Goodbye Dublin, Hello Berlin

This is post #5 of our Dublin-Berlin trip in September 2018.


I have a reminder that I am in a different country, whenever I pull up my phone and there is a different language on my screen.

I woke up this morning thinking Happy News!  That’s the last time I’ll ever have to sleep in that bed (or not sleep, as the case may be).

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Yesterday afternoon (Friday), we’d decided to come back to the National Gallery of Ireland, when browsing through their book shop for 15 minutes just wasn’t enough.


Dave wolfed down his breakfast, while we stood a few doors away, in front of this interesting building from the past: Pure Chemistry.

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The stairs up to the exhibit of Roderic O’Conor and The Moderns.  Of course, no photos were allowed, so the following are culled from the web, by doing a search on his name:

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The painting notes emphasized O’Conor’s use of stripes to color the shadows, give dimension to his work, and the influence of Gaugin in his use of bold color.  I loved one of the quotes in the title cards:

“Remember that a picture —before being a battle horse, a nude women, or some anecdote – is essentially a plane surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order.” Maurice Denis, 1890

Yes, “plane” is spelled correctly.

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However, once we crossed into the atrium between the old space and the newer space, we could photograph, enjoying this wooden sculpture.

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This wing was constructed from a Georgian Terrace House, and the planning board asked that they leave the basic construction inteact.  When you walk in, you wonder what kind of lives were lived here, and you have the sense that you are guests in a very grand house.

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Upstairs.  Photo by Dave.

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One of my favorite shots. Photo by Elizabeth.

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Dave’s doors (with old people and walker).Dublin NGArt_4d

Elizabeth’s doors (modern style).

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We are sprinting through the galleries, sorry we don’t have more time to spend, and even though we asked for an hour extension on our hotel check-out, it still didn’t give us lots of time.  Next trip.

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Back to the original gallery, down their stairs.Dublin NGArt_6

We brought a few things home from the gift shop, but these stockings stayed there.Dublin3_2

In a strange land, even the mundane catches your eye, like this tiled stoop, which matched the gray sky.

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We head back to Sprout for a repeat bowl meal.

Mine was “Sataysfied Turkey Bowl.”  I believe Dave had “Superguacabowl;” the guacamole was on the side in a little container and did NOT look authentic.  But the color was right for this country.

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Another one-word shop title.  We check out, then spend a couple of hours in their basement, where the check-in desk is located.  I decide to wander a bit, leaving Dave to mind the luggage.


I wandered over to the donut shop, and got three to go.  (They went.)Dublin3_7 Shop Shuh

We caught the express airport bus this time, and as we slugged our way to the airport, saw one last one-word shop: Schuh.

Our flight was at 5:55, so we tried to grab some food from the Dublin airport, knowing that Aer Lingus was considered a bargain airline, I doubted we’d get any free food on board (I was right–they even charged you for the water).  This food court was upstairs, a convenient area to wait for the gate to be announced. (The catsup was in those little bottles in front.)

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And the plane has landed, refueled, so we’re off to Berlin.


And a couple of hours later (and one time zone shift) we land.  As is usual for European airlines, they put you on the ground in the new country, bragging that they were “early,” but you have to schlepp off the plane, get onto a bus, driven over to the terminal, thereby getting you to the baggage claim, etc. waaaay later than if you’d just waited and parked at a gate.  I’ll never understand this logic.

I sat by a young woman who was flying down to see her boyfriend run in the Berlin Marathon the next day.  We had a great conversation on the plane, about those things you talk about with strangers: her lack of divorce (complicated Irish law), how her children are doing with the father moved out of the house (fine), how she met her boyfriend, and how she voted in the recent Irish referendum on abortion (yes).  She did all this while painting her fingernails a bright glorious pink.

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Unusual to see profanity on a sign.  I know there a lot of English speakers here, so I assume they know what they are putting up there.  The German phrase translates out to “The first bank you will love.”  We grab a taxi and after 25 winding-around minutes, he pulls up to the door of the Movenpick Hotel, where we are greeted by a competent young clerk name Lina, who I became friendly with.  I’d called from the States a couple of nights previous to our trip, asking for a good room, since we’d be there so long.

Our room was wonderful, and I thanked her every time I saw her.

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It was wierd to have a glass-walled bathroom, but really the privacy level was okay, and if you wanted more privacy, you left the lights off.  We are hopeful for a good night’s sleep after seeing this on our nightstands:

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Dublin: Messing Around in the City of Your Choice

This is post #4 of our Dublin-Berlin trip, Friday, September 14, 2018.

The title comes from a moment late in the day, when exhausted, weary, and tired of sight-seeing, we decide to bust loose from our agenda and just do what we want, see what we want.  It’s often this push-and-pull for me: See All The Sights! often dominates, whereas Enjoy Your Travels and Discover, often takes a back seat. So we think there should be a guidebook with this title, as often that’s when you have the most fun, even though you may “miss” some of the “important” things in a city’s checklist.  Today we tried to balance out the both.

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Gallagher’s Boxty House

Because of pathetic night’s sleep, we didn’t get moving until nearly lunchtime.  We’d made reservations at Boxty’s for lunch on Saturday, but decided to see if they could accommodate us for lunch today, Friday, then we’d “get that out of the way.”Dublin Boxty Menu

They could, and we started our day with a small bowl of Traditional Irish Lamb Stew and Soda Bread, and a Corned Beef Boxty.Boxty Lunch3Boxty Lunch2

What is a boxty?  A pancake, for all practical purposes.

