Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Visiting Ireland

Ireland is a country we've always wanted to visit and never got around to. But the time has come! We arrived in Dublin at 5:00 am today (September 25). We decided we had to keep busy all day in order to adjust to the time difference. We hung out at a cafe at the airport until daylight then picked up our rental car. We were in the thick of rush-hour traffic so the 7-kilometer drive took us over half an hour. Our hotel (Croke Park) is right across from the largest sports stadium in the country (capacity 82,300, primarily used for Gaelic games). We are fortunate not to be here on a weekend match day. Our room wasn't ready so we hiked several blocks to pick up the Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus. Our pass is good for two days, just the amount of time we'll be here. We took the entire 1-1/2 hour tour without getting off. I took tons of photos -- there were picturesque buildings all along the way. Tomorrow we'll visit a few of them.

Chimney pots between airport and hotel

St Patrick's Cathedral Choir School Founded 1432 A.D.

Georgian houses with ivy

Beautiful small theater

Dublin street lamp
Then we headed back to the hotel, got our room, showers, and some lunch in the hotel bar. After a very brief rest (didn't dare sleep) we went back to the bus, this time getting off at the Guinness brewery tour. It was very impressive. We finished off in the 7th floor Gravity Bar where we were given free pints of Guinness. We were at a small stand-up table with another couple who took our picture. You might notice that my glass is still pretty full! Yes, I did take a sip but didn't like it any more than I expected to! It is very rich. Dan finished his but only drank a small amount of mine. We saw a number of pints sitting around that had been deserted nearly full. Too wasteful!

After leaving the Guinness brewery we walked across the river and picked up the bus again. We took it back to the starting point, then got on another one for a different route. This tour was mostly the more modern buildings in the Docklands area. The picture below is the Ha'penny Bridge over the Liffey River. In the morning the river looked terrible with muddy flats showing. But by late afternoon the tide had come in and it was full like a normal river. A bit strange to see a river flowing away from the sea instead of towards it!

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