In Dublin’s Fair City

Saturday I ventured out into the city once more. A co-worker was kind enough to loan me her unused bicycle, but the tires were flat and the handy pump in the Google garage didn’t have the proper adapter for them. By the way, I love the fact that there’s no parking lot for cars at Google Ireland: instead, the garage under the building is chock full of bicycles. It makes sense; walking, biking, and public transit generally seem to be a preferable way of getting around. There are also bikes available to borrow at racks around the city; it’s a mere 2 euro for a 3-day membership, and you can borrow a bike and return it to any rack for free (within the first half hour). I ended up on foot on Saturday, however, since I wasn’t sure how well I’d fare on backwards street with no bike lanes and unexpected one-ways.

I went back to the castle again, where I enjoyed the buildings much more in the daylight. In one of the gardens, I discovered a blue spiral snake sculpture that I recognized from Graham’s 2007 trip. Mostly, though, I just wandered through lots of little (and not so little) streets and in and out of various shops. My favourite was Le Palais des Th├ęs on Wicklow Street. In addition to enjoy the lovely scents, I also learned a bit about tea. I wanted to eat out but didn’t want to wear out my knee walking to the apartment and back, and despite the patchy sunlight it was still quite cold out, so I went to see A Single Man at the Irish Film Centre. It was well done and quite intense. For dinner I returned to Wicklow Street for a little vegetarian restaurant called Cornucopia where I had an affordable and delicious dinner. When I got home, I finally set up Skype and bought some minutes to call my mother and sister, who were as happy to hear from me as I was to finally talk to them.

Sunday I took the DART (train) to the coast north of Dublin and visited the town of Malahide. Right outside the train station is a beautiful church called St. Sylvester’s which at first I thought was part of the castle since the two European castles I’ve seen (Prague and Dublin) featured churches prominently. Across the street is a nice little deli with a pleasantly surprising array of vegetarian options. After enjoying a bowl of pesto pasta, I sought the castle proper. To get there you get to pass through the demesne of the castle, which means grassy parklands broken up by stone walls and little forested areas. It made for an agreeable walk, and the sun peeked out as I reached the castle itself. In general, I’ve been very lucky with weather on this trip; it did rain last week, but the weekend was dry, and the sun has been shining this week.

I skipped the indoor tour of Malahide Castle, lamented that the gardens were closed until April, and wandered back out through the grounds and then the town and out to the coast. I have to admit the shoreline wasn’t particularly beautiful this time of year, but the town is quaint. I then got back on the train to head to another coastal town called Howth. However, by the time I got there it was nearly 5pm and both overcast and cold. And Howth doesn’t have a castle. So I contented myself with staying on the warm train and looking out the windows. Sorry, Howth. Finished the second book I brought with me (The Little Country, by Charles de Lint) on the train home, which means I will need to return to one of the three bookstores I’ve visited so I’ll have entertainment for the flights home. All in all, a reasonably outing-ish weekend. I do enjoy going out and about on foot, and only wish my knee weren’t so sore afterwards.

Comments 5

  1. Esther wrote:

    maybe there is a castle there occasionally: Howth’s moving castle?

    Posted 04 Mar 2010 at 22:53
  2. Nelson wrote:

    Despite not having a castle, Howth has a wonderful restaurant called The House.

    Posted 05 Mar 2010 at 00:36
  3. Lacey wrote:

    If your mother and sister set up Skype as well, you wouldn’t even have to buy minutes – it’s free Skype-to-Skype, and then you can video chat if both computers have cameras and decently fast connections. Whee! :) Glad you’re having a fun time!

    Posted 05 Mar 2010 at 10:42
  4. Char wrote:

    Cool! There is also the depressing but interesting Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin (

    Posted 05 Mar 2010 at 15:27
  5. Rachel wrote:

    I really enjoyed the photos you posted. It sounds like you’re having a grand time, your knee not withstanding. Do any of your colleagues like to explore as well? Yes, A Single Man was intense. Colin Firth was perfect.

    Posted 06 Mar 2010 at 09:10

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