Monday, January 10, 2011

Dublin Ireland - I Guess We Shall See Dublin

After disappointments the day before we pressed on. We got up early on the 23rd so that we could get to the tourist center. From there we were going to get on the bus that would take us through the Irish country side and through the Wicklow mountains.

We rode the DART into the city center in a car filled with people. It was the quietest subway ride EVER! It was a really strange feeling. Everyone just sat there very politely and said NOTHING. I am talking prayer during church quiet (teehee, well my church anyways)! Really really creepy for a subway.

We had time to eat breakfast before the tourist center opened and we found a place that served real Irish breakfasts. The menu consisted of things called rashers and black and white pudding. We soon found out these were also know as cured ham (they called it bacon when we asked) and blood sausage (The round discs...ew).

full irish breakfast

I became really leery of anything called "pie" or "pudding" after this meal. I began to wonder what other good things they turned into a meat based product!

After breakfast we got to the tourist center to find that the tour we had booked stopped running on December the 20th for the season. This was the 23rd of December. We booked this in October. You would think that would have known about this! We were able to get a refund, but it took several phone calls after we got home. This was more upsetting that anything the day before. But to find the silver lining, this did give us the chance to see some of the attractions that were going to be closed the next day and beyond.

We got to walk around Dublin castle. We could have gone in but we chose to not take the tour and save the time to see other sights. I did get some pictures of a few things around the castle and a few inside.

dublin castle
Dublin Castle

lion door handle at dublin castle
A door handle that is in the middle of the door at Dublin castle.

ball of locks
Ball of locks piece of artwork.

keys inside ball of locks
Inside the ball of locks were keys. *Love this picture!*

window ironwork
Iron work on a window.

We did go to the Chester Beatty Library which is on the grounds of the castle. They had, among other things, some ancient manuscript fragments from the Bible from the 900's. It was very interesting to see those artifacts.

After the castle we went to the bus stop to go to the Guinness Storehouse. We asked some people, also standing there, which one we would need and again the Irish friendliness was amazing, even if his alcohol breath almost knocked us over. We watched several buses go by that we didn't need. Then finally the one we wanted started coming toward us. We were ready and watching as it just drove right by. Um....

We were at a bus stop, shouldn't the bus stop? There was a non-drunk man still there and I asked him why the bus didn't stop. With a slight smile, surely reserved for stupid tourist, he said that you have to stick your hand out to let the driver know you wanted him to stop. Hmmm....

The other times we took the bus there were other people around and they must have stuck out their hand. None of us ever noticed! We had been standing there for close to 30 minutes, did I mention it was cold? I mean really cold, like 30 degrees Fahrenheit cold! We decided that we should just take a taxi so we could get to the storehouse before it closed. We found out that taxis just don't just stop anywhere, there are taxi stops that you have to go to. Public transportation was killing us! ;)

Luckily, the stop was just down the road and around a corner and we were able to get in a taxi. The cab driver was HILARIOUS! He was cracking jokes the whole way. It was very entertaining! We made it to the brewery and took the tour.

The interesting part about it was the fact that the founder, Arthur Guinness, in 1759 signed a 9,000 year lease. 9,000 years! They had the actual lease encased in the floor when you first start on the tour.

9000 year lease guinness

That is amazing! The tour overall was all right but the highlight was the very top floor called the Gravity Bar which has a 360 degree view of Dublin.

dublin from guinness factory

We sat up there awhile just enjoying the view and the warmth. With our tickets we got a complimentary glass of Guinness. Angie and I got sodas instead, while Frankie got the Guinness. Angie and I did taste the Guinness, though. Angie tried it first and made a face. Frankie tried it and made a face. I didn't want to try it because of all the foam. So, to Frankie's great delight, I asked for a straw. I tasted it with a straw and made a face. Frankie just kept laughing at me for using a straw, but hey, what can I say. :)

As we were up there it started to snow. It was so peaceful and relaxing watching the snow fall and hearing the Christmas music. (If you ignore the background talking, you might be able to get the vibe of it.)

Some of the flakes where huge! Especially to us south Texans!

snow storm in dublin

Walking to the bus stop I was able to capture this picture. I love the effect of the snow.

guinness gates

Also on the walk back to the bus stop we saw this:

creepy windows

What in the world?! Creepy!

We learn quickly, and was able to get on a bus back to the city center. We ate at a restaurant that I cannot tell you the name of because I don't know it. But I have a good story from there. Angie wanted ranch dressing to go with her meal. She asked the waiter and he had no clue. Tell me, how do you explain ranch dressing to someone who has never had it? We were like, is white and has green flakes of something in it....

The chef was standing there and he claimed he did know what it was and would get her some. This is what came to the table. (The orange-ish stuff in the middle.)

ranch dressing irish style

We all had a taste and we all can say without a doubt that it was NOT ranch dressing. What he made, from what we could tell, was a mix of salsa and mayo. While it was good, it was not ranch. Later, when we went to the grocery store, we did see one type of ranch; it was a small bottle of Newman's Own Ranch Dressing.

Before going back to the hotel we went to Carroll's to buy souvenirs. Apparently, this is the only place a person can buy souvenirs in Dublin. There were Carroll's stores all over Dublin, but I was really surprised that there were not more individuals selling things on the streets. Where was the cheap stuff?? ;)

Back at the hotel Frankie went swimming in the indoor pool while Angie and I went grocery shopping for food for Christmas day since everything will be closed and the hotel is charging 135 Euros per plate for Christmas lunch. To the store we go! The food at the store deserves a post all its own. So I will save that for next time.