Monday, June 22, 2015

Sightseeing Dublin, Ireland

Laura and I arrived in Dublin with our trusty Lonely Planet, Discover Ireland guide.  We were jet lagged and sleep deprived after the overnight flight from Toronto. Nonetheless we walked about the O Carrall Street neighbourhood of our Best Western Academy Plus Hotel that first day.  I attended the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland Austism lectures at the Ashling Hotel and then came home to a glorious sleep.
The next day we were veritable troopers walking all over downtown Dublin. It’s truly a walking city.  We got to all the sites that Lonely Planet recommended for a 4 day visit in that one day.  Their ‘tour guides’ had a lot of stopping at pubs and visiting the Guiness and Jamieson Factories.  I admit that in my day if I’d followed their guide on this matter I personally might have taken up residence in Dublin.  I don’t drink anymore but it’s certainly a convivial drinking man’s town.
The fact is, Ireland has a major alcohol problem.  The cost of work safety, health care, and early loss of life due to alcohol as well as it’s contribution to crime is staggering. The great irony is that the church and state only really got interested in addressing their alcohol problem when it was realized that the young were getting into booze so early it was affecting their ability to get good soccer drafts.  Something about stunting one’s growth or ruining one’s ambitions.  There’s no doubt a further contribution of teen age pregnancy , assuming young men are affected in anyway like I was by alcohol.  All the women looked incredibly sexy and their breast got much larger with every pint I consumed.
Without being slowed down by booze we were able to tour Trinity College and the Book of Kells and the Old Library that first day. Then we headed along Dame Avenue to Dublin Castle and City Hall catching a bit of the Temple Bar atmosphere before getting onto Christ Church and the Dublin Wall.  We saw Four Courts as well. We loved St. Stephens Green with the baby swans.  We even made it to the National Museum of Natural History and Archeology.  After that there was still time for Laura and I to visit a Irish Sweater shop where I bought a marvellous blue Irish sweater. Next door to the sweater shop was the Irish Tweed store where I bought an Irish tweed patch vest.  I’d bought Laura a silver and gold celtic bracelet while she’d been buying presents galore all day for her family.  The gift shops at Trinity College, Dublin Collge and the National Museums were the very best places to buy fine Irish gifts. There’s schlock and bric brad everywhere.  We both loaded up with fridge magnets and key chains as well as the post cards.
The next day we were very slowed down. A trip to the chemist got me some ibuprofen. All that exercise had a profoundly negative effect on the feeling in my lower back and feet.  Once I got moving again I was fine. The breakfast at the Best Western Hotel was so attractive as to draw me from bed to shower and down to the waiting eggs and sausage and fruit and coffee.  Once we were moving again the aches left me and we hiked over to the National Gallery where I was just uplifted by the works of the great masters.  We then hiked cross town  to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where we loved the history, architecture, craftsmanship and art. It’s a truly spiritual place of peace and worship.
Then last night we attended Sean O’Casey’s incredible play Shadow of a Gunman at the Abbey Theater, the National Theatre of Ireland which had as a director in it’s day W.B. Yeats.  The play was riveting.  An incredible drama that slowly built then cresce
ndoed to an amazing surprising conclusion.   The acting was truly amazing.  Both Laura and I couldn’t recall another experience like it. And I’m a real theatre goer, one whose seen Maggie Smith and Alec Guiness on stage in London, Lauren Bacall and Jeremy Irons in Manhatten and always having seasons tickets to theatre in Canada. I love Pacific Theatre in Vancouver. But there was nothing like this.
The young Irish Band Script was playing to 80,000 in the park this night so there’d been young people all over town when we’d gone out early in the evening. It was an older crowd at the theatre, at least over 30.  On the streets daily we’re struck by the high density of 25 to 35 year old vibrant Irish young people.
Dinner of cod and chips after the theatre was fabulous.
Yesterday we attended early eucharist in the Lady Chapel at St. Patrick’s Church, attended a meeting at Molesworth Hall, and heard traditional Irish folk music with banjo and guitar at the Old Storehouse in Temple Bar. I ate the most delicious Irish Stew.
We have been enjoying ourselves.  Great weather, sunshine and pleasant spring tempter.  Dublin is certainly a tourist city.  Exciting place to live with all the book stores and music. Everywhere we’ve heard Irish music.  Van Morrison, Donovan, U2 and so many more original artists have come from Ireland.  The Irish tenor is world renown and there’s the Riverdance and all that artistic energy exported to us overseas.  It’s been a joy to be here.  Today we catch a train to Belfast
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