Day 40 to 47
03.03.2013 - 09.03.2013 6 °C
Top of the morning to you all!
After taking 2 trains through the UK countryside and a ferry from Holyhead to Dublin (This took us a whole day) our first morning in Dublin was spent catching up on news and emails followed by a short sightseeing walk around parts of Dublin. It was a very short walk, only getting as far as Temple Bar in Temple Bar. Where we spent the majority of the afternoon sinking Guinness and listening to Irish folk music. I wish I could spend all my Monday afternoons doing this.
The next day it was more sight seeing in the morning and a tour of the Guinness factory in the afternoon. The tour started at the document where Arthur Guinness signed a lease at St James Gate brewery in 1759 for 9,000 years. So he really was getting in early. Then we toured through the ingredients and processes of making Guinness, unfortunately no recipe. We saw the variations in Guinness over the years, how it has been transported, and how its been advertised over the years. But really after level 1 of the 7 level building all you want to do is drink the dam thing! So it was off to the Guinness Academy to learn to pour your perfect Guinness. Here I learnt that the Guinness tap is ambidextrous, pull it towards you to realise Guinness and its gasses, let it settle for 119.5 seconds, push the tap away from you and you top it up with just liquid. Leah mastered it, I struggled and a little dribbled down the side. Luckily the teacher didn't see and I still Graduated. We took our beers up to the Gravity Bar which boasts 360 degree views of Dublin but unfortunately that day it was foggy. We couldn't stop at one, so on the walk home we returned to Temple Bar and stopped at John o Gogarty's for another and some oysters. Mmmmmm
Northern Ireland Day Trip
In the middle of our stay we decided to take a tour of Northern Ireland. On the trip we stopped off at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge,
Dunluce Castle, Belfast and our main attraction the Giants Causeway. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is an example of bridges used by fisherman to get from the mainland to little islands to check their salmon nets. The one we crossed was built in 2008 and is used by tourists. That day it was cold and windy which didn't help the 20 meter crossing over a 30 meter drop. We both crapped ourselves. Leah was overheard muttering that she was the master of her own fear; an similar piece of advise she got from Dr Sheldon Cooper. The Giants Causeway was not as scary as the name suggests. It is a series of hexagon pillars created some 50 to 60 million years ago when volcanic lava met the sea. It was here that Henry got to enjoy his first day trip.
Old Jameson Distillery & Brazen Head
After a day of rest we went to the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin. This once 55 acre operating distillery is now just one old building; the company moving further south in the 1970's and most of the land being sold off to developers. It wasn't a long tour, nor that eye catching; however, our tour guide was very informative and clearly provided information on the process of triple distilled whisky making it very interesting. Whilst there I volunteered Leah to be on the Whisky tasting panel. She graduated with flying colours and is now a qualified Irish Whisky taster. I'm so proud of her.
After that we walked across the river Liffey to the Brazen Head, the oldest pub site in the world, dating back to the 12th century. Many of the pubs features aren't that old, although the doorways are very short. Then of course on to Temple Bar.
6 Nations rugby, Ireland v's France
Our final full day in Dublin was wet, very wet. The fine rain didn't let up all day. We went and saw the few remaining sights that we really wanted to see and tried to remain indoors. Later in the afternoon we went to Temple Bar (no surprise) to watch the final group match of the 6 Nations Rugby between Ireland and France. In the 2 day lead up to the game, the French came in boat loads to Ireland (who were hosting) to watch their country try for their first win of the tournament. I suspected them all to be at the ground, but the pub we chose to watch the match had plenty of noisy French fans. I wore my Australian T-shirt to be impartial but quickly went for France out of fear. It was a very wet, boring and confusing game with Leah and I knowing very few rules. When France scored their first try to level the game with 5 min remaining, then the place came alive. It was very interesting, exciting and both teams could have won, but neither did and it ended in a 13 all draw. No one was happy, the atmosphere fizzled and both supporting groups left the bar. We had a quiet Irish pub meal (I had Liver and that's another story) which was great to celebrate our last night in Dublin. The bar picked up and we left at a reasonable hour.
We are now off to see other parts of Ireland. Galway in the West and then onto Cork in the South.
Lots of Love
Rein, Leah and Henry.