Wrapping Up: Margaret’s Last Comment

I really enjoyed having my friend Margaret with me on this trip. She is endlessly patient and I am the opposite of that, so we were a good fit. (At least from my point of view!) 🙂

Here are a few of her final thoughts about our trip:

• The VAT was more time-consuming/confusing than I had anticipated, but worth the time and effort to collect.

• You make an excellent point about the cost of duty-free shopping: it’s best to know the product and its pricing before indulging.

• Irish chocolate measures up to Swiss, Belgian, French, etc. and is more reasonably priced.

• Security was more time consuming and thorough than any other trip I have ever taken. Allow lots of extra time for it.

• Take your electronic adapters with you.

• Don’t count on doing laundry.

• And … don’t rush. Go at a comfortable pace; you won’t see or do everything anyway, so enjoy what you do.

Margaret wrote me a note recently: “Thank you for the anticipation and planning, the trip, the recollections of it—a wonderful experience of nearly a year.” That’s exactly how I feel: the planning, the anticipation, the doing, the recounting (and in my case, the blogging) … all these things are what get us through the daily grind until we get to the next trip, the next out-of-grind experience. 🙂

I’m so glad you’re my friend, Margaret!

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

Day 24, Thursday, 4 October 12

We were up early so we could do the last of the packing and get all settled. Neither Margaret or I like to be rushed. 🙂

The Radisson has a nice breakfast buffet you can add to the cost of the room for ten euro, and we knew we needed to have a good breakfast to get us through this day, especially since we’d be going back through that nightmare airport (Dulles). The Radisson’s shuttle drivers are very nice, too—ours loaded all our luggage and then waited for us to check out, then unloaded it for us at the airport. So Radisson gets the gold star.

Remember, once you get to the airport there are two things you’ll need to do:

1. Take care of your VAT situation (see #11 in Jamie’s Travel Tips)

2. Shop in the duty-free … maybe.

Currently in Ireland there are three entities that handle VAT refunds—two with old-school paper forms and one electronically (Fexco). Perhaps eventually it will all be electronic; certainly most of my VAT refunds were applied to the card I got from one of the first merchants I visited. In the electronic situation, you are never charged the VAT tax; however, if you leave the country without visiting the Fexco machine, your credit card will be charged the VAT later. So care of it.

There are two companies that handle VAT refunds with paper; it just depends which refund company is used by the merchant you visited. More than likely, you’ll have to visit both. You must remember to ask for the form when you make your purchases, keep your receipt with the form, and then the night before you leave, fill out each and every form. It’s not fun, but you can end up with enough dollars to get out of the parking lot back home (or euros to save for your next trip). So you should make the effort—and then visit the VAT kiosks as soon as you get your luggage checked in.

Then you’ve got time to wander the duty free shops! There are a lot of them in the Dublin Airport—it’s a regular ol’ mall. I’ve become cautious, though, because I’m not convinced I’m always getting a deal. I like to take Irish chocolate home to hand out as thank-yous, but I’ve begun buying it ahead of time in the Butler’s shop, so I can pack it rather than carry it. On this trip I found the Orla Keilly bag I’d fallen in love with at a shop in Dingle, but it was thirty-five euro more in the duty-free shop than in Dingle! Same bag. The best bargains are in perfumes and cosmetics and alcohol, so if you’re looking for a deal, that’s where to go. Just make sure you’ve got room in your carry-on for that big bottle of twelve-year-old whiskey.

We were pretty shopped out, though. As noted, I’d done all my Christmas shopping on this trip, and it was all packed; for myself, I’d bought two paperback books, the Moulton Brown shampoo and conditioner, the scarf I was wearing, and a pretty necklace at the Kilkenny Design Center. Oh, and a rain hat. 🙂

There was a new procedure to follow on this trip: we were assigned a time by which we were supposed to pass the security checkpoint. Naturally we missed it 🙂 but not by much. I can see why they do this, though: you really have to run quite a gauntlet to get out to the gate. We had to show our passports at least half a dozen times once we passed the initial security checkpoint—no joke. Once we arrived at our gate I left my carry-on with Margaret and went to buy a bottle of water—and had to show my passport again. To buy water!

