8 June 2013


I'm here in Arrrland visiting my mate Johanne, who I stayed with in the desert last year. I've come to see what she's up to now she's back home.

I've been to a couple of English classes for refugees & asylum seekers; one chaotic, one well-organised. I've met many people with...names. Most of which I can't remember. I've been to churches, halls, houses, beaches, cliffs, government buildings, cafés, universities, parks, gardens and I'm now sat in bed writing this from sheltered accommodation!

I've been happily surprised at how much I've done that wasn't 'work'.
I've seen the Giant's Causeway,

had coffee in Queen's SU, walked through the botanical gardens

and spent a wonderful evening with a couple and 4 dogs living in a designer house by the beach.

My travel-bug-itch has been satisfied as I've been able to cover quite a lot of Ireland in our wanderings.

I've loved what I've seen of Belfast and I know there's tons I've not seen yet. I haven't been to the Titanic expo or visited the honesty café.

I've not been into the UL (though I did see a Dolorean outside it) and I've not met Seamus Heaney (though I met someone who has)

My visit has been more about the little people (insert your own Irish stereotype joke here) who are making a difference to the city;

Someone visiting an Arabic speaker's landlord to report a damp problem

People serving free hot drinks, juice and ice lollies from the street to passers by.

People taking non-residents out for dinner to help them learn English and feel comfortable in an alien culture.

People sitting and listening to those separated from children and partners by conflict.

Oh, you want to know why I've ended up in sheltered accommodation? It's got to be the cheapest place to stay in Dublin and if you know a certain 86 year old you get to stay in the guest room!

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5 June 2013


Just found a day old gelateria in Armargh so stopped for raspberry, pistachio and an americano.

Service a little clunky but staff tripping over themselves to help.

Having established first off that I could pay by card at the shop next door, I tucked in.

When I came to settle up I was told the shop was now shut. It must have been a first for them as I was led out the back, through the kitchen, out the back, into the closed shop on my own with the waiter and paid there before retracing my steps through the kitchen!

They may need to tweak that (!) but I think they'll do well. Keen to please and friendly. If there's a next time I'm trying the Ferrero Rocher...

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4 June 2013


So far this week I have;

Taught English to Somalis
Sung with Liberians
Had tea with a Moroccan
Chatted to a Zambian
Greeted a Sudanese
Exchanged emails with a French Caribbean

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