Dublin

Adventures in the Motherland(s): Dublin, Day 2

After our first day in Dublin, we had a really, really, REALLY great sleep. Being up for 36 hours straight generally ensures that. So we were rested and ready for our second day in Dublin. We'd booked a walking tour, but walked back to Temple Bar first to get breakfast.

If you recall, my sister had warned us about the Temple Bar area. In her own words:

My sister's sage advice for the Temple Bar area of Dublin.

Thanks for the practical advice, sis. We had gotten out of Temple Bar unscathed the night before, but as we were trying to find a breakfast place, a very drunk dude wandered out on the street in front of us (because he was getting kicked out of a bar) and screamed at the top of his lungs, “I'M NUTS!” He then proceeded to befriend Scott and talk his ear off about everything and anything (something about how Scott looks like a famous footballer). It was a little unnerving, but he eventually left us alone. He didn't want money, he didn't want booze, he just wanted to talk. Definitely different than being accosted by a drunk person in the States (generally speaking, anyway). 

The walking tour we booked through Historical Walking Tours of Dublin was absolutely fantastic. I will freely admit that despite my Irish heritage, I know little about Irish history aside from the potato blight and what Tom Branson has taught me on Downton Abbey. So really, hardly anything. The walking tour gave us lots of background and fun historical tidbits, among them being....

The Palace Bar, which has been the go-to pub for Dublin journalists for a very long time. Our tour guide had a great sense of humor, and I was totally taking notes on his one-liners. One of my favorites was: “Locals don't let facts get in the way of a good story.” It seems to be the motto in my family as well.

The Palace Bar in Dublin.

Murals in Temple Bar. Don't be alarmed by the semi-decapitated people, it's just what iPhone panoramas do.

He also took us to some of the famous sites of the Easter Uprising, including this statue on O'Connell street, which has bullet holes from the revolution in it. 

And then there was Lady Justice at Dublin castle, who was facing the castle and not the city. Or as our tour guide put it, “She's got her face to the castle and her arse to the city.”

The unfortunately situated Lady Justice at Dublin Castle.

We ended our walking tour at Christ Church, originally built in the 1100s, which had been “restored” in the late 1800s. The renovations were financed by Guinness competitor Henry Roe, as the Guinness family simultaneously financed the renovation of St. Patrick's Cathedral nearby. The renovations to Christ Church were so costly that it ended up forcing Roe into bankruptcy. And I say "restored" because apparently, the architect in charge added on all kinds of extra flying buttresses and such—things that were more Victorian than medieval. 

Christ Church in Dublin.

After a quick tour of the church and a pit stop (“Where are the bathrooms located?” “Oh, those are in the crypts”) we decided to check out the Jameson distillery. It was pretty cool—Scott was disappointed because the distillery is no longer in Dublin (they moved it to Cork) so it's really more of a tour of a museum kind of setup. I still enjoyed it. Mostly because you could have a Jameson drink during the tour and a complimentary drink afterward. I think we both discovered new favorites: whiskey sour for Scott, Jameson and ginger for me. Also, there was lots and lots of hand type (design geek time).

Well, I mean...when in Dublin...!

Jameson & Ginger: my new favorite drink.

Jameson & Ginger: my new favorite drink.

Good old fashioned hand type at the Jameson distillery.

By this time it was well into the afternoon and instead of eating lunch like sensible people, we decided to check out a nearby pub that had been recommended to us by our tour guide and our AirBNB host. This particular pub (The Cobblestone) is well known for having live, traditional Irish music going pretty much all the time. I should also back up about the lunch part and say that we thought we would grab some lunch at this pub, but one of the lessons we learned as we stepped in and ordered a pint of Smithwicks is that unlike in the U.S., pubs abroad frequently do not serve food. We quickly realized this pub did not serve food, and although the musicians were playing when we arrived, they stopped a few minutes later and it got dead quiet. The locals stared. We downed our drinks (on really empty stomachs) and headed off to find lunch, which turned into trying to find dinner as we tried a few other pubs that had no menus and didn't serve food. Not to sound typically American, but I was confused and hangry—you don't even serve fries? I mean, chips? Agghhh! We eventually found dinner and were spared gnawing off our appendages for sustenance. Am I being too dramatic? Ah well.

After two whirlwind days in Dublin, it was time to pack up and head to the Isle of Man. I really enjoyed Dublin, but I was also ready for a more relaxing pace that we were able to get into on the Isle of Man. More to come on that leg of the trip...

If you missed part of our vacation recap and want to catch up:

Dublin Day 1


Adventures in the Motherland(s): Dublin, Day 1

As I mentioned last week, we recently went on vacation—to our respective motherlands, Ireland and the Isle of Man, and I'd like to take you along as I recount our adventures here on the Bloggy Blog...

