Absolutely Not! Ireland – 8-14 July 2010
I read a really cool paragraph written by Paul Theroux recently that I would like to share, as it kind of sums up the experiences I had on my trip
The true traveler goes into the unknown, with a little preperation, a lot of patience, and even more time. Anything else is a vacation, and I loathe vacations. I am against the supine, horizontal, gorging-at-the-buffet, groveled-to-by-the-staff vacations of utter idleness. My idea of a true vacation is something I did not long ago: camping and then riding my bycicle up 10,023 foot Halaekala volcano on Maui. The main things are to set off and be in a good frame of mind, and after you’ve arrived wherever – the distant place – to travel on the ground and cut all your ties with home. Forget about phoning and texting. Just disappear. This is not isolating yourself, it is liberating.
I would say that he’s a little more adamant about the point that he is making that I would necissarily be, but I think it’s a good one. New places, people, cultures, and sights are best experienced by getting your hands a little dirty. Anyways, something to think about…
I don’t think the Irish guys actually expected me to show up. A casual invitation to visit Ireland when we were parting ways in Australia landed the guys a handful of an American to deal with for a week.
A concept I couldn’t wrap my head around was the use of 24 hour clocks. Like military time. But no one will say its 16:30, they would say it’s 4:30. The only reasoning behind a 24 hour clock that I could manage would be if you sometimes forget if it’s two o’clock in the afternoon or two o’clock in the morning. Then it would be of use, because then two in the afternoon would actually be 14:00. Since I was not used to the system, I couldn’t just look at the time and know what it was, but had to do the math; which I was not a fan of. Even they couldn’t explain it.
I learned a new game while there: Danger Ball, with the name of the game to shoot a football (soccer ball) at a pre-determined goal, with the object being to get five goals on a single goalie in a row, but there were ways that the goalie could get out, such as catching a ball in the air. If the 5th goal were to come, though, the game would end in a “red-ass.” Unfortunately our skills must have been a bit shaky that morning, and I never got to experience a real life red-ass. I even asked if someone would voluntarily get one just so that I could get an understanding of the punishment. But alas, no takers. So here I am, back in the US, and I don’t even know exactly what it is.
Downtown Dublin was a beautiful place. There is so much history there. I have a few photos below that I’ll discuss this a bit more, but the architecture and infastructure was great. Also, they don’t really have sky scrapers in Dublin, so the skyline is low and scenic.
Looking south off of Killiney Hill, towards Killiney bay. Right at the base of the hill, you can see Enya’s castle; pretty fancy. Off in the distance, you can see the Wicklow Mountains.
This structure is the Killiney Obelisk, built at the highest point of Killiney hill, in 1742. Built entirely of rubble granite, the folly was constructed as a famine relief project, following a hard winter in 1741. Surrounding this point are Killiney bay and the Wicklow mountains in the south, Dalkey hill and Island in the north, the Irish sea to the east and Dublin to the west. Also notice the two stunning young lads in front of the building, David and John; looking awesome as always.
Getting a bit of geographical knowledge from my tour guide. Obviously paying close attention while taking photographs.
Another folly atop the hill, this one called the step pyramid. Hence the steps.
The third folly, known as the Witches Hat, overlooking Killiney bay.
First opportunity seized, this little rock outcropping was just yelling to me: “come climb down me!” I of course couldn’t argue with that.
Johnnie Fox’s Pub, an iconic and famous spot. I have actually done a new version of this photo, which I will put up in a couple of days.
Trinkets and odds and ends filled the inside of the pub, even a pair of boots nailed to the ceiling topped off the look and feel.
A few good life lessons hung on the signs on the wall, one of my favorites being “You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”
My first proper Guiness in Ireland. Now I’m not generally a Guiness drinker here in the US, but they sure go down smooth over there. I’ve been told that it’s not a good traveling beer, and it has fairly exacting specifications for storage and serving, so I reckon that the best place to get it would be closest to home.
We ran up to a place known as “Magic Road”, where as you can see, the grade is uphill, but in this photo the car is actually rolling UPHILL!!! We turned the car around, did it forwards and backwards, both times the car (in neutral and turned off) rolled what looked like uphill. I’ve decided that I needed to get a level out there to really believe that it’s not some sort of optical illusion that just makes this road look uphill.
John probably took between 75 and 100 pictures of feel throughout the trip, so one needed to make it to the blog. This count does not included any feet pictures taken while on our sailing trip in the Whitsunday Islands. I’ll bet there was at least that many taken there as well.
Having a little shin-digg before heading out on the town. All of the fellas enjoying a couple (and I use the word couple very loosely, because it’s true, the Irish can drink) adult beverages. Getting schooled by the American at beer pong.
Manson and I, having a gentlemanly discussion in the sitting room. This is Conor’s dad, responsible for an amazing leg of lamb roast the next evening, and a ham roast the night after that.
The guys after a crisp dip in the Irish sea. I am pretty good at cold water swimming I think, but this was really cold. I think I got spoiled with the warmth of the water in Australia and Romania.
No bicycles at the Forty Foot. This is where we were swimming in the photo above.
Another view back towards the Forty Foot swimming area.
Please do not drive your car off of the ledge into the water. Just FYI.
This massive park was right in the downtown of Dublin. A large lake in the center and grassy areas were many people were relaxing also topped off this park quite nicely.
Out for a warm and sunny afternoon walking thru the shopping district, on the hunt for a new pair of rugby shorts for William.
Street entertainment, classy style.
A fair amount of man-love was given. Plenty to go around.
Here you’ll see a statue of Daniel O’Connell, and the Dublin Spire. O’Connell was known as “The Liberator” because of his activity in repealing laws against Roman Catholics.
The GPO, or General Post Office, served as the headquarters for the leaders of the insurrection of Irish Republicans looking to end British rule; commencing in “The Easter Rising” in 1916. Much of the extensive damage incurred during the battle that took place here was repaired, but bullet holes can still be seen in the pillars as a reminder of Ireland’s stand for freedom.
How Irish people celebrate Spain’s victory in the World Cup. Not really, the keys were locked in the car and the locksmith couldn’t get the doors open, but it was right after the World Cup, so that’s a better story.
Looking over the harbor, towards the town of Dun Laoghaire, on the southern side of Dublin.
Strapping young lads enjoying a friendly game of rugby. I humbly report, that I was probably the best one of the bunch. They were a sorry sight. I wish that were true…
I don’t suppose a trip to Ireland would be complete without a tour of the Guinness factory and a view of the St. James Gate.
I really think Guiness should investigate bringing some of the old style bottles back. Any brewery for that matter. The history in the bottles has always intrigued me.
If this doesn’t make you want to drink a pint, I don’t know what would.
Last stop on a long journey for Tony and I. Trying to get by just like the t-shirt says “j.k. livin, the j’s for just, the k’s for keep.”
Well everyone out there in internet land, there you have it. The trip I’ve always dreamed about and now lived. I think I’ll have a ‘conclusions’ type post here shortly, with a few more nonsensical ramblings. I’ve also been spending a good bit of time on editing photos from the different spots throughout the trip, which I’ll be posting as well. Check back soon.
As always, wtw