After the Guinness Storehouse, the adventures continued! We headed out toward the Kilmainham Gaol (or Jail) looking for a lunch spot along the way. We stopped by the Tram Pub which was serving carvies, and had a panini. The panini in Ireland are particularly good! I think one of the reasons they are so great is the bread is not so crusty that is cuts up your mouth. It starts out on the soft side and crisps nicely in the panini press... no booze with our lunch today... a first since we arrived in Guinnessland!
We had a tour of the Kilmainham Gaol. The jail itself held an incredible amount of Irish history. Many of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were held and executed there. Although unsuccessful, this uprising was the event that was the foundation for the eventual establishment of the Irish Republic in 1919. At the jail was a museum in which there was the original proclamation of the republic (very eloquently written) that sparked the Easter rising and an exhibit of last letters from the jailed leaders to their families. Each one of them expressed gratitude at being able to be a part of Irish Independence and stated they had no regrets about having participated, despite impending execution. One particularly sad story was of that of Joseph Mary Plunkett and his fiance Grace who were to be married the day after the Easter rising. After his capture and sentencing, she bought herself a wedding ring and was married to Joseph in the jail chapel. She returned home immediately after the ceremony, until she was summoned by a guard who told her she could spend ten minutes with her new husband. After which she waited by the jail gates until she heard the shots that killed him. A popular Irish song from the 1980's recounts Grace and Joseph's story. It was very moving to be there, since the Irish Independence is still within a lifetime and still fresh in peoples history.
After Kilmainham gaol, I insisted we head to the house from James Joyce's book "The Dead". This house is on Usher Quay...its website shows extensive renovations, dinners and availability for bookings... and yet, when we arrived... it was abandoned and yucky looking, although clearly labeled! And it is definitely the doorstep I had seen in pictures archives of the James Joyce house website... I am not sure what has happened.
Next on our list of things to do was to check out Dublin gay bars. We had arranged for C and F to meet us in the city the following night so we could go out together on the town. Homosexuality was only decriminalized in 1993... not so long ago. In the entire city there were only a few gay friendly venues... we scoped out three...The Dragon, The George and The Front lounge. After our surveillance, we decided that the following night we would hit both the Front lounge, which was a very nice mixed crowd of people our age and The George which seemed to be the most happenin' venue in gay Dublin. We actually had eaten a nice inexpensive dinner at the Front lounge too, it definitely had a nice feel!
We were pretty pooped and headed for the train station. C came and picked us up again so we wouldn't have to walk in the dark... we had no plans for the next day... except to wake up and see what we felt like doing. We both felt we had seen some of the best parts of Dublin and were ready for some fresh scenery!