Day Three (9/16/18): Welcome to Dooblin
With the weather being what it was in Iceland, we were more than happy to get up at 4 am to catch our flight to Dublin. We flew with WOW Air again, and although it was just as uncomfortable as the first trip, we only had to endure it for two hours.
The weather in Dublin (or “Dooblin” as it was pronounced by locals)was vastly improved from the cold and rain we had left at Keflavik. However, we weren’t sure how long the nice weather would last, as Ireland was in the path of Tropical Storm Helene. Another challenge presented itself when we picked up our rental car. From here on out, we would have to drive on the left side of the road. Tim eagerly took up the duties as driver, and made it all look easy. I was more hesitant to try, especially in a city. I knew at some point I would have to get behind the wheel…but not just yet.
Instead of a host home, we opted for a stay at the Plaza Hotel, located just outside the city center. After a leisurely lunch, we returned to our room where I was mercifully able to take a shower and change into clean clothes for the first time in several days. Getting back to lunch, our lengthy repast at the hotel was the first time I truly noticed how long meals are expected to last. It was a novel experience for me, considering meal breaks at work last only a half an hour. As a result, I typically tend to inhale my food without the bother of actually enjoying it.
In beginning our exploration of Dublin, we stopped off at a local mall to purchase some needed supplies, like another plug adapter. As it turned out, I purchased outlet adapters that work just about anywhere in Europe…except for Ireland. So, I needed to get an adapter for my adapter. It was all rather strange. And speaking of strange…we shopped at a drug store where the self-checkout prompter was voiced by…Elvis; or rather, a very poor impression of Elvis. To be honest, it left me all shook up (insert eye-roll here).
In the evening, we wanted to sample the Dublin nightlife. We hopped aboard the Luas red line tram and shuttled into the city center. My first impression of downtown Dublin was that it was really quiet, especially for a major city. Even though it was off-season, I thought there’d be more activity. Actually, what we found was that because it was Sunday, a lot of places shut down early, or didn’t open at all. We managed to find a place with a sort of walk up drive-thru where we ordered New York style pizza slices.
After that, we had a drink at the Brazen Head Pub. Established in 1198, it claimed to be the oldest pub in Ireland. It was a vibrant place with live music and several small tap rooms where one could get a pint. I settled for a Guinness. It seemed the right thing to drink.
Afterwards, we wandered the streets for a while before getting on the tram back to our hotel. While there, we had a rather interesting encounter with an elderly Irish gentleman, who either drunk or senile. He would sit quietly for a little while, then start loudly blurting out statements to the passengers around him. Tim and I sat a couple of seats cattycorner from him, trying to understand what he was saying. Between his Irish brogue and his slurring, it was hard to make out. Eventually, all the passengers around us departed, leaving us in the line of fire. He brightened up considerably when he found out we were Americans. It was still hard to understand everything he was saying, but he clearly didn’t like our politicians, frequently calling them “clowns” (pronounced cloons). Well, we couldn’t exactly disagree with that, so we nodded and smiled. This kept up until a tram security guard came up to the old man and told him that if he didn’t quiet down and stop harassing us, he’d toss the man from the tram.
“I’m just talking to the Americans,” he slurred in defense. He really wasn’t bothering us and we didn’t mind having him rail against the “clowns.” We even might have made his night, as no one else was talking to him.