Dublin, Ireland - Top o' the mornin' to you

Thursday, May 21, 2015

We had only had a lay over of about an hour and a half in Newfoundland so we needed to eat there at the airport. I actually lined up for a pre made sandwich. It was expensive, too, along with expensive bottled water.

On this third and final flight of our journey to Dublin we had the same seats as from Toronto so they were not spectacular. We, however, sat beside an Irish fellow from Belfast, now living in Montreal. His accent was charming and he gave us a few insights in what to do in Belfast.

Total darkness came quickly as we climbed the highest altitude for our flight. Again we were given juice, water and pretzels for the third time. WestJet no longer serves meals on their flights. Good for future reference, because I will bring food for next time. Pretzels just do not do it for me. The fellow beside us decided several small bottles of red wine was in order to complete his flight. Sleep did not come easy even though it was late and we had gotten up early. I had slept on the two previous flights, the motion had done it plus the early wake-up call in Regina that morning. Now, sleep was elusive. I also blame the fact that by this time of night I am usually snuggled up in my nightie, laying flat with a soft pillow cozy under my head. Not tonight! I am am in this morning's clothes, sitting up in a cabin full of people with a strange man of one side of me. Somehow Ken and I did get a bit of shut eye but not lots. We know tomorrow (I mean today after we land) will be rough with jet-lag something I have not experienced.

Dublin Airport

We have now landed in Dublin, Ireland. I am in Europe, wow, I can barely believe it. Ken has been to Europe but we have never been together. It seems very unreal. We are both rather "out of it" when we land. First thing we notice it that it is very cold outside, much colder than even Saskatchewan was when we left. It is cold, damp and a bit windy. Ken manages to find the shuttle to the Carlton Hotel. I feel so disoriented, new country and I can not hear much. I had very sore ears every time we would land and this last time was the hardest on my ears. They did not become cleared at all and are very blocked. The shuttle takes us to the Hotel, but oddly enough this is not the Carlton we are registered at. The shuttle driver kindly drives us back to the airport to catch a bus to the proper Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown. A cold, confusing start to a day with jetlag.

This bus was not as quick as the shuttle had been. We ended up taking a bus with our luggage to a transfer point closer to downtown Dublin. We drove through neighbourhoods with brick, jointed together homes like townhouses in Canada with huge chimneys. There were lots of trees and it all looked rather foreign to us, as it was after Ireland. Once out of the bus we needed to eat.

Violets! They treat you like family, that you see too often. lol

Some passerby suggested we eat at Violet's Cafe. We easily found the place and sat down to unfriendly looks from the cook and waiter. We had an authentic Irish Fry - beans, soda bread, black pudding, mushrooms, an egg, a pancake, Ken had sausages and ham. We asked for two plates and the meat on the side. That really got the two already amused workers really going with amusement at the two foreigners who were rather usual in appearance and could not understand their accents. Wow, would not want to eat there again.

Once in our room at the Carlton, Blanchardstown (we switched rooms cause the other room did not suit us) we decide we must remain awake to fight off the jet-lag and get adjusted. We walked to the little mall in Tyrrelstown, only about a fifteen or twenty minute walk away. I do not remember what we did when we returned as I was so excruciatingly tired. We went to sleep about three in the afternoon, just totally zonked out. So much for our plan of staying awake until nine in the evening.

We were awake for a few hours around mid night and watched Netflix.

Friday, May 22, 2015

We slept right through until about eight-thirty in the am today. We get somewhat caught up on our sleep. We were able to eat our breakfast in the room as we had gotten food the afternoon before in Tyrrelstown.

When I went to do my Duolingo Spanish today I discovered to my horror that I had lost my 180 some day streak. I know I did the required Spanish. Not sure what happened but something sure did. I will write to the Duolingo people and let them know the mistake that has been made.

We dress up warm and go over to Tyrrelstown again.

We arrived in time for the epic Yes vote. Same sex marriage, which passed.