I was much less stressed on this flight, though. I read, watched a movie, and before you know it, we were on the ground in Dulles. A quick check of the departures signage and Margaret and I realized we had to go in opposite directions! We weren’t ready for such an abrupt good-bye after our three-week vacation, but there we were, with a quick hug outside the ladies’ lounge before we each hustled off to catch the next flight.

Naturally, once I got to my gate my connecting flight had been delayed, so I called my friends in Tennessee to let them know I’d be late. And then … I was home. And the felines were glad to see me.

The next morning, I settled down with a cup of tea and the cookies Eoin and Tracy had given us the day before … and began writing this travelogue.

I made those cookies last a long time. :)

I made those cookies last a long time. 🙂

What’s Next?

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this trip as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about it. I’ve got another trip planned in May (about two and a half months from now) so I hope you’ll stick around for that. In the meantime, I’ll be posting some other interesting travel-related pieces, and I’ll be continuing to add material from trips I’ve taken in previous years. You may have noticed that there are already a few entries posted from a Christmas trip to England and my first trip to Ireland. There will be lots more; I’ll let you know when the trips are completely chronicled. Thank you so much for visiting with me!

Penultimate Day!

Day 23, Wednesday, 3 October 12

This had been such a big trip! We went a lot of places, shopped a lot (I did almost all of my Christmas shopping on this trip) and on the morning of our last full day, we had to get everything organized. That is, we got started packing and hoped like crazy our bags would stay under weight. I arrived with two suitcases, remember, but Margaret left with an extra one provided by Gerry. (He and I both have extra pieces on both sides of the Atlantic, accumulated since he comes back and forth a lot.) My sis had traveled back home with a Hampson bag too. 🙂

When we were as ready as we could be—we were going to spend our last night in a hotel at the airport, to facilitate turning in the rental car—I picked up Gerry and brought him back to the B&B to help us carry down our suitcases. (Help, ha. He carried them down.)

But we still had a little more sightseeing to do! One of my favorite places in Dublin is the Casino at Marino—which is right in Gerry’s neighborhood. No, no, it’s not a gambling establishment. Casino, in this case, is Italian for little house. And it’s a gem. I was very excited for Margaret to see it.

The Casino was intended as a pleasure house on the estate of James Caulfeild, the first Earl of Charlemont. Born in Dublin in 1728 to parents descended from English nobility who’d been awarded land in Ireland 150 years earlier, young Charlemont spent his youth in Dublin. And then at age eighteen he set off from Dublin on his Grand Tour; it lasted nine long years. The Grand Tour—of Europe—was what upper-class young men of means, primarily British, did for a couple hundred years, from the mid 1600s to mid 1800s. Considered a rite of passage, the tour allowed these boys to study art and culture while they mingled with polite society in the countries they visited and learned languages through immersion. Nice!

Charlemont fell in love with Italy and the classical architecture he saw there; he stayed in Rome an extra four years after his tour. Upon his return, Charlemont’s stepfather offered him a house on a large estate in suburban Dublin, which he promptly christened Marino. (The neighborhood here is still known as Marino.) In 1755 Charlemont began making plans for his casino. He ultimately hired Scottish architect William Chambers; it took about twenty years to finish. (Can you imagine?) It is considered one of the finest eighteenth-century neo-classical buildings in Europe.

The Casino at Marino, Dublin. The little decorative barrier that Gerry is standing in front of hides stairs that go down to the basement, which is where the kitchen and other servants’ rooms were. (Margaret’s photo.)

The Casino at Marino, Dublin. The little decorative barrier that Gerry is standing in front of hides stairs that go down to the basement, which is where the kitchen and other rooms important to the running of the house were. Take a good look at the scale here; compare Gerry to the size of that window, for example. (Margaret’s photo.)

Only fifty feet square—from the outer columns—the house looks small from the outside but is actually much larger than it looks. There are three floors—the basement, the entry-level floor, and a second floor—and on nice days one could hang out on the roof too. That was quite a view. The main house (long gone now) was quite a hike away, and the property stretched unimpeded all the way to the beach.

