21 July 2006
Got up early enough for the 8am train (which turned out to be an 8:35 am train – I have a hard time interpreting British rail timetables yet) to Birmingham
Virgin Trains are so cool. Check out the Star Trek-like sliding circular door on the bathroom – it slides open and shut automagically!
Katie "surfing" on the 90 second shuttle between the Birmingham railway station and the airport
Ryan Air to Dublin went fine. It's first-come-first-serve seating, so we didn't get to sit together. Barb sat with Jenny, Katie right in front of them, and Matt in front of her. I was a couple rows back (working on the layout for SIGCSE 2007 papers due this September).
We caught Dublin City bus 16A for the hour ride to our hostel. The hostel was quite nice – well run, reasonably clean. It was more like camping, and we've been in far worse hotels.
Many of the shops that I could see from the bus had the proprietor's names on them – very Irish names.
Our room in Avalon House
And then, off to explore Dublin! Our first stop was Trinity College. We took a tour and ended up seeing the Book of Kells.
Many signs are in both English and Gaelic
Everyone by the bell tower at Trinity College, a spot supposedly cursed by the monks whom Henry VIII drove off from the site of the College.
Oscar Wilde's house when he was at Trinity.
My students who had visited Dublin recommended to us the Guiness factory as being "like the 'World of Coke' but about beer – the kids will like it!" Since virtually all the museums and attractions close early in Dublin (4:30/5), we decided to take the hike and go to Guiness.
Along the way, we stopped at Dublin Castle – Barb by the statue of Justice, who has turned her back on the city
The Guiness tour really was neat. There was lots to keep the kids' attention, like the piles of barley and the hot waterfall at the start, and the commercials in the middle, and the use of video and sound throughout. Jenny didn't complain (too often) that she was bored.
Barb next to the heart she drew in the great piles of barley available to play with at the start of the Guiness tour.
The Guiness tour ends in a tower above the city so that you can peruse all the sites – and drink your complimentary pint (of soda, for the kids)
We ate dinner at an Indian place down the street from our hotel, then went to sleep.