Today Ant and I went to Dublin for the day. Ant had been to Dublin once or twice before but never actually had the chance to see and walk the city. We left Galway on the 9:45 GoBus. As we travelled from the West to East coast across the snow smoored midlands Ant and I chatted, joked, listened to music and snoozed. Dublin was especially busy and bitterly cold when we arrived just before 1.
The first thing we did was walk up O'Connell Street so Ant could check out the Spire. We then walked along Henry St. window shopping as we went. We were under strict instructions from Neen to pick her up some tights in Evans so that was our first stop. Over the next hour or so Ant bought a present for Tuna who is still in Hospital, a couple of Christmas presents and I bought Neen a ball of wool from the The Woolen Mills. We then crossed the Liffey and went to Forbidden Planet a place I knew Ant would love. We looked around for an hour or so. Ant picked up a cool Predators comic book, another couple of Christmas gifts and I found something super cool! A 1:24 scale replica of the DeLoreon time machine from 'Back to the Future' I love these movies and as an Irishman I'm extremely proud that the DeLorean was an Irish car. I love the cars design and would love to see the DeLorean brand back in Car Show Rooms.
After FP we had some lunch then went as far as the Georges Street Arcade. I heard there was a cool Urban Wear shop Ant would have liked. Unfortunately it must have closed down as we couldn't find it, Ant instead spent a lot of time in a stall that sells old coins and military memorbilia. He found the collection really interesting and bought an old coin and medal.
Next we hit up HMV, then had a wander through St Stephens Green shopping Centre. Ant picked up a Russel Brant comedy DVD and and two more Christmas gifts. In one of the shops we spotted BB guns for sale, Ants eyes lit up, but he had selflessly spent all his money on Christmas presents, so I bought him one. He deserves it as he's a really mature responsible teenager and extremely trustworthy. The Irish have pretty strict laws concering the sale of and use of these toys and unlike their American counterparts shoot 6mm plastic balls, not metal and are pretty harmless if handled responsibly.
By now it was about 6 and we were getting pretty hungry so we walked back up Grafton Street and bought a couple of pizzas-to-go in Pizza Hut. The two of us found a spot adjacent to Trinity College in front of the fountain and hungrilly and happy ate our meal under the icy starry night sky. Our bus was at 8:15 but shops were starting to close by now so we headed back to Henry Street in search of a department store open late, we could kill some time in. Debenhams was luckily open til 9 so we wandered the store floor by floor completely uninterested by it's contents but having lots of fun regardless just chatting and joking around.
Soon it was time to head for the bus which luckily arrived and departed on time as temperatures were dropping fast. I really felt for the homeless of the city. I can't even imagine how hard it must be for those living on the streets of Dublin, especially during the cold winter months. At this stage in the 21st century I find it appalling that we still have citizens sleeping on the streets. It's unacceptable. For the most part the Dublin homeless community are completely ignored by passers by. People seem to be so accustomed by the sight of them they are no longer phased. Millions of Euro was spent in Dublin alone the day we visited. Ant and I gave what we could spare to the few people we encountered who seemed to genuinely need it. But most others just walked right past seemingly uninterested and unwilling. I realize many argue that giving money to a homeless person merely fuels the problem. And that there life style is partially by choice but I dont consider it that clear cut. I will always give what I can spare, and pray I never become so hardened by the world that I stop 'seeing' these people who need our help more than anything.
Ant and I arrived in Galway shortly after 11 at the end of a long tiring but super fun day. Ant headed home in a cab and I walked the last few miles home. I was freezing, tired, laden with heavy bags but how could I complain? I had a warm bed waiting for me. A bed I am extremely grateful for.... Merry Christmas one and all!