NEXT EVENT: Sunday 22 November. Skiing & Snowboarding at Ski Club Kilternan
The objective: walk from Marley Park - Johnnie Fox's Pub
The challenge: 11km including long stretches uphill to Kilmashogue and Fairy Castle
The time: 3.5 hours
The reward: great fun and a Pint at Johnnie Fox's and some grub
The pictures: here
Reinhard and Rosemary called out on the Irish-Austrian society.
And they came in numbers from all corners of Ireland and Austria.
Meeting point was Dun Laoghaire Dart station.
Rosemary was our knowledgable and Failte approved guide who made stops at various spots of natural beauty and historical interest. We learned for example that Dun Laoghaire was also known as Kingstown during Victorian times. A very affluent area not affected by the infamous famine which devasted large parts of Ireland in mid 19th century.
After this piece of information we went to Sandymount's 44 steps - an open air swimming pool. Known for its swimmers braving all seasons. Rosemary among them and very keen to show her favourite bathing place. The name originated from the Scottish Blackwatch regiment who was stationed there during Imperial times. Their German nickname was because of the kilt :" The ladies from hell" .
Then we visited the Martello tower which was built to defend Ireland from a possible Napoleonic invasion. Later it was the memorable place where James Joyce spent a few days before having to leave in a hurry. A housemate shot at him and even Joyce realized that his days there were numbered. In his master piece Ulysses Leopold Bloom ( the protagonist's father moved from then Hungary/Austrian Empire to Ireland) starts his epic one day Ulysses there, too. Real life and literature became so inseparably intertwined.
After this short stop we went to Dalkey. Well known for its Irish celebrities ( Bono, Enya, Maeve Binchy, G.B.Shaw and in particular our fellow members of the Irish Austrian society Gerhard and Rosemary). Then we "stormed" in a leisurely pace the Killiney Hill. Enjoying on our way its natural beauty and a wonderful view over
Breathtaking were as well the climbers in the Dalkey quarry which is now lying idle. Finally we reached the top and admiring the obelisk built more than 150 years ago. On our way back we were surprisingly and friendly greeted by the natives from Dalkey. But it was naturally not us but the annual lobster festival. These accidents happen.
During our refreshment in a lovely restaurant we were watching a lobsterman and a ruthless Irish female pirate Queen coming straight from the Elizabethan age: Grace O'Malley
We bid then a polite farewall and returned to our place of origin the Dalkey Dart Station. Promising to each other to return again. Again a big thank you to the organizers: Rosemay, Gerhard and Reinhard, And the nice participants should not be excluded as well.
The news that Fritz had died did not come as a surprise when I telephoned Brunsha. I had been thinking about him and hoped that somehow he was comfortable and finally he was. Fritz had reached a great age just a few years shy of 100. He most certainly deserves peaceful rewards. Fritz had lived an extraordinary life. Despite the trauma of being uprooted from Austria he preferred to recall the joyful experiences of arriving in Ireland in the late 1930s, his first impression looking out the window and seeing the back of the Sugar Loaf in Co. Wicklow. He never lost his Viennese charm and that unique sense of humour.His parents founded The Old Vienna Club in Dublin during The Emergency (WW II). Fritz and his brother Ernest were very active members of The Irish Austrian Society that was to follow and thrives to this day. Austria honoured him with the Gold medal for services rendered and he continued for many decades serving as a very active committee member through three Presidencies. I, as the first Irish born President of the Society asked Fritz if he would act as our “Ideology Secretary” (private joke) and indeed he did keep us on the right path. Our memories are of a perfect gentlemen, always smartly dressed, charming and sincere, a very fine Irish-Austrian.
Last Saturday, 26 September, couldn't have been a better day. Starting our journey at 9am from Dublin, 15 of us headed north on M1 and A1 in a mini van and private car. A good 2.5 hours later, we arrived at Mount Stewart on Strangford Lough, in Northern Ireland. Now owned by the UK National Trust, it is the former home of Marquesses of Londonderry including Robert Stewart, better known as Viscount Castlereagh, one of Britain's most famous Foreign Secretaries, who has a special connection to Vienna through is participation at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15.
The house, recently renovated boasts countless interesing features, furniture, paintings including the famous chairs used at the Congress of Vienna as well as table on which the treaty was signed in 1815. Following the tour of the house, we enjoyed the suroundings which include the Spanish, Italian and Sunken Garden, Lake, Walled Garden and more.
Everyone was greatly impressed by the magnificence of the House and Garden of Mount Stewart. To get an impression yourself, please visit the gallery showing a great selection of photos courtesy of Harald Pichler.
Sunday 26 July, Peta Taaffe once again hosted the annual summer BBQ at her home for members of the society for a summer BBQ as well as a tour of her wonderful and well managed garden. We had the now almost customary rainy day, however, as always this did not stop anyone from enjoying the day. Our vice president Ulrike thanked Peta for her hospitality, which we were able to enjoy this year for the 10th time. Thank you very much Peta.
Dear Frau Schoeller,
This is Katherine Ahern here. I am so sorry that it has taken me this long to e-mail you. I am only just getting back on my feet after my amazing trip to Austria. It was the most wonderful experience I have ever had. I have learnt so much and made so many friends. Salzburg is the most beautiful city I have ever seen and I would go back there tomorrow if I could. My German has improved so much and for that I am truly grateful. I will never forget the most amazing time I spent in the most wonderful place that is Salzburg. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I have benefited so much from it and it has helped me so much.
Liebe Ulrike, Ich bin jetzt seit eine Woche nach Hause zuruckgekommen. Salzburg war unglaublich gut, ich hatte viel Spaß. Der Sprachkurs war wunderbar, wir haben viele neue Grammatik und Vokabeln gelernt, und ich finde, dass meine Deutschkentnisse verbessern hat. Die Stadt war wirklich schön und ich habe auch Wien besucht, es war auch sehr schön und historisch. Es war die beste Erfährung meines Lebes und ich will Ihnen für diese Gelegenheit und für Ihre Mühe bedanken.
