One of the things I love about Dublin is that people are outside--walking, biking, sitting in the park picnicking or reading or napping. Maybe it's because they're having a spell of warm, sunny weather in this reputedly rainy place, maybe it's all of the great walking, biking and public transit infrastructure, or maybe it's because there are gorgeous parks everywhere.
Between our hotel and the city center lies St. Stephen's Green.
It's filled with flower gardens, trees (many of them these huge maples with knobbly bark and great big leaves that are waxy on top, fuzzy on bottom), and a pretty little duck pond inhabited by mute swans, seagulls, mallards and this lone grey heron.
This afternoon, I took the hop-on-hop-off bus to Phoenix Park, which is, according to the tour guide, twice the size of Central Park. It houses the President's residence, the American Embassy, and the Dublin Zoo.
I had lunch under this magnificent copper beech where I was visited by woodpiegeons.
Shamelessly, I lured this moorhen in with my bread crusts,
And this coot came along and helped herself, feeding bits of bread to a brood of almost full-sized babies.
And said "hello" to this magpie.
I watched a cricket match for a little while.
In the same "block" as our hotel are the Iveagh Gardens, where I stopped to smell a few roses,
And walked a yew hedge labyrinth (the hedges are only knee-high and there are a lot of cheating spots, but it was easy to imagine how heart-quickening it would be to find yourself dead-ended in a wall-high one).
Lest you think I spent ALL my time in Dublin looking at trees and birds, I did go look at bog mummies and Viking gold hoards at the Archaeology Museum, too (and, of course, visited The Book of Kells yesterday).