Then we took a shuttle bus in to Dublin. Here is a cool bridge we saw from the window of our bus.
It's called the Samuel Beckett Bridge. It looks like a harp! Another thing the Irish love, aside from their design and their music, is their authors--Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, and many more--we heard about them all the time.As we walked toward St. Stephen's Green, we saw that they were having an art show all around the iron railings of the park. Just a few Saturdays a year there is an open air art show/sale and we were lucky enough to be there for one of them. So we walked around the outside of the park looking at a very eclectic assortment of art from local artists. I even considered buying some, because that is something that I do--consider buying art. Yeah.
I borrowed this picture from an Ireland tourist page. Apparently I was getting tired of taking pictures by this point in our trip.
The hotel had no breakfast so we bought some pastries. Anika had an enormous crepe full of Nutella and pecans. She was nice enough to share.
Next we went to the Museum of Ireland, Archeology. I remembered this place from my first visit to Dublin, primarily for the huge quantity of gold collars and dress fasteners on display, and also for the staggeringly intricate decorative work on the brooches, chalices, shrines, crosses, etc. This style of interwoven metal work is central to my image of Ireland. It is style and art and mythology at the pinnacle of a culture that now seems almost like a fairy tale. And my pictures of it are rubbish. So here's a detail of the Cross of Cong from the Wikipedia page.
When we at last reached our tolerance for antiquities, we went and had lunch at another shop. Sandwich for Anika, kebabs for Casey and me. I really miss kebabs.
And then we just did some touristy things--shopping for souvenirs, looking around at the architecture, hanging out in the playground to take advantage of Dublin Free Wifi. It rained a little and was chilly. Do you know that Ireland averages in the 70's even in summer?
Our last activity in Dublin was an evening of dinner and storytelling at "Ireland's Oldest Pub"--The Brazen Head. It claims to have been in operation on this site, though not this current building, since 1198.
The courtyard and downstairs was very crowded and smoky. Our venue was on the third floor. We sat by the window at a round table with a teacher from Italy, a teacher and her friends from the east coast states (going by accent), and a teacher and his wife and two kids from Canada.
Our host, a man named Ollie, told us stories and sang us songs in between courses of a traditional Irish dinner. (Anika had cabbage and bacon, Casey and I had Irish stew. They also had Beef and Guinness stew, which we'd seen before, but didn't try. Guinness is a major personality in Ireland.)
It was the Italian teacher's birthday, so we sang happy birthday to her and another guest in the room. She shared her piece of birthday cream pie with the whole table. But I think she'd have preferred as her present that Ollie stop opening the window behind her. I kept my sweater on the whole time.
It was a really fun evening. A nice end to a very nice trip.
The next day, Sunday, was Anika's 18th birthday. We gave her a granola bar to eat in the hotel bed just before we left.
I won't go into the details of coming home except to say two things--1. Nutella counts as a liquid, so don't try to take it home in your carry-on to eat as lunch during your six hour layover in Philadelphia. It will be confiscated. 2.--(should have know this one) apples and any other produce are not allowed over international borders. And once you've declared it on your customs form, you might as well eat them as you are waiting in line because they can't give you time to eat them once you reach the end of the line. (I had this idea that we had to produce them as evidence, once we'd declared them.) We had to throw them away.
Hooray for being home! And hooray for Casey's dad, Steve, who drove us both to and from the airport. And hooray for our kids at home who hid in our darkened house and then jumped out to surprise Anika for her birthday. And they made cupcakes, too.