In Dublin’s Fair City

When we awoke this morning, the Adonia was already moored up in the capital city of the emerald isle. There is a very old joke that asks “Which country is the richest in the world?” and the answer is “Ireland, because its capital is always Dublin.” 🙂

We had been here once before, on the Black Prince in 2008, so it was nice to come back and see the familiar sights as well as new ones. We weren’t going on an excursion this time, preferring instead to do our own exploring.

We got the shuttle bus from the docks into town, where we were dropped off outside the main library. Armed with a map of the city, we’d already decided on our first destination; the world-famous Guinness brewery at St. James’ Gate, where Ireland’s favourite beer has been brewed since 1759.

It was about a mile and a half of walking, but it allowed us to get some exercise, as well as looking in the shops on the way. When we arrived at the Guinness Storehouse (as its known) we noticed a party of men, all wearing white peaked caps with enormous black tassels hanging down; we thought they looked a bit daft). They were obviously a foreign tour group come to take a look around the brewery, as we were doing ourselves.

The Guinness Storehouse is a tall building with lots of glass and open-work staircases; in fact it is shaped like a giant pint glass. You work your way up the various levels, on each one learning the different stages of the fine art of brewing the “black stuff”, from the roasting of the malted barley grains, to the picking of the hops and the addition of pure mountain spring water, and of course the history of the company itself, which has been going for more than 250 years.

Once you reach the top of the “pint glass” you find yourself in the Gravity Bar, which is a circular rooftop bar affording the best views over all of Dublin. We had a voucher which we exchanged for a free pint of Guinness and enjoyed the panoramic views. We noticed that the group of guys with the daft hats had also assembled with their pints; just then, the barman asked for our attention and announced that we were very lucky to have a male-voice choir visiting us from Finland, whereupon the group of men burst into song, a superb a capella version of the Indiana Jones theme. They then did a rendition of Happy Together, and the harmonies were fantastic. An unusual and unexpected bit of entertainment; here we were in Ireland listening to a choir from Finland, while enjoying our Guinness in a rooftop bar over the city. 🙂

We then took a slow walk back, first of all stopping in a nearby pub called “Arthur’s” and enjoying another pint of Guinness with a bar meal, during which time I sat and wrote out the three postcards we’d bought earlier.

After posting the cards we continued on our way and had a look in a shop selling a fantastic range of unusual looking shoes. I saw a great pair with a 6” wedge heel and they would have been perfect apart from the fact that they had an ankle strap, and I cannot wear anything around the ankle any more, ever since I broke my right ankle and had to have it pinned in 2008. 😦

As it was now about 3.45pm and the last shuttle bus back to the Adonia was at half four, we decided to make our way back to the library, first of all stopping off to see the former home of famous Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, as well as a memorial statue of this great man of genius and wit.

We were almost falling asleep on the short bus ride back to the ship, so once on board we decided to have a nap. I’d already made my mind up that I wasn’t going down to dinner tonight (which certainly wouldn’t hurt, ha ha) so I took my time getting ready. Trevor went down to the dining room but I just took my Kindle along to Anderson’s bar and enjoyed a glass of champagne before joining the others in the Pacific restaurant for the coffee and liqueur stage.

The show in the Curzon Lounge tonight was called “Songs from 88 Notes” and was based around famous songs that had been composed using the 88 keys on a piano keyboard. It featured the Adonia singers and dancers and was the usual cheesy singathon, OK but not out of this world.

Then, as usual, it was up to the Crow’s Nest where the resident musical quintet called Quintessence were playing a tribute to jazz; we actually enjoyed that more than the main show.

The quiz tonight was called “All Around the World” based on geography (i.e. capitals, flags, famous landmarks etc) and we usually do quite well in these types of quizzes because we’ve been to 71 countries across all seven continents. However, we lost the quiz by one measly point, because we didn’t recognise Liverpool. In the section called “in which city do you find these landmarks” we correctly recognised Seattle, Moscow, Rio de Janero and Dubai, but didn’t get Liverpool. So no bottle of wine for us tonight then!

Back in our cabin we opened a bottle of prosecco that we’d bought in Lidl in Dublin, and settled down for the night. The forecast was for rough weather ahead, and the movement of the Adonia was already reminding us that we were no longer on terra firma and a taste of the high seas to come.

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