Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dublin hit by Vertigo!

U2 played at Croke Park in Dublin last night and WE WERE THERE!!!

For those of you who don’t get what the big deal is, perhaps I should explain:
Dublin is U2’s hometown.
U2 is the most Irish of bands, possibly the biggest band in the world.
Croke Park is the very heart of all things Irish. Situated in the middle of Dublin it is sacred ground, used exclusively for GAA (Gaelic football & Hurling – no English sports like Rugby and Soccer allowed, thank you very much!)
The last time U2 played Croke Park was 18 years ago, so this was their homecoming… the Irish pride was tangible to the point of almost being suffocating – Dubliners are terribly proprietal (is that a word?) about this foursome.


It was a perfect, long summer evening – the stadium was bathed in sunlight until it eventually grew dark some time after 10pm, after which it was lit up by stage effects and, at one point, the glowing of 80,000 celphones when Bono gave out his number so that everyone could send a text message in support of his “Make Poverty History” campaign. Yup, that’s right – this Dubliner is going to single-handedly save the world, starting with Africa (in between playing a few songs on their global Vertigo tour, of course).

What more can be said? They started with the tour’s theme song and the stadium was immediately swept in a frenzy of singing and jumping in time to Vertigo. As an opening song I have to say it’s ranks right up there with Robbie Williams’ “Let Me Entertain You” – high praise indeed, as those of you who know me will know.
The strong beat and wailing, trilling guitar that makes U2’s music unique makes for a great live concert, and the sound of 80,000 voices singing such greats as “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” was enough to raise the hair on my arms.
I could have done with a little less of his political musings and appeals but maybe that’s just me – my Irish colleagues didn’t seem to mind.

And all in all the concert was all I could have wished for – great music, a great band, and a chance to sing at the top of my lungs in a crowd without anyone actually hearing me!

Fans poured into the stadium from about 8:30pm

View from our seats

U2 appeared on stage with very little fuss... but the crowd went beserk!

As daylight faded, the stage effects kicked in & the stadium rocked!

See the South African flag? Bono cares about us!

Moody green lights briefly illuminate the crowd

Friday, June 24, 2005

Summer arrives in Ireland

But only briefly. Normally it's on a Tuesday... but this year we were lucky and the mercury broke the 20degree barrier at least 3 times in the last week. Woo hoo! Cause for celebration. For once I was the one emailing about the gorgeous weather while my poor friends & family back home are dying of cold in the clutches of the harsh South African winter (?!). News flash for all of you who have never experienced 8 months of continuous cold, grey, dreary Dublin winter - 16 degrees is Not That Cold! I know I've acclimatised because I found myself going out to work the other day with a smile on my face because it was warm enough to wear short sleeves. It was 13 degrees outside.

But enough rambling about the weather (sorry, the locals do it so much it's rubbed off on me). We took advantage of this glorious sunshine to go into town & look at the ships that were docked on the Liffey for the annual Maritime festival.

Before the ships arrived: Dublin's newest footbridge (ugly, isn't it?) with just a little bit of construction going on in the Docklands area...

One of Ireland's 2 warships

A pretty tallship!

Andrew & Dave contemplating a life as pirates

Another pretty tallship..!

But most important of all... check out the SUNSHINE folks!!!!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Where we live

Ireland can be a cold, miserable place but occasionally it is really beautiful. So here are some pictures of where we live.

Murky sunrise over the Marina

A glorious Winter morning

Full Moon

Pretty Autumn colours on the Malahide Road

A bit of gentle snow...

... Or if you prefer, a blizzard can be provided!

Sunset over the Liffey River in Dublin City. Unfortunately I can't take the credit for this photo - it was taken by someone who works with me... Thanks Kevin!