Our last couple of days in Ireland were spent in Dublin. We parked the car in a car park and left it there until we needed to head to the airport. What’s worse than driving in Belfast? Driving in Dublin! We spent Saturday walking around the city and seeing lots of Husker fans. Evidently there were 10,000 husker fans that flew to Ireland for the game. Only about 3000 Northwestern fans attended. There were several pubs who were in the Temple Bar area that were designated Husker or Wildcat areas. It was a lot of fun and it was even more fun to see the puzzled looks on tourists’ faces in the area from other countries. We had a long talk with a lovely couple from Switzerland about Husker pride. Our “Sea of Red” may have looked and sounded impressive, but it didn’t help our team, unfortunately. We walked about 30 minutes or so to the Aviva Stadium for the night game. It is a cashless stadium and all the credit card terminals went down shortly after the game started. Instead of closing down the concession stands, they literally gave out free food and beer to everyone. I felt pretty bad for the stadium. The fans actually made a “snake” out of stacked plastic cups that reached from the field to nearly the top of the stadium. This is what drunk Nebraskans will do when they have free beer and their team is losing.
We again stayed over what I thought was a pub. It was more of a nightclub. We should have guessed there might be an issue when we entered our room and their where disposable ear plugs on the nightstands. As we were walking back after the game at around 9:30 p.m., we notice this long line….nearly a block long….that is to enter the nightclub under our room, which is now thumping to a techno beat that you could feel in your bones a block away. Fantastic. Did I mention there isn’t AC in Ireland in most places? The windows are left open at night to let the cool air in…because there was a heatwave going on at the time. I was able to sleep okay, but Rich wasn’t able to fall asleep right away. This was good because at midnight, a random French woman from a room near ours knocked on the door needing to borrow our hair dryer…as she was getting ready to go out on the town….at MIDNIGHT. The next night must have been karoke night or something because I was able to sing along to the people at the bar that were singing songs. I was particularly surprised to hear “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver being sung at the top of their lungs. I told my son, Tim, who used to live in West Virginia, about it and he dared me to go down and ask anyone there to point out West Virginia on a map. LOL
We spent our last day on a walking tour of the grounds of the castle and Trinity College. Our guide, Brian, was exceptional. Again, there was a lot of history involved. History in the U.S. in NOTHING compared to Irish history. They have working buildings older than our country. We learned a lot about the Book of Kells, which is housed at Trinity College. It is an illustrated manuscript of the Gospels from 900 AD…and it is in remarkable condition with vibrantly colored pages. Trinity College has been its custodian since the 1600’s. We also looked at the Long Room, a library of antiquated manuscripts from all over the world. It also holds the Brian Barue harp…the symbol of Ireland. (and when turned the opposite direction, the symbol of Guiness beer).
We spent the afternoon touring the city on the hop on/hop off bus. I highly recommend this mode of transportation and as a way of getting to know the city you are visiting. We have been on probably a dozen of these buses in cities around the world. You learn a lot of random facts on these buses. Dublin is the 2nd most expensive city in Europe to live in. Guiness is the largest exporter of beer in the world. Three million pints are made a day and two million are exported. Arthur Guiness and his wife, Olivia, had 21 children and was the 23rd richest person in the world at the time of his life. They cared very much for their employees giving them their own housing and hospital. Most employees worked for life for the company as they were treated so well. There is another distillery in Dublin called Pearse Lyons and it is located in St. James Church…the only distillery in a church. To continue on with drinking…Jameson Irish Whiskey did so well with his whiskey because he triple distills it. Queen Elizabeth II visited Ireland in 2011. That was the first time a British monarch had visited Ireland in 100 years. There are approximately 6 million people who live on the Irish Island – 4.5 in the Republic of Ireland and 1.5 in Northern Ireland. Ireland averages about 7 cm a month in rain. No wonder it is so green! Last tidbit of random nit noid information…the explanation of the Irish flag. The top stripe is green to represent the Catholics. The white stripe is to represent peace between the green and orange stripes….because the orange stripe represents the Protestants.
We went by a lot of beautiful places with a lot of history involved. The statue of Molly Malone….and the Church of St. Patrick. I would have really loved to have gone in and looked around, said a prayer…even looked through their gift shop. However, they had a steep fee to enter the church…an actively used church, I might add, and I had a flashback to the Bible and Jesus overturning the money changing tables in the temple and I refused to pay to enter into a house of worship to pray. I did take photos outside though.