Saturday, June 4th
We left Ennis and drove across Ireland to Dublin. The drive was awesome. Almost the entire way was an honest-to-goodness interstate. I was going 120 kph and felt totally relaxed and comfortable. I even put on some classical music for the drive while the boys slept.
I'm not going to lie - I wasn't sad at all to turn our little volvo into the rental car return. Driving was the only downside so far of this trip, but the stresses of it were worth the freedom to come and go as we pleased, so I'd definitely recommend renting a car in Ireland and Scotland. Just give yourself plenty of time to get places, pull over when you can if you have a car behind you, and get the extra insurance. Trust me. We ended up not needing it, but there are a lot of stone walls and very narrow roads here.
Anyway - we checked into an airport hotel and only had the afternoon and evening to explore Dublin, which isn't enough time at all. Dusty flies home tomorrow, and Jake and I are on to London for a few days. But he and I will have one more day to explore Dublin on our return, since our flight leaves from there.
We took a cab to the Guinness storehouse, and went through the tour. The facility is a wonder. There were a zillion tourists wandering around the place, but the design of the self-guided tour works pretty well, as they guide you through a series of floors and rooms with interesting exhibits and "upscalators" (Nati's term for an escalator that goes up) like this one:
At the start of the tour, you see where Arthur Guinness signed a lease for the brewery for 9,000 years. That's a long, long time. Here's a photo of the original lease which is encased in glass and displayed in the floor of the brewery's atrium:
There were plenty of cool special effects like this waterfall:
The actual brewing process isn't all that different from that of the scotch distillery we toured in Scotland, but I love looking at the machinery:
*photos of the exhibited grinders and copper barells:
It was basically a museum and there were plenty of things to learn. Like the fact that Arthur Guinness and his wife had 21 children, 11 of whom died. Apparently in those times, the survival rate for children to grow to adulthood was 50%. I can't imagine the thought of burying 11 children. And the fact that his family wasn't immune to the losses just goes to show how different the times are these days.
I love model ships like these:
There were plenty of random, odd things there too. Like this whistling clam:
And this quote: "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."
And here's a sculpture of a fish on a bicycle:
The Guinness harp falls into the weird category because it was electronic and it lit up when you touched it.
Beer isn't really my thing. I'm a wine gal. But I have to say that this pint tasted damn good. But man, it was like eating a loaf of bread, it filled me up so much:
*pic of a pint of guinness:
After the Guinness Storehouse tour, we decided to go to The Brazen Head, which is supposedly the oldest pub in Dublin - some say it was established in 1198 as a carriage house. The taxi driver from the hotel to Guinness recommended it to us, and it was definitely a good call. There were horse drawn carriages parked outside of the storehouse, and on a whim we decided to take one to get to the pub. It was fun.
*photo of Jake on the carriage ride:
*photo of us on the carriage in front of The Brazen Head:
It was a fun place; very touristy, but the atmosphere was great:
And they served the best meal of the whole trip so far. These fish and chips were amazing:
We got back to the hotel and Jake and I hung out and got our things organized while Dusty went out to smoke a cigar on the patio. He befriended a group of Scots who are going to Tennessee on vacation tomorrow and had a lively conversation with them that he really enjoyed. I was sad to miss the conversation but glad he got to interact with them.