Well last night a bit of Dublin had a taste of some Jim Croce music. I'm not sure where it came from but we were enjoying the musical pub crawl that started in Tower Square. Our two guides for the night were Eugene, who played the Irish banjo, and Steve who was a guitar player. After a couple of pubs and a lot of good Irish Jigs and Reels, and some history of Irish music and instruments were were walking between pubs and I started up a conversation with Steve. Steve also plays a Taylor guitar and it is the same model I have at home. That was the kiss of death. "What is your name?" asks Eugene. Brad, I say. "Now we've got you" says Eugene, at this next stop you'll have to play a little for us. Uh, I don't think thats a very good idea I said. We talk a little more about what kind of music I like to play and where we are visiting in Ireland and where we have already been. Steve mentions that he is a fan of Prairie Home Companion and how some of the things that Keillor talks about on the show remind him of Ireland and I'm thinking I'm safe and the whole sing for us thing was simply a fun idle threat.
After we get to the next pub and the duo works through a couple more songs Eugene starts in on a long story about how its an Irish tradition to join in on a session and it doesn't matter how good you are or if you even just sing one verse or whatever, its all in good fun. The next thing I know Steve is handing me the Taylor and a pick I'm I'm thinking what the heck am I going to play!? Roller Derby Queen is Jane's suggestion and I think I can probably remember the chords and the words, so I start to strum a little bit to see if I can recall the right chords and pretty soon I'm singing. I make it through a couple of versus without too many mistakes and finish up to the applause of the rest of the pub crawlers. Thankfully they all had had a few pints of Guinness by now so they were not an overly discriminating audience. Anyway, it was great fun.
So now that its the next morning and I'm thinking about it, I realize that I really have quite an international performance background. I've played in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. I've played with a group of Tahitians sitting in a plastic lawn chair in the South Seas. And now I've played on an Irish pub crawl in Dublin. It makes me wonder where I could go if I practiced some more!
After the pub crawl was over, we found a little Italian place that was still serving pasta at 10:30 at night and finished off our first day in Dublin. The day had started out very early, in Stockholm with a train ride to the Arlanda airport. We flew SAS from Stockholm to Dublin and then took a bus from the airport to the city center of Dublin. Here in Dublin we are staying in one of the StayDublin.com apartments. Its a bit sketchy and in need of paint and a good cleaning but the apartment has two bedrooms a living room a kitchen with one of those funky european washer/dryer units. If anyone can tell me out to operate one of those things properly please send me an email. We cannot get the dryer to work for anything.
After unloading our stuff at the apartment we started to explore the area a little. We found a restaurant called Boojum, right by our apartment that is operated by a man from Philadelphia. If you are looking for your fix of Chipotle right here in the heart of Dublin then Boojum is for you. It was a nice lunch, and I think Josh was really happy with the food. We took a tour of Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells. This is an amazingly old illuminated version of the four gospels that has been preserved by the Trinity library, its a really interesting exhibit, and we had a great guide who is a student at Trinity and works for Ark.com, Ark sells clothing and the idea is that every time you wear an article of Ark clothing you perform An Act of Random Kindness. Thats where the Ark name comes from. The library at Trinity was also extremely interesting to me for two reasons. First it is the largest single room library in Europe. Its just beautiful to see books and bookshelves stretched out for a city block. But the second reason is interesting to my twisted computer science mind because of how the books are organized in the library. The books are sorted by SIZE! In order to find a book in this library you must know the exact dimensions of the book to get you to the proper shelf!
After the tour of Trinity we just walked around and enjoyed the street performers and the shops of Dublin. Josh wanted to go to the Leprechaun museum but he was out voted 3 to 1. So we went back to the apartment to rest our feet and find an internet cafe to catch up on email and Facebook before the pub crawl. Today we are doing a hop-on-hop-off tour of the city and plan to take the tour of the Guiness Brewery and the Dublin Gaol.