We arrived in Dublin at 8:00 a.m., got our rented car and then drove around in the parking lot for 10 minutes looking for the lost car rental agreement. Tarzan said he put it on top of the suitcases while he pulled the car out. The wind was blowing like a son-of-a-gun so we figured it had blown away. After the third time around the yard, I offered to get out and look. When I got out of the car—guess what? I was sitting on it. We all got our first laugh of the trip.
Tarzan drove on the wrong side of the road once trying to get to the hotel—yikes! Then he drove down the line between 2 lanes once and had a parade of honking horns behind him. Rachel and I were very good and did not yell at him once.

Our room was not ready so we ate again! More heavy breakfast food—ugh! I finally took some antacids and felt fine in about 15 minutes. Then we went out to the car and took a nap. They let us check in a little early and our room was very nice. It was an apartment on the eleventh floor of a hotel by the airport. So far, the only Irish experience we have had is listening to the accents (later we realized that the heavy breakfast was also an Irish experience.)We had hired a private tour of Dublin and when they showed up, they had a bus to accommodate 40 people. The driver told us he had another tour to pick up when we were finished so he brought the big bus. We would have preferred a small car with the driver and guide, but it was okay. The three of us hopped on the bus and Jerry, our driver chatted away with dry jokes like, “Over there is a place that is so popular, it has a waiting list nine months long (pause) it’s a maternity home.” We found it clever because he was so jovial and we were all a little giddy from the lack of sleep. The tour guide joined us and she was awesome. She first took us on a scenic tour of downtown and fed us a ton of interesting history. (I must say the Irish are still a wee bit miffed at the English.) We stopped and went into Christ’s Church where we got a lot more history, saw where Jonathan Swift and his “girlfriend” were buried. We also saw his death mask—interesting.

The thing I liked best there was an old door they put on display. It was a rough, old door with a jagged hole cut out of the middle. The story was that two families were fighting. One ran into a house behind that door for safety. In the meantime the other side realized how much bloodshed their feud was causing so he knocked on that door and asked for a truce. Those inside thought it was a trick and would not respond. The man on the outside chopped a hole in the door and stuck his hand through the door and ended the bloody feud. Here is a picture of the door.

We drove through a 1,000 acre park, where I fell asleep for about 10 minutes. Then we went to Trinity College library where the manuscripts, copied by the monks on calf skin, are on display. These books are the four gospels from the New Testament. Only one word is needed, Beautiful! We were not allowed to take pictures inside there. The highlight of the tour was the Long Room. Totally unexpected and beyond description. We walked through the large double doors into another world. A world I can only dream of—spread before us in a long room about 100 feet long and 50 feet tall was a room, two stories tall filled with shelves of books; all categories and alphabetized. We paused at the door and gasped. The smell of old paper mixed with leather and wood was pleasingly pungent. The lighting was appropriate for reading. I was overcome with the sheer quantity of the collective knowledge in that room. I don’t recall what the source of light was. I said, “Can you smell that?” Rachel said, “That was unexpected, it turned a boring trip into an amazing one.” Tarzan said, “This one room made the whole trip to Ireland worth the money.”

We were then taken to Temple Bay, a downtown walking area, where we saw many buildings close up. Our tour guide walked with us to show us shopping places and good pubs. We said goodbye and started out on our own. After a quick bathroom break we were expected to leave a 50¢ tip for the girls keeping the place clean (we didn’t leave a tip, we don’t tip for lousy service; water on the floor and no paper towels, just generally dirty!) We bought a wind breaker for Tarzan. The wind had been blowing hard all day and it was cold. Then we stopped into Hard Rock CafĂ© so I could buy my guitar magnet bottle opener. As we walked along we saw all kinds of wonderful entertainment and people of all kinds. I got this picture of a street performer with his home made fiddle. It is a real classic made of a cookie can and wood. There is a tin can on the end of the stem. He was awesome. See the woman smoking in the background. Everywhere we went people were smoking.

Suddenly, we came right up to Gogarty’s restaurant. Maria Hoffman Loves this place, especially the oysters. We decided to have dinner there. The pub on the first floor was loud and wild, young folks partying. The pub on the second floor had music and some noise, but more of a calmer crowd. The restaurant was on the third floor. I didn’t realize the oysters were going to be raw. I am mediocre on the raw oyster experience. Mind you, our guide had scoffed at us having dinner there and suggested we eat before we go. Later a taxi driver referred to it as “fast food.” Meaning they try to serve you fast and get you out of there so the next bunch can come in. Rachel had chicken and it was just okay. Tarzan had a rack of Lamb and it was dry and tasteless. I had Uncle Arthur’s Casserole and it was yuck. I am not a picky eater, but so far our food experience in Ireland was sorely lacking. The good part was the Irish Seafood Chowder. It was awesome and the dark soda bread delish! They serve that bread at every meal. Tarzan had a world famous Guiness and he was not impressed. So far, food has been a terrible let-down. We went back to our room and finally got showered. We all crashed at 8:00 p.m.

It's funny, as I read this now, it all seems so negative. We truly had a great time. Many unexpected experiences, but we were enjoying every minute. I journaled the whole trip, so I will be interested to see if it all seems negative? Hmmmm. I may be learning something about my sense of humor.