little flat when it arrives. Expectation isn’t fulfilled, hype not lived up to.

I’ve been looking forward to The Dark Knight ever since the final scene of Batman Begins when Lt. Gordon tantalised us with the description of this new criminal with a taste for the theatrical. I’m not a comic book fan, I’m not that knowledgeable about the Batman universe even, but the 1989 TIm Burton Batman was one of my favourite ever films. Returns was good, but let’s not talk about the Schumacher efforts. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins blew me away and I literally couldn’t wait for The Dark Knight to arrive. Lana has put up with me repeating lines from the trailers to her for months. “Why so serious?” “Evening Commmmmisioner.” “You’re just a freak, like me!” She must have thought I was insane.

But with Nolan’s incarnation of The Joker, immensely played by Heath Ledger, I think insanity has been redefined. This Joker must be one of cinema’s most purely psychopathic evil geniuses. The pure opposite of Jack Nicholson’s portrayal. Whilst the trailers and various interviews whetted the appetite, nothing prepared me for how intense the character was, and that speaks volumes for the skill of the sadly departed Ledger, but also to the Nolans’ screenplay. There’s no origin story for The Joker here, bar some hints at paternal issues, there’s no reason for his actions – he just is. From the first meeting with the mob and a game of hide the pencil (not really a spoiler) you know that this is no joke(er)

It also sets the tone for the rest of the movie. This is no sugar coated violence flick. Whilst the camera might cut away at the crucial moment you are left in no doubt as to how brutally some characters are dispatched. Whilst previous Batman films were basically family friendly, and even Begins was fairly tame, The Dark Knight contains more than “fantasy violence” and is all the better for it. How it got a 12A certificate I do not know.

This is no more true than in the eventual reveal of Two Face. One of the film’s most closely guarded secrets, the build up to the first view of Harvey Two Face is full of expectation as to what he will look like. It’s fair to say that (without spoiling anything) they went far further than I ever expected. This is no Tommy Lee Jones that’s for sure.

This film also goes further than any other comic book film in plot terms, giving viewers a complex, question laden 2 hours and 32 minutes. There’s no lazy reliance on action sequences to carry the third act, it doesn’t resort to a duel to the end between the two main adversaries. In fact one thing that I noticed was that Batman and indeed Wayne himself received relatively little focus despite being the main protagonist. The film allowed it’s incredible array of strong characters to be developed to the full, none more so than Dent. It also poses difficult moral questions that tax more than just the hero, but when it does, it does it in a deep way that makes Peter Parker’s troubles in Spiderman 2 look, well, comedic.

Criticisms? Well right now, I don’t really have any. Yes, Bale’s Batman voice is a bit overdone, but quite honestly there aren’t that many lines to get too bothered about it, after all Batman has always been measured by actions, not words. Length? It seemed fine to me and I didn’t notice it dragging out.

Does it deserve the huge acclaim it is getting? Right at the moment, yes. Time will tell whether it becomes a true great, as opposed to just the best comic book film of all time but I reckon the odds are short. I’d say Nolan is a cert for a Best Director Oscar, and it has to be in the running for Best Film I’d imagine. If Ledger was still alive then Best Supporting gongs would be in the bag for sure, but we will have to wait and see how various awarding bodies handle that one.

It’s jumped straight to the top of the IMDB top 250 with a score of 9.3, pushing down opposition such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather (and Part 2) Again time will tell, but what I can say personally is that it exceeded my expectations and hopes, and for that I stick it right up there.

Hamleys Dundrum the first flagship store outside Regent St? Don’t think so…

I read recently that Hamleys, the famous Regent Street toy store, are to open a three storey shop in the Dundrum Town Centre shopping mall in Dublin. As I live in Dublin this is nice for me.

However, I take issue with the claim that this is:

its first standalone store in Europe besides its Regent Street flagship.

When I was a kid growing up in Luton I clearly remember the opening of the first ever Hamleys store outside of Regent Street in a two storey shop attached onto the side of the Arndale Centre by the town hall. As a kid it was kind of a big deal, and a must-stop destination on the Thursday after school shopping trips with my Mum. It was there for a good few years in the mid to late 80’s. Checking Wikipedia there is no mention of it, but my memory does not deceive me. I might go and edit the entry but as Google isn’t turning up any references to the existence of the store somebody will probably take the edit down for lack of citation or something.

