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Michael’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 22 Mar 2007

Location: Dublin, Ireland

MapOkay guys, finally finishing off the St. Patrick's Day weekend in Dublin report...

Where were we?

Okay, it goes a little something like this:

Who in the world wants to get up at 830am on a Sunday morning after getting to bed at 130 am having spent 13 straight hours the previous day drinking Guinness?

Answer: Someone in Dublin going to the Guinness Brewery.

The prospect of getting up for a tour of a brewery the day after St. Patrick's Day was not all that appealing. However, given how little there is to do tourist wise in Dublin, I couldn't really justify not going along. So, dragging myself out of bed, I climbed down stairs and thanked myself for having had a shower the night before. Not so much hung over as tired and feeling crook with a gut full of the heavy setting Guinness. To add to the excitement of being up so early, I received the lovely greetings of 'Hey, there's vomit boy' upon entering the reception area of the hostel. Of course, people that hadn't heard the story yesterday, or were too drunk to remember, started thinking that I had vomited he night before, and I spend much or the morning defending myself, and laughing about the whole situation with the other folk.

So, in the freezing cold, miserable weather, a heap of us start heading to the Guinness Brewery and arrive around 945 am. Essentially we had the entire place to ourselves at that stage. In short the brewery is pretty cool, but I still have to rate the Heineken as the best of the three brewery tours I have done (Carlsberg being the other), but the Guinness is a class establishment.

The bulk of the tour is essentially a carbon copy of the others. This is how we make beer, this is why ours is the best, this is the company history, this is our advertising campaign since we started until now, and here's your free beer! So I was rather selective as to what I looked at on the way up from the ground floor to the fifth floor, but one thing that did surprise me was the lease on the Guinness Brewery site. The lease is for 45 pound a year, for 900 years! Can you imagine that? And the Guinness Brewery is a huge lot of land. So, cheapest rent in the UK I dare say.

Anyway, after passing through the advertising on the 5th floor, we headed up the elevator to the 7th floor. This floor is simply a circular room that is nothing but floor to ceiling glass windows, with a 360 degree view of Dublin. It is also where you get your free beer! By now it was about 11am, and the prospect of another pint of Guinness was scary, but I went in hard. The rumor is true, the beer straight from the brewery is GREAT. It took time to get down, but Guinness does, and was nice and tasty. Whilst up there, we went through a Melbourne weather pattern with sun shining one minute, and the first sign of snow for the day just 5 minutes later.

At midday we headed back to the hostel, and then jumped onto the city walking tour. The group was even further diminished due to the imminent rain and nasty howling arctic wind. We wandered around town, hearing about the history of the place (it was once the 5th largest city in Europe) and didn't go anywhere I hadn't been on the Friday when I wandered around town by myself. The tour finished in Temple Bar and a few of us headed to U2's hotel (The Clarence?) intending to have lunch, but given the prices, and the mother's day crowd, we went to Fitzsimmons. Sitting down for lunch, we had a great view over the Liffey River, for first the hail storm that set in, and then the snow! Yes, snow! I have been looking all winter for snow, both in Europe and the USA over Christmas, and then I get it in Dublin just before the start of spring.

After lunch I headed home for a nap. We headed back out to Fitzsimmons at 7 for the final drinks of the trip and given my early start the next day, I decided to have an early one and planned to head off around 11. Having been there 3 hours, I was all set to go at 11, but then the music started and my mood changed. Next thing I know it was almost 3 am and I walked home from the hostel, freezing my ass off - after it had continued to snow earlier in the evening. By the time I had gotten home and had a shower, it was 330 am before I got to bed, with a 630 am start to catch my plane.

I managed to get myself out of bed, body feeling even more worse for ware having a third night of Guinness under my belt. I got to the airport, checked in my bags, and sat down waiting for my flight - then the snow began to fall again. Great, stuck in Dublin airport? Thankfully it didn't come down too hard and the flight still left on time and I landed at the advertised time, with Nat picking me up from the airport (thanks darling).

I managed to function somewhat like a human on Monday, despite having had just 3 hours sleep, and a bit of a doze on the hour flight back to Southampton, the night before. With the sun shining briefly, Nat and I headed for lunch out to a pub on the harbor in Hamble, about half an hour away from home. Of course by the time we got there, the wind had picked up and the weather started looking rough. We sat inside, had lunch (with a beer - not Guinness!) and then started heading for a drive round the area. It was about then that the biggest hail dump I had seen in ages hit and we headed home.

After an avo snooze, and a snow fall on Monday night in Southampton, I dragged myself out of bed Tuesday morning for work. And that was the weekend that was St. Patrick's Day.

For those interested, Saluki's lost 61-58... This one was worth getting up to watch! Bad luck Dawgs, but my bracket is still looking GOOD! I can officially say I saw a Sweet 16 NCAA basketball team this year at home. Not a bad claim for an Aussie!