We purchase a LEAP card to cut down on transportation cost here in Dublin. The bus is a bit "dear" or expensive. Ken found us a great, somewhat long walk into Blanchardstown Centre. It took us along a highway, passed Gloriettas (the Mexican word for "roundabout"). On we went through a country lane type of area and on passed a small town and its houses and small shops. Then we went through a park. I am feeling this walk because I have on new footwear that I thought I had broken in. No such luck, this footwear is not feeling adequate for lengthy walks like this.

The Blanchardstown Centre Mall is wonderful and huge. We go into a store like a Future Shop in Canada and look at appliances. We just wanted to see what was the same and what was different. Then off across the street to find something to eat.

Our walk in the cold has worked up an appetite. We find Kay's Kitchen, where rather different food is being doled out, Irish food with potatoes.

Lunch. Mall food.

eBay.com has a large office complex here.

We did more shopping for a few items needed and took the double decker bus back to Tyrrelstown using our newly acquired LEAP cards. This time we were on a bus without our luggage, which was great.

At Tyrrelstown we found a Pizza Hut pizza to enjoy for our supper back at our room. We did not stay up late because jet-lag is not our friend. We are still tired even after so much sleep the night before. My ears are still block which is disorienting in an already less than normal situation.

Irish Pizza warmer

Saturday, May 23, 2015

We slept about eleven or twelve hours last night. I felt grumpy. I do not know, was it from too much sleep or not enough sleep? At any rate we still had trouble getting up and about. We ate breakfast in the room, did very little then were off to get lunch at the nearby shopping centre. Ken had a sandwich from a choice of sandwiches in the deli at SuperValue and I had a triad of saltless, mayo laden salads. Maybe I am having trouble with my taste buds because of the still plugged ears.

It is much warmer today. Our clothing was much less in nature because of the weather. After being in Mexico for so long, wearing so many pieces of clothing seems constraining. I will get used to it again, I am sure. We walked to the Blanchardstown Mall again today taking almost the same paths as yesterday. Instead of going through the park we went along the main roadway. We found a grocery store and checked it out - good prices.

After watching the "Sons of Anarchy" on NetFlix, we were amused to find the local chapter.

Irish Spring

Once at the mall we decided to go for tea and scones. Well, we are in Ireland and their does seem to be a lot of scones and tea so why not. We noticed that the people here do seem to fit the visual stereotype of Irish people. Not that it is bad or anything, just interesting.

The mall held less interest than yesterday and was even more crowded. The grocery stores have lots of prepared food like salads, etc. I was able to find myself a wonderful mixture of salads for supper, much cheaper than Wholefoods in the States. I also, off the topic, picked up nasal spray for my blocked ears. I am very sick of not being able to hear anything, This ear thing is also affecting my balance and actually my thinking. Let's hope it works soon.

We knew where to catch the bus and how to get to the mall by our hotel. We picked up Ken's supper. He wanted cheese, which we discovered is very cheap compared to Canada and some corned beef. We got the most interesting wholegrain buns with pumpkin seeds throughout. We also bought a Leibfrmailch, German white wine. Our evening walk took us back to the store for another bottle to share another day.

We walked almost twelve and a half kilometers. I have sore feet and legs - new shoes, should have broken them in.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

We again are waking up in Dublin, IE, well to be precise Blancherd's Town at the Carleton Hotel. You know that feeling of not being motivated to get up? I had that feeling badly and that does not happen often. I blame the remnants of jet lag for my lack of motivation. We moved our entire operation, two cabin capable suitcases and two under the seat bags, from the Carleton to downtown Dublin. We took the bus outside our Hotel to about forty stops down the line to downtown. Then took one more bus to Trinity College, New Square. We are staying in residence. We share a bathroom and kitchen/livingroom space with two other dorm rooms. So far we are the only residence in this little space - yeah.

