Travel and Transport Strikes: Irish and UK Strike Actions

2481070295_9f838571bb_bSome travelers just have the luck, eh? Last summer in 2016 I had to work around rail strike actions in Scotland. ScotRail was pretty good about finding solutions for when an action took place last July and I got stranded briefly in Oban, ended up on luxury coach instead. Interesting change in plans that was. Saw Loch Lomond on a luxury coach I didn’t pay extra for. Oh, and the Clockwork Orange tube in Glasgow was being worked on as well, so I just lucked out on missing that fun underground and picking random neighborhoods to pop up into. I will be back this summer and remedy that. 

Bus and Train Strikes in Ireland and UK This Spring

This season, I plan on the loop to Ireland being a serious treat. However, it looks like the mass transit concerns of Ireland have been threatening a strike action for the last few weeks. You wonder why the concern? Well listen up. Ireland and the UK have union actions that may not just involve the union that has the call to strike out. Sisterhood and solidarity abound in this region and that means that other related unions may wish to go out on strike action for in support. So if the bus lines of Ireland strike, it is possible that railways will be affected. In the US we have seen a heavy decline in unions in the last decade. A call to action happens less frequently, and with our heavy use of cars here in the United States, transit strikes can be avoided more readily than in the UK and Ireland, where car ownership is a very costly affair and frankly better transit services than the US exist so a great many use it. Add to the fact you are in the tourist and festival season, and you can expect delays. The Irish bust company, Bus Éireann, is in it’s fifth day of strikes. Dublin bus is threatening to follow suit and so is Irish Rail.

So what do you do if you are planning a trip and need to use bus/train/ferries and want to book in advance due to heavy travel from tourists? You should still plan on booking via computer or app a few weeks out to guarantee seats. There are usually some walk on pay-as-you go seats, but this can be really hampered if you are going during festival week. If your train you have booked and paid in advance for, and a strike action takes place, you can either get a refund or there will be provided alternatives. Read the local papers and check the website frequently of the railways and bus lines. Latest news will be posted. Need to check into a hotel later than usual, most of the time you can just call. This becomes a bit dicey if you have rented on AirBNB or other sublet/service apartments, since you usually have to arrange pickup of a key.

You can always look at it as experiencing real life along with the people whose culture you are visiting. Really in the great scheme of things, these are trivial compared to some other more exotic locations where transport can be really interesting at best. If it happens in the UK or Ireland, there is always a watering hole around to hang out in and commiserate with others.



Irish Rail May Join Action

Bus Talks


UK Rail Strikes this year 2017

Rail Strikes this Weekend

Connolly Station Photography by William Murphy at Flicr

Art Walks: Spring in the UK and Ireland


Mural on the Clutha Pub, Bridgegate Street, Glasgow Scotland Summer 2016 J. Canning

I have always enjoyed a good street art walk. Murals and sidewalk art have become extensive, massive canvases to showcase local artists and get up close and personal with art. This summer I will be hitting more mural walks. I was reading one of the people I follow on Twitter, Travels With a Kilt Blog, and a recent article caught my eye. It’s a great art walk in Glasgow and I will be following it this summer and adding some of my own discoveries.

Got one of those super saver early flight arrivals like I always get? It’s one of the best things to do when you just get to a city, especially if you are walking off the jet lag. Get a taste for the city you are exploring, grab coffee or tea on the way, walk a few hours, then have a meal. Great way to meet people.

Since I won’t be going until summer this year, I thought I would link you up with this article so if you happen to be going to Glasgow this spring, you should read this:

Glasgow’s Street Art Article

Planning on going to a city or two this spring summer that may have street art? Seek it out and take your own shots of this amazing public art form. Share them on Instagram or try a street art app that you can share with the world.

Just a tip: You will find many official street art tours. They cost money. You can find maps for free online and also some walking tours with local historians, a bit less money. If you have a budget, small tours with locals can be a blast as you can meet with others traveling and have great convo. But sometimes creating your own tour is great on the budget, look for Street Art Tour Maps online. There are apps online and phone apps for tours as well. Remember this will eat up your power and many places are charging money now in cafes to recharge your phone.


Apps for Street Art Worldwide Directory

For great walks and place in Scotland to take your snaps, check out

More at these cities:








Coming to the PNW, Portland PDX?

Curry: The Spice of Life


Since my Uni days I have been a big fan of curry and Indian restaurants. Now Indian foods is not the only flavor of curry, many Asian countries have their style of curry. Japanese and Chinese come to mind. But classic Indian curry houses are quite special. And I am very excited that I will be going back to some cities that boast some damn fine curry establishments. Too bad as you get older you can’t withstand the Vindaloo as you used to. Here in America, we do have an Indian population and plenty of restaurants. However they do not compare with curry houses in the UK and Ireland. Curry and the former empire have long gone hand-in-hand in delectable delights. And especially so in port towns. So I am very excited to go and taste more curry when I return to Glasgow, for I barely touched the surface of restaurants like this.

