We truly are not jet setters though it may appear that way currently as I have been to Dublin twice in less than a month! In the past, I never would have imagined doing this but things change when your child is across the pond for an extended time.
Much of what we did on this trip was a repeat of our trip in September. When people hear that I am going to Ireland, they ask what I will do there and inquire about all of the sights and beauty I will see. I realized I was feeling a bit of pressure- like ‘am I supposed to be doing more than I am?’ But in the end, I realize that the visits have been extremely short -3 days in Ireland in September and 2 1/2 days there in October. In that time, we want to do what parents of college students typically do – support Brendan and make his life just a little bit easier for the next week (aka take laundry, cleaning (kitchen was a bigger mess this time if that can be believed!) , some cooking and grocery shopping off of his plate. I took that pressure off of myself and focused on having time that we could enjoy -even if that meant repeating a restaurant instead of trying a new one.
So here is a recap:
The Book of Kells was available for viewing this time – last visit it was only a replica.
For those planning a trip to Ireland, a visit to Trinity is almost always on the ‘must see’ list and The Book of Kells is a big part of that. There has not been any time that we have walked through that area when it was not a massive line. We had the benefit of Brendan’s student status which allowed us to jump the line and get in for free (free would be a relative word here given the tuition we are paying ;). And we continued on to the very impressive Long Room once again. Brendan also told us that Trinity gets a copy of every single book that is ever published in Ireland.
Such an impressive place to see…so much history there
We headed to the ‘first 15s’ rugby game right on campus. The ‘first 15s’ are the top players – almost like varsity vs JV but not quite. We were fortunate to meet up with one of Steve’s friends from high school (actually originally from Indian Guides when they were 8!). Bob and his wife Laurie were there to celebrate their anniversary and he saw on the lovely Book of Face, that we were going to be there so he reached out to Steve. They are such a nice, easy going couple and we had a great time catching up, watching rugby in the rain and then going to a warm dry place to eat 🙂
Collecting for the club….then imbibing with the club 🙂
Personal tour guide
We had been to O’Neills when Eileen and I visited – it is where we tasted the Guinness. And Steve had been there with Brendan and Granddad in August so we went back there for a delicious dinner. It is a pub but I actually felt like I was in the Weasley’s home (think Harry Potter) – there are different short staircases around and it feels like a maze. Plus there is a ‘cafeteria’ style set up downstairs – you go there and let them know what you want from the options and bring it up to your table on a tray. We all loved our food and were rejuvenated from the wet and cold of being outside.
I love the look of this restaurant at night
Sunday’s main feature was Brendan’s game which was at ‘Old Belvedere Club’. Brendan slept in while Steve and I ate at our B&B and went grocery shopping for him. We went to his suite, cleaned, made stew in the crock pot for this week, and gathered up his laundry. Our host at the B&B graciously offered to finish his laundry while we were out (no small feat at he had a lot of it and the washer there was tiny! With our ‘chores’ all done, we headed out to see the coast…
We had to scarf down a very yummy lunch at ‘The Purity Kitchen’ before hustling to the game. Thankfully it was a gorgeous day so we could really enjoy. 🙂
Brendan doing what he loves most
We took Brendan back to shower and get his things as he was going to stay with us Sunday night (while our room was much smaller than expected during my first round in Dublin, our room was much bigger than expected this time with an extra room and 3 beds ). We revisited Cornucopia which has a similar set up as O’Neills in that you let them know which options you want in cafeteria style line.
A note about eating away from home. Many people feel that eating the food of another culture is possibly the most important part of experiencing that culture. While I hear that, and I know that part of traveling is being flexible and open to new things, including food, I also feel that we can still honor our own needs and preferences. Part of what we have been doing this year is finding that there are ‘go to’ places we love in Dublin, Boston and Annapolis. It is comforting to have a place we revisit where we know we will have a great experience in our meal, environment and company. And to scatter in new places here and there as well.
Cornucopia ‘slop’ as my brother would call it…deliciousness would be my word!
And since Murphy’s ice cream is right across the street…we just had to have some…
Murphy’s is a must for any ice cream lover
Brendan then did what all rugby players must do – meet the guys at the pub for a pint. Though you do not have to drink a pint, in rugby culture, meeting them there is almost as important as playing the game. He tends to just stay for a little bit then they all go out for a bigger night at a club which is not his scene. While he met the guys, Steve and I went back to O’Neill’s and were fortunate to catch some live Irish music and dancers. It was a lot of fun and we watched with the couple next to us who are from Boston:)
Traditional Irish Dancing
We met up with Bear and headed back to the B&B
Walking down Grafton St
Sunday was short and sweet. We went again to ‘Honey Truffle’ for breakfast before Brendan’s class and while he was in class, Steve and I hit the bookstore. We were supposed to meet one of the rugby people at Honey Truffle again at 10 so we headed back for more coffee, another sausage roll for Brendan, and a great chat with his coach before heading back to the airport.
Such a great breakfast or lunch spot
We laughed more than cried when we said goodbye as coach was there telling us how his mom used to be so dramatic whenever he would leave her. It lightened a sad moment and distracted me from the ‘I won’t get to see or hug Bear until Christmas’ thoughts. I will not lie – it is a challenge to have all 3 boyz away and to have Bear so far, definitely makes it feel different. But I am SO grateful that Norwegian Airlines offers incredible fares and the trip is direct and relatively easy for us. And I will look to these trips as time to do what works for us, with no expectation, no rules, and nothing to prove. And that, for sure, will feed the love in Dublin.