Christmas Lights In Dublin

Dublin is magical at Christmas time. Glittering lights festoon the city’s streets bringing festive cheer to all.

This year I’ll be in Ireland for Christmas, and what better way is there to celebrate than by sharing some photos of Dublin’s Fair City, adorned in all her Christmas glory.

Baile Atha Cliath in Christmas Lights

Dublin’s Christmas light show may not be as extensive as in other cities around the world, but to my Irish eyes my hometown’s Christmas lighting extravaganza is spectacular.

Christmas Lights by Arnotts Dublin

Christmas lights illuminate the darkest month of the year.

The sun sets around 4.30 pm on Irish Christmas evenings, but Dublin’s Christmas lights bring cheer to these dull and dreary days.

Christmas Lights on Moore Street, Dublin

At night Moore Street vendors’ stalls lay vacant, beneath glittering, illuminated garlands.

In the early morning hours they greet Dublin’s long time retail entrepreneurs in style.

Christmas Crib O'Connell Street, 2014

A Christmas crib sits in all its splendor in front of the GPO on O’Connell Street.  The baby Jesus will take His place of honor amongst the shepherds and Wise Kings on Christmas Eve.

It’s wonderful how Dublin City Council still recognizes the true reason for the season, and continues to include a manger scene as part of the city’s decorations.

Clerys Dept Store Dublin plus the GPO Christmas Tree

A brilliant, glowing Christmas tree sits in the middle of O’Connell Street.

GPO Christmas Tree 2014

It stands in all its luminous glory between Clerys shop and the GPO, the site of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin.

Clerys Dublin - Christmas Bow in Lights

And Clery’s clock, the most famous meeting place in Dublin, looks resplendent beneath this lustrous burnished bow.

GPO Arcade Christmas 2014

Red and gold trees perch high above pedestrians along the GPO arcade.

Christmas Lights on Grafton Street

Once our north side light tour was complete we headed to the south side to see Grafton Street’s illuminations.

Chandelier Lights on Grafton Street Giant flickering chandeliers shine and glow along this famous Dublin wonderland.

Bewley's Cafe at Christmas time

Bewley’s Oriental Cafe is tastefully decorated in gleaming blues.

Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, Dublin, Christmas Lights

Brown Thomas is all aglow, clad in thousands of shimmering lights.
Doors of Dublin with Christmas Wreath

And Dublin’s famous Georgian doors require no lighting – a simple holly wreath provides a lovely, festive feel to these amazing architectural gems.

Dublin Christmas Market

A Christmas market has opened along St. Stephen’s Green. I love how this European tradition is now part and parcel of a Dublin Christmas.

Dublin's Blue Christmas Tree beside Trinity College

 

 

 

Grafton Street at Christmas

Giant snowflakes are all aglow on a Grafton Street store.

St. Stephen's Green Center at Christmas

And the St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center looks magnificent too.

Nollaig Shona Duit from DublinAnd so, I hope this little tour of Dublin’s Christmas light show will kindle happy memories of Christmas in Ireland, for those of you who find yourselves far away from home this year.

And for all my readers, I hope this post finds you celebrating the peace and joy of the Christmas season.

Nollaig Shona Daoibh

Merry Christmas

Irish American Mom

Introducing Emerald Heritage And A Chance To Win Your Own Little Piece Of Ireland

Have you ever dreamed of owning a little piece of Ireland? Well if so, today’s your day to enter our Emerald Heritage giveaway for a chance to become the proud owner of a little plot of Irish land.

I’m delighted to introduce you to a new and unusual idea. Emerald Heritage is offering for sale small plots of land within the Glens of Antrim, in an effort to protect this area from deforestation and to promote regeneration of this natural wildlife habitat.

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Today’s fabulous prize is a one-square foot plot of land in the Antrim hills. But first, here’s some information about Emerald Heritage’s unique and wonderful conservation work.

 

About Emerald Heritage:

 

Emerald Heritage was established by some concerned Irish people to help conserve the land and protect the habitat in this officially recognized Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

 

“Irish landscape and its protection and enhancement

is the primary goal of Emerald Heritage.”

