Day 1 - en route to Amsterdam
(arrive at Dublin - co. Dublin)
· Breakfast in the air at 5:30 (Amsterdam time). Arrived in Amsterdam on time (60 deg F, partly cloudy).
· Went over to AerLingus gate, boarded and arrived in Dublin uneventfully at 10:30 AM.
· Changed US dollars to Eurodollars at Bureau de Change (3.5% commission) at Dublin airport - about $1.20 US to the Eurodollar.
· Cab ride (Î25.00) to the George Frederick Handel hotel (formerly a music school) on Fishamble street, a few blocks from the River Liffey and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (protestant). Cab driver was pretty talkative after we asked a few questions. When I asked for the George Frederick Handel Hotel (I said Handel with the German pronunciation), he said “Is it the George Frederick Handel Hotel you would be sayin’?” (pronounced “handle”).
o The Irish language – compulsory for primary through secondary schools, but everyone pretty much speaks English except for the southwestern part of Ireland. He considers it pretty much useless.
o Conversion to Eurodollars – very uneventful (for Ireland), he thinks it should have been done years ago. About a years worth of preparation in advertisements, showing prices both ways, etc. was done. Almost all of the Irish money (the Irish pound) was gone within a couple of days. The banks will still take Irish money, but they aren’t getting much anymore. They’re still trying to find 140 million Eurodollars that didn’t quite materialize like it should have. The Italians had the worst (and longest) time converting. Imagine bringing in a million lira and getting 500 Eurodollars back! They dragged it out for years.
o A brief explanation of some of the streets, pointedly O’Connell street (named after Liberator Daniel O'Connell - 1775-1847 see Modern History Sourcebook: O'Connell: Justice for Ireland, 1836).
· We got to the hotel about noon. Check-in at 3:00 PM, so we left our bags at the hotel and went walking around Dublin.
· Took the Dublin bus tour (Î14.00) – There are a truly incredible number of pubs and bars in Dublin. Stopped at the Guiness storehouse for an hour, then got back on the bus (every 10 minutes) and back to where we got on. Saw Ha'Penny Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In Irish, Dublin is Baile Atha Cliath (Town of the Hurdle Ford, which is the crossing of the waters where the Liffey met the Poodle River. A black pool or a dubl linn was created. The only thing left of the Poodle River today is a culvert running under St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
· Dublin is like many large cities – blacks, Muslims and East Indian “transplants” are numerous.
· Kind of got lost getting back to the hotel – finally made it at 5:00 PM. Street signs are very scarce, and the street names change every block or two – very confusing. We did get a city map the next day (just to get out of Dublin!).
· Crashed once we got to our room, woke up at 9:00 PM, briefly discussed getting something to eat and crashed again before finishing the discussion (we had been up for most of the previous 30 hours). Lots of noise during the night (concert up the street). Very lumpy mattress (but didn’t care).
Ireland Home Day 2