The Trouble With April In Dublin…

A Rainy Monday Morning - CrawCrafts Beasties… Is that we take the concept of “April showers” to a whole new level. I’d promised Explorer Beastie a day out yesterday (Other Work kept me pretty busy over the weekend), but on Monday morning we were greeted with teeming rain and grey skies. What to do?
What Happens Now? CrawCrafts BeastiesAnything outdoors was totally off the menu. And all of our lovely free museums and art galleries are closed on Mondays! Fortunately, I remembered about the Book of Kells!

The Queen at the Book of Kells, from
Good enough for the Queen, good enough for us! Image borrowed from

So I grabbed my umbrella, and Explorer Beastie hopped into my bag for the journey. But when we arrived…
The Old Library at Trinity College - CrawCrafts BeastiesOh no! Clearly everyone else had the same idea! What now?

“Hey, why don’t we go in here?”

Explorer Beastie's Plan B - CrawCrafts Beasties
“Here” is the Douglas Hyde Gallery, a small, FREE art space located just inside Trinity College’s Arts Building. I must have walked past it thousands of times when I was a student here, and I never thought to go inside! Time to fix that… Good call, Explorer Beastie!
Explorer Beastie at the Douglas Hyde Gallery - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe exhibitions change fairly frequently, so there’s always something new to see. The current one will be running until the 4th of May, and is definitely worth a look. We especially enjoyed Bill Lynch’s work!
Explorer Beastie in the Douglas Hyde Gallery - CrawCrafts BeastiesUnfortunately, it hadn’t stopped raining by the time we went to leave…
It's Still Raining! CrawCrafts Beasties… But we did get to pose with Douglas Hyde himself on the way out! It’s not often that little woolly monsters get a chance to rub shoulders with former Irish presidents!
Explorer Beastie Meets Douglas Hyde - CrawCrafts BeastiesAs for the Book of Kells… Well, we’ll take you there another day. And it definitely won’t be on a rainy Monday morning!

See you all next week, when I’ll have some more new Beasties for you to meet!

Explorer Beastie Holding My Colouring Pencils - CrawCrafts Beasties

An Arty Day Out!

Explorer Beastie at the RHA Gallery - CrawCrafts Beasties
In Ireland, it’s very tempting to hide yourself indoors at this time of the year… and remain there until dire necessity (buying food, going to work, zombie home invasion) forces you outside. I for one could happily spend February living on instant noodles and baked beans while binge-watching “Murder, She Wrote”, but fortunately Explorer Beastie is a more active fellow, who constantly demands entertainment, fresh air and brain food (surprising for one whose head is literally full of fluff). So yesterday, I put down my knitting needles and took the two of us off to another of our favourite destinations – the RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy) Gallery, a mere stone’s throw from St Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street in Dublin’s south city centre.

This great little gallery deserves more visitors than it seems to get – I suppose a lot of people overlook it, and head to the National Gallery a little further down the road instead. But while the majority of the National Gallery’s exhibitions remain static, the RHA always has something new on its walls. In fact, I’ve never seen the same thing there twice! It’s also small enough that you could see everything in a short visit, and it’s also FREE IN! What’s not to like?

When we were there yesterday, three artists had their work on display. We started out with Maeve McCarthy’s “The Return”, a collection of nightime landscapes in charcoal inspired by a visit to the farmhouse where she and her family spent summers as children.
Explorer Beastie at The Return, RHA CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie Examines a Painting - CrawCrafts Beasties


The artist also collaborated with her brother, a filmmaker, to make a short film showing the decaying rooms of the abandoned house.
Watching the Film - CrawCrafts Beasties
2016 is an important year for Ireland – it’s the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, which was one of the most significant events in setting Ireland on its way towards independence from Great Britain. The other two exhibitions we saw drew their inspiration from this – Mick O’Dea’s “The Foggy Dew” included portraits of some of the key figures in the Rising…
"The Foggy Dew" at the RHA Gallery - CrawCrafts Beasties
…And in a separate gallery upstairs…
Upstairs at the RHA Gallery - CrawCrafts Beasties
… A combined installation of large-scale canvasses and sculptures.
The Foggy Dew at the RHA Gallery - CrawCrafts Beasties
Explorer Beastie at The Foggy Dew, RHA - CrawCrafts Beasties
Then our final port of call was “Before, During, After… Almost” – an exhibition of David Farrell’s photographs, which shows how much both Dublin and rural Ireland have changed since the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising, in 1966.
Explorer Beastie at "Before, During, After...Almost", RHA - CrawCrafts Beasties
Explorer Beastie, RHA Dublin - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie at the RHA Gallery, Dublin - CrawCrafts Beasties

And suitably inspired by our artistic wanderings, it seemed like a good time to tackle the first prompt in Tammie Painter’s Sketchbook Saturday. Yeah, I know I’m late. It’s my… um… artistic temperament.

Anyway, the theme was “Round and Around”, which made me think of all the circles and spheres that cropped up in my drawings and craftings when I was a kid.
Circles (Sketchbook Saturday) - CrawCrafts Beasties
…And in case you want to read the scribblings…
Circles Sketches Page 1 - CrawCrafts Beasties
Circles Sketches Page 2 - CrawCrafts Beasties
And of course, Crablet and Explorer Beastie were on hand to help out with the colouring in. Thanks, lads.
Explorer Beastie Holding My Colouring Pencils - CrawCrafts BeastiesCrablet is Helping! CrawCrafts Beasties

AND FINALLY… Eagle-eyed NoĆ©mie at FocalHeart spotted one of my knitting notebooks in the background of a photo I posted recently. Here it is up close!
One of my Knitting Notebooks - CrawCrafts Beasties
I use these books to record patterns, jot down ideas, count off rows and (as you can probably guess) keep track of the yarns I’ve used. And I had a great time going through past books today, snapping some of my favourite pages to share! So, since this post is already MASSIVE, here’s a taster for today…
Knitbook Extracts 1 - CrawCrafts Beasties
… And I’ll have more next week!

Hope you all enjoy the weekend – why not check out Sketchbook Saturday for yourself tomorrow?

A Day Out in Dublin

Windowsill, Ely Place

When you live in a city for a long time, it’s easy to get caught up in your daily routine and forget about all the interesting things you promised yourself you’d do when you first moved there. With this in mind, Boyfriend, Explorer Beastie and I stepped outside and set off for pastures new… a stone’s throw from where we live.

Our main purpose was to check out The Enclave by Richard Mosse, which is on show in the Royal Hibernian Academy gallery. I’d never been here before, and I was amazed to find this beautiful spacious gallery tucked away in a side street, just around a corner from regular tourist magnets like the National Gallery, Grafton Street and St Stephen’s Green park. And the street itself is Dublin in a nutshell. The buildings are Georgian, and these tall, simple but elegant houses are the signature style of old central Dublin. Around half of the houses have been converted to office buildings, while the rest, like the one in the main picture, are being left to quietly crumble away.

I have a real thing for derelict buildings, so I took a few photos…

Ely PlaceEly Place Basement


… And it was only when I went around the corner that I realised that this building had a history of its own.

Front Door, Ely PlaceRichard Griffith Plaque

By this point, though, Boyfriend and Beastie had but one thing on their minds… FOOD. So I put my camera away and we went to try out Alfie Byrne’s, a new craft beer pub which recently opened up on the other side of St Stephen’s Green.

Beastie with StewExplorer Beastie's Dinner

A tasty end to a great day out! See you next week!