BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Monday, September 05, 2011

Catching up on some sights

Claire came to visit us this weekend. And it was perfect, primarily because we just saw her two weeks ago in London. The perfection came from our ability to chat and digest. We'd moved on from the "it poured while we were in Amsterdam", and the "Nikolai's SOOO cute" to the more personal side of things. But I don't blog about truly personal things... that would be creepy.

However, I do blog about sight seeing. Though I have been rather delinquent of late on this particular task. I have Dublin sights that we went to on the August 1st long weekend that I still haven't blogged about... because... it's just that wee bit boring to blog about the usual tourist traps. However, I strive to be a conscientious person... and though I have a more exciting story waiting in the wings, it will have to wait a few more weeks while I discuss a few more Dublin sights.

LIFFEY RIVER BOAT TOUR
And this tour is probably the cause of my ennui. Because the tour itself was rather boring. As anyone who's been in Dublin knows... the Liffey is not the highest of rivers... (and is rather more of a slight murky trickle whenever the tides' out). So the canal boat was not able to make it any further upriver than the Ha' Penny bridge. Which means that the rest of the tour featured only about 10 sights... including the bankrupt docklands and associated abandoned construction sites. Notice the lack of cranes at the AIB building site pictured below. Thrilling.

What was exciting was the fact that the boat did not have a toilet... and we'd just come from lunch where Nikolai had drunk a large glass of water... To preserve his personal Internet based privacy, I am not going to tell you what we did about this situation... but it was definitely harrowing.CHRISTCHURCH CATHEDRAL

As you can imagine, Christchurch is a large cathedral, much like most cathedrals... large, glamorous, yet slightly Gothic in nature. We also got to tour the crypt... which sounds a lot more exciting than it was. They had a few interesting artifacts in glass cases, a cafe and gift shop. The only cryptness about it was the smell (ugh) and a petrified cat and mouse who'd been caught behind the organ a long time ago (can you imagine the repair man who had to make that discovery!)

We also got to see Strongbow's coffin... so that was pretty cool.DALKEY CASTLE
This was the only sight that we actually did with Claire (I really have been neglective!) But the tour was by far the best of the bunch, and is definitely recommended if you're into history, and you don't have small children with you... unfortunately we did have a small child with us. However, he seems to have come out unscathed.

Dalkey Castle isn't really a castle as much as a fortified import-export warehouse. The only people who would have lived there are the archers who protected the castle from raiders. As such, the castle is a small and modest place. But they've turned it into an interpretive centre on the area, and for €6 you get an interactive tour of the castle provided by a series of historical characters. The tour is currently about the Tudor period, and focuses on the lesser known and slightly gruesome side of things.

The tour guides remain in character the entire time and assume a lot of general knowledge of the period. Needless to say, they tried to draft Nikolai into their services as an apprentice archer several times.

FARMLEIGH AND ASHTOWN CASTLE
When selecting pictures for this blog, I realized that I never blogged about our bicycle tour of Pheonix park! First we went to Farmleigh for a tour of the stately guest house. Originally a Guinness family rural cottage, it now is a hotel for visiting dignitaries. Basically everyone has stayed there... including most recently Obama and Queen Elizabeth (though not at the same time). The tour was nice, but I'd recommend the Aras over Farmleigh.

We then went on to Ashtown Castle, primarily because we knew they served up a rather nice lunch. On this trip, the Victorian walled garden was open for visitors. Officially still under renovation, we were very much in awe of the neat rows of vegetables... but as Brad pointed out, it takes a team of gardeners to maintain a walled garden. The best part is that all the produce grown is used in the cafe! Yummy.

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