Hello Dublin!

Breakfast at the Fitzpatrick boasted the return of juicy hot sausages as well as triangle hash browns – yum! I brought my apples from my room and asked folks on the bus if they wanted any – I had two takers.

Dave drove us into downtown Dublin and pointed out the sights on the way to Trinity College. He wanted to go down this one street but a worker in a yellow vest denied him. As a result, we were stuck turning right onto a street that had a car on one side and a delivery truck on the other. As we attempted to squeeze through, the man who owned the car, made haste to his vehicle; he must have been afraid of it getting crunched. Dave kept his calm through the whole inching along process. When we got to Trinity, he had to park the coach far down from the entrance. He told us to head towards the entrance and he would follow after us and get our tickets. He seemed a bit flustered. We were waiting in a line, when he appeared in front of us in an apparent panic, as he couldn’t find half the group. He went off again and brought them back, got brochures for us, which turned out to be in German, except for the graduate student’s , which was in French. She and I were both pleased but I don’t know about the rest of the group! It amused and captivated me that Dave, although a paragon of calmness on wheels, had trouble with his land legs!

So we went into Trinity College on the obligatory Book of Kells tour. Don’t get me wrong – I love illumination and have tried my hand at this craft. But honestly, viewing the open pages of the two volumes in dim lighting was anti-climatic. The  Long Room Library, on the other hand, was very impressive! I thought the harp there that represented Ireland was beautiful as well, and I thought of my sister, Diana, who plays such a harp and must have seen it here as well. It was nice to share that same space if not at at the same time.

trinityharp

We found our way back to the coach through a secret door in an iron fence. It was locked but we were lucky that a woman with a key opened it and allowed us through at just the right moment! Dave took us to Whitefriars Church, where the relics of St. Valentine were housed. Yup, in we filed, while a mass was in session, to a side chapel with a small chest. I imagined his bones all disassembled and cramped in there and figured there must be many missing! As I was leaving, I saw Michelle lighting a candle and decided to do the same – with my brother in mind and also my friend Michael Jordan who died recently. I paid the 3o cents and light a tealight candle from an already lit one.

mjcandle.jpg

From there, we headed to the Guinness Storehouse. This was a huge establishment, with 7 floors. The first floor contained all the merchandise, second floor, about the ingredients and process of making Guinness, the following floor had taste testing. Lisa and I decided to forgo the line and moved up to the ads floor. There were photo booths where you picked an ad and then had ten seconds to place yourself in the proper spot inside the ad before the photo was taken. Afterwards, you could look through tablet screen shots to find your photos and send them to FaceBook. Lisa and I had a bit of fun with that! There was also a whistling clam – I kid you not! – and a fish riding a bike – very cool! Next flight up and we stood for a short time in a line to learn how to make the perfect Guinness. We were called up in groups of eight and our instructor demonstrated the steps. When it was my turn, I pulled the handle AWAY from me, which was the exact opposite of what I was supposed to do. Lisa made me feel better by spilling a little when she started. But we were all able to get the foam just up to the rim of the glass without breaking the seal! Afterwards, we took our free pints up to the next level and met up with Matt. I decided to go up one more level to the Gravity Bar, where I could get a 360 degree view of the city. I chilled for a while, sipping my pint, and bopping along to some romantic 80s tunes I could barely hear over the din of conversation.

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When I had finished, I made my way down the staircase, holding onto the railings, as I definitely was tipsy. Each flight, when my palm clasped the cool metal, I would dwell in the moment, trying to solidify and extend it, because I knew my time in Ireland was coming to an end.

Dave took us back to the Trinity College area and turned us loose. Lisa, Ellen and I went to a cafe across the street and had some lovely hot sandwiches before walking up to Grafton Street, a pedestrian zone. We heard some lovely music from a couple of nice looking young men, as well as some other performance artists and ducked into several stores to check out the merchandise. I found my favorite flowers, freesia, among those being sold on the street. They smelled so good and weren’t as expensive as in the States. But what would I do with them? My feet were almost unbearable – my fashions boots probably didn’t help. Lisa and Ellen were tired as well. I gave my remaining two apples to a woman sitting on the sidewalk. We were back almost an hour early but Dave and the bus were where we left it. I asked Dave if he would be going to the farewell dinner that evening and he said no, he never ate with the group.

Back in my room, I noticed my apple bowl had been replenished! In the restaurant, there were four large round tables for us 36 participants to sit at. Ralph got up and gave a short toast and then I decided to give a small speech as well. I felt sad and sentimental. Lisa tried to cheer me up and told me not to cry. At the end of dinner, there were hugs and goodbyes. I had a drink with Mike and Michelle before heading up to  my room to finish packing and get to bed. It would be a very early morning!

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