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Sneaking Around Dublin on the Bus

This entry is part of a series, Ireland 2009»

Irish Parliament Building

Yesterday’s long and satifying hours were followed by a short night of sleep in our castle. Paula Jo had big plans for us for our only full day in Dublin, so we had to get going early! Sadly, though, by the time we got dressed and out the sun had been up for a long while.

Still, breakfast (at the Farenheit Grill in Clontarf) was a sedate affair. We were about the first ones there, and the buffet wasn’t even quite ready. That didn’t stop us from filling up on various goodies, including coffee and hot tea. (One lump or two, dear?) We looked over the maps, chatted with some folks at the next table over (they were from the U.S., but they didn’t seem to mind looking like tourists). Finally we headed down to reception to find out the best way into town so early.

Turns out, our “Hop On, Hop Off” tour bus was waiting for us just outside! Well, okay, not for us, exactly. But the driver said he made regular stops at various hostels on his way into the city, and we were welcome to climb aboard. Paula faked him out about our tickets, as we hadn’t been able to find the receipt from the day before. We both grabbed extra earphones and put them in our pockets, just in case. They worked at least as well as any tickets! We’d just have them in our hands and they’d wave us on.

Graduation

We went first to Trinity College, and we were still almost late for our graduation. Yes, Friday was graduation, and we were there; so that means it was for us, right? RIGHT?? (That’s better.) However, rather than listen to three hours of boring speeches in Latin, we played hookey and went with the tour group. Our guide was one of the students, just about to graduate himself, and he was a hoot! He knew all the stories and traditions, and he spoke clearly and well. In several languages, as it turned out. Some of our group were from France, others from Denmark, and a few from Germany. He talked with them all, each in their language. His major (and soon to be his graduate work) is in languages, you see. Handy skills for a tour guide.

it was coming on lunchtime, but I knew we needed to go see the Guinness brewery first. They close at five, after all! Wouldn’t want to miss the whole reason (well, okay, maybe not the ONLY reason) for visiting Dublin! So quick like bunnies we hopped on the bus. The earphones did their magic again.

Storehouse.gif

We rode past St. Stephens Green and the Cathedral, then on down past Dublin Castle to the Storehouse. We were beginning to feel like old-timers! We checked in and got our tour tickets for Guinness, then we roamed the best museum on brewing that there is. That includes information about the greatest industrial statistician who ever lived. Who was also a brewmaster.

Tasting Glasses

I’m talking about William Sealy Gosset, of course. Who else? Not only did he invent the Student’s t-Test (which not all statisticians have the honor to pass), but he single-handedly led Guinness to its world-dominating position in brewing. All through the power of applied statistics. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Gosset.gif

There was a lot of other interesting stuff in there too, like the 9,000 year lease Guinness signed for the land and access to water. In 1759. Only 8,750 years to go! The price is a bit steep, though; £45 Sterling a year. Hardly worth keeping, don’t you think? Right in the heart of Dublin? I didn’t think so either.

Kegs of Guinness

But enough with the museum, already! We headed up to the Gravity Bar, where I was treated to a free pint of Guinness, courtesy of Mr. Guinness himself. It was just the right temperature, and had just the right head on it. With a nicely-drawn shamrock on the top, courtesy of the barmaid. (No wishy-washy mixed-drink-and-tap-operating-serving-persons allowed.)

I savored each sip, and could only think how much more successful they could have been if they’d only hired me! Combining my statistical expertise with my advertising mind; the sky’s the limit! I even invented a whole ad campaign while I was slowly drinking. Imagine some good-looking guy, like Mel (Gibson, not Brooks) or me, with a cool pint in hand and a nice froth mustache, and the caption: “Got Foam?” It would have been a world-beater I’m sure.

Poetry

After the brew and the fantasies, it was time to return to the Real World. We exited the Storehouse, snuck onto another bus and rode it all the way around to the end. Through Phoenix Park and by the Zoo, near the towering tribute to Wellington (and his boots), past several museums and other sights too numerous to mention.

Jameson Distillery

We were in a hurry, you see. Had to get to the second most important stop in Dublin: The Jameson Distillery. Although it’s now closed as a working whisky manufactury, this holy shrine important site still does tours and has shops and eateries. Food was most important to us at that moment, so we ate (and drank) at JJ’s, the first-floor café and pub. Paula tried out their Spaghetti Bolognese and pronounced it adequate. I had a Stuffed Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich, with a cup of Jameson’s. (Of course.) The waitress asked if I wanted any water with that. I said I’d heard that good uisge didn’t need water, and was she suggesting I might require some with Jameson’s? She immediately allowed as how I had the right of it, and we both smiled.

Still Pot

With the lateness of the hour and all, we took a pass on the distillery tour. Maybe next time. We made several photo stops on our stroll back to Tara Station. We found a camera shop open and PJ bought a new strap for her camera. The “original equipment” strap was a bit of a joke, the only “cheap” part of the whole system. The new strap worked wonders, though. Very comfortable!

A quick ride on DART and a walk to the hotel, and we were done touring for the day. However, it appeared there was still several hours of daylight left. We packed all our stuff, as John Carey would meet us early the next day and we would begin to travel For Real, and then it was time to eat. Again. We didn’t feel like going out, and there aren’t any nearby restaurants; at least not within several blocks. So we headed back to the Knight’s Bar, where we were summarily robbed blind.

Actually, it wasn’t all that bad. However, it wasn’t good. You see, Paula decided to order a Mimosa with our pub grub. It was so-so, as bar drinks go. I had a pint, and some snacks. PJ noticed they had “baby back ribs” as an appetizer, so of course she ordered some. We were both sorely disappointed when the ribs arrived, though. They were boneless! Paula’s Rule No. 1 of Ribs: If there are no bones, they ain’t Ribs. They were Asian-style seasoned, which I didn’t mind, but that led us to Paula’s Rule No. 2 of Ribs: Asian sauce doesn’t make whatever it’s poured on into Ribs .

Then we got the bill. Paula Jo’s Mimosa was nearly €14! That’s about $20, for those of you following along at home. I thought she was going to faint. To top it off, she didn’t enjoy it that much. They didn’t brandish a pistol in our faces, but we knew we’d been taken. How sad. Lesson in travel economics learned, we adjourned to our room for a quick chat home and some rugby on TV, even though it still wasn’t quite dark out yet…

Enjoy the (Full-Day Dublin) Heat!

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