Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 7: Green

Man, I am so glad the title bar prompts me or I would have no idea what day I am on.

We wake up to this double rainbow (you can barely make the 2nd in this photo, it's to the right). I am not kidding when I say you could see the end in front of those trees! Just unreal.

Ita at the B&B serves us toast, bacon (like ham not really bacon), sausage and eggs. We then get the breakdown on what we should see. Ita tells us to go back to bed because I look tired. To be honest I was exhausted so after breakfast we take her advice and go back to bed for an hour.
She then suggests that we check out Trim Castle which is close by. We did miss the turn and have to loop back around but I am so glad we found it. I think Chris and I both agree this was in the top 3 of things we saw for our entire trip. It is run by the equivalent of the Irish Park Service so there was en excellent guided tour. The wooden floors our mostly gone and so on the inside you use the stone stairs and walk across walkways. The tour was just amazing and I really learned a lot about castles. Including that they were all white inside and out - so movies are wrong when they show gloomy slate colored castles. We also learned the source of the phrases "stir the pot" & "shit stirrer" as well as why the person in charge is the Chairman on the Board.

Trim Castle was used as the stand in for York in the movie Braveheart

Next we headed out for Newgrange an ancient burial site. We had to drive some back country roads to get there and that is when I first noticed what I shall call the Irish Castle Phenomenon. Every town no matter how small has a castle. It may be a well preserved castle and furnished castle, it may be a gutted but well preserved in recent years (like Trim) or in most cases a round tower and few standing walls. Most of them are just in a field with some cows or sheep, no one pays them any mind. This just blew my mind! Who just takes the dog for a walk out past the castle! Unreal!
Anyway, it was after lunch when we got to Newgrange. Because the monument has timed entry the next possible time was too late for us to get back to Dublin on time. This meant we couldn't go in the burial site but there is a visitor center with a museum and great exhibit about how the site was used. Luckily since it was a closed passageway a lot of archeological evidence exists and unlike Stonehenge historians paint a pretty convincing picture of its purpose.
The 3 main sites with Newgrange being the largest were built 800 years before the pyramids in Egypt. The massive stones used were similar in size. One guide was kidding a young boy and said, "Go back to school and when your teacher asks who built the pyramids, say the Irish. Oh no, I am just kidding, don't say that. The Irish didn't build the pyramids. But we bid on 'em!"

Newgrange from the road

When I say that every point of interest has a cafe, I am not kidding. I also don't mean hot dogs and pre-packaged sandwiches. Every place in both England and Ireland has a nice cafe with tasty hot food. Since it was past lunch, we had a nice meal in the Newgrange visitors center. I had a chicken and mushroom puffed pastry thing and Chris had a Guinness meat pie. I will come back to how I think meat pies are a food overlooked by America. One of the interesting Irish condiments is Brown Sauce. We had already been ed offered some at breakfast but I declined. At lunch there it was in little packets just like the ketchup and mustard. I decided to try it. It was almost like thickened Worcestershire sauce. Very curious. 

Wikipedia says it is like A1 but it wasn't tangy like A1

We then took a scenic drive back to the B&B where we regrouped and again caught bus to Dublin. By the time we arrived, we were a bit hungry again and about go to go drinking so we needed full bellies. We popped in Abrakebabra - see what they did there. 

We then headed out to our featured activity The Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. If you go to Dublin, you have to do this. But book in advance online, we did and were glad because we watched others get turned away. The tour is led by two actors who take you around to famous pubs and do sketches from works of famous Irish authors. Chris and started with 1/2 pints because we didn't want to over do it. There are only 4 pubs so we should have went with full pints. We also stopped at Trinity College and few places right on the side walk. It was fun. I am not sure Chris learned anything about literature though. 

I won't lie, James Joyce is probably the one great author I can't stand but still going to Davy Byrne's is a little surreal. 

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