Dublin-a Whirlwind


We arrived in Dublin just as the sun was going down. To say our arrival was a disappointment would be a gross understatement: our cab ride from the airport to the hotel cost more than our flight, there was literally no food at the hotel, there was no place in the area to buy food, the first room we were given was not big enough for three and our fun plans for the evening were not meant to be. When the hotel manager (who negatively contributed to most of these circumstances) told us he was going to make it up to us if we agreed to have dinner in the hotel, hit a foul ball. We anticipated a complimentary glass of wine or perhaps an appetizer. What he did was give us a nice table (in an empty dining room). I could fill a couple of blog posts with our many complaints…suffice it to say: the three sisters were not pleased.

We pledged to make the best of it and the next morning we scouted out of the hotel just as fast as we could manage. It was the Dublin marathon that morning and as we boarded the Luas (the Irish word for speed) along with just about everyone else in the suburbs, we realized that all the roads in and out of the city centre had been closed. Once full, the train whisked by many disappointed spectators and was very efficient in getting us downtown. We wanted to go to the Irish Immigration Museum but first: coffee and food!

Quite accidently, we came upon the Arlington Hotel. Actually, we wandered into the their pub, which had recently served Irish breakfast to a mass of tourists and families, downtown for the marathon. When they spied us, they welcomely set us up at a clean table with a carafe of coffee plunked down in front of us. Ahh Dublin hospitality!

This was Sister #3’s breakfast as my plate wasn’t quite so nicely laid out. I selected something of everything, enjoying breakfast sausages along with a bevy of other meats and breakfast items but what delighted me was the Irish Soda Bread. It was set up at its own little table right next to the toaster, jams and marmalades. I politely only indulged in two pieces…I could have eaten half a loaf!

We hadn’t entered through this front door, so my first impression was actually my last impression of the hotel as we left. If only we had found this gem of a place earlier in our hotel search.

Sister #3 had researched our next stop. This is what drew us: Discover why 10 million people left Ireland and explore the impact they had on the world.

We knew the story would be a hard one to hear the details of and it was. We also knew of Irish resiliency and humour, so we set off to discover that.

We had a couple of last reminders of their hardship, when we went past the Famine Memorial on Custom House Quay. Walking amongst these life-sized skeletons made the depth of their despair that much more real to us. In all the facts about the memorial that I have read online, there is no mention of who underwrote the cost of this effective exhibition. A plaque at the site read that the memorial was a gift from Canada to Ireland to acknowledge the important effect that Irish immigration had on Canada.

Just a few steps away from the sculptures is a tall ship moored in the water that is set up as a famine museum. The Jeanie Johnston is a replica famine boat and is a fitting background of the statues.

This is the imposing building that gave the Custom House Quay its name.

As we crossed the bridge to Temple Bar we came upon these real-life marathoners. One of them was married to a Canadian and made us feel very welcome to their country. They were not Dubliners but had made the trip for the marathon. Sister #2 looks happy to meet them in spite of her falling asleep.

We had good fun, wandering the narrow streets of the Temple Bar area, deciding where we should stop for a pint.

Then we came upon the crown jewel of Irish Pubs. Sister #2 took our pictures and I didn’t notice until I was formatting photos that we had gotten photo bombed, and good!

The bar was packed and we couldn’t get anywhere near the live music that we heard in some far-off room, so we wiggled into a space by the window with a couple from Newcastle that once lived in Alberta Canada. They were so lovely and welcoming, and we would have been delighted to have spent more time with them, but they had a brief weekend together and we didn’t want to home in on their time.

With a picture to prove that we had visited, we were off.

I guess we are not as famous as Sean Connery, as the bar didn’t ask for a copy of our picture.

Kath’s quote: Best while you have it use your breath. There is no drinking after death. –author unknown

Love never fails.

posted under Dublin, Europe

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