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Dublin 2007

January last year was the first time I went over to Funderland, Ireland's largest fair and I knew then it would become a regular meet-up with friends and break away from home. This was put in place when I won a go-karting championship and vowed to defend the title this year.

Time not spent with friends was taken up walking around with the camera and seeing what I could find. Having done the sight-seeing thing on previous trips I decided to go off track this time. After all statues of Molly Malone and other Irish luminaries rarely change from one year to the next.

Some church and head quarters of a bank, which always reminds me of the Tyrell Corporation building in Blade Runner for some reason.

One of the main government buildings and an out of place tall building that makes a nice reflection. That was the reason for taking the picture.

This is the LE Emer, one of the Irish Navy's 8 ships. Actually named after the wife of Irish legend Cuchulain, it seemed odd that they'd choose a skunk as the logo for the ship. Whilst there are several ships opened as permanent sight-seeing attractions, this was not.

Various stencil pieces found on Cardiff Lane, close to where most of the group were staying.

I'd gone for the dearer hotel I used last year, only because I booked it before the other was announced. It wasn't there last year! This is just another reflection piece.

On the first night we ate at the same Japanese Restaurant as last year, as it's always good fun to see your food blow up in front of you before you eat it.

Another stencil close to Grafton Street, one of the main shopping areas in Dublin. I like the way Ray hijacked it and turned it into a declaration of love to his girlfriend.
This is the lang steine or Long Stone. The original stone was placed in the Liffey river when the Vikings invaded to mark their territory, similar to a dog peeing on a tree only more visible. Dublin has gone some major reclamation however and the river isn't as wide now as it was then. This stone marks the original point of the Long Stone. A bit of trivia for the coaster fans, the Longstone Pub located nearby contains a large carving of Balder the Viking God of warmth and light. For the non coaster fans, Balder is one of the best wooden coasters in Europe, some might argue the world.

I think I took this just because I like the way someone went to a lot of trouble to get the cone up there, I'm just not sure.
This is the site of the Windmill Studios, where U2 recorded most of their albums. As a sign of respect to the band the city allowed their fans to scrawl graffiti all over the area. Not being a fan of the band I'll leave it to you whether I was attracted to the history of the location or the scrawls on it.

I saw this on the water front and took a picture of it only because of the grammar mistake on the first line. My intention isn't to promote Ian White, although I'm sure he's good at whatever it is he does. More on this later...

The Quality Hotel was the new hotel in the area. Contrary to what the sign says that isn't it across the river nor is it pointing you to swim in that direction. Someone has it in for the hotel and was turning all the signs to the hotel around, it's actually in the opposite direction.

This is one of the many quays in Dublin and my little homage to Three Worlds by MC Escher. Only instead of trees reflecting I have an office block and instead of a fish I have a discarded shopping trolley.

At the Go-karting we were put on the second race track, which is more challenging than the one we'd raced on last year. A lot more twists and drops meant more work on the body to keep the racing line. Also with less people taking part the races were more frequent meaning less time to recover. At the top I mentioned I was here to defend my title and did I manage to do so? Yes I did although in admittedly dodgy circumstances. I'd had a lot of difficulty getting past Richard and when he cut across me one too many times a well executed PIT manoeuvre on my part put him into a wall. Sorry Richard. It does however mean I'll be back to try to make it 3-time next year.

I like this piece of art located across the road from the hotel (the one I was staying at).

Onto the fair. This year the star attraction was going to be a massive spin ride called XXL but the operator took ill so it was pulled. A shame but it wasn't going to stop us enjoying ourselves.

Bloody McDonalds trying to rain on everyone's parade. What the sign failed to mention was that there wasn't any McDs in the area. Perhaps this was merely an attempt to leave the brand in the people's subconscious as they left.

