Monday 3 June 2013

Ireland: Day Fourteen - Dublin

I apologize for this post being a few weeks late. I got home and had a lot of other things come up so this kept getting put off.  

For our last day of the trip we were in Dublin and it was a completely free day without anything organized. Tickets to the Dublin sightseeing bus that you hop on and off of was provided which was great. 

Dad and I - along with Ian, Eliane, Daniella and Alvin (the people we have spent some time with) started the day with a visit to the Guinness brewery. What an awesome attraction. It's shaped like a pint glass, and gives a lot of detailed information about Guinness's history and how it's made. It had a great section on their advertising throughout the years, as well as their place in the media. You could also get a lesson on how to perfectly pour Guinness which included a certification upon completion and the pint you poured. Considering how badly Dad and I poured at that bar we went behind in Killarney this lesson was great for us! The first words the instructor said was "It must be in a Guinness Glass" which made us all laugh since dads pour that night was in Coors glassware.  I perfectly completed the lesson - and got my certificate! 

We took our beers up to the 7th floor where they have a gravity bar that offers panoramic views of the city and is all glass. A few other people from the tour were there but I didn't stay long... The heights and glass were freaking me out. I left my pint behind too for Alvin as it was a bit too early for Guinness. 

We got back on the bus as traveled on it for about 30-40 minutes seeing different areas of the city. We got off and then split up. The other four wanted to find a fish and chip place, whereas dad and I wanted to head toward Grafton street. We walked past the Temple Bar area, but didn't go into Temple Bar itself. I had heard mixed things about it - many of them being just avoid it all together. 

We walked around Grafton Street for a bit which was fun. They had a booth where you could become a leprechaun so of course I had to do it! I think that is the most hilarious photo ever taken of me. We walked back to the hotel for a 2 hour break. I wanted to keep going and explore Dublin but knew I should probably pack a bit since the pub crawl was tonight

Dad and I headed back to Grafton Street early and grabbed dinner. Then we met up with the rest of our group from the morning for the pub crawl. The literary pub crawl was amazing! The actors were fantastic, they really got into character and acted out these scenes and letters amazing. It started at the The Duke which is where many authors wrote including Bono. There they acted out a scene from Waiting from Godot and wow, what a difference it makes when that is acted out for you. I hated it when I read it in university, but seeing it preformed made it really interesting and fun. We walked to Trinity College where we learned about Oscar Wilde and other Irish authors who attended the college. Then we walked to a pub called O'Neill's which was really unique. There was a whole bunch of different rooms - including one that was a snug. Off to one side was a cafeteria like carvery which had amazing looking food. This pub has been around since the 1700's and is full of history. 

Our next stop was the steps of a Church where they acted out a scene from a play - but the name escapes me. This included singing and yelling in addition to the acting. It was amazing to see the people who stopped to see what was going on. There was a mix of curiously, amusement and avoidance. I think a few thought it was a weird religion thing with us being on the church steps and all, and those were the ones that put their heads down and walked faster. I definitely admire the performers - I couldn't see myself acting out two-people scenes in the middle of a busy street! 

We stopped at the Old Stand another long-time Dublin pub that was popular with a number of writers, including the poet Michael Collins who signed the free state treaty. It's been renovated so it didn't have the classic feel that the Duke and O'Neills had, but there was a local woman who spend a bunch of time talking to us about Ireland and living here so that was cool. 

We walked back to the street we started on and ended up outside a restaurant which used to be a pub called The Bailey which was popular with Brendon Behan - it's where he pretty much lived upon his return to Ireland until he drank himself to death. They acted out some of his work, and then we went into the pub Davey Brynes. This was probably the most well known as it is the "moral pub" written about in Ulysses that Leopold Bloom walks into. They talked about Joyce a bit, and then did a trivia before ending the night. I won second prize! (It was a little bottle of Whiskey which I gave to my brother). The questions I got right were:

1. When was Beckett born? Good Friday
2. Which Beatle worked on Oh, Calcutta? John Lennon
3. What did Wilde lecture on? Art and Aesthetics. 
4. What sport was Wilde involved in at Trinity? Boxing. 
5. What nursery rhymes did Oliver Goldsmith write? “Jack and Jill” and “Hickory Dickory Dock.” 
6. “There are (now) four Nobel Prize for Literature winners from Dublin: Name one? I named Samuel Beckett -   William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Seamus Heaney were the other answers. 

Pays to be an English major! First prize was a tee-shirt but I liked mine better, it gave me an additional souvenir for Adam!

We spent some time at Davey Brynes as we did at the other pubs. We tended to have about 25-30 minutes in each - just enough time for a drink.  Davey Brynes was a disappointment as well. It had also been recently renovated and was very modernized - not at all historical or traditional as I was expecting. But still great to be there surrounded by all it's history. 

We walked back to the hotel, and ordered some late-night pizza from a place across the street. The 6 of us spent out last night in Dublin with an impromptu pizza party in the hotel bar. We probably stayed out way to late considering we had to be up at 5:00am but it was well worth it. Honestly, the pub crawl was an excellent way to close off a wonderful and fun trip to Ireland. 

The next morning we woke early and boarded the bus for the last time as it took us to the airport. We had a few hours to wait, and spent it hanging out with our group one last time. Then we boarded the plane for home. 

It was great to arrive back in Toronto. The trip was excellent - it was a lot of fun, very interesting and educational. However it was also very busy and long. I was happy to be returning home and back to the real world. It was also great to see my mom, husband, brother and grandparents who I missed. They all gathered for a quick dinner, which was a great way to spend our first night back. 

Overall I loved Ireland. It was a fun place to be, and it was a great trip. I still can't get over how beer is their cheapest drink! I hope to return someday - especially considering how great the Guinness is! :) I also loved how fresh the air was, and found it made me feel amazing while I was there. Plus the people are great - I can say that every single Irish person I interacted with were friendly and helpful. 

Photo One: Dad and I on bus 

Photo Two. Guinness Outside 

Photo Three. Inside 

Photo Four: Old bottles 

Photo Five: Old ads 

Photo Six: Guinness Online Guestbook

Photo Seven: learning to pour 

Photo Eight: Dad pouring 

Photo Nine. Me pouring 

Photo Ten: Me posing 

Photo Eleven: group shot 

Photo Twelve: my pour 

Photo Thirteen: my certificate 

Photo Fourteen: me and my certificate 

Photo Fifteen: Dad 

Photo Sixteen: Temple Bar area 

Photo Seventeen: Grafton St 

Photo Eighteen: Me as a leprechaun 

Photo Nineteen: Grafton St 

Photo Twenty:  Grafton St Weirdness 

Photo Twenty-One: More weirdness 

Photo Twenty-Two: Pub crawl

Photo Twenty-Theee: group photo 

Photo Twenty-Four: pub crawl 

Photo Twenty-Five: pub crawl 

Photo Twenty-Six: pub crawl

Photo Twenty-Seven: my prize  

Photo Twenty-Eight: Dublin at night 

Photo Twenty-Nine: Ian making pizza people 

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