On our way to Dublin, we Stopped by Blarney Castle and by the time we pulled up it was pouring rain. I had to go to the local shops a few blocks away, and then back to castle. I was soaking wet by the time I got up to the top of castle, but I layed in the puddle in my jeans, leant backwards over the edge of the top of castle and kissed the Blarney stone. You can see the gap that you hang over backwards to kiss the stone in one of my photos from the ground looking up. Apparently the teenage locals sneak in at night and piss on the stone because the tourists all kiss it, but it has rained enough I thought it was pretty safe! Kissing the stone apparently gives you the “gift of the gab” (not that I didn’t already have that) so perhaps I will be even more so now.
I Looked through some of castle and the awesome caves underneath it. I had to crouch down quite low to get through some parts of the caves and we thought back to those people thrown in there as prisoners back in the day.
We had our Lunch stop at some other place that had another castle but as I still wasn’t dry I skipped the castle (like most of us did) and had a warm curry lunch in the pub. I’m not sure of the name of this town but it was a very brief stop and we spent it in the pub instead of out in the rain. We jumped back on our bus and carried on to Dublin!
We arrived in Dublin a few hours later and checked in to our hotel. It was a very central hotel but definitely not up to the standards I’ve been staying in on this trip. It was small, old, and a little musty, but still a step up from some of the hostels I had been staying in over the past few weeks.
After settling in, we went on a walking tour and saw some of the local sights.
Oconnell St is the Main Street with statue of him (Daniel O’Connell) at the end of it. We saw a big ass pointy thing in the middle of the street which is 121m high called the Spire. It is a millennium monument built in 2003, and it replaced where a statue one stood that the IRA bombed to smithereens in the 60s. It is made of some certain type of aluminum so it is self cleaning when it rains.
We went by Trinity college, one of the most prestigious universities around. It was built in 1592 and no Catholics were allowed until 18thC. At that time, if a Catholic did go, they were then excommunicated by their church right up until 1970!
Opposite Trinity College was a large bank with no windows! This was built to evade the window (daylight) tax that was in place many years ago that I mentioned in a recent post.
We saw part of a “castle” but it really wasn’t much of anything, and some more statues. The Irish like to nick name their statues with things like “the prick with the stick (man)”, “the stiletto in the ghetto (big ass pointy spire)” and last but not least, “the tart with the cart” aka “the Trollop with the scallops” who is the infamous Molly Malone. Apparently she used to be rather popular with the members of parliament back in her day and had quite the reputation!
From here we went to our “Irish Night” which was dinner and a show. There was a small “band” of a man playing a traditional Irish drum, another man on a guitar and a lady who swapped between accordion type instruments who played Irish folk music. Irish dancers of both men and women did a few numbers in different styles of Irish dance. They got a few volunteers on stage, including a few people from my tour (go South Africans) and they were awesome! It was a great night and a great show.
Afterwards we had drinks in the temple bar part of town but the temple bar itself was very expensive! A few hours out, a few different bars and a few drinks later saw us head home and call it a night.
I was up in time to catch breakfast and a bunch of us were sitting down there chatting together. A seemingly nice enough man came and sat at the table behind me with his wife, and he started chatting to us, asking us where we are from etc. Things went south very quickly as he started making racist comments such as (to the South Africans) “but you’re white!? How can you stand living there, it must be like a zoo with all those blacks causing trouble!” He ranted on for a good 15-20 minutes about a variety of things and I escaped back to my room to make plans with the girls away from him! Most people decided to go back to bed and nap, but as I was already up and motivated, a few of us headed out for a wander. We browsed a few shops and then went in to the gardens of Trinity college. A full tour or to go down to the infamous library cost money so we skipped that and carried on. One of my friends tripped and fell on some wet cardboard from the rain that had been on and off all morning. She went down on her knee pretty hard and bruised it badly, causing it to be quite painful. She carried on and we grabbed some food on the go (and I managed to spill Thai soup down myself because I am a pro at eating).
We met up with everyone else at 1pm at the Guinness factory for our tour and tasting session. I spent a few hours there walking through the museum/tour and had a tiny tasting of Guinness. Even that made me bloated so I gave my free drink ticket to a friend on tour, for which he was very grateful. The final leg of the tour was the bar on the top floor with a 360° view of the city, so we chatted there for a while.
After that, a few of us jumped on a hop on, hop off tour bus. Usually there is an automated voiceover that you tune in to, that tells you what is around the city. This bus driver however decided that he could tell us more than it could, shut it off and chatted about the town. He was hilarious without really meaning to be and his accent topped it off. We were having a great time! The bus driver swapped half way through but the second guy was just as witty and funny as the first! We found out about another statue (this time of Oscar Wilde, whose statue nickname was the cock on the rock)!
There was a shop with the witty name of “knobs and knockers” that sold exactly what it stated: doorknobs and knockers!
I noticed a lot of pride flags and billboards around town which probably coincided with the pride festival last weekend. Again, I’ve missed another couple of prides as I make my way through Ireland, as I’ve either been tailing behind or leaving just before one takes place in about 7 different cities during this month of travels! I guess it’s not meant to be this year!
We grabbed dinner at the hotel bar and I had intentions of having an early night, retiring to my room early to catch up on some paperwork and make preparations to be able to buy a car next week once I’m home in Aus. It took longer than expected though thanks to distractions and slow internet! I made it to bed too late again and by now I am exhausted and again only have 5.5 hours till I have to be up. I’ve been averaging between 5-6 hours a night of sleep for the past week and only managing the occasional 10 min power nap on the bus on a good day! These tours are constant and sleep depriving but totally worth it! A good nights sleep is certainly something I’m looking forward to, sooner rather than later!