Robert Frost

The best way out is always through.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Irish Finale (Aug. 17, 2009) Finally!

Well I started this telling of our August 2009, 7 day London/Dublin trip a respectable couple of weeks after it happened and now 9 months later I am tying up its loose ends.  Thank you, if you have been reading along (at all) and excuse me for this indulgence of re-living a delightful, maybe all too jam packed family journey.  Here goes....

"Up and at'em people" this was our last day.  And what was the breakfast of champions that got us ready to face the city-filled day?  Voila....

The wonderfully provided FULL IRISH BREAKFAST by the B&B. 

Our B&B was very basic, but close to one of Dublin's main thoroughfares, O'Connell St., and that along with it's helpful staff and generous (heart stopping) breakfasts included, made it a plus for our stay.  I liked eavesdropping and hearing the mostly non-Irish accents of the customers surrounding us (Italian, German, Czech, and yes, also American) in the mornings, typically reviewing the plans of the day and looking much like us...tourists.  Lou (mother-in-law, MIL)generally chatted along with one of the other lodgers each morning, and after breakfast would have a tale to tell of who she'd just met and I would marvel at her powers of conversation and how easily people would divulge so much in just meeting her. 

On our last day I just wanted us to take things as they came.  Did I have an agenda?....well, of course!....but I hoped that we would tromp along and happen upon a place, some music wafting from within a family friendly pub, or find a charming spot to linger.  But by golly, I know I am being repetitious, a family of six, ages 2-62, that is a bit travel weary, does not a spontaneous happy group make.  I laid out some suggestions for our day and not counting Sophia (2yo), 4 blank faces stared back at me, saying "whatever".  AHHHHH! The dreaded "whatever" of vacation travel is on equal terms with "Are we there yet?" and "How long is this going to be?". 

First order of the day: SHOPPING.  Lou and the girls perked up and we hit a popular touristy souvenir shop that seems to be on almost every other corner of Dublin: Carrolls. We happily, and easily found Irish trinkets with the right amount of local flavor and fun for family back home and once done we were ready to walk across the River Liffey on Ha'Penny bridge to check out some more shopping on Grafton street.

I thoroughly enjoyed walking through Temple Bar again, along old cobblestone roads and pedestrian walkways to Grafton street (again, no buses for us). 
Once we arrived I realized that our group was hungry AGAIN.  The shops and eateries around us were a bit out of our budget.  As I pondered where to direct us next, I heard the beautiful strains of the violin being played nearby and lead my family to its source.  A young violinist, and a few other musicians were playing and drawing a small crowd.  I paused to enjoy how the dreamy music fit my delight in being in Dublin and having this lovely day. 
Then a tap on my shoulder....
SARA: "What are we doing now?" 
ME: "Well, we are looking at this cool shopping area and listening to this neat music..dontcha think?" 
SARA:" I guess, but where are we going to eat?"
ME: "Well, we will find a place. Don't you want to look around here some?" 
SARA: " Can we go eat first?" 
So guess what we did?

We had an even lovelier walk BACK to the Temple Bar area to Gallagher's Boxty House (recommended by both our B&B manager and Rick Steves)...(oh, how I wanted to stop every few moments and peek into the interesting and whimsical local shops....but people were hungry!). 
After this longish walk, I was even hungry and the restaurant was very inviting with its timbered pub-like interior and long tables and benches. 
We ordered the obligatory Boxty, a savory potato pancake that is folded, taco-like around the filling of your choice (mostly meaty) with a gravy/sauce accompaniment,
ummm...this was so much tastier than it looks, I promise
and David and I each enjoyed an Irish pint of Murphys

Uh, and Lou enjoyed two (hehe just kidding LouLou).

Anna caught in the act of savoring her Irish soda bread....yums.
I know, we are awful parents.

The lunch was a triumph of Irish cuisine again, and the family was ready to join in a historical walking tour that covered Dublin's world renowned Trinity College down to Dublin Castle.
Trinity College
Once the group was assembled outside the main college entrance with our professor-ly Irish tour guide, we set off.....ah, and the rest is a blur.

Sophia and I walking into Dublin Castle
I remember a pretty day, the guide's wonderful Irish accent telling of times of struggle/oppression for the hardy Irish, mass immigration to the hope of America, and rebuilding. 

I love history people, but watching a 2 year old, and plain ol' tiredness set in and the man might as well been Charlie Brown's teacher..wha,wha, wha, wa, wha, wha.  And the girls were so good, but I am sure if I would mention "historical walking tour" to them now, they would start glazing over. 

So this was the state of us after the 2 hour tour as we hoofed it back to the bed and breakfast.  And then another dreaded decision....where to eat?...da, dum!   I remained silent.  I had trooped this group up, down and all around and I guess I just acted out by keeping shut.  The response....10 sad minutes of a suggestion and general moodiness and silence.  I did not want to pull out the guide book again, and I knew Lou and her still sore ankle would not want to deal with walking 20 minutes out of our way to a new eating spot and then possibly having to get on another dreaded bus (she dreaded them, not us). 

So guess where the family of 6, long in the tooth, decision weary American tourists decide to eat?.....Mickey D's naturally.  But oddly, our family, who probably eats at Mc Donald's back in the states about once a year was comforted by the familiar as we sat on the second level section of Mc Donald's overlooking O'Connell St.   

Then Lou, who I would have bet was mentally noting to herself "I will never travel with David and Jenny, AGAIN", offered a somewhat upbeat perspective, "You know, when we got to London, all I could think was it was so crowded, loud and busy....but after being here in Dublin, I realize that the Tube was actually really helpful, and London was surprisingly clean.  And in Ireland I am not as impressed with Dublin as I would hope to be, with the dirty streets and smell of people smoking everywhere, but the Irish countryside is gorgeous, the people are so friendly that I would come back." 

I was thankful that she shared something positive that caused us all to reflect a bit and give thanks.  We had safely, healthfully (mostly), sanely (yeah, I will stand by that), and with all our original luggage (minus some toilettries) traveled as a family of 6 from Dallas, London, Ireland and were happily ready to head back home.
Chillin' at the B&B

We tucked in early-ish, packed and got ready for our early and lengthy 2 connecting flights back home.  Honestly, we came home grouchy and ready for separate activities of home, work and school (remember this was last Aug. 2009)....but just the other day two things occurred...

1. Anna was staring out the window of the truck on the way home (at our pitifully dry, yellowed Texas landscape) and piped up that "I would love to go back to Ireland and just tour all the countryside again."  ME, "Sounds great, I hope we all get to do that again"

2. Lou, talking about hopes to travel again said, "You know, if I was able to travel overseas again, I think y'all's style of traveling is most like mine.  We should all do it again."  All I have to say to that is thank you Lou, and Wow. 

Peace out


Related Posts with Thumbnails