Pieces from the Grand Budapest Hotel in Dublin

annie atkins exhibition grand budapest hotel lighthouse cinema
lighthouse cinema cafe

If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson’s cinematographic worlds, you really need to go the Light House Cinema in Smithfield ASAP. There is something quite special awaiting you at the back of the cinema’s little café. There, inside two glass displays lay beautiful props from The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson’s latest release. You will find the already iconic Mendl’s pastry boxes, a bottle of champagne and Madame D.’s last will among other treasures.

The Grand Budapest Hotel book cover wes anderson
telegram serge grand budapest hotel wes anderson
prison map grand budapest hotel wes anderson
romantic poetry book cover grand budapest hotel wes anderson
oberstdorf madame d grand budapest hotel wes anderson

They were born under the hand of Annie Atkins, who was the lead graphic designer on the film. She is Dublin-based and kindly loaned her own copies to the Light House cinema so Wes Anderson fans can marvel at the intricate details that brought the fictititious empire of Zubrowka to life. She was responsible for everything paper in the film (telegrams, correspondence, passports, maps, currency, books, labels, reports, etc) and created the very hotel signage that you can see on the film poster as well.
Under Wes Anderson’s precise supervision, she drew influences from Ernst Lubitsch’s films and 1930s Germany to shape up Grand Budapest’s pink world.

mendl's box grand budapest hotel wes anderson
madame d grand budapest hotel wes anderson
agatha visa grand budapest hotel wes anderson
zubrowka stamps grand budapest hotel wes anderson

If you needed any more proof that Wes Anderson is a firm believer of ‘God is in the details’, The exhibition ‘A Brief Survey of Graphic Design from the Empire of Zubrowka (1932-1968)’ is for you. Nothing is left half-done, to the point where Wes Anderson wrote himself the articles in the fictitious newspaper The Trans-Alpine Yodel, knowing that no one would even read them. Well that is not totally true, is it? As you can do so now in the Light House Cinema.

lighthouse cinema grand budapest hotel poster

Practical Information

Annie Atkins Exhibition, from the 7th to the 24th of March 2014 (edit 25/03/14: extended until 31 March)
Light House Cinema
Market Square
Dublin 7


Luas: Smithfield
Bus: 37, 39, 70, 83 
Entrance: Free

Showtimes for The Grand Budapest Hotel at the Light House Cinema

Dublin, home to Saint Valentine

carmelite church whitefriar street inside
saint valentine whitefriar street church 2

Did you know that the remains of Saint Valentine, the patron of lovers were resting in a church in Dublin? Yep, pretty surprising, right?! Here is what happened…

In 1835, Father John Spratt, responsible for the Carmelite church on Aungier Street, went to Rome. His reputation of a good preacher and the stories of his hard work with the poor people of Dublin preceded him. So much that the Pope at the time, Gregory XVI, decided to offer him the sacred body of Saint Valentine as well as a vessel tinged with his blood.
Father John Pratt brought his gift back to his church and this is how, still today, when you go inside this byzantine-looking church on Aungier Street, you will find under Saint Valentine’s statue, a box holding the saint’s reliquary.

carmelite church whitefriar street left aisle
saint valentine's relics
saint valentine's altar
church candles 2

Every Valentine’s day, the box is released and put on the high altar and couples flock to have their rings blessed under the benevolent gaze of the Saint’s statue.
Visitors are also welcome to write down their prayers and love wishes in a book placed on the shrine.

saint valentine whitefriar street church 3

Top tip: if you end up in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church to pay a visit to Saint Valentine, don’t forget to also check out Our Lady of Dublin statue on your way out. This is a 16th century wooden sculpture, the only one left of its kind, representing the Black Madonna of Ireland.

carmelite church whitefriar street 2
mosaic church entrance

Practical Information

Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church (also known as Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
56, Aungier Street
Dublin 2

Special masses & blessings of the rings on Valentine’s day

Bus: 9, 16, 49, 65, 68, 83, 122

Opening hours:  7.30am-6pm Mon, Wed-Fri; 7.30am-9pm Tue; 8.30am-7pm Sat; 7.30am-7pm Sun

VIDEO: Chinese New Year Carnival | Dublin

chinese new year carnival dublin

Last Sunday, the Chinese New Year Carnival took place in the heart of Temple Bar. It was a bit cramped on the Meeting House Square, but it was good craic nonetheless. The Dublin Chinese New Year Festival had packed the day with beautiful performances to welcome the Year of the Horse in style. Lions, Dragons and pretty dancers filled the stage while demos were executed in the food tent.
If you missed the carnival but still want to celebrate the Year of the Horse while embracing the Chinese Culture, don’t worry as the DCN Festival is far from over! Plenty of events are scheduled over the next two weeks. Hop over their website to check out the programme,

Happy Year of the Horse!

