Technically-speaking, I spent only 46 hours in Dublin. And, while I hate to admit it, almost a third of that was spent asleep. The five hour time change, combined with a sleepless six-and-a-half hour red-eye flight, dealt me a serious case of jet lag.
But given the amount of time I had to work with, I tackled that town with a balls-out-take-no-prisoners attitude. The 30 or so hours I spent exploring the city, taking pictures, making friends, drinking and eating, were executed with amazing efficiency and unbridled enthusiasm. And the recon work I’d accomplished after I landed on Monday paid off on Tuesday.
However, I’m becoming painfully aware that my approach to tourism is unconventional at best.
In my defense, I’m flying solo. I don’t have the pressure to keep a wife and kids (who’d rather be home playing video games) occupied 24/7, doing museums, taking tours, combing through souvenir shops. I have a different agenda, given the limited amount of time I have to spend in each place I visit.
My sister-in-law, a former school teacher and unrepentant travel addict, saw the bottle of Writer’s Tears (Irish whiskey) I had posted on Facebook. She posted a comment asking if I went to the Writer’s Museum while in Dublin. I’m sure she was disappointed to hear that, with only a day and a half to work with, I had invested my time in other ways.
Maybe I’ll get better at it as I go along. And maybe not.
I went to Trinity College Tuesday morning after spending an hour or so walking through a wonderful park called St. Stephen’s Green. I was anxious to go into the library at Trinity. I wanted to see the Book of Kels, take a few photos. Met three lovely women from California as I walked through the arch and together the four of us got into the queue that snaked around the building. I then realized it was only a line to buy the €16 ticket. That ticket only grants you the privilege of standing in another line for God knows how long,
So, I bid farewell to my new friends and walked away. Had a glorious freshly carved turkey sandwich and a pint of Smithwicks at O’Neill’s Pub, just around the corner. By the time I’d finished, it was 2pm. So, I walked over the bridge, grabbed a trolley back to my hotel, napped for an hour or two, got up and hunted down the famous Long Hall pub on Georges, shared my ATW (around-the-world) story with a fun couple from Longbranch, New Jersey, as I sipped some Writer’s Tears. Left there and found Skinflint, one of Anthony Bourdain’s go-to restaurants in Temple Bar, and still made it back to the hotel before last call. Had a pint of Moretti, chatted up the bartenders, met a crazy group of Russian tourists who were drinking bottle-after-bottle of champagne, then went to my room and spent an hour trying to squeeze my shit back into my suitcase and get ready to leave in the morning for London.
If you’re scoring on the basis of museums seen and tours of ancient castles taken, I’m failing miserably. But if you’re willing to curve that grade by accounting for pubs visited, people engaged, and total miles walked, I might get my Tourist Ranking up to a passing grade. Please add an additional ten points for no fanny pack.
If you’re still following along at home, you know I landed in Dublin at 11:00 Monday morning. At 9:00 Wednesday morning, I was in a cab heading to the airport, celebrating my fearless urban exploration and unique Irish insights.
Have I seen everything there is to see in Dublin? I couldn’t do that in a fortnight. But I saw enough to feel I know the city. I would like to return someday.
There is a lot to love about Dublin, not the least of which is the people. Warm, friendly, genuinely glad you’re there.
As for the women, I left wondering where they keep the ugly ones. I can only assume there is a town or village somewhere on the island where they banish those who don’t quite measure up. That’s not to say every woman in Dublin is adorable. There were a few who haven’t been shipped out yet. And I’ll freely admit that I fell in love a few dozen times. Unfortunately, as a 58 year old guy of slightly below average height and above average weight, my only remaining super power is invisibility.
To women under 35, I don’t even cast a fucking shadow.
Speaking of profanity, I had several wonderfully enjoyable conversations with folks while visiting Dublin in which I was impressed at the ease with which they could throw around the generally inappropriate “C” word. In America, that word has been pretty much removed from our lexicon. A guy is asking for a knuckle sandwich from his gal pal should he ever let that one slip past his lips in her presence.
Here’s what I found interesting: To the Irish, that word is not gender-specific. It’s used to describe anyone who is a…um, jerk. I heard it used three or four times in a single sentence, even as a verb. They pronounce it with an “oo” sound, like coon. But with a “t” at the end.
I love the dialect. It’s wonderful. Lyrical. And if you listen closely, you realize the Irish have a hard time with the “th” sound.
“I’ve been thinking about that thing” is pronounced “I’ve been tinking about tat ting.”
Well, I found it interesting…
Loved Dublin, would like to explore the rest of the country someday. Didn’t get to the Writer’s Museum. But I did have a taste of Writer’s Tears.
And it was good.