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MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby judgegeoff » 29 Jul 2020 08:02

U.K. & IRELAND CRUISE – “BRAEMAR” – MAY 2012

As regular cruisers Chris and I have visited some far countries and have seen some amazing sights. But we sometimes forget how beautiful and amazing our own islands are. On reflection, this cruise was one of the most enjoyable we have experienced.

In May 2012 Chris and I were offered a 9 night cruise, aboard Fred. Olsen’s little “Braemar” cruise ship at a ridiculously low price. The cruise was from and to the port of Dover which is just a 35 minute drive from our house on Romney Marsh. We were a little concerned that the weather could be a little rough but, in the event, we had marvellous weather – blue skies and flat seas. Unfortunately our best friends, Arne and Sue, were unable to join us due to family commitments. This is a personal account of that cruise, based on Chris’ diary and our digital photo albums.

ITINERARY

22/05/2012 Embark from Dover
23/05/2012 Day at sea
24/05/2012 Dublin (overnight in harbour)
25/05/2012 Dublin
26/05/2012 Belfast
27/05/2012 Day at sea
28/05/2012 Kirkwall, Orkney islands
29/05/2012 Invergordon, Scotland
30/05/2012 Day at sea
31/05/2012 Disembark in Dover

FRED. OLSEN’s “BRAEMAR”

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Tonnage: 24,344 grt Length: 195m
Beam: 22.5m Max. speed: 17 knots
Cabins: 520 Crew: 360

4 Main engines: Wartsila 8 cylinder – 4.500 bhp each (total 18,000 bhp)
2 Kamewa pitched propellers: 2 engines, a clutch on each
4 Auxiliary engines (for electricity) – 2 x 4 cylinder and 2 x 6 cylinder
Fuel consumption: 60 metric tonnes of heavy fuel oil per day
Water consumption: 250 metric tonnes per day

Master: Captain Mikael Degerlund


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Day 1 – Tuesday 22nd May 2012 - Dover

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Chris and I left home at 11:45 am for the drive to Dover – it was a lovely sunny Spring morning. At the Cruise Terminal building we handed our suitcases to the porters and Chris went to sit down in the entrance, whilst I went to park the car. Our car was parked just 400 metres from the building but there was a shuttle bus to take me back there. There were many anglers on the sea wall, catching loads of mackerel and the driver told me that they were mostly Eastern Europeans and they were catching the fish to sell to fishmongers.

Within the Terminal building we went through the usual security checks, were given a card with the number ‘70’ on it and were told to sit down until our number was called. We had a short wait but were soon called to the check-in desk where we handed over our paperwork and were then issued with a Sea Pass each (this acts as cabin key, credit card and is used to register off and on the ship when in ports). We were then told to go into the next room and wait until our number was called to board the ship (boarding did not start until 2:00 pm). We finally boarded at 2:50 pm.

The “Braemar” was rather like a pocket version of the “Balmoral” cruise ship, also a Fred. Olsen ship. There was very little “WOW” factor compared with the bigger ships, but this oldish ship had been very well maintained and was growing old gracefully. We went down to our cabin, No. 6019, an inside cabin towards the front on the Lido deck, and right opposite the Captain’s cabin(s) (he has a suite made from two cabins). Our suitcases had arrived before us and were in the corridor outside our cabin.

Our cabin ws the smallest that we have ever had, but was adequate for a 9 night cruise, although we would not have liked to do a world cruise in it. There were two single beds in a toe-to-toe ‘L’ shaped configuration. We also had a dressing table/desk with chair, a small round table and an easy chair. There were just two wardrobes and there was a flat screen television and tea and coffee making equipment. There were only 5 drawers in the whole cabin, so we had to be careful where we put everything. In one of the wardrobes a key operated safe was provided, but it was mounted on the side of the wardrobe which meant we had to move aside the clothes whenever we wanted to use it. We were used to electronic safes and found that having to carry a key everywhere was a bit of a nuisance.

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Our corridor looking aft.

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Chris in our little cabin.

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Our en-suite shower room door is on the right.

