May 27th and 28th, 2003
When my brother came to visit, we took a short trip to Dublin, Ireland!
Trips to Ireland can be relatively cheap if purchased far enough in advance on the low budget type airlines. The only problem with these airlines is that they depart from airports further out of the city center. So in order to take a 12:00 flight, we left the flat by 9:00 am. Well as we waited at the tube station it became apparent that our line was not running! We watched train after train go by and none were going the direction we needed to go! So we jumped on the next train and quickly made plans to switch to a different line at one of the next stops. The only issue with the change is the fact that we would have to walk a couple of blocks to switch stations and my brother was still on one crutch. Somewhat delayed, we finally made it to the correct station to pick up the "express train" to the airport (and I use the word express very loosely)! The train is supposed to take about 45 minutes, but due to signalling problems took more like and hour and 15 minutes! Well according to the budget airlines, you must check in at least 40 minutes in advance. We arrived right at the cutoff time and they hassled us about being late! We explained the train problem, but they weren't interested. Finally after discussing it for 10 minutes, they agreed to let us on and we headed for the gate. If they had just processed our stuff in the first place, we could have saved 10 minutes of their time and ours!
Once we arrived in Dublin, we took the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotels. This of course drove all over town before going to our hotel towards the end of the line. On the bright side, we basically got a tour of the city upon arrival!
It was 3:00 pm by the time we got to our hotel. So, for a one hour plane ride, we spent from 9am to 3pm in transport! Unbelievable!
We were slightly worn out and starving by this time, so we hailed a cab and headed for the middle of town to find some grub. We ended up at this pub (not much was open since it was between lunch and dinner). I ordered the Irish Lamb Stew which was absolutely yummy! It was a huge bowl, but I managed to polish it off just fine!
As we walked around a little bit, we were drawn into a delicious smelling cafe with numerous desserts in the window. We each purchased a different dessert and shared! Then we got a couple of muffins and scones for breakfast the next morning and wobbled off back towards the hotel.
Dave had to work that morning, so he took an afternoon flight and met up with us in Dublin that evening. I accompanied him to another pub for his dinner and a glass of Guiness.
Wednesday morning we started off relatively early for a full day of sightseeing. First stop was the St. Patrick's Cathedral. I loved the tile work on the floor and the arches of the building. St. Patrick was said to have baptised converts to Christianity at the well which once existed at this site. The original church on this site was built in the fifth century. A stone church was built on this site by the Normans in 1191. The structure was rebuilt again in the early thirteenth century.
The second church, Christ Church Cathedral, that we went into also had beautiful tile work and interestingly enough, a mummified cat and rat. The story goes that in the 1860's the cat was chasing the rat and got stuck in the organ pipes. Viking Dublin's cathedral was built on this site in 1030. The cathedral's present shape dates from the 1180's.
Next stop on our walk was the Dublin Castle, built in 1204 by King John on top of the first Viking settlement in Dubh Linn. This castle was the seat of English rule in Ireland for 700 years. I think that this would have been more appropriately called a palace just because it looked more like palace/office buildings rather then a castle. This also had a little chapel which had beautiful vaulted ceilings inside. Around back of the entrance was a little garden with pretty statues in a snake motif. Even the lawn had two big snakes outlined throughout the grass.
Tired and hungry, we decided to stop for lunch and rest our feet. Lunch was nothing fancy...just hamburgers. Just a block down from the restaurant is the river with some neat bridges and buildings.
We set off walking to the Guiness Brewery for a tour and a glass of beer. The best part was the top of the building, which housed the bar that overlooked all of Dublin. In the distance you could almost make out the inlet to the coast!
After the brewery it was time to find a cab and head back to the airport. On the way to the airport, the cab driver took time to point out all the attractions of the city and tell us a little about the history.
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Dave and Vareen's Travels
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