Day 2: Dublin

October 4, 2010 03:18 – 03:18

We began yesterday by heading into St. Stephen’s Green, and parking in front of Dublin Unitarian Church. Niamh, our hosts’ daughter, told us we’d probably find street parking—free on Sundays until 14h—and we did indeed. We first took a stroll around the green and snapped a few pictures, before heading into the church for the 11 am service.

Here’s the Unitarian church—our hired dark blue Toyota Avensis is parked at the left (gets about 34 city and 53 highway, using imperial gallons, I’m guessing, but still not bad).

The church has three different crosses—variations of the Celtic cross. I saw a display in the bookstore when we went to see the Book of Kells, but I don’t remember the different cross types and their meanings—many of which are apocryphal, according to WikiPedia. The use of the cross as a symbol predates Christianity. This one’s atop the highest spire.

This one’s the second highest, at the right part of the church.

And this one’s the lowest, at the left:

As you enter the green from the corner entrance nearest the church, there’s a beautiful little ivy-covered house. We never did discover its purpose or name.

Here, you see the front of the house, which has no ivy, with DUC in the background, across the road from the green:

Yesterday’s service at DUC was given by Gavin Harte, a sustainable development consultant. His presentation, Jesus as a Revolutionary, was really more about our stewardship of the planet than about Jesus, but he somehow managed to snap the two together in the end. He gave a multimedia presentation—both for the children’s segment as well as for his address to the congregation. It was very smooth and professionally done. Clearly, he’s done this sort of thing before, and is quite good at it. One of his key points was that GDP as a measure falls short of assessing where we are and where we’re going. GDP rises as a result of both good and bad, irrespective of the impact of events on quality of life or the environment. He proposes GPI—Genuine Progress Indicator—as a more inclusive measure. He makes a good case. I’ll need to study it more to see precisely how it’s calculated.

Yes. This was a sermon. If you’ve never been to a Unitarian church service, you might be in for a bit of a shock. Our sermons very often are about collective human responsibility for our actions and doing what’s right for the earth and for others.

After church, did a drive-by past Christ Church Cathedral, seat of the Church of Ireland, founded around 1030 CE. We couldn’t find a place to park near it, but accidentally found ourselves next to it when we happened to walk in the wrong direction whilst looking for Trinity College. Here are a few views of the cathedral.

As you can see, we had beautiful weather yesterday—the temperature reaching about 17C (low to mid 60s), with just a few clouds and no rain.

After driving past Christ Church Cathedral, we headed over towards Trinity College and for a place we’d picked out for lunch. After failing to find street parking, we settled on a multistory car park. From where we parked, it was clear that the area was well-guarded.

Here, a metal maiden, of sorts, watches the clash of the ninja turtles.

Okay, then. Here’s a little of what we saw on our way to lunch.

Apparently, we were under invasion by Vikings. They’d come by sea in a duck, of sorts.

Here, the mayor and a couple of city councilmen stand guard over the city:

Keeping Dublin safe from pigeon attack, I’m guessing.

We didn’t get a front view of this one, so I’m not sure who it was—Jesus or Mary would be my guess.

As we ambled down Fishamble Street…

For lunch, we went to a place called Eden that Karen had read about. It has an open kitchen and some nice views. We both found the food a bit effete, though. I had the two-course lunch. I chose the fried ray as my starter. The fish itself was good, but the sauce and oddly spiced vegetables it came with definitely detracted. For the main course, I chose the venison stew. It was good, but again, the spicing managed to detract from the overall experience.

Karen had a green salad, which was heavy on bitter varieties of lettuce. Her main course was scallops. The scallops themselves were nicely cooked, but again, the sauce—a salsa, actually—managed to detract. Her main course came with a large disc that turned out to be deep fried mashed potatoes. It was actually pretty good, once she managed to avoid the terrible sauce upon which it was perched.

After lunch, we ambled towards Trinity College. Or, so we thought. Actually, we ambled rather more towards Christ Church Cathedral, and got some better pictures. Then, realizing our error, we backtracked and eventually did find our way to Trinity. The entrance we chose is guarded by Oliver Goldsmith and Edmond Burke—a couple of less-recent graduates of Trinity. Our hosts’ daughter, Niamh, matriculated there more recently. Here’s Ollie:

And here’s Eddie:

They’re probably rolling in their graves at being reduced to Ollie and Eddie, but such are the indignities of statuary existence.

As you enter what we think was the main entrance, you come into a large sort-of quad, well-peopled by the Quad Squad, I’m guessing.

Here’s another cross. While I saw the meaning of it in the bookstore, it’s long-gone from my memory banks.

Here’s a map, in case you get lost:

Here’s the entrance to where the Book of Kells is kept:

If you don’t know what the book of Kells is… well, you’ll have to look it up. It cost €9 apiece for us to find out for ourselves. And, they didn’t allow pictures. Hint: it’s written on vellum, and we learned yesterday that vellum is actually made out of calfskin. So, yuck, and thank the ancient Egyptians the next time you use paper (from papyrus, which is Greek for “the Egyptians beat us to it”).

Busted:

I’m not actually sure who that is, but it was sculpted in 1906.

Whereupon… we decided to depart Dublin—but we’ll head back on Tuesday when the art museum is open. We headed back to Eaton Square. We had decided to head to Goggins Pub for dinner. It’s about a 1k walk from our house. When we got there, however, they’d already stopped serving food. So, we headed across the street to FXB, The Pub. There, we both had medium steaks and chips—both excellent, except for the sauces (on the side, fortunately). One day’s experience isn’t enough to fully judge, but I’m beginning to get a bit leery of the sauces here. The basic food prep is excellent, but the sauces (so far) go too far. Either tastes are very different from mine (I make excellent sauces, I’m told by others), or cooks here aren’t aware that sauces should complement, rather than dominate.

I had a pint of Carlsberg, and Karen tried a pint of Guinness Stout. I’d had Guinness before, and didn’t care for it. To me, it has a slightly burned taste. Carlsberg is much more to my liking.

Today, we’re planning to explore the area south of Dublin. On the agenda is Avoca, where Fitzgerald’s pub—heavily featured in Ballykissangel—resides. I wonder if they do lunch. Expect to see pictures.

I’m going to post this now, and fix breakfast. I’ll proof it later.

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