Dublin Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Three people on our flight into Dublin were sick and so we had to wait an hour in the airport on the tarmac for them to be checked for Swine Flu. I learned today after I got back to the states that it has been declared a pandemic. After that there were very few problems in Dublin. When we touched down we had stereotypical Irish weather: gray, cold, and windy. I discovered quickly that Dubliners are some of the most polite people in the world. A busdriver asked where we were going and I said the street name Wood Quay that I pronounced "Kway." He said, "Wood Kay, I'll call it out." When we walked to the front of the bus at Wood Quay (Kay) the driver asked where we were headed and pointed us in the direction and gave perfect directions and found the hostel no sweat. We were both fairly hungry and awake suprisingly, given the fact that it was about a 22 hour travel period. We dropped our stuff in a six bed room and went to a bagel shop down the street, one of the countless bagel shops in Dublin. First meal lived up to my preconceived stereotype of Irish food that I conceived through my postconceived notion of British food. I got a ham and cheddar bagel that they cooked in a press. It was not good. Funny thing I discovered was the first bite of a meal is ofter the best one and after that it's iffy at best.
After lunch we went for a walk in Dublin and we found Oscar Wilde's statue. Later I saw a picture in a Dublin guide book that called it "The Fag on The Crag" because Oscar is lounging on a big boulder in a corner of the park that is nearest his flat where he used to live when he lived in Dublin and wasn't imprisoned in Dublin. From there we walked and walked and walked until we realized we weren't near anything in particular that was interesting or at least that we knew enough about for it to be interesting to us and we looked at the map of the city that we got when we checked into the hostel and saw that we were at the very bottom right corner of the map. We turned around and walked and walked and walked until we passed through the rich part of town with town houses and Ferrarris and an occassional Rolls or Bentley and we walked and walked and walked until we came to a bus stop in Clonskeagh and Clonskeagh is at the bottom right of the bus map. As we discovered we had walked to the end of the Dublin suburbs and every time we had to make a choice whether we would turn the right way or the wrong way we turned the wrong way. Everytime. And that's how we got to the suburbs and that's how we saw more of Dublin than people who have lived there for decades. Heather said while we read the bus stop map, "We're seeing Dublin." It's not entirely our fault that we had a string of wrong choices when it came to turning, the Dublin street system is not a grid. To be completely honest, the naming of streets in Dublin makes about as much sense as a man with no index fingers walking around with a gun in a holster on his hip. The block before Wood Quay is Aston Quay. There is no turning to get from one to the other, you cross the street and change streets. It also doesn't help that some streets aren't marked with any kind of sign at all. It's quite a guessing game. Later we learned that Dubliners use pubs as landmarks instead of street names to get from one place to the next, "Go right at the Duke and it's on the left past the Long Hall." We turned around and walked and walked and walked and we got home by walking straight and looking at the map at every bus stop we came across to keep going the right way. It was a four hour walk that had both of us saying, "I'm done with this adventure, the next cab we see we're taking it." We never saw a cab but saw parts of the city that were beautiful.
We stopped for a beer at the end of the journey at a pub around 6pm. We each had a pint of Guinness. It was delicious, wonderful, great beer. I do not like Guinness in California, or London, or Paris. In California it tastes like teriyaki sauce but in Dublin it is creamy, full, dark, balanced and nearly worth the trip on it's own.
Heather started to fall asleep at the pub but made it through like a champ and I was ready for a nap too. We went home for a shower and a change. We left for a bite and to watch the Champions League final between Man U and Barcelona. Although it wasn't memorable, I know it wasn't memorable because I don't remember what happened or what we had, I remember it wasn't bad. It was edible and I didn't expect that. We went to a pub and began to try beers beacuse we hadn't had them before and we don't have them in the states. I like Smithwick's (that's pronounced Smithick's for you gringos) a lot. A little lighter than Guinness but still creamy and more drinkable. Before we got to the bar I said, "I bet this city will be 99% for Barcelona because of the whole England-Ireland thing." When we got to the pub and saw the ssea of red Man U jerseys I said, "We want Man U to win." Then I said, "I couldn't have been more wrong about that one," and then I leaned over to Heather and said, "we're yelling when they do," and I pointed to all of the already drunk Man U fans that would have probably already known we were American if there weren't more pressing issues at hand. There was little reason to yell as the game went on however, Barcelona won 2-0 and completely dominated the English team. We drank a lot of beer and watched the Irish show some fanatical backing and pride for another country's team.
After the game ended we had woken up and were a little drunk so we went to another pub and had more beer. We left and wandered and came across Rocio's hostel. We left her a message because they wouldn't let us in. We left and came back and they let us in and Rocio and her brother Gustavo joined us at the Temple Bar in the Temple Bar district and we had more beer. We met some Irish girls who didn't believe how far we had walked that day. We drank more beer and learned that Dublin last call is around 12:30. We left and were happy with our first day in Dublin.