Actually, as two old blokes we have no idea of the girls 🙂 …but while James flies home for family stuff like daughter and granddaughter birthdays, Chris joins John for a few days. They’ll fill in the rest including close encounters with the Caribbean Princess…
Thursday dawns clear and cool. James has left to celebrate lovely Phoebe’s 2nd birthday, and Chris is flying out to join me for a long promised return visit to the fair city. Time for John to sample some more of Dublin’s public transport system and pick up Chris from the airport – would it match the integration and friendliness of Orkney? I need not have worried, it worked like clockwork – a good welcome to Dublin. We dropped off the baggage at Poolbeg YC, and a short walk later we were on the LRT to the centre in time for (another!) lunch at Sweetman’s, using pre-purchased weekly passes. Lively and bustling streets provided much entertainment – we stood entranced by the nonchalant skill of a drayman flicking barrels off the truck onto a cushion so that the barrel rolled precisely across the road unerringly towards his colleague waiting to guide it down the cellar chute. The traffic seemed to take it in its stride. So much to see that we only just made it to the snug at Lotts – a diminutive and wonderfully quaint bar – in time to meet friends Sue and Dave from Malahide. Back late pleasantly tired, but entranced by the non-stop activity on the river by Poolbeg we sat out in the cockpit for quite some time unwilling to turn in!
Heydays Friday 30th June – Dublin
Dave had taken the morning off work and engaged tour guide mode! We had a fascinating drive through the by-ways to and from Dún Laoghaire, including a great look around the James Joyce museum, dropping us off after lunch at
Kilmainham Gaol. This time we were ‘Just Visiting’ – but the visit was quite sobering imagining the lives of those incarcerated there, and the political and cultural values in the UK at that time which put them there. Choosing to walk back to the centre rather than jumping on a bus we somehow deviated from the direct route and ended up outside Lotts snug again, at which point dinner seemed the only sensible option, followed by the ever dependable LRT home.
Heydays Saturday 1st July
Wanting to explore the north arm of Dublin Bay, and waking to blue skies, we took the LRT and railway to Howth. A spot of tourist and harbour seal watching from the harbour wall helped develop keen appetites. Spoiled for choice, we settled on wonderful thick haddock soup and freshly baked bread at a market stall. Then it was time to take the train to nearby Malahide – attractive and well-heeled with a great beach and views out to sea. After trying unsuccessfully to get into the Joyce which had by now appeared on my kindle and a walk around the castle grounds, we enjoyed an early dinner and were back in the big city in time for an evening walk around Temple bar. What an amazing atmosphere – much laughter,music and warm, friendly people. Chris is loving the Dublin accents!
Heydays Sunday 2nd July
Last full day in Dublin – time to see more of the city – so the hop-on/ off bus proved ideal, taking the full circle with a witty, charming and informative driver with his own brand of spin, although we had intended getting off en route….. Round 2 ding ding – this time we stopped to explore St Stephen’s Green, Trinity College and Temple Bar in daylight, stopping to enjoy much Irish hospitality. We just had time to walk to the National Concert Hall for a rousing performance by the Irish National Radio
Orchestra. Another full day, once again sitting out on our return watching all the buzzing activity on the Liffey. From cranes that sprang into action moving cargo and lit up like Christmas trees, to trucks ferrying boxes, crates and containers to and from the port, activity was constant. Ships that arrived at 2300 would turn with precision, dock and be unloaded and gone by morning – it never stopped!
The last day began about 0430, with a low rumbling sound that we felt before we heard it. Chris jumped up not realising what was going on, but John had recognised the reversing propellers and thrusters of something very large and not very far away. We watched in fascinated and slightly horrified silence as the Captain of the Caribbean Princess executed a smooth 360 pivot turn right next to Heydays. Strictly Come Dancing here he comes! The photos hardly do justice to something that large manoeuvring closer and closer to within 20m of Heydays with no tugs in attendance.
All to soon it was time to welcome James back on board from Phoebe’s birthday celebrations, give Sue a quick tour of Heydays, and say farewell to Chris who would spend the rest of the day with Sue before flying back home to Southampton. A quick top up of the tanks and we were off to Milford Haven, pursued round both sides of the bay by Sue and Chris trying to find the best vantage points for viewing our departure!
A vibrant and very friendly city with a fantastic transport system and so much more history and culture yet to explore, serviced by a central, friendly, no-frills yacht club marina – we’ll be back again ere long!