Since the 9th, much has happened, so let’s play catch-up, once again!
Everyone, including Anna and I, was deposited at the departure level of the Dublin Airport, where everyone said their quick goodbyes and Marc and Nancy off to return the two rentals. Their flights were much later in the day. I realized, in the rush of everyone to pile out, that I forgot my backpack, which was in the back seat, not the trunk…where my suitcase had been placed.
After a “regroup” to retrieve my backpack, saying good bye again and thank you to Marc, Anna and I went off to the pickup point for hotel shuttles, where we grabbed a ride to our hotel. We were able to get our rooms early (after a short wait) and lugged our stuff up one final time. The early rise had been hard on both of us, so after a respectably long nap we got together late morning to tromp around Dublin. We shared the expense of a taxi and had him deposit us smack dab in the middle of O’Connell Street. From there, with cameras at the ready, Anna and I wandered off on side streets to find things that were more “local” — where the locals would do their day-to-day business.
But first, we had to get away from the throngs of tourists. That took a couple of blocks. We then found a couple side streets that had mini-farmers markets, selling mostly flowers and a few vegetables. Our goal was to find the Farmers Market.
Zigzagging through the streets, we came upon an area that was almost deserted. Beautiful old buildings with a profusion of intricate detail fringed the intersection. Across and kitty-corner from where we stood was a graffiti-tagged building with double-wide wooden doors and wrought-iron work. Brick and marble wrapped around the entry beautifully. The building almost took up an entire block. Upon closer inspection, there were at least four of these entries — and sadly, this was the building for Dublin’s famous Farmers Market. The open hours were long past done! For Saturday, the hours
(I’ve been attempting to insert a photo…so far, unsuccessfully — if it does not work, I’m sorry…)
were 6am (same every day) till 11am today–about when we just thought of getting into Dublin. To see into the building was difficult, as the windows were set very high in the doors, leaving only the upper half and ceiling for us to see. It was a huge space, filled to the rafters with interesting bits of this and that. At that moment, I started a list of places to re-visit the next time I’m in this lovely city — the Dublin Farmer’s Market, in full swing, is at the top of the list!
From there, we weaved our way past a small park, apartments and businesses, back toward the Quay, crossing over one of many bridges. This particular bridge brought us up the street to an ornately decorated church with an overpass to a portion of the church turned into Dublinia — a touristy spot celebrating the Viking presence in Dublin.
At some point (whether before or after Dublinia), I popped into one of many Tourist Information shops and grabbed a free map (very basic). We were across the street from Trinity College, where the Book of Kells is on display. Both of us decided this would be a good place to poke around. There was a Shakespeare festival going on, but we had no time for that. Show times were too late in the day for us. Onward through the beautiful college campus to the Library, which housed the Book of Kells — and was the location of one of the scenes for the Harry Potter movie.
After queuing up to get in, we discovered we only had a half hour before closing. We chose to move forward with our plans. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed…not even without flash. A very sad thing for me, indeed. The history of the Book of Kells was fascinating, the book itself was beautiful. But most striking was the Library. Entering into the library was the most wonderful experience ever. The aroma of old musty books (and I do mean old) was amazing. I wish I could bottle the smell. I think I could have spent the entire day just standing around taking in this magnificent scent and view of towering rows of books. They used rolling ladders to get to the top shelves. The bindings on the books were gorgeous. The cordoned-off isles kept tourists far away, protecting the books from curious hands, unfortunately. Titles were not visible, but one could imagine…all of the old masters, of all genres. I would loved to have simply set down a bedroll and slept there, with visions of all the writers at work, penning their masterpieces. It puts a smile on my face, even now.
Our thoughts were rudely interrupted with the announcement that we had five minutes to clear out. Hurrying down to the gift shop, I made a few quick purchases and met Anna outside.
Onward. We continued to wander through the campus and found a metal spherical sculpture — I didn’t see anything describing it, but the polished surfaces of the deliberately fractured sphere reflected buildings, trees and sky beautifully. A photo op if I ever saw one. Both of us took numerous shots.
Then, we worked our way out of the college and down into the Temple Bar district. Another sphere, filigreed, that I’d seen only from the Dublin Tour Bus on previous visits was finally seen up close and personal. More photos. I don’t know why I’ve always looked forward to seeing and been drawn to this sphere, but it is exquisitely done. And up close, wonderful to shoot!
After that, more walking, until we came upon a great little pub. The sign was inviting: Lost? Need directions? The meaning of life? Just want to chat? Come inside…Barman “knows everything!” So, in we went, into The Vathouse Restaurant. Cozy, but at the same time huge — a long, narrow establishment that seemed to go on and on. Dark and worn, carved woodwork was everywhere — on the walls, bannisters, bar tops and several (I think I counted three) monitors were blaring the current football (soccer) game — Ireland vs some other country. We worked our way up steps into the back area and settled into a two-seater table. Our food was delicious, the surroundings easy on the eyes and we relaxed for awhile, chatting and eavesdropping on the boisterous football fans as they cheered and booed as the game progressed. Ireland lost 3-0.
It was finally time to say pay up at the pub and head back to O’Connell Street. Meandering down to the Quay, we found a bridge to cross, worked our way through the crush of tourists and up O’Connell Street, hailing a taxi near the Spire. That was the end of our day. I spent the rest of the day repacking, taking a shower and preparing for our 10am flight in the morning.
Oh! The “hiccups”! Well, what happened next is a story for another day. I just hope this posts correctly — with the photo, I’ve been having my own “hiccups” getting this done!