July 14, 2010 – Dublin
I love when the weatherman gets it wrong in my favor! After a forecast for rain all over Ireland and the UK today, this is what we got instead.I have to start the day off the way my dad did, with this full Irish breakfast. To be fair, he didn’t eat it all – he gave me the tomatoes and my mom the mushrooms. I think I better email the photo to his cardiologist before we get back just to prepare him. 🙂We came straight out of breakfast onto Nassau Street just as the red Dublin tour bus stopped, and we boarded for our two hour tour of the city. If you’re pressed for time, or traveling with someone with a walker, or if you just want to first get the lay of the land in a new city before moving around on foot, these buses are wonderfully convenient and informative. The tour took us past just about everything we would want to see.Ivy covered buildings.Medieval towers set beside modern structures.Pub window boxes overflowing with blossoms.Christ Church……and its “rival” St. Patrick’s Cathedral.Remnants of towers, gates and ancient city walls.The Guinness Storehouse and tasting rooms (which we’ll visit tomorrow).Phoenix Park, all 1750 acres including the second tallest obelisk in the world. For comparison, Hyde Park in London is only 350 acres and Central Park in New York is only 770 acres. Phoenix Park still has a whole section for live deer, a zoo in the middle, and much, much more.The Clarence Hotel, owned by Bono and The Edge of the band U2.The Ha’Penny Bridge (what it used to cost to get across).We finally got off the bus at the last stop by our hotel in order to wander through the historic and pristeen grounds of Trinity College (dating to 1592).After our walk through the main quad of the school, we settled in for an Italian lunch next to the hotel and then I helped my parents up to their room for a rest while I set out to see what I had missed.I entered St. Stephens Green (Dublin’s version of Hyde Park) at the corner that’s home to the statue memorializing the great famine……before making my way around the park.As you exit from the other side of the park, you land right on Grafton Street, the pedestrian only couple of blocks that are filled with people and shops……old buildings nestled between the newer ones……and street artists and buskers all working hard for a few coins.As I looped back around the corner I popped into George’s across from the hotel for an aperitif before meeting up with my parents for dinner.I convinced my mom to walk the few blocks to the St. Stephens Green area to Bang Cafe for dinner. It’s a tiny spot near the famous O’Donoghue’s pub, and we wanted to be close by for music at the pub after dinner.I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of food in Ireland, starting tonight with this great baby arugula salad with Parmesan shavings.I am in love with the Atlantic salmon from County Clare, so jumped at it when I saw it on the menu here in Dublin – served over roasted asparagus with a red pepper coulis and an olive tapenade (of course with some baby new potatoes).After dinner we walked two doors down to the pub and settled in with a drink (a pint of Guinness for me, a small one for my dad (he doesn’t really drink anymore, but wanted to try one), and a glass of wine for my mom) to wait for the live music to start at “half nine”. My parents loved this and I’m so happy I could find a spot that worked.We listened to the first set, dropped a few coins in the box, then grabbed a cab home to the hotel to rest up for our final day in Ireland. Stay tuned for the Guinness tour tomorrow!
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