Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Staying in Skerries seemed like a good plan when we booked it. However, the morning we arrived we found out that the rail bridge had collapsed at Malahide a week earlier and hence there was no train to Dublin. We took the bus from the airport via Swords, so hadn't been stuck in the city like the American guests who arrived late and very flustered. The disruption meant we spent quite a lot of time (and euros) at the mercy of Dublin buses. Thankfully they were running extra express services through the Port Tunnel - as the local bus took some time to get to Skerries. There was supposedly a replacement bus service running south from Skerries (though we saw no evidence), but no replacement service running north for some reason.

Anyway, Skerries is nice. A sort of seaside town cross commuter belt place. The area is dotted with numerous Martello Towers looking over the Irish Sea beaches, to make sure that the Irish didn't indulge in co-religious aiding and abetting and help Napoleon across.

We stayed at the Redbank Guesthouse, which has a very swish website, and lovely food. The attached restaurant is quite expensive, so we only ate there once, but the food we had was delicious and proper portions. The owner, Terry McCoy, seems to be quite well known as a seafood chef in Ireland.

On the Sunday we went down to Malahide to go sailing with Terry. As the train wasn't running this cost us a fortune in taxi fairs, but was a good day out. We sailed around Lambay, pulling into a small cove to look at the gannet colony. A large bull seal kept treading water close off the stern watching us, but wasn't interested in cream crackers. There were races in progress from Rush as we motored back, including one for Mermaids - a local type of boat. Back in the marina we had lunch made by Terry.

In Malahide we also had a walk around the castle grounds and a coffee and cake in the teashop, but it was rather pricy to go in. We stopped in at an art show, and I was inspired and disheartened at the same time.

To guide us around Dublin we downloaded some walking tours from the VisitDublin website. These were written and read by local artist and historian Pat Liddy. We found them interesting and the ones on Georgian Dublin and the Northside took us to places we probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. We used the one on the Guinness family to take us from the City Centre to the Guinness Storehouse. I've been to the Storehouse before, with Uni in 2001. This time though I could be interested in the Guinness, rather than the treatment of the building. Apparently I still can't drink a whole pint of Guinness.

As we walked past City Hall on one of our tours we saw the first Velibs being installed. The scheme was launched this week.

On our last day we went to the National Museums and the National Gallery (They are free and have cloakrooms for luggage). My other half doesn't normally display an interest in art, but he did seem to be interested in the National Gallery, if only to disagree with me on the depiction of light in the sky in various paintings and to keep asking me why I don't paint more. He also seemed to like the portrait gallery. I find that interesting for the back stories as well as the paintings.

I did notice when we went into the Benson and Forsyth extension to the Gallery. I felt it was very similar to their extension to the Museum of Scotland, at least internally.

I once commented on Belgianwaffle that Tesco in Scotland promote Scottish produce. She had written that in Ireland they seemed to be cutting back on Irish products. I now wonder whether they did that because Ireland has Dunnes. We bought our lunch there one day, and they seem to have Irish produce pretty well covered. There isn't a particularly Scottish shop like that in Scotland. Except perhaps Peckhams, but they don't operate in the same market.

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