Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ireland Day 2 - Dublin

Still playing catch up people! Seems I will forever be playing catch up. 
Gotta finish Ireland, here we go! 

Saturday morning we woke up later than the previous day's ambitious alarm and, after eating breakfast (the banana muffins I'd baked earlier in the week and, yes, brought over in a container on the airplane haha {Max thinks I'm CRAZY}) and getting ourselves all ready for the day, we drove into Dublin. We were staying just outside of Dublin in a lovely town called Malahide, so it took us maybe 15-20 minutes to get to Dublin proper. Our first stop was to eat lunch (ok so maybe we took the morning WAY more leisurely than the previous day haha). Max had found this restaurant on TripAdvisor that was really really highly rated. It was called Fade St. Social. Kind of an odd name, but it was amaaazing! It really was. I didn't know what to expect at all because the name gives you absolutely no clues as to what type of restaurant it is, but it was all just kind of new age, modern food with really bold and unique flavors. We ordered a bunch of tapas to share since it was lunch, including a creamy truffle pasta, sourdough and focaccia bread selections with mushroom butter and creme fraiche, some kind of fancy, sauced up and flavored green beans, a warm egg/potato salad with toasted brioche (it kind of tasted like mom's old poached egg breakfast, but gourmet style), some fancy herbed potato wedges with sauce, and a couple desserts to sample as well. All of it was so good. It really reminded us of the meal we had eaten at Provisions in SLC for our anniversary last summer, but it was all pretty cheap, relatively. Expensive for a lunch, but I felt like for the quality of food it was really inexpensive. So if you're going to Dublin, I would definitely recommend it. Although, tiny caveat, the desserts were not quite as spectacular as the tapas we got

I took a picture of Alice in front of the restaurant after we ate because I knew I'd forget the name of the place. Really fantastic food.  

After lunch we wandered around the city a bit and experienced Irish rainfall, or maybe I should just say Dublin's rainfall. It was Crazy! I've never seen anything like it before. It was hot and sunshiny and then 10 minutes later, literally,  it was cold, overcast rainy down poor. And than 5 minutes later it was hot and sunny again and we were stripping our jackets off. And the cycle repeated itself over and over! I know you hear about places having bipolar weather like that all the time, but I've never seen it quite so literal, in the flesh before. Back and forth and back and forth allllll day long! It was probably especially noticeable to us since we were outside on foot all day. Luckily we were prepared with rain coats and sturdy shoes. 

It was fun to walk around Dublin, we went all over the city. The feel I got from Dublin is that it's kinda random and chaotic and rambling but also relaxed, comfortable, quaint,  and cheerful. I didn't get the sense of grandeur that I've seen elsewhere, like in London, up Edinburgh's Royal Mile, all over Paris, and most of Oxford, in their respective displays of pomp, wealth, power, and history. But that's totally ok. Because it feels very approachable in its lack of that. You might walk around Dublin looking for that one location that's "The Place," the sight to see, the perfect backdrop for your iconic photo, and you may not find it. But instead you'll see all sorts of little visual vignettes, quaint and cosy, and you'll feel welcome.

Here are some of the cute scenes I found:

Stickered pole and flowers.
Irish flags and banners.
Flags: European Union, United States, Ireland. 
Proud to be represented. 'Merica.

Lovely street.

While out wandering we stopped at the Dublin Castle (which was basically in a parking lot haha, and kind of hidden. I felt like that right there is a taste of Irish culture. They're not concerned with stateliness, power, or majesty in the impression they give. They're much more relaxed, carefree, easygoing, kind of people. *According to Lisa*.)

Here's the Dublin Castle, adjoined to the rooms of state. The round tower there with a church attached. Mostly I like this picture because of Jane's backside and pocketed li'l hands. 
Looooove those pockets! 
This one looks like it should be the Dublin Castle, and I posted it as such on social media (my bad) but it was actually the castle coach house - turned conference center. 
Jane was just posed so fantastically throughout all our time here at the Dublin Castle and garden. Love them all. 

I figured out this new trick with Jane where, any time she doesn't want to smile for a picture I ask her to show me her smile for various animals. Show me your lion smile! Now show me your bunny smile! Now show me your turtle smile! And so on. It gets her smiling and it's also highly entertaining for me to see her face morph from animal to animal. Good laughs: 

Stroking the soft leaves of this lambs ear kind of plant. Soooo soft!  

