Monday, August 31, 2015

Ireland--The Emerald Isle--Eire

A couple of years ago, Casey and Anika were having a discussion about when, if ever, she'd get the chance to visit Ireland, a place she'd been fascinated with ever since a childhood exposure to the Irish accent in a PBS show called Jakers! The Adventures of Pigglywinks. I was surprised to hear him say to her that when she graduated from high school, we'd take her to Ireland. The surprise came from the realization that if we took Anika on a graduation trip of that magnitude, we'd pretty much have to take the other four kids as well.

I love being in other places aside from two things--getting there, and getting home again.

Day 1--We left Salt Lake City Sunday morning. We arrived in Ireland Monday morning after eighteen hours of traveling, including layovers, and an eight hour time difference. We were supposed to travel to Texas, then Chicago, then Dublin, but when our flight from Texas got delayed, we were rerouted to London, and then to Dublin. So Anika got an extra country thrown in free. Of course, all she saw of London was what we could see from the airplane on our descent--Tower Bridge, the London Eye, the Thames . . . . Also, we got to queue in proper British fashion through immigration, customs, security, etc. . . .

Dublin: Ireland's largest city and capitol. Settlement goes back more than a thousand years! For a long time it was a Viking stronghold, and was built on an even earlier Christian settlement. We began and ended our stay in Ireland here.

Day 2, Monday--It was about 11:30 when we got out of the airport and into a cab. Our cabby was completely silent and had the radio playing. As we rode towards our hotel, I kept falling asleep. They allowed us to check in early, and it was with great difficulty that we didn't immediately lie down and go to sleep.
Instead we got out and started walking toward city center.

First stop: A fish and chips shop--We just ordered one to share, in case Anika didn't like it. It arrived SO hot, we couldn't actually taste it. When it cooled down, Anika tried it, and liked it. She ended up eating fish and chips several other times in Ireland, and we all ate a lot of chips. Of course, chips in Ireland mean thick cut fries. And they are delicious. And they are served with brown vinegar. And they throw them in as a side with everything, including pizza.  I went back to the counter and asked for extra napkins. "What, now?" "Serviettes?" "Oh, sure." --This is not my first trip to Ireland.

On our way to the city center, we passed through St. Stephen's Green, a large park complete with bridges, duck pond, fountains, lawns, people sleeping on lawns, etc. Then we walked down a posh pedestrian shopping zone, listened briefly to a busker from Australia (of Irish descent) and then to the River Liffey to walk over the Ha'penny and O'Connell bridges.

Then we went to Trinity College to have a brief tour of the campus given by a just-graduated student named Gavin. He gave us all sorts of juicy details, such as how the college commissioned an architect to design one of the buildings on the central court, but never paid him. Then they built the identical building across the court--"Two for the price of none." Also, there are are two Oregon Maple trees in the courtyard that have grown much larger than such trees usually do, perhaps because they were planted in the old monastery graveyard, whose inhabitants were never removed--"consecrated fertilizer." Some of the buildings are really lovely, and some of them, especially the modern cement ones, "have been hurtin' our eyes since 19--." He left us at the entrance to the Book of Kells display. 
looking toward center of college green

Gavin is just over Anika's left shoulder. 

The lighting in the room where they keep The Book of Kells is so dim, it wasn't worth taking pictures. But here is a link to Trinity College's website, where you can view digital images. In person you only get a couple of pages, so feast your eyes.

The old library where we sat down on a bench for way too long. So tired.

We realized we'd missed our chance for the day to have a walking tour of Dublin but we ended up walking a lot all by ourselves. Here are a few more sites we saw today. Several of them closed around 5, but we made ourselves stay out so we could adjust to jetlag as quickly as possible.
 The statue of Molly Malone. Anika is strategically placed in this picture.

The place where we ate the second half of our lunch--a different kind of shwarma or kebab than we'd had before--Ani didn't go for it.

Dublin Castle--we didn't go inside. It's a government complex these days.

Behind the castle is a lawn/helipad where people catch the sun when they can. Across the way is a design college. We went inside and looked at a student exhibition. We heard a lot about Irish designers while we were in Ireland. They've had style since before the pyramids. (see tomorrow's post.)

Christchurch Cathedral

Finally, we decided to have dinner. We knew we'd be having a fair amount of traditional Irish food over the next week, so we thought Anika would appreciate pizza for dinner. We got it from a shop that also sold every kind of kebab, as well as burgers and salads. While we waited, Casey got this picture.

I hadn't even realized I was asleep until I heard him taking the photo.

We went right back to the hotel after that and were in bed by 8:00 pm.


Sarah C. said...

Your blog rocks this year! I've been checking several times a day for the Ireland report! Great so far, happy for more.

kate said...

Ooooh, can't wait to hear more!! Did you get a fortune cookie back in January that said "This year will travels you many much,"?

kate said...

Ooooh, can't wait to hear more!! Did you get a fortune cookie back in January that said "This year will travels you many much,"?

edith said...

What it said was "You will have full contentment by summer's end." No joke. And I am so content to be back to my stay at home ways. For a while at least. But I've had so much fun!

JennyHP said...

So fun to read this! Did I tell you about the college student tours, or did we both discover them independently?

Phillip Hale said...

I am loving all the little historical, architechtural, gastronomical, artistic and other special interest links you put it. Multi-level blog! Of course the faces I love best.

Ludovic said...

Chiming in (yes, I do keep a silent eye on your family blog ! :) )...

Hard to catch with you, travelling Songers: India, Ireland. Nice trip you had, and a lucky one I might say, by your sunny pics : Marin was in Connemara in July for a boy-scout camp, with bearky no sun in a fortnight. :)


Katie said...

My favorite picture of all is you and Ani asleep waiting for dinner. Way to stick to your guns and force yourself to go out when you wanted to go to bed. Mike Hale was very strict with not letting us sleep in China until it was might in China. And yay for Anika liking fish and chips!