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Five Crazy (and cold) Days in Dublin

Aye, we'll have a pint o' yer Guinness, and a, er, cranberry juice...

semi-overcast 9 °C

The Kammerer Sisters arrived in Dublin in the early afternoon on the 26th. Natalie spent the last half of the flight staring out the window at the gorgeous green countryside, while aviophobic Eva sat petrified on the other side of the plane (we couldn’t get seats near each other)… It was raining when they arrived, and it took a while to find the right bus to the city centre. They eventually found the right one and hopped on, but were not quite sure how they’d get to the hostel. The girls got off at the stop they hoped would be best, only to discover that their destination was right across the street! Their Dublin base, called the Kinlay House, is in a grand old building a couple of blocks north of Temple Bar.


Their small Edinburgh breakfasts had worn off long ago at this point, so they quickly left in search of lunch. Both being irritably hungry, Frick and Frack Bickerson could not seem to decide on where to stop. They ended up at the uncomfortably uninformed Apache Pizza, a chain of pizza restaurants inspired by some Irishman’s representation of Native American culture. Menu items included, but were not limited to, “The Wigwammer” (pepperoni), “The Big Chief” (supreme), and the “Hiawatha” (Hawaiian). Evidently, it is also normal to make meal deals out of a pizza-and-chips (fries) pairing. So after that super carby lunch, energy levels had been replenished and they were back into exploration mode!

Unfortunately, it was already quite dark – the sun schedule here is really wreaking havoc on stomachs and activities planning – so there was a bit of wandering about the neighborhood. Lots of businesses were still on after-Christmas holiday, so there weren’t too many options. Also, it was still raining, so after a quick grocery trip, these foodies headed back to the hostel, which has a cozy commons room. Cards, reading, and soup ensued. There was a really awful Irish Christmas movie on cable that, apparently, EVERYONE else was interested in watching. So that provided a wonderful backdrop to the evening.

This hostel is interesting – the kitchen and dining areas are great. This one has a lot more individuals and small groups, which lends to much more table-sharing and small talk. Other, less charming, details include a discouraging lack of heating and the fact that the room (eight full bunkbeds) is mostly inhabited by men, leading to a distinct and deadly cocktail of B.O., dirty laundry, and foot.

Saturday, Eva woke up with a headcold, but was still willing to go out. Most of the day was spent on a walking tour of the South Side of the city centre – Trinity College, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Temple Bar, etc. The street that the hostel is on is actually home to many interesting restaurants, which makes the desperate Apache Pizza stop all the sadder. Lunch was really delicious falafel accompanied by a wide array of buffet-style cold vegetarian deli salads. Next, the girls got to be grown up and responsible, finding a pharmacy and buying some cold medicine. (It’s called “Lemsip” – surprisingly pleasant lemon-flavored powder that gets dissolved into hot water.)


There were so many great photos to take that it became impossible to not get in each others' way…


Sunday, the girls were up and out early to trek to the southwest side of Dublin to visit the museum at Kilmainham Gaol. Again, it was pretty darned cold, but they welcomed the change of scenery. The jail, now a national museum, housed political prisoners and rebels from each of the numerous Irish uprisings of the 18th-20th centuries. Along with some cool photo ops, they got some serious social and political history!


The tour and trek back took them to lunch. Natalie had really wanted to try fish and chips, so they stopped by a little shop near the hostel. The bags that people were leaving with were HUGE, so they opted to share one order. This time, the mark of tastiness was Eva’s ability to actually chew it. Really, though, both agreed that it was quite good, if a little bland. (The bites that had soaked up a lot of vinegar were awesome.) Now that the Irish variety has passed the test, the English ones are much anticipated!


Next, it was back out to Trinity College. The tour hadn’t given much of a chance to explore campus, so that still needed to happen. The Universities of Nebraska should take some notes… There is, of course, some newer, less exciting construction, but the majority of the main campus is quite beautiful. The famous library (featuring a permanent display of the Book of Kells) was closed for the academic break, a fact that Natalie is still trying to get over. And it was still freezing.


Then, as it was cold and there is a plethora of coffee shops and bakeries in the neighborhood, they ducked into Peacockgreen and Co. for a slice of incredibly fudgy peppermint chocolate cake and a warm drink. The décor was quite interesting, and one portrait in particular seemed eerily familiar…


After the coffee shop, it was dark once again, and our increasingly sniffly travelers decided to turn in for a quiet night at the hostel, which offers movie nights on Sundays and Mondays. But these plans were pleasantly foiled when, mid-cardgame, they were invited to join a group of students from London and some girls from France. So the evening turned into about four hours of really hilarious cards and conversation. This also served as a gentle reminder of why hostels are way better than hotels.

