Dublin, Ireland – 07:00 to 19:00 (Scheduled), Actual 10:30 to 20:00
The arrival Dublin was scheduled for 07:00, but last evening the Patter stated arrival was 10:30. The ship could easily have made the posted ETA, as we sailed at a very sedate 11 kts throughout the evening. Somebody did say an announcement was made, but since Captain Kent departed this type of information is not put through the cabins, so we may have been sitting on the balcony. Weather wise, today was a big improvement on yesterday, although still a tad on the cool side.
Temperature: High 16C/61F, Low 12C/54F
Wind/Weather: Initially partly cloudy, but turned overcast by early afternoon and cleared by departure
Clox: Z+1 (no change)
In the early hours of the morning, Sea Princess altered to a N’ly heading following along the Irish Coast towards the Dublin pilot station. The pilot boarded about 09:15 and shortly thereafter Sea Princess entered the River Liffey breakwater, continuing through the commercial port towards our berth in the container terminal. At the top of the navigable river, Sea Princess turned around and backed into the berth, being secured Port side alongside by 10:30.
At 20:00 the Captain let the lines go, thrust Sea Princess off the berth and retraced our inbound courses down the River Liffey. Once Sea Princess cleared the harbour breakwater, the pilot disembarked and Sea Princess increased to full sea speed of 20 kts, steering N’ly courses up the Irish Sea towards our next port of call in Greenock.
What else can you say about Dublin, other than it is the home of Guinness, and is the best location in the world to sample one of their cool, rich and creamy pints.
Dublin is Ireland’s capital and largest city, and is located on the East Coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey. Originally a Viking settlement, Dublin expanded rapidly and in the 1800’s was the 2nd largest city in the British Empire, prior to Southern Ireland succeeding from Britain in 1922.
Sitting on the balcony early this morning, watching us glide slowly along the Irish Coast towards Dublin, the first thing I noted was the improvement in the weather. While not overly warm, at least the skies were clear, with the exception of a few puffy cumulus clouds. Our plan this morning, with the later arrival, was to have breakfast and then watch the river transit from the balcony. From our previous visit we knew the Dublin arrival isn’t overly scenic, as the river is a commercial port.
Once passed the commercial port, this is the view from our balcony, where we stopped to turn and then back into the berth, which was on the opposite shore.
After breakfast, we noted the hoards already queuing and jockeying for position down on Deck 5, where the gangways would be located once alongside. At 90 minutes before arrival, some people just have to be first off the ship and we can only imagine what the pushing and shoving would have been like, as disembarkation approached. Not us, we watched the arrival, then relaxed for a few minutes, heading down to the gangway about 15 minutes after the first ones off. We walked straight to the gangway, as the Pursers had each stairwell manned and were directing pax to which ever gangway was quickest. Once off the ship we joined a very short queue for the shuttle bus, while they collected the tickets. Once aboard the bus we met Bruce, Viv, Bob and Christine.
The driver, while not a tour guide, gave a commentary throughout, dropping us off in the vicinity of Trinity College. On disembarking the bus we were met with representatives from the 3 HoHo buses – Red, Green and Orange. We elected to go with the Orange, so the very pleasant young lady called for a bus and walked us to the stop. This was a great deal at only 10 Euros each. They only have 1 loop, which takes about 2 hours, but the bonus is a live guide, whereas the others are canned audio using headphones. Our guide was excellent, passing on the required information, but also adding individual flair and humour.
On boarding the Ho-Ho bus we continued around Trinity College Circle.
Interesting old brick building with intricate stone carvings as we continued around Trinity College.
The first Irish Parliament Building, where we turned off heading up College Green towards Christ Church Cathedral. Enroute we passed Dublin Castle, which really doesn’t look like a castle, more a stately home.
Christ Church Cathedral, where we turned down Patrick Street towards St Patrick’s Cathedral.
St Patrick’s Cathedral and adjoining gardens.
