Monday, April 23, 2012

Ireland Trip 2012, Post 4

Our final day in Dublin was the perfect end to that part of the trip. The kids played in Merrion Square, all six of us walked all over town, we bought some music and a few tchotchkes, and we had lunch at the Queen of Tarts. Lunch consisted of (for 4 grown ups and 2 kiddos):
2 slices of chocolate fudge layer cake
1 slice rhubarb crumble
2 pancakes (somewhere between a crepe and a crumpet) with strawberries and bananas
1 raspberry cheesecake tart
(all above with a dollop of freshly whipped thick cream)
1 cafe au lait
1 cappucino
1 hot chocolate
1 espresso
2 waters (poor kiddos)
The day before, e-baby and Granny visited Dublinia, which was (so far) one of the highlights of e-baby's trip. They skipped the Black Death part of the exhibit. Jambuca has been such a super-cuddly guy. He is in a mommy-love phase right now, which is, of course, heaven for me. Whenever SNG and I return from an outing, he says, "I missed oo, my mommy. I'm so glad oo came back!" He's hamming it up, though because he is perfectly happy having the complete attention of at least one grandmother at all times. Frankly, both the kids are going to be sorely disappointed when we go home and they are back to boring old mommy and daddy all the time.
The trip to Galway was certainly easy enough, with a bus to a train, and then a long wait in the station. On the bus to the station, Jambuca had an acrobatic flip off of the seat on the top of the double decker bus (we were inside, no risk of falling out!). The lady across the aisle caught him by the ankle in mid-cartwheel and held him so I could get him upright again. We were all shocked and worried until Jambuca came up and said "Woo! That was COOL!" heh. The train ride across Ireland was just beautiful. Prettiest scenery so far on the trip.
My first impression of Galway after two years and one big honking recession is that it has become grungier. There's more graffiti. There is an Occupy Galway shantytown in Eyre Square. Even the playground in Eyre square is in poor shape. I hoped there would still be some of the magical charm I fell in love with when we were here before.
We are staying in the same place we stayed last time (The Western apartments and hotel) and I still recommend it. But like everything else we've come across on this trip, there are so many things that aren't quite right. That is a separate blog post, though. We're on a different side of the building but our view, like the last time, is amazing. We share a balcomy with the unit next door that overlooks Galway Bay and across to the mountains of County Clare in the distance.
Today was a free day for SNG and me, with the grandmothers taking care of the kids. We walked through city center to the Claddagh to see old fishing boats and swans (you know the symbol of a crowned heart with two hands? Called a Claddagh, after the little (former) village across the River Corrib from Galway). Then we walked out the jogging paths along the waterfront to Salt Hill, about 2 miles away. We dampened our appetites at a tart shop (a big raspberry meringue for me, a chocolate almond croissant for SNG) before walking back to Galway, where we wandered in and out of nearly every single shop in the city center. Lunch at a pub (The Front Door) where the starter of seafood chowder and brown soda bread should have been lunch, but we made the mistake of also ordering main courses. Way too much food. I think tomorrow is a soup and salad day for me. Except for one more stop at the tart shop with the kids.
Tonight, a huge, bright rainbow stretched across the bay with a perfect view of the whole arc from our balcony. We got the kids out of bed for it. It lasted well over an hour, like our own private gallery of faerie art. There is still plenty of magic in this place after all.

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