"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Maria Trapp-The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Ch. 12 p. 4

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An Amazing Day

Today was a wonderful day. 

After a full night's rest (at least for me - Doug didn't sleep at all!) I was more ready to take in what I was seeing and digest it. My brain was a little less fuzzy.

We took the 10am train to Dublin and after a few minutes of walking around confused, found our hotel. It is right off O'Connell Street - the main thoroughfare - and so right in the hear of everything going on. So far our accommodation choices, both from Priceline, have been great. Belfast was a little tired, old and not too clean - a bit like the city itself. Here we feel like we've landed in the lap of luxury. Especially as we found two bottle of wine awaiting us in the room - thanks to Aaron and Brenda! Both locations have been in close walking distance to everything we want to see. Priceline.com is my friend.

After settling in a bit we were off for a historical tour of the city. What a wonderful treat it turned out to be. We were the only two who showed up for the 2 hour walking tour. So, the guide took us on a private walk and answered all kinds of questions about Irish history, the Irish, and the city. We ended up going for a pint after the tour and he spent nearly four hours with us altogether talking about anything we liked. It was such a treat! A real conversation about all this Irish stuff we've been studying and thinking on with someone who was born and raised here. He also has a PhD in history from Trinity College, so his were some well informed opinions. 

What better than a private tour of the city from a history buff followed by a couple hours conversation in a "old-school" Irish pub as recommended by a local, rather than the tourist trap pubs build for the tourists?! He even recommended another pub we can go find where a bunch of local musicians get together every night to play. He practically fell off his chair when Doug told him the story of how we got here. He then made us stay a little longer and tell him our whole trip plans and gave us notes and suggestions for all along our way.
This is just what we would dream of finding. Someone who wants to talk opinions on Irish/English history and relations. Places to hang out where the Irish go, not simply tourist traps. Real Irish musicians. Could not have planned a more perfect day! The Lord has certainly blessed the plans we've made, making them even better than we could ask or imagine.
Tomorrow is a very full day - a tour of the Kells display at Trinity College, a 1916 Easter Rising Walking Tour of the city, Guinness Storehouses and a literary pub crawl. Oh, and I've brought a little extra savings along because I'm going to make Doug buy himself a pipe from the original and only store of Peterson's of Dublin. Petersons are his favorite pipes so he has to have one from the source!

Oh, and to those who were looking forward on our behalf to our stay at Dromoland Castle - we've pretty much decided to skip it. Our money is a little tighter than we knew because of poor exchange rates and we've had two different Irishmen, including our favorite Dublin guide John, tell us we should skip that and spend our time exploring past Galway into Connemara. We've decided to see more rather than spend a small fortune for a few hours at a luxury resort. We will still have our castle experience at Waterford Castle. Several people have suggested that we could see a lot more in the 12 days we have than what is on our itinerary, so it seems we should try. 

Pictures will be forthcoming, but the internet is giving us fits and the pictures are having a hard time loading.

Excited to find what tomorrow holds! -Amy

P.S. If I have half a brain later at some point I'll try and post something on the difference between Belfast and Dublin. So interesting the history and the effect of the two parts of Ireland.

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