This weekend was the first weekend I’ve been in Dublin and left to my own devices. It was also the first weekend I’ve had transport other than my bicycle, as I have ironed out the issues relating to importing my motorcycle from Seattle and got it legal and running.
As luck would have it, Saturday was also a gorgeous day – it was almost too hot at times! – so I took the opportunity to go for a ride. I headed towards the large hill called “Three Rock Mountain” that is near the Microsoft Dublin campus (and near where I live). This took me through several small villages, up some extremely narrow windy roads, and past some fantastic scenery. The mountains to the south, the bay stretching out in front, the now-familiar red-and-white striped beacons that mark the port of Dun Laoghaire. I passed about a dozen golf courses, and hundreds of horses and donkeys staring at from their fields as I pottered by. I think I saw one other car, and a few people who had just hiked up to the top of Three Rock Mountain.
On the way down, I took a few roads at random (I had my GPS in my pocket in case I got too lost) and ended up at a huge US-style outside shopping area just planted at random next to a motorway.
From there I headed to the coast, and through Dun Laoghaire towards Blackrock. Dun Laoghaire is a large port, and riding along the promenade reminded me of the places I had grown up in the North, with Victorian architecture, little parks, and wrought iron fences. Blackrock was a short distance away, and was full of little arty-shops and restaurants (think La Conner).
Finally I nipped back onto the road towards Leopardstown, and back towards the MS buildings and home. I live in a modern apartment complex, that even has a Starbucks as part of it – I couldn’t help but laugh thinking how amazingly gauche a Starbucks would look in the little villages I passed.
Later in the afternoon, I took the light rail into Dublin and visited the Hugh Lane Gallery - which had a fantastic collection of Impressionist paintings. I rounded the evening off with a take-out from the local Chinese, and considered it the best Saturday I've had in a long time.