We also stopped at a lovely big park called St. Steven's Green. It had a pond, lots of trees, grass and flowers, walking paths, and a big playground the kids enjoyed for an hour while Max and I relaxed on a park bench. We were pretty tired after our long day "yesterday". Kids have such amazing, endless stores of energy haha. I wish I could match it. Max joked as we watched them that really all we're doing is touring different playgrounds all over the world with our young kids! Those are always their favorite, most exciting stops. Especially for Jane, the look of pure elation on her face  when she discovers we're stopping at a park is staggering! 
One bench we rested on for a moment to watch the ducks was underneath this tree whose overhanging branches dropped over us in wide arcs and went all the way to the ground, er pond. Lovely green light filtered through its branches and leaves, it was very peaceful.

No one else cared about the pretty flowers, they were all too focused on getting to the playground, as fast as possible. 
But I was all heart-eyes about them.


We went to Trinity College after chilling at the playground for a while in hopes of touring the beautiful library and seeing the famous Book of Kells, an illuminated (meaning beautiful drawings and calligraphy in the margins, often done by monks) manuscript of the Bible, but alas we arrived just barely too late and were denied entrance. #poorplanning. One of those things where if we had just looked beforehand we could have very easily cut the time at the durned playground short and booked it over there to make it in time for visiting hours. Shucky-darn. It was neat to see the campus a bit though, and nice to be able take cover during the longest, most violent down poor of the day!

Apparently this is the only photo I got of Trinity College campus! I loved that quote by Oscar Wilde so snapped a photo of it. 
"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it."

It may or may not be telling, the fact that I wasn't inspired by the campus enough to take any other photos haha.

Once the down poor stopped and the sunshine came back out, we headed out through the city again to find us some dinner, saw some more cute scenes and found a famous pub for fish and chips.
They were ok, pretty greasy, and not that great of flavor for all the celebrities they advertised having been there. Also no tartar sauce, thumbs down for that one. But maybe I was just tired of eating out.... that could be it too.
Pretty streets with Alice.
Lots and lots and lots o' pubs in this city.

Leo Burdock, our fish and chips dinner.

Right around the corner from the Leo Burdock fish and chips place was this sweet looking building, I think it was apartments or a hotel. We were all loving the huge floral mural covering it.

More silly animal smiles.

And right around the corner again was a very green,  very Irish looking pub.

 I tried to capture some of the pretty doors we passed throughout the day, inspired by my grandparents beautiful framed 'Doors of Dublin' poster they've had in their home ever since I can remember. 
Here's my amateur attempt of the "Doors of Dublin!"





 The highlight of Saturday though was DEFINITELY, by far, the Irish music and dance show, called Irish Nights (at the Belvedere hotel) that evening. It was awesome!!! And it was just a three man band (guitar, accordion, Irish drum) and 4 dancers on a tiny stage! I can't imagine how impressive and thrilling seeing a live Riverdance show would be. I had done quite a bit of research trying to find the perfect one that wouldn't break the bank (we opted out of the three course dinner because that made it pretty pricey), had good reviews, was family (kid) friendly, and had a good mix of Irish music and dancing. A few places I looked at seemed to be mostly music with only a couple dance numbers. I didn't want that. I wanted as much dancing as possible haha. (Growing up my grandparents had brought back a dvd of Riverdance for us from Ireland and we watched it allllll the time, and loved it.) Belevedere fit all the criteria.  We were a little worried about taking the girls since the show didn't start until 8pm, but the reviews said it was good for families and I actually emailed the hotel asking what they thought about bringing 3 small kids, and told them their ages, and they replied that the children would be most welcome and they'd had young children come before who had enjoyed the evening. So we went for it! AND THEY LOVED IT haha. By the end of the show they were all down on the floor (we were sitting in the back)  dancing their little hearts out moving their feet as fast as they could. It was so cute. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a good video. But the images are burned in my memory pretty well.

Jane gettin' comfy in the back.

Dancin' dancin' dancin'!!

It was a long day, we didn't get the girls in bed until 11:00pm (yikes!) but it ended on such a high that we didn't even care. Seriously, I was smiling and laughing the entire time. The dancers were incredible (how do they move their feet that fast!!???) and the band members were very talented as well, told lots of funny jokes, played a good mix of traditional Irish music as well as recognizable pop songs made famous by Irish artists (think Bono, etc.) A very very fun evening, and a great end to a great day.

More on Ireland to come. Stay tuned.