"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Wee Little Trip to Ireland - Day 2 - The Sunny, Cloudless Skies...of Ireland?

We must have got on the wrong plane! When we touched down in Dublin early this morning the skies were sunny and cloudless? Not what we were expecting for sure, but you take what you can get. The cab ride was quick from the airport and our friendly cabbie informed us we were just missing the rush hour that was about to begin in and around the city. Maybe there is something to this "luck of the Irish" thing? We arrived at our new home for the next three days: The Conrad Dublin. Conrad is a member of the Hilton Hotel family and thanks to Ashlee's many trips drudging out to Memphis and Arkansas for work, we were able to stay here for free using her accumulated points. The hotel is rather new and located in a quiet business district just a short walk through the lovely St. Stephen's Green Park to the busy shopping and restaurants of Grafton Street, Trinity College, and the noisy pubs of the Temple Bar area.
Here comes that Irish luck again: we were able to check into our room well before 9 AM (photo above is a view out our window). Never had that happen before. This gave us plenty of time to unpack, freshen up and even take a quick snooze before our scheduled walking tour at 11 A.M. We booked the tour through Viator.com (great, great site by the way). It started on the beautiful downtown campus of Trinity College which is famous for it's huge historic library and the home of The Book of Kells. This tour did not include these but we would get to them later in the trip. The tour did include however a tour of the rest of Trinity College as well as the beautiful Dublin City Hall (inside view of its dome is the photo above), the amazing Dublin Castle (its clock tower is the photo to the left) and the huge Bank of Ireland building that was first built to hold Ireland's Parliment. The tour lasted two hours and in that time we not only learned a lot about Ireland and the city of Dublin, but we also began to experience what weather on the island is really like. Within that time span we saw and felt it all: sunny skies, big puffy white clouds moving in and out; dark, ominus clouds building; chilly winds; and even a smattering of rain. The Crowded House song, "Four Seasons in One Day" definitely came to mind. The weather would continue to follow this pattern our entire trip.
After the walking tour ended in the Temple Bar area along the River Liffey. We decided to grab a quick bite to eat before we started our trek to the famous Guinness St. James Gate Brewery and Store House. It was a longer walk than we anticipated and we got a little lost (jet-lag was definitely starting to kick in), but it would be really hard to actually miss the Guinness Brewery if you were looking for it because it takes up several city blocks and there is decent signage to point you in the right direction. The place was packed when we got there and we were glad we had prepaid for our entry tickets to avoid standing in line (thanks again, Viator.com). You get a free pint of Guinness with your tour that concludes on the 7th floor of the Storehouse in what is known as The Gravity Bar. We headed up there first because we were afraid of it closing before we reached it if we started at the bottom floor. The Gravity Bar was so crowded it was hard to enjoy the 360-degree views of Dublin that it offers, so we opted to go down two floors to the much-less-crowded cafe/bar which also afforded great veiws as well through beautiful arched windows (below) as we sipped our brews. The weather again cleared for some magnificent views of the sprawling brewery embedded in this quaint city. The long day and the jet lag were beginning to hit us hard and this limited the rest of our tour of the brewery. We looked around a bit more on the way down to the ground floor gift shop, grabbed some goodies and hailed a cab back to the hotel. We were exhausted and went to bed early to prepare for our early rise tomorrow for our first tour outside Dublin going south to the famous Blarney Castle.


Craig and Alison Harris said...

Is that an Irish Mosque that I see in the first picture?

Great pst, thanks for allowing me to travel there through your eyes! And taste buds... LOL

Rob and Ashlee said...

Hmmm, could be, but I doubt it's a mosque. Just a church dome of some sort. Catholic and Protestant are the two major denominations in Ireland.