Tuesday, December 27th, Dublin

Sleeping well but not long enough; finding the right place to wait for the tour; half-day tour to Malahide, Malahide Castle, and along the coast to Howth before returning to Dublin; not finding any Irish Christmas music CDs at Golden Discs; walking down to the Liffey and the Arlington Hotel for the "Celtic nights" dinner & show; back to the hotel

Jurys Inn Parnell Street



It's about 11:15 PM and I only got home from this evening's entertainment a few minutes ago.

I slept fairly well last night but not long enough, waking up a bit before 6 this morning. After breakfast and before leaving on this morning's trip I had a few minutes to check my lists of what I still wanted to see here in Dublin today and tomorrow before I leave for London on Thursday and when they're open.

The Little Museum of Dublin reopens tomorrow after their short Christmas break. I decided to wait until tomorrow, when I'll have the whole day before my concert at 7:30 PM, to go to the National Gallery and the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology which are in the same area as the Little Museum.

So what was I going to do today between my half-day trip and the dinner show? Oddly enough almost all of the rest of the places I had thought of going to were churches–St Nicholas of Myra, St Catherine of Alexandria, the John's Lane church, and St Catherine's C of I church–are all more or less in the vicinity of the medieval church of St Audoen's which is the one I most wanted to go to. When I checked last night and again this morning, I saw that St Audoen's is closed for the Winter. That meant I wasn't really that interested in going to any of the other churches as well, and wouldn't mind all that much if I didn't have time to go today.

I left early for my tour this morning and it's a good thing I did since I had confused the bus companies. The tour wasn't with Dublin Bus and their Dublin Sightseeing routes but with Grayline's red City Sightseeing tour bus line run by the same company whose red sightseeing buses I've ridden in many different cities in several different countries. The departure point for today's trip was across the street from the Dublin Bus location I had originally thought I needed to go to.

The tour was out to Malahide Castle, out to the coast and through the small town of Malahide winding up with a stop for lunch in the seaside town of Howth (pronounced hoe-th) which is where I'd gone one evening when I was last here for the dinner & excellent show at the Abbey Tavern this past summer and ten years ago.

There were only four of us on the trip, a husband and wife, the wife's sister and myself on a double decker bus. We all rode up top in the enclosed part because it was quite chilly this morning. Our driver & guide, Lisa, told us she's one of the only two female drivers for that company. She did a very good job and was informative and entertaining. When we got to the Castle, Lisa handed us over to their own guides for their tour.

I really liked what I saw of the Castle and its grounds and gardens. Malahide Castle is perhaps best known for belonging to the same family for about 800 years except for a 10 year gap when it was occupied by a supporter of Oliver Cromwell. The Castle and its grounds were sold to the Irish state in the 1970s when the sister of the last male heir couldn't pay the death duties on it when her brother died. It's a relatively small castle, and you don't get to see all of it just several very lovely rooms decorated in styles from several different eras.

I also liked what I saw of Malahide as we drove through it and loved the scenery along the coast to Howth. We parked along the waterfront and had time for a bit of a wander around and lunch before heading back to Dublin. I took Lisa's suggestion and ate at Crabby Jo's where I had a very nice seafood linguini, even if I had to peel the prawns and dig the meat out of the mussels and clams myself. When I placed my order the soup of the day was listed as being mushroom on their specials board but when mine arrived it was some sort of vegetable soup instead–and sometime between my placing my order and my receiving it someone had changed the listing on the board as well. I very politely said I didn't want it since it wasn't the type of soup I'd ordered and there was no problem.

We got back here shortly after 2 PM. I walked up Henry Street to get back here to my hotel, stopping in at Golden Discs, a large music CDs, DVD & Blu-Ray store and was disappointed that they had very few CDs of Irish Christmas music none of which looked interesting.

I hung out here in my room until about 5:45 PM when I set off down the street to the Arlington Hotel alongside the Liffey for the dinner and Celtic Nights show. The dinner was pretty good and the show was excellent.

I'm not sure how they booked people to be seated. My reservation was for 6:30 PM which is when their huge event room downstairs opened for the evening. I had already finished my starter and main course (Irish stew) before most of the other people at my table had even arrived, and some people at the same table didn't even get their main course until after the show had started after 8 PM.

At my table across from me and between me and the stage was a man and woman from Georgia and their two college age daughters and college age son, all of whom seemed to be very nice people. On the other side of me were two sisters, one sister's husband, and their young daughter from South Africa. After the dancers came out, one of the Georgia girls who was sitting right by the stage offered to have the young girl come down and sit with her so she could see the dancers, which I thought was very nice and sweet of her, and that's where the little girl stayed until the end of the show.

There were four musicians, a gal on fiddle, a guy on accordion, a male singer and MC, and a guy on guitar who also sang a song in Irish Gaelic later. They were excellent and did a wide variety of songs & types of music, and not just your average pub sing usuals. There were four Irish dancers, two guys and two gals, who did several sets of different types of Irish dancing and they were excellent as well.

I have to get up early enough tomorrow morning to drop off my only load of laundry here in Dublin before I pack tomorrow night before leaving for London on Thursday morning. Since the laundry has to be at reception before 8 AM, I might have breakfast and then shower afterwards. Then as I said earlier I plan on going to the Little Museum of Dublin (which I didn't make it to last time), the National Gallery and the NMI Archaeology. I need to be at Vicar Street, the venue for tomorrow's concert, sometime around 7 PM to pick up my actual ticket for the show which is the Dublin Legends who are the current incarnation of the Dubliners who were first founded in 1962.

It's now almost 12:30 AM and that's it for tonight.

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