Saturday, August 13, 2016

From the Emerald City to the Emerald Isle

Arrived in Dublin yesterday, very, very tired after about 15 hours of traveling (Seattle, Vancouver, London, Dublin), but determined to stay awake long enough to keep the jetlag at bay. I checked in with Richard, at whose house I'm staying in the suburb of Blanchardstown, had a much needed shower, and took a long walk through the neighborhood to a gigantic mall for something to eat and a little shopping. I packed light (even for me) on this trip so felt fully justified picking up a cool pair of lounge pants at the mall, and as much as I wanted to eat at Milano which was clearly Pizza Express which I know and love from England (I recognized the signage even though the name was different), I opted instead for a grilled chicken salad at Nando's next door -- again, fighting jet lag by eating clean(ish) and sticking to water.

Joe, my Dublin ambassador
next to a statue of James Joyce
can't think of a nicer place for coffee than the Merrion Hotel.
And it seems to be working because I got about 8 hours of sleep last night, and after breakfast with Christine, Shepard, Judy, and another lady whose name I never got - other American visitors staying at Richard's, I hopped a bus into central Dublin to meet a Dubliner. I had signed up with a program called City of a Thousand Welcomes to meet a local ambassador for a chat. The service is free and it's a delightful way to meet a local person who wants nothing more than to buy you a coffee (or juice or pint -- the ambassadors are reimbursed by the City) and tell you about his or her home. The Dubliner I met was Joe, who is retired from the textile business and has lived in Dublin his whole life. We chatted about things to do in Dublin, places to go around the country, and most importantly, I got some reassurance that driving on the left is going to be a breeze, all while sipping an exceptionally delicious cappuccino at the Merrion Hotel.

After coffee, Joe helped me find a shop that sells iPhones and accessories as a rather troubling development had occurred during my journey in that my phone was completely dead and refused to be charged. At the shop, they ran a diagnostic on my phone and determined that the battery was dead and resuscitation was not an option. It was around 2pm and I was instructed to leave my phone and return at 6. I walked around Grafton Street for a while, picked up some things I definitely didn't need but certainly wanted at a lovely shop called Avoca (my neighbor who had been to Ireland last year just said, "you're going there"), went to the Hugh Lane Gallery and the Garden of Remembrance, and got lunch at Crackbird (all manner of fried chicken), before picking up my phone, now working, and hopping back on the bus back to the 'burbs. Nice day in Dublin but looking forward to getting out of the city and into the countryside tomorrow.

stained glass by Harry Clarke, circa 1930 at the Hugh Lane

I didn't go into this pub, but it looked like a place
where everyone knows your name

Garden of Remembrance, DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO GAVE
THEIR LIVES IN THE CAUSE OF IRISH FREEDOM