Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dublin Ireland - Malahide Castle and Going Home

December 27th - Our last day in Dublin and we had enough time for one more attraction. Our plane didn't leave until that evening so we had a trip planned to the northern suburb of Dublin, called Malahide, to see the Malahide Castle.

We didn't see much of Malahide. I wish we had more time, it was very pretty the little part we did see.

colored building fronts at malahide

It is a small trek to get to the castle, but it is a pretty walk through the woods.

forest at malahide

As we were walking along we came across the coolest park ever.

swing at best playground ever-malahide
It had very interesting swings.

slide at best playground ever-malahide
There was an amazing slide.

And the best thing ever was the fact that this park had a ZIPLINE!!

How cool is that?? We keep walking deeper into the woods, when all of the sudden we see this.

exercise equiment in forest2

"What is that?", you say? Why, let me tell you! It is exercise equipment!! You heard me right, exercise equipment in the middle of the forest! (No wonder the Irish were all so stinking slim!)

Suddenly, the forest cleared and since the snow had been melting we finally saw the green that Ireland is famous for. They don't call it the Emerald Isle for nothing!

irish green

Through the forest, pass the most awesome playground ever, beyond the random exercise equipment, and on the green, we finally reach Malahide Castle. It was beautiful! Just what you would expect a castle to look like.

angie at malahide castle
Here is Angie at the castle.

jennifer and frankie at malahide castle
Here are Frankie and me at the castle.

The castle was really very cool. We got to take a short tour through parts of it that explained things about the castle and about the things in it. There were a lot of things in it.

hallway malahide castle
There were long hallways.

lightling at malahide castle
There were cool things on the ceiling.

spiral bell malahide castle
Cool things on the walls.

floor of blue room malahide castle2
Cool things on the floor.

pucks door at malahide castle
Even cool little doors in the corner of a room.

Now that little door in the Grand Hall has an interesting story to go with it. It was Puck's door. According to the Malahide Historical Society:

"Puck, at one time, was the resident caretaker. He was four foot tall and bearded, and his main function was to keep watch and sound the alarm in case of attack He lived in a turret of the Castle, now known as Puck's Staircase, where he carried out his duties as watchman in the most dedicated manner. Indeed, he was the most orderly of individuals and always kept his turret very clean and tidy.

He was somewhat of a recluse and his food used to be left outside his door each night at sundown. Every morning the empty trays and plates, spotlessly clean, would be in the same spot awaiting collection. Then, out of the blue, for some unknown reason he hanged himself from the Minstrel's Gallery, overlooking the Great Hall.

But that wasn't the end of Puck His ghost has appeared on many occasions since. His dwarfish figure has appeared in photographs taken in the Great Hall. Even in external photographs of the Castle, his wrinkled impish face has appeared through the ivy covering of his turret. Many a Talbot family letter makes reference to his ghostly return. Some of the latter Talbots believed that he was still doing his duties as a sentry, centuries after his unfortunate departure.

About thirty years ago, before the Castle was open to the public, an occasional guided tour used to take place. On nearing the area of Puck’s Staircase, the lady guide used to always ask her visitors to “please, stand aside, make way for Puck”. After a moment of silence, the tour would continue, but in a subdued fashion.

Puck’s last appearance was in 1976. A member of Sotheby’s staff was sitting in the Great Hall, itemizing material for the pend­ing auction, when he swears that Puck appeared on his staircase. Without any prior knowledge he described Puck as he had been known to generations of Talbots."

I am really glad we go to go to the castle. Even if we didn't get to see many of the other attractions in Dublin, at least we did get to see this one. Once we were done with the tour we stopped at the tearoom on the premises for something to drink. Frankie also got something sweet. We were surprise by one dessert that they had.

mississippi mud pie-irish version

It looks like a chocolate pie of some sort, but the name they had on it was "Mississippi Mud Pie". I thought that was so funny. Here we are thousands of miles away from the southern part of the good old U.S. of A and we were still able to get some Mississippi Mud Pie. Not that it looked like any Mississippi Mud Pie that I have ever seen, but really you can't go wrong with chocolate. It makes me wonder what people from other countries thought of that name!

After all our sight seeing at Malahide Castle had ended, we went back to the hotel to get our bags. We got there and got our bags just as the bus was pulling up to take us to the airport. Talk about cutting it close!

At the airport, we stood in line for some time to find out that they had overbooked the flight and since we were some of the last ones to show up, we got bumped. Now most people would be distraught, outraged even that this happened to them. Not us! If you get bumped there are usually good things coming your way.

All three of us each got about $400, a free room in Dublin, free supper and breakfast, and we got put on a different flight that got us home at about the same time we were going to get home anyways. On top of that, we got to fly on British Airways instead of Air France. Air France wasn't bad, but British Airways have individual television screen on the back of every seat to watch shows and movies for the duration of the trip. For an 11 hour trip that is a very very good thing to have.

If I look at just our time zone at home then I can say we left at 12:40 AM on the 27th of December and arrived home by 10:30 PM that same day. That is a lot of miles covered in a seeming long, but not really, time. Keep in mind that this also includes a 4 hour drive from the Houston airport back to our house. Poor Angie had to drive one more hour to get from our house to hers and she had to go to work the next day at 6:30 AM! I don't know how she survived.

The long airplane rides are awful, but the experience of seeing a foreign country really outweighs them. People have been asking us where we are going next. If all goes well, we are thinking a London/Paris combination trip!

I had better start learning French! Au revior for now, y'all!