Tuesday, July 26–Dublin city, Co Dublin

Boots; down O'Connell Street; General Post Office; across the Liffey; Trinity College; Grafton Street; lunch in the rooftop café at Marks & Spencer; a redheaded fiddle player and Molly Malone; Leinster House; the National Library; the National Gallery; Merrion Square; iced coffee at Insomnia; St Stephen's Green shopping center; dinner at Wagamama; "Riverdance: at the Gaiety Theatre; dinner from room service at the hotel

Jury's Inn Parnell Street



After a breakfast of porridge, and yogurt with fruit–I decided to skip the eggs & sausages today–I walked up the street to the nearest branch of Boots pharmacy to restock some Slimfast which I've mentioned I like to keep on hand.

Other than breakfast, my only other time constraint today was to be at the Gaiety Theatre no later than 7:15 for tonight's performance of "Riverdance". After going to the Boots, I came back to my room and worked out what's in the area of the Gaiety I wanted to go to and what order it would be best to walk from one to the next. In order from the furthest from my hotel to the closest to the Gaiety, the places I decided to visit were: the National Library, the National Gallery, the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology, and the Natural History Museum.

I left here around 1 PM, intending to find somewhere to have lunch along the way. My route took me along some of the same territory I've been before, down Parnell Street, around the corner to O'Connell Street, keep going past the General Post Office (went in, took some pictures, forgot to look for the bullet holes from 1916) and across the River Liffey. Along the way I went past Trinity College and part of the way down Grafton Street (not necessarily in that order).

I had lunch in the café on the top, roof level floor of a Marks and Spencer somewhere near Grafton Street. I'm not sure where the branch & café were, though. The weather was cloudy most of the time, and only occasionally drizzly so buskers were out all over the place including down Grafton Street of course. Along the way, right by the statue of Molly Malone (otherwise known here as "the tart with the cart") and a very nice looking building (which I now know was the Church of St Andrew, which I'll check out if I'm in that area again) was a lovely redheaded fiddle player who also sang (Meg Lagrande).

When I got to the National Library I almost go in trouble. I was going to take a couple of pictures from the driveway but the security guards kept waving at me and had me come in their entrance, which turned out to be for Leinster House, the seat of the Irish Parliament, and so they redirected me back out to the street and told me which entrance was for the Library. Also on that corner is the NMI Archaeology, which I'll go back to later this week.

Leinster House, and the National Library are great, lovely buildings. Visitors aren't allowed into the Reading Room itself but I could come in as far as the reception desk. Pictures can't be taken in the Reading Room either but I took some from outside the doorway where I could see in pretty well but the guards at the desk couldn't see me.

I liked the National Gallery but it was a bit of a disappointment because most of it is currently closed due to a major renovation program. And that reminds me–the road work that's going on all over town isn't technically road work at all but has to do with linking up the city's commuter tram system.

I didn't have enough time to go to either of the National Museums, but will go back later this week. I did find my way over to Merrion Square, a large and very nice park with Dublin's famous Georgian townhouses (now businesses, corporate headquarters, and embassies instead of residences) and found the Georgian House Museum at No 29 Fitzwilliam Street Lower but didn't go in because it was almost closing time, and the entrance was in the basement. I went to the similar museum in Edinburgh when I was there five years ago and thought I might like this one as well but there are no elevators in the house.

I still had a couple of hours to kill before the performance so I walked back over to the Gaiety, past Stephen's Green. I stopped for an iced coffee at Insomnia, another large coffee chain here in Ireland. I also had a very nice wander around in the amazing and beautiful St Stephen's Green shopping center which is a really lovely place built in 1989 to successfully resemble a Victorian or Edwardian pleasure palace–very nicely done indeed.

Grafton Street is just around the corner from the shopping center, as is the Gaiety Theatre, so I walked a bit up that end of it before going back to the theatre. I stopped in to ask at the box office if I needed to exchange my printed email ticket for a real one and they said no. I also asked where I should go after the performance to catch a cab back here to Jurys Inn Parnell Street.

I wasn't very hungry yet so I had a couple of side dishes instead at the branch of Wagamama right near the theatre. Wagamama is an Asian chain I first came across while I was in London last year, and rather liked.

The Gaiety is a marvelous old, Victorian theater which was beautifully restored in 2003. My only complaint is that the leg room is so terrible I got a bit panicky when I saw that I had booked a seat in the middle of the front row of a balcony where the partition wall was right at your knees. The staff very nicely found an empty aisle seat further upstairs for me, where although the leg room wasn't much better I could at least pivot in my seat to stick my legs out into the aisle.

I'd almost forgotten how much I loved "Riverdance". I'd never seen it live before, even though various touring productions have come through parts of the US where I lived, but I watched the video of it many times and had a VHS tape up until a few years ago when I no longer had a VHS player. Dancing goddesses with long legs and short skirts floating through the air aren't the only reason I liked it. The variety of choreography and dance styles, the wonderful musical arrangements both instrumental, vocal and a capella, as well as the high level of performances have always amazed me and tonight was no different.

One section I don't remember from watching the video, but really enjoyed anyway, was kind of a tap vs Irish dance off with two black guys doing tap "against" three of the male Irish dancers. They kept making the routines & steps harder & harder.

It was a bit frustrating catching a cab back here afterwards. I was standing at a taxi rank (clearly labeled on the pavement) waving cabs down as they passed, and three times some other jerks went in front of me and snagged the cab I'd been signaling.

It was after 10 PM when I got back here, and not only had the bar stopped serving food but all room service offered was pizza or sandwiches, so I ordered a sandwich and this time I specifically remembered to ask for mayo and mustard on it.

There are a couple of ways of connecting to the hotel's premium wifi service, which I asked for when I made my reservation. One is by entering your last name and room # when logging in, but that didn't work when I tried when I first got here. The second is by entering a code provided by reception that only is good for 48 hours. After I ate most of my sandwich I tried logging in to the wifi and couldn't. I went back down to the reception desk with my Kindle Fire and my Irish Android smart phone and showed them that entering my last name and room number as they had told me to earlier didn't work, I kept getting a message that my last name and room number didn't match, so they had me call the help desk number. The guy there told me I'd have to call him to have him manually authorize each of my devices each time I wanted to log in, so the guys on the reception desk just printed out another wifi authorization code for me, which worked fine on my iPhone, my Irish Android smart phone, my Kindle Fire, and my laptop when I tried it.

I've booked a ticket for the musical pub crawl which meets at a pub/restaurant/hostel, Oliver St John Gogarty over on Temple Bar at 7 PM tomorrow. The pub serves food, so I'll try to be there and hungry for dinner around 6 PM at the latest.

There are several places I want to visit which are within walking distance of each other and where the musical pub crawl begins. I think I'll start with the one furthest from my hotel and work my way over to Oliver St John Gogarty from there. In order the places are: St Patrick's cathedral (30 minutes walk from here); Whitefriar Street church; the Chester Beatty Library, one of my very favorite places we visited on the tour ten years ago; Dublin Castle; Christchurch cathedral; and finally Dublinia before Temple Bar and Oliver St John Gogarty and the musical pub crawl.

It's now just about 1:30 AM, so time for bed (a little later than I wanted).

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