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Ireland Day 2: Books, Beetles, Whiskey, and Jail (Gaol?)

"I like touring around in jackets. It makes me feel safer." -Catherine

overcast 63 °F

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We woke up very early, but we rested a bit longer and ended up getting up around seven. We went downstairs and found breakfast in the kitchen. Our host asked if we had everything we needed. We had a delicious breakfast of scones, toast, tea, and orange juice. It was very good. We had the hop on-hop off pass, and so we decided to walk to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and start our tour.
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On our way we walked through the grounds of St. Mary's Catholic Church, which we can see from our room. It's a beautiful building, so we stepped inside to see it. It's over 200 years old.
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Dublin has a tradition of brightly-colored doors all over the city. On our walk, we saw many of them. They are usually dark and solid-colored. Red, blue, and yellow seem to predominate.
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Because we already had a tour booked at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, and it was getting late, Catherine suggested that we take a taxi rather than walk. We found two taxis resting nearby. The one sitting behind the other had a visible driver, the other did not. We approached the one behind, and the driver (an older Irishman) told us that he could only take us if the driver ahead of him couldn't. We approached the other car and found that the driver was lying down in his seat talking on the phone. He agreed to take us. He seemed to be from Poland, but he didn't talk much so we didn't learn much about him. He also didn't want to drive in the chaos near Trinity, so he dropped us towards the back. We toured Trinity, which was a fairly quick but interesting tour. It included a lot of information about famous people who had studied or taught there. We were near a group of people from Oregon. They were loud and they knew everything. The young man said that he was going to go to college to study beetles. Catherine now describes the condition of being a noisy know-it-all as "beetle mania."
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We saw the Book of Kells, which was amazing. We didn't take pictures because the signs were ambiguous about whether or not it was allowed, and the entire book is available to view online anyway at the Trinity College website. It is amazing to see how well the colors and script have held up over the 1200 years since it was made. We then went to the Long Room of the library. Daniel described it as the most beautiful building he's ever seen. The books are beautiful as is the construction of the building.
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This tour couldn't have happened without Catherine's suggestion to take a taxi. We got on the next bus and headed for Teeling's.
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Teeling is a new distillery. It opened in 2015, and is the first distillery to be built in Dublin in over a century. The Teeling family, however, has been distilling since 1792. The founders of this distillery are the sons of John Teeling, who founded an independent distillery called Cooley and then sold it to a larger corporation. He kept a million barrels, which his sons are using to get the distillery started. Their logo is a phoenix, which is associated with Dublin (Phoenix Park, etc) and represents their industry rising from the ashes (literally... one reason why distilling ended in Dublin was a huge distillery fire.)
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The distilling room tour was fascinating. The process is complex, but basically boils down to making beer, then distilling it. At present, because their distillery is new, they haven't produced any actual whiskey there yet. They do market some of the unaged spirit as poitín, or Irish moonshine.
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The copper pot stills are named after Jack Teeling's daughters.
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The tour guide explained how whiskey is aged in barrels that have had other things in them. Rum barrels, red wine barrels, bourbon barrels, etc. Teeling Single Malt apparently ages in all of these barrels and more.
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They gave samples for an organized tasting. We tried three of their whiskers and a cocktail. Catherine really liked the summer cocktail. We also tried a (small) amount of their poitín so that we could say we tried poitín.
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We had lunch at the Teeling's cafe. It was delicious. Then, having tried poitín, we were off to the gaol.
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The bus coming to take us to Kilmainham.
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Kilmainham Gaol (jail) is a very dismal looking building. It was a British prison that originally housed men, women, and children. During the Famine prison food was coveted and so incarceration rates went up.
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The Catholic chapel at the gaol. This is where Joseph Plunkett (a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising) married Grace Gifford hours before his execution.
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Many famous people were held at Kilmainham, including most of the leaders of the rising. It is interesting to see their cells.
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Grace Gifford Plunkett's cell is especially interesting. She was held here for supporting the anti-treaty forces during the Civil War. She drew this image of the Virgin Mary then.
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All of these leaders of the Rising were executed by firing squad at the site where this cross stands.
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Except James Connolly, who had not been imprisoned at Kilmainham and was brought in through the other gates.
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The tour guide noted that Eamon de Valera was held in Kilmainham for approximately 20 years, cumulatively. He returned in the sixties as President of Ireland to open it as a museum.
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The serpents over the door represent the "Five Capital Crimes": murder, rape, treason, larceny, and piracy (though when we were trying to remember them Catherine suggested "wearing socks with sandals" as one of them.
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Catherine's favorite Dublin door.
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Going by the bus drivers' information we thought the Guinness brewery would be open until 7. When we arrived, we found they closed at 6. We asked the cashier for a dinner recommendation, and she suggested Arthur's pub. We went there and it was perfect: we had soup, brown bread, and apple pie for dessert. It seemed like a perfect Irish meal.
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Some pretty churches on our walk back to Ballsbridge.
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A statue of the Virgin Mary with the Dylan Hotel in the background. We came back to our room and rested, then wrote this blog post. Tomorrow: Tara, Newgrange, and Donegal!

