Monday, March 22, 2010

Ireland Day 3 - St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

Wednesday was St. Patrick's Day, and we decided to spend it in Dublin. We drove to a park and ride in Red Cow and took the light rail into the city.

Our first stop (at about 10am) was the Guinness Brewery. Brian got in free as a VIP because his middle name is Patrick (all Patricks were free for St. Patrick's Day).

The Guinness Brewery is huge (7 floors or so) and is more like a museum than a brewery. We made it through about four floors before deciding to head up to the sky bar - it has a 360 degree view of the city.

We each had a pint while enjoying the views.

After the brewery, we walked over to see the St. Patrick's Day Parade. The streets were really crowded.

While we were waiting for the parade, we decided to take a break and grab some food - Jeff and I shared a full Irish Breakfast at a little restaurant in Temple Bar.

After that it was back to the parade. Since we were standing in about the fourth row, it was really tough to see anything, so we (or at least me) stood on tip-toes and watched some of the floats go by, and then we decided to move on to other things.

The next activity was a tour and tasting at the Jameson Distillery. They had a little video that made it very clear that Ireland (not Scotland) had first developed whiskey, and that if other places thought they had invented it (like Scotland), they've just forgotten where it really came from. Emily and I tried a Jameson mixed with ginger ale, except the ginger ale they have their is different than in the U.S.

Brian got the chance to do a taste test of multiple whiskeys - Jameson, an American whiskey, and a Scotch, and he got a certificate for his wall.

After seeing the distillery, we went on a walk across town. We stopped at University College and saw the Book of Kells (an illuminated manuscript from 800 AD - very cool).

We wanted to go to St. Stephen's Green (a small park in the middle of the city) to sit and relax for a bit, but when we got there it was swarming with tweens (kids 12-16 or so years old). It was one of the strangest things ever - there were so many kids. (Our guess was that since they couldn't got to pubs, they had tried to sneak off to the park to drink - there were lots of police checking bags.) Clearly, this was not going to be the best place to relax, so we gave up on that plan.

Instead, we headed to Oliver St. John Gogarity's (a bar with live music) in Temple Bar. Even though it was only about 5pm, all of the bars were packed. We had a really fun time, though, enjoying a couple beers and singing along to the live music - both traditional Irish and a wide variety of other stuff (from Johnny Cash to Black Eyed Peas).

After an hour or two we got hungry and headed to a restaurant down the street. I had sausages and potatoes - and everything tasted great.

We took a last walk through temple bar and across the river, and then headed home.

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