Chinese New Year Festival | Dublin

melaka dragonYear of the Dragon in Malacca, Malaysia

This Friday January 31st, it will be time to ring in the Chinese New Year. It is under the sign of the Horse, which is apparently a good thing as it is a symbol of luck.
Dublin is celebrating this event with a festival for the 7th year, evidence that the Chinese Community holds a place close to the Capital’s heart. And as it is the year of the horse, it will also be the opportunity to reflect on the role this animal plays in Irish culture.
The festival will be held over a period of two weeks with a plethora of events such as lectures, storytelling, exhibitions, concerts, dumpling tastings, sport tournaments, workshops, etc…
The star of the show will undoubtedly be the carnival taking place in Temple Bar this Sunday, with traditional lion & dragon dances.
It will be my first time checking out the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival so I’m pretty pumped. I actually meant to go last year but it was raining cats and dogs, so let’s hope that the luck of the horse keeps the clouds away this week-end!

Practical Information

Chinese New Year Festival 2014
from January 31st to February 14th
For more information and the full schedule of events, check out the Festival website.

Chinese New Year Carnival
February 2nd, 12pm – 5pm,
Meeting House Square/Temple Bar 

New Year’s Eve 2013 | video

Dublin NYE 2013 Procession of Light
Dublin NYE 2013 Procession of Light

I’m not going to lie, I’m not usually one to go out of their way to join massive New Year’s Eve celebrations and strive on crowd connexion. Give me a cosy armchair, some nibbles, shit TV and I’m a happy camper. But I guess my glamourous lifestyle is not the stuff exciting posts are made of. So, just for you people of the Internet, I grabbed my camera and the weird shoulder contraption that goes with it, and headed to Dublin city centre where some cheerful happenings were due to ring the new year in.

Dublin NYE 2013 Procession of LightDublin NYE 2013 Procession of Light

Starting off the evening was the People’s Procession of Light marching on Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street. The parade was filled with contagiously cheerful people in beautiful colourful costumes, the infamous Dublin rickshaws and lots and lots of people who had been crafting pretty lanterns in the workshops organised specifically for the event.
I sneaked into the procession to film and my grumpy self couldn’t help but be contaminated by the kids’ cheers and the chants and the sparkles.

Dublin NYE 2013 Procession of Light

The procession finished on the Green where a beautiful aerial show started. It all ended in confetti and happy music. I took the cue to leave the place and headed to the seashore to witness the fireworks, where the sea was a bit tormented and no bus was in sight. Despite the cold and the lack of transport, I genuinely can say I had a lovely evening that was as worthy as the armchair and nibbles.

Check out for yourself!

Happy New Year!

The Holiday Season in Dublin

stephen's green shopping centre
georgian doors christmas dublin

Dublin is one of these cities that just suits the Christmas spirit, just like London or Vienna. The cobbled stones, the red-brick buildings, the Georgian doors, … it all looks a bit Dickensian this time of year. If you’re in Dublin during this Holiday season, there’s a ton of things to do and enjoy. That is if you can tear yourself from the warmth and cosiness of all the sparkly pubs. To make things easier for you, here’s a round-up of festive events I think you shouldn’t miss.

dublin house christmas decoration

The Christmas Markets

There are so many Christmas markets around the city that one can get dizzy at the prospect of making a choice. This weekend is your ultimate chance to visit the ones you have missed so far as Christmas is literally on our doorstep. Last-minute shoppers, this is for you!
If you’re a foodie, Farmleigh Christmas market should be your number one destination.
If you’re into your crafts, check out the markets in the Dame District, Trinity Bar & Venue, the Dublin Castle and Dun Laoghaire.
If you like your Christmas shopping mixed with a bit of funfair fun, The Docklands, Winterfest and Christmas Wonderland are calling your name.

georgian doors dublin christmas
christmas tree georgian dublin

Seasonal Fun

As mentioned above, the ultimate winter entertainment can be found at Christmas Wonderland, the Docklands and Winterfest where you can get a bit of ice-skating action and all the thrills of the attractions!
Also today is the Winter Solstice and Dublin is putting on a show to welcome the darkest day of the year in true Celtic spirit with parades and fire ceremonies (it starts at 6pm).

dublin georgian doors christmas

New Year’s Eve celebrations

Ha who needs the Time Square Ball drop when you can watch fireworks over the picturesque Dublin Bay?! They will be fired from Dun Laoghaire pier (at midnight, but also at 6pm on the 31st of December, so the young ones can also ooh and aah before their bedtime).
If you’re in the Dublin city centre, catch the People’s Procession of Lights. The parade will start at 6.30 from Stephen’s Green and make its way to South William Street and Grafton Street.

For more information, check out the visitdublin website and their nifty event grid. Many more events are listed such as pantomimes and choirs and other cheerful, seasonal happenings.

Bram Stoker Festival 2013 | video

Bram Stoker Festival 2013 Dublin
Bram Stoker Festival Dublin Castle Bridal Gowns

About a month ago, it was time for Dublin to paint the town in the brightest crimson in honour of its celebrated writer, Bram Stoker. And most specifically, his most famous work Dracula. It is only the second year of the festival but it already feels like a permanent feature of Dublin’s calendar as the event fits so perfectly with the Fair City’s gothic backdrop.

bram stoker festival 2013 dublin castle
Bram Stoker Festival Skeleton

Many events were organised across town (check the ones I was most excited about): a horror film marathon, an opera, themed walking tours, vampire hunts, discussions around the book, street performances, etc… I think it is a great introduction to Dublin’s charms, especially at that time of the year (Halloween) as an extra exciting atmosphere surrounds the cobbled streets, many landmarks get lit in red  and who doesn’t like bumping into vampire enthusiasts?!

