Day 22: Guinness Tour, St Patrick's, the Crucible
Dublin Travel Blog› entry 22 of 60 › view all entries
Had our free breakfast of toast and jam and instant coffee, supplemented by my bagels, cream cheese lite, and yogurt. Mmm, breakfast of champions. We were supposed to meet Kels (Austrialian working in Norich, UK) at 11am for a walking jaunt across the city, consisting of me, her, Alejandro (the mexican salsa dancer from LA who loves to talk), and Kenneth (Arizona anglophile who loves "uni"). We hit up Trinity College first and cheated our way to see the Book of Kells by re-using the same ticket four separate times (shh, don't tell). The Old Library (largest research library in Ireland), also inside, was even more impressive than the illuminated manuscripts. If you get a chance to go, give the book of kells a quick glance (I actually thought the blown-up pictures around the museum were way more interesting and intricate than the actual manuscripts), then spend some quality time in the old library. You'll like it. You can see the oldest Boru Harp (the symbol for Guinness, as well as the Irish Coat of Arms), and an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation (of Irish independence). You can also sneak a peak of some scholars poring over ancient manuscripts, carefully handling each page. Neato!
Our unlikely quartet meandered on over to St Stephen's Green, a nice inner-city park area. Of course, when you say "park" in Europe, it's not the same as in the US. The main difference is it looks more like a manicured forest than a manicured lawn. The trees are just enormous and you can tell the park's age is quite old. It seems the parks where I'm from--regardless if they're some of the best in the Northwest or not--still feel like "baby" parks, with their trees still not yet grown.
On our way to the cathedrals we passed what little was left standing of Dublin Castle, which are now just glorified remnants of wall from the medieval period. Meh. The Christ Church Cathedral and then St Patrick's Cathedral were both amazing. I had to go see what St Patrick's Cathedral was all about, since the man has been prompting me to drink enough to make my teeth turn green every March 17th (sometimes without food coloring; I drank that much). Apparenty it's Ireland's largest cathedral, and while I wasn't feeling particularly keen on blowing 5 EUR just to step foot past the foyer, I payed my respects later on by pouring a li'l liquor out for my green homie.
I had a giant plate of chicken curry at a local hole in the wall, then we headed over to the Guinness Storehouse! Yay! I felt like a fat kid in Wonka's factory. It was all very well-done, totally self-guided, and concise. Now for a piece of advice: (I don't condone this sort of behavior, nor would I ever do it myself, but theoretically speaking, this is what I would do.) The self-guided tour gets you one free Guinness at the top, but you have to pay 9.50 eur for the tour if you're a student--14.00 if you're not. And if you're like me and are on a shoestring budget and you think that's a steep price to pay for a perfect glass of Guinness, then just go ahead and walk in behind the cash registers to the start of the tour. There's no ticket voucher, no guard, nobody watching. You can buy a pint at the top for 4 euro. So, 4.00 or 14.00 euro? You decide ;)
Anyways, I got kinda silly after two (it was mid-afternoon, after all) at the Gravity bar on the 7th floor, since Kenneth gave me his. Had a good laugh up there, gorgeous panoramic view of Dublin, and a strangely surreal experience seeing every single person with a glass of Guinness in their hand. It felt like 1984 or A Brave New World with everyone taking soma.
Kenneth and I then made it in time to get a couple of seats for the Abbey Theater's presentation of The Crucible (by Aurthur Miller), the 50's play about the Salem witch hunts as a vehicle for the cold war-era McCarthy red hunt. Everything was great, from the actors to the costumes to the sound design to the lighting to the production. It all ran super-smooth and professional. 3 hours later (!), the play ended and Kenneth (who was really riled up the whole play) exploded out of his seat and was one of exactly three people to give a standing ovation. I sat there next to him trying to keep what little dignity I have left. And these days, there's not much left, my friends. ;)
I let Kenneth do the talking on the walk home, since he was absoutey elated with the play. I found out most people like to talk. Listening not so much. I listened, though, happy to hear his thoughts and critical analyses on the merits of the production.
I tuckered out after talking outside the hostel with Kels and some crazy N. Californian chick, and the last thought that ran through my mind before I drifted off on a cloud to la-la land was, shit, I still have 2/3 left of that bottle of vodka before I fly to Amsterdam in two days.