Saturday, August 4, 2007
We arrived in Dublin at 8:30, and got our luggage and got into the cab line. While we were in line, the Dublin bus came by, a double decker. The kids were very excited to see it, and a British girl of about four was also in line and couldn’t understand why my girls were so excited–after all, don’t all buses look like that? Her mom had to explain it to her. The cab ride over was a great taste of Ireland. On the way out of the airport our driver saw a friend and so they both rolled down their windows (stopped in the lane of course) and started talking about a friend’s funeral they’d just attended the day before. It was full of gossip, who came, how the priest horrified them by cutting the sermon short because he had someplace else to go, etc. Really brought “small town” Ireland home. Our driver gave Mark some driving tips for when he picked up his car later, and then dropped us off at the Schoolhouse Hotel. Because it was so early our room wasn’t ready so we dropped our bags and headed out. This day was full of “bright spells” which is what they call it in Ireland when it’s partly sunny. Little did we know that would be some of the best weather we had during the entire trip. We left the hotel and headed towards Merrion Square past all of the Georgian townhouses. Dublin was very quiet on Saturday morning, mostly because we were going through a business district. We got to Merrion Square and the kids ran around the grass. Took us a while to find a way out because there aren’t that many gates, but we managed. Then we headed toward St. Stephen’s Green in search of a playground for the girls. We noticed the very large magpies (half again as big as the ones in California) and large birds we found out later were hooded crows. Does colder weather favor larger birds? We went through Grafton Street which was very busy with street entertainers and shoppers. Because the sun kept peeking out I stopped at Boots to get sunscreen–our newspaper had advised us to buy it in Europe because they use an ingredient that offers better protection than what you can get in the US. We made it to the playground and I screened the girls and they played for a while. Then we went to find a place for lunch, and wound up at the Hairy Lemon pub right on the edge of Temple Bar. Had a nice pub meal but Charlotte was out solid and we barely managed to wake her up enough to get her a few bites. After that we walked around Temple Bar a bit and then headed to No.29 Fitzwilliam St. Lower, a restored middle-class house built in 1794, for a tour. We nearly fell asleep during the Audio Visual presentation but the tour was interesting and the kids were fascinated. We learned about firescreens to keep the ladies from melting their wax/ lead makeup and also why the beds were shorter (they slept sitting up because of the heavy smokey rooms due to peat and coal fires, and the fact that they were always sick). By now it was around 4:00 and we were exhausted as we had basically missed a night’s sleep. We headed back to the Schoolhouse where they had moved our bags into our two rooms. What a nice place! It’s a small boutique hotel but it has all of the amenities and large well decorated rooms. The linens and beds and pillows are first rate! We got the kids settled in their room and us in ours. They made it until about 2:00 am when we got a knock on our door and opened it to find two kids in PJs wanting to share our bed. Thank goodness for King size!