After much organisation and planning, we finally made it over to Ireland again. This time we were with my Uncle Ed and his wonderful wife Helen, both of whom had visited Dublin before, but not for a long time.
As there were four of us, we couldn’t crash at anyone’s house so my sister Claire managed to get us a deal on the Doubletree Morrison Hotel, right in the centre, on the banks of the River Liffey. It’s a beautiful hotel and the service was excellent (warm cookies while you check in!) so big thank you to Claire – you’re a star!
Taxi from the airport was a bit of an adventure as I asked to go to the Doubletree Hotel and it turns out there are two and our driver thought we meant the other one. It was only when he said that we had a thirty minute walk to get into the centre that it all came out, but he’d passed our hotel at that point – he said it was his fault, and I agreed. But no-one else did unfortunately.
I’ve never had a bad time in Dublin and this trip was no exception. We explored a few places in Temple Bar and met up with my brother Peter and my sister Claire on the Friday night. Starting in the Palace Bar where we somehow managed to adopt two drunken cockney golfers.
The weather was grey and wet for the whole three days but we didn’t let it get us down. On Saturday we held Helen back from beating up a miserable bus driver who wouldn’t accept notes, even though it was the exact fare, and we jumped a cab to Kilmainham Gaol. This was the where the leaders of the Easter Rising were held before they were shot by firing squad. The subsequent outcry lead to Ireland gaining independence from the British, so it’s a fascinating place and very topical at the moment.
Once there we discovered it was fully booked – something about a centenary or something.
Never mind. Onto the National Museum with a special exhibition all about the uprising. It was here that Clare stood looking at an exhibit next to an Irish lady and a teenager with an American accent. The lady was explain the exhibit to the teenage girl, who then exclaimed “the British are such bastards!” Clare turned round and replied, “we’re very sorry”, to which a nearby Irishman answered, “apology accepted.”
I’m not sure what the teenager made of it all but we felt we’d done our bit for Anglo-Irish diplomacy – that’s that sorted, well done us!
Saturday night, we all met up at the Fallon & Byrne restaurant for a meal, again organised by my sister Claire- she really played a blinder on this trip, thanks again.
Food was great and the company even better. Once fed, we staggered to the Stag’s Head pub and managed to bag a table. More friends turned up and the Guinness flowed, it’s been a long time since I’ve had as good a night as that, over far too quickly.
Sunday, we checked out of the hotel but still had the day before our evening flight, so we visited Dublin Castle and did the tour there. I love a bit of history, so this was great. The castle is where all the Irish Presidents are sworn in and was suitably impressive.
Our last real taste of Dublin was the Brazen Head pub for lunch with my Irish Dad John and his wife Anne. This is apparently the oldest pub in Dublin and we just had one thing left on Helen’s list to tick off, so it was Irish Stew all round.
A quick hop back over the Irish Sea, courtesy of Ryanair, and we were back in tropical Manchester. Overall, a great trip, great company – especially Ed and Helen and all my family in Ireland, can’t wait for the next time. Thanks to Peter and Helen for letting me nick a few of their photos – if only I had a selfie stick of my own Helen.