Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dublin - Ireland

The Place: Toured Dublin on the hop-on hop-off bus, starting at the large spike, which replaces an old statue of Nelson (Battle of Trafalgar) - removed after Ireland gained independence from England because he had no real links with Ireland. We passed the statue of local Irish political hero Daniel O'Connel, which happens to be Liz' great great grandfather. A bullet hole from 1916 can be seen in the breast of one of the surrounding statues, see 3rd from top. We passed  some impressive old buildings including Trinity College and St Patricks Cathedral, a park which celebrated Oscar Wilde with a statue, and a statue of Molly Malone, a peasant woman well known in Irish folk songs for selling her 'Cockles and Muscles' from a wheelbarrow. A good end to the tour was arriving at the Guiness factory which takes you up 7 floors explaining the unique brewing method and family history, and finishes with a free Guiness on the top floor with a panoramic view of Dublin from above. An interesting fact is that the harp, which is the Irish political symbol, is used as the Guiness logo, except it faces the opposite direction so as not to infringe on trademarks (see 3rd & 4th pic).
We were lucky to be in Dublin on a day when the 'Tall Ships' had arrived in Dublins harbour. There were numerous stalls and small festivities along the row of these olden day sailing ships, which were all competitors in a race from A Caruna (Spain) to Dublin.
Following the recommendation of our cab driver from the airport,  we ate lunch at a great spot called the Brazenhead. In the evening we wondered around the area of Temple Bar and, avoiding the really busy bars, stopped in at an old pub where we were lucky enough to get some real traditional Irish music played by Bill and Shaky (Padraig O'Neill) on guitar and fiddle. Their album 'Cobblestones and Brittle Bones' became the theme music on our River Shannon boat trip beginning the following day. 

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