We slept late and had an excellent breakfast at the Westin. Then we went across the street to Trinity College–or is it university? Anyway the tour guide was a recent graduate and was just waiting to get his diploma. He said he’d learn where he’d finished among his classmates at the ceremony. The smartest kid in the class got his/her diploma first and the kid who came last, went last. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to attend the ceremony; he didn’t want his graduation to be a public embarrassment. I thought, if that isn’t an incentive to study, what is? He told us the university was started by Elizabeth I who didn’t think it was right that her subjects had to travel so far to get educated. The original university buildings were used as army barracks during one of the civil wars and were torn down and replaced by the current buildings in the 1700s. Two large maple trees in the square were brought back from what is now Oregon by a scientific expedition commissioned in 1820. I know Lewis & Clark didn’t get to the Pacific coast until 1803 so I asked if the expedition went overland or by sea. They went by sea. The kid knew his stuff. He told us stories about Oscar Wilde who apparently raised a lot of hell while he was a student there. He told us about a university president who declared that women would be accepted at Trinity over his dead body. He died the year women were accepted so the kid concluded that God was a woman. I snickered at that. He had lots of great stories but I won’t go into them all. He showed us the library with its beautiful ceiling and row on row of open stacks. He explained about the artwork around the campus; about the artists and their place in the art world. It was a good tour. He finished by showing us where the Book of Kells was kept. The tour was self-guided from there. The exhibit detailing the history and creation of the Book of Kells was interesting. The Book itself was a bit of a letdown because it was kept under glass and I couldn’t see all the details.
We finished that tour and went to look for a pharmacy which was only three blocks away. All I wanted was some NyQuil but the pharmacist had never heard of it. As a matter of fact, there were no over-the-counter drugs. You had to describe your symtoms to the ‘chemist’ and they’d recommend something; in my case, Night Nurse. I think I prefer our system of OTC drugs; I was embarrassed to be detailing what was wrong with me. I had a hard time being well, ladylike, about the whole thing. I didn’t think “I’m hacking up a lung, kid” or “I’m drowning in snot” would go over well. I got my drugs and we made a quick detour to the Abbey Theater to get tickets for the show that evening. Somebody had called in sick and left superb seats in Row J. We grabbed them. Then I went back to the hotel to take some Night Nurse and get some rest while Gordon took our Ford back to the rental agency in central city. I have to say that little Ford was a wonderful car. My only problem with it was that the diesel system would go dormant while idling, I guess to save fuel. We both thought the car had died; it was just quiet. It handled well, got great fuel mileage, and had all the bells and whistles. I’ll consider a Ford the next time I need a car. Gordon had a solo adventure gassing (dieseling?) up the car for return and sharing a cab back to the hotel with another American couple who, he said, were absolutely silent.
We weren’t very hungry that evening so we just got a salad at a Chopped restaurant across the street. We had to fight a line of Trinity students to get our salads but we shared a table with a kiddie. Then we got dressed up for the play. It was raining so I wore my cap and trench coat. We’d forgotten to pack an umbrella but the concierge at the hotel was prepared; we borrowed a brolly with the hotel logo on it. We splashed through pools of rain to the theater and sat in our lovely seats. The play was Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. It was about eight Ulstermen sent to fight the Germans during WWI. It was a character study told from the viewpoint of the one man who survived the Battle of the Somme. He wanted to honor the memory of his army buddies. I enjoyed the first act but early in the second act I went into a coughing fit. The lady next to me gave some of her water but it didn’t help. I couldn’t stop coughing so to avoid ruining the play (what would the spirit of WB Yeats think of this coughing American ruining his show?) Gordon and I crept out. I got to the lobby before going into another spasm. The young women who worked for the theater gave me water and turned on the video feed so I could follow the play. I kept coughing (“I’m hacking up a lung, kid”). The girls offered to get me some tea with lemon but I just drank the water they gave me; I’d caused enough trouble. The fit eventually passed and the girls offered to lead us back to our seats but I couldn’t accept. I didn’t know if I’d go into another fit. So one of the girls finally showed us up to the back row next to an exit; if I had to leave quickly, I could. So we finished the play that way. I’m not sure if I got what I was supposed to get out of the show. It seemed that the Ulstermen hated Catholics more than they hated the Germans. Maybe that was the point. But they got over their personal differences, bonded like soldiers do, and fought the Germans until it killed them. And the survivor’s guilt was killing the one remaining soldier. It was moving but I thought they could have cut half an hour out of the second act. We remembered to take the umbrella back to the concierge and went to bed.
After breakfast the next day we took a “hop on, hop off” tour. We saw most of the major sites and the tour guide gave us a good overview of the history of Dublin. We went back to hotel for a short nap then jumped on the bus (our ticket was good for 24 hours) and went back to big Viking church then walked over to the Guiness brewery for a tour. The tour ended with a lesson on how to pour the perfect Guiness and Gordon did a very good job. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t drink. One of our classmates was delighted when Gordon gave him the pint he’d poured so well. I just sat and enjoyed my pint while Gordon went to the 7th floor to enjoy the view. We thought about taking the tour of one of the famous gaols (jails) but it sounded a little ghoulish to me. Maybe we’ll catch it if we go back. We had a sandwich for dinner and wandered around the bridges over the River Liffey. We went to bed early because I was still snotty.
After breakfast (all the breakfasts were included and all were excellent) we went shopping off Grafton street. I got some Irish table linen and some enamel earrings. The sales staff were trying to explain how to redeem our VAT money when we went to the airport (“You shouldn’t pay taxes when you don’t get the benefits!”). I hope Gordon got it; I certainly didn’t. We thought about jumping on the bus for more touring but the bus drivers went on strike. I took a picture of Gordon with the statue of a buxom Molly Malone instead.
We went back to the room and packed up for the next leg. A car took us to the airport and we caught our Aer Lingus flight to City Airport outside London.
This is a picture of our hotel followed by some beer pouring pics. Notice the little keyholes at the top, right next to the chimney? That’s our garret. Notice all the construction going on around the hotel? We didn’t hear any of it. I loved my garret.