This is the southern view, with the Wicklow Mountains (see the Great Sugar Loaf?) in the very dim distance. The coast, then would be to the left in this photo, probably about a mile away. (Margaret’s photo.)

This is the southern view, with the Wicklow Mountains (see the Great Sugar Loaf?) in the very dim distance. The coast, then would be to the left in this photo, probably about a mile away. (Margaret’s photo.)

From a distance the house looks simple (and, as noted, small). But draw close and the rich decoration is apparent. The sculptural ornament—the lions, the urns on the roof, the pedestals, and so on—are works of art in their own right. The decorative carving is exquisite.

Oh, it’s just lovely, the Casino at Marino. (Margaret’s photo.)

Oh, it’s just lovely, the Casino at Marino. (Margaret’s photo.)

The underside of the overhang. Yes, that’s an ox skull in the frieze. (Margaret’s photo.)

The underside of the overhang. Yes, that’s an ox skull in the frieze. (Margaret’s photo.)

Still, you might think think there is only one room inside. It’s an illusion, cleverly constructed to fool the eye. The house actually contains sixteen rooms on those three floors, whose plan is a Greek cross (that is, a cross formed by two bars of equal length crossing in the middle at right angles). The panes of the windows are curved; this disguises the fact that one window (on the outside) serves several rooms on the inside.

This window appears to serve three rooms, one on the upper floor. You can see the curved panes. (Margaret’s photo.)

This window appears to serve three rooms, one on the upper floor. You can see the curved panes. (Margaret’s photo.)

There are other tricks: four of the outside columns are hollow and allow rainwater to drain down to be collected in the basement; the Roman funerary urns on the roof are actually chimneys. And the door is the ultimate surprise. It looks massive, but only two panels open at the bottom—a normal-sized pair of doors, actually. Closed, and from a distance, the door fools the eye.

The two tall panels in the center bottom of this door open—about sixty inches. (Margaret’s photo.)

The two tall panels in the center bottom of this door open—about sixty inches. (Margaret’s photo.)

The floors on the middle level are all elaborate parquet. I saw them in toto when I visited in 2003, but they’ve since been covered with carpet runnerss and are only partially visible now. There are few furnishings. Charlemont was deeply in debt at his death and much was sold and disbursed. More’s the pity.

Looking north from the beautiful Casino at Marino. (Margaret’s photo.)

Looking north from the beautiful Casino at Marino. (Margaret’s photo.)

Next we’d planned to get together with Eoin and Tracy—remember the wedding couple? They’d been doing some work on their home and I’d never seen it. A call was put through—they were expecting us—and we learned we needed to give them a few more minutes. So we drove out the Coast Road, north, toward Howth, which is always a lovely drive. But as we passed by what is now St. Anne’s Park, Gerry said, “Pull in here!” and we did.

Again, this is all in Gerry’s neighborhood. As a kid, he and his brothers rode their bikes out here. Back then the demesne—assembled by members of the Guinness family—was still a lot like an estate, even though the mansion had been gutted by fire in the ’40s. The ruins were still there, and the part of the park we visited was, basically, its backyard. It was untrimmed and wild then, and it still is today.

Back in the day, it was fashionable to create a garden to look like a wilderness. That is, the backyard was carefully styled and constructed by the gardener, who brought in interesting bushes and trees. It became an idealized natural landscape. Sometimes follies—a gazebo or pavilion or other edifice—were dotted about, as they are here on the former Guinness estate.

This is the duck pond (obviously!). See the little classical pavilion? (Margaret’s photo.)

This is the duck pond (obviously!). See the little classical pavilion? (Margaret’s photo.) Don’t forget, you can zoom in closer by clicking on the photo.

Another look at the pavilion. (Margaret’s photo.)

Another look at the pavilion. (Margaret’s photo.)

Walking around the duck pond. (Margaret’s photo.)

Walking around the duck pond. (Margaret’s photo.)

