I've just returned from Phase I of Spring Break, which was our trip to Dublin. I do believe we covered every square inch of the city center throughout the five days we were there. We hit lots of the touristy places, such as the Dublin Castle, the Book of Kells, and the requisite art museums. We also hit some more, er, out of the way places -- like when I dragged Crissie and Christine out to the docks to visit the exterior of U2's studios. Pictures were taken, fun was had, activities were kept well within the confines of the law, and no one was mugged. Hooray.
We stayed with a very nice elderly lady named Molly Ryan who likes to talk and talk and talk and say "God love ye" at any opportunity. She also berated us on our first night when we returned to the house at only 10:30, but we were forgiven for not staying out all night when we informed her that we were up at 4:30 that morning. She need not know that we are not really night owls by nature.
We took a lovely mini-bus tour of the Wicklow mountains just outside the city and saw where Braveheart was filmed (the nice people of Ireland want you to know that it was filmed in Ireland. Not Scotland. And don't let anyone tell you differently. No. Seriously. Don't put up with any cursed lies that Braveheart was made in Scotland. 'Cuz it wasn't. It was made in Ireland. So there). We saw a lot of sheep as well.
Another side trip was made to the town of Killiney, along the seashore. It's not really a town per se, as it is merely a big hill with big houses owned by incredibly rich people. But it has a swell beach. Despite the fact that it looked as though the heavens were going to rain down upon our heads at any given moment, the beach was full of nice Irish people and their kids and their dogs and their kites. So we went as well, collecting beach rocks along the way, trying to figure out which house was Bono's, and putting our hands in the Irish Sea, which we decided was really frikkin' cold.
We also discovered that the Dublin art scene is waaaay over our little heads. We went to see a play about (now follow me) penguins at a zoo who are under the rule of a king penguin who throws bad penguins to the lions. And no penguin play is complete without themes of incest, obsession, stalking, depression, and murder. And sure, let's have the people dress up in scary costumes and makeup and overact like there's no tomorrow. And have them sing. And let's produce the whole thing in a crypt. So what could have been a lovely, funny play about penguins turned out to be good old-fashioned nightmare fuel. We left at intermission, and then happened upon a courtyard showing an arty movie wherein a little girl shoots a sheep in the head to the strains of the Exorcist theme. All the while, some anarchist punks were beating the crap out of each other with a pogo stick along the back wall of the courtyard. It was time for us to go seek out the myriad other parts of the city where such things weren't taking place.
But all that aside, I really liked Dublin. It's the kind of place that grows on you. It's not beautiful, like Paris or Edinburgh, but parts of it (the waterfront by O'Connell Street and St. Stephen's Green) are really lovely. And the people rock. There's a quirky energy and character there that reminds me of Greenwich Village, except Dublin is very down to earth while New York is rather high on itself. Dublin's not all that great if you're in a tourist frame of mind, but it would be a great place to live, if one were so inclined.
Off to Wales on Friday then.