Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2018: Southern Ireland with Mom
By nikkihop from Texas USA, Spring 2012
Page 11 of 12: June 20, 2012 – Dublin, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Guinness Storehouse
DM and I woke up to another beautiful summer day. Blue skies again for our last day in Dublin! DM's black eye was looking worse, but she said both ankle and face felt a bit better. We headed downstairs only to discover that I had forgotten the receipt for our hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which we needed if we were going to ride the bus (the receipt is good for 48 hours). I ran back upstairs to get the receipt/tickets but after a 10 minute search, I couldn't find it. I knew exactly where it should be -- right inside pocket of my black fleece jacket. It's not there. Finally, I had to admit defeat after rummaging through the entire contents of my suitcase, under beds, etc. I told DM the bad news. She took it in stride but we decided to eat first before deciding what to do. We headed across the street for breakfast at the Metro Cafe, where we both ordered pancakes that looked like the frozen kind you get in the states. Their maple syrup is strange too. It has the thick consistency of honey and doesn't taste as maple-ey.
After eating, we decided on one more search of our hotel room, but to no avail. I wallowed in guilt, and we decided to walk the five blocks or so to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was closed yesterday when we tried to visit. This is the cathedral where Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, was dean for many years. As we were walking around the corner to the front entrance, I looked on the ground, and there next to the curb was a receipt for the hop-on-hop-off bus. I picked it up and sure enough, it was purchased on June 19 at 10:33 for two adults, and the ticket agent/driver that sold it was the very same as ours--Paddy Habington. We bought our ticket at 10:33 on June 19. As hard as it is to believe, I had found our lost bus ticket. I am sure of it. It was folded exactly the same as ours. Thank you ST. Patrick! Patron saint of people who lose things. This made my day, not the least because it saved us buying new tickets for around fifty bucks.
Already the recipients of a St. Patrick miracle, we entered the cathedral. It's a beautiful church with an elaborate, colorful tiled floor, many marble statues and the largest organ in Europe. We visited Mr. Swift's grave, took photos of the stained glass windows and the funny enclosed pews, which were like box seats for the wealthy and important. I couldn't figure out how they got in and was imagining a Dukes of Hazzard hop-and-slide when DM pointed out the nearly hidden swinging wooden door panels.
DM and I headed back to the bus stop right out front with our ticket in hand and caught the hop-on-hop-off to the Guinness Storehouse. The Guinness complex is amazing. It's over 60 acres of red brick buildings and cobbled streets that Arthur Guinness leased for 9000 years. The storehouse is just that, one of the old warehouses used to store ingredients such as barley, hops and water. They have converted it into a very slick and interesting museum, rising over seven floors and capped with the Gravity Bar, which has the best view in Dublin. There isn't a guided tour, but I had downloaded a walking podcast tour from Dublin Tourism iWalks on my iPhone and iPod (for DM), which was perfect in conjunction with the videos and interactive displays that they had in the building. I was also pleased to see they had both escalators and an elevator going all the way up between floors, so DM didn't have to worry about many stairs. We ended our tour in the Gravity Bar on the top floor, where you get a ‘free’ Guinness (included in the price of your ticket), or diet coke, in DM's case.
Back on the hop-on-hop-off bus, we headed over to Kilmainham Gaol, a huge Victorian prison. The guided tour was okay -- not great. There were too many people in our group, and we were all crammed into small spaces. Our group included a large party of teenage Germans, who were quite loud and pushy. First, we were lead into the chapel, where there was a screen, and what we thought would be a fillum (again). However it was just a slideshow, which didn't have the same somnolent effect on us. Only fillums make us sleepy. The main prison block is architecturally stunning, with scrolled iron catwalks and staircases right out of Shawshank Redemption. Our guide told us some interesting stories of conditions in famine-era Dublin and the execution of the leaders of the Easter Rising.
At this point DM and I were pretty anxious to get some lunch since it was past 2:00pm. On the bus ride to Temple Bar, where we would eat lunch, we drove through Phoenix park, one of the largest parks in Europe, and saw a herd of red deer, many of them with a large rack of horns, grazing in the fields very close to the road.
Since planning this trip, I have wanted to try a traditional Irish dish called boxty, which is a potato pancake stuffed with meat and other items. We went to Gallagher's Boxty House in Temple Bar, where DM had the chicken boxty with smoked bacon and leek cream sauce, and I had the salmon boxty with dill and cream sauce. They were delicious - like thick crepes. I ate every bite of mine. This was my favorite meal in Ireland and I have had food dreams about it since.
After lunch, we decided to do some shopping on Grafton Street to try to find a gold charm for my charm bracelet. We walked through Temple Bar on our way to the shopping district, and as we passed the main square, we saw a decently dressed older gentleman in slacks, white button down, blazer and loafers flat on his back, asleep on the sidewalk, clearly drunk, next to a street busker singing with his guitar. I took a great picture of it, which I call "Irish Lullabye." It was a few blocks from the Royal Liver Assurance building, which is right next to a pub. Gotta love those Irish.
We found a cute gold shamrock for my bracelet and wandered back to the hotel, where I took a nap and DM got her WiFi on downstairs. We left the hotel late for dinner around 8:30pm because of our late lunch, and went back to Temple Bar to eat at The Old Mill, a traditional Irish restaurant/pub. DM and I both ordered the potato and leek soup to start and I had the Caesar salad and DM the chicken pasta carbonara. We went back to the hotel in a light rain to pack and turn in.
Our flight out of Dublin airport was at 9:00m, so we left the hotel at around 6:15 to take a taxi to the airport. Our flight got in to Dallas around 3:00pm Dallas-time. Overall we had a great trip. Obviously, our disasters set us back a bit. The old Irish blessing, "May the road rise up to meet you" has taken on new meaning for DM, and I have a new-found respect for the rental car insurance plans. All in all, though, we had great weather and a lot of amazing Irish adventures. Now, bring on the Mexican food!
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