Dublin: Dublin, You Live In My Heart

 

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Clontarf Castle, our current home defended by Brian Boru

One of the FABULOUS things about Dublin is the cabbies. We leaned all about Brian Boru this week in a cab, the first time I had ever heard of him and now I could give a lecture.  We’ve learned that more than 30% of the people of Ireland don’t want to Pope to visit, that the Hart family comes from Cork, that the best family records in Europe come from Scotland, that most poultry is free range and therefore more white in color, that doughnuts have replaced cupcakes in the race for sweet in-thing in the foodie community.

And the bus drivers… we had one who’s uncle was the last cooper at Guinness, one that sang Elvis when driving over the cobblestones, one that quoted Oscar Wilde at least a dozen times, one that gave me at least six new facts about James Joyce and at least three that made reference to murder… specifically, the murder of the Irish Accent by Tom Cruise in “Far and Away.” It made enough of an impression I want to watch the movie again.

It’s the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 revolt, and we learned much about that this trip. And we’ve been asked – with sincere concern – about Trump daily. We’ve laughed again and again every single day because the Irish have such a great sense of humor. I wonder how that will change, as we see have overheard so many, many Americans say so many, many dumb things. I remember coming here 16 years ago solo and everyone was just so warm, but there weren’t a ton of American tourists then. We’ve had to listen to Americans boast about their walk in closets, discuss (without prompt) their great-great grandfather (“He was from Mayo, maybe you know the family name?”) talk about how much money they make and make rude comments about potatoes.

On to the day’s adventure. We are in our rhythm: We can have a leisurely breakfast, get everything together for the day, head out to one museum, see something small, grab a sit down lunch, head to another museum, do a little shopping, have dinner, head back. That’s about 8 – 10 hours. If we try to make it to three big attractions, we have to have lunch on the go and no shopping or stopping anywhere.

Our two adventures today for were all about the little guy. He’s pooped. He’s done. He’s tired. So we arranged a day where he picked food, he bought a treat for himself, he picked the museums.

Up first was Dublinia! I have a soft spot for cheesy historical displays and was excited that Little was ALL over this one. The first floor is about the Vikings – displays on how they lived, their religion and food and houses and families and jobs and most of all, the first winter they spent in Dublin. The second floor was about Medieval Dublin, the plague and fairs and merchant life and the quays. Finally, on the top, there was a great display on archaeology including real bodies and artifacts that were dug up. So cool.

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Dublinia, L to R: Little and his new Viking friend; medieval punishment!

After a pizza lunch (again) we decided not to bus but walked the 20 minutes across the Ha’penny bridge to the Museum of Natural History. We weren’t sure what to expect but our family loves Natural History, so we were delighted after we left the somewhat limited Irish Animal floor (the ground level) and headed upstairs to see three additional floors of every kind of animal imaginable. If you have been to the Museum of Natural History in NYC, you know that animal collection – this was 10x that!

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Natural History Museum, L to R: A giraffe selfie, the guys and floors 2, 3 & 4, and little and a big lobster

And for dinner? Well, little picked. Ben and I didn’t partake because he picked Burger King. He wanted the How To Train Your Dragon toy and the special santa crown and it was his day. He wore the crown back home to the castle, the little king for today. He’s been such a trooper for the last 20 days. It warms my heart to see him discover the world – today he gave me a huge hug and said “I just love history so much!”

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