Inside the pavilion. Beyond the duck pond is the Coast Road, and on the other side of that, the beach and the sea. (Margaret’s photo.)

Inside the pavilion. Beyond the duck pond is the Coast Road, and on the other side of that, the beach and the sea. (Margaret’s photo.)

Gerry hadn’t been to the park since he was a kid; he said back then it was a creepy, dark, scary wonderland for the boys. He says’s it’s cleaned up now—the famous rose garden has been added in what would have been the front yard—but it was still dark in there and I could see why he’d called it creepy. It still kinda was!

Another folly tucked off in the trees, this one sort of like a bell tower. (Margaret’s photo.)

Another folly tucked off in the trees, this one sort of like a bell tower. In fact, I think it may be an observation tower. (Margaret’s photo.)

The sound of running water was ever present, but I’m certain this little brook was manmade. (Margaret’s photo.)

The sound of running water was ever present, but I’m certain this little brook was manmade. (Margaret’s photo.)

A little bridge across the brook in St. Anne’s Park. (Margaret’s photo.)

A little bridge across the brook in St. Anne’s Park. (Margaret’s photo.)

Yet another folly. We also saw follies meant to look like ruins. Fake ruins! (Margaret’s photo.)

Yet another folly. We also saw follies meant to look like ruins. Fake ruins! (Margaret’s photo.)

You can see why it could be the source of a little boy’s nightmares. (Margaret’s photo.)

You can see why it could be the source of a little boy’s nightmares. (Margaret’s photo.)

We didn’t get around to the more public part of St. Anne’s Park—the park that is one of the most popular recreational facilities in Dublin. Gerry says the rose garden is magnificent. There are also thirty-five soccer fields (not that the Irish call them that!), eighteen tennis courts, a par-3 golf course, and an art center, housed in the original Victorian stables. But there’s always next time. (In fact, I’m already planning an outing to St. Anne’s with Orla—on my next trip!)

Then we went to Tracy and Eoin’s place. They have a lovely house! Had tea and biscuits (cookies) and a nice chat—they’re great fun.

Then we were off to check into the Radisson for our last night in Dublin. By this time it was pouring rain and we had a ton of luggage, which we unloaded in the rain. Oh, it was cold and wet! We shlepped it up to the room, then Gerry and I went off to return the car. There was lots of construction around the airport and the Irish aren’t always good with signage so we missed it the first time (and we had a map!). The Budget car rental shuttle takes you from their place to the airport, so we walked back to the hotel from there. I am a pampered American and wasn’t happy about that, but as you can see, I lived to tell the tale.

The three of us had a meal in the hotel restaurant (just OK, slightly overpriced), and with an Irishman present, we finally figured out the dilemma of service in an Irish restaurant: ask for the check, don’t expect it to be brought.

And then Gerry was off. He had to work in the morning and would not be seeing us off. (So we’d have to wrangle those bags ourselves.) I tried not to cry.

Today’s Image

The tables in the restaurant were very close together, thus facilitating conversation with strangers. There was a gentleman dining alone next to us; he told us he was in the restaurant business (I’m guessing for a large corporation) and traveled quite a bit. He was friendly but a little odd, and though he told us he was Irish, he had the weirdest accent I’ve ever heard. After he left, Gerry identified it as “Irish with American influence.”

In Dublin’s Fair City …

Day 22, Tuesday, 2 October 12

Today was—we hoped—museum day. We picked up Gerry and went back to the Nassau Street area (good shopping; we revisited a couple places too).

We stopped at Trinity College hoping to get in to see the Book of Kells, but there was a huge line waiting to get in—all school kids. Perhaps it was a specially scheduled day with every stinkin’ high school in the city (yes, there were that many teenagers and the line was that long), but we decided to check back later. (As a side note, Trinity does have a nice gift shop. I know this from previous experience; we weren’t brave enough to try it that day.)

So on we went to the National Museum of Ireland. The museum has four locations (one in County Mayo on the other side of the country, which features country life): in Dublin City there’s decorative arts in Collins Barracks on Benburb Street, natural history on Merrion Street, and archealogy on Kildare Street.

