Wednesday, May 22, 2013

IRELAND-Dublin Part 1

After a whirlwind weekend in London and Sardinia, I was well looking forward to my ultimate destination.
There is a marvelous land, far away from anywhere I’ve ever been to before, called Ireland. The icy air is harsh but the sun is welcoming, and as warm as the hearts of the locals.
The first morning, Cormac drew me a map on how to get to the city center before he left for work. It turned out to be all I needed for the entire trip!
He worked every day at the office, so I was free to roam the city and do all the touristy things I liked. AND I DID THEM ALL!
Dublin is incredibly accessible by foot. I thought Taipei’s transit system was impressive-in Dublin they don’t even have a need for it. Luckily we were staying close to the city centre with his lovely sister and boyfriend, so everyday I would just walk downtown and explore. There are many bus companies that do a ‘hop on-hop off’ tour, so I paid 18 euros to get on and went everywhere for two days! They stop at all the famous and cool places to drop by for tourists and natives alike: shopping streets, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Guinness Storehouse, Phoenix Park, along the River Liffey, Trinity College, etc. Along the way I learned so much about the sites we passed and the history of the Irish people. (I feel like I’m meant to insert a random fact here now, but I can’t remember any except for that in Ireland you can drink water from the tap! And they didn’t even tell me that on the tour!) I did a lot of shopping and people watching on Grafton and Henry’s Street-the main shopping areas. I was thrilled to see Forever 21 and tons of stores I had never heard of before like River Island and AWear and PENNYS. The older buildings (pubs, post offices, minimarts) all had so much character-I found them jolly but sad at the same time, like they had gone through a lot and just found things to laugh back on. But the streets are alive and to me, there were no signs of any recession. But then of course, I was a tourist.
My favorite part of Dublin was the Ha'penny Bridge and along the River Liffey. The bridge is narrow and white, rustic and curved romantically over the river. I wanted to get off the bus the first time we passed it, and was delighted that my boyfriend asked to meet around there for lunch so that I could go back. The water is very still, and all the buildings lining the river (canal?) are smushed together in the background with all their unique colors and frames. Homeless people snuggled expectantly on the sides along the bridge, and tourists would often stop and admire and snap shots. Like me. On our very last day, Cormac and I went back with a padlock to join all the other padlocks and yep, locked our love against the railing and threw off the keys!
I also had a wonderful time getting to know his beautiful older sister. I admired their modern, cosy but tasteful apartment (which seemed to be the theme for most home interiors) and she baked up treats for us!

 Phoenix Park
 A bridge

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