To Arthur….Oh Dublin we will go

Posted: February 22, 2013 in Ireland, Travel, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

and did !  Prior to the trip, we had purchased the two-day hop on and off bus which if you ask me is a fantastic way to see countries.    I try to use these lots in my travels.  Dublin’s price is very good compared to what I have paid in other places as well.  We all purchased Guinness warehouse tickets as well.  I’ll do anything to get out of a line!  Let me add something, for the Kilmainham Goal, do try to get your tickets in advance so you do not miss the timings of the guided tour.

Our arrival was in time for breakfast in Dublin.  We checked in the hotel.  Pat & Chris had their own penthouse that’s what we called it because it was very large!  Kelly and I shared a double room at the hotel with bunk beds.  For the price and location, I will never complain, not even for a minute.  Ellen, Sandra and Susan were all on the same street so that’s great we are  nearby.  I’ve met lots of friends thru trip reports and researching travel and Sandra & Susan were joining us for the first time.   This was Susan’s first trip to Europe I believe and I think with Ireland she got the best introduction.    Sandra has already been to Ireland and was enchanted with her first visit and was eager to visit again.    They both had very long journeys coming from California.  The rest of us had already started our  trip thru London, Liverpool and Chester.  We were lucky enough to be rid of the jet lag and were on European time.  I have to say the girls did fantastic and looked rested and eager to explore on their first day.

We are all hungry and decided on pub in Temple Bar area and found one nearby.  There was a daily special with Irish stew and Guinness since Arthur’s Day was coming.  I never heard of Arthur’s day but stumbled across it doing research and thought okay we will experience Arthur’s Day too on this trip.  I have not had a Guinness and neither did some of the other girls.  Well a pint for $3 euro is a deal that cannot be missed.  So Guinness for breakfast it is along with Irish stew.  Now Chris wasn’t keen on trying it for breakfast but with persuasion she relented.  She wanted a 1/2 pint at first but we said what you don’t drink, we will.   We tell the waitress it’s our first pint and took photos.  We all get our first gulp and I’ll never forget Chris with the star struck eyes saying, “THIS IS BRILLIANT”!     I always joke she took to it like a baby to mother’s milk!   I can tell you there was not one drop left over to finish off for her.  Ellen, who doesn’t even like beer, liked the Guinness as well.  It’s a dark pretty drink I think and I love watching it settle.   The stew was more delicious than we could have imagined.

One the bus, we plan on visiting the Kilmainham Gaol first.  Gaol is pronounced jail by the way I did not know this.  For me, it’s the most important stop on the bus and anything else I get to see is a bonus.  I like history and historical places and this is indeed important in Irish history.   There’s dark history here.  Hangings took place in the beginning but later that stopped.  My thoughts while exploring were the words, “dark and cold.” which I had read about while researching before the trip. On the day of our visit, it’s a blue sky and sunny but to experience the reality of the situation keep the mindset of those words.  It scares me to death!   I’ve read that women got the raw deal here having worse conditions than the men actually.  You can imagine (or maybe not) being crammed into a cell here, filthy, cold and hungry.  Children went to prison for crimes like stealing bread.  Can you imagine jailing a child?  It’s not a pleasant place at all.

I kept getting the chills because you can sense the suffering that was here right down to your bones.   I did anyway.  Ireland’s struggle for independence is written all over these prison walls.  The leaders of the 1916 Easter rising were executed here and you will be led right to the spot of executions.  You will see the names who were at one time living breathing souls.  The man who was strapped in the chair because he was so ill and injured was James Connolly.  He had to be carried out to this chair before execution.  The Victorian wing you explore was built for guards to watch many prisoners at the same time.   Imagine the sounds while you stand there looking around.  Joseph Plunkett , a nationalist was married here right before his execution and you will see his wife’s cell and the mural she painted.   You’ve got cells with barely a peephole.  Horrible places.   As you go thru this prison, you are taken by a guide who explains the history, occupants and jail.  Our guide was excellent.  I will not write about every detail but know this — you will learn lots from a visit here.  I HIGHLY suggest a visit if you are going to be in Dublin.  I tried to take as many photographs as I could to capture the feel.  You can never photograph the coldness.

Kilmainham Goal visit photographs:

the mural by Grace

the mural by Grace

I suggest reading some history before your trip here

I suggest reading some history before your trip here

site of execution

site of execution

the executed

the executed

the prison

the prison

the ugliness

the ugliness

dark and cold and I bet this shows more light than there ever actually was

dark and cold and I bet this shows more light than there ever actually was

cells

cells

cells

cells

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cell

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Grace’s cell plaque

the Victorian wing

the Victorian wing

graffitti

graffiti

small cell

small cell

graffitti

graffiti

prison walls

prison walls

SREOG

prisoner staircase (the guards got the straight stairway)

prisoner staircase (the guards got to use the straight stairway)

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vintage photos

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courtyard

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outside the prison

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views of the prison

Luckily we have the privilege of leaving the prison and head back out to bright skies to explore more of Dublin.