Entrance to the National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street.

Entrance to the National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street.

It was to the latter we were headed. The museum’s website tells us:

The archaeological collection is the primary repository of ancient Irish artefacts … The period covered by the exhibitions extends from the Mesolithic through to the end of the medieval period, and includes internationally known treasures such as the Ardagh Chalice, Tara Brooch and Derrynaflan Hoard.

Based on core collections assembled in the late 18th and 19th Centuries by the Royal Dublin Society and the Royal Irish Academy, the archaeological collections have been added to considerably over the last 100 years and now number in excess of two million objects. The collection is significant in extent, diversity and quality and three areas are of acknowledged international standing. These are the prehistoric gold collections; ecclesiastical metalwork and personal ornaments of the early medieval period; and the Viking Dublin assemblage.

Oh, yeah, that gold is something else. Those prehistoric folks had some very fine jewelry. 🙂 And other gold baubles: I love the little Broighter boat, for example, which you can see here.

There are many important pieces in the collection besides the boat. The Tara Brooch, the Ardagh Chalice, and the Cross of Cong, just to name a few. We wandered slowly—and even so, when we’d made our way through the gold room, we realized we’d missed the brooch.

So we went back and asked a docent, a lovely older gentleman who smiled and led us to the display case with the brooch. Then he proceeded to give us a personal history lecture, and it was just wonderful. He used both the piece itself and some of the written displays about it on the wall—which had blow-up images to show the fine detail that was hard to see with your own eye—to tell us about it. How many animal images in this one square inch? The craftsmanship was just spectacular. Then we talked about the horse imagery and how the Christians used pagan images and stories to help convert the locals.

Then he walked us to the Lismore Crozier (it looks like a horse’s head) and then the Cross of Cong and gave us a similar talk. From there we went to the Ardagh Chalice (here are two views of it, front and side). Again he took us to a large wall display and showed us how the names of the eleven apostles (Judas was left off) are inscribed around the edge, under the fancy gold work. You might miss it unless you knew it was there, but … wow.

My tendency is to look more at the thing and less at the media on the wall describing the thing, but in this case, there really was a lot of interesting information to be had. Lesson learned! This gentleman really knew his stuff and was enthusiastic about it. We really got quite a nice lecture. He might have kept us there all day except then his wife called on his cell phone. (We had a little giggle about this man who was eighty if he was a day, chatting on his iPhone.)

We took a few moments in the gift shop, then walked back to Trinity to see about the Book of Kells. But the line was even longer than before, so we decided to blow it off. That was a shame, but the National Museum had also been packed with bored teenagers and we already knew they were no fun to be around. We figured we probably wouldn’t even get close to the Book.

Oh well—next time!

It was lunchtime, so we walked over to Powerscourt, approaching from Johnson’s Court. Gerry looked for Magill’s Delicatessen, which had been there forty years earlier when he worked in this neighborhood—he used to get sandwiches for lunch at Magill’s (look at this little video). They didn’t appear to be making sandwiches the way they once had, though, so we didn’t linger—although the smell was divine. There’s nothing quite like a dry-cured salami. Oh!

We walked through the shopping center but as we did we realized we all were ready for a break. We’d come back to the shopping center, but first—lunch. Gerry took us to lunch at the Old Stand, a pub on the corner of Exchequer and St. Andrews Streets.

The Old Stand. A very unassuming façade for a very nice pub! (Margaret’s photo.)

The Old Stand. A very unassuming façade for a very nice pub! (Margaret’s photo.)

It was packed with locals eating lunch; not a single American in the place save us. The Old Stand is a classy place and we got superior service from the smiling barman (he appeared to be serving, bartending, and overseeing everything, very neat in black trousers and tie with crisp white shirt). Always smiling.

When you eat at a pub, it’s a different experience than eating at a restaurant—mostly due to the seating arrangements. It’s a bar, after all. The tables are small and low. So are the lights. 🙂 It can be quite cozy.

