Sunday, 11 December 2011
Christmas 2011 - Northern Ireland
Day 3 - Dublin
Wake up call at 6am followed by egg and toast for breakfast.
Mum dropped Dad and I off at Central Station at around 7.15am ahead of the 8am departure to Dublin.
Upon boarding, Dad and I settled quickly into planning our Dublin schedule while the train passed south of Lough Neagh through Portadown and Craigavon before snaking south to the border over the Boyne, through Drogheda and easing smoothly into Connolly Street station, Dublin for a prompt 10am arrival.
The weather was exactly as forecast - cloudless, blue, sunny sky and crisp December air.
We walked along our planned route down Talbot Street and onto O'Connell Street (The GPO pictured, right) to locate the tourist information centre. First on our list was a visit to the Dublin Writers Museum on Parnell Square (Parnell monument below), with all sorts of artefacts and literary information on the Irish greats, including Joyce, Yeats, Wilde, Beckett and of course Heaney. I was particularly taken by Behan's personal life story.
Then, we were off to Ireland's most visited tourist spot - the Guinness Storehouse.
Hopping off our blue and yellow-livered bus, we struggled to find the visitor entrance, before finding it hidden away on the backstreets. Full of interesting facts about the brewing process and history of the legendary stout, I was most impressed by the architecture of the place.
Visitors step off the escalator from the reception into a huge, open glass atrium were you stand in awe at the bottom of the world's largest pint glass rising up through the centre of the 7-storey building with elevators leading to and from the Gravity Bar at the top - where a complimentary pint of Guinness awaited.
Guinness in hand, we were treated to 360° panoramas of Dublin - I could have stayed there all afternoon, but we had to move on to get some lunch.
Lunch was provided in the Winding Stair restaurant on the banks of the Liffey overlooking the Ha'Penny bridge, before heading off on some more sightsetting trips to Trinity College, the Aviva Stadium and last but not least - the pub!
McDaids pub it was, the time was now around 5.30pm and Dad and I came in from a cold but brightly-lit Grafton Street into a dimly-lit old-fashioned McDaids pub and settled down for a couple of winter-warming pints of Guinness before catching the train home.
It had been a day to remember.