Posted by danielcatherine 18:13 Archived in Ireland Tagged churches bus tours gaol guinness library distillery whiskey hop_on_hop_off teeling's book_of_kells 1916 poitín Comments (2)

Day 13 - Hopping Around Vancouver

all seasons in one day 68 °F

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Vancouver in the morning as seen from our windows.

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We decided to take the "Hop On-Hop Off" bus. It was convenient because that way we wouldn't have to drive and park on our own.

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Some sights from the bus. The coliseum-like building is the Vancouver Central Library.

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We got off at Gastown, and ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory. This was not a "new thing" to try, but Daniel had eaten at Old Spaghetti Factory the last time he was in Vancouver, so it was tradition.

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Some views around Gastown. Gastown is the older part of Vancouver, and has a lot of interesting shops and buildings.

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The Olympic Torch from 2010.

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More views from the bus.

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Catherine loves all the hydrangeas in the area.

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A hidden spot in the rainforest in Stanley Park. We saw someone disappear into the trees, and decided to see where they had gone. The rainforest is very impressive, especially the size of the trees (they're small compared to sequoias, but huge compared to everything else.

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Around Stanley Park. We had a wonderful tour within the park, which was included with our pass for the Hop On-Hop Off.

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Vancouver and the harbor from the park.

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Totem poles in Stanley Park.

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This statue is called "girl in wetsuit." At high tide, the water is up to her flipper.

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Trying to take our own picture in the blinding sunlight.

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Various buildings along the way. The office building is interesting because you can see each floor in detail.

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Granville Island, and Granville Island Brewery, recommended to us by Michael was a nice afternoon stop.

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At the brewery, we got some small samples and a cup of "hot nuts." They were hot as in warm, not as in spicy.

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At home, Catherine always prefers that anyone cooking wear an apron. She has several aprons that she has picked out for herself. All of them are very feminine looking. This apron we got from the Granville Island Brewery is better. (Note the bottle opener and beer holder)

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From Granville Island, we took an Aquabus back to our side of False Creek. It was a nice and convenient way to travel.

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We tried a little diner called Templeton for dinner, since it was fairly late. Catherine had a BLT and Daniel had a grilled cheese with vegetables. The really interesting thing was cardamom coffee cake. This was unique and delicious.

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Vancouver at night.

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Our building at the end of a busy day. Tomorrow we are heading to Keremeos, in the Okanagan Valley. Tomorrow night will be our last night in Canada. We have had a great time in Vancouver, and would love to go back soon.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:08 Archived in Canada Tagged bus bridge stanley_park hopping diner granville_island cardamom totem_pole apron aquabus Comments (1)

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