Sunday, August 22, 2010

No Hopping for These Guys

What to do on a rainy Sunday in Dublin… Our package deal with IrishRail included two-day tickets for the green as opposed to the red Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tours. I often wonder if the name of those tour buses is discriminatory for those who are physically challenged. However, I have yet to see anyone taking the name to heart. I have never seen anyone actually try to hop entering or exiting the vehicle. Either way, we sat up top in the open air letting the mist and raindrop flutter through our hair as we traveled the speed of a crippled dog.

We did the entire loop of twenty-three points of interest in 1 ½ hours, but still did not do any hopping yet. What I find interesting, yet disappointing are the Sunday hours of museums. Is it because this is a Catholic country that museums do not open until 1 or 2 pm on Sunday? Do the attendants need that time for church, get home have that full Irish breakfast, change, and then get to work? Even I know Saturday night masses can count for the points a Catholic needs to tally up for a Sunday obligation. They are going to be closed all day on Monday like most museums worldwide. It would make more sense to open early, close early.

Continuing on the bus, we did get off, sorry, no hopping was involved, but we were close to the National Gallery of Ireland on Merrion Square West. This art museum houses over 7,000 pieces. I cannot say it was in deference to our time constraints, but over one floor was closed off for renovations. Admission is free and we were short on time, so it worked in our favor. We were able to see the highlights of what interested us.

In the interest of time, we were able to walk to the Irish National Museum of Antiquities. We had been here on our last trip, but it seemed the same issue as this time. Museums are open 2-5 pm on Sundays, causing a mad dash as Monday is a no-go. I don’t get enough time in this museum, but it is actually four museums at four different locations. I really need a day for each. Look, look, look, digest the visual overload, look, look, look, leave to nap and return again. Admission is free.

There was still time to fit in one more museum, a unique one; unique due to the subject and because they are open until 6 pm. The National Leprechaun Museum was on my watch list. Okay, I admit I have a carry-over from childhood when the marketing to youth included “Be the first on your block to…”  I am certain we are the first and probably only ever on our block to visit this museum. It was not focused toward children as much as one would expect, though they do have a charming end to the guided and self-guided tours. It is obvious they put a great deal of thought, energy, research, and workmanship into making this as enchanting as it is. Never did catch that evasive leprechaun though.
Dinner was in the Temple Bar area. We learned on our tour that Temple was a provost at Trinity. He and his family lived in this district. bar in Irish means ‘close to the river’ (Barra an Teampaill). There are no associations with bar and pub, though there are plenty of pubs in the Temple Bar area, but there are also shops, restaurants, and residences. Using Ron’s Silver Surfer card, we went to the Turk’s Head for another 2 for 1 dinner. A lively pub atmosphere when we arrived at about 7 pm turned into a ghost place by 8:30 pm. Maybe we missed the second shift.

To work off dinner, we did a bit of shopping, not much mind you. We only have carry-on luggage and a backpack that can carry another forty pounds, but that is reserved for books. I found a funny sweatshirt that made me guffaw out loud, something rare these days. It has “I swear to drunk, I am not God.” Had to buy it. Off by tram to Ryan’s Pub, the only place we have found that had Galway Hooker on tap or at all actually. One of the genealogy research places shows that my original family name hailed from a tribe in Galway. I must have needed to get to my roots. If you go to the Galway Hooker website, read the first page carefully. It is funny, not really adult rated.

If WiFi access were not 6.95 Euros an hour, I would have thought to check their website for other places that sold it. Darn!
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