Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dublin (and Movember)

Before we start in on the Dublin pics, let's discuss the little strip of fur that you'll see above Ken's upper lip in some of the photos.  Semi-disturbing, indeed.  But, Ken's office participates in Movember every year, so it was for a good cause... 
Here is the lovely mo enjoying a Guinness at the factory.  This is three weeks into the growth.

I hope you kept your lunch down after that pic...

Anyhow, we took a nice, cheap trip to Dublin.  What a great city - pubs on every corner, green parks, beautiful old buildings, pretty mountains close to the city, and friendly people.  

On Day One, we arrived at our hotel, which just so happened to be two blocks from the Old Jameson Distillery.  Yes, please.  I don't even really like whiskey, but I'm fascinated by any sort of "how it's made" tour (it must go back to the Reading Rainbow days with the ever-so-mesmerizing crayon factory segment...who didn't want to go to the crayon factory??)

Anyway, the tour guide asked for four female volunteers.  There were approx four females in the group, so I got to be a volunteer.  This was not the sort of volunteering where you plant trees, walk dogs, or paint schools.  This was an opportunity to become a certified whiskey taster.  And that I did.

Perhaps one of my proudest accomplishments.

Someone was just a wee bit jealous that he wasn't chosen as one of the four male volunteers, and therefore did not get to become a certified whiskey taster.

After the Jameson tour, we went to a Spoon show at a small venue.  I was so excited, because: a) I love Spoon, b) I love seeing my favorite bands at the smallest venues possible, and c) I get the feeling that, in Europe, I'll be able to get as close to the stage as I want for most bands.  

So, there we were, front and center, enjoying an excellent show.  The last time I saw Spoon was sometime last year.  And I could barely see anything over the crowd at the Crystal Ballroom.  So this was great!  They always put on a good show, but it was lovely to be so close.

Day Two started off with a walk around the Medieval area of the city.  Excellent.

The old city walls.

Christ Church Cathedral.  Please note the gorgeous blue skies we got that day!

Dublin Castle.  I liked these guys.

Dublin Castle.

The very nice gardener at Dublin Castle told me these swirls were Celtic symbols.

St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Day Two then digressed into drinking.  We like to keep it balanced.

Pretty horses outside of Guinness.

Enjoying our free pints in the Gravity Bar after our Guinness tour.  Take a long look at that hott mo.

Now for Day Three.  We're both big fans of sheep, pretty green scenery, and mountains.  So, we really wanted to check out the Irish countryside.  We took a bus to Glendalough, which is an area in the Wicklow Mountains National Park.  Umm...hello gorgeous!  It actually reminded me a lot of Oregon, which I've been missing a lot lately.  So that was nice.

Beginning of the hike.

Okay, this is definitely a random photo.  So please let me explain. We came across a pretty patch of clover, and I started to take pics.  On the way to the bus that morning, we bought a little leprechaun ornament to commemorate the trip on our Christmas tree when we got home.  So Ken had the brilliant idea to put little Crazy Legs in the clover patch.   Still a random photo, but at least you now know why.

"Oh, stairs leading into a dark forest.  That seems like a good idea."

Approx 1,000 of those stairs later, and we stumble across this...

A little worn out, but loving the scenery!

Lovely moss.  Just like good ol' Oregon.

Beautiful old church and graveyard.

Sheep!  Grazing in a green field!

Ruins of an early Medieval monastic settlement from the 6th century, founded by St. Kevin.

The Round Tower and graveyard.

So, there's Dublin in a nutshell.  Didn't take my camera to the pubs, but they were awesome.  Also awesome: Leo Burdock's fish and chips.  A man dressed as a viking greeted us outside of the restaurant (bonus points).  Then I sat down to the largest battered and fried piece of delicious cod ever, with fries and garlic sauce.  I was too entranced to take any photos at the time.  The moment will just have to live in my mind and tastebuds.

And finally...the Moment of Zen?

The final mo product after four weeks.  He looks like some sort of Norwegian rapper here, eh?  

(And I didn't tell you that the mo was quite sparse in the middle.  You inferred that from the pic yourself, right?  Right.)

Anyhow, Movember ended Friday, and the mo said goodbye yesterday.  You know what they say...all good things must come to an end...