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Our dressing table/desk and wardrobes.

The en suite shower room was pretty much industry standard, with a vacuum w.c., a vanity unit containing a washbasin and a shower with a curtain. There was not a lot of storage space but, again, it was adequate for a 9 night cruise. The water pressure of the shower was very good and it maintained a very good temperature during use.

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The small shower room.

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The shower.

Our stewardess, Daisy, introduced herself to us. She came from the Philippines and, as always, was very pleasant and eager to please.

We went to the ‘Palms Cafe’ (the ship’s buffet restaurant) for afternoon tea which was very pleasant and then went for a walk around the ship to familiarise ourselves with her layout.

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Entrance to the Palms cafe.

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The ship’s reception desk on Lounge deck 5.

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One of the ship’s main lounges, the Coral Club Lounge deck 5 aft. There was a show here every night, as well as in the Neptune Lounge.

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One of the two smallish swimming pools on Marquee deck 8

At 4:15 pm we had an Emergency Muster Drill, so made our way to the Neptune Theatre Lounge which was our assembly point. After the usual demonstrations etc. we were taken out in a huge Conga line (hand on the shoulder of the person in front) to see our lifeboat – ours was No.1. It was nice to see that, following the recent “Costa Concordia” disaster, all passengers were taking the exercise seriously. The ship left her mooring as soon as the Emergency Muster Drill had ended.

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Leaving Dover Harbour and the White Cliffs.

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The Dover Pilot Boat coming alongside to take off the pilot.

At 8:30 pm we made our way to the ‘Thistle Main Dining Room’, where we had been allocated a table for six, although we only had two other table companions:- Robert was an elderly gentleman from Sussex and Emilee, a University Lecturer from Ohio, America. Robert and Emilee proved to be excellent table companions and the conversation flowed freely. Our waiter Arnold and his assistant Joash were both from Bali and were very friendly. They were not as formally efficient as Royal Caribbean staff, but their friendliness and enthusiasm more than made up for it.

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Robert and Emilee, our table companions at dinner each evening.

After the meal we went to the Neptune Lounge to watch the ship’s singers and dancers in a show entitled ‘Come On Over To My Place’. The seating in the Lounge was not ideal for watching a show, it consisted of rows of oddly angled settees with bucket seats and tables between the rows od settees. However, the bucket seats were higher than the settee seating, so people on the settees might have problems viewing the stage (especially Chris who is very small). For the rest of the cruise we would make sure that we came early, so that we could get good views of the shows. The singers and dancers were in the lounge before the show, mingling with the audience. It was very interesting talking to them and learning a little about their life at sea.

The show troupe consisted of two male singer/dancers, two female singer/dancers and four female dancers. They were all very talented, excellent singing and dancing and their enthusiasm for their work was obvious. The stage was small and there were no pyrotechnics or special effects (as on the big ships), but the shows that they produced were very enjoyable.

When we went back to our cabin Daisy had changed it from day use to night use. Fred. Olsen cruises provide duvets rather than sheets and blankets which suits us, but may not be to everybody’s taste. Daisy had left us a chocolate on each of our pillows.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Continued tomorrow ………………...
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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Re: MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND

Postby rdw123 » 29 Jul 2020 08:41

Off on another adventure, thanks Geoff
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MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby Gillzajoker » 29 Jul 2020 10:28

Great that you had such an easy transition from home to ship, Geoff. Although Princess is my favourite
line, I do like FO's smaller and older ships - I've been on Black Watch and Boudicca. I think our cabins
were slightly larger than yours, but agree that on a short trip, and bearing in mind you generally only
shower and sleep there, they are adequate. And the fact that the beds are converted to sofas during the
day is a good way of utilising the space. Good that you managed to suss out early on the ideal seating
arrangements for the shows. And how nice that the singers/dancers mingle. Regardless of ports of call
I can see this being a very pleasant 'home from home'. :D
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Re: MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby Camela » 29 Jul 2020 13:43