 Once registered into our room and slightly settled (dropped off our belongings and left) we headed out to the surrounding downtown area. Many buildings are red brick with big chimneys on top. I am assuming the chimneys have something to do with heating the buildings because it must get very cold and damp here in the winter. Actually it is very cold and damp right now. I would say this is almost as cold as it is in the Vancouver Island area about six weeks ago on a cold day. I was dressed for the cold and was still not comfortable all day. Being cold really distracts from the enjoyment of sight seeing and I will try not to harp on about it anymore.

Trinity College is quite the sight in itself to see. Huge grey, stone buildings that are very old. The College itself was founded in 1592. The campus is enormous with huge trees that look like maple trees but are sort of warty.

Trinity College - Stay in the heart of town.

Once we left here to go and look for lunch we saw all sorts of old buildings, many where pubs. Some had turret looking add-ons at the fronts. Some looked like mini-castles. We saw a church with flying buttresses - Christ Church Cathederal. We saw the Bank of Ireland, Custom's House and O'Neill's Pub and Guest House.

We went to Rory's Fishing Tackle to buy Rory, our new neice, a little present and snap a few photos.

We ended up eating at Pie Man Cafe.  We had a veggie pie and mushy peas, a first for us on both counts.

Supper is something we were able to make in the little kitchen where we are staying. Great idea because we need a break from restaurant food. I must say that many restaurants here have outside seating. I would not even think of sitting outside in this cold (oops) but evidently others do not share my dislike for the weather here.

We saw a big, pigeon looking bird with a white ring around his neck.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The weather seems to be repetitively the same here day after day - cold, cloudy and sometimes warming up and sunny for a few hours in the afternoon. The warm up time is so short compared to any other place in Canada I have know, plus it does not warm up that much. I am suffering from sore legs, knees and feet, like quite badly. I think the cold has really done a number on my joints and muscules. I hope things improve because we are walking everywhere.

Half Penny Bridge

We walked to a few stores today. They have very small thrift stores compared to North America. Some good stuff in the stores, no pots or pans, mostly clothes. I am trying to find a swim suit that does not make me look awful. That is a pretty big task but I know there is a suit out there that will do the trick. After all I am not that fat.....I think. Anyway, did not find one so we will not be able to go in the pool here on campus unless I find one fast.

How do I describe Dublin to you? Some things are exactly the same as the US or Canada - big stores and malls with clothes that are in style. Yet somehow it is different. The restaurants appear to be more lunch counter style where you go with a try an pick up food. The food is certainly different, yes, lots of potatoes and scones, fish cakes, too. In was in a department store that had these huge bags that woman walked around with carrying what they wanted to try on. You were only allowed so many items like NA. The staff in the stores were very aloof or unfriendly. There are more people in the shops and restaurnts, it is kind of crowded and busy. Yesterday we saw a groomed broom plant. On Gabriola we work at eradicating this plant as we find it a noxious weed. Here it has big stocks like a small tree, people obviously like it as a plant. I saw several men, not woman, sitting on the sidewalk with cups for you to deposit money in. This happens in Mexico but I was not expecting it in Ireland.


We made supper at our little kitchenette. We had potatoes (what would you expect, we are in Ireland), carrots and cod cakes. It is so good to not have to always eat at restaurants.

Trinity College, dorm.

Nissan - Retro Car, we see these again and again.

We went for a walk not too far from here to Hume Street.

There was a famous Geologist who was born on Hume Street in the 1700's with the last name of Griffith. Perhaps he is a relative of mine. My Grandmother on my Father's side was a Griffith, originating in Ireland, before she was married.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I was up first today after dragging myself out of bed yesterday. We are going to the small town of Bray today. My friend Diana M. had come to Dublin and Bray a few years back to visit her brother who at that time lived in Bray. I was shocked that such a place existed in Ireland. Us Bray's are not sure where we originated from but we do look "Irish" is there is really such a look. Anyway, Diana brought me back mementos from the town of Bray when she was there. Ever since I have wanted to go there and check the place out.

