2/10/13 Today we fly Aer Lingus, "The Worlds Most Cunning Airline". A quick three hour flight and we finally arrive in a country where everyone speaks English, well the Irish equivalent anyway. We've never been to Ireland and have been looking forward to this since our Egypt section of the trip got cancelled. The weather is a complete change from what we have been used to over the last nine months. While not frosty, it's 15C maximums 12C mins and it's going to be wet, wet, wet.
We're staying in a very funky B and B overlooking the Liffey River that runs straight through the middle of Dublin.
|The beautiful Liffey River, our place was just to the right of the Ha'Penny bridge|
We're five minutes from everything and staying with a very nice fella named John in a very charming area named Temple Bar.
|Dublin is a very tasty place|
|This fellas having a quick one before he gets to the office|
|It's got that small city charm to it|
Ireland is one of those unfortunate countries that is doing it a bit tough at the moment. If not for the presence of some major international companies injecting money and generating employment they would be in dire circumstances.
|Although there'll always be a demand for some things|
It was quite evident from the closed shutters adorning a number of shop fronts on the drive in from the airport that things were not entirely rosy. But last night we walked the streets of Dublin and they seemed busy and bustling.
Like most countries going through hard times you'll see the brunt of it outside the city centres.
There were definitely no signs of hardship inside O'Neills pub. A recommendation from our host and what a beauty. For over 300 years O'Neills has been serving up the finest in good old fashioned Irish food, banging out original Irish tunes and serving Stout, Ales and Hot Whiskey to the patrons who come to rest in the warm atmosphere of the snugs, nooks and crannies that permeate the place. O'Haras stout, Bulmers Cider and Fish and Chips. Outstanding.
3/10/13 Yes, it's still raining, not sure if it's going to be stopping any time soon over the next few days but fortunately our host has some descent size brolleys so we pop em open and head on out. First order of the day was breakfast at Bewley's, a place that looked the works but where the food didn't live up to the surroundings.
|This place was all show and grab your dough|
The cuppa tea was nice though. Then it was off to the National Museum of Archaeology. We haven't done any museums for a bit so the boys were told, "we're doing it, suck it up and let's get going". We walked through the beautiful Saint Stephens Green gardens on our way to the Museum.
|St Stephens Green, stunning anytime|
|even more so in the wet|
The rain was a constant pattering on the brolleys but it really just added to the ambience of the place. There is something about how the rain puts a shellac on mother nature making her lush greens seem shiny and brand new.
The National Museum of Archeology was quite amazing. It has the most extraordinary display of ancient gold jewellery, much of it over 2500 years old and astoundingly intricate.
|Some of this stuff was 2500 years old|
|It's baffling how they did this|
There are four gruesomely well preserved bodies on display in the section called Bog People. These fellas are over a thousand years old and have been amazingly well preserved in the deep and rich peat fields of the Irish countryside. The twisted looks on their faces, the stubble on their chins,their severed torsos and punctured chests are in clear view behind the thick glass.
|We really did see dead people|
|He's only half the man he used to be|
There are simple stone tools on display that have been carbon dated at over 400,000 years old.
The Vikings played a major role in Ireland's past and there is a a great display of Viking culture and their influence on the Emerald Isle. Of particular interest was the skeleton of a giant Viking Warrior laid out with his sword and dagger. He would have been well over six and a half feet tall. His sword even though well decayed now would have been between four and five feet long with a heavy handle and thick blade. His hands were the size of my feet. The sheer size of him would have turned many battles.
From here we took a trip to the Natural History Museum. It's more a warehouse than a museum.
Where it lacks the majestic dioramas of the Museum of Natural History in New York or the Smithsonian in Washington DC it makes up for it in sheer number of specimens and the fact you can go eye ball to eyeball with most of them. It was a lot of fun.
|Known by locals as the 'Dead Zoo'|
|That's maybe a little too close|
|Cmon, smile big fella|
|Staring contest anyone?|
Dublin was fantastic and a place that we would all gladly return.