Dublin and Dublin

Friday, February 13, 2015

When BW's brother came to visit 'round Christmastime, we assumed he'd want to see Prague and then jet off somewhere without frigid windchill. But never underestimate a Minnesotan. Brother TheHipster opted to travel to the ruddy UK, so we piled into cheap RyanAir flights and headed for Dublin on our way to Scotland.

(Why is Dublin the fastest-growing city in Europe? Because it keeps Dublin and Dublin.)

Upon arriving at our apartment rental in the Land of a Thousand Smiles, we were greeted with this:

What is it? A cloud spear? A mammoth knitting needle? A pole to Heaven? No, no, no, it's the Spire of Dublin, a piece of 120-meter-high public art. (I read it's also nicknamed "the needle" due to all the junkies in the area.)

And then we bellied up to a warm table and dove into shepherd's pie and bangers and mash. A respectable first night.

In subsequent days, we trekked all over the chilly city - sometimes in aggravating circles - but we saw a lot that we liked. Some of my personal faves were...

The antiquarian book store Cathach Books (also known as Ulysses' Rare Books). There were rare editions by W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, of course James Joyce. And some of the tomes were worth tens of thousands of euros!

The Guinness Storehouse. Oh, fountains of  dark, creamy amazement! We toured the place, learned about things like hops and barrels, and had our free beverage up in the Gravity Bar with an expansive view of Dublin.

The Dublin Writer's Museum. Ok, I did this one while the boys went to the Jameson Factory. Lots of scrawlings and letters and things from writers I love - and this big, framed, original manuscript by Jonathan Swift.

Live music at O'Donoghue's. We were just strolling along one afternoon with frozen toes, looking for a place to get warm, when we heard spirited Irish tunes wafting out of a building. Inside, there was a circle of musicians and we sat for over an hour, listening to them.

Trinity College. We weren't there long, but nonetheless, it was pretty surreal walking in the footsteps of the likes of Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker and lots of other luminaries in the world of literature and humanities. Unfortunately, the Book of Kells was closed.

The historied Long Hall Pub. This Victorian gem was empty when we arrived at opening time but full a half-hour later. And the staff was couldn't have been more amiable - maybe this friendly Irish thing isn't a stereotype?

Our next stop: Scotland. But here are a few parting shots of Ireland's capital:


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  2. 'Brother The Hipster opted to travel to the ruddy UK, so we piled into cheap RyanAir flights and headed for Dublin'. Oh dear Em. Please forgive the geography lesson, but Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland which is NOT part of the UK. It's like me saying that I decided to visit the USA and headed for Ottawa.

    With that correction - and please forgive me , but my first degree is in geography - I very much enjoyed this post, especially your photographs and your discovery of places with interesting literary connections. I also loved the view from the Gravity Bar but trust that there was some strong plate glass behind you!

  3. Hi Ricky! Thanks for catching that! It was poorly-worded prose rather than a major geographical lack of knowledge :) Our ultimate destination was Scotland (in the UK) and we first flew to Ireland (not the UK) on our way there. I've since changed the sentence! Please don't peg me as the American stereotype! ;)

    I didn't know your first degree was in Geography; how interesting! Did you ever work in that field? Thanks for reading!

  4. Your lovely photos make up for that terrible pun. That is all ;)

  5. Cheers, Ricky! You have an interesting background! I'll be it serves you well to have had other work experiences before entering the Church. Book-selling and publishing sounds like a dream gig to me, but I'm sure it's more than just being able to read and talk about books all day ;)

  6. Hi Austin/Joe, I'm currently working with another casting director of HHI, but thanks for the offer!

  7. I hear a lot about Dublin but rarely do I see nice photos and I'm happy with this post - I feel I got a better sense of it! And love how quirky everything seems and how much variety there was in all the things you visited!

  8. I've always kind of felt indifferent about Ireland, but for the rich amount of literary history that you've shown here, it seems like not such a boring place after all ;)

  9. True. Except every place is like "rah rah Ulysses" and I just can't get on that bandwagon! Dublin wasn't my favorite city by any means, but we did have a nice time there.

  10. Thanks, Camila! That's a huge compliment coming from you :)

  11. Haha! I'm not so "punny", am I ?


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