Although we considered exploring Lyon, France, just a train ride away, some convincing from our British friends convinced us that we should go to Dublin, Ireland, a place none of us had ever been.
As I explained in a previous post, traveling from within Europe is relatively inexpensive, so we got seats on RyanAir and flew for about $75 round trip each.
|The view over the Irish Sea as we flew into Dublin|
We used a lot of taxi drivers, since there were four of us, it was about the same price to take a taxi as a bus, and all of them were charming and interesting. Some of the accents were so thick that I got bruises from my thigh where Jules would poke me every time a cab driver said tink instead of think. One also said "whores" for "ours" and it took me a while to figure out he meant our house rather than whore house.
So the people delighted us right from the beginning.
The first day we focused on pubs, finding ourselves at O'Donoghues pub, which we squished into with people standing three deep along the walls and reaching for drinks from the bartender. An alleyway set up with tables and bar stools allowed us to examine the culture a little bit.
|You can see the crowded bar behind us.|
We asked one of the young men serving where we could find the music. Apparently, it was going on inside, in a couch and chair right inside the front door. We muscled our way in and listened to some Irish men playing songs then taking a break. The main musician stopped to chat on his way to and from the bar (or bathroom), but had no interest in playing my favorite singalong song from the Irish bars in Washington, D.C., where I went to grad school (The Unicorn Song). The music was hard to hear over the crowd so we eventually made our way to a hotel restaurant.
The next day, we took the tram to a fishing village called Howth and escaped from the wind in a seafood restaurant called Crabby Jo's, probably related to all the other "Crabby" restaurants in the U.S., maybe around the world.
|A reflection of me in the bar mirror as we waited for a table|
Our first stop was an Applebees-type place. We had a drink and followed my daughter's advice to find O'Shea's Hotel and restaurant.
The next morning, Jules and I embarked on a day-long tour.
Luckily, the sky was a glorious blue even though the temperatures were a bit cold.
Our first stop was the Rock of Cashel, the ruins of a castle and church that dates back to the 12th and 13th century.
|The contrails of a plane let you know this is modern times -- okay the fencing along the front too.|
|One of my artsy shots from inside.|
|An artsy shot of me with Blarney Castle behind me.|
|These are a series of stones mortared together and the bottom one is the Blarney Stone.|
An American woman in front of us who kissed it claimed she would now win the lottery. So maybe the ideas about the Blarney Stone have evolved.
It's a bit nerve-wracking when you're as short as I am, but I gathered up my courage, and Jules' scarf, and dipped backward. You can see my curls hanging down beneath the stone.
|The stairs went up like this for several floors|
The castle also has a murder hole, an oubliette, plus a poison garden. It has pretty much everything you want to see in a Medieval Castle.
The bus deposited us back in Dublin that night, after a brief stop in Cork, and we felt like we'd caught a glimpse of Ireland before we flew back to France after three nights speaking -- kind of -- English.