Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dublin 2010!

Our room!!

The Guinness Brewery Map! Incredible building!

Picture of the crowd heading to the stadium!!

Julie, Jane, Meghan and I at the Game!

Rugby Team boarding the bus outside of our hotel!

Kilmainham Prison.

Greetings Team Canada!!!

I am very disappointed to say that I missed the opening ceremonies last night! It was broadcast live at 2am and I just couldn’t stay awake for it!! Hopefully they will show a rerun later on!! Id just like to say, “Let the Games Begin--- GO CANADA GO!!”

I was recently fortunate enough to take a short holiday to the Emerald Island and visit the magical city of Dublin! It was an amazing trip, and I might even say my favourite place I’ve visited so far!! My friend Meghan from Guelph and her two aunts Julie and Jane were coming to the Dublin as part of their “roses and ruggers tour” and I just had to go and meet up with them! They called their trip the roses and ruggers tour because they were in Europe to see the 6 nations rugby tournament. Their last name being O’Donnell, it is no surprise that they were cheering for Ireland. They spent 4 nights in Dublin, saw Ireland beat Italy and then they headed for a few nights to Galloway , IE and then over to Paris for a week where they would watch the Ireland vs France game. Obviously, I had to leave the tour after Dublin. The roses part of the name comes from the fact that everywhere they went and everything on offer was a special valentines day offer. This is great timing and as you can see, the name practically spoke for itself.
Anyways, here is an overview of my time with them in Dublin.

Wednesday, Feb 3rd:
After work I hopped on a train and headed to Liverpool where my departing flight was scheduled at 6:30 am the next day from John Lennon airport. I booked a nice little bed and breakfast in advance because I knew that sleeping at said airport is virtually impossible. I set my alarm and booked a taxi for 4:45am then went to sleep. I woke up to my phone ringing at 4:40 am, it was the taxi company giving me a 5 minute warning to my pick up time. Thank goodness they make that call. I frantically got my stuff together and ran out the door just in time to catch my taxi. On the way to the airport I checked my mobile to see why my alarm hadn’t gone off and it turns out I set it for Wednesday morning not Thursday morning!! Alls well the ends well though because I made it to the airport on time for my flight. Though my turbulence was not over yet, as I was in line to board the plane, the rep from Ryan air looked at my passport and boarding pass and told me I was supposed to go to the visa check desk to have my “non-European Union” passport verified, a process in which results with a stamp being placed on the boarding pass. Opppps!!! Turns out she was a really nice lady who made a quick phone call, scribbled something on my boarding pass in yellow highlighter and then let me go ahead and board the plane anyway “phew!!”
The flight to Dublin was 40 Minutes!!
When I arrived at the hotel, I was astonished by its sheer beauty and elegance!! Posted is a link to where we stayed which happened to be the same hotel that the Irish rugby team was staying (hence the reason why Julie picked it). The lobby was stunning and to my good luck the room was already waiting and ready for me. I had a few hours to kill before Meghan and crew would arrive so I took the first bubble bath Ive had in 5 months in a beautiful marble tub and then went for a walk, stopped for a lovely traditional Irish breakfast at a small café down a side street and then returned to the hotel for a nap in a beautiful bed of feather duvets and pillows.
When the girls arrived we had celebratory glasses of Champagne and then went out for dinner to a nice little Irish pub. After dinner we went to the temple bar area where there are loads of pubs, restaurants and people (kinda like hess village but IRISH!) We went to a few pubs, had some Bulmers (Irish cider soooo yummy) and watched live traditional Irish musicians and Irish people doing Irish Jigs. It was all so surreal. Later that night the group split up and Megs and I went to a dance club where we had a blast. We ended our night with a stopover in a local Kabob shop where Megs demanded that the Persian girl make her some Poutine. Hahahah it was sooo funny. The poor girl didn’t know what Gravy was!!!

