Saturday, July 30–Dublin city, Co Dublin

Finding somewhere to ship extra suitcases back home; Excess Baggage; lunch at an Asian buffet; National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts & History; not being able to go to the dinner & show at the Merry Ploughboys due to traffic problems; Abbey Presbyterian Church; Garden of Remembrance; dinner and a pint at the Parnell Heritage pub & grill

Jury's Inn Parnell Street



Today turned out to be a pretty nice day over all even if there were several instances of misinformation, miscommunication, and missed connections. It was also a very quiet, laid back day which was kind of nice for a change.

I had one of my Slimfasts for breakfast this morning, primarily because I still had two left and was only saving one for before leaving early Monday to catch my flight to Scotland, and didn't want to carry one with me in my baggage.

I then took a cab downtown to find the local Mailboxes Etc to have them ship my two extra bags back home for me. We found the place OK, but they were closed. I knew Monday is a big federal holiday here, and wouldn't have been surprised if they were closed then but they were closed all weekend and I didn't remember noticing that on their web site when I looked them up. I had the same cabby bring me back to my hotel.

I asked at the reception desk if they knew anyone who shipped internationally and might be open today, and they didn't but one of the women on the desk said they'd look. I came back up to my room and began looking online myself. Almost every place I checked was closed or didn't answer their phones when I called. A couple of places were open but you have to arrange for them to come pick up what you want shipped a couple of business days in advance. While I was still looking the supervisor on the reception desk called to tell me they hadn't found any place that was open either but would keep checking.

I finally found a place called Excess Baggage which is located in the departures section of Terminal at the Dublin airport and they were indeed open. I grabbed my bags, headed back downstairs, and caught a cab out to the airport and the cabby very nicely said he'd wait for me to bring me back here to my hotel.

It wasn't cheap to send my two bags back home, 175 euros in total, but even including the cab downtown and back and the cab to the airport and back, it's worth it in terms of not having to drag an extra bag along with me in the next month and a half before I head home and probably even economically as well since I'd have to pay at least one extra bag fee on four flights (here to Glasgow, Edinburgh to London, London to Paris, and Paris back home).

After I got back to my hotel I came back up to my room to grab my camera and one of my walking sticks before heading back out. Mom would probably tease me because I accidentally found a hotel near one of the few Asian buffet restaurants in Dublin, which is where I had a good lunch–nice variety, nice place, not expensive.

I then used the second day of my 48 hour red bus sightseeing tour ticket I got yesterday to head over to the National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts & History. Although on the circuit the msueum's only three stops away from the stop nearest here, in fact you have to ride around on the circuit so it's stop #20 of 23. It was actually rather chilly but tolerable on the exposed upper deck but I stayed up there anyway.

The Decorative Arts & History museum is in a former Army barracks and sprawls over three or four buildings around the central courtyard, and is right next to a war memorial cemetery for soldiers killed in both World Wars. I rather enjoyed the museum and thought it was very well done, including the sections that covered an Irish soldier's life in peace and war throughout several centuries. I especially liked several of the sections on furniture and many of the rooms on display.

While I was waiting for the next red tour bus to come along, I turned my Irish Android smart phone on to check on Google Maps how far it would be to walk back to my hotel when for the first time since I've had the phone someone actually called me. It was someone from the Merry Ploughboys confirming my booking for tonight, and I confirmed the time and location for my pickup to get there, and then as usual turned my phone off since I wasn't going to use it when I took the tour bus back instead of walking.

I got back here to my room about 4:45 PM and had almost an hour before I needed to walk on over to the Dublin Writers Museum which is where my 6:15 pickup was supposed to be, and just hung out here.

I got to my pickup point shortly before 6 PM and although there were several tour buses there none of them had any signs that indicated they were for the Merry Ploughboys show. I called the person who had called me earlier to confirm my booking and learned that she had tried to call me a couple of times when I had my phone off to tell me that due to the closure of the O'Connell Street bridge this weekend the shuttle driver couldn't get over here and I'd need to go to another pickup point. We both decided that it would take me longer to walk to the other pickup point–15 to 20 minutes–than the driver could wait for me since he had other stops to make as well, and she asked if I could come tomorrow night instead and I said I would.

I wasn't hungry quite yet so I wandered around the neighborhood for about half an hour, wending my way back here to Parnell Street and my hotel's more immediate vicinity. I did find a couple of the places in the area I wanted to, and will go back to some of them tomorrow when they're open. I located the church attached to one of the steeples I can see from the window in my room, the Abbey Presbyterian church, which is located right next to the Writers Museum. I also went into the very lovely Garden of Rememberance which commemorates all those who died for Irish freedom with the marvelous sculpture of the Children of Lir from Irish folklore.

There are three or four shopping centers right here in the immediate vicinity. The first one I went into, the Parnell Street center, seems to be mostly offices because there's not a lot on the ground floor except the entrance to a movie theater (there's a second theater only a few blocks away) with IMAX, an outlet of Johnny Rockets (the Irish version of a classic American diner I mentioned earlier), and a tavern. I went into the local branch of Aldi's, which is another large discount grocery and convenience store chain (and think I saw someone wandering around with a fishing pole he had found somewhere in the store), and went into the Moore Street shopping center which seems to have more in it than the Parnell Street one but most places were already closed when I went in.

I decided to finally go into the Parnell Heritage pub & grill, which is right down the street from the hotel at the corner of Parnell & O'Connell street and which I'd walked past a couple of times a day since I've been here but not gone into before. It's a rather marvelous old style but quite chic pub, with a lounge upstairs and an open terrace up on the top floor. There are actual historical connections with Parnell and although they don't seem to mention them on their web page they do have an interesting and informative sign about it right inside the front door. I had a very nice pasta carbonara made with Irish bacon and some cream of tomato and basil soup for dinner before heading upstairs to check out the cocktail bar/lounge and the rooftop terrace before coming back to my hotel room.

I had a very nice evening and watched something streaming via the hotel's very good wifi on my Kindle Fire before making notes of opening hours when I could find them for places I want to go to tomorrow, my last full day here in Ireland before leaving for Scotland early Monday morning–not forgetting that I have my evening at the Merry Ploughboys tomorrow instead of tonight.

The Wax Museum is included in the Dublin Pass and is only a fifteen minute walk from here, but I might skip it and go to Madame Tussaud's when I'm in London later this trip. The Leprechaun Museum is also included in the Dublin Pass and is only a five minute walk away from here, so I might do that instead.

I definitely want to go to the Writers Museum (11-4:30 tomorrow) and the James Joyce Centre (12-5:30) but will probably visit St Mary's Pro-Cathedral first since it's only open from 9 AM-1:45 PM on Sundays. I think the other churches whose steeples I can see from my room, besides Abbey Presbyterian which I can't find visiting hours for, are the priory of St Saviour's for which I also can't find their hours, and St Francis Xavier's which is open for visiting from 9-1 so I think I'll visit that one early as well.

It's now just about 12:30. I might get to sleep earlier tonight than I have been, which would be nice because I think I probably won't get a lot of sleep tomorrow night between going to the dinner & show at the Merry Ploughboys and getting up early Monday morning to catch my flight to Glasgow.

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