Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ireland/Iceland Trip, day 3: Dublin

Day 3 in Dublin and we decided to head out to the Tall Ship Festival, that had been the buzz of the town for the past few days. We had seen in various pubs men with heavy navy blue coats and and nautical hats, drinking together and enjoying Dublin. We headed out to the east part of River Liffey in a rare day of sunshine. The ships were indeed tall, huge masted structures with big sails that, when untied, must billow in the wind. They looked like pirate ships.

The highlight of the Tall Ship Festival was the Mexican ship, where the sailors had climbed up the masts to wave goodbye to the crowds standing on the side of the river. It seemed death-defying and we were suitably impressed. We left the festival just as it began becoming incredibly crowded; we heard later that a quarter-million people attended.

Dublin city was also buzzing with diffent families wearing the red-and-white or the green-and-yellow of sports teams. There was also a big match between Cork and Donegal happening in Dublin and everyone seemed to want to take their kids.

From the Tall Ship Festival, we headed towards the Dublin Writers Musuem, where we saw manuscripts, typewriters, and letters from the biggest names in Irish literature: James Joyce, of course, but also Sam Beckett, and others. The rooms were beautiful, and the gentleman manning the front desk was a real character.

Hungry from our literary leanings, we headed towards a Korean restaurant called Kim Chi that Will had found in a stroke of genius. It was so delicious to be eating hot rice and spicy Korean sauces in the middle of Dublin.

After lunch, we headed towards the river again to visit the Jameson whiskey factory. I have a whole new respect for the coopers, or the men who put barrels together -- it sounds like hot, heavy and difficult work. I also have a new respect for whiskey, and for Jameson in particular; it is always a pleasure to hear people talking about things they are passionate about, and expert at. At Jameson, they explained the triple distilled process, and how their whiskey has honeyed caramel notes because they only use seasoned barrels from sherry or port to age their whiskey.

From Jameson, we headed home for a minute, then headed back out for dinner and stories at the Brazen Head. We learned about the Irish potato famine, as well as the faerie mythology of the islands. With Irish music accompanying the traditional pub dinner, it was a perfect way to end the night.