We arrived at 5:00 the morning of the 8th and by 8:30 AM we were napping at the beautiful Westin located right in the heart of all the Dublin action. After lunch near the River Liffey, we met the film crew and director and headed over to the Guinness Storehouse for a walk through of the film schedule. With a big day ahead of us, we took it easy that night by eating and drinking from 7:30 till midnight with the crew.</sarcasm>
Day Two was spent filming which went so smoothly we actually finished early. That’s gotta be a first. Highlights were Christian crawling through a pit of barley before dropping and making a barley angel, Christian bantering with the Guinness Brewmaster Fergal Murray (no joke) and learning how to pour a proper pint of Guiness and lots of free food and drinks with the Comedy Central folks.
Day Three we grabbed breakfast and walked over to O’Connelly Station where me met up with our tour guide Brendan, an older Irish fellow wearing a tam-o-shanter and smoking a pipe. Brilliant. We hopped in our private car on the train headed to the Wicklow Mountains where we were treated to some breathtaking sites and quintissential Irish photo opportunities: Half deteriorated stony buildings situated on a lush green cliff overlooking the ocean…cows, sheep, mossy stuff. Highlights included the monastic ruins in Glendalough founded in the 6TH Century by St. Kevin and watching weavers weave on dusty old fashioned weaving “machines” for Avoca in a tiny, old little building located in Ballykissangel. It was me, Christian and four workers just working away without a care in the world that we were staring intently, filming and wandering around. So fascinating and intricate we bought two sweaters and a scarf.
We got back in time for a quick nap before meeting up with the musicians of the Musical Pub Crawl. They treated us to two hours of traditional Irish music: jigs, reels, ballads and taught us the difference between them, the types of sets we could find around town and the various instruments used. Assuming I get my movie together, I’ll use tunes from their CD as the background music.
Day Four we bought a ticket to one of those “hop on, hop off” double decker bus tours. We had a few destinations in mind for the day so the bus ends up being cheaper than cab fare, plus you get the tour to boot. (I’ve always thought that, although they seem a little cheesy, these bus tours are the best way to get a good understanding of the lay of the land, a brief history of the city and a cheap ride.) We toured around the city seeing various sites of interest such as the homes of Oscar Wilde and Arthur Guinness, his wife & 21 (!) children, Phoenix Park, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and so much more.
We hopped off at the stop for the Kilmainham Gaol where we paid 5 euro each to get a guided tour. It is a sad history of mostly political prisoners but also of severe punishment for small crimes. Women and children were housed in the same facilities as men and overcrowding and illness were a constant problem. The names of the prisoners are still etched above the doorways with some attempts at humor such as “O’Brien Hotel” and “No Vacancy”. Incidentally, Kilmainham was used in the filming of the Daniel Day Lewis movie In the Name of the Father.
A quick hop on then off again this time to drink a pint at Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to 1198. There we watched Ireland make an amazing attempt at a comeback against France in a brutal match of rugby. Quite possibly my favorite three hours of the whole trip.
Day Five was only 1/2 long as our car was scheduled to pick us up at 1:00. So we did some early morning filming for my movie idea which entailed me standing in front of various pubs doing intros. We then packed and napped till it was time to walk across the street to Trinity College where we paid 8 euro each to see the oldest book in existence the Book of Kells and the most amazing library I have ever seen. It literally took my breath away. It is called the Long Room and made seemingly entirely of oak with a barrel-vaulted ceiling at least four or more stories high. We were thisclose to a Bible from 1632 that is just sitting there on a shelf collecting dust along with a gamillion other books.
Afterwards, we walked back across the street to see our driver David waiting for us. We loaded up the car and headed home to JFK where we seemingly garnered all the luck of the Irish as a record setting blizzard hit New York yet our flight left on time, arrived safely and about ten minutes early.