Family Day

Today, I met up with my brother, Al; my sister-in-law, Daph; my nephew, Ryan; and my niece, Keira. We got together at the spot on the north side of St. Stephen’s Green where the tour buses stop, and tried to get on a Viking Splash tour, but it’s a Friday, halfway through June, and a lot of school groups had booked the tours right up until 5:30. We decided to see how we were doing towards the end of the day, and maybe try and get on it then1 if we were up to it.

So, instead we got on the City Sightseeing Hop On, Hop Off tour. I had been predisposed towards them – there are two companies running these tours in Dublin – and the gentleman running the tour offered me a deal because I had gone on the City Sightseeing tours in Belfast. That made it an easy choice.

We were looking at three stops: Dublin Castle, Dublinia, and the Guinness Storehouse. But Dublin Castle was off limits today, due to some important heads of state staying there – I don’t know who, but it was probably connected to the G8 session starting up in Fermanagh next week.

Dublinia, though, was open for business. Again, there were lots of school groups in there, but we were able to work our way around them.
Dublinia, though, was open for business. Again, there were lots of school groups in there, but we were able to work our way around them.
Dublinia is a wonderful little museum aimed at kids that shows Viking Dublin, medieval Dublin, and the way the information was discovered. Among the things they have is a chain coif and a full helmet that kids can try on.
Dublinia is a wonderful little museum aimed at kids that shows Viking Dublin, medieval Dublin, and the way the information was discovered. Among the things they have is a chain coif and a full helmet that kids can try on.
They also had some slave collars that the kids just had to try on.
They also had some slave collars that the kids just had to try on.
Keira made a new friend who led her astray. They both wound up in the stocks.
Keira made a new friend who led her astray. They both wound up in the stocks.
And, of course, there were helmets, shields, and swords in the gift shop, so the kids had to attack each other.
And, of course, there were helmets, shields, and swords in the gift shop, so the kids had to attack each other.

The next place we went was the Guinness Storehouse. Al and Daph had gone on the tour about nine years ago, with a newborn Ryan on their backs. They had had a wonderful time, and were excited to go on it again.

Have to say, we were all pretty disappointed.

From what I understand, Guinness is no longer Irish-owned, but has been sold to the Italian corporation, Diageo. Al and Daph had described a tour rich in history and story, with lots of interesting facts and cool things to see and do. We all found that the tour was bland, uninteresting, and mainly focused on extracting more money from people. It was also incredibly crowded – we made it all the way up to the Gravity Bar, which was a pretty cool room, but Al and Daph didn’t even want to stay to have their “free”2 Guinness.

Still, there were a couple of cool things.

Here are the kids by the waterfall. They were fascinated by the fact that, in the water overhead, there were coins that were not being washed over the falls.
Here are the kids by the waterfall. They were fascinated by the fact that, in the water overhead, there were coins that were not being washed over the falls.
This was kinda neat. It's a forced perspective room that lets you recreate one of the iconic Guinness advertisements.
This was kinda neat. It’s a forced perspective room that lets you recreate one of the iconic Guinness advertisements.
There's a great view from the Gravity Bar at the top of the tour, but really, not worth it.
There’s a great view from the Gravity Bar at the top of the tour, but really, not worth it.

And then we caught the bus back to Temple Bar, wandered a bit until we found someplace to eat, had dinner, and then I walked everyone back to Merrion Square for them to catch the bus back to where they’re staying.

Have to say, it was a wonderful day. It was great to spend some time with the family, and lots of fun with the kids.

So, thanks to Al, Daph, Ryan, and Keira for meeting me in Dublin, and hanging out with me for the day. I had an awesome time.

Tomorrow is my last day. I’m getting back on the Hop On Hop Off bus, and I’ll try to squeeze in one or two other places I want to see.

Then I’m back on the plane on Sunday.

  1. Spoiler: We didn’t get back for the Viking Splash. We were having dinner around that time, and then it was time for folks to get back to Leixhill. []
  2. Adult admission is 16.50. So, that’s a pretty pricey free pint. []

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