British Isles 2015:
Day 6 - Dublin, Ireland


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British Isles 2015: [Day 1 - London] [Day 2 - Dover/Calais] [Day 3 - Southampton] [Day 4 - Guernsey] [Day 5 - Cork] [Day 6 - Dublin] [Day 7 - Liverpool] [Day 8 - Belfast] [Day 9 - Glasgow] [Day 10 - At Sea] [Day 11 - Invergordon] [Day 12 - Edinburgh] [Day 13 - At Sea] [Day 14 - Versailles] [Day 15 - London] [Day 16 - London]

Thursday, July 23, 2015: The clouds quickly dispersed once we arrived in Dublin.

Right across the water from our berth was a dock containing Guinness tankers. It never had occurred to us exactly how Guiness ends up in the US, but now we know.
Here's a rainbow over Aviva Stadium.  Rainbows in Ireland -- didn't see that one coming, did you?
Originally, we were going to anchor offshore south of town around 9 AM, but our plans changed to arriving at a dock much closer to the city at 5 AM.
We took advantage of this by rearranging our day to do a walking tour in the morning instead of the afternoon, leaving us more time later on. We skipped breakfast (which wasn't a hardship since we were no longer eating breakfast in the ship's buffet restaurant) and snacked along the way instead.
It was about a three mile walk to the place where we'd be meeting our food tour, with numerous sites to see along the way including the beautiful walkway along the River Liffey.
We gave ourselves almost two hours to get there, ...
... so we could stop and take a closer look at anything that caught our eye, like the dozens of blue ocean-themed lights that were scattered along the river walk.
Here's the Samuel Beckett Bridge, ...
... the Dublin Convention Centre, ...
... the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Museum, ...
... and the Sean O'Casey Bridge.
Just before the Famine Memorial was the World Poverty Stone: a marker in the walk noting that 17 October is the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The Famine Memorial is a very powerful series of statues depicting the emigrants who left Ireland during the 19th century Irish famine.
Here is the Custom House overlooking a bend in the River Liffey.
This is the Grattan Bridge, ...
, ... the O'Connell Bridge (with the Heineken building on the left), ...
... and the most famous bridge in Dublin, the Ha'penny Bridge.
We had gone slightly out of our way so we could cross it.
This is the view from the Ha'penny Bridge looking up river at the Millenium Bridge.
We walked through the Temple Bar area, known for its many bars and restaurants, ...
... then we found the Molly Malone statue, ...
... and entered the main gate of Trinity College, through Regent House.
We spent a little while walking around the Trinity College campus. Here is Parliament Square.
In front of the Berkeley Library stands this very cool status: Sphere within Sphere. This was a must-see for us and it did not disappoint. We added Orchy to our photo for scale.
The old library is located on Fellows' Square. It houses the famous Book of Kells, and the line to get in to see it was already pretty long.
We had booked two tickets for the Dublin Tasting Trail, a food tour. This tour was added to their schedule at our request, and four couples from the ship also joined us. Our meeting place was a small yogurt shop called Yogism, but we didn't eat here.
Instead, we met our guide, Aoife, got a bottle of water each, and did some quick introductions and explanations on a stoop around the corner, ...
... right across the street from Saint Steven's Green.
Our first stop was just a few doors down at Hatch & Sons, ...
... an Irish kitchen located just below street level.
Look at those delicious baked goods!
Waiting for us in a private dining room were sandwiches on Blaa bread, a type of bread that can only be called Blaa if it is made in Waterford.
There were ham & cheese and spiced beef sandwiches, but I think we both ended up with the ham & cheese. It was a great start to the tour because we were quite hungry.
We passed a Celtic whisky shop on the way but did not stop, ...
... because we had a date with a cheese shop next.
Sheridan's Cheesemongers is a very tiny little store that could barely fit the dozen or so people on our tour.
There were displays of cheese everywhere, ...
... including these huge wheels of cheese aging on a shelf up very high.
