As I'm running in my boots (that have heels) I see Grant slipping around the corner. I've decided that with Grant and I, getting to the airport is like a sport. We have all the necessary gear to get us a win, but we somehow always manage to be losing to the other team-- time. I'll fast forward and let you know that we ran about a mile to the bus stop a necessary mode of transport to get us to the airport and we made the flight on time. I was sweating and exhausted, but it was still a victory for team G&A.
The RyanAir flight to Dublin was easy and we were surprised at what a short flight it was, but were happy to be there, Grant especially as his ancestry hails from this 3rd largest Island in Europe. Upon touching down we immediately noticed the flourishing grass-- youthful and brilliant-- it's just beautifully green. We were to take our first tour (we had this trip planned and planned), the Viking Tour. Now, side note, we were given a recommendation by a friend of Grant's friend (hope that made sense) who lives in Ireland. He said that it
may be something to do and a great way to see the city, so onboard we were. Our Viking wench was a firery redhead who was dressed in Viking garb. She instructed us to give a Viking roar to people looking at maps, not paying attention, or pretty much anyone who had the sense not to take the tour (minus the guarda/cops). Not one to shy away from a good hat, Grant and I immediately threw on our Viking helmets, threw out our self-respect and enjoyed the ride. This amphibious vehicle took us from O'Connell Street to the River Liffey. We saw Bono's recording studio where he has recorded nearly every U2 album to date. It was cool to be in a vehicle that went from land to river-- even if it was a little rainy.
Our evening consisted of going to dinner, Ely Wine Bar (a superb pick, thanks Em!), and meeting that friend of Grant's Friend and his wife, Scott (Kiwi) and Anne. They were wonderful and had left their two small children with the babysitter in order to meet us out for a drink or two. Fast forward to a few drinks and to last call,
the light flicker and we now have great friends in Ireland.
Our next tour was the Guinness Tour. We made our way to St. James Gate, behind which the renowned Guinness Brewery lies. The tour gave us a lot of insight into the making of the best-selling beer of all time in Ireland- from the purified waters of the Dublin Mountains down to the barley & hops. In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9000-year lease for the St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin, at an annual rent of £45. We were able to take a peak at the lease and by the end of the tour we were pouring our own pint and enjoying a panoramic view of Dublin at the Gravity Bar. We decided to continue our alcohol affair by pushing on to the Jameson Distillery a few blocks away. We were picked, (ok, we immediately volunteered), to be whiskey tasters at the end of the tour. I chocked it down, I'm not the biggest whiskey drinker, and at the end we were presented with certifications. We're now certified tasters. We're available to help any of y'all out with any whiskey questions you may have- just let us know.
We were able to catch a service at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The music from the choir and candlelight made for a perfect chilly night. Upon arrival we rushed to our seats. Grant put the kneeling pillow on my chair. As I'm sitting on this cushiony pew, I realize it's for kneeling purposes and I quickly take it out from underneath me--I was worried this was somehow disrespectful, but got a good laugh out of it nonetheless. We were limited in our time there because of the service, but it is a beautiful cathedral.
A visit to the oldest cathedral in Ireland, Christchurch, held some unusual items. The basement housed a cat & rat, story has it, the one, presumably chasing the other, became trapped in an organ pipe in the 1850s and due to the plethora of dry air, were naturally mummified. They are referred to in James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake" where someone is described as being "...As stuck as that cat to that mouse in that tube of that Christchurch organ..."-- it was interesting to see these everyday animals as mummies.
Our last tour was the Kilmainham Gaol Jail-- first built in 1796 Kilmainham Gaol has
played an important part in Irish history, as many leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and some executed in the jail. The jail has also been used as a set for several films. It was one ghoulish tour albeit it was one of the cooler tours I've been on. It was sad to see the mini cells of which there could be up to 5 people in a cell at a time. During the famine years many people were trying to get into the jail because they knew they were at least ensured three meals a day.
Part II of our Ireland trip consists of Grant's travel buddy Bryan (Cork-County Irishman). I'm hoping to recruit Grant's recollection/writing skills for part deux-- but here's the leadoff-- We were able to make it to Cork via a train ride (where I sat beside a kid who enjoyed wrestling magazines, chocolate muffins and hogging the armrest) to stay with Bryan. He took us around some to the most amazing coastlines and countryside we've seen...
Hope you're enjoying the fall and that you're ramping up for Halloween. Grant & I will be traveling to Hamburg Halloween night. Can't believe the England stint
is coming to an instant end.
Ali & Grant
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