Day 2 – Dublin

We didn’t even wake up until 9AM, which was incredible! I think we’re over jet lag already…or at least I hope. After we ate a terrible breakfast at the Hostel, we started our way toward a walking tour that Rick Steves recommended. A guy named Peter led us through Trinity College, House of Lords, Old Parliament, Dublin Castle, City Hall, Christ Church, Four Courts and Temple Bar. This extraordinarily educational peek at Dublin and Irish history was work every Euro. 12 EUR per person, and I would have much preferred the dollar be spent on something like this, rather than Guinness Storehouse. At roughly 2.5 hours, he answered any questions you had, gave us directions to our next stop and was overall just really pleasant.

After the tour, we headed to Porterhouse. A place with a good tap selection that was recommended on Beer Advocate. I have to say i’m not disappointed, because they had Peach Lambic, and a beautiful label to boot. Those of you that know me, know that I’m not much of a beer drinker.

We walked through Grafton Street -a beautiful, if a bit expensive, shopping area. It was fun to look at and some shops were fun to walk through. Ran to a bottle shop near the end, Celtic Whiskey Shop, and bought a few bottles of beer and a couple mini bottles of whiskey. We asked Darragh – who owns the shop, if he knew of any other shops that had a bigger beer selection. He was immediately and sarcastically offended, but told us about a shop that is literally on our way to Aviva tomorrow for the game. Turns our, they have over 250 bottles of beer, and his brother owns that shop. He had a ND hat, so of course we loved him. It’s really true what they say about the Irish having that gift of gab, because if you stop two seconds, or ask a question, you should be ready for a bit of a chat. Especially from taxi drivers.

We sat at the hostel to try and figure out what we wanted to be sure to see. Around 7:00PM we headed to the O2 for the Notre Dame Pep Rally. It was about a 30 minute walk, when all the locals said it was about a 15 minute walk. I’ve just resigned to believe that I should always double the time a local says it will take, because the Irish walk with purpose (fast). We met up with a lovely couple while we were walking, from Dallas. They were retired, but boy could they walk. I had a tough time keeping up with them. They were fun though.

Sat next to Patricia at the Rally, she’s an alum that lives in Chicago. It was probably the weirdest pep rally ever. It was televised live in Ireland and via YouTube for the US contingent. There were a ton of performances with famous Irish celebrities. So of course, we had no idea who they were. There was a guest appearance by Martin Short, who has had two of his sons graduate from Notre Dame. He was hilarious. Other than that, very weird. No players or coaches were present. The plus side was that the price of a Guinness was very comparable to what you’d spend in a pub. The US should take a hint that they shouldn’t overcharge at events. The most humorous part was the guys selling in the stands were trying to sell you Bud Light for 6.50 EUR. Absolutely hilarious, very few people were purchasing.

The walk back took FOREVER and I had to pee very badly. It was very stupid not to go before we left the stadium, but the line was unreasonably huge. Clearly, I thought it was better to chance possibly urinating on my person, over standing in a line. I make very logical choices.

Wandered and found a Papa Johns, which took to long to make a personal sized pizza. Then I ate it in my bed, and Adam, who wanted to go out, fell asleep before me.


Europe Trip

Long time no talk, everyone! To bring everyone up to speed, we are in Europe, from today, through Sep 30th!

Background – Notre Dame (and anyone who knows me, knows I married a huge Fighting Irish fan) is playing their season opener in Dublin, against the Navy. So, we wanted to go. The problem was that we also wanted to go to Oktoberfest, near the end of September in Munich. Total conundrum! So, I told Adam to ask his boss if he could legitimately take one month off, cause my work has the amazing flexibility of allowing me to work all over the world, and remotely when necessary. His boss said yes. So – we planned an amazing month in Europe, and have just begun our journey.

We left Seattle around 6AM on Wednesday, flew through Atlanta and Dusseldorf, Germany, on to Dublin! We are spending 4 nights here. After landing at noon today, we got straight to our hostel, checked in and booked it via foot to The Guinness Storehouse. You take a self guided tour that lasts an hourish. If you already know how to brew beer, and the basics around it, the actual exhibit wasn’t that exciting. Breweries always want to tell you how the brewing process works. Anyway, the icing on the top was The Gravity Bar on the top of the 9 floor exhibit, with panoramic views of Dublin. The view were beautiful, we got a free pint each, and I dropped my lens cap into my beer, while attempting to put my lens cap on the top of my beer, mistaking it for my camera. I swear I wasn’t drunk!

After hitting up the gift shop, we headed over to Kilmainham Gaol. A historical prison in Ireland that is most famous for the political prisoners that have lived, and been executed there. Many of these Irish Freedom/Independence Fighters have strong roots in Irish history. Thought the movements for independence were not widely popular, til 1916, one execution in particular caught the attention of the Irish and countries throughout the world and they began to understand and empathize with the Irish independence movement. James Connolly, who was the leader of socialist Irish Citizen Army and a big part of the Easter Uprising, was executed at a different end of the stone yard. He was so injured that he could not stand before the firing squad, so he was sad in a chair, tied to it, and then executed. The tour was very thought provoking, and I highly recommend it, even if you aren’t Irish. My old age makes me tear up a lot more these days!

I then headed to a meeting across the street, where I basically got yelled at for 30 minutes. Awesome way to spend the end of the day, after a depressing, awesome historical sight! It was alright though.

Ate dinner at Quay’s and it was delicious just like I remember it. Guinness Stew and Penne with Smoked Salmon. Walked around Temple Bar, grabbed some beers to take back to the hostel and am just updating this site. Apparently, they were doing roof stuff, so the Wi-Fi isn’t working on our building. We’re sitting in a frigid common room while I type. The tiny-ness of our Hostel is comical. But hey – it’s a bed with an ensuite. Who can complain? We’re mapping out what tomorrow looks like. Take care, love you all!