We started with an Irish Gouda (shown here as one lone slice left over after we inhaled the first set of samples), then followed it up with a very pungent but tasty bleu cheese. The Gouda reminded us both of a mild version of Västerbotten cheese from the north of Sweden.
Our hostess discussed the history of Irish cheeses and told us about the local cheesemakers who supply their products.
We walked along Harry Street toward Westbury Mall.
That's pretty.
Here's a statue of Phil Lynott, founding member of Thin Lizzy. Pause for a moment to start singing "The Boys Are Back in Town" in your head. Take your time.
Mmmm, cupcakes. But we weren't stopping here. Focus!
This bar, Pygmalion, had quite a variety of old, worn-down furniture for their outdoor seating.
Beer. Lots of it. Some cider, too, for variety.
We went into Powerscourt Townhouse Center, ...
... which used to be a wealthy family's home. This entire place was one family's home. Wow. And just to blow your mind even more -- they also owned a country home.
Our destination here was the Pepper Pot Cafe.
Our host told us about the restaurant and about the sample they were giving us, ...
... a bagel with smoked salmon. We had several people on the tour who inexplicably rarely ate anything, so we got to share an extra portion. It was really delicious.
We walked past George's Street Arcade ...
... on our way to the Swan Bar. It was originally established in 1723, but the present bar dates from 1897 and is only one of twelve remaining intact orginal Victorian bars in Dublin.
Here's the ornate tile mosaic in the entryway. In the olden days, illiterate patrons identified pubs by the picture depicting the name (such as the swan shown here) instead of by the words on the sign.
The bar had been in our host's family for several generations.
He served us a shot of Powers Gold Label Irish Whisky. Non-drinkers were served a glass of red lemonade. While we drank, we learned a lot about the history of Victorian bars and of drinking in Dublin over the years.
It's a beautiful building with many historical features still intact.
Our host's father is Sean Lynch, former Ireland international rugby union player.
This corner of the bar is a little shrine to Sean, including rugby shirts and a statue.
En route to our next destination, we passed another building with our granddaughter's name on it.
This time, we went through George's Street Arcade ...
... to Lolly and Cooks, located at the other end just behind the entrance we had seen earlier.
We had a sample of a sausage roll here. We'd never tried anything like it before but it was pretty tasty.
Just around the corner was Cocoa Atelier, our next stop.
It featured a lovely macaron tower, ...
... a colorful interior, ...
... and a very cool chandelier made out of whisks.
We each tried a beautifully decorated chocolate sample. Mmmm, chocolate.
Next stop, Exchequer Street. Fallon & Byrne is on the bottom floor.
The main floor had a large grocery store, and we went downstairs to a wine hall/restaurant.
We started with glasses of a red wine from Spain, ...
... and had open-faced corned beef sandwiches on brown bread. When we were done, we thanked our guide and set off on our own for the rest of the day.
We walked back to St. Steven's Green.  This is Fusilier's Arch, a 1907 monument to honor the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died at war.
We boarded a Dublin Bus Tour hop-on hop-off bus there.
Here is Pearse Street Garda Station. This is the entrance for the regular troopers, as noted by the regular trooper heads on either side of the doors.
Obviously, this is the officers' entrance.
Here's Christ Church Cathedral.
Our destination was the Guiness Storehouse.
As the most visited destination in Dublin, lines are to be expected.
After a short wait outside and a short queue inside, ...
... we were on our way in less than 20 minutes after arriving.
Looking straight up, here's the multi-story atrium, shaped like a pint of Guinness.
Here's a display of barley in a huge sandbox, ...
... some hops behind glass, ...
... and a wall of water, three of the ingredients in Guinness beer.
Lest we forget we are in the middle of an actual brewery, the museum offered the occasional view to the brewery activities right outside.
We were ready for a sit-down meal after our morning of grazing, so we stopped at the Barge Cafe on the first floor (not to be confused with the ground floor where the hops and barley and water were).
