Exhausted in Dublin

April 30, 2009 - 11:10 pm No Comments

The fluffy, gray clouds began to disperse, revealing the rough, green coastline near Dublin. As the plane touched down, Stef vibrated with excitement. Nice to be here.

We made our way to get our bags and then to the main terminal to find our bus to our B&B. Dublin Airport’s a bit smaller than I expected, but it looks like they’re building a huge expansion on it.

Our double-decker bus, #41, took us right to our B&B on Upper Drumcondra Rd. in about 20 minutes. We were greeted at the door by Joseph, a guy with a think Romanian accent and the proprietor of the house. He sat us down in the living room, asked us about our plans in Dublin, brought us some tea, and did everything he could to make us feel at home.

It was chilly and drizzling outside, and we were pretty tired, but we knew that we had to make the most of our first day and see as much of Dublin as we could if we were to stick to our schedule. We reviewed our plan with Joseph, he recommended some buses to take, and we headed into the city center.

We could already tell that the Irish were friendly and outgoing, but in an uncommon display of Irish rudeness, the bus driver would routinely slam the door shut after an arbitrary number of people got on and then take off when people were about to step on. What’s with that?

We got off the bus at Trinity College, finding that it was a good spot to hit all of the things on our list.

Pomodoro Sculpture

Homeless Guy

After a stroll through Trinity, we made quick stops at Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral. We got a bit turned around but eventually found our way to the Guinness Storehouse.

Bedford Tower at Dublin Castle

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

The Storehouse is pretty much a museum for Guinness beer. A single path leads you through the whole exhibit so you don’t miss anything, which is great for a self-guided tour. The first few floors are a veritable beer museum, describing in detail the brewing process, where the ingredients come from, and how the company was started. As you work your way upward, the focus shifts to advertising and marketing. When you finally get to the Gravity Bar on the top floor, you redeem your ticket stub for a pint of Guinness. Everyone says that this particular pint is the best Guinness you’ll ever have. I must admit that I’m not a beer person, so it was really nothing special to me. But when it’s poured into a shiny Guinness pint glass, the tiny bubbles cascading around and slowly forming that creamy head is a beautiful thing.

This Way to the Guinness Storehouse

Guinness: Water

Two Pints of Guinness

St. James Gate Brewery

As we walked around, we would stop at various Internet cafes to snack and research our travel plans for the next few days. Still waffling back and forth between taking a train or bus around Ireland, we checked the Budget web site and found a ridiculously low fare: €58 (US$79) for five days. I couldn’t believe it. I scanned the web page to make sure that this was the total rate and not the daily rate. We could get a car for quite a bit less than the trains or buses, and a car would give us the flexibility we really needed. So we booked it. I just hope they don’t screw me over with fees and insurance costs when we go in to pick it up.

Our last stop was to meet up with a guy named Dave. I’m a big U2 fan, and we found that this guy offered U2 tour around Dublin, showing people where they grew up, where they played their first gigs, where they recorded their early albums, and where they currently hang out. At the scheduled time, we went to our meeting place but couldn’t find him. After 30 minutes, we gave up and headed over to the trendy Temple Bar area to grab some dinner. Stef was fed up with all the walking, and I was literally falling asleep at the table. It was a full day, and we were done.

The Temple Bar

We popped into a pub in Temple Bar for some live music and a quick drink before heading back to the B&B. On the bus, a group of kids got on drinking from open beer cans. How cool.

We’re pretty happy with what we got done today. Tomorrow, we finish Dublin and maybe hit some of those U2 spots before picking up our car and hitting the road.

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