So, hard luck Dublin you are not the first to get a proper Hamleys Store (Airports and concessions in House of Fraser don’t count I’m afraid) you were beaten by the proud former holder of the worst town in Britain title. As a salutary reminder of the looming recession it is worth noting that the next tenants of the Luton Hamleys store when it closed down were no less than Poundsaver.

Golf lessons #5,6

Two lessons this week. I didn’t have any chance to get in any practice after #4 due to a wedding, a football tournament in the UK and a dodgy stomach.

As has become custom, I turned up a little early and warmed up with a few chips from around the practice green. Joe then got me to warm up with a few 7 irons off the tee before introducing me to his new toy, the Explanar.


The theory is quite simple, but surprisingly effective. You stand in the middle of a circle that represents your ideal swing plane (once it it set up for your height etc.) You then swing a fairly heavy roller back and forwards, following through as you would normally. As the “club” is fixed to the right plane your body and muscles “feel” the movements they should be making.
You just keep going back and forth continuously, not making individual swings. On a hot day it certainly gets a sweat on as well! Joe got me concentrating on how it forced my wrists to hinge on the backswing, something he had noticed I was weak at from the beginning but waited until now to introduce. I had a tendency to let my wrists flop back and used the arms to get a full swing rather than hinging the wrists properly.
Back on the mat, the 7 iron felt as light as a feather in comparison to the roller and shots became effortless. It all felt natural. Moving to the 3 wood was the same, but of course I then started to think about things again, trying to make sure my shoulders and hips turned well and that broke the rhythm. I guess just getting the muscle memory to give a consistent effortless swing is the key to success. Nevertheless, my shots were going very well, even when we broke out the driver. I hit a couple that carried well past the 200 yard mark with a range ball (which typically cuts length by about 30% anyway) which was very pleasing.
Lesson 6
Again, a few pitches and chips before the lesson started on a sweltering day, just two days after lesson 5.
This time we changed pace a bit and started off with the short game, pitching shots onto a green over an obstacle (a nicely placed fence) from light rough. However Joe made sure to give me lies which bedded the ball down more than I’d been doing when practicing, giving me a harder time. I still had a tendency to try to help the ball up into the air too much rather then relying on the club to do the work (a sand wedge in this case) and to not hinge my wrists enough. Joe also showed me a bad habit I have of opening up the club face by changing my grip (basically twisting my hands to the right) rather than twisting the club within my usual grip. This caused a number of the shots to shoot off to the right thanks to the weakened grip.
We then moved onto the flop shot. The stance is slightly more closed than I was doing for the pitches with the sand wedge, but the ball was placed more forward in the stance and weight more centered (rather than back in the stance with weight on the left foot) The swing involves a big wrist hinge and a committed strike through the ball. The forward position of the ball in the stance combined with a lofted club face results in a nice high lob that will clear any obstacle and have very little roll when it lands. It took a lot of getting used to and I struggled with anything other than a very good lie. We tried a few off the main surface which was rock hard and it was near to impossible! Joe also said that this type of setup is also the basis of a good bunker shot, which we will no doubt get onto soon.
The rest of the lesson was back onto the mat, after a couple on minutes on the Explanar. Concentrating on the 3 wood but raising up the power in the swing a bit, whilst still trying to keep it all in good rhythm and keeping my legs working in the right way. I hit some ok shots, but to be honest I was feeling it on such a hot day and it probably wasn’t a good idea to have another lesson so soon after the first. Still, there’s a golfer in me trying to get out, I’m sure.

Golf lesson #4

I managed to get to the driving range on Sunday – the first time I’d picked up a club since the first lesson. I decided to hit off the grass area which unfortunately was very bare and rock hard. The first few hits from the grass with my 7 iron were awful, so I tee’d up and got out the 3 wood. This was a little better but my slice was as bad as ever. I hit a few with the driver and then tried some chipping – trying out the techniques Joe showed me last time. It was awful. I moved inside onto an artificial surface and things improved. My chips with the sand wedge were going brilliantly – lovely high lobs consistently.

I arrived a little early for todays lesson so went out onto the practice chipping area and hit some more from the rough. These were ok, but I found it hard to judge length to the flag well. I found myself starting to stop my backswing too early rather than committing to the shot and letting it go naturally.

Onto the lesson itself.