Refreshed, we went back up the half block to Powerscourt Centre. This shopping center was cobbled together from a restored Georgian townhouse: the website tells us “59 South William Street was home to Richard Wingfield 3rd Viscount Powerscourt (1730–1788) and his wife Lady Amelia, who bought the townhouse to entertain guests during Parliament season”—and apparently you can still have parties at the house. The Powerscourts moved in in 1774; it’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea of a house this big. (Take a look here for some great photos.) There are more than sixty merchants here now, from boutiques to craft shops to art galleries to antiques to restaurants. And I’ve just read you can book a tour to learn more about the house.

Margaret shopped along antique row—she found some great bargains—while Gerry and I sat and talked and admired the view. (Really: I was worn out—it would be another month at home before I got my lungs back—and Gerry kept me company.)

Houses in those days often had wings and separate buildings that enclosed a private yard. Here on the second floor (there are four altogether) you can see we are in a courtyard. That’s a restaurant below.

Houses in those days often had wings and separate buildings that enclosed a private yard. Here on the second floor (there are four altogether) you can see we are in a courtyard. That’s a restaurant below.

The courtyard is lit from a skylight. I imagine these decorations are quite a sight at night! (Oooo, such a poet!)

The courtyard is lit from a skylight. I imagine these decorations are quite a sight at night! (Oooo, such a poet!) I loved the little red fox strolling through the air.

A different angle. I didn’t walk too far; I was pneumonia-winded.

A different angle. I didn’t walk too far; I was pneumonia-winded.

By then we were done. We took a taxi back to Gerry’s house, where we admired our purchases while Gerry was changing (and the kettle was boiling). He and I are both the sort of people who want to get into sweats as quickly as the front door is shut, and that’s what he was doing: getting comfortable.

When he came back downstairs, I remarked that it suuuure would be nice to have something from that fancy French bakery up in Clontarf (where our B&B was) to go with the tea, and that I’d be willing to run up there to get it. Gerry replied that I needn’t go that far (Clontarf’s only ten minutes from the house, but still); there was a bakery much closer and he’d ride in the car with me (to give directions) if he didn’t have to change into street clothes again (that is, not get out of the car).

“Done!” I said, and picked up my purse. Margaret just sat there and laughed, astonished. It was like a complicated negotiation, but Gerry and I are so tuned to what the other would like and is willing to contribute to the acquisition effort that it was just textbook—1, 2, 3, decided and done! The place was called Cinnamon, and I bought a selection of sweets, including the last pieces of apple tart, which is what I really wanted. Ducked in to the shop next door for vanilla ice cream, then back to Gerry’s for tea. (Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m talking about apple pie. It’s an apple tart in Ireland. There’s very little sugar in either the filling, which is all apples, or the crust, which is thick and shortbread-like. Here’s an authentic recipe with beautiful pictures.)

We lingered a couple hours, sipping tea, using the wi-fi, then Margaret and I drove back to Clontarf. We stopped in the village at an Italian place (called Picasso! oh, the irony) which was in the middle of its early-bird special (two courses, your choice, for twenty euro). Back at the B&B we took some time to pack up and get ready to move to the airport hotel tomorrow. Just one more day in beautiful, green Ireland …

Today’s Image

During lunch at the Old Stand, there was a group of older gentlemen, casually dressed, crowded around the table next to us. At one point I zeroed in on the conversation of one white-haired member of the group, who was saying, “And then I took my laptop and showed him—” The man sitting across from him said, “Google this, google that” and laughed. It just wasn’t the conversation I expected, you know?

Oh, Well … We’ll Just Shop

Day 21, Monday, 1 October 12

Just a couple days left! Our trip was getting close to the end, but there were still a few things we wanted to do in Dublin. For one thing, we’d hoped to go to the National Museum on Kildare Street—but it is closed on Mondays.

So we shopped! And shopped!

Of course, there are all sorts of things to see too. Dublin has beautiful architecture—and all those colorful Georgian doors—and all sorts of things that are just … different from home. You know? One thing I really love are the statues. This statue of Molly Malone was unveiled in 1988. You know the song, right?

