I am happy to report that Ireland is as magical as I remember. The Guinness is as good, the people are as warm and the weather is still questionable.
We left Toronto on Monday evening and had a rather bumpy flight. I am convinced that we flew over Bill. However, while I reclined in my comfy business class seat, covered with a quilt, satisfied by a lovely dinner and a nice wine, the bumps didn’t seem to be too bad. That was the good news. Unfortunately, I will never be satisfied with a transatlantic seat in steerage again. Thank you, Mike Horgan.
We cleared customs with no snags, boarded a bus for the city center and hoofed it a few blocks to the Brooks Hotel. What a gem. The Brooks is tucked into a side street and is rather unpretentious looking. As Mike registered, Connor O’Connell greeted me. He is the most gracious gentleman one can ever hope to meet. Tall, dressed in a full morning suit, drop dead handsome, he starts right out by putting you and he on a first name basis. He invited me to sit with him while Mike finished registering. He then proceeded to unfold a city map and make all the proper notes for the ‘don’t miss’ stops. Every time we go through the lobby now he calls out to us “Mike! Jody! Did you find your way to the Fish and Chips place we talked about? How was Riverdance last night? Brilliant!” This morning, as we were enjoying our breakfast, Conner rushed over to our table to express his condolences over our loss of Ted Kennedy. What? Yes, that’s how we get our news here in Dublin. It’s hand delivered by our butler.
Following a nap to try to reset our internal clocks, we set out to wander around a bit. Great luck. We found a pub! The Hairy Lemon, My first order of business was to have a pint of Smithwick’s for my nephew, Jared. Slante, Jared. We each enjoyed a steaming bowl of seafood chowder and some lovely soda bread. Just what the doctor ordered.
Mike had purchased tickets for one of the final performances of Riverdance. It is closing August 29th so what trip to Dublin would be complete without seeing it. The Gaiety Theater is intimate and it was SRO. Our seats were perfect, first row in the balcony. After the performance, we had a late sandwich back at our hotel.
Wednesday has been a day to explore the city. Yes, you realy can walk to just about everything that might be on your list. We found the Guinness Brewery and took the tour. It is wonderful. We both learned a lot about the process of beer making. However, the highlight is definitely the final stop on the tour. You find yourself on the seventh floor in the Gravity Lounge where you are treated to a complimentary pint of Guinness and a 360-degree view of Dublin. As we sipped our pint, we sat by a window and gazed out to the Dublin Mountains and watched showers roll across the city.
By this time we were ready to use the services of the Hop On-Hop Off bus to see the remaining sights. As is always the way, when I find myself on the top of an open-air bus, it rained. But, no bother, it was a soft misty rain and didn’t drive us off the bus till we got to Trinity College. It was a bit too late in the day to see the Book of Kells, so that will have to wait for another day.
That concludes today’s report. We are going to walk about a bit more in search of a quiet dinner.