Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

To all my readers - Happy Halloween!

The Hubby and I are currently watching The Walking Dead on AMC. So, since it seems like a zombie kinda night - here's a link to a Zombie Preparedness Awareness comic that was released by the CDC.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday the Twenty Fifth...

I'm now one row and one stripe away from the middle stripe on the Gryffindor scarf (It looks rather dark in the picture because our lights at work and because of the camera app I was using on my phone.) Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the yellow yarn to work with me, so after this next row, the scarf gets to sit here and wait at work until tomorrow. 

On the Slytherin scarf I'm now just three rows away from being done. I would be closer, but the boys have been rather clingy lately, and they're trying to one up each other in their clinginess. So, one will start off in my lap, then the other will decide that my stomach is the better place to lay. Soon, the boy on the lap will get tired of his brother laying on top of him, so he'll move up to my chest, and then the other one will move so that he's taking up the available space left over on my chest - which often means he's laying on top of one arm - so knitting around them is rather impossible. Plus they hate my knitting needs for some reason, any time I try to knit, and one of them is coherent enough to see what I am doing, they'll start biting and attacking the ends of the knitting needles. 

Also, they make typing rather impossible, so the only writing I'm able to do is while I'm at work on my breaks or in between calls. Not that I've been doing much writing, since writer's block decided to hit me last week, so there has been absolutely no progress on my edits. 

But at least the Honeymoon updates are done - here and here - so now I can move on to updates about all the stuff I've visited recently while the husband has been busy working (he's a supervisor at a local Halloween event, so I've been on my own for most of October) I've also been doing a lot of reading recently - while a friend and I were in San Jose I finished The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. 

The Faerie Ring was a fun read. It's about a pickpocket in Victorian England who manages to steal a magic ring from Buckingham Palace. The ring is a symbol of an ancient agreement between England and the fey, now the fey from the Unseelie court are after the ring, so they can break the truce and start to take their world back. The ending was confusing though, and left me wanting more - thankfully, this is the first in a trilogy, though there's no word yet on when the next one will be out. 

When She Woke was VERY thought provoking and amazing. I finished it, and literally sat there in awe for a few moments afterwards. It's that good! It's a retelling of the Scarlet Letter set in a dystopian future America. Prior to the novel's start, there was a plague that rendered most of the population sterile before a cure could be found. Abortion is outlawed, and continues to remain illegal in most states even though the population has begun to restore itself. A girl has a forbidden relationship with a man, and when she finds out that she is pregnant, she gets an abortion rather than name him as the father. She's caught, but in this new America, in order to save money, the government now injects people with a virus that dyes the color of their skin according to the severity of their crime rather than imprison them. The story is all about the girl as she tries to deal with the ramifications of her 'crime', looses her family, finds new friends and hope. It's a very fitting novel for these times when there are debates about abortion, Mississippi is getting ready to vote about personhood laws, and churches are picketing funerals. Go out and buy this book right now! Do it! You won't regret it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Scotland and Ireland Day Ten - home...

As I mentioned in the previous post, the LCD screen on our new camera was broken - we could take pictures with it, but we couldn't actually see what the pictures looked like, or what we were aiming at, because the screen was just filled with white - and our other camera, which is nicer and fancier, eats normal batteries up like candy. So, taking pictures of the Dublin airport, or the flight home, or the Newark airport was impossible.

Let me say, the Dublin aiport is confusing. There are two buildings, and they're both big, and neither one is labeled very clearly on which terminals are where. The Husband thought that we should go into the newer building, because that's the building we came out of when we landed in Dublin, but the tickets said something about building one, which I thought was the older building. However, we got there only to find out that the terminal we were looking for was in the other building, so we had to walk across the airport (but thankfully it was nothing like the walk from the Air Canada terminal to the Continental terminal at LAX) Once there we found out that the Husband's bag was overweight, but unfortunately my bag was packed full too, so we couldn't switch stuff over (and Airport security is very twitchy about that anyways) so we paid the fine. Then we had to figure out how to get into the Terminal itself, which was up a floor, but wasn't clearly labeled either, so we got lost again.


