Monday 10 September 2007

A weekend with The Don & Tina

I collected Don and his colleague, Tina, at Dublin airport on Friday night, scheduled to arrive around 10pm and you guessed it, they were late! Even when Don uses public transport he manages to be fashionably late!
I took my guests on the “scenic” route through the centre of Dublin. Scenic is the way I travel most of the time as I usually miss the turns I am supposed to take, despite several attempts I have never actually found the direct route to the airport through Dublin. Anyhow, we eventually arrived home and had a few drinks to relax and catch up. The girls headed for bed around 1am but I was showing Don our new telly and the 24 hour fishing channel. We finally succumbed around 3am.
Nats suggested we all try the Viking Tour, this is a WWII amphibious vehicle that takes you through the streets of Dublin and then around the dock in the water. The driver had a few humorous chirps en route and the highlight for Don was that we had to growl (as in RRRRRRRRRRR!) at the Celts since they no longer allowed us Vikings to kill them. For those of you who know Don Roderick’s affinity for the letter R you will understand how Don delighted many of the children on board with particularly loud and feisty growling at any Celt’s who had the misfortune to wander by.

Once the tour was finished we wandered around Dublin gravitating towards Temple Bar (sorry Mom, no Book of Kells this time!). We enjoyed lunch at Fitzsimmons pub and then made our way North of the Liffey to Henry Street and into Arnott’s department store where Nats and Kirstin acquired Croc’s with “jibbitz” (croc jewels). After shopping Nats and the girls headed home and Tina, Don and I decided to try out a few of the Temple Bar pubs for a taste of Irish life. Needless to say, Temple Bar is tourist capital and you have more chance of meeting Poms on Hen or Stag nights than any self-respecting Irishman. The first place lacked character; besides a rather inebriated Swedish Don Juan who was scaring Hen parties out of the place faster than a thirsty sailor can finish a pint.

We went to the pub that every tourist has a photo of, yip the bright red Temple Bar.

Like many Dublin pubs, it is far more extensive then might first appear and we managed to find a nice nook with chairs where we could observe the crowd and hear ourselves think. There was live music in the room next door and although we could not see the band we could hear them. Don had a few bewildered looks as he asked random people to pose for him so he could take their photo, surprisingly not a single person declined. Don and I kept the Rule tradition of changing drinks frequently so as to guarantee an almighty hangover the following day!! To make matters worse the sneaky Irish have ATM’s in the pubs, no charges and away ye go. Although we planned to sample some of the other pubs on offer the ‘craic’ was far too good and we only managed to drag ourselves out of there to get the last Luas around 12:30.

Don took it upon himself to entertain the weary travellers on the homeward journey while I thanked my stars for not looking too much like family
Sunday was slooooowwwww, the girls, Tina included, were decidedly fresher than the menfolk. We all caught the Luas back into Dublin and after failing to find the café we were looking for, found another pleasant place to enjoy the traditional Irish breakfast séance Black & White pudding. Coffee and juice all round please!
Nats and Jess opted out of the Guinness Brewhouse tour and the rest of us made our way West. We decided to bus it which was perhaps not the best decision as we must have waited about 30 minutes for a bus, felt like an hour. At least Don & Tina got to try out all the different methods of transport besides a taxi. Eventually we arrived and enjoyed a self-guided tour. The building is 8 floors and after the third floor we decided to go straight to the Gravity Bar, a large glass pub on top of the brewery with almost 360 degree views of Dublin city. I braved one of Dublin’s finest while Don, Tina & Kirstin enjoyed a Coke with their token. Kirstin amused herself taking pictures of the tv running Guinness ads while Don spotted Jock’s Dad and took a few pictures…..
Somehow another day had slipped by and we headed home, Nats came looking for us and was a welcome site to the weary walkers making their way back from the Luas stop.
Don & Tina were heading home on Monday afternoon so the school goers and workers bade them farewell in the morning as they prepared for a final shop and visit to Dublin city.
Later Don’s love affair with public transport continued when the bus to the airport sailed past them as they stood at the bus stop. The Irish bus only stops if you hail it like a taxi, live and learn! Fortunately they made the airport in good time in spite of this hiccup and last I heard were preparing for their next adventure.

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