Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dublin Ireland - The Big Disappointments

After some much needed sleep on the 21st we were up and ready to go out on the town. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful but cold day!

irish sea and bay

We stopped at the Harbor Bar and Grill in Dun Laoghaire for lunch before getting on the DART to go to the city center. This was our first experience with "real" Irish food.

cottage pie at harbor bar and grill

Frankie ordered cottage pie, also known as Sheppard's pie. It was a mix of hamburger meat with spices and vegetables with a layer of mashed potatoes and then a layer of cheese. It was okay, but I didn't know it had mash potatoes, so when Frankie let me try some the texture was really strange for hamburger meat. It threw me off and I couldn't get past that to say it was great.

After lunch we headed to the city center to go to the main tourist center in Dublin. It is a converted church and it is really very neat. You can get tons of information from there and even buy souvenirs.

dublin tourist center

Once we got there though we were told that many of the sights we wanted to see were going to be closed due to the Christmas season and they would not reopen until the 28th (the day we get home). Not only do the attraction close on Christmas but EVERYTHING closes. Even public transportation! We would not be leaving Dun Laoghaire Christmas day. We were going to have to go grocery shopping. Oh darn! Are you kidding me? I LOVE to go to foreign grocery stores! They fascinate me! Not only was everything closing on Christmas day, but most things would also be closed (except shopping stores) the next day which is another holiday in Ireland called St. Stephen's Day (Boxing Day in the UK). Well, pooh....

Due to time issues we decided to take a cab to St. Patrick's Cathedral. We took two cab rides during this trip and the cab drivers were some of the nicest people we met. Which says a lot since every person we talked to in Dublin was super friendly! We would ask a simple yes or no question and they would go above and beyond to answer it. It was wonderful and more than made up for the sites being closed!

The first cab driver took us to St. Patrick's Cathedral where there was a note on the gate saying it was closed due to weather. He apologized several times as if he were the one to make the decision to close it! He then suggested that we try the Guinness Brewery and drove us over there. It was closed due to weather. Did I mention it snowed in Dublin? *eyes rolling* Everyone we talked to about the weather said they had not seen snow like this in 25 years! TWENTY-FIVE years!! The cab driver apologizing again took us back to city center and discounted our fare for all our trouble. How sweet was that?

We were really disappointed because we had a bus tour to take the next day, which we were excited about, but then all the sights would be closed for the following days and we wouldn't get to see them.

After our disappointing day we decided to finish it off by walking around the city center and just absorbing the culture. You have to make the best of things, you know. We still got to see interesting things. For instance, did you know the Irish have a great sense of humor?

free exercise machine

We saw some historic things. This is the statue of Daniel O'Connell. He was a political leader for Ireland in the early 19th century.

full oconnell statue

We finally crossed the Liffey river to the north side of Dublin. There are several bridges, but I wanted to cross a very specific one. It is unofficially called the Ha'Penny bridge. It use to cost 1/2 a penny to cross. They say that it is the only thing that through inflation has actually gotten cheaper! (Note that it is snowing again!)

ha penny bridge light snow

We ate! Always a good thing. We made sure to have fish and chips. The cab driver suggested Beshoff and so we went there. It was good!

fish and chips at beshoff

We made our way back across the river and went to the Temple Bar area of Dublin. In this area is The Temple Bar Pub. We stopped in to hear some of the Irish music, we were not disappointed.

temple bar

Can you believe how foolish we are to think that the Alamo a mere hour away from us in San Antonio is the only Alamo! Case in point:

the alamo

Although, I have to say, the one in San Antonio is much prettier! That wrapped up our day and we headed back to the hotel.

When we got there Frankie called the bus company for the tour the next day to make sure it wasn't canceled. The number he called said for international calls use this certain phone number. We did not realize it was an American number. It was stupid on our part but it started with 001 and that threw us off. The call ended up costing us €22!!! Ugh! It was actually higher but Frankie went and "talked" to the front desk and they lowered it from €39. We found out that even local calls cost €2 per minute. Ridiculous!! (After all that we still were not sure about the tour being canceled or not!)

I do want to end on a good note. We found out that could buy Lavazza coffee at grocery stores in Dublin!! We have been buying it from Amazon for not very cheap. We planned on filling the suitcases with it!

We forgot. There goes my happy ending for this blog, and really it is more fitting this way.

Ok, no really I can't end this way. It is just too pessimistic! So here you just have to smile when you see this! I do every time!

irish bird in snow

What a little sweetie! :) See...you can't help but smile! More later!