Hop-on Hop-off

Trip Start May 19, 2010
Trip End Jun 24, 2010

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Flag of Ireland  , County Dublin,
Saturday, June 5, 2010

I wake up and leave my place at 8am, taking the #10 bus to O'Connell Street in city centre and walk about 10 minutes to Croke Park, where their hotel is.  We have a very satisfying full Irish breakfast (lots of meat) and much-needed strong coffee.  I help them pack upstairs to move to another hotel.  We drive to Phoenix Park and climb up the Wellington Monument and walk past some of the athletic fields.  People are playing soccer/football here and cricket.  No one has their dog on a leash, and they're all well-behaved and loyally follow their owners around, tails wagging.  The U.S. Embassy is just ahead on our left, and to the right, the president's house.  Walking back to the car, we pass by the Dublin Zoo and the Phoenix Park tea room, which is a large, charming gazebo.  Next, we're off to change hotels to South of the Liffey, near Merrion Square.  

From there, we walk past the Grand Canal and through St. Stephens Green to the Hop-on Hop-off bus stop.  We buy tickets and go to the open upper deck of the bus.  We get out at St. Patrick's Cathedral to walk around the grounds and pass Marsh's Library, the oldest library in Ireland.  Back on the next bus and to the Guinness Storehouse, passing Christ Church Cathedral on the way.  Although this is my 3rd trip here now, Claire hasn't been.  We go through, sampling and finally enjoying our pint at the Gravity Bar on the top with panoramic views of the city and Wicklow Mountains.   

After the Guinness Storehouse, we get back on the hop-on hop-off bus and drive west and past the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which has a castle gate entrance, and just a block away from the Kilmainhaim Gaol (jail).  From there, we return back to a route along the Liffey, going past St Stephen's Hospital and Heuston Station.  We cross the River to the north and sit next to a Guinness truck when we're in front of the Four Courts building.  Next is down O'Connell Street and past theaters and the Dublin City Gallery, just across from the Garden of Remembrance.  At the end of our tour, we get out at Trinity College and walk just a block to O'Neill's pub, which our driver told us earlier has amazing food.  He was right.  I order shephard's pie and a pint of Guinness, and we find a table upstairs that has pour-your-own-pints, which we do for our next round.  When the food comes, I've got a huge bowl topped with baked mashed potatoes, and inside, warm beef and gravy.  It's delicious, and so much of it!  Huge helpings here, unlike most European restaurants.   After our meals and another pint, we go back to the hotel to drop off all we've acquired during the day.  

Just half an hour later, we're out again, and we park the car and walk to Temple Bar.  I've never been to the Auld Dubliner, so we stop in there for a couple pints.  There's a bachelorette party, and they're inevitably wearing sparkly cowboy hats (that seems to be big here).  The Auld Dubliner itself is a good-looking pub, but there's no traditional music.  We move on to Oliver St. John Gogarty's, and there's a band on.  Traditional music, perfect.  We buy a CD and enjoy a few pints.  Back to the car and I get dropped off at UCD before they return to the hotel.  Big day of golf at Portmarnock tomorrow.
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