What’s so great about curry and Indian food in general? The variety, the fact that for example a college student can fill up for flat rate at some, great buffets, clearing your sinuses, the list goes on. Oh, yeah, the taste! How do you find a good restaurant, there can be many choices? Things to look for? See how many Indian or other Asians may be eating there. Because really, here in America for example, many restaurants try to “localize” or mix the cuisine to Americanize it a bit. We want authentic dishes from all over India for example, not just one, watered down place.

So check out some of these local curry houses in Glasgow courtesy of I plan on checking a couple of these restaurants out, seeing if they clean my clock taste buds wize. Maybe if you are traveling there you can too. Let us know what you think when you try some of them out. Leave some comments if you have a favorite curry house in one of these towns.

Glasgows Best Kept Curry Secrets

And in Edinburgh Best Indian Restaurants

Dublin Best Curry Restaurants

Around Ireland

London is huge and filled with curry options, so how to pick amongst the restaurants in the  Brick Lane District? Check out below.

Best Curry Houses and Take Away


Fantastic Curries

The Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum, Dublin

IRRME_logo_PRIMARYAll port towns have music going on. It’s traditional. It’s where everything comes in to the people and from hundreds of years of history into the land, you gotta have the music for the masses, played  usually in pubs and taverns. Of course that would hold true for Dublin. Dublin has had a very long music tradition, and Rock ‘n’ Roll is at the heart of it. Many Irish bands start playing pubs and small venues. And many bands that tour Europe know to hit up this town. Anywhere a band can get heard, it will happen. College campus, festivals, roofs, anywhere. I have it on good authority, (Coleman), that the best places to catch the new up and coming bands are The Button Factory, The Academy, and Whelans. And why not, it’s in the Temple Bar district where it’s hot and happening.

IRRME-springtime-fc-coverbAlso, check out the latest sensation band the Strypes. They will have an exhibit coming up at the museum.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Tour on YouTube

Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Experience

8 Cecelia St

Temple Bar

Dublin 2

Hours : Open between 11:00 am to 5:30 pm 7 days a week. But check the website.

To help you get ready for your music education, meet Ed Coleman, General Manager for Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Experience and The National Wax Museum Plus.

How did your museum get it’s start, and how have you seen it grow in the last five years?

The company director Paddy Dunning set up the Irish Rock n Roll Museum in summer 2015 after realising there was nowhere else celebrating the huge amount of talent Ireland has produced over the last 50+ years.

Has there been anything surprising that happened that you just ran with in an opportunity to create an exhibit?

Not that I am aware of.

What do you consider the most challenging part of running a museum of your kind?

Like any new venture the main challenge is getting the word out there. We know we have a great product that people love and have slowly but surely been climbing the tripadvisor ranks as word spreads.

What is the planning process for creating new exhibits? Do you have any behind the scenes video or articles that future visitors can look at?

We listen very carefully to our customers when deciding what our next exhibit should be. For example, we were hearing Cruachan being mentioned time and time again by our German and Nordic customers. We hadn’t realised the impact they have had around the world pioneering folk metal and so we decided they should be our next addition. We approached them and they were happy to donate some amazing items to the museum, including the keyboard most of the early albums were written on. Our fault for not asking them sooner but lesson learned.

Is there a committee that decides to feature something or a finding that becomes available and you build around that? Or does the planning involve a specific structure?

It varies. Sometimes we plan long and hard around a project. Sometimes they just fall into our lap.

It’s the 2017 season coming and what are your plans for exhibits this coming year?

Our next exhibit will be Flogging Molly, the famous celtic-punk band who recorded in Grouse Lodge in Westmeath late last year. And of course it’s a big year for U2 with their tour and 30 year anniversary of The Joshua Tree. So there will be more U2 later in the year.

Do your exhibitions centre on the local only or do you have art and future or contemporary issues come into play occasionally?

The only criteria is that there has to be an Irish connection. An artist might be Irish, of Irish descent, lived in Ireland or maybe recorded or gigged at our venues.  


EPIC Ireland: Immigrants Made America


The Irish have been one of the largest contributors to American emigration in history. My ancestors came from this formidable force of people who came out of an amazing native land to our shores to find a better life. Countless Americans feel the pull to get in touch with their Irish ancestors and find out about their stories. Not everything was kept in parish records, making it hard on these shores to often find the truth of your family. There are family stories, and yes the Irish love their stories, and well, a grandiose telling is what’s needed, right? Don’t be surprised if the story you grew up on was not what really happened. Things get handed down and changed up in the telling, the story of your Great Great Gran may have had a harsh reality that was either embellished or downplayed, you never know.

