February 12th, 2020 – Day 4: Dublin, Ireland

Adventure, food, Just things, Music, Outdoors, pictures, Travel, Uncategorized

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Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. The bench on the lower left is actually a sculpture of Jesus as a homeless person sleeping on a bench, complete with crucifixion holes in his feet.

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Close-up of sculpture at Christchurch, Dublin, Ireland

When we dropped the car last night we got a bus pass for a RT from the airport and a 48-hour Hop On/Hop Off bus tour around the city. Basically the buses (which operate in many cities around the world) circle in a loop and hit a stop about every 15 minutes. Just as the title says, you can hop on and hop off anywhere along the route for 48 hours after the first use.

We woke up this morning at 10:00 and there was a giant orange ball in the azure blue sky. Finally a good day! I guess we were still a bit jet lagged somewhat but part of the trouble falling asleep may be the excitement. We got ready and hit the bus for a drive around Ireland.

The first part of the tour was recorded. We got on it near our hotel an d went all over the city and saw various sites. It is a great value to get on one of these buses with the access you have to points of interest all over the city.

The big park in Dublin is called Phoenix Park and it is beautiful. It is FIVE times the size of Central Park in NYC. It’s over 1700 acres! It has a polo field, the President’s House and other state buildings, a zoo, hospital and other buildings. It supports 50% of the mammal species in Ireland as well as 40% of the bird species.

We pulled up in front of the bus office and a new driver took the wheel. He did a live narration as he drove us around and it was fun and entertaining. The Spire of Dublin is a huge spire on O’Connell Street – the main street through the city. The tour driver said locals have given it some wonderful names, such as “the Stiffey on the Liffey” (The River Liffey runs through Dublin), “the Stilletto in the Ghetto” and “the Erection at the Intersecrtion”. Apparently some don’t like it.

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Spire of Dublin

We hopped off the bus near the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum and walked across the street to see the Irish Famine Memorial. Very haunting statues commemorating the Potato Famine, which killed about half of Ireland’s population and it didn’t get back to the same level for many many years.

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EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum – Dublin, Ireland

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The Famine Memorial – Dublin, Ireland

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The Famine Memorial – Dublin, Ireland

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Sailing ship museum on the River Liffey – Dublin Ireland

We headed back toward Temple Bar area and went into The Temple Bar for a pint and picked up a few souvenirs. Temple Bar area is where many famous Irish musicians honed their craft and earning their place in Irish music history.

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Chelsea and Angie at The Temple Bar in the Temple Bar area – Dublin, Ireland

When we came out of the bar a guy was coming around the corner up the sidewalk and instead of colliding we hugged and swung around each other. Then the guy behind him, about 6’4″ tall, yells out “I want a hug!” So I said “come on over here!” and we hugged it out and he started jumping up and down like a pogo stick and we were hugging so I did too, my feet off the ground!. We had a great laugh and went on our way. One of those awesome travel memories!

We walked around a little more and I got to see the Rory Gallagher Corner memorial, which was on my list of things to see.

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A tribute to a guitar legend – Temple Bar area, Dubin, Ireland

Rory was a legend; an amazing blues guitarist who unfortunately died in 1995. I was lucky enough to see him open for Rush back in the 80s though. Someone once asked Jimi Hendrix what it was like to be the world’s greatest guitar player. He responded “I don’t know…go ask Rory Gallagher.”. That says quite a lot about the man. I like the album “Top Priority” – check it out.

We then went back to our hotel to heat up some of that delicious leftover dinner from last night. We had wanted to go to visit a historic church a few blocks away but didn’t make it in time.

After some dinner Angie and I went out for a walk and Chelsea stayed in to kick back a bit. We wanted to burn off a little energy to hopefully sleep earlier and also grab a few things for breakfast at the local market. Dublin is quite alive at night and is so much fun. So many interesting people to see and things to eat.

While we were out we also walked over to the Phil Lynott statue. Phil was another legendary Irish musician who founded Thin Lizzy. He died in 1986 but in his short time he influenced many musicians. “Emerald” and “The Cowboy Song” are my favorite Thin Lizzy songs.

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Phil Lynott statue – Dublin, Ireland

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Urban artwork in Dublin, Ireland alley

We grabbed some dinner for Angie and some breakfast groceries then went back to our rental. Tomorrow we move to a different place so we are doing up some laundry and trying to get a little more rest while we can.

