Sep 23: Dublin

Breakfast was included with our stay at the Abbey Hotel. We had the option of a full or half Irish breakfast or a more continental-style (cereal, fruit etc.) We went with the cereal, fruit and toast and jam route then walked to Trinity College to view the Book of Kells.

I purchased our fast passes on-line – which I highly recommend – as you bypass the queue to head straight into the exhibit. The Book of Kells isn’t for everyone and although it was neat to see, I could have lived without the crush of people bumping into each other. I enjoyed the long room and viewing the original proclamation and the harp.

The students were back at school this week so Trinity College was a happening place. Tents were set up around the square promoting the various clubs available to students. I made a joke about a knitting or crochet club and, wouldn’t you know it… Knitting Socks had a tent!

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Trinity College

One thing I did want to see and get a picture of was the Molly Malone statue. I used to sing “Cockles and Muscles, Alive, Alive O” with the Irish Singers of Ottawa, so it was nice to see good ole Molly! (The bronze on Molly’s breasts has rubbed off thanks to the many visitors copping a feel 😉 – true story!)

We spent the morning walking and walking and walking! Down Grafton street to a Meteor cellular store to purchase a sim card for my iPhone. It’s a great deal, by the way – €20 gets you unlimited calling in Ireland and I can’t recall how much data but enough for accessing Google maps on the go. You can buy the SIM card at the airport, if they’re not out – like they were for me. The young lady behind the cash suggested I go to a Meteor store where they had better deals and would do everything for me. And they did!

(Update: 15GB of data and unlimited calling in Ireland! – WOW, what a plan!)

(Check out the BMW motorcycle we traded our rental car for. Not a true story!)

Then we were off to visit the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Story. It was quite a hike to the ship and once we arrived we decided not to take the tour as it was a 50 minute tour and time was getting short. So we sat nearby and I read all about the ship on Wikipedia – another excellent reason for having a data plan ;). According to the Wikipedia page, the original ship was built in Quebec in 1847 and wasn’t a coffin ship (in that all it’s passengers arrived alive.)

Some of the buildings and bridges along the way:

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Only in Ireland would you see a unicorn…

We took a taxi back to the hotel to pick up our luggage (what a nice and friendly Irishman) and boarded a bus to the airport to pickup our hired car. Interesting to note: the buses were on strike today so the airport buses were quite full. Also interesting is a rental car is called a hired car over here. We hired our car through Dooley’s and I highly recommend them as they are cheaper than the other companies and very thorough. We had a good experience with booking and picking up the car. Thanks to Bryan for his patience and good humour in preparing us for our drive out of the parking lot!

We are happily driving a red hybrid Yaris. Mom will be the main driver and was very brave as she drove out of the airport while I chanted: my side, my side.

We made our way, successfully, to our AirBnB home for the next three nights in Co. Meath.

Tomorrow we head out to visit Ancient Ireland.

What I now know:
The Irish drive fast and are as bad, if not worse, than Quebec drivers.

I may have a heart attack (or panic attack) in the next few days while driving on the small country roads. Whenever we met an oncoming car – who happened to be driving in the middle of the road and 20-30 kms over the speed limit, they failed to pull over to allow us room to get by, thus resulting in many scratches from the trees and shrubs we brushed up against. I was never so glad to arrive at our destination.

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