We finally found it, made it through security and customs, and then found out that our bad luck from trying to get to Ireland had decided to follow us on the way home as well; a hurricane was blowing towards the UK, and the wind speeds in Dublin were pretty high (I've forgotten how high they were, but they were strong enough to move the metal siding on the terminal) On top of that our flight home had been delayed by two hours, because it had to land for gas in Iceland (scary!) so we had to be put on another flight from Newark to LAX. All in all it was better than having no flight home, but still - what is with us and flights and hurricanes?! Next time we're going overseas in April or May (but then we'd probably have to deal with a freak blizzard or something)

The flight back home was just as cramped as the flight to Dublin. Since it was daytime, we were able to see all the damage the flooding had caused in New England. I remember hearing about the flooding, but I didn't realize it was that bad!

We landed in Newark only to find out that our connecting flight had been delayed (see what I mean about us and having bad luck when it comes to airplanes) So we were able to relax at Newark for a couple of hours and indulge in some McDonalds.

Finally, 20 hours after leaving Dublin, we arrived at LAX and were greeted by the Husband's parents. We loaded our luggage into their car and tried to tell them about everything we'd seen and done (though it probably wasn't very coherent) After a stop at In and Out for dinner, we pulled up into the drive way of our apartment, unlocked our front door, and were promptly attacked by the cats, who wouldn't let us out of their sight and didn't want to be put down unless we absolutely had too.

We then passed out for the night, happy to be back home with our friends, families, and pets.

Scotland and Ireland Day Nine - Our last day in Dublin...

Yet again the Husband and I slept in. As soon as we did wake up though, we grabbed a cab from in front of the hotel and drove out to a cemetery in the sub-burbs of Dublin. A friend of the Husband's had family who lived in Ireland who recently passed away, he was unable to attend the funeral, but had asked us to get pictures of the grave site. That may seem weird and morbid to people, but I come from a family who has family members buried in different states, and when my Grandma and my Aunts visit those states sometimes they'll take pictures of the graves, so I was used to it growing up.

We couldn't find our friend's family's grave sites, but the cemetery was lovely to walk around and look at. Here, in California, most of the cemeteries aren't so busy, or, if they are, they don't feel like it since the grave markers are set into the ground instead of standing up. This place was pretty packed; the graves were right next to each other as far as the eye can see. The only exception was in the older parts of the cemetery - here tombstones would trickle off into the trees, and it just felt very magical. Like anything could happen. But sacred at the same time. It was a weird feeling.

After walking around the cemetery for a little bit longer, we tried to find another taxi that would take us back to the city center. Sadly there wasn't a taxi to be found, but there were a couple of buses. After our previous experiences with the Dublin Bus system we were a bit leary, but thankfully we managed to get on one that was heading to Pheonix Park, which was a stop on the hop on hop off bus tour that we had bought the day before. So, we got off the Dublin Bus and hopped onto the sight seeing bus. We had already seen most of what we wanted to see, so we just rode around on the bus for awhile listening to the tour guide talk before getting off at St Patrick's Cathedral.

The cathedral was built in 1191, and is another church that has some lovely tombs and memorials inside with amazing statues that give you a really good idea of what people wore way back when. 

Sadly, we were having issues with both our cameras by then, so I don't have as many pictures of the end of our trip as I do of the beginning. Our fancier camera eats up batteries like they are going out of style, and the smaller camera that we had bought specifically for our trip had a cracked LCD screen (We have no idea how that happened) It could still take photos, but it was a mystery if those pictures actually came out or not until we got home and uploaded them to our computer (the camera is fixed now)

(This is one of those mystery shots)

(And here's another one)

After visiting St Patrick's cathedral we went back to the Temple Bar District again. This time we stopped at Gallagher's Boxty House, and it was still early enough in the day that we were able to get their three course lunch special. Boxtys are potato pancakes that have a filling and are OH so yummy. There's a recipe for a Gaelic Boxty on the Food Network website that I highly recommend checking out. The Husband has been looking at it a lot lately, so I can tell he's planning on making one soon. 