After hitting a few with the 7 iron Joe decided to try and sort out the slice. He set me to work with a drill that involves placing a head cover under my right armpit. The aim of this is to stop my right elbow from splaying outwards on the backswing which takes the club off plane. Joe was awaiting the delivery of his Explanar device but the head cover would suffice in the meantime and is something I can do at the range anyway.

The first few hits of my 8 iron with a three quarter swing were sweet as a bell and straight up the middle of the range. We moved onto the 3 wood and again with a three quarter swing things looked ok, though there was still some slice there. In an attempt to keep the shoulder in I was taking the club off plane towards the vertical too much – basically overcorrecting the initial error! I was now trying to think about and control two variables and that got me thinking too much, to the point where I took a couple of air shots.

I got it back together again however and struck two of the sweetest shots I’ve ever hit. They flew straight and true on a fairly low trajectory and carried nicely past the 200 yard marker with a range ball. Not a bad way to end the session.

Golf lessons #1,2,3

I first had golf lessons about ten or more years ago whilst working as a student at Ford in Essex. They had a brilliant scheme whereby any salaried employee could obtain a yearly grant of around £200 to use for pretty much any learning you wanted. Brick laying, snowboarding, you name it (there was a list of approved activities but it was very wide.) I used mine to have six golf lessons. I’d never played before and unfortunately didn’t really start playing after. Thus, over the next few years I maybe played once or twice and lost the memory of everything I’d learnt.

When we moved over to Dublin I started playing with my father in law Bruce. At first we just made visits to the local par three course. It’s 18 holes and most are around 130-150 yards. There are two over 200 yards and four very short <100 yard holes. I would normally shoot about 85-90 for a round. There was obviously lots wrong. Over the last winter (yes, winter!) we progressed to the local pay and play full courses and whilst I could enjoy a round I was still really poor, never getting under 120.

Unfortunately, Bruce broke his wrist recently, so without a partner I’ve been wondering what to do. I don’t feel confident or ready to even think about joining a club and knew I needed to improve.

So, I’ve recently invested in a set of lessons. It was obvious to me that I needed to get the fundamentals right, so this seemed like the best approach. I went with Joe Murray at Hollystown Golf Club mainly because it is near work and it’s also where we’ve played the most. It occurs to me that I should probably be blogging about my progress, so here’s a recap on the first three lessons:

Lesson 1

On turning up Joe asked me what my handicap was. I replied Golf 🙂 Actually I didn’t, but I did get a bit embarrassed when saying I was a novice. He looked at my bag, complete with Nike Sumo driver and 3 wood and I said “All the gear and no idea!”

Joe started off just telling me to hit some balls with my 8 iron from the tee. About 20 balls later after watching from various angles he stopped me. He then proceeded to demonstrate my swing as-is and made a rather exaggerated backwards movement with the whole body bending as his hips shifted to the right through the backswing. At least I think it was exaggerated for effect, but then maybe not! The rest of the lesson focussed on position and posture through address – tucking my knees inwards and concentrating on keeping the legs still through a half swing with the aid of an inflatable beach ball.. I was soaking up the advice and put it into practice straight away. A lot of focus was put on getting the right address to the ball for the club length. I’d previously been standing way too close it turns out.

Inbetween

I hadn’t had any chance to put things into practice between the first and second lesson, but I had been doing the posture and swing exercises Joe had left me with.

Lesson 2

The initial hit of ten or so balls showed I’d retained the advice given. I was still finding a tendency to slice the ball, but Joe said he knew why and didn’t want to overcomplicate things at this stage. This lesson concentrated on the backswing and getting the correct takeaway, hip and shoulder rotation. Working with a 7 iron and 3 wood mainly. On a few of the balls there was some evidence starting to emerge of a ‘natural draw’ which encouraged me. I could feel a well hit ball, it’s a case of being able to replicate it consistently.

Inbetween

Between lessons 2 and 3 I made a couple of trips to the par 3 course over the weekend. On the first I went round in 74, never hitting more than 5 shots in a hole and getting par on a handfull. No birdies yet, but I hit the green in one a few times, including on the 212 yard 12th with my 3 wood. My shots off the tee were a hundred times better than they used to be, but my achilles heel was chipping around the green and putting. My chips were very inconsistent and either coming short or running off the back of the green as I topped them. They never got any height either. Putting from distance I tended to under-hit them and mis read the green.

