June 25, 2010

a day in dublin

This morning we are on the train from Dublin to Galway. We woke up to a bright blue sky in Dublin, packed up our belongings, and left our little apartment for the tram to the train station. Although the apartment itself was a bit sketchy it was in a great neighborhood and we had wonderful restaurants up and down the block.

Last night we had a wonderful Thai meal at Koh. We shared three appetizers and three main course dishes. For the appetizers we had mixed satays, vietnamese beef balls, and ceviche. All were delicious. For the main course we shared green curry with chicken, cashew chicken, and panang curry with beef. I think we each had our own favorite it was all so good.

Yesterday was definitely a full day of touristing in Dublin. We started off our day on the hop-on-hop-off tour bus. Our first hop-off was at the Guinness storehouse. This is a building that Guinness has turned into a monument to all things Guinness. The building is designed so that your tour takes you around and around and on a spiral upward around the worlds largest Guinness pint glass. We learned about how Guinness is brewed, about the history of Guinness, and how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. At the Gravity bar at the very top of the pint glass we were in an all glass circular room with great views of Dublin, there we could trade our ticket for….. A pint of Guinness! Here’s Josh and I in front of the waterfall…good pure water is key to making Guinness. Mr Guiness signed a 9000 year lease for the land on which the brewery sits in part because of it’s access to the pure water flowing in from the Dublin Mountains.

After the Guinness tour we hopped back on the bus and headed for the Gaol. By this time we were very hungry and so we decided to find a bit of lunch. There was not much to choose from in the area around the Gaol but Dolce Vita caught our attention almost right away. We had some very nice pizzas and Kaia had a steaming hot bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara.

The Kilmainham Gaol is a famous site in Dublin as it is the place where 14 of the 16 leaders of the Easter rebellion were executed. It is a very old gaol and the history goes back well before the time of the potato famine in Ireland. It was during the famine that the overcrowding at the gaol was at its worst. The gaol has been featured in several movies including Michael Connelly, and the original version of The Italian Job.

By the time we had finished our guided tour of the gaol our feet were tired so we hopped back on the bus and rode it all the way around to where we had started. Along the way we saw lots of other sites of Dublin. The hop-on-hop-off busses are all double decker busses with open tops so we sat up top and enjoyed the scenery.

We returned to our apartment for a little break and decided to head out to find a pub with internet access. We chose the Church bar, which is a bar/restaurant that has emerged from the remodeled Saint Mary’s church in Dublin. This is the first bar I’ve been in that has its own pipe organ! The pipe organ, built in the 18th century was used by G. F. Handel. In addition there are several famous people who are buried in the church/pub, and there have been some important weddings including Alfred Guinness. How appropriate to have a pint of Guinness in the place where he was married.

After happy hour and then dinner at Koh we were all ready to just kick back and watch the world cup match in our apartment while we finished up washing all of our clothes. The match between Chile and Spain was a yawner, as chile seemed to be willing to place their hopes on Switzerland playing to a draw. Its been very interesting traveling to all of the different companies during the world cup competition. We have seen lots of different kinds of coverage and commentators. Last night on Irish TV there were four very old guys who spent forever dissecting the match and making the case that Spain was really going to have to pick up their game if they had any hope of progressing during the elimination round.

Today is a pretty light day. We’ll get in to Galway just after noon, and we don’t have much planned other than some light walking around and scoping out somewhere to watch USA play tonight. Josh and I are both wearing our USA jerseys today. Good Luck team USA.

Location:On the train from Dublin to Galway