Dracula's Bride Bram Stoker Festival

So I decided to take my camera and take you along to two events from this year’s festival: a reading of Dracula in the majestic Saint-Patrick’s Cathedral and a pyrotechnic show in Dublin Castle. Hope you’ll enjoy the ride!

Practical Information

The Bram Stoker Festival takes place the last week-end of October.

7 things that make me excited about the Bram Stoker Festival

Bram Stoker Dracula

Who didn’t know that the myth of the terrifying Count of Dracula was created by an Irish man? *Raises hand shyly* Shockingly maybe, it only came to my realisation last year when I saw all the posters and advertisements for the Bram Stoker’s festival in Dublin. Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897, changing the landscape of horror fiction forever. He is relevant today more than ever if you were to judge the massive popularity of vampires in pop culture. And this year, I’m ready to discover the dark side of Dublin and get to know Mister Stoker. The festival is held over 3 days from the 26th to the 28th of October, making it an unmissable runner-up to Halloween. Here are the 7 things I’m most stoked about the festival :

1. Reading the book

The festival is giving me the push I needed to finally tackle the classic. I’m about a quarter in and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! It is funny how the descriptions of the Count’s castle and its surroundings feel all too familiar, I didn’t realise how much the myth had seeped into my subconscious. It is also the perfect time of the year to read scary stories, the autumn air smelling of bonfires, a onesie, a hot cuppa; and I am in book heaven.

2. Firing up

The festival is setting up a fire garden on the Dublin Castle grounds. It is bound to be epic against the backdrop of the imposing structure.
More information and registration here

3. Shivering in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Readings of Dracula in the heart of the mother of all cathedrals accompanied by a choir, an organ and all by candlelight. If this isn’t proper goosebumps material, I don’t know what is.
More information here

4. Dressing up!

You can’t celebrate vampires and the undead without whipping out the white paint, the fake blood and the plastic teeth, amirite?! Walks and hunts are organised on the pavements of Dublin, in which you can partake wearing your best attire. Several pubs in the Dame Street district will also join in the celebration and open their doors to devilish bloodsuckers.

5. Getting to see my first opera (and for free)

Yes, I’m thirty and I never ever been to the opera. A vampire opera performed in a Church sounds like an excellent place to start!
More information and registration here

6. Joining in a horror film marathon

Iconic Vampire movies in an open air cinema in the centre of Dublin’s old Town sounds like a deadly plan!
Film programme here

7. Meeting the giant skeleton

This is pretty self-explanatory…. look at his cute little face though!
Check where you’ll be able to spot him here

Do you plan to go to the Bram Stoker’s festival next week? What are you looking forward to the most? You will find all the information and event programme over at the Bram Stoker Festival website.

PS: Keep your eyes peeled for my video of the event!

TBEX Europe 2013 in Dublin

candy bar Doubletree Hilton TBEX Dublin
Natalie Bahadur TBEX Dublin

Last Thursday was held TBEX in Dublin, a conference gathering travel bloggers and representatives of tourism boards and other tourism-related companies. Conferences were organised over two days where bloggers could learn tips and tricks to better their craft: photography, writing, marketing, community management, etc… It was time to learn, but also make contacts with other writers and potential sponsors.
Having just started my blog, as you know, I didn’t do too much of the latter, but I avidly took notes during the classes. A varied range of topics were tackled by an excellent selection of speakers. I especially enjoyed listening to Don George, author of the Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing (among many other things) and his great tips on how to bring a travel story to life. Your five senses are your friend.

John Minihan TBEX Dublin

Another highlight was witnessing photographer John Minihan reminiscing on stage. The list of people he shot would make anyone’s head spin: Andy Warhol, Samuel Beckett, Yves Saint Laurent, Hitchcock, … He also has the difficult title to bear of being the first to have portrayed Lady Diana. She was only 19 at the time and the news just broke that Prince Charles had taken an interest in her. A tangible emotion filled the room when Minihan shared his memory surrounding his now historical picture, revealing the care he feels towards those who face his lense.

“Research your subject. If it’s a writer, read their books. It will tell you who they are.”

The only black spot on the whole event for me was that travel videography wasn’t highlighted enough. It was a conjoint subject with photography at one of the conferences, but it was hardly touched upon and I felt that there was a lack of grasp on what kind of phenomenon Youtube has become nowadays.
But as the genre grows, I have no doubt that it will take more of the spotlight at the next TBEX.

candy bar TBEX Dublin
TBEX goody bag

All in all, TBEX was a rewarding experience and I’d recommend it to any travel blogger, beginner or pro, I feel there is something for everyone. The price of the ticket might look expensive, but the quality of the conferences justifies it. Plus, we were treated like kings and queens at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel! For cookies and candy bars, I’d sign up anytime!