Friday, January 1, 2010

Dublin, Ireland

A cute lion guarding the front of the castle we were staying at.
Mike driving on the "wrong" side of the car :)
We left for Dublin at 6am. Unfortunately we didn't fill up on gas the night before and NO gas stations were open. We decided to drive to the next town and fill up there, but we drove for a long time and didn't come upon any other towns, so we had to turn around and go back to where we knew there were gas stations almost running out of gas in the process. We waited in front of a gas station for over an hour for it to open up. Apparently all restaurants close by 9pm and gas stations don't open until 10am on weekends. So getting up early and starting our 3 hour drive was all for nothing. With the gas fiasco we did not get an early start after all :)
Driving into Dublin I spotted these doors. So very Irish!
Trinity College. Ireland's most famous college.
The Book of Kells is an intricate Latin copy of the four gospels is kept in the library here. It is thought to be produced in the 9th century by monks and moved to Dublin in 1653.
Inside the courtyard in Trinity College.
After we explored Trinity college we found this really great bistro. I got a really good enchilada and Mike got a salad and we took them and had a picnic at St. Stephen's Green.
A swan at St. Stephen's Green.
Us on a picnic at St. Stephen's Green.
A map of the park.
Pretty swan.
A Dublin double decker bus.
Pretty architecture.
Dublin Castle consists of many buildings. It was the seat of English power in Ireland for over 700 years.
Beautiful Dublin Castle.
The building across the courtyard which still houses government offices today.
Beautiful crown molding inside. I was surprised that they let us take pictures inside. All of the other castles we visited did not permit photography inside.
The view of the garden area out the window.
Arches down a hallway that go on forever!
The beautiful "blue room." During balls the women would hang out here unless they were asked to dance. You can only see half of it, but on the left side of the picture there is something that looks like an ornate music stand. When women stood in front of the fire to get warm they would position this fan in front of them. They wore makeup made of wax back then. Lots of it. If they got to close to the fire their "face" would melt off and that would be very embarrassing. That is where the term "losing face" came from.
Paintings on the wall in the throne room.
The throne room.
Ceiling in the throne room.
On the long walls of the grand dining room/portrait room there are gold gilded frames with portraits of English Lords of Ireland.
The portrait of Lord Cornwallis is hung lower than the others, and is hung beside the door to the kitchen, so that any time the door it is left open, which is often during a dinner party, General Cornwallis' painting is hidden from view as punishment for his surrender at Yorktown. They were still bitter with him for losing America.
Lord Cornwallis' painting hung next to the kitchen door.
The ceiling of the grand ballroom.
This statue of Lady Justice at Dublin Castle is interesting because her back is to the city insinuating that the royals were above the law. Also, she is not blindfolded and is admiring her sword. They had to drill holes in the bottom of the scales because rain water would fill them and set them off balance.
There was also a story behind this statue, but I forget what. I guess that is what I get for waiting six months to blog about our trip. The lion's face is really cute though :)
Next we went for a walk looking for the Guinness factory, which we didn't find this day because it was not in walking distance from where we were. We did get lost and find some interesting things though. First was Christ Church Cathedral.
Christ Church Cathedral with a double decker bus and scooter in front :)
Christ Church Cathedral.
I thought it was a little weird that people were lounging all over the grass out front and there was an ice cream vendor on the church grounds.
A Dublin door.
The door next door.
Stanly in Dublin.
Very cool carvings on the side of the building. I wish the picture didn't show up so small on the computer screen. They are really beautiful.
A close up of the carvings.
Temple Bar was once a very seedy area that was not a good place to visit. Recently though it has been cleaned up and is now full of ethnic bistros, neat shops, bakeries and coffee shops. The Temple Bar is located there and is the most famous bar in Ireland. I was standing in front of the bar for like 20 minutes trying to get a picture with my Polaroid camera to stick in my travel journal. The bouncer or server (I'm not sure which) guys in front of the bar started posing and showing off trying to get me to take pictures of them. It was pretty funny, but I don't think that they got the point that I didn't want any people in my picture and that is why I was waiting so long for my shot :)

Another cool looking pub.
A neat looking shop in the Temple Bar area.
"The pen is mightier that the sword" was engraved in the beam above our table at the pub we ate at in Temple Bar. I thought it was kinda cool. I ordered Irish potato leek soup and it was fantastic. I learned to make it when we got home. It is sooo good. After dinner we drove past the Custom House. It was beautiful and I wish we could have parked so I could have gotten at least one picture. We went back to our hotel to settle in. It was a really nice place. We went to the dining room to get mixed drinks and dessert, but, of course they had stopped serving food :) So we took and chance and walked down the street to another hotel. They had stopped serving dessert there took but the bartender took pity on us and got us a piece of cheesecake. We also got drinks. I tried a Long Island Iced Tea for the first time. It was really strong! It was a fun end to a really fun day!


Kath said...

So the rest of the world doesn't operate on "Sarah time" huh? Guess next time you go (when your change jar gets full) that you'll have to be a little earlier to bed and earlier to rise. :D

Great pics. Love the stories!

Mike and Sarah said...

Well, we had learned enough to get dinner on time. But a couple of hours after dinner it was still so early (it was only like 9pm Ireland time) we decided to go out for desert and drinks, which obviously didn't work out so well.