15.07.2017 - 23.07.2017 21 °C
I wasn’t going to blog this particular adventure, G^2 has been to Ireland before (pre-blog era and pre-GPS era) so we figured our week in Dublin would be pretty low-key on the tourist activities and more like hanging out like a local. The problem is no matter how I travel I have a thousand questions and love to share (right Renny?). So here we go...
We flew out Saturday am via Toronto to Dublin (overnight 6.5 hour flight YYZ to DUB) and landed at 6:45 am on Sunday (July 16). We both managed to master the pack light concept (finally) and packed just carry-on which meant after being grilled by customs (I had to show proof of return flight, maybe because I didn’t know where I was staying (VRBO condo in Temple Bar was all I had for an address)) we headed out to meet our host. She (Mary, the most amazing host, check my VRBO review later) met us at 8 am and showed us into our lovely flat and home for the next week. I am 100% converted to AirBnB and VRBO now. We have a great place complete with laundry (European style you get a washer instead of a dishwasher) in the hip and trendy neighbourhood of Temple Bar for a fraction of the price of a shitty hotel.
After getting settled we attempted to nap but the large coffee we had upon landing, adeptly named, Insomnia, did what it promised to do and kept us awake. We opted to get up and figure out what we wanted to do this week (or at least later today).
Ger had been surfing during our layover in Toronto and found out that Gaelic Football Championship game was later today and it appeared tickets were still available. Challenge was we had to be able to print (downside of not being at a hotel no concierge). As luck would have it there was an Internet Café across the street from our condo, (really? They still exist?) we were able to source tickets, print them and sauntered off for a late breakfast. A belly full of food and an activity for later was all we needed to fall into a much need coma. After a couple hours of solid sleep we headed off to Croke Park or ‘Croker’ (also host to the U2 concert we are here for) to witness Gaelic Football.
If you are like us and had no idea what Gaelic games are, the two main ones are Football and Hurling. Gaelic Football is an odd combination of Soccer and Rugby but a fantastic sport to spectate. The players can kick, carry and run (but only for 5 steps and the ball must touch the ground again so they dribble it every 5 strides) or throw the ball. There are two ways to score, kick it through the Upper Goal posts (like a Field Goal in Football) earns you a point, if you kick it into the net (like soccer) that earns you three points. There is no tackling but plenty of blocking and when a young boy (the players are all amateurs) sprints down the field and hits another young lad bodies fly everywhere. Unlike soccer there is no drama or snivelling when bodies hit the ground and my favourite, the clock never stops. Two 35 minutes halves game lasts 70 minutes, even when the whistle is blown the clock keeps ticking. It was really fun to watch (us and 65,000 Irish who clearly knew what was going on).
Croke Park was a fantastic stadium, worth the visit itself. The Park only hosted Gaelic sports up until 2008 but they have since hosted some soccer games and concerts. An added bonus it is no more than a 20 – 30 minute walk from the condo so there is no need to stress about how we are getting to the concert with 120,000 of our closest friends next Saturday.
I had sourced an Irish Hot Dog (deep fried onions define the Irish Hot Dog) at the game but was feeling pretty hungry (and thirsty since you can’t bring your beer to your seat in the stadium) we managed to get into the Winding Stair Restaurant (thank you Bourdain) for a delightful Irish meal.
We were pretty pleased with our first day in Dublin; as for Day 2, we still aren’t sure what tomorrow holds for us.
Until next time,