• Nadine Almer

Day 161 - 164: Delightful, delicious, diverse Dublin

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

11.6. - 14.6.2021

Dublin is truly a city I am happy and humble to have been able to explore. It is full of people, obviously, and it is loud and I do not think it ever sleeps, but nonetheless I wish I have had more time here for there is so much to see, so much!

First of all the public transport system makes way more sense than the system of Glasgow. Both cities have different companies running public transport but where in Glasgow the number system, timetables and directions are an Enigma to solve, Dublin is not only reliable and clear about routes and destinations, you also can get one single Leap Card, load it up in convenience stores like WHSmith or Spar and use it for all different companies, even the tram and train system within the whole city! Only downside so far is that they do not take dogs on, or that is to say, officially they do not take dogs with them. In my experience though it clearly is up to each bus driver if they take you on with a dog or not, in any case they will if you have a therapy or guidance dog. I am all for honesty and truth, in this case though I made two exceptions. I was asked only two times if Marjorie, indeed, was a therapy do and both times I said yes, just waiting for them to ask to see her identification, but they did not. And happily we could go our ways, all the while having a lot of joy with each bus ride since people were instantly drawn towards Marjorie, wanted to give her cuddles and love. So, in a sense she therefore truly was a therapy dog, provided positive bus driving experience for everyone who wanted to pet her. Also, I bought a Leap Card for four days without knowing pets are forbidden on the busses. I was only after buying it, that I was informed about the no pet policy by a bus driver I got talking to outside the main post office, while asking for directions. Either way, he advised me to just say she is a therapy dog and winked and me with a big, warm smile.

Upon our arrival on Thursday we literally just wandered around to explore, right or left wherever we felt like going. We were lucky to just stumble into the Iveagh Gardens. It was not huge but nice and Marjorie could have some time off the lead, which is always delightful for both of us. A few streets on and we came across another park, a sheer blessing and the perfect place to really sit down, enjoy the sun, the warmth, the whistling of the leaves and branches of the trees, watching the clouds pass by. St. Stephen’s Green is worth a visit. Especially surprising to me was that I actually enjoyed the people around, their excited chatter, the children screaming and laughing, everything a subtle background noise while watching the sky. I liked being a witness to all these small, tiny bubbles of life experiences, shared perspectives, everyone of them souls with their own storylines, their own aspirations and yet, all of us strangely connected on this little piece of green space within a buzzing city in Ireland. We followed Grafton Street, promenading in our own tempo along, crossing O’Connell Bridge and suddenly felt truly like tourists, or rather I did, Marjorie would probably not describe herself as a tourist. We found ourselves within huge crowds, shopping, giggling, slurping different drinks, talking to others by their side or through their phones. I felt a little bit out of body, as though all of them were leading such a different life, had such different attitudes towards purpose and what life was all about. But then I found this type of thinking rather separating and returned to my main spiritual focus point nowadays, it is called the “How am I the same as -fill in the blank-“ challenge. This idea was born and translated into my daily life yet again because of food for thought from Teal Swan. She claims that love derives from a feeling of belonging, belonging in its essence is finding similarities that draw us closer towards each other. As I oftentimes struggle from a feeling of being disconnected and a sense of not belonging anywhere (which essentially was the reason to go on this travel adventure), her words had an impression on me, they seemed reasonable. With everything that makes sense in a theoretical stage, I need to find out if it translates into the actual reality of my life. Experimenting on myself is the only way to validate if an information makes sense to me and holds value for me, which is why I try to implement this exercise now. Whenever I feel my brain starting to search for differences, I go the other way and think of similarities. I guess once this becomes a pattern, much like a positive attitude can be learned, I will be able to see if my feeling of disconnection fades.


Friday was the first day without an alarm since I set off from Glasgow, and I absolutely adored it. True that most of the morning is gone, but it did not matter at all since the sun is up until way past nine in the evening and we literally have all the time in the world to be spontaneous. We are after all in a city where at least every twenty minutes a bus is at our disposal. First we walked a little bit of the Portobello Quay River Walk, just so that Marjorie can tend to her needs before we would take a bus drive to the far end of Dublin towards the sea. We soon were on a bus, needing to change one time at a certain station when waiting on the second bus became too long for me, because we were not permitted inside due to the bus being full. Instead I took a look onto my offline maps and decided that we could easily walk the distance, after all that is what we enjoy the most, our independent freedom to explore. From North Strand Road we walked over to Fairview where I was in dire need for a coffee. My plans had not worked out and I sensed that I got a little too frustrated than necessary while being on a relaxed vacation. Luckily Kennedy’s Food Store Fairview not only provided me with a flat white organic coffee with oat milk and a vegan wrap for later, they also prepared a sausage for Marjorie which would serve as a perfect snack for her when I would sit down and enjoy my wrap. Onto Fairview Park and after asking a local for directions, we found a very small and not so easy to find sneak through a gate, leading us on a small path outside the industrial area through to Sails. From there we just enjoyed the ocean, the view, the people and a very nice walk along Clontarf Promenade, past Dollymount Wooden Bridge until we entered Saint Anne’s Park. And what a lovely, wonderful park this is! Not only is it off lead for most of the dogs we met, it was hosting a street food and farmer’s market when we were there! We relaxed for half an hour, ate our provisions and wandered along the market. Destiny led us to the most wonderful people who devoted their free time to hosting a minimal waste tent, they're being true inspirations and are dreaming about having their own store one day. It was glorious talking to them, seeing their passion behind it and I was so happy to spend my money there to top up a few resources that slowly were beginning to decrease, dentatabs for example and bamboo toothbrush. My saviours, Minimal Waste Groceries!