Alles gute, Ailish Lalor
I just returned home a week ago. Salzburg was unbelievably good and I had lot's of fun. The language class was wonderful, we learned a lot of new grammar and vocabulary and I find that my german has improved. The city was truly beautiful. We also visited Vienna, which also was wonderful and historic. This was the best experience of my life I like to thank you for this opportunity. All the best, Ailish
by Peta Taaffe
Early on Sunday morning, seven of us met up with Ulli Schoeller at Dublin Airport to set out on our very memorable visit to Vienna. Having booked into our comfortable and centrally-situated hotel, we had lunch and met Walter Hagg, the previous Austrian Ambassador to Ireland, who is now retired. It was so good to see him again, and he took us around the area near the hotel, explaining some of the history and culture. Then we went to the Belvedere Museum, where the highlight was the collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt. I must say I prefer his landscapes to his figures, but there are enough to satisfy all tastes.
The evening finished at a Heuriger out at Grinzing, where Aglae Hagg joined us, and we met Paul Dubsky’s sister and the President of the Austro-Irish Society, Margit Exel. It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed wine, music and food in the garden.
During the next three days we had a feast of sight-seeing ; Schoenbrunn Palace, where we walked to the Gloriette, a city tour, including the Stephansdom, and a visit to Mayerling, scene of the tragedy involving Crown Prince Rudolph and Maria Vetsera. One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to the Staatsoper: in fact we went twice, for a tour of the building – fascinating – and to a performance of “The Italian Girl in Algiers”, by Rossini, which was wonderful.
A boat ride on the Danube took us to Melk, where we visited the wonderful baroque Benedictine Abbey, and were there for the monks’ midday office. One afternoon we visited Baden, which was when we had the only rain of the whole trip, but it didn’t spoil things. We also had the all-important time for a bit of shopping: the Gerry Weber store benefitted, among others. No visit to Vienna would be complete without enjoying a cup of excellent coffee in one of the famous coffee houses, which we duly did.
In all it was a wonderful experience, even for people who had been to Vienna before. Ulli deserves great praise for the idea, the organisation, the hotel, where the food was really good, and the smooth running of the expedition. My one regret was that a few more members didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy Vienna in such a unique way.
For more pictures of this trip please visit the IAS Facebook Albums
On the 11 June, His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Thomas Nader and his wife Ingrid, gave their annual reception for members of the Society at their wonderful residence. Many of our members followed the invitation to have a wonderful garden party on a fabulous day.
On this occasion, the Ambassador said his farewell to Doris Fida-Šrajner, First Secretary and Consul, and her Husband Bernhard, who will shortly be leaving Ireland to head for their new posts. The Irish Austrian Society wish Doris and Bernhard all the best for their new roles.
The Garden Party also saw a live performance by up and coming artist Johannes Holzinger, who sang a selection of songs and playing the piano. His musical performance were received with great acclaim. Johannes last year also performed at the German TV music competition "The voice of Germany". Johannes is currently on an Internship at Advantage Austria but will soon return to Austria. Johannes, we wish you all the best in you future endeavours and look forward to seeing you back in Ireland sometime.
Please click any of the above photos for further pictures.
Each year the topics for the essay competition are eagerly awaited in my school. Previous recipients of the scholarship always return after an incredible trip to Austria and their enthusiasm and love for the country is contagious. As a result there is never any difficulty in getting students to submit entries.
Anyone can travel to a city and passively attempt to learn the language by doing a course, but it is the interaction with other young people that makes this such a coveted scholarship. It combines the familiar surroundings of a classroom with the freedom to explore the city. Students learn a huge amount in the classes, but it is speaking German in informal situations that leads to an improved fluency in the language. The students learn how to ask for directions, order food, buy tickets and much more. They develop an understanding of the Austrian people, their customs and traditions, their culture and the ,,Landeskunde’’. This experience gives the students a reason to excel. They see a purpose, other than a grade, for learning the language. They are amazed at how well they can cope in a foreign country and speak the language with increased confidence subsequently.
As the curriculum is very much dictated by rote learning, the essay competition for me as a teacher is a very welcome diversion. It showcases the imagination and creativity of young people. All the students receive the same title, yet each essay is unique and imaginative. It is wonderful to observe how each student becomes more creative and confident in his use of the German language. Students end up knowing more about Austria than Germany. In fact, the roles in the classroom are reversed during the research period as it is the student that ends up educating me with facts of which I was unaware. This year I discovered that the Latvian language was founded by a German and that an Irish monk St. Virgil had a huge influence in Salzburg. In the past essays about ‘The Wild Geese’, Mozart, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, among others, proved very popular and educational.
The value and significance of the essay competition does not stop with the closing date - it has a ripple effect. This year two of my Leaving Certificate students are presenting projects on Austria for their oral German exam - one titled 'Salzburg' and the other titled 'Skiing in Austria'. Such was their love for the country that they wanted to express this in an exam which is worth 25%. One of these students - a former scholarship recipient - is hoping to follow in the footsteps of a student from last year and study Actuary with German in UCD. Another scholarship recipient is currently studying Medicine with German as his trip to Austria motivated him to continue studying the language. In this way the competition acts as a catalyst for future careers. The German language opens many doors for students and as one student, who took up a new position as a Translator in the European Union in Brussels earlier this year said ‘’Once you come to grips with German, you quickly realise what a brilliant, structured language it is’’.
So members of the Irish Austrian Society please take a bow - the contribution you are making to Irish Education is invaluable. Remember: ''The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life’’ - Plato