TGIF: Save big at an iconic location in Ireland

Trinity College

Stay at Ireland’s most prestigious college.

The Trinity College in Dublin offers affordable and modest rooms in a popular location. Shopping, restaurants and bus stops are nearby. Trinity College is home to the Book of Kells the crown jewel of Ireland.

The book of kells

The Book of Kells is a medieval manuscript of the bible.

The campus green space and historic buildings offer a pleasant setting. The single room I stayed in was off the beaten path and quite a distance away from the Accommodations Office. The floor I stayed on had no elevator and was very awkward to find. Thankfully a staff member was close by to assist me with my luggage and finding my room. My single room was sparse but neat and clean with comfortable bedding. There was a little noise in the afternoon in the dorm but it was quiet during the night. The room had wifi but no tv. A shared bathroom and shower were in the hallway. There was a sink in the room for freshing up. It was an ideal overnight stay after a nine day road trip around Ireland.

The Long Room

Visit The Long Room after viewing the Book of Kells.

I enjoyed easy access to the Book of Kells, airport express bus and most of all the affordable price. I love history so the setting was an added plus. The staff is very pleasant, helpful and check in and check out were easy. If you check out early like I did some entry gates will be closed. I followed other people walking and found a gate with access. You may want to check with the Accommodations Office to find out which gates are open for early departure.

Visit for more on my lighthouse trip to Ireland.


TGIF: The land of the free and the home of the brave

Biloxi Lighthouse

The Biloxi Lighthouse is the only US in the middle of a highway.

Lighthouses watch over the shores and ocean of our Nation. They are guardians of hope and allow Mariners the freedom to navigate our waters safely. Working side by side along with the Coast Guard, Light Keepers have served in times of war and peace.

Wace-in plaque

A plaque commemorating the Civil Rights wade-ins at Biloxi Beach.

The Biloxi Lighthouse has withstood time and history. It has seen its share of turmoil. It survived the Civil War, Hurricane Katrina and more than 20 hurricanes. The shores of the lighthouse has been the focal point of social protest.

Confederate flag

A protest held at Biloxi Beach against the removal of the Confederate flag.

From the Civil Rights wade-ins demanding equal access to public beaches and those demonstrating against the removal of the confederate flag in North Carolina, the Biloxi Lighthouse has witnessed it all.

TGIF: Ireland’s Stunning Upside Down Lighthouse

West Rathlin Lighthouse

West Rathlin Lighthouse is built upside down.

The West Lighthouse on Rathlin Island is a marvel of human ingenuity. Unlike most lighthouses, the Keepers had to climb down to the light. The Commissioners of Irish Lights Engineer-in-Chief CW Scott came up with this novel idea. Because the top cliff was often obscured by fog and low clouds, a traditional lighthouse would not do.

Built in 1912 on a somewhat vertical cliff, the project was a huge undertaking. It took almost 4 years to complete. The enormous amount concert used had to be mixed by hand. An inclined railway was built for landing materials.

TGIF: Miami Beach Art Deco Weekend


Studio Apartments in Miami Beach.

My painting of the Studio Apartments in Miami Beach.

Join the Miami Design Preservation League in welcoming the Jazz Age Lawn Party to Art Deco Weekend, January 13-15. Enjoy prohibition era entertainment with music, dance performance, dance lessons, food and drink all for one price. After 11 years in New York this popular event comes to Miami Beach.

Art Deco weekend also features a parade, dog show, car show, walking tours, vendors and activities for kids. There’s fun for all.

For more information, visit

The not so friendly skies

Art Deco Coloring book

I had to digitize my Art Deco Coloring book to get it printed.

I thought computers were suppose to make our lives easier. A computer glitch at Customs caused problems at several US airports a few days ago. Not to mention the vulnerabilities that were exposed by the hacking of the DNC, White House, Sony, Yahoo just to name a few. I guess it’s the price we pay for turning our lives over to computers and the so-called “cloud.”

I am all for the digital age but I think it elevates rather than diminishes the important role artists play. The artist’s message is not subject to blackouts. There are no language barriers in visual images. No technology bugs to work out. It’s kind of hard to hack an actual painting.

A few years while heralding the new Dunkin Donuts in downtown Miami, I took a sad pause and realized the historic building that I once delighted in sketching was transformed into a Dunkin Donuts shop. It made me realize the important role we artists play. Sometimes an artist’s drawing is the only documentation of past events or landmarks. My role as an artist is to document social history.

During a postcard talk at the Miami Main Library, post cards were described as mementos of a former time. The decline of postcards sales due to social media and digital cameras was lamented. While social media is a great platform for instant communication, it has not replaced the important role artists play.

How to retain social media records for future generations remains a daunting challenge. According to the article “Saving Government Tweets Is Tougher Than You Think” by Joseph Marks ”federal agencies should establish working groups to determine when agency social posts constitute federal records and how to retain them for posterity.” Obviously, there are some technology bugs to work out.

©Elaine Marie