 

The Emerald Heritage team was worried about the possible development of this historical area. They chose to purchase an estate to ensure it is permanently protected and preserved for natural wild plants and animal species.

By offering the public an opportunity to acquire souvenir plots, they hope to promote a world wide effort toward preservation of Ireland’s natural beauty.

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Here’s a little snippet from their website where they fully describe their mission and purpose:

 

“Through your sponsorship we will be able to acquire further land

to conserve and continue to restore Ireland’s native trees,

such as oak, pine and birch providing woodland habitat

for wildlife in an area where deciduous woodland is scarce. 

We are also working to restore native woodland flowers

such as bluebells, bramble and blackthorn.”

 

A commitment is made to all those who choose to purchase a small plot of land and assist them on their mission.

 

No trees will ever be harvested and no hunting

will ever be permitted on the estate. 

“By allowing this woodland to regenerate naturally

it will be a safe haven for wildlife – in perpetuity.”

 

The Plots:

 

A little piece of Ireland, is available for purchase in plots of 1, 4 and 9 square feet with prices starting from $50.00. 

This land will be yours forever, becoming part of your personal estate. Your Irish legacy can be passed on to your children and grandchildren.

Conservation-images-the-land-pauls-photo-257x257Upon purchase you will receive:

  • personalized legal documentation for ownership of your land together with a certificate on parchment paper perfect for framing.
  • a photograph of your plot,
  • a map of the estate with directions and GPS co-ordinates for your plot.
  • master title deed,
  • a host of information about the area and its history.
  • plus a beautifully presented folder for all your documents.

You may also choose to pay an additional fee to register your land ownership with the Northern Ireland Land Registry.

 

What Can I Do With My Plot Of Land?

 

This land is located in a beautiful, scenic part of Northern Ireland. As a landowner you are welcome to visit the area and take a walk around the woodland and photograph your little piece of Ireland.

You are welcome to scatter ashes, plant a tree, or leave a memorial stone.  There are terms and conditions applied to the purchase of the land as it is zoned as a protected woodland:

  • No shooting
  • No building
  • No subdividing your plot
  • Not for use as a commercial campsite

 

Become a Squireen or Squiress:

 

The team at Emerald Heritage have added a little bit of fun into their land ownership process.

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As an Irish landowner you may adopt the title of ‘Squireen’ meaning Irish Landowner, the English terms being ‘Squire’ (male form) or  ‘Squiress’ (female form).

But remember, “it is simply a courtesy title, not a nobility title.”

 

Purchasing A Plot Plus A Special Discount Code:

 

A little piece of Ireland is truly an unusual gift, but I can imagine this unique gift becoming a treasured legacy for those of us with Irish ancestry.

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A Quick Note and Legal Disclaimer:  If you choose to utilize the discount code listed below I will earn a commission for your purchase. Thanks to the generosity of Emerald Heritage I too am now the proud owner of a one square foot plot of Irish land.  If you have any questions you can contact me or leave a comment, and I’ll do my very best to reply.

Purchasing a plot is very simple and can be completed online through the Emerald Heritage website.

The good folk at Emerald Heritage have graciously offered Irish American Mom’s readers a 10% discount when purchasing their own plots of land.

To avail of this offer simply type “irishamericanmom” at the end of the purchasing process. 

CollagesSome Images Courtesy of Causeway Coast & Glens

 

Further Information:

 

Emerald Heritage’s website is a wealth of information about this project. In addition they have been featured in Environment Magazine, Good Housekeeping UK, and a host of other publications in Ireland, and the UK. Further information is available on their Emerald Heritage News page.

You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

The Giveaway:

 

And so, it is time for our little giveaway. Here’s your chance to own a little piece of Ireland.

EH-PACK-SHOT-SQ-WHITE-257x257The winner will receive the following prize package:

  • A plot of land sized – 1 ft x 1  ft
  • Access to the estate in perpetuity.
  • Information and pictures of the area.
  • A map of the estate and directions and GPS co-ordinates of your plot.
  • Your personalized legal documentation for ownership of your land and certificate on parchment paper perfect for framing.
  • A beautifully presented folder for all your documents.
  • Photograph

 

To enter simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter Widget below. Don’t forget to leave a comment on this blog post to complete your entry. Any comment will do, but I’d love to hear why you’d love to own a little piece of Ireland.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Emerald Heritage for sponsoring this giveaway, and to Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust for their support of this endeavor and the beautiful photos of this magnificent area.