Friday, 5th February:
After breakfast we started our day with a tour of Kilmainham prison. The history of this building is remarkable, and our tour guide was informative and so cute with his little socks and sandals. We really enjoyed the tour and it was really moving at times. A lot of horrible things happened in that Prison especially during times of British rule.
Next we visited the Guinness brewery where through a self guided tour you are shown every step in the Guinness brewing process. The building itself is no longer used for brewing, but it is such a cool place, the entire building is made in the shape of a pint glass. Posted is a picture of the building map. The top floor is called gravity bar (top of the glass) and it is a round room on the 7th floor made completely of windows where you are able to lookout over Dublin while enjoying your complimentary pint of Guinness. We also ate at the restaurant here and it was really good. The next thing on the agenda was the Jameson Distillery. While waiting for a cab to come along, we spotted a horse drawn carriage cab, looked at each other in agreement and hopped inside for a romantic frolic through the city of Dublin. Our drivers name was Gil and our horses name was Dancer. Gil was really funny and told us a lot of historical facts on the way to Jameson. The tour at the distillery was guided and very interesting. Again, it is no longer used to produce Jameson anymore, but it was redone and recreated to give you a visual idea of how the Whiskey is made. Unlike American Whiskey which is distilled once, or scotch which is distilled twice, Jameson Irish whisky is triple distilled in seasoned barrels that previously contained either cherry or port. It’s a really cool process and even though I hate whiskey, I def drank my sample drink at the end!
That night we went to a nice Italian restaurant down the road for a great dinner and then we went to some less touristy pubs that night. At one of the pubs we met two Irish gentlemen named Michael and Joseph, and we ended up hanging out with them for the rest of the night. They gave us all nicknames and told us funny stories and jokes. And it just made me fall in love with Irish people. Our group kept getting bigger and bigger as more and more Irish people came over to talk to us and join the fun. It was definitely a great night.

Saturday, 6th February:
We woke up and hit Grafton street to do a bit of touristy shopping, then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the game. Julie had 4 tickets and to her I am very thankful for the amazing experience she so generously gave me. Posted is a pic of all four of us in our Irish gear. The rugby game was in Croak Park in Dublin. The stadium holds 80,000 people and the announcer said there were over 77,000 people in attendance on the day. It was by far the largest sporting event I have ever taken part in. As we were getting ready to leave the hotel, we came down to the lobby to see a red carpet had been laid out and the teams bus sat waiting outside the front doors. We joined the anticipating crowd. As the players starting coming down the steps in the lobby there was a roar of excitement and cheer and people were gathered outside of the hotel to watch them all board the bus. Megs and I were so close to the players we could have reached out and touched them. Posted is a pic of them getting on their bus. The atmosphere on the streets down by the stadium was amazing. Everyone was really excited and there were people everywhere, all with beer in hand. We joined the parade toward the stadium. Posted is a picture of thousands of people making their way to their seats.
Incredible sight!! Ireland beat Italy 29-11.
That night we ended up eating at Subway because every restaurant in the city was fully booked and we didn’t think of making reservations before hand. Julie and Jane’s friend Mits landed in Dublin that afternoon to join the tour and we took her out to another traditional pub. We ended up having a pretty early night that night as Mits was jetlagged and I had to get up at 5am then next day to catch my flight.

Sunday, 7th February
Left the hotel in Dublin at 5am, and arrived back to my room in Bowness-on-Winderemere England at 3pm. The flight from Dublin to Liverpool was only 35 minutes but it took me 10 hours to get home because the Sunday rail service in England is worse than Sunday television in Canada. There is absolutely nothing on!!! But I made it home safe and sound and definitely feel like it was worth it!!

I miss you all sooooooooooooooooooo much and hope that all is well at home. I am sorry to say that the post cards I got you from Greece are still sitting in my room. I wrote them all out over 2 months ago but still haven’t posted them yet. I will post the Dublin and Greece ones all at the same time. I apologize for the delay! Ive been really busy and it keeps on slipping my mind. Better late than never I guess!!

Well that is all for now. Keep your sticks on the ice and root for our home and native land!! With endless love from across the old pond,


Horse Drawn Carriage ride!

Jameson Distillery

The Rugby Game!!
With Michael and Joseph!