More adventures tomorrow! Be here!

February 11th, 2020 – Day 3: Athlone, Ireland to Dublin, Ireland

Adventure, food, Just things, pictures, Travel, Uncategorized

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Yes…it means exactly what you think it means

We got up and got packed then went for breakfast across the street at Bastion Kitchen. I had the bap (a sausage sandwich) with coffee and it was so delicious. They topped it with some greens and something I had never had before – a tomato/onion jam that took that sandwich to a whole new level.

After breakfast we went back up to get our bags and we took off again, this time back west to see the Cliffs of Moher. We ran out of time yesterday and we all wanted to see them so off we went!

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Driving near ‎⁨Tubber⁩, ⁨Co. Clare⁩, ⁨Ireland⁩

The drive was really interesting and beautiful. Cliot, the name given to our Renault Clio by Chelsea and Angie, barely fit in one lane of the road almost all the way there, and the rest were single lane roads. This car is small and still had to squeeze by more than once.

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Roads are not very wide! Notice the sticker on the car dashboard to remind you to drive on the left.

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Roads are not very wide!

Driving around Ireland you will see castles literally everywhere.

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Castle near ‎⁨Kilfenora⁩, ⁨Co. Clare⁩, ⁨Ireland⁩

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‎⁨Castle near Gort⁩, ⁨Co. Galway⁩, ⁨Ireland⁩

Again, the weather has been absolutely horrible and, incredibly, it was even worse at the cliffs in the form of spray and 60 mph winds that almost knocked us over more than once. We were glad we made the drive, though, and walked through the fury. It was a spectacular view and I wish we could’ve hiked up to the highest point but the winds are known to blow people over the edge. Not interested in that.

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Chelsea and Angie checking out the view at the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

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The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland

We left and went back eastbound to Dublin. On the way we stopped for a break at the Barack Obama Plaza rest stop to stretch and get a few snacks. That was rather interesting to see in the middle of Ireland.

We decided to get a hotel in Temple Bar area for a few nights. Doing this we could do laundry in our rental place and be able to stay put a few nights and get to see everything we want to see.

The other part of the plan was to get rid of Cliot since it had to be returned first thing in the morning anyway. This meant getting it back to the airport, and that meant I had to drive a manual shift, right-hand drive car in the middle of Dublin center city. I dropped the girls off to take stuff up to our room since there was no place to park Cliot. I took off and navigated Dublin traffic solo, wondering how that was a good idea.  Not sure what I was thinking but I found my way back to the hotel and we got to the airport eventually.

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Dublin traffic. OMG. It is absolute insanity to drive in and I bet it is about the same even if you know the place and traffic flows and vehicles. I thought Seattle traffic sucked to drive in. I just looked up the population numbers and Dublin has 76% more people by a count done in 2011. I think we saw them all as we drove in the city that night.

Anyhoo, we got a bus back from the airport and went for dinner at The Shack in Temple Bar near our room. I had the Cottage Pie and it was so filling I brought home leftovers. I had more of that delicious black bread with mine and it was the perfect pairing.

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The Shack’s Cottage Pie with sourdough – Temple Bar area, Dublin, Ireland

Our rental has a kitchen as well as a washer/dryer combo machine (yes, it does both!). We can heat our leftovers and we went to the store for a few things to eat in and save a few €.

We discovered the laundry machine was really not good – to get things dry it heats up to the temperature of the sun and then runs for 4 hours. I had to just turn it off to stop it – we could not figure out any other way on the controls.

It was a neat place though. The view from the balconies was pretty good.

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View of Christchurch from our rental apartment in Temple Bar area – Dublin, Ireland

There was a courtyard with some interesting history down below our balconies. There is a statue standing on top of pipes from a pipe organ coming up out of the ground. The statue has his arms raised with a conductor’s baton. It was to commemorate the place Handel performed his classic “Messiah” in public for the first time.

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Courtyard commemorating Handel’s first public performance of “Messiah” – Dublin, Ireland

I found something rather odd in our apartment.

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The bathroom fan is on the left. The switch is on the right.

Looks normal, you say? Think again. To turn on the switch you have to stand IN the bathtub! Yes…IN THE BATHTUB! I am pretty certain that doesn’t meet code where I live.

Time for sleep. See you tomorrow!