Because of its latitude, Ireland sees little daylight during the winter months with the run rising around 8:30am and setting at 4pm. The sun also remains low in the sky, casting a constant golden light throughout the day. As someone who is most certainly not a morning person, golden hour at noon is definitely a concept I can stand behind!
I slept like a rock, waking only when my dad flickered the lights around 10:30am. Once awake, I more or less (probably less...) jumped out of bed to prep for our first full day in the city. My diet motto for the week has been "When in Ireland," so throughout the course of all my meals yesterday, I unintentionally ate only sausage and various forms of bread and potatoes. I'm not even sorry. I began the day with a quick "Commuters" bite at a local cafe of sausage and buttered toast, then we hit the road. Our only plan for the day was to tour the Guinness Storehouse, so with a 2pm tour time we planned to meander in that direction to see as much as we could along the way.
One of my favorite things about photographing in a city is the chance the buildings give me to play with different lighting angles and scenarios. The added bonus of continuous golden hour made our walk even more enjoyable as I clicked away at the numerous brick buildings illuminated by the soft light, using both my digital camera and a borrowed Olympus Rangefinder.
One of the things we had to quickly get used to was the flip-flopped traffic pattern; looking left when we'd usually check for on-coming cars (and buses and street cars - oh my) on our right and vice versa. More than once, one of us (I won't name who!) almost got pancaked by a double decker. However, we survived and stopped first at one of the most-suggested locations: Trinity College. While the entrance and cobblestoned center were quite a site to behold, the rest of the campus buildings lacked that "European Charm," opting for a more utilitarian style instead.
To me, one of the most interesting things about European cities is the conglomeration of old and new; the gorgeous old stone, wood and iron facades contrasted by the neon signs, speeding vehicles and other more pragmatic buildings. The most prominent example that we saw was the Dublin Castle, home to the Viceroy of Ireland beginning in the 1200s. While the structure began as "simply" a medieval castle, after a fire the seventeenth and eighteenth century brought a period of addition and transformation turning the castle into the Gothic Revival magnificence that we see today. I've yet to find an exact date when parts of the exterior were painted, but even if they predate this century, they certainly bring the castle into more modern times.
After a few hours, we finally reached our intended destination. I won't bore anyone with the intricacies of the tour as the 11 rooms outfitted with visual, audible and gustable step-by-step guides could describe the brewing process far and away better than I could, but I will say that it was definitely worth the 20 Euros. I've done brewery tours before, but this museum-like attention to detail (complete even with corresponding smells in each room!) showed just how much this company takes pride in their beer, or at least in bringing in the green stuff.
We also learned (or rather had drilled into our brains) that while the dark beer may look as black as the tidal pool from which this city got its name, it's actually a deep ruby red. I took almost two hours through the self-guided tour as I like to read every description, then concluded by earning my "perfect pour" certificate. The real fun began in the gravity bar where I enjoyed my brew from the tallest bar in Dublin as the sun began to set around the time I would usually eat lunch.
They still have on reserve part of the original strain of yeast used by Arthur Guinness himself!
After we got back to the hotel, Jake took a nap, Dad did a workout and I spent an hour walking around shooting a roll of film. I've only shot 4 of my 10 rolls so far so I've got some work to do! We concluded with dinner in a restaurant right across the street where I continued the day's trend with bangers and mash. Followed by a dessert of the thickest donuts I’ve ever seen! In even just the first two days here, I got to capture both the indescribable nature and buzzing city life of the area and we still have days to go!