6.08.2012

Ireland: Dublin

The sisters and I ended our trip in Dublin. We spent three nights there and explored the city seeing the Guinness Storehouse tour, Jameson Whiskey tour, Dublin Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, shopped Grafton Street, and even saw what we thought was a street race but ended up being just a showcase for some Formula One cars. It was a FULL few days.



People told me to skip the Guinness Storehouse tour, but you can't go to Ireland for the first time and skip the Guinness Tour. It would be liking going to Southern California and missing Disneyland! So we walked over on a rainy day and joined the many people visiting the storehouse that day. This tour was self guided (yea!) and the building is pretty cool with lots of glass and open space. I think I heard someone say it was designed after a beer glass.....



The Gravity Bar on the top floor had a great view of the city but was PACKED (people were even sitting on the floor) so the sisters and I decided to have our Guinness on the food level below the bar.



An Irish bartender early in the trip told me the best place to have Guinness in Ireland was in a Pub and he was correct. Guinness in a Pub is smooth and almost creamy. Guinness at the Storehouse was bitter and not nearly as good. But everyone has to go to Disneyland at least once..... and so I did.



The Jameson tour was another Disneyland of Ireland stop and this one was way more like Disneyland in a funny way. All it was missing was the singing kids on "It's a Small World"! Just Kidding.... well sort of. The Jameson distillery that we toured was no longer a working distillery so there were a lot of videos and pictures and stories. This is in direct contrast to the Bushmills tour we did. Bushmills was a working distillery and that tour was better. You really got an idea of the process involved in making Irish Whiskey at Bushmills. Jameson was a tiny version of that.



On a side note: Both distilleries had a "12 year Reserve" that they said could only be bought at the sight but we found it in the Airport!



The sisters and I opted to take a tour of Trinity College before seeing the Book of Kells and it was the best tour I had in Ireland. Our tour was led by Stephen, a Trinity College student, and he was funny in that slightly sarcastic Irish way. He had a catch phrase he used a lot on the tour which was "In typical Irish fashion". He would use it to describe things that hadn't worked out the way they were supposed to. For example, there was a building that had been built in the 1960s that was supposed to look like the Gardens of Babylon but when the building was finished and they went to plant the plants on the outside all the plants died. Stephen then said, "In typical Irish fashion, the stone used for the construction of the building was too alkaline for the plants, and killed everything." There was a lot of "In typical Irish fashion" on our tour and it was like a bell going off in my head!


In typical Irish fashion - stores open between 9-10ish. If not by 10 then just keep waiting.

In typical Irish fashion - street signs are a joke in Ireland so you must navigate by landmarks.

In typical Irish fashion - there is always a round-about if you need to make a U-turn.


We had a lot more "In typical Irish fashion" in Dublin and I kept reminding myself "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." It is the phrase I use to remind myself that each place I visit (even places in the U.S.A.) have there own way of doing things and I just need to find a way to fit into that. I just wish I had known "In typical Irish fashion" earlier in the trip.....



Let keep the "In typical Irish fashion" going! Saturday morning we found that the streets of Dublin were starting to be blocked off. The photo above is the main street right by our hotel. I asked a Police Officer what was going on and he said it was for the street racing. Cool! A street race we would be able to see right down the street from us. On Sunday we heard some engines and made our way to see what was going on.



There were a lot of people millling about and there was a turn on the "track" right near us so we thought we would be able to see a lot of action. After a bit two race cars slowly drove up and the crowd cheered. They reveved there engines, made the turn and slowly drove away. We waited, and waited, and waited. Finally we asked a guy if they were going to race. "No" he said "You couldn't race in the city". So they just drive around to showcase the cars? "Yep. Ireland loves an excuse to close off the streets and drink."


Wow. Dublin was basically shut down (for three days) so these cars could drive around. I was glad we didn't need to take Public Transportation becuase all the busses were re-routed. I was glad Dublin was a walking city and that we were in the middle of everything because we would have been stuck. I am all about "When in Rome" but this just seemed crazy to me. I have to chalk it up to "In typical Irish fashion"......



When I was asking about all the racing stuff, I asked if the roads would be cleared by Monday morning about 7am as I needed to catch the Airport bus. The officer told me yes but In typical Irish fashion, the streets were still blocked and the sisters and I had an adventure trying to find the bus to the airport. I guess I should have learned by then (but it takes time to process things sometimes) that there was no way people who were up all night were going to get up early to clear the streets. I mean stores open between 9-10ish...... If they are not open, just wait longer......


Dublin hotel - Central Hotel

Restaurant of note: Rusticstone



This ends my day by day account of my trip in Ireland but I have a few more thoughts I want to share coming up. Look for:


Notes about Driving in Ireland

Ireland B&Bs

Ireland restaurants of note

and Ireland Take-Away


CHEERS!


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