Had a hard time getting out of bed to leave Cardiff – that was a damn good bed! I grabbed a sandwich in the morning and took a cab to the airport for my flight. I was really early, but I actually don’t really mind waiting around airports. I had my knitting and reading (just finished Candyfreak – excellent nonfiction about candy!). There was some kind of mixup with the flight, where we weren’t boarding, then they said the flight was delayed by an hour, but then they started boarding people after all! Confusing, but we got off the ground and were in Dublin at about 1pm.
I caught a taxi to the city centre and had a nice chat with the driver, who was a bit gruff but had lots of Dublin info to share. The hotel itself was really basic, with a single bed, but there was free internet and the proximity to things was good. The street itself (Talbot st) is a tiny bit sketchy but I had no problems. And it’s really easy to get places from there.
I didn’t intentionally plan for my trip to be while the Queen was there visiting – how was I supposed to know that? Heh. Unfortunately it did kind of screw things up. As I went out for my first walk, headed into the city centre, I found that the quays were all closed by the Garda (police) and no one was allowed to cross because the Queen was driving around, or something. People in the crowd were pretty irritated, and lots of people were on their phones saying that they couldn’t get anywhere! I wasn’t held up for very long that time, and did manage to do some wandering around.
Also unbeknownst to me, there was a really big rugby game on that night, so there were a lot of tourists around for that too, drinking and such. Temple Bar was a mess! I got stuck again later on by the barricades/traffic restrictions, but since I wasn’t really in a hurry to get anywhere, I just took lots of photos.
(note: this was before 6pm)
On Thursday I met up with a friend from home – we were best friends in middle school, but drifted apart later on with university and all that. Wendy just happened to be in Dublin on vacation at the same time, and we managed to arrange a meetup via Facebook! Oh, the magic of the internets. We went for breakfast (for me, snack for her) and then went on a bit of a random adventure that involved walking through the Liberties (not a great area). Oops. We went to the Chester Beatty Library, which was lovely, and had lunch in the cafe there.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to check out Dublin castle, because it was closed! The Queen really messed things up in the city while she was there – we certainly weren’t the only tourists sad that things were closed. We also went to the Bank of Ireland building, the old post office, and the Garden of Remembrance.
In the evening I headed back to the yarn shop in the Powerscourt Towncentre, This is Knit. It’s a lovely shop, and we had a bit of a trunk show and knit night rolled up with tea and biscuits. It was great to hang out with the knitters and there were several projects from my patterns! Yay! Afterwards some of us headed to a hotel bar to continue the knitting festivities, which was super fun.
(Classic yarn shop workers’ pose, no?)
Friday I suffered from a severe bout of camnesia and I have no photos! I met up with Diane, who is a displaced Torontonian knitter living in Dublin. She used to come to knitting at lettuce knit so it was great to see her! We met up in the morning and went to the Museum of Decorative Arts, which was really great. Lots of awesome textile-y exhibits too! I especially liked the Neillí Mulcahy exhibit.
Then we went to Cornucopia, a really lovely vegetarian restaurant that was really busy! Lunch was delicious, and a good dose of veggies for me. After lunch we went to Trinity College and checked out the Book of Kells and the Long Room, which was pretty great. I had to run back to my hotel for a bit, but we met up again afterwards for a knitters’ meetup with another knitter visiting from the UK (but she’s actually from Australia). Went for dinner to a Filipino restaurant where we had lots of laughs and great conversation.
I headed back to my hotel early to pack up to head to Belfast on Saturday. While I was in the hotel that night though, I received an email from my cousin saying that my maternal grandmother’s condition was worsening and that she would probably pass away soon. She did pass away that night, and though I have spent the weekend in Belfast as planned, I’m cutting my trip short by about 5 days to head home to Toronto on Tuesday morning.
I’ll catch you all up on my time in Belfast once I’m back home. It’s a really nice town. I should be able to get the website completely sorted with the malware stuff this week as well – sorry it’s taken me so long, I can’t figure out what’s wrong with it! Despite the circumstances I’m actually pretty ready to go home. I had a great 3 weeks in the UK and Ireland.