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After being warned last week before we left that the weather in Dublin was cold and rainy, we added some cold weather clothing to our packing, but as it turned out, it has been gorgeous since we’ve been here  Kelly always seems to bring good weather to Ireland, therefore be sure to invite us to join you if you decide to come here yourself!

Looking up “What’s On in Dublin” before we left Austin I found a ton of events, but a lunchtime concert with the RTE (National Television and Radio stations) National Symphony Orchestra jumped out as something that my parents would probably enjoy too.  They purchased tickets for all of us and we headed to the National Concert Hall to hear the following program, which was also broadcast live on radio:

Rossini The Thieving Magpie Overture
Mozart Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from The Magic Flute
Donizetti Bella siccome un angelo from Don Pasquale
Lehár Chez Maxim’s from The Merry Widow
Respighi La Boutique fantasque (The Magic Toy Shop)

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It was a fabulous concert, just under an hour long.  The Orchestra is world class and listening to them, the eighty or so members sounded like one organism – absolutely spot on.

After a quick and simple lunch eaten sitting in the grounds of Trinity College (my alma mater), we walked to the Campanile (bell tower) for a quick kiss to remind us that this was the spot we got engaged almost 25 years ago!

From there we did a long walk along the River Liffey  up to the National Museum at Collins Barracks. Along the way we passed through the trendy Temple Bar district._6140296

Dublin is well over 1,000 years old, and as such there are many architectural styles to be seen since its Viking origins.  While Trinity started in Elizabethan times, Dublin is perhaps best know n for its Georgian architecture, which is now interspersed with many modern additions.  But architectural details are to be found everywhere, especially if you look up.

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In the heart of Temple Bar is a pub, called the Temple Bar, where we heard live music playing, which is a bit unusual for early afternoon.  Stepping inside we found a musician attempting to set the Guiness World Record for playing a guitar non-stop for 100 hours.  The clock showed he was up to nearly 48 hours and he sounded pretty good!

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Continuing along the banks of the Liffey, we arrived at National Museum about 30 minutes before closing time.

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The Barracks themselves have a storied past, but today, they are a branch of the National Museum, one of the few free things still available in Dublin, now a very expensive city.  The Barracks are huge, and with some luck, we will go back tomorrow.   I had not been there before, but in the short time we had to look around it was clear there was much to see.  They have a huge collection of decorative arts from historic furniture, porcelain, glass. silver, etc. to contemporary pieces.  They also have an exhibit on Irish military history and much more.

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Another  long walk brought us back to the center of Dublin, which is marked by the “Spike”, a rather curious edifice meant to be an iconic emblem for Dublin.  There are a lot of public statues and monuments throughout the city and Dubliners have taken to giving each of them creative and cheeky nicknames . For instance, the statue of Molly Malone, a character in the song “Dublin’s Fair City”, is a buxom lass in a low cut blouse as she wheels her wheelbarrow, per the lyrics of the song.  To Dubliners she’s know as “The Tart with the Cart”.

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Art is an integral part of Irish culture from music, dance, theater, sculpture, decorative arts and all kinds of visual arts. Just before we returned back to my parents’ house, we came across this street artist creating this amazing mandala-like image on the pavement.

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We got back with just enough time for us to change for dinner and for me to take an environmental portrait of my parents in front of the house I grew up in, and in which they have lived ever since they got married more than fifty years ago.

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