A Travellerspoint blog

Friday--Last Day in Dublin

One final walkthrough to say farewell

storm 54 °F

After a bit of preliminary packing, I went into town. It was raining off and on, cold and gusting wind, especially along the Quay where the cottage is located. Catching the Luas (Tram) I alighted at the NCI (National College of Ireland), having spotted a barber shop. No matter where you go in the world, you need a haircut. The young girl was on a work visa from Brisbane, Australia, and afterwards, I got a scalp massage.

Shaggy no longer, I headed downtown and retraced the steps sister Robin and I had walked. I was not in a mood to explore further than I had; I was in a mood to retrace what had now become familiar haunts, and had one last meal of fish & chips (with mushy peas, of course) at a pub across from Trinity College, and where Robin and I had eaten. It was time to go, but I was feeling a bit melancholy about it.

Then it was off down Grafton St, a major shopping pedestrian lane; sort of the Rodeo Drive of Dublin. Wandering through this chancel of commercialism, I saw a sign pointed down the alley saying, ‘Carmelite Church’.
http://www.clarendonstreet.com/index.php?article=homepage

So I went in for a quick chat with God. It turns out to be a huge and, by all standards, very traditional Catholic Church. I instantly felt like I was on holy ground; something I never quite felt at Kildare. There are 6 daily Masses and 7 on Sunday. Votive candles were blazing. But what astonished me most was the number of people praying or just having a quiet ponder: housewives with their shopping; one old lady; a young man with his head in his hands, as if he had the whole world on his shoulders and was on the verge of not coping. There is a sentiment that only the old go to Church; but fully 75% in there praying were under 50 years of age.

I sat in quiet for longer than I intended, lit a candle for all my friends and family and the Parish of S. Bride, and God’s protection as I took my leave of Ireland; but not of my Good Shepherd of this journey.

Priorities in order, I wandered down to S. Stephen’s Green and found a park bench. The rain had subsided, and there was a bright blue sky; a true final gift from Ireland. I passed by a man in his early 40s reading a book entitled God: A User’s Manual, and thought of S. Philipp and the Ethiopian eunuch spoken of in the Acts. I sat down on the bench next to what appeared to be a Moorish mother and her child, speaking in French. The girl sang, ‘Fre Jacque, Fre Jacque, do me vu?’, a song our mother taught us when we were young. My final sight was a paralytic man in wheelchair, being pulled at fast clip by three little terriers, who appeared to be having the time of their lives.

Wandering back up Grafton St, which past Trinity turns into Connelly, I picked up a spare duffle bag to carry my stuff on short jaunts when I don’t need to schlepp my complete (and large) case.

At the bridge, I spied two Sisters of Charity, talking with a homeless begger. I stopped and observed the interaction, and overheard them enquiring about his health. I was impressed with their tenderness and compassion to one whom I had earlier passed. His face shone and he seemed much encouraged by their concern and assurances they would pray for them. I don’t really support beggers in the street, but I’ll certainly support the Sisters in their ministry to them.

Then it was on the Tram and up the South Quay to the Cottage. As I walked along the Quay-wall, my ship, the Ulysses, was pulling in, awaiting my boarding the next morning. It was time to pack in earnest.

Posted by stbrides 02:32 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

Thursday

The Feast of the Ascension in Dublin

storm 43 °F

Thursday morning it was up early to get the car back to Avis at the airport. Thankfully, the Cottage is located in the Docklands, and it’s a straight shot to the tunnel and M50 leading directly to the airport.

Dropping off the car, I had some breakfast (airport food!), then wander off looking for the shuttle into central Dublin. I got lost, and instead found the Chapel, where they have daily Mass and a quiet meditative space for travellers; so knelt and said a Rosary.

On the shuttle, I got off near Trinity, then walked to S. Patrick’s Cathedral; the National Church of Ireland. It was blustery and damp. I was in time for the 11.05 Mass (Holy Communion; this IS Ireland), and chatted with Fr Charles, the Celebrant, and a retired priest, Canon Sydney Laing. This latter showed me a flag from Queen Victoria with a blue background, contending that the ancient colour for Ireland is not green, but pale blue. Their cassocks are thus blue.

St Patrick’s being a national church, there were memorials to the fallen in all the wars, and there was a huge tourist draw. Dean Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels and other books of biting social satire, was Dean of the Cathedral, and is perhaps remembered more kindly in death than he was as Dean. He seemed to upset everyone.

On to the Bull and Castle, across from Christ Church Cathedral for another pub lunch, and then wandering through the Temple Bar district. I had planned to participate in the Musical Pub Crawl of trad(itional) music, and found where to go.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g186605-d196795-Reviews-Traditional_Irish_Music_Pub_Crawl-Dublin_County_Dublin.html

Then it started raining, a downpour, really, and I found the Starbucks, ordered a cappuccino, found a comfortable chair, and started writing some postcards. Though I frequent Starbucks, I don’t often lounge there, so this felt odd; but it was raining outside…

Clearing, I ventured outside, only to get caught in another squall. But during a brief interlude from the rain, I came upon James Fox’s Pipe Shop. As some of you know, I enjoy the occasional pipe, and Pederson’s pipes are made in Ireland and some of the most famous in the world. I had hoped to purchase one during my trip, so this was my opportunity. I walked out with a nice new pipe. Then the rain started again, this time in ernest.

I spotted O’Neil’s Pub, which is a huge and famous pub, and nipped inside, got a gin and tonic, and found a quiet lounge. In time, I fell into conversation with the couple across the room, who were Australians on honeymoon. Turns out he is a Police Officer and they were married in an Anglican Church north of Sydney.

