Thursday, 9 January 2014

New Year Travels 1 - Dublin - Lights, Bells and U2

December 30th

Got a taxi to the railway station only to find out the train I needed to get was cancelled! Taxi home and off in the car down to Manchester. Not a good start. But after that things went smoothly and in no time I was in Dublin in the cosy cottage with my friends, Dianne, Dan and Danielle. They made dinner and we had it with wine and caught up on each other's news.  I always love the first night of a holiday when the break stretches out in front of me and I wonder what delights lie ahead!

December 31st

Little Museum of Dublin
We had a lie in and easy going morning then headed over to The Clarence Hotel to have a late lunch in The Study and meet up with our friend Declan, who as usual, he was full of chat. We marvelled that Dianne, Declan and I had first met through a mutual love of U2. I've known Dianne for 25 years and Declan for 20, real friendships that have stood the test of time and, as good friends do, we can just pick up where we left of last time we met up.

After saying goodbye we walked to St Stephen's Green and to The Little Museum of Dublin. This is housed in a beautiful three story Georgian House and the exhibits are all donated by members of the public.  

Me Posing with Mr MacPhisto!
The main room  had a sofa and two chairs you could relax on if you wanted and contained a history of Dublin over the last century or so. Items from the rebellion, old typewriters and cash registers, posters, tickets, photos, you name it it was there! It resulted in a very comprehensive, yet personal history of the city. I loved how it was also very hands on, you could touch many of the items and photography was allowed. An informative talk accompanied the exhibition.

Another room held a special exhibition of photos of the people of Dublin over the last few decades which was fascinating.

Being U2 fans Dianne and I were looking forward to the U2 exhibit on the top floor.  It was a mass of photos, books you could rifle through, mementos, a statue of Mr MacPhisto, the only surviving Freedom of the City Waterford crystal joshua trees (none of the others survived the trip home after the presentation!), even a model of a Zoo era Trabant that you could sit in lol!  At lot of the items on view brought back such good memories of my 30+ years of being a U2 fan.

U2 Exhibit at the Little Museum of Dublin
Dianne and I were in our element and had to sit in the trabbie and pose for photos with the statue.
At one point I realised that Dan and Danielle were not there and found them sitting outside the room, patiently waiting. It was a very good exhibition and it was wonderful to have a U2 fix!

The Little Museum of Dublin is a good museum, absolutely fascinating in so many ways and is just the right size, not overwhelming as some larger museums can be. I like that is was informal and that it has been created from donations by ordinary people. Entry is only six Euros for adults (which includes the excellent guided tour) and it is well worth that. And I would recommend the U2 exhibition to any U2 fan wanting to see a very varied array of U2 memorabilia too.

Christmas Lights in Dublin
After this we went the short distance to Bewley's Cafe to show Danielle (this was her first visit to Dublin) this famous city institution. We had coffee and cake there before waiting further up Grafton Street for the Procession of Light, part of the New Year celebrations, to come our way. It was cool but not cold and there was no rain so it was ok waiting there.  

The procession consisted of people carrying lit lanterns, much bigger displays, some with acrobats performing within them and a marching band created the accompanying music.  It was very colourful and got a good reception from the crowd.

The Procession of Light
Afterwards we tried to find somewhere to eat but had no luck, so we headed back to our cottage picking up fish and chips from Burdock's nearby on our way.  

We relaxed at home until 11.30pm and then walked the short distance to Christchurch Cathedral to hear the bells ring in 2014 with the Dubliners who flock there for the same reason.  I find it very moving to hear those ancient bells ring in another NewYear.

Afterwards we walked home and opened a bottle of prosecco to celebrate the dawn of 2014.

Christchurch Cathedral - Happy New Year!

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