Did not make the same mistake again for Day 2 in Dublin and was up by 8. This allowed us to have breakfast at Gordon Ramsey again.
And since we knew exactly where to go the drive into Bray was much much easier. And it was Saturday morning so no one was out and about. We rode the DART to Pearse Station in Dublin, around 40 minutes or so. From there it was a quick walk to Trinity College. I really wanted to get there by 9:30 when the Book of Kells exhibit opens. Got there just after 10 am however. Look at the line ahead of us.
Now check out the line after we left at about 11:15 or so.
Yup. Get there early or don’t bother. Seriously.
Anyhow back to the exhibit. You wait in line to enter and pay a cashier. €9 per person I might add!
From there you are shepherded through a one-way, no exit, exhibit with massive blown up photos of the Books. There are actually 4 total, 1 for each of the Gospels of the New Testament. No photos are allowed so you’ll just have to trust me when I say for a girl that loves the written word as much as I do, loves history as much as I do and was looking forward to nothing else in Dublin so much as this that I was unimpressed. I wanted to be impressed, I tried. But honestly they had other books in their collection on display that were more interesting and older! I think it is because they have only 2 books on display at any given time, one turned to a written page and one turned to a graphic page. You see more in photos of the books various pages. And that doesn’t include the massive herd of people around the display case.
My vote? Not worth it for the book. But it is worth a visit for the Old Library’s Long Room! Now that I was impressed with. A book lover’s dream!
Once you are done with the Book of Kells there is a staircase in the same black room. You have to go up the stairs to exit. At the top you encounter the Long Room. Do you recognize it? That’s right I geeked out not just visiting an awesome library but I was visiting on May the Fourth. Star Wars Day! And this library, in a digitized form, bears a striking resemblance to the Jedi Archives used in Episode II. Lucas says it wasn’t but I, like a lot of people, don’t believe it and never have. It’s the library.
This is not only massive but beautiful. I could take pictures here but with no flash and honestly for as bright as it was my pictures turned out poorly. I am not sure why but I had trouble both with my camera and my iPhone. My mother’s didn’t turn out at all. I am still going to share!
Down the center of the room are display cases filled with old books and manuscripts. All of which proved more interesting than the Book of Kells.
Off to the side is an non-descript display case containing this:
It is Ireland’s oldest and finest harp and their national symbol. Often called the Brian Boru harp though it dates to a time much after him. It could not be captured in pictures adequately but this is stunning.
After seeing everything I wanted to I went down a flight of stairs in the center of the room that pops you out into the shop. So of course I spent a bunch of money on things like postcards of the items I had just seen (I knew my pictures were bad) as well as jewelry and the like.
From there we walked to the next Hop-on Hop-off stop and waited for the next bus. We ended up getting the best guide EVER! Their buses have either prerecorded audio (for those that need another language besides English) or live tour audio. He was a live guide and so everything was said with his unique spin. I have no idea what his name was, nor did I take any video and I should have! He called everyone a Dipstick. At some of their better stops they have guys selling tickets for the bus. At one such stop he was trying to get the attention of the guy working the stop. He called Tommy several times very loudly then muttered “Tommy, you dipstick!” Bad drivers, and there are loads of them in Ireland as everyone follows way too damn close, were all dipsticks that needed to get out of his way. He called Dublin “Doob-linn”. A few others I met did too but his was noticeable. A blonde woman got on on one stop and he called her blondie. When she got off a few stops later he said something like bye-bye blondie and then under his breathe (as much as you can when you have a microphone strapped to your mouth) “probably peroxide but what do I know?”. He was a total hoot! I was sad getting off but each trip around is about 1 hour and 15 minutes and we were burning daylight oil.
So reluctantly we got off at the Guinness Storehouse. This was basically a very expensive brewery tour. Very expensive! With a 10% discount from our Hop-on Hop-off tickets it was €31 for 2 people! Even with a free pint on each ticket that is insane! All self-guided so you go in, get a bit of an introduction of Guinness and check out the original 9,000 year lease for the property embedded in the floor.
Video of the waterfall inside emphasizing how important water is to the beer, you do walk under the waterfall before walking around it and over it to get to the second floor:
Then you walk through, one way, a 7 story open air structure. Each floor is something different about Guinness and it’s history. I am scared of heights, did I mention that? By the time I got to the top I was terrified!
From the advertisement section. Why yes, yes it is.
But look at that view from Gravity Bar!!!
There is a bar where they teach you how to pour a proper pint but it is loud enough that you can learn without actually doing it. And besides the line was insane. I decided to just go to the top for mine. And I took video of of it too.
It was crowded but the views were stunning! A proper pint of Guinness at Guinness Storehouse with this view? Beats having a Guinness in Temple Bar right? Besides we already knew we were going to do dinner at the hotel pub that night. And while it is a hotel pub my experience is that hotel bars aren’t that much different than normal bars so I figured I was good with the two combined.
There was a group of guys singing as well, just because. The video sound sucks a bit but give it a shot, hopefully you can hear them ok.
Oh and did I mention it was crowded?
I loved this place. Still not sure it was worth the €31 but eh. Oh and I should add nearly everywhere I ordered a Guinness the price was about the same, €5, give or take. Even here if I wanted to buy another one beyond my freebie.
Once done with my pint I headed down via elevator (that was scary as hell since it was all glass down 7 stories but quick) and did some massive shopping in the gift shop. I brought home some whole grain mustard infused with Guinness that just totally rocks. They had just loads of different things. I picked up an ink pen with a bottle opener in the side for instance.
From there we were both tired and decided it was time to head back, slowly, to the hotel. So we caught the next Hop-on Hop-off to St Stephen’s Green. Incidentally I strongly recommend the red Hop-on Hop-off bus (there is red and green, different companies). We got 2 days worth of transportation for about $23 a person plus some great sites and tour guides. Whenever I go anywhere in the future I will definitely look up these buses to see if I can get such a great opportunity again.
From the bus: Georgian Square
From the bus: Christchurch Cathedral
The Viking Splash Tour “Bus” which hits the Viking highlights. Check out the horns!
St. Stephen’s Green
We walked through the park a bit to get to Grafton Street. Of course since it was Saturday it was packed with people. Dublin in general was packed. That wears you down quickly. At least me, an introvert.
We walked up Grafton Street with the idea to do some shopping. But my mother was done spending money and not really in the mood. All the people there killed any I had left.
Breakfast had tided us over but due to Bewley’s Oriental Café being right there on Grafton St I wanted to go in. Bewley’s is a major tea company and sold much of the tea I ended up bringing home. We couldn’t even really get across the street to visit nevermind how packed it was inside. So we ended up just walking by.
Lots of street performers of course.
The Tart with the Cart otherwise known as Molly Malone.
Walked the length of Grafton, oogled major stores I have desperately wanted to go in but walked to Tara Station to take the DART train back to Bray.
These two were so funny! Total strangers sat down next to each other on the DART and started chatting like old friends. They talked about all sorts of stuff including politics, taxes, etc. Very amusing to listen to for about 30 minutes or so before they both got off.
We arrived back at the hotel around 4:45-ish or so. After a bit of relaxing, Facetiming with my husband (he was having breakfast) and the like we had dinner in the hotel pub (this meal was part of our package so this was pre-planned). It was a busy weekend for the hotel staff though. Several weddings and parties going on and the pub is right next to the ballrooms which made for a string of wedding guests coming in, just like any hotel wedding.
And yes this Guinness tasted exactly the same as the Guinness I had earlier in the day. My summation is that all Guinness tastes exactly the same if poured properly.
After dinner I went swimming in that beautiful beautiful pool again. Then it was some TV and bed.