When we were done eating, we walked through one of the larger Carrolls shops in the area. There are a number of Irish gift and souvenir shops in Dublin, but Carrolls is the leading store with shops near all the popular tourist spots (we counted three on one street, granted they were several blocks apart, but still) They carry everything from t-shirts to jewelry, shortbread and fudge to books, hats, scarves, and hanging signs galore. Oh, and there's plenty of rugby, soccer/football, and Guinness paraphernalia too. The Husband and I selected gifts to take back to our family, grabbed a taxi, and went back to the hotel to try to pack all this stuff up into our bags. 

Our flight was supposed to leave the next day around 11am, so we knew we'd have to get up fairly early to make it to the airport, and then through customs on time. After checking our bags one last time, we ordered some pizza from room service, and then turned off the lights and tried to get some sleep.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday the Twenty Fourth

(Murphy cat thinks he's helping)

Yet another week of not getting as much done as I'd like when it comes to knitting. A friend and I drove up to San Jose/San Francisco for the weekend, and while there is a lot to do and see on the way up, we took a different route on the way back where there was nothing to do or see. I took advantage of this dead time to try out knitting in the car, and, hey, what do you know, I can knit in the car without any issues (I was afraid I'd get car sick) I am now two grey and two green stripes away from being finished with the Husband's scarf. 

My writing is going well, though I don't think I'm going to make my personal deadline. I decided to add something else to the storyline again, so I'm going through and revising things for a third time so the new subplot makes a little more sense. I really need to stop doing that to myself. 

The next to last Scotland and Ireland Trip update is over here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scotland and Ireland Day Eight - The Husband's Birthday...

Since it was the Husband's birthday (yes, the lucky man got to celebrate his birthday in Dublin) he got to choose where to go and what to do. Since he's a big Guinness fan, the first stop was the Guinness Factory, so, since both of us were tired of dealing with buses, we took a taxi to St James's Gate.

(Can you see how excited he was?)

Thanks to the Dublin City Pass, we were able to get in for free. The first stop on the tour is a little orientation where a Guinness employee talks about Arthur Guinness, the history of the factory, and points out the 9,000 year lease that's sealed in glass underneath the floor. 

It turns out that the factory tour is built around an atrium that resembles a pint glass. During the introduction you are at the bottom of the glass. From there you walk through an exhibit that talks about the main ingredients for Guinness and how it is brewed. Once you are finished with that, you can go into a Guinness tasting room, and there are also exhibits about how Guinness is transported and how it's been advertised over the years. Meanwhile, as you go through all this, you are slowly going from level to level up the pint glass.

After you are done with the exhibits there's a computer where you can take a test about your Drinking IQ, and there is another kiosk near by where you can look your family name to see if you might be related to anyone who worked in the Guinness factory. There's also a spot where you can learn to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. However, if you do that, you won't get your free Guinness in the Gravity Bar later.

The factory also has a couple of restaurants; one is a fancier sit down type place and the other is a cafeteria that offers more traditional Irish food. The Husband decided he wanted to eat there and we both got shepherds pie and a desert. 

I cannot recommend the cafeteria at the Guinness Factory enough. For about 12 euros each we both had an entree (Shepherds pie) which came with three different salads, and we also shared a yummy desert. It was an amazing amount of food that we were, unfortunately, unable to finish. 

After lunch we continued our trek up to the Gravity Bar for our free pints of Guinness. Since the bar is at the top of the Guinness factory it has an amazing view of the city - but it was too crowded, so we couldn't get anywhere near the windows to see what the view was like. 

(I don't drink beer, so the Husband got an extra Guinness)

Once we were done with the factory, we went downstairs and purchased tickets for the Dublin city Sightseeing tour bus. This is a red bus that goes only to the popular tourist locations so we wouldn't have to worry about getting lost. Also, the ticket is good for two days, which gives you plenty of time to see everything. 