We cruised in November 2012 and similarly found that muster was taken very seriously. We had since found that generally they have been much simplified and wonder whether this makes travellers a touch complacent. Now the future will be electronic musters which makes sense in Covid times but evidently RCC had been planning to go that route and patented the system which NCL are going to adopt too. Looks like I'll have to embrace an evil App if we get to take our Silversea and Regent cruises next year - HELP!
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MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby judgegeoff » 30 Jul 2020 11:38

Day 2 – Wednesday 23rd may 2012 - Day at sea

Today was a sea day, so we were able to have a bit of a lie in and we had tea and coffee in bed before showering and dressing. We then went down to the ‘Thistle Main Dining Room’ for a buffet breakfast (waiters will take orders there for breakfast items, but we prefer to help ourselves from the buffet set up in the room). The “Braemar” breakfast is one of the best at sea - all the cooked items all looked as though they had been freshly cooked and were piping hot. There was also a good selection of fruit juices, breads, cold meats and cheeses etc. As a rather unique touch, Fred. Olsen also provide chilled champagne on the morning of formal dress evenings, to drink neat or to make into ‘Bucks Fizz’ with orange juice! Coffee and tea, together with toast, was served by the waiters.

After breakfast we went to the Neptune Lounge to attend an illustrated lecture on the destination ports of Dublin and Belfast, given by an excellent speaker, Martin Lee. Martin had been one of the ship’s dance escorts (Fred. Olsen have experienced dancers (ballroom and modern) to dance with single passengers and Martin had been on the previous cruise, visiting the same ports. On this cruise he was giving lectures on the ports we would be visiting and at this he excelled, giving a great insight into how to maximise our visits to them. Fred. Olsen’s destination lectures are much less commercial than many other cruise lines, do not tell you where to buy diamonds and emeralds (from trading partners of the cruise line), but give you a good idea of the sights to be seen and the places to visit.

After the lecture we had a walk around the decks and then went for lunch in the Thistle Main Dining Room, three courses and very tasty (I had Spanish meatloaf for my main course). After lunch I went to one to the ship’s general shop and purchased a very lightweight showerproof jacket to wear on excursions – the weather was so good that the coat I had brought with me was going to be too warm.

We then went to the Neptune Lounge again and attended another lecture by Martin Bell, about the ports of Kirkwall (Orkney islands) and Invergordon (Scotland). This lecture was also excellent and helped us to plan our visits to these ports. After the lecture we returned to our cabin for drinks of cappuccino (Chris) and espresso (me) and then Chris attended talk on the Chelsea Flower Show by guest speaker John Negus. She said it was very good, although a little technical.

After the lecture Chris and I met up again and we went to the Palms Cafe for afternoon tea – sandwiches, pastries , cakes and biscuits. As well as tea and coffee served by the waiters, cool drinks were also available and a hot Bovril beef tea drink (one of my favourites). We then had a walk around the ship and took a few photographs.

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There is some comfortable seating on deck 8 near the swimming pools. We enjoyed excellent fish and chips for lunch whilst sat here on a couple of occasions.

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There are tables and chairs at the stern of the ship to enjoy any good weather.

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Very civilised!

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Lift and stairwell on deck 6.

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The little Atrium goes up from deck 4 to deck 8.

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A tea display outside the Thistle Main Dining Room.

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Before the evening show there is dancing in the Neptune Lounge. Dance escorts are available to dance with any single ladies.

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The Morning Light Pub on deck 5.

In the early evening we got dressed up in our formal finery and went to the Captain’s Cocktail Party that was held in the Neptune Lounge. We were given two glasses of complimentary wine each and were introduced to the ship’s senior officers (who were mostly Scandinavian) as well as the heads of other departments, such as housekeeping and catering.

After dinner we went to the Coral Club on deck 5 aft to watch the singers and dancers in a show ‘Blues Brothers, Soul Sisters’. We could have gone to the Neptune Lounge to see a show featuring Aviva and Sam & Louise, but we are fans of Blues brothers music, so decided to take that option. It was very, very good! After the show we stayed in the Coral Club to listen to a group named Fourth Dimension (2 guitarists, a drummer and a singer) who were also very good.

