Trip Start Jun 04, 2002
27Trip End Jul 25, 2002
After spending what was in contention for the most stressful 24 hours of my life on Wednesday night and Thursday, we arrived in Ireland. It took us over 10 hours to get from London to here, despite the flight being only an hour, due to the Tube strike messing up London transportation, flight delays, traffic, and other fun hassles. But we made it!
Thursday night we went to the famous Temple Bar to go pubbing. We found a great pub playing live "trad" (traditional Irish music), and it was really great. A girl from the crowd just got out her fiddle and came up and jammed with the band for a while, and everyone was dancing. Irish pubs are a lot the same everywhere in the world, but they're even better here in Ireland.
Yesterday we toured Dublin. It's strange not being with the tour anymore; now it's just down to us, a map, and a willingness to get lost. It's been a major adjustment, to say the least. At any rate, Dublin is lots of fun. Yesterday we went on a walking tour of the city that started from Trinity College and gave us a brief (one-sided) overview of Irish history while taking us through sites such as Parliament, the House of Lords, and statues of famous people and writers. After a pub grub lunch at Temple Bar, we visited the Guinness Brewery (although neither Elie nor I can stomach the stuff; it tastes like tar, but saying that around here is practically sacrilegious). I particularly enjoyed the advertising exhibits at the Guinness Brewery; all the "Guinness is good for you" classic ads are great. Then, back out last night for more drinks at the pub.
Today, more sightseeing. We started early to look for what our handy tourist maps had labelled the "U2 wall". After getting good and lost, we finally found... a tiny wall with graffiti on it about U2. Um, yeah. Then we took the bus to the Kilmainham Jail and took a fascinating tour of the prison where most of the leaders of various Irish rebellions and revolts were locked up or even hung. Also many common and petty criminals, many of whom purposely committed crimes during the Potato Famine in hopes of being sent there because at least they were given a little food and could avoid starving to death. Nobody ever said Irish history was pretty.
Lunch was at a famous Fish and Chips place that still serves it the traditional way - wrapped in old newspaper - and boasts tons of Hollywood celebrities among its client list. We went this afternoon to Christchurch Cathedral and the adjacent Dublinia tour (which is sort of a medieval Dublin reconstruction).
Dublin has been amazing so far. The weather's been cold and rainy, though, which was expected but not entirely pleasant. Tomorrow we're heading out to Galway for a couple of nights, to check out the scene there. Should be fun.
It's hard to believe I'll be home in less than a week. I'm not nearly ready to come home (although my bank account is). The real world awaits back home and I have no particular desire to go join up with it.
Bye for now.