First – about Dublin.
My daughter Maggie (who performs as Dessa) and I arrived Ireland at 8:30AM and were treated to a ride to our hotel by two young entrepreneurs (rap musicians). It was a longer than usual drive because of traffic slow downs, but no problem – we had a great time chatting.
Our hotel, the Grafton, was in the heart of downtown. A perfect spot.
After taking an hour to check out local shops, we just had to nap – we were cross-eyed from the flight.
No doubt about it, Dublin’s a big city. Had a great time last night walking the cobbled crowded streets, and then dining at the Winding Stair restaurant in heart of downtown. We enjoyed great food and even better conversation with Bill and Sharon Gunter, conveners for Slow Food Dublin. More about that on an upcoming Deep Roots Radio show.
A large part of yesterday’s fun was simply walking Dublin’s streets. They’re narrow, winding and crowded with small shops that open to hip-wide sidewalks. At the same time, most Americans would feel right at home with the vertical shopping malls and department stores.
I was surprised by the energy on the streets. The noontime hubbub was throbbing; very much like NYC. The pace was brisk and the population surprisingly young. It seemed a good 60-70% fast-walking the steets were from mid-20s to early 40s. And the look is fashionable, comfortable and basic black. Lots of skinny pants and black tights with either ankle boots, knee-high leather boots or three-inch heels. Scarves ubiquitous, as are short fleece, wool or quilted jackets – the wind blows. Layering is a key strategy because mornings are chilly, the sun is likely to pop out by noon, and you may get a shower in the afternoon.
Riding the rail to Wexford
Today, it’s a shift from sidewalks to pastures. I’ll travel south for two hours on a rail line hugging the eastern coastline from Dublin to Wexford.
I boarded the coach at Dublin’s Connolly Station, a very busy intersection for commuter trains as well as rail. I got to the station 30 minutes early and enjoyed watching the waves of men and women surge through the turnstyles as trains delivered them to the several platforms at this hub.
I’m sitting in a very comfy rail car as I type this out. It’s quiet, clean, sun-filled and the ride is smooth. I’m alone at a small table that seats four (two facing two), very much like a restaurant booth. WiFi is free and there are four electric outlets at each table. This is serious transportation.
Oh, we’ve just stopped at Dun Laoghaire, a coastal town where travelers can catch ferries to parts fruther afield.
The view to the East is amazing: Waves crash just yards from my picture window. When I turn to the West, I see small villages, green fields streaked with long puddles and shallow creeks. There are wooded hedgerows and tall grasses, farm gates and evidence of harvested crops. And in the distance, tree covered hills rise up to grey skies.
We’ve just stopped at Wicklow. Trip’s about half done. Pretty soon, Nicharee organic farm.
First – about Dublin.