As with last year those rides that couldn't fit indoors were situated outside. A special thanks to the fair owner for allowing us to ride the mouse coaster with the pin pulled out. For those that don't know doing this allows the car to spin for the entire duration of the ride, not just the latter half. He also gave us a book of free ride vouchers each as a welcome gift. Amazing hospitality especially as its the money from the ride tickets that pays his wage ultimately.

I didn't bother with the wheel again but did do the shot and drop ride which was new for this year and a lot of fun, with random programs and plenty of G-Force inducing transitions between the up and down movements. If rumours are true there will be an even better reason to visit next year as there are plans to bring one of the more well known rides from the German circuit over.

Indoors we had some familiar spin rides running on unfamiliar programs at unfamiliar speeds. This fairground staple had me flying out of the seat only being held in by the lap bar, which normally doesn't seem necessary.

Even this one was flying and this is usually tame.

Louise and Mary preparing to ride Extreme. I was surprised that Mary was riding this for two reasons. Its not easy to get into and Mary used to just watch, how she's changed.

A new coaster for this year was the Gold Train Express. A different theme to what is usually home to caterpillars.

I hope the owners didn't give too many free tickets away and was a financial success. I look forward to coming back to for more next year.

Here's that poster again but notice the grammar mistake has been corrected. Whether that was because I took the picture or not I can't say but I like to think it was.

The best kept secret of Dublin, the pun that is Abrakebabra. When I said I wanted to track this place down I think people in the group assumed it was for the food, nope just the sign outside it! One of the best puns ever.

On Saturday night we ate at Luigi Malones situated in the Temple Bar district of Dublin, this is where people go to cram into bars and pubs whilst getting very drunk. Too busy and boisterous for me really but the meal was really nice. I had this massive copper pot full of seafood, dignity prevented me taking pictures inside the place.

On the final morning I just went exploring again. The reason for taking this was purely the coincidental pairing of the signs. Nude Burns; I wonder how that happened?

An arty pic spoilt only by an over-exposed sky. I'm curious to know what the story of this umbrella is.

A little north of the temple bar, some gold ball. I have no idea what it represents, not David Beckham though.

This is THE Temple Bar situated in the centre of the district of the same name.
At this time of the morning it was closed so I didn't go inn (like that pun?)

This place just along the ride was much more flash but looked like it belonged on the continent. It reminded me of Brussels for some reason, perhaps it was the flags.

I only took a picture of this because had the letter J not been invented, this sign would have taken on a whole different meaning.

On O'Connell Street (the other main shopping street north of the river) the council were marking the end of the Christmas period by destroying the big Christmas Tree, running it through one of those high powered chopping and grinding machines. Fortunately for the operators of that piece of kit that we don't celebrate Christmas with puppies, think of the mess.

Graffiti can serve a public purpose. If you recognise this person you need to get in touch. Actually you can't do that as the artist failed to leave a number.

The department of Education commissioned a piece that signified the need for more financial backing.......maybe.

If you spend too long at a bus stop you'll be lynched and frozen in Carbonite and then they'll stick your head on a pole as a warning to others.

50% of bike owners encounter difficulties in Dublin.

Either an 80s singer has fallen on hard times or he played a concert at The Point recently.

and I'm going to guess that this was put here by a fan of The Prodigy. I like this piece a lot!

Another sign for the Quality Hotel, as with the other sign you need to go in the opposite direction. Its across the bridge.

This is The Point, the main concert venue in Dublin. I thought I'd take a walk along here (its quite a walk) to see who was playing. It was Mamma Mia, a stage musical based on the works of Abba. I was very disappointed.

This is a model of some resort being promoted in Dublin, but I think its in Spain. 2 things jumped out here. Firstly the building in the foreground has suffered some damage in the form of a wall falling off in its entirety. Hopefully not an indication of the real place. Secondly there's a guy on a sun lounger on the bridge that goes over the pool Selfish!

So once again I had a great time in Dublin, thanks to Richard for organising it and for not taking defeat in the karting too badly. I'll definitely be going next year and I'm going to have to explore off the beaten track some more, I'm running out of things to photograph!
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