So… Gentle Reader… I should have brought more sundresses as Ireland is experiencing a massive heatwave. All the recommendations to bring wool hats and gloves were grossly over-exagerated and what I should have really stored up on was shorts and tank tops. On the streets, the Irish appeared to be be equally as fashion perplexed wearing black hose with mini skirts and tank tops with woolen socks and sandals (maybe that’s just a German trend making it to Irish shores). There were the fashion hold-outs who were sweating profusely in their heavy overcoats and woolen pants pretending not to notice the weather and their ensuing heat stroke and those Irish parading about as if this weather wasn’t so uncommon flaunting porcelain skin and the beginnings of melanoma. The Irish seemed to be noticing the hot weather but much like my mac computer that displays the spinning wheel as it processes too many bytes of information, the Irish were unable to comprehend exactly how to cope with perfectly sunny weather and no dampness.
Our first day in Dublin was solely about gnashing it out until 7pm. We were out of the airport around 9 am and with P and Big G glued to their electronic devices throughout the entire flight- we knew that bleary eyes, constant whining, and vociferous complaining were in our future. Once in Dublin, we bought tickets to the On/Off Bus which allowed you to tour Dublin from the comfort of an open-air, double decker bus. We left our Marrion Square Hotel and walked to the lovely St. Stephens Park with the “Lone Hendge” statue (more on this later), beautiful gardens and a great duck pond.
The Irish love their parks and seeing all of the folks slowly strolling through St. Stephen’s Park makes you realize how important community is for the Irish.
Between the pub and the park, the Irish talk with one another, about one another, and have a sense of the intricate web of human relationships. This is a country that is proud to be the birthplace of Obama’s great grandmother and celebrates his heritage with a museum in his ancestral home (okay and maybe it brings the town a couple of bucks too). Not only current relationships but the rolodex of past relationships are celebrated and remembered in Ireland. Perhaps this desire to remember those generations before and not to lose this familial history is what ties the Irish so strongly to their history and patriotism. Regardless of the cultural process of how Irish community has formed, a visitor can tell immediately how important a story, a hello, or a passing chat is to both old and young here.
From St. Stephen’s Park, we toured the “The Little Museum in Dublin” (perfect for jet-lagged kids), The Wax Museum, and finished the roundabout trip on the bus. The Littlest Museum in Dublin is a great, small museum across from St. Stephens that records Irish history through the modern times. From all the many Irish-American presidents to the difficult relationship with England, the museum chronicles Irish history through the 19th-20th centuries. The kids did well and seemed to learn a little bit of something before asking for something in the gift store and the ladies bathroom on the 3rd floor is quiet and solitary which is nice which provided a moment of serenity in day that wasnt.
The wax museum is a wax museum; although there were some figures from Irish history that piqued my interest (as I had no idea who they were). The kids loved the figures that they recognized from books and movies and the museum kept them moving which was our top priority.
After the wax museum, we stopped by a lovely bakery for a bit of sugar and a rest. (I would like to dispel now any notion that the Irish can’t cook. Everything we ate- with the exception of a bad mussel towards the end of the trip- was superb and one of the best meals, I’ve ever had was in Dublin at the The Cliff House across from St. Stephen’s park- please go and try the cod). The sugar worked just long enough to grab the On/Off Bus once again, and then try (for all it was unsuccessful) to not fall asleep. When we finally reached our hotel again, Brown Bear had to carry her youngest who dead to the world while the rest of us could have been extras on The Walking Dead we were so heavy with exhaustion.
Little G and I managed to stay up until 7:00 after which time we allowed ourselves to finally sleep. I am fairly certain that neither of us moved in our beds the entire night which served us well the next day.