We last visited Dublin City two
years ago, in mid-December. We were so impressed by the cheerful
& friendly atmosphere that we decided to return for another
The weather was too cold. That cruel "easterly" developed, at least it kept the rain at bay!
Ann bought a thicker full-sized coat, plus a long sleeved thermal vest,(I had already taken precautions).
We bought a 4-day ticket which served both the regular buses & the Dart train network.
We tended to hop from one cafeteria to another. We took the train south to Greystones because we knew of an excellent "home-cooking" hostelry. We had a similar excursion to Bray for the same purpose.
The grand shopping malls were welcome sources of warmth, they are more refined than the UK versions!
Well, Ryanair did not let us down. It was just like boarding a bus---no seats are allocated. With such a brief flight--55 mins.-- the cabin crew have no spare time for any niceties.
We drove to Stansted rather than pay excessively at Manchester, & stayed for a couple of nights with Ann's daughter. At least their dogs had some real exercise in the local woods for a change.
Dublin airport is well served to the City by a regular bus---only 20 minutes. Our accommodation was only a stones throw from O'Connell Street, which proved very convenient. The property, which was run by Croatians, included a Hostel next door. The whole road was of Georgian origin. Three floors with ceilings at least 15 feet high. Sash cord windows, probably 10 feet high. Decorating would be a challenge.
We visited Kilmainham Gaol---now a National Monument. Constructed like a fortress towards the end of the 18th century. It was redesigned a century later, similar to Pentonville Prison. We were told that the cell windows are high on the inside walls---so that prisoners could look towards heaven & repent! Even now, there is no heating. Some internees must have perished with hypothermia. Thank goodness we were only passing through!!
They had the last public execution towards the end of the 19th century. It was here that sixteen of the initiators of the 1916 Uprising at the General Post Office were taken before a military trial & shooting. The prison closed in 1926 & was left to decay until a group of volunteers decided to restore it in the ''70's.
We also visited the Jameson Distillery. Now a museum on the original site. We had a "comedian" as our guide--a laugh a minute--at least we learned how "Irish" differs from "Scotch". The former is distilled three times whereas the latter only once. Ann volunteered for the "tasting team" of four----she worked for a distillers in Glasgow some years ago. While the remainder of the visitors sampled one large measure of Jameson's, the "Team" had tastes of five different whiskies, including an American bourbon. I hope that none were driving afterwards, it was a powerful mixture!
During the week, the "Jeanie Johnston", a replica of an Irish emigrant 19thC three-mast sailing barque, arrived. Built to 21stC standards, with two diesel engines--just in case. Originally it carried up to 200 passengers to Quebec. The return trip carried Canadian timber & "adjustments" had to be made to provide for the human cargo. Apparently they had a tarpaulin to shelter under. The journey lasted around two months. We were fortunate to meet one of the "creators" of the scheme who explained to us what all the ropes were for.
Apparently when sailing from Tralee, where the "replica" was constructed, to Dublin, they endured a "rolling sea" with a 56 knot cross-wind. It rolled sufficiently for the sea to come onto the deck on one side, then "escape" on the other side as it righted, before collecting some more "Atlantic" again on the opposite side.
In Mid-January they are returning to Tralee before sailing on to the Canaries & then across the Atlantic to Florida. They then continue up the coast to Quebec, eventually.
You can "crew" for 3,500 Euros or as a "guest" for 10,000 Euros ---book early to avoid disappointment.
P.S. follow the ship's progress on www.jeaniejohnston.ie We saw an entertaining production of "A Christmas Carol" at a Dublin theatre. We were fortunate to catch a pair of "returns tickets". We did not know any of the cast, but it was a quality promotion.
As usual, Dublin City was full of colour & bustle. A few million ? must have changed hands.
Must mention that we had a horrendous journey down to Stansted. There had been an incident on M6 south, near junction 8. Our queue started on M54. I just had to turn off the engine & wait. We were a captive audience. There must have been some who missed their flights from Birmingham. It took over an hour for us to clear the problem. We used A5 for the return journey.
Happy Xmas, watch the calories,