Saturday, October 27, 2012

Center of the Universe

When I was at Breck high school, I had a wonderful history teacher named Mr. Liam Taaffe, now deceased, who could not have been more Irish if he tried. He was a leprechaun of a man: short, pudgy, with graying reddish hair, a twinkle in his eye, and a slight brogue, even in the middle of Minnesota. Despite the fact that the subject he taught was Russian history, he would work into his classroom lectures at every possible opportunity his opinion that Dublin is "the center of the universe." You'd be surprised just how often it's possible to work this into a discussion of the Brothers Karamazov ("What do you think would make Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov less of a miserable character? Is it money? Status? Love? A trip to Dublin, the Center of the Universe?").


We start off Sunday morning with a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It's not that we are religious but rather that we assume everyplace else will be closed. As a cultural experience, we even stay for the church service, a sung eucharist (well, we last for the first half, which is the choral singing, but then we bolt before the sermon).


While in the Center of the Universe, we check out Trinity College, where we see the gorgeous illuminated manuscripts from the Book of Kells, created ~800A.D.. Right from that sentence, you can pretty much tell this is not the highlight of the trip -- or even day, or even hour -- for the girls. Anthony and I are slightly more mature than the girls, however, so the highlight of our day is when a middle-aged student comes out of his entryway in a barely-there bathrobe and slippers and walks by our tour group very non-chalantly to, presumably, the entryway where the shower is located.

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Frankly, the photo that the girls will be happiest to look back on, especially in about ten years, is the one where they are surrounded by a bunch of hunky Abercrombie & Fitch models standing outside the store for a publicity stunt.

On our first night in the center of the universe, we dine at Gallagher's Boxty House, an institution in the Temple Bar area, especially for tourists. We are tourists, so we can't complain. And it turns out to be good enough that Gigi officially declares it the second best meal of her life -- the first being her dinner in La Dordogne. I wouldn't put this meal nearly that high, but it's enjoyable. A boxty, in case you're wondering, is a potato pancake, which is then usually stuffed. When I first heard this, I imagined a Hannukah-style potato latke with toppings. Instead, it's a regular pancake, made with potato flour. So, let's face it; it's an Irish crêpe.
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