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Trip Report Weekend in Dublin - Trip Report

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Here is a link to this trip report with pictures on my blog and links to info: http://www.eatdreamtravel.com/2012/06/dublin-music-and-mayhem.html.
Sorry it's a bit choppy here with the pictures/captions removed. Also, Sam is my DH.

Dublin: Music and Mayhem
Last week we left warm sunny Italy and arrived, only a few hours later, in cold damp Ireland. And all we kept hearing about was how we'd just missed an amazing week of warm sunny weather, the likes of which would probably never been seen in Ireland again, or at least not during our time here. But we knew what we were in for, as we'd been to Ireland before, and we were so excited to be here. We were in for a bit of a culture shock though, after three months in Spai/France/Italy. First, hearing English everywhere was strange and exhilarating (although sometimes with the heavy accent I still need things repeated). Other things that were different to us: people eating dinner at 5 pm, the lack of style (yay, I can wear sweatpants out of the house again), and looking the "wrong" way when we cross the street. Oh and the beer, naturally!

We stayed in an absolutely lovely apartment, in the perfect location in Temple Bar, right on the water, but yet somehow not noisy (with the windows closed). After taking an easy 7E bus from the airport (aircoach), we went out to dinner at The Porterhouse, one of Dublin's only micro-breweries. I was craving a burger, which I don't think I'd had in months, so that's what I got, and Sam of course had his first (of many) fish and chips. The food was really good, and we had beer samplers too.

We spent the evening in the Temple Bar area, going in and out of pubs, staying for awhile when we liked the music. The bars were mostly all crowded, and seemingly full of mostly tourists, but it didn't really bother us at this point. Most of the music was not traditional, but rather the acoustic variety, and the musicians were playing crowd-pleasing Irish songs along with American favorites. I described it to Sam as one big group live band karaoke party. One of our favorite bars became Oliver St. John Gogarty, because it had two levels - the bottom one with a more raucous atmosphere, and the upstairs with more traditional music, and even dancers one night. One night, I even got my face painted there...


***

The next day we split up - Sam went off to the Guinness Storehouse, and I went to the Chester Beatty library, located within Dublin castle. The library is a great museum, and it's free! It houses Chester Beatty's collection of manuscripts and illustrated documents from around the world - Asia, the Middle East, Europe. You can see the Egyptian book of the dead, different processes of book binding, Japanese calligraphy, etc. It's very cool. And there's a nice green area out front to sit and hang out. It was actually being used that day as a media staging area to announce the results of the referendum and interview politicians, which was a neat thing to see.

I then walked over to Christ Church, but I thought 9E was a bit steep to go inside, so I just stayed outside.

Sam enjoyed the Guinness storehouse, although it's more of a museum than a tour, and you don't actually see the brewing or anything. He particularly liked the exhibits on the old Guinness ads, and the top story bar where you get a free pint afterwards.

We met up for our pre-reserved tea at the Shelbourne Hotel, which was wonderful and I'm really glad we did it. Well worth the money, especially since they give you as many of the sandwiches as you want, before the sweets come, and we kept asking for more and more cucumber sandwiches - there was just something addictive about those. It was really quite elegant, and tasty of course.

Afterwards, we dragged our stuffed selves on a stroll through St. Stephen's green.

We had tickets that evening to see a play, "Glengarry Glen Ross" by David Mamet, at the Gate Theater, which was very well done. I was glad I had happened to check out what was on stage while we were there, because I ended up finding a play that we both loved, which doesn't happen too often - and that Sam was actually excited about beforehand because he is a big fan of the movie.

No dinner needed because of tea, so we went straight out after that - back to Temple Bar again. Same music and fun, although by the end of the night I was a bit tired of the touristy-ness of it all.

***

The next morning we got up late and hurried out to make the 11 am historical walking tour that I'd read good things about. We met our guide, and about 50 other people, at the gates of Trinity College. The guides are all Phd students at Trinity, so they know a lot. Our guide led us through Dublin, stopping for long periods of time to talk about the fascinating history. It was supposed to be 2 hours, but turned more into 3, and a got a little long at the end for me, but I definitely recommend. He even took us to the saturday food market in Temple Bar for a little break, which was nice.

Then we split up again - with Sam headed to the Jameson Distillery (are you sensing a theme here?), and i had planned to go shopping, but it started to rain so I just decided to chill in the apartment for a bit. But first, I had a lovely lunch at the Queen of Tarts cafe on Cow's lane. The zucchini almond soup with brown bread, followed by plum tart with cream, really hit the spot. (And in case you were wondering, Sam had fish n'chips for lunch, again...)

Sam really liked Jameson - they actually give you a guided tour there, and if its crowded you may have to wait awhile until the next one. And he had a coupon for a free tasting, which you don't automatically get, unless you volunteer during the tour (which everyone tries to do). After that he checked out a great bar called Cobblestone Pub - not in Temple Bar - and full of locals. On Saturdays they have a bluegrass session from 4-7, and Sam loves bluegrass and he had a great time. He even returned later on in the evening for some more trad music.

Then it was time for our Music Pub Crawl. I was a little wary of this activity, but it turned out to be fun. We met up at Gogarty's, and then went to two other pubs where we had the whole upstairs room to ourselves. The group was big, but the two musicians who performed for us and told us the story of Irish music and the different instruments, had no trouble catering to and holding the attention of a large crowd. Despite the fact that it was a group of tourists, it managed not to feel touristy - maybe because the musicians spent a lot of time disparaging the "Mickey mouse" music played in the Temple Bar pubs, although they admitted they have to play it themselves to make money, as it's what the tourists seem to want. The evening ended with an invitation to people in the audience to sing songs from where they are from, and several people did, and lucky for us, they were all actually really. We really enjoyed the whole thing and it was a great night.

***

In the morning I insisted that we go to Queen of Tarts even though I'd already been there, for breakfast this time. I had a wonderful vegetarian Irish breakfast with mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, and an egg, while Sam had pancakes with fruit.



Then it was time to pack up and head out to the bus to take us to Galway. Luckily, even though there was a big car race going on in the city with many roads closed, we still didn't have to walk too far to catch our bus. We really loved our time in Dublin - the energy, the music, the pubs, the people - and I have a feeling we will return in the future.
Posted 1 minute ago by sgnissim

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