Dublin travelogue

Hi there,

For the benefit of family, friends, and anyone else who’s interested, here’s the narrative to go along with the pictures at my Flickr account.

Day 1 (6/23) — arrived at Dublin airport around 10am. This was a little behind schedule due to the usual Friday night backup on the runway at JFK. After having some breakfast (none offered on the plane), headed to the Tavistock Guesthouse on Raneleigh Road. The place is modest, clean and comfortable, and for Dublin, quite affordable (70 euros per night for a single). The guest house was about three blocks from St. Stephen’s Green, the Victorian park in the center of Dublin. I then proceeded up Grafton Street, one of the main shopping drags in Dublin. There are various street performers, musicians, and so forth along the street. The statue of the legendary (and most likely fictional) Molly Malone is one of the highlights of the street. I toured Christchurch Cathedral, which was pretty spectacular. I also went to the adjacent exhibit, Dublinia, which shows the city’s Viking Heritage. Since the Guinness Storehouse wasn’t much further (or so they said — turned out to be at least a mile), I headed over there next. This has got to be one of most popular attractions in Dublin (or Ireland for that matter). I waited twenty minutes just to get in the door, and then faced a line of at least fifty people waiting for tickets for the tour. I decided the wait and the price (14 euros) were too much and headed straight for the gift shop where I did some early Christmas shopping. My last stop of the day before heading back to crash was the excellent “gastropub” Bull and Castle, which serves gourmet Irish specialties and many kinds of beer, not just Guinness! Had an excellent Galway pale ale and roasted salmon with mashed potatoes. Yummy!

Day 2 (6/24).

After an excellent full Irish breakfast, I headed over to Trinity College to see the famous Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the gospels from circa 800 AD. I’m glad I got there early because there were already thirty people there, and a bus load of French tourists arrived shortly after I got in line. As I waited, I had an interesting chat with a couple named John and Sally McKenna, who write a series called Bridgestone Travel guides on the best places to eat in Ireland. The exhibit on the Book of Kells was quite lovely, but equally interesting was an exhibit on the library on Ireland and the Great War. Did more shopping in the giftstore, then went to the National Gallery of Ireland. I especially liked the exhibit of prints called “The Fantastic in Irish Art.” On my way to the Guinness factory, I’d noticed that The Pale was having live music that afternoon so I headed over there for some entertainment and liquid refreshment. The performers were a trio by the name of Beggar’s Bush. I met some interesting folks, including someone from the Irish tourist bureau and a couple from Norway. I had dinner at another pub, Davy Byrne’s, a favorite of James Joyce and featured in both Dubliners and Ulysses.

Day 3 (6/25).

I had hoped to continue my exploration of all things Joycean at the James Joyce Cultural Centre. Contrary to the information in my DK guidebook, the museum was not open on Mondays! So, I went to the Dublin Writers Museum instead. This is a nice little museum, with great scones in the tea room! I then headed over to the Old Jameson Distillery, where I was selected to do a taste test comparing Irish, Scottish, and American whiskeys. Being of Scottish descent, I naturally selected the Scotch whiskey! More shopping, back to the guesthouse, and then off to the poster session/opening reception for the conference. Dinner that night was at Fallon and Byrne, an excellent restaurant and food emporium suggested by the McKennas.

Day 4 (6/26) — although this was the first day proper of the conference, I did head over to the Joyce centre first thing. It was pretty neat, although I think the Dublin Writers museum was better. Dinner that night was at Ely Wine Bar. This was highly recommended by the NY Times travel section and it was worth it!

Day 5 (6/27) — My paper session was first up. The presentation went really well — got excellent comments and great feedback. Heard some other interesting papers, the highlight of which was Ian Hacking’s keynote address. Dinner that night was at Bewley’s Cafe Bar Deli. I wouldn’t say this was the best in Dublin, but it was tasty.

Day 6 — after a last walk around St Stephen’s green, I headed off to the airport. Everything was on time, but it sure was a shock to come back to 90 degree weather after a week of chilly Dublin weather! Can’t wait to go back.

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