Dublin. Big city. Not-so-clean city. Noisy city. Very touristed city. Historical city. Many-pubbed city. Very expensive city.
All totally worth it!
We spent four days and three nights there, and we were extremely busy. We hit at least two pubs a day, working around our sightseeing schedule of at least two attractions each day. (I run a tight ship when traveling. Poor PG just followed along!)
In no special order, we saw such things as: the Temple Bar area. Our hotel was, in fact, in that neighbourhood, overlooking the River Liffey. I loved the narrow cobblestone streets and historical buildings – quintessential Europe to me.
the Guinness Storehouse, the one thing on the whole trip that PG requested that we visit. They have a wonderful display of how Guinness is brewed, plus a lot on the history of the company. I especially enjoyed looking at all the print adverts over the years. AND we both learned how to pour the perfect draught Guinness – and believe me, there is quite an art to it. We now have certificates to prove that we can do it correctly. We also got to drink the pint we poured, which was a nice perk.
Christ Church Cathedral, which is Anglican and the oldest building in Dublin. It was last renovated in the 1870s, so it certainly doesn’t look as old as it quite likely is. It has a very large underground crypt too, if you like that sort of thing (I do, but only for a short period of time. Then I get totally creeped out.)
lovely Trinity College, the gorgeous Book of Kells (no photos: it’s far too delicate, being written back in the 8th century and all), and the most incredible library I have ever seen in my entire life! This is the Long Room, where the books are arranged not by alphabetical order or subject, but by size!
St Patrick’s Cathedral, which is also Anglican. It’s supposedly built on the site where St Patrick was baptizing pagan Irish people back in the 5th century, and part of the building still dates from the 13th century. The stained glass windows, a few of which I’m showing you here, are magnificent.
Dublin Castle, 700 years old, was the seat of English rule in Ireland until power was handed back to the Irish in 1922. Today most of the interior rooms are all fancied up and are used for grand state occasions. The Norman tower above is original, and our tour even took us down beneath it to view a chunk of the original Dublin city walls AND part of the original moat. How cool is that – a moat!
Kilmainham Gaol (LOVE that spelling of “jail”! It’s so – I don’t know, medieval or something, and completely suits a place that dates from 1787!). This here is the execution yard, where many of the ringleaders involved in the 1916 Easter Uprising were shot. Apparently the building is often used for film shoots and music videos nowadays.
Of course, we saw LOTS more in Dublin, like St Stephen’s Green, O’Connell Street, Ha’Penny Bridge, lots of elegant Georgian houses, the Millennium Spire, the Garden of Remembrance (to honour the victims of the 1916 Uprising), the General Post Office (where that Uprising was kicked off), the Parnell Monument (in the mid-1800s, Charles Stewart Parnell was an MP who campaigned quite vigorously for Irish home rule, and who probably would have succeeded except for his scandalous involvement with a married woman)…
And we walked. Oh, how we walked! That’s what I really like to do when I visit new cities: walk around a whole lot and pretend I live there. You can’t really get the feel of a city from a tour bus or a taxi, in my opinion, you have to actually put your feet to the pavement and be amongst those who really DO live there.
And then we picked up our car, which we later christened Ivar the Boneless (after a Viking leader whom historians think died in 873. We learned about him and the Viking presence in Ireland a little later, in Waterford, I believe it was), and after PG mastered driving on the right-hand side of the road, we continued southward on our Irish adventure … which I will write more about next time.