My Life as a Traveler

All Around Dublin Town, Part 1

Travelers on Grafton Street

First day in Ireland – Grafton Street

Dear Readers, I hope you’re enjoying the blog! This last weekend I had a problem finding some photos that ended up on Morgan’s computer (long story) and so I posted the two entries before this one with pics from the internet. However, I did manage to recover my photos of these places, and so if you took a look at those posts before, take another gander – the prose didn’t really change, but the photos are much better!

Our walking tour guide in Dublin

Our walking tour guide in Dublin

I’m up early, bags are packed, but are staying at Dara’s while I rush to the airport to meet Morgan, Jon, and Anna. I’m running a little bit late, but they took the time waiting to hit the cash machine and get some euros. They’re a little disoriented, but excited to be there and ready to rock and roll. One of Julie’s Rules of Travel is that on the day of arrival in Europe after an overnight flight, you must stay awake (whether you slept on the plane or not) until at least 9pm. Since it’s only 9am here, we have an entire day to fill.

Our room is not ready when we arrive at the hostel, so we store the kids’ bags and make a plan to take the free walking tour of the city departing in less than an hour. In that time, I bus back to Dara’s to collect my luggage and drag it back to the hostel. Once back, I catch up with the already departed tour and get a look at the center of Dublin.

Outline of a Viking multi-family home

Outline of a Viking multi-family home

Our guide is an engaging Trinity College student and aspiring theater manager.  He has great stories and anecdotes about every place we pass: Trinity College, Dublin Castle, various churches, and Dublin City Hall. Did you know that Dublin was ruled by the Vikings for three hundred years until in 1171 Anglo-Norman King Dermott MacMurrough defeated them and eventually drove them out? This free tour is actually an effort to upsell participants into the 12euro pub crawl (discounted for participants!) or the 53euro tour to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, but we don’t bite. The tour ends in Temple Bar, an area of restaurants, pubs, and stores. The pub we are in is one of the oldest in the neighborhood and there is a musician, drinks, and a special menu for tour participants, not a bad deal. I message Julie (Jon and Anna’s mom) from here to let her know the kids made it safe and sound.

Wall of Fame - which musicians do your recognize?

Wall of Fame – which musicians do your recognize?

After lunch, we walk back via busy Grafton street, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare filled with shoppers, buskers, and people holding signs advertising shops and restaurants off the main drag. There are bands, dancers, sand sculpture, and a harp player. Back to the hostel, we can check in, but just to unpack, because we need to keep moving. A tour of O’Connell street is next on the agenda and we also stop at a store (Penney’s – no JC) so Morgan can buy a belt. They have some adult-sized full-body superman and bunny outfits, and we’re not really sure if they are costumes or pajamas. We’re a little afraid to check them out!

Celtic cross

Celtic cross

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The historical center of Dublin – Dublin Castle and State Apartments to the left of the only remaining tower from 1240

Busy Grafton Street

Busy Grafton Street

To end the day, we decide to take in a vampire film at the Irish Film Institute. It’s always a tricky proposition sitting in the dark when you want to stay up, but everyone stayed awake and we made it back to the hostel by 9pm. More Dublin tomorrow – the Book of Kells!

Byzantium. Well, it wasn't that scary

Well, it wasn’t that scary

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