It’s a neat Irish city.   In the evening, we have dinner in the Temple Bar area than hunt for traditional Irish music.   One spot we went to was very fun!  They had live music and a very lively crowd.  I think this is the craic I’ve always read about.  We make friends with Irishmen there.   We were hanging out with a crowd of them at one point and they burst out into song and suddenly I was lifted up in the air.  Yes in the air!   I can’t tell you what song it was but it must involve lifting the girl.

Life flows out of these Irish men, they are so funny and so are the women actually!  I am pretty sure of all the places I’ve ever been the Irish have top honor for humor.  Speaking of songs, one song I heard everywhere was cockles and mussels.   I wasn’t familiar with it before but now it’s playing over and over again in your head, bits of it anyway.  Matter of fact, I had some bits wrong because we were talking about it at home and I was saying I think it said “we had cockles, mussels and shells”.  Kelly who was humming it too in Dublin said no, there weren’t shells in the song.  We looked it up  and it is the Molly Malone song.   Be prepared, you are going to hear quite a bit and find yourself humming along.   I knew to look for her statue and the ample bosom in Dublin but didn’t know there was a song about her.

Here is Sinead O’Connor singing it if you would like to listen:

http://youtu.be/3ouqhCtIh2g

and here are the lyrics so you can start learning at home.

n Dublin’s fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”
“Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh”,
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”.
She was a fishmonger,
But sure ’twas no wonder,
For so were her father and mother before,
And they each wheeled their barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”
(chorus)
She died of a fever,
And no one could save her,
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.
Now her ghost wheels her barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh

I didn’t get to see the statue but here is info on it:

Molly is commemorated in a statue designed by Jeanne Rynhart, erected to celebrate the city’s first millennium in 1988. Placed at the bottom of Grafton Street in Dublin, this statue is known colloquially as “The Tart With The Cart”, “The Dish With The Fish”, “The Trollop With The Scallop(s)”, “The Dolly With the Trolley”, and “The Flirt in the Skirt”. The statue portrays Molly as a busty young woman in seventeenth-century dress. Her low-cut dress and large breasts were justified on the grounds that as “women breastfed publicly in Molly’s time, breasts were popped out all over the place.”

We’re all making friends in the pub and I’m getting a low battery and regretfully do not have as many photos as I would have liked.   Day one and night in Dublin, very satisfying with food, history and merriment!

Day Two:  (Arthur’s Day)

It’s going to be Arthur’s Day and I’ve seen a bit of commercials “paint the town black.”  Arthur’s day is when Guinness drinkers are expected to raise a glass to the memory of Arthur Guinness at 17:59 (5:59 pm), a reference to 1759, the year the Guinness Brewery was established.

We’ve got tickets to the Guinness Warehouse this day so far as we were concerned you couldn’t start off in a better spot.  The tour usually starts out at one level than you work your way up to the sky bar at the top and have your proper Guinness with views of Dublin.  Fantastic views I might add!

Since Sandra has been here before and was touring something else that day, we decided to meet here.  She and Susan taxied there and we go straight up to the top and have our Guinness toast for breakfast which has me laughing because we’re always drinking Guinness in Dublin for breakfast it seems?  J   I thank both Sandra and Susan for coming all the way over there and buying a ticket to be with us there for that toast with the stunning views and celebrate our meeting and travel in Ireland.

Now you remember Chris who took to Guinness like mother’s milk is THRILLED with this visit and the exploration.  Sandra and Susan leave and me, Chris and Kelly split up and each explore on our own.  Chris is going to take her time and photograph lots and she is a fantastic photographer!  Now Pat has ancestors from near the Blarney stone area and she has to get there on this day and has arranged early transport and this is going to be a long day trip for her and we will meet her again in the evening.  Ellen was not here because she had a list of her own of things she wanted to do this day.  Again that is what I love about traveling with all these ladies.  You are always free to go off and do your own things like shop, sleep, explore, it’s all good, anything you choose.

to be continued:  (because I am suffering with an extreme case of poison ivy with eyes looking like Rocky !

 

 

Comments
  1. Pat says:

    Great pics! Can’t wait for the report!

  2. dub1 says:

    Really enjoyed the comprehensive detail on Dublin – if this doesn’t encourage people to come and experience Dublin I don’t know what would.
    Alan ( Dublin Visitors – http://www.dublin1.webs.com )

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great report J!

  4. Pat says:

    Sorry, I’m not anonymous LOL. It’s Pat

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