We took an overnight flight to Dublin from Philadelphia on Friday night. While we were waiting, our flight got delayed and then some dude near our gate lost his shit and ended up being escorted to the secret holding tank in our terminal. He was later wheeled out on a stretcher with restraints (I don't think there was anything wrong with him other than being way too drunk and belligerent in the really wrong place). So that was a nice start to our trip. When we finally got on the plane, Scott and I were about 16 rows apart, in separate sections of the plane, so we said goodbye and promised to meet up again when in Dublin!

Thankfully, the drunk guy in the airport wasn't a bad omen for the rest of the flight. I was sitting near a loud kid who yelled at his mom to shut up for most of the trip (alternating with asking if we were there yet) but it was otherwise uneventful. I tried to sleep and failed miserably. It was a little weird, because they served two meals during our flight (even though it was midnight and 3 AM, respectively). So even if I had wanted to sleep, I would have probably been awakened for my warm muffin and coffee anyway. 

We arrived in Dublin at 9 AM their time, 4 AM EDT. I was feeling pretty chipper at this point, but Scott had taken some Advil PM and was a wreck. We made it through customs somehow, and grabbed a taxi to our AirBNB apartment. We had planned to shower and freshen up a little at our rental before venturing out into the city, but the owners were still cleaning it, so—DENIED. We could at least drop our bags and our host gave us a map and some good pointers on what to check out. Despite feeling grubby and tired, we knew that we would have to stay up all day to not have the jet lag follow us around all week. 

I should also mention that at this point, the 3G on our phones wasn't working. I was starting to get really annoyed, because I had signed up for the international data plan and we only had a tourist map—and also, streets in Dublin aren't particularly well labeled, and if they are, it seemed to be with numbers and not names. Not helpful. I am dependent on GPS and the blinking blue dot—what of it? So we wandered toward the city (we were about a half an hour walk from city center) and decided to grab breakfast. And coffee to wake us up. Here's our "dead tired in Dublin" pose. Sexy, right?

Once we were full of Irish breakfast we found our way to Trinity College (spoiler alert: Ireland is not known for its food. Nothing was bad, but there were odd elements—baked beans, stewed tomatoes, bacon that is thick and not crispy). Since we were only in Dublin for two days, I kept our "must do" list very short, and a visit to see the Book of Kells and the Trinity College Library was first on our list. 

In front of Trinity College. The grass is always greener...in Ireland.

We couldn't take photos of the Book itself, but the display graphics were pretty cool on their own.

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript that is around 1200 years old. I have hazy memories of learning about it long ago in my design history classes. It did not disappoint. It was beautifully done, and so detailed. Those monks were mighty fine with their brushes! I would definitely recommend checking it out if you ever get a chance, even if you aren't a designer or art geek. 

One of the other great things about Trinity College is their library, which looks like something out of a movie set. It's got two stories of old books and lots of marble busts of famous philosophers. I kinda wanted to pull down a book and curl up in a corner and read while we were there. Alas, I understand that is generally frowned upon. It is not part of the admission price. 

I cropped out all of the heads of people wandering around to make this photo prettier.

After checking out the wondrous Trinity College, we went to a coffee shop to re-up on caffeine, kill time, and use Wifi. At this point, we still had no service and I was not happy about it. Because hello, I needed to post a picture of Homer's bust on Facebook (priorities!) Then it finally dawned on me that I had never turned my phone off and on again—because of the new FAA rules about leaving it in airplane mode—and wouldn't you know, once I rebooted my phone the miracle of 3G was back. So if the same thing ever happens to you, now you know. 

We were in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, which my sister had warned me about. Her words of advice: 

We walked through Temple Bar but we didn't hang out there. It is not really your scene either. It's a bunch of younger people getting really wasted, peeing and vomiting all over the street. It's gross. But if you're in for a spectacle or you can get in and out of there by 10 pm I'd say it's safe. 

But we had a great time there. We found this awesome little art and design shop, Jam Art Factory, where I bought an art print from Yellowhammer Illustration. I think a huge part of our success in the Temple Bar area is that it was 4 PM and there was never any chance of us staying there late enough to witness the drunk shenanigans. We ended up grabbing dinner at Farringtons, which actually had really awesome traditional food, and no, I'm not being sarcastic at all. The food was really tasty. Of course, we were deliriously tired by that point, so perhaps we weren't the best judges...

Strolling through Temple Bar.

More on Dublin soon. It was a jam-packed whirlwind of two days, so I'm breaking it up for easy reading!