Happy, happy big birthday to Mom! I won’t reveal which big birthday it was, but let’s just say she’s still quite the spring chicken. Since it was her special day, we let her run the agenda du jour. First stop: the National Library of Ireland.
Trip Win #4: The National Library of Ireland. This is *the* place to go for genealogy. You don’t even have to be of Irish heritage to be able to trace back your lineage. Husband looked up his dad’s side of the family (no Irish there) and was able to go back to when his fam came over from the Azores. If he was able to find that info, just imagine the possibilities of what you can find if you have even the slightest bit of Irish ancestry.
Mom’s brother, Uncle C, is a huge history buff (that’s putting it mildly). Mom had texted him the night before and was able to get some estimated dates and a couple of names. I’ll be honest; I thought our chances of finding anything were pretty much slim to none. After all, her maiden name is basically the equivalent of Smith or Brown in Ireland. We went to the genealogy room and sat down at a couple of computers. We started with Mom’s dad and worked our way backward. We made it back about 3 generations and hit a block. We were starting to get a little dismayed, but we kept on looking. Then we found it:
We made it back 7 generations (6 for Mom) and were able to trace back to when Mom’s side of the family came over from Ireland. Happy birthday, Mom! We wanted to see if we could dig a little further, but wouldn’t you know it? The library closes early on Saturdays and they had to kick us out.
Trip Win #5: Bruxelles Bar. Since it was such a pretty day outside, we walked a couple of blocks over to the Temple Bar area. Temple Bar is a really cool pedestrian-friendly area. Lots of trendy bars, restaurants and shops. Our breakfast had pretty much worn off by this point, so we decided to find a spot to grab lunch. We ended up at Bruxelles, which was a great little pub. We found seating downstairs in the basement. The coolest thing about sitting downstairs was the delivery method of the food. The kitchen was located on the main floor. Rather than have the servers have to continually go up and down the stairs, they used a dumb-waiter system. The kitchen put the food in, sent it down and then voila! Lunch is served! They had a diverse menu, but the shepherd’s pie was fantastic. Probably one of the best ones I’ve had.
After lunch, Mom decided on some retail therapy. We were in luck! Right down the street was the galleria at St.Stephen’s Green. We pillaged through the stores and I found one of the best additions to my growing collection of Funkos on my desk at work. His home is right next to my Pope Francis bobblehead. Really, I don’t think I’m ever going to grow up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, right? We grabbed some gelato on the way out and walked down Grafton Street for more shopping.
Trip Fail #5: Conway’s Bar. My parents have a friend who was watching their dogs for them back in the States. She has family in Dublin that were the proprietors of Conway’s Bar. There were only two in the city and the other was no longer in existence, so we hedged our bets and jumped in a cab to see if we could find it and take a picture for her. The cab did a couple of drive-bys and guess what? No luck. Turns out, the place closed down as well. Slightly disappointed, but highly amused with our cab driver, we headed back to the hotel for a little breather before dinner.
Husband made reservations at a restaurant a few blocks from the hotel, The Yacht (no, it’s not an actual yacht–that would just make too much sense). It had high reviews, so we though it would be a good choice to celebrate Mom’s big day. When we walked in, the place was packed. It was noisy and slightly rowdy. Turns out that it was the finals of the Celtic Soccer championships. We learned that Celtic soccer is basically a combination of soccer, American football and rugby all rolled into one. We ordered our food and honestly, it was just okay. I had ordered turkey (no, Boy Child steal any this time) and it was pretty dry. I’m glad that we tried it, but I don’t think we’d be in a rush to go back. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and called it a day.
Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until later in the afternoon, so we had a little bit of free time in the morning. Husband found a town, Howth, not far that looked like it would be fun to explore. We ate breakfast and then walked to the closest DART station. It was a Sunday, so Husband figured that there wouldn’t be anyone on the train. Wrong.
The train going toward Howth was absolutely packed. Seriously. We were smushed up against each other and got to know our neighbors in a hurry. Each time the train stopped, more people got on and no one got off. The end of the line was Howth, and we all poured out of the train all at the same time. There had to be *something* going in town, right? Wrong.
Apparently, Sunday is the day that everyone goes into Howth. There was no festival, no special celebration and honestly, no real reason for such a crowded train. Howth is a cute little fishing village. It’s on the edge of the water and is across from Ireland’s Eye. We walked over to the lighthouse and took in the view of the harbor and the coastline. I have to admit, I miss living by the water. There’s just something magical about the ocean and water. However, I don’t miss the bitter cold coasts. The wind was whipping around something fierce, so we walked back toward the town.
Trip Win #6: Starbuck’s. How on earth is giant retail-chain Starbuck’s a trip win, you ask? This particular Starbuck’s was spacious, friendly and served their coffee in actual ceramic mugs. They had couches, coffee tables and comfortable chairs. We spent a good hour enjoying our coffee and warming up.
We hopped on the DART train back to the city a little earlier than we had anticipated. We figured since there were huge crowds coming to Howth, we should probably try to beat aforementioned crowds going back. We walked to the hotel, grabbed our luggage that they had so graciously stored for us and took a cab to the airport.
Trip Win #7: Cadbury McFlurry. What?!? There is NO way that a McDonald’s ice cream treat is a win!?! Dude. Cadbury caramel McFlurry. Quite possibly *the* best McFlurry I’ve had. Coming from this McFlurry connoisseur, you know it’s legit. Mom had the Cadbury Egg one and said it was just as delicious.
When we arrived back to Frankfurt-Hahn, it was dark and freezing. Literally. It had snowed earlier in the day and the temperature was in the upper 20s. It’s sad when Ireland’s weather was significantly warmer than Germany. Husband went to get the car, but by the time he finally made it to pick us up, we probably should have just gone with him. We made it back to the house safe, sound and happy to be home.
Dublin was fantastic. I wish that we had a few more days, as there were a few things that we didn’t get a chance to do. With the time we did have, we didn’t waste it. We saw and many of the things that we wanted to. Finding the generations of my family was the icing on the cake. I hope that we can make another trip back there.