On Sunday, our adventures took us to Dublin. It was actually a pretty clear day in Copenhagen, and we hoped that the weather would be as nice in Dublin. The train ride to the airport was effecient as always. However, the line to check in at the airport was ridiculous. By a stroke of luck we were able to cut about 20 minutes off our wait when we were randomly directed to a shorter line.
We landed in Dublin around 10:30 local time, but we didn't make it into the city until around 13:00. In the procces we learned another traveling trip - reserve the smallest compact car because the rental places never have them in stock. We ended up with a nice full size Toyota. The ride into Dublin was a trip, to say the least. We were briefly stuck in traffic for the the rematch of the hotly contested Gaelic Football League match and none of the streets run in straight lines. After about four wrong turns and two scrapes on the curb (let's just say it's difficult to judge the width of the car when driving on the right side), we miraculously ended up right in front of our hotel. Mary Ann had white knuckles all the way, even though I was driving.
Ignoring our bodies' instinct to rest, we set out on foot to see the sites. The first stop was Trinity College, home of the Book of Kells. This ornately hand-written and decorated book of the four Gospels is considered one of the historic treasures of the island. It was transcribed sometime in the 7th century, while mainland Europe was in the Dark Ages. Trinity College was a prominent Protestant University during the British occupation of Ireland. It has since been opened to all religions and women. Photography of the main library and the Book of Kells is restricted, so to get a feel for it check out www.bookofkells.com.
Dublin is a real tourists' town. The main streets are lined with pubs, cafes, and stores. We saw several street performers, including a guy that did this disturbing dance thing with a puppet, as well as some pretty talented soccer players. After getting lost for about 20 minutes, we stumbled into Dublin Castle (while all the time being within two blocks). The stone tower is a relic of the Danish occupation in the 9th century.
Per our recent schedule, we crashed for an afternoon nap. Waking up, we went for dinner at an Irish pub in the Temple Bar area. Although the area was once the home of the Dublin red light district, it is now tourist central. The most authentic thing about dinner was probably the Guiness. For overall Irish experience, I think Chicago has more to offer. We're hopeful that the countryside will provide a more authentic experience. We then took one more walk around the city - this time seeing the River Liffey and the main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street. An extremely slender, modern spire marks one of the main intersections.
Returning to our hotel for an early night - so we can be properly rested for the Guiness Brewery tour - we were greeted by a raucus party in the bar adjacent to our room. We're so tired that I doubt the really bad singing will keep us up that long, though.