a day in Dublin
We only budgeted one day for Dublin, preferring to spend the bulk of our time, limited as it was, in the countryside instead of the city.
By this point in our tour, our thoughts were beginning to drift homeward. Unlike the two years we spent in Kenya, during which we never left the African continent, we had returned to the United States several times while serving in Moldova. Still, two years is a significant amount of time to live abroad, and we were looking forward to the reunion with our families and our dog, whom we brought back to the States in May.
We did very little sightseeing in Dublin. We arrived back in the capital in the middle of Rosh Hashanah, so S spent the morning at services at a synagogue in south Dublin. We took the DART train into the city center, and Munchkin fell asleep as we walked to the Guinness Storehouse, where D was meeting a friend.
In high school, D had attended an international leadership camp that had a profound impact on the direction his life took. He met several boys from Northern Ireland, and managed to keep in infrequent touch with two of them. One, D knew, had moved to Australia, but the other still lived close to home. As it turned out, the latter could not take a day off work midweek to make the two-hour trip to Dublin, but the former happened to be back home. He had returned to get married, but happily took an afternoon off from wedding preparations to catch up with D over a couple pints of Guinness. D had not seen him in sixteen years.
By the time we left the Guinness Storehouse, where it’s easy to lose track of time, the sun was well on it’s way towards the western horizon. We stopped inside the Chester Beatty Library, which is located inside the Dublin Castle, and then made our way towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
We had read about Dublin’s famed choirs and decided to attend the evensong prayer service. Munchkin let off some steam on the playground outside the cathedral while D went to inquire about the service. It’s a good thing he asked too. A guard turned away several tourists, but stepped aside to let us enter just as the service began. The singing was beautiful, but Munchkin would not sit still and made quite a ruckus, so we were also thankful that the service was relatively short.
Although the flight back from Ireland is shorter than it would have been from mainland Europe, the trip back was exhausting. We had left much of our luggage at a hotel by the airport, but stayed in south Dublin upon our return. Given our early departure, it was still night when we checked out, and D had to make several trips — first dropping S and Munchkin at the airport, then returning for our extra luggage, and finally dropping off the rental car. We were the last to board the plane, and only had a few minutes to spare before take off.