Sunday, June 28, 2009

brand new post for this picture that im proud of!

actually took this the second night i was in montreal at the international fireworks competition. this was spain's effort.
i made the mistake of going to it on a 'hostel outing'. we were herded around as though on a school tour-horrendous. first and last time i did it.

can you match the pictures to the events listed in the previous post ....

around the city

in montreal it seems that i kept my activities to a minimum. im already forgetting what i did there. i know for sure i did the following things:
- the 'tam tam' at the park.
- museum of fine arts
- random encounter with relatively cute boy
- poetry reading to hear the following poets: dave silverberg, kate leadbeater, chris masson and sharm ista. it was a 'performace poetry' reading. hmm enough said.
- lots of general wandering
- st john's day festivities.
- ate poutine (for those not in the know: chips, cheese curd (a mix between mozzarella and cottage cheese) and gravy) i ate half of my serving and that was enough.
- stayed in a hotel for one night of comfortable bliss. took me three hours to find the bloody thing and once i found it i didnt leave. well except to get provisions which included: one baguette, pate, a local montreal cheese, biscuits, bottle of white Burgundy. i consumed everything and watched the michael jackson is rushed to hospital story unfold. it was the best night i had in montreal.

at the station

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

cities and disillusionment

what is it that makes a city?

what does any one city have over another? are they not all held together with the same fences and walls? i forgot what solitary lonely places they can be. everyone is so full of their tasks. no amount of walking can force you onto the paths that are actually being walked. i find it hard to experience a city in isolation; it is the conversation before, during and after the fact that defines, not the city, but the experience of it. this is my first unconversationed city. no like minds to dissect with.
it doesnt feel like im living in it; it feels as though im just haunting the air around it.
and what can any one city offer that a home city doesnt? they have the same faces, shops, cafes, bricks, clothes, complacency is the only barrier to home.
sitting in the sun in a park is much the same experience in any city-anywhere in the world. what is the need to see another?

i am in montreal.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

book 2

travels with charley: in search of america by john steinbeck

(thank you emily. love at first read)

Monday, June 22, 2009

crossing the border

book 1

catch 22 by joseph heller

lines, lights, etc in philly

philadelphia: the cheese steak state

we rounded off my visit with a tour of the second largest shopping mall in the united states 'the king of prussia'. hardcore america right there.

i am forever indebted to jenny and justin for introducing me to smores. oh my. they even had a special indoor marshmallow toaster. i don't think i can openly confess to the amount of smores that i consumed. needless to say, within seconds of my first mouthful, i was trying to figure out what i could substitute for graham crackers once i return to the emerald isle.

it started to rain so we ducked into parc and had a few beers and waited it out.
the rosenback museum and library was another very worthy pit stop. . where we saw some hand written pages of ulysses, the day after bloomsday. we stumbled upon a gallery showing the work of the students of the yale mfa photography course .

i had philly cheese steak at jim's. i had mine with whiz cheese (is it even a dairy product?)

when we did our cultural put stops they were most worthy. at the raymond and perelman building at the philadelphia art museum we saw the photography of daido moriyama and a fashion exhibition entitled 'shopping in paris: french fashion 1850-1925'. heaven. our trip was not complete without a walk up the most famous rocky steps.
overheard (on walking up the steps) 'my life is complete right now'.

a quick jaunt in the direction of the boat house completed that part of town.

thus far philadelphia takes the proverbial biscuit for regional food sampling. me and jenny started as we meant to go on: mac and cheese at delilah's (best in usa according to oprah!) the first stop on our culinary tour de force. our days were planned around our meals and we fitted cultural events in between meals.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


breakfast at eggspectation, md. hmmm

columbia, maryland

pit stopped at my cousin's (and his fabulous wife's) tastefully decorated apartment. hadn't seen martin in many many years. i spent the whole weekend laughing. we got lost and then got lost again; it was a recurring theme of the weekend-and it was great!we talked and talked and talked again; the other recurring theme of the weekend.

we took a meander around johns hopkins university campus and then we tried to see edgar allen poe's house ... in the projects. even my guide book said 'don't visit after dark'. when we eventually found it, it was closed.

we went to gettysburg the following day. followed the audio guide and still managed to get lost!!! the scale of it all was so huge-hard to imagine the breadth of dead on the fields and forests what we drove through. relic collectors made it all the more real though.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the capital-washington dc 'taxation without representation'.

day 1:
sleep was priority number one in the nations capital. the land of nod can be difficult to find in a bed thats not big enough for you. hostels: a necessary evil.
day 2:
meet me at the museum: the day started with a late rising and a phone call.
me and joe began our wanderings at the national gallery of art. followed by lunch at potbelly where we watched the suits come and go. there are many many suits in washington dc. i've never seen such a high concentration. joe left a passage at the booth at potbelly :

lunch was followed by a visit to the hirshhorn museum and sculpture gallery. my favourite image was 'venus, jupiter & mars' by frederick sommer.

the more obvious attractions followed: the washington monument, the lincoln memorial and spotting the white house. while sitting on a tree by the washington monument helicopters flew low overhead. 3 in total, all heading towards the white house. the first pulled away to the left and last pulled away to the right and the middle chopper landed on the green of the white house. it could only have been one man.
more food accompanied by locally brewed ales; drunken behaviour.

day 3:
met emily for a late lunch and enjoyed a maryland speciality: crab cake. while strickly speaking dc is a commonwealth to itself, we were close enough to maryland to try it out!
afterwards got the train out to arlington to the military gravyard to see the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
hung out in adams morgan for the evening: drinks, noodles, drinks and home.
had to say farewell to my newest companion: my 5th date friend joe.
aren't the connections we make with people curious things?

