Friday, March 7, 2014

Weekend in Dublin Part Two

Although we went to bed quite early, before 10, we still didn't get up until about 8:30. There really wasn't any reason to get up any earlier, as very few places in Dublin appear to open any earlier than 9. We had a light breakfast provided by the hostel, when you're hungry toast with butter and jam can be a spectacular meal.

At about 9:30 Maddy and I were off, we headed straight for Trinity College, to see he Book of Kells and the Trinity College Library. The Book of Kells was beautiful, but if will admit that I was much more interested in the library. This will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me very well of course, I would be happy to live in a library forever, and certainly one as beautiful as the one at Trinity College would be no hardship.

We had decided the night before to plan out our day a bit better and so, in keeping with our schedule, we headed to the National Gallery next. Some areas of the gallery were a bit unnervingly empty, but the exhibit on European masterpieces was pretty cool. They had a Rembrandt and a Picasso, but my favorite was probably either the Four Seasons by Simon Vouet or possibly one of the several gorgeous landscapes.

We also went to see the exhibit on Yeats that was currently on display at the National Library. I really enjoyed seeing handwritten examples of his poetry, even if I am utterly incapable of reading cursive (even when it is not particularly illegible I find it a difficult task).

After looking around the shops for a bit, Maddy was particularly looking for Aran sweaters, which are also known as fisherman's sweaters and are characterized by complex stitch work usually associated with traditional meanings (such as the standard cable pattern standing for success and good luck). We stopped for lunch (both because we were hungry and because we wanted some time to consider our purchases). Sometimes you just want a burger, and Bobo's was definitely a good choice for that. Although we had no say in how our burgers were cooked, which was a change from home where they always ask, they did have proper "skinny chips" (more importantly they were pre salted).

After finishing our lunch we were still suffering from a very important craving, caffeine. We stopped next door for some coffee (for Maddy) and chai (for me). We also got some sweets, because the bakery looked so tempting.

By the time we finished our caffeine break we were ready to make some shopping decisions. We returned to some of the shops we had visited earlier, where Maddy purchased Aran sweaters for herself and her parents and I decided on a tartan shawl that I had been considering. For the regard, it turns out we've been using the term plaid incorrectly in the US. Plaid actually originates as a reference to a type of clothing, similar to a blanket or a shawl, while tartan is the correct word for the pattern.

Afterwards we didn't have very many more set plans, so we wandered around the city. We started with a stop by Dublin Castle, which seems like more of a hodgepodge of buildings than an actual castle (but I still like it). We sat in the courtyard for awhile and just enjoyed the view.

The we found our way to a few shops on the side streets, including a shop that sold vintage goods and a really cool independent bookstore. I definitely considered picking up a few books, but decided against it for practicality's sake (although I did note a few titles for later perusal).

At about 6:00 we arrived at John's Lane Church to attend mass. We were a bit early, so we had some time to look around the church and take a few pictures. The construction of the church began in the 1860s, but it actually opened in the 1870s and the construction wasn't fully complete until the 1890s. The church was really beautiful, especially the stained glass windows.

We walked back to the hostel so we could drop off a few bags, before heading out for dinner at an Italian restaurant that was pretty nearby. We were just in time to take advantage of their "Early Bird" menu which allowed a starter, an entree, and a glass of the house wine. I really enjoyed the restaurant, and it had some nice paintings of Italian landmarks on the walls (some of which I will be seeing in person not too long from now).

That was basically the end of our Dublin adventure. We left the hostel at about 11 on Sunday morning and ended up waiting for the ferry for about three hours. The ferry itself was significantly less pleasant than the one on the trip to Dublin, although it was shorter. We suffered very rough waters for the entire trip, and my ability to sleep in most circumstances came in handy because I avoided the worst of the seasickness. We made a couple of food stops on the way home, which were definitely needed, as the trip felt as though it lasted forever. We made it back to Exeter a little after midnight, and I was very glad to be back in my own bed.

And that's the end of my weekend in Dublin, but I'll be heading back to Ireland again sometime after my exams are over.

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