And thanks also to everyone who enters and spreads the word about this little giveaway.  I really appreciate each and every one of my readers.

Feel free to share away on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Your help will go a long way to spread the word about this amazing project.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

Introducing A New Social Community For Movers To Ireland

I often receive e-mails from readers asking me for tips about moving to Ireland.  Finding a trusted, thorough, and well researched resource was not easy, well not until now. The Ireland Move Club has been specially designed to help answer the questions that arise along the way, when planning a move to Ireland.

Liam, the creator of an Irish website called Got Ireland, recently made the move back to his hometown of Cork from California. Along the way he learned much about the ups and downs of moving a family half way round the world.

I was delighted to hear Liam has started this new online venture, to share his knowledge, and first-hand information gained through his journey.  And so over to Liam ….

The Ireland Move Club

Before I start I’d like to say thank you to Mairéad for giving me the opportunity to submit a guest post on Irish American Mom. Like many of you, I have been a longtime fan of Mairéad’s blog, and have watched it grow into an incredible Irish cultural resource over the last few years.

Mairéad has been kind enough to let me tell you a little bit about my brand new website – The Ireland Move Club. I like to describe the Ireland Move Club as a social community for movers to Ireland.

It’s a place where those of you planning on moving to Ireland (and those of you just dreaming about it) can come to meet, share stories, experiences, knowledge and more. You can participate purely as an observer, or you can seek out advice and information which will help you plan your move.

For those of you who live in Ireland, or those who have moved here, you can get involved and help others out with information you might have that they need. Similar to other online communities, you can create your own profile, send messages, make friends, participate in interest groups, and even have a little fun along the way.

Aside from the community aspect of the website, I’ve been busying myself creating practical international moving advice which I’m sharing in the form of blog posts on the site. My goal is to build up a repository of first-hand information that can help others facing similar logistical issues with moving to, and settling in, Ireland.

For example, you might learn a thing or two about what’s involved in bringing your pet dog to
Ireland, or some tips to help you choose an international shipping company.

If you’d like to find out more, become involved, offer some useful advice, or simply just do a little browsing around, I invite you over to The Ireland Move Club.

 

Logo - The Ireland Move Club

 

Wishing Liam every success with his new life back home in Ireland, and I hope the Ireland Move Club will grow into a vibrant, active website where community members help and encourage each other as they plan new beginnings in Ireland.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

Oreo – Our Soccer Loving Border Collie

I love border collies. Their intensity, energy, loyalty and intelligence simply amazes me. In a previous post I introduced my love of these amazing canine companions, but I have failed to update everyone on how our very own border collie puppy, Oreo has become a really important part of our family.

Border Collie - Panting

And here she is!  All grown up!

 

Puppy Toilet Paper Trouble

Do I remember those puppy days?

Remember? Will I ever forget?

She was into everything.

Nothing was off limits.

 

Border Collie Puppy - Toilet Paper Play

But who could be mad at such a contrite cutie?

 

Soccer Agility - Border Collie

Whenever you hear tell a border collie has energy,

whatever you may imagine that energizer level might be,

just double it in your mind.

Hey, go ahead and triple it.

If a border collie is not kept busy, mischief is in store.

 

Border Collie Makes a Save

But lucky for us we soon discovered our dog LOVES soccer.

She’s the best goalie in our house!

 

Soccer dribble border collie style

She dribbles!

 

Border Collie Soccer Header

She’s great at headers.

 

Border Collie Scores A Goal

She even scores!

Call me a crazy dog mom, but I believe she understands the concept of goals.

 

Border Collie Cool Down

And after the game, a good old cool down is in order.

 

Border Collie Eyes

 What do you mean star soccer players can’t nap on the couch?????

 

Border Collie On The Couch

Don’t worry! I wasn’t napping.

