Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nollaig Shona!

We went into 'town' today. That's what everyone in Ireland, excepting perhaps those in Cork, call Dublin. Knowing our days are numbered here makes us more eager to actually do the things we've always meant to do. The truth of the matter is that today was most likely our last day in town. The lights were all up, it was freezing cold and crisp, a boys' choir sang Gloria in Excelsis Deo beautifully, and the festive buzz and anticipation were palpable.

We took the green train, Dublin Area Rapid Transit or DART. It takes about 40 minutes to get there but the views are beautiful as the train curves around the coast, hugging the hillsides of Dalkey and Killiney with the Dublin harbor and Howth in view; even cutting through Lansdowne Road stadium which is currently being transformed into a stunning steel and glass structure which to me, vaguely resembles a rugby ball.

Getting off at Pearse Street station with its lovely enclosed platforms, we headed straight for Grafton Street. Walking past Trinity College we jostled for space with the rest of the merrymakers and shoppers; kids, buggy and baby making our way.

Every storefront shouts, 50% or 70% off everything! The recession has brought sales back to Ireland for the first time in the years we've been here. We weren't there to buy anything though, just to spend the day. As everyone knows, you have to feed the kids before anything else or you're asking for trouble so we made our way to O'Neill's pub for a carvery lunch. It was just what we needed and wanted for the day….a big plate of beef sliced off a huge roast with two kinds of potatoes (mashed and roasted), brussel sprouts, roast veg (parsnips, carrots, turnip) all slathered with dark brown gravy. Plus a black, frothy Guinness to sip with such a feast—perfection.

We then took to the streets and ambled around, people watching. Buxom Molly Malone and her wheelbarrow had to be visited for the final time and Stephen's Green's ducks paddled around in icy water, some slipping and sliding on the frozen-over parts.
The lights along Grafton Street were in the shape of huge chandeliers, glittering every few feet overhead. And the rain held off except for the smallest drizzle so we ducked into Café en Seine for a hot chocolate.
The kids were fantastic and had a terrific day. So did the grown-ups. A quick stop at the Newsagent for red Santa hats and we were back on the DART headed south.

Happy Christmas. Nollaig Shona.
Only two more sleeps!

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