The train to Manchester Airport rolled into Carlisle station, but there was no coach A where my seat reservation was. I approached a member of staff and said my coach was not on the train and he looked at me and said.
"Yes it is, in the second half," smiling at my puzzled look he continued, "Half of the train comes from Glasgow and half from Edinburgh, the other half will be here in a few minutes."
|Debbi Pointing out our Apartment Four |
Windows Above her Finger!
I met up with Debbi at the airport, we were both very excited about the trip as it has been a few years since we've spent a whole week in Dublin. The flight was smooth and we took a taxi to our apartment in Smithfield. The landlord, Pat, met us there and if there was a human equivalent of a leprechaun he was one. Small and rotund, with a smiling face, bright, sparkly eyes and a pleasant and humourous demeanour, you couldn't help but like him.
We paid him got the keys and explored our home for the week. It was a generously-sized two bedroomed luxury apartment, with good quality, modern decor, we were chuffed to each have our own bathroom! There was a large balcony that looked out over Smithfield, (in Irish Margadh na Feirme, meaning "Farm Market.") It was originally set up as a market place in the 17th century. In the late 1990's the area was renovated, which included relaying the original cobblestones and erecting 26 metre gas lamps and floodlights on the ground that reflect in the huge shades on the lower portions of the masts. I remember I found the flames and lights impressive when I was at Smithfield for U2's Freedom of the City ceremony in 2000.
|Smithfield, Dublin from our Balcony|
The chimney of the famous old Jamieson Distillery was almost opposite our apartment. As we were on the fifth floor we had a wonderful view over the rooftops of Dublin, even in this day and age it was dominated by the spires and towers of many churches. To the right were the spires of St Patrick's and Christchurch cathedrals , close by was the tower of St Michan's that has the fossilised bodies in it's crypt (well worth a visit). Plus lots of other churches I could not name. Also, very close by, was the dome of the Four Courts. Our side of Smithfield was mainly apartments whilst on the other side were court buildings and a hostel. At the north end was a derelict area that encompassed the Cobblestone pub which Pat told us was the kind of place you wiped your feet coming out not going in! But he did say they have some good traditional music there some nights.
We went shopping at a supermarket at the top of Smithfield on our side. I noticed that almost all the retail units underneath the apartments were closed, we saw lots of evidence that the Celtic Tiger has come to a shuddering halt in the recession during our stay. Also I remember a few years ago there were so many cranes dominating the skyline, from our vantage point in the apartment we could now see only one.
That night we made our own meal and just relaxed over some wine, happy to be back in Dublin.
|Sand Sculpture on Grafton Street|
We walked back home via O'Connell Street and Henry Street, we passed a sign for the Leprechaun Museum, must have a look at it sometime, wonder if Pat hangs out there?
|Beautiful Ironwork on the Fruit, Vegetable|
And Flower Market Building, Dublin
That evening we caught the Luas tram and then the DART train south to Dun Laoghaire to have a meal at our friends' house.
It turned out to be a multi-national dinner, there were the hosts Ken (English) and Elizabeth (Irish), Claudia, a yoga instructor from Argentina, Breda from Ireland, Fred, an animator for Windmill Lane and his partner Eve both from France and Debbi and I from England! They were all lovely people and, with the exception of Deb and I, got to know each other at a dog walking club that meets in the local park.
As usual Ken and Elizabeth were fabulous hosts and we had a great meal and plenty of alcohol! The conversation and company was good and we had lots of laughs.
Once home we had a little more wine and relaxed and chatted until the early hours, good times!