Christmas Markets came late to the UK. It’s not that the UK didn’t celebrate Christmas. Since Victoria’s Albert brought the Christmas tree to England the Brits have done it up in grand style. Before Christmas markets, in the European fashion, came to the UK there was always Covent Garden with its stalls and decorations and Regent Street moving out from Piccadilly Circus. (Below are some … Continue reading Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets
Christmas Markets started in Central Europe, Austria and Southern Germany, and have moved up and down the Danube and spread out from that waterway across the continent. London has always had great Christmas decorations and shopping, but the European style Christmas Market crossed the Channel only in the 1980s. Today there are Christmas Markets, Fairs and Faires, throughout England, with the big one in Hyde … Continue reading Covent Garden, London, 2014
When the St. Pancras railway station opened in 1868 its wrought iron and glass train shed, designed by Henry Barlow, was the largest single structure roof in the world. It was 689 feet long, 240 feet wide and 100 feet high. The station was the pride of the Midland Railway and was fronted by a Victorian gothic revival hotel, The Midland Grand, designed by George … Continue reading St. Pancras International Railway Station
I woke up at the St. Pancras Hotel in London this morning at 5 AM with a great sense of quiet and thankfulness. Normally when I wake up early it is because of some imagined fear or excitement for the day ahead. This was different, a sense of calmness kept me awake. It had been a difficult week at the funeral of a dear friend. … Continue reading Thoughts on the way home.
This is the last post from Dublin. It includes pictures of what I consider oddities. The Spire of Dublin is almost 400 feet tall and replaces the Nelson column that was blown up in the 1960s. To me any structure that tall without an antenna or flag is an oddity. Others include James Joyce selling free wi-fi, a literary bar and bookie joint, a 100 … Continue reading Dublin Oddities
I love rivers. We walked along and across the Liffey, took a boat tour as the tide was coming in, which meant the boat could not get under the bridge so they had to let us off downstream, and walked along the canals that feed into the river. The Convention Center where Radio Days took place was along the river. The Samuel Beckett Bridge, formed … Continue reading Life in the Liffey, Dublin
In an earlier post I said Dublin was a city of stories more than sights. But there are sights to see. Here are some of them I didn’t mention in my letter, like Dublin Castle, the seat of British power in Dublin before independence, Christ Church Cathedral, one of two Anglican cathedrals in Dublin, St. Stephen’s Green, The Oscar Wilde memorial in Merrion Square, some … Continue reading Dublin Sights
My sister-in-law accused me of taking pictures of Irish knockers. Well, yes, they are in the picture, but that wasn’t the point. Gerogian buildings, with their colored doors, line Baggot St., Stephens Green and Merrion Square in Dublin. Georgian townhouse windows get smaller as they go up to their three stories to give them the illusion of greater height. The buildings started as private townhouses … Continue reading Dublin’s Georgian Doors.
Dublin is not about sightseeing– although there are sights to see. It is about stories. You can find stories everywhere. Often stories are wrapped in songs. As part of the “media package” that came from the radio conference we got free passes to the “hop on hop off” busses. We soon learned to get on the busses labeled “live commentary.” The recorded commentary, on 6 … Continue reading Dublin, 2014
Douglas is the capital. We stayed in a guesthouse right on the water and saw some wonderful sunrises and watched the ferry come and go from the UK. Continue reading Douglas, Isle of Man
Peel is on the West Coast of the Isle of Man. It is the cathedral town, it has the Manannan MacLir’s museum, as well as Peel Castle and St. Patrick’s Island. The island has working boats. It also has some interesting Celtic-Viking stones and crosses with both religious and pagan symbols. Continue reading Peel, Isle of Man
Castletown was the original capital of the Isle of Man. It is on the Manx Steam Railway. The Rushen Castle is still administrative center. The small whitewashed building is from around 1200. It was first a church than the first school in town, now it is preserved as a historical monument. Continue reading Castletown, Isle of Man
Port Erin is one of the loveliest towns I have seen, aside, of course, for Sitka. Unfortunately there are not many working commercial fishing boats there now. It is the southern terminus of the Manx Steam Railway. It is the home of the Manx Railway Museum. Continue reading Port Erin, Isle of Man
Here are pictures taken from the Manx Steam Railway. I love the puffs of steam and smoke that look like miniature and very low cumulus clouds. Continue reading Views from the Manx Steam Railway
These are pictures from the Manx Steam Railway. The Next post will be pictures taken from the trains. Continue reading Manx Steam Railway
This is the first post from the Isle of Man. It has several shots from around the island, including the route of the TT motorcycle race. Other posts will deal with the Manx Steam Railroad, Douglas, Peel, Castletown and Port Erin. There‘s a sign when you leave the arrivals area of the Isle of Man Airport that reads “Travelers who are not … Continue reading Isle of Man
The taxi driver from Clontarf to the airport offered to take me a different route, around Dublin Bay, along the coast pass the fishing village of Howth and then into the airport. “It’s more miles but with school getting out it now may be less time. At Howth he said “You’ll be flying right over that when you take off.” (We did.) I think he … Continue reading Sometimes flying becomes the theatre of the absurd.
How could it have been better? Radio Days Europe are over. These three days are working themselves into being one of those annual celebrations that mark my calendar, in a way like the Winnipeg Folk Festival or the Sitka Festival. It’s a celebration of many things I hold close; radio, free press, good journalism, storytelling, meeting friends and, this year, Ireland. A celebration it was, … Continue reading Radio Days Europe, Dublin, 2014
St. Patrick’s Day Dublin, Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In a way it reminds me of the May Day Parade in Minneapolis presented by the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater. Continue reading A Colorful and Happy St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin
“In 1014 Brian Boru defeated the Danes at Clontarf near Dublin.” That is what my Grandfather learned in school and it is what he taught me. This year the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin looked back into history as 10 performing troupes of players reenacted legends and events. The theme was “Let’s Make History!” One, a group called SPRAOI did Clontarf, a Thousand Years On. … Continue reading St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Battle of Clontarf, or Here Come the Vikings!
The hats were the same ones I saw at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York 9 years ago but instead of obnoxiously drunk teenagers these were mostly well mannered young people enjoying the Sunday of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival. There were hats, face painting, performances, puppet shows, Brian Boru’s Bouncy Castle, and a St. Patrick’s samba line. Many revelers were wearing “Who’s you … Continue reading Faces of St. Patrick (Reflections on my Grandfather.)
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. My Irish grandfather always told me it was no use going to Ireland on St. Pat’s. All the good bands were in New York, Boston or Chicago. The Dubliners had their own annual gig in St. Paul and the Irish Rovers were usually in Vancouver or Toronto. The Clancy Brothers were always in New York, usually several places in a … Continue reading Dublin Goes Green (It’s the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.)
Tallinn’s tourism agency touts the “best-preserved medieval center in all of Europe.” It’s not completely medieval, and that makes it interesting. Architecture in the old town runs from medieval through baroque and Russian empire style (the Tsar built a very “Alexander Nevsky” cathedral and an opera house in the old town) to Art Nouveau. The mix is what makes the Tallinn old town interesting. Tallinn … Continue reading Tallinn
We arrived in Riga Monday night and walked through a snowy city. By Tuesday it had warmed up, morning fog hid the steeple tops and we walked through slush. The embassy district of Riga has one of the best collections of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe, built for the German merchants who ran the economic life of Riga around 1900. Michael Eisenstein, father of the … Continue reading Riga Nouveau