Before retiring to our cabin we went for a short walk on the decks. We were very lucky with the weather, it was very warm for May. Tomorrow would find us in the port of Dun Laoghaire, the port for Dublin, Ireland, where we would be staying overnight in the harbour, giving us two days to explore that lovely city.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Continued tomorrow.
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby judgegeoff » 31 Jul 2020 08:22

Day 3 – Thursday 24th May 2012 - Dublin, Ireland (Day 1)

In 1967 Chris was the receptionist at the “Trecastell Hotel” in Bull Bay, Anglesey, N. Wales. I was working at Wylfa Nuclear Power station construction site and was a permanent resident at the hotel. We were courting and we went on a touring holiday to Ireland in a hired car and spent a couple of days in Dublin, including a visit to the Guinness brewery. It had been a lovely holiday and we were married in June 1968 at Llanfairmathafarneithaf on the island. So we were really looking forward to returning to Dublin after all those years. The ship’s original itinerary included a day at Holyhead, Anglesey but, having lived on Anglesey, we were glad that it had been dropped in favour of a second day in Dublin.

After tea/coffee in bed we got showered and dressed and went down to the Thistle main Dining Room for breakfast. The ship was docked in Dun Laoghaire, the port of Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. The ship was spending two days in Dublin so we had decided to do our own thing on the first day but to go on a ship’s excursion the following day to negate the possibility of missing the ship sailing (the ship will wait for late excursions, but will NOT wait for late independent passengers.

After breakfast we purchased shuttle bus tickets from the Reception desk (£5 each for unlimited trips on the day) and boarded a double decker bus that was waiting just 50 metres from the gangway.

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Aboard the double decker bus…..

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…..photo taken from the bus. Not very far to walk!

It was a 15 or 20 minute bus ride from the port to the city centre, running alongside the River Liffey for quite a distance. The bus deposited us in the city centre, in Kildare Street, just around the corner from Trinity College. Some of the ship’s singers and dancers were there to help passengers and point them in the right direction for wherever they wanted to go. A very nice touch we thought.

We had done some internet research back home and had decided to go on a guided walking historical tour of the city, commencing from the main entrance to Trinity College at 11:00 am. We had a little time to spare, so we went for a walk and came across the famous statue of Molly malone pushing her cart of seafood. This is known locally as…. “The tart with the cart”….”The dolly with the trolley” …. or, (my favourite) …..”The trollop with the scallops”!

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The Molly Malone sculpture on Suffolk Street, Dublin.

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Chris and Molly.

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Molly and a leprechaun.

At 11:00 am we, together with another dozen people, assembled at the main entrance to Trinity College and met our guide, John Gibney, a local historian who has written several books on Irish history. We started off by visiting Trinity College itself, a very historic building. The College was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1, although the current buildings are mostly 18th century. Originally it was a Protestant only college and Catholics were not admitted until as late as 1970!

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Trinity College, Dublin.

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Our knowledgable and excellent guide, John Gibney.

After looking around Trinity College we crossed the busy street and went to visit the old parliament which is now actually inside the Bank of Ireland building. It felt rather strange walking through a working bank to visit Ireland’s oldest Parliament. The Irish House of Lords was much smaller than our House of Lords (which itself is not very large) and contained a large oval table with about 24 chairs around it.

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The impressive bank of Ireland building.

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The bank’s grand entrance.

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The old House of Lords parliament room.

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A very nice room.

Our next visit was to an area named Temple Bar. In Georgian times the narrow cobbled streets became a quarter known for skilled craftsmen and merchants. Nowadays it is an area which is home to a variety of ‘alternative’ shops and cafes and is bustling with hordes of tourists.

Passing through Temple Bar our next stop was Dublin Castle which we accessed through a very unimposing pedestrian only gate. The castle was built in the early 13th century and, for seven centuries, was the seat of British rule in Ireland. Many buildings were added in the 18th and 19th centuries. Our guide, John, gave us an excellent overview about the Easter rising of 1916 here and really brought it to life.

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The pedestrian entrance to Dublin Castle.

