Today we set out to explore Dublin…the capital of Ireland. We grabbed a city map and quickly familiarized ourselves with where we were and where we wanted to go. The city was bustling with people eating at restaurants, shopping for souvenirs and drinking pints in the pubs. Dublin was full of historical buildings but at the same time felt like a larger city. We took pictures of a few of the more well-known cathedrals including the St Patrick’s cathedral before finding a bakery filled with home-baked goods and plenty of people in line placing sandwich orders.
We got in-line and as we saw them making a sandwich, we pointed and said we wanted the same thing. It was turkey, melted cheese, tomatoes and coleslaw all toasted on thick slices of homemade brown bread. I am not a huge mayonnaise person nor a coleslaw person but once I was deep into a bite realized…it worked.
We continued walking through the busy city, specifically admiring a set of sculptures throughout the area…all of homeless people made by a sculpturer for a project under “Focus Ireland” whose motto was, “Out here I survive, in a home, I could live.”-it was an ending homeless exhibition and the statues were in busy areas.
After much exploring and walking around we found the infamous Guinness factory (set in a rather industrial portion of town). This place was HUGE!! We walked in, bought our tickets and took the first escalator to the main level…it almost felt like being in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. There were so many levels of information in the building…all was self guided with the help of signs and pre-recorded programs and videos. In every direction was some type of beer stimulation
The most interesting fun fact we learned right away was that the owner Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 year lease when he was first starting the beer business! They had the signed lease under glass for all to see dated Dec 31st 1759. Can you imagine opening a business and signing that long of a lease? Talk about confidence in what he was making…
The tour explained the beer is made with 4 ingredients and a secret recipe…water, barley, yeast and hops (which by the way is only grown in 2 regions of the world). They had a huge container the size of a room full of barley and proceeded to share all kinds of facts about barley. Then a wall full of hops behind glass which could be smelled in the room, with information on hops…followed by a large waterfall surrounded by water fun facts and so on. The next level continued with showing machinery and videos on how the ingredients are processed to create the end result.
As we kept walking through, we saw the tasting room. They had a quarter of a glass of Guinness poured and handed them out for tasting. They had us use all our senses to experience the taste properly. First, we held the glass to our ear…and listened for the distinct hissing sound of the gas bringing the beer alive. Next, we held the beer to the light and noticed the deep ruby-red color and the thick white frothy head. Third, we felt the cold temperature of the beer on our fingertips. We followed that with swishing the beer in the glass and sticking our nose in to take a big whiff of the aroma. Lastly, we held our breath…took a big gulp of the beer and swallowed noting the bitterness of the hops on the back of our tongue, the roasted barley in the middle and the sweetness of the malt on the tip. Who knew there were so many steps to drink a beer.
After our tasting lessons, we spent some time walking through the many other levels which were full of Guinness history and fun facts. They had old campaigns on display, advertisements, beer bottles etc. After information overload, we made our way to the Gravity Bar at the very top of the building which they designed to look like the “head” of the beer. The bar was circular and had floor to ceiling glass overlooking the whole city. We took our entry ticket to the counter and turned them in for 2 pints of Guinness which were poured and given a few seconds to settle before handed to us in a glass with the Guinness logo. We drank and enjoyed the scenery after a long day of learning all about this dark brew. This has been hard work but we are happy to do it.
We made our way back down all the stairs and escalators to the Guinness store where we purchased some stuff and made our way back to a main area in Dublin in the rain.
The neighborhood we found was lined with pubs and packed with loads of people even though it was raining. We walked into a very cute bright red pub called the Temple Bar. They were playing live music and we managed to find what must have been the last table in the place. We ordered beers, munched on potato chips and listened to the live Irish band play great bar music. We later realized the Temple Bar was a very well-known spot in the area.
After leaving the Temple Bar, we walked a little further down, passing by all kinds of places and found The Old Storehouse. It was a pub/restaurant and we grabbed a table close to where the live music would play soon. We ordered a salad, Guinness beef stew and a couple of beers and listened to the fabulous Irish music before heading back to our hotel for the night.
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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