stevenpiziks: (Default)
stevenpiziks ([personal profile] stevenpiziks) wrote2017-08-23 02:06 pm
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Ireland, Baby!

Darwin and I are back from Ireland!  Darwin enjoyed himself hugely and had to be physically dragged to the airport to leave.  I'm posting my journal in segments here.  It's really hard to post photos and videos on this site, but I'll have them on Facebook, so come see over there!


SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 2017
    Darwin and I landed at Dublin airport Saturday morning after a boring flight, went through a loooooonnngg line at customs, gathered our luggage without incident, and boarded a shuttle bus that took us to downtown Dublin.  Yay!
    First, we shall point out that the weather was stunningly cooperative all week.  As you know, Bob, Ireland is notoriously rainy, and the weather forecasts on my phone kept calling for rain, rain, and more rain.  But all week, the worst we got was a passing shower that didn't last more than a few minutes.  The temperature stayed in the 50s at night and the 60s during the day with a surprising amount of sunshine.  Double yay!
    We ended up at one of the tourist centers across the street from Trinity College, where Oscar Wilde attended university.  They have a luggage check, which was important because we couldn't get into our flat until 2:00, and it wasn't even noon.  We dropped off our luggage and got some breakfast at a pub.  I had a full Irish breakfast, and Darwin had some lighter fare.  When I ordered tea to drink, I got an actual teapot filled with properly brewed tea, not a cup of lukewarm water and a tea bag like you do in America. The Irish know proper tea.
    Dublin was way, WAY more crowded than it was when I visited eight years ago.  The streets outside the tourist center were so packed, you could scarcely move.  Later, when Darwin and I popped into Trinity for a look, the crowds were equally immense.  I couldn't understand it until Darwin pointed out that eight years ago, we were deep in a recession, which hits tourism badly.  This would explain it.
    Anyway, we hopped on board a bus to tour Dublin while we waited for our flat.  Darwin didn't seem very happy or impressed, for all that he'd been looking forward to this trip so much, but I put it down to jet lag and fatigue--we'd been up all night and were now moving into morning, and we had leaped ahead five hours.  I pointed out some areas we might want to come back later to visit, and Darwin nodded.
    We stopped by the Molly Malone statue, which was near the tourist center, and got several pictures, then reclaimed our luggage and grabbed a taxi to the flat.
    The flat was . . . well, awful.  It was clean, I'll say that.  But it was so very tiny.  The bathroom was so minuscule, you couldn't function in it.  The lighting was poor.  The mattress was lumpy.  And even though the listing said it was "convenient" for city center, you had to take a taxi or be prepared to walk for half an hour or longer.  At least it was relatively inexpensive.  Never, ever will we stay there again, though, and we were glad that we were getting out quickly.  It certainly wasn't worth 100 Euros per night.
    For two days, we wandered about Dublin.  Christchurch Cathedral--always impressive.  Darwin found it awe-inspiring.  That took most of an afternoon, and we picnicked on the grounds outside for lunch.  We visited Trinity College and discovered stampedes of crowds everywhere.  We wanted to see the Book of Kells and the long room, but the line to get in was two or three blocks long.  I couldn't get over it!  When I was here last, I breezed right in.  Later, we bought tickets on-line for it, with a reserved time in the morning, and showed up at 9 AM.  A separate line for e-tickets rushed us right in past the already-forming regular line, but when we left an hour later, the e-ticket line was also a block long.
    Book of Kells was, as always, stunning, even if you only get to see the two pages the curators have set up for the day.  Really, the BoK stands up to world-class works of art like the Mona Lisa or the Pieta.  The Long Room library, 2/3ds the length of a soccer pitch, was also wonderful, with Brian Boru's harp on display and books that are older than any other in Ireland.  We spent considerable time there.
    That evening we went on a ghost tour, which was pushed as a tour of haunted places in Dublin.  We climbed aboard a black bus with curtained-over windows, and an actor in ghostly makeup told stories about the Black Plague and other awful ways to die in 19th century Dublin while we drove around town for a look-see at various sites. It was long on the plague and short on ghosts, but it was kind of fun overall.
adhirman: (2016)

[personal profile] adhirman 2017-08-23 06:26 pm (UTC)(link)
And how much did you need to be restrained from randomly drifting-totally-by-accident-I'm-sure toward Brian Boru's harp? lol