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Rather a mish mash of styles – where were the planners?

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Still a fine building though.

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A clock tower at the Castle.

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Listening to John’s fascinating talk about the Easter Rising.

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He really was a very good guide.

From Dublin Castle we then made our way to the lovely City Hall. Designed by Thomas Cooley, this imposing Corinthian style building was erected between 1769 and 1779 as the Royal Exchange. In 1852 it was taken over by Dublin Corporation as a meeting place for the City Council. The building has now been restored to its original condition and a permanent multimedia exhibition traces the evolution of Dublin from before the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170 to the present day.

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Inside the lovely City Hall.

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I wish that we could build buildings like this these days!

Our historical walking tour finally ended, at Christ Church Cathedral, 30 minutes later than scheduled, although nobody complained, we had all enjoyed it hugely. The church had been originally founded by the Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin, ‘Silkbeard’ and Dunan, the first Bishop of Dublin. It was rebuilt in 1186 but was neglected badly for centuries, was rebuily yet again in the 1870s and the crypt was remodelled in 2000. It is the Cathedral for the Church of Ireland (Anglican) diocese of Dublin and Glendalough.

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Christ Church Cathedral.

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What a fantastic weather for May!

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Nearby was this covered bridge that reminded us of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

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In the distance we could see the ‘Four Courts’ building that had nearly been destroyed by cannon during the 1916 rising.

It had been a really excellent way to spend a few hours and John had taught us a lot about Irish history – well worth the 10 Euro charge each and we would recommend it to anybody visiting Dublin. We had picked up a few extra members along the way and the sunny weather had been a real bonus.

We said farewell to John Gibney and the other members of our tour party and found a lovely little bistro where we had an excellent meal. I had beef and Guinness pie (well you have to, don’t you?), followed by a delicious slice of lemon meringue pie, whilst Chris, who wasn’t hungry, had a toasted sandwich and a chocolate brownie with cranberries and nuts.

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Lemon meringue pie – Mmmmmm!

After the meal we caught a taxi for the short ride to the Guinness Storehouse, a development based in St. James Gate Brewery, the original house of Guinness. In December 1759, 34 year old Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at an annual rent of £45 to take over the brewery which had lain vacant for almost 10 years. At that time the quality of the beer in Dublin was very poor and Arthur started making a dark ale named ‘porter’ (named after the porters at Billingsgate and Covent garden markets) and named ‘stout’ after 1920. The very high quality of the water obtained from the nearby hills of Wicklow were responsible for much of the high quality of Arthur’s brew.

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The Guinness Brewery, we could smell it before we could see it.

The Guinness Storehouse has nearly 4 acres of floor space, spread over 7 floors in a listed 1904 building and, in the centre, is a giant pint glass as an atrium. Entrance fee, for us wrinklies, was 10.5 Euros and the tour, taking you right through the brewing process, is self-guided. Half way through the tour we were given a sample of the Guinness stout. Eventually the tour takes you to the top floor and an elevator here takes you up to the ‘Gravity Bar’, a round room with panoramic seamless windows giving stunning views over Dublin to the Wicklow hills. Here, you can exchange a voucher for a free drink of your choice – a pint of the black stuff is the most popular. Returning to the ground floor we spent a little time in the Guinness shop and bought a few souvenirs.

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High quality water from the Wicklow hills.

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On the self-guided Guinness tour.

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Chris sinking the black liquid. Our kids could hardly believe that she downed a whole pint!

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“Sláinte”. Chris in the Gravity Bar (hic).

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Great views over the brewery to Wicklow hills.

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In the Guinness shop. Chris has owned a ceramic model of a toucan with a pint of Guinness since her hotel days in the 1960s. Interesting that they still sell the same model.

From the Guinness Storehouse we took a taxi back to Kildare Street where there was a shuttle bus waiting to take us back to the ship. It was quite a slow journey as the traffic was very heavy, but at least it gave us more time to enjoy the sights of Dublin. We had enjoyed our day in the city and it had revived many good memories of our 1967 holiday there.