Either way with scores of 74 and 76 there was marked improvement.

Lesson 3

Lesson 3 started with chipping after I’d told Joe about my scores (I neglected to mention the bit about the course being par 3 at first though 🙂 ) It was immediately apparent where my chipping was going wrong. I was too square in the stance whilst trying to open up the club face. My backswing was stilted and I was trying to force the ball into the air (causing the topping) All classic errors. Joe opened up my stance, put my weight more to the left foot, choked down on the grip and got me to swing more naturally. They were better and with a sand wedge there was some backspin on them as well. The ground was very wet however so it looked better than reality!

We moved back to the full swing for the second part of the lesson and got the driver out for the first time. We worked on getting more of a full shoulder turn and keeping the club on the right plane. To be honest I wasn’t at all happy with the swing and put in this lesson and could feel it going wrong. Whilst it was a bit of a come-down to not feel myself moving on in leaps and bounds it’s a case of keeping practicing and getting the right feel. When I feel it going wrong I have a tendency to over swing and try and force the ball too much, losing the natural swing and rhythm.

So, that’s it so far. Lesson four is tonight and from now on I’ll blog about each of them. If anything it acts as a handy review of what I’ve learnt – helping to keep it fresh in my own mind.

iPhone 3G first thoughts

  • It wasn’t hard to get one if you were prepared. I pre-ordered early the day the pre orders started and was ok. There was a bloke in front of my in the O2 Blanchardstown store who pre-ordered a 16GB and was only offered an 8GB, despite his protestations about being ‘the first person’ to pre-order.
  • O2 ported over my pre-pay number right there and then. I’m used to this taking days in the UK.
  • Sign up and activation was painless. I think mainly because I had it all done by 10am Dublin time and Ireland is a small country anyway.
  • The device is noticeable heavier and fatter than my 16GB iPod touch, which is not a criticism, just a difference to be expected and gotten used to.
  • The Home button seems to require more of a firm press than the Touch.
  • The multi-touch screen seems like it has been slowed down a bit from the Touch. Presses need to be a bit firmer and scrolling seems slower.
  • Love the volume and silent buttons. LOVE the speaker and not having to find a pair of headphones just to watch a quick video or listen to a song.
  • It makes and receives phone calls.
  • No visual voicemail – now I have one I honestly don’t care. I maybe get 1 voicemail a month and never have to trawl through any others to get to it. I can understand the value for heavy users, but that ain’t me.
  • It sends and receives text messages. I honestly cannot remember the last time I sent or got an MMS – not bothered about that.
  • Wifi with enterprise access at at last. However I haven’t been able to get it to work at work, due to the fact that there is a rogue unprotected adhoc access point somewhere with the SSID I need to use and that’s all the phone will see.
  • I need to get over the mental hurdle of being stingy with using cellular data. So far I’ve used 244K of download. I still get a slight panic when I tap on Weather or Stocks and it just goes off and gets data. So I only (only?) have 1GB per month, but I need to just go with the flow and treat data access as a normality.
  • App Store – immediate downloads: Twitteriffic, the light saber thing, Facebook and Exposure.
  • App Store – there’s lots missing from the Irish store. No games at all, and certain other apps are not there. I WANT SUPER MONKEYBALL!!!
  • The Remote app is teh awsomeness. It may just make me get an Apple TV just to show it off!
  • There’s lots of crud and no way to get through it other than scrolling. More evident on the iPhone interface than iTunes. Let me ignore the app developers producing ebooks or bible stuff please!
  • I’ve not paid a penny for an app yet. I want to hear the wisdom of those who have. I want a good weight of reviews.
  • GPS – well I went outside and it knew where I was, so it works. So does cellular triangulation.
  • Maps – tried to search for ‘Hotel’ when located at home. It gave me three results. IN THE WHOLE OF DUBLIN! I know this isn’t a phone issue, it is a data issue. Come on Irish companies, start advertising yourselves – your market just got a whole lot more mobile.

