Early in the morning we caught a train from the station near our hotel in Brussels to the airport. At the Brussels airport we saw the sign below asking which food was your favorite Flemish food. I can't really answer that since I'm not sure we had any of the dishes shown in the picture. Embarrassing considering how long we were in Belgium.
Arriving in the Dublin airport I saw the sign in the picture below written in both Irish and English. Since my heritage is mostly Irish I've always wondered what it would be like to learn Irish. Unfortunately I'm terrible at learning new languages and there isn't much use of it outside of Ireland. And everyone I met in Ireland also spoke English. It looks and sounds like a lovely language.
To introduce us to Dublin we had booked a walking tour for the early afternoon. Our tour started at The Spire.
The Spire sits at the site of the former Nelson Pillar which was completed in 1809. Long a tourist attraction it was unpopular with the local residents since it honored an Englishman and many Irish saw England as an oppressor. Ireland gained independence from the UK in 1922 but it wasn't until 1966 that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) damaged the pillar with a bomb. The now unsafe Nelson Pillar was torn down six days later but remained an empty site until the spire was built between 2002 and 2003.
Our tour guide for the private walking tour took us around much of Dublin, but there was so much it was difficult to keep track of all of it. He actually did a very good job though, taking us around some of the highlights of the restaurants, entertainment and academic areas of Dublin, then along the Grand Canal so we could take some lovely pictures as shown in the picture below, and then through the quickly growing tech area where Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft among other tech companies are expanding their footprint in Europe. Ireland is a good place for tech companies since it's an English speaking country, still part of the EU, has a corporate tax rate less than the US and, probably most importantly, a well educated but less expensive labor force.