Started out today late! Wanted to let Jenny sleep in and get caught up. Michelle and I were tired too. Got up and had a great lunch and then set out.
Took the LUAS tram through the city, which is a very easy way to get from one end of town to the other, down to the western edge of the city and visited Kilmainham Gaol. “Gaol” is pronounced “jail”. It’s an old prison built by the English in the later 1700’s to house the citys convicts. From beggars to murderers. They all went there. And were intermixed as well; men, women & children. Sounded pretty rough. Later in the history it housed all the various failed revolution leaders throughour Ireland’s turmultous attempt at gaining their own independence. It was the final stop for many of them as they were executed. Interesting and loaded with history. We all enjoyed it.
No trip to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the Guiness Storehouse. While we’d heard mixed reviews, and it is a tad overpriced, we figured it was a “must do”. We weren’t dissapointed at all. The self-guided tour is laid out well and takes you through the ingredients, brewing, cooperage, transport, advertising and marketing, history, and-then-some of everything Guiness. It was a great tour culminating with a visit to the world famous Gravity Bar atop the storehouse where you can not only get a pint (included with admission!) but a 360 panoramic view of the city through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. We thought the place was great.
As we headed back towards our room, we stopped off at Phoenix Park which is a gigantic park on the city’s west end. We barely scratched the surface as it literally is massive. Think New York’s Central Park. I don’t think it’s quite that big, but impressive none the less. Sat on the bench people watching and talking for I don’t know how long. The best part of the show was some lad, we figured 18 or so, who was completely plastered and laying on a bench. His mates were with him so he had someone there to help him. And berate him as he continued to awake from time to time and puke or dry heave off the edge of the bench. Eventually they got him too his feet and took him home. I hope!
The rest of the evening we pub hopped our way home and found a few more favorites.
Oh, I forgot to mention, as we left the park, I thought I could make a quicker route back towards the tram. What started as a very nice looking street, led us into a more sketchy area, and before we knew it, we were smack dab in the middle of “the hood”. This was clearly not a good area and I think we stood out like a sore thumb, but I’m happy to tell you we made it through without incident, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little concerned. Nice to see how “the other half lives”, and make me grateful I’m on “my half”. Really, really terrible looking neighborhood in what appeared to be condemed buildings with loads of people living in them, but who knows.
Once we made it back to safety, it was nice to drink in the pubs that don’t get the tourists. We like getting off the beaten path! That’s our way to roll. And we finally got to hear some traditional Irish music as one bar had a man and woman singing and playing a variety of instruments to the attentive crowd. That was pretty cool.
Heading back to the airport tomorrow morning and pick up a car for a week. We have a general route to follow with sites along the way, but no accomodations or anything. We’re making it all up as we go.
Don’t know if it’s wise or not, but it’s sure to be an adventure and that’s what we’re looking for!