This was my last full day in Dublin. I was kind of lazy, and just spent the day wandering around Grafton Street and Temple Bar. Apparently, the bank holiday that I thought was last weekend is, in fact, this weekend, so my comments about how busy it was on Monday seem kind of quaint after going out today.
Nothing really special to report, except that I stopped in for some ice cream at Murphy’s Ice Cream. I’d been walking past their shops in each of the cities I’ve stayed in this trip, and finally broke down to give it a try. The young man offering samples convinced me to try Dingle Sea Salt ice cream and Caramelised Brown Bread ice cream, which were both pretty tasty, so I got a cup with a scoop of each, and I gotta tell ya, they were awesome together.
I also completed the last little bit of shopping I wanted to do, and came back to the flat by a roundabout route. This evening, I’m going to get most of my packing done, so I’m ready to head out the door moderately early tomorrow morning. I don’t want to have to rush at the airport.
Tomorrow’s going to be a long day, with a long1 layover in Toronto, and I’m not looking forward to that bit. I’m going to miss Ireland – I’ve had an awesome vacation here, again – but I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tomorrow night.
My initial plan was the catch the 8:28 train from Kilkenny to Dublin, but it occurred to me that this initial plan involved me getting to Dublin four hours before I could check in to Kilronan house. So, I decided to sleep in a bit, have a leisurely breakfast, and take the 11:41 train.
Train travel in Ireland is very nice. The coaches are large, the seats are comfortable, there’s wifi on the train, and it’s just a very relaxing way to travel. What it isn’t is punctual. I don’t think I’ve been on a train that arrived or left on time. They’re never very late – only train that was more than ten minutes late was the one that broke down before leaving the station.
So, I got in to Heuston Station around 1:201, got a cab in to Kilronan House, and checked in a few minutes before 2:00.
I dropped my luggage in my room, cleaned up a bit, then went waling for a few hours. My goal was to get a little exercise, scope out where I have to meet the tours I’ve got scheduled, and refamiliarize myself with the city centre.
Last time, I got a picture of swans in the water here. This time, there were one or two ducks, and they were being crowded out by the dozens of gulls in the park.
Anyway, I grabbed some food, and came back to my room, up the 59 steps, and am going to bed soon. I’ve got to be up before 7:00 in the morning to make it to my tour on time.
Back in Dublin for my last night in Ireland. I was sorry to leave the Old Rectory – in fact, I spent so long talking1 to Mary and her daughter, I thought for a second I was going to miss my bus to Dublin. I could easily have spent another week there.
Back in Dublin, I checked into the hotel near the airport, and then took the bus into the city centre to do some last-minute gift-buying. When I got off the bus on O’Connell Street, it felt oddly like coming home. I really love this city.
I could live here.
Of course, as I walked down to Grafton Street, the sky was more clear and blue than I think I’ve seen it on this trip. And I hadn’t brought my camera. Oh, well.
The trip has been a lot of fun. I’ve very tired, with a bit of a cold, and am ready to go home. But I’m also really sorry to leave Ireland. This is an amazing place – both countries. I’ve met so many nice people, and seen so many awesome places – even with the few things I missed doing2, this trip has been everything I might have hoped.
So, farewell, Ireland. Thanks for everything. I’ll miss you.
Today was my last day in Dublin1, and tonight is my last night at Ariel House.
I can’t say enough good things about Ariel House – my room is comfortable, the bed is very nice, the breakfasts are wonderful2, they have a laundry service, and the DART station is a two-minute walk. Then it’s about a six-minute ride on the DART train to downtown Dublin, so even though it’s a little way out of the downtown area, it doesn’t cause a problem.
The best thing about Ariel House, though, is the people who work here. Everyone is amazingly friendly and helpful, ready to jump in to help with advice, recommendations, and help with making arrangements. It’s a wonderful place to stay, and I recommend it whole-heartedly.
Anyway, for my last day, I had nothing scheduled. This was the day I had set aside to catch up on the things that I had missed on the other tours. Of course, that’s impossible; there’s just too much stuff here in the city. Still, I had to give it a try.
First of all, I had to go take a closer look at the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square.
My next stop was the National Museum of Ireland. There are actually three of these, and I went to the Anthropology and History.
On the way there, I passed by this little spot, just tucked in between a couple of buildings.
I took a lot of pictures. I mean, on the previous days, I took between twenty and forty pictures. Today, I took over a hundred and forty, and most of those were at the museum.
I’m not going to post them all here, though. I’ll just provide a sampling.
There are a lot more pictures from the museum, but those will do for now. I have to get the rest of them uploaded and sorted.
I headed down to O’Connell Street, next. I had walked it a little bit on Tuesday, but didn’t get the pictures I wanted, so I came back today to take them.
At this point, I pulled out my map and decided to go find St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which I hadn’t got a really good look at, yet. It was quite a wander, and I got lost a couple of times. On the way, I passed Christchurch Cathedral again, but from a different angle than I had seen before.
I found St. Patrick’s, right when the sky opened up and rained. I stayed there under my umbrella, and the rain stopped after about ten minutes, so I was able to get these pictures.
It was getting on in the afternoon, and it was a good long walk back to the DART station, so I headed back then. I went by way of Grafton Street, to try and get a few pictures there, and was well-rewarded.
And then I made it back to Ariel House.
Now, everything is packed, and I’m ready to head off to Cork – with a stop at Cashel – tomorrow morning.
I’m gonna miss Dublin.
Well, except for the overnight when I come down from Belfast to catch the plane back. But that doesn’t really count. [↩]
Confession time. I’ve only had porridge every morning, but it’s their Orchard Porridge, with apples, raisins, walnuts, and stuff. It’s more than enough to keep me going for the day, and it’s delicious. [↩]