Once at the train station (DART similar to BART in San Francisco) I found the shoe repair fellow and took in my new boots to be repair, new heel bottoms put on. I have wore the boots less than fifty kilometres but they still need to have the heel soles (is that what they are called) replaced.

I am anxious to see the town of Bray and the scenery of Ireland along the way.

It is about  twenty kilometres away from Dublin. A woman from the area is seated near us on the train and fills us in on some interesting information. Her last name is Griffith and her husband has gone to Montreal for eye problems. The doctor he says has treated other Griffiths for the same eye difficulties, Griffiths who have immigrated to Canada.

As I already knew she told us that Griffith is a Welsh name. She said Bray is a rather unusual last name. That if someone in Ireland did not want their last name they might switch it to Bray as it is a very Irish Repulbican place (strong IRA place). It would give them a better profile. When the woman pointed out Bray on the coast I almost cried, it was very emotional.

The place itself had many things called Bray - bowling alleys, day cares, the train stop, etc.

It was very quaint. At the "top of the town" was a lovely brick building which we thought was the town hall. No, it was one of the top rated McDonald's in the World.

Certainly one of the coolest ones we have seen.

We did find the town office with Bray postcards. A short explaination of why we came to Bray, resulted in a free postcard from the surprised clerk. We sent one to my Dad for "Fadder's Day", yes, that is how they say father around here. Hope he notices the postage mark from Bray. We walked on their ocean walk for a ways and picked up rocks.

We took to train to the town of Greystones. We liked our Bray experience better. Then we hopped the train and returned to Dublin for a dorm cooked meal.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ken had difficulty getting up today. Good thing we both did not feel that way, I was up and at 'm today. Don't know the whys and wherefore of either scenario.

I sorted through all the bills since we left Moose Jaw. That means sorting them by date to be posted. Then it was time for the launderette to be open. Ken got laundry soap and we also got a pass card to get in and out of the door. I sat and did the laundry not being bothered by wasting time because I did not waste time, there was internet and did my Duolingo and Spanish. The time went quickly studying Spanish. The launderette was gas powered and each washer had a dry above it. It was not much different then you would see in NA. Washing was pricy at €4.00 per wash and the drying was €.50 per twenty minutes of drying time.

When I was finished it was raining and we did not want to walk the many blocks to the restaurant we had planned on. We ate at The Buttery Food Court here at Trinity College just a few short steps away from the launderette. We had authentic Irish food, at least we think so. We had lightly battered (in crumbs) fish, but instead of fries we had roasted potatoes plus the best tarter sauce ever. We did not forget to have an Irish dessert of toffee pudding drowning in yellow custard sauce. All so delicious.

 Above the Buttery, we saw the vast meeting rooms.

We stayed in our room until the rain seemed to stop, finishing up tasks started in the morning.

Then we went to the Irish National Gallery (Art). We only had about and hour and a half in the gallery but it was sufficient time to see a Monet, Picaso and many Dutch master painters from at least the 1800's. Some art of course was off limits for photograph. I was particularly fond of a painting of a little girl out in a field holding her dog - the work of Thomas Gainsborough. I now have more of an appreciation for the old masters than I did a few years ago. I guess I have been more exposed to their work and can see the skill required.

 We walked to St Stephen's Green Park and took pictures of very old trees, swans and seagulls. What a wonderful park. There was a huge gazebo and stone bridges.

We walked back to a favourite restaurant for supper. On the way we looked in stores. I wanted to get a memento from Dublin as we are leaving tomorrow. I was lucky enough to find a silver chain that holds charms - Thomas Sabo charm pendent. Too bad it wasn't a shamrock.

We walked to the train station after supper to pick up our tickets for tomorrow. Somehow we had a mix up with the tickets so tomorrow we will get that straightened out and be on our way to Belfast.

By the way for the past about six days we have been walking about twelve kilometres each day.

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