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We headed out the usual way, trying to get to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but detoured onto a little curved street, where we saw City Hall, and decided to check it out.Dublin City Hall1_Dome
Dave always goes for the dome in the ceiling.Dublin City Hall2_floor
I always go for the tiled floors.  There’s some sort of message in this, but I can’t think what it is.Dublin St. Patricks_1

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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I loved this little scene, right behind the ticket-taker at the door.  We get a “concession” or discount on the ticket price because we are of a Certain Age.  Getting a discount always makes Dave happy.

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Another big vaulting nave, and although there is nothing “special” about this Cathedral, it does have some interesting features.

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See these regimental flags?

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When old military regiments are disbanded, their flags are sent to this cathedral to hang until they disintegrate and fall to the ground.  Then the flag remains are placed in a display case and hung on the wall.  The St. Patrick Cathedral website notes that “Saint Patrick’s Cathedral began receiving regimental colours in the 1850s and these represented Regiments who had fought in the Napoleonic wars. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries more flags were laid up (added) in the Cathedral and this tradition continues today.”

The decaying flags are hung in a side chapel.  The ones you see here, along with their helmets and swords, are those of the Knights of St Patrick. Click the link to read more about them and their connection to this cathedral.

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These tiles are from a renovation by the wealthy brewer “Benjamin Lee Guinness [who]  wrote offering to underwrite a complete restoration of the building, the only condition being that he be subject to no interference: the project took five years and cost £150,000. One of the alterations made by Guinness was raising the floor of the nave to the same height as that of the choir. In the process, new tiles were laid down, of which these are an example, based on medieval designs and covering the entire nave.”  from here

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Needlepoint cushions for the seats.  My eye was caught by the Wexford design.  We saw similar ones in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., but they were stitched honoring notable people from the area.

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Jonathan Swift is buried here, along with his companion, Stella.

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Side door, St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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The fact that Swift is buried here helps these medallions on these neighboring housing units make more sense.  On the unit above, you can see the main character of Swift’s novel, Lemuel Gulliver, tied down by the Lilliputians.  There were several housing units in this development and several medallions depicting scenes from the novel, such as when Gulliver was instrumental in a sea battle.

Two more businesses with one-word titles: Feast and Pure. Pure is a styling salon for women.

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We were headed to St. Stephen’s Green and Butler’s Chocolate, but encountered this donut shop, which by now was my favorite of all the shops I saw.

Perfect afternoon pick-me-up, complete with “red velvet soil.”  Verrrry glad there is nothing like this in the States. But our original errand was to head to Butler’s to try their White Hot Chocolate, and that was just across the pedestrian shopping street, along with another busker/musician:

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Holding the white hot chocolate at the Fusilier’s Arch, St. Stephen’s Green.  We found a bench, and sat, taking turns sipping the beverage.

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It reminded Dave of warm, sweet milk, with a slight undertone of chocolate.  Agree.

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This young girl was mobbed by the gulls, as she held a crust of bread.  Then all of a sudden they flew off over our heads in a great cawing and rush of wings.

One of the interesting things about travel is how one experience overlaps another.  Sitting on the bench in the green reminded us of the day we were in Halifax, Canada, waiting for the restaurant to open where we were to eat.  We had an hour to kill, so headed to a park, talking and taking a breath in the travel rush.

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Leaving the Green, and walking north along Merrion Square Upper lane, Dave caught this shot of a massive set of something governmental looking.  A commenter on Google Maps said that “This complex of Government Buildings situated on Upper Merrion Street, Dublin is where the government ministers and staff have their offices. It originally housed two government departments, the Local Government Board and the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction.”  Apparently you can take tours of it.  Next trip.

We were headed to Merrion Square because I’d heard there were great doors to look at there, but we had fun goofing around in the park, finding this chair which was a tribute to  Dermot Morgan.  I said to Dave that he can put one like this in the local university botannic garden for me, and I’d be happy.

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How about this for a Christmas Card photo, sneakers and all?

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When we were on the airplane on Aer Lingus, the flight attendants would come down the aisle at the end of service asking for “Rubbish?”  or “Waste?” where we usually hear “Trash?” on American flights.  Here’s a litter box, all fancy-style, in the park.  I think we usually still use the one word, “trash.”  Interesting that there are three words in their vernacular to our one.

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Even though there was no rain expected/predicted, it’s raining now, so we scurry over to the National Library of Dublin, because I’d seen photos of the Reading Room (below) and I wanted to see it.  Of course, photos weren’t allowed (privacy for those in the Reading Room) and no postcards, either, so I took this one from the web.  I think I want to repaint my house in these colors.

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We walk back to our hotel, dodging under doorways. The rain let up a bit.

Dublin Bus

We never could figure out the bus system in Dublin, thinking instead they keep it away from the tourists, so only the locals can use it.  I do like how the last guy on the bike, in the green, is looking at the portrait.

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They think we’re weird because we are drinking ginger ale instead of beer.

Dave wanted to eat dinner where he could listen to some traditional Irish music.  O’Flaherty’s had three levels, and the guy receiving patrons politely guided us downstairs (where the old folks and the kids were dining), but we did have a good view of the stage with the two-piece band, and the dancer, when she’d come downstairs to do a bit of Irish dancing.  I also had the biggest piece of Fish n’ Chips I’d ever seen (Dave had to help).  He had Irish stew.

Dublin River Liffey

A last walk up onto O’Connell Bridge to see the lights.

Doors from Merrion Square, Dublin

This is post #3 of our Dublin-Berlin trip in September 2018,
a happy-go-lucky Friday afternoon, September 14.

Click on any image to enlarge.

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Merrion Square, in Dublin Ireland is surrounded by stately homes.

Yeats Lived Here.jpgAnd Yeats lived here for a while.

I do love these lines from Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,”
which I can almost make sense of.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold