This is post #1 of our Dublin-Berlin trip in September 2018.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
We left Los Angeles Tuesday evening, on Aer Lingus, an untested airline. Now having flown them internationally and locally, go for international. They make you pay for water locally (pet peeve of mine). This was taken Wednesday, before we arrived in Dublin.
I asked if everyone spoke Irish. Nope. But the law mandates dual language signs. Actually it’s probably a pretty good thing, to try and keep the language from disappearing.
We clear customs, get our luggage, and made our way onto the airport bus, that was the meandering version. It took us past the harp-shaped Samuel Beckett bridge, one I didn’t see again.
After the bus left us off, we walked down O’Connell Street, snapping photos. Dublin is pretty enamored of their donuts, but they are more like cream-filled donuts than regular ones. By the end of our stay, I was pretty enamored of their donuts, too.
The William Smith O’Brien statue was wearing a hat, as were some others. Later I found out it was part of Dublin’s Fringe Festival, a combination of plays, performances, art pieces, and some hi-jinks — like hats.
The River Liffey. We really had great weather while we were there–only a few rainstorms. My first impressions of Dublin are of a smaller town with lots of energy, a long flat river bisecting it east-west, lots of statues, lots of donuts, and lots of tourists. Oh, and it is very very green.
We had lists of things to see, from friends and neighbors and even our son Chad, who had come here last year with his family. One place I wanted to see was the Garden of Remembrance, a memorial with a reflecting pool in the shape of a cross and a beautiful statue of children being changed into swans.
The Dublin Post Office was on the way, and I often buy one beautiful stamp from a country as a souvenir. This time I purchased postcard stamps as well. What a beautiful building! I imagine the other ones aren’t like this, but I did have severe Post Office Envy.
I loved the hexagonal stamps they sold, but left them there. We are at the stage where we only buy things that we think we’ll enjoy in our lifetime (as the children will throw out the bulk of our possessions, we’re sure!). I could see framing them, but then what? I just enjoyed them there.
The Millenium Tower, aka The Spire, is right on O’Connell street, serving as a landmark for us as we scooted around. It was finished in 2002 (two years late), and apparently some hate it and some love it. It is kind of cool looking.
Still on the trail to the Garden, we heard chanting, like an enthusiastic call-and-response, and we realized we had happened on the Labor Rally for that afternoon, perhaps to get them fired up for the talk (below):
Looks like Jim Larkin’s spirit still persists.
We arrived about 5:43 and the gatesman said he was closing soon. “6:00 p.m.” I asked. “In five minutes,” he said. So I raced down into the garden, up to to the statue and then back again, all in five minutes.
The statue of the Children of Lir, a tale from Irish mythology. It’s complicated, but love, suffering, and revenge are at the heart of it.
According to Wikipedia, “In Celtic custom, on concluding a battle, the weapons were broken and cast in the river, to signify the end of hostilities.” The broken weapons are in several places in the reflecting pool.
We look pretty good for being so jetlagged. Little did we know that we would never have a good nights’ sleep in our hotel. More on that later.
All the buildings are so different from our town, we found ourselves snapping photos left and right.
Now it’s time for our traveling ritual: Hunt For Food. These days we have guidebooks, internet, Yelp and Google to help us find our way.
Fabric Store! Fun to see that night, but of course it was closed. And of course, I never got back to it. That also is a ritual of traveling–seeing things, and never getting back to them.
We had downloaded Google Maps Offline, which keeps us oriented even when we don’t have Wi-Fi. That kept us on target to cross the Ha-Penny Bridge, so named for the original toll, keeping Us on one side, and Them on the other side because of the steep (at the time) toll to be paid. Now it’s just a charming and well-used bridge over the Liffey.
Fun stores and buildings on the way to dinner. We also saw the first of many many many buskers (or street musicians–the term can vary) (click the link to see a white Irish Rapper).
We were headed for Fallon and Byrne, where we heard they had good food. We opted for the restaurant in the Cellar, where we had a really great meal, though unexpected in their offerings.
I had the Irish Chicken atop Sweet Potato (what we call a “yam” in this area of the world).
Dave had the Beetroot, Avocado and Tofu Fritter, but it was like all of that mixed into a sort of “patty” that rested on a ciabatta bun. Tasty, it was!
Twisting and turning, we made our way to the Molly Malone statue, a tourist tradition. Home, and then experience the wonder that is a hotel room in the Temple Bar area of Dublin: no quiet anywhere. In fact, even given the jetlag, we saw more awake time because of all the action, than we did sleeping time. No whining while traveling, right? Yes, but it’s difficult. They do like to party All.Night.Long.