this bird can sing.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ireland 2014, Part Two

We were awoken by a phone call around 7:45am on September 20th from the front desk letting us know that my cousin Karen and her husband Jim were downstairs. I had talked with them before going to bed and knew their plane was scheduled to land around 7, but thought it would take them a bit longer to get through customs and onto the shuttle. But Karen's friend was piloting their plane and he got them into Dublin even earlier than expected. So they put their bags in our room, we got dressed, and we walked out into Dublin.

We walked through St. Stephen's Green and found an Insomnia (an Irish coffee shop) and sat down to coffee and pastries. Jim wanted to go to the Guinness Storehouse, and we thought it would be best to head there when they opened to beat the crowds. We debated various transit options, but ended up deciding on a cab. It was pretty reasonable for all 4 of us, and definitely beat walking all the way up there.

We bought tickets using the wifi in the cab on the way there, and arrived just prior to opening time. We walked around to St. James's Gate and then waited just a few minutes until opening.

Although we had done the tour before, it was actually quite a bit different than when we were there two years ago. The bottom was the same, and we again saw the 9,000 year contract signed by Arthur Guinness.

But they had redone a lot on some of the upper levels, so it was interesting to go through a slightly different tour.

We were again able to beat the crowds by going early, and were able to enjoy the views from the top in the Gravity Bar.

We sat and enjoyed our pints of Guinness, and as we sat, the bar began to fill up. So we definitely got there at the right time.

After a trip to the Guinness store, we took a cab back down to the Temple Bar area. Our next stop was going to be Dublin Castle, but we decided to eat lunch first. We walked around Temple Bar looking for restaurants serving lunch.

We found a restaurant called The Shack; the girls ordered the full Irish breakfast and the guys ordered bangers and mash. After eating, we popped into Gallagher's Boxty, which is where we planned to eat dinner. We made reservations and walked back to Dublin Castle. 

Last time, they had not been offering full tours due to the staterooms being in use. So this time we got tickets to do the tour of the medieval portion, as well as the staterooms.

It was interesting to learn about the harp being both the national symbol of Ireland, as well as the symbol for Guinness (the two collaborated to ensure that the harp doesn't face the same direction in the two).

I'm really interested in the history of medieval Ireland/Dublin, but it was also interesting to hear about more recent history and the formation of the Irish Free State.

Following the conclusion of the tour, we were pretty exhausted (particularly Karen and Jim, as they had been traveling all night). We walked back to the hotel to take naps. I laid down and pretty quickly realized that I wasn't going to be able to fall asleep. So I browsed the internet in the lobby (I wasn't getting wifi in the room) and called my mom. 

After a couple hours rest, it was time to meet for dinner. We took a cab back down to Temple Bar, as we were running short on time. We met my cousin Karla and her husband Jimmy at Gallagher's Boxty for dinner. We all ordered boxty and then probably confused some fellow diners by taking photos in front of the restaurant.

We walked to The Temple Bar and had a round of drinks. It was pretty crowded and loud, but a fun touristy destination. After a round, we decided to move on, but everything looked pretty crowded. We ended up going up to the top floor of Oliver St. John Gogarty's, where there was traditional Irish music being played. We listened to the live music and had some more drinks. 

Karla and Jimmy left, as they had to get back to their hotel, which wasn't in Dublin. The rest of us stuck around for a bit and then walked back to the hotel.

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