Spending our last night in Dublin at the Castle Vaults Pub was a wise decision indeed. I had my best sleep yet, and am feeling grand this morning.
I’ve either been too busy or too tired to write, so this is a stream of consciousness, unproof-read post, hastily done before we board our coach to Belfast.
The Belvedere Hotel is perfectly located, close to a HOHO stop, and within walking distance of all the sights, but away from the madness of Temple Bar. Although it has great WiFi, I was glad that I had purchased the Aíralo eSim, because I used it frequently while walking around Dublin. My sense of direction is legendary, and I soon discovered my travel buddy, Janet’s, is equally bad. Fortunately, Aíralo has been working great and it has helped us to avoid wrong turns more than once.
About the HOHO: in an earlier post, I talked about the three different Dublin options, and my research pointed me in the direction of Do Dublin, the green bus. It was the perfect choice for us. We spent our jet lagged arrival day hopping on, and didn’t hop off till the end of the route. It gave us exactly what we needed, a very helpful overview of Dublin’s most important sights, and it was over just when we were ready for lunch. The Parnell Pub was recommended by the driver who picked me up at the airport, and he didn’t steer us wrong. The soup of the day was wonderful and the bread was out of this world, but the chicken wings could have been skipped. Best of all, the price was right—only 11 Euros.
Our HOHO ticket included two freebies. We used the ticket to The Little Museum on our jet lag day. It is located in a Georgian House, near St. Stephen’s Green, and is packed with memorabilia, including a room devoted to the band U2.
I’m not a fan, so instead, here’s the model of Admiral Nelson’s column, which was blown up in the ‘60s.
It was replaced by the Spire, affectionately dubbed by the locals “the stiffy by the Liffey” or “the stiletto in the ghetto”. I didn’t find the Spire visually pleasing, so haven’t included a photo. The nick names, however, should give you a really good idea of what the Spire looks like!
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the Trinity area, until it was time for the early bird special at a restaurant recommended by my blogging buddy, over at Aging Gracefully My Ass. Thank you, AGMA.
This was NOT false advertising. The food WAS great, the service friendly, and their Early Bird Special offered excellent options. Luckily, we went with the 2 course option because their portions were so generous, we were unable to finish them. In fact, weliked this restaurant so much, we actually toyed with returning, but Dublin offers far too many attractive alternatives.
The other freebie that came with the Do Dublin HOHO was the “Paddy Liddy Walking Tour”. Here in Ireland, though, it is called the PAT Liddy Walking Tour. And yes, there really IS a Pat Liddy, who is now in his 80’s. We saved that for our second day in Dublin and we were SO glad we did. Jim, our tour guide was AMAZING! He knew so much about the history of Dublin, and walked us around to spots we never would have found on our own.
Here’s Jim, standing in front of a Clery’s department Store, which will be reopening in October. He’s explaining that, back in the day, the favorite Friday night meeting spot for his contemporaries, was under the Clery clock at at 7 PM. (The clock is that black thing on the building, right behind his head). If, by 7:30, your date hadn’t shown up, that meant you were being stood up. Sometimes, though,when you looked around, there were members of the opposite gender who shared a similar fate, which presented an opportunity to make a new friend and possibly experience a Hollywood ending.
As you walk through Dublin, be sure to look down occasionally. You’ll see plaques like this one, which shows Viking artifacts that were taken from the ground below. When I did 23 and me, and discovered that I had Viking ancestry, I had assumed that it was from a “rape, pillage and plunder” Viking excursion into Ireland. Maybe not. Apparently, the Vikings had a trading settlement in Dublin.
I couldn’t get a good shot of the Music Hall where Handel’s Messiah debuted. Every year, since 1772, it is played on April 13 at 1 PM to commemorate its first concert. During COVID, on that date and time, one of the area residents placed her speakers in her open window to keep up the tradition. Can’t you just hear the hallelujah chorus blasting through the neighborhood? That must have lifted the spirits of her neighbors at a time when spirits definitely needed to be lifted.
During our tour, Jim walked us through the Temple Bar area. Prior to coming to Dublin, I had mistakenly thought there was ONE bar, called Temple. Nope, it is the name of the land, formerly owned by a guy named Temple, and the “Bar” part was shortened from the “Barricades”, which were built along the Liffey River.
I was horrified to see that the hotel I had booked for my return trip to Dublin was in “ party central”, right next to a Hard Rock Cafe. After listening to Jim’s description of what the area was like on most weekends, I decided to look elsewhere, so at the end of the tour, I asked Jim for hotel recommendations. Well,that question turned into a delightful 2 hour lunch with our wonderful, fascinating guide at his favorite pub. At the end, we followed his recommendation to visit the National Portrait Gallery, before heading back to the hotel for the official start of our OAT trip.
There are 11 of us on the tour: 3 couples and 5 singles. We had an opportunity to converse over our welcome dinner, and I feel very lucky to have joined such an interesting and congenial group. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better over the next two weeks.
We started our final day in Dublin with a brief tour of the city. It wasn’t as in depth as the Pat Liddy walking tour, and because there was only a slight overlap, I was glad we were able to do both. As you can see from the photo of the Oscar Wilde statue atop this blog, we were blessed with fantastic weather.
Our next stop was a tour of the fascinating, multi media EPIC Museum.
There is so much more to say about this fascinating city, but I’ll end this post by saying I’m so very glad I’ll be returning to Dublin in 2 weeks!