Back on the ship we had coffees and then Chris went for a swim in one of the two pools. The dress code for the evening was ‘International/smart casual and, when we went down to the Morning Light Pub for pre-dinner drinks, we fould that all the waitresses were wearing their traditional costumes – they looked absolutely lovely. I wore a T shirt with a Union jack on it as my contribution.

After dinner we went to the Neptune lounge to watch the singers and dancers in a show ‘Euromania’ which, as before, was excellent. At the end of the show the cast stood in the entrance/exit to the lounge so that people could thank them or ask them questions.

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The 'Euromania' show.

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Taking a bow.

The “Braemar” is a much friendlier ship than many others that we have cruised on and we could understand why so many passengers return to her year after year. We would be staying in the harbour overnight, so another day in Dublin tomorrow.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Continued tomorrow …………...
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby Gillzajoker » 31 Jul 2020 09:34

Lovely views of the ship, Geoff, and I agree with you about FO having excellent port talks. I used to hate
it when I'd interrupt my sunbathing to go to one, and all they talked about was where the nearest Diamonds
International was.
I enjoyed the 'addendum' of your courtship with Chris on Anglesey. If it wasn't too great a distance, I would
have loved to do the historical walking tour - I like learning about places I visit. And there were some great
photos of lovely buildings. I had only heard the first 2 alternatives for Molly Malone, so had a good laugh at
your 3rd version! :D
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Re: MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby hazel20 » 31 Jul 2020 09:51

Excellent Geoff.
I learned some new things on your tour of Dublin.
http://www.hazeljgriffiths.net

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2021 - 2 legs of Spirit of Discovery to South America
2021 - Coastlines of Croatia - Sept SofD
2021 - Canaries - Nov SofA
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MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby judgegeoff » 01 Aug 2020 08:06

Day 4 – Friday 25th May 2012 - Dublin, Ireland (Day 2)

We had booked a ship’s excursion for the afternoon, so decided to stay on the ship in the morning and chill out. After breakfast in the thistle Dining Room, Chris went for a swim whilst I sent some texts to our grown up children, letting them know that we were well and enjoying our holiday. It was a lovely day so I joined Chris on the pool deck (deck 8) and we later had a very enjoyable meal of fish, chips and salad, followed by ice cream, whilst sat at a comfortable table and chairs by the pool.

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The comfortable chairs by the pool (photo taken in Dover on embarkation day – it was a lot warmer and more crowded on the day we ate our meal there).

After lunch we got ready for our excursion and assembled in the Neptune Lounge to wait for our tour to be called. We were then escorted out to the quay where a coach was waiting for us. The coach took us to a quay on the River Liffey where we transferred to a covered river boat. The bridges across this river are very low and so we had to stay inside the boat. We had a helmsman named Jimmy to pilot us and a guide named Ray who was very amusing, but also very good at describing the history of the sights that we would be seeing. All our photographs had to be taken through the boat’s windows which gave us a few problems with reflections etc.

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Boarding the river boat. The safety rails had to be folded down and the hatch had to be closed before we could get underway.

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Getting settled on the boat.

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Getting underway.

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Ray cracking one of his many jokes.

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You can see why the river boars need to be low. Even the little “Braemar's” lifeboats might be too high for these bridges.

We travelled about a mile and a half along the river, through the centre of the city, passing under the low bridges. The oldest bridge, Ha’penny Bridge, links Temple Bar and Liffey Street and is a high arched cast-iron footbridge, built by John Windsor in 1816. It was the only way to cross the river, at that time, except for ferries. The charge for using the bridge was half a penny, hence the name. It is very ornate and is one of the most photographed places in Dublin.

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Going under Ha’penny Bridge.

We passed a full scale replica of the “Jeanie Johnson”, a three masted barque that became famous for taking emigrants to the New World (Quebec, Baltimore and New York) during the terrible days of the potato famine. She was only a small ship (the replica is registered for just 40 passengers and crew), but between 1848 and 1855 she made 16 such voyages, average voyage time 47 days each way, with a maximum number of 254 passengers. What makes her famous is that during those crowded journeys they never lost a single passenger and, on one journey, actually gained a passenger when a baby was born on board. This safety record was due in no small measure to the ship having a compassionate Captain, james Attridge, and by her always having a talented doctor, Richard Blennerhasset, aboard. Even when the original ship did sink, in 1858, her crew were saved by a passing Dutch ship without loss of life.

