.. where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone, as she wheeled her wheel-barrow, through streets broad and narrow, crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”
Know that one? I have no idea where I learned the melody – and had to seek out lyrics on Wikipedia to confirm – but there it is, lodged in my brain somewhere. Turns out I’ll get to meet Miss Molly Malone in her statue form on Grafton Street in Dublin.
The city is so packed with places I want to go, things I want to see and do. Between the site visits and the conference, I think my relaxation will be best spent in Galway on the following weekend.
Here are some highlights I’m looking forward to in the capital:
* Guinness Brewery. Not every brewery is created equal. I thought the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam was a bit of a stretch for 17€, although now I spy an online offer at 15€ – making it equal to the Guinness online rate of 14.85€. It’s hard to beat the Anheuser-Busch tour in St. Louis, Missouri, which is FREE, includes 2 beers, a snack, and Clydesdales. Paula & I will visit the Guinness Storehouse for a perfectly poured pint, with expectations set at medium high (based on reviews from colleagues).
* Trinity College. As a bibliophile, this establishment calls to me (moreso than the literary pub crawl tour which gets so much attention in the guidebooks). Founded in 1592, it is the home to the expertly illuminated Book of Kells. Epic or no, I have a hard time agreeing to an 8.5€ fee to see one page of this manuscript. What I really want to see is the fabled Long Room, described as, “the largest single chamber library in the world, containing 200,000 of the library’s oldest books in its oak bookcases.” We’ll see if my book nerd love wins out over my wallet.
Equally nerdy and bookish is a trip to the Dublin Writer’s Museum which highlights many of Ireland’s authors like James Joyce (although I had no desire to read beyond Dubliners) and Bram Stoker (of Dracula fame) and Jonathan Swift (who penned Gulliver’s Travels).
* Dublin Castle was a consideration, until I realized I could get in for free on the first Wednesday of the month, which launched it into certainty. Cheers to the Office of Public Works, who made this possible for all of their managed Heritage Sites (a full list here). Kilmainham Gaol is also one of these sites, which I was drawn to after watching In the Name of the Father about the incarceration of Giuseppe and Gerry Conlon. All in all, the OPW will save me 10.50€ (~$13) on admission fees with this endeavor!
Temple Bar is a bustling good time, according to everyone, everywhere. Bars – restaurants – shops – galleries, all along the Liffey River. Wandering through the quays, I’m sure I’ll over-photograph the three bridges, as I tend to do in most cities.
No surprise at all, there are dozens of churches and cathedrals. These are perfect when seeking peace from the noise, or shelter from the rain, so I’m sure I’ll pop into one or two. If so, I’ll head for St. Paddy’s … and dream of New York’s similarly named monument to the Church.
With more museums than you could shake a stick (a shamrock?) at .. I will likely opt for none. With only a short time in Dublin proper, I’ll stick to bookshops and teahouses. My B&B sits in nearby Donnybrook, a short distance from University College Dublin, where our conference will be held. Likewise, visits to National University of Ireland Maynooth and Dublin City University will occupy my time. A class on Early Irish Myth? Sign me up.