Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ireland via IPAD, Day one

Lovely room,  here at the Westin in Dublin.  Dena made sure we would feel like royalty.  It took me awhile to figure out how to get the lights on in this room.  One has to insert the keycard!!  Who knew?

I've closed the curtains, turned on the a/c cause it's so warm in here and have been trying to take a nap, only to be awakened by what sounds like a big party. My room overlooks an enclosed courtyard and I'm wondering if it might be a wedding celebration. I see men in kilts and a woman just lifted up the back of his kilt and everyone else is laughing. I happened to be on the elevator with a young man carrying a huge bouquet of flowers and he told me it was for the parents of the bride. "Most of the time, wedding celebrations are stressful for us, but this one is going well," he said. I'm tempted to get dressed and go down and see if I can crash the party. The food and fun make it tempting.

 Our Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour Guide - oh so handsome and with quite the accent!  I took the video just to hear his accent as he gave us directions and suggestions of things to see.

We are staying at the Westin, a historic hotel in downtown Dublin. We walked just one block go catch the Hop On, Hop Off bus tour of Dublin earlier today. It rained, otherwise would've been fun to be on the top deck, better to see the sights. Dublin is a big city - with lots of old buildings. Kathleen, Dena's friend, who lives here, quickly pointed out the building where the uprising against Great Britain, happened in 1916. We were amazed that this free country is not yet 100 years old.
Our trip began with some unusual travel stress, perhaps related to the alleged bombing by terrorists at the Boston Marathon on Monday. We noticed heighten security at the airport, having to show our passports as we boarded the plane in Seattle and JFK. Our flight on Delta was delayed because of mechanical issues, but we were at the airport 3 hours early, so were able to catch flight on Alaska to Seattle and from there a direct flight to JFK, rather than flying to SLC as originally scheduled. Dena and I felt quite smug, texted Karen who was on her way to catch a flight from Las Vegas. We worried a little because we only had an hour to make the connection to Dublin. We get to our gate at JFK and could not find Karen, which seemed odd because she was scheduled to arrive two hours prior. Long story short, American Airlines also had "computer" problems and she was not able to make the connecting flight. "There were long lines to rebook and the airlines felt no commitment to me since I made the reservation to get to JFK only...Dena made the reservation from JFK to Dublin." I'm so disappointed she'll miss our tour out the Ring of Kerry tomorrow. We have to be on the bus by 7 AM and she won't arrive until 9:15. I heard the disappointment in her VM, but she said, "I'm trying to make the best of it - maybe I can take a cab and spend the night with Julia." Oh, the joys of travel!!!

The Ha'penny Bridge ,officially the Liffey Bridge, is a pedestrian bridge built in 1816 over the River Liffey. Before the Ha'penny Bridge was built there were seven ferries, operated by a William Walsh, across the Liffey. The ferries were in a bad condition and Walsh was informed that he had to either fix them or build a bridge. Walsh chose the latter option and was granted the right to extract a ha'penny toll from anyone crossing it for 100 years. Initially the toll charge was based, not on the cost of construction, but to match the charges levied by the ferries it replaced. The toll was increased for a time to a Penny Ha'penny (one and a half pence), but was eventually dropped in 1919. While the toll was in operation, there were turnstiles at either end the bridge.
In 2001 the number of pedestrians using the bridge on a daily basis was 27,000 and, given these traffic levels, a structural survey indicated that renovation was required. The bridge was closed for repair and renovations during 2001 and was reopened in December 2001 sporting its original white colour.  We crossed this bridge on our way to our dinner at the Arlington Hotel.  
Love padlocks are a custom by which padlocks are affixed to a fence, gate, bridge or similar public fixture by sweethearts at an increasing number of locations in the world to symbolize their everlasting love.

Kathleen invited a cousin and her son to join Dena, Anthony and me for a three course dinner and traditional Irish music and Celtic dancing.

The video starts out a little fuzzy, but eventually comes into focus.  I think Irish Music presents a unique  glimpse of this great country.  The songs and dance tell a story!  I came away thinking we need more music in our country - traditional music that lets visitors "hear" our story.

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