Sunday 5 May 2013

Ireland: Day Thirteen - National Stud and Dublin

This morning we boarded the bus for the last time before we leave on Tuesday. Our first stop was the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens. I started out in the tour, but the combination of not feeling to well and twisting my ankle on a mis-step had me stop and return to the cafe. (i had twisted the same foot a few days before which made the pain much worse). Instead I spent my time on this beautiful and peaceful patio, where I was able to ice my foot and relax for a bit. I heard from some people I missed something awesome, others told me I missed nothing. I am disappointed I didn't get a chance to go into the gardens - that would have been fun. But it's better I take the time now to make my foot feel better, rather then it ruin my last day tomorrow which is in Dublin.

We spent the morning there before making our way to Dublin. We did a quick drive around the city with Eammon pointing out some key places to visit and explore. When we got to our hotel we had 2-3 hours to kill before we had to meet for our last night out at an Irish Experience. Since the hotel is close to Trinity College I opted to use the time to see Book of Kells and The Long Room Library. Dad was going to come in, but once on the college grounds he was more interested in the campus and buildings so he stayed behind. Book of Kells was okay. The exhibit was really informative, and there is something amazing about looking down and seeing this book that is so old... But it alone wasn't worth the admission charge. Now the Long Room? That was amazing, I was stunned by the architecture, layout, books, art, size, beauty, etc. I was overwhelmed by the space.... I think that is the English Major/Reader in me. I could have spent an hour in there looking at everything, and just appreciating it. Now that is a dream library!

While I was inside Dad took some photos of the campus and watched a bit of cricket. Apparently some men explained the game to him, but he was amazed when the game took a break for tea time. Things are definitely different here!

Our tour wrapped up with a Traditional Irish night about 30 minutes out of town. It included traditional Irish food, music and dancing. It was okay. Some of the food was okay, but some of it was awful. The atmosphere was great - we were in this old fashioned stone room of a tavern, with a stage and long tables but seating was so uncomfortable. The service was amazing, but the singing was a bit off key. The instruments and dancing were amazing. So overall it was just okay. The highlight was when they needed volunteers to come up and dance and 3 people from our tour went. Andy - the 80 year old who has been to 131 countries - and his wife were two of them, along with another awesome guy Dave. Kelly was good but stuck with keeping it simple. Andy however added his own moves and shakes and was hilarious. Later he claimed it was an "Irish version of an African fertility dance,". Dave was also great and added his own little moves to it.

I am headed to bed relatively early tonight (before 12:00 is the goal) as we have a busy last day planned. We are going to do the Guinness tour with 4 others, and then see what else we have time for. I have a list of a few things I would be interested in. Then at 7:00pm we have the literary pub tour booked which I am excited for.

Photo One: Irish Stud Grounds
Photo Two: Grounds
Photo Three: my peaceful hangout
Photo Four. My poor foot (it's a bit better now)
Photo Five. A bird that wouldn't leave me alone
Photo Six. The bird again - he was freaking me out!
Photo Seven. Dublin
Photo Eight: Dublin
Photo Nine: Dublin
Photo Ten: My hotel room
Photo Eleven: Dad at hotel
Photo Twelve: Hotel outside
Photo Thirteen: Long room
Photo Fourteen: Long room
Photo Fifteen: Long room
Photo Sixteen: Long room
Photo Seventeen: Me in Long room
Photo Eighteen: Trinity College
Photo Nineteen: Trinity College
Photo Twenty - Twenty-Two: Trinity Collage

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