Friday, July 1, 2016

Adventures in Galway

In Dublin I collected my rental car – this time I didn't have anything as vibrant as the DILFmobile; I got a black Audi A1 turbo diesel. Which meant a whole bunch of firsts for me: driving an Audi, a diesel or a turbo. I think I've driven a black car before...

So, I set off for Galway. It was quite a nice drive, but I didn't stop too often to take pictures; I saved that for after I'd gotten there and dropped my luggage off at the B&B and headed off again. There are a few interesting scenic areas near Galway, but my first destination was south of Galway city and over the (county) border into County Clare.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Bloomsday, for those unfamiliar, is the celebration of the life and work of James Joyce, since his most notable work, Ulysses, takes place on June 16. While it wasn't the main reason I went to Ireland, it was why I was there when I was; it was the starting point, datewise, for the trip - everything else was built around me being in Dublin on June 16.

I had a few things lined up to do, but before those came along I had to occupy myself, so first up I dropped off some laundry to be done and then headed off to the National Gallery of Ireland.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hello Dublin!

Getting to Dublin was fairly straightforward; I just did the reverse of what I did after driving into Glasgow airport, i.e. walk to the underground station, catch the train into the city (Glasgow, by the way, has the noisiest subway/underground system I've ever heard; it's quite terrifying the first time you're standing on a platform and it approaches, and on the carriage itself you can't hear a thing), and then get the 500 airport shuttle to the airport. Easy. Then it was the usual airport departure lounge drudgery until it was time to fly out.

The plane looked like this:

I hadn't realised the service was a small enough one to go on a propeller-powered plane; I always feel more nervous flying smaller planes than larger ones, and this time was no exception. But there wasn't a lot I could do. Off we flew to Dublin – and, of course, we got there without any problems.

Getting into Dublin was fun because I'd bought a ticket to the shuttle bus online, and then couldn't get the stupid thing to come up on my phone – even though I thought I'd downloaded it to my phone. So, I had to go back into the terminal (thankfully they had free wifi) and then just save the email for offline use.

Couldn't work out how to do that; there weren't any of the settings/options on my Gmail, despite Google telling me that's how it would work. Fine, I'll just screenshot the email. This worked – after about ten minutes of trying. Sigh. Anyway, I got on the bus and got into town. I'm fairly sure the driver told me to get off one stop earlier than I should have, 'cause it was a much longer walk to my hotel than everything had indicated.

But I got there eventually and dropped off my stuff before heading back up O'Connell Street to the Spire to meet up with Norma, a former co-worker who had come back to live in Ireland (where she is from) and who'd come up to Dublin so we could catch up. So, we wandered around for a bit before heading to Trinity College Dublin to have a look at the Book of Kells, a very old illuminated manuscript of the four gospels of the Christian new testament. It's one of the most impressive of all the ancient documents that still exist, so that was definitely an experience.

You can't take any pictures of it, unfortunately, but here's what one of the pages looks like:

Around Trinity.

The library at Trinity is mindblowing.

We wandered around some more and then stopped for the famous chicken wings at the Elephant & Castle. They are justifiably famous for being tasty; a pity it wasn't so well known that the servings are huge - we could easily have shared rather than getting one apiece. Still, live and learn. After that Norma caught the train back home, and I continued wandering.

I noticed this on my travels; it was only a few days after Orlando. And it wasn't the only one.

The Spire. It's really tall.

Dublin's very pretty in the later afternoon. I took the next two shots from the same bridge over the Liffey but facing a different way each time.

At some point I saw one of the multitudinous double-decker tourist buses that had an advertisement for a 'night tour'; earlier in the day I'd explained to Norma that I felt Dublin (unlike somewhere huge like Paris or London) wasn't a big enough place for such a thing to be worthwhile, I liked the sound of it – and, since it was only 10€ and I didn't have anything else to do, I might as well give it a go. And it turned out to be great fun, mostly because the host (an Irishman, probably in his early twenties) both told stories and sang songs (accompanying himself on the guitar). We got to see a bit of the city and have a few laughs.

After that I walked back to the hotel, which happens to have a bar attached to it (Darkey Kelly's), so I found my way into a corner and ordered one of these:

Which I drank while listening to a guy play Irish folk songs on a guitar. Achievement unlocked!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wandering Glasgow

Today was the day to wander around Glasgow. Fortunately, the weather was looking pretty good. So, first up I headed towards town – for those who know Glasgow, I was staying out just to the west of the city, near where the Great Western Road crosses the River Kelvin.

They have these flowerpot things all over the place. They're very pretty.

This was a monument to a man who was head of some kind of temperance movement. Temperance, is in 'not drinking alcohol'. I think he was fighting an uphill battle.

Was walking along the Clyde (the main river in Glasgow) when I spotted some random geese.

In case you can't read it:

In memory of those who opposed World War One in order to challenge the purpose of the war and the waste of lives.

They also campaigned for social and economic justice and against the exploitation of those who lived in the city during the war.

I meant to find out what, but I forgot.

Oh, and all this is around a building called The People's Palace. There's a quite ornate fountain near it.


They have functioning non-TARDIS police boxes.

And some rather good murals.

The Glasgow Necropolis.

My room at the guest house.

Next up was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

They have Salvador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross (next one down) plus some notes he made about it (below).

Van Gogh's Portrait of Alexander Reid.

Georges Seurat.


Rembrandt's Man in Armour.

And that, I believe, was my day.