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Passing the “Jeanie Johnson”.

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254 passengers! Crikey! I suppose a suite was out of the question!

We then passed Dublin’s new Conference Centre which is a large cube shaped building with a large rounded glass front. The locals are divided about its design merits and it is generally known as the “Cube with the Tube”.

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The “Cube with a Tube” Conference Centre.

In complete contrast to the modern Conference Centre is the nearby stunning Customs House building that could not be more different in design. Unfortunately, soon after this majestic building was completed, the 1800 ‘Act of Union’ was passed, transferring the customs and excise business to London, making the building obsolete. In 1921, supporters of SinnFein celebrated their election victory by setting fire to what they saw as a symbol of British Imperialism. The fire raged for 5 days, causing extensive damage. Reconstruction took place in 1926, but the building was neglected until 1991 when it was fully restored and reopened as Government offices. A very chequered past for what I think is a most beautiful and well proportioned building.

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The old Customs House, now Government offices.

Going downriver there were no low bridges and we passed this Navy ship, “LE Aoife”. In 1986 Richard Branson's “Virgin Challenger II” was attempting to break the transatlantic speed record set by the liner “United States” in 1952. “Challenger” left New York Harbour on 26 June 1986 and refuelled, as prearranged, at an oil rig on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. However, four tons of water also entered her tanks and soon, “Challenger” needed more fuel filters. Branson's London control centre requested help from the RAF but the Royal Navy did not have a ship in the area. LE Aoife, 160 miles distant, was informed and an RAF Nimrod plane dropped a canister of filters to “Challenger”. LE Aoife reached “Challenger” at 00:43 on 29 June. Her crew refuelled “Challenger”, which went on to complete the voyage, taking two hours and nine minutes off the previous record. Branson invited representatives of the ships company to the celebrations in London, saying "We could not have succeeded without their help".

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“LE Aoife” was an offshore patrol vessel, built in 1978.

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In 2015 she was decommissioned and sold to the Maltese Navy where she is their biggest ship, even bigger than the Maltese Navy flagship.

Eventually we returned to the quay and left the boat and boarded our coach, which took us on a brief tour of the city.

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Our boat leaving us after discharging us at the end of our sail.

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This bridge reminded us of a harp.

Our coach stopped in Phoenix Park where we had coffee and cakes in a little cafe. We then had a further stop at Christ Church Cathedral which we had visited yesterday on our walking tour. Being a Friday afternoon it was a lot busier than yesterday. From the Cathedral we were driven back to the ship.

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The cathedral grounds.

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Dubliners enjoying some unseasonal May weather.

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The tourist signs were in two languages, Gaelic and English

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The Leprechaun museum might be interesting, to be sure!

We had enjoyed the excursion, but it wasn’t the best and we probably would not do it again if we returned to Dublin.

After dinner we went to the Neptune Longe to see comedian Bob Taylor who was very funny. Tomorrow we would be visiting the port of Belfast in Northern Ireland.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Continued tomorrow ………………….
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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Re: MEMORIES (No. 4) - "BRAEMAR" - UK & IRELAND - 2012

Postby grannyM » 01 Aug 2020 08:42

hazel20 wrote:Excellent Geoff.
I learned some new things on your tour of Dublin.


Late as usual Geoff but just had to add to what Hazel said about your first day in Dublin.

I have been to Dublin many times to visit relatives and tracing ancestors for my family tree. I have enjoyed every visit and seen most of the city and around places in the Greater Dublin counties but never been on the Walking tour. If T and I go again we will definitely do that. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this and seeing your photographs. I have had a lovely time this morning recalling memories of my sentimental times there. Thank you for this and now look forward to your 2nd day ship's excursion. :clap:
Marie
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