I actually got to the point in my super-amazing birthday trip that I was saying things like this in my head. I started losing track of who’d told me that really neat thing about that really neat yarn and had to start combing my brain for landmarks that would remind me where I’d been when I’d heard the thing. It was disorientingly kind of neat, in a weird way.

Anyway, when we left off last week, I was saying farewell to Glasgow, after a much-too-short visit. There’s a whole country of green highlands and beautiful country that I never got to peek at because I scheduled myself too tightly. Have learned lesson.

My new BFF, Sharon, drove me to Glasgow airport, where I cursed not having asked my brother-in-law his historical family name [Christian isn’t on the list, but he’s got strong Scottish roots] so I could have snagged him something cool at the airport shops. Like I said, next time.

On the other end of this flight, I met the smiling faces of Lisa and her mama, Jacqui, of This Is Knit. One Irish smoothie later [I have a thing for crushed frozen fruit when I am super tired] and I was on my way to downtown Dublin, settled in a lovely attic-style room in hotel where George Bernard Shaw once lived [!] and passed out for the night. It was late and I had a big day coming up.

My knee had started to recover, so in the morning, I slowly ambled to the shop. Look at my neighborhood:

Harcourt street

I love the street light fixtures in Dublin.

The blue sky had me fooled…I didn’t bring an umbrella.

Stopped for what would be a favorite breakfast: a simple bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket. [You could put rocket — aka arugula — on anything and I’d be the happiest girl in the world. Why don’t we do that in North America? So much better than boring lettuce.] And a proper latte. And free wifi. Many of the Twitter posts I made while in Dublin came from those breakfast stops. Then onwards, to the Powerscourt Townhouse, which I imagined to be a weeny building, based on the name. Couldn’t be more wrong, me. It’s a beautiful, huge, soaring historic building that takes up a good part of a city block, with a large central atrium open all the way to the roof, filled with perfect little jewels of shops, including the aforementioned This is Knit. What a fabulous place.

The view from the upper level of This is Knit's new shop

Clever, beautiful yarn display on the upper level balcony

I taught some serious lace design knitters my Plug+Play technique all day, and that night, fellow Canadian but now Dublin resident Lilly made sure I had some authentic Irish pub experience. And cider.

Irish pubness. Happy me.

bacon and cabbage for dinner! ooh, and more cider!

Of course, by this time, the skies had opened and it wouldn’t stop for two days. It got pretty bad in Dublin.

Next day, I had a late start, which meant I could saunter slowly to my new favorite breakfast spot, have my rockety bagel and coffee, tweet and then get on with the afternoon’s teaching. Siobhán, a This Is Knit patron and clever photographer, was too good a brain not to pick, so I asked her to give a few extra photography tips to those learning about putting their best design foot forward. I learned stuff, too — thank you, Siobhán!

That night, an absolutely delicious Thai dinner, and a quick [ha! in Dublin? where all the streets go the opposite way you want them to?] cab ride home and boom, sackout me again.

Tuesday was walkabout day for me, as the knee continued to feel like it was improving. I went slow and explored galleries and museums, and took illicit pictures:

Acres of 79 euro Aran sweaters. Oh, the humanity.

Perfectly lined up doorways look like a mirror illusion, but they're not

“]looking up inside the museum of history i think…i can never remember museum stuff

I am, to the dismay of my friend, Jillian, not a museum girl. I saw a freaking HUGE dugout canoe the length of one hall in this museum and though, “oh, that is a BIG canoe” and walked on. So it was pretty neat that, the next day, I’d decided to take one of those touristy bus tours I usually avoid like the plague, just to see some Irish countryside  and learned something interesting. The canoe will return in a moment.

The next morning, I got in a big bus driven by a nice guy, and he gave me the Peter Ffrench seat [aka the seat for the tour guide, if there is one. in this case, HE was the tour guide]. So I had a prime spot. The bus filled right up, and off we went to county Wicklow, to see the green hills and movie filming locations, right on Dublin’s doorstep. Here’s some of what we saw:

there is a tiny dot in front of the garage in the middle of the photo...that dot is an older man (70?) diving in to the VERY chilly ocean for his daily swim. he was not the only one we saw.

beautiful green hills fly past my window

not really anywhere, but it's pretty (even with all the heather dead for the winter)

oh, I found some heather still alive! very pretty. must come back when all the hills look like this wee spot.

Around here, the driver told us about the bogs, and how they dug up strips of peat to burn in their houses for warmth. And that big dugout canoe? Was found in the bogs! How cool is that?

me, a big bus, a lot of strangers, and a bridge made famous in a movie I haven't seen (PS I Love You). surreal.

gorgeous scenery overlooking the Powerscourt estate (where The Tudors was filmed), and some random guy growing out of my head

A torrential downpour goes well with a walk in a graveyard (@ Glendalough Monastery)

ruins of the monastery

As everyone on the bus headed for the Upper Lake at Glendalough, I realized something had happened to my knee some time that day and turned back. I had walked too much, or I jumped down from the lowest bus step too hard and now something new hurt in the same bad knee. Unhappy, I headed back to the pub to wait for everyone to return so we could head home.

That night in my hotel room, I could barely limp to the bathroom and resigned myself to more  slow moving on the rest of the trip. An exercise in patience, this all was. I had had such great plans for walking and walking and walking, and it just wasn’t to be.

But I was having a blast anyway, and next on the itinerary was London…on my 50th birthday.

Which I’ll write about next week.

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13 Responses to If it’s Thursday, this must be Dublin

  1. Bets says:

    How lovely for you to take this trip! Thanks for posting all the pics and telling your story, I love it – looking forward to more :) Hope your knee is feeling better!

  2. Hahaha! So strange that we were both there within a day of each other and didn’t know it, what are the odds? Wish I’d known about that Powerscourt Townhouses – we walked by it at least 3 times, if I’d known there was yarn in there I would have dragged my boss in for sure!!

    ps: Love that shot of the doors, look familiar? http://www.flickr.com/photos/notanartist/6285029976/in/set-72157627986892446

    • Amy says:

      holy crap. how did you do that with a real camera? the guard was watching me the whole time. i had to sneak the one shot i got with my iphone.

  3. Reiko says:

    What beautiful light in that photo of the graveyard. So lush and green!

  4. janet says:

    All I can say, after I get over my extreme jealousy of your trip, is I live in N. America, and I grow arugula so I can eat on my sandwiches in my salad, or any chance I get! Don’t malign the entire continent, some of us are cognisenti!

  5. Brandi says:

    I’m jealous and wowed at the same time if that is possible. What lovely memories you will have from an amazing trip.

  6. Jessie says:

    Isn’t Ireland awesome? I’ve been on that same bus trip, seen the same dugout canoe, the same street light fixtures, and I’m itching to go back.

  7. turtle says:

    love it all, your on my dream vacation now… or maybe i just want to move there! :)

  8. Lovely travelog, so real I feel like I need to put on dry socks. Its all lovely but what I really want to know: where did you get the glasses?

  9. Seanna Lea says:

    I’m sorry that your knee dampened the pleasure you had in your trip, but I’m glad that you got to see as much fun and interesting stuff as you did. Dublin looks too beautiful to be believed!

  10. I have to admit that I am seriously jealous after reading this post. I saw the pictures of “This is Knit” shop in Dublin and seriously thought “I NEED to go there.” I can’t wait to read about London.

  11. Vilhelmine says:

    Oh, Ireland! I’ve been there once and didn’t get enough. Those countryside views are just spectacular, and those creepy monastery ruins… I had no understanding of or interest in yarn when I was there, but if I go there again I sure will check out some yarn shops!

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