On our third day, I was bursting with even more excitement than usual. Dublin was finally in our sights, and it was so much fun taking the DART (Irish Rail). It’s pretty similar to Ottawa’s O-Train line, or Vancouver’s SkyTrain (so, you know, a usual rail system) except… let me segue a bit and tell you a story. I used to play this Sherlock iOS game, and there was this section where you had to connect trains together, or something of the sort, and there was always a voice warning you to “Mind the gap!” occasionally. I couldn’t understand –what was this gap? Well, I found out in Ireland. Here in Canada, the trains are pretty much flush against the sides when they pull up; there’s still room for error and tripping of course, but you won’t think that when you go over to Ireland. Whew! The gap is substantial, and I was very impressed with all the women who got on during peak times in a crushing throng– in heels. I can only imagine how much more treacherous it would be to navigate when you’re tipsy, and I’m beginning to think the Irish are all born gymnasts. Or perhaps this is where Irish dancing comes in handy?
After getting off, we went straight to look for Trinity College. The Book of Kells was calling to me, though Alex was not exactly impressed. He wanted to know what was so special about an old book, and being told it was a most elaborately illustrated manuscript of the Four Gospels in Vulgate Latin did not exactly pique his interest. “So we’re going to see an incomplete Bible?” he said disbelievingly. “Could you please channel your inner Indiana Jones, and pretend this is our Holy Grail?” I asked. Being the sweetie that he is, he did so with good humour. Alas, when we went in the morning, tours had not started yet (if memory serves), but I took some pictures of that idyllic campus. We decided to come back later, and with much enthusiasm, Alex said our next stop would be the Guinness Storehouse. On our way, we encountered the Molly Malone statue, which I had been hoping we would stumble across. I first came across that song in the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, then looked up the tune to it on Youtube. It’s a haunting, melancholy piece, and was playing in my head when I took this shot –I also feel very fortunate that I got such a clear photo of her! People were crowding around her only a few minutes before we came up to it.
So at this juncture, we must give my man credit for allowing me to go on yet another detour, haha. You see, while using Google Maps to navigate our way to the Storehouse, Ladureé popped up a little to our left. I’m sure everyone knows that Ladureé, French luxury patisserie and sweets maker, creates some of the most famous macarons in the world, enough to justify the continual usage of italics in these sentences!
I bought a few flavours, I’m sure salted caramel and rose were chosen, though I don’t really remember the rest of my picks. After trying to share them with Alex (he was not crazy about macarons at the time), I got to have them all to myself. Well, you can’t make this girl any happier than giving her all the macarons! I’m embarrassed to say that I downed them so quickly, I didn’t even take pictures. Ah well, it was only in a paper bag. When I go to Paris, a proper pictorial tribute shall be made then. *nods*
Update: I found this photo on my iPhone, and while it isn’t the best, here’s a peek at that little bag with those scrumptious sweet morsels.
Alas, there was no end to all the things that were jumping out at my eager eyes. We spotted a Butlers Chocolate Café so close to Ladureé, it only made sense to cross over and look inside. We had had hot chocolate the day before at a Butlers’, but it was inside a mall. This was the full, immersive experience, and it was just perfectly what you’d expect a place where you can get chocolate and have chocolate-y drinks to be. I wanted to order some drinks, but Alex reminded me that spirits were in the offing, and I bowed to reason.
So here we are at the gates, waiting for them to open. I was fixated by all the old cobblestones and the tracks that were no longer in use.
Upon entering, we noticed the 9000 year old lease, displayed in a glass case on the floor, signed by Arthur Guinness himself. He certainly had the foresight and confidence to sign such a long, long lease!!The Guinness Guides (as I call them) took us on a tour of both the history, its impact on Dubliners, and how the stout is actually brewed. It was very informative, and if only I had great pictures to share! They all came out very fuzzy as the lighting is very dim and you are rushed along. Honestly, it’s so much more immersive and interesting in real life, that I would rather you actually go if you are so inclined. However, I did take this video of our taste testing session, or how to properly drink Guinness:
After the tour, you were free to wander in dedicated exhibition areas that held a lot of paraphernalia and items of interest throughout Guinness’ long history. There was an original cask/barrel –so we were told, and replicas of trains and barges that transported Guinness to everywhere in Ireland and around the world. There was even an actual German bomb that downed the S.S. Carrowdore that was transporting the brew on display!
Finally, we made it to the top, and went to get our free Guinness at the 360 bar. While Alex did get the actual stout, I was very thirsty by then and wanted something I could down with ease as I am not a big drinker. I went with orange soda. That’s right folks. I traded my free Guinness ticket for an orange soda, and have No Regrets, haha. With a breathtaking panoramic view of Dublin, everybody was jostling to look out and have a seat by the window.
It was so crowded, that the bartender gave us a tip and told us to go to an eatery across from there if we wanted to have our black gold while relaxed and seated. We took his advice and here you see us enjoying our respective drinks blissfully sitting down, and we ended up sharing, as we always do. My drink was pronounced most refreshing, and Alex declared that Ireland was the only place he would ever drink Guinness in. This is actually true because in 2017, we went to Victoria, BC and had a Guinness there on his dad. If you go to this post, you’ll see the face I made. It was a reflection of both our sentiments, I assure you.
We made our way back to Trinity College Library, and the queue for the Book of Kells moved very quickly. We admired the iridescent, luminous colours in the illustrations, and the very neat and precise text. All of this by hand! Calligraphy is all but a lost art, these days. We were not allowed to take pictures, but I did manage to ‘sneak’ one of a smaller volume that not many people talk about, a devotional book from the 15th century. While the art may not be on as grand a scale as the Book of Kells, imagine making such neat and precise drawings and text on such a tiny book! That takes skill, as well. I did not use flash photography, because having worked at an art gallery, I know how detrimental it can be to such objects. It was also the only photo I took of any of the books on display, because I like to believe that I am not greedy…except when it comes to macarons, obviously.
The library was such a beautiful place, complete with winding staircases and ladders that reminded one of Belle’s library. I’m almost ashamed to share these photos because they truly do not do justice to the place.
Afterwards, we went back to Pebble Mill for the night. We didn’t have supper at a pub, because Alex ordered a sandwich from the eatery, and it was very filling. Instead, we stopped by a service station and he bought some Irish crisps and some candy, the names or brands of which I do not remember anymore. Then we snuggled in bed and watched Netflix (because apparently Netflix and chill means something else entirely), and were surprised that we were getting Irish Netflix selections with my Canadian account! Must have been the IP address that affected that, but it was fun to watch shows that weren’t available on the Canadian version. I will end this post with a picture of a very stylish pink door that we encountered!
See you next week for the continuation! And I promise that soon, this blog will start showing adventures from 2017 and 2018!