After that we took the bus back to the city centre and one successful bus change later we ended up home at six o’clock in the evening. Marjorie truly was exhausted, after dinner she slept through the whole night without any signs of wanting to get up for a late night pee-pee.


Exhaustion was gone by the morning and we were all set for our next adventurous day. Gorgeous as I knew it was going to be, I had planned a day trip to Howth from where I wanted to do the famous Cliff Walk, ending our route in Sutton. As usual we went to the canals first for Marjorie to relieve herself. This time we followed the canals because doing my research I figured it would end at the Grand Canal Dock Station where there would be a train station. It took us longer than expected, one and a half hours, and despite hoping for the best, it turned out there were no trains leaving from that train station to Howth. Another hour later we finally were back at Connolly Station and on the train to our destination. The whole city seemed to be on the move to go out for a beach day and it was by far the loudest train ride I ever experienced. Howth is a beautiful, picturesque town directly by the ocean. A lot of cafes, bars and shops with a variety of coloured house walls to make it look as if it was directly out of a catalogue advertisement. As I took out my camera to capture its beauty, I experienced a setback that made me question myself- the battery of the camera had died. Fortunately the gloriousness that surrounded me consoled me in an instant and after a deep, relaxing breath I was back in the moment and filmed with my mobile phone camera instead.

Another forty minutes later and we finally arrived at the start of the cliff walk- you can imagine that by that point Marjorie was tired already, so we had a half an hour break, sat down and enjoyed the cooling breeze on top of the mountain, overviewing the vastness of the ocean, a sight I had missed so much that my heart literally seemed to expand with gratitude and awe.

The route I needed to take was the purple one, leading to Sutton, in theory nine kilometres and doable if it were not for the already five hours of exercise we did to even get to this point. But both our spirits were high and we just set out, every journey starts with one step, doesn’t it?

Oh, I cannot tell you how my gratitude expanded with every new turn the walk took. The ocean was to our left side at all times, to our right a jungle of plants, ferns, flowers, grasses. The footpath was only approximately half a meter wide and there were loads of people having the same idea for this joyous Sunday as I had, but everyone was cheerful and there never was one long face among them.

By four o’clock in the afternoon we were on the last four kilometres of the hike but Marjorie showed fatigue. Due to the high temperature and no opportunity to actually cool her down in the ocean or with any other water source, I decided to get off the track and up the hill to the next bus station, pointed out to me by a couple we met on the way. Lucky us, we found the bus station, more lucky even as there was a bus due within just ten minutes, unlucky us though it never showed. I did not mind, Marjorie was in the shades, lying on a cooling patch of deep grass and I still had plenty of water for her to drink. Although I was in no rush to get home, after one hour with a no show of any bus lines that were in service (there were two driving past out of service), I decided that I would see if I could have an Uber home. The walk to the nearest, occupied bus station in the town of Sutton was still more than five kilometres and I knew Marjorie was nearing the end of the capacity of her strength. While waiting for our Uber to arrive, the nice couple from earlier passed by, surprised to see us and also concerned for us, they offered to take us back to town with them. Since I already had booked an Uber I denied with a lot of gratitude and appreciation for their kindness, explaining that I had made a commitment to the Uber driver already.

Isn’t it just the most special thing? Random people, with no connections to us at all, just a brief conversation about the glorious day, the phenomenal hiking route and how to get to a bus station, and they were willing to give us a ride to see us safely on our way back to our hotel.

While driving back, all along the pier through Raheny, Clontarf and right back to Dublin City Centre, until we arrived back at our hotel in Rathmines, I found myself picturing a life here. There was so much kindness all around, so much to experience, so much to see. The perfect mix of mountains, forests, beaches, islands, parks-and all of it within a half an hour (by car) or hour (by public transport) reach.


On Monday a few very 'human'- things needed to be taken care of. Firstly I wanted to have a thrift shop tour, looking for new working jeans (as the one pair I owned had given in during the wall building in Tullyquilly). Then I yearned for some incenses, like sage and Palos Santo. My hair was in desperate need of a cut too. Until two o’clock we therefore just roamed around the city centre, having a nice break in St. Stephen’s Green Park, until I had accomplished all of it. Afterwards there was one last thing on my Wishlist: North Bull island, opposite of St. Anne’s Park. With an almost five hour journey tomorrow by train (Dublin to Cork, 2.5 hours), with an hour break in Cork until our bus would leave (Cork to Bantry, 2 hours), I knew it would not be bad to have a longer day and get Marjorie tired. Two busses and one hour later we were on our way across the wooden bridge and had a walk around the St.Anne’s Golf area, first along the left side facing the pier promenade, then back on the right side facing the ocean. The breeze once again kept us cool and the cold Atlantic Ocean was a delight, with sand turning from black to white, a vast variety of different shells and snail houses. It sure was the most glorious end to our days in Dublin. Wonderful people, lovely landscapes, buzzing city life. We bid our farewell and were send on our next journey by the same person who welcomed us here on Friday, Rod, Dublins most charming and amiable taxi driver.

Thank you so much for taking your time out of your busy days and reading this. As always you will find this blog post in video log form on my YouTube channel: Vlog #4 || Delightful, delicious, diverse https://youtu.be/Cgkv2og4QKMDublin .


Love and light, beloved souls

Nadine


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