Well that was one long flight. About ten hours (17 with time change), two screaming babies, and about 30 minutes of restless sleep makes Peter a very exhausted man. By no means was it a bad flight though, not only was I able to watch some great movies, and speak to a lovely lady named Mary, (74 years old, been on over 17 cruises, was married twice, grew up in California, and taught in elementary school for 30 years), but I also overheard some gossip material from the flight crew. Seems like Aer Lingus cabin crews are none to happy right now.
It would appear that the crews have been having issues with Aer Lingus for quite some time. Aer Lingus has been demanding a rigorous work schedule from its employs for all to long. Regrettably they believe the only course of action is to complete stop of work. This will take place for 24 hours starting the first minute after midnight on May 30th. This strike will will have a huge impact during its short duration. Over 200 flights will have to be cancelled during this time which will result in over 20,000 very upset customers. “http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/aer-lingus-passengers-advised-to-change-plans-over-strike-30281436.html” If history has shown us anything, its that the Irish are willing to fight for their right for their rights.
Five minutes off the bus and we already saw a group of protesters fighting against the proposed water tax that the government has been trying to impose. Those in support of the tax argues that it is just a way to increase further conservation of Ireland’s tiny supply of natural resources. Those in argument say that it is just one more way for the government to tax its people. http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/environment/water_services/water_charges.html This was the first of many signs that have pointed towards the current resentment of the Irish Government. This will make the upcoming elections very interesting as there has been talk of either not voting in the elections, or a huge sweeping of positions by Sinn Fein.
Stumbling past the protesters and the sea of political signs that littered every wall and street sign, I finally made it to Maldron Hotel, my home for the next week. After a few hours of rest and recuperation I decided to explore the area of Dublin around the hotel. With my camera in hand I wandered around the streets, stepping into back alley and the quieter streets. I wanted to see the true side of Dublin, not just the main street tourist traps. Just in the short hour of my exploration I stumbled across a ton of amazing street arts and nooks and cranny’s with curious little shops. Here is a collection of just the few things I found before being driven back to my hotel by the Irish rain.
One of the places I visited during my first wanderings was the Garden of Remembrance. Its a place of peace and beauty, dedicated to all those who have lost their lives in the name of Irish freedom. A sunken cross covered by water stands in front of a sculpture by Oisen Kelly. This statue is a taken on the Children of Lir, a popular Irish myth about children turned into swans to fly the land until the sound of the new God. http://www.ireland-information.com/articles/thechildrenoflir.htm
A beautiful poem also marks this monument.
“We Saw A Vision”
In the darkness of despair we saw a vision,
We lit the light of hope and it was not extinguished.
In the desert of discouragement we saw a vision.
We planted the tree of valour and it blossomed.
In the winter of bondage we saw a vision.
We melted the snow of lethargy and the river of resurrection flowed from it.
We sent our vision aswim like a swan on the river. The vision became a reality.
Winter became summer. Bondage became freedom and this we left to you as your inheritance.
O generations of freedom remember us, the generations of the vision.
I finished off my first Day in Ireland at a pub with two pints of Guinness and some delicious fish and chips. In the company of friends, as the Irish would say, the Craic was good! Once they all left to go back to the hotel, I stayed behind to nurse my last pint and enjoy the live music. There is no way to describe what it felt like that first night, walking back in the Irish rain, belly full, with the sound of three dozen Irish singing along to the tunes of the Dubliners. This will be an amazing trip.