In Dublin’s fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

Dubliners love their statues. They also nickname them. Molly is the Tart with the Cart. James Joyce is the Prick with the Stick. The Spire of Dublin (erected in 2000 to replace Nelson’s Pillar, which the IRA blew up in 1966) is called, among other things, the Stiletto in the Ghetto. All in good fun, of course. 🙂

The Tart with the Cart on Grafton St. (Margaret’s photo.)

The Tart with the Cart on Grafton St. (Margaret’s photo.)

I was looking for a specific touristy thing—a little ornament—for Alli, who’d e-mailed after she’d gotten home and asked me to get one for her. We dashed into all the cheesy souvenir shops; we even went into the main tourist information place, because they often have souvenirs. I’d seen those ornaments everywhere—but not that day! However, I was amused by a phone conversation I overheard in one gew-gaw shop—a man, apparently the shop’s manager, perhaps talking to a supplier: “You know what I don’t have.” (Pause.) “Sheep.”

Oh, the mind boggles.

We were, however, delighted to find the Dublin Avoca shop, so we could look for some scarves we’d hoped to find in Bray. That’s Gerry in the corner there. :) (Margaret’s photo.)

We were, however, delighted to find the Dublin Avoca shop, so we could look for some scarves we’d hoped to find the day before in Bray. The tower in the background is a part of the building that houses the Dublin Convention Bureau (the tourist information office), but it was once, Gerry Tells me, the St. Andrew Street church. That’s Gerry in the corner there. 🙂 (Margaret’s photo.)

Drury Street. (Margaret’s photo.)

Drury Street. (Margaret’s photo.)

I’d remembered the stall vendors in George’s Street Arcade as being way cool—but they were a bit tacky this time around. We didn’t spend much time in the permanent shops; I still had very little energy. Next time!

George’s Street Arcade, off Dury St. (Margaret’s photo.)

George’s Street Arcade, off Dury St. (Margaret’s photo.)

Lots of great old architecture on College Green. The building on the right is the Bank Bar and Restaurant . (Margaret’s photo.)

Lots of great old architecture on College Green. The building on the right is the Bank Bar and Restaurant. (Margaret’s photo.)

We actually shopped a little before we made our way to Kildare Street to discover the closed museum. On our way back to the shopping district, we passed the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. To be perfectly frank, I can’t tell you if it’s a college or a trade organization or a little of both. Maybe you can figure it out.

The Royal College of Physicians on Kildare St.

The Royal College of Physicians on Kildare St.

All this shoppin’ builds up a gal’s appetite, so Gerry walked us to a pub he’d patronized many times: O’Neill’s on Suffolk Street. They had a carvery—a term I wasn’t familiar with; you and I would call it a buffet, perhaps. I had beef and Guinness stew. The place was hopping at 12:30, with lots of Americans as well as locals. Food was delicious, I thought.

O’Neill’s on Suffolk St. (Margaret’s photo.)

O’Neill’s on Suffolk St. (Margaret’s photo.)

When we finally wore down, we cabbed back to Gerry’s and killed a little time until it was time go to the movie. On the way we stopped at a little convenience store and stocked up on candy to sneak into the show; don’t tell anyone!

When we got out of the car at the theater, I made everyone wait while I got the camera—I’d seen our fourth rainbow!

When we got out of the car at the theater, I made everyone wait while I got the camera—I’d seen our fourth rainbow!

We saw Loopers. It was a little strange sitting in Dublin watching an American movie (right down to the excessive violence), I must say, but it was good. And that was that. 🙂

Today’s Image

Dublin truly is an international city. You can see all sorts of people. I was struck by a lovely Muslim girl wearing a hijab … including a watermelon-red lace undercap that showed across her forehead under the scarf. If you look closely, you can see her in this photo. (Remember, you can click to enlarge the photo, then click again to zoom in.)

We’ve got the Avoca shop on Suffolk St. in our sights, just coming off Grafton St. Note the Muslim girl.

We’ve got the Avoca shop on Suffolk St. in our sights, just coming off Grafton St. Note the Muslim girl in the center, in the white coat.