I’ve been herding flies just for you.

 

Hope everyone enjoys the finals of the World Cup today. I’m not sure if Oreo will be shouting for Argentina or Germany. May the best team win.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

 

“Hope In New York City” – A Young Adult Novel By Cynthia G. Neale

Hope in New York City: The Continuing Story of The Irish Dresser by Cynthia G. Neale tells America’s story, through the eyes of a young Irish immigrant, Nora McCabe.

Today I am delighted to introduce you to the second installment in an Irish American trilogy for young adult readers.

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In this book we experience Nora’s struggles, her inner turmoil and homesickness, and her journey towards becoming an American in the midst of prejudice and hardship.

Nora does not merely seek a new land, a roof over her head or a new nationality. She yearns deeply for a familiar sense of home. Through her daily struggles, she learns true belonging exists in the human spirit, and in the love of family and friends.

It is important to remember the Irish Famine, especially for those of us with family ties to the Emerald Isle. This book offers young readers meaningful and realistic insights into the experience of Irish immigrants as they arrived destitute on America’s shores.

Cynthia Neale is a talented writer, who progresses her tale in a lively, lyrical style. I admire her ability to write historical fiction in first person, present tense.

It’s many years since I could be classified as a young adult reader. The now familiar “YA” term didn’t even exist when I was a teenager.  The books of my youth were mainly written in third person, past tense, making this novel the first book written in first person, present tense, I ever read.

At first I found this point of view and tense a little off-putting, but Neale’s mastery of her story, and her skillful descriptions of the dangerous streets of New York, captured my imagination. With each page I turned, she reeled me in with her gripping narrative, and detailed imagery.

I quickly found myself deep within Nora McCabe’s young mind, coming to understand and empathize with her homesickness, yet wishing for her to let the past go. I cheered as she learned to open her heart to her new city, and to connect with her new neighbors.

I may be an old fashioned, traditional reader of 3rd person, past tense historical fiction, but by the end of this book, I came to appreciate the power and urgency of present tense storytelling. I now understand how immediate action and narrative can draw a reader in.  In this book, the dark and dangerous streets of 1840’s New York came to life.  I traveled hand-in-hand with Nora, learning to navigate and survive in her new and perilous world.

I did however have two minor issues with this book. Nora’s last name, McCabe, was not an appropriate choice for a family from County Cork. As an Irish person, I associate the name McCabe with the counties of Ulster rather than Munster.

In addition, the dialogue in this book did not reflect the nuances of Cork people’s conversations.  The word “wee’ was used too frequently. It is an Irish term for the word little, but is seldom used in Cork. It is heard most frequently in the northern counties of Ulster. These minor issues would probably go unnoticed by 99% of readers, but since my entire family hails from County Cork, the characters of this book were not true Corkonians for me.

dresser

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The Trilogy:

 

This sequel continues Nora’s saga, which started in The Irish Dresser: A Story of Hope during The Great Hunger.  Nora crawls into an old dresser to escape from Ireland to America and the devastation of the Irish Famine. Inside her dresser on board ship, Nora learns to turn hope into reality.

The third, and most recently published volume in this series, is Norah: The Making of an Irish American Woman in 19th Century New York City. Here our young heroine frees herself from the limitations of poverty, gender and class as she learns to overcome corruption and exploitation.

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A single volume or this complete trilogy would make a perfect Christmas gift for any young adult reader interested in history, their Irish roots or the making of America. I highly recommend these books for young students of Irish and American history.

 

Cynthia G. Neale:

 

Cynthia Neale is an American with Irish ancestry, who frequently travels to Ireland, and is keenly interested in the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish during the Famine. She grew up in Watkins Glen, New York, and now lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter.

 

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Cynthia G. Neale

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I love this explanation of her writing style from her official web page:

“I seek to sew my stories together with the unbreakable golden thread of hope.This golden thread oftentimes is a rare and buried treasure that has to be found with great tenacity and prescience.Hope can come lilting and skipping throughout lighthearted and humorous stories, whether they are written for adults or children.”

Wishing Cynthia every success with this wonderful trilogy of Irish American tales.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom