Our first thing on the cards today was a free walking tour.
No better way to start our first real day in Dublin, than getting a bit of an overview of the city.
We get our lives together, have a shower and make our way out at around 11am.
Fadwa was nice enough to make us a coffee each, so we are already feeling as though we’re not half-spent zombies.
We are told to meet at City Hall for the start of the tour. We rock up there a few mins before hand, and there kinda seems to be nobody there. I ask 3 spirit groups of people if they’re there for the tour. Turns out that I asked an Aussie, two girls from Argentina and Germany and a group of guys from gibberish, who didn’t care to try and make sense of their mumbling, so that conversation ended quickly.
We find out that the girls, however are there for the tour, and they are equally as confused. We hang around for a good 15mins, but nothing seems to be happening, so we just kinda wait.
…and 15 mins has passed now, and I decide that I am gonna do a lap around the place and see whether there are any obvious tours going on. I get to this courtyard area, and I see this group of people huddled around this bloke in a green hoodie. He is just about to get started, so I ask him “Mate, just real quick, is this the walking tour?”
“Yeah. Thats the one. Were half way through though”
“Right… I’ll be back in a sec”
I run back and collect the girls, and make my way back over, just as the group is moving on to the next section.
We join in, and this guy, James, is a legend. Straight off the bat, he remembers which nationalities he has with him in the group. Pretty much for each country, he’s got their greetings on lock too, just casually throwing around foreign greetings like bikkies at nan’s place on a Saturday morning. Already, we’re sure that we have made the right decision.
He introduces us to everyone and we keep moving.
I’m interested to see how he goes about keeping everyone interested in his tour. Not to say that Dublin or Irish culture is boring at all, but there are times that tour guides can get a bit monotonous, and being that this is my first walking tour, I’m keen to see how well they are presented. From the moment we pull up at the first spot that we attended, he’s got us on lock.
He’s dropping facts left, right and centre like they’re nothing. But thats not the cool bit. I mean, call me a bit of a nerd, or whatever, but I love seeing people come alive and get passionate about something. I really don’t care what it is, but please, for God’s sake, get some passion in ya. James was no exception here. His passion for his country oozed as he was telling us about the people who visited Dublin. He began telling us about the historical significance of the world leaders who have graced Dublin’s City Hall. As he is telling us this, it is evident that the weight of the change that these world leaders brought to Ireland really has changed and fashioned the Ireland we see today, both locally and globally.
One thing I didn’t know was that the Irish were portrayed as scum of the earth and the lowest of the lows in society.
Pretty much, there was no chance of an Irishman making anything of themselves.
It wasn’t until JFK came and visited Dublin, when people began to lift their thinking, and believe that they, themselves would be able to achieve something in their lifetimes. This seemed absurd to me. I’d always known that the Irish to be outspokenly proud of their country and what their country stands for. Naturally, the longer oppression stands, the sweeter the freedom when it finally comes.
The Irish certainly are free now, and you can feel it in the atmosphere.
Not to offend any of my American friends, or anything, but I know that in the States, people are convinced that they are free. However, people’s lives and their lifestyle don’t echo that. On the other hand, I genuinely feel as though you have the opportunity to achieve anything you really wanted to if Dublin. Its funny, because in Scotland, I was expecting more of an electric atmosphere throughout the country, but I think that being under the British rule may still inhibit that.
James was telling us that when they had the “Gays are allowed to marry” vote, Irish flew literally from around the world, just to cast their vote for it.
I honestly think that this is evidence of people being free and actually feeling free. When you haven’t had freedom for a long time, I can imagine that when you see someone else who is, or even feels oppressed, your heart would go out to them, and you’d want to support them. So, I am no surprised that Ireland was the first country to legalise gay marriage either.
We zig zag through Dublin, and pass things like the birthplace of Jonathan Swift, and the very very birthplace of Dublin, back when the Vikings came through. Pretty hectic. We also found out that St. Patrick isn’t Irish. Cheeky bastard.
This is good…
The two main churches in Dublin were built with booze money. One was rebuilt by the generosity of the Guinness family, and the other was funded by an Irish distillery. How good is that? No wonder they’re good drinkers.
Bec and I wrap up out tour and get on our way for the rest of the day.
We find a place that does 2 euro baguettes. We get stuck right into this, and I have this retarded pigeon come and try be all tough and nick my food. Pigeons are just rats with wings ay. Cannot stand them, in any way.
We dick around in the city for a bit, and by now, it is time to head to meet the guys for the Rugby again. We head out to a suburb which is rumoured to be the oldest settlement in Dublin. Fadwa and Maxim’s mates are around this part, and have just had a kid, so hence why we are meeting them on this side of the city.
We walk in, and there seems to be nobody there, so we just kinda turn around and leave. As we are leaving, I hear Fadwa calling Bec’s name, we turn around, and there they are, tucked in the TV in the far depths of the pub. We sit and talk and get to meet Eric and Danielle. You can tell that they are still new parents, because they second guess whether they should pass the baby over the table, instead of passing her around. It’s kinda cute, but it does make me wonder what I’m going to be like as a parent. I’ve always thought I would be nonchalant, but time will tell.
We spend the next hour or two there, drinking, laughing and stopping conversations here and there to catch up on what was going on during the game.
We split from Eric & Danielle, and decide that we should head out for another traditionally Irish evening. We reach “The Old Storehouse”, in Temple Bar, and its as packed as you would expect an Irish pub to be. The only surprising thing was that it was on a Sunday night. Most people would be heading home and getting ready to kick back and relax for a bit.
Not in Dublin.
This is a place where partying to a guitar and fiddle duo till midnight in the local pub with work the next morning is more than acceptable. Whats more, is that it is practiced regularly by the overwhelming majority of the Irish population.
Bec and I are sitting there, and she says to me, “that guy behind you looks like…”, and I jump in, because I know what she is gonna say “Bergie?”
“You should get a photo”
Bec gets her camera out, and sneakily sets up the shot. The moment she hits the photo button, the flash blinds our now, very aware photo subject. He just smiles, without even making eye contact with us. Bec hangs her head in shame and turns red. He mate just says “You can just ask him if you’re really keen”. I head over, and say “You look a splitting image of our mate back home”. The bloke snaps his head over, and says “You from Straya?”
“Kalgoorlie, Western Australia?!”
“There’s only one”
“Mate! I’m from Brizzy!”
And just like that, we met another Australian.
We infest this country.
Its not even a joke.
Our night continues, as we sit and drink Guinness (naturally), and order a quality serving of Guinness and beef casserole. Oh sweet little baby Jesus. It was all kinds of delicious. Everything you think that you need in life and more. We hang around for a touch longer, and make our move back home, pick up some beers, and teach the guys Perudo, that dice game, that we picked up from Gez and Simon back in Wales. Maxim picks it up like a boss, and instantly begins playing mind games and calling bluffs left, right and centre, while Fadwa loses interest pretty quickly, as she’s a little too ambitious with her calls.
We end up sharing music from our respective countries, and tuck in for the night.
Its been a good night.
Ireland can put on a good night.
Come back for the next story,