Eva found an “Antiques Quarter” on the map, which happened to be relatively close, so that became the first order on Monday morning. However, despite the fact that it was about 9:30, ALL of the shops were closed. The last one down was just opening, so they popped in to warm up, if nothing else, and to see if others would open soon. Seeing as there is only so much large furniture two travelers can browse, they headed back out onto the (still deserted) street. There were a ton of intriguing storefronts, and this neighborhood is probably super interesting when there are actually people there.

This far into the trip, Eva could hardly believe her good fortune that they had only been in ONE museum so far. But this luck was about to change. The other side of the city centre is home to the museum district, which, if you ask Natalie, is always a great way to pass some time! So they headed into the National Gallery of Ireland. This was actually open, if only halfway… (The upper levels were blocked off and a really interesting looking JMW Turner exhibit was closed as well).

By this time, they had been in Ireland for nearly four days, and they still had not set foot in a pub. Unfortunately, the fact that they are deep in the touristy depths of kitschy overpriced establishments made it a little difficult to find a suitable option. But after a bit of research, they found one that would do. Being in Dublin, it was necessary (for Natalie) to start off with a Guinness (this is where it is made…the storehouse was actually on the way to the Kilmainham Gaol). Eva, the perpetual five-year-old, can NOT palate alcohol, so she ordered a cranberry juice. (She tasted a tiny bit of Natalie’s Guinness foam and had to chug half of her juice to get the flavor out of her mouth…) Natalie took the opportunity to order a traditional beef stew with champ potatoes (mashed potatoes with chives). Eva, who had suffered from the haggis far more than she had let on, opted for a vegetarian pasta. While super meaty, the stew did not disappoint – chunks of beef and carrots in a thick, rich broth perfect for dipping homemade brown bread…


Monday (the last full day in Dublin) was spent sleeping in to finally kick the girls’ ever-worsening colds. After rising late, they decided that they could not stave off showering any longer. Natalie had long ago been liberated from her American need to shower every 24 hours, and Eva is quickly embracing this freeing practice. Usually, this makes showering an experience to be savored, but when you can see your breath in the bathroom, it loses a lot of its pleasantness.

Next came a wonderful visit to the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History. The museum was much bigger than expected and featured exhibitions of furniture, clothing, currencies, religious artifacts, and everyday objects dating back centuries (and, in some cases, more like millennia). A good part of the day was spent here, learning about the evolution of design in Ireland.

Tomorrow, the Sisters say goodbye to Dublin and depart for Killarney, a smaller town in the south of Ireland!


Posted by NKammerer 13:27 Archived in Ireland Tagged museums history dublin pizza cafe guinness kilmainham_gaol temple_bar stew trinity_college st._patrick’s dublin_castle irish_pub

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As usual, wonderful pictures! One of my favorites is the great, old tree. It looked a lot like a tree that Opa and I saw when we were in San Antonio a few years ago. That picture in the one establishment was uncanny in its similarity to a very dear granddaughter - I wonder if there's some blood-line connection?? Looks like Eva finally got a great meal to erase the horror of her Scotland meal - the pasta looked great!

Opa is really sick with bronchitis - even had to go to Emergicare for medications - he was afraid he had pneumonia like he did a couple of years ago - luckily he doesn't.

Hope your colds are almost "spent" so you can enjoy the rest of your travels germ free and in "the pink of health."


by Judy Trout

Hope you're feeling better soon & that the next hostel has heat! We loved the narrative, and Eva sneaking up on the camera at the end. Great shot of Maggie McGoogly-eyes at the pub :)
All our love,
Mom & Dad

by Lisa Kammerer

Sounds like a wonderful time. If it makes you feel any better our high temperature the last few days has been 1 degree with the wind chill 24 below zero. Hope your colds get better. Sure was fun talking and visiting with you on Sunday !

by Muti & Pa

so glad to see you two are having fun. Really love reading about your adventures. Miss you gals

by Michael

Who in the hell are "they" and the "girls". I kept sliding off page and losing my place.

Are you with boys are the "girls and them" really B O Y S.

Please stop this 3rd party shit or I'm coming over there and give you both a blistering whatfor.

Your loving GFather
and my eyes hurt, damn third party

by Opa

Oh, Girls, these are the days of your life; love your commentary and in the times ahead, you will laugh about the cold, the bunks, bathroom and all of your wonderful adventures together....what a special relationship you are blessed to have with each other.

I hope you plan to publish all of these adventures; reminds me of Robert Louis Stevenson's memoirs when her moved from Scotland to USA....

Happy New Year!


by Linda Placzek

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