Dublin!!

This will probably be my last post so I assume it will be pretty long and filled with pictures. Since leaving the Byrne family home and having my last “Fry” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_breakfast) in the Waterford area we have hopped on a train and headed in to Dublin. Our gracious host Carmel picked us up at the train station and took us to her place which we would call home for the next 2 nights. On the first night we headed out to Temple Bar, a downtown section of Dublin where the bars stay open late and there is usually live music in most places. Here are a couple of (admittedly blurry) shots of us at The Quay (pronounced “key”).

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It was COLD outside, and Keara was having her new favorite, a hot whiskey with a slice of lemon and fresh cloves. After roaming the area and bars for a while we headed back to Carmel’s to turn in for the night.

The next day we set out on the “hop on hop off” bus which Carmel was kind enough to get us tickets for. The bus took us all over the city and the drivers were hilarious, letting loose with off color comments about every landmark we passed. And although we passed many interesting things, the most important and entertaining on the route was the Guinness factory! I had secretly been waiting for this almost as much as the trip in general. This place was like a playground for someone who is a true lover of Guinness, and since Keara doesn’t care for the stuff, I got all her free samples! The sights were what you might imagine in the biggest brewery in Europe, fresh water waterfall:

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Fresh hops:

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Armchairs to sit in and look creepy:

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Even convenient postings to solve the previously unanswerable conundrums of the universe:

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You read it right, the thing inside bottles and cans of Guinness is officially called a Widget!

The whole building was shaped like a giant pint, and you could tell that a great deal of artistic planning went into the design of the place. Nothing was just placed in a display case, everything was placed with great care in ways I can only imagine were meant to make you think “I could really go for a Guinness right now.” Crazy video installations and sticker grids made me wish I had this much of any one companies propaganda just to arrange it on my walls like this.

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The concept of Guinness making you strong was a common theme and they seemed to have very little regard for the accurate portrayal of other cultures:

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At the top of the giant pint glass is the cherry to the cake that is the Guinness factory tour, A bar in the sky with a 360 degree view of Dublin and a free pint of the freshest Guinness you could ever possibly get.

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I thought the free pint and the amazing view would be my favorite part of the Guinness factory but just when I thought these crafty Irish brewers had nothing left to show me they topped themselves again. The final room as you exit the building finds you surrounded by lcds and mirrors and a loud sound all meant to make you feel like you are living inside the head of a giant Guinnes pint, and the music in the background? Stem by D.J. Shadow!! They really know their audience.

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After that we got classy in Trinity square:

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In the end, it turns out that I love Ireland! Not that I’m completely surprised by this verdict but still, I had no idea how fond I’d really be of this place until I came here and saw and tasted for myself. I can’t wait until the next visit. Thank you to Ireland and everyone here who made this as fantastic of a trip as it was!

Slainte!!

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