Next up for the day was Kilmainham Gaol, which is a prison where many of the leaders of the different Irish Rebellions where held there over the years. Also, historians feel that it was the executions that took place there in 1916 that turned the tide in the battle for Irish Independence. 

(The entrance)

(A quote above the door)

(The Victorian wing)

The gaol has held more than just political prisoners over the years; during the famine it was quite crowded since people committed crimes in the hopes that they would be caught since prisoners got at least three meals a day. However, it's stories like that of Joseph Punkett and Grace Gilford, who were married just hours before he was executed, that will be remembered and retold more often. 

(The exercise yards)

(Two crosses mark the spot where the leaders of the Easter Rising were executed)

(A plaque in memory of those who were killed)

From Kilmainham Gaol we caught the tour bus to someplace a little happier - the Jameson's Distillery!

While I'm not fond of beer - whiskey is definitely right up my alley. This tour is much shorter than the Guinness tour, but it covers a lot of the same type of information; what ingredients are used for whiskey and how it's made. Did you know that Jameson's is triple distilled, which makes for a smoother taste? And that the barrels it's stored in are personally selected for that purpose. 

During the tour, the guide asked for eight volunteers. We already knew what the volunteers were for, so the Husband stuck his hand up and was one of the lucky men and women chosen to take part in a whiskey taste test. 

Each participant was given three shots of whiskey; one was the best selling American whiskey, Jack Daniels, the next was the best selling Irish whiskey, which was Jamesons, of course, and the final shot was the best selling Scottish whiskey, Johnny Walker. 

After tasting each whiskey the tour guide asked which whiskey each person liked best. Most said that they enjoyed Jamesons the best, but a few said they liked Jack or Johnny better. We had been told that if you answered that you liked Jamesons better then you would get a free certificate stating that you were an official Irish whiskey taste tester - but the tour guide gave the certificates out to everyone no matter what whiskey they liked. 

(The Husband was quite excited about his)

By the time we were done at the Jameson's Distillery, most of the tourist spots like museums and what not were closed for the day, and the tour bus was no longer running, so the Husband and I walked down Abbey Street to O'connell Street. The Dublin Bus runs a Ghost Bus tour that we were interested in taking, however, we couldn't purchase them online, so we were hoping that we would be able to buy them at the Dublin Bus office. They were closed by the time we got to their office, so we waited outside for the bus to show up. 

I am sad that I didn't think to take pictures of this thing. It was a double decker bus, but it was decorated with a wrap around sticker that depicted graveyards and ghosts that blocked out all the windows except for the windshield and the windows up top. Inside the bus had been redecorated with dark paneling and velvet cushions that had a damask pattern. There were chains and fake spider webs hanging from the ceiling, and a skeleton in a robe that sat on one of the seats. 

If you've ever been to Halloween Haunt at Knott's Berry Farm and walked through their vampire maze, Lore of the Vampire - well.. the bus looked a lot like that, except it was on wheels. 

Thankfully they still had room, so we paid the driver took the stairs up to the second level (the stair well was decorated with fake stone!) and settled into seats at the back of the bus. The guide came up and exchanged his coat for a bloody lab coat, told us to pull the curtains blocking the windows shut, and away we went. 

Like the Ghost Tour in Edinburgh, the Dublin Ghost Tour Bus is more theatrical. The bus took us around the city and stopped outside of various points where the guide would talk about the location, the people who lived there, any ghost sightings that may have occurred, and he would also give anyone who flinched at one of his practical jokes (like tossing a rat tied onto a string at one lady) a hard time or make fun of any wrong answers a guest might give for a question he asked.

We were allowed to exit the bus and walk around twice. The first time was at St Kevin's church, a church that dates back to around the 13th century. According to our guide it was rumored to have been used by the Hellfire Club for certain practices, but I can't find any information online to confirm that. What I can tell you is that all that is left of the church is its ivy covered walls, and its cemetery which has been converted into a park. 

