April 16, 2010 – Friday – Dublin City, Ireland
As previously reported the heat turns off at midnight and starts back up at 0700.
I like it that way, I set it that way at home.
But I got up at 0615 and had to use the hot water in the shower to heat the room. The room is so small it doesn't take long and gives a nice humidity.
All that made me tired and I went back to bed until 0900.
I go downstairs for a proper Irish breakfast.
Very good bangers, rasher a bit tough, but all in all, very good.
Same thing on the street is 10 € so that makes the room charge more tolerable.
I load up and start down Parnell Square East.
My calf is hurting a little but not too bad.
I get about 100 yards and it feels like something snapped in the muscle and it hurts a lot.
I hobble down O'Connell street to the Main Post Office and post a couple of envelopes I never got a chance to mail in the US.
Cost me only 4.7 Euro for the two, so not to bad.
I hobble back up the street to the main bus office and get a bunch of maps, looks like I'll need them.
I leave the bus office and try to get on one of the city tour buses that's included with the freedom pass.
He tells me to go across and up the street to stop 1.
What about hop on hop off?
I hobble over there and am real happy to get on the bus.
It hurts a lot but I climb the stairs and get on the top of the bus and get the front seat.
Only problem is the front seat is made for Japanese and Irish school children.
I get jammed in but eat up the whole seat.
Too bad people, I'm a geezer and exercising my rights of priority for seniors.
I'm seated on the left side but angled to the right. Don't do this, it seems all the interesting sights are to the left of the bus.
I ride the whole 2 hour route and make notes of where to go back to.
I stop for a quick Guinness then get back on the bus and head straight for Saint Stephan's Green.
I had planned to walk there from the hotel, but no go with the calf.
Excellent city park,
Tulips are out and daffodils just finishing, grass is green and the trees are just getting that fuzzy look with new leaves.
In case you can't tell, that green thing in the midst of the tulips is an Irish harp.
I head back to Trinity College, stop to take a picture of Molly Malone.
I think, perhaps, that Molly may have been selling more than just shellfish.y
What do you think, JC?
I try to take the short route to Trinity College and go to the front gate which was open when I went by 45 minutes ago on the bus.
Now it's closed so I hobble back around to the Nassau Street entrance.
I catch a short view of some Irish hurling and a little rugby.
As I leave, the Garda is there and checking student id's before anyone can get in.
From the look of most of these students, I wouldn't let any of them in.
I cruise(very slowly) back to the bus stop and head over to the Guinness Storehouse, the 65 acre complex where they make 3 million pints of Guinness per day.
Bless their souls.
The Irish try hard, but are unable to drink all that Guinness, so they have to export it.
The exported Guinness is great, but nothing like that made for home country consumption.
It's a 15 € charge for the tour, but you get a Guinness, so it's only about 10.
The bus tells me I get a 1 € discount with my ticket.
I show my ticket to the cashier, and true, enough it's only 14 €.
She rings me up, but I notice an ad on her counter that it's only 11€ for seniors.
I tell her I'm a senior and she says no, you have to be 65+.
I show her my hobble and id and she gives me the 11€ rate but won't also give me the bus discount.
They must be on a tight budget.
It's not like any other brewery tour I've been on (Heineken, Budweiser), you don't actually see real processes, just artifacts and modern media.
They give you a free Guinness on the 6th floor, which has a 360 view of Dublin. That's worth the admission.
But don't get your beer there.
Go back to the 4th floor and take a lesson on how to pour a Guinness.
It's much less crowded and also has a nice view and you will find why it takes so long to get a properly poured Guinness.
I had already learned this from my old friends Seamus McGinnis and Mother Mulligan at Matt Kanes in DC.
And here's how it's done.
I leave and catch the bus but get off at Heuston Rail Station to take a little short cut on the tram.
Nice station, get your trains here for other points in Ireland.
I go out the front of the station to the tram platform.
I can't get my pass to work at the validation machine, so I pay 1.50€ for a ticket rather than risk the 50€ fine.
No one ever checks.
I take the tram and get off at Abbey Street.
Here's Mr. O'Connell himself.
I'm going to check the Arlington hotel for dinner and their free Irish dancing show.
The Irish dancing is free if you pay 30€ for dinner.
I go down the street and get a shot of Ha'penny Bridge, called that because the toll to use it used to be a half penny.
I stop at Dublin's version of 7/11 and buy a bottle of red wine and a chunk of Irish cheese and head back to the room.
I'm still dragging my sorry gimpy butt around the streets and wind up in an alley I normally would not use, I won't be able to run so I puff up my chest, try to look real big, pissed off, and a good bit whacky.
Not to difficult for me.
It helps a little if I mumble profanities in Ukrainian.
I get through the danger zone with the bad guys crossing the street in front of me.
I get to O'Connell street and I can barely move, so I get on any bus, make sure I'm the last one on so I can get off quick when it goes a direction I don't want.
Which it does.
I get off and I'm close to the hotel, so I go there.
I find Dublin's version of the Velib system. You pay a fee and get to use a bicycle.
That sure sounds good right now.
I rest a tad and then go down the street to the local pub.
It's Friday night and I need to get off the street which is now populated with an extremely bizarre collection of people way younger than me.
And it's starting to get pretty rowdy.
I don't even want to see what's going to happen here latter tonight
I get some Irish stew and a Guinness.
This is really good.
And the brown bread is also top notch.
A classic Irish meal a few steps up from a 6-pack of Guinness and a potato.
Back at the hotel, I get a little internet service after finding someone to turn on the lights in the TV lounge..
Only two bulbs were working in chandelier, but I get a floor lamp from across the room and I manage to upload a couple of slide shows.
Later I ask the desk girl which bus to take to the central station, she tells me none of the buses go that way.
You have to walk. Bad idea in my condition.
I suggest I take one to Abbey Street then take the tram.
Oh, she says, you could do that.
She's a blond.
I could work this desk.
I go back to the room, write up my notes and get ready for the bus/ferry adventure tomorrow.