Sampling Dublin, part 3 and more

Well it turns out I am the worst restaurant critic ever after producing just two reviews of the places we’ve eaten at since moving over here. So, here’s a quick attempt to cover the rest in no particular order:

Eden

Eden is a lovely, lovely place but they clearly need to work on their website which is showing a database error just now. We’ve eaten there twice now; the first time being after our wedding due to a voucher we had as a present. Serving contemporary Irish/European cuisine in a two-floor restaurant located in the heart of Temple Bar, Eden has apparently been sold on by its original owners but we still found it to be a great place to eat. I particularly liked the Gravlax of vodka cured Salmon starter and the special of Haddock on a bed of Chick Pea salsa I had on our first visit. Our second visit was for Valentines Day and even though it was supposedly a set menu the choice was excellent. Dinner for two including wine and dessert comes to around the €60-70 per head mark. Service is attentive but restrained. My glass was never in danger of running dry which is always the sign of a good restaurant.

Maloti

An Indian restaurant on South William Street, we stopped into Maloti one night before a gig. It’s a fairly upmarket Indian, with contemporary decor and whilst the food was fine, I found the portions rather small and it didn’t seem fantastic value for money. In particular the size of the dishes containing the condiments served with poppadums was laughable. All in all nothing special, but maybe just nicer to look at than your average Indian restaurant.

Seasons @ The Four Seasons

We have a small book of the 100 best restaurants in Dublin at home. It’s produced by The Dubliner magazine and most of the reviews appear to be here. One night, having decided to eat out the coming Saturday I threw the book to Lana and let her choose the venue. A few thumbs through and one phone call later and she proudly stated it was all sorted. “Great, where are we going?” said I. “Oh, the Four Seasons” she proclaimed. After I returned from arranging the extension to my credit card I managed a response back! The Four Seasons in Ballsbridge is one of Dublin’s swankiest hotels, as evidenced by the Ferrari 599 GTB and various Bentleys parked outside as we arrived. It is also home to the Ice Bar, apparently one of the places to be seen. Thankfully the restaurant itself is a bit more refined and indeed the furnishings are very grandiose. It was fairly quiet when we arrived, but became busier as the evening drew on. After ordering our dishes and wine we were served an aperitif of beetroot cappucino. I had a starter that consisted of a tasting dish of scallops, each presented separately in it’s shell. Each was accompanied by a different sauce, including one that came natural and with caviar. For main I had quite simply the finest steak I’ve ever eaten. Bad memory robs me of what else we eat (as I said, I’m a rubbish food critic!) but it was all gorgeous. The service, naturally was outstanding. The price? Well there wasn’t much change out of €300 after tip and that was with only one bottle of keenly priced Rioja. That’s the last time I let Lana choose!

Elephant & Castle

In stark contrast to the Four Seasons, Elephant & Castle is located in Temple Bar. Whilst it looks fairly unassuming from the outside and with a very basic interior, it’s probably our favourite place to just turn up and eat at. Open until 11:30pm every night and not taking reservations, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to eat here, though I imagine they get very busy at weekends. The menu doesn’t reflect the surroundings and this is definitely not your average fare. There’s a decidedly eclectic slant to a lot of the food with dishes such as Roasted Quails with Glazed Cabbage and Cider sauce available. However, Elephant & Castle also holds no pretensions and there is something for everyone. In particular they serve probably the nicest chicken wings I’ve ever had and the burgers are gorgeous too. If you want a place to have a casual meal with mates, you can’t beat it. They are also open from 8am on weekdays for breakfast – something that makes me regret with live out of town.

Aya

A Yo-Sushi style conveyor belt sushi place, Aya is located just around the back of Brown Thomas on Clarendon Street (by the way, Yo Sushi themselves have a place in the Dundrum shopping centre) It is pretty standard fayre as far as sushi goes. We opted for the Sushi 55 option which for a fixed price allows you to fill your boots with 55 minutes of conveyor belt related action. It includes one drink and if memory serves green tea is thrown in. We were sat a fairly long way from the hatch the conveyor belt spat out from and it proved to be rather frustrating as we saw prospective dishes whisked away by more fortunately located punters. The dishes themselves are sorted into different price bands, indicated by the colour of the plate (with sushi 55 you can just take your pick and not worry) and they are not limited to sushi – the odd dish such as sesame chicken comes past as well. All in all it is fun, but I’d still go somewhere like Yamamri for decent Sashimi by preference. They also sell a range of Japanese foods and ingredients as well.