Next up was the highlight of Dublin, at least for me. Yes, you guessed correctly – Guinness. Started by Arthur Guinness about 250 years ago, he negotiated a 9000 year lease on the original grounds, which have since expanded significantly.
They have a visitor centre in an old multi-storey building called the Storehouse, with the top floor being a bar with a 360 degree panoramic view of Dublin. At the end of the tour, you get a free pint of Guinness in the panoramic view bar. Well it isn’t exactly free, since you must pay for the tour and no 2nd pint is on offer; therefore, it is actually the most expensive pint of Guinness you will ever purchase.
Guinness Storehouse entrance.
One of the displays inside the Guinness Storehouse.
After Guinness we continued West, passing Heuston Station, Dublin’s oldest train Station, which is situated on the banks of the River Liffey.
Dublin’s Heuston Railway Station, dating from 1844.
From the station we crossed the River Liffey onto the north shore, heading for Phoenix Park, which is Dublin’s largest park. It also contains Dublin Zoo. Driving through the park we spotted a huge herd of deer grazing on one of the sports fields. Obviously very comfortable around people, as we spotted many milling around with cameras clicking. The guide mentioned the herd numbers in the hundreds and the lineage goes back over 400 years.
The Irish President’s Official residence, which is within the park.
On departing the park we headed East, or back towards downtown along the north bank of the River Liffey. Enroute, we toured around the Jamieson’s Distillery, which was actually started by a Scotsman and then drove along O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main shopping street on the north bank. We then crossed over to the south bank, after passing the Jeanie Johnston tall ship. This was one of the immigrant ships that sailed from Ireland to Canada taking thousands of immigrants during the famine. Known as coffin ships due to the high loses, our guide advised that this ship never lost a single passenger.
Crossing the Samuel Beckett Bridge, looking up the River Liffey and the Jeanie Johnston tall ship on the right bank.
On the south bank we drove passed Aviva Stadium, the National Stadium for both Football and Rugby, then through some of the more affluent neighbourhoods before returning to end of the route at St. Stephen’s Green.
Our guide also disembarked the bus for his lunch break, but he stood and chatted with us for a few minutes. Really great chap and we thoroughly enjoyed his tour, way better than an audio tour using headphones. For lunch we headed to O’Neil’s Pub, located close to Trinity College. This is an old pub that simply oozes tradition. It has multiple rooms, each with a bar and a central food service area. Once you enter the pub you find a seat and then head to the food line, or the closest bar if just after refreshments. The food was traditional Irish Pub, plus a couple of specials – Irish Stew, Beef and Guinness Stew, Shepherds Pie, Roast Chicken, etc. I had the Irish Stew washed down by Guinness, while Judi tried the Shepherds Pie and Rum&Coke. Food was good, but the servings were huge.
Inside O’Neil’s Irish Pub.
On the walk back to the shuttle we stopped at a couple of Starbucks, where we attempted to Skype with our daughter Heather and Grandson Owen. We got connected, but limited bandwidth made it a rather poor connection, which dropped off repeatedly.
Judi beside the Molly Malone Statue we passed when returning to the shuttle bus.
On board, we quickly changed and headed down to dinner, where we had 7 of us tonight, with Bruce taking a rain check to working on photographs. After the huge lunch, I only had a small portion of fish. Good news – two nights in a row the meals have been served at least warm. Might not be steaming hot, but we believe they should be capable of at least serving warm food. With getting caught up with everyone’s recent adventures, we were almost to leave the restaurant, so had to rush to catch the beginning of the show.
The show tonight was a British singer, who impersonated many of the greatest singers of the past 30 to 40 years. She opened with a Shania Twain hit, which was followed by a Julie Andrews song from the Sound of Music. Wow, if you closed you eyes, you could almost imagine it was actually Julie Andrews singing on the stage. Yet again another excellent show and we look forward to another show from her.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.