Dublin ~ A Melting Pot

Dublin Travel Blog

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Grafton Street from a second story coffee shop window.
The first thing I noticed in Dublin was the hustle and bustle of the people.  Everyone had somewhere to be and they were all in a big hurry.  Oh, my.   Don't get me wrong; I enjoy all the excitement of a busy metropolis.  But this is Ireland, not New York.   I already yearned for the peaceful countryside we had been criss-crossing for the past six days.  The stone buildings lining the streets are what I would call low-rise ~ nothing touching sky here.  Except for the futuristic stainless steel Dublin Spire that rises to a height of 390 feet and sits in the center of O'Connell Street, Dublin's principle thoroughfare.
O'Connell Bridge across the River Liffey
  The Irish hate the silly-looking thing and I have to agree with them. 

We had three nights and only two full days for exploring, so we tried to make the most of it.  Our hotel was about a ten-minute walk south of the River Liffey.  The closer we got to the river, the more people and traffic.  This was a pretty big city and I knew we would never cover it all by foot.  A taxi-ride back to our hotel would definitely be in order.  We just followed the crowd until we spotted something of interest.  It must have been market day.  Shoppers, mostly women, were picking through the piles of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Several city blocks were closed to traffic, allowing only pedestrians and delivery trucks/wagons to pass.
Horse and master working side by side
   Leigh noticed the large white draft horse and pointed him out to us.  She thought this would make a good picture and she was right.  Horse and master working together.  No need for a whip or stern words.  The gentle giant knew what was expected of him and appeared to be content with his task at hand.   Personally, I prefer the smell of horse manure to carbon monoxide.   At least manure can be recycled!

Dublin is a city of old and new.  There are young people with their piercings and tatoos walking right along beside the elderly citizens with their bent backs and galloshes.  Skatesboard riders zip in and out, masterfully dodging pedestrians.  Gang graffiti is spray painted on century-old stone buildings.
Let's go shopping. But bring your own shopping bags.
  Dublin is just another international city.  I could have easily been in a time-worn neighborhood of Boston, Chicago or Detroit.  Except for the draft horse.  He made my day.

A young man approached me while I was window shopping.  "You're an American, aren't you?"  He had that beautiful lilting brogue and I wanted him to talk.  Ask me another question.  "I'm a musician and I want to go to America.  Do you think the girls will like me over there?"  I tried hard not to smile and assured him that they would.  Then I proceeded to tell him what cities might suit him best and what cities to avoid.   He was a butcher by trade and felt sure he could find work in America.  After five minutes or so, it was time to meet back up with Leigh and Catherine.
Fresh flowers for sale
   "Good-bye and good luck, whatever you decide to do."   It struck me as odd; why is it that an Irishman in 2005 would want to leave his country?   For a better life?  Does he not realize that there is no escape from reality? 

Later that night, we were tired and tried to sleep.  I raised the window for some fresh air.  Music and song floated through the open window.  The time was 1 o'clock in the morning and these voices continued to sing for at least another hour.   While I lay in my bed listening to the distant melody, I could only wonder about these happy voices.   Don't they have to get up in the morning and go to work?   Typical American mentality.  

The next morning, Catherine was tired to the bone and just wanted to rest.
Liquor store ~ something for everyone.
  Leigh Ann and I headed out the door, ready to explore.    I noticed a group of young people making their way through an alley and decided to follow them.    It appeared to me that they knew about a short-cut to somewhere and it might be worth a look.   As it turned out, I was right; Leigh and I found ourselves in the middle of a busy shopping district.   Street vendors were peddling their flowers and fresh strawberries and I just couldn't resist.   Catherine was back in the room and I knew she would be getting hungry.  The strawberries would be for her.

As we made our way down the street, a pet store caught our eye, so we slipped inside.  Chipmunks and squirrels were considered "pets" in Ireland.   Someone left out a letter ~~ P-E-S-T-S  ~~ in America.
Collards in a baby stroller
   Food, cages, and books on proper care were all over the store for these little critters that chew up our eaves and dig tunnels under our sidewalks back home.   Right this moment as I sit here in my chair in my living room, there must be at least two dozen squirrels resting peacefully in their nests high in the treetops in my backyard.  Please come get my squirrels.

Leigh and I took the strawberries back to Catherine.  But not until I found a liquor store.  A gift for my sister-in-law.  Some expensive brand of Irish Whiskey.   I was sure she would like it.  The salesman said she would.   He was happy to pose for a picture.  This was probably the most excitement he had all day long.  The crazy American tourists that wanted to take his picture.
Words printed inside his accordian case: "No music ~ no life. Thank you."

I wanted to hear some traditional Irish music.  Every pub in Ireland usually has music.  Only one problem ~ they don't start playing until most everybody is drunk as Cooter Brown.   That way, the laughing and singing are guaranteed; no need to be shy.   And that means it is usually later as opposed to earlier before the music gets started.  10:30 or 11 o'clock or even later.   I guess my CD's will just have to bring the music of Ireland into my car and my home.   But for one more night, I can raise my window.

In summary, Ireland is a place I could easily live out the remainder of my years without looking back.  My sister and I are planning another trip to the island for 2009 and I can't wait.  I hope this blog has been informative and maybe entertaining, but mostly, I hope it represents Ireland in the manner I intended.  The beauty, the graciousnss of the people, the ancient history, the long-suffering, I could go on and on.  Just visit and see for yourself.  Enjoy.
paulkernan says:
Marvelous blog... this is what travelbuddy should be about. Hope you have the energy to do a similar one for the 2009 trip. If you have time do try to squeeze into north Donegal... Derry is so close. Go Raibh Míle Maith Agat. Paul
Posted on: Feb 11, 2008
sylviandavid says:
great blog.... sylvia
Posted on: Jan 02, 2008
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Grafton Street from a second story…
Grafton Street from a second stor…
OConnell Bridge across the River …
O'Connell Bridge across the River…
Horse and master working side by s…
Horse and master working side by …
Lets go shopping.  But bring your…
Let's go shopping. But bring you…
Fresh flowers for sale
Fresh flowers for sale
Liquor store ~ something for every…
Liquor store ~ something for ever…
Collards in a baby stroller
Collards in a baby stroller
Words printed inside his accordian…
Words printed inside his accordia…
Market day in Dublin
Market day in Dublin
photo by: fransglobal