Sunday, February 20, 2011

Green clovers, yellow diamonds and purple horse shoes!

Saturday - Dublin, Ireland

Never before has a Nightgown (famliar dig at the Nightster, that all Sportsters are girls bikes) looked so masculine, or exotic.

Kilmainham Gaol.  The historic (1796) Dublin prison.  Most famous for the incarceration and execution of 13 members of the 1916 rebellion for Irish independence.

Lots of movies have been filmed here; The Italian Job, In the Name Of The Father, The Whistle Blower, Michael Collins (although he was never imprisoned here).
BTW - Jeff, I'm referring to the Irish patriot of the 1916 revolution, not the forgotten astronaut (Apollo 11 command pilot module).
For the rest of you, there's a great bar on the South side of Chicago called Lunar Brewing company, they celebrate the mostly forgotten Italian American space cowboy).

Interesting and clever way of keeping prisoners from climbing the drain pipe in the yard.

The sealed doorway behind this alter would have opened to the walkway beyond, out to the twin gallows in front.  Twin gallows?  On the main street, two for the public's enjoyment.

Inside the architecture is quite beautiful.  The steel trusses look like they belong to a ship.

John MacBride refused to be blindfolded at execution saying that he'd "looked down too many muzzles to fear death". 

Kilmainham Gaol has 107 cells but held as many as 500 prisoners; men, women and children at one time.

Site where the firing line dispatched 13 revolutionaries.  Some prisoners were hanged, sent to Australia, or released when their term had been served.  A 7-year old boy served 9-months for theft, of an apple.

Above the front door, above and to either side of the balcony door are two small, odd-colored stones.  These replaced the twin gallows timbers.
I can't say how impressive and beautiful the building was, and also how absolutely horrifying and tragic the stories about it.

On a lighter note; should it surprise anyone that foreigners have a hard time driving in Ireland?  Yeah, I can't go straight, there's a fucking building in the way!

Time for afternoon tea, or in my case a Galway Hooker, a delicious pale ale at the Elephant & Castle.  Great bar, great staff, outdoor beer garden, right in the middle of the Dublin Cathedral district.

A couple of blocks down, Saint Patrick's Cathedral.  "Oh, if you only knew the things that I've done in your honor....."

Couldn't get in to the cathedral due to a college graduation ceremony.  Families were all over the grounds taking pictures.
On my way back however, I saw a bunch of professors or administrators boozing it up at the Elephant and Castle beer garden before the ceremony!  So f'ing awesome I don't have words.

Across from the E&C, Christchurch Cathedral.  Contemporary to St. Pat's, it's the seat of the Archbishop of Ireland.

In the cathedral crypt you'll find a mummified cat and rat.  The cat chased the rat into an organ pipe and both died there (ala Tom & Jerry).  There's a line in Finnegan's Wake intimating that someone won't let go on an issue, "stuck to it like the cat and the rat in Christchurch Cathedral".

Outside of the church, an ancient Viking homestead is honored in brick pavers in the sidewalk......(I think that means not really honored).

Irregardless ;-) you'd never know it was there unless you climbed to the top of the tower.
The Cathedral of St. Mary is the town's 3rd largest church. 

Dublin Castle was a big disappointment (to be perfectly honest).  The record tower is the only surviving part of the original Norman castle.  The chapel (left) and townhouses (right) were grafted onto it in the 17 and 1800's.  it looks like it. 
It is notable as it was the seat of English rule over Ireland until the 1920's (after the failed rebellion).

Daniel O'Connell, MP, reformer, revolutionary.  First fought for Catholic Emancipation and then for Irish independence from English rule.
"Gentlemen, you may soon have the alternative to live as slaves or die as free men"

From downtown it was back to Porterhouse Brewery for dinner.  You're probably not interested in more pictures of beer but I have them if you want.....
I met a taster for Guinness and his girlfriend who told me for 20 minutes that I needed to get laser eye surgery and that it would be the best decision that I'd aver made.  She also told me 5 or 6 times that I needed to visit the Elephant & Castle, in spite of the fact that I'd just told her for the 5th or 6th time that I'd just been there!
Nice folks, but after having the same conversation a couple of times my mind wanders.  Wanders to what?  The big bottle display, that's what.  Wait a minute, I see something familiar amongst all of these European beers......

There it is, BINGO!  "What brings you all the way over here fella?!" 
For non-beer nerds, Rogue Dead Guy (RDG) is one of the best domestic beers available.  In fact, I think that I have a growler of it waiting for me at home!  Oh, happy day!

I don't know why but this struck me as kind of sad.  The tall ship Jeannie Johnson will never sail from her berth on the river Liffey.  She's locked in by two bridges.

Goodnight moon, goodnight Samuel Beckett bridge, goodnight Dublin.

Sunday - County Kilkenny, Ireland

Bad start to the day.  Figured that I'd get up, out of the hotel by 8:30 so that I had time to visit Blarney Castle, Cork on my way to the airport.  (It was pouring rain earlier this week when I was in Cork so I didn't visit).  Out the door at 8:45 I find the parking structure locked.  Walk over to the Jury's Inn (who shares a 2nd floor entrance with the car park), they have no way of opening the structure aside from calling the 24hr. let out number.   €40 plus the parking fee to have the "keyholder" come and release my car before the garage opens at 10:00.  Ready to do serious violence (it goes without saying that there are no hours posted, and had there been , I would not have parked there) I wait for the security guard.  10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes and I get a call back.
"Did you call for a let out?"
"Where are you?"
At the IFSC / Jury's Inn car park on the river.
"Oh, I thought you were on Jury's street.  It'll take me another 15 minutes"
Fuck you, I'm not waiting!
"Don't you need your car?"
Let's weigh the options;  €59 total to get my car out 20 minutes early - or -  €12 for breakfast and get it at 10?  Breakfast won, and I didn't kiss the blarney stone.  I did however, offer a security guard the opportunity to kiss something else.

Back on the road, I realized quickly the limitations of my camera trying to capture the rollings hills of Ireland.

If this is what you imagine Ireland to look like you would be pleasantly surprised.

"There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present" - James Joyce

Again, tough to snap pics while driving but the scenery is beautiful.

Goodbye Ireland, time for me to fly.

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