Living on the edge of the west coast, it’s quite a stretch to get to Europe. My flight went from PDX (Portland, Oregon) at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, to JFK (New York) in 5.5 hours, but then I had a layover until 10:30 p.m., Eastern time. From there to Dublin was a 6.5 hour flight, but we crossed a lot of time zones—5 I think—and landed at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dublin time. That means I’d (technically) been “en route” for 24 hours.
Although I was pooped (never learned how to sleep on a plane), I knew better than to take a nap. Shifting to Ireland time as quickly as possible would give me a greater handle on the whole trip, so I “took to the streets” and went exploring on foot.
“On foot” didn’t last too long—about three blocks in each direction from the hotel—and although I knew we had a city tour scheduled for the next morning, I paid 10 Euros to “hop on, hop off” a big, red, double decker bus and climbed to the open air top for better picture taking.
The sound system on the bus was stellar, and the female guide liked to sing about some of the things we passed, such as the jail, and the country’s turning-point history in 1916. As this is the 100 year anniversary of the “revolt,” a lot of attention is being paid to the patriots who led the uprising, and their tragic executions. (The song about Grace marrying her love in the jail just 7 hours before his death was played at many venues throughout the trip.)
Photo Details, above: Our hotel, right off the main drag. The YMT tour bus (The three Cavanaugh brothers have quite the fleet of busses). Murphy’s Grill, which is representative of numerous bars lining numerous streets. The “hop-on, hop-off” bus, which had 29 stops along its 2.5 hour tour, but also allows you just to sit and enjoy the entire tourist loop without getting off. (Money well spent!) The view from my bus seat (Note the sunshine and blue sky!).
More photo details, to the right, and below: The “Cube and Tube” convention center. A boat on the River Liffey (which cuts through the entire city). The bridge designed to look like a harp (Ireland’s national symbol). The “candle box” above the doorway (Back before streetlights, the homeowner responsible for lighting it each night). And the Ha’ Penny Foot Bridge (a half penny is what it cost to cross that bridge for more than 700 years!).
My excitement seemed to build with each thing the guide mentioned that I’d read about in the Rick Steve’s book I’d devoured prior to my trip, or that I’d read about on the internet, or heard about in the news in the past few years. My “tiredness” seemed a distant memory as I soaked it all in, in the sunshine (who says you don’t come to Ireland for the weather?), and enjoyed every minute.
We went over the River Liffey several times, as our route crisscrossed the city, and the importance of the river to the economy of the area was emphasized time and again. Each bridge had a story, and whether or not the “open book” design was intentional to honor James Joyce or Oscar Wilde, or W.D. Yeats matters not. The Irish, I found out immediately, are big into exaggeration!
Historic doorways are big here too, and I was enamored with the concept of candle boxes. Call me naive, but I’d never before thought about how the city streets were lit prior to streetlights.
The Ha’ Penny Foot Bridge was something I marked to return to the following day, as it leads (both to and from) the Temple Bar District of Dublin, and was an area I wanted to explore in more depth on foot.