Saturday, 17 November 2012

Life List - Explore the universe like it's 1785!

I'm a nerd at heart. I have geeky pursuits and I like dorky things.

Some of those nerdy things include history and science, which pretty much sums up why I love places like Dunsink Observatory.

Dunsink Observatory was built between 1783 and 1785, was once home to the great Sir William Rowan Hamilton (who, from what I can surmise, took a stroll one day and had a big idea), used to provide local standard time for Dublin and was mentioned in James Joyce's Ulysses. Who wouldn't want to visit it?

Better still, they host public open nights for free during the winter and all you have to do if you're interested in going is ask a lovely lady named Hilary. So I found myself a few weeks back at Dunsink taking in a lecture on the concept of time. What is time? How do you actually quantify it? How do we know what time it is right now?

After learning all about time and how it's actually not what time we think it is at all, we had a chance to visit the South Dome where they keep the Grubb Telescope

Beautifully crafted? Why yes. Housed in a stunning (albeit, freezing cold) dome? Indeed it is! Provided an amazing view of celestial orbs and acted as an earthly gateway to our universe? Not in the slightest. Unfortunately, Dublin is far too cloudy and full of light pollution to see much of anything but it made me feel like an early explorer all the same. If you have a chance, go visit!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Life List - Rent a surf cottage on the west coast of Ireland for the winter

Growing up I was always envious of people who holidayed at their cottage each summer (surpassed only by my jealousy of people who jetted off to Europe each July, bidding adieu and waving their passports as they skipped off to the airport - grrrrr).  While I would periodically receive invitations to join in on the fun, somehow the timing was just never right.
Would I like to join you and your family for a bonfire, s'mores and some singsongs at your lakeside retreat over Labour Day weekend you ask? Perhaps some canoeing in the Thousand Islands? No, no...I have far too much to do in my suburban paradise, thank you very much...what with working 3 jobs to pay for my overpriced university education and all. I couldn't possibly pull myself away to live the good life, even for one weekend.

And as time went on, summers came and went and somehow, my cottage fantasties remain limited to the confines of my imagination....until now...
After university I moved to Ireland which is a country that is more or less permanently devoid of warm summer weather.  However, what it lacks in sunshine, it makes up for with some of the world's best year round surfing.
So this is the year that I get my cottage. Okay, so it's not summertime...and there's not a lake in sight. But there's a view of a castle from my bedroom window and it's a short walk to the beach. That beats s'mores and singsongs in my books any day...