(Our guide talks about the cemetery)

(Supposedly a little boy has been spotted here)

When the cemetery was converted, people were able to come and claim the bodies of their loved ones to be reburied elsewhere, but a lot of bodies were left behind. Rather than move them, the tombstones were just shoved up against the wall instead. In some places they were piled four deep.

Once we reached the church, our guide discussed how the cemetery was a popular spot for body snatchers, and discussed what, exactly, body snatching entailed using another tour member as an example.

From there the bus drove around some more, again stopping at different places so that we could look out the windows at them (If you take this tour I would highly recommend sitting on the left side of the bus so that you can see more) and our guide made fun of more people. 

The last stop we could exit the bus at was outside of St Audeon's where the guide showed us part of the remaining medieval Dublin city gate and walls. Here there are a series of steps that go from the gate up to the top of the hill. There is also an archway built into the wall at the bottom of the steps where the guide told us there used to be an entrance into the Dublin underworld. According to him, there were a lot of brothels in the tunnels under Dublin (just like in Edinburgh) and that the prostitutes would bring out their babies to the church nearby and give them up for adoption since they could not care for them. Supposedly one girl fell in love with a man and had a child by him. Rather than allowing him and his wife to raise the child, she gave it up to the nuns at the church nearby. The man accused her of killing the baby, and the girl was executed for her crime. Ever since there have been sightings of a woman in green, walking from the archway up the stairs. 

While explaining all of this, our Guide, who claimed to believe in ghosts, but still had that air about him that said he was a skeptic stopped multiple times to stare up the steps at something. Now, it was a pretty windy night, and as you can see in the picture, there are a lot of trees around St Audeon's, so it's quite possible that what we saw was just a combination of things, but the Husband swore he could see shadows of people peaking around the corner of the church to look down at us. Judging from how the guide kept looking up that way, I bet he saw something too, and I don't think he's such a skeptic anymore. 

There's another group from around Dublin that gives walking ghost tours as well, but we were unable to get in touch with them, and their website was a bit confusing, so the Ghost Bus was the last of our paranormal experiences in Scotland and Ireland. 

The tour ended at O'Connell Street and the Husband and I walked down to the Temple Bar District for dinner. The Husband chose a place that had mainly American food (it was his birthday after all) and we headed inside. Unfortunately, we were seated in the back of our servers area, and it was a busy night, so it was a good 30 minutes before he came over to take our order, and another 30 before we actually got our food. However, the spot gave us a great view of the antics that were about to ensue. See, behind us was the bar, and a group of girls who were obviously a part of a hen/bachelorette party were hanging out there. Then suddenly, I noticed the Husband's eyes get very big, so I looked over and...

There was a fireman stripping for the girls! And he was a damn good one too! Yes he got down to the buff, but he did it so cleverly and kept an Irish flag wrapped around his waist so that only the girl he was dancing for had any idea how little he was wearing. He finished his act and made his escape with one of the waitresses acting as a body guard for him. But then, not even 15 minutes later, he was back and dancing for another hen/bachelorette party down on the other side of the restaurant. Apparently, the stripper was an employee of the restaurant! You'd definitely wouldn't find that in the US (which is sad, because, man, girls night out would be so much more interesting)

We paid our bill and left and then caught a taxi back to our hotel. This taxi driver was just as friendly as the gentleman from the day before and we chatted about the weather, and then the Husband and the Taxi started talking about diesel cars. The Taxi driver got us to our destination, but unfortunately pulled into the wrong driveway - the one for the bar next to our hotel. He turned around though, but warned us that while the hotel we were staying at was really nice, the neighborhood was not and to be careful if we went outside.

The husband and I exchanged a look - it figures that we would learn this the night after we had gone walking around the city because we got off at the wrong bus stop. Oh well. 

We paid the Taxi and headed inside where we promptly passed out again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WIP Wednesday the Twenty Third...

First off, pictures from day five, six, and seven of our trip to Scotland and Ireland have been posted.