Monday, June 15, 2009


train from cincinnatti-washington dc: 03:30-20:00

the moon was full and high when i left west chester. it left a strange silence on the roads and the still houses. on the way to the station we went passed trucks travelling in tandem through the night-defence from darkness in numbers.

out of the darkness came sleepy encounters with strangers. a photographer steps from the small sleepy crowd-taking pictures of the empty tracks, waiting. emerging out of the line of people-forward. polite words break through the night and so begins a journey; a connection.
hours are filled to capacity with words and images and an easy trail of questions leading us closer to our destination. with our arrival into dc and promises for tomorrow the city opens up and stretches out in front of me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

out and about in ohio the 'birthplace of aviation'

when in rome ..... went to a baseball game. the cincinnati reds v chicago cubs. enjoyed the performance. particularly when miss teen ohio walked onto the field and gave everyone a wave. she did it well. my cousin and her hubby brought me and assured me that it was very important for me to try a local speciality. a cheese coney. it is (in order from the bottom): hot dog bun, mini hot dog, skyline chilli, grated cheese. all washed down with a bud light! aahhh i do enjoy a bit of calorific contradiction. it was darn tasty ya'll. this was downtown cinn on the way back to the car :

in an effort to stay true to the spirit of the state i visited the air force museum in dayton, ohio. 2 giant hangers of airplanes. my size of proportion was completely off kilter in it. the sheer scale of everything was enormous. heres me in front of some sort of an airplane. looking very tiny. note: 'niamh was ere' its very important to have pictures of oneself taken in front of various articles of sight seeing interest. I must perform my duty as a tourist by partaking in this much choreographed dance of smiling and posing. (only reason is to fulfill the familial gaze? this is all a tad pretentious?) heres me ....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009


are my videos posting correctly? can you see them?

new hampshire 'live free or die'

beth drove us out to see lake winnipesaukee:

the state motto is 'live free or die'-its printed on all of the car registration plates. it just makes me think of crazy americans wielding guns at each other and the world. which seems contradictory to my short experience of new hampshire. small town, friendly. still the idolatry of the flag is hard to miss:

we were at an undisclosed location in new hampshire. the paranoid and free people of america did not lock their doors there. i dont think that even happens anywhere in ireland anymore? the evening we arrived was warm:

we went to robert frost's house in franconia. i never knew he had such a tragic life. must get on to reading him again. im letting the side down.
rain came down in a serious way so we took shelter in wedell's deli/cafe in franconia. that place was amazing: reuben sambo and choc chip oat cookie. although the propritor seemed to enjoy saying my name. is that it niamh? that'll be 8 dollars niamh- what dressing would you like niamh? i felt at a disadvantage as i didnt enquire as to his name. had i done that i might of leveled the playing field.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

dim sum

dim sum in china town in ? (kristin help me out ..... ) this was breakfast/lunch before we headed to new hampshire. we had chinese tea, long noodles filled with prawns, rice noodles balls filled with prawn and pork and ones with just pork. and this crazy pastry tart for desert. unwarned i chomped into what i thought was a custard tart. my taste buds were met with the strangest unsweetened egg mixture i've ever tasted. what a disappointing end!!

boston: in the night time

no boston experience complete without cannoli's etc

no city complete without roadworks at night time.

boston: in the day time part II

went to boston public library. fantastic building. the stairwells were my favourite part. the light was amazing. also went to the isabella stewart gardiner museum. the most amazing museum i've been in. she is my new idol. it has the cutest cafe, only seats around 30 people. i was the youngest person in the room! had a pate with pistacho nuts with toasted sour dough bread all served on a mini chopping board.

had lunch at quincy market (or course) and then did some of the harbour walk. it was freezing. but found a sheltered spot. watched all of the office workers strut by in their suits and new balance/asics gels on their lunch hour.

thought about how cities carry the ghosts of people that were once there. the ghosts of my own past still lingered. even in the places they had never been. the air seemed to carry the memories to me.

daily: post hot choc and reading took the 't' downtown to go about all of my cultural stuff. because im great.

boston: in the day time

i spent my mornings waking up in diesel cafe.

thai tea and hot chocolates.
finished reading paul auster 'man in the dark' and sent it on its merry way into the world.

Monday, June 1, 2009


5am: awake in suburban america. jet lag pulls me out of sleep. the hum of the central air is almost over powering the sounds of the forming thunder clouds in the distance. i listen to both. no rain; and i fell back asleep.
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