Monday, June 10, 2013

Wednesday, May 22

Wednesday, May 22nd
Last Day in Ireland

            On my morning run, I made for this walking trail that goes around the edge of part of the peninsula before cutting back inland. On the map it looked tough but good, and nothing crazy, so I went trotting along the semi well designated “Frog Bog Trail”.  Followed the road, which vanished into a rocky trail that curved along the top of the cliff line that the trail tracked. Not close enough to the edge to freak me out, but if I peaked over the edge, I could see the rocky bottom, and the waves against the base. I took the first part slow, gamely lunging up the rocky areas, and stopping to listen to birds or look out on the ocean (because, frankly I could not keep my footing and see the view simultaneously without tripping or falling). The trail followed the ocean then turned back inland, taking me through a grassy field and wooded area that was sprinkled with all kinds of little wildflowers.

   Turns out trail running really slows me down, besides the one wrong turn and double back which also took some time.  Worth it though! They had shorter and smaller loops that are great too! It is depressing to think about leaving tomorrow. I want to hold onto all the good memories, how everything looks and how everyone sounds.

          Today we drove in and went to tour the Guinness factory. It started with a layout on how it’s made, then moving through the floors, showed the history of its advertising and such. If you wanted to stand in line and  learn how to pour a Guinness correctly, or you could bypass that and hop to the top floor and be poured a delightfully fresh pint of Guinness while looking out the windows at the 360 view of the city of Dublin.
            We picked up a girl who was taveling solo from Australia, and we quickly consulted a map and decided to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Okay, well when we got there, we decided not to go in, but the architecture of the church was astounding. Newer than most of the ancient  crumbling buildings here, but also a great deal more extravagant. Which makes sense because of how significant St .Patrick’s presence was here on this island (the church was apparently the place he first held baptism).
  Dinner then back to the hotel (let’s not forget a stop at the grocery store. I am not about to depart anywhere without food. The rest of the family’s priorities regarding food are slightly lower than what I preferred).
           We decided to go out for just one pint a place that came highly recommended for the trad session they had that evening, Kueggers. We were accustomed to a trad group being 3 or 4 players. But when we walked in here, the bar area was to the left and had only a couple people sitting there, then to the left every seat was taken in the lower area. (Though we were told it was not crowded at all due to it being a Wednesday night). The small tables were pushed together and 18 people sat around it, many holding various instruments. One of the musicians saw us enter and immediately got up and brought a smaller table down so we could sit in the same room as everyone else. The music was unbelievable. Sometimes they would all play a song together, other times, someone would start a song and after a few stanzas the rest would join in. Or, one would sing a song, that remained a solo, or was accompanied for the chorus by everyone in the room. The music would capture your heart and send it either someplace peaceful or take it a place wild and wonderful.   We were asked if we sang too, and after hearing the voices and harmonies made…I emphasized my ability in piano and non-vocals for the sake of the ears of all.
            On the way for another round for us (so much for the one) my sister and I met one of the frequenters there.  Upon hearing of my affinity for whiskey, he suggested I try it with just a few drops of water…and it was actually pretty good! I also, apparently, need to try Middleton Whiskey. Noted.
             We dragged leaving, all of us had a grand time, talking to the musicians or to the others leaning casually against the bar.  This was an evening of lively conversation, and shared laughter. There were stories and songs and getting to know people (and we met all the good kinds).
    Back to the hotel, we got about 3.5 hours of sleep there before having to leave for the airport tomorrow. It was hard to get excited for England. I would have much rather kicked around Ireland for another week instead!

The song that stood out to me, that I hadn’t heard before, but I was able to memorized the chorus because well…it means something for sure (and was repeated enough!).
“Someday I’ll get over you.
 I’ll live to see it all through.
 But I’ll always miss
Dreaming my dreams with you”.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday, May 21st

   This cute little town is very much like the kinds you find on the coast of Massachusetts, Newberry port style.  It was one of our rare blue sunny days, and everyone took the lead to eat outside. This area has managed to combine tourism and relaxation  with the fishing industry. Next door to the restaurants in the harbor is the warehouse where they process the fish that are being unloaded off the boats that dock there.
While watching a boat embark on the leaving process,  I saw a large grey shape in the water. I meandered casually (in a fast footing, power walking sort of a way) towards the edge when a sea lion popped its head above the water. It had an intelligent look in its eyes as it assessed us as we excitedly leaned over the side. He tilted his head and consulted us as if to say “well, don’t you know? You’re supposed to be tossing me fish”.  Animals, of all kinds, beg.  He floated above water a bit longer while Lydia and I squealed excitedly before gracefully disappearing in the water. Long paragraph , short summery…sea lions up close are very exciting!!
We are staying at the Deer Park Lodge, a serious hotel on a golf course that overlooks the ocean. We took no part of the pool, gym, or spa here-but the concept felt relaxing.

     Drove in (intense with traffic, though cheaper than the train for the4 of us. Just something to note if traveling there).
     We headed for Grafton street, the shopping hub. There was a mix of tourist paraphernalia shops, and fashion displays everywhere.
            Dinner at The Cornucopia…a vegetarian, vegan, healthy place that (after tons of fish and chips) was quite welcome.
Temple Bar

      Everyone talks about this area and this street like it is the South Side of Dublin, like it is the epicenter of Irish pubs.  After traveling around so much, it was a bit of a let down when it comes to Ireland. It is so full of tourists that the advantage becomes you can meet people from all over the world in one location.
 The actual Temple Bar had good music that was lively and entertaining. Standing room only that became barely breathing room, but good for the sake of music and people. When we went to another pub, we got a good laugh at one of the overplayed pub songs that NOBODY IN THE AUDIENCE KNEW! Don’t get me wrong, even the overplayed songs are embraced by us in a fun and spirited way.