The Port House

Located on South William Street, The Port House is easy to miss. From the outside it just looks like a few tables and chairs outside a small pub, but step inside (and down) and you are transported into a dim but beautifully candle-lit cellar tapas restaurant. We went on a weekday evening and whilst we could walk in and get a table, it was still buzzing inside (I don’t think they take reservations) The menu offers a wide variety of dishes along with a range of daily specials. We sampled the garlic chicken wings, patatas bravas, spanish meatballs, calmari and a gorgeous pintxo with roast beef amongst others. I washed it down with a carafe of the house Rioja. The food arrived very quickly once we had ordered, but we were left for about 20 minutes after being seated before our food order was taken. Dishes are keenly priced at around €4-7 per dish.

Dublin, a year (and a month) on

They say that time flies when you are having fun. Well it’s been over a year now since we upped sticks and moved to Dublin. In that time we’ve settled into our flat, got married, got stuck into our respective jobs (more on that below…) enjoyed our first Irish Christmas together, bought another car and lots more.

By and large we’ve not looked back. The move has been great for many reasons. Dublin itself is a great place to live, and we are pretty well positioned in Lucan. It’s been very convenient for commuting as we both work outside the city anyway. Getting into town is simple, being only 15 minutes in the car or slightly longer by bus.

I got dug into work right from the beginning, building up a team to go and deliver new function in Lotus Connections. After a summer of stops and starts we really got going around September with a firm plan of what we were to produce. That culminated in the release of Lotus Connections 2.0 last month, about which you’ll find more over at the synchronous blog. It was a rollercoaster ride, and it’s fair to say it dominated my life for the last few months or so, as evidenced by the lack of activity on this blog.

Lana started working as a staff nurse in a community residential facility for seriously mentally disabled adults in Maynooth after we returned from our honeymoon in September. As usual with nursing she was working shifts which in this case were 12 hours long including every other weekend. This saw early starts for both of us often, until she got her own car – a Toyota Yaris – earlier this year. Whilst not a replacement for the Mini she had in the UK it’s a nice little car that seems spritelier than it’s 1 litre engine would suggest.

However, the rather punishing nature of the shifts took it’s toll and contributed to Lana’s decision to quit that role, so as of now she’s looking around for what to do next. One option on the table to to go back and further her education in some form or other, but it is early days in the decision making process!

In terms of culture and social life, we’ve taken advantage of what Dublin has to offer, but have not spread our wings too far out into the rest of the country as of yet. Whenever somebody asks me about how living here compares to back in Southampton my answer typically revolves around the fact that you are never lost for anything to occupy your time here. Like any capital city, Dublin has a wide choice of things to do. It’s not uncommon for us to both get in from work at 9pm on a weekday and then decide to head out into town for food. There’s always somewhere new to try and I can comfortably say that we’ve eaten in more places than we ever tried in Southampton (mainly because there was a fairly limited choice of places to try!) We’ve been to the zoo, been to various gigs and probably been to the cinema more than ever (there’s one right on our doorstep, as there was in Southampton) It’s probably also fair to say that we enjoy the fact that things are a lot more accessible here. You can go shopping until 8 or later pretty much any night of the week and there’s a lot of choice in where to go.

I’ve been playing football with a work team in a league over the past year, as well as making a good effort to improve my (awful) golf including taking some recent lessons. Initially I found Dublin to be a very photogenic place and that encouraged me to take the camera out often. However this year work has intervened and I’ve just not found the time – something I want to remedy very soon.

Of course there are some downsides to life over here, but they are really just annoyances. I’ve commented previously on the standard of driving, and it still gets to me, but I’ve started to realise that life is too short to get too wound up about such things! Like pretty much everywhere, the current global financial situation is having its effects felt here. Petrol has risen from about €1.15 to €1.30 per litre (which admittedly is still cheaper than the UK) and other motoring costs are much higher here. Housing prices are going down, which is ultimately good for us as we bide our time before buying – wanting to take as much advantage as we can of the fact that we won’t have to pay stamp duty as first time buyers.

Then there is the weather. In fact maybe that is the biggest change between Southampton and here. Being (relatively) coastal, Southampton benefitted from a very reasonable micro-climate and it didn’t seem to rain that often. Dublin on the other hand sees most of the the weather coming in from the Atlantic, allowing central parts of Ireland to benefit from the rain shadow of the West coast. Unfortunately the shadow seems to run out somewhere just short of Dublin!

So all in all things are going very well. When we we planning the move we were open about the fact that we wouldn’t stay if it wasn’t working out. It is, and I can’t see us going anywhere anytime soon.