22 July 2006

We got up and breakfasted around 9 am. Breakfast in Avalon house is juice, coffee, toast, apple, and a really delicious raisin scone. (I've never been a scone fan, but I guess I just hadn't had them in Ireland yet!)

First stop, Christ Church Cathedral.

That really does contain a heart, of St. Lawrence O'Toole

From Christ Church, we went to Dublinia (right next door), which is an interactive kids-oriented museum about medieval Dublin.

Katie trying on various medieval-ware
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Matt and Jenny wearing a doctor's hood
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We hda a delicious lunch in a pub across from the cathedral. Barb had an Irish chicken-and-mushroom pie, I had traditional Irish stew, and the kids had more traditional (but non-Irish) pub fare.

We then hiked to St. Patrick's Cathedral, largest church in Ireland.


This is the State Pew where the President of Ireland sits when she visits. Note that it still has the seal of England on it from when it played a different but analagous role.

Jenny by Jonathan Swift's ("Gulliver's Travels") grave

We then stopped by the Jameson's Distillery for a tour, which I was really excited about. Students had told me that they explain the difference between Irish, Scotch, and American whiskies and offer tastings. But the line was out the door and the they were currently filling the tour 27 minutes later. I couldn't do that to everyone, so we went on and I never did try any Irish whiskey while in Ireland, which was pretty disappointing considering my interest in whiskies.

We then hiked across town to pick up our tour tickets. We had put a deposit down at the hostel on a bus tour of the coastline and a castle for Sunday. But we were told that we'd have to pick up the tickets on Saturday, that they were closed on Sunday.

I discovered an important fact on this trip: Lying by reinterpreting things is not uncommon in Ireland. Check out this brochure.

Would this say to you that the ticket office is open 9am-7pm Monday through Saturday? When I arrived on O'Connell Street at 5 pm (kids and Barb stopped at a park along the way), I found the office shut up tight. I wandered around for a couple blocks, thinking I got the address wrong. Then I stopped one of their tour buses. He radioed in. "Yeah, well, this man has a brochure that says we're open until 7 pm." Reply: "Oh, no – that's the phone that's available until 7. We close at 2." Do you see that "2 pm" fact anywhere on that brochure? Anyway, they promised us that we could pick up the tickets Sunday morning, and we did.

But on the tour, we heard a similar story. The driver said that a man called in to a Dublin radio show, "The local grocer is stocking potatoes that come from the UK!" The next night, the grocer sent a spokesperson. "Oh, no, no – our potatoes all come from the county just north of Dublin." The original caller called back, "I'm standing in the grocery with my cell phone, looking at the potatoes' bag, where it clearly says 'Made in the UK.'" "Sure," says the spokesperson. "The bag is made in the UK – the potatoes are from Ireland."

We walked along the River Liffey and back toward our hotel. Here's Barb by the Ha'Penny Bridge.

We picked up various foodstuffs and had a picnic in Stevens Green on the Yeats memorial. Afterward, we played tag in the Green, until we bumped into a group of Georgia Tech students also visiting Dublin! So Barb and I sat down and let the students play tag with the girls. (Matt went back early to the room.)

Crashed again in the Avalon House, with ear plugs for the noise –worked great!