Dorking out in the tourist office.
September 14, 2007

I can now attest that spending a night in the Madrid airport isn’t really as bad as it sounds. After all, you will be in a lot of
company. I guess I wasn’t the only person who was there between flights.

I landed around 1am from Marrakech and my flight to Dublin was at 10:50am. Until about 7am the airport was a ghost town. I
can say this because I was awake to make note of this. Almost everybody had snagged the good seats when I arrived. I ended
up sitting at a chair in a café that was closed and worked on a Morocco photo album on my computer. I was unaware that so
much time had passed but the lights of the café were now being turned on. It was 7am and the Madrid airport was open for
business. And I made it through the night with absolutely no problems whatsoever (though it wasn’t quite as nice as spending
it at the 24-hour Coffee Bean in the Singapore airport)…

I arrived in Dublin and took the bus into the City Centre to meet Cat. I walked into the café and there she was. She borrowed a
Dublin guidebook from one of her friends – this was great for me as I have absolutely no idea what to see or do out here. What
can I say…I am really bad at reading up on places before I arrive. Cat’s lunch break was over and she took my bags to her
building while I set out to explore Dublin. I had a few hours before I met her again once her day of work was over.

Right off the bat, I learned something. Before coming to Dublin, people told me to go to Temple Bar. I was just thinking that
this must be a pretty good bar with everybody telling me I should go. I came to find out that Temple Bar isn’t actually
a bar
(though there is one with that name)…it is actually a
street of bars. How was I supposed to know this???

Storefronts out here look so…well…Irish. Or at least what our Irish bars look like at home. But they are actually
real Irish bars
out here.

Then I walked a few blocks away to Trinity College. This is where the Book of Kells is housed. My sister told me to go see this.
I went. I guess I should be happy that at least I saw this. But I am still a bit blown away about paying 8 Euros to see four pages
of this book. And I am even
more surprised that my sister told me to go see this. I don’t see her thinking this would be a
worthwhile use of my Euros. But, as I said, at least I did it so that if somebody raves about it in the future, I will know that I
didn’t miss out on something incredible by not going.

As a friend once said to me “I would rather regret doing something than regret
not doing it.”

From here, I continued a few blocks down onto Grafton Street – one of the pedestrian shopping areas. Nothing too special but
it was pleasant enough. At the end of the street was St. Stephen’s Green. There was a ‘Spirit of the Wild’ exhibit which was of
much interest to me – the photography (by a man Stephen Bloom) was excellent and it consisted of animals from all parts of
the world (including Antarctica, Africa and the Arctic, amongst others).

After meeting up with Cat after her day of work, we have come back to her flat in Rathmines and we just ordered in dinner.
Staying in has never sounded so good. I am so tired that I feel sick.  I think that should be my cue to get some shut-eye…

September 15, 2007

I woke up at 10am today. I repeat – I woke up at 10am today! Wow, I can’t think of the last time I could say that. I never
sleep that late. It has never felt so good. My body loved me for this.

Sunny skies were in store for Dublin today so we figured we would wander around the city. To be honest, I don’t really know
exactly where we went. I was just following Cat. All I know is that it was a part of the City Centre with some great little
restaurants and cafes. We decided to grab lunch at a weekend outdoor farmer’s market type-of-thing. Can I stress how nice it
was to be out-and-about in Dublin with the sun beaming down on us? Well, it felt
so nice that we decided to extend our time in
it by sitting outside at a café.

After the caffeine fix, we made our way to the Guinness Storehouse. This was something I knew I had to do while in Dublin. I
knew it was a bit pricey and that it was more-or-less all in the name of getting a free pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar on the
top floor. I came here almost being prepared to be disappointed.

But I wasn’t.

The facility was so nice. I learned a lot while I was there, too. For example, did you know that the Guinness Book of World
Records was founded by Mr. Guinness? I bet you didn’t. Apparently one night he and his friends were drinking at a bar and
they were having a disagreement as to what the fastest bird was. They wanted the answer and nobody was there to provide it.
They said that there should be a book in which such answers existed. And now we have the Guinness Book of World Records.
Who knew?

September 16, 2007

There weren’t many things or places I knew about within Dublin before I arrived. With the exception of one. A place called KC

My friends at home have a friend, Katie. Katie lives in Dublin. Katie opened up a café in Dublin. It probably goes without saying
that this is called KC Peaches.

This was our first stop of the day today. When we entered, we were both shocked. We were expecting some small little nook of
a café with a few selections. This it wasn’t. The display case had option after option of already made salads, sandwiches, cakes,
breads and other desserts. The side wall had gourmet products for sale. Once again, I was not expecting anything like this.
Since Katie wasn’t there today (since it’s a Sunday) I have made it my personal mission to head back out there on Wednesday
before I head to the airport to have my last breakfast and coffee. Hopefully I can then meet my friends’ friend…

When we left KC Peaches, I would experience the first rainfall of my time in Dublin. Not too bad considering it’s my third day
here, huh?

This afternoon was reserved for me to gain knowledge on a new sport – Gaelic football. I would get a tutorial while watching
Cork and Kerry playing in the All-Ireland Final at Rody Boland’s in Rathmines.

Cat gave me a brief run-down of the scoring system and some of the rules. Then it was time to order me a Guinness and root
for Kerry. While it might seem like I randomly picked this team to pull for, I did have my personal selfish reasons. I am going
to be in Kerry tomorrow night. Supposedly the county is supposed to tear you-know-what up the night after such a win.
Therefore…sorry, Cork. I know you’re the underdog. I normally pull for the underdog. But not this time. After all, I’m not
staying in Cork tomorrow night.

When we were watching the game, the television had a close-up of one of the players. I noticed the name on the back. I told
Cat that the player was one of the good ones because I saw several people wearing his jersey on the streets. A few minutes
later I saw another guy on the television. He was a red-head. But he also had the same name. I pointed this out to Cat. This
was when she laughed and informed me that ‘Ciarrai’ is not somebody’s last name…it is ‘Kerry’ written in Irish. Oh. Oops. So
much for me trying to figure things out on my own.   

Instead of go out for dinner, I was craving a trip to the supermarket and eating at Cat’s. My life while traveling feels like it’s
always eating out so I thought it would be nice to take advantage of eating in. And it ended up being even more enjoyable
considering we got to watch an episode of Top Chef courtesy of the Living channel. Plus Cat loves this show, too. And it would
get even better in that it Season 2 is airing right now and I never got to see any of that season. The show was just as new to me
as it was to Cat. I think it goes without saying that this was somewhat of a treat for me. And then things continued to go my
way when a travel show came on…and the journalist was covering the Balkans! Places like Mostar, Sarajevo and Belgrade – fun
stuff considering I will be there in a couple weeks.

Now it’s time to retire for the night. I have a very early morning considering I have a 7am train out to the southwestern part of
this country…
Back to Ireland.
Getting our beers at the Guinness Storehouse.
One of the Temple Bar's bars.