Thursday, December 22nd, 2016, Dublin

Whitefriar Street Carmelite church; St Patrick's Church of Ireland cathedral & the park; Winter; lunch at Copper Alley bistro; Christ Church cathedral; Dublinia; box office at the lovely Olympia Theatre; pint at the Ivy; wandering through Temple Bar for dinner at the Mongolian grill; my first Christmas panto; by cab back to the hotel; snack run to Centra

Jurys Inn Parnell Street



Today went pretty much as I had planned last night, with the exception that my body seems to have decided to catch up on the sleep I'd missed the past couple of days. I fell asleep between 1 and 2 AM and slept quite well but when my alarm clock went off at 8:30 as I had planned I got up, turned it off, went back to sleep, and didn't wake up again until sometime after 10. Such a late start really didn't matter, since I had planned on going to places in the vicinity of where my event was.

I started by walking from here over to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite church). As is sometimes typical of my using Google Maps, it got me to where it said was the right destination. I might have misunderstood something because when it said I had arrived I was actually in a walled parking lot right next to the church. And as is also sometimes typical, I of course went the long way around the block before I found the church entrance. It really is a very lovely church, which I enjoyed a great deal.

From there it was an easy walk over to St Patrick's Church of Ireland cathedral which was even prettier with the occasional Christmas decorations. I took some of my best pictures during my entire trip this past summer in St Patrick's. Today's route to St Patrick's was different from the way I got there in July, along the side by Marsh's Library, which was closed for maintenance today although I didn't see that when I checked their web page last night. St Patrick's is on the Dublin Pass so it was free for me but I made a donation anyway.

Before I left I went around the corner to the lovely St Patrick's park, and liked being able to see the surrounding buildings through the bare branches of the trees.

I know I said similar things in my notes during my trip to Paris this summer, contrasting it with my only previous visit which had been at this time of year. Remember I've been living in S Florida for the last 15 years, where we really don't have different seasons. About the same amount of leaves fall onto my patio during the Spring and Summer as do during the Fall and Winter. I'm rather enjoying comparing the sparse winter vegetation with the lush leaves when I was here this past Summer.

From St Patrick's I did go on to Christ Church cathedral, another very lovely building. It's also on the Dublin Pass so it was also free for me. I didn't make a donation this time because I didn't see any collection boxes.

Before I went into Christ Church I had lunch first, since by now it was almost 2 PM and I hadn't eaten anything yet all day. I'd slept through breakfast and didn't have one of my Slimfasts before I left. I had a wonderful bowl of bangers and mash–excellent mashed potatoes, good sausages, and a gravy you could eat just by itself. I ate at a place just across the street from the church, the very nice Copper Alley bistro.

I really like Christ Church as well, and as before really enjoyed wandering around downstairs in the very atmospheric and delightful crypt.

It was still only shortly past 3 PM and my show tonight wasn't until 7:30. I considered taking a cab back here, spending an hour or so, and then walking on back to the theater. I figured what the hell, I'd just go to Dublinia first, then walk on over to the theater , get my ticket, find somewhere to have a pint, find somewhere else for dinner and be back at the theater around 7.

I like Dublinia, it's very well done and informative. As usual I didn't play around with all the interactive exhibits or watch all the short videos but I still like the place. This time there were quite a lot less people–I think I was there the same time as at least one group of foreign English students when I was there last

The theater I was going to, the Olympia is an older theater just on side of Temple Bar. After I picked up my ticket for the evening's performance at the box office I went a couple of doors down the street to the delightful and wonderful Ivy bar where I had a very good pint of Orchard Thieves, an Irish hard cider.

When I'd gone to the musical pub crawl when I was here this past July, it started at Oliver St John Gogarty's and then I accidentally found what might be the only Mongolian BBQ in Dublin which was very good, fast, and inexpensive, so I decided to have dinner there tonight.

On my way over to the restaurant I went past the two places in the Temple Bar area I definitely want to go back to while I'm here, although depending on the time of day I might have dinner or at least a pint at one of the many restaurants and pubs in the area–Claddagh Records which is supposed to be the best traditional Irish music CD store in Dublin and one of the best in the whole country, and Waltons Music which is supposed to be the best musical instrument store in the whole city. I want to get the two different bodhran tutorial DVDs Waltons sells before I leave but I didn't want to carry a shopping bag with me in case the theater was crowded. Next time I'll just bring my book pack which I usually leave back here. I also went past but not into another place that looked very interesting, the Gandharva Loca world music store.

While I was in the restaurant getting sauces for my second and last trip to the grill something slightly embarrassing happened but only two people even knew anything about it and one of them was me. I had cleverly decided to not leave my camera sitting on my table unattended and was wearing it slung around my neck when the plastic lens hood came loose and fell into the tub of sauce right in front of me. I immediately told one of the guys at the grill, he immediately came around and pulled the tub and a few minutes later handed it back to me, rinsed and dried.

The Olympia is a wonderful old theater, very nicely kept up and maintained, with surprisingly good leg room (they apparently redid most of the seating earlier this year). I had somehow picked a seat in the second row from the stage, just over at the stage right corner. That turned out to be a very good place to see the show and the performers, many of whom were very lovely young women in beautiful and attractive costumes.

The show is this year's Christmas pantomime at the Olympia. I just had to look up the difference between pantos and miming. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed myself and the performance a very great deal. I admit I often didn't understand the lyrics or dialogue–with the different accents and slang it's as if they were speaking a language foreign to me (they were, of course–Dublin Irish English) and I often also missed some of the pop cultural references since I don't listen to rock and hip hop hits back home anyway. All the performances were excellent, with great dancing and choreography and singing. They even made it snow in the theater a couple of times.

There were also several unexpected very funny bits both for the audience and the performers when there was the occasional bit of wandering away from the script. I love watching performers crack each other up to the point where they have to regain their composure before they can go on. All these diversions seem to have involved the main pantomime dame, who is also this year's producer and writer. For instance, one time the actor thought he'd missed his cue and came out early and they just kind of played around with that for a few minutes before getting back to the plot.

I caught a cab quite easily from the theater after the show and went across the street from the hotel to the Centra, another of the convenience stores here in the area, for a couple of snacks I'm going to have after I finish typing these notes. It was just 11 PM when I got back, and it's now about 12:15 AM.

So what am I going to do tomorrow? I have the dinner & show at the Brazen Head, which claims to be the oldest still existing pub anywhere in Ireland at 6:30 PM. I think I might start out here in the neighborhood over at the Dublin city/Hugh Lane art gallery. Not far from here is the Capuchin friary which might be worth adding to my collection of churches, even if I didn't know about it until looking at Google Maps a few minutes ago. I had planned on going to the Old Jameson Distillery which is also in the area but they're closed for some renovation until March 2017.

St Michan's church is also nearby and is supposed to be well worth visiting because of the building itself and its history but its crypt with mummies.

The Brazen Head is only a ten minute walk from St Michan's across the Liffey. If I leave early enough I might make the 15 minutes additional trek back over to Waltons Music.

And now I'm going to have a small snack and glass of juice and call it a night,

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