10.08.2010 14 °C
As the cruise ship is sailing the English Channel, I wonder if the cruise was the right option for me. The general age of the ship in 50 to 70, an a lot of them American (although we did meet a couple from Manitoba at supper!), the opportunities to meet people my age are pretty thin. Still, as I've said since the begining of this trip, the cruise is simply the means to the end...my hotel and my transportation. I'm here to see the sights, eat the food and drink the beer!
That was proven on our first two days in Ireland when we landed in Dublin. Our red-eye flight was delayed an hour at Pearson and I didn't get a wink of sleep, but the second I stepped out the plane at DAA, the energy and adrenaline kicked in at I hit the ground running! We checked in at the hostel (more on that later...I still haven't recovered) and then it was off to Henry and O'Connell Street for shopping and lunch at The Celt. If you ever have a chance to taste an Irish Coddle, do it...it's mostly a stew made of pig meat and boiled sausages. You wouldn't think it would taste good, but pair it with a pint 'o black and it's delish!
That afternoon we got lost on the way to Trinity College but thanks to the help of a cute Irishman we made it to the Old Library and the Book of Kells exhibit. It was a beautiful exhibit and the manuscript was breathtaking. Such art, such intricate scrollwork, and the colors are still vibrant after all these years...since 800 A.D. I particularly like the turquoise colors because you could still see the brushstrokes. Only two pages of the Book are on display for preservation purposes, which is understandable. There are other manuscripts on display, including other gospel books and bibles from the same era. The Long Room almost made me salivate - all those wooden shelves, antique musty books, the stone busts, the high wooden arched ceiling, the library ladders. Sigh...if only it wasn't corded off.
The rest of the day was spend walking Dame Street, the Cows Lane Market, Temple Bar and the Quays. For those in Ottawa, Temple Bar is like the market - quirky shops and lots of bars. I had high expectations for the Cows Lane Market where there was supposed to be up to 60 merchants, some of who spun wool in front of you and the only authentic Irish bone jeweler, but all I found was a few t-shirt stalls and and unimpressive jewelry. Alas, I got a craic dealer t-shirt ("craic" is Irish for fun, or enjoyable conversation) and dragged mum and dad to the Queen of Tarts. They didn't put up much of a fight since our feet were sore and the jet lag was setting in. A cup o' tea and some fresh pastries hit the spot before going on the hunt for some wooly souvenirs. I got a tuque and a blue merino wool sweater from Aran Islands, but Dad is still on the hunt from that elusive hoodie. By the time we had supper at Farrington's, I almost fell asleep in my Guinness - it was time to turn in to the hostel.
The lesson of the day is that next time I plan a strategic shopping attack of Dublin, I'll have to factor in plane delays and jet lag. I would have liked to see Dublin Castle, the George Street Arcade, the Jeanie Johnston ship, Grafton and Nassau Street shopping...the list was long and I foolishly thought I could do it all. Oh well, more to see on my next trip to Ireland!
I'm off to take a soak in the pool under the night sky and recover my strength for the bike tour of Sark. Next entry will cover the Cliffs, Cows and Cruise!