Thursday, March 14, 2013

Last Day in Dublin

Judy and I decided to take the "Hop on, Hop off" bus for a tour of the city on our last day. This bus system tours the city and stops at about 25 spots while giving a running commentary. They are double decker buses, but it was too cold to sit outside, plus that made it difficult to hear the commentary. We started the day by walking through the Trinity College campus on our way to "Hop on" a bus. This is a beautiful college courtyard with statues of famous Irish scholars. There is an aura of intellectualism, or is that the smell of a freshly drawn Guinness?

One of the highlights of the bus tour was the Kilmainham Gaol. This jail has been functioning as a place of incarceration and execution from the 1780s to 1920. You can follow a lot of Irish history from attempts at separation from England, to the potato famine (Great Hunger) and its Vagrancy Laws, to the revolution  1916. One would need more than an hour tour of the Gaol to appreciate all the treaties, pacts, agreements, rebellions and revolutions that have take place between Ireland and England.

Here is our guide, freezing, in the 1916 Corridor where 14 revolutionaries were imprisoned before their execution in the Revolution of 1916.

That night, in a cultural 180, we went to the Arlington Hotel on the Liffey for their Irish Music and Dance show. After reading Tripadvisor reviews that said it was "cheesy, touristy, but fun" I wasn't sure what my expectations were. But, we were really very impressed with the show. The musicians were very talented and very engaging with the audience. The banjo player was the leader of the group and had a great way about him. The lead singer was terrific too as you can see in this video. Warning, there is audio if you are playing this at work.

They played for an hour without a break, then brought out a quartet of dances who did their thing between more songs from the band. Between the players, singers and dances, they put on a great show. We were all glad we went to take in this "cheesy" performance. 

Here's a video of the 4 dancers in one of their numbers. 

Next, off to Paris.

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