The flight from Charles De Gaulle airport Paris to Dublin Island was about 90 minutes. As we pulled into the parking lot of our hotel in a cab, I almost felt like we really should be in a horse carriage instead. The Clontarf Castle hotel is a well preserved 12th century castle, with stone walls and beautiful beveled glass windows. The lobby and reception area are a good mix of old and new and trendy which gave it a bit of that Goth feel. Modern art fills the walls alongside ancient tapestries. This is where Dracula author Abraham Stoker stayed and perhaps got inspired ? Take a look at the pictures of what might have been gateways to dungeons where they may have sent their victims. I know my imagination is running wild !.
After enjoying a nice dinner in the Fahrenheit restaurant, which was one of the best Chicken tikka masala dishes I ever had. Who would have thought Irishmen were good Indian cooks ! I took a walking city tour to explore the busy crowded streets of Dublin. Spent some time at the O’Connel monument, a popular gathering spot for photo ops. It was refreshing to see how casual Dubliners were, I honestly couldn’t spot the tourists from the locals. Trinity college is very close to the city center and you see hordes of students going about their business while groups of tourists were cluelessly ambling around. Grafton Street is a popular hub of bars, restaurants and shops. Music appears to be a huge part of Irish culture, besides street musicians, celtic and non Celtic strains could be heard coming from pubs filled with throngs of people.
I had forgotten my medication in a Paris hotel, and was in a panic. But the friendly pharmacies were so obliging and gracious enough to fill my order without a prescription, and quickly to boot. (They just took my physician’s information.) It was such a relief ! And surprisingly so much cheaper than what I pay in the US. The evening was spent walking along the streets, admiring the several bronze statues evenly spaced throughout the city. I strolled along Merrion Square and was amused by all the various colors of the “Dublin Doors” an iconic image of Dublin. The story behind this popular tradition is too long for me to recount here, you can look it up. Finished up the day with a visit to the Famous Guiness factory. I am not a whisky drinker, nevertheless the history made it interesting.
The next tour I took was to Malahide Castle on the outskirts of Dublin. Got to see a bit of the famous green countryside, passed a few quaint fishing villages, flashed by the humble country home of U2 lead singer Bono. Malahide Castle also dates back to the 12th century. It was built by the Talbots, a family with a long and notable history. Part of the castle was open to the public, the rooms decorated with period interiors and furnishings. As with every castle, we were entertained by a ghost story which was nicely framed by the backdrop of the surrounding moat, outer wall and drawbridge.
It was a short sweet trip and for next time I will probable explore the countryside of Ireland.