Tracing your family roots can be fun, and yes when you actually get to the ancestral country, the native nod and go, “another seeker of the family soil”. That’s right, you are spotted coming in with that glazed over, “on the hunt for the ancestral home turf” look. You don’t need to start the convo you have with anyone with the, “ I researching my ancestors…”, they knew that before you walked up, saw you getting off the bus or out of the rail station. Depending on the country, and how you go about it and say it, they may embrace the fact you have come home, or not. The Irish always being a patient and loving people for the most part will be quite friendly, and if you just stand back and actually talk to people first, the easy conversation begins and is so much more enjoyable. Then you can make that connection you have been seeking for so long.


Of course if you really want to get the story of the massive immigrations over the last 150 years or so, I can think of no better place to start than EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin, Ireland. This museum is fully immersive and interactive, filled with themed galleries on the history of immigration from Ireland. Just think, over 10 million Irish have ventured into the world to help change it. Find out how all of it started. Check out our interview below to get some insight to this marvelous venue.

Opening Times

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

10:00 am – 6.45 pm
Last entry is 5.00 pm
Open 7 days a week

Check out some of the stories of Ireland’s Immigrants

When you are done with your EPIC journey, check out these nearby attractions:

Science Gallery Dublin

National Gallery of Dublin

Below is an interview with Nathan Mannion, Museum Curator

How did your museum get its start, and how have you seen it grow in the last five years?

The need for an Irish diaspora museum was confirmed following a state sponsored feasibility study conducted in 2013. However state funding for the project was axed in 2015 so the resultant museum would have to be a privately funded initiative. Neville Isdell, the former CEO of Coca Cola, himself a member of the Irish diaspora then stepped in and funded the project. The result was EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum which first opened on May 7th 2016. Since the time the museum has grown steadily both in terms of profile and visitor numbers.

Has there been anything surprising that happened that you just ran with in an opportunity to create an exhibit?

Yes, while attending the launch of a temporary exhibition on the Grey Nuns of Toronto and the Famine Irish at the Canadian embassy I began discussing the poignancy of the exhibit with its curators and the connections between parts of our own exhibition. They mentioned they were looking for a venue to exhibit in next and after a discussion with the museum’s board we agreed to host it. It is due to go on display in the next two months to commemorate the 170th anniversary of 1847.

What do you consider the most challenging part of running a museum of your kind?

EPIC isn’t your typical museum. Firstly we’re based entirely underground in a nearly 200 year old historic structure which presents its own challenges. Secondly we are a state-of-the-art digital museum, which means our narrative focuses on the stories of people rather than objects. The majority of our content is interactive so our visitors experience is very different than that of a traditional museum.  Getting people to reimagine what a museum is or can be is definitely one of our greatest challenges.

What is the planning process for creating new exhibits? Do you have any behind the scenes video or articles that future visitors can look at?

The museum has a very visitor focused approach to exhibiting. Currently we’re documenting and recording stories of emigration which have been donated to us with the intention of rotating our existing exhibitions in 2018. Visitors and stakeholders have been forwarding us biographies, interview transcripts and associated documentation relating to their own, their families or famous individuals’ stories of emigration over the last 10 months and the response has been fantastic.  All of this material will be proofed, researched and verified before we can shortlist material for our future exhibits but everything is currently being archived and may find additional uses as part of our education programme, temporary or travelling exhibits or as content for our online blog.

Is there a committee that decides to feature something or a finding that becomes available and you build around that? Or does the planning involve a specific structure?

The short answer is both. The museum curatorial team usually selects the themes around which we will focus for the coming year, potentially linking them to key anniversaries or commemorations of note in keeping with the museum narrative. However you always need to remain flexible and be able to quickly respond when opportunities present themselves.

It’s the 2017 season coming and what are your plans for exhibits this coming year?

For 2017 the museum plans to exhibit a number of temporary exhibitions alongside its existing long term exhibition. The first will be the ‘Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns of Toronto’ exhibit which highlights the remarkable stories of these charitable sisters who endangered their own lives to save those fleeing the Great Famine in Ireland. Subsequently EPIC will exhibit a temporary exhibition titled ‘Migrant Memories’. It has been designed by Irish school children as part of a competition run by the museum in a four part magazine series on Irish emigration featured in the Irish Independent.

Do your exhibitions centre on the local only or do you have art and future or contemporary issues come into play occasionally?

EPIC’s exhibitions, as you might imagine, have a global focus. We chart the journey of over 10 million Irish emigrants who left our island shores and highlight the impact they and their descents have had, and are still having, overseas. Emigration is of course a highly topical subject at the moment and the museum displays often sparks lively discussions between our patrons. We feel this is an important part of our role in society and by situating and sharing individual stories within the larger narrative of Irish emigration we help to raise awareness of this often little understood aspect of Irish history and contemporary affairs.