Of course, Tom had to order the beef and Guinness stew with puff pastry, and Debbie had leek & potato soup with brown bread.
Here's a cool sculpture.
The museum consists of six floors, not counting the entrance.
On the second floor, we were first in line for our session of the Taste Experience, so we were the first ones to walk down this cool hallway ...
... and to enter the first of two rooms. This room had aroma pods spewing mists. We were lucky enough to have chosen the chocolate aroma to enjoy first.
Tucked behind the bar, we could see the tiny glasses they'd be handing out shortly.
We took our tiny glasses and went into the second room, where small towers had little shelves on them to hold our tiny glasses while we waited to do our tasting. It was great fun and a nice teaser for the free pint of Guinness we'd be getting later.
Not sure what this has to do with Guinness, but it was amusing to watch the fish actually ride the bicycle.
Our attempts to photograph this giant display without that dude checking his phone were in vain. So, Dude, you are immortalized forever on our website.
The sign claims that this countdown is to "A worldwide celebration of Guinness" but we know that it is really a countdown to our second grandchild's due date. Only 237 days to go!
Here are the full instructions for pouring a perfect pint of Guinness.
We didn't have the time to wait in line for the Guinness Academy so this chart (and a little personal observation in the Gravity Bar) will have to do.
Speaking of the Gravity Bar, here it is.
We came here to watch how the professionals pour a pint, ...
... claim our own pint of Guinness, ...
... drink our own pint of Guinness, ...
... and enjoy the 360 degree views of sunny Dublin.
Text on the windows tells you what you are looking at. Obviously, we're looking at a whole lot of beer out of this window.
Unfortunately, we had a deadline, so we grabbed the next hop-on-hop-off bus, then followed our driver's advice and ...
... got off at the next stop to wait for the next bus which wasn't very full and had seating up on top.
Here's an interesting building, ...
... and there's another in the distance behind the Sean Heuston Bridge.
We passed the Guinness Brewery once again.
Here's Croppies Acre Memorial Park in front of the Collins Barracks.
This is the James Joyce Bridge. When we got to Ha'penny Bridge, our driver strongly suggested to those of us returning to the ship that we get out there and walk to Trinity College instead of continuing to ride the bus there, since it could take quite a bit longer. He was right.
So we bolted through town as fast as we could move and made it to onto a waiting shuttle bus about 20 minutes later. The bus left just after we got onboard, so once again we were pleased with our excellent timing.
Yes, the name of that store is Knobs & Knockers. Yes, we laughed like third graders.
We weren't the only ship in town that day. The Celebrity Silhouette was also there, and we were told there were four total, so taxis would be in short supply. Fortunately, our plans hadn't included a taxi and hadn't needed to.
We were back at the dock 25 minutes later, with plenty of time to spare before dinner started.
Speaking of dinner, this was a particularly delicious appetizer, ...
... and the entree was also pretty spectacular.
With sail out scheduled for 7:00 PM, we were able to enjoy it all from our balcony after dinner.
This was especially fun, because the shore was lined with people who came out to see our ship depart.
There were people everywhere and our ship played its Love Boat Theme horn. It never failed to amuse us when we heard it. Look it up on YouTube and you'll be amused too.
It was fun waving to the little kids.
Our mighty ship created a mighty wake, so anyone nearby when it hit shore needed to step back a bit.
Bye, tiny people on shore!

Many of the people on the sailboats were watching us too. Farewell, good people of Dublin!

Day 7 >


British Isles 2015: [Day 1 - London] [Day 2 - Dover/Calais] [Day 3 - Southampton] [Day 4 - Guernsey] [Day 5 - Cork] [Day 6 - Dublin] [Day 7 - Liverpool] [Day 8 - Belfast] [Day 9 - Glasgow] [Day 10 - At Sea] [Day 11 - Invergordon] [Day 12 - Edinburgh] [Day 13 - At Sea] [Day 14 - Versailles] [Day 15 - London] [Day 16 - London]

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