In Dublin's fair city

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Ireland  , County Dublin,
Sunday, December 2, 2012

Touching down in the Emerald Isle was like coming home. Firstly we were in an ENGLISH speaking country for the first time in 7 months!  Oh the relief! Oh the reverse culture shock! (I found myself trying to remember how to say "hello" in Irish...).  It was a rather strange but amazingly fantastic experience to be able to talk to anyone we needed to.  While most people spoke English wherever we had been so far, we still wanted to attempt saying Hello and Thank you in whatever language the locals were speaking, so it was super to realise that English would suffice. 
Secondly we had no idea how similar the Irish and Kiwis are in terms of sense of humour. When we landed the pilot - who had left Paris 2 hours late to begin with - hit the ground rather hard. All the passengers on the plane seemed to look at each other and decide to do a sarcastic clap in unison. It was the funniest thing ever! Especially in comparison to landing in the ex-Soviet countrys where upon touch down the locals cheer at their comrades great and successful achievement...of doing his job!

We bought a hop on/hop off bus ticket from the airport which included return trips to the airport and were dropped off very close to our hotel.  We managed to get a great last minute-type deal for this hotel and found ourselves staying in a place significantly nicer than our Paris cupboard for much cheaper- score! Everyone was really friendly and we felt immediately at home- the bus driver was sarcastic and friendly and did I mention that everyone spoke English?  We decided we liked Dublin. We liked Dublin very much!

We began the next day with a full "Irish breakfast" at the hotel (Evan was so excited!)  and then the next order of business was to find a laundromat.  Quite the challenge as Google maps had led us astray, but with the help of a friendly information man we were sorted.   We then found the first stop of the Bus tour and took the "live tour" around Dublin.  We were very unprepared for our visit, not really knowing anything to see so we thought this was the best way to get an idea.  We sat up the top of the double decker bus and enjoyed the ride.  We found an Irish pub for lunch and had fish and chips and a burger- fantastic!

We then decided to have a look at some of the stops that had caught our interest in the morning.  We walked to Temple Bar (the restaurant and bar area) and had a look at Christ Church Cathedral, St Patrick's Cathedral and Dublin Castle.  We then took a bus to have dinner with Evan's second cousin Anita, her husband Steve and their new baby James.  It was so nice to have another home-cooked meal and great to see and hear another Kiwi.  We snuck up the stairs to have a peek at James who was fast asleep and spent a nice evening with them. They were both super exhausted as James is less than 6 months and still has trouble sleeping through the night. Anita tried to take us to the local pub - The Hole in the Wall - but unfortunately they were having a wine tasting evening and wouldn't let us in the door without tickets.

The next morning we took the first live tour bus again to visit some of the other attractions we wanted to check out.  Our first stop was to see the famous Molly Malone or as our tour guide called her, "the tart with the cart", "the dish with the fish" or the "dolly with the trolley". We had a bit of time to kill before the next bus so we did a bit of shopping- Evan finding a nice pair of Jeans. 

We then took the bus to Kilmainham Gaol where we had a very interesting tour and learnt about Irelands tumultuous history.  This was history that we didn't know anything about.  The only "Irish history" that I really knew was bits and pieces about the IRA and Northern Ireland- but this tour gave us a real appreciation of how hard the Irish had fought for independence and how amazing it is that they have such good relations with the UK today.  We would definitely recommend the gaol for any visiting tourists.

Slightly rushing back to our hotel we got ready to visit (and meet for the first time) my Aunt, and find the bus stop that would take us out to Ballinteer where she lived.  We had verbal and written instructions from my Aunt Carolyn of how to get to her house from the bus stop, but they didn't match with Google maps instructions.  Stupidly we trusted Google Maps (it had served us so well until now!).  My cell phone also chose this moment to not let me access my emails- therefore loosing my contact numbers to call Carolyn.  Slightly stressed out we asked some friendly locals to point us in the right direction.  Only 15 minutes late in the end (we had left pretty early...) we turned up and had a lovely afternoon meeting my Aunt Carolyn, her daughter Alex and her husband Peter, as well as their daughter Kate.  We had a quick skype with my parents while we were there which was also nice- so good to have family all over the world!

Alex dropped us off at Anita's for dinner (she coincidently lived very close- on the other side of town from Carolyn).  Baby James was awake when we arrived so we got to meet him properly.  He was very cute, and we didn't hear any of the tears that we had been warned about!  We had a great dinner with them and then headed back to the hotel bar for a pint of Guinness before we left Dublin the next morning.  
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Gramz on

Have loved reading these last entries. Thanks so much for sharing. xx

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