Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kono Kastle

I sent some housing possibilities out to a few of you two weeks ago soliciting advice, but turns out I didn’t go with any of those (more tricks!). I did not send out photos/info on the one I ended up in, because I didn’t think I would get it – as there were several people interested and my bid was 140 euro/month less than the posted price. BUT, I did get it, and that’s where I am now.

First let’s look at my adorable neighborhood. I live in Portobello. The neighborhood originally housed lower to middle class workers, and then became home to artists and politicians. In the early 1900s the neighborhood turned again, and became the center of the Jewish community in Ireland, after so many refugees settled there (I live 2 blocks from the Irish Jewish Museum). The 6th president of Israel grew up 2 doors down. A nice holdover from this time is the Bretzel Bakery – a Kosher bakery – about 3 blocks from my house. Many of the Jewish residents emigrated to the States during and after WWII.

Most importantly, I’ve moved from Shaw, DC to just around the corner from the birthplace of George Bernard Shaw – which all just feels full circle and nice. Other famous former neighborhood residents include Jack B. Yeats, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, William Mulholland (of Mulholland Drive), James Joyce’s parents (in childhood, and in marriage pre-James), and of course, the fictional Leopold Bloom.

AND – my house sits on one of the sites where Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite! once took place!

Here is a typical house on my street, replete with greenery and adorable old car:

The ones that don’t have front yards look like this:

And the cute little cottages look like this:

Here are all the styles in one photo:

I live near the Grand Canal, which is a nice place to sit with a book. It’s also very multimodal: there is a pedestrian-only path along the canal, and then a separated bike lane, and then the car lane. All of these are separated by curbs or trees. Also, as it’s a canal and I see operable locks, I assume my multimodal list could potentially include boats – but I haven’t seen one of those yet.
I don’t know what the submerged cone is cautioning against.

To the main event! I’ve mentioned that I live in a castle, and that’s certainly what it feels like. However, in all honesty, it is a renovated church. St. Kevin’s Church, to be exact. According to the plaque in the lobby (which is the middle of the nave of the church), it was built in the 1800s courtesy of a bequest from Miss Jane Shannon of Rathmines (the next neighborhood south). In the 1990s it was renovated into apartments courtesy of some rich person who lives in the Dublin area (supposition – I have no idea, really, aside from the mid-90s bit).

Anyway, St. Kevins/Kono Kastle looks like this on the outside:
In real life, the steeple is not bendy. I just couldn’t get far enough away to get it all in one shot (the house across the street was very much in my way) so I stitched two together. Also, you can’t see my window in this shot – I live on the other side of the building in the clerestory above the chancel. But, on that side there is a house, and a bike parking lot, and trees, and all this stuff that makes for bad church photography, but for nice things to look at out my window.

Anyway, you go in that side door that says St. Kevin’s and up the stairs. I’m on the 2nd (US) or 1st (EU) floor, depending on your nationality.

To complete the castle theme, my key looks like this:
The other keys open up the building and the bike parking lot. (Yes, protected bike parking. What a civilized country!).

You walk in to a little hallway and pass a bathroom to your right. No photos because it’s not exciting. Straight ahead is the living room. You’ll notice I’ve already got my colors hung, and a basil plant – so I’m basically nested.

If you walk towards that glorious window and turn around, you’ll see my kitchen, framed by fun church/castle archway:

Also featured in that photo is the ugly cardboard box. Inside the ugly cardboard box is the previous tenant’s full guitar hero set. Includes a guitar, a drum set, and the CD. Since I don’t have a TV, or a playstation (or whatever it runs on), I haven’t decided what to do with it.

Turning right, around the big couch, is the entrance to my bedroom. The bedroom has a sloping exposed beam roof with a skylight. The skylight can be opened, which is quite nice. It’s east facing, so I suspect I’ll be grateful for that come winter when the sun is rising as I do, but during these freakishly long summer days (I am so much further north that I realized – the sun sets at 10:30!), I’m going to have to figure out some sort of skylight curtain.

Here’s another angle where I squeezed into the corner in an attempt to show both the skylight and the church/castle arches:
And here’s the view from the bed back towards the living/dining room:

Absolutely the best part of the apartment, and the part that makes it most castley, are the windows. Here they are in all their glory.

Don’t mind the rain you’re seeing through those panes. It is Dublin after all. I took all the photos in this post on the same day. You’ll notice that when I was walking around outside there was nary a cloud to be seen, however, the second I entered the apartment there was a massive drenching downpour. The weather here is fickle.

So, now you’ve seen my place! Kono Kastle is open to visitors at any time. Please come! Also, keep checking back for future posts. I’ll likely be posting about Dublin, struggles with Irish bureaucracy, biking, my obscenely small shower, Trinity, where to get the best Guinness, the trials and tribulations of getting internet access, eating local, the hoards of Italians in Dublin, and my old-man pub friends next.

I’ll be sending out the email with my change of address soon. Let me know if you want to make sure you’re on that list.


  1. Kono, your new digs look incredible! If I had the money and time I'd be hitting you up for a visit right away. I can't wait to read more about your Irish adventures.

  2. I want to live in a castle! Looks awesome. Like a Chinese apartment but so much more 文明.

  3. Oh my goodness, that is all so lovely. Jealous!!

  4. photos look great, everything is picturesque, for sure. do you think you could ever live in NYC? i really want to get out of here soon cuz i want to live somewhere more bike friendly, and i've seen with your posts/shares in the past that you love biking too. hope you're able to bike around everywhere in Dublin!