The musical pub crawl was very entertaining, but also educational and informative. The crowd was huge; almost too large for us all to fit in. But Anthony on guitar and the other fellow on banjo were very, very good. When we finished at about 10PM, they were going on to a ‘session’ and invited us to join them. It was tempting, but it had been a long day, so back to the Luas Tram and Cottage I went.

Posted by stbrides 02:29 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Wednesday to Waterford

where I take the tour, and bolster the local economy in a measurable fashion

storm 42 °F

This morning was a quiet morning. I had gauged correctly that today would be a nasty, rainy and hard blowing day, and so it was. Better to spend the day inside something.

So it was that I headed 2 hours south to the City of Waterford, a port city on the southeastern most part of Ireland, aiming at the Waterford Crystal factory.

Once I got to the M9, it was smooth sailing. But I arrived in the city after 1PM, and was hungry, and saw a McDonald’s. I stopped for a combo meal; my first since leaving the States. It had good Irish beef, and real Irish potatoes, so I felt much better about this transgression.

The tour was highly educational, and it’s amazing what they can do. Standards are extremely high; there are no *seconds*; if it’s imperfect, it gets recycled. The big Globe at Times Square on New Year’s Eve is a Waterford. They change out a few of the panels every year, but they installed a Dick Clark panel in his memory, and that will be a permanent part of the Waterford Globe.

As it happens, the tour ended in the gift shop; and with free shipping and Duty Free shopping, I felt compelled to help the local economy in some small fashion. Their website is here: http://www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com

After walking round the old Viking walls and through the beautiful Georgian (Anglican) Cathedral, it had suddenly started raining. I took this as a sign to head to the Skoda, and was soon on the M9 headed home to a warm cottage.

As I approached Dublin Town, I saw 6 different rainbows! Unfortunately, Seamus the Leprechaun Garmin device, couldn’t help me find the end of the rainbow, so I went home to the snug cottage instead.

Photos to follow on FB (I keep saying that, don’t I?). But Saturday I’ll be on the Ferry to Holyhead, Wales, and thence to London, so may have some time to cull and post these.

RSP+

Posted by stbrides 13:13 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Tuesday to Kildare

Finally, my Pilgrimage to Kildare, with some disappointments

sunny 54 °F

The weather on Tuesday looked to be better than on Wednesday, so today was the day I headed off to Kildare, about an hour’s drive southwest of Dublin. I waited until mid-morning to avoid rush hour traffic, but getting in and out of Dublin is crowded at any point.

I made it there shortly before noon. In the market square, S. Brigid’s Cathedral stands just off the square. It is Church of Ireland (Anglican). It is squarish cruciform in shape. I’ll post my pictures later, but here’s the website for more information:http://www.kildare.ie/kildareheritage/?page_id=39

Kildare is the centre of Irish horse raising and racing and stud. Whenever Englishmen came to Ireland searching for a new racehorse, they came here.

The Round Tower (to defend against the marauding Danes and Norsemen (with whom everyone is quite friendly now, and even observe Passport niceties) is the second highest in Ireland, and the highest one one could climb. I contented myself with gazing upwards; should I do suffer a massive coronary attack, I’d prefer to be at home in Virginia.

The Cathedral itself is 13th century stone, and inside tasteful and simple and restrained; it obviously went through a Protestant Reformation at some point, though there is no obvious signs of Cromwell’s savage desecration. The Baptismal font is very ancient. Along the sides are S. Brigid’s crosses. In all, it appeared to be an ordinary, middle-sized parish church; almost oblivious to being the foci of so much worldwide attention in religious circles. There were no busses full of pilgrims, no candles to light; no one available except the gal present to oversee things and swab the floors; it all seemed simply a forgotten wayside. This caused me some sadness, as it appears Bridey is honoured more away from Kildare.

I enjoyed a nice pub lunch of Irish stew and the locally brewed dark Porter (a Guinness wannabe, but not quite bad. After lunch, I explored more, and knocked on the gate of the Bridian Nuns who keep the fire alive, but there was no response.

On my way home, I drove past S. Brigid’s Well. It is simple, set off a desolate road about 3 kilometers outside the city. It really is simple and desolate, but also seems to be under the care of no one in particular. One thing I found touching was the ribbons of deceased family members and friends, tied to the branches of the trees adjacent to the well.

After saying a Rosary, and making the sign of the Cross with the Holy Water Well, I climbed into the car and was soon on the Motorway, speeding home to the Cottage in Dublin.

Posted by stbrides 03:00 Archived in Ireland Comments (2)

Monday: Robin to the Airport

Got Robin to the Airport; then to Jameson & a quiet Cottage

sunny 58 °F

Monday it was get up and get Robin to the Airport. She had an 1125AM flight, a civilised hour, and we were there two hours in advance. I saw her off, but of course, both of us wanted her to stay longer; her husband and children and grandchildren, perhaps not so much.

I waited round until I was sure she made it onto the plane, reading the Irish Times.

When I was sure she was onboard, I retrieved the car and drove back to the Cottage, which seemed strangely quiet and still. I’m used to this, of course, with just me and the Lady Wilma the Rectory Cat. So, I took the tram into central Dublin and had some lunch, then went to the Jameson Distillery site. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g186605-d216616-Reviews-The_Old_Jameson_Distillery-Dublin_County_Dublin.html

Home for a quiet evening of jazz and Irish traditional music.

Time for bed now, but I’ll post pictures on FB tomorrow.

S+

Posted by stbrides 13:53 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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