Tuesday, June 21, 2016


We felt so much better this morning after a whole night's sleep, but it was still hard to get out bed! We had an early start with breakfast at the hotel. Again, the bacon is ham, I repeat, the bacon is ham! I was disappointed that there was no blood pudding, but I think I'll get over it!

While getting ready to go, I discovered that with no air conditioning (we slept with the window open, so it wasn't bad) and not even a fan, and the fact that the country seems to be perpetually damp, I couldn't dry off after my shower! It took me forever to dry my hair and when I tried to put my makeup on, drops of water would condense on my face! It was aggravating! I finally managed to get ready and only slightly looked like a circus clown, so it was fine. Some people are into that! :)

I wore a dress today, just a plain, black, kind of stretchy dress that is really comfy. When I got on the bus, our tour guide stopped me and said "don't you have a coat or something?" I understood, and appreciated, his concern, but the weather said it would be 63 degrees, so I knew I'd be ok. However, he seemed genuinely afraid I'd be uncomfortable. Even after I sat down, he got up and rummaged around until he found his own jacket and said I could use it if I got cold!  I thought that was nice. I was fine, though. I don't think he really understood that the weather was a welcome change from the armpit of hell that Alabama usually is in June.  We got rained on a bit, but it was just a drizzle. I'm getting used to the drizzle.  The rain is always there, pretty much, but it's light enough not to be annoying and only keeps us all slightly damp.  Anyway, I thought it was nice that our tour guide (who's name is Desmond and he's a lovely, lovely, smart, funny man who is making our tour a lot of fun!) was worried about me. He got hugged later and I'm not even embarrassed about it! :)

We had two stops on our tour this morning, one at the General Post Office to see the museum about the Irish Uprising and the other was at the Guinness Storehouse, where the stuff is made. The museum was very interesting and sad. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Irish Easter Uprising and so there's a lot of stuff out there about it. The post office itself is huge and again, old, so even if we'd just seen the outside, it would have been cool.  The museum was small, but fairly comprehensive, and it had a movie that almost gave me vertigo.  When you first walk in, there is a room with a wall that is nothing more than a giant, curved movie screen. They show a short film about the Easter Uprising, and part of it includes animated transitions where you zoom in and out of a big map (so you know what happened where.) Because the screen takes up your whole field of vision, I kept swaying every time they moved locations. I finally had to sit down so that I wouldn't fall.  Turns out I wasn't the only one, but we all managed to stay on our feet!

 Not a great picture, but the building was too big to photograph from where we were!

We drove across town to the Guinness place.  

 This was the wall.  Very exciting, but again, the place was too big to photograph from where we were!

It is HUGE.  If I read the info correctly, it is located at the St. James Gate and has a 9,000 year lease.  I hope that is correct, because I can't imagine any place that big ever having to move!  The Storehouse itself was interesting, but It wasn't really my speed. As I'm not a big drinker, I'm not that fascinated with finding out how it is made.  Maybe if it had been more one-on-one it could have been better for me, but it was all videos and stuff.  We still had fun in the place, though! Steve and I walked through and looked at some exhibits.  There was some really weird things in there.  Apparently, they have a rich history of marketing, and some very specific mascots, one of which was a whistling clam. There was a legit, animatronic whistling clam.  I hadn't had a drop to drink, but watching that made me feel like I'd taken some bad acid or something.  We wound up skipping a lot of it due to the crowds and had lunch in the cafe. I wasn't that hungry, so I had asparagus soup, which was delicious (and I hate asparagus generally) and brown bread that was even better. We even got Guinness chocolate mousse, which was divine, but so rich I couldn't eat it all!

The drive back to the hotel seemed long, but Desmond (Or Des, as he said we could call him) gave us bits of info about the town and we had fun listening to him. I like Dublin. It is very green for a city, and I love the buildings and houses. It's just a lovely, mostly clean place. There are a lot of shops and things I wish I could explore, but that'll have to wait until we come back someday! I'm ok with that for now. There's so much to see ahead of me, I don't need to get stuck looking in one place!

When we got back, we took a quick nap (seriously, this jet lag stuff is messed up!) and got ready for the first concert and had a "cuppa tea" like Desmond suggested. I did it purely for the caffeine, but I could get used to it, I think!  The concert was at the Artane School of music in a town a bit always from Leapordstown, Dublin which is where we're currently staying. (Let me just interject here that the whole way of talking about Ireland is confusing. It's a country, obvs, but it doesn't have states, it has counties. Each county has towns, so you can't just say "Dublin" unless you're in Dublin proper...I think. You have to say Leapordstown - or where ever- Dublin. I was unaware that's how this was going to work.) It was a joint concert, with the senior band (older people, not seniors in high school, but there were a few kids in there) and a children's band that played traditional Irish instruments. Both bands were incredible and I got a bit nervous. See, the  Twickenham Winds, the band Steve is a part of, have only practiced together a handful of times. Maybe five or six rehearsals in all. These are people who don't know each other very well, and if you have ever played in a band (or done any group project, as a matter of fact) you know how hard it is to do anything intricate with people who you don't really jive with. So here are 40 some odd adults, who have jobs and lives and families and all that, going on tour to play concert style music and they have spent less than 10 rehearsals together. As much as I hate to admit it, I was skeptical that the concert would be very good. How could they be with so little preparation? Plus, Steve had played me some YouTube videos of the music they'd be playing, and he could only find videos of junior high bands playing versions of some of it, so my idea of how
it would sound was warped badly. I was practically cringing when they took the stage.

Y'all, his band blew my face off.
I know that sounds like something obligatory I'd say as his wife, but I'm not kidding. The band sounded awesome. Even more awesome was the fact that they only practiced five or six times and they still sounded that good! I was honestly taken aback at how good they sounded. The Irish folks seemed to really enjoy it as well!

 The Artane School of Music (and witchcraft and wizardry. My brain always adds that part.)

Afterward, there was a reception at a nearby pub called The Goblet, and we apparently didn't know what that meant. When we think reception, we think food and stuff, but it was just supposed to be a few drinks and talking. Steve and I went over to the side of the pub where people from the other band were and didn't know how to start a conversation with anyone. I was worried that we'd come across as being rude, so I pretty much left Steve by the wall and walked up to an older man from the other band and struck up a conversation with him. He was so nice and funny, and I can't for the life of me remember his name. He told me his own name and asked for mine, but he started picking my name apart to find out if I was Irish or not.
I gave him my maiden name, of course, because married names only matter going forward. Maiden names matter going backwards!  Apparently Kelly Martin is an exceedingly Irish name. He gave me the original pronunciation of both of the names and where it came from and what it meant.  He pretty much had me convinced that I was Irish after that.  We talked for a long time, about Ireland and he was very interested in U.S. politics and who would win the presidency. I hadn't anticipated that. Because I had a pint of cider on an empty stomach (and my already low alcohol tolerance) I got steadily more buzzed as we talked. I don't know if he noticed, but I tried so hard not to slur or say anything dumb. Maybe I succeeded, but I don't know. If I did appear that way, he was a gentleman about it. 

It was soon time to go and we drove back to the hotel. We were starving, but we hadn't had time to get anything to eat, and it was so late that we didn't think anything could be ordered. We had to go to bed hungry, but it had still been a good day! 

EDIT: We could have ordered pizza, but we only found out the next day.  Oops. We went to bed hungry for nothing.  We did learn, however, that if you order a veggie pizza while in Ireland, it comes with corn on it.  So...there you go.

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