day 8 -- dublin
as one may figure, early to bed, early to rise.
which was great since we wanted to make the most of our only full day in dublin. and woo woo! it is eric's birthday!!!
we jumped back on the bus to dublin castle.
after trim, dublin castle was a great disappointment. the castle has had all the upkeep in the world, including "new" wings as it now houses many of the municipal offices for the city. there is really nothing historic left of the building. in fact, the main courtyard within the castle gates is now just a large parking lot. ugh.
then we were off to christ church cathedral.
another great cathedral. the best part of the church was its crypt.
entering the crypt was a bit touristy - lots of displays and short videos, but you could wander through most of the areas and there were definitely some interesting tombs and lots and lots of historic relics!
then back on the bus headed for the guinness brewery.
the tour takes place in an old building that used to be a brew house, but it now dedicated to tours and such.
the building was built out of the chicago school of architecture with lots of exposed steel. very cool. the building contains a large gift shop on its main floor, then 7 floors worth of a self-guided tour. some of you may have received video mail from us on the tour.
at the end of the tour itself you get a small tasting of guinness stout.
the ticket also includes a free pint at the gravity bar - a glass enclosed bar at the very top of the building. this bar is one of the tallest points in all of dublin, so you get a spectacular 360 degree view of all of the city.
if the place wasn't so incredibly crowded it would definitely be a cool place to hang out. but, alas, we enjoyed our pint and headed out (with a brief stop at the gift shop).
our next destination was the jameson distillery.
unfortunately, by this time our 24 hours on our bus ticket had run its course, and the distillery is clear across town. none of the buses had been checking very closely so we decided to chance it. but of course getting on at such a tourist hot spot got us caught. luckily the bus driver was nice enough to let us aboard. we think he remembered us as his last riders on his bus the night before. phew.
the jameson distillery in dublin is no longer an active distillery.
today jameson whiskey is made in midleton in the south of ireland (we get there in a couple of days). so the old distillery in dublin is now just a tourist destination. we did the tour, which ends in a tasting. jameson makes many different irish whiskeys - jameson (of course), powers, paddys, red breast, and even bushmills (among others). everyone on the tour gets a glass of jameson at the end. but for the lucky few that are chosen, there is a taste test that includes three irish whiskeys (jameson, paddys and powers), a scotch and a bourbon. whichever of the three irish whiskeys you like the best you get a glass of at the end. eric played the birthday card and got to do the taste test. woo woo! of course he liked jameson the best!
strangely, we learned the irish on the tour tend to like the bourbon - jack daniels - the best. eric is now an official taster of irish whiskey and has a certificate from the distillery to prove it. we spent a considerable amount of time at the gift shop where eric purchased a personalized bottle of 12-year-old jameson!
we then strolled back to the hotel.
we had been text messaging all day with our friend tanya who lives in swords, outside of dublin. we were hoping to meet up with her for a quick pint. unfortunately she got caught up in traffic and it wasn't meant to be. we would have loved to have seen her!
then it was time to change and head off to eric's birthday dinner. we made reservations at chapter one.
chapter one is one of the top rated restaurants in dublin. and has been reviewed worldwide, including by the new york times. it is amazing we got a reservation. thank god for internet reservation sites, and the fact we were willing to eat pretty early. the restaurant was located a mere couple blocks from our hotel, in the basement of, what is now, the dublin writer's museum, but was originally john jameson's house! our food was wonderful.
eric had veal ravioli to start, and a monkfish entrée. alison had a cauliflower and blue cheese soup and a slow-cooked beef for an entrée. this was paired with a nice australian shiraz. we shared a cheese plate for dessert, accompanied by a nice port.
after the nice meal, we stopped in at a pub.
the only one we visited while there. conveniently located next to the hotel. eric enjoyed some more whiskey, and alison enjoyed some more guinness.
back in our room the whiskey kept pouring - thanks to that bottle of tullamore dew! eric amazingly found a live broadcast of nhl hockey - ottawa vs. toronto. what a great way to end his birthday. we enjoyed the game as we mapped out our route to kilkenny the next day.