Thursday, June 16, 2016

Common dandelion - Taraxacum officinale

Common Name : Dandelion, Common dandelion, Blowballs.
Botanical Name : Taraxacum officinale
Family : Asteraceae
Country : Ireland

There are few flowers around us which are not welcomed but very attractive and showy. They are notorious weed with beauty. Name of one such flower is Common dandelion or simply Dandelion. This flower is mainly native to Eurasian region. Botanical name is Taraxacum officinale and belongs to the plant family Asteraceae.

Dandelion is a taproot herbaceous perennial plant. Leafs are slightly hairy and deeply toothed (In French 'Dent de Lion' means 'Lion's Tooth'). Leafs are long and narrow near the petiole. This plant grows mostly on lawns, roadsides.

Flowers of Dandelion are very much showy. They are yellow in color and blooms from March to October. Similar to the other Aster flower it has lot of petals. Petals are slim and having toothed at the tip. The stalk of the flower is much long and hollow inside. Stalks are available in green and reddish.

The flower converts into a silver colored ball that contains numerous seeds. The kids use to play it by blowing and dispersing the seeds (hence name Blowballs). Because of its numerous seeds the plant spread quickly in next year, and having taproot it is really difficult to get rid of it. That's why to the gardeners or farmers the rule is pluck the flower whenever you see it (beauty is valueless here).

Despite of being a weed plant this still has few medicinal uses. This plant has the remedy for bile and liver related problems. This plant can be eaten as vegetable. Young leafs and buds can be eaten as salad whereas the older leafs after cooking (i.e. frying with olive oil). The leafs are a great source of Potassium and Calcium.

Silver ball, A Dandelion flower converted into this.

Photos of this article were taken from several places of Ireland. It was the month of March and April of 2016.

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ireland: St Patrick's Day Festival

Thursday, 17 March 2016

St. Patrick's Day is probably the Ireland's largest festival (or at least one of the largest). Lot of tourists use to gather here during this time to enjoy the festival. And the City center is the real center of this festival. You'll see lot of tourists on the Dublin street during this time compare to other seasons.

The flight fares go high, and so do the hotel rents. Tourists had to take a long preparation for that. But for me it was really an easy one. I have just moved in Ireland a couple of weeks back. And I didn't need to go through that process. I was really luck that I could move here just before the festival.

The festival organizing committee has arranged a three day long programs for this year (2016). But the main attraction of the festival is the Saint Patrick's Day Parade. This starts from the Parnell street and ends near the St Patrick's Cathedral. People like us use to gather beside the roads and enjoy the parade. The color of the day is green. So most of the people wearing something green on their dresses. You can buy the hats and scarfs from the street hawkers for €2-€5.

People are waiting beside the road.

This year the parade was scheduled at 11:00am at the morning. The buses were closed as the city center was blocked for the parade. I decided to go there just an hour before the parade. I had to walk and initially I went near to the Parnell Street (from where the parade starts). But that place was totally packed and after some point I couldn't move further. At one stage I felt like I couldn't observe the parade.

But there were people moving to some other places. I was following them and realized that they were going near to the finishing point. That was a good idea as that part could be free. But it wasn't. Because everyone was moving towards that direction. But luckily I got myself managed to stand behind a petite girl.

People were everywhere. Everyone was trying to catch a place for the observation. Climbing the walls, the street side pillars, etc were very common. The kids were siting on the shoulder of their father. Windows near the roadside buildings were packed. Even people were standing at the rooftop. It was a nice atmosphere to enjoy the parade.

The parade comprised of lot of things. Different bands from the different services have participate and they mostly played the traditional bagpiper. I really liked that music. Few of the bands were wearing their uniform, and few were wearing the traditional male and female outfit. Their music simply created a vibe amongst the people.

Apart from these, there were different team who were depicting as a flower, animal, tree, vehicle, etc. They were passing one by one and it was really a colorful one. Through these sort of depictions they use to give us some sort of messages. For example the house under water really tells us what would happen due to the global warming.

After nearly two hours the parade came to an end. It was not only the Irish people who have participated here but also teams from other nationals were here (i.e. a team from University of Missouri). Also at this day the celebration has performed in many other countries (i.e. USA, Australia, Canada, etc). Once upon a time it was only Irish festival, but slowly it started happening across the world.

A person portraying as St Patrick during the parade.

There were few other events happening on the same day. I went to observe the street comedy show by Tayto. It was a small one but not that much attractive as the parade. So I didn't spend more than 30 minutes there. All the restaurants near city center serves special menu for that day (i.e. traditional Irish breakfast and Wine). Those restaurants were overwhelmed by the tourists. I don't like crowd that much, but I really enjoyed the noise. It reminded the Pohela Boisakh Festival of our Bangladesh.

A person portraying as Dracula during the parade. The author Bram Stoker is from Dublin, Ireland.

About St Patrick:

He was a Christian missionary and Bishop from Ireland. His exact living time is not confirmed, but scholars assumed this could be 4th or 5th century. Ireland doesn't have any snake, and it has a legend that the Saint himself had driven the snakes out of the island. You can read more about him from the wikipedia. The St Patrick's Day parade is performed during the 17th March of every year (assumed his death day). This day is the Irish public holiday.

What to do during St Patrick's Day Festival:

Of course the parade is the main attraction. But there are lot of other events during this festival. It lasts for three days. Stpatricksfestival website publishes the event detail on their website. You can follow the site. You can join with some day tour events where you'll be with historical places near Dublin. And foods and walking around the streets you won't want to miss. There will be small musical shows and street drams too. Just check which one matches best for you and your time schedule.

Taking preparation:

You must have to book the plane's ticket a bit earlier to avail lower price. It will not only the price will be higher, but also you may find sold out situations. This goes same for the hotels. Dublin has different quality hotels. Just pick the one that suits most with you. You can have a look on this list of Hotels from Dublin city. There are several hotels which are just beside the parade routes. You can search them on internet and then try your luck there too. And finally to enjoy the parade, go there early to make sure you get a nice viewing position to watch the parade. Remember its free so you can't book your seat beforehand.

It is good to see the physically disabled people who are participating in the parade.

An owl on his nest.

The future hose under water. The effect of global warming.

Eggs on bird's nest.

A kid watching the parade.

A kid with her viking hat watching the parade.

A kid as a princess watching the parade.

An spectator depicted himself as a leprechaun.

A female playing flute during the parade.

A female playing flute during the parade.

A female playing flute during the parade.

The theme of this year's parade was 'Imagine If...'

A group of bike riders also participated in the parade.

Horse riders from military group (probably).

They took a selfi and then making fun from that.

A group of modern bagpipers.

A group of bagpipers with traditional male outfit.


Girls are in traditional female outfit.

Depicting snakes are back. Ireland doesn't have any snake at all.

Depicting snakes are back.

A female with her traditional female outfit.

The parade day was really crowded at Dublin.

People are on the road after the parade.

This is how we stood beside the fence to watch the parade.

Few people were at the top of the roof to watch the parade.

Small street drama (comedy) by Tayto.

Small street drama (comedy) by Tayto.

Small street drama (comedy) by Tayto.

St Patrick's Day Festival,
From Parnel Street to St Patrick's Cathedral
List of Hotels from Dublin

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog