Thursday, July 28th–Dublin city, Co Dublin

Picking up my repaired suitcase; National Museum of Ireland Archaeology & History and lunch there; National Museum of Ireland Natural History; afternoon nap; dinner and the Irish House Party show at the Landsdowne Hotel

Jury's Inn Parnell Street



I decided I wasn't in a big hurry to do a whole lot today, and after breakfast here in the hotel decided to just walk over to Adamson Luggage to pick up my nicely repaired suitcase (still a lot cheaper than buying a new one at only 24 euros), take a taxi back here, then go to the National Museum of Ireland's Archaeology & History museum and the Natural History museum (fondly known to generations of Dublin school kids as the "dead zoo") before catching a cab on over to the Irish House Party for dinner and a show.

After walking over to pick up my suitcase and taking the cab back here to the hotel, it was almost noon so in the interest of saving time I took a cab back downtown to the archaeology museum instead of walking on over. It's not a very large museum, especially compared to ones I've been to in Paris and London the last couple of years but it's often beautifully laid out, and is in a wonderful building as well. Before I left I had a very good cottage pie (shepherd's pie) for lunch in the museum's small but very pleasant café.

The Natural History Museum's a short walk away from the Archaeology Museum and took me back to the same corner as the National Gallery and Leinster House where I'd been earlier this week. It is again a smaller museum compared to the ones I've been to in London and Paris but it's obvious why kids have always loved it–two floors filled with very well done taxidermy displays and skeletons. There are actually two balconies above the second floor that are lined with exhibits but they are currently closed to the public because there are no emergency exits from them.

When I left the Natural History Museum my knees were rather bothering me from the stairs in both the museums I'd been to, so I decided not to go anywhere else in the area but took a cab back here to my hotel for a couple of hours. The driver was named Martin Hayes, which he shares with one of the most famous Irish fiddle players of recent years. I had a bit of fun teasing him, asking if people ever got them confused. He told me he'd played soccer professionally in the US for a while before returning to Ireland. He was a really nice guy and I enjoyed his company on the ride back here quite a bit.

I had a couple of hours to kill before I needed to leave for tonight's show and dinner around 6 PM so I took a bit of a nap and think I actually fell asleep for a while.

The Irish House Party is in what looks like a very nice building, the Landsdowne Hotel, in an area filled with Georgian townhouses like the ones around the better known Merrion Square. I got there shortly after leaving my hotel, in spite of the traffic around and through the tram works, so I took a bit of a walk up and down the street to get some exercise and to see some more of the lovely buildings in the area.

Both the dinner and the show tonight were quite intimate events. There were only about a couple dozen of us there for dinner, which was quite good. I sat at a table with a young family from Toronto. Apparently he had to come to Ireland on a business trip and so they planned a vacation here around that. He and his wife, and even their kids, were nice people and pleasant company. For dinner I had the Dublin coddle (kind of like a not thick clam chowder but with sausage instead of clams), a very nice salmon dish, and Irish cream ice cream for dessert.

There weren't that many more of us for the performance, which was excellent. I had a seat in the front row a bit to the side of the small stage. There were four performers tonight: a guy on guitar who sang; a lovely blonde woman who played fiddle and harp, sang, and did several different kinds of Irish dancing throughout the evening; a guy who played bodhran; and another guy who played uilleann pipes, flute, and tin whistle and sang occasionally. All four of them are excellent musicians, great performers, and very congenial company for the evening. All in all another lovely evening.

After my cab dropped me off here at my hotel I went across the street to the Tesco to get a bit of a snack. As I was walking into the hotel I noticed I was right behind someone who I recognized as also having been at the dinner and show. I don't think he spoke much English though so probably didn't understand when I said something about my not following him but coincidentally staying in the same place.

Before I started typing my notes up for today, I was looking at my lists of places I still want to go to while here in for three more days. Saturday I plan catching cabs over to and back from the nearest Mailboxes Etc to send a my smaller suitcase and my rolling book bag/attache case back home, then just pretty much going to the several places in the immediate vicinity of my hotel, such as the Dublin Writers Museum, the James Joyce Centre, the Dublin City/Hugh Lane Gallery, and three churches (St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, St Joseph's and St Francis Xavier) and yes, probably the Leprechaun museum because it's close more than anything else before my 6:10 pickup to take me out to the dinner and show at the Merry Ploughboy.

Tomorrow morning I have to get up early enough to drop off another, last load of laundry before I send one suitcase back home (laundry service isn't available Saturday or Sunday), then at night I'm going to the dinner and show at the Abbey Tavern in the seaside suburb of Howth. I figure I need to catch a cab from here by 6:30 PM at the latest. I might go out earlier and spend the afternoon there but probably not.

Either tomorrow or Sunday I want to go to the Guiness Storehouse, primarily to check out the world famous Gravity Bar, and probably to the museum at Glasnevin Cemetery. Both of these places are stops on one of the bus tours that's a part of the Dublin Pass.

I might or might not visit the Wax Museum, which is also free with the Dublin Pass.

It's now about 1 AM, and time for bed.

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