Sorry for not posting last week - yet again I had not made as much progress as I expected, and then a position that I applied for at work required me to fill out a writing test to continue the application process. Sadly it didn't go any farther than that.

Yet again I find myself torn about what to do - I love the company I work for, but at the same time, the opportunities for advancement are almost nil because its such a popular company. I want to stick around, but I also want to find something better so the Husband and I can afford to start a family. As the old saying goes, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

Oh well, at least my personal writing is going well, though I just tacked on another two sections that added about 1000 words to the story - and I kept telling myself that I wouldn't do that, that I would just edit the story and clean up the ending. But then I wanted to round out a character a little more, and one thing lead to another, so now I have to finish up these new bits along with fixing up the last half, and I only have a week and a half to do so (which is my personal deadline)

Hey! Look at that! The Gryffindor scarf lives! It's looking kinda greenish at the moment though because my coworkers installed blue filters in the overhead lights at work about a week ago. 

And the Slytherin scarf is getting longer too. However, now that I'm getting so close to the end (only two green stripes away) I keep worrying that I'm going to either run out of yarn, or loose the last skein of yarn, and then I'll have to order more and wait for it to show up. 

I went to the Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta (I keep wanting to call it a festival) with Contessa this weekend. We ended up meeting Tami and hanging out and chatting with her for a bit, and I bought two skeins of her yummy lace weight yarn in Plum and Blackberry. (At least I think those are the names of the colors - they're out in the  car right now, and I'm too lazy to get up and grab them) I was thinking of maybe doing either the Godric's Hollow hat or the Chroma Stocking cap. Both call for worsted weight yarn, so I'd have to adjust the pattern for the lighter weight (I found some instructions here) But that will have to wait until the scarves and baby blankets are done before I could start on it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Scotland and Ireland Day Seven - The day we walked our legs off...

We had planned to get up early, really, we did, but it ended up not happening. I don't know if jet lag had finally caught up with us, or if our brains realized that we didn't have to drive anywhere, or what, but we ended up sleeping in an hour later than we planned and completely missed the complimentary breakfast the hotel offered. Once we were finally up the husband and I caught another cab to take us to the airport. We had bought Dublin City Passes the night before (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THESE GETTING THESE!) which get you into a number of locations around the city for free or at a discount and the closest Tourism office we could pick them up at was at the airport.

After dealing with the cabbie who had no idea where he was going the night before, I was a bit leery about catching another cab. The hotel offered a shuttle service to the airport, but it was nine euro a person, and extremely crowded. We thought if we grabbed a taxi it would be cheaper and easier because on the internet the hotel didn't look like it was that far away from the airport.

The internet lied to us. Taking the taxi was not cheaper than the bus, in fact, it was a little more expensive. However, the extra euros were worth it because our cabbie was a really nice guy who knew where he was going, and chatted our ears off the whole entire time. He gave us advice on where to go to eat, to buy gifts, and what sites we should visit before finally dropping us off at the airport.

Once we picked up our Dublin City Passes, we hoped on an Airlink bus that took us to the city center and dropped us off near Trinity College.

Supposedly there is a teacher or a dean of the college from way back in the day who swore that girls would only go to Trinity College over his dead body. The Husband had heard a rumor that his body was buried under the entrance that the girls used to use when they were eventually allowed to attend college here. However, I don't know if this is true or not. We went looking for it, but couldn't find it, and we just missed the tour the students of Trinity College run. 

The city pass got us in to see the Book of Kells, an illuminated bible that was written around 800. It's actually four different volumes, and two are set out at a time for guests to view along with two other illuminated books (or all of them may have been out - the signs weren't exactly clear) The artwork in it, and several other books out on display is stunning. The Husband was a bit annoyed that we couldn't take pictures - but only because looking at some of the designs in the books were giving him ideas for tattoos. 

Once you are done viewing the Book of Kells, guests are directed up to the library's Long Room. While we were there they had an exhibit on medical texts available

Near Trinity College is a street that has been closed of for shopping. The Husband and I stopped for lunch, and then decided to walk over to Dublin Castle. 

We were expecting to find something like Edinburg Castle, but we were clearly wrong. The original castle had caught fired and were demolished in the 1600, and all that remains of it is a tower near the chapel, a gate and a bit of wall. 

The castle is a government complex nowadays, so there's not a lot to look at (and by look at I mean exhibits or museums) There is a nice garden in the back, and you can take tours of the state rooms, but by the time we got there the tours were sold out.

We wandered around and visited the chapel and the gift shop before finally moving on to the next tourist spot: Christchurch Cathedral.

The church was originally built around 1028. It was rebuilt around 1180, and renovated and rebuilt again in the 1800s. 

Parts of the Tudors were filmed at Christchurch, so they have costumes from the show in their crypts.

The church also has a relic - the embalmed heart of St. Laurence O'Toole, which is preserved in a chapel on the East side of the South transept. Having heard of but never seen a relic before, the Husband and I were both intrigued by it. 

But I think the best part of the church is some of the tombs. I know that sounds morbid but, believe it or not, the next best place to study period clothing other than portraits and fragile museum pieces is to look at the details of the decorations on older tombs.

Once we were done wandering around the crypts and looking at relics, tombs, and stained glass, we walked across the street to visit Dublinia, which is a museum about Viking and Medieval Dublin.

Dublinia is more for kids than anything else. The first floor covers what life was like for the Vikings and how Dublin looked while they were there. There are a lot of hands on exhibits, videos, and locations where you can try hats and bits of clothing on:

The second floor covers what life in Medieval Dublin was like. You can walk through a replica of a merchants house, see what the docks would have looked like, read about what was imported and exported (again, all hands on)

In another room you can wander through an exhibit on a fair where you can feel fabric, try on clothing and armor again, and there's even a fake dog that barks at you if you get too close to the plastic food displayed on a cart.

If you follow that room all the way through they eventually cover what punishments were like for certain crimes in the Medieval ages. This room is complete with a dummy that you can throw stuff at, and set of stocks that you can try on for size.

And finally the exhibit ends with some history about what medical care was like back then, and, of course, information on the plague.

The final floor of Dublinia is devoted to archaeology. There is information on digs that have taken place through out the years and there are artifacts available for viewing. 

By the time we left the museum most of the places we wanted to visit were closing so we walked from Christchurch to Trinity College and then over to the Temple Bar district. 

After wandering around for a bit we finally settled on a restaurant to eat dinner at and ordered some stew and a couple of pints. When we finished we visited a couple of souvenir shops and walked along the river for a bit.

Then we discovered that Dublin's bus system is just too confusing for tourists like us. When we had picked up our Dublin City Passes earlier in the day we were told that we could catch a certain bus behind Trinity College and it would take us straight back to the shopping center near our hotel. We found the bus stop for this bus, hoped on, and then a few minutes later the bus driver told us that we had reached the end of the line and that we had to get off. He told us to go to a bus stop down the street and to catch a different bus. Supposedly that one would drop us off at the shopping center. We waited, boarded the correct bus, only to find out that unless you sit on the left hand side of the bus you have no idea where you're going or what stop you're getting off at. On top of that, the stop that was supposedly at the shopping center near our hotel was actually at a medical center a few blocks away from the shopping center. Oh, and it was on the high way. 

We got off at the next stop and pulled out the GPS to find out how to get back to our hotel. We figured that if we had gotten off one stop past the stop we were supposed to get off on it shouldn't be that long of a walk back to the hotel. Sadly, we were yet again wrong - it was about 45 minutes away. We sucked it up though, and started walking. 

From that point on the Husband and I swore off the Dublin bus system. We decided that if we needed to go anywhere we would take one of the hop on hop off bus tours, which take you right to where the tourists want to go, and we decided that from there on out we would be taking taxis to and from the city center. Both solutions were a bit more expensive, but a LOT easier to deal with, and